Sometimes our career paths aren’t what we imagined, there are bumps and turns along the way, and sometimes a new calling happens by accident;
Somewhere around the middle of his undergraduate education, Drew realized engaging with the world was a lot more fun than writing papers about it. While still a student he became heavily involved in Canada’s largest post-secondary charitable initiative in support of Cystic Fibrosis Canada, eventually serving as the National Chair of the organization. As he moved into his career, he took on the challenge of creating and building the Leadership Development Program at the University of Toronto, which became the largest and most dynamic in the country.
It was those leadership students who changed the course of Drew’s professional life: they secretly organized a campaign to put him onstage at TEDxToronto 2010, where he delivered a talk that would go on to generate more than 5 million views around the web. A high-achieving lifestyle took its toll however: undiagnosed bipolar disorder set the foundation for binge eating and drinking, and Drew grew to over 300 pounds while struggling with the emotional challenges of a career that kept him on the road 250 days a year.
Drew credits the Day One process with saving his life—he began applying the process to improving his mental and physical health. Recognizing how many people were struggling silently with similar battles, Drew began infusing these experiences into his keynotes, hoping to remind people that their scars in no way stand in the way of their leadership.
In 2018, Drew shared both his story and the Day One process in his first book This is Day One: A Practical Guide to Leadership That Matters. Today, Drew continues to travel the world sharing the Day One process with organizations of all kinds—aiming to redefine leadership for as many people as possible.
drewdudley.com (Company Website)
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Olivier: [00:00:00] Sometimes the career paths. Aren't what we imagined. There are bumps and turns along the way. And sometimes a new calling happens by accident. Hi, I'm your host Olivier Bousette and today we're joined by drew Dudley. Author of “This is day one, a practical guide to leadership that matters”, where we hear about is inspiring stories on how students led him to speak at TEDx and an accidental discovery made him become an author.
Hey, Drew, welcome to business on one-on-one.
Drew : Oh, it's my absolute pleasure. Thanks for.
Olivier: So let's get right into it. You're a 60 second pitch about yourself and your book.
Drew : Sure I am a leadership speaker and author, and I talk about redefining leadership in a way that counteracts what we've been educated into. I think that we've been educated to an incredibly narrow definition of leadership. It tends to have people acquainted with power and money and titles, meaning most people do not see it as part of their identity.
[00:01:00] I argue that leadership exists in individual moments of interpersonal impact, which means it is that is a form of leadership to which we all can and should aspire. And what I do in my book is I teach a step-by-step process rooted in behavioral psychology that helps people create these daily non-negotiable leadership behaviors and make sure that they actually live them every day.
So it's a step-by-step guide to individual behavioral change. In a way that's going to create more individual moments of real interpersonal impact. And I think that's leadership. And when we look at leadership that way, it's something that a lot more people can see as part of their.
Olivier: That's really interesting. So what brought you to that subject, particularly in your past, that sort of made you focus on leadership?
Drew : I think it was when I was surrounded by young people who were brilliant. One of the things about working at a university, I used to run the leadership program at the university of Toronto is you spend your entire days surrounded by people half your age, who [00:02:00] are twice as smart as. I mean, really the entire concept of working at a university is you need to get these kids graduated before they figure out they're twice as smart as you are the whole system collapses.
But basically I would be sitting in these classrooms with these students and I would be talking about leadership and they simply did not. See it as part of who they were because they were young and let's face it when you're a student, you know, especially as you get a little bit older into high school and university and college, that you're not in charge of a lot of things in your life, or it doesn't seem like you are professors tell you what you have to do.
And when you have to have it done by and how you'll be punished, if you don't. And honestly, they feel as if they have your entire career in their hands. And you've got parents who are still telling what to do for a lot of young people. They're still living with their parents. You've got bosses that they generally aren't running their own companies.
They're part-time employees. And so a lot of these people don't feel like they have power. And when from a really young age, you've been taught that leadership is about power and that is [00:03:00] born through the examples that are used. Like, whatever example you give someone to explain a concept. First, the first example you give, not only the.
Does it shape how they think about that concept? It actually limits how they think about the. So I've got classrooms full of the most extraordinary, brilliant, dedicated, compassionate people who are running charities, who are fundraising for their fellow students who are taking care of their younger siblings who are working three jobs, building organizations for their fellow students.
And they won't call themselves leaders because they're young and they don't see themselves as being in charge. And I'm looking at this group of people thinking we've got to do something to stop making these extraordinary young people believe that they're training to be leaders one day and start helping them understand that these extraordinary things they're bothering to do every day, though, that is leadership.
It's not leadership in training. It's not the minor leagues of leadership. It really is. And I think that that's what led to it is I was talking to young people [00:04:00] who were being taught theories of leadership that were all about. Being in charge. And most of them weren't in charge of a whole lot in their life.
And so they saw it as this theoretical thing that maybe one day could be a part of their identity. And what I wanted to do is reframe it to make them realize that they were capable of creating moments of leadership right now. And they probably have been their whole life. And as I looked out at the volunteers and the charities that I helped to run, when I looked out at these extraordinary young students who inspire me all the time and just saw a massive hesitation to embrace the title of leadership, because it had been taught as an exclusionary concept, I said, we needed, we need to teach them something.
