This is the third segment of the conversation I had with Libby.
In Part 3, Libby and I talk about:
- Self-awareness is key
- Libby’s Hope Theory
- Positivity for success
Libby Gill knows change. She grew up on two continents and went to eight different schools before putting herself through college waiting tables. Starting her career as an assistant at Embassy Communications, a television company founded by the legendary Norman Lear, Libby survived three mergers to emerge as head of publicity, advertising, and promotion for Sony’s worldwide television group in just five years. After her first career heading communications at media giants Sony, Universal, and Turner Broadcasting, Libby founded LA-based Libby Gill & Company, a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm. She guides individuals and organizations to lead through change, challenge, and chaos by deeply engaging employees in a shared future-focused vision of success.
In her consulting, coaching, and keynotes Libby helps her clients:
- Reframe change as an opportunity for massive growth
- Re-energize your best performers to reach their full potential
- Reinvent your corporate culture to embrace ambiguity
Her clients include Abbott Medical, ADP, Disney, Ernst & Young, Facebook, First American Insurance, Hyundai, Microsoft, Sony, Sutter Health, Viacom, Warner Bros., Wells Fargo, as well as non-profits and small businesses. A global speaker, Libby has delivered keynote presentations on three continents and in 36 US states for organizations including Acura, ADP, Bank of America, Capital One, Cisco, Disney, Honda, Intel, Kellogg’s, Marriott International, Medtronic, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, United Healthcare, Vanguard, and many more.
Libby is the author of five books, including the award-winning You Unstuck, Capture the Mindshare and the Market Share Will Follow, and Traveling Hopefully. Her latest book is The Hope-Driven Leader: Harness the Power of Positivity at Work. A former columnist for the Dallas Morning News, Libby has published book chapters and peer-reviewed articles for numerous journals and trade publications. Business leaders including Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh, Stephen M.R. Covey, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, and Dr. Ken Blanchard have endorsed her work. Currently, she is co-authoring a book about Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders with former Brigadier General and Director of the Institute Thomas Kolditz, Ph.D.
A frequent media guest, Libby has appeared on the CBS Early Show, CNN, Inside Edition, NPR, the Today Show, and in BusinessWeek, Time, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many more. Libby lives with her husband in Los Angeles and is the proud mother of two millennials sons and step-mom to a step-daughter and step-son.
Her Books: https://libbygill.com/books/
E182 – Transcript
Jason: Welcome back to the sales experience podcast. Welcome to part three of my conversation with Libby Gill. She is a force and I appreciate so much what she’s doing in the world. Focusing on positivity, leadership coaching. Make sure to subscribe to this show so you can get all the future episodes and if you haven’t, make sure you check out parts 1 and 2 of my conversation with Libby because it’s just a continuation. We’re just on this train and at the end, she’s going to share her links, make sure to check out her information and support her in whatever way you can and get support from her. She shares an interesting quiz that she has on her website that might be useful. So stay until the end and here you go. Part three.
Libby: That to me is fascinating. I started to be a marriage therapist and I grew up in a family of strengths and thought, you know, they’re just pretty nutty. I don’t don’t want to do that. There wasn’t a positive psychology back then or I would have done it, but, and so I went the other way, but I’ve always been fascinating. On the marriage of brains and the workplace, how does, how we think affect what we do and choices we make and how we act with others?
Jason: Yeah, and I think really the big key is if self awareness of who you are, most people aren’t, but even as a manager is being able to discover self-awareness for somebody else. It’s like you’re saying somebody might be on the autism scale or anxiety, they might not know it or understand what’s driving them, right? Their anxiety and their brain is driving the questions and the needing to know and needing to control everything. The manager views that as a pain in the butt, but when the managers can learn how to assess that and see it not as a way to judge and then pigeonhole people, but to see it become aware and they’ll go, okay, be empathetic to where it’s coming from first and then second, how do I get that person into the right place? Whether it’s in sales or it’s in another team within the organization based on their skill set and the way their brain works. How do I point them like a weapon? At a different thing that then makes them happy, benefits the organization, benefits the customers and so on.
Libby: Wouldn’t it be so awesome if everybody thought that way? I’ll tell you, when I was in entertainment, it was still a, you know, there’s somebody cheaper and younger than you are, so don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out. Thanks. And it really felt like that. And I did feel like I had to, you know, put on the suit of armor to go to the office every day and it was wearing, it’s changed to some degree. And once I got out of that, I saw a lot of companies where people really cared about, you know, are my people thriving? Are they growing, are they developing, do they have the right training or coaching? And that was to me was that was a revelation that was a breath of fresh air. And that’s about the point where I said, Oh, I’m going to take the skills that I had and apply them over here. And I always had a team of young green people. And my job was to, cause what we did was very labor intensive. You send somebody out to the set of, you know, law and order and married with children to babysit a news reporter for three days. I wasn’t going to do that. So you had to train these young people to become real professionals. And I love that. How do we turn them into leaders? How do we make them better at what they are? And that was the fun of it.
