Ryan Berman author of Return on Courage

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This is a podcast episode titled, Ryan Berman author of Return on Courage. The summary for this episode is: Ryan Berman is the author of Return on Courage. "Ryan Berman, founder of Courageous, spent 1,000 days with many of the most courageous leaders and people on the planet. He went behind the curtain and learned how each of these companies operationalized courage."
Courage is in the messy middle and requires leaders to be really clear on what they stand for.
00:46 MIN
Courage is also about clarity. What makes you special? Do more of that.
00:58 MIN

Rebecca Fleetwood: (singing) Hey, this is Rebecca Fleetwood Hession host of The Badass Women's Council. And today we have Ryan Berman on the show and Ryan is the author of a book called Return on Courage. He basically spent a thousand days with some of the most courageous leaders and people on the planet and learned how each of these people and companies operationalized courage. And you know, it is the factor that makes all the difference between a striving life and a thriving life. So this conversation with Ryan, I know you'll enjoy it, it completely lit me up. And since we're talking about courage, I have women from Rise& Thrive Indianapolis courageously taking the stage on March 5th at the Cabaret Theater in Indianapolis to share their stories. So if you don't have a ticket yet, I really encourage you to jump on and do that now. All right, here's our interview with Ryan. Hey Ryan. How's it going?

Ryan Berman: It's going. It's going. You know where I live so you know what's going on out here.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Yeah, so wejust have to say it now. You're bragging about being in San Diego and I'm sitting here in the snowy Indianapolis Midwest. Not cool Ryan.

Ryan Berman: You know what? It takes courage to live in the cold, it really does. I got to tell youso I have a four year oldand a seven year old. A seven year old son, four year old daughter and I grew up on the East Coast in the Northeast, I'm very familiar with snow. And my biggest fear because we're talking about courage is having really soft children. You have to actually manufacture character building moments out in San Diego and lovingly of course you have poor me, I live in San Diego. But if I could take a like a box of tacks and like throw them across the kitchen so the kids have to actually build character, I would do it.

Rebecca Fleetwood: No, I agree. Most of my children's lives, they're now 18 and 22 we lived on 23 acres in a huge house with two lakes and everything they could ever want at their disposal. And I would say to them, don't ever forget that none of this is yours and you will live in a shitty apartment the minute you leave this place and I will let you go through the journey that we went on. And they'd be like, " What?" Like no, true.

Ryan Berman: Totally true.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Sogood stuff.

Ryan Berman: And hard to grasp until they leave the nestand they sort of see for themselves right?

Rebecca Fleetwood: Absolutely. I'm enjoying this stage of their lives because I'm a great coach. I'm better at coaching them in this stage of life than I was pretending to like Pokemon, that almost made me want to just stab myself in the eye witha fork. But the coaching adults, I'm down with that. That's good stuff. So I'm excited to talk today because we are going to talk about courage, which is something that I absolutely just... The topic is applicable in so many aspects of our lives and I love the work that you're doing to integrate it into companies and day to day work. Is that a fair representation?

Ryan Berman: Yeah, itis. Yeah. You're spot on. Yeah, it's been a fun 1000 days. That's really what it was and to be really clear and I'm sure we'll talk about Return on Courage, which is my book, but I thought I was writing a book to position a company in fish taco land, San Diego against my companies in New York and LA. And I think I'm sure being in Indianapolis maybe you feel this way too a little bit but I always felt like if some client wasgoing to pick us, we had to be better, we couldn't be even with San Francisco, New York, and LA. So to be honest, we had landed on this concept of courageous ideas are the only ones that matter. And as I started to sort of dissect that I was like, " Oh, I think this is a book." And the irony after going through the process of three years and being let in at companies like Appleand Google and Amazon, Method Soap, Harvard even Royal Caribbean was oh wow. We don't havewhat we need, this is at my last company, we don't havewhat we need to evolve ourselves. And so the irony is I wrote the book to position the company and fell in love with the work, pretty much gave me the courage to fire myself and to start over and to launch Courageous. And so now which is really all just code for like, " Oh, I wrote the book because I needed the book first."

Rebecca Fleetwood: Thathappens a lot.

