The Path To Leadership

Crafting Connections and Amplifying Leadership Voices with Rich Bracken

March 12, 2024 Catalyst Development Season 1 Episode 25
Crafting Connections and Amplifying Leadership Voices with Rich Bracken
The Path To Leadership
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The Path To Leadership
Crafting Connections and Amplifying Leadership Voices with Rich Bracken
Mar 12, 2024 Season 1 Episode 25
Catalyst Development

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Immerse yourself in an invigorating exploration of emotional intelligence with Rich Bracken, my extraordinary guest whose zest for life is matched only by his expertise in leadership and personal growth. We traverse the contours of Rich's eclectic career and discuss how emotional intelligence isn't just a buzzword – it's a transformative force that Rich has harnessed in his own life and now advocates for in others. Our chat will leave you inspired, armed with practical insights for applying emotional intelligence to your day-to-day challenges, whether you're leading a team or just looking to level up your personal development game.

Ever wondered what it's like to be on a game show with celebrities? Rich Bracken shares his electrifying experience on "The $100,000 Pyramid," giving us a front-row seat to the glitz, the strategy, and the sheer thrill of the spotlight. But it's not all glimmer and fame; our conversation takes a purposeful turn as we spotlight the art of impactful communication. From tackling imposter syndrome to enriching lives through genuine connections, Rich's stories and strategies resonate with anyone aiming to leave their mark – whether on a grand stage or in a one-on-one meeting.

As we draw our conversation to a close, we reflect on the essence of leadership and how it's magnified when we empower others, especially women in leadership roles. The exceptional richness of this episode lies not just in the stories shared, but in the anticipation of new collaborations and the promise of growth. Rich and I are excited about what's brewing with Talent Smart and the potential ripple effect of our united passions. Get ready to be energized and equipped to pave your own Path to Leadership with wisdom gleaned from one of the most dynamic voices in the field.

Connect with Rich: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rich-bracken/

www.richbracken.com

Follow Catalyst Development on LinkedIn @catalystdevelopment, @drkatieervin, @jennascott, @emmablankenship

www.cdleaders.com

Theme music by Emma Jo https://emmajo.rocks/

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Immerse yourself in an invigorating exploration of emotional intelligence with Rich Bracken, my extraordinary guest whose zest for life is matched only by his expertise in leadership and personal growth. We traverse the contours of Rich's eclectic career and discuss how emotional intelligence isn't just a buzzword – it's a transformative force that Rich has harnessed in his own life and now advocates for in others. Our chat will leave you inspired, armed with practical insights for applying emotional intelligence to your day-to-day challenges, whether you're leading a team or just looking to level up your personal development game.

Ever wondered what it's like to be on a game show with celebrities? Rich Bracken shares his electrifying experience on "The $100,000 Pyramid," giving us a front-row seat to the glitz, the strategy, and the sheer thrill of the spotlight. But it's not all glimmer and fame; our conversation takes a purposeful turn as we spotlight the art of impactful communication. From tackling imposter syndrome to enriching lives through genuine connections, Rich's stories and strategies resonate with anyone aiming to leave their mark – whether on a grand stage or in a one-on-one meeting.

As we draw our conversation to a close, we reflect on the essence of leadership and how it's magnified when we empower others, especially women in leadership roles. The exceptional richness of this episode lies not just in the stories shared, but in the anticipation of new collaborations and the promise of growth. Rich and I are excited about what's brewing with Talent Smart and the potential ripple effect of our united passions. Get ready to be energized and equipped to pave your own Path to Leadership with wisdom gleaned from one of the most dynamic voices in the field.

Connect with Rich: 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rich-bracken/

www.richbracken.com

Follow Catalyst Development on LinkedIn @catalystdevelopment, @drkatieervin, @jennascott, @emmablankenship

www.cdleaders.com

Theme music by Emma Jo https://emmajo.rocks/

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Hi everyone, welcome back to the Path to Leadership. I am so excited for my guest today. We met gosh it's probably been about a year ago and so much of the work that you do and I do align beautifully, so I'm excited to introduce everyone to you. Hey, rich, how are you?

Rich Bracken:

Wonderful Katie. How are you?

