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Podcasts- Project Good Boss

EP2: Drew Dudley on Forward Momentum and Becoming a Better Leader

 

I spend some time with Drew Dudley, an educator and speaker with a focus on creating value-driven cultures of leadership. Time magazine recently named Drew’s TED Talk as one of their seven speeches that will make you a better leader. One of my all-time favourite human beings, without a doubt, and a conversation that will leave you with clarity on your personal leadership values and Drew’s strategies for embedding them more effectively into life and work. So jump right in!

TRANSCRIPT

Intro : 

You’re listening to Project Good Boss, the podcast with your host Anna Sheppard.

Anna Sheppard : 

Project Good Boss is a podcast dedicated to understanding the business benefits of kindness in leadership. We cover topics including and not limited to: leadership, equality, psychology, social impact, decent work and economic growth, all delivered with a little splash of good vibes. Welcome to Project Good Boss. Today we are spending some time with Drew Dudley. He’s a leadership educator and speaker with a focus on creating value driven cultures of leadership. His work is focused on helping people identify and adopt personal leadership philosophy rooted in value driven decision making. Individuals as seen as having this philosophy are rated as 110% more effective as leaders, and 130% more likely to be trusted. This kind of philosophy emerges through a process that clarifies personal leadership values and provides a strategy for embedding them more effectively into life and work. Research has shown personal value clarity is tied directly to increased levels of pride, productivity and happiness. Drew was featured by the Huffington Post, radio America, Forbes and TEDx as one of the top 15 most inspirational TEDx talks of all time. Also Time magazine recently named as one of their seven speeches that will make you a better leader. So we’re very excited to hear what Drew has got to share with us today. Hello, everybody. I am super excited to have one of my old time favourite human beings live on the show today. All the way from across the seas, Drew Dudley. Welcome to Project Good Boss.

Drew Dudley : 

I’m absolutely thrilled to be here. This is the first time I’ve been interviewed literally from literally from the future. So this is kind of cool. You’re at, you’re talking to be on Monday and I’m giving this interview on Sunday. So there’s something fundamentally cool about this interview.

Anna Sheppard : 

And thank you for donating Sunday evening. Just one of the things that always strikes me about you Drew, is just how much you give back. You’ve had an interesting journey and an interesting story. And for the past couple of years, we’ve actually been showing your “lollipop moments” video to a lot of the leaders that we’ve been working with, and it kind of is a beautiful way of summarising what needs to happen in the world with regards to leadership. But first of all, let’s just you know, shake it off a little. And tell us something about you that surprises people when they first meet you, Drew.

Drew Dudley : 

That I’m not really a super positive dude. And I think that if you have a talk that goes viral, and it’s very much is about goodness of the world, and I very much like, spend most of my time and my work trying to teach a process that helps us be more conscious about doing positive things. And I think that people, when they decide that you’re a motivational speaker, because they were motivated by one of your your presentations, there’s an expectation that comes that as soon as you walk in the room, you’re going to bring this incredibly upbeat energy. And I don’t think it throws people off. Like I know it does. I’ve had people write blog posts about their first meeting with me and like, literally say they were disappointed because I have, you know, this is a world that has a lot of things that are going wrong with it. And I have relatively strong opinions about things that we should do and mobilise to fight them. And there’s a real frustration that comes about some of the mistakes that we make as a collective, and my focus in my work is really on individual decision making. But I think people are surprised by how frustrated, cynical and sometimes negative I could be about our decision making as a collective, that really, really gets me. And I think that because I spend a lot of my time early on trying to play into a character, I think that people expected from me based on what they saw on stage. As I feel a little bit more liberated from that, that person and I realised that it’s not a character, but on stage is a very polished version of the darkest parts of me spun into something that I hope will make other people have a better life and will, you know, make decisions that make them happier, but people I think are thrown off by that that they want assume your motivational speaker because the one or two or even the 60 minutes they saw of you were really designed to keep people laughing and upbeat and talk about You know, good things and power that they have in the world to do good things. I think it throws people off when they meet me afterwards. And I have a very dark sense of humour. You know, especially in the last few years, there’s an anger percolating at some of the justices on the planet. They don’t seem to expect that and some people love it, right. They’re like, Oh, wow, you know, that’s very real, and others don’t want real what they want is the character that connected with them through the stage. And look the person on stage is 100% me. But it is one aspect of my personality. It’s about my work, and it’s about it is the best version of myself. And it is my attempt to do my part to try to make the world a little bit more like the place and I get frustrated when I don’t see it every single day. So I think people are thrown off by that, that I’m a dark dude. And I think they expect sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. And sometimes people get disappointed. That used to really bug me and so I think hit a lot of the rougher edges of me, because I knew it would upset some people. And now I’m doing a little less of that.

