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Episode 028 – Thought leadership, writing your first book, being disruptive and more, with Mindy Gibbins-Klein
Once upon a time, it was as if no one had a voice outside the medium of newspaper, print books, radio and television. Now we are experiencing the polar opposite – it is as if everyone has a voice, through the medium of social media, websites and podcasts.
This has created a new dilemma, which we as a generation have not faced before. There is an incredible amount of noise to cut through. This dilemma also has created an incredible amount of opportunity – if you can be heard. Which is why our guest today will be sharing with us how to be heard, the right way, so you don’t miss this opportunity.
One way to cut through the noise is to embody thought leadership and our guest Mindy Gibbins-Klein helps us understand how to do this. Before we get into things, let’s introduce Mindy:
Mindy Gibbins-Klein MBA FRSA FPSA is an International Speaker and Executive Coach specializing in turning experts into thought leaders and published authors.
Mindy has authored and co-authored 9 books, including 24 Carat BOLD about which Seth Godin said, “This is the first thoughtful book I’ve seen on what it means to become a thought leader.
Practical and inspiring at the same time.” Her latest book The Thoughtful Leader challenges leaders to be more thoughtful in all senses of the word.
A native New Yorker, Mindy currently resides in the UK where she operates two businesses. She is Founder & CEO of The Book Midwife®, an elite book coaching company, and Panoma Press, a cooperative publisher of business and personal development books.
Her TEDx talk “Sometimes You Need to Change Yourself to Be Yourself” has 750k+ views, and it showcases Mindy’s passion for helping people from all under-represented groups to become leaders, and for all people to approach life more thoughtfully.
Mindy has an enviable list of more than 700 published clients who have become real thought leaders and successful authors. She has been an international speaker for 25 years and has presented to and coached over 50,000 business executives and entrepreneurs in 18 countries on creating powerful content and thought leadership.
Her own online and offline content has been syndicated, licensed, and showcased worldwide.
As a regular media contributor, Mindy has been featured over 100 times in national and specialist press, radio and television over the past 10 years. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post as well as executive media in several countries.
In this episode Mindy talks to us about:
- How did Mindy get into the book business?
- What is thought leadership?
- Is the same or different to thoughtful leadership?
- Can anyone become a thought leader?
- What is Mindy’s definition of an entrepreneur?
- Mindy discusses career mistakes
- What mistakes she observes in other entrepreneurs
- Mindy shares her advice for women leaders
- Her mission that helps under-represented groups
Where to Find Mindy:
For a full read of the podcast, here is a full transcript of everything Dr Ro and Harms covered in this episode of the Growth Tribes Podcast.
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Harms: Hello, Harms here and welcome to another episode of the Growth Tribes podcast, we’ve got an exciting guest for you today.
Once upon a time it was as if no one had a voice outside the classic medium of newspapers, print books, radio and television.
However, now we are experiencing the polar opposite. It is as if everyone has a voice through the medium of social media websites, podcasts, and this therefore has opened up a new dilemma, which we, as a generation have not faced before.
A new area of opportunity and growth, which is that the reality is, not everyone is using their voice in an effective and impactful way.
Now we have a guest with us today who is someone who has not only used this voice but uses this voice in a way that it cuts through the noise, that incredible noise on social media in a way that is impactful, also has a unique ability to coach others on developing their own voice as well. More importantly, there’s also so much more about our guest today.
I have dropped in the phrase there is so much more about our guest today because in a moment when Dr Ro introduces our special guest who we are honoured to have on the Growth Tribes podcast this will make sense.
Dr Ro: Thanks Harms and thank you all for listening to today’s podcast, super excited we have with us a lady who is very dear to my heart because she is the reason I got my book turning point published, we have Mindy Gibbins-Klein.
Mindy thank you so much for her background is phenomenal, I’m going to read out to the listeners.
Some of you may be very familiar with her already, which is fantastic, but many of you may not be and because this is a global podcast it’s important we set the scene for you, because we really have got a special guest.
You have to bear in mind that many of you know me through the book when I first launched turning point of through the events subsequent to that.
That book came out as a result of conversations that took place with this lady who coached me through the process, helped unpackage what was in my mind and had been there for many years in a way that allowed me to get a message out in a very graceful way.
We have an international speaker and author.
She is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur. She is a thought leadership strategist. Mindy Gibbins- Klein has an MBA, she’s FRSA qualified. She is a fellow I believe of the professional speakers Association and an international speaker, executive coach specialising in turning experts into thought leaders.
For those of you listening published authors. Mindy has authored and co-authored nine books, including 24 karat bold and for those of you that know Seth Godin, I’m sure you do. He said, this is the first thoughtful book I’ve seen on what it means to become a thought leader.
Coming from somebody at that status out there in the social media market, podcast I am sure you realise how meaningful that is. Practical and inspiring at the same time.
Her latest book, the thoughtful leader challenges leaders to be more thoughtful in all senses of the world.
Now this is important for those of you listening, because it’s a term that’s been thrown around a lot and I think we’re going to pick her brains a little bit on this one because I think it’s always been overused in certain areas.
I listen to how Mindy is taking the message out the moment and she’s making people sit and see this in a different way, so it’s quite inspiring to hear that directly from her today.
A native New Yorker, Mindy currently resides in the UK where she operates two businesses. She’s a founder and CEO of the book, midwife, and elite book coaching company and Panoma press, who by the way, published my book.
A co-operative publisher of business and personal development books.
