Kevin Stafford 0:02
Hello, everyone, and welcome to yet another episode of the delightful, at least in my experience conversations with coaches podcast. I’m your host, Kevin, and I’m once again so happy to have Jason Weber with me, we’ve already been we did a little pre chat, and I swear, it’s just like picking up with an old friend, even though we’ve really only talk to the one time for the pod and exchanged emails here and there. I really do feel have that feeling where it’s like, oh, yeah, we haven’t talked in, you know, a year or two. And I’m just like picking up this old friendship, this old relationship. It’s just a testament to you. And also just, I love having good conversations with good coaches. It’s amazing. So let me let me I’m already talking to you about before I’ve even introduced you again. So let me let me, let me read your introduction. And then we can really get down to the meat of it. Jason is the founder of s li coaching and consulting, serving executive leaders in teams by bringing servant leadership into the workplace. He’s the Associate Vice Chancellor for leader and culture development in the Texas Tech University system. He’s also an award winning author, and has published several articles around accountability and teams, team effectiveness, and bringing servant leadership to teams. Jason, long story short, I’m really happy to have you back. It’s really great to see you and talk to you again. You know, Kevin,
Jason Weber 1:12
thank you again. And as we were starting out 2023 And I saw the email come through about hey, let’s let’s do this again. It was it was an easy yes. Very much enjoyed our first conversation and looking forward to seeing where we go today. Yeah,
Kevin Stafford 1:27
it’s always it’s strange. It’s there’s there’s always surprises. But never, I’m never always pleasantly so like, I’ve never, I’m never quite sure like by the time we get to the end of the conversation, I couldn’t have predicted that we got there, really, but I’m unsurprised that we arrived at the place that we arrived at, you know, it’s, it’s a strange combination of things. And again, I’m doing that thing where I’m trying to figure it out, that just need to let it go and ride the wave. We were talking about that before I hit record. So this was you asked me kind of what I wanted to talk about. And I had some some notions in mind. And there was one thing in particular that I’ve been, I’ve been continuing to respond to. And so I’m gonna throw it at you as our starter, our starter topic, and we’ll just take it from there. So been reading probably many of you who are listening are at least aware of tangentially, or you’re about to be aware of this book called atomic habits by James clear. It’s, you might say it’s making the rounds as they say, but I’ve been reading snippets from it, I intend to read the entire book. But I’ve been reading segments and snippets in here and there and listening to interviews with the author. And I’m impressed with a great many things that this that this gentleman has to say and share. But there’s one in particular, it’s really been sticking with me. And so I’m just going to and this is pretty much a quote, I put it in quotes, but I might be like paraphrasing slightly, but the concept is straight from the book. And I want to talk to you about that. Don’t talk to everybody about this, but I want wanna talk to you about it first. So one of his take on one of my takeaways from what he’s been saying, and one of his kind of core points on habit forming and habit keeping. And this goes personal and professional as well. And the quote is, more or less, when in doubt, stick to the schedule, and reduce the scope. And I when I first heard that I was like, oh, okay, because sometimes oftentimes, you set a goal for yourself. And we’re in the early parts of 2023. Everybody’s goal setting and goal failing and goal succeeding, all the variations are ever but everybody’s in that state right now, as we’re recording, it’s not even two weeks into the new year. And a lot of times, I’ll say a lot of times, at least in my experience, I’ve had a lot of experiences setting, setting goals with inconsistent, too big too small to unmanageable scopes, where I just haven’t properly considered the the ability to achieve the goal as I’ve conceived of it. And then I’ll end up trying to hit that scope hit those parameters that I thought of for myself on January 1, or hopefully a little bit earlier than that, and failing and then kind of falling off and having to renew them down the road. This isn’t goes back and forth for years, for most of my life, really, but I’ve this really coalesced. For me something that I’ve been suspecting is very important. And that it’s more important to stick to the schedule of something than it is to stick to the scope of it. Because if like say you have a workout plan and you like you want to do like 30 minutes of strength training and 60 minutes of cardio three days a week, whatever it happens to be, and you come up to one of your days, and you’ve got 10 minutes, because you know, the kids need to be taken to school or there’s an event that’s come up, or it’s there could be a myriad of reasons why, but you’ve got the 10 minutes, you don’t have the full scope to do the thing that you set out to do but you do have a window to stick to the schedule. And I kind of want to talk about that. Obviously I’ve been I’ve been I’m clearly energized by the prospect of talking about this with you. So what do you think about that stick to the schedule and reduce the scope. When you have when when life comes at you?
