Robert Hossary: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to “10 lessons it took me 50 years to learn” – wisdom for the next generation. This episode is a unique episode as the four of us, Dr. Duff Watkins, Siebe Vanderzee, Jeffery Wang, and me, Robert Hossary we’re all your hosts. I will be reviewing the previous episodes and tell you, our audience, what we found most fascinating about our guests.
Let’s start with you, Siebe. What did you find in the last four episodes that made you say, wow, this is something I didn’t know?
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:00:34] Well, I think each of these four episodes, they truly have a lot to offer. When I think of the four individuals that we’re talking about, they all have a unique background and all of them are different. And as we know in life, if you go through life, you learn things and then you have sometimes the need and the willingness to share that information.
And that’s really what I picked up from all four of them. Our friend Duff, of course, his background as a psychotherapist. Very impressive. If I think of Ligia McLean, her global expertise and success, but also as a female in a male-dominated defense and aerospace industry. Matt Bai, a very successful global journalist, a lot of wisdom in his lessons. And of course, George Bradt. Wow. If you think about onboarding the relevance that exists with onboarding in the global workplace and especially during the year with COVID extremely important, extremely relevant.
Robert Hossary: [00:01:41] Well, that’s a great summary of all our speakers, which I appreciate because now I don’t have to do it. Let’s start then with Duff.
Duff Watkins: [00:01:48] One that surprised me. Cause you know, it’s funny what resonates with you. I was Listening to Ligia McLean. Now, she’s worked in 15 countries, decades in male dominated industries and she’s had senior roles, but one of the things you said that resonated with me is – she wasn’t trying to change the gender balance and change the world of these industries, she was just trying to get a job.
Robert Hossary: [00:02:09] Yeah.
Duff Watkins: [00:02:09] Reminds me of something else, one of our previous guests on the podcast, because you’re not really relevant to you get a job till you enter the workforce, then you become relevant. And it made me think how Ligia was able to do all the things she did, make her contributions, learn those lessons, because she entered the workforce, and she got the job.
She created the opportunities. And also, she demonstrated her capability, but it all starts with getting a job. And so that’s what I’m thinking about. Young people, many of the people who listen to this podcast, in order to change the world, you have to be in a position to do so.
In other words, you have to enter the workforce in some capacity. And that’s one of the things that struck me and I’m going to segue to something. George Bradt said, George Bradt has worked in a lot of industries.
Siebe is an immigrant to the US I’m an immigrant to Australia, and although I’m currently in Brazil, Jeff’s an immigrant, I guess from Taiwan, you yourself came from Pluto as I recall.
And George Bradt made the point about, um, you know, when you go to another country, you have to learn what side of the road they drive on. And you have to learn the road rules.
He says, each company has different road rules. And so, the onus is on you to adapt, to learn. And I don’t know about you. It took me a long time to grasp that I’m still wrestling with it, but it, the sooner you understand that you need to adapt and learn the road rules, whatever company you’re in, whatever industry it is, the better off you’ll be.
Robert Hossary: [00:03:44] Absolutely. You’re spot-on Duff. Jeff, what about you? Let’s just stay with Ligia’s one for the time being, what did you get out of that?
Jeffery Wang: [00:03:53] Well, the one that jumped out at me is lesson number seven – “there are things that you might not be good at first try but can improve through purposeful practice”. So, the message I liked from that is indeed a very empowering one.
This is something that I wish I knew earlier on in my career. When I was young, I wasn’t particularly athletic. In fact, I was a young fat kid and I bought into the myth that I just wasn’t very good at sports. Wasn’t very good at athletics.
What I didn’t realize and what I didn’t have was a mentor that told me exactly what Ligia explained and that it’s all about the amount of practice, amount of work that you put in to improve. So, we, the young ones often lack the resilience to persevere. And it’s quite profound.
It is a very empowering message. What that made me think of was around this “hero’s journey” in films. So, if you look at the reason why we love Star Wars, we love the character of Luke Skywalker because he was a farm boy, but through purposeful practice, he became a Jedi master.
