Mindset Mondays With David Taylor-Klaus
"The easiest way to change your experience is to change the way you're framing it." That is a quote from the guest today, David Taylor-Klaus. He talks about the dangers of being out of touch with yourself. How something you love, such as your job, can be bad for you if it's killing your relationships. Learn how to see the world differently with your host, Tony Martignetti and his guest, David Taylor-Klaus. David is an entrepreneurial and senior executive coach. He is also the author of Mindset Mondays. Learn how to introduce yourself to your families again with Tony and David.
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Mindset Mondays With David Taylor-Klaus
That's what's quintessentially wrong. Even if it's something you love, if you're killing yourself, if you are annihilating the relationships around you, personal and professional, it doesn't matter how much you love it, if it's killing you, it doesn't work. You can over-calibrate.
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It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, David Taylor-Klaus. David reintroduces successful entrepreneurs and senior executives to their families. As a serial entrepreneur, David has been recognized for combining candor, intelligence and humor with masterful coaching. He challenges leaders and their teams to reach their highest levels of performance in their personal and professional lives. David is the author of two books. The first one, This Is Your Wake-Up Call! is soon to be released again on the Amazon bookstore. The second one is Mindset Mondays with DTK, a must-read. David, I'm going to welcome you to The Virtual Campfire again.
It's nice to be back in your sandbox.
For the readers so they understand what's happening here, we have had David on the show before. Last time, we flipped the script and had David interview me to give people a little sense of who I'm all about. That was a lot of fun. I do appreciate you doing that for me.
I'm going to do my best not to interview you this time. I'm going to behave.
Stick to the script. This time, we get a chance to peel back the onion on what makes David who he is and what has led him to this point, which is powerful. His book is an amazing read. It's something that I would recommend to anyone who's looking for a mindset shift. It's full of many great insights. David, in the show, we cover what's called flashpoints. These are points in people's stories that have ignited their gifts to the world. Oftentimes, there are multiple flashpoints. what I'm going to do is give you the space to share what you're called to share. Along the way, we'll pause and see what's coming up and see what we want to share along that path. I'm going to turn the table and let you take it from here.
That's fascinating, Tony. I've heard you say the word flashpoint many times. I've heard some of the stories of your flashpoints. When you said it this time, what surfaced quickly and raw was my seven-year-old jumping up and down, stomping his feet. My seven-year-old version of me saying, “I want my flashpoint to be a positive one. I want it to be one of those glowing epiphanies and not a dark shift.” I have no idea why. I'm grateful for each of the flashpoints that have come into my life. At the same time, I have this weird wish that it had been some beautiful shift in the moment rather than a crapstorm.
Out of darkness comes light.
I hear that and I believe it. On this side of all of them, I own that. That was a weird awareness that came up powerfully. Thanks for asking it that way. I'm going to sit with that for a bit. That feeling was in reaction to the key flashpoint for me. It was a tandem. It's a two-parter. Over my shoulder is the gold medal I won in rowing in the State Games in 2004. Part of that was in training for the national competition. All of you rowers will get this term, I caught a crab and I got kicked out of the boat into some nasty water. When you train that hard, you can get rundown. I caught something nasty.
Long story short, it was three weeks before the doctors figured out what it was. At that point, I was shattered. I wasn't eating much. I was off all the meds and supplements I took to keep me going and healthy. At the same time, our eldest at the time needed to go gluten-free. This was years ago. Who knew what gluten was? The doctors figured out what it was, finally. I started getting my strength back and eating. I went off gluten with our kid. Both of us had a similar experience. Within two weeks, Everything was different, physiologically and psychologically. For me, it was like a fog lifted. It's like I had a reboot. All of a sudden, I was aware on such a different level. It felt like I had been living the first 39 years of my life in a fog.
On one hand, that was super amazing. It was incredibly clearing. All of a sudden, I was engaged differently. I'm not sure how excited my wife was at the beginning because I wanted to be involved in parenting our children. I may have had some different opinions in the line. We navigated that. Over that first year, what ended up happening is I got caught up around all the things I had been missing, “39 years of missing out. I hadn't done this. I could have done that.” I didn't pay any attention to how magnificent my world was. I only saw the lack and I got wound up in that.