Actually, I’m out speaking all the time and the number of people that I meet have had a book published or have been guided by Mindy is crazy. The speed in which Mindy takes people through the journey of taking an idea, concept or philosophy or something you want to get out over the years and I mean literally I took years coming up with lots of ideas.
She literally took me in weeks to take a book out to the market, which became a number one in three or four categories on Amazon. That’s the skill that she has.
And all this experiences she has had over the years just packed into one human being is amazing and that led to her getting onto the big stages, a TEDx talk.
Those of you haven’t seen it, please go and look this up on YouTube. Sometimes you need to change yourself to be yourself is amazing.
It is a really honest reflection from someone who is extremely insightful with three quarters of a million views and it showcases Mindy’s passion for helping people from underrepresented groups to become leaders.
I think the light needs to be shined more on that and in that sense, she’s a light leader as well for people all over the world.
Mindy has an inevitable list of more than 700 published clients of which I have met over the years, who themselves become real thought leaders and successful authors and I’m privileged to put myself in that space as well.
She’s been an international speaker for, I think 25 years, presented, and coached over 50,000 business executives. That’s a big number folks. And entrepreneurs from 18 different countries on creating powerful content and thought leadership.
Her own online and off-line content has been syndicated, licenced, and showcased globally as a regular media contributor Mindy has been featured over a 100 times in national and specialist press, radio, television, for over 10 years now.
I’ve known Mindy for probably 10 years myself. She is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, as well as executive media in several countries.
Mindy it’s been an absolute pleasure to read it, it reminds me of how far you’ve come in the time that I’ve known you and thank you so much for coming onto the podcast.
There’s going to be a lot of global listeners here and I think they’ll be inspired to come and contact you about writing books and being thoughtful leaders.
Talk to us about your journey and maybe how you got into the book business because what a story.
Mindy: Thank you so much.
I do a lot of interviews as you know, and hosts and their introducers don’t always do the bio justice, I know they do their best but I was very impressed.
My story is very simple.
I don’t think I’m in the book business. I think I’m in the personal profile business because the book is a great vehicle but it’s certainly not the only thing that we work on at my company.
I’m best known for the book stuff so I will be giving the listener’s plenty to think about and lots of information and tips about books.
But my story started when I was a trainer in the 1980s and I had a colleague who had an accident at work and it was very serious.
He fell down a flight of stairs and hit his head at the bottom. He didn’t die but it did change a lot of things for him and me and a lot of the rest of us who knew him and worked with him. He developed epilepsy and I knew nothing about it.
I now know a lot about it, but at the time we didn’t know how to cope and he had a lot of seizures and they were uncontrolled. He got on medication and it was a very horrible experience he had people saying that he should sue the company where it happened.
He had medication that was giving him side effects.
He was moody and depressed and then he had an accident at work when he went back to work having a seizure knocked over a fax machine and for our younger listeners that’s like a big computer.
The company found a way to lay him off, so then he was suffering from this not completely controlled epilepsy, he had side effects from the drugs, he had the medical bills piling up and he got very depressed and we tried to help him.
When you say to somebody are you okay and they say they’re fine, it’s a façade.
That was his role to be inspirational and boy was he inspirational, he wanted to keep putting that across, but in the end it became too much and he took his own life and he was 27.
I was 27 as well. I really was in shock and I went through all the stages of grief and I felt so helpless and then people started saying he was religious and he shouldn’t have done that. It’s a sin to take your life.
I got to the anger stage and I thought how dare you, he is not here to defend himself.
How do you know what he was going through and I found a really good outlet for all my emotions was to put it down on paper.
To make a very long story short, I decided to move to the UK with six bags and a bike and it was here that I tried to get my training business up and running again.
But I wrote the book, I am laughing because I say I wrote the book I wrote the draft and then started getting feedback, then I re-wrote stuff and started sending it out.
Then I got rejections and this went round and round in cycles and with every rejection I lost a lot of confidence and I really was just going to forget about it. I thought the book was no good.
I’m no good, and how often do we do this stuff to ourselves?
Eventually I thank God for my sister who said look, partner with this publishing company and you can get it in print and you don’t have to wait for approval and validation from some big publisher who doesn’t understand you and I did it.
This was at the end of a 10-year journey.
I did it and it took me 10 years to become an overnight success.
The book, by the way, is called a dance in the desert and it does tell the story of my friend and what he went through and I created some more characters.
I’m highlighting the plight of my friend and what happens when you have some physical condition that is not controlled and you don’t feel yourself, which is what can happen and depression and suicide are unfortunately far too prevalent in many parts of society, especially people with long-term conditions.
I contacted the epilepsy associations here in the UK.
I ended up working with the BEA, which became an epilepsy action.
The biggest charity in the UK serving half-million people. I did a lot of talks for them, I became an accredited volunteer and I just wanted to get that message out, that was kind of my accidental foray into the area of helping people with epilepsy and just writing about important things.
When I went to BNI meetings trying to talk about the training and my marketing services they didn’t want to know.
I mean they did, but people were far more interested in the book. I listened and maybe there’s something to this, so I would love to say it was strategic and planned but the book midwife came about when I was a trainer and running this marketing services company.
I said well, I do book marketing.
I was sent books by publishers to do the marketing campaigns.
I came home from holiday one time and I got a book.
I opened the package and my heart sank as there was a typo on the front cover and that was the least bad part of the book and there are so many problems with it, typos throughout, it was just poorly formatted.
