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Many people focus on their technical skills when they want to improve their job opportunities. But did you know there is another set of skills most people ignore that are just as important? If you focus on these “soft skills” you can set yourself apart from your co-workers and competition.

In this episode, Jimmy, Mac, and Kim discuss, how to keep your business running during a crisis, why your strengths can be weaknesses, and the importance of emotional intelligence.

Show Highlights:

  • How to ensure your business runs smoothly, even in a worldwide crisis (1:14)
  • Understand this and you’ll never shortchange yourself again (6:31)
  • A counterintuitive approach to working on your weaknesses (8:23)
  • Why positive traits can negatively impact your life (9:25)
  • The proper way to use personality assessments (11:28)
  • This is the biggest predictor of your career potential (14:45)
  • The H.U.T. method for becoming an amazing listener (20:58)
  • The best way to create unfailingly loyal customers (24:52)

If you want to recession-proof your business and thrive in any area of life, go to www.uncommonlifepodcast.com and grab your free report today. I share with you the 5 key principles that have transformed and elevated my life – and they can do the same for you too if consistently applied.

Read Full Transcript

You're listening to the Uncommon Life Podcast. Whether you're a startup or you've been in business for 10 years, this show is for you. Each week, you'll get mentored by business leaders who deliver valuable strategies, tactics and tips on how you can pursue your passion without compromise. We’ll show you how to achieve balance while sticking to your core values, so you can have an uncommon life.
Now, here's your host, Jimmy Fullerton.

Jimmy: As promised, here is Part 2. If you liked Part 1 of this interview, you're definitely going to want to check out Part 2. I don't want you to short-change yourself. So, anyway, sit back and enjoy.

So, what have y'all been doing lately in the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic we're going through right now? How has that altered the way you're approaching your business?

Mac: Kim's business had been established, and so she was able to do coaching through Zoom calls and over the phone. I made this transition in January, so I was expecting a little bit of downtime and transition period. I surely wasn't expecting this to come down the pipe.

And so, it's been an unusual one, especially I like to go go and all the time and high energy. But it has afforded me the opportunity and both of us to really realize how many people out there through this work were hungry to grow and to develop, and at least to make a comment about leaderships through this. Really, it was an eye opener for me. How many people out there were hungry to be a leader and were too quick sometimes to look at somebody within your organization, maybe a friend of yours, somebody at church or even under your roof of your home and to say they really don't have a desire for that? But it's a joy to be able to be in this business now to help people find that.

One of the impressive points for me as I did… Kim and her colleague, Cathy, do a class called ELCP, which is a leadership program class, and in that class was a medical doctor, a successful medical doctor. And, for me, I was sort of surprised that somebody of his stature in his profession would take a leadership class, because you're too quick to say--

Jimmy: That's impressive.

Mac: Yeah, I mean, I think most people would agree with me that you wouldn't think, Look, Doctor, at that point, I've got it. I’ve figured it out. But the thing that made him so awesome and makes people like him so awesome is that they have a teachable spirit. They want to continue to grow.

And so, we've uncovered a lot of people like that. Again, I would rather be face to face, but we have made it work with Zoom. I did have a face-to-face client just last week I was [03:00.0] able to work with, which was a joy to be able to do that. But we're making it work and enjoying it.

Jimmy: Back onto your thing on growth, have you ever heard of CANI, continuous and never-ending improvement? Yeah, that's really the key. When that light came on for me, I heard… I forgot where I first heard that term used, but the light kind of came on. I was like, Hey, you know what? I'm a lot happier when I'm growing, even if it's just a little bit in each area of my life that's really important, like obviously business, relationships, finances. Health, faith, family, fitness, finances, you know?
Yeah, so that continuous improvement is really the key to being happy. If I'm growing, even if it's just incrementally, that just makes life a lot more enjoyable, even when you're going through a pandemic. What were you going to say?

Mac: I'm just going to do a little plug on our website that we just released and our header page of our website says, “Want to grow? Feel stuck?” and that's what we found with so many people that they want to grow. They just want somebody. They want that guidance and they need somebody to work with them. And so, a lot of people are feeling stuck out there, but so many people do want to grow and develop.

Jimmy: And nothing is worse than feeling stuck, and like you've hit a ceiling and you just spin your wheels, because I went through it. My wife went through it. And it’s just no fun at all.

Kim: Yeah, I was just going to add to kind of what we've been doing. As Mac said, I mean, really everything changed when we couldn't go anywhere and we were stuck at home. And, of course, coaching, while I liked to be coaching face to face, coaching was something that could be done on Zoom. And so, I think it was really within that first week that we realized, Okay, this is the way it's going to be and it's going to be this way for a little while, and what do we need to do? Because there are people out there that might need us.

