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ChimpChat S1:E1 — Interview with Business Coach Ellis Mass from Focal Point Coaching

In this video, business coach Ellis Mass and I discuss the Stockdale Paradox, the Law of Self Control and other ideas on how to add value during the time of Coronavirus.


Welcome. We are going to start doing a series of website chats. Now that we are all being quarantined and just as people are concerned with what’s going on with you know, Society in general. And so today we are joined by Ellis Mass. Say hi Ellis. Hi, how are you? Ellis is an extraordinary business coach. And what’s kind of started this conversation is that he and I were talking the other day about the Stockdale Paradox. And this Stocksdale Paradox is coming from the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. He’s showing the book and it really had some it resonated with what we’re kind of experiencing today. So, Ellis kind of chime in and tell us quickly about what the Stockdale Paradox is. Stockdale Paradox is one of my favorite things that that Jim Collins included in the book. It’s about a guy that you may or may not know of named Jim Stockdale most of us who do know who that is know him from a failed vice-presidential bid. He was actually Ross Perot’s his running mate as vice president back in the 90s and most of us who remember him at all remember him being completely bewildered and out of place at the vice presidential debate where he literally said, “who am I why am I here” but what most of us didn’t know is that he was also like an incredibly badass war hero and in the Vietnam War he was actually a prisoner of war was an unwilling participant, a visitor of the Hanoi Hilton, kept in kind of a Tiger cage under the worst conditions for a long time for over a year really tough as nails guy, you know and survived it and thrive went on to become an admiral and he developed kind of a philosophy a way of thinking that later became known as the Stockdale Paradox. Excuse me for a second not corona virus. We I’m glad we’re doing this via video conference now. Yeah, exactly. I’m good. I’m you know, I’m quarantine 7 to 10 days anyway, so anyway, he you know, he the Stockdale Paradox comes down to this. You have to have two things in your mind at the same time that are very difficult to hold together at the same time. That’s why it’s a paradox. You have to number one be able to confront the brutal facts of your current situation and yet at the same time number 2 have unshakable faith. Faith that you will prevail in the long run both of those things together and what Stockdale found was that many of the people that he was imprisoned with had one or the other but not both and so the people who were in complete despair and didn’t have that unshakable faith that they were going to prevail. They were the first to die, right? They didn’t have hope they couldn’t survive they couldn’t hang on but even the people who did have that that faith that they would prevail but we’re kind of oblivious to the fact of the reality of the situation were over. Optimistic and said, you know what? We’re going to be out of here by Christmas. Everything’s going to be fine. Well Stockdale knew there’s no way based on what you know, we’re never getting out of here by Christmas. It’s going to take way longer than that, but I know we’ll get out of here eventually. So, the people that were able to hold both of those things in their mind were the ones that survived and thrived, and Jim Collins applies that to business. As Leaders we have to be able to confront and recognize the situation that’s happening on the ground and let’s not sugarcoat it let’s be real about what’s going on and certainly with yes. We’ve got a lot of impact currently that’s taking place. We have to be prepared for that. We have to do what we can to mitigate some of these circumstances. So, ignoring the reality is not doing going to do us any good. In fact, we’ll probably do us quite a bit harm and maybe do others harm as well. But by the same token, we can’t lose we can’t let that despair overtake us. We’ve got to hold on to an unshakable faith that we will prevail in some way shape or form. We know that we’re going to be there for us for our community for ourselves for the things that we care about we will have hold both of those things are head now very difficult to do. And that’s pretty outstanding. In fact, I think at one point I’d read that stock to let said that some of the first to go were the ones who were The Optimist which is so different than how we kind of oftentimes for many so many years taught to think that you need to remain optimistic. You always have to be positive. Well that’s not entirely accurate. It’s that you have to remain positive that things will be okay as long as you do the things that you need to do to get and be okay, that the spare is obviously not going to work certainly today. We have that despair. A lot of people are kind of Doom and Gloom me when that’s kind of silly. It really is absurd to be doing Gloom now because this too shall pass away. We will get better. We will survive this in the not too distant future, but we have to do the steps in order to kind of get there. What do you think that we should be doing? What steps should we be taking as business owners? Well, yeah, I mean that’s a good question obviously all of us are in different businesses. Our business models are different at the end of the day though. What we all have in common is we all have a customer will have a market that we serve. So, I think now it’s really tempting for us to think about ourselves and kind of say, oh my God, what do I need? What do I need to do to keep myself whole to keep myself safe to keep revenue flowing? In that’s really important. Those things are important. Listen our livelihood our families. I mean, you know paying our mortgage and are you know