And we need to open up the concept and it was, well, you know, it did it, it was just looking at great people who saw themselves as less than they are. And I thought there's gotta be a way that we can reframe what impact means. And therefore leadership needs in a way that gets these people, believing that who they are right now.
And I think that for a [00:05:00] lot of young people, particularly those who are in education system, that rewards one type of intelligence, the ability to read and regurgitate and write essays and tests. What we're we've got here is a group of people who are evaluating their worth in this world more by who they might be one day than who they are right now.
And they're living their lives for people. They have admitted. All right, who's going to let them into a good university. Who's going to let them into a good grad school. Who's going to give them their first job. Who's going to marry them one day. All of these people are people we haven't met yet. And I wanted to find a way to reframe that for students.
And what I discovered happened through the process of creating the content that's in the book, that's in some of my talks is I started to realize that this was not limited to young people, that you go into any organization and say, how many of you are leaders? And you get no. I am incredibly lucky. I've given, gotten to deliver a thousand speeches over the last 10 years.
And I always asked, you know, [00:06:00] how many of you are comfortable calling yourself a leader in front of all of these people and less than 1% of the time to half the people in any given room race? And that includes conferences that are entirely CEOs and senior executives. It's a powerful word. It is a word that makes most people afraid to claim it, even if they believe that they may be because they're afraid that claiming the title of leader in front of other people calls for a level of cockiness and arrogance, they don't want to be associated with.
So we wait, we wait for. Some external individual or organization to say, all right, well, here's the letters after your name or here's, you know, here's the title, here's the S the salary that allows you to announce to the world that you're a leader. And until we get that external permission, we just don't claim it.
And I really wanted to change that. I wanted to change it badly, and I completely fell into this. I did not mean to do it. I was running a charity. I was. Some volunteers and the Dean of [00:07:00] students at U of T saw my training sessions on this different approach to leadership grabbed me and said, look, this is a practical approach that we want to be a part of the university.
And I said, well, you know, I'm not an academic. I don't think I'd fit in. And he said, well, that's kind of why we want. We want to talk about a type of leadership that involves doing things, not writing about them. And you know, that was, that was the beginning of an eight year journey into the world of leadership development in a way that I had never envisioned.
So like a lot of people out there doing what they love. I certainly wasn't planning on it. I sort of fell into it in a really happy yeah.
Olivier: That's brilliant. And actually something that stuck out is the fact that you're right. I think a lot of people wait to be told they're a leader to become leaders, even though they were leaders all along. And that's really an interesting aspect to take on. So I think that's brilliant.
Drew : Yeah, it's the external permission until we get it. We're just afraid. Right? You put your, you put something on a pedestal and everybody believes they don't deserve it,
Olivier: [00:08:00] Yeah. Yes.
Drew : the person on the pedestal often.
Olivier: yeah. It's so true. Even promotions.
Drew : belong in a pedestal.
Olivier: So sort of looking at that. And when you first started this, because obviously something that you sort of stumbled into, even though you were doing it already, it was sort of natural to you. What was the biggest roadblocks that , you hit along the way that you felt almost derailed this project?
If there was any?
Drew : Well, you know what I think, because I had the exact same problem that I was trying to solve, like who who's the worst person to taking advice from yourself? It's you? Right. So I was always sort of in a position of saying, You're going to a university, you're running a leadership development program.
You're not an academic. You feel as if you don't belong because academics, you know, like to poo poo things that they think aren't intellectually rigorous. And I'm teaching a form of leadership that focuses on action and not. And so I think what really derailed it is really not feeling as if I belonged within the university realm because, you know, I had one professor look at me and say, [00:09:00] wait, well, the way you define leadership means that everyone could be a leader that anyone who adds value to the world is.
And I, you know, and he said it in such a derisive tone and I was, I thought to myself, yeah, that's pretty much right on the head, bud. And, but to hear somebody take what you believe so strongly and say it with such sarcastic derision is the type of thing that made me think, you know, I don't belong here and who am I to let these students know.
What leadership is, and, and there's always the self doubt. Is this actually true? You know, yes, this is a way of looking at it, but am I, am I, am I making it too simple? And there seems to be particularly in the world of academia, this incredible aversion to making things simple. It's as if when you simplify things, you.
Are making them dumber. And I think that there's a brilliance to simplify and complex things. And I think that some of the most successful leaders in the [00:10:00] world are the ones who take complex things and make them easier to understand. That's the biggest roadblock for me, was believing so strongly in what I was teaching.
But wondering why some of the people I looked up to on an intellectual level just rolled their eyes at it. And yet you talk to the students. And what really got me is that the students kept coming back and saying, this is the stuff that I remember. This is useful. I can, I can see myself putting this to use.
And I think that's the biggest barrier is just believing in something so strongly and then running into people who don't. And I think all of us have gone through that. You're fired up and you believe it. And then one person, especially now, right where the internet allows people to hurdle, bombs and grenades from safely behind wherever they want to.
So that was the tough thing is my career is based on saying here's what. And saying it will standing there unprotected in front of people. And that's a gift. Not a lot of people get to do that. Like, that's really [00:11:00] cool, but it also means that my job is putting out there a fundamental part of who I am in a world that likes to stomp on that.