And that's not to say that we're really anything special, but we just have this heart for helping people and to just try to pour into someone to help them to grow. So, we just really tried to stay connected with clients, to reach out to people that weren't even our clients but that we knew and to say, How are you doing? Is there anything that we could do for you? Whether that was just resources.

I spent and Mac spent time, too, just researching, Googling, looking up things for people, and just because we had a lot of clients and a lot of people that we knew that were going through really some bad times and some trying times, some uncertainty, and it was really, I think, rewarding, I know, for me, to be able to help provide clarity.

Jimmy: Yeah. Something else you mentioned, you felt you needed to help people, that they needed your help. That's not being boastful [06:00.0] or egotistical. That's basically a realization that you have some value you can add to people's lives. I think everybody shortchanges themselves in that regard.

I think everybody has a unique set of experiences and they can add value to other people's lives, and that's not being boastful. That's just, I think, also humble for people to be aware that others have value, not just think that they're the only ones that can add value, that they need other people. So, there are two sides to it. But, yeah, I think people shortchange themselves a lot by not recognizing that they can offer some value to other people as well.

And you also mentioned what drove that desire for you to connect with other people, and to reach out to them and to put content out there that was valuable. You did it out of a heart of service. You wanted to serve people and help them, because you felt they need it. So, I think that's another big often under-looked trait, the willingness to serve and putting that first before anything else.
You know what? Go ahead.

Kim: Yeah, you used a word. I think you said “unique” and “uniqueness,” and so that's a trigger word I guess for me in that I completely believe in the uniqueness of every single person.

Jimmy: There are a lot of trigger words, but they're not all good I think.

Kim: No, it was a good one, that uniqueness. I think that too many people don't really get a chance to live in their uniqueness. I'm a CliftonStrengths coach, so I use the CliftonStrengths Assessment with a lot of clients, even in individual coaching and team sessions. This assessment is really based on what is uniquely positive about people. It says a lot of times we hear from people to say, Jimmy, you're great at this, this and this, but what we really need you to work on is this.

Mac: Apply it.

Kim: That’s right, when we put that “but” in there. But that often is that one thing that you know you're not ever going to be good at. And the CliftonStrengths Assessment helps people to uncover, What am I naturally gifted at? and then figure out a plan for how I can live and work in that uniqueness. So, that's a fun process that I get to do with a lot of clients.
Jimmy: I bet part of the appeal of it to other people is, when you discover that about yourself, you can be authentic. You can be you. You feel you're not a fraud. If you're being yourself, you can be confident in your own skin.

Kim: That's right. Yeah, absolutely. And it doesn't mean that you show up always in a good way. It can mean, and I'll give you an example, so one of my Clift CliftonStrengths themes is discipline and discipline says I have a real need for order structure. We talked about a plan. [09:00.0] All right, I have a need to have a plan and to work a plan, which is a good thing and it really has been beneficial to me in my whole career.

But there are times when my discipline kicks into overdrive and I might think I need a plan for everything. It has, I will tell you, in my life cost me times where Mac wanted to go somewhere on a whim and my discipline said, Nope, that's not going to happen because we didn't have a plan for that. And so, I've really had to learn over the years how to be more flexible.

Jimmy: Get in touch with your whimsical side.

Kim: Sure. But just to be able to know when the strength is appropriate to use and when I need to dial back on it.

Jimmy: Yeah, that's a really important distinction because it is a strength, but it can be done in a way that it's just anything else. It can become a negative if you overdo it.

Mac: Before we get off the subject of the Clifton StrengthsFinder, and this is for the guys out there, whether it's Clifton StrengthsFinder or DiSC assessments, or any of these behavioral and strengths testing, I know that when I first took it, Kim said, “I want you to take this,” and this was years back, and I was like, I'm just doing this for her. I mean, this isn't…

Jimmy: Typical guy attitude.

Mac: Yeah, and in leadership and coaching, it’s predominantly women that do that, and it's because a lot of guys put up that barrier that this is soft touchy-feely stuff that I don't need this.

I'm going to tell you, the StrengthsFinder for me has been valuable. I'm not an analytical person. I'm not very detail-oriented by any means. Instructions, I don't need those. I'll figure out how to put it together. I don't need that. I don't want to read it. And so, there for a while, I sort of beat myself up on why wasn't I better with spreadsheets and details and stuff like that. But through that process I realized that that's not my strong suit.