grocery bills in that sort of thing that’s important. That’s not to be downplayed but I think the opportunity for all of us no matter what our business model is to frame what we’re doing in terms of what value can I create now for the market that I’m serving will get contemplated will get will get compensated. Based upon the value that we are creating. We have to have kind of faith in that what value can we create now that does a couple things it allows us to kind of control what we can control there’s so much stuff out there that we can’t control. It’s easy to spiral into despair. We think about all the stuff we can control I can control now my ability to put stuff out there of value to my clients in the community around me. And what are some of I think the idea of value is amazing actually and I think that that’s the way most business owners need to think not just today but long term I mean like, you know what value are you creating? Whether you’re an attorney whether you’re a business coach better we marketing, you know, obviously creating value is the entire Point why especially in a Professional Services sort of Market that that’s the entire point of all of it that we do what are some things that different Industries can Do to create that value. Obviously, one of the things that we’re doing now is sort of sharing information by sharing our knowledge with the community. We’re creating some value what are some other things that different Industries can do to create value for their specific business or industry. Yeah. It’s a great question. I think a lot of people are Scrambler. I know well first of all, I mean Jeff your brand storyteller, so, you know that every business and every brand is different even in the same. You know the same let’s say lawyers who practice a particular type of law. We hope that they’re not generic, right? We hope that they’re not interchangeable. We hope that they’ve each got an individual brand and a unique value proposition. That’s all their own and that’s what you kind of helped to bring out them. They need to lean into that now. And what is there? What is their Brand Story? What is their unique value proposition? Is it a unique value proposition? Hopefully that’s something that they’re not just thinking about now, they think about every day but lean into that. So, I’ve spoken with a number of people again, whether they’re whether either their lawyers’ weather there. You know, I spoke with someone today that owns a business to Consumer business in kind of an it’s definitely a consumer facing business where they provide a service that that educates and entertains kids. They’re all having to Pivot and scramble now. They cannot have in-person interaction. So a lot of law offices that are used to doing a lot of in-person interaction and completing their service that way are having to do things more virtually same thing with things like dance studios and acting Studios and things like that where there’s a lot of activity going on with the kids. They have to do things more virtually their senses. Hey, we can’t deliver that same unique value proposition that we normally deliver in the same way. But if we think about what’s really at the core of your story if what you’re delivering is, hey, I’m bringing joy and entertainment to people that are that’s kind of a spark in their lives in their week. Isn’t that just as Wharton now as it was a week ago, maybe more important. So, we got find a different way to deliver that to reach that same value, but who we are shouldn’t really change and our ability. So, the conversation I had this morning with this person was your ability to communicate who you are and what you’re all about. You really ought to be able to articulate now, what’s really important to you? Tell that brand Story the way you’re delivering it may have to be different. But if you can really find that core then the method that you’re using to Butte that that difference that value that you create shouldn’t matter as much as what you’re about who you are and kind of what your why is which we can get into that’s a whole other conversation, right? Well certainly actually that’s great. What we can talk about start with why and what your why is we’ll talk about that all eight. I’m writing notes as you’re talking on questions like it’s all up here. But so you mentioned, you know, like you know that you’re dealing with, that you spoke with, are working with, you know, a client that’s doing you know, children’s services and children’s activities and Studios and obviously and simply Dem providing their services in some capacity. Even if it’s not for pay now online is an amazing way of creating value and that when things do normalize which they will we know that they will kind of goes back Stockdale Paradox knowing and having the complete and total confidence that things will get better. They will we know this but doing the thing is now when things are a little bit harder. Is topical and so they’re going to flock back to those dance studios by providing online dance instruction. Hey at 11 o’clock. It’s dance with Alice, you know at 12 o’clock, and maybe we’ll see I may offer that I mean, it’s really providing that value that you talked about earlier. It’s virtual its remaining top-of-mind. Its remaining relevant to the people that are going to listen and care about what it is you’re doing and what is you have to say and it shows you that you care that you’re trying to do things. No different. I’ve seen this kind of going to kind of mention this there’s a bunch of the children’s authors are now providing virtual sort of Story Time like one author that my wife Loves his name is Mo will and he has a group of books called elephant and piggy. He’s got the Pigeon books and they’re really geared towards kindergarten 1st graders. So, my son who is in second grade. They’ve been watching and they’ve been doing