Help Me Choose
Jordan Benjamin

By: Jordan Benjamin on April 28th, 2021

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Lessons On Leadership From Dad

Welcome to today's episode of the peak performance selling podcast today we've got a little bit of an interesting one should be short and pretty sweet, but today I am doing a tribute to my dad who recently passed away he lived to be 73 years old, he was a multiple time cancer survivor and ended up having the one of the rarest diseases in the world, that had been seen in about 45 people ever across the globe. It ended up taking his life in January 21 2021.

He and I were 40 years apart so for my 40th episode on the podcast I'd hoped to have time to interview him which didn't happen.
But what I'm going to share today our lessons on leadership that I learned from him over his career over 35 years of leading a nonprofit.

A little bit about my dad Terry. He was really an inspiration to me around my life, especially as I became a professional really understanding leadership.
He was born in Framingham, Massachusetts but actually lived, the majority of his life in Texas before hopping around to a couple different junior colleges ending up in Kansas getting his master's in social work.

He moved to boulder Colorado in the late 70s worked a few different odd jobs and then started working for Emergency Family Assistance Association a nonprofit organization helping less fortunate and homeless families, specifically in Boulder County around Boulder Colorado with food, shelter, transportation. He became the Executive Director running this nonprofit and also started a sister organization in the neighboring town of longmont where we grew up.

Over those years he learned a ton. He probably wouldn't say he was the sharpest tool in the shed or a wacko from Waco

But today we're going to talk through some of the different lessons he learned and shared with me on leadership, how do you engage and lead other people and how do you also lead yourself.

I'd love for any of you to share in the comments or wherever some of the lessons you've learned from your parents or mentors along the way, on how to be a great leader, how to show up for others and how to show up for yourself.

So with that let's begin.

With the lessons on leadership from dad where I wanted to start first is on how do you engage others.

There were a lot of pieces that he had learned over the years that he had explored and experienced that he got to connect with so many great people and learn how to show up as a leader and the first thing that he always hammered home was the story. That I remember really clearly and was evidenced in the new office that they built when they got a really fantastic donation to build a new office.

He positioned his office right at the end of where the families would come out of the food bank where they would enter and you'd see them stroll into the office. Maybe not be in that happy state, feeling a bit down and out feeling embarrassed that they needed to come and get a helping hand. Where he positioned his office was right, where all those families would leave the food bank, so he got to see and potentially interact with these families on the other end when they were coming out when they were so delighted and joyful I have so many memories of seeing young kids walk out of that food bank with maybe a special box of cereal or something that really excited them, some soups or something that really meant a lot to them, and one of his core operating philosophies was treat every single person with absolute dignity and respect. Because you never know what somebody else may be going through the struggles, they may be facing I learned a word, a couple years ago from Seth Godin called sonder and that was really evidence of some of this dignity or respect that he would treat people with to say you never have any idea of what some people may be going through. So, how do you show up and treat them just as you'd want to be treated yourself so lesson number one.
No matter who you're interacting with whether it's the janitor the grocery store clerk the CEO the ultra rich executive it doesn't matter, all of us should be treated with absolute dignity and respect.

Lead with How Can I Help?
He actually got this from the book by Ram Dass with the same title, because if we can show up for others, if we can lead with an attitude of how can I help, we can start to show up and understand what we can give, how we can be of service and how we can be a value to others, as somebody who has dedicated his entire life to helping families to helping thousands of people throughout Boulder County in the Community over his years. This attitude of how can I help, a simple question let so many of his interactions and was something he hammered home for me to think about happening show up for others, and how can I help.

Lesson three SBI when interacting with other people. It's not about the person it's about focusing on the situation, the behavior and the impact.
This is a very common feedback framework that many folks use to understand how can they show up for other people, how can they be engaging, and how can they actually give feedback that gets acted upon. So many times we give feedback that is directed at or about the person, but if we can use the SBI framework we can talk about a specific situation, like this morning at 11am in our team meeting, we can talk about the behavior and we can stick to facts we don't need to talk about opinions or judgments. But we can say this person interrupted this action happened, and then we can talk about the impact to say, well, here is what happened here is the effect of that action.
Because what happens with this SBI framework is we're going to build trust we're going to build the ability to talk specifically about. The situation, the behavior and the impact that had versus the person, their flaws, their faults or their challenges.

I found this one really helpful as we think about ways to interact and ways to give really effective feedback that gets acted upon.

The last piece in engaging and leading others, was one that I've heard a lot more of lately, but he would set their meetings every now and then, if there were some issues arising or challenges within the organization.
They would go in for maybe five minutes and set a timer that he'd called the BMC timer. The first five minutes of this meeting we're gonna bitch, moan and complain.
We're going to talk about the issues, struggles, challenges, hopefully bring out some solutions, but once the timers done once that five minutes is up; we're moving on we're going to the actual tasks that are things on the agenda, I love this one, because I think this really talks to the humanity.  The fact that there are going to be things that we struggle with they're going to be challenges and never addressing them or pretending like they're not there is false, so if we can give the space, if we can acknowledge the challenges now we can be transparent, we can be open, we can be engaging with our teams.

To actually understand what are those true challenges and hopefully start to come up with some ideas or ways to solve them. But as I've seen many times, as I still struggle with there's opportunity to let that run rampant. There's opportunity to complain all the time, and so I continually need to remind myself how do I set that timer how do I set that space to say here is my space to be upset to be sad to be frustrated.
And then end and stop because so frequently it's easy for us to go in that negative downward spiral. So, if we can think about setting that timer for ourselves whether it's after struggling on a tough month, having a bad interaction, a bad call whatever it might be that gets you down that gets you bummed out. Give yourself some space and time, as we've heard from a lot of guests, to be frustrated to be upset and then move forward give yourself that ability to say here is my time to struggle, to feel crappy and now it's time to move forward.