Dr. Katie Ervin:

I'm good. I'm good, I'm full of energy, as we were kind of talking before, I've just I've had a really great day of talking to some really cool people and I'm excited to have this conversation as well.

Rich Bracken:

Well, I'm sorry to stop the streak of cool people at me, but we'll, we'll progress and have fun, no matter what.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Are you kidding? Give me a break. If anyone knows you or don't know you and as soon as they, you know, connect with you, they're going to be like how'd she get that cool guy on there?

Rich Bracken:

Well, I appreciate that. I will say my life is as random as my background, so we will. We will definitely have fun in this conversation, for sure.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

I am with you. I am with you. So, before we jump in and as I told you before you know Lord knows where this conversation is going to take us, because both of our energy. But before I go down this wild path, can you tell everyone a little bit about who you are and what you do?

Rich Bracken:

Sure, my name is Rich Bracken and I am a keynote speaker, executive coach and consultant for organizations and do some fractional CMO work. My company, unstoppable Solutions, is now gosh six months in its origin, so I'm really excited. It started late last year and here we are. I get to travel the country and speak globally on topics like emotional intelligence, leadership, resilience, and it's a lot of fun because I get to talk, but at the same time I've got one presentation where I get to bring in my DJ background, so I guess I am kind of cool, but it is a lot of fun. It's a fun service job and I love helping people out. That's why I do what I do.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, it's so cool and I love I know just a little of your career journey from the last time we spoke, but can you share with everybody kind of your journey and how you got to where you are today?

Rich Bracken:

Sure, yeah, you know my history and my career has really focused on sales, marketing, business development and client service. So everything and I will say that my career journey from an industry standpoint and title standpoint, is probably about as random as my life resume, as it's random as my background as well. So I've been in medical sales, I've been in casino marketing I was the global director of marketing for Payless Shoes but most recently, for the past 10 years or so, off and on, I have been working in the legal environment, and so that is where I started my journey down the knowledge of emotional intelligence, because, I will say, as competitive as I am and as driven as I am for success, not only for me but for my organizations, I was not taking care of myself and I was burning the candle at both ends, and I think you know anybody listen to this has probably either been in that position or is currently in that position. And so I found myself one day driving myself to the ER thinking that I was having a heart attack, and you know, good news was that it wasn't a heart attack. Bad news was that I was having a massive panic attack, and it was at that point that this doctor that was overseeing me in the ER told me about this book called Emotional Intelligence 2.0. And he said I'm studying it. And which was ironic to me because, as I did more research, doctors have the lowest emotional intelligence of any profession. So the fact that this guy I get the one doctor in Kansas City that is studying emotional intelligence he tells me about this book.

Rich Bracken:

I start studying this book and all of a sudden I'm like this is phenomenal, like it blew my world wide open. And why this is part of my career journey is that I realized when I knew the benefits that it was, it was showing in my life and that it was universally applicable. Combining that with my hopeful career journey of I will say that I've always wanted to be the host of the Price is Right, like that's my dream job. So if you take that personality that wants to host the Price is Right and I have this knowledge of emotional intelligence that can help people, like absolutely I need to be on stage or talking to people sharing this, and so that's what started my journey as a keynote speaker last six years. And here we are now that it's become my full time, my full time gig. Yeah, it is so cool.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

And there's so much to unpack there, so my brain is spinning and before we jumped on here, I told you I just recorded the podcast for the February 27th episode. This is coming out March 12th, but with my really good friend, david, who works at Helen Smart, and we got to talking about emotional intelligence 2.0. And while where I landed is a little different, I'm not a DJ on a stage, I do some keynotes, but very different than yours, you could.

Rich Bracken:

DJ Katie, I could see you, I could do you, I could see you doing that. Yeah, my kids will tell you I'm really really hip.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

But that book had the exact same impact on me and it is like I tell David, when I saw him at a conference last year and I ran up to fangirl, like I am obsessed with emotional intelligence and that's baseline for my coaching clients. For you know, our leaders Institute is really starting with emotional intelligence 2.0 in that assessment and you shared a little bit about how you use it in your work, so can you talk about that?