Sadly, the new Star Wars film don’t understand this. They have these characters that were just born with it. And in fact, it was the opposite of that empowering message that Ligia talked about, that with purposeful practice, anybody, a farm boy could become a Jedi master. And that’s the kind of message we should be telling our kids rather than the fact that, you’re either born with it or you don’t.
And that’s something that I believe if we were to instill in our young people, that’s the age-old wisdom that I’m afraid is being lost in this generation.
Robert Hossary: [00:05:23] What an excellent point. And, uh, no, we will not enter into any kind of correspondence about Star Wars episodes. Thank you very much audience.
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:05:33] Another lesson that I want to bring up. it seems so simple. “Know your audience”. When you deal with certain situations, you have to adjust. And in her situation, she talked about, for example, in different countries, how people behave sometimes to female executive or employees. And she talked about smiling when it is appropriate and when it’s not appropriate, based on the cultural background, the other, I think, relevant lesson, and I say it with a smile, be careful with acronyms. The total integrated training system, in the military, could create questions and concerns. And that little story I think is worthwhile listening to is an interesting and, um, somewhat funny lesson to learn.
Robert Hossary: [00:06:26] That’s a great point. With everything in life, if you aren’t learning something every day, you’re not paying attention. Just round this off being a sales professional for all my career, the one thing that struck me that Ligia said was celebrate successes and learn from disappointments.
The reason that lesson was resonating with me was the fact that salespeople deal with a lot of disappointments. A lot of times when they’re not successful they lose nine out of 10 times, but the 10th one is the sale, and they go on.
But to celebrate every little success. So, I got past the gatekeeper. That’s something to celebrate. I actually spoke to the prospect. That’s something to celebrate. They said no, because of these reasons. Now I know a little more about how to approach them next time. That’s something to celebrate. These again, as you said, Jeff, without the benefit of experience, these lessons are lost.
All right. Well, let’s move on. With Duff’s episode which was our inaugural episode. I found the interview with Duff very enlightening. Now I’ve known Duff for a long, long time.
And even, I was surprised. And the one thing Duff that you said that got me thinking and really resonated with me was “don’t cling”. And that one little lesson, those two little words don’t cling is uh, I don’t want to overuse the word powerful, but they’re full of wisdom. And it’s something that takes a lot of people many, many years to learn and to practice is not to hold on to material goods, or the one that got me with slights, real or imagined. Now that’s a very important point. Uh, in other words, don’t hold grudges. Just get on with it. Siebe, but what did you think of Duff? You’ve known him almost as long as I have, or maybe longer.
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:08:34] There were a number of lessons Duff that I thought were connecting to me. And uh, I also have one that I really liked, but I was curious about why you called it “husband your attention”.
Husband typically are males and there’s nothing wrong with that but watch who you let into your mind. Focus, focus, focus. I think that element is so important. And I understand of course that you call it “husband your attention”.
When I think about “never engaged in civil war” the war within yourself that you talked about, and I thought that those two are somehow connected. It has to do with you. Your brain to focus and not to be distracted. Am I correct?
Duff Watkins: [00:09:19] The one about watch who you let near your minds more about excluding the nefarious sinister influences that would distract you and pollute your mind. It’s hard to be focused. It’s hard to be here and now when you’ve got so much noise and you can’t detect the signal.
So it’s more about inoculating yourself and what Rob was talking about “Don’t cling”. I mean, that’s straight forward Buddhism. They’ve been preaching that, teaching that for many thousands of years and the reason why they’ve been teaching for thousands of years, I deduce this because it’s so difficult for us to not cling. I mean, you know, until we get it right, there’ll be telling us not to cling to things.
And this, the civil war, that probably in some ways it’s important because you have to understand that you, me, we’re all this universe of cells and those cells that go to war with each other, they conflict and they have different ones, different needs, different priorities.
And so, it’s up to us to align them. There’s not just one Siebe, there’s Siebe the friend, there’s Siebe the boss, there’s Siebe the honorary console, former honorary console of the Netherlands. You know, there’s all these personas, and they’re related like a family, but they’re slightly different, sometimes very different.