Ryan Berman: Sowhen you face yourself on that conversationyou're like, " Okay, I need to fix myself. Let me fix myself." And coming outof the service business, 20 years in the business taking that phone call I shouldn't take maybe biting my lip with a client. Well maybe I shouldn't have sort of surrendered on the wrong idea. Maybe surrender yourself1% of the time for 20 years, you look back at it all andyou're like, " Okay, I don't want to do that anymore." Andby the way, I'm only hurting everybody. I'm hurting myself. I'm hurting my clients. So I think when you call your company courageous, it's also says who you're not for. Don't go to iterative. com you're notgoing to find anything on us and just sets the tone outof the gate the right way.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Well, I want to dig into this. The work that I'm doing is helping mostly high achieving women uncover their unique gifts and talents so that they can courageously bring them into their business or the community or their families. Butit's really what I call stand talland tell your story, which I think is directly aligned with what we're talking about here. And so as you went through this journey and tell us a little bit more about that. So you just knock on the door to Apple and say, " Hey, Iwant to talkabout courage." What does that even look like to do the discovery part of this?

Ryan Berman: Yeah it's a long drive to Apple, I didn't know if they were going to answer the door. So I described the research process as the three B's. There's the brave, there was the bullish and there was the brainiac. And the brave side I had a chance to sit with Navy seals and astronauts, tornado chasers, firefighters who were there at 9/ 11, army infantry men an astronaut and I just wanted to understand their higher calling purpose. Because it'll almost always superseded the fear of pain that could potentially come with it. On the bullish side, it was leaders like I said, Apple, Google, Method, all the companies I mentioned. And the fascinating thing was I wasn't paying them, they weren't clients, just they got word of the project that I was working on and to use your language, we're standing tall on their stories, they were confident in their stories. They weren't trying to be perfect, they were at peace with all their stories. So they were able to understand courage and how that played in there companies. Now, I do find it fascinating that many of the largest companies on the planet are also the most agile. That to me was fascinating. So as we all sort of chase this quest for relevance in our own way, some of these big companies like Amazon, like Apple have continued to figure out ways to stay agile and relevant. So that was interesting to me. And then the third B was the brainiac. So Cambridge PhDs, Oxford scholars, immunologists, clinical psychologists who are helping cancer families, just cracking ourselves open and really understanding the decision making process. I'm an observationalist, I went to television radio school, I had zero clue how we're wired and was curious to understand like what's really calling the shots here? And you throw all that in the soup and you come out the other side with a method to teaching people how to be more courageous. And I think we confuse a careless move, an impulsive move with a courageously calculated move. And so all I was trying to do was to give my audience the tools to know, again, to use your language because I like weaving how to stand tall on your story. And the big aha moment was wow, courage is not a cherry on top or an after the fact idea. Courage something that's needed in the messy middle of decision making it is completely a journey word. Meaning there's some decision and you're not sure how you should operate and you're scared and you run through all those different variables, the corridors. But really to me that's when you need courage. And what I found myself saying is if you don't know what you stand for, you'll never knowwhen to take a stand. And if you're in a business, the difference between that careless move And the courageous move is how clear you are. And we are living in this cloudy time, There is a clarity epidemic and so I think havingthe courage to understand why you're making the moves that you're making I mean ultimately If courage, the journey word landing on something meaningful is the destination. And my job I think is to help people find that clarity and it starts on the inside. There's no North star. It's something on the inside of you. And again, like I said, all I did was go on the journey that I needed to go on for myself and get myself strong and myself whole before I ever could help some other business.

Rebecca Fleetwood: I love this. Oftentimes I'm working with entrepreneurs, coaching and/ or business consulting, and sometimes they'll come to me with a really great strategy or idea and it could be very innovative, just something theyneeded to do. And my first question is do you know why you're doing this? Because it's going to get hard, there's going to be times whenit's going to completely suck and if youdon't know why you're doing it from a really deep, meaningful place, you won't have what it takes to get through thesuck.

