Weirdness is the Key to Self Improvement with Marcus Buckingham
for anybody going, life has passed me by. I I'm too frightened of what might happen if I do X, Y or Z. Um I can't move because I'm stationary and I'm stuck. The only thing I would say is if you if you start paying attention to the specifics of what you love you can use them to. For me it was unlocking my own voice for you. It might be unlocking something else but your love's aren't just for thriving, Therefore flipping problem solving as well and for getting you moving. And if there's anything we know about Love Chase, it's it's an energy right? It's got a flow. That quote was from the one and only Marcus Buckingham. Marcus. If you're not familiar with his work, he's a global researcher, a new york times bestseller and he's focused on increasing performance, unlocking strengths and pioneering the space of the future of work. This episode was really meaningful. I think you're going to get a lot out of it. I'm gonna get out of the way yours truly Marcus Buckingham here on the Chase Jarvi...
s live show. They love you. Marcus Buckingham, thank you very much for being on the show. Welcome. Thank you for having me. Well yeah, prior to me hitting record just a moment ago, I was sharing with you that I think your latest work which is called Love and Work a book um is incredibly well timed. I want to talk specifically about that but I also want to start out by zooming back a little bit and for the few people who might not be familiar with you or your work, if you could orient us around how you describe yourself the work that you do and what are what are areas of interest and focus for you and things that that will help us get into the conversation. Well my focus really has always been, I was super fortunate 16 years old to to meet a chap by the name of Don Clifton's, who was the chairman of the gallup organization at the time and the founder of the approach to positive psychology that then marty Seligman blew out through the university of pennsylvania. So Don don's whole focus was a study. What was right with people. I was about to go up to University Chase to study psychology and a lot of psychology at the time still is, is focused on what's wrong with people, which is fine studying neurosis and psychosis and depression and so forth. I mean those things deserve a lot of study, But his approach was was let's study what's right with people as well and see what we can learn about excellence. See what we can learn about success. Joy isn't just the opposite of sadness. It's different um contribution isn't just the opposite of struggling, it's different. Excellence is is different, you can't infer it from studying pathology. So that was really into, I don't know why, but at 16 that was really interesting to me so well all of my friends, I think during college were doing internships in London paris and new york. I went to Lincoln Nebraska for every summer during college because that's where gallup was headquartered and for whatever lucky reason. And I think a lot of it is luck. I was just instinctively fascinated by interviewing the world's best housekeepers to find out what makes them tick or interviewing the world's best dentist to find out what made them tick. And that's that's really what the focus of the work at gallup was, was interviewing people that are really, really, really good at what they do to find out what what's unique and special and different about them. And then we built something called strength finder, which at the time was really the first really methodologically sound approach to studying strengths. Um I then left gallup actually after don died in 2003. And rather like you, I searched for a way to take, I think my expertise had been measuring like measuring strengths, measuring employee engagement and that's when my background is a psycho patrician. But at that time 2003 I wanted to see whether we could actually not just measure strengths, but build them, not just measure employee engagement, but build better teams. So rather like you build a company, I saw that there was a need where there really wasn't a lot of good content and software and tools to help managers really build great teams. So did that for about 10 years did the whole entrepreneurial thing, which was we can get into because it's indeed. And then sell my company to ADP the large payroll provider in 2017 and they fund an institute. Um, and they said to me, do you want to run the people in performance side of our institute, just studying in a rigorous way globally every month. Just get in the field with, with ways to measure inclusion, employee engagement, resilience strengths. And of course, for someone like me that was Catnip, that is catnip a lot of opinion out there in the world today. So it's lovely to be able to have data. I'm a data geek. So I have some data to go, you know, look at something like inclusion. Well, are we getting any better or worse on inclusion? Well, we can all have opinions about stuff like that. But what's the what's the data show? So that's kind of in a nutshell, that's been my focus for the last 25 25 years. Yeah, it's easy to put your life in a nutshell in a paragraph. Right, So I'm sorry for the heavy question to kick it off, but I think you've done a nice job orienting us and the human performance aspect, You know, there's a lot of the human potential movement that started in the sixties, Uh, people started thinking about what's possible and you had, you know, Roger banister running the four minute mile. And we started to see the psychology of these breakthroughs and and some of what was possible when you started talking to the world's best. That's what I'm personally obsessed with, that. That is the basis of this show, which is now more than 12 years running. Um, you have researched in a way that is, um, obviously professional, you've got data gathering and all these more sophisticated measures than, say, someone like myself who's, I would call myself an armchair professional on this stuff, but clearly you have noticed trends, trends and top performers, trends in, um, you talked about joy for example, and excellence, just again, as an orientation. What are some of the, these macro trends that you've seen for the world's best? Whether you're talking about, you mentioned, um, you know, house cleaners and dentists, uh, we've talked about athletes and artists and entrepreneurs give us, is there some sort of, if you squint your eyes a little bit, are there a handful of fuzzy, ambiguous things that that this posse who leads us around the world that are the best of the best that they have that, that others do not. Yeah, well, it's first of all, it is a fascinating subject, I mean, to go and study excellence and I know we can learn from failure. There's no question that as you know, as an entrepreneur, I'm sure you tried a whole bunch of things that didn't work and that's always useful, but it is interesting to think that excellence isn't the opposite of failure. That that if all you do is study your failures. You get an expert understanding of failure, but you can't just say that Excellence is the opposite of failure. I mean, if you study really unhappy marriages, for example, you find that they fight a lot in unhappy marriages, people argue a lot. But the weird thing shows if you study really happy marriages and you count the fights or the arguments, it turns out there's no statistically significant difference in the number of disagreements or arguments in a happy marriage from an unhappy marriage. So if you're not careful, you'd say to study if you studied an unhappy marriage, you'd say to someone a happy one, you should not not argue because you're arguing a lot, but you study the really happy marriages. They argue a lot. So what turns out to be the difference maker in happy relationships just as it happens is not the number of arguments is what goes on in the space between the arguments and somehow in the unhappy marriage, each argument is proof that I need to protect myself from you, that I need to armor myself against you and I step back back sort of physically and psychologically separating myself to protect myself and somehow in the best relationships. Each argument, funnily enough, is a sign of intimacy. It's a spur for curiosity for getting closer. And so whatever that is, that pulls two people together in the space between the arguments. The point here, I suppose would be you learn nothing about