their elephant and piggy drawings with Mo Willems every single day. So, it’s great way for him to remain relevant provide that guy that you’re talking about but small businesses during this more difficult time can the same sorts of things. So that’s just great advice and there’s another benefit to that to Jeff for each of us, right? So those are some great examples. It reminds me of something that I’ve also spent a lot of time talking about over this past week or so, which goes back to Brian Tracy Brian Tracy talks about a number of laws just laws of reality and one of humanity and them is the law of self-control and that this will resonate I think probably just about everyone our happiness our own sense of happiness and well-being is directly linked to the degree to which we feel we have control over our circumstances over our lives if we feel out of control, we feel miserable. We feel terrible. We feel panicked if we feel like we’re in control. We feel a lot better about ourselves. And the thing is with all the stuff going on. We can’t control the fact that there’s a virus out there the fact that these numbers that we keep hearing about are going up and up and up. We can’t control what the government is going to do in terms restrictions to us. We can’t control we actually can’t control we can’t control we can influence but we can’t control whether our clients are our customers are going continue to come to us and pay us a lot of business owners are concerned about, you know, as this economy, you know kind of happens around Me are my clients going dry up are people going to say I don’t have money now. I have to have to withhold them. We can’t control any of that we can influence it and we should influence it. And again, we should be leaning into things like marketing and the value that we’re crab. Sure. You have a point of view on that as well. But what we can control completely is, I can control the extent to which I’m focused on creating. That value, putting that value out there. I can’t control whether I can’t control someone else’s actions. I can completely control my actions. So I’m going continue to create that value and those things that you talked about those examples of people creating things that are of value to other people and that are on strategy and on-brand for who we are and what we do that we can control completely. So, in addition to actually putting value and creating value for others. It’s also beneficial in helping keep us focused on what we can do. We feel a lot better as a result. We frame our thoughts that drives our feelings we can kind of get out of that cycle of Despair and get into that cycle of okay. I’m going to claw my way out of this thing and I’m going help us all one step at a time helping others makes us actually feel great that drives good action instead of counterproductive action that’s going to drive results and ultimately success even in the face of major challenges. I think it’s extraordinary and I think that the Brian Tracy concept about controlling what you can kind of control the end of the day. That’s what we’re talking about is you know, you can’t control the plane going down if you’re not the pilot, but you can control how you act in the people that you help around you whatever that happens is probably a terrible example is so I apologize for that. But no, think it’s great and it’s doing the things that you can do in the short. ERM which is really so consistent with what we started with what we LED with which was you know, the Stockdale Paradox of doing the things cliché you can do the steps that can take and kind of reminded of the of whole, you know, the kind the you know, how do you eat an elephant? You know one bite at a time. We have an elephant in front of us and spending time and taking a chunk out of it every single day and waking up every single day and Provide that value controlling what you can control is a really great thing. I you have any other sort of Snippets that you think are really applicable to or currents are they may like the Stockdale and the loss of self-control is pretty exceptional. What else do you think really applies in this? dance. Yeah along the same theme Jeff. I’ll throw one more out there, which is there’s another book that comes to mind. That is one that I tend to recommend a lot again in good times as well as challenging times since you may be familiar with this one. It’s called the go-giver by a guy named Bob berg. I had the opportunity to work with this guy a little bit directly back into kind of a previous life and this book, Look, it’s actually a very slender book. It’s the go-giver. It’s about having a giving mindset and a giving mentality. So, it’s kind of related to what we’re talking about creating value putting the focus on what can I give others what value can I create but I think the important thing to say about that is this is not just like let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya, right? This is again. Think about this in terms of good times, the go-giver. It’s about how can I give how can I create value but, in this book, it’s written. It’s framed around the Five Laws. He also calls them laws the Five Laws of stratospheric Success. How can you be individually successful stratospheric success who doesn’t want that? I want that. You want that? Yeah, we want stratospheric success this I mean this Define that however, you want material financial success, whatever. We all want to be successful the way to be successful the way to give yourself individual. Success material success financial success is by adopting a giving mindset. This book is written kind of like a storybook. It’s a fun. It’s actually kind of a fun read. It’s a relatively it’s a quick read, right? It doesn’t take what I would highly recommend going and getting the go-giver. It’s a really good book. I’ll lend you a copy next time. I see you Jeff when