Anna Sheppard : 

And I think that’s really interesting that you say that because, um, I’ve met a lot of inspirational speakers and a lot of comedians as well throughout my time. And there is this common theme around, you know, something that’s gone on within their lives, or something that’s challenged them to a point where it’s created some level of extreme emotion, some level of change or shift in themselves. And they’re the ones that go off and actually fight for some, some level of change, or they make a decision to do things in a different way with regards to leadership. You know, a lot of people don’t wake up one morning and they suddenly want to make the world really sustainable. It’s a journey they’ve gone on, and a combination of disappointment, a life event that might have shifted them in some way. Is that been it’s been a journey that you’ve gone on, Drew, that has shifted you? What would you say is the moment that really made you change that mindset?

Drew Dudley : 

I don’t think I have a moment. I think we always like to look for moments, look for the turning point that sometimes they are pretty obvious, right? A lot of people who have the near death experience or something very, very traumatic happens. But I also think that very rarely in life, is there a reason for anything. There are reasons for everything. And, you know, I even wrote in my book. Everything doesn’t happen for a reason, which is a very unpopular opinion. I know in some people’s worlds, but I don’t think there’s a reason for anything. I think there are reasons for everything. And for me, it was really there were this back to back to back over the sort of over the course of five to six years. There were just a continual development and things that opened my eyes one at a time, the lollipop moment was one of them, losing, you know, a friend, two friends of mine in high school, losing a young man that I really admired at the age of 23 in university. My whole life had been about looking good on paper, getting great grades. And I defined my identity by how good I looked on paper, how much I pleased teachers and adults. And I was living my life for people I hadn’t met yet. You know, like in high school, you’re living your life for university admissions counsellors, and then a university for grad school admissions counsellors, and then you’re living your life for those recruiters to get your first job. And then in your first job, you’re working to look good for the person who’s going to hire you into a higher position in that company or another one, the amount of time we spend living our lives for people we haven’t met yet, especially when you’re young really boggled my mind. And what you do is you accumulate this brand, you know, this paper brand, especially when you’re young. It’s all about your grades and your volunteer work. And you know, what you were president, or editor or header chief of. And when you lose friends of mine, and you start to go to their funerals, and the stories that are told at funerals are not about what people look like on paper. They’re about these individuals. stories of how they mattered to people on a daily basis. And, you know, obituaries, the first line of obituaries is very rarely about how somebody looked on paper. And I think that, that made me realise a little bit at a time that I had spent the better part of my life commenting on the world, writing papers on the world, not actually interacting with it at all. And so there was no moment. There was a lot of death, I think what it was. And as you watch people leave the world and how their lives are reflected upon by other people, you start to realise that a lot of the stuff that drew your attention, at least drew my attention, in terms of validation was bullshit. You have moments like the lollipop moment, you have going to young people’s funerals. You have, you know, one of my the young men who who passed away, the University sent his degree. You know, he was never going to finish this final semester, but the university sent his degree with his friends. And had it delivered to his hospital room. And no, they told their friends to say, “tell him we wanted to make sure he got what he came for.” And his response was, “Get what I came for?” when they held out his university degree. My whole life was about that piece of paper. And they held it out. And he said, “get what I came for? I didn’t go there to get that. I went to get all of you. And I have everything I need from that school because it brought me all of you, like take it back. I’ll come and get it myself at graduation or I don’t need it. My life wasn’t about that piece of paper.” And moments like that started to change. Watching toxic, demeaning, exploitative people in power in positions of influence, and feeling what that does to you on a daily basis when you go to work, and you have to deal with these toxic individuals watching that. So it was this very gradual development. That said, it was hard. It took such a long time because it means acknowledging that you spent a significant portion of your life, you know, chasing the wrong stuff. And so that, to me is what started to shift that it was this constant experience that said, before you have experienced your art, here’s what you’re going to need in the future. As you start to live in the future, and you start to learn for yourself what was needed. And unfortunately, a lot of the tools that you’re taught to pay attention to early on, you realise only later when it’s your choice, what you prioritise. Our priorities are set for us by other people for most of the parts of our lives. And we have to unlearn that first. So for me, it was this constant adjustment and realising that most of the best lessons I learned did not come from people who I had been taught were supposed to look like leaders, because most of them were under the age of 25. And most of them were gone by that point. So once you’re faced with that, you kind of have to choose to look at things a little bit differently, or live your life in constant cognitive dissonance, which we all try to do to some degree.