that from studying the rotten marriages. It's just different. You got to get into the specifics of of excellence to understand it. So if you study excellent performers in anything and it feels like a weird place to start. But my first job at gallup wasn't we were interviewing the eight best housekeepers at walt Disney World and I was 2023 24 at the time and didn't know anything about housekeeping. But we had the eight best housekeepers and I promise you there is a point to this. No, I love it. This is fascinating. So, housekeeping, you think to yourself, well that's a rotten job or be maybe that's a really easy job uh and see I wouldn't want to stay in that job very long at all. So you sort of think a few things about jobs like that, but you go into the eight best and they didn't know each other because there's like three or 4000 housekeepers. But these are the eight hand picked, the ones where the guests will be like, I want to go back in her or his section of rooms, you know, that kind of quality. And it was the most bizarre thing because they would talk, I'd ask them questions and the two things that came out of that set of focus groups was one, they all found love in what they did. I don't think I called it love at the time but they all found specific loves in what they did and and and each one of them loved different bits so there was idiosyncrasy. So one of them would say well what I love is vacuuming myself out of the room and seeing the lines. I love every room for me is just creating lines as I vacuum myself out. Someone else said the way that I love the room is I love to sit on the toilet or lie in the tub or lie on the bed and turn on the ceiling fan. And I remember the time going wait, what why? And she was like well that's the very first thing a guest will do after a long day on the theme parks you come and you flop down on the bed and you turn on the ceiling fan if dust comes up the top of the bed on top of the fan, the guest thinks that the whole room is as dirty as the top of the fan. So I love seeing the room from the guest perspective, that's why I sit on the toilet or lie in the tub and someone else goes, I make a little show for the kids with the fluffy toys on the bed. So one day they'll come in mickey and Minnie will be on the bed with his arm around her and her arm on a remote control for the tv. So the kids think all day long mickey and Minnie just hang out in the bed snacking and watching tv and the next day it's goofy and Donald dancing on the window sill or something. And so you hear all this stuff and you go, wow, that that's so specific by the way, none of these things are mentioned in the job description. In fact, the job description had some things that were prohibited you from lying on the bed prohibited specifically said don't touch more of the guest possessions that you need to clean the room. So none of these things that I just mentioned were in any of the description of the job, but they had all taken them really, really seriously. And it was one of those bigger hearts where you go, wow, the activities of a job itself energetic, there's energy in activities and each one of us gets different energy from different activities. What in the book, the love and workbook, I came to call red threads. It's like every single job has many, many, many, many thousands of activities in it every day. A bit like a fabric. And and so today's thursday, but but it's not a thursday, it's actually thousands of stimuli that are hitting you that are hitting me. It's a conversation here. It's an activity there. It's an email here, it's a confrontation there, it's thousands of stimuli every day. They're like threads in a, in a in a in a fabric and some of the threads of black and white and green and gray a little up a little down. But some of them are red, red threads, their activities that are a bit like the women vacuuming herself out of the room or the other one making a show for the guests. They're just things that have love in them. They're joyful. They lift you up, you positively anticipate them. Time flies by when you're doing them flow mic check mic all that flow. So every one of us has red threads in and rather than seeing our day as like something to get through, like a, like a to do list that rolled over from yesterday. The most successful people, even if really, as you said, like, squint at it and go, gosh, let's not generalize too much. But do they have anything in common at all? I would have to say that what it is, is they take their red threads really seriously every bloody day. It's not like I save up my month and one day a month. I do one day filled with things I love. It's like, no, no, no. Every day. I've got to find some red threads to weave into the fabric of my work today. Not all day, It's almost like the data doesn't show Chase that the best people do all that they love. There's actually no data that says that they do all that they love, but there's a ton of data as well as anecdotes like the one I shared about housekeepers which show that they find love in what they do. They find red threads every like which bit of my day today is going to be red thread like and there's a bunch of data from the mayo clinic looking at doctors and nurses and burnout in them that suggests that 20% is a really useful threshold for all of us. You don't need a red quilt, you need 20% of your day to be activities that you love. Red red threads and everyone else is color blind as to what your red threads are, you're the genius, you're the only genius. So, so if you really push on what the most successful people do, it's like they take their loves, the specific activities that they love their whole life is like a scavenger hunt for red threads and it sounds almost, I don't know, almost too simple to say it that way. If you look at all the different sorts of excellence that I've started over the years, but actually if you really push on it, whether it's housekeepers or whether it's basketball stars, they're so they're so serious about their own uniqueness and the combination of their uniqueness with the world, like what's the best way to be an entrepreneur, really flipping depends on the entrepreneur and successful entrepreneurs are like the bit of my job where I saw is this and this and this and this and I'm gonna take that seriously every day? How do we, this is fascinating. So which, which comes first, Right. Do we build careers and jobs for ourselves around the things that we love around our red threads or do we have the jobs? Do we have the careers that we have and we look for the red threads and pull on them? Well, if you were going to wave a magic wand, you'd do the former before the, you do the latter, the former is Because you could do this. My, my daughter came to talk to me during the pandemic about 16 at the time. It was like, what's the difference between a rhombus in the parallelogram? And I remember this is now a couple of years ago going a, I don't know, I can't remember. It just struck me that, wow, somebody's taken geometry really seriously. Like she said 10 years of geometry, like there's tests and there's grades and there's geometry like serious, But all the stuff that will sort of wake her up when she's asking the question that you just asked like, should I look for a job that really fits the best of me or should I take any job and try to mold it so that it actually plays to the best of me and how do I even think about the best of me without bragging or how do I even share that with my new team without sounding like I'm self involved? How do I get curious about what my other teammates or colleagues like all the stuff that sort of wakes you up when you're 29. She got nothing on that like zero. There's no rigorous. You might take strength, find out, you might take any a gram, you might take a Myers Briggs and you know, God love those assessments because I'm a huge fan of strength assessment. But they go in a draw, right? They don't, there isn't a 10 year curriculum on you or my daughter where somebody's going, hey, what are your passions? What is your calling? What do you love? What are your red threads to use that metaphor? Um, which is a shame because it means you pop out the top after college perhaps and you're kind of clueless as to how to answer your question. You don't really know, You just get any job and then you, does it fit me? I'm told that I could be anything. I want to be if I just work at it. I'm told that I'm an empty vessel