That's the hardest part. And, you know, I sound confident when I speak, I think, but I don't like being disliked. And that is the biggest stumbling block I think in my career is that, you know, you can't please everybody, but it really is hard when you genuinely talk about leadership being about positive impact and then finding out that somebody actually found what you're talking about.
Amusing, if not. And that's tough, right? So that's probably the biggest stumbling block is a lack of belief in myself, even though I don't think I am someone who lacks for self worth self respect or self-confidence, but we all have that voice in our head that says thousands of people are listening. Or in my case, that voice that says you're not good enough.
And mine says, thousands of people are listening to you. What if you're wrong?[00:12:00]
Olivier: That's that's so true. So well said that's so true. Imposter syndrome, what's the what's popping into my head. When, when you say that, I think everybody goes through that and it takes a sense of courage to be able to say, I'm going to take the leap of faith and go for it. Even though I feel I have self doubt,
Drew : Oh, sorry. I was just going to say what you said there really what really jumps out at me is, is you said everybody goes through imposters. And I, and I think you hit it right on the head. The thing is if everybody experiences it, why do we call it a syndrome? Because if you think about it, the reason I don't like that term is that syndrome is usually associated with some kind of illness.
You know what I mean? That word means that something is wrong. And I don't understand how we take something that everyone experiences. And when you call it a syndrome, You created as if it's some sort of unfortunate affliction that you should hide away because other people, if everybody has it, it isn't a syndrome it's normal.
And so like [00:13:00] when you say imposter syndrome, that is a term that everyone likes to talk about. And I think the reason we like to talk about it is because it bonds us together because it's a common experience. But I think that the problem is it's it, people see it as a diminishing word. They, they see it.
Associated with illness, with disease, with something wrong. And. I think then we're beating ourselves up for having a human experience. And so anybody out there, I understand the appeal of the concept of imposter syndrome, because what it does is it gives us a common language to talk about something we're all experiencing, but let's not, and there's a word I'm looking for that would completely hit right on the head, the word, like what I'm trying to say, and it's escaping me, but let's stop beating ourselves up for a natural part of the human clinic.
Drew : for what it's worth just wanted to just, I love throwing that out. Anytime I hear the word imposter syndrome, because I think it's a dangerous bit of terminology because language matters. And if we can find a [00:14:00] way to embrace that reality and let each other know that we're all having the shared experience without making it into something that instantaneously by its very name makes it sound like something's wrong with you.
I think we're better off
I agree. I agree. And I think it's just out of default of another term to say, I feel like an imposter. I feel like a
Drew : Yeah.
Olivier: more negative. Right? So imposter syndrome almost sounds like, well, it's like a virus I, caught you know, I'll get over it.
Drew : It's like fake it till you make it. I mean, it's a nice little cultural food theory, but I'm like, you're not faking it. You're practicing. Like, why is it fake it till you make it? Because what you're actually doing is practicing until you don't suck. And like you're not faking it. You're genuinely being, you trying something new.
So I don't see it as faking it. I see it as practice.
Yeah. And, and I think that would be a better way to say something right. Practice until you get perfect. I think it's harder for people to accept that because then it means that they're not experts and some people take it in a positive light and other people take it and [00:15:00] they're like, no, I want to be expert now, even though that expertise does take time to grow.
Drew : Yeah. I hate because people ask you hard questions all the time. It's better to be seen as stupid. You'll learn a lot more.
I think so. And I think this is why the imposter part people accept better. Whereas there's other people who will never be like, they don't have that inside them. They constantly just a hundred percent on from the start. Like they, they feel like they were born into the position and you're like, you know, and it takes you a while to realize no, you're kind of guessing a lot of it, but you're just very confident. So that sort of leads me to the question about when you wrote this book , do you feel like you're booking as an extension of what you're doing on stage or is what you're doing on stage and extension of what you've written on your book?
Drew : Damn..
Olivier: That was a hard one.
Drew : Well, that's a good one, right? The fact that it's difficult is what makes it good. I've always thought that the coolest leadership questions are the ones where the person being asked, learns more than the person doing the asking, because what you just did is cause like four [00:16:00] questions to pop into my brain.
And as I chase the answers to those questions, I'm going to get smarter. So that's the awesome thing about that. I honestly, what's so interesting is that. I think, you know, this is always a cop out when you say both, but I will say this, the book when I wrote it was basically finally a compilation of 10 years of presentations.
So what happens is you get smarter and you learn new things and new experiences happen and you incorporate them in your presentations, but over 10 years you learn more stuff, you develop more stuff. You find out more things that impact people, but your speech stays the exact same length. You are still given 60 minutes on stage or at the front of the classroom.
And so stuff that you believe in stops being a part of your presentation and you start walking off stage every time thinking about all the stuff you didn't ask. Like all the things that they missed out on now, the audience doesn't know that, but you do. And so the book was [00:17:00] finally me saying, I acknowledge that there are things in here.
And the thing about my book and my work is that so much of it is conveying other people's ideas. I was, well, first of all, I was born no straight white man in Canada. So I already won the lottery, but I was also born with this very weird mutation, which is, I really like speaking in front of people, which is not a common thing that people like.