Anna Sheppard : 

So with regards to how you work with leaders Drew, what is it? What is your best aspiration? What is it that you striving for when you work with these leaders?

Drew Dudley : 

I think one recognition: the title entitles you to nothing. Leadership titles are responsibilities, that ultimately leadership titles are about accountability. Like when you earn a leadership title, effectively, what it is saying is that these are the things you are responsible for making sure they happen. Now, that means that’s what your title in your position is supposed to do. Your job is how you lead in order to make sure that you live up to the accountability your position gives you. And so the focus I want people to realise is that leadership, I’d be happy if we stopped using the term leader as something that you can become, in terms of become permanently. By that mean is that right now we treat it a little bit like it’s a rag in the military, you eventually earned the title of leader. And then once you’re there, you keep it because you got there. And only if you do something truly lousy, do you have it taken away from you? Like you got Lance Armstrong, they have it taken away from him, right. And so, but otherwise, you know, you could achieve something at 22. Now you’re a leader you spend the rest of your life and not do a single leadership act. My argument is that a leader only exists when they’re demonstrating leadership. And which is interesting is because the word leader appeared 500 years, I think it was the 13th century. And I think the term leadership existed in the late, late 18th century. So there’s 500 years between the concept of the person the leader and the concept of the process. There’s, you know, people didn’t even really talk about the difference there. And we’re still dealing with that to some degree, but I want people to realise that their titles are responsibility. It isn’t an accomplishment. I say that ‘leader’ only exists when people are demonstrating leadership. When they’re actively engaged in activities that are designed to add value to some external force, this has to be part of it. Not to say that you can also be adding value to yourself in the process, but that the fundamental goal is to improve the life of at least one other person when you engage in that. And I think that, that means that if we looked at it that way, nobody gets to just be a leader. So the goal wouldn’t be to say, “Oh, well, she is a leader” It’d be, “she’s usually a leader.” She’s often a leader. And our lives are evaluated when we get the position. Like did we achieve a position. Our leadership is determined by what percentage of our lives we spend to being leaders, but it takes away this urge or this necessity to always be doing leadership things. We just acknowledged that not everyone could do it all the time. But what we evaluate is you need to evaluate your leadership by how you behave today, and that everything you’ve done in the past does not matter today. If you do not continue the behaviours that got you there. And that’s not to say that if you string a couple of days together where you don’t engage in regular leadership that, you know, that you’re not a person of worth. That’s just the way the world works. I really want leaders to realise, that they’ve been taught to evaluate their leadership over blocks of time. How did I do this semester? How did I do this year? How have I done in my five year strategic plan, you know, where am I in terms of financial compensation based on other people my age. It’s always over blocks of time. And the problem with that is that we will always expand the block of time we look at until we no longer feel like we deserve to be leaders. Like you could have a kick ass couple of months. And you know, you should feel like I was a leader these two months, but instead, you go, “yeah, but six months ago, I was doing this.” You see how you’ll always expand the time you look at until the point where you stop giving yourself credit. And I want people to realise that leadership should not be evaluated over blocks of time. Leadership is about daily behaviour. Your ordinary activities and behaviours done with extraordinary consistency, designed specifically to add value to other people in a way that’s consistent with your values. And I’m not saying it’s the only type of leadership, I’m not saying that everyone can be a CEO or President, or wants to be what I’m saying is there’s a form of leadership which we all can and should aspire. And many of the biggest influencers in terms of their position, and their accountability and the things for which they’re responsible. Many of them have skipped over that foundational piece of leadership, which is to recognise there’s a gap between the person you want to be and how you’re behaving, recognising that your responsibility that the gap exists, and then actually creating a plan to close it every day. And evaluating yourself based on how well you do that, rather than how good you look to other people. That to me is what I really want to get people I want to let a lot of people know that are making six figures that they haven’t done shit necessarily to deserve that the title of leader in the last month.