and we, and we even couch it in sort of positive language like, well I ought to have a growth mindset, which means there's nothing inside me at all really. I can just be anything when really, what should happen is we should start early helping people go, No, no, no, no. Um, you are not a function of your race, your gender, your age or sexual orientation. Those things are important, but you share them with millions of other people. You're you and you're really different than your brother or your sister or your cousin. You're just weird. I mean you really are weird and that's a good thing. So during your teenage years, let's help you figure out what are your red threads? What do you lean into? Where do you see sparks of learning? Where do you learn quicker than anyone else? Where you singled out for praise? Where do you find something interesting that everyone else finds boring? Come on, let's help you do that because the life is showing it to you all the time. If you did that, then you pop out the top of college and you would be actively looking for roles in which those red threads were there for you. That's that's kind of the perfect world. We actually live in the real world though. So probably the answer your question in the real world is because we don't do anything that I just described. We've got graduates graduating. You know, they're jacked up on Adderall or they're on Xanax to take the edge off the Adderall and they don't really know who they are and they're alienated not to paint too gloomy a picture, but alienated from themselves. And they pop into a job and most of those jobs frankly defined on indeed, or linkedin with job descriptions that frankly are generic and they don't, they don't see you at all. So we pop into jobs and then probably for us, we should think about our careers as within a job. Let's scavenge for red threads in that job. We know that 73% of American workers say they have a chance to maneuver their job to fit themselves better. That's pretty good, 73%. So yeah, there's 27% of us going, I've gotten, I'm stuck, which is that bad and we should talk about that. But 73% of folks saying, you know what, I do have some room to maneuver in this job. Unfortunately, only 18% of us say that we have a chance to do what we love every day, 18. So in psychology we call that an attitude, behavior consistency problem. Many of us think we can do it, but we don't do it. Um, and so to some extent, a lot of what I wrote, love and work for was sort of the 27 year old in a sense going, what the heck? This job doesn't fit me? All of the performance management systems that I live within the rating systems that give me a performance improvement plan at the end of the year or a grade or a number, I'm a three out of a five or all of it seems to ignore me. In fact, my uniqueness is not just irrelevant to my job. It feels like it's an impediment to my job. So for all those people who go to work, going this job doesn't seem to fit me. I was, I think trying to write love and work to go, don't worry, you're not crazy. You do actually have probably quite a lot of room to maneuver in your current role before you start throwing it all in for some other brand new job. So the grass is greener on the other side. Why don't you start thinking about red threads in your current job? Just try that. Like my simplest council is always just take a blank pad around with you for a week, draw a line down the middle of it, right? Loved it at the top of one column and loathed it at the top of the other column and just take it around with you for a week and any time you see an activity that's got one of the signs of love and I would say there's three really good ones before you do it. You actually look forward to it. There's some sort of positive anticipation for it. You don't really know why even, but they just sort of is second while you're doing it to go back to mike checks in my eyes term, there is flow time does speed up and third when you're done with it, you're not drained. Thank God that's over. You're somehow you're up your invigorated and those are feelings and only, you know, the feelings, so take that around with you for a week. The love it, love it and script. Any time you see one of those three sides just scribble down exactly what you were doing. Not generic stuff like working with people, but which people, what are you doing with them? What's the verb? Like scribble it down and then on the flip side, scribble down the load it and you'll have some, everyone will have stuff where you procrastinated and trying to hand it off to someone else or time drags on and you're bored out your mind and you've been doing it for two minutes when you're done with your drained and it's a beautifully simple sort of inventory of your emotional reaction to the activities that fill a week. And and what what is great about that for you is it's a great place for you to start wherever you want to go. You've got to start with where you are, where you are, you, you're the only person that sees your red threads, So take a blank pad around with you for a week. Just pay attention to some of those clues. You'll see activities and no in the back of your head, you don't need to have a job where it's entirely loves. You just don't, no one does and yet a job with no loves Is psychologically and emotionally draining and the people who feel it, most of the people at home, the people that you love, suck it up. Your job isn't supposed to love you back? No, your job is 40, 50 hours a week of activities. If every one of them is loveless, please don't imagine that you're not psychologically damaging yourself. So to help people start off and go, this is doable. And then if you just do love it, love it. Maybe just twice a year for the rest of your life, then you'll be using the raw material of your own wisdom about your own life to start weaving more red threads deliberately into your life. And of course, if you don't do that, no one's gonna do it for you. So true. I love the attention and I just, I'll hold up the book here um congratulations. Uh it's it's brilliant love and work. It's also incredibly well timed um as you know, many of our watchers and listeners will have heard and are seen in the news. You know, terms like the great resignation and we're all completely rethinking our relationship with work, in part because of the pandemic uh in part because people are finally recognizing that feeling included and belonging and connecting to what we do with so much of our time. All these things are they're entering our awareness unlike they have at previous times. So, a congratulations on having an incredibly well timed book on this topic. More importantly, did did this um this this I would just call it maybe a collision between our values and our reality. How did they inform the work that you put into in order to write this book? Well, probably like many people during the pandemic. You have some really difficult days and you have some really clarifying days and some of the difficult days, I don't want to speak for you. But I know for me the days when you look in the mirror and you go, what the hell are you doing with your life? And then there's other days where you think, well thank goodness I'm still alive because I've got an opportunity to go and try to do something that really feels like an authentic contribution. And so for me, um right before the pandemic enduring, I lost my marriage, I lost my dad, I sold my company, We were talking about that, that's your baby, You build it, build it and and of course you're happy that someone sees value in it and that you could scale it. But that's jarring. And then of course now we're all isolated and so that all happened to me and then you're all by yourself. And so I thought I wanted to rehabilitate the word love because if if somebody had asked me the question you did at the beginning, which is 25 years of just interviewing really, really, really successful people and shutting up, What do they all have in common? The answer that I said before really is that it's like, oh my gosh, they, they seem to realize the activities themselves have love in them. And yet everyone loves different ones. And, and psychology, the practice of what's called individual, different psychology. Like why why is venus different than serena Williams? Why is George Clooney's sister, ada someone we've never heard of and not an actor. Why why did Neil Armstrong walk on the moon? But Dean Armstrong, his