The thoughts, ideas were not put together well, it was the wrong length.
The cover was horrible.
This thought came into my head where it was so, so clear and it was Mindy you need to be involved, way before this stage.
In fact, before they publish it. In fact, before they wrote it and now it all came together.
My MBA and strategic skills, corporate skills, I am a strategist and I had forgotten about that because I was in marketing and promoting stuff and that’s important.
But my best work is done before a product is created or even fully formed. That has just changed everything. The book midwife as you kindly said is all about pulling the ideas together, getting clarity and making sure that it’s going to hit the mark and that has to be done very early on, not after the book is written.
It really does ring true for many people who don’t start writing the book because they haven’t got the clarity I say well done, get help right at the beginning.
Don’t start before you have clarity.
Dr Ro: For anyone listening there was a clarity for you that this is where I’m good, strategizing, getting in early what would be a couple of pointers for people that maybe, we talk about the universe a lot.
I think similarly you and I are aligned in that sense.
I think a lot of the time when we’re younger we actually miss the signs, there are some pretty clear signs and it’s not until we get to our 30s or 40s and say, maybe I should be doing this way before.
What would you say are some of the things to look for that you found over the years to jump on a passion or a purpose when it hits you earlier.
Mindy: It’s a real gift to be able to enjoy whatever it is you’re doing now and become passionate because a lot of people are in a situation they didn’t choose, especially now, but remember the coronavirus.
Everyone has reacted in different ways, but it’s really no different from any other situation where you don’t feel you’re completely in control.
I just have to practice what I am about to say with the fact that we can have goals and aims and we can have plans and work on stuff, but we can’t control everything.
One thing we can control is how much we enjoy our work, our lives, how we see things, the meaning we give them.
Mindy people in my age group, generation where you may be going through a career or workplace, which you don’t necessarily enjoy, but actually what we’re saying here is you actually have control of that experience, whilst you start to spot the opportunities that the universe presents.
Mindy: There is always a different way to approach things.
I think the universe is offering us lots of inspiration and ideas and whispers every day.
I think the key is not to try to listen to everything, some people think especially now I have to listen to all these podcasts. I do a lot of live streams, live interviews, but I say, look, if you feel that you are taking in too much and you’re becoming tired and stressed and overwhelmed what you probably need to do is switch off.
Go into nature, have a walk, switch off for a day, a week.
Nobody is going to know or care but you’ll have that time to reflect and assimilate what you’ve been listening to. Make sure you’re in the right state.
I talk about the importance of getting into the right state for thinking about big ideas and important stuff.
Harms: You mentioned thoughtful leaders and that’s where we really wanted to extract some of the knowledge you have so people start to have a more powerful voice.
Something fascinating happened a couple of weeks ago because I listened to Seth Godin’s podcast and he’s mentioned your book and your name multiple times on his podcast.
He said one of the books that is a must when it comes to thought leadership is Mindy Gibbins-Klein. I was listening like okay I’m not quite aware of who she is until Ro says Mindy Gibbins-Klein is coming onto the Growth Tribe’s podcast with us and I was like wow Ro.
She is a big deal, so I’m excited.
you have mentioned, thought leadership, but what was the definition of this?
What does that mean to you?
Mindy: My definition came from doing a bit of research for 24 karat bold and it was very early days. We’re going back 12 years and it was only in academia, really at that point.
What happened was I attended a conference and somebody was introduced when the speaker had the big, long introduction, like Dr Ro did for me but live. It was on stage and they really built it up and there’s music and all this and then they say, one of America’s top thought leaders and I thought I better pay attention.
When he came on the stage I thought who the heck is that?
It just got me thinking who says he is one of America’s top thought leaders and thank goodness I was in that seat in that venue at that time and I had that thought because I’m not one to let something go.
If I think it requires more thinking and more clarity. And that’s just what I do, so I didn’t say anything at the time, but I began my research and we were just launching the French PSA, the ANCF.
I was delighted to be one of the keynote speakers there.
This was in 2008 and I thought let me test out some of my ideas and it went down a storm. I had a four-pronged approach. I said we need some metrics; you need to have some way of measuring and calibrating thought leadership. It’s not some nebulous idea and I nearly did the talk in French.
But they got it, and that gave me the confidence to put 24 karat bold together, it gave me the confidence to get sent to look at it, endorsed it and then I launched it in Hawaii at a massive, massive leadership conference.
The whole thing was when I was doing my research in the book it says that someone has an idea and they have the courage to share it and are recognised by their peers and their mentors, and I just knew something was missing.
I’m sure the listeners know where I’m going with this, what about the market?
What about the people receiving the message because it came from academia it was all around you peers, mentors and everybody was getting things peer reviewed.
That’s important I review academic papers but it is not my favourite thing to do.
I like talking to real people and consumers and not having to prove everything I say that’s just me.
But what happened was that opened up an opportunity to look at what is required then, how do you measure it and it is still subjective. But thought leadership you have to have something to say, so that’s your authority you have to have some reach, so it is pointless having authority and nobody knowing about you.
You have to say it in a way that engages people, especially now because it’s noisy out there. You need to find a way to engage in a way that works for your audience.
Finally, the fourth element which is longevity.
I don’t mean living to 120.
I’m talking about having your name and your ideas live for a long time, people talking about you and being inspired by you long after they’ve finished reading your book or watching your video.
That doesn’t happen by accident so with that you’ve got something to aim for.