Anna Sheppard : 

100%. And I think that’s the most comforting thing, isn’t it? Looking at yourself in the mirror, and truly acknowledging the good and the bad, that’s sitting there looking back at you. With regards to those behaviours, we’re actually spending quite a lot of time looking at what are those leadership traits? What are those leadership behaviours of these successful leaders that aren’t just reset successful financially with these big, you know, bonuses coming in. But with regards to the level of respect, they gauge. If you could pick two or three traits and I know there’s many that you see again and again and again in truly conscious leaders, leaders that are respected, that make a true difference and that do operate from that place of kindness? What would you say those traits are, Drew?

Drew Dudley : 

Well, I think the first one is that we can always operate from places of kindness. Kindness is almost impossible. Sometimes honesty and kindness do not necessarily go well together. One of them has to be weighted heavier than the other. And also when you read, I love Patrick Lencioni’s work, but you really kind of have to read that in order order to truly be respectful, you can’t always be kind. You can always respect people, but there just needs to be difficult conversations. And I think the urge to be kind as leaders, I think keeps people from having difficult conversations that make them more effective as leaders more helpful to other people and more empowering. Kindness often stands in the way of empowerment, right? Because kindness is often seen as let’s not upset someone. What that often means is let’s not correct someone. Not so they behave in a way that’s better for us, but so they behave in a way that’s going to be better for them in the long term. But to answer your question directly, one of the key things that I see above all else is consistency and decision making. I think that the best leaders I know, are the ones that have a very clear set of criteria for decision making that they share with other people. These are the values they use to make decisions. Now, I think that’s important is because people will not always like your decisions and it’s annoying sometimes when people don’t like the decisions you make to them. However, people are infuriated when you’re inconsistent in how you make your decision. So when I say that the best leaders I know is they’re very clear, very transparent, they communicate constantly. These are the values that I will use when I make decisions. Because value based decision making is something most of us don’t do. Value Based decision making means identifying the values that are most important to you. And most of us have never done that. That’s a lot of my work is helping people figure out what their values are. Because we’ve never actually had defined them, but I made you say, look, English isn’t my first language, the word respect does not exist in my language. Could you explain what respect means in the simplest terms possible? Start your answer with the phrase ‘a commitment to’. So respect is a commitment to what? Integrity is the commitment to what? We love using those words to judge other people in ourselves, but most of us can’t actually define what they mean. They just sound good. They look good on corporate websites, right but they mean nothing. Value is only a value if it’s used as criteria for decision making. And the best leaders, what they do is they say, once they identify their core values, and they created this criteria for decision making, the decision making process is simple, though that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Because what you do is you look at the options available to you. You hold them up next to the values you’ve identified as core to you as a person. And you say which one of these options is most consistent with these values? And the challenges, and this is what sets leaders apart from everybody else. Is that often the option that’s most consistent with your values – sucks! It’s not the one that lets you look good. Avoid punishments. It’s not the one that allows you to take the money, remain in the job or stay in the relationship, but it’s always the decision you’re happiest you made five years from now. And I think the good leaders, what they do, the ones that really impressed me is they make decisions as if they’re, they’re gonna have to stand like they’re standing in front of a roomful of people they respect explaining the decision five years from now. They think about that in their head, and then they make that decision. And I think that, that’s very difficult because most of us don’t know the criteria we’re using to make our decisions. And for most of us, and this is me included, the criteria we use to make decisions in our lives, is which one of these options will avoid the most consequences right now. And that’s an easy way to make decisions, but it’s not one that is in the best interest of you, the people that you’re accountable to, the people you care about, and the organisations that you serve. That that’s really tough. Often, the best leadership decisions will cost you positions of influence, maybe not often, but more often than I think we wish was the case.