Robert Hossary: [00:10:35] And Jeff, what about you? What did you get out of our first episode?
Jeffery Wang: [00:10:39] Well the lesson that jumped out at me the most is “most people can’t support themselves emotionally, let alone you”. Now this is one of those old school attitudes that only exist if you’re of a sudden vintage, but that is as true today as ever.
Robert Hossary: [00:10:55] Yeah
Jeffery Wang: [00:10:55] I think what’s changed is young people’s expectations. I think our expectation of how much emotional support we’re supposed to get. I just think of stories when we’re young growing up. We didn’t really get that much of our parents’ attention, and if you compare parenting today to what it was 30, 40 years ago, you realize it is a completely different ball game.
So, what I like about this particular lesson though, is not so much, you know, go harden up. I think a lot of people might accidentally take that lesson to be. What it really is, is that we need to take individual responsibility for our own wellbeing emotionally, as well as physically.
Robert Hossary: [00:11:36] Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s how I understood it as well. Okay, let’s talk about George Bradt. That was a very, very unique episode and a lot of good information in that for job seekers and actually for anybody in their career.
Um, and I’ll start off. The one thing that George said to you, Duff that just made my ears pick up was “adjusting never ends”. Um, and that is just so true. We just need to look outside, 2021 is different to 2020 is different to 2019 “adjusting never ends” in the real world, so why would it end in your career? What, just because you’ve got a skill, a degree, a master’s, or PhD, just because you know how to do something, does that mean that’s it? That, you know, I don’t need to continue to grow. And we’ve seen with all of our guests so far that is not true. Ligia for example, continued her education continued to learn skills. Duff, you went into multiple different careers throughout your career and you got continually learning.
So, the adjustment never ending is absolutely something that just took hold of me, when I heard it and I said, yeah, this is something that while I knew, was still a revelation. Siebe?
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:13:05] There were several lessons from George that I liked. And I’ll start with one that is close to my work as a recruiter.
There are only three interview questions that you need to know them. I use the same, it’s not in that sense, unique, but it’s important for people to realize that.
Can you do the job? Do you have the skills and experience?
Will you love the job? Do you have a passion for that organization, that company?
And perhaps the most important – can we tolerate working with you? Does it click?
And I always tell people it’s unlikely that you’re going to hire someone if you don’t really like that person, and it’s very subjective. At the same time, if you like the person, but he or she doesn’t perhaps meet all the requirements. You say, we want that person on board because again, he or she can help us here and there and we like this person. Extremely important.
One of the questions that, that George mentioned in that context, why do you want that job? That’s the question. He also likes to understand what is it that motivates the person for the job it’s simply, well, I need to pay my bills, et cetera, or is there a connection that person has.
it’s not in that sense, completely new, especially when you work in that field like I do, but it’s extremely important.
Robert Hossary: [00:14:33] No you’re spot on. And I was thinking the same thing. Jeff, what about you?
Jeffery Wang: [00:14:38] Well there’s so many lessons from George Bradt’s episode. But the one that I really, for me was a bit of a revelation, is this one about adopting a 90/10 position. What he meant by that was take the path less traveled and be different. Now this one is especially memorable for me because it does not come naturally to me. I come from a culture where we value conformity, you know, the loudest duck gets shot, the nail that sticks out gets hammered in. And we just want to take the wider path, avoid risk and fit in. Having the benefit of 40 years now, I’ve only beginning to understand that when you’re so bland people find you indifferent, right?
You’re far better served being exactly who you are. You will not be universally liked, but for those people who are looking for you, you will be bringing loads of value. And as George Bradt puts it, you can command a premium in the business sense. And now that I work in a small firm, I used to work in a much larger firm. I understand the importance of being that 10% because you can’t be everything to everybody.
Robert Hossary: [00:15:41] Yeah
Jeffery Wang: [00:15:42] “me too but cheaper” is not a sustainable strategy for a small firm
Robert Hossary: [00:15:46] I like that
Jeffery Wang: [00:15:47] That is a piece of wisdom I love.