Ryan Berman: Yeah, totally. And again that space is just where courage is needed. So however we want to say it, it's again, and by the way the only thing for certain that I know because as business time changes, business changes is that we're all starved for time. So the other ironic sort of outcome of all of this is if I could give you the clarity to pick up time, why wouldn't you take it? And to me, if we already know that if we believe that courageous ideas are the only ones that matter, then why would you ever do anything that'sjust going to blend in with the rest? That means you have to have the courage to find a differentiated message and again, if you started a business, I'm sure you have that feeling on the inside, you're passionate about why you think you're the perfect person to bring this forward. And so if I can give you more clarity on that, that makes you special. By the way, the word special I think has gotten like a terrible rap recently. You'll think about it's a special on the menu. If it was that special, it'd be on the menu allthe time. It's likeif you're that good at it wouldn't you want to be known for that special thing? And I think in businessyeah, the goal is what makes you special? Do more of that and double down on that and I think again, the process that I think both of us are adhering to is helping companies find that thing that makes them special.

Rebecca Fleetwood: I tend to refer to it as unique becauseand Iagree with you and I hadn't thought about the special I'm going to use that totally, that's really good. And I find that where companies and people can get hung up is when you are stepping out to be unique that's kind of a lonely place sometimes because people want to compare you to something else to see if you're valuable or irrelevant. I know when I launched a couple pieces of my business, it was a very unique way thatI was doing it and people would hear it and they'd give me that little dog head tilt like she might be crazy or this might work. And so you've got be willing to stand in that space where it feels really lonely because if nobody's doing what you're doing, you're like, " Oh shit, this might not go well."

Ryan Berman: Yeah. And again, I think if I could help you quiet that voice and keep you on your path because you know, I mean-

Rebecca Fleetwood: We have a name for her, we have a name for that voice. It's toher because this is the Badass Women's Council so it's a her voice. We call her the little bitch in our head. So about the time that things we're getting ready to step out into that sea of uncertainty to do that thing, whatever it is. She starts to be like, I don't knowif we should do that. I don't knowwhat's.... And so what we tell each other here is we just put her in the passenger seat with a seatbelt and a snack, shedoesn't get to drive. She's always going to be with us but she doesn't get to take the wheel.

Ryan Berman: So let's be transparent with your audience that you and I this is the first time we've met, right?

Ryan Berman: Butwe

Ryan Berman: did have a nice little 15 minute chat before and we were like, well, should we cover this? Should we not cover that? So one of the things we didn't cover, butI going to sort of leak here is I am working on sort of a second book right now and I wouldn't bring it up if it wasn't for like what did you call it?

Rebecca Fleetwood: The little bitch in our head. I'm going to trademark that, so don't use it inyour book Ryan.

Ryan Berman: No, it's all you. I'm all for throwing you some props though-

Rebecca Fleetwood: Let's do it.

Ryan Berman: Give you a little bit of love. And so basically to be fair the same thing that happened here happened to me with Ret Power, do you know Ret?

Rebecca Fleetwood: I don't.

Ryan Berman: Yeah. Ret Power has another podcast and I was going on his show and it was one of those things where we ended up speaking for an hour before we even recorded. And he feels very passionately about courage like you do and it turned into, well why don't we do something together? And sowhat we realized is that little voice in your head, whatever youwant to call it, is constantly dueling against yourself. And so the bookis going to be called the Two Yous. And again, we have the negative you, negative self talk, you versus the positive self talk to you. And it's the constant battle of the two universes. So I will absolutely quote you in the book on miss bitch or Mrs bitch, I don't know you got to tellhim.

Rebecca Fleetwood: She can be single or married I don't really care but yeah.

Ryan Berman: Dr. Bitch.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Dr. Bitch, I like it. And I love that you bringing that as its own topic because that in my experience in working with clients, that's really right above food, water and safety and the basics of life. Thenext stage up on the continuum is we got to learn how to deal with thatpositive and negative view.

Ryan Berman: Yes. And to me again, so we're about six months out so yeah, it really is leaking way too early but I do think to your point, in the spirit of helping people... Like imagine you had a piece of paper, you drew a line down the middle andon the left side in all caps you put the word WORRIER andon the right side and all caps, you put the word WARRIOR. And what I've seen is that sometimes the worrier never gets to the warrior. It's like a muscle, the more the worrier muscle grows, the more we're driven by fear and the more that voice takes over. But the warrior still listens to the worrier, there's a third W called the wanker that's there's no self talk happening there. But the warrior basically understands what the worrier is going through and still goes through anyway tobe the warrior that they are. And so to me that's sort of the premise of the book is helping you minimize the negative self talk. And being a guy that wrote a book about courage, again, it's very much in line with, well how do we quiet all the bad parts of our central nervous system? And again, what I talk about is combating it with what I call your central courage system. And if you can develop a central courage system, to train your central nervous system, which is just there to keep you safe, it's not trying to hurt you. Then you actually have a shot to do courageous things in this world and to break through. So that's the idea.