Jason: So let’s segue, cause this seems like a perfect place cause I really wanted to talk about one of your projects, one of your focus, which is the positivity and the power of positivity and your hope theory. And I think what’s interesting, obviously the world needs more positivity and most people feel that way, yet it doesn’t happen. There’s this weird barrier between we want it to be positive, we want our team to be excited, we want our employees to be happy and positive. Sometimes that’s where that stops. It’s just a nice thought.
Libby: Yeah, it’s kind of a, wouldn’t that be nice if, but it’s too much trouble and there’s no bottom line, a reward, which in fact I think there is. And there’s been a lot of demonstration of that. Now. I discovered this, I wrote a book called traveling hopefully years ago and it was sort of about my journey of in life and work and I grew up in a family with an alcoholic parent, a mentally ill parent. It was a Rocky road for a long time for me. And I kind of grew myself up at age 18 and the day I started by first real job working for Norman Lear’s production company, which was really cool. He’s the all in the family and all those great sitcoms. My stepmother committed suicide and so there was this huge disconnect with work and family and you know, it’s just a mess.
Libby: And so I wrote that book and it was about hope was kind of the idea of tomorrow is going to be better and I just believe that in my gut, Tomorrow is going to be better. This is a really bad day, but tomorrow is going to be better, a little better, a lot better. I don’t know, but I’m just going to keep moving forward. And that was my mantra. I was just what I believed. If you had hope and you had the right tools, so it just became hope and tools became sort of my inner mantra. And then later as I became a coach and I did tons of research and reading as I still do, I know you do as well to see what’s going on out there, you know with other thought leaders and experts and books. And I discovered hope theory, which is comes from science and comes from the medical community and positive psychology.
Libby: And it simply boils down to having a vision of the future that is lofty and ambitious and ideal, but also grounded in reality. Like, Oh we can get up here, but there will be bumps along the way. If you’re setting the bar high, it’s not going to be easy, but it is attainable. And when you can paint that picture of for people and a lot of great leaders do this. We’re going way up here, not going to be easy and the next six months or the next two years or the next whatever, we’re going to hit obstacles and we’re going to have to overcome them together because this vision is important and we’ve got that strategy that’s going to take us along. And that’s really what hope is. And the word itself comes from old English, the word hope Aeon, which means to leap forward with expectation.
Libby: And that just caught me, I just thought, yeah, that’s it. That’s it. It’s that belief. And there are some amazing studies about people that identify as hopeful, their mortality. They live longer. I mean they, they can self cure. They’ve got, and I’m not saying you can cure all diseases, but their outcomes medically are much higher because it’s not just a mind over matter, but in fact physiologically they release brain chemicals like endorphins and enkephalins things that boost their immune system and suppress pain so that they can in fact go through painful rehabs and treatments. And so it’s really fascinating what our brain can do and literally healing ourselves, making ourselves better. Can you look at those people who do, you know, swim channels and it’s like, how do you do that? Well, they believe they can do it and by gosh they do. And that’s why the mile, you know, how the mile that people run gets and sports teams, I mean, come on, I got to change all the rules in baseball and basketball because everybody’s so much better than they were a year ago or a decade ago because they’ve got, they see it and they just get better at it.
Libby: In fact, when athletes or musicians practice their sport in their heads, like you know, you’re on a piano practicing your concert or shooting free throws, the same part of your brain activates that it would if you were actually in that event.
Jason: Yeah, I mean I’ve seen that in the like, you know, reports that show MRI readings of somebody thinking about that event and how active their brain is. And it’s all that hope. And I think what’s interesting too as you’re talking about the hope and kind of the struggles in life is bumpy, but one more day, you know, tomorrow will be better. The thing that I learned and I try to remind everyone as if you’re listening to this podcast right now, I guarantee and can save for sure that you’ve survived 100% of your bad days, right? If you’re here right now in this moment, you have made it through everything that life has thrown at you so far by definition. And so you know that I love marrying that with what you’re talking about, which is you know it. Depending on what you’re going through right now, tomorrow will be better, like to hope that tomorrow will be positive.
Libby: Well, and you know Jason, I just joined the board of, this is near and dear to my heart, but of a, an organization, the nonprofit board called the DD Hirsch mental health services and they developed the first suicide prevention center and call line in the United States. They are world leaders in this and in fact they’ve done it. It’s a repository of research about mental health and suicide and they have studies about people who’ve attempted suicide. It’s almost but not succeeded. It’s nearly a hundred percent of people who say, the minute I try, I did whatever I knew it was a mistake and I wanted to live and we do have this inborn thing we want to survive. And when you can get beyond the mere survival and get to that level of, you know, the Maslow’s pyramid of self actualization and life gets really exciting, but it doesn’t get that way overnight or necessarily early. I mean it was, I was into my thirties before I even thought all this stuff was doable, but I know it was worth giving it a shot. And then life started to get fun and now it’s, you know, this is what you hope. It’s better than ever. As you grow older, things are more fun and more exciting and richer and that’s the way you want to keep going forward.