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:15:49] George also referred to Vince Lombardi, ” have the will to prepare to win”. In a job search situation, you have to set yourself up for success. You may not get the job, but you got to prepare, you got to have that level of confidence.
Duff Watkins: [00:16:06] Just to clarify what he meant by the 90/10, and I had to ask him twice to explain it to me because it wasn’t clear to me.
It isn’t about just be yourself. He used the example of going to job interviews, instead of competing in the 80% where there’s so much competition, find the 20% of the companies that really, really valued you. That way you can win easily, clearly, and quickly.
I tell people when they apply to jobs, I say, are you doing a job search? they say, yes, I’m emailing in my resume. I said, that’s not a job search. That’s emailing. You’re spamming companies, that’s not the same.
Are you doing an intelligent, coherent, sustainable job search? And then they look at me and go blink, blink, blink. So that tells me that we’ve got some work to do. Cause they don’t know what that is. So I think that’s what George meant was about working harder to identify companies that can appreciate you right now and therefore hire you or employ you or whatever the case may be.
I want to ask you something. Cause he said something that, it made a lot of sense to me and I think it makes a lot of sense to everybody. Is there be certain stage of life? He said he learned to redefine winning as he got old.
And I thought, well, yeah, clearly, because you just do. Don’t you? So, let me ask you young guys, and even you, we will even ask the kid, Jeff, because he’s the youngest here. Have you redefined winning as we go onwards and upwards in our career in life?
Jeffery Wang: [00:17:33] Yeah, absolutely. A while back, I read a really good article by Arthur Brooks that talks about the two mountains. The first mountain being all the things that we think we want, fame, fortune, status, power, all the things that we think we should be pursuing earlier in life.
And then there’s a second mountain that people start to climb after they realized, you know, some of them might’ve got to the pinnacle of the first mountain, some of them haven’t. But later on, in life, you realize there are things that are truly fulfilling in your life, service to others, mastery and contribution to society.
Things that will ultimately still mean something at the end of that journey. So, I definitely have realized that. Then I started climbing a different mountain halfway through my career.
Robert Hossary: [00:18:18] That’s an excellent description of redefining winning. Yeah Duff, I also redefined winning, but not as articulately as Jeff. I just realized as I got older that I’m not going to achieve some of the stuff that I thought I was going to achieve. And therefore, I repositioned myself, I’ve basically moved my own goalposts and said, okay, I’m not going to achieve that, but I have achieved this. And you know what I found inadvertently was exactly what Jeff said. I found more fulfillment in the things that I had achieved. Well, I achieved it, but you know what? I really enjoy doing that. What about you Siebe?
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:18:58] I completely disagree.
Robert Hossary: [00:19:01] That’s good.
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:19:03] I understand. And of course, I respect when people say I’m going to move the goalpost, I’m going to take things easier. I realized that my chances of winning Wimbledon are long gone. I never had a chance anyway.
I still think that. In a way as a mindset. And I don’t say that everybody should have that mindset, but my best years are still ahead of them. And I still think there are things that can be done that I want to be part of. May not happen, of course not. But, that drive, and putting it in perspective because I use the example of winning Wimbledon.
There are other things that are unlikely that they will happen. And at the same time for my own mind, my own brain, I’m not done. I’m not done at all. There are places,
Duff Watkins: [00:19:57] But that’s not what George was saying at all. I mean, that’s not what he was talking about.
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:20:01] I don’t think we’re saying that Duff.
Uh, it was more a personal question as far as how I look at it then than what George was saying, but the point I think, and that’s what we’re doing is to talk about it and then you’ll see there are different perspectives. The four of us, we have at least five or six opinions about things.
Robert Hossary: [00:20:20] That’s true.
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:20:20] That’s very healthy, very healthy.
Robert Hossary: [00:20:24] And listeners, we’ve put this together to give you, a look into some of the other ways of looking at this and helping you see what we see when we interview these people. So, Duff do you have anything that stood out from George?
Duff Watkins: [00:20:43] Just the ones that I spoke about, but I tell you what I do want, when ask you, I’m going to ask about Matt Bai, cause we haven’t mentioned him yet.