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, you know, I will say that, knowing the universal applicability and one you know you and I are both you were fangirling. I was fangirling as well about the connection about with talent, smart I. You know that book transformed my life period full stop, like I will, I will say that is, you know, the four agreements was my favorite book until emotional intelligence 2.0 showed up and so, sending me on the path that it did, I continue to help implement those things with organizations and I will say too and I don't have the data around this, but the data and the research that I've seen over the course of the last six years and studying emotional intelligence, to me, and I'm willing to go toe to toe with anybody on this it is the highest ROI, or return on efforts. You know as well. Roe, then an organization can invest in, because if you have emotionally intelligent leaders, you have higher rates of retention, you have better chance of recruiting, because people want to go to a culture that they want to be a part of, and I believe the statistic is around 70% of a company's perception from a candidate is based on the emotional intelligence of its leaders.

Rich Bracken:

You know, and even I spoke to an organization this past week giving a keynote and I you know it was a sales organization in the ag industry. You want to talk about a room full of people that did not want to hear the words emotionally intelligent, and I told them that and I said look, you may not like what I have to say, and that's fine, but what I will tell you is this you will come out of here happier and less stressed, and or you will exceed your sales goals by at least 20%, because statistics show that emotionally intelligent salespeople can do that, because they're more empathetic, they listen more to their, to their clients and prospects. They're not pushing, they have a better balance of resilience and mindfulness in the sales process, which is tough, because I used to be in sales too, I understand how that goes. So it's really. The universal applicability is so fun, because I don't care what industry I speak to, there's something that applies to it. Thank you.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, and it's fascinating because that's exactly what David and I talked about and with your work in sales and marketing and I share all the time with the work I do in leadership and in my own doctoral research about workplace motivation, employee satisfaction, emotional intelligence is really at the core of the catalyst workplace model and really at the fundamentals of leadership, and so when we create an environment where people feel like they belong, they have the tools and resources to do what they need to do and then the autonomy to do it.

Rich Bracken:

You're going to make more money as an organization because people are going to be engaged in cranking Well, and too and I talk with you know it's a fun statistic to bring up to attorneys because they don't want to think that anything is wrong with what they do right, but when I tell them, your knowledge has less than half to do with your success.

Rich Bracken:

Your emotional intelligence has over half to do with your success. So in which you know, it's also fun to talk to them because attorneys are second place behind doctors as far as having the worst emotional intelligence. So when I talk to them about that, I was like you know, look, you could be as smart as you want. Like you've invested a lot of time and money in being as smart and you're working on perfection. Like you don't get into law, thinking like, oh, it's all right if I make a mistake here or there, but having more resilience, having a better communication, being more empathetic those are things that are not true to the industry as they come out of law school. So it's really important to understand those types of things. But, yeah, I agree, like there are metrics galore on why organizations should be investing in emotional intelligence training and more companies are, which is great, but we still have a long way to go.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, and I know you have several different keynote options that you do your speaker reel that you just released. I've watched it a couple of times, it is so good. Can you talk a little bit about the keynotes that you do? And you're all over the place speaking, so can you talk a little about that?

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, so the emotional intelligence presentation I do is my core one. It's the one that gets requested the most, so that is boosting culture and performance through emotional intelligence, which is just a really foundational emotional intelligence presentation. Now I have the fun version of that. Not that any of my keynotes aren't fun, because I want to make sure that people are entertained when they hear me talk. But I take it to another level with my new presentation soundtrack for success, which I'm excited to be doing here in Kansas City in a couple of months on, like a big, big scale, like a full, like concert style production, like it's going to be huge.

Rich Bracken:

That one is where I bring in. I was a national touring DJ for 25 years and so I bring in music samples. I'm going to have my DJ equipment on stage Like it's so much fun because music bonds us all. I don't care who you are or where you're from, not that we're going to agree on the same genre, the same bands or the same songs but we can all assimilate with the emotion that music brings us. And so what I do is I weave in the music to talk about how emotional intelligence can be trained and your triggers can be retrained, just like music, changes our mind. Within three seconds, four seconds, five seconds, you can retrain your triggers to take back your power in situations where somebody triggers you in a negative frame of mind or an imposter syndrome frame of mind, or maybe you trigger yourself. So those are my two main ones.