Rebecca Fleetwood: And that whole concept of just rewiring that as a pattern and as a habit. I'll give you a personal example. I grew up in a family of worriers the left side of the column and it was a badge of honor to be worried about in our family. And so we had used the word worry synonymously with love. So if my mother and my grandmother wasgoing to talk to you, they would say, I'm worried about you, which is really how they loved you. And I saw what it was doing, their health, I saw whatit was doing to the way that they saw their lives and it was taking over their lives and I made the conscious decision not to dothat and went into that warrior mode, the other side of the column. And it was not rewarded by my mother and my grandmother for some time. I will just say, and when I would refuse to use the word worry, they thought, " Well, she doesn't love us. She doesn't care about us. She isn't one of us." So it was a really fascinating time in my late twenties when I was standing up for myself not to be a worrier. But then they caught the vision that it actually was serving me really well. So I like being right so that was good too. But it's fascinating what we become accustomed to in our lives.

Ryan Berman: Yeah. Well look, again, we're back to that lonely place because your institution called your family is, they can't comprehend your version of logic.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Truestatement.

Ryan Berman: Untilthey can down the line. And so one of my favorite quotes, it's an Arthur Schopenhauer quote, philosopher from the 17th century and he's like, " All truth passes through three stages. First it's ridicule second, it's wildly opposed, third, it's deemed self evident."

Rebecca Fleetwood: I love.

Ryan Berman: And there's like, where's the celebration part where you said, " Okay, you were right, good for you for going," and rarely do we get that. I mean, to me the quote itself is more like you have to be at peace trusting your own inner voice. Youhave to be at peace trusting your own process to getting to decision making and it sounds like you're way ahead. I mean to me that wasnot the case Imean, I was Maslow driven. Someone once said to me, it takes you 40 years to figure out who you areand the next 40 to be that person. And the book came around right around then for me when I'm like, oh, okay, oh wow, okay, this makes sense for me. I'm at peace with the journey I'm on I want to keep going, see where this thing takes me."

Rebecca Fleetwood: No,I think that's accurate. I left my corporate job when I was just about to turn 50, and it was that sense of, you know what? I only haveit a certain amount of number of years left to do all this stuff I've been dreaming about. I might as well just fricking try it. I've got a 401k and roof over my head, let's just see what happens.

Ryan Berman: Yeah that's to box inaudible

Rebecca Fleetwood: Let's talk about the how of courage because that was one thing we talked about before we started recording and I love this idea of there's been a lot out there about find your why. And I refer to him as my boyfriend, Simon Sinek, which isn't actually a fact, but ifyou put enough things onto the universe who knows what's going tohappen. So he has really talked about why to the point that it's just a normal conversation now, but what you said earlier was but how do we live that why? Talk more about that, that'sfascinating to me.

Ryan Berman: Yeah. And again I got to give Simon credit fast fact I was fortunate to start my career, Simon and I actually worked together in the same company way back when in New York.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Oh so you workedwith my boyfriend? SO we can do introductions.

Ryan Berman: Yes. Well I'll work yes. On thatall my free time I will make sure that happens.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Thanks Ryan you'rea good crosstalk

