Thinkers50 2022 Radar Linkedin Live with Ruth Gotian

From the power of trust to The Unspoken Rules, what are the big ideas, which are going to shape the organisations of tomorrow? Who are the management thinkers to watch?

Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, founders of Thinkers50, provide an exclusive perspective on the world of management ideas. In the first session of this year’s Thinkers50 Radar LinkedInLive series in partnership with Deloitte, they will showcase some of those celebrated in this year’s list of 30 thinkers to watch in 2022 and beyond.

Our special guest is 2021 Thinkers50 Radar member and Radar Award Recipient, Ruth Gotian, who will share her experience being part of the community and give us an update on her exciting new book The Success Factor.

Transcript:

Stuart Crainer:
Hello, I’m Stuart Crainer.

Des Dearlove:
And I’m Des Dearlove. We’re the founders of Thinkers50, the world’s leading resource for identifying, sharing the leading management ideas of our age, ideas that can make a real difference in the world.

Stuart Crainer:
We’d like to welcome you to what promises to be a fantastic series of weekly LinkedIn Live conversations with some brilliant thinkers drawn from the Thinkers50 Radar 2022.

Des Dearlove:
Every year we identify 30 exciting up and coming thinkers, people whose ideas we believe are set to make a big impact in the world over the next year.

Stuart Crainer:
This year’s Radar list was announced in January and is our most eye catchingly diverse and eglected so far. Check it out at thinkers50.com

Des Dearlove:
And we’re delighted that the new Thinkers50 Radar is a partnership with our friends at Deloitte who are also partnering with us on this weekly webinar series. So thanks to Deloitte for their support.

Stuart Crainer:
So let’s cut to the chase. Our guest today is someone who featured on the Thinkers50 Radar list in 2021, and who won our Rader award at the Thinkers50 Gala in November, 2021. She is someone whose work we really love and admire, Ruth Gotian.

Des Dearlove:
Ruth is chief learning officer and a professor at Vile Cornell Medicine. She’s the author brand new book called The Success Factor.

Stuart Crainer:
The book looks at what astronauts Olympic champions and noble laureates do differently that allows them to achieve at such a high level.

Des Dearlove:
Before we leap into our conversation with Ruth, we invite you to chip in with questions and thoughts and comments, just let us know where you’re joining us from at any time during the discussion.

Stuart Crainer:
So we have 45 minutes. So let’s get going. Ruth, welcome and thank you for joining us.

Ruth Gotian:
Hey, guys.

Stuart Crainer:
Let’s go back a year. Last year you were identified in our Radar Class of 2021. What did that mean and where did it take you?

Ruth Gotian:
So I remember getting that email saying I was in that in the 2021 Radar class and I couldn’t actually believe it, but that’s really when everything opened up because all of a sudden I was part of this incredible Thinkers50 family and I was able to connect with some of the other Radar list members immediately. And you can just imagine the collaborations that started percolating when you get these minds that won’t shut down when you get them all together in a room.

Des Dearlove:
And hopefully we talk about it being a community. It really is very sort of collaborative, collegial, I think. I mean, hopefully that’s what you experience too. That’s certainly how we like to think of it.

Ruth Gotian:
It certainly is. And that was actually a very, very pleasant surprise. How can people who are competitors actually be so supportive of one another, but this is really a group that realized that it’s not about getting a bigger piece of the pie. It’s just about making the pie bigger. And everyone is incredibly supportive. When someone publishes an article, has a new book out, has a talk, everyone is so supportive and really throws their weight behind whoever is getting the spotlight at the moment.

Des Dearlove:
Yeah. And you also got our distinguished achievement award the Radar award. How was that?

Ruth Gotian:
Well, I’m the running joke at Thinkers50 because I was so shocked that I got it, but really it’s this feeling of you’ve put all this work into something and you wonder if you’re just putting it out in a vacuum and then to have someone, a group such as Thinkers50, which is the best of the best, the list to get on when they recognize your hard work, your achievement, your way of thinking about things, then it’s sort of a good housekeeping seal of approval. And now you can start really doing even better work. So getting that in November once I got over the shock it’s really one of my proudest moments for sure.

Des Dearlove:
Well, it was wonderful seeing the look on your face, this look of surprise on your face. Now, let’s talk about the work because that’s what it’s really all about. It’s all about the ideas and the work. Tell us about the new book. Tell us about the Genesis of the new book.