Drew : And so I, mal adapted, honestly, and I have this little weird adaptation that, you know, liking, standing alone on defendant in front of a group of people is a bad idea. And so the reason I think most people don't like public speaking is evolutionarily. It's a stupid position in which to put yourself, hi, I'm undefended in front of all of them.
And so I didn't have that weird evolutionary fear. And now we live in a world where that's actually a bit beneficial, but the book itself, I no longer had the ability to pass on things that I really believed in. And so what I [00:18:00] finally did is I said, as I started to create new content, I would like to collect 10 years of all the things that I did on stage and the idea.
And how that I know impacted people, because I know I'm not going to be able to share them with every audience anymore. And so really the. Was me taking all of those stories, all the things that were a part of every presentation I'd ever done for 10 years and put them into one place so that honestly I could move on and start sharing new ideas.
But before I moved on and put all of them into retirement, I thought to myself, let's, let's get them all down. And I didn't want to write a book. I didn't, it was, it was never anything I wanted to do. Writing is torturous for me because I. Prefer the spoken word area or the spoken word realm, but I got my heartbroken.
I locked myself inside for 18 days. After two years of people telling me for the love of God, where's the book and I've got my heart broken. I didn't want to go [00:19:00] outside. I sat down in 18 days. I wrote the first draft of the thing after whatever, like three years of wanting to put it together, it happened in 18 days.
Full disclosure. It took two years of editing, but, you know, I don't, I used to never say that and now I'll just acknowledge it. The book got written very quickly, but the content of it took a long time. What's the the line from that Eagles live album. This song takes four and a half minutes to sing it about 42 years to write.
And but yeah, I don't know how to answer the question except. For the most part, what went into the book is what I had been talking about onstage for years. And what's in the book continues to inform my life every day though, because the book teaches a process that really focuses on daily behavior.
And I got, I have to stay committed to those things or, you know, things go off the rails for me personally, you know, I'm alcohol, I'm a recovering alcoholic. I'm bipolar. You know, I've, I've always battled with weight issues. I was 330 pounds. I was 200 pounds and I'm somewhere in the middle right now. Thank you pandemic.
But you know, I think [00:20:00] it's really important. The book ultimately is a reflection of things that worked for me to make my life better and hopefully the lives of the people in. And so I shared that. So, yeah, it's a combination of both. It's, it's the compendium of all of the content for 10 years. And it is a roadmap to how we move, how I move forward, how other people move forward.
As we try to figure out how we're going to create new stories and new insights in our life.
Olivier: That's really interesting. Do you think there's going to be a second book that sort of follows from what you've learnt from the day you've launched this book to, let's say another 10 years when you're still doing the engagements and speaking, do you think you're going to rewrite it or adapt or create a new book out of this?
Drew : here's the weird thing, man. As soon as you read a book, there are three things in it that you wish you had included. And there were three things, sorry, there are three things, not in it that you wish were included. And there were three things in the book that you wish you had not put in it. And so that's just the nature of putting the thing [00:21:00] out.
I mean, I wrote the book. And then put it in a drawer for 18 months. And my girlfriend found it and was reading it. When I came home one day, she was looking for something in the drawer, found it and looked up at me and said, what the hell is this? And I said, oh, you know, that's my book. And put it in the drawer.
And she said to me, like, what are you, why is it in the drawer? 'cause it's one thing to write down everything that you believe. It's another, to put it out into the world full of assholes. Part of the, so but then I tried to remember also there's a lot of people who are really kind about this stuff and say that it matters to them.
So she was the one who said that. And honestly the book's dedicated to her, but, you know, two weeks before she died, as she passed away, very suddenly from suicide she, she made me promise to at least send it to publishers. So she's the reason the book actually went out there into the world because after she was gone, obviously, you know, you can't really pull out of that promise.
So she didn't get me there. And I think there will be another book. I'm being encouraged by a lot of people to write another book. And then lastly, Cause I want, I do want to write one. It [00:22:00] was an exciting, amazing experience to put out a book, especially one that that was received much better than I anticipated.
And because people didn't hate it, they didn't. I mean, that's your fear. They're going to hate because the book is a piece of you. So people it's hard as an author for people to hate the. And not make you feel like they just said you suck. So like every time you write a comment online, there's a half decent chance that the person who created whatever you're commenting on or their parents or their friends, they're going to read this.
And I don't know why your friends are like, oh my God, can you believe this person wrote this about you? I'm like, I didn't know. They wrote it till you texted it to me. But Yeah. So there'll be another book last night was when somebody finally said something and you know, that moment where you've been looking for the piece, you've just been like, I don't have it yet.
And then all of a sudden, boom, she said something and it kind of all clicked together. So it's funny, you asked me that today because I [00:23:00] started writing my second book literally last night when I got off the phone from that conversation.
Olivier: That's hilarious.
Drew : Yeah. And I was super excited last night, and now I'm like, ah, crap, what'd you
Olivier: That is So, funny.
Drew : Hey, anybody out there, if you're, if you want to write a book here's the, the key start right in the book because you know, Aaron Sorkin, who, and a half bad writer whatever you think of Mr. Sorkin and his work you can argue that it's not well-written, you might hate what it says, but he once said I saw an interview that I love to write.