Some people don't pay attention to how magnificent their world is. They only see the lack.
By the Sunday that Hurricane Katrina was bearing down on the Gulf Coast, I had gotten to a place where the only thing I was clear about was the five best ways to kill myself. I had hit my bottom. I said, “I can make this a positive.” What kept me from acting on those suicidal thoughts and plans was my kids. I didn't want that to be the legacy I left for my children. I knew the stats. It's a ludicrous number, 50 times more likely if you're a child of a parent who has committed suicide, you will. That's not the legacy that I wanted to leave. That's where I shifted.
It’s a powerful place for us to pause. When you see that one thing that keeps you from the darkest thing, it makes you turn around and say, “There's one way out.”
Thank God. That's the hard part for people who suffer from depression and I have since I was a kid. Even when you have that in front of you, you don't always see it. I'll take luck any day of the week. That was the lucky piece. I saw it and I held that. That was the flashpoint. My journey from there was a ton of therapy, a ton of working with my wife and talking out loud. Entrepreneurs are an incredibly isolated, lonely group. I had a lot of friends who were entrepreneurs say, “You don't want to hear what I'm dealing with no more than I want to hear what you're dealing with. Can’t we just hang out?” Your spouse usually doesn't want to hear it. Your employees don't want to hear it.
Entrepreneurs and senior leaders have a similar extent. It's isolating. I had leaned into that. I hadn't sought support and help. I spent a year doing a lot of seeking out support and help. Professional peer groups like Vistage, a coach, therapist, did a lot of work. Coaching was one of those epiphany moments where I realized that all the work that I had been doing as a consultant, that coach approach that I naturally had as a consultant. When I went and started coach training, it was like, “There's structure, process and tools. There's a whole profession built around this.” That was the massive right turn on the career path.
As you talk about this, I think about the fact that entrepreneurs have a much higher likelihood of having a mental disorder or depression. There's an article titled Are Entrepreneurs Touched With Fire? It's a study and it did prove that most entrepreneurs have a propensity to mental disorders and depression. I don't know where that correlation came from per se.
Unanimous studies I've read say anything reasonable about the causality because there's massive comorbidity between entrepreneurialism and ADHD. I like to joke that it's because we got good at getting fired and so the only people we could work for is ourselves. As we look across the research around entrepreneurs, ADHD has huge comorbidity, a huge level of coincidence. None of the studies give any causality or even project. We're an interesting group of people, aren't we?
Yes. The issue is far-reaching. The key thing is helping people to figure out that they're not alone and there's a way out.
You and I've had conversations about this outside of this sandbox that there's this perverse idea that when it's hard, it's good. The tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory. That's crazy. Whether it's right or wrong, what's terrible about it is it leads us to try to do more things alone on our own and not accept the help. That's destructive. Ken Blanchard said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” The smartest entrepreneurs are the ones that are harnessing the wisdom of the collective. There's no reason to do it on your own. What if it were easy? What if there was flow? What if you enjoyed it?
I love when you say that too, “What if it were easy?” It's such a great way to reframe every problem that you're going through. Why make it harder on yourself when you could always find a way to make things easy? It's not about being lazy. It's not about taking the fast pass and cheating. It's not cheating. It's leveraging the power of other learnings. Standing on the shoulders of giants is what comes to mind. That's what the beautiful part of it all is.
I’ve spent the first 39 or 40 years of my life thinking that I had to be the giant. I love the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants.
Tell me what happens next. Here you are, you've had this amazing career as an entrepreneur. You had this amazing flashpoint. Luckily, you've been able to rise from there. What happened next?
I spent five quarters co-leading my company and coaching. Right in the middle of the fiscal readjustment we had in ‘07, ‘08, ’09, that's when I was doing my coach training and that's when I launched my practice. It's fascinating. What I know now as I look back at it is that I was enthused, engrossed and enriched by what I was doing. I didn't care that the economy was sideways. It wasn't a constraint I cared about. It wasn't a constraint I paid attention to. Therefore, it wasn't a constraint that limited me.