Rich Bracken:

Now I've got a couple of new ones. Become unstoppable, which is just purely motivation and is based on the story of me, without giving away too many secrets on this one. So I ran the New York City Marathon in 2017 on accident, because I was drinking wine and on Twitter one night and exactly what you know. The story is fantastic. But I basically opened my mouth on Twitter and then got brought into a team for the New York City Marathon. But I studied industry juggernauts like really competitive, successful people, because while I was training physically, I wanted to train mentally as well, and so I wanted to be as prepared mentally, because it's a hard journey of 10 months of training, but then the marathon itself is really tough.

Rich Bracken:

So that's a really fun presentation and there's there's lots of fun stories baked in within there. And then the new one that I have that I'm really excited about is called AI and me, so everybody's talking about how AI is just taking over the world and taking over companies and ruining jobs and people are panicking. But this presentation focuses in on how you can actually leverage your skills as an individual and how that how you can focus on the things that AI can never do, that humans can only do, and how you can leverage those with AI to be as successful as possible. So that's another fun one, but it's yeah. I'm really proud of the, of the assortment that I have and they're just really fun topics to talk about.

Rich Bracken:

And you know, you've known me well. You know me well enough to know that I'm kind of a goof, and so we have fun during my presentations and I'm lively. I'm not obnoxious. I think they're. You know you could push a boundary too far as far as the energy goes, but it's just enough. I want to make sure that people are having fun while they're listening to what I have to say.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, I do love it and when I see clips of it and I'm really excited because I'm hoping the big one you're talking about in Kansas City is the central exchange.

Rich Bracken:

Okay, good.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Because I'm going to be in the room and I cannot wait to see that.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, oh, it'll be great.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

So we will put links to everything in the show notes so people can connect with you and then also register for any of your upcoming events, including the central exchange annual leadership conference that they do. So that'll be a good one that people won't want to miss.

Rich Bracken:

Oh, absolutely. And the great thing too is that, like the energy in the room that day is going to be off the charts. And I'm not one to call in a lot of favors from people, but I have some people that I've reached out to that I'm trying to bring in to the presentation. But I mean I always market it as a part-kino, part-dance party thing along, and so it's just, it's going to be a party, Like I mean it's going to be an absolute empowerment party, but it's going to be a blast. I'm so excited that you're all going to be there.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, well, I will be there and I will wear my party shoes. You can't see them because I'm not going to lift my feet up under the outside?

Rich Bracken:

Are they the green, yellow ones?

Dr. Katie Ervin:

I have the bright no, I have bright green, sparkly Betsy Johnson boots on today that my girlfriend bought me for my birthday.

Rich Bracken:

Oh, I saw those on social media. Okay, yep, you have to wear those Period.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

I'm going to wear mine.

Rich Bracken:

I'm going to find you before I go on stage and if you're not wearing them I may cry Like those have to be those. And I may have to find some matching sparkly shoes to wear on stage, just to match you. I think that would be like I accept that challenge wholeheartedly.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yes, I will. I will have my party boots on for you that day.

Rich Bracken:

I love it. I love it.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Well, and so I'm going to take us on a quick left turn, because you talked about wanting to be the, your ultimate dream, as the host of prices. Right, you were on the. What is it? A hundred thousand dollar.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, the hundred thousand dollar pyramid.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, how did that?

Rich Bracken:

happen. I subscribed to this theory in life called why not, and you know it's to me. Sometimes you just you just kind of have to take ridiculous shots at things if you want to have fun in life, and it's also fun to try something big. You know shoot. You know what was. There was a staying that I saw one time that you could shoot. You can shoot low and be successful, or you can shoot high and miss more but have greater success. And so I saw a um, it was an online casting call for the show and I applied, put my name in and you know, I mean you submit your information and you submit like a quick one minute video showing your personality and then, if the casting producers like you, they run you through the process and I think I went through six virtual interviews and a couple of game. Like you actually played the game with the producers and everything else. And I'll be honest, like the, and I practice all the time, practice nonstop trying to get this because it's you know the rules of the game are tricky. You know you can't they certain things and you can't use hand gestures at a certain point. And so I will be honest, like the last interview I had. I was like I I totally screwed that up, like I'm not going to make the show, and about a week later I get a phone call from the producers saying, hey, you want to come to New York? I was like say what? And it was, it was, hands down, one of the most fun experiences I've ever had. Um, what they? What you don't see on those kinds of things is that they film a bunch of episodes in one day because obviously Michael Strahan hosts everything, so you got to maximize the timelines there. Um, so we, they filmed four episodes that day and they keep all the contestants in like a back green room, so a little little behind the scenes of game show kind of thing here. Um, speaking of left turns, and so if you want to go get water, use the restroom, like one of the production assistants has to walk you to the bathroom so that you don't wander down the hallway of celebrities. Um, I physically ran into Leslie Jones, who is lovely and super tall. Um, I came two feet from LL Cool J and and so that was like, I mean, amazing. Like LL Cool J was like, oh yeah, I'd like talking about fanboying, like it was, it was big time.