we’re allowed to, you know be on corn here, but it’s a fun read but it just kind of its kind of makes sense. It resonates. If you put your focus on the value that you’re creating for others. What you’re able to give people you have to be willing to accept the value that’s going come back to you in return, but you don’t have to emphasize that you have to let that Define your actions. This is a great strategy and philosophy to lean into now as well. It seems like it goes back to and I haven’t read the book. So, I will absolutely it’s Liam and I may end up like just jumping on Amazon and ordering it now rather than that neighborhood. It kind of goes back to the idea of values and that’s one of the things that you know in my business that I personally subscribe to is kind of hiring based on core values as well as well as kind of competencies is whereas a person core values and kind of weird do they place the value of their actions on an everyday kind of basis. I mean it kind of goes back to as you know, I’m pretty heavily involved in rotary and rotary hasn’t gone before waiting. Ask where we test of the things we think say and do and it’s kind of goes with this is like first, is it the truth second is it fair to all concerned third will build Goodwill and better friendships and forth. Will it be beneficial to all concern and it’s kind of goes back to the idea of giving value and being good person, but I love the application of it from a business perspective because it’s sort of shows. The relevance of you know, people do business with people they know like and trust and by showing that value creating value being a person that either creates value and or solves pain is really the success points that most business owners sort of have I think right. Yeah, absolutely and you know Jeff it’s funny because I was like, I want to know more how it you know, and I know you’re the one asking the questions here, but I just got to like so oh in the Week or two. What’s the best example because it you meet with business owners all the time; you’re talking about helping them build their brands and build their businesses. What’s the what’s the most interesting or noteworthy pivot that you’ve helped? Someone kind of talk about or think about over the past week. I’m sure there have been a number of them. Well, it’s not what it’s a specific tip because I don’t think that pivoting is the play for most businesses. Obviously, you can always pivot and Gomorrah Commerce and things that nature I don’t but

For most businesses, they should have been thinking about those sorts of things already and so our clients if they were a candidate for e-commerce. My clients are already thinking about that. We’re already being worked like I mean, that’s that. So, for me, it’s less of a pivot then a minor shift that you can do. But really it gives you an opportunity to spend more time the things that you otherwise couldn’t that makes sense. So obviously one of the easiest things that a lot of we set up for a lot of our clients is Simply working on and making it known that video conferencing is available. Okay and working with our clients on setting up that may be something that that’s probably the biggest shift it from a pivoting perspective and then of course getting the word out, but that’s now an opportunity. So, posting popups on your website. It’s a great opportunity fact, we had a conversation with someone earlier where they said. Wow, that’s a great idea. We’re totally doing that because it’s an easy way that when a person shows up goes. Oh, we can still proceed we can still do work and I think it was a few things one. It shows a forward-thinking mentality that you’re now available in the non-traditional way, which is always a positive from a kind of personal perspective. But also gives you an opportunity to do business when people otherwise might not be willing to do business. So that’s the first thing from the closest thing to a pivot the other things that in my opinion, and I know I fall into this trap, too. Small business owners tend to work in their business and not necessarily always working on their business, which is why bring me on a coach like yourself can often times be a really important part of a building your business. So, gives you an opportunity to have a little bit of distance, you know, and that that 500-foot view that maybe when you’re in the middle of the weeds, you’re about to say something know that I’m illustrating. about. What your kind of talking about, let them take a bird’s-eye view when you’re the middle of answering client phone calls. You’re not thinking about the next steps. You’re just answering the phone calls and dealing with the client circumstances that they’re looking for. Whether you’re whatever that happens to be when you’re working on the logo or your developing marketing plan or whatever be happens to what I like about this is it really has the smart business owners really thinking about their Business, what? Are you going to be doing? What are you missing? Like one of the things that I’m personally doing and I’m going give a personal illustration about then been things that I’ve suggested clients do is things like this. This is something that’s been on my mind for a while. But the day-to-day kind of restricted my ability do that and this sort of said, you know, what if you don’t do it now, you’re never going to do it get it done. We’re going to be putting out a series of sort of marketing moment videos. This has been on my to-do list for longer than I care to admit and this sort of forced me to hold myself accountable to the advice that given I was so things that I’m recommending to clients that they work On now is what prospecting are you doing? Who are you looking to meet? Well, you can’t meet him necessarily today but, in a month, when the floodgates open. And we say release the hounds. Are you going to be ready