elder brother was a bank manager. Like we don't, we have lots of discussions about our trauma growing up and how that biography affected us, which is all true or we have sort of generalizations of, as I said before, race and age and so forth to explain ourselves. Which is all important. But the really interesting questions for every one of us is what is what bits of me are just me and different than someone with the same race, gender age, socio economic, my brother, my sister, like that's really like this. Here is this is Beyonce Knowles. Like I'm fascinated. Sorry, that's solange Knowles, like so that's Beyonce's sister. So why are they different? Like, and they're so different but why and where is the language around? Why are we different from the people we grew up right next to. Maybe that doesn't interest everybody, but I'm fascinated by that because I've got an elder brother who is a pianist and a younger sister who is a professional ballet dancer for 20 years and I don't have any musical talent at all, like not none. And I played the trombone for 10 years, God loved Malcolm Gladwell, I had 10, hours of playing the trombone and I went from terrible, too bad. Like that was the limit of my great, so it's like, I'm sure everybody listening or watching has this where you go, why am I so different than my brother and my sister, Why can someone give me a language please? Because all the other languages, race, gender, age or biography are okay, but they don't really explain this bit. So the writing of the book at the time was like, wow, people who excel have figured out that the, the uniqueness of them and their emotional reaction to activities in a job is real, it's super important and it's the precursor to contribution. So love doesn't always lead to excellent performance. Sometimes we love some things that don't lead to excellence and we call those hobbies and that's cool, they bring more love into our lives. But often love does lead and we know this biochemically it leads to the dis regulating of the neocortex. It leads to what Barbara fredrickson, the positive psychologist calls broadening and building, it really does lead to an opening of your mind to more learning. So, so the idea that the best people take love seriously, that for me was like, gosh, let's write a book about love, let's do it with Harvard so that people can go now they're taking this seriously. Um and and then let's try to help through the book, I guess through the other things that we're doing around it, can we help people have them healthier, more intimate relationship to their own contribution in life, some of which will be on the job, some of which I define work is creating something of value for someone else. So sometimes that happens on your job, but also raising a family is work in that sense, raising friendships is work, community activism is work. There's a lot of different domains of contribution that we make in our lives. Um And now of course we come out of the recession, so we come out of the pandemic kind of maybe hit a recession, We've got this great resignation and so now kind of as you said, I suppose fortunately and I hope usefully when people are thinking, what should my relationship to my job be? What should my relationship to my broader contribution be like where's me in that equation? Um My hope is that when people start asking that question themselves, which many of us are of course we need the money, we need a salary, we need a job, we need to provide for ourselves, our families. I mean there's there's a there's a transactional element to a job that is non trivial, but at the same time surely work doesn't have to be Loveless. Like we designed a lot of loveless work. You go to some big factories or big distribution centers and there's a lot of loveless work that's been designed. I mean we can design, look at some schools with the underfunded teachers. I mean you can look at all the burned out nurses. I mean we can design loveless work even in hospitals, but that doesn't mean that it has to be loveless. And in fact for all of us coming out of the pandemic, I wanted to be very non idealistic, very in the real world to go, hey, there's something special and distinct and unique about you and the activities of your day helped reveal that to you. You can find red threads, you can, no one can do it for you, but you can. And so if the book helps people take their angst, that overall feeling that many of us have about, well, what should I be doing in my work and take that question and actually put some very, very specific sort of doable answers to that. And if, and if it, if it helps people in this time right now, then jolly good because otherwise I think we're gonna have a whole bunch of bitterness in about nine months time as people realize that we're basically just sliding back to where we were before. Um, that would be catastrophic. And I don't believe that's going to happen. And I again, that's one of the reasons I was so fascinated with your book and why I think it's so well timed and I'm gonna play back. You just heard is just our own attention on our individual skills and delights and to use your word, the things that we can find love in, in whatever job we are doing or a job that we want that is where all the best stuff is we have to learn to pay attention to that. My question, if I got that, just give me a thumbs up or close enough. Absolutely. Your, your emotional reaction to certain activities go back as housekeepers take those three housekeepers, the stories they told about that which they loved were totally different but super vivid and emotionally resonant, positive emotional reactions to lying on a bed and turning on a ceiling fan. But that doesn't mean that every single one of them did that, but it does mean one of them did that. And one of the things that they've done is made to your point, they paid attention to that took it seriously. It wasn't like, well that was irrelevant or that everyone's like, I mean sometimes we get so close to our own loves, we assume that everyone's like that and sometimes we actually devalue that which we love because we assume everyone must be like that. So it can't be that special. And in fact one of the greatest gifts. I hope people get from the book is to go, no, nobody other than you maybe lies on the bed and on the ceiling fan. That is weird. In fact, the norse, the ancient norse had this idea that that you all have a weird, every one of us has a W. Y. R. D. So it's a noun, right? And it means a spirit or a diamond when you're born, you have this kind of unique weird in you. And although you can grow and learn and develop, you don't get someone else's weird. You you grow into your own. So yes, in terms of what you play back the most successful and happiest, like the most thriving ist. If there is such a weird people are people who do take that weird seriously and they pay attention to the, oh my gosh, I lie on the bed and I turn on the ceiling fan, I get a kick out of that and it manifests a bit different in every room. But that's me is every house people like that I know is that part of what makes you special? Yes. Like how? No, no, no here. So here's my follow on. So if we if we get that bit right, what I played back and you just reiterated, we've got to lean into our own weird. We gotta lean into what what lights us up regardless of how it may appear to others. How do we combat the fears that we have of being seen as weird or that that is um unacceptable and I couldn't make a living doing that. All the things that we hear from which is part of this most confusing message that I felt growing up as a white male born in America had basically every privilege, I did not get the the inputs that you know, you know, pursuing my passion as a, as a creator, as an entrepreneur was somehow valuable. I do not get that input. So how do we manage the fears that we have around fitting in around getting what ostensibly is misinformation from people who love us from our parents, our career counselors are are the leaders within the places that we do work. How do we manage those fears when when go back to the housekeeper when I love sitting on a bed and turning the fan on and feeling that this room, you know, hold me in a cocoon rather than you know, is dust flying everywhere. How do I lean into that when I'm getting none of these, you know, messages of you know positive messages around embracing my weirdness from people who should be smarter, should