Jason Weber 4:50
You know I think it’s an extremely valuable consideration that we need to make far too often with, with clients with even myself Right, we say we want to accomplish a, b and c, there’s a couple different mindset points that I would add into this. And I love the work that he’s done with simple habits. I believe it’s James clear, correct. And makes it very simple, which is the point. But I think it’s there’s a couple of mindsets here to consider one. You know, it’s the ability to just show up. How often do we when we don’t have the scope? When we don’t have the 30 minutes? Do we go? Well, nevermind, I’ll just take those 10 minutes for something else. Right, and then I’ll worry about it tomorrow. But yet, even if we can get 10 minutes, we’re still taking a step forward. 10 minutes is better than no, none, no minute, none minutes, the day that we’re doing this, right. But 10 minutes is better than nothing. And I think even as we think about the the goals, and you know, the expectations that we have for ourselves, that right there, there are going to be days where yeah, we need to reduce the scope. That’s life, it happens. Everything changes all the time, right. But our ability to stay committed to the journey that we’re on, and that word, right, there’s, you know, earlier, I was doing a training with a team. And we were talking about, we were talking about looking at these goals, and because we had gotten under the January resolutions, right? And what is it by the fifth or something like that 84% have already been failed. But we were looking at it and saying, Is it a finish line? Or is it a journey? Is it something where you want to check the box? Or is it something you want to grow from? And I think that right there, that differentiator is such a big deal. Because what that does is it gives us that ability to give ourselves grace. I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect. No one is, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re going to forget we’re going to, I don’t want to, but if we give ourselves grace, and that ability to be able to say, listen, we’re gonna stick to the schedule. And the grace I’m giving myself is I may only get 10 minutes versus 30. But you know what, I’m going to get the 10 minutes. It’s amazing what that can start doing, you know, to your mindset and how you approach things. You know, think about it. Alright, I’ve got, you know, I need to have 20 minutes to research this problem. Well, okay, here we are, I’ve got 10 minutes, well, what are you going to do? Are you just going to simply say, I’m just going to sit here without doing? No, you’re going to take those 10 minutes, right. And so, anyways, I don’t want to get into rambling here. But you know, what I’m saying here is that we want to be able to give ourselves that opportunity to truly understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish. Knowing that there are going to be bumps are going to be hurdles along the way. And that’s natural.
Kevin Stafford 8:00
It’s so natural, I think that’s why it makes so much sense. And I love your your emphasis on Grace, giving ourselves grace. There is a a temptation to hold to a certain rigidity with how we evaluate judge discern that the accomplishments in our own lives and also the lives of others as we as the thing, the way in which we tend to hold things to ourselves, we do tend to do that to others as well. And obviously, I feel like there’s a great contagion to this kind of grace in the most positive way possible. But that’s also its own little tangent that I don’t want to get too far off on. Unless we go there here in a few minutes. It depends. But I just I love your emphasis on that grace. And how important that is actually reminds me it made me think immediately of another G word are very closely related G word gratitude, and how, how gratitude and Grace both give you resilience, they give you they rather than subtract from you rather than feeling I have failed to do X i have not accomplished why I’m falling short on Z. And feeling the weight of that and the drain of that. You’re, you’re you’re adjusting that and adapting to that with grace and with some with some serious agility and feeding your resilience with positivity, not erasing. You know, the fact that you gave 10 minutes when you wanted to give 30 but embracing the fact that you gave the 10 and that how that fuels your resiliency, how that builds you up in a way that will allow you to show up for 20 Next time, or maybe it’s five next time but you know, you know the journey that you’re on and so you know, you’re gonna get there you know, you’re gonna get where you want to go, because you’ve given yourself the grace to take the the more meandering path when that’s called for when that’s necessary. And I think I love that emphasis on Grace.