Ryan Berman: And soI mean he's exactly right. I mean, like you said, it's become second nature for us to talk about your why at least inthe business sense. And so it's not to knock that, but it's like we spent all of this time on our why and okay you have your why now what? Where's the how? Who's going to hold my hand step by step through the how on howwe actually executed this? Now look, I wish I could say that when I was starting this process I saw thatand I didn't see that I was just going along my own path, my own journey. And it started by really having a complicated conversation with myself on the existing definition of courage. Which is if you actually look at the dictionary definition of courage, it's the ability to do something that frightens one. I don't know about you but that doesn't sound like something Iwant to do. It's like pull 100 people, please step forward I'm taking a step back. And I wanted, andby the way that's a difficult conversation to when youthink about it. Who am I to critique the dictionary? That's a bit presumptuous to be like, " Idon't think this definition is right dictionary, Webster." So the first six months of my research of my interviews was really like, could I come up with a better definition of courage that help helped you recognize a courageous moment in real time? So I came outthe other side with the process, the definition it's a bit algebraic, it's three basic tiers. There's knowledge plus faith plus action equals courage. And you're never going to have, andby the way, I don't thinkdata is knowledge, I think data is a means to knowledge. But then again, you're nevergoing to have every bit of knowledge you need to make a call in business, which is why we need faith. Faith in a sense it's not like the religious version of it, it's the intuition version of it. It's how do I feel about this on the inside? And usually when your knowledge goes up, hopefully your faith goes up too. Andthen it's all for nod if you don't take action, if you don't leap. So it has to be all three that's the irony, is two or three in any direction is not courageous. So knowledge and faith without action is paralysis. How often have you known what you should do, it feels it's the right thing and for whatever reason you can't pull the trigger? Meanwhile you're getting passed by a competitor or even like you stated Rebecca, how long did it take you before you were like, okay, I'm going to go, no regrets. I'm going to take action on this now it's time. 401k, roof over the head, I'm going action time. So I thinkthat knowledge and faith and no action paralysis. What I've learned is that faith and action without knowledge is reckless. So how often have youjumped and you have no insight on the matter and you're leaping and it's like, well, maybe you should have done a little homework. Yeah, someone's already doing that idea it's called Netflix, whatever the idea might be. Anddo you really have the knowledge to make that call? And then what I've learned is that knowledge and action without faith, if you're numb on the inside, if you're just going through the motions on the inside, you're probably working on status quo, you're working on safe. If there's no little voice that's going, this is a little crazy. I'm not sure right now. I'm mortgaging my by my future. That little voice actually, is just an emotional data point that you're probably doing something courageous. You're probably on your path to doing something that could be meaningful. So yeah, it has to be all three knowledge, faith and action. So then the question becomes well, which knowledge should I be following? How do you actually build faith? And then once you have that, where did you take action as an individual and entrepreneur or as a team? And then in return on courage, the front half of the book, the way it's written, it's really the why now. why now of all thingsdo I feel we need courage and it's really looking at the statistical realities of companies and leaders that are not doing very well and are having a hard time taking action. Then the mid point of the bookis a three page chapter called break glass before emergency, you actually need to know how to do it before you need it. And then the back half is how, and I never thought in a million years that I would be a method guy and here I am with a method to teaching people how to be courageous. I always say you're somewhere on a spectrum between a coward brand and a courage brand and if Ican help you transform into a courage brand, well there was a priceto becoming a courage brand. If it was easy, everyone would do it but also price is my acronym, it's the five steps to becoming a courage brand. It stands for prioritize, rally, identify, commit and execute. And prioritize through values, rally believers are the organizational health steps. Identify fears, commit to a purpose and execute your action or what I call the courageous business steps. You actually don't get to those three steps, you don't pass go if you don't get the organizational health stuff figured out. And then in the book each letter gets a chapter andI'm just sharing what I learned from all those companiesthat I interviewed. And now yeah I get to go around the country and workshop this and do keynotes and try to help companies get the clarity that they need to make decisions.

Rebecca Fleetwood: I love this because for a lot of reasons, but one is that theapplicability is pick up the book as an individual for whatever context you need it. But you're also taking it out to work with teams and organizations and you can impact entire communities that way and that's the scale that I appreciate.

Ryan Berman: Well, you nailed it. And again like I said this wasn't the intention and the further you go down what is a business but the shell of people? I mean, that's all businesses. So you how youcan make a better business? You make clear people. If I can make a clear leader, andby the way, leader doesn't mean CEO. Leader is look, if you're listening to this bravo, if you're listening to this there's something in your life that you're working towards. You've made that commitment, you're hoping to extract some knowledge or inspiration from this conversation and the goal is to continue to build on that knowledge and inspiration to push yourself forward. And I will say this, and I think this is a captain obvious moment as a guy that spent a career in the branding and marketing arena. So as a storyteller, but if every business has the potential to be a brand, then every person whether they it or not also is a brand. And your personal brand, I mean if you're being judged by somebody sorry, that's our reality then you have a reputation and it's even the right reputation or it's not what you thought. But if you actually ask people to rattle off their personal core values, treat themselves a brand they couldn't do it. And again, for the last 18 months I've been going around the country asking raise yourhand ifyou can rattle off your personal core values. So my challenge to you're listening base to start is please email me, I will gladly share it with you. I will send you a personal core values assessment. Can I drop the email address is it cool?