It's how I enter the. But I can't stay up starting. Like, there's nothing more terrifying than a blank piece of paper. And that's the key. So if you're looking to write a book, really, if you're looking to do anything, whether it's, I mean, the book's called this is day one, but I mean, you want to start up a new, healthy reg a regimen, or you want to help with your mental health or just start, like, just sit down in front of the computer.
And I don't know if you want to write a typewriter old school, Ron [00:24:00] Swanson style. Go ahead. But just start writing and look, if it's crap, even the crappiest page or writing has four words in a row that work, you know what I mean? And at the end of the day, four road words in a row that matter, that's a good day's work as cheeseball, as that sounds, but I wrote a lot of crap and then you sift through it, like you're panning for gold and there's those two or three ideas that other people you think would find you.
And it's like a speaker, a speaker or an author or anyone. I think what gets a lot of people in trouble is that they want to be inspirational or motivational and they don't, they don't put their ideas in the world because they're afraid that they don't know how to be motivational or. If you're listening to this, like you don't have any motivational or inspirational.
The key is you go into anything that you create to put out into the world from a presentation to the board, to, you know, a book that you're [00:25:00] writing out there to try to make the world a better place or help people build their businesses. Try to be useful. Like the question isn't is this smart? The question is, is this inspiring?
The question is, is this useful because useful, compelling ideas. Are inherently motivating. And it took me forever to figure that out that I go up on stage and you really want to tell that story that that really moves people. What moves people is when you tell them a story that reminds them of their story, that reminds them of, of their struggle.
And if you're giving a presentation that says, okay, you don't want to do this. You're not alone in that. Here's something that has. You don't have to make somebody, you don't need a ground swelling speech in the background. You just need someone to listen and go, damn. I thought I was the only one because we got taught from a young age that if you want to impress people, you know, make them look at you and say, oh, I thought I was, you know, sorry.
You want people to look at you and [00:26:00] say, oh, I can't do that. Oh, look at how well he speaks. I can't do that. Look at the business that he built. I can't do it. But really the biggest gift is when people will listen to you and say, oh my God, I thought I was the only one I thought I was the only one afraid of that.
I thought I was the only one hurt by that or hiding that or frustrated by that. So share your stories. Cause even if it's, here's how I built my business, that's still a story and the stories, the basic unit of human understanding, and you have no idea how your story is going to impact. And so put it out there into the world.
It's why, that's why podcasts. Like this are so great because what you're basically doing is going to people, giving them a platform and saying, tell them your story and the great storytellers. Aren't about here's how cool my story is. Great. Storytellers are like, what story can I tell that these people will think about their own?
That's what really brings them along, right. Is. I did a, I did a Ted talk about [00:27:00] lollipops. That was about an individual moment in my life, but I didn't tell the story to be like, Hey, how cool is this moment? I told the story because I wanted all the audience thinking. I remember that time that so-and-so did that for me.
And that is far more, that's far more powerful than telling a story of how you climb Mount Everest in some ways, because nobody can relate to climbing mountains. But everybody can relate to feeling X or feeling Y or feeling. It's why the greatest speaker is about climbing Everest. It's not really about the climb.
It's about the audience's version of that matter. And so, yeah, you actually climbed Everest, but what you're doing on stage is giving five tips that you learned going up Everest for the person going through a divorce for the person, starting a company for the person who just lost a child. That's, that's what you're teaching people.
And you don't know what part of your story does that after anesthesia passed away? The person who the book is [00:28:00] dedicated, I didn't cry for four months and it wasn't because I was trying to be macho. That's how I emotionally was impacted. Everyone takes it differently. And I'm driving through Idaho four months later, listening to the moth, which is a great podcast.
If you want to learn how to tell great stories. And it was an episode about loss and grief. And I remember as I was driving thinking, yeah, I don't listen to this one, but a woman came on, told her story. She was a chaplain and she was talking about the way children deal with grief because she was called to national.
She was a chaplain in national park. So anytime someone died in the national park, she, she was called upon. And she was talking about how children handled, seeing the bodies of people that they loved. And she made a comment as we're driving. As I was driving through this back road, she said, grief is just love facing up to its oldest day.
And there was something so extraordinary about that phrase. Grief is just love [00:29:00] facing up. It's up to its oldest enemy. And there was just something about that line at that moment in that part of my life. And I just pulled the car off and like broke down for half an hour. And because of that woman, a story that she had told two years before, she probably didn't know that episode was replaying that day.
She had no idea that someone halfway across the country. Driving on a random road, heard her statement and it was exactly what I needed to start to move through a really awful thing. You got something like that to everybody out there and you're like, oh, why would I read a book or give a speech? Or, cause I don't know, because you survived it.
And every one of us has got stories that just teach people how to deal with the stuff that they didn't realize other people did too. So that was a bit of a ramble there. My friends, I, I.
Olivier: no, that's good. That's wonderful. I love
Drew : that's must be, if you're listening to this, you must be like, okay, well, like how do I somehow, and for what it's [00:30:00] worth, how do you is to just start the, the book, the exercise regimen, it just, just start and recognize that you're going to suck.
And if you suck at something and you don't want to suck anymore, practice like a simple, unbelievable. Someone said that to me once. And I just, I was just stunned by the simplicity and the honesty of the truth. If you suck and you don't want to suck practice. And I thought, man, we make a little pretty complex sometimes.