Jason Weber 9:54
I would love to meet somebody who could accomplish their goals. perfectly.
Kevin Stafford 10:02
Right? I’d be scared.
Jason Weber 10:05
If you I would question them, I would honestly say Yeah, right. The only reason I say that is because again, our environments adapt they, they change. And your attitude is so, so important. As you were talking and made me think of a tool that I give to all of the clients that I work with. And it’s called the line of choice. I’ll just say right out of the gate, I don’t know who to attribute it to. I must have gotten it somewhere. But I’ve been using it for so many years. And it’s had this renewed value as of late working specifically, even with athletics. But here’s, here’s how it works. The line of choice has one question, are you operating above the line or below the line. And if you’re operating above the line, then you’re willing to take ownership, accountability, and responsibility. So you’re going to own the things that you have set out to do, you are going to own the things that have been assigned to you, right? You’re gonna hold yourself accountable. There’s an element of others, but I’m focusing more on self here, but you’re willing to hold yourself accountable, I’m owning this, so I’m going to hold myself accountable, and then you’re going to be responsible enough to see it through. And that’s where I would connect kind of what we’ve just been talking about, where’s your responsibility in a fall? Listen, I’ve committed to doing this. And so I’m going to get it done, even if it’s only 10 minutes, right. And again, this example that we’re using can be applied in so many different environments, and 10 minutes or today or tomorrow, way you whatever. If we’re operating below the line, then we’re living with blame, excuses, and denial. We have to make a choice. And that’s the power right? There is the choice. We decide. Every single one of us makes that decision. Either we’re going to operate above the line where we’re going to take that ownership, accountability and responsibility. Or we’re going to operate below the line, which is giving blame excuses and denial. Like so many things, what happens when we sit in this below the line environment where I’m blaming others, I’m giving excuses, I’m living in denial, oh, it’s not that big of a deal. My mentality, my attitude is gonna go down. Yet, if I’m willing to hold myself above that line, I can walk away, even if it’s not 30 minutes, but I can walk away proud of what I did. And that’s an experience that I can then rely on. So just as you were talking, it made me think about this tool where, you know, with all of that what it comes down to is choice. You set off the goal. Why? What does it look like? What does it mean? What is it I love, one of the activities that James clear gives us is the pre mortem, doing the pre mortem of failure. And in his workbook, I was looking through that earlier, he’s got a free workbook, he does these 30 day things. And you basically say, Okay, so here’s my goal. Now, I want to look six months out. And I want you to describe what it looks like, knowing that you if you fail, what is it going to look like? What got you there? How is it that you failed, right? And you start looking at it from that context? And again, I think our attitude just plays so much of an important role with this to either inspire or to put a barrier on our growth.
Kevin Stafford 13:39
Absolutely as, as you lay it out like that I would rather fail above the line. Right? Yeah, I that’s there, I would, I would, I would rather fail above the line. I don’t know if this is exactly true, like a one to one. But the first thing that ran through my head, as you were speaking is like I’d rather fail above the line and succeed below it. Because failing above the line means I’m I’m choosing, I’m engaged. And that’s kind of scary. I’m not sure how to think about that. I need to I need to sit with that, because that’s what ran through my head. And so I’m sharing it with you. But I definitely know the first part I agree with because I want I want to, in all possible circumstances live my life above that line, that line of choice, because I want that responsibility, that accountability, that consistency, that engagement, because that’s like having lived on both sides of the line. I see what happens when I’m choosing to stay above the line, even when things are not circumstantially, very good at all. I look back on that. And I see the shape of it. And I realized how much more growth occurred there. How much more more good I was able to do, how much more grace I gave not only myself, but also the people around me during those circumstances. How much more graceful I was, so to speak. And so yeah, it’s consistently I keep getting that lesson in that within that framework, that it’s just better to be above the line, no matter how no matter how things might look. And so I gotta I gotta I gotta sit with that dichotomy. Well, you mentioned
Jason Weber 14:59
In that, and I automatically shot to this direction of what does it mean to be an effective leader? If because, as you say, I would rather, I’d rather fail above the line than succeed below the line. Think of those leaders who have succeeded below the line. They succeeded through blame through, you know, lame excuses and denial, that’s gonna be a short term success. I would, I would argue that and the damage that would be done yet, if we have a leader who’s above the line, who’s willing to take that ownership, accountability, ability and responsibility, I would offer that they’re more than likely going to be seeing higher team engagement, higher team effectiveness and their overall impact on people’s going to be far greater. So yeah, there’s man, you got me really thinking? That’s the first time I’ve heard anybody say it that way. And yes, we need to sit on that because I like it.