The reach aspect can be measured in lots of ways, but we have social media to allow us to count things like subscribers, connections, followers, friends, email list and whatever other lists you have.
You want that as large as possible because not everyone is going to see or hear everything you do. Then engagement so we know when people are engaging because they reply to emails. They pick up the phone.
They send us a message they give us like they share with our staff and it’s again thank goodness we have all of the social media platforms to allow us to do these things.
Then the authority piece is where I work, because there’s no point putting out something that is the same old, lame old.
People’s time is precious and you can’t waste it by putting out something that doesn’t add a new dimension and new angle.
An interesting and original thought and I would push for something thought leading, something truly disruptive and exciting, and then you get attention.
That’s hard to do on your own.
Dr Ro: Define disruptive because I really like this word and Harms and I have bounced back and forwards over the last year or so on this and some people in the past have challenged me and said, you’re pushing out there a little bit.
But I like that feeling of pushing against something as it creates a reaction for people, it stimulates people’s thoughts beyond just the norm.
Mindy: Yes, there’s a misinterpretation around being disruptive.
Some people think that means just being contrarian and arguing with everything but that’s not what I mean.
Where something needs to be disrupted so I would urge the listeners to think about their industry.
Whatever industry you’re in there’s something not right and at the heart of your work is a little kernel of opportunity to put that right, or at least do something, take some steps to fix that issue.
Being disruptive means not accepting something just because that’s the way it’s always been done. You see that it’s not right. It’s not working and you offer something along the lines of the solution.
So each person needs to decide how important it is to be involved in the area of disruption.
I’m just saying if you do a good job with it and you get people listening and engaging then you’re on your way to becoming a thought leader in that area.
Dr Ro: I am an observer of human beings and for those of you listening, particularly young women listening to this as well not that I want to pick on male or female here, but one of the things that I feel strongly about is having a voice from both genders.
I’m an observer of qualities and characteristics of people.
I’m listening to your story as it unfolds.
You have this amazing ability to see something and focus on it and you appear to me to be very tenacious in your approach.
Once you believe in something is that quality that you believe has helped ride you through the ups and downs and would you attach it to one of the things on Mindy’s list for being successful? Because the question we get a lot of is what would you say Dr Ro is a characteristic of somebody who is successful?
I think we’re seeing that live whilst we’re recording this with you.
Mindy: May I just add thought that it’s not both genders. We have other genders.
People who may not relate to the men and women, et cetera so typically being tenacious, being focused has been seen as a male characteristic.
I’m not particularly fond of this.
I do think that culturally many women in the Western world included don’t have as many role models as they need.
That’s changing luckily and really if you look, there is still a long way to go. They may not even understand how to get from point A to point B.
I do care about certain issues. It could be tenacious. It’s non-negotiable, I don’t think about it. If something is not right and I’m sure you have already guessed that injustice is one of the issues that I will just work on and really aim for, inclusion is another one to use a positive term.
I find myself gravitating toward projects that allow me to be involved.
Dr Ro: I think that’s lovely because it’s that inner compass that is inside us.
I think we could become more and more tuned into and great leaders like yourself I think have a way of tuning into it even quicker and knowing how to differentiate between as we talked about the noise and what is a real message internally from myself.
Harms: When Ro asked that question what I noticed was your response was so thoughtful it was like so present with what the current topic is, what the current mindset is and what you feel people should be aware of and maybe they’re not aware of.
That was such a thoughtful way in which you answered Ro’s question and actually all the questions so far today.
Is that the same thing as being a thought leader or is there a difference between being a thoughtful leader versus a thought leader?
Mindy: It’s different.
This is just my opinion, as is everything I say on the show and elsewhere.
Thought leadership unfortunately, the term has become overused and misused and abused, and I’m sure a lot of people recognise that.
So here are the no-no’s and here is what is not thought leadership. It’s not thought leadership just for someone to say they are a thought leader without those metrics that we are talking about.
It’s not thought leadership to call yourself when pleased and don’t put it in your LinkedIn profile. This is not cool. Okay, it’s like saying I’m amazing.
I hope you wouldn’t say that.
We have to be human and a bit humble but you do all the right things, people will call you one. The issue nowadays is the term being used every day.
I heard someone said I’m working with my client to get his thought leadership out there and I just thought maybe. Or maybe you’re going to be turning out articles.
You cannot say this is my thought leadership.
Remember when I said you need the market to call you a thought leader that is the difference.
The thing about a thoughtful leader is they’re concerned with the recipient but not concerned with the validation and approval coming from people receiving the message.
What they’re doing is they’re putting more thought and higher quality of thought into the message and into the content and nowadays guess what that’s disruptive.
Because most people are moving faster than ever and tweeting 100 times a day and there is less thought than ever going into content. I think that’s great.
I think that sets those of us up who really care about being thoughtful and putting something important into the world. That sets us up to stand out and so it is ironic, it’s harder than ever to stand out, actually it’s not.
Because hardly anybody is being thoughtful.
That is the USP and again when you know you’ve put a thoughtful piece of content into the world, or you’ve acted or spoken thoughtfully you know, and so in a way it fulfils that inner desire to feel like you’ve achieved.
It does, and then you can feel fulfilled as you work on it and you don’t have to wait and see if you get 50,000 likes.
Dr Ro: Do you find the people you work with who are really in that space being thoughtful leaders have a slight anxiety, but there’s so much noise.
How do I know that my message is going to get through, do they have to stay tuned into that message and stay pure to it?