be better, should be more talented or further along in the job and life, you know, tact than I am. How do we reconcile that? Yes, well that's a those are really important questions that if you and I had oceans of time on our hands, we should really do is we should go build a curriculum starting in about 10 and help all of these teenagers who go from particularly 14 through 21 you think about those seven years and all the transition points, the kids go through during 14 to 21 and we give them really no guidance at all to answer those very questions. All these sometimes well intended teachers and parents saying well you should be a dentist or you should stay in school and get, but you should, you should not stay in school, you should go get an apprenticeship and you should then you should and you should, there's a lot of should and a lot of noise. So to begin with, we should just honor the fact that it's hard to listen to your weird when there's so many people shouting at you. Some of them very well intended, li basically saying there's nothing in you that you're an empty vessel, you're a tabula rasa. And they're saying that not to be mean, they're saying that to be developmental, hey, you can be anything you want to be, just sounds so good to say doesn't it to someone else. But in fact for the person that means there's nothing in me at all. The red threads are your loves are just completely endlessly malleable. You could maneuver them, manipulate them into your brother, you could become your brother Dean. Armstrong could be Neil Armstrong ada Clooney could be, you know, George clinton. So to begin with, we need to help everybody understand that. That the we don't need a spiritual weird to describe the fact that you that you are unique. We do know and this is just facts. So we should start with people with fact, By the time you're 19 years old, you have 100 billion synapses in your brain, which is a huge amount. But of course, the real source of your uniqueness is the connection between the neurons and you have 100 trillion of those. Every single person has a unique, totally unique 100 trillion synaptic connections in your brain, which leads you by the way to love some things and lo the others to lean into some things, lean out of others to find something's funny and fun things, not something's interesting, something All of your uniqueness is a function of this incredibly massive filigreed, synaptic connection that is bigger than the number of stars in 5000 milky ways. So that's where we have to start with you and go, listen, there's an utterly unique network in your brain. It's real, it's not fake and it's not a function of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, it's just you, but it's there and it's huge when you die, no one will ever have that pattern again, You're amazing, but and that we're not doing that just to puff you up like that's actual fact. Second you will learn all the way through your life. Yes, we have Blaine brain plasticity. Absolutely. You will. You're like every human you'll learn. But we actually know you learn the most where you have the most pre existing synaptic connections. We know that where the where the infrastructure is there, the blood vessels, outfit integral proteins. You grow, you learn more where you already have more. It doesn't mean you can't learn elsewhere. It means that you learn most in those parts of your brain where you've got a big thicket of synaptic connections already. So what that means for you is that your uniqueness over the course of your life is actually in fact, brain scientists say, learning for you is new buds on existing branches. It's not new branches. So we can help. First of all, you've got this incredible unique Network Connections. 2nd, your growth and development is actually going to be an amplification of your uniqueness. So take it really seriously because yeah, you could get a little better over here and yeah, you could get a little better over here. But if you're going to really stand out in work, I'm sorry, you're gonna have to take your weird seriously. Now, that does mean you should learn new skills. It does mean you gotta practice, it doesn't mean you don't work hard. It means though the practice becomes more like an obsession than like a discipline. So that's the second thing we got to tell you. And the third thing is we humans have always always known that excellence in anything happens on teams, The oldest human art we've ever found chases a 50,000 year old painting on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. And it's not a painting of a handprint, it's not a painting of a guard. It's a painting which they only found in like 2017, but it's 50,000 years old, which is at least 20,000 years older than the paintings in southern France. And it's a painting of a team. It's a it's a bunch of very clearly humanoid figures with with ropes and spears and they're chasing animals. It's a hunting scene. But what's super cool about it is that the artist, which I think was a woman. She had painted um animal characteristics different ones on each of the humanoids. So one of them's got the chunk of elephant, one of them's got the tail of crocodile, one of them's got like the face of a wildcat. And so they think what, you know, as a creative, you'll know this, you can kind of with art, you can sort of see into the mind of the artist. So it's kind of gives me the shivers to think, you can see into her 50,000 year old brain but they think she looked across the smoke in the, in the cave and went, oh he's got the strength of an elephant. And she's got the while of a crocodile and she's as brave as a cat. And this one over here simply knows where the animals are going. And why don't we pull them together into into a team? We'll call it a team. And together these four fingers will turn into a fist and we'll be able to do something together that we couldn't do alone well when every ceo asks me which they do well with all this incredible uniqueness. Isn't that chaos? I've got a bunch of housekeepers who clean hotel rooms, I've got a bunch of nurses, they've just got to show up in the emergency room. All of that uniqueness is really annoying to me, Isn't that just chaos? The response is always know we figured out what to do with uniqueness 50, years ago. The team I know we always say there's no I in team as though the point of a team is to remind you that you're not as important as the team. But it's like, no, that's a complete misunderstanding of teams. We designed a technology called teams because we have uniqueness in us and the team is the organizing unit, which makes value out of your uniqueness. So going back to your question number one, you've got this unique, unbelievably real unique network. Number two, you'll grow most through the uniqueness of that network. And number three, you don't have to have a red quilt yourself. You could join teams where each person is bringing their uniqueness to that team and together because you're bringing all your red threads together. the teams, the red quill, you aren't and that's real like that, you're, you're an entrepreneur, you know this, you were probably really good at building teams out of different people, so if anyone listening, that's trying to build a business, yes, you got to start off with your own red threads, but really quickly the first big decisions you'll make will be what's first team I construct and and do I know the red threads, if you like, the loves the callings of each one of these people on that team, AM I like the painter 50, years ago who can kind of go ah I'll put him here here boom, and if you, if you want to build a business instinctively, you've got to get really good at building really good teams, this is so obvious to, you know, on the, on the back side of you know, as you talked about building a company or building anything, you look backwards and you realize that even if you are a solo preneurs self employed or that there is a sea of people who contribute to your success and who enable your greatness to shine and whether you're bringing in people to help with accounting or account management or their, their, you know, any number of possible teams, even in a solo preneurs environment, you start to look or at least for me, I remember thinking about this, like, wow, This indelibly connects me to the community around what I love now. I've been a huge advocate of community ever since I discovered this, I would say 20 