Kevin Stafford 15:53
Yeah, that’s gonna be one I might have to like, like, as, as my day wrap comes to a close, I’m probably just gonna sit down with a journal and just sit and think about that for a little while. Because it’s just like, yeah, it’s what I love. And again, you inspire the thought, because as you were speaking, he just kind of went across my brain almost like a little a little ticker. And I was like, is that true? And that wasn’t sure it I love I love when, like conversations like this, bring that to me, where it’s not just a series of, like, strongly held Well, proven conclusions, but thoughts and feelings inspired where I’m just like, Oh, is that the case? And like, I almost feel like we were in a like, you know, exploring, explore exploring and untamed land together. And we found this, you know, found this river and we’re like, where’s this come from? Where’s this lead? Um, I love when that happens. I would call it serendipity. Except it seems to happen often. So it’s, it’s, it’s serendipitous and delightful at every turn. But yeah, it’s, I’m looking forward to sitting with that one. That’s exciting. I knew it. I told you remember, when we weren’t sure we were gonna land when we started talking? Like, I knew we’d have a prompt, and we wouldn’t, we wouldn’t be able to predict where we might arrive when we started. And sure enough,
Jason Weber 16:57
well, you know, and, again, that’s part of the reason why I sent you that email and said, What’s on your mind, because I love just being able to go with it. And, and, you know, again, the direction that we’re able to go with it. But, you know, I think as well, you know, when we talk about, you know, sticking to the schedule, and narrowing the scope. You know, another thought that has been going through my mind with that is I think about many of the coaching clients that I work with, and they talk about improvement, they talk about, I want to be more effective, I want to be a better communicator, I want to be able to hold my team accountable more. And I think our role as coaches then is to come in and say, Let’s narrow that scope. Because if we don’t, I mean, if you and I were to sit here and say, you know, alright, I want to be a better communicator, right? You already can go, Well, where do I go, there’s 1,000,001 different ways that we can go. And so being able to kind of narrow that scope, I think, just provide so much value and even to be able to ask those questions and say, Well, what do you mean by that? Tell me more? What does that look like to you? How does that resonate? Again, just tremendous amount of value, because our perspectives are going to be so different, which is an advantage.
Kevin Stafford 18:14
Absolutely. And I think there might be, I think there might be a tendency to think of narrowing the scope as limiting our options, where that the opposite is actually the case. But it’s just like there’s, there’s a bit there’s a bit of a false false follow through there, where it’s like, actually, you are expanding your ultimate options, by narrowing your scope by drilling down and focusing down and that’s not to say, think of it as like a camera aperture, depending on the kind of picture you’re trying to take, you’ll expand and contract that opening, things come into focus, things expand, you go, you know, three inches from the ground, you go 30,000 feet, both views have value, it’s the ability to move between them, when it’s called for when it’s necessary. And like you said, very often when, when s hits the F, when when when, when things hit the fan, like they always do, there’s you’re gonna go into like emergency mode, or whatever your emergency mode is, you’re gonna you’re gonna retreat to your defaults to try to get through things. And I think that’s one of the reasons why I like this as a habit forma, because that’s sort of a shorthand for your defaults, where you’re going to go when things are getting a little chaotic or crazy. On the good side of things are on the not so good side of things are more challenging side of things. And so if I fall back to show up, stick to the schedule, be consistent, be available, be vulnerable, be authentic, even if it’s just for a short period of time, even if it’s far from what I know to be my best. You know, when you can’t give your best, give what you have. And that’s, I feel like that’s a good I want my default to be more like that. I want my default to be in going in that direction. Because I feel like there’s just more there’s more to be had going down that road than there is by just trying to cling to a preconceived notion of what the size and shape of something should have been or should be.