Ruth Gotian:
You mean this one?

Des Dearlove:
That one. That’s the one.

Ruth Gotian:
The Success Factor. There you go. So the book is called The Success Factor. I have been obsessed with success for a very, very long time. I originally thought that it was something that other people can achieve and then I realized that these extreme high achievers are just like the rest of us. They just figured it out. So I started studying this.

I literally went back to school to get a doctorate in it and I studied Nobel Prize winners, and astronauts, and Olympic and NBA champions and I realized they all have the same four mindsets and it’s not habits. Because who really wants to wake up at 5:00 AM. But it’s really about mindsets. And once I figured out that the astronaut is just like an Olympic champion, that’s when I realized that these are learned skills. And if they’re learned skills, I’m an adult educator. I can teach them and that’s why I wrote the book, The Success Factor.

Stuart Crainer:
So can we talk about the four attributes then, Ruth?

Ruth Gotian:
Yeah.

Stuart Crainer:
Intrinsic motivation, perseverance, strong foundation and constantly learn through informal means. We’ll start with the first one, intrinsic motivation.

Ruth Gotian:
Yes. This is not just what you love to do. It’s not this, you find your passion you’ll never have to work a day in your life. It’s more than that. It’s more than a passion. It’s your reason for being. It’s not about the awards, the promotions, the gold medal, even that Thinkers50. It’s fabulous. Trust me is so fabulous when you get it, but it’s not about that because that is really when other people are judging you and that’s very difficult to maintain, but when it comes from within then you know you’re doing such incredible work.

You all know the people who played piano because they had to and the ones because they wanted to, it’s a completely different level of playing. You want to tap into that fire that’s within you. You want to see what it is that you are intrinsically motivated to do and once you do that, you’re going to be a bulldozer. You just can’t stop. You want to go on to number two?

Stuart Crainer:
Yeah. Perseverance, isn’t it? Perseverance is one of those things you would expect really, isn’t it? That you’ve got to be resilient, able to deal with failure and keep going. So that probably wasn’t a big surprise.

Ruth Gotian:
It wasn’t a big surprise, but some people just stop even when they’re faced with the challenge and what I really found interesting, so while I found that for the first part, for the passion what was interesting was most of these Nobel Prize winners and Olympians, when I asked them where they keep their medals only two of them had it on display. Because they told me it was never about the medal. As they told me, it’s a chapter in their lives. It’s not the entire story. It’s the same thing with the perseverance. It’s not just about working hard.

It’s leveraging your peak hours and it’s also the way you confront challenges. So the high achievers really do two things. They control what they can control and they don’t worry about the things they can’t control because the second you start to control what you can’t control, you are now in the driver’s seat. And then to add to that, when there is challenge they never question if they will overcome the challenge. They know that they will. Instead, they focus on how to overcome the challenge. What is the strategy I haven’t thought of yet?

And in fact, one of the stories that I share about that as to how is one of the 2022 Radar list members Dr. Debbie Heiser. She is the perfect example of that. She changed the way depression is actually diagnosed in nursing homes. Now, think of all the Olympians who are training for the Olympics, they were training for years, a lifetime and then a pandemic hits and the Olympics are then postponed for a year. Well, there’s nothing they can do about that.

So they didn’t question if they will compete the following year. Most of them actually stayed in it. So what did they do? They focused on how. What is the strategy I haven’t thought of to stay in peak performance shape? They couldn’t go to the gym so they figured out other ways to work out. They figured out what they need to eat, and sleep, and hydrate, and who they need to talk to, and who they need to be around. It wasn’t a question of if. It was a question of how. Once again, they’re in the driver’s seat. That was two.

Des Dearlove:
Just staying with perseverance for a second. Did you find, I mean, is there a correlation with people’s upbringing or are people… I mean, I absolutely take the point that people can learn these skills, but are there certain starts in life or experiences that incline people more towards these four attributes?

Ruth Gotian:
I originally before I started my research I thought that it would be. That when I always thought success is for other people I thought it was for people who were raised with a certain pedigree, but that’s actually not what happened. In fact, I’ve researched more people than I can fit in the book. And one of the people who I interviewed was a former surgeon general of the United States who was African American, grew up in the segregated south, had to sit on the back of the bus.