The tougher the battle, the sweeter the victory.
I went out and spoke to people about what I was doing and the impact that it was having. I connected with people around the shift and around how to help them create something different in their world. I got hired a lot and I launched my practice. There are several flashpoints along the way of reinvention points. The arc of it has been remarkable. This is something I hit super early in the book, Mindset Mondays with DTK, that idea that we don't see the world as it is. We see the world as we are. That's huge. That means that as we change the lens through which we see the world, our mindset, we change our experience of the world.
There are people who sat during the recession of the late aughts and freaked out. Everything that was wrong, all the lack, what was impossible, what was hard and what couldn't happen, that reality was real for them. Their lived experience was determined by that lens. This is not the idea of, “If I put on colored glasses, everything will be fine.” You still do the work. You're doing the work with a belief in yourself and what you can create and what's possible. That lens is what makes the difference. It’s the reason I wrote the book. It’s the reason that the work that I did to turn around after my flashpoints have stuck.
It's this element of understanding what you need to do to change how you see the world that makes a difference. It's how you talk to yourself that makes a big difference. That also has an impact on how you look at the world. The word choice is powerful.
You and I both studied Judith Glaser's work, Conversational Intelligence. One of the things that she was famous for saying was, “Words create worlds.” I talk about all the time that words matter and the ones that matter most are the ones you say to yourself. It's all under that umbrella of words create worlds. What you say, your brain listens to. It's a weird way to say it. You create your reality. I had a conversation with a prospective client trying to move out of a high-level manager role into an entrepreneur role. I shared something with her, my view of the distinction between the two. It is capturing the mindset difference. A manager is given a goal and their job is to manage the execution of the plans to create the highest likelihood of that goal being achieved. An entrepreneur decides what she wants to be true and then goes about creating the conditions for that truth to become reality. It’s a different mindset.
I love the way you describe that because that beautifully illustrates the mindset of what it takes to be in the entrepreneurial seat as opposed to thinking like the manager. I'm thinking almost of The E-myth Revisited.
One of the challenges for entrepreneurs is not taking things personally. When you decide what is you want to see true then you go about setting the conditions for that truth to become reality. Anything that gets in the way, it can be easy for folks to take that personally, any rejection, any setback, any timeline shift. It's not about you. Those are the conditions to which you respond. How you hold them is about you. How you respond to them is about you because that's the only thing you can control. Taking your successes or your failures personally is still the hardest path.
That's fantastic. I love that insight.
Let's take a moment to think about where you are in terms of the path of creating what you do now. As you got into coaching, you decided that you needed to serve these people. You wanted to introduce entrepreneurs and leaders to their families. This element comes from your story. Tell me more about this.
I got to that place where I thought I was living the good life but it was living the should life. My partner and I had built the company we thought we were supposed to. We were doing the things we thought we should be doing. We were building and running our team the way we thought we should be building and running it. We weren't checking in with what it meant for us and how it resonated for us. There's always that Jim Rohn line about, “There’s nothing worse than getting to the top of the ladder and realizing your ladder was against the wrong wall.” I got to the top of the ladder and I looked at our team, our company, what I was doing and I was like, “Yuck.” It didn't feel good. Versions of that kept happening even in this company, in this practice.
Years ago, I started working with someone who put themselves out there as a coach. To be fair, even though they call themselves a coach, they were more of a consultant as in, “This is what I did. Do it this way and it'll work for you.” They were playing at a high level and I got swirled up in it. Long story short, painful details are not necessary here. I got distracted. I started building another audience that would lead up to fill the audience of folks that I wanted to work with.
In doing that, no matter how well I thought I segmented or separated, the messaging that was needed for the second market was toxic to my existing market. It torpedoed my practice. People started unsubscribing, stopped responding, stopped engaging, clients began to shift and appearances dwindled. It changed everything. When I woke up and looked around, I was like, “Holy crap.” Out of resonance with who I am, out of sync with who I‘d be who I am at my core. In any and every time that I've gotten out of sync with what's true to me, it's turned crappy. It took two years to rebuild my practice.