There was somebody also in this leadership course that I took recently that Kim coaches and his organization, which is predominantly men, they use this, and I asked him. I said, “How does that go through the organization with the guy?” He says, “Man, they're posting their strengths up on their computers. They embrace it. They love it,” and I was thinking that is really cool because you wouldn't think most men, again, would embrace something like this, but it is a game changer in your life.
It not only helps you understand yourself better, but others better, and the DiSC Assessment does that as well. You may not have to necessarily agree with what that person does or says, but now that you know how they operate, you can function with them and everybody's life wins as a result.

Jimmy: Yeah, absolutely.

Kim: Yeah, we do a really cool thing with CliftonStrengths when we can work with teams, and that is that we can go in and not only train people on their uniqueness, but we can share the team's strengths with everyone, and then can begin to have conversations about, Okay, all right, what is it that that this person does that you really [12:00.0] like that fits? How is it that it's fitting in with one of your strengths? What is it that that person that you work with does that really gets on your nerves?
And we can try to understand where it comes from, because when we can name the behavior and it becomes positive, then I begin to recognize that maybe these people that I work with aren't doing things to get on my nerves. They're just behaving in a way that they're gifted and I can really learn to appreciate people more.

We've seen teams drastically shift by embracing the Strengths assessment and just by using it to say, before I go and have a meeting with someone in the organization, let me look at their strengths. Let me make sure I understand how they want to be communicated with, how they're going to react, what information they need upfront. All those kinds of things that just really embrace the fact that we are all unique individuals coming to the table and we can make this a better workplace. It's pretty cool.

Jimmy: Yeah, the whole thing you mentioned when I talked about men, the whole soft skill thing, that's emotional intelligence right there. And I have figured out over time that if I'm going to hire somebody, I would probably rather hire somebody who's emotionally intelligent and somebody who possesses greater cognitive intelligence, but maybe not be as emotionally intelligent, because most of the time if I can usually you can train somebody specific to their job.

But if they can't work with others, they can't collaborate, they can't handle criticism, they don't have any leadership potential or they don't take personal responsibility, those are soft skills and those are critical for any business or just in life in general to be able to have those. So, emotional intelligence, that's something, y'all, that’s a major focus or what? One of the major ones.

Kim: Sure. Emotional intelligence is one of the biggest kind of buzzwords out there for leadership development right now and there's some great research out there. Travis Bradberry, if you've never read the book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, I think it's the best one out there because it's very easy to read. It's easy to understand. It actually even has an assessment built in when you buy the book. You can take an assessment and find out how emotionally intelligent you are.

But the research now around emotional intelligence tells us that your résumé, your hard skills, right, those technical things that you know might be what get you the job, but your level of emotional intelligence is the biggest predictor for how far you'll go up the career ladder.

Jimmy: Repeat that one more time.

Kim: Okay. Your hard skills, your résumé, your education, those things, that might be what gets you the job, but the biggest predictor of how far you will go up the career ladder [15:00.1] is your level of emotional intelligence.

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Jimmy: Basically, what you're saying is you can get your foot in the door, but a lack of emotional intelligence will keep a lid on your life, on your progression in that company. I mean, I know people. I can’t name you names, but I know people in my life who are very smart, and for whatever reason, though, they have lacked emotional intelligence and they have trouble handling authority. They have trouble taking responsibility, taking ownership, and want to blame, those types of things. As a result, they end up moving from job to job. They can get jobs because they're smart, but they just keep drifting. They can't seem to gain any traction or momentum because they lack those emotional skills that you had to have. So, that’s a good point.

Kim: Right, and it's so complex when we begin to think about emotional intelligence. I know there are two parts to what they call EQ. So, that's the part that is about you. It is how aware am I of the emotions that I'm having right now? And then, how well do I manage those emotions?

So, we can all think of that person that we've worked with that we might have called the hot head, the one who couldn't control their temper. That's low emotional intelligence. Something happened to me. It made me mad, and without thinking, I’d respond. And so, those high-level emotionally intelligent leaders, the ones that have high IQ, are the ones that have had the same thing happen to them, but they didn't respond by blowing their lid. Right? They had an emotionally intelligent response.
But then there's also the other’s piece of emotional intelligence. It's not just me and how well I understand and recognize my own emotions. It's how well do I recognize that other people have going on? How well do I read the room? How well do I read my team? Do I know if people are mad, sad, glad, happy, frustrated, angry? And then what do I [18:00.0] do about that?
I think it's just that it's a soft skill, for sure. But it is one of the ones that you can ignore, but it's going to be ignore it at your own peril.

Jimmy: I would say, think of another term besides soft skills. Really, they might be considered or maybe I'd call it an abstract skill, but it's also a very potent skill, and it can take you a lot further if you have it than if you don't. If you're a guy listening to this, don't just write this off as fluff because this can impact and change your life and what you don't even know.