to go after them? Right so using whether its sales Genie or goalies or there’s a host of other Solutions out there to do that. Are you doing that? And then are you going on LinkedIn to find out who you’re going to get those warm introductions to so for example, one of the ways that we were going to clients on in that capacity is Using LinkedIn to find after you’ve identified who you want to meet you use LinkedIn to then meet those people so I find out that I want to meet Bob Smith who’s the owner of such and such a baby see business and I see the Bob Smith is connected to Ellis Mass. I get to call a balanced going. Hey Ellis, how well do you know Bob and you get to go? I don’t know him at all. I met him at a conference once I’m sorry. I can’t help you or in the better circumstances as you can see. You know, I played golf with Bob. Every single Sunday, what do you want? You know, I’ve been looking to meet Bob for a while. Can you make that introduction for me? And that is an easy way to think about working on your business at a time that things are otherwise not as easy to do there’s a there’s that’s been making the rounds. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. It’s a big picture of Sir Isaac Newton. Have you seen this one yet? Yeah, I so, I guess Sir Isaac Newton and I didn’t really even completely know this top of mine. There’s an article that goes along with the little mean I He was in a convalescing kind of like an S sanitarium or something like that during the time of Bubonic plague when he discovered the concept of gravity, right? We all know the whole Apple story. Well, that was when he was, you know, stuck convalescing in the isolation and quarantine. And so, the meme that’s going around is this picture of Isaac Newton saying Isaac Newton worked from home to make the most of your time write something along those lines. I probably just completely butchered the humor of that but hopefully you get one minute. Well back to your point if we’ve got some down time and there’s stuff that we usually do there’s networking events. There are things that we do that are canceled. Let’s make the most of our time let’s do something productive with it in the stuff that you’re talking about stuff that we don’t usually get to Men We ought to have that list ready to go. Let’s go. Let’s make that list of stuff that we ought to do which is probably going to make that list of things that we need do easier. Once as you say, we release the hounds I like that a lot
and then taking action upon the list and that’s one of the biggest issues. I think that often as people have is that they create the list and then whether It’s analysis or paralysis by analysis or just fear of the unknown. They’re afraid of taking those that that that big step forward and I guess to those people I would just say go for it. I mean it may not the first thing may not be the best thing but the second thing might or the first thing might be the best thing or the second or the third or the fourth and you keep going our thoughts Drive our feelings Drive. Our actions, right? So, if our thoughts now are all about oh my God, woe is me. What’s going to happen? Next?

What are they going to announce next? Let me wait for that. You know that puts us in a mindset of focusing on stuff that we can’t control If instead we focus on. Okay. What am I going to do today? That’s going to help me achieve what I need to achieve and that’s what I’m focused on to your point. Yeah, the first idea may not be the best one, but it gets you moving it gets you doing the thing. You’re going to get to the one that’s ultimately going to be a hit. It’s going to move you in the direction. At least I mean get you as far as you want to get but it gets you a little further down the road. I love it Ellis. This has been outstanding. Thank you. Well, that’s my motto. I always say what I did that is you’re going to be anything. There. Were you going to be outstanding that is a trip? So, this has been fantastic. It’s Outstanding thank you so much for your time. I think you offered a lot of values personally and to those of you who are who are watching this. I hope it offered value to you as well. I can imagine didn’t it I feel great having talked with you for some time. This is great just for us to swap ideas. I definitely feel invigorated by it ready to do my next thing. You know, that’s awesome. So, I’ll include Ellis has information on how to get a hold of him to talk with a more of why don’t you give a quick sort of? Of 32nd plug about who we probably should have led with this but I kind of want to get into the content this right. So, I’m a business coach and consultant. I do a lot on marketing strategy strategic planning Etc. partner with business owners and leaders who great at what they do and looking to drive outstanding results. So, if you have an interest in talking about your business, you know, give me a buzz or you can actually even book a 20-minute consult call at my website, which is coach Ellis Mass DOT. You can book dot me that’s the easiest way to do it. Awesome. And for the people that are going to see this through Ellis’s channels. I will give a quick synopsis on me. I’m Jeff Kostick Flying Chimp media. We drive your success through creativity and passion and how we do that is through storytelling. We find that unique thing that makes you special and then of course, we’ll get story without an audience. To hear it what we do websites search engine optimization social media video. We’re Creative Marketing agency. We help build your brand and graphic design all that kind of fun stuff. Its marketing related. We probably do it, or we work with a series of outstanding professionals that can so Ellis. Thank you so much. Have a wonderful day be outstanding as know you are, and I’ll talk to you soon. Awesome. Talk to you later.

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