I want to continue the story but I want to pause for one second to say I love this element of being out of resonance with yourself and how powerful that statement is. I've come to see that it’s important. Oftentimes, even when you're doing something that you seemingly love, you can take it, strangle it and kill it. Because you try to do too much and create something, it becomes almost like a monster of something you love.
You can turn what you love into a monster.
You can turn what you love into a monster. James Campbell Quick is a professor in Texas that I talked about in the first book. He talked about a 70-hour workweek. This was years ago. It has become the norm. We're left trying to jam our lives into the gaps around it. That's what's quintessentially wrong. Even if it's something you love, if you're killing yourself, if you are annihilating the relationships around you, personal and professional, it doesn't matter how much you love it. If it's killing you, it doesn't work. You can over-calibrate.
The reason I use that phrase, reintroducing successful entrepreneurs and senior executives to their families, for years it was only reintroducing successful entrepreneurs to their families. Sixty percent of my clients were executives. I'd say, “If you can work with those crazy people, what about me?” Forty percent of my clients aren't married and don't have kids. It's a phrase that gets people to understand over calibration even if it's something they’ve over-calibrated into something they love. Think about physicians and the level of burnout in physicians. You don't pound yourself through college, medical school, internship, residency and slogging through to become a doctor if you don't love it. They have a huge percentage of burnout. It’s a massive problem. You can overcalibrate to your own detriment.
This is such a powerful message. It's something that is often overlooked by people. They think burnout and they think, “Burnout happens when people are dissatisfied or they hate what they're doing.” Sometimes burnout has a different flavor. It has a flavor that is driven towards, “I love what I do but I'm doing too much of it. By doing too much of it, I end up killing myself in the process.” Also, in some ways, starting to dislike it.
I've said for years that putting your business ahead of your life is a slow form of suicide. It is killing yourself. Whether it’s a heart attack or jumping, it doesn't matter.
That's a good way to put this. Are there any other flashpoints that you want to bring to the table?
I have a couple of positive ones. It’s easy to look at the birth of marriage and the birth of your children. Those are things that crystallize being and thinking. Those are positive. I have another one. My kids are old now. In October of 2018, I found a professional community that was filled with like-minded people. There is nothing more powerful. I had that in 2005 when I joined Vistage. I spent fifteen years in that organization as a member and as a speaker. I even explored becoming a chair. That's what channeled me in this direction.
This professional coaching community that I hit in 2018 changed things dramatically because it was a place where, as the coach says, “You can never be too big or too messy.” A place where you can fall apart and soar all in the matter of an hour. That's remarkable. Being around people of like-mind, you cannot underestimate the power of that. This is back to too many of us doing this stuff alone. Find a community. Even during COVID, find a community and dive in. We are wired the animals that we are. Spoiler alert, we're animals. We are wired for connection specifically wired for community and we need one. That was a brilliant flashpoint for me in a new arc in my professional life.
I love that you bring that into this. It's true. I feel the same way. If there's one thing about finding community, which is amazing, it has to be the right community but then also understanding and realizing that you have to be willing to accept help. It is one thing to say, “I'm part of a community.” If you're going there and you're saying, “That's great. Let me tell you about myself. Let me tell you about this.” You have to let down your guard and be vulnerable to get messy and to allow people to help you like you would be willing to help them.
I find that I'm better at asking for than receiving. I don't like being messy. I know how powerful it is. It doesn't mean I like it. One of the stretches for me has been leaning into receiving help. That's a big stretch.
The community has been such a big thread that I've heard through many of the stories that come to this show. It’s like the African proverb, “If you want to go faster, go alone.”
“If you want to go far, go together.”
As we come closer to the end, I want to get a clear understanding. What are the messages that you feel are important to get out in the world based on what's in the book and based on what you've learned throughout the years?
The easiest way to change your experience is to change the way you're framing it.