years ago, I didn't have a good vocabulary for it, but have developed this over time. And would it be a fair, would it be a fair word in your world? I know you work mostly around team and in career is community and Okay. Substitute for that word. Yeah. No community means that we need to rely on one another. I mean one of the most beautiful things that that I hope love and work for those that read it. That what it gives them is if you've got more stars in your brain than 5000 milky ways, then so does the person you're just about to bring into your community. Don't assume anything. Just just shut up and ask your questions and listen because their uniqueness, I don't care what they look like. So put in a sense, put aside your unconscious bias about anything. I don't mean just race or gender, but anything because you can meet someone that might look a lot like you, maybe they're the same race as you, The same gender, the same age, the same schooling as you. But in terms of the red threads, in terms of things that they love in terms of the things they lean into, you don't know anything about them because I have a brother that looks a lot like me who is weird. Who is, if you taste, if you met us both, you might assume that he was very similar, but it couldn't be more different. So community is a good word because what it's really saying in the community is we need to know where we can rely on you the most, we therefore need to be able to see you. We can't rely on what we can't see. So in the in the best communities you feel seen and and you're seen as valuable because of what people see in you. And that's for all of us that have ever been part of a great community. It's not because we, we we abdicated our uniqueness or idiosyncrasy and we became this is the worst sort of community where it's, I don't have any idea who I am. So I'm going to join a bunch of people that look and think like me and then we will define ourselves as amity within m nitty without uh I don't know who I am. So we're going to say we are together because we're not you. I mean that's that's bad. That's unhealthy community where people have no psychological understanding of themselves as individuals. So they band together and create prejudice in terms of the way you're talking about community that is super healthy community because it's it's built out of psychological strength for each individual and psychological curiosity of each person to each other person, which again isn't woo. It's like you built a business, you built a business because you were really curious about what each person's uniqueness was and how perhaps perhaps it could get turned into contribution, whether it's out of a community or part of a company or whatever. That's I mean that's kind of the secret source for any kind of significant achievement. It's being really curious about the uniqueness of that human and and sometimes it gets annoying because that human isn't wide the way you're wired and you don't always understand when I'm like, I'm not saying it's always easy. I've built some teams that crumbled. I'm sure you did do what you like. But if you if you stay curious, keep asking your questions, where will this person contribute the most? What do you love about what you do? When does Time fly by? When were you picked out for praise and sing and singled out? Like what those sorts of questions yield. Really specific answers for people and from that builds a really strong community. I think that I was gonna lead into that. My question on community was specifically, I'm reading from the book now, it's uh it's chapter 16 and part three. I see you, I love you and this is under the heading of making, making love and work come alive. So I want to explore this topic of but seeing and being seen, I want to go to the being seen part 1st. So for I'm hoping that you can dissect the misunderstanding that society has labeled introversion and extroversion. So how I'm I'm sure there's 50% of the listeners here or more are introverted and can you give any advice on being seen in a world where you know, you might want not want to share the spotlight because this idea of being seen is so critical to your work and to basically the framework that you're sharing with us today, how does one do that and not violate what feels like their internal values? Well, gosh, that's an interesting question. It's it's really on some level as simple as changing your language. Sometimes we label people extrovert or introvert based upon their willingness to brag. I'm not saying always, but often we might say that an introvert is someone who is really uncomfortable with any sort of self claiming or and of course the actual definition of introversion and extroversion is where you get your energy from and extrovert gets it more from other people introvert, which frankly to be if you really push on that from a psychometric standpoint, those two categories are way too broad, like way too broad when we are faced as you know, with the complexity of other human beings, we tend to get overwhelmed and we start going well you're an extra but you're an introvert, you're organized, you're disorganized, you're motivated, you're we do that because we just get a bit overwhelmed by the fact that you're I mean it's funny my, my step kids here, You know, one of them when he walks in and into the kitchen, the first thing he does is pure in his hands and clean them and anytime anything is brought out of the pantry, it's put immediately back and you think, wow, he's organized. But you go up to his room and it's like the towel fairy came in and threw up all over the room, right? And the other one was younger. His, his closet is like color coded, the sock drawer the next day's clothing is laid out. And but if he makes anything, it's like strawberries just exploded out of the walls and you're like, wait, wait a minute. Like, but one's organized ones just know we, we oversimplify at our peril. But beyond that, if you are one of those people, which is probably most of us actually who don't want to go, I'm the best at this. I rock at this. I crush this. I mean, I know we're supposed to live in a world where we're all comfortable with those kinds of claims, but for most of us we don't have, we don't know, we've got imposter syndrome apart from anything else. So do we really believe that? Well, to some extent, your point about community is super well taken because if we just change the language, not, I'm the best at, which is a braggadocio statement? What happens if you turned it around and you thought about what team want me to say like what would if the team had a personality itself and it was asking me to do something right by the team or by my community, what would it ask of me? Well what it would ask of you is to say, well could you tell us not where you're the best but tell us where you're at your best when you just just flip the language a little bit, when are you at your best? Where do you want people to really rely on you? Where do you feel really good when people turn to you for it? Like just just put a little detail about those three questions because we don't know and maybe initially maybe you haven't thought about it for a while but if you could the team would go good or the community would go good because we can't read your mind or your heart so but we do want to rely on you, we do want to turn to you, we do want to know where you're at your best so that you don't get burned out. So could you tell us so for me if you just change your language a little bit and think about it in terms of contribution and responsibility, it's not about bragging, it's about contribution and responsibility. So alright tell people where you're at your best. One of the things that we would suggest is you have like a have like a love and work day at work. You pick a day if you're if you were still running your your this is what I would suggest. You take a morning, take your best team or the team that you lead and just take a morning, go around the, go around the table, ask those three questions of each of the people on your team and scribble, have everyone scribble down, listen to what they say because it's real and then flip it around and say now tell us where you need help because not all of your threads are read, write some of your threads are different colors. You need help some of the time, some of the activities just like you're a deer in the headlights, are you okay? I know you're not supposed to have