And that pretty much hit it on the head.
Olivier: Yeah, yeah, a hundred percent. I remember when I first started to podcast, I joined clubhouse, a Yahoo app that allows you to just listen to it and you can jump in. And there was a podcast how to episode that they brought John I believe John Dumas of entrepreneurs on fire.
Drew : yeah.
Olivier: Yeah. Okay. He's great. And so I put up my hand, I figured out I'll never get up on stage and I get up on stage and I said, oh, you know, Hey, wow, thanks for having me. And I'm like, I don't know. I'm S I want to start my podcast. I'm so afraid. And he goes, I'm going to stop you there. He goes. If I go back to my original ones, I was horrible.
[00:31:00] Horrible. My first 10 were really bad. The next 10 were, they were bearable the next 10 after that were okay. They're getting better. He goes after a hundred. I was pretty good. He goes, but I didn't stop that. Just don't stop. So I'm I keep going.
Drew : Well, someone would say that to me, that someone I work with is trying to book a speech and I'm like that speech isn't ready yet. And they're like, you've done it like 10 times. And I said, I've done it 13 times, but the speech isn't ready until you've done it, 25 live and a, and like a hundred total.
And so, but that people have trouble figuring out that something that you've literally done in front of 300 people isn't ready yet, but. You know, when it's ready, it's like those those heist movies where they stick something over the code and all the numbers start flipping around and then very slowly, each one locks in that's how that's how speeches, that's how books, I think that's how anything in your life starts to work is that you do it.
And then, then all of a sudden something, some tumbler clicks into place and you're like, okay, I figured that out onto the next thing. And the way someone pointed out to me, [00:32:00] he's like every time you start playing a new video game, you're terrible. But you're not afraid to reboot or respond and do it again.
There's no fear. There's actually excitement when you get killed. Cause you're like, okay, now I know not to do that. And that really caught me, you know, who taught me? That was like a 15 year. I was talking about how they used video games and the way they felt after they got killed, how excited they were to get back to that area of mistake.
And all I could think of is like, you're dropping like crazy knowledge because the connection they were making to the thing they loved and the challenges they were facing, they didn't know they were just excited. But I don't think that this young guy realized that what he was doing is resonating. All of us.
And that's why I think it's so important to say, Hey, I think this, even if you think it's stupid, because somebody is going to be out there and take their little piece of whatever the hell you say, and [00:33:00] I mean, you can't be afraid of you. Can't be afraid of offering ideas to the world, because if you had ideas that aren't offered to the world, aren't ideas are just daydreams.
Right? So. Throw it out there, and I know how scary it is, right? Because we live in a world where people just love to throw stones and the people who you hit often, don't tell ya, like I meet them and they're like, oh, I was so moved by your Ted talk 10 years ago. And I'm like, man, I could've used that two days ago when someone sent me a note about what they think of my Ted talk.
People love to take the extra, the amount of extra effort people will take to cause hurt. Like you're like, we will be so lazy when it comes to causing empowerment recognition, but man, we will go like we will do extra effort when it comes to be like to hurting people, to, to make them feel small.
Maybe we go to extra effort to make ourselves feel bigger. But the difference in effort that people put into being nasty compared to the PR the effort that they put into empowering people [00:34:00] that's that I don't get. I don't think. Could you like even realizes it, that they choose to put an extra effort on the negative and often we'll just be like, eh, you know what?
It would be cool to send a nice little note to that person, but I'm busy, but you'll pull the car over to put a damn comment on a Facebook post. Right. So
Olivier: it's so true. It's like, you know, if you get, if happy customers will tell four people an unhappy customer, we'll tell 10 people. So
, I would change gears a bit. I want to ask you about Ted talks and the TEDx that you've done, what's your take on it?
Did it come naturally to you? Or did you have like a lot of the speakers having to practice like four weeks before you got to do.
Drew : Yeah, it's interesting. I wasn't going to do Ted when I did TEDx, Toronto is I think two. Yeah, it was 2010 and I think had Xstrata was one of only a dozen TEDxes at the time. Then it popped up to about 10, 15,000. So, I mean, there's a few people within the Ted realm who wonder I get this. Has the brand been diluted a little bit, but the idea of sharing ideas, [00:35:00] Hey, if people get on board about some of these shares ideas, amazing, but like what an incredible brand and what an incredible run it had in terms of the culture you know, people put Ted on there.
Like I just bought a TV earlier today and sure enough, there's like the Ted brand on the outside to be like, this gives you automatic access to Ted. I wasn't gonna do it. I started working. I didn't know, Ted docs existed, a student came into my office or sorry, emailed me something and said, you've got to look at this.
And I just left it in my inbox for about four weeks, you know, like, cause I didn't want to delete it or move it away because I hadn't watched it yet because out of respect for the person who sent it will be like, I'll get to that. Then one night at 11 o'clock at night, you're trying to clean out your inbox and I clicked on it and it was do schools kill creativity by sir Ken Robbins.
Rest in peace. And I was just flattened. I watched it three straight times and it was like I'd said about earlier here was someone I thought I was the only one I thought I was the only one. If you haven't watched this Ted talk, everyone, I think it's the most viewed in history. And I was so [00:36:00] blown away.