Rich Bracken:

So then, so we were the fourth of four episodes, and they took me to wardrobe, took my, my competitor, to makeup uh, young woman named Devin, and so when I showed up in makeup, she's shaking and they're like wiping tears away from her eyes, and I was like, is she okay? And they go yeah, she's fine. We just told her who you guys are playing with, because they don't tell you until you're right about to go on stage. And I went oh, okay, Well, who are we playing with? And she said well, one of them is usher and the other one, you know, captain, super Bowl, halftime coming up here, um, and then the other one was Von Miller, and he had just won the. He was the MVP of the Super Bowl for the Broncos, right before this, right before we filmed it. And so me, being from Kansas city, I went, ah crap. And they went wait what? And I went he plays for the Broncos.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Right and they looked at me like is that a problem?

Rich Bracken:

And I went well, I'm not going to fight him. I mean, the dude's huge Like I'm not going to fight him on stage. So, and you I mean obviously being a cheese fan as well you'll appreciate this. So he walks out, he's with me first, and so he walks down, he comes over and gives me a big hug and he goes hey man, nice to meet you, where are you from? And I said I don't want to tell you. And he goes no, no, no, tell me. And I said Kansas city. He goes oh, hell, no. And he got up and tried to like, started to walk away and he actually mentions it in the intro to the show. So if you actually find the episode, he talks about how we're, you know we're rivals but we're going to work together as a team. So it was a. It was a really fun moment. It was. It was such a cool experience.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

That is so cool, and when I first saw you do that it took me back, because when my husband and I were first married we lived in Indianapolis and Hollywood Squares old school.

Rich Bracken:

Oh, yeah, yeah.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Hollywood Squares had an open casting call and we went and I like I love game shows and we we got to the second round. I think my husband pulled me to the third round because he like nailed the quiz and I think they were like, well, his wife's here, we might as well pull her in as well, cause I don't think I nailed the quiz. And then we got to play the mock game and then we didn't get pulled all the way through and I was just. I was so crushed because I just wanted to be on Hollywood square so bad.

Rich Bracken:

Well, and so one I love that show, like you're now taking me to, and I too am a game show freak Like I love it and I will say this is that, and I have no doubt that you are energetic and bubbly At the time too. If anybody's listening and they want to get on a game show, go at it with a ton of energy. You know you may get some questions wrong, like I. I messed up several questions in my $100,000 pyramid audition, but I went in there with a ton of energy. I was very smiley, energetic, charismatic, like they need to see that you're going to be fun to watch on TV. The rest of it will sort itself out.

Rich Bracken:

But I will tell you this too is that you don't realize cause when you're sitting there watching the show, it's like you idiot, like just say this, this is what it is. But when you're sitting there and there's like cameras everywhere in a studio audience and lights and everything else and there's a clock timer, like it's a whole different ballgame. So it's it was. It was one heck of an experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat. And I will also say that usher still owes me a trip to Hawaii cause he cost me a trip.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

You should reach out to him this week. He's not spoiler. We're recording this before the Super Bowl. He's not busy. You should call him this week.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, I'll just, I'll just, you know. Hey, before you go out there, you know I need to talk to you about this game show that we were on several years ago, that you actually said the word and caused us to lose. But I'm going to need that trip to Hawaii now, thanks.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah. What are we even doing here, usher.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, exactly Like security.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Well, and so you know, as you're talking about that and as I'm thinking about you know, I was so young and dumb when I was sitting in the room and, and you know, bringing this, watch this I'm going to bring us back. This is going to be gorgeous.