Mac: To say one of the biggest challenges right now across the board, and I think a lot of it is with younger people, though, is taking ownership and responsibility. But, again, it affects everybody at all ages and places in their lives.
Just a quick thought that came to my mind. A young man recently that I was trying to help find a job, he had been searching for employment. He had seven jobs in 11 years.

Jimmy: That’s a red flag.

Mac: Yes. And I said, “You need to be prepared to polish these. Make it as positive as you can, and don't blame the employer and the individual that he was going to. What if I hired him? He said the challenge was that every single one of those employers, it was their fault, and he spent all the time, and it was that.

I mean, we think that that seems so simple and trivial, but had he just put a positive spin on it or said, I didn't apply myself and I learned a lesson from that one that I won't repeat again, and I want to grow. But I think men probably have a little bit tougher of a time with that maybe.

Jimmy: I tend to agree also with the listening part a lot of times a lot.

Mac: What was that?

Jimmy: A lot of times…

Mac: Yeah. No, I’m there with you, man.

Jimmy: It’s showing a draw there, but I know that it tends to be just… I'm not trying to be—what's the word I'm looking for?—sexist here, but a lot of men do struggle with listening I’ve found, just in my experience. I could be wrong.

Mac: I think it's safe if you beat up your own gender. It is safe.

Jimmy: Yeah, I can do that. Yeah, but it is something. I know that I have learned to be a better listener and that's definitely helped me in so many different areas of my life. I still … not a complete project there, but definitely I noticed a light came on and I bought into it, and realized how important it was. It definitely was a game changer for me.

Kim: I was just going to share, since we keep talking about listening, a really great acronym that we share with a lot of our clients for listening and that is HUT. Have you ever heard of HUT?

Jimmy: No.

Kim: Okay, so this is an easy one to remember. I love acronyms because I can stick them in my head and I get a visual. [21:00.1] And so, when we're thinking about listening, I want you to remember that all people want to be heard, understood and taken seriously. When I think about that, I can hear you and I can hear what you're saying, and I can try to read into that. I can understand what you mean and I can take you seriously.

I can do all of those things and I still don't have to agree with you, or if I'm a boss, I don't have to do what it is you came in to ask me to do. But if I will treat you that way because I want to be treated like that. We all want that. If I will treat you that way, then I believe that I protect the relationship. If I come at it from a place of heard, understood and taken seriously, it will help me to quiet my mind and truly listen to what you're saying, so that you will feel valued.

Jimmy: Have either one of y'all have a read Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss?

Kim: Yeah.

Jimmy: You should read it. It talks about that. This guy was one of the best FBI negotiators. He would negotiate with people holding hostages. One of the things he talks about in there is what you're saying that as people, whether you're taking hostages or not, or terrorists or whatever, they just want to be heard. Listening is key, and not just listening, you’ve got to be an active listener and ask questions, letting them know that you're listening. Yeah, people want to be heard.

Another book I'm going to plug here that talks about that is … I know you've heard about Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. There are numerous examples in there and they have sections in there about listening. People just want to be heard. Sometimes customers are very upset. I know we've dealt with this at Launch. They’re irate about something that really wasn't our fault. We may be in the right.

But a lot of times in my situation, maybe I've come in there on a Saturday night and knew it was going to be really busy just to kind of, sometimes what I do, my main role at Launch now is when we're really busy is to go up there and look for people that are disgruntled, and they're very few, by the way, but sometimes because there's a lot going on there you'll have people that are upset about something.

Sometimes just taking them away, taking them into the office where it's nice and cool and quiet, and letting them vent, say, Yeah, yeah. I mean, I couldn't agree with you more. That was horrible. I can't believe that happened. Just letting them get that off their chest and letting them know they're being heard, especially by one of the owners, that helps.
But, yeah, that's a very valuable tool, whether you're negotiating or whether you're dealing with the customer issue. Mac.

Mac: In the beginning of my sales experience, I was unfortunately too quick to argue with somebody that they barely got a couple of [24:00.0] words out of their mouth before I was setting them straight on their complaint. I learned that was…

Jimmy: Doesn’t work, does it?

Mac: No, does not work at all, and they would go away and they would obviously share that experience with others. So, I found the solution to that, just you're saying, to listen to them, have empathy, use the words -

Jimmy: Empathy, yeah.

Mac: - I understand. “That is frustrating. I get it. I've been there.” If you can agree with them on that, there is a solution. I, honestly, can only remember maybe two or three that were just unsolvable. Every other one where there was an issue, we didn't have a lot of them like you were saying, but I do remember them and I remember when I took that different approach to it, they became our most fierce, loyal customers that we had.