Anna Sheppard : 

And that’s really interesting, because I think a lot of people think of kindness as well, as as a soft thing with soft skills. But when we look at the likes of Bernie Brown, and a lot of her research and those leaders and those people that do use empathy as a leadership trait and constantly use this in abundance, the one thing they do have in common is is boundaries and making sure that they’re consistent with those boundaries so that they can sustain themselves. So that’s it’s quite interesting that you say that, but I mean, if we look at you, Drew, you’re quite an awesome character. You know, you’re really passionate about what you’re doing, you able to share quite a strong message and very firm within your boundaries yourself, which I can see this in this interaction. What tools, I mean, people are tuning in for the hacks here. So they want to know, what makes Drew continue doing, what he’s doing? What tools or support have you been using to remain conscious and self aware, in the face of adversities in your leadership?

Drew Dudley : 

Well, let me give a little background maybe and then the tip itself. For what it’s worth, one of the things, you know I’m friends with some statisticians, I’m friends with them, like one of the things you work at a university you start to become friends with just incredibly smart people. And the thing about PhDs quite often, is that they know so much about one thing. Like they know so much about very, very little. But if you have as a statistical friends, right, I wouldn’t go in the in the ocean because I’m terrified of sharks, like just mortified of sharks – won’t even go into up to my ankles. And when he called me once on it, I said, “Look, man, 90% of shark attacks have within 50 feet ashore”. And in like that your different perspective that you should surround yourself with, he goes, “That’s the dumbest statistic I’ve ever heard.” I’m like, “why it’s not true?” He goes, “yeah, it’s true. But of course, 90% of shark attacks happen within 50 feet of shore, it’s where the people are, you idiot”. Because like, he just basically told me 90% of car accidents happen on roads. He’s just like, if you know, if you spread people out over the ocean, of course that’s the case you moron. But I mean, what he also pointed out that I’m thinking about is that – everyone out there who’s facing something really, really difficult right now, how do you get through this? You get through anything. Just think of the last moment, the last challenge you faced that you didn’t get through. Like there aren’t any. Like I always try to demand specificity out of people like my friends when they’re just like, I’m not gonna do it. I’m like, tell me about the last time you didn’t make it through something. And I’m like, specifically where you did not survive it. And of course, there isn’t any. So explain to me when something has happened a total of zero times ever. Why do we convince ourselves? If you walk out the front door of your house every single day and don’t get hit in the face with a pie? How ridiculous is it to ever stop just before you go outside the door, and go “I’m pretty sure I’m gonna take a pie in the face right now”. Like there’s no statistical evidence for that. You are betting 100% on getting through the crap in your life. Now that doesn’t mean that you like how you got through it. It doesn’t mean that you’re proud of it, it doesn’t mean that you’re not carrying scars from it. But there is absolutely no empirical evidence that you will be beaten by one of the challenges in your life. And so that is something I always remember. Never ever, to quote my favourite writer, never, ever forget the battles that you have fought and won. And never, ever believe that everything happens for a reason. Because it’s one of the most dangerous things that we tell ourselves that keep us from giving ourselves credit for our strength and our perseverance. The phrase, everything happens for a reason – I get the sentiment. Right, something terrible happens. You work really hard, you’re strong. You persevere, you’re patient, and you can on the other side of this terrible thing, something good happens. And that’s awesome. And then we say, “Oh, see, everything happens for a reason”. Which immediately attributes what just happened to some grander scheme or power in the universe. And it completely discounts your strength, your perseverance and your patience to get through it. You need to give yourself credit for those