Rebecca Fleetwood: Yeah please.

Ryan Berman: Okay, so ryanberman@ couragebrands. com. I will send this to you, put in the hard work to understand why you're wired the way you are because once you have clarity on yourself, again, you're going to pick up so much time. And even the people you spend your time withno you can't do this with your family by the way, you can't cut out people that, well they're my family member but our values aren't aligned. Maybe don't do it there but-

Rebecca Fleetwood: There's ways to mitigate the consequences of those relationships that we can talk about it another day.

Ryan Berman: But just again, I think what I use it as is a tool to how do I spend my time when I'm deciding on a project? My number one core value is playfulness. So I take my work seriously, butI don't take myself that seriously and I do really well with people that like to play. Yeah, when it's time to do the work we're goingto do the work, but with my short time on this planet I want to have fun doing it. I want todeal with people that make me better, which plays to my fourth value of excellence. So I can't explain why I want greatness, I can't explain why Iwant to help other people be great. When you live a mile from the beach it's hard tonot just chill out at the beach and be lazy, but that'sjust not the way I operate. And again, it's just not the wayI'm literally wired and so if I can help you get clear on why you're wired the way you are, it'sgoing to help you make decisions in your life and who to surround yourself with.

Rebecca Fleetwood: I love that I have an experience called Rise& Thrive where I take seven female leaders through a seven month experience. And the first two to three months of that experience is them discovering their uniqueness and their values and just getting really clear on their personal brand so that they can bring that in a I would even say courageous way into their companies. And so I call it the intersection of your personal story and the company's story. That's a sweet spot. If you're trying to be a different person at work than you are at home, peace out that's not going to work. And evento the point where somebody says, well, I'm not even sure what to post on my social media, am I posting about me or my posting about the work I do? Andthen I go, we need to talk because there needs tobe some overlap there if you're going to be great at what you're doing for your career.

Ryan Berman: Yeah. I'm usually again when I get a chance to talk to maybe collegiates or 20 somethings looking for a job. I'mlike, you're not looking for a job, you're looking for a mentor. What have you changed that process and you're interviewing them because otherwise that this isexactly the outcome ofyou're in a culture that doesn't fit your personality. If you can't be yourself andby the way, this is going to change there is no doubt when you look at the generations this up and coming generation has zero interest in putting their head down for 30 yearsand working for a watch, they don't need a watch.

Rebecca Fleetwood: An amen finally. The industrial age model of school and work has long outrun its usefulness, it should have dieda long freaking time ago. So amen. I'm glad it's on its way out.

Ryan Berman: So if you could drive that for you and design a life where you're working at a company that values the things that you value, you're so spot on. And again, bring your full self to work and if you can't, that's probably a data point thatyou're in the wrong place. And as scared as you might be that you think you're never going to find another job, there's plenty of jobs it's just trying to slow the process down to find the rightthings for you.

Rebecca Fleetwood: And I talkabout that as the difference between striving andthriving. So striving is the external validation of who you are. Thriving is when I can bring my uniqueness into a role that I have value and relevance and I get paid well for it that's what we're all looking for it. Right?

Ryan Berman: Yeah.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Andit's fascinating. I remember this when I left my corporate job, I'd been there for 19 years. I had all the glass trophies, I had sold$ 35 million for these people my personal brand and their brand was really woven together. And that last, when I gave that notice that day I sat down at my kitchen counter and I thought, " Shit, who am I without that?" And it was this stark realization that I was never going to let that happen again. And that's become a big part of the work that I do to make sure that anybody, even if you leave a job or you retire, you still have uniqueness that has value and relevance and let's just figure out where to go put it next.

Ryan Berman: Yeah. I can't imagine that you're alone on that. This concept of identity really and you strip away all the stuff thatcomes with the work even if you are there to build it by the way for them. Andthen you're like, okay, what matters most to me?