Rich Bracken:

I love it.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

You know, I just am thinking. I'm actually doing a talk tonight to a group of women about confidence and imposter syndrome. And you know, as you're sitting there preparing for the game show and preparing for these speaking engagements you're doing and the work we're doing, I mean there's times where there's a voice in my head that's like what are you doing? Why are you doing this? And I've named the voice in my head. Her name is Sasha, so then I can just tell her to zip it Right. But how do you like what do you just bust into the room? I mean, how do you? I know you've kind of come through this journey of confidence building and everything, so how do you do that?

Rich Bracken:

Yeah. So I think the number one thing that anybody who's going to speak and this is, you know, anything from a sales pitch to a keynote, I think, anybody that steps in front of an audience that is not there to serve that audience be it a client or a prospect or an audience at a conference or a sales kickoff or whatever if you're not there for them, you're missing the point of being there at the first place. So if you go into any situation, you go into any public speaking situation thinking what am I going to do to make these people better than I? What I found them? As that is where you win, and so I'm the same way.

Rich Bracken:

I get nervous too. You know I've had big presentations of, also at small ones that I've been nervous for, but when I you know, the other day is a perfect example when you get up to talk about emotional intelligence to a room full of farm and construction equipment vendors, like those dudes, had no desire to watch my city mouse, but get up there and talk about emotional intelligence. So I just looked around the room and I was like what are these? What do these people need to hear? What do they need to feel? What are they that what can we tie together on? What emotion can we share? And that's the other thing too, like especially because I do a lot of speaker coaching when I tell people like don't, don't go at it talking about yourself, you could share your story, but find the emotion and the point and find what you're trying to tie to them, to the audience, and connect with the audience through emotion. And I've had clients that you know they've got a great story, but I'm like I I don't know what it's like to drive my dream car home to my dream house with a white picket fence and all these things that have my world crushed. But I knew I do know what rejection feels like, I do know what comfort feels like, I do know what it shock feels like. So if you can take those emotions and tie that together, I'm following you on this journey as an audience member.

Rich Bracken:

So I think the the the service of the individuals. I think, if you know, find the emotion and the connection there and then visualize your success. I'm a humongous fan of visualization. I stand in the back of every room, every presentation I give, and I sit there and I just picture how I want to show up on stage, how I want to move on the stage, how I want to engage people, what pace do I want to talk at? And so when you have those things and lock you could I mean you can get through anything. And you know there have been times where I've gotten through a presentation. I'm like I'm shocked that it went that well, but I knew that. I was confident going into it because of those three factors.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, and I think the visualization I do kind of the affirmations and speaking it into place, and and I think that's so important when we talk about confidence and and when I talk about imposter syndrome, I love that you talked about. It's not, you know, yes, we all have a story, but it's not all about us. And and I lead with you know, you're not alone. Like we have all had successes, we've all had failures, we all have the voice in our head, whether we understand it or admit it or not. And I think you know, through everybody's journey in life, it's important to know that we're not alone and that people feel these kind of feelings too.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, yeah, I love that you said that and that is so spot on, because I think the other thing too is when you can connect with them emotionally and let them know that you understand, but that there is a you know, and it doesn't always have to be doom and gloom, like I'm bringing you out of the doldrums, but if people understand, like here's where I'm at and here's where I want to get to, and oh, this person's not up there because my least favorite speaker is the one that's like I've got it all figured out and I figured out in two days.

Rich Bracken:

And look at my mansion and look at this, and look at me and look at all these awards that I've got like shut up, like it does not help anybody. But if you say, look, I was broke, I did this, I went through this, I went through these problems, I've struggled, I've had those days where I didn't want to keep going, but I kept going anyway. People need to hear those things. They need to hear that there's hope, they need to hear that there's a path. They need to hear that there's something that gives them the ability to get up again and keep going and go to achieve the things that they want to do, and I just to me if you're not doing that or you're not serving your audience period.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, well, and that made me think. I have a good friend that works for that works for a pretty massive leadership company and they put on these leadership workshops and leadership like big speaking engagements. And he said to me he said you know, katie, it's fascinating because we have these big names that we pay millions of dollars and flying on private planes and those are the ones that get people into the room. But inevitably the speaker feedback is yeah, I've heard their story, I've read their book, like I get it fresh, freshen yourself up. The impact in the room is made by the you know kind of the big lower name talent that really has a story and makes the impact on the audience and it's like, well, that's a real bummer. I wish people would understand that and stop always shooting for the moon of these. I'm going to get on soapbox, I'll quickly get off. But these big names that everyone's heard of all the time and bring in people that will all have more impact.