He was not raised with that upbringing that you think would make it easy. His parents didn’t have that education, but he figured it out and he did it on his own. And he read the references in the back of the book. So while I originally thought the upbringing was important I realized you can have the perfect upbringing and still not get off the couch during that pandemic. So it has to be something more than that.

Des Dearlove:
Okay. So let’s look at the third point, the third attribute.

Ruth Gotian:
That strong foundation which is constantly being reinforced. What worked for them early in their career they continued doing later in their career as well. They didn’t stop doing those basic drills just because they became so successful because if they would have, they would not have reached that level. So one of the examples that I give in the book is Neal Katyal. Neal Katyal is an attorney. He’s argued 45 cases before the Supreme Court of the United States, which is the highest court in our land.

Most lawyers don’t do one. He’s on 45. And I asked him, I said, “Neal, what did you do to prepare?” And he said, “I do three things. First I prepare binder with every question I might get asked.” He’s done that for Case 1 through 45. And he brings that binder and he said preparing that binder prepared him for the case. The second thing he does are moot courts. Moot courts are simulated court environments. He’s done them for every single one of the 45 cases. He started with 15.

Now he only does five, but the point is he still does them. He still does them. And last but not least anyone who has kids you know those bedtime stories. Well, if you’re Neal Katyal’s kids your bedtime story the night before opening arguments is the opening arguments for the case because he realizes that if children can understand it the court will understand it. And he has done those practices for every single one of the 45 cases before the Supreme Court.

Des Dearlove:
This almost sounds like there’s an element of almost ritual to this. There’s a sort of this has worked in the past, this is what we do. If we stick to the program we’ll have the outcome we want. Do you see it as ritualistic or is it-

Ruth Gotian:
But it’s tweaked, right? But it’s what worked for them in the past will work now. So, for example, Bonnie Blair who was a speed skater, long track speed skater and she was at the time competing again what was known as East Germany. Those were her biggest competitors. And she told me, she said their legs were tree trunks. She said, there’s no way I could have had that strength that they had. So she said, I went back to my original coach and we worked on the basic skills because I couldn’t beat them on power so I was going to beat them on technique and that’s why she won so many gold medals.

Des Dearlove:
Interesting.

Stuart Crainer:
So as well as the strong foundation there’s kind of the appetite for learning, which is kind of almost contradictory, isn’t it? Because you’ve got your basics and you religiously go through them no matter what the circumstance, but you’re open to adapting and learning along the way.

Ruth Gotian:
That’s right. So the biggest billionaires, Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, they’re notorious for reading three to eight hours a day. It’s not reading that made them billionaires. It’s being open to new knowledge. So they like to read, and I know the three of us love to read, but for those who don’t like to read, there are other ways that we can open our minds up to new knowledge because at the end of the day it’s making connections that other people don’t yet see.

It’s borrowing an idea from one industry and using it in another industry. So that’s why at the Thinkers50 Gala all of those talks that we had over two days were so well attended because people who attend Thinkers50 are high achievers and they’re constantly opening their minds up to new knowledge. And that’s why everyone was just hanging on their seats wanting to hear from these great thought leaders.

So it’s hearing talks, it’s reading books, it’s listening to podcasts, it’s taking LinkedIn learning courses. There’s so many ways that we can open our mind up to new ideas. And at the end of the day it’s also about talking to other people. And that’s why all of these extreme high achievers surrounded themselves not with one, but with a team of mentors who believed in them more than they believed in themselves.

Des Dearlove:
No, that’s interesting. That’s one of the things with Thinkers50 particularly the Gala is that it’s where ideas collide and it’s the fact that they will collide with each other and there will be this kind of cross personalization and crosspollination as one person picks up another idea from somebody else. So it’s not the painful clash of ideas, hopefully the fruit-

Ruth Gotian:
The blend.

Des Dearlove:
… the blend, blending of ideas.

Ruth Gotian:
And now there’s a research to prove it.

Des Dearlove:
Yeah. When you talked about the learning point though, reminding me of think it was Billy Jean King, the tennis player, who said there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. In other words, anything that feels like failure is an opportunity to step into it and learn. That sort of pivots into my next question, which is how do these people handle failure or not succeeding straight away or however we want to frame that? What’s the take on that?