Or do you find some people wave a little bit and try to go broader?
Because this seems to me about being really focused and on seeing it all the way through.
Mindy: Two points and first anxiety is a reality and it will come up multiple times, we all experience it.
I had my moments, it’s about how quickly you can shift back into your true identity, your true self, your true north.
The anxiety is just like a false state although it feels very real when it happens, I’m not minimising that. There’s been times where I’ve woken up in the middle of the night, every single night for several months because one of my companies was losing money.
It can be very real.
What I would encourage people to do is not worry about how specific can I be and how niche. But at the end of the day you have to fulfil that part of your desire, so if you want to have a huge broad impact, go for it. If you only want to work with widows of north sea fishermen do it, I’ve been using that analogy for about 16 years, very specific.
We have plenty of opportunities to make our mark so you don’t need to stress about that.
Going back to when I said the thoughtful element is to give yourself the gift of a bit of time and space and I would say input. You may need a coach or thinking partner to help you sift through this. There’s a lot of coaches out there.
I specifically work on content and messages, but people can get a lot of clarity and be a lot more relaxed and when you go into the planning phase in that way you’re more successful.
Dr Ro: I remember actually when I wrote turning point that was one of the things that you had to do with me because there was 20 something years of all of this information and you are saying you need to focus.
What’s the message you want to get out?
That’s one of the early questions you asked me and I remember you saying to me what’s your objective and I said I don’t want to make millions selling books.
I just want to get a meaningful message out there and the response from you was quite inspiring, I got a sense, your response to me was, that’s a great approach to this.
Go at this with a message first.
Mindy: Although if you had said it exactly that way and I don’t think you did say it exactly that way because if you had said and listened to the words you use that I don’t want to make millions.
I would have picked up on that and nowadays I would and I would probably say but what if you do both.
Harms: As a follow-up question to the one which is, is there a difference, so rather than chasing the title of I want to become a thought leader, what I’m taking away from what you said Mindy is just love the process of getting that message, an idea that thoughtful message, an idea out there.
Now can everyone do this?
Can everyone become a thoughtful leader, a thought leader is that possible or is it for a select few?
Mindy: What I think I’m saying is, everybody can be a thoughtful leader because that’s what we control.
We control input.
What we put into our work projects.
So how great is that you can be a thoughtful leader and I’ve also said that’s more important than being a thought leader.
Now the windfall or what can come from being a thoughtful leader many times is you will be seen as a thought leader in your space because you’re coming at your issue, problem-solving, creating something, you’re coming at that with total integrity with a sense of fulfilment that you’ve given yourself.
That shows up, you show up and how you show up is very appealing and you will get people following you.
In a way it’s better to focus on the thoughtful aspects.
My book the thoughtful leader came out and I was going to rant because I was so annoyed that everybody was saying thought leader and in the end, thank goodness I did what Harms was talking about.
I actually took a step back myself and I was thoughtful about how I put it out. I really wanted to be considerate, which is at the heart of being thoughtful, considering things for longer, considering ideas and people in a more measured way.
I wanted to do that because I thought that would show respect to my readers. I’m very happy with that and I love 24 karat bold because it’s all about getting out there, doing it, being a thought leader and that’s also important for some people.
Harms: They need to be given permission and ideas.
That’s exciting, especially for listeners of the Growth Tribes podcast who are thoughtful people they’re listening to the subjects that have been discussed because they may be looking for permission to go ahead and start expressing what they want to say.
Dr Ro: You talked about working with entrepreneurs and different types of leaders, would you call yourself an entrepreneur?
Mindy: I do call myself an entrepreneur.
I think there’s nothing wrong with that phrase. It’s not boastful, it’s a fact, somebody who starts companies and takes risks is an entrepreneur.
It is a great identity.
Some people really go for it and then I saw Elon musk, you don’t have to be like that, he is like a mega entrepreneur on steroids.
You can create something and if it helps, and you like calling yourself one go for it.
I call myself an entrepreneur, I would never, ever, ever, call myself a thought leader.
Dr Ro: Knowing how you set your businesses up and what you do there’s a creativity naturally in who you are, so that’s inspiring and again, this is for us is exciting because you are following a passion.
You’re following a purpose clearly and at the same time you’re monetising that and you’re entrepreneurial.
The message I’m hearing is well outside of everything else you’re saying is great to do that, it’s okay to do that as some people almost feel they need permission to do that. It’s like, can I start a business, can I be an entrepreneur?
The coach’s role is to help people through that process and choose the right path as well.
Harms: Just changing direction now because you explained thoughtful leadership and thought leadership in such a clear way that hopefully our listeners now have permission to go ahead and start something they’ve been hoping for.
Shifting back to your bio one of the things that a listener may hear is Mindy is incredible has she made any mistakes?
Is this just been such a clean ride to achieving all the things she’s achieved and that’s often-what people only see.
The question is, have you made a mistake and probably the best question to ask is, what’s the biggest mistake that you made in your career? If there has been one.
Mindy: Yes, I alluded to it before.
Eight years ago one of my companies started losing money and I don’t mind saying which one it’s your publisher Ro.
We lost money a few years in a row, that was a scary time.
My co-founder had left and I had people advising me but the biggest mistake I made was to take my eye off the ball so I said, I have people on this.
I had my MBA. I could have looked more carefully at our finances and I just put my head in sand and then we had four years of losses, and it was a miracle that we didn’t go out of business. I was holding on with my fingernails.