Jason: Now for people who are in sales, this is obviously a sales related podcast. They may be wondering like what the heck are you guys babbling on about with the mind and hope and positivity. But it all connects back to where we first started about which is the mindset, especially in sales because sales is 100% a mental game, right? So first you’ve got to stop running from the tigers and lions and bears that you think are chasing you when you’ve got to pick up the phone and call that person back. So you’ve got to get past that. It’s all a mental game. It’s struggle, it’s fear, it’s concern, it’s doubt, it’s self awareness. And so all of that is the hope and the positivity and knowing like, okay, I’m going to make one more call. And then I think the biggest lesson for this is is taking what you’re talking about and then tying that into the kind of the empathy and projecting out and remembering that everybody in life is going through something at this very moment.
Jason: It might be at the tail end, it might just be starting, they might be in the middle of it. I’ve been in some situations where like internally I am just on fire because stuff is exploding in my life and I’ve got to kind of set that aside in public face because that’s not person at the grocery store, you know, they don’t need me lashing out at them. Right. And hearing about it. And so as a salesperson, a lot of times I take it personal and just always remember if you’re going through stuff, everyone else is going through stuff and just do your best and make it positive and hopeful for them and everybody you’re dealing with and try to make their experience better. And which will, by default, I mean I know one of the things I heard was if you’re in a funk and you’re feeling depressed or anxious or worried about things, one of the best things to do is to go do something for somebody else and give to somebody else. And if you’re in sales, it might not seem like, okay, well I’m gonna sell somebody to make money. But like if you can give them the gift of you helping them and being a professional and consulting them in some way and helping them achieve a better situation for them, you will then get that gift in return.
Libby: You hand them the right product or service and a good experience doing it, then you’ve absolutely improved their day and your own sales people. It can be very high stress profession as you will know. So I also think you’ve got to find that repository of how do you replenish, how do you rebuild whatever it is you need to do. Cause like you said, you’re 100% on, but on your off times really nurture yourself and find whether it’s sports or fitness or spiritual, whatever it is, music that refills that so you can come back to the workplace and back into that feeling good about yourself and handling and managing that stress.
Jason: And it’s interesting because we’ve talked in the past and prior to this and there was something you had said about being an extrovert and kind of in that, especially like I think you said a situational extrovert where it’s depending on what you’re doing if you’re on stage or speaking to a group or speaking to a company. And it’s funny because I’m that same way, like with the group, I’m one way by myself, I’m different and there’s a term that I heard which is called ambivert, which is not an extrovert, not an introvert. And there’s a lot of people in sales who feel like they have to be an extrovert, but it’s not who they are. Or they can do it and then they feel bad because they’re like, otherwise they just melt into nothing. But I think it like you’re talking about that self awareness and understanding and knowing who you are in this situation and then what you need to recover and recharge your batteries and then go back out there and play the game again.
Libby: Do it again. Yeah. And just finding the joy in the little moments to this, you know? Yay. I closed the deal. I made a sale, I had a good day. There was no traffic, whatever that is that you can at the end of the day say, yeah, I did my job, I felt good about it and tomorrow’s going to be even better.
Jason: And when it doesn’t go your way, just understand like you said, tomorrow will be tomorrow could be better. Positive. That’s great. Well I, you being on the show, this has been fascinating cause I love, again, I always love talking to somebody who started out in their career in one place. Right? So you’re in media, you’re in PR. I mean that’s, you want to talk about sales, that’s some sales stuff right there because you’re, you’re the ultimate spin master. And I think, I know in another life I could’ve been in PR because that same spin that you do in sales or with products and services and management, like sometimes you’ve got to spend some really bad news in a positive way for the team. It’s all PR. And so I appreciate that. And this has been fun. Where’s the best place for people to find you? The work you’re doing reach out to you. Where’s that at?
Libby: Just go to my website, libbygill.com L I B B Y G I L L and I’ve got a really fun thing. We didn’t get to it, but I’ve got a leadership assessment if you want to see what kind of leader you are and on four different scales, we’ll see where you fall in each one and what that means. And it’s, it’s really relevant to sales folks to see. I’m this kind of a leader on this kind of a communicator. So that’s fun and always happy to hear from any of your listeners. Just shoot me an email. All my contact stuff is on my website.
Jason: Perfect. And what would be like outside of what we’ve talked about, what would be one thing you’d want to leave everyone with or have everyone focus on?
Libby: Oh, that’s such a good question. I think there’s a statement. It was the quote that I used to title my book traveling, hopefully. And it’s a Robert Louis Stevenson quote and he said to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive. And it’s just that sense of as we go through the, you know, the good and the bad and the ugly as we go through it. We’ve got to find some joy and some beauty in it and service to others. And you’re right about that. Nothing makes you feel better than that.
Jason: And when you’re joyful, not just happy, which is conditional but joyful, you can get through anything you see the best in every situation or understand that it will always get better. So thank you for that. And Libby, thanks for being on the show. Thank you. Yup. And for everyone listening, obviously we’re going to put her links in the show notes. You can go to cutterconsultinggroup.com to find that, check her out, make sure to reach out to her if you have any questions, needs check out that leadership assessment, which is great. And as always, keep in mind that everything in life is sales. And people remember the experience you gave them.