Ruth Gotian:
So all of the high achievers realize that failure is part of the learning process. I’m not going to get there immediately, but I can learn something from this. And, in fact, one of the sentiments that kept coming up over and over and over again was that the high achievers fear not trying more than they fear failing. So they’re okay with failing. Some people are afraid of failure. Some people are afraid of success. The high achievers are more afraid of not trying than they are of failing. And that I think is what drives them.

Stuart Crainer:
Jon Bircher is watching and he says he loves the mentoring idea and he quotes Tasha Eurich‘s comment about describing it as loving critics. And it always seems to me that mentoring is slightly underestimated and that, I mean, it’s really common story. You talk to successful people and they’ve been mentored at some time. Seems to me that mentoring is still somewhat neglected and coaching is kind of overemphasized. I know you are big on the power of mentoring.

Ruth Gotian:
I very much am. And, in fact, the research on this is crystal clear. Those who are mentored outearn and outperform those who are not mentored and they also report lower burnout. So all of the research is showing us that mentoring has a powerful impact on careers. The issue is two thirds of people understand the benefits, but only a little over one third actually have mentors. Now, mentors or a long-term career. Your guide by your side and Kathy Krams actually talks about the two roles of a mentor. One is your career development and the other is the psychosocial skills.

So they really have these dual roles all the time. Now, I am not saying that a coach is not important. I am a coach. I think it’s important, but those are usually for specific skills and behaviors for a finite period of time where mentoring is more long-term. I’ve had some of my mentors for decades. So it was actually one of my mentors that it was the ultimate inspiration for the research that I started doing when this was Dr. Bert Shapiro who worked at the National Institutes of Health. And he told me when I started my research, he said, Ruth, do something important, not just interesting and I love that.

And it was very interesting when I interviewed Dr. Tony Fauci who’s our infectious disease expert in the United States. He’s in the book as well. And when I asked him what projects he decides to work on he told me the same thing that my mentor told me. He said, I do things that are important, not just interesting because if it’s interesting, it’s a hobby. And it’s interesting to you. If it’s important it’ll have an impact and therefore it’ll have a ripple effect. So you need to do things that are important. Now, those are wise words from my mentor.

Stuart Crainer:
It’s a good question from John, a follow up question. How do you find the right mentor? Because that’s actually really probably I haven’t seen much written about that because obviously I think we can accept that a mentor is really important, but finding the right one is you can’t leave it to chance if they’re so important, I guess.

Ruth Gotian:
That’s right. And in fact I don’t think you should have one. I think you need to have a whole group of them, a team of them because no one person is going to be perfect, who’s going to give you everything that you need. So you need someone who can give you skills and you need somebody who can share expertise, and a network, and empathy, and different ideas. The problem is people are always looking for someone older within their organization and that’s extremely limiting because if you really want to expand you need to look outside of your organization as well as within your organization.

And in the book I talk about three levels of mentors. And I also talk about how to approach mentors. And one of the key pieces of advice that I will give is two things. First of all, never ask somebody to be your mentor. It’s a volunteer role. It sounds like you’re asking them to take on another job and nobody has time for that. Instead, ask them for their perspective, ask them for an idea, ask them for their thoughts about something. And the second is put yourself in a position where you can be around interesting people because then you’re going to start hearing about ideas.

Then you’re going to start connecting with people. People love to connect with the speakers who are on stage and I think that’s fabulous, but don’t forget also the people in the audience, the people who are sharing good insights on the chat. Start connecting with those people and you’ll see that you will start to build up your mentoring team with people who are senior to you, at your level, and junior to you because you definitely need all three. And the book has a lot of starter sentences about how to effectively approach people.

Des Dearlove:
Okay. Great. Anna Nelson has got a comment here, which I like. I have a mentor who says love your doubts and that’s been a driving force in my work. And I think that sometimes in our uncertainties and our doubts there’s constructive learning. So already we are moving out of the sort of theoretical, which is great. We’re moving into the sort of takeaways and how people can put your ideas to work and what you’ve discovered in the book.

Des Dearlove:
So we talked a little bit about how you can identify mentors, but there’s a lot of other tips and useful tools in the book. So can you talk us through some of those? And because I think in the end people want to take away that it is great. We like to read about successful people, but we all want a little bit of that. We all want be a bit more successful in our lives.