If we went out of business all those books would just disappear, these authors had trusted us with their books and I thought I’ll be damned if I let that happen.
I had to make a lot of changes and the first change I had to make was to be more thoughtful and look at myself and what I was doing and not doing.
Talking to suppliers and partners being creative, telling them the truth and asking for help and I paid every penny that we owed, that was in 2016 we just had our fourth consecutive year of growth since then.
It was a scary time and there was no one I wanted to point a finger at my finance guy but I was the one who hired and listened to him.
Harms: What a responsibility to have all of those authors trust you.
That’s an incredible responsibility because you’re essentially as part of their thoughtfulness and keeping it out in the world.
Dr Ro: I am all about extracting what do people focus on in their periods of darkness or frustration, is there anything else that makes Mindy tick in these moments?
What’s your guiding light, what comes to the surface that just drives you forward?
Mindy: It’s people, it’s interconnection because without our authors, we wouldn’t have books, and so we wouldn’t have a publishing company.
The connection and the trust and mutual respect that is what made me finally wake up and decide I have to fix this.
I knew I had to fix it but I couldn’t get that clarity until we were nearly at the point of bankruptcy and that’s what has to happen.
You have to get to the point where it’s a wake-up call, as they say. I had a mentor at that time who I was meeting with once a month.
He was looking at my P&L and he said you’re bankrupt, and that phrase triggered me because it’s a phrase that is mixed with emotion that is a heavy word. I just looked at him.
I set up straight and I said, I decide when I’m bankrupt and he said right, but the figures say this and then we get to the point where he could help me with some practical things.
You have to know your true values are and I love helping people. I love helping them bring their potential into the world that’s maybe why I was put into the world.
I do speaking and I will do keynotes but my favourite work is my coaching work and I know this doesn’t sound like a trendy thing, but my truly favourite work is my one-to-one coaching work.
I feel most fulfilled when I can work with people in small groups or one-to-one to do my best work.
Dr Ro: That’s a massive reflection on who you are as a person.
Thank you for sharing that. I’m going to spin your eye line of sight and ask you a question, what are the biggest mistakes then that you’ve seen other entrepreneurs make?
Mindy: This might sound counterintuitive, but they disempower themselves by thinking other people have the answers.
Like how I thought the finance guy he knows and I’m going to follow everything he says and that’s what I did. I just never thought it didn’t make sense, I thought they knew better.
We do this with our teachers and mentors.
We think we have to follow them and we get people who are on the seeker circuit. But those who keep attending conferences are on this circuit, don’t keep attending things and taking all those notes and say I have to have Infusionsoft, I have to have a website and funnel.
That’s my least favourite word in the universe.
There is so much stress for so many people, take a step back and decide where you spend your hard money, but more importantly, your time and energy.
Because it really does cost us a lot of energy to listen to something and get out of our comfort zone and follow something that may not be right for us and I’ve done it.
I’m speaking from experience.
I probably spent a quarter of a million dollars on personal development, coaching, and systems.
Dr Ro: I can relate to that.
Mindy: It’s not like the money just went however, there are people who are spending and not getting anything in return on investment.
And if you’re one of those people and you have credit card debt because you’ve attended too many seminars, systems and subscriptions stop right now and have a look at your credit card bill.
I know it’s hard, I know you’ve invested whatever you have spent.
But if you’re not going to do it you’re not going to do it, you’re just throwing more money after bad.
I just decided this morning to give up on subscriptions of my own that I’m not using. It is liberating to let things go.
Dr Ro: What’s interesting about this is it’s also about being thoughtful about the choices you make it.
You’ve heard the term seminar junkie.
I remember in India four, five years ago people coming up saying we’ve signed up to your on trading the stock market, somebody else writing books, something else from doing eBay businesses.
I said cancel the course with me because you’re not going to manage to do all these, you’ve got to focus.
It is a choice of being thoughtful about the path you want to take as well.
Mindy: My favourite chapter in the book thoughtful leader so the self-leader takes risks thoughtfully.
Chapter eight, the thoughtful leader takes risks, and I think it’s in that chapter where I mention that we choose our influences and influencers.
We choose, you choose and you are choosing right now who and what you allow to influence you and I have various keynotes on this and I do have a lot to say about this topic as most people don’t even realise what they’re listening to and what they’re allowing to influence their thinking.
Then you’re going down a certain pattern and you’ve got blinkers on.
You’ve got that tunnel vision and you cannot see all the other opportunities because you started down some path for whatever reason so you need to be aware of it, you need to take the blinkers and blinders off and then you decide you choose.
Harms: From my generation, which I think I’m seeing more and more which is just based on what you’ve said and I don’t know if you agree with this, which is the subscriptions.
The over emphasis on I’m going to do a trading course, a property course, and writing my own book course.
Maybe it’s just an obstruction or an excuse not to get started because I’m seeing this so often now with people who are 24, 25, 30 to 35.
Or maybe they’re just fed up with what they’re doing at the moment but racking up bills on things thinking that’s going to be the magic pill or the solution.
Whereas what we are saying is, and what you’re sharing with the listeners is take a step back and be thoughtful about everything about the next steps, about what idea do you want to share. I’m taking this away from everything you’ve said so far, is that something you would agree with?
Mindy: It is.
I think it’s misleading to say that we are doing it as an obstruction.
I think every course and every service and everything we choose to buy at the time, we have the right intention, or perhaps it was just a very good sales pitch.
