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Louise Evans: Own Your Behaviours, Master Your Communication, Determine Your Success (Transcript)

By Pangambam S
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Here is the full transcript of behavioral coach Louise Evans’ TEDx Talk: Own Your Behaviours, Master Your Communication, Determine Your Success at TEDxGenova conference. This event took place on November 19, 2020 at Genova, Italy. Louise Evans is the author of the book ‘5 Chairs 5 Choices’.

I’d like to introduce you to these 5 chairs. Because they’re actually the real protagonists of my talk. And they have a special message to give to all of us. And the message is about what behaviors and attitudes we bring into the world in every moment.

Now to show you what I mean, I have a story to tell you from my personal life. And I was trying to build a stronger relationship with a very important person, the daughter of my partner, 20-year old daughter. And to do that, I thought let’s have a great evening out, just the two girls together and I chose a special venue, the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan. And that note — that night the Manhattan Transfer which is my favorite jazz group were playing.

So we meet, atmosphere is fantastic, we’re getting on very well and I’m happy and being a big baby boomer loving the music. And I thought, well, is she liking as much as I am. And so in that moment I just turned to look at her to check. And what did I see? I saw this. She was on her iPhone.

Now how to react? I had some choices. First choice: “Excuse me, I mean what is she doing? She’s on her iPhone. I mean, I spent all this time and money thinking of a fantastic evening. I bring her here and what after two minutes I take my eyes off her and she’s on her phone. I mean what is wrong with this generation? I mean they got an attention span of a fruit fly. I am sick, God!”

Choice number 2: “This was a mistake. Why did I bring her here? I mean she’s bored. She’s not interested; she doesn’t like the music. What was I thinking? I mean, why should she like the music? I mean, this is stuff for baby boomers. She probably thinks she’s spending the evening with a dinosaur. Oh, God!”

Choice number 3: “Hold your horses. Count to 10. Take a deep breath. Don’t jump to conclusions. You don’t know what she’s doing on her iPhone. So just relax, take it easy. Have another drink.”

Choice number 4: “Now, you know what’s really important for me is that that evening, this evening together with it is special that she feels that after this evening she can really open up to me, she can feel safe with me, and that she’s — I’m always an open door for her. That’s what’s really important for me. And I just hope it’s going to happen. I just hope.”

Choice number 5: “What’s important for her? What’s going on in her world right now? What’s important for her? I really would love to connect to her and what do I need to do that?”

You know, I was having real problems trying to answer that question, and in that moment, she turned to me and she said, “Louise, did you know that this is the only Blue Note in the whole of Europe. And there’s one in New York and then there’s two in Japan. But this is the only one here in Milan and that’s incredible. The Italians have got it”. And she said, “Um oh, and I’ve looked up the Manhattan Transfer. Do you know that they’ve been playing and singing together for 40 years? That’s incredible.” Um oh — and she said, “also look”. She handed me her iPhone. She sent a message out on Facebook. It said, “In the Blue Note in Milan with the Manhattan Transfer and Louise, the best.”

Now that was a close shave. I mean I could have really spoiled that, because I could have sent her a disapproving look from this chair, and she could have started telling herself about me, things about me, like mmm, Louise, she’s controlling, she’s difficult. It’s not easy to be around her. And that was not my intention at all. And in fact, she was completely engaged. She was there multitasking in her digital way but she was enhancing our reality. So in milliseconds I could have destroyed that beautiful moment that we were creating together.

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And this is what we’re doing all the time is we’re making choices about the behaviors that we bring into the world. And the choices that we make have a direct impact on the conversations that we have, the relationships that we form, and the quality of our lives in general.

So what can we do at a practical level to help us be more conscious about this, because we don’t get trained in this school, it’s not on the school curriculum how to behave well, really? So what can we do?

Now the idea of the 5 Chairs came to me when I went and attended a nine day course in nonviolent communication with its late founder Marshall Rosenberg, an extraordinary man who did so much for world peace. And after that it sort of changed my life. After that I decided that it was a message that I needed to get into our workplaces — workplaces where I spend most of my time being a coach, a facilitator and the training – trainer. And also where we produce some of our most questionable behaviors, sometimes toxic behaviors.

Your Answer to this Question will Determine Your Success in Life

Your time on this beautiful planet is brief.

The more consciously awake you become, the more you realize how short life really is.