Rich Bracken:

Amen, and I think you know. I agree, I think big names will sell tickets, and I get that. I get that you have to market these things. I get that you have to put butts in seats. I totally respect that.

Rich Bracken:

But what I will say is this is that I too have heard these kinds of speakers personally, and I've also heard feedback from others who have book speakers like that. You know, your Olympians or your celebrities or your athletes or whatever. They get up there and they give a can speech, they don't. They don't make anything applicable to the audience. It is the same thing that they say you can go find them on YouTube, and it's the same. It's almost like watching a comedian. That doesn't change their routine. It's the same jokes. You get it Like you could see it once for free on YouTube and then you can see it, you know, anywhere else in the country.

Rich Bracken:

And I will say this is that you know. That is. That is, to me, one of the one of the toughest struggles, but also one of the ones you have to stay true to in the speaking industry. Is that? No, I'm.

Rich Bracken:

You know if, if I told somebody that I would cost $200,000, they would laugh me out of the room, but you can get me at a really good price and I will move your room period. And that's the most confident thing I will ever say about myself is that I know how to connect to crowds. And so, yeah, I may not be that person that somebody looks at and be like oh yeah, we got to go here, rich Bracken. Most people won't know who I am, but I guarantee you they won't forget me after they're done. So that's that, to me, is where I completely agree.

Rich Bracken:

If you have the passionate, emotionally connected people that care about the audience like that is the other thing. I can't stress how important it is to care about the people that you're talking to, and I have, you know, I have sickeningly seen six figure speaker get up there and talk and be like it's all about me, it's my story, me, me, me, me, me. And then, like the last five minutes are like oh, but by the way, chase your dreams, don't give up, live, lack love, have a great day. Like the hell was that? You know, so it's. I don't get off that soapbox because I'll get up there with it, with you on it, like I can't say enough about that.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, you know it's funny because they say don't meet your heroes, and I'm not going to say his name. But I met one of my favorite people at one of the national SHRM conferences. We all stood in line to have our books signed and they came down the line no pictures, no pictures, no pictures, no pictures. And when I got up to him I said no pictures, why no pictures? And he was like what? And I said yeah, we were told no pictures. And I said I'm here, I came to this conference because your name is on the conference, and he was like, he stood up and he came around the table and took the picture and I think what his people were trying to do was keep the line moving. Sure, but if you say what you know on stage and then you don't show up at the table, the same way right.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, I will say this and I have to give a massive shout out to my good friend, Laura Gasser-Oding. I've known Laura, for you know, several years now. She was one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. She is somebody that you know talk about meeting your heroes. I've got, I've had a chance to hang out with her a couple of times.

Rich Bracken:

The woman is as if she's more dynamic in person than she is on stage and she's dynamic on stage. She's phenomenal. But I also attended a conference where she was the keynote and, you know, got to hang out with her, you know, before the, before her presentation, and then saw her afterwards signing her books. That woman talked with people, she signed the book, she took pictures. She is, she is one of the most genuine people and I can never, ever say enough about her that she is. She makes an impact on stage, but the personal connection and the devotion to her audience is second to none. So you know, I agree, I think that that ability is just to to not bring your ego. Like if you check your ego at the door, you're going to have a bigger impact. I don't care who you are, I don't care how big you are or how small you are. Leave your ego at the door. I have seen so many people walk into rooms with egos or walk on stages with egos and there's a disconnect like that, yeah.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, I fully agree, I, I, yeah, it's. It's a lot. Um. So, as we're wrapping up the show, I asked the same question of everybody, and the reason I asked this question of everyone is you know, and you're really good at showing your vulnerability and you know the path you've taken, but so much of social media is this like completely filtered and pretty and everything's perfect, and and I really want to show that the path to leadership is not this clean straight line. So that's why I asked this question to the level you're comfortable sharing what is the biggest leadership or career misstep that you've taken?