When you sign up for something you have that feeling that it’s going to work.
I believe if we really want something to work we have to work it. Not rocket science. This is not my best thinking ever.
However, it’s worth thinking about. You have that thought.
And it’s true, every thought you have is true for you in the moment. If you have a thought or intention that this course is going to work for me then that possibility is true as well, so it’s what you do with that.
I say Mel Robbins speak, and I don’t namedrop as a rule, but you know this for five second rule it’s very powerful. It’s you have the thought, intention what do you do with that? Do you take action immediately?
For example online courses they send you a confirmation email.
Here’s an idea, read the email.
Do something for that service that you’ve just purchased, do something for yourself as the potential is there.
I have people who have signed up to my online courses and then admitted that they’ve never done them, they never watched one video.
That’s not something one thing I want a debate on this call this, there’s lots of things human nature.
Fear probably, a lot of fear and I’m not scary.
Harms: If people are listening to this and you feel like you’ve done any of those things, then what Mindy is saying is these are some of the biggest mistakes that we are seeing and myself and Ro see these as well.
Now working on a question where we can start to give people I guess some how to’s.
Based on everything you said, how can aspiring thought leaders, people who want to now commit to getting their thoughtfulness and their thoughts out there differentiate themselves from their competition?
Because like you said, it’s extremely noisy.
Mindy: This is an easy one for me to answer.
Forget about the competition.
Don’t look don’t listen, don’t watch, don’t read. I’ve come up with a phrase if you want to say don’t.
Resist the temptation to be like everyone else and think that you have to know everything that everyone else is doing.
Because this is what happens when you read the books and articles and blogs, you watch the videos and you become less and less confident.
You look at it and think it’s already been said, done and the pressure builds up and this concept is in the thoughtful leader.
Thank you for this opening because here it goes.
When you become competent you attract competition.
You have a certain level of competence to even say you work in the field of web design or online sales or whatever it is, so that competence creates the competition. When you focus on the competition it creates a word which I’ve made up called competention.
It is the feeling you get that is your own fault as you’ve allowed yourself to get obsessed with the competition.
Forget about it.
I hate to use the word third time in this podcast but it is counterintuitive. It’s not what we are expected to do.
In the marketing department where I worked there were people focused on analysing what the competition is doing, that’s fine, but if you want to be creative you’ve got to put yourself in a bubble. This is a safe space of your making.
You need to learn how to sift through your own ideas.
You can learn this if you work with me. I have very accessible and reasonable online courses.
Leadership and thoughtful leadership. You can read the thoughtful leader at the moment 4.99 on the Kindle.
If you can learn to be more thoughtful before you approach a project before you write an article or especially a book, before you create a brand. there are ways in which you can be just better equipped.
I want people to put their best foot forward.
In my companies and especially the book companies one of the mantras that we all live by is we want to give people and their books the best chance in the market.
We want to give people and their books and books as a metaphor, it’s everything they produce the best chance in the market.
The way to do that is to be thoughtful all the way through right from the very beginning.
If I’m involved you better believe I’m going to be obsessing with giving that person their best chance and that means they will feel proud of what they’re producing and putting out there.
They will feel that that sense of clarity and certainty and that will come across and they will attract the right people.
We don’t need to stress about that as much as we think.
Dr Ro: For anybody listening at the moment if you haven’t written a book, or you’re in the space where thoughtful leadership is really resonated.
Please go first and just get online and read what Mindy’s been talking about, but in words because some of you may resonate by digging deeper into this.
I find when you read a book like this so many thoughts start to trigger off and for many people with all the noise going on in the last six and eight weeks.
Certainly that I’ve seen out there is bringing yourself back to centre, resetting that compass, and it’s taking some insight from somebody that has helped a lot of people.
Being centred is one of the most important things that you can give to your tribe and if you’re not centred they’re not centred.
Mindy: The more confidence you have, personally, the more confidence people have in you and therefore your absolute first step and biggest goal should be to do whatever it takes to become confident.
I know the secret and I’ll give it to everybody right now.
The thing that gives people confidence is clarity.
Therefore you must do whatever it takes.
Dr Ro: What advice would you give for women leaders because you’re certainly seen out there in the field as a strong woman leader, are there any personal shares you’d like to leave us with on the podcast.
Mindy: My TEDx talk I’ll give you the first line I say, be yourself and I’m saying it in a bit of a mocking way.
Because I think that that is hard for some people, they don’t know how to be themselves.
But ironically you do need to be yourself and especially women who have less confidence.
There isn’t just one way to be.
I’ve met with and worked with many, many women from many fields and I wouldn’t say that I could even categorise them all as one group, you need to do whatever it takes to get that level of confidence because that is what everybody requires.
Especially women who feel less confident.
I haven’t always had this level of confidence. I was a shy kid.
I had to learn this. I had to learn how to be assertive by being confident in the things I do.
One of my tricks and this may help women.
I don’t go in for all this, what are your weaknesses and get better at what you are not good at. When you focus on your strengths and you do things that you’re good at, you can feel great all the time.
I am never going to be the best detailed person in the world. It’s just completely at odds with my big picture thinking identity and what I like and what I’m good at.
I can work for hundreds of hours to improve and I have improved, but I also delegate things that are not for me.
So when you can do the things that you’re good at, over and over it gives you that confidence.
I would say aim to do more of the things that you’re good at and feel good about yourself more of the time.