Rebecca Fleetwood: Yeah, for sure. SoI love this that you have the framework, I'm going to go back to the book because I really want people to jump in and buy this book and be able to getthat how of building courage. So when you look across this aspect, I also love that you differentiate between data and knowledge because I believe that knowledge is data with context and story. And if you just take data without that context and story, you can screw up a lot of stuff and unintentional consequences so I love that differentiation. So if you take all of this and you distill it into saying to us whowe're about to read this book, what's the one thing that's going to surprise us most or challenge us most out of everything we're going to encounter when we get there?

Ryan Berman: Well, I think the thing that's most surprising is that companies are perishing at an all time rate. I mean thisis the non touchy feely reality, but you've got 52% of the fortune 500 since 2000 that are gone. So imagine the way I to visualize that I'm in a room witha hundred people and you make half of them stand up. Then you're like, these were the best companies in our country and they're no longer. 20 years, two decades, thanks for playing. That number isgoing to not only hold, but it's dropping. So the life expectancy of a fortune 500 brand which used to be 75 years is now 12 years. John Chambers, outgoing CEOs of Cisco predicts all companies will be dead in seven years, excuse me, 40% ofour companies will be dead in seven years. And so I use statistics because people don't think the statistics are for them. So I think that to me I'm trying to shake the audience, just imagine one second and I wish there was a better metaphor, but that your business has cancer. And no one thinks that they're going to get cancer, we see the statistics, but we don't think that we'll get thatand we don't think our business would get cancer. But if the insights could talk in some businesses it would already tell you that the toxicity was spreading across the culture. So youhave a couple of choices. For some people it's the victim card, poor me and other people are like, okay, what steps can I take to get this brand healthy, this business healthy? And yeah, guess what, just like for real cancer patients I actually went tospeak to oncologists about this. Who you surround yourself with, what you eat matters, doing exercise matters, all these different things to get your brand healthy, do matter. But if you do nothing, if you just or you it then yeah, guess what you're in trouble. So the backup title for the book by the way, which I think was too narrow it was too marketing was called Willing Courage Brands. And I love the word willing because tome it means are you open to the idea of something else? Are you willing to listen to another point of view? And then once you buy in, will you will something to be successful? Willyou will it through? Do actually have the grit to power through? So again, I love Return onCourage's a title because it talks about the KPI. ROC is how you maximize your ROI. I do think any business being or brand can return onthe courage platform, but I do love this relationship with willingness and seeing something through. So I think again, and the cover is a key hole with a lion behind itand I can't unlock it for you. So I think the biggest surprise is if you unlock it, I promise you there are multiple things in here that can help you. Even the way the back half of the book is written after the chapter there's worksheets so you can run yourself through these different exercises andstart to get yourself strong. And again, I think the other big is the importance of conviction, so you've got to get yourself strong and you can't convince yourself, if you don't believe it's hard to inaudible to believe you know what I mean? Once you'rea fake believer, it's hard to become a believer. So don't lie to yourself. If you find yourselfin that situation, take action on following that little voice inside because he or she probably knows best.

Rebecca Fleetwood: I love that. And what would we anticipate we will feel, know, do as a result of going through that process in the book. So to say, I'm going to be more courageous what are some examples that people have told you that they've experienced as a result of doing this work?

Ryan Berman: Yeah, that's a really good question. I mean for one what I'm hearing from the leaders of companies is that people are actually willing to follow them. And I think that again, the irony here is if you won't follow yourself, start there. But once you have conviction for a point of view, what happens is the right people stick around and the wrong people whoare the headaches anyway move on. I talk about I have a gripe with the word leadership by the way. I mean obviously we need leadership, but I think poor leaders turn leadership into cheerleadership and they start inaudible to their staff andthat might work with 10% of your staff but your high producers see right through the BS. So again, as a writer I make up words so I liked the word believership. And I think the sole goal of the believership, and it's not one person leading and everybody else following but of the believership is to make believers in all directions. So make believers outof your team, make believers outof your staff, make believers out of customers, prospects if you're a public company, and make believersof out maybe your board. And I think you even make believers or fake believers and fake believers don't wear a tee shirt around the office that says fake believer. They just nod and smile and collect the paycheck and when you turn around they mess with your culture. And again, fake believers are not bad people at the core, they should just go find something they believe in it. And maybe you have somebody super talented on your team right now that's a fake believerand it's going to hurt you in the long run. So I'd rather have someone that was a believer that has some ceiling for growth than a high producer that's messing with my culture. Any dayof the week I'd take someone that's a believer over that.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Anda believer would be someone that would be more willing to innovate and help solve problems outside of the normal confines, right? Whereas the word leader sometimes can insinuate that I have to wait for permission or make sure it's in alignment with whatmy boss said.