any weaknesses at work, but but why don't you tell us where you'd like help, where you want to reach out to other people where you find time drags on, not that we can take that all away from you. Some jobs are always going to have some bits of them that don't really fit you, but but tell us about some of the other threads with other colors. Why? Because we can help. Probably so that's a really simple sort of love and work day where the team leader and the team or the community will have an opportunity to see one another. Not as perfect humans completely, but as the individual, unique contributors, that we all that we all are Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. These, the changing of the languages and unlock. I feel like it's a massive unlock because those things, right, when you want to teach it to a 12 year old, like how cool would that be? No, this is, I mean, I have, this is in part, the purpose of the show is like, how, how can we, through simple behavioral changes, unlock huge pieces of us or our communities or our potential. We're just basically hiding in plain sight all along. We've been just getting it just a little bit wrong. Yes. And the thing we're getting wrong is we haven't taken seriously the fact that each individual human gets energy from different, very specific activities. I mean, my sister was a ballet dancer. I know ken Robinson famously was like, she's not sick, she's a dancer, which, and he's, you know, was a genius, But, but my sister was a dancer and she knew when she went to the Royal Ballet School at 13. But what the Royal Ballet School never taught her is, well, what kind of dancer are you, what are the specific activities of being a dancer? A ballet dancer who's in one of the most respected ballet companies in the world. Um, but there's a million different kinds of dancers. It actually took her about 15 years to realize she's a lyrical dancer she shouldn't be at the Royal Ballet Company, she shouldn't be at the Bearish Staff topper in Munich, she should be at the Netherlands Dance Theater en de ti, which is probably the most renowned lyrical ballet company because she can't do the four pirouettes in the four pirouettes and doesn't want to, it doesn't, it's too it's too corda ballet, it's too wrote, she's very long, it's quite long for a dancer, five ft 6.5. And that works when you're lyrical and that's what she loved. That's where she was like, I'm sure you found this as an entrepreneur too, when, when you're in your red thread zone, you are so much more charismatic people, they almost can't express it, but they lean into you, you're better like when, you know which bits of your day are red threads, people are like, you know, cause all about leadership as we know, is about confidence, your engendering confidence in others, but when you're playing to something that's a red thread of yours, you're just more attractive and you're more confidence inducing, but we didn't, it's that we haven't taken that no one took my sister's red threads seriously, they just said you're a dancer, which is okay, but really they should have gone on to go now over the next five or six years. We're gonna expose you to a ton of different sorts of dancing, a ton of different kind of repertoire. You gotta kind of figure out and we can't do it for you, You got to kind of figure out where your thing is and you may have many things, but you don't have everything. So we gotta figure out where you are extraordinary and that's a scavenge for, for your life in the next five years. That's the part chase that we haven't taken seriously at all. And and that's what makes so many of us alienated from ourselves in our lives. We're just not given a language to talk about it. Yeah, the in the book, this, this idea of scavenger hunting of looking for these things is an active process and we have to, you know, the audience who are listening or watching right now are not likely not teens, I'm sure there are some of you good on you for those of you out there, but just, you know, from the demos that were largely in that sort of 25 to 45 regardless of where you are on the age spectrum, this idea of starting to take this seriously if you have taken it seriously to date, good on you, if you have not. This, I can't emphasize this advice that we're hearing here from, from you Marcus enough that that is that is where the best stuff in life is and as you talked about being, you know, charismatic and dynamic and having energy for many of you who don't have energy. It's because you're not pursuing those things that light you up. Yes, it's catastrophic almost that we're just now talking about this and it's it's it's based on its individual different psychology for those of you who want to dive into the subject in more detail. It's not a huge if any of you study psychology, it's weird, you'll get very little of that. I don't know why we do it, but we don't really help you understand what's the rigor as I said about geometry way back, right, we take geometry way more seriously than we take the uniqueness of you. But if you're 45 you're wondering why you have been struggling lately or if you're you're wondering why the first two or three teams you tried to build didn't work or if you're 25 you're thinking, well what is the right ladder for me to start climbing the answer to all those questions is the same scavenge for red threads right now, start right now to figure out what your life is trying to show you because the most important thing I was trying to do, I think with the book Chase is to get people to change their, change their relationship to their own life. Often we do think that life is something to be withstood or got through. And certainly some of the HR functions, you're now part of a big company, you know, some of the HR tools really feel like you are invisible, You are irrelevant to the thing you're being measured against and so and so we you know, we push things at you that seem to to not really see you at all. So unfortunately or fortunately it's incumbent upon you to go right no matter where I am in my career, my life is actually trying to put on a show for me every day. My life is trying to show me. What about this thread? What about that threat? What about this one? What about this one? That's kind of how we should see our life. It's doing a song and dance. It sounds kind of silly but every day it's putting on a song and dance. And what about this? What about that? What about this? And to your point about attention if you turn on away from your own life and you don't look at it, it's still doing its show. It's just your maybe because of other people telling you what you should be doing. Maybe because of HR systems trying to tell you what you should be doing. But if your attention is down here, you're missing what I don't know, I love this idea that my life is trying to decode me. And if I can pay attention to it I will thrive now. That might mean earning more money. It might mean building a super successful business. It might mean staying in my current job and just finding a way to really thrive in the current role. But the answers are in my life, it's like that's not rara that's real. And so if I don't know if the book can help people go, oh the Secrets are there in my own life. I know how to pay attention to it. Even if we push you to go look just write three sentences, Write yourself three in the book, I call them love notes. But I love it when as the sentence stem and then finish the sentence. You don't have to show it to anyone. But but if you could pay attention to your red threads then the output of that would be write three sentences that are real for you. I love it when and the next word better be a verb, not when someone is doing something to you, I love it when I'm praised. No, I love it when I what what? And then as I say in the book, then dive into does it matter who you're doing it with? Does it matter when does it matter? Like Love lives in the detail, man lives in the detail. So could you write maybe start with one love note? Can you look at your own life and go God, I love it when dot dot dot and just keep it for yourself. What's powerful about it is that it's true for you in your life And then obviously from that you can think about how to turn it into contribution. Not 100% of the time, no jobs like that, but can I start at least thinking about how do I turn that into contribution? Then do another one And and that's boy. If you look at the most