Ruth Gotian:
Yes. And, Des, I’m glad you brought that up because I’m an adult educator by training. I can’t just tell you what to do without teaching you how to do that. What kind of an educator would I be if I didn’t teach you how to do it? So as we talk about each of the four elements of success, the intrinsic motivation, the perseverance, the strong foundation, the informal learning each one actually there’s a chapter with applicable tips and lessons about how you can apply those things immediately into your life because you need to do all four things in tandem.

But I know this is going to be shocking, but Des, you and I are not alike. We’re not the same. Which means what works for you will not work for me. And even though you and Stuart are joined at the hips, what works for you won’t work for Stuart because at the end of the day you’re different people. And another thing that we know about adult learners is that when we have transitions in our lives, a new partner, a new job, a move, a pandemic, we need to reshuffle things. We need to reimagine things.

We need to reprioritize things. And we reflect, which means what worked for us in the past may not work in the future. And that’s why for each of those four elements I gave what I call a buffet of options that you can choose from. So, Des, you’re going to choose one application that works for you. Stuart might choose another one. I’ll choose a third one. And we might decide next time there’s a transition I need to switch it up a little bit.

So I actually teach people how to tap into intrinsic motivation and how to leverage peak hours, et cetera. And like all good educators I actually offered worksheets with the book. And that’s why there’s online resources because I recognize that adult learners sometimes need to write things out and draw things out. And that’s why I wanted to be sure I hit every type of learner.

Des Dearlove:
These intrinsic motivation, I mean, how do you know when you hit the mother load, when you hit… Because we think we are motivated about something and then we get into a little bit and we realize actually it’s not really, it wasn’t quite what we thought it was going to be. I mean, how do you tap into that and know when you’ve hit the jackpot?

Ruth Gotian:
So I actually take people through a passion audit to figure out because there’s a difference between enjoying something, liking it, being good at it. And this might come as a surprise, but just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you enjoy doing it. And just because you enjoyed doing it in the past does not mean you’re going to enjoy doing it in the future, which is why the passion audit needs to be revisited. That’s one of the online resources that’s available so that when you’re not sure that this is right for you, there are prompts and questions to start asking yourself.

Now, you’ve seen me enough that you know that when I’m talking to someone I very often lean in to stare at them because I know when they’re talking about something their whole demeanor changes if they love it. You can tell their whole face lights up. When I start talking about success I start geeking out and you could totally tell. I came from the banking world when I’m starting to talk about profit in loss I’m not shining, right? There’s a difference between being good and loving it and you can really tell on someone’s face.

Des Dearlove:
Fantastic.

Stuart Crainer:
There’s an interesting point from Beth Troutman she says that failing up is one of my favorite mantras and which we kind of understand the concept. But do organizations really get that? Are organizations all up for failing up and do they really understand mentoring? Or is there a big gulf? It seems to me there’s a Gulf between what works for high performing people and ordinary people in organizations.

Ruth Gotian:
That’s actually one of my biggest frustrations, Stuart, the annual performance appraisals that we have at work. Let’s say they’re on a scale of one to five with three being average. If you’re three you’re meeting expectations, everyone leaves you alone. You’re four, you’re high potential. You’re exceeding expectations or five high performers still exceeding expectations. They leave you alone. What happens when you fall below average, you’re below a three.

That’s when you get attention, you get a corrective action plan. Someone is checking in to hold you accountable. They send you to courses and workshop. Now this is what the low performers are getting when they fail. What would happen if we gave that attention and those resources to the high performers? If we started sending them to workshops that they want to start attending and we start giving them the bigger stretch assignments, can you imagine how their productivity would improve?

And we have to give them in that wiggle room to fear not trying more than they fear failing. And one of the people who I quote in the book said, nobody died. So if nobody died what is really the worst failure that can’t be fixed? We can’t bring someone back to life. Everything else can be fixed. And that really put things in perspective to me when I first heard that and that really talked about having that permission to fail, but also it behooves us that when we do fail and things don’t work out, how do we deal with that as well?

Do those failures and the eye rolls and when people are condescending to us, does that stick to us like a Velcro? Or do we let it glide off like Teflon? And the way we react to it can really start triggering how we’re going to be successful in the future.

Des Dearlove:
It’s interesting just now when you were talking about, what if we invested in the high performers, the high achievers. Reminiscent of what they do at Netflix and Hastings CEO there talks about talent density and what they found, their sort of the accidental experiment that they did was they hit bad times a few years ago and they had to let sort of 40%, 50% of the workforce go.