I started using Ted talks in my workshops and one of my students busted in and said, Hey, I know you love these talks. You know, there's a session here in Toronto and they have two open nominations. And I said, I'm just as part-time speaker, but I'd always told my students, you're not allowed to say you're just anything.
It gives people permission to expect less from you. When you say I'm just a student. And so don't, you hate it when somebody throws your own crap back in your face. And so they nominated me without my knowledge. 45 of them nominated me without my knowledge. So when they called. They said, we don't know who you were, but 40, some people nominated you and nobody else had more than two.
So we had to look into it. And what's interesting. And maybe this is the lesson for people as well. Sorry, it's a long answer, but it was very intimidating at the time because Ted was, it was still there. Weren't a lot of, of TEDxes. Right. So this was huge for [00:37:00] me. And. I called up a friend of mine, my best friend.
And I said, I've got six minutes to speak at a Ted event. I can't introduce myself in six minutes. As everyone listening is discovered, I don't know what to say. And he said, you got to tell that one story, that one story about lollipops. And I said, I can't, this is a Ted event. Like it doesn't have enough gravitas and there's this long pause.
And he says, you need to get that over years. It's like what he said, man, you've got to get over yourself. Your whole message is that we take this thing. That should be simple. And we make it competitively complex. You have a story that relates with people that people like, and this is the biggest platform you may ever have in your life.
And you're not going to tell the most powerful story you got because it doesn't make you sound smarter. You need to get over yourself, actually live the crap you say, and if you ever use the word grabby toss in my presence, again, I will knock your teeth [00:38:00] out. And so it was my best friend who said, you have to tell this story.
And of course it went crazy. You know, it went viral. And you know, I don't know how many millions of people ended up watching it, but I wasn't gonna tell the story until my friend told me that I needed to get my head on straight and share the things that mattered. And so if you're a friend out there, do not let your friends act as if they're not as good as they are.
And, and just remember, man, every wants to be humble and he wants to be humble and look, humility is a good thing, but. I dunno. I think maybe we started to think that humility is denying. What makes you awesome? That when someone says, oh, this was great, or you recognize that you did something great.
Humility is somehow diminishing it, but I I've come to think that maybe. I don't know. What if, what if humility isn't denying? What makes you awesome. Maybe humility is simply doing a better job, accepting that. What makes [00:39:00] you awesome. Doesn't make you better than other people. And so if we can find a way to embrace humility without it coming with the same sort of self-deprecating and demeaning and like ignoring our, our, our best, I think that's key.
So don't let your friends do it. So Ted was wild because I remember I stood it. I went back to my old university and I stood at the end of a washed out bridge that had, you know, had been where we were. Hung out late at night, back in the day. And I just worked on this talk and it was 12 minutes long and I thought it was great.
And I thought there's no way I can make it shorter. And then it was down to eight minutes and I remember thinking I just cut out for the most brilliant things I've ever written. And then down to six. And I remember thinking those two minutes, this talk can't stand without those two. And then if you gave me $10 million and said, tell me what those six incredible minutes you cut out are.
I couldn't begin to tell you, man, but I don't remember giving the speech. I remember walking on the stage and [00:40:00] during rehearsal, they hadn't had the lights on and it was the first time in my life that I understood deer in the headlights because you couldn't see the audience. All you could see was the bright lights.
And I did an eight minute talk and six minutes. I mean, if you see the Ted talk, it's a terrible example of public speaking. Good story. But you know, I think I've watched it five times because I can't stand, like you said, right? Like how bad was I back in the day, but people still liked it. It's. How bright a speaker you are it's whether or not what you have to say resonates with people, but I don't know if I answered your question, but I always want to get to that worry about how the thing that kind of jump-started my career.
I had to get forced into doing it. And so like, listen to your friends when they tell you you're you're being, you're selling yourself short because they're not lying to. They know, in that case, if he'd lied to me and told me to go do it, he knew I was going to crash and burn. Right. Your friends, aren't going to set you up to crash and burn.
So if your friends are saying, [00:41:00] go do this in front of a bunch of people, you know, they're never going to tell you to do something in front of a bunch of people. If they think you're going to crash and burn. So listen to them, they would never hurt you. And that's what Ted meant to me. Right? I was so intimidated by it.
I almost allow. Those three letters to keep me from being at my best, because you make it less, you try to change. I was invited to speak at Ted because of what I said and who I was. And then as soon as I was invited for who I was, I started to say to myself, I have to be something different in order to go there.
And like they asked to you. They asked me as who I was. And my, my immediate response was, oh, you like me? Cool. Let me quickly become something else that I think you want. And I, and it's amazing how we do that, but that's where, that's what the Ted thing did for me. And then honestly, within the next two years, I was invited eight more times.
And every time it's scary, but that's not just 10. And every time I [00:42:00] give a speech, I'm convinced that I'm going to suck this time. This'll be the time that I lose my. But you never want the butterflies to go away. Right? You just, you want them to learn how to fly in formation because stress is your mind's way of, or your body's way of reminding you.
This is important. It's not that you're going to suck. It's not that you're not good enough. It's your body being like, this is important. Step up.
Olivier: Yeah, that's brilliant. That's brilliant. Yeah, I can imagine. Well, that, that was, that was amazing. I want to thank you so much.