effective people, that's kind of what they've done, they haven't believed in the myth of completeness. Instead they said I'm not complete, I'm really specific now. Can I use my life to decode this specificity of me so I can do something, something distinct, something cool and something that actually nourishes me work. Can nourish I mean we design a lot of really bad work but done well work can realize as you know, I'm sure you've had this in your career. Of course, of course that again, I have to take a moment and congratulate you on the book. Uh Love and Work and incredibly well timed and thank you for in this time we are now finally looking more closely at the way we spend so much of our time and trying to make sense of it. You've helped so many of us make sense of this through your work, your lifelong work, but especially this most recent book, Love and Work, highly recommended. I want to say thank you very much recognize you and the work and um thank you for sharing some of your vulnerable stories today around the transitions that you're making in your life and the work that you did during the pandemic, for example. Uh one last question to wrap up with for those who are um the time is always not now, right? The time is always like, I'll do that tomorrow later or it's too late for me. I'm you know, ex far along in my career or I'm wondering if you have, if you have any advice for those people who might feel like they've missed the bus on this one because to me that is you know, that would be horrible. So how can we save a few people from that thought pattern now? Is there any advice that you'd give? Having done all of the research and spoken to, you know, thousands of people around the world and all sorts of different conditions. Give that people a piece of advice. Well, I think the first thing for us all to remember is we're here for such a short time. Life is so short. And all the people who really love you, they are waiting. They are waiting for you to show yourself. I promise you, they are, they might give you bad advice. They might say you should do this or you should do that. They might not really know what your red threads truly are. But deep inside them, if they truly care about you and love you, they want you to express and contribute the unique the super unique fingerprint that is you. They really do there waiting. So on one level I would say, please don't make them wait too long. Like life is so short, it might feel long to you. I missed my chance. No you didn't. No matter how comfortable your bed is tomorrow, you've got to get out of it or no matter how uncomfortable your bed is tomorrow you've got to get out of it and tomorrow is going to try to show you what it is that you love. No matter what age you are, you've still got so much of your uniqueness to contribute and we're waiting we're waiting for you. And I suppose the only thing I would share chases that if you do have fears, if you think there are things that are holding you back. Um I said in the book that yes loves can help you thrive but loves can help you push through your fears. Um growing up I had a stammer until I was 12 I couldn't speak and I got really expert in what was wrong with disfluencies even as a young kid I was a researcher I guess. So I was reading and reading and reading and it just got worse and worse and worse and worse. And yeah I had one day where I was 12 years old and they picked me. I don't know how or why they did but they picked me to read aloud in chapel which I'd never done before for obvious reasons and the night before I was in an empty chapel with the headmaster practicing and it went really badly like and I was petrified and And I was just getting worse actually. I think over the course of my young life I was just getting worse and worse and I couldn't see my own name, Marcus Buckingham for a stutter is just like a disaster of the name. And that night before empty chapel, it was 15 minutes, it was a five minute piece, it was 15 minutes of just suffering for him. And for me and the next day I got up out of the choir when I was called up and it was like every part of me was dripping with sweat, whether you're 55 years old or 35, we've got all of us still have those moments of deep fear. Well I had that one at 12, I walked up, turned around, looked at the faces, 400 faces and I've never been in this situation before. So this was this first time and the the faces somehow unlocked, they triggered some different synapses or something happened in my brain like and it felt like a little more glow and and and I said the whole piece perfectly, like I think I stand on the word criticism, but not in a stammering way, like in a normal way, like I was a normal kid and I wasn't brave, I wasn't smart, I didn't I didn't do it all I did was I paid attention to the fact that oh my word, I seem to, this is a red, I didn't use the language of red threads, but like speak I can't speak to one person, But it put me in front of 400 and I can, it flows man. And the only smart thing I did at the time chase was I just played a trick on myself. I said you know, If I can only talk to 400 people When I'm talking to one person in the schoolyard, why don't I just pretend that I'm talking to 400? Why don't I use a red thread? The language of love? Why don't I take something that I love and just weave it into something that I hate that I'm fearful of and my stammer went away in a week and I know that's an extreme example, but but love is really powerful. So for anybody going life has passed me by. I I'm too frightened of what might happen if I do X, Y or Z. Um I can't move because I'm stationary and I'm stuck. The only thing I would say is if you if you start paying attention to the specifics of what you love, you can use them for me. It was unlocking my own voice for you. It might be unlocking something else, but your love's aren't just for thriving there for flipping problem solving as well and for getting you moving. And if there's anything we know about love, Chase it, it's an energy, right? It's gotta flow. So the people that really love you, they want if you've ever been in a relationship where you're not seen, you know what it feels like when your love is blocked, when it doesn't express itself it can turn into a super caustic acidic substance really quickly and burn you up from the inside out. So for all those people I would say the people who really love you, they want you to manifest yourself and they want you to take your love seriously. I'm not suggesting you blow up your job and you start something else immediately. I don't know the specifics of your own life but your love's will hold so many wise answers to. How do you keep moving healthily in the course of your life? So start now life's too short mm. No better place to end than that. I wish you could go on for another hour. Marcus thank you so much for your time for your contribution for your latest book again, Love and work highly recommended. Grateful for all that you've done and consider the show a friend of yours. We're happy to have you on at any time and this is this is the stuff that our our community really needs to hear and thank you so much. We're grateful. Is there any place you'd steer us away from? Obviously supporting you and buying the book any place you want to direct the attention of this community. The only thing I would say for those of you that have the book, Harvard and I put together a six part series on Love and Work dot org. That if you've got the book, just takes each one of these ideas. Like we talked for an hour, I don't know about you whipped by for me, it's like there's quite a lot of unlearning that we've got to do this quite a lot of unlearning. So if any of you want to go and and do a six part series diving into like, what's a love and work team look like, what's the love and work relationship? Like what's a Love and work leader looks like um hbr and I have put that together on love and work dot org. So if any of you enter this sort of subject and really want to dive into it, Love and work dot org. Your book gets you access to all of it because some people don't learn best by reading, some people learn best through lectures or notes or activities. So we've had to put all of that together based upon the fact that everyone's different, brilliant. Thank you again so much and for everyone out there in the world from Marcus and I thank you very much for your attention and we bid you at you until next time