Ryan Berman: Correct.And again, by the way, if you get your values, even in corporate level, if you get the values right then what those should be your guard rails, that is your permission to experiment.

Ryan Berman: Right.

Ryan Berman: Because even if it's an experiment gone South, at least I understand the rationalization for why you tried. All right well look under this core value, we thought that here was the learning from it. We're moving forward. So again, we're back topicking up time.

Rebecca Fleetwood: And I love that example. One of the things I always did as a leader was if things didn't go well, I would just ask for the context. Tell me what was the context in that decision? Because maybe there's information out there that I didn't have that maybe I would've done it differently once you give me the backstory.

Ryan Berman: Yeah. I mean context is everything, right? So context is king, context is queen, Iwould say context erases by the way, because if Ican get you to Simon Sinek, would youtake it?

Ryan Berman: Okay.

Rebecca Fleetwood: All

Rebecca Fleetwood: damn day.

Ryan Berman: So-

Rebecca Fleetwood: This will be sofunny to my regular listeners because I literally weave this into probably 75% of my podcasts. I'm watch the power of the universe take over here. You may laugh at me now, it's only funny until it works.

Ryan Berman: Yeahno question.

Rebecca Fleetwood: It's only crazy until it works I should say.

Ryan Berman: You're taking action on a strategy so I like it.

Rebecca Fleetwood: So I would love for you to come back when you get the Two Yous books done, I'd love to help with that. I think you and I we could sit and just talk about topics for hours and days and days and days. So I am going to get all of the links out so people can go buy this book, but I do want to touch on something before we head out today. You were just on the phone with a company here in Indianapolis that's near and dear to a lot of our hearts. Doyou want to share anything that you'redoing there?

Ryan Berman: Yeah, sure. So mycompany is called Courageous we again, anywhere where change needs to happen andby the way, sometimes that changes is a culture change, sometimes it's a story change, which is what this was for or an innovation change. And right now we're working with the NFL and see there's entertainment to announce there. Caesar's Entertainment is it official sponsor now of the NFL which tells you how, talk about change things are changing with the Raiders moving to Vegas. But I'm working on just sold a commercial in concept to both groups and we're talking to a few Colt super fans about coming out to Vegas and being in the commercial. So I think one of them is actually called Colt Superfan and another one is Legion of Blue and we're going to hopefully have your Colts properly representedin a commercial that should be running during the NFL draft. So maybe leave that part outof your marketing, but if you made it this far into the show that's awesome and I'm excited to meet a few of those super fans that cheer on your Colts.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Excellent. Well if you get to Indianapolis, make sureyou look me up so we can continue this conversation, it's been crosstalk I've really enjoyed it.

Ryan Berman: And I am serious I think do me a favor and just permission to send me an email rant because I will absolutely add that in the book assuming you're into it.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Yeah.

Ryan Berman: I just think it's so spot on with what we're talking about and it's just being conscious and intentful of like, " Oh, when do I allow this voice to just swallow me up or when can I can control the voice?" It's a little Jedi, frankly. So yeah, write it up, send it over we'll find a place for it.

Rebecca Fleetwood: Love it. Love it. Thanks so much. Everybody go buy the book.( singing) Thanks for listening. I know by now you've Googled Ryan and purchased his book as I did. So thank you for that and I'd love to hear your thoughts and how the book impacted you as a result of his interview here on the podcast. Okay y'all, get your tickets. I'll see you Thursday night at the Cabaret Theater. Standtelling your story. Be there.( singing)


Ryan Berman is the author of Return on Courage.  "Ryan Berman, founder of Courageous, spent 1,000 days with many of the most courageous leaders and people on the planet. He went behind the curtain and learned how each of these companies operationalized courage."