Robert Hossary: [00:20:50] No, because he’s, he was just released last week. So that’s why we I’ve left him to last. So, let’s talk about Matt.
Duff Watkins: [00:20:59] He is a major heavyweight political correspond in the US, he used to head New York times book review,
Robert Hossary: [00:21:05] Yahoo
Duff Watkins: [00:21:07] Yahoo chief correspondent. Now he is with Washington post.
The thing that always amazed me, he knows all the politicians that you see, American politicians that you see on television. So, he knows these guys and he talks about them. He kind of just knows him as guys. And plus, Matt Bai is a, he’s a hell of a nice guy himself and quite an articulate guy.
I’ve interviewed him a couple of times. I was kind of curious as to what you guys thought of what he said.
Robert Hossary: [00:21:33] I was there when you interviewed him last time and I agree with you he’s a very articulate man, as he’s got a lot of great stories. but in this format where he’s sharing lessons with us, I was just blown away and the one that really got me, which made me think really hard about what he said was “look away from the ball”. Everyone always goes where the action is. But there could be opportunity away from the action. And when I look back at my career, there are times that has happened to me. Not as many as I would have liked, probably because I didn’t look away from the ball enough.
So I understand that from a journalism point of view, but in life as well, it works and has a meaning. So yeah, I, I really enjoyed it.
Duff Watkins: [00:22:23] Yeah, “look away from the ball”. Hey Jeff, that’s true in basketball. You know, if you get caught up watching the ball, then you’re not watching your man and he’s going to go back door on you, which I made a whole career out of doing from younger guys.
Jeffery Wang: [00:22:37] That is so true. And how often do you hear from someone who’s got a role written in the “house of cards” such as Matt Bai.
So the one that really stood out to me was this lesson, which is almost Zen-like, you know, “people make you feel the way THEY feel” now I found this one particularly insightful. We often fret about how badly we’re treated by someone; we always complain. But knowing this lesson, we almost start to turn that around and feel sympathy for those who we perceive to have mistreated us. Right. I think what it does, it allows us to humanize them and help us find some peace. The way I took out of it is that people who treat you badly, they themselves have some sort of, maybe they’ve been treated badly in the past, maybe they had, abusive parents or people along the way. It’s quite interesting because I had an absolute epiphany one time, I had this manager that wasn’t particularly great, but in hindsight, I realize that he’s had a tough life. He’s always had a chip on the shoulder and he’s always out to prove himself and I’m sure you probably have one of those in your life as well. But knowing that lesson and thinking about it in hindsight, I realized that he’s character deficiencies, are as a result of how he was treated when he was growing up, and a lot of the things I found out later about him, that makes perfect sense. So, I don’t hold grudges anymore, in fact I almost feel sympathy for this particular manager that I had.
Robert Hossary: [00:24:03] So Siebe, but what about you?
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:24:05] I thought the interview was great, I really liked the energy that Matt has. And that came through and his incredible experience.
One of his lessons, “listen to the things people say about themselves”. I thought it was interesting because he stated “we are, as human beings, typically thinking about – am I sounding okay? How do I come across with other people?” And Matt made the point that could mean that you’re not really listening.
When you think about how I am coming across. And that’s part of your focus. You may not be listening well enough. And I think that is so important as I think many of us know that when you communicate with people around you, to get a feel for how they’re doing, and it doesn’t mean they have to tell their life story, it doesn’t mean to have to get into all the details.
But it’s sometimes a simple question. How are things going? How is, how was your weekend, whatever. and that really can create a bond because we’re all human. If people show interest and it has to be genuine, of course, then you say that’s a nice person. it’s somewhat similar to when you see someone and, they have a smile on their face that typically will put people to ease. And, and again, I thought it was an important lesson to focus on listening and not just as far as how do I come across. So that was one of them.