So they kept the high achievers obviously. What they found is that they were getting more work done with half the workforce because these people were the high achievers. And actually that was kind of a revelation then. Do you see that? I mean, if you get half a room of high achievers and they’re sparking off each other, presumably that would be a very powerful force.

Ruth Gotian:
They’re actually 400% more productive than the average employee. So imagine you gave them this playground where they can actually start doing it. And now we’re in this middle of a workforce shortage. So we really want to retain those high achievers and who do you think their friends are? Like a track is like. So their friends are other high achievers. So if I’m working at a company and I’m a high achiever and I know we’re looking for more high achievers I’m going to go to my friends and say, we’ve got some openings.

This is a great place. They ask you what skills you want to work on. They’ll send you to those courses. You can lead global teams. You can try things out. I think you should check it out. And then you’re going to get more people. They’re going to do the recruiting for you.

Stuart Crainer:
How culture specific do you think success is? I mean, some of the things you talk about such as the passion audit I can see might go down. It might be harder to explain that to an English audience perhaps and Americans definitely have a different attitude to success and failure as well than Europeans, I would say. How cultural specific are these things?

Ruth Gotian:
I don’t know that they are. I think because at the end of the day I really, really think people want to be successful. Look, I don’t remember much of what happened in the Gala when you guys gave me the Radar award, but I do remember saying people don’t wake up in the morning aiming to be average. People want to be successful. They don’t always know how, they’ve been throwing spaghetti at the wall tying to copy other people’s habits which doesn’t work, but you can emulate mindsets.

And the reason that there’s so many suggestions as to how to apply it is because, again, what works for you may not work for me for many different reasons, including cultural differences. And that’s why there’s different ways of doing it. So a passion audit might be one way to check what your passion is, but it’s not the only way. So there are lots of options to choose from.

Des Dearlove:
I was intrigued by something you said earlier. I remember talking to, Stuart, you probably remember the conversation too, we met a professor actually and he said, I always knew from age five that I wanted to be an expert. And he was like he didn’t know what he wanted to be an expert in, but he knew that that’s what he needed to be and he’s gone on and he has become an expert. To some extent people might just want success. So I guess what you were making earlier is that just because you’re good at something thing doesn’t mean that you enjoy it or continue to enjoy it.

I remember the conversation with Adam Grant. You probably know this. Adam started off being a very good diver. He represent in his college team and all that stuff. He thought he was going to be an Olympic diver, realized he sort of developed a bit of a fear of heights, which isn’t good if you’re going to be a diver and he actually was forcing himself to do this thing because he thought he needed to succeed and actually he was hating it. And then the light bulb went on and realized that he had another career writing books and being-

Ruth Gotian:
Might as well get a PhD on it.

Des Dearlove:
Yeah. I mean, linking those two things, I mean, to what extent do people just like our expert, I just want to be successful to something, it doesn’t matter what I’m successful at. I mean, it’s aligning those things presumably.

Ruth Gotian:
100%, and look, success is a moving target and everyone has their own definition of success. In fact, part of my earliest research on success was actually just to try and define it because what I realized that within every industry people have different definitions of success. And not only that, it varies based on gender and rank. So you can imagine that it’s impossible to come up with a uniform definition across industries, but there were certain things that came up repeatedly, which I used as my definition of success for the book, The Success Factor.

I realized that these are people who have created a paradigm shift in the way we think about things work or process anything like that. That’s number one. Number two, they are recognized for their work. And number three, as they’re rising through the ranks they’re bringing other people up with them. Now, that’s important because not everyone understands that you can share the spotlight, right? And this is I think the foundation of the Thinkers50 community is here we are competitors who actually all get along really, really well and support each other’s work.

And that’s a definition of success that I use, but I realize that everyone has a different definition, but I think the four elements of success, that’s why I say they’re mindsets, they’re not habits. And that’s why you can utilize them for anything that you are striving for even if it’s to become a faculty member, to become an Olympic diver, to really support your family, whatever is your definition, this should work.

Stuart Crainer:
Jon Bircher comes in with an interesting quote, well, comment. He says he loves how Tim Keller talks about being more interested in faithfulness as a measure of success rather than all the typical measures. It’s quite an interesting one. Faithfulness as a measure of success.