You have no time to waste on pursuits that aren’t taking you where you want to go.

If there is any form of internal conflict at all in the decisions you are making, you need to get clarity as to why. Chances are, if you’re feeling conflicted, there is something wrong.

Your deepest intuitions know best.

According to control theory, having dysergy , or conflict, between your goals creates emotional distress.

Dysergy is the opposite of synergy. It happens when the pursuit of one goal impedes you from achieving your other goals. Having conflicting goals generally comes from seeking social and cultural (e.g., financial success, popularity) goals at the expense of your true and intrinsic goals.

You can’t get that time back.

Again, the closer you get to living in alignment with your vision and highest values, the more precise you must be with your time. You can’t justify pursuing even great things at the expense of the absolute essential. Time is a very costly resource. To waste even a little bit of it, when you are vision-driven, is painful.

Research has found that dysergy of goals leads to:

  • Frequent negative emotions and rare positive emotions
  • Low satisfaction with life in general
  • Long periods of unhealthy rumination, less goal directed activity over time, more somatic symptoms and more frequent physician visits

Hence, the late Zig Ziglar, famed motivational speaker, would frequently ask himself:

“Will reaching this goal bring me closer to or further from my major objective in life?”

Good Round Up the Usual Subjects , “We are kept from our goal not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”

When you are presented with a clear path toward a goal you would not have chosen for yourself, it’s important to check your motives. For instance, I was recently offered a high-paying position to write articles similar to this. However, my motivation for doing so was wrong. I was interested in doing it, but only for the money. Not because I believed in the content I would be writing.

It took a few weeks of internal turmoil, but I came to the conclusion I couldn’t do it. It was a “great” opportunity, but it would take me away from the absolute essential. A short-term gain filled with enormous opportunity cost. Even a few hours per week on something you don’t really want has enormous opportunity cost. You’ll never get that time back. You’ll never get the work back you would have done during the time you spent on something else.

Your time on this planet is very short. The more you put on your plate, the faster your time will go. The less time you’ll have for those things which matter most. Said Jim Rohn, “A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.”

The more you justify doing things you genuinely don’t want to do, the less “successful” you will be. Said YouTube star Casey Neistat, “What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.”

If you lack a clear and compelling vision ( WHY), you will frequently be swayed by lesser goals. In such a case, you’ll be driven by achievement and/or external validation. Hence, there is an enormous difference between true success and achievement. Success is how you feel about yourself, and can only comes from living in alignment with who you truly want to be. Achievement is an external indicator of something you’ve done, which in itself doesn’t qualify you for success.

You can only be successful spending as little time as possible on things you hate.

Your External World is a Reflection of How You See Yourself

Your self-perception determines your possibilities in life.

If your life is filled with things you hate:

  • You lack the confidence to create a life you love
  • You are playing small
  • You’re justifying short-term gains for long-term losses (i.e., lesser goals)
  • You’re internally conflicted

Until you can change how you see and feel about yourself, you won’t be able to create or believe in a better life for yourself.

There is a cyclical relationship between our behaviors and how we feel about ourselves. For example, you go to the gym because you want to be healthy. Yet, the very act of going to the gym has to power to improve how you see yourself.

By consistently making good choices, your confidence will increase. Indeed, you can’t have confidence if you consistently make poor choices.

Want to feel better about yourself?

Do something great today, even if it’s simple. Choose to eat healthier. Choose to be more patient, or more thoughtful. Spend less time distracted on social media. The more time you waste, the less confident you will be.

Ask yourself: Is this activity bringing me closer to or further from the person I want to be?

Every moment matters. Even this one.

There is no neutral ground. Every decision you make has inherent meaning and consequence. Every decision you make also reflects what you truly believe, far louder than any words you speak.

Conclusion

So, if you are currently pursuing something, which we all are, I challenge you to consider Zig’s question:

“Will reaching this goal bring me closer to or further from my major objective in life?”

What is the cost in pursuing whatever it is you’re pursuing? Nothing in life is free. Especially your time.

Are you majoring in minor things? Are you seeking external validation or what you truly believe in?

There is no time to pursue goals that take you from what you ultimately want to do in life. Your life is too short. Every moment matters.

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I’ve created a cheat sheet for putting yourself into a PEAK-STATE, immediately. You follow this daily, your life will change very quickly.

Do school and grades determine the success you will have in your life?