because you need to remember that you use them the next time you got a challenge, right? And so that is something. I never liked it when people say everything happens for a reason, because you’re the reason. I’m not saying there’s not some great grander power in the universe. The only thing I know about God, is I know nothing about God. All right. And I do have a slight distrust for anyone who claims differently. The only thing I know is I know nothing. But that also means that I’m not going to decide anything. But whatever power is in the universe, they don’t fix your problems. They give you the patience, the strength, the perseverance, to fix them yourself, just to extend them yourself. The other thing that I do is I try to stay consistent. I think that when we get through difficult things, we are reminded in a very powerful sentence, that you’re not always in charge of what you have to do every day. You’re not always in charge of what you have to withstand every day. But you’re always in charge of who you are. Like that is the power that cannot be taken from you. It was a Man’s Search for Meaning, where, you know, you get these stories about individuals within the concentration camps. The story I always stick with is that someone was kneeling and and someone said, “How are you talking to God right now?” And he says, “I’m thanking God”. He says, like, “How on earth can you thank God like right now?” He’s like, “I’m thanking God I’m not like them.” Everything taken from you, who you are never gets to be taken from you. And for me, that means like, my work is focused on Okay, what tips or strategies do I use? The big one is, I want to make sure that every single day, I give myself evidence that I have decided to be the person I want to be, not when I have extra time. So what I do is I’ve adopted this philosophy and this is something that was developed in the book. But students helped me develop this. Imagine you every night before you go to bed. You have to prove you deserve another day on this planet. Every night before you go to bed. You have to prove you deserve another on this planet. And in order to prove it, you have to pass the test, a six question test, you’ ve got to get three of those six questions answered. But those six questions are given to you in the morning. And if that was the case, if you were given six questions, and you knew I had to get three of them, in order to get another day on the planet. The questions are non negotiable. They’re not things that you answer, when you have time, or in between answering emails or picking up the kids or doing your meetings, they would drive your behaviour. And so I have six questions tied to six core values that I want to define me as a person. Like you could take everything else away from me, but I want these six things to still be a part of who I am. And I want to be able to point to evidence every day that I actually lived up to them. So I have six questions. And I try to get those three out of six questions every day. And if I get three out of those six questions, everything else in the world could have blown up in my face. But I know that I went home at the end of the day and said, “Well, everything outside of my control screwed me, but I still I was still the man I want to be. So I don’t know how I’m going to get through this, but I will be proud of the person I am and be able to point specifically to ‘why’ when it’s all over”. And part of the reason behind that is because behavioural psychology says that an unanswered question put into your brain causes massive psychic discomfort until it is answered. And so the trick with the test, the six questions, it’s very specific, why they’re questions, because if your brain is given a question, and it does not have an answer, it will go to great lengths consciously and subconsciously, to make sure you answer them. And so all the questions are things like, what have I done today to recognise someone else’s leadership? How do I move someone else closer to a goal today? Those aren’t yes/no questions. They demand a specific act. And so ultimately, my brain is uncomfortable until I can point to a moment where I recognise someone else’s leadership.

Anna Sheppard : 

So we’re gonna we’re gonna wrap things up in a minute, but before we go, we usually do a bit of a hot seat, but I think I haven’t lead into that. For everyone to leave today, having had this time with you, Drew, what are the six questions that you want to leave them with?