I don't encourage anybody to go out there and create problems in order to get a loyal customer that way, but it's really amazing because they know if you're going to go to that length to take care of it, to listen to them, again, just listen and understand them, take them seriously, they know, again, that that you honestly care about them, that you generally care about them, and they're going to be your customer for life and they're going to refer other people to you.

Jimmy: Yeah, you can take that incident and what starts out as something bad, you can turn that into an opportunity to create a loyal customer. So, you can look at that, those times when you know you don't want to deal with a customer complaint, you're not looking out. Nobody goes into their place of business hoping to find a disgruntled customer. But it'll help your mindset and your attitude if you go in there realizing, Hey, if I do see a customer that's upset about something, I can really wow them by letting them see just how far I'll go to make them happy, and it can turn into a positive and they can be a huge advocate for your business.

And so, you’re also about listening. You talked about empathy, but, also, yeah, empathy along with what's called mirroring, which is something else I learned in that book, Never Split the Difference. Repeating what they say, not exactly word for word, but repeating what they're saying in a different way, so they know, Hey, this person is listening to me. I'm being heard. So, that was big. Go ahead.

Mac: It's just simple things that and that's why, again, I'm such an advocate for customer service. People just spend so much money on advertising and marketing, and all the other things, and if you don't take care of the people right, all this is a wash, it doesn't matter.

Jimmy: Yeah, so true. So true. All right, so now we're coming up on a little over an hour. Y'all have really provided a lot of good content out there. I appreciate it. I’d like to tie all this up. How would you like to close this out?

Mac: Before we wrap up today, I just want to say these challenging times that we're in right now have affected people in different ways. For me, when Kim was talking about the Clifton StrengthsFinder, my number one trait is positivity. [27:00.6] So, in challenging times, being positive and optimistic helps me.

Jimmy: The perfect time.

Mac: Yeah, but there are moments where that trait, just like any trait of the 34 Cliftons, has its basement in those times -

Jimmy: That’s true.

Mac: - and that one does as well, but it's really helped me through this. It is sometimes tough for me to understand how people, some people are taking this so hard, but, again, I get it.

So, what I just want to say to people is this is a perfect opportunity, though. There's a silver lining in every bad experience and this is the perfect opportunity to recalibrate your business, so if you're going back in and reopening your doors or just about to that point, it's time to reassess and look at what may be some opportunities, some weaknesses in your business and to correct those.

And that might be customer service techniques. It could be your store layout, your service delivery. It could be some employees that you need to have some tough conversations with that you've put off. It may be some tough customers or vendors that maybe a vendor hasn't paid you in a while and you’ve just been meaning to have that talk.

So, I just see this as an ideal, in fact, the best opportunity ever to take advantage of that and to strengthen your business during this time.

Jimmy: That’s a good point. A lot of times people get so caught up in the daily operations and execution of their business, they don't take time to pause and think and reflect, Do I need to address this issue? Is this really the direction I want my company to go? Those kinds of questions. This is a good time for that. That's a good point.

Mac: And like what we said, some people are just needing the guidance in it. They're stuck, and through 2 Impact, we offer a lot of different programs that'll help people with that. I'm going to let Kim talk to you on some of what we offer.

Jimmy: All right.

Kim: Basically, we're coming at it just from our expertise and our experience, and we are working in, of course, coaching. We talked a lot about coaching today. We also do a lot of training, and so while coaching might be for individuals, our training comes in and works with teams.

And then, from a consulting perspective and, of course, Mac's background with customer service and retail and marketing, because of my nonprofit background and remember that accounting degree. I love to do things like strategic planning. I love to do any kind of nonprofit consulting.

Now we have kind of three buckets, coaching, consulting and training, and that we really just want to be here for any sized business and any individual from the entrepreneur up to the corporation, because people are people no matter where they are, and so we're just looking for people who want to grow.

Jimmy: Yeah, your passion for what you're doing definitely comes [30:00.0] across, so that's always a plus for any business. So, how can people find you?

Kim: You can find us on Facebook and we're at 2 Impact on Facebook. You can find us on Instagram or at 2Impact.Development. But you could also go to our website and check us out. We're at 2ImpactLife.com. And any of those places, we'll get you to connect with Mac, right.

Jimmy: Are you on LinkedIn by any chance?

Kim: We are, yes, so you can look me up not from my company, but Kim Cantrell, Mac Cantrell on LinkedIn.

Jimmy: That's awesome. I really enjoyed this conversation, so thanks again for coming on. I do appreciate it.

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