Dr Ro: That actually is something that I do believe people in general struggle with this well as.
People tend to gravitate to something they’re comfortable with, and at the same time they don’t shine in the area.
They just keep plodding along.
Harms: Or the opposite happens where they get bad advice and just strengthen the areas which you are terrible at.
Dr Ro: Particularly your generation actually Harms the whole thing about analysis I hear a lot from millennials.
Mindy: I have tried three times.
I’ve gone on to iMovie or Mac with up-to-date software and it is not what I do, and I’m not going to spend hours and hours editing my own videos.
Don’t keep banging your head against a wall and doing something you’re not good at. It’s going to take you way too long and that’s time we should be spending sharing gifts and it’s going to make you feel bad about yourself.
Like I say you need to feel good about yourself so you can show up.
You will be truly confident when you know that you are doing the best work.
Harms: As we get closer to the end of the podcast we just wanted to explore something which popped up in your bio but also as part of research which is your business has started a mission regarding underrepresented groups.
Could you tell us and the listeners more about that.
Mindy: The official mission came up from Panoma press publishing company.
The short background is I’ve always thought that more people from underrepresented groups and what I mean by that is, women, black and minority ethnic people from LGBTQ community, disabled people, millennials, seniors, and veterans whoever feels they are not being given a chance.
I believe those people’s voices should be heard.
I haven’t done anything about it except to get the number of women writing and speaking and we had a good ratio of 60% women before I started an official initiative.
I saw the Hamilton musical.
Now I have to say this because it’s a huge part of my life now. It absolutely blew me away as it has for many people that I decided to do something with it.
The very next day I said I was going to turn our publishing company into one where 80% of the books are authored by people from underrepresented groups 80%, 8/10.
That’s hard to achieve when not so many underrepresented groups are coming forward because of the lack of confidence, lack of role models and any other issues, so it was a challenge.
The first year we did that was 2019.
Last year, we hit the target.
However, only for some segments we have more women, more seniors over 65, more disabled people and more people from different ethnic backgrounds.
LGBTQ we failed on a massive scale so you know, I reset the goal same thing this year and I think I wouldn’t have a problem if we became known as the publisher who gave a disproportionate chance to people from those groups because they’ve been disproportionately discriminated against either directly or indirectly over many years. It’s time to redress the balance.
It’s time to really level the playing field and there’s plenty of other places where people can go if they think that that’s wrong.
I’ve had a bit of hate for it and it’s just fear talking and I have said to them on the blog with total respect you’ve had 250 years of white privilege, so let’s give someone else a chance.
Dr Ro: That is such a bold statement in itself. It should stand out.
Are you finding people are now being drawn?
Is the word getting out?
Mindy: I think a lot of people know about it but they are also scared to share the message in case they get attacked for it.
I’m just doing it in my little way, which is how I do things and we’re attracting the right people and Panoma is only able to publish 25 books a year.
I really want to make sure that a decent number of those books are offered by who we need to hear from.
We are not excluding people who are not from underrepresented groups and middle-aged white men are very welcome.
Dr Ro: As we leave our podcast we try to gather some of those thoughts together and either if it’s just myself and Harms we will share some words of wisdom and some action points, something they can go away and start to put into place.
What would be at this point as they leave us and your lovely voice, what would be some great actions they could take away, some words of wisdom.
Mindy: There’s so much wisdom inside of you, I’m talking to each individual who is listening.
There is so much wisdom already inside of you.
If you can just cut down on the noise this phrase resist the temptation to be like everything and everyone and use the quiet time now to decide to do something to get your voice heard, make your mark that would be a great thing to do.
Dr Ro: Something that has come out of today’s conversation from all of us is being thoughtful about what you do listen to out there and what you do tune into because certainly six to seven weeks ago people were being bombarded with a lot of fear and information which overwhelmed them.
I’m hoping they come off this podcast with several messages, one of which being just be thoughtful about what you do, put on your phone when you do go and look at on the Internet.
The other one for me and I have written it down on my computer is what are you going to do with that intention?
I think it is a lovely phrase that I’ve taken away from this conversation with you today.
Mindy: Be thoughtful about what you’re taking in and also what you’re putting out there and much better to have one hard-hitting article, one thought leading book, one really powerful talk or video than stuff that isn’t really saying anything.
Harms: What an incredible podcast. Thank you for joining us.
Mindy: Panomapress.com is all about books and it’s a fantastic very colourful site that gets people inspired if they’re entrepreneurs.
How we came up with that new name, we needed a new name because a relationship was ending so we were looking around and I went online and said I want an ancient name.
Something that sounds different that people haven’t heard of and I want a name that means wisdom.
I found the ancient Pali word Pali language in Buddhist language and the word for wisdom was, anoma.
We actually created the logo for the new name we published a few books. I think 10 books came out under anoma. It wasn’t that easy to say.
It just wasn’t doing it for us and people didn’t understand what we meant.
Then we were asked to change it by a company with a similar name and I said this is a sign we haven’t invested that much time.
Let’s see if we can come up with a new name.
I liked anoma, so I was around the dinner table with my family. We went through the alphabet. When we got to Panoma it just had that pan far reaching feel.
What we mean by Panoma is global wisdom.
Harms: Thank you for joining us and myself and Ro on the Growth Tribes podcast and sharing all this wisdom on thoughtful leadership, becoming a thought leader and the way in which to do that.
From myself and Ro and the Growth Tribes listeners that is us signing off.
We shall see you in the next episode.