Drew Dudley : 

Sure. The question should be tied to your core values. So my work is helping people. Okay, what are the values then? Here’s how you create questions associated with them. But the six questions I share in my speaking and in my book are ones that you could use right now if you want. But you’re more likely to stick to it if they reflect your your core values. But it’s the value of impact. What have I done today to recognise someone else’s leadership? It’s the value of growth. What did I do today to make it more likely someone would learn something and that someone could be you? Courage. What did I do today that might not work but tried anyway? Which is hard because we’re educated out of making mistakes. Empowerment, what did I do today to move someone else closer to a goal? Class, a commitment to treating people in situations better than they deserve to be treated? Class. When did I elevate escalate today? Elevate means trying to succeed and escalate means trying to win. And the last one is self respect. A commitment to recognise that when you’re empty, you have nothing to give, is ultimately a commitment to – what did I do today to be good to myself? That last one there. Because ultimately I just realised this like, oh, man, we don’t treat ourselves half as well as our phones, like our phone hits 10% and our entire existence becomes about charging it. But like we all go and go through life with less than 10% physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, how come if our phone hits 10% we’re, you know, irresponsible. But if we hit 10%, we’re committed to our jobs. Like I just started to realise I never treat myself with the same respect as my phone. I don’t charge myself as frequently. I don’t put an OtterBox around me and put glass over me and just, like shrug it off when it hits the ground. So those the six questions that and the six values that drive me on a daily basis Look, all day ultimately, I know we got to wrap up. But if you’re listening here, just imagine someone walked up to you and said, Hi. Why do you matter? That question, like, I’ve asked it to thousands of people, it will freak you out how few people can answer that question. They just never been asked before, and you do matter. But we hope to matter. We hope to lead and we hope to make a difference. We got a plan to matter, plan to lead, and plan to make a difference. And to me, that means saying these are the values I stand for. Leadership is identifying specific moments every day where I can say, I did this, because we know we want to be good people, we hope to be good people. But you do so many things that live up to your values usually. We just let it pass by without recognising it. And ultimately, what the leadership test is, what the questions are, what the importance of identifying values are is that it’s evidence that you matter at the end of every day. Like that’s a big difference in your life. At the end of the day, you’ve given yourself away too. Give yourself evidence that you matter, even if the world, like just gut punched you that day. And that’s, that’s how I try to stay consistent. That’s how I get through adversity. Like, I always believed in this. I’ve talked about this for ages. But you know, when the woman I love died three years ago, anyone who’s lost someone like that you just start going through this, like, what do I do now? Like this question, especially in the couple of days afterwards, you just get yourself in this loops, like, what do I do now? What do I do now? And eventually I realised that I have no version of what the future holds anymore. Because you know, you’re in love when all of a sudden you no longer have a version of the future that that person isn’t in. And you don’t even know when it happens. Just all of a sudden, there is a day where you’re like, I have not envisioned, I can’t envision a version of my future without this person. And when your future gets blown up into a million pieces, and you no longer know what the future holds, it’s so tempting to not take action in the present until you figure it out. This process that I do, and this way of saying these are my values These are my questions. At the end of the day, I’ll have evidence that I was the man I want it to be, even if I don’t have the world that I wanted around me. What it essentially does is it gives you, it tells you what you have to do today. Even if you have no idea where today’s take you or the next day will take you or the next day will take you. This, what I do is I give myself a roadmap through uncertainty. I don’t know what the future holds. But I do know that today will feature at least three moments where I’m specifically the man I want to be.

Anna Sheppard : 

Thank you so much, Drew. And I’ve got to say, having this conversation with you is one of the most authentic and real conversations I feel like I’ve had for a very long time. So thank you for showing up in that way because a lot of people don’t. And thank you for the hacks and the tips today for everybody. But also thank you for continuing and striving to make this world a better place through that honesty.

Drew Dudley : 

Thank you.

Anna Sheppard : 

Better put him in the working kind hot seat and we’re going to smash a few questions out and see what comes back. So question number one Drew, as a leader, what is the one thing you could change in the world, if you could?