Jason Weber 19:59
You know, it’s a I think too, it’s a matter of, a lot of times we want to control, we want to control the process. And ultimately, based on what you were just saying there, it’s show up, just show up. I mean, I know there’s quotes and their sayings about it. But really, there’s so much value in that. I just think back even, you know, through my own development, there were times where I’m like, I don’t know what to say, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I don’t know how I’m gonna approach this. It will, none of that matters if you don’t show up. And so just that ability to show up and, and I want to just highlight that point you made by narrowing the scope, it opens our opportunities, it doesn’t limit. Because here’s the thing, when we narrow the scope, what we’re saying is we want to be more intentional with our actions. When we’re more intentional, the outcomes are going to be influenced, they’re going to be impacted. And for all we know, if I leave myself at this vague this wide, this big goal, I’m actually limiting myself because I’m saying this is the only thing that I can accomplish. Whereas if I say, Okay, I want to go here, from what I know, today, I want to go here, let’s narrow that scope. And let’s hit those key indicators. And then let’s see where it goes. So it really is coming back to that it’s a journey, not a checkbox, it’s a journey.
Kevin Stafford 21:25
checkpoints, not checkboxes, is that something checkpoints? I like that. check ins.
Jason Weber 21:34
I think that got me thinking about like those old school like Sega Genesis video games, you know, like, I was like racing, you hit the checkpoint, you get an extra 30 seconds, right? I like,
Kevin Stafford 21:49
oh, okay, I’m gonna have to deal with that one too, because that’s like, especially because it’s like you hit your checkpoints, and then get the extra time, which is, so often what we feel like we’re losing or lacking is like, you can still be competitive in the race and hit your checkpoints. Actually, that reminds me of variations on a saying, I’ve heard this a few different ways up, often from like military vets. But uh, one of them, the framing of it that I’ve heard the most recently, and so it’s the most top of mind for me, is steady is fast. It really is kind of like a shorthand version of like, very, I’ve heard in different ways from different people. But I like I like the succinctness of that study is fast. And that’s a good like, I’ve written that up on my whiteboard, because sometimes I’ll get like, you know, out over my skis a little bit. And I’ll just be trying to like, you know, hit things, get things in a timely fashion, moving from one thing to the other. And I’ll feel myself stuck drift a little bit into a sort of almost reactive anxiety. I’m not going back. But it’s been happening for a while, by the time I realize it. And so usually, by the time I realize it, I need to give it some attention in some action. And so I’ll look over at that study as fast. And just take the deep breath and realize that if I stay steady, and the definition of study can be a number of different things, depending on what the context is, but if I stay steady, I will still be fast.
Jason Weber 23:08
Well, and it’s the focus, it’s, I I’m going to continue doing what I can do. I think it’s having an awareness and acceptance and a willingness that things are going to change. And I’m gonna go with them, but I’m gonna stay steady. Because even a small step is better than no step, right? And that ability to be able to say, we’re going to keep going. And you know, it’s Oh, man, this is just okay. You’ve just opened a new door here that we need to go down. But really, though, how many leaders? How many times do we get, we have this fear of making a decision because we don’t want to be wrong. Every single day, information is changing. And so that study is fast is really that ability to say Alright, I’m gonna make a decision today. I have full awareness and acceptance that tomorrow I may learn something different where you know what, maybe this wasn’t the right choice. So we’re going to quit modify, we’re going to tweak and then we’re gonna but we’re going to keep moving forward, because we want to keep that pace going.
Kevin Stafford 24:09
With enough that reminds weirdly enough, to the surprise of no one that reminds me of another one of my favorite sayings slash reminders. I just looked right at him ahead. Hold on. It just slipped right out of my talking. I had it ready added queued up. It was in the chamber it was ready to go. Oh shoot, you know what, I’m just gonna release it. It was just it was just another thing that I liked, like very, very similar to study as fast very similar a lot of the things we’re talking about. And yeah, if I were to stop and try to grab hold of it again, we’d be missing out on continue to great conversation. I just