The one I want to stand on a platform and jump up and down with a bullhorn is that piece of changing your lens change your life. The easiest way to change your experience is to change the way you're framing it, the way you're holding it. change your mindset around it. It is the simplest tool in your tool belt and it's the one that people don't use. We believe the prevailing wisdom, the cultural norm and then confirmation bias kick in and we begin to collect evidence to make our opinion right. The animals that we are, we're the only ones who can attach meaning to an event. All meaning is made up. If everything's made up, why not make something that serves? That's the most powerful message.
I have one last question for you. What is one book that has had a powerful impact on you and why?
I don't do well with the rules. I'm going to toss more than one if I may. The process of collecting and crystallizing thoughts into a book and then putting your baby out there and saying, “Here, love my baby.” Having to promote it and talk about it. My book, Mindset Mondays with DTK, even if nobody reads it, it's transformative for me because of the experience. What it's done for my thinking, what it's done for my beliefs, how it's changed my world, hugely powerful. If you think you have a book in you, get it out.
From a content perspective, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, huge impact on me. One of those spiraling impacts where at first it was, “This is awesome.” these four agreements change the way I engage with the world around me. I no longer take cultural beliefs that I've inherited and have the mind I choose. Those agreements, particularly the one about the fourth agreement, which incidentally in his writing, Don Miguel Ruiz has talked about the fourth agreement is the most important. It’s always been my favorite, always do your best. The distinction around it is that your best is situational. Your best today may be different than your best tomorrow or yesterday. Being fair and rational with yourself, that sober assessment of comparing yourself only to your best at that moment was incredibly freeing. It took layers, acres and generations of judgment off. That was an incredibly powerful book for me.
One last one, speaking of community, Peter Senge and several other gentlemen wrote a book together called Presence. The concept that came out of that book that changed my view of community is that the sum of the whole is resident in each of the constituent parts. When we see ourselves as part of the community and that community is resident in us, it changes the way we’d be in community, in a relationship, in family, in partnership and in marriage. It's a dense book but it’s a beautiful concept to come out of it. There's my mini reading list.
I love that. That is powerful. I've read that one before but it's been a while. Peter Senge’s stuff is powerful. I had a thought when you were talking about The Four Agreements. Not all books are like this but some are. They're living books. They’re books that grow with you. You read it and then you read it again and you realize that the message has slightly changed. It’s evolved with you. Although the book hasn't changed because it's a book, it's living into you and you're living into it.
You're at a different place each time you experience it. You’re playing it at a different level.
That's one of those books. I think of that one. I also think of The 7 Habits, which is similar in that fashion. There's no way that's ever going to go out of style. It's something foundational.
I may need to read The Four Agreements again.
David, this has been a powerful time together. I could go on for hours with you on this. I'm grateful for what you do in the world. The impact that you make is amazing. I want to start by, first of all, giving you a chance to share where people can find you.
You can find out more about me at my website, which is DTKCoaching.com. You can also learn more about the book at MindsetMondaysWithDTK.com. I like to make it easy. Those are the two best places to get a picture of how I think and see what I'm playing with.
Thank you for coming to the show again. I don't know what we’ll do next time if there's a next time. We'll figure something out.
Thanks for letting me play along. It’s a beautiful experience.
It's been a real joy. I'm thrilled that the readers that come on this journey with us are leaving with so much and I know that they're going to be reaching out and buying the book, I'm sure. We'll go from there.
- David Taylor-Klaus
- This Is Your Wake-Up Call!
- Mindset Mondays with DTK
- David – past episode - Mindset Monday with David Taylor-Klaus
- Are Entrepreneurs Touched With Fire? - article
- Conversational Intelligence
- The E-myth Revisited
- The Four Agreements
- The 7 Habits
About David Taylor-Klaus
David’s personal and professional worlds clearly reflect a journey in pursuit of excellence, always with a great deal of humor and heart. He is known for his sharp intellect and incisive ability to see and say what others do not. He balances fierce candor with genuine compassion … aka “an iron fist in a velvet glove.”
Whether working with individuals, teams, or speaking to large groups, David believes that a powerful leader exists in each of us, his goal is to empower others to unearth and unleash their own leadership mastery. From personal experience, he drives home the importance for all professionals to take anactive, intentional, and dynamic rolein their private and professional lives.