Drew Dudley : 

I would get rid of Fox News? No. And look, specifically not because so much of Fox News. I would make it mandatory that all debates have to use an established set of facts. And one of the things I believe that, that what is done, is the idea that we have now moved into a post factual world. And I think that is incredibly dangerous, because it makes it very, very hard for us to actually have meaningful discussions because we’re discussing different facts, which means that both sides of a very valid and important debate are right, because they’re using their own facts. And that, to me, is dangerous. It’s very, very dangerous. And I think that Fox News specifically was systematically created to create that type of world. Because what it does, is it takes what I believe are dangerous minority opinions and manage just to keep them in power, despite the fact they’re held by a relative, but a smaller number of people than the majority. But it creates power in what I believe are dangerous minority thoughts. I get rid of Fox News that would get rid of a bunch of other stuff that I’d like to see gone.

Anna Sheppard : 

Yeah. And what do you wish you would known when you started out?

Drew Dudley : 

Travel takes training, that just sitting in chairs exhausts you. And if you’re 300 pounds, you will not be able to do it particularly well. And I wish that I had known the difference between cash flow and income. Because in my early part of my career, income was awesome. But cash flow was a problem.

Anna Sheppard : 

Okay, nice. And what has been your proudest moment?

Drew Dudley : 

Asking Anastasia, if she wanted to go out. Because I was so terrified. That was on a personal level. Actually, you know what? No, the the proudest moment was probably the second AA meeting I went to when I went up and got my chip, because I was too afraid to stand up at the first one. On a personal level, it was probably acknowledging that I was an alcoholic, and taking the the actual steps to start dealing with that. And our professional level, getting to hire my best friend into the company, to have built an organisation that was able to bring someone on that I would hope would create a better and a happier career for them. That was probably my proudest professional moment. So yeah, acknowledging my alcoholism, maybe one year to the date where I’d lost 100 pounds, the alcoholism and then getting to hire my friend.

Anna Sheppard : 

And what’s your biggest failure?

Drew Dudley : 

Working with people I knew where people lacked values, because I thought that was my problem. That as long as I acted as someone with values, then the fact that I had allowed myself to tie my career to people who live without them. To lie to myself that that was okay. And how long it took me to do that. I mean, on a professional level, it was allowing myself to work with people who did not demonstrate values that I believed in, if they’ve demonstrated at all, and on a personal level taking so long to acknowledge that I was making bad life decisions with my alcohol with denying my bipolar disorder, and and with my weight.

Anna Sheppard : 

And then final, the final one. What should we expect to see from you in the future, Drew?

Drew Dudley : 

I have absolutely no idea.

Anna Sheppard : 

Pretty much the summary of this whole conversation – is what can we do now? What can we do in this day because we can’t predict the future?

Drew Dudley : 

You can expect me to continue to try to answer those six questions daily. And you can expect me to keep taking a tip that I got a long time ago, which is five year plans are not nearly as important as five year momentum. So make your decision not based on how well it fits into plans but based evaluate every opportunity that comes your way based not on how well it fits into your plan but how well it generates momentum. Because momentum forward is far more important than even knowing where that momentum is taking.

Anna Sheppard : 

Thank you for listening to this episode of Project Good Boss. Bambuddha Group is a social enterprise, providing leadership coaching for corporate leaders, business owners and operators. We believe in a future where every leader is committed to creating a sustainable world of equality and opportunity for everyone. If you are a game changing leader, and you have an amazing story of how your business is making the world a kinder and a better place, we would love to hear from you. Visit bambuddhagroup.com or slide into our DM’s. And finally, you should know, for every paid member we have in our network, we provide scholarships to reduce inequalities in leadership and business. Thank you to Sonic Union for editing this episode, Lo Roberts for writing and performing Project Good Boss and design by Flare Creative. Thank you for being kind today. Thank you for tuning in. And we’ll see you again next time.

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