Rich Bracken:

Oh my gosh, this could be a whole nother episode. Um, you know, I one, I applaud you for asking this question because it brings a vulnerability and a realness to the conversation, and I'm I'm totally here for this. Um, there are two that come to mind and I'm trying to figure out which one I want to go at. I will. I will say this is that, um, I was fired from a job after what I thought was doing the right thing. And you know, I, I, it's funny because when I was hired at this company, the email that went out announcing my arrival called me in the email, a rockstar, which, okay, you know, I'll take that again, kind of going back to what we said earlier about being cool, like I'll take that title all day long. And so this was during my journey, expanding as a keynote speaker, and so you know, I don't know that it was a miss, you know it was a misstep of sorts, but I think at some point, you know, I was fired because I didn't get along with with my CMO. We didn't see eye to eye, I didn't have a whole lot of respect for this person. Um, and I think at some point, maybe, I, maybe it would have been better for me. I think the misstep was I should have left before I got fired, um, because I knew it wasn't a fit and I tried so hard.

Rich Bracken:

And the things that I was doing, I never did it with mal intent, like I was being asked to come into rooms that my my attorneys were not being asked to come into. I was being invited to things that my attorneys were not being invited to because of the ability that I have to connect with people, yeah, and so I think you know, honestly, you know, nobody ever wants to admit they've been fired and it even saying it out loud right now is tough for me to say because it sucks, because I was going at it with genuine, positive intent, um, but what I also found really interesting was that I was, I was, I was, I was, I was, I was trying to say I was, I was, I was mad, I was pretty pissed off about it and I lost a lot of time, a lot of mental. I always say, like you know, keep people off your mental lawn and keep them out of your mental house. Party.

Rich Bracken:

I let that person into my mental house party for way too long and I, I, I was, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad, I was mad.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

And.

Rich Bracken:

I, I second guessed myself too much, I doubted myself too much, cause I always heard this, you know the almost kind of like the arms length feedback, like no, no, no, like be a rock star, but not that kind of rock star, or do the thing, but not that much. You know, it's what I always felt like I was censoring myself or holding back, and that's just not me.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah.

Rich Bracken:

And so I think the the misstep comes. One, and not leaving before I was fired, but two, doubting who I was and selling myself short because somebody else didn't see my value.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, yeah, that's a powerful one. Thank you for for sharing that it's. It's it's hard when you know you're doing the right thing and other people don't see or understand it or value it. And yeah, I appreciate you sharing that, of course.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, it's almost very therapeutic. I haven't actually said that out loud in a long time, so I feel really good about it. I appreciate the session. I'll take the bill whenever you get a chance.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

I'll send it. It'll be in there. Well, thank you so much for joining me. Where can everyone connect with you? See you all of all of that good stuff.

Rich Bracken:

Yeah, everything that you're great starting place is richbrackencom. All my links to social media are on there. I've got television appearances, my keynote information, my podcast is on there. So everything you need to know starts at richbrackencom.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Perfect. We will put that in the show notes and, like I said, we will make sure to highlight some of the cool things you have coming up. Thank you so much. I feel like maybe I'm just a little cooler now that I've spent some time with you today, so I'm ready to go conquer the world.

Rich Bracken:

You're the, you're the cool one in this conversation, and not only from a personality standpoint, a value standpoint, but also from a fashion standpoint, like I have a lot to learn from you, katie, so I appreciate you.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Well, thank you, I'm the boots. I'm just lucky because my girlfriends for my birthday. They showed up and I literally opened the box, saw the green sparkles and tears in the middle of the restaurants because they're so on point.

Rich Bracken:

Well, if your girlfriends are listening, my birthday is in July, so and my my shoe size, boot size is 10 and a half. So whatever we need to do to make that happen, let's make it happen, ladies.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

There you go. There you go. Well, thank you for everything. Thanks for the energy. I'm excited to connect you with my friends at Talent Smart, because hearing your story and my story, and how similar but different it is, and the work that we both do and love with emotional intelligence, I think is so important for organizations and individuals. So I'm excited to continue to watch you do your work on emotional intelligence.

Rich Bracken:

I appreciate it so good to talk to you and I appreciate the invitation coming on the show.

Dr. Katie Ervin:

Yeah, of course. Thank you everyone for joining us in this week's Path to Leadership and we will see you soon. Bye, everyone.

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