Ruth Gotian:
That’s actually one of the most cited physician scientist who I referenced in the book Dr. Burt Vogelstein who is at Hopkins. I said to him, I said, why do you do this now? By the way he’s turned down being a chair and being a dean. And he said, it actually comes… He was raised Jewish and there’s a Jewish thought of what’s called [foreign language 00:34:40], which means repairing the world.

You need to repair the world and leave it better than you found it. And he said, he was really good at science and this is his way of repairing the world. And I thought that was so moving. And he was not the only person. There are a lot of people who touched back into their faith and into the way that they were grounded as their motivation as well to do the right thing.

Des Dearlove:
So you also do your podcast and your show and you get to talk to all these fascinating people.

Ruth Gotian:
I do.

Des Dearlove:
And, I mean, they are really interesting although I know you’ve deliberately kind of come up with four things they’ve got in common. I mean, what else have you learned from working with and meeting so many very, very driven as well as very successful people? Are there other observations?

Ruth Gotian:
It’s really interesting that they are the kindest sweetest people who are very giving of their time and very giving of their patience and many of them have become really good friends. And I think the reason is because no one fully understood or cared or asked about what it took to reach that level of success. But I will tell you one of the funniest things that really resonated with me, I told you that I asked all these people where they keep their medals and could they show me their favorite?

One day I may have a reality show of where people keep their medals because it’s really funny. One of them, Apolo Anton Ohno who has eight Olympic medals kept it in a brown paper bag in his sock drawer, others in a nightstand. I don’t know. I think I’d wear mine to the supermarket if I ever got one. I was thinking of walking around with the Radar award.

Stuart Crainer:
People do. Do you consider… It must have made you think about your own career and your own level of success.

Ruth Gotian:
It certainly has. In fact most people skip over the introduction in a book and I really encourage people to read it here because it really talks about a conversation I had with a classmate in the hallways at Columbia University. And he asked me, he said, well, what do you want? We were talking about why we’re getting this degree later in our lives. I was 43 when I started. And I wasn’t really quite sure. And he said to me, well, what do you want to be a thought leader in?

And I don’t even know that I knew what a thought leader was. And he explained to me, it’s something that you’re uniquely qualified to do. People see you as an expert. And that’s sort of when the bells went off of, oh, I need to change my tactic. It’s not just about working hard. It’s about doing things differently. And that’s when those words came back from my mentor, do something important, not just interesting. And now here we are with this amazing Thinkers50 group.

Des Dearlove:
Yeah. And one of our, in the chat box, they’re talking saying I haven’t got a name unfortunately, it’s coming from LinkedIn, but Nobel laureates think differently because that’s another thing. If you’re going to change the world you’ve got to do different things. That’s what the Francis Arnold, the 2018 chemistry laureate said. We know Einstein said similar things. So, I mean, along with the rituals and the four attribute, the four mindsets, I mean, presumably there’s also got to be this sense of being prepared and wanting to explore new frontiers and push yourself beyond what other people have done.

Ruth Gotian:
That’s right. So that goes back to that fear not trying more than you fear failing, that really is a driving force. And when you start to think that way you start to realize you push yourself out of your comfort zone and that’s when big things happen.

Des Dearlove:
So people are going to pick up your book. Obviously, the first thing to do is to read the book, get a copy of the book, read the book, but once you’ve done that, what can people do? Let’s get into some… I know there’s lots of tools and techniques in there, but let’s get into what people can actually do tomorrow or the day after. Give them one day to read the book and then they do to get started on this high achieving new lifestyle.

Ruth Gotian:
All right. So here’s what we’re going to do. Everyone, you have to do all four of these things in unison, but if you’re going to do something first we first need to figure out what it is that you love doing, that you are passionate. This is why you were put on this earth. It’s why you can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. It’s why you can’t quiet your mind at night. We need to tap into that. And when we can tap up into that everything else is just going to be smooth sailing. It’ll really follow. So you can start with the passion audit if that works for you. You can get it with the book.

You can get it right off of my website, which is just my name ruthgotian.com. And that will definitely get you started. I really encourage you also, everyone you can follow me on social media because I put tips out there all the time because I am on a mission also to leave this world better than I found it. And as I said, I think people want to be successful, not average. So trying to share those tips of little micro changes that you can try and apply realizing some will work for you and some won’t work, but you have to fear not trying more than you fear failing.