Drew : Sorry, man. I give really long answers. Cause I like telling
Olivier: that's wonderful. It's something I told you. I think every guest it's it's either they're very short, like just one minute, and it's almost like I have to scramble for another question or it's this beautiful, long answers.
So it's, it's all over the place, but I love it. I
Drew : Thanks man. Well, honestly, I've been offered like a month and a bit, so you're one of the first conversations I've had about all of this again. So it's all flooding back. The reminder that man, as much as I like some downtime, like I really liked talking about [00:43:00] this and just there's no real answers. It's about constant experimentation and figuring out what you liked and what you didn't, and then relying on people to point out to you where you're not going fast enough.
Where you're being careful. I had a guy is in my book who was my guide in the desert. He took me do gnashing and guitar. And he told me that when we were driving in the desert, he said, the thing about. Life and business is that everyone thinks you got to go slowly so that you can identify potential pitfalls and, and steer around them.
But he said, if you think about it, driving in the desert here, if you go too slowly, the sand takes over and you get stuck. If you go too quickly, the sand takes over and you spin out the only way to be able to control and move effectively through the sand is you have to have a certain amount of money.
Go too slow. Can't go anywhere, go too fast. Can't go anywhere. [00:44:00] But there is a certain speed that is required in order to have control of the vehicle. And he said, that's the key. So many business people focus on your five-year plan, your five-year plan. He said, plans are cool and everything, but you got to focus on your five-year momentum.
That's the key piece, because it's momentum that allows you to steer through difficult things too slow. You can't steer too fast, steering doesn't matter. So he said, I don't make decisions based on whether or not they fit in my plans. I make decisions based on which will generate the most long-term momentum.
Because the thing about making decisions based on whether they generate momentum or not, is that you don't have to know that. All you have to do is say, all right, well, this will keep the momentum up and then I'll figure it out. And so that to me was such a big leadership business and a life lesson was make your decisions based on momentum, not just on your plans.
And that I [00:45:00] think is, has been key in that it's always about which option will generate more options. And I, I told my students that a lot. They're like, what should I do? And I'm like, well, they're both good options, but this one leaves you with one or two options down the road. This one there'll be six. And so whenever, whenever, you know, there it's a toss up between different courses of action, ask which ones, which one generates more options down the road and always stick with the one that generates more options because they tend to be the one that allow for adaptation and momentum and just the.
The addiction to momentum by some business people, as opposed to a rigid adherence to a strategic plan. That's the key. And if anything, the last two or two years have shown us, his plans are hilarious. Like really funny. And it's that old school, like you want God to laugh, tell him [00:46:00] your plans. So make your decisions based on momentum.
Everybody in. Every now, and then try to do one thing every day. That's going to build some or start something. And that usually is simply as simple as figure out what somebody else's goal is and do something today. That's going to help them get a little bit closer to it. And if you dedicate a moment every day to, to contributing to someone else's.
Long-term goal, even if it's a simple half step forward for them, you will find the amount of momentum that is generated for you and the amount of allies you have as you move forward. It's pretty profound. And so, you know, momentum, everybody momentum and options
Olivier: That's brilliant. that's
Drew : the key for me.
Olivier: Love it. So balance plus momentum equals growth. I love it.
Drew : Oh. I'm going to benchmark that
Drew : leadership, you never steal an idea, right. You just benchmark a best
Olivier: That's it? Yeah. Yeah.
Drew : then I might benchmark that when my all credit given of course.
Olivier: Thanks. [00:47:00] So I want to thank you so much. I have one last question that I like to ask everybody is how could the audience reach out to you? What's the best way to connect with you?
Drew : Carrier pigeon or, or you can send me an owl or a Raven. No, I I just hit on all of the geek shows right there, all in one swipe, swipe you know what drew dudley.com. That's D R E w D U D L E Y. Dot com. Is my website and it's got a connection to pretty much everything links to videos. And you know, if you're interested in bringing me out of the book and also I'm day one drew on pretty much every social media.
That's D a Y O N E drew. DRW so Instagram, I don't do a whole lot on Facebook, but I like Instagram. It's a. It used to be the happy one. All anyone ever think was sunsets, their food and their pets. Then we've discovered memes, but honestly instance where I put up most of my stuff. And like, it's a little bit of mix between leadership and just random observations and ranting about [00:48:00] life.
Because every time I put out stuff about my content, it seems like people want to go to my speeches or read my book. But if you put out stuff about here's how to make a mushroom really. And it has nothing to do with leadership. Then people are stampeding to your door. So for a long time, I just hid who I was.
Cause I, people wanted me to be the lollipop guy. Right. Which means you can, you know, don't swear and never say anything negative and always be a beat and that'll kill ya. And I'm an upbeat guy and I want to make the world a better place. But again, you know, free, free advice nobody asks for, but man, like you can't play a character no matter how well it pays.
You really can't
Olivier: That's brilliant. That's great. I want to thank you so much. We'll be putting up all your the information you've just given us on on the details. Page. Drew has been wonderful. Thank you so much. and good luck on that book. I can't wait for it to come out.
Drew : you and the editor and everyone, I just promised. So thanks. I truly appreciate it. Keep doing what you're doing [00:49:00] and to everybody out there, you know what momentum.
Olivier: Thanks again.
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