Robert Hossary: [00:25:35] You’re absolutely right. That is a lesson and it’s taken me a long time to learn. As a Salesperson, I should have learnt this a long time ago. You sit there and you’re presenting and you’re pretending to listen to a client and all the time you’re thinking of the next question, you’re thinking of did I say that? How did that sound? Do I look okay? Where am I going to put my hands? Should I say anything? So, it is powerful. It is wisdom for the next generation. And what did you think Duff? As the editor of a lot of these interviews, I hear what goes on, on the stuff that I cut out and you were having a great time with him.
Duff Watkins: [00:26:15] Well, he said, Matt says something funny. I mean, we would have world peace if we all did this “don’t start an argument with somebody you don’t know”. Just yesterday, I posted something on Facebook, and somebody made a comment, so of course I made a comment and then I thought bit about it and went back and deleted it.
Because, you know, I thought to myself, I’m only 60 and I’m still maturing. You know, I got a long way to go, but my gosh, if you just think of all the nonsense that goes out there on the social media, if people would just stop arguing with people whom they do not know.
Robert Hossary: [00:26:48] And right there, listeners, you have a new lesson from Dr. Duff Watkins. Delete. Just don’t comment on any social media stuff, and that’s the way we get world peace. Thanks Duff.
So, gentlemen, just to round up for our listeners, our next four podcasts, will be Andre Alphonso.
Duff Watkins: [00:27:13] He’s an expert on presence. What it means to have a presence in the business sense and this stuff, it’s taught at Harvard at a very senior level and it’s about establishing a presence. And this is useful in business. Well, tell me something where it’s not useful. Okay. And so, so that’s Andre Alfonzo.
Robert Hossary: [00:27:33] We’ve got Jack Milligan Siebe, so you’re interviewing Jack.
Siebe Vanderzee: [00:27:37] Jack. Yeah. Great, great person, HR guru for many years. He has trained a lot of HR people over the years. Lots of wisdoms coming from Jack Milligan.
Robert Hossary: [00:27:49] Fantastic. And Jeff, this is your inaugural interview with Rod Mewing.
Jeffery Wang: [00:27:55] Yeah so Rod is perhaps the youngest CEO of David Jones, which is one of the largest retailers of Australia and quite a stellar rise to a very impressive executive.
Robert Hossary: [00:28:08] Fantastic. And to round off the four, we’re back with you Duff with Michael Kelly.
Duff Watkins: [00:28:15] Michael, as you know, is an American living in Australia. He advises senior business executives on how to present and I mean everything specifically voice and I’ve heard one of our former podcast guests say, “if you don’t know how to use your voice in business, you are just so far behind”. And Michael is an expert on gestures on how to communicate authentically.
I was joking, I can’t think of a damn newspaper every time I turn on TV, he’s there. Cause people want to call them up and say, what do you think of the prime minister’s speech? What do you think of the president’s speech? He’s become the go-to guy in Australia for commentary on that because he’s a communications expert.
Robert Hossary: [00:28:55] Yep. Yep. Almost every week you got to see Michael on TV. So that’s, what’s coming up. We hope that you all enjoyed this review session. We will be having one of these after every four episodes. Please feel free to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s one zero lessons learned.com. Or come to our website, that’s 10 lessons learned.com. And leave a message here. Remember to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast app, uh, leave a review. We would love a five-star review.
Duff Watkins: [00:29:33] I have a question for listeners out there. If you have somebody you would like to hear from, that you would like us to talk to, like us to approach it. Please tell us who that is. Also, if you have questions that you would like to have answered. What sort of wisdom do you want to hear?
Give us a guide. I guarantee we’ll follow them up for you.
Robert Hossary: [00:29:51] and remember, it’s email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Duff Watkins: [00:30:00] That’s the email address.
Robert Hossary: [00:30:02] Yes Duff That’s the email address.
Jeffery Wang: [00:30:11] You’ve been listening to the international podcast of 10 lessons that took me 50 years to learn produced by Robert Hossary and sponsored by the professional development forum. PDF provides webinars, social media discussions, podcast, parties, anything you wanted, anything you need for more information, please visit www.professionaldevelopmentforum.org. Oh, and did I mention it’s all free? Thank you for listening and stay safe.