Des Dearlove:
Very good.

Stuart Crainer:
Beth Troutman has just ordered a copy. Thank you, Beth.

Ruth Gotian:
Thanks Beth.

Stuart Crainer:
So where does it go next then, Ruth? I know the books just come out, but you’ll continually talking to people interviewing people. So where do you see going next?

Ruth Gotian:
So, yes, I am doing a lot of the keynotes and a lot of activities related to the book. And I have two book proposals out for two more books and a third one in my head now as well. So it doesn’t stop. I figured out what it is that I love to do and it’s why I wake up in the morning and why I can’t shut my mind off at night. It took me a while to find it, but now that I found it you’re going to have a hard time shutting it off.

Des Dearlove:
And I think you’re right. I think you can see people light up when they talk about something they’re passionate about. In some ways it’s easier to observe from the outside. Can we feel it on the inside? Again, I’m back to the question I asked you before because I think that’s what holds a lot of people back. They never quite find their thing, they never quite get into their groove of what they want to do and therefore they don’t have the passion to some extent. It’s not that we wake up and we want to be average. It’s more that we don’t have the passion for the thing we’re doing. So we never really push it, push the boundaries.

Ruth Gotian:
We need to start and it’s all about surrounding yourself with interesting people and hearing other ideas. So you want to do like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and Mark Cuban, listen to all those ideas. Open your mind up and start making connections that others aren’t seeing. See what you can take in one industry, put it in another industry. When you start hearing enough things you’ll start saying, oh, this sounds good. I wonder if I can do this. I wonder if this will work. And when you can’t get it out of your mind you know that this is something that you need to start exploring because it is so important. And you’ll realize that once you find it, you start to latch onto it.

You can tell from the inside, you get into what we call a state of flow. A state of flow is when time just melts away, you are actually at your happiest and you are most productive. This is actually out of positive psychology. Most people are really striving for that and there’s actually ways to trigger it. So we want to be able to trigger that sense flow so that you can be at your happiest, you can be most productive and you will see that you really start getting those engines going.

Des Dearlove:
Fantastic.

Stuart Crainer:
Well, it sounds exciting.

Des Dearlove:
Sounds exciting.

Stuart Crainer:
I have to figure it out. Thank you.

Des Dearlove:
Is it too late? Have we got it? Is it too late?

Stuart Crainer:
Yeah. Well, I suppose that’s, I mean, there must be lots of people who don’t discover that passion until much later in life, which must create some sort of feeling of regret, but perhaps that’s the natural, the individual route forward is what’s best for you one way or another.

Ruth Gotian:
There’s definitely ways to figure out what that is and I think just surrounding yourself with interesting people is really going to help you out. And one of the 2022 Radar members, Dr. Debbie Heiser, she talks all about generativity and how people especially as they get older they want to help. So if you put yourself out there and start exploring things, you will see that people are naturally attracted to want to try and help you. And this Thinkers50 community is a great place to get started.

Des Dearlove:
And on that note, Jon Bircher says, I’m a little envious of the community that seems to exist around Thinkers50. Any thoughts, ideas, tips about how us regular punters can engage? Jon, we are trying to share as many ideas as we can. Come to the website. We’re always looking for new ways to get people engaged with these ideas. Again, it’s about sharing the ideas as much as identifying them. So stick with us.

Stuart Crainer:
And many of our webinars from last year are available on the website. If you look at the Thinkers50 year book from 2021 is a huge assembly of great webinars and great ideas. That’s one way in Jon. So thank you very much for joining us, Ruth. A real pleasure talking to you and talking about the success factor. We strongly recommend Ruth’s book. I even wrote an endorsement for it myself on the back cover.

Ruth Gotian:
Yes, you did.

Stuart Crainer:
And in the weeks to come we’re going to be joined by a variety of people from Thinkers50 Radar 2022 people like David Liddle, Sheree Atcheson, Jennifer Moss, Shalene Gupta and Loran Nordgren, David Schonthal, Robert Livingston and a host of others. Next week we will be joined by Lisa Solomon. So we really look forward to you joining us. If you look out for further details of timings for next week’s event in the usual social media channels. So, Ruth, thank you very much and we look forward to talking to you in the very near future. Thank you.

Des Dearlove:
Thanks.

Ruth Gotian:
Thanks, guys.

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