So those are a couple quick, simple lessons on how to engage others that I learned from my dad.

The other piece is around, how do you lead yourself how can you manage yourself to show up at your best.

And the first one that you've heard me and many guests talk about really came from my grandma.
That was how can you live every day with an attitude of gratitude.
We are learning so much about the science and the power of gratitude.Because when we are in a grateful state, we feel safe, we feel secure we don't have to live from this fight or flight position in our lives, it allows us to flourish, it allows us to see opportunity.
On the flip side of spending that time BMC'ing, it gives us the opportunity to find potential to see new things that maybe we wouldn't see if we spent our time complaining & struggling.

So, how can you show up in every situation every day with the growth mindset?
 Looking at how can I show up with this attitude of gratitude, how can I condition this in myself when I wake up first thing in the morning.
To think about something i'm grateful for, and when I go to bed at night to think about what it is that went well that day, and maybe even something you can improve on because we have the opportunity to learn.

lesson one on leading yourself listen to, how can you lead with curiosity.
I have hundreds of emails from my dad what felt so excessive at the time but I'm so grateful for now have different articles different books, different ideas he wanted me to read, he thought I would find valuable that would help grow my personal development, my own leadership my own opportunity to show up and help others. If we can be curious about any person we interact with about any opportunity we get in front of, we can actually start to learn in every interaction, we can treat people with dignity and respect when we don't put initial judgments on them, based upon look or appearance, or the job or their location.

This also leads to the third lesson, Be Humble.
As my dad has recently passed away, there have been many articles and many letters and notes from people that have come out talking about the incredible impact, he had on some people that were in some of their most challenging times of their life that now due to the support of the organizations that he was a part of actually put them in a position to create incredible lives, where they just needed a simple hand up.
It was maybe just one time that they were struggling to provide food for their family.
That they were struggling for a month or two on their housing.
That they needed a little bit of help, but what helped gave them was this opportunity to step up to show that somebody else cared about them when maybe they felt that nobody else did.
And you never would have known this from interacting with him, you never would have known the impact that he'd had on thousands of people's of lives throughout his career.
Throughout the support of also not just helping the less fortunate but also helping the incredibly fortunate people the folks that had tons of money millions of dollars that he pulled into the Community.
That he also treated with this light hearted sense of curiosity, respect, & humility. To help them understand the impact that they can make on others it doesn't have to be millions of dollars, it doesn't have to be days and days of your life it doesn't have to be committing your entire life to being in a nonprofit.

But seeing your unique skills and abilities and how they can show up, to be humble.
To show up for others to say how can I help. Leading with humility treating others with respect is a way to lead is the way to build enrollment to build engagement and tell us all come together as a community.

One of the things that I've touched on many times that he hammered home with me time and time again. Is this operating model of how to be a great leader.

And it first starts.
With know yourself and understanding yourself.
From there you can actually control yourself.
We can know others, and then we can do something for others, so it first starts with this concept of self awareness, how do you know yourself.
How do you start to dig in and understand what are the challenges that you have, what are the unique sets of skills and abilities and strengths that you have in your life because, once we start to know and understand those things we can start to control ourselves he always hammered home with me that I tend to be a very fast talker and I still am, in many cases, it is a work in progress, as is life for most of us. But, I know now that maybe there are times when I need to consciously slow myself down or pause one of the big reasons why I lean towards meditation is, I believe it helps me slow down because my mind, is always racing.
Now I can start to control myself to understand how can I show up at my best, how can I actually take control of my life of my interactions and actions to be in control of that.

Because, then I can actually lead and start to empathize and understand other people, but I can't do that if I do not first start to empathize and understand and know myself.

Then, once you know others, you can understand others better, you can see people fully and wholly and then is when you can truly lead and finish with the fourth part of do something for others, because that is where the fruit of life, the richness of life comes from is when we can actually help and support and do something for other people.

Know yourself. Control yourself. Know others. Do something for others.

And the last part is, have fun & be light hearted, as you engage and you go through your own mental chatter the things that run through your mind. See what you can do to have fun every step along the way, have a smile on your face through this disease that plagued him for the last two-ish years of his life and trips to Mayo clinic and every specialist possible that really had no answers or no ideas he still went into the doctor's appointments smiling in immense pain joking with the doctors playing, leveraging this light heartedness every step along the way. We're convinced that most anyone else would have passed away much earlier from this disease, but with the attitude of gratitude, with the way that he showed up curious and humble playful and looking to have fun.

He lived a rich life even through some of the most challenging times.

So I would challenge you all to think about what are some of those lessons that hit home for you as you hear it today.
And what are some of those things that you've learned along your journey along your path that have helped you grow as a leader.
Who can you, maybe even say thank you to, with a quick Thank you note, with a quick expression of gratitude for the lessons for the things that they may have taught you. Maybe they knew they were teaching you or maybe they didn't but everybody along the way, has something to teach us has something to give and, ultimately, we can all lead more effectively by understanding those pieces by being grateful for them, and by understanding how can I help.

Thank you all for listening I hope you're having a fantastic day if there's somebody that you think could use this could benefit from this episode, please give it a share, as we are continuing to grow and build this community to help sellers ultimately show up lead better, sell better and ultimately help us all go crush it.



Terry Benjamin Remembered For Long Career With EFAA

Forever Missed - Terry Benjamin

How Can I Help? - Ram Dass

SBI Framework for Feedback


About Jordan Benjamin

Jordan is the founder of My Core OS. After spending years in sales, working with sellers and studying peak performance he found an opportunity to help sellers level up to not only build peak performance at work, but to also create harmony between work and life so you can sustain performance over the long term.