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I’d hate to say they don’t, but they do. Sure, skills are important but they can be developed over time. But grades, once you graduate.. that’s it. You’ll live with your transcripts and degree cert for the rest of your life.

Truth is, excellent grades will open doors for you.

Not just any door, but the best doors there is out there. Ivy league schools, top firms, you name it..
And once you open the best door, there is no stopping you from going further. You have access to the world’s most quality education, most excellent teaching staff, best facilities there is out there.. and on top of tha.

Where You Start Doesn’t Determine Your Success, But These Three Things Can

Where You Start Doesn’t Determine Your Success, But These Three Things Can

I often joke that when it comes to running a business line at a big wealth management firm, I am the least likely candidate for the job.

For much of my life, the concept of “wealth” was truly foreign to me. Growing up in a blue-collar family, my parents worked multiple jobs to ensure we had everything we needed. But there wasn’t a lot of room for the extras.

Unlike many of my peers at the time – and many of my colleagues today – I wasn’t a high-caliber athlete, a great scholar, or president of anything in school.

I was, however, the daughter of two incredibly hard-working people who taught me how to be resourceful, to have the humility to acknowledge my limitations, and how to set and achieve goals by developing a plan of action.

What I’ve learned over the course of my career is that the people who exhibit these characteristics have the greatest ability to succeed – no matter where they started from.

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1) Resourcefulness.

When I decided to go to college after graduating from high school, I was the first in my family to do so. That meant I had to figure out where I wanted to go and how I would pay for it. I didn’t know where to start.

I managed to pull in a little bit of scholarship money and worked full-time as a checker at a local grocery store. I would schedule all my classes in the morning and go to work after class each day. As I looked around at the kids whose families could afford to help them out, who didn’t have to work, I admit there were days when I wished my life was more like theirs. Looking back, I’m glad it wasn’t. I learned how to be resourceful, becoming really good at time management and building a lot of self-confidence in the process.

As leaders, we have to be resourceful when we’re trying to accomplish big goals on a limited budget. We have to be resourceful with our human capital. We have to be resourceful with our own time. Time and time again, managers will turn to the resourceful people on their team, because they know those are the people who can take a challenge and come back with a creative way to solve it.

2) Humility.

There’s a lot of merit to figuring out things for yourself, but there’s a limit to what most of us can do well on our own. Accepting those limits isn’t a weakness; it’s a strength.

One of my limits is patience. I tend to lose patience quickly when I’m unable to formulate an approach to a challenge, or when things go off the rails.

Patience is a gift, and there are many people who possess it. When I find that my lack of patience is getting in the way of success, I try to be humble enough to admit that I may not be the right person for that particular task. Instead, I rely on the members of my team who have the patience to tirelessly and constructively work through difficult issues.

Clients come to financial advisors because they want better outcomes in their lives. These are incredibly intelligent people with their own talents. But that doesn’t mean they know how to exercise their stock options or establish a trust. They know what they are and aren’t good at, and they’re comfortable saying so.

By accepting our own limitations as leaders and relying on those who are strong in the areas where we are weak, our teams and companies can arrive at better outcomes.

3) Goal-setting.

When I returned to RBC Wealth Management in November 2020 in a much-expanded role under a new leadership team, there was so much I wanted to do. And with new regulations governing our industry, there was a lot that needed to be done.

I wanted some “early wins,” to quote Michael Watkins in his book The First 90 Days, but I knew I couldn’t just dive right in. Instead, I spent a lot of time getting up to speed on the organization. Gathering this information allowed me to define specific goals, and setting goals is the first step in making the invisible, visible.

In order to achieve those goals, you need a plan. Thoughtfully consider what you really want to achieve, and then determine what it will take to get there. This will increase your success rate exponentially. A plan also provides a compass for everyone in the organization, allowing them to contribute and help achieve the organization’s goals.

This sequence – set a goal, make a plan, and execute — applies not only to leadership, but to life. This is the approach our financial advisors take with their clients, helping them identify, clarify, and prioritize their goals, and then developing a plan to achieve these goals.

Everyone has goals that they want to accomplish. But most have limited resources, whether it’s time, knowledge, or money. Determine what’s really important, set your goals, and develop a solid plan.

It doesn’t matter where you start from. With a little resourcefulness, a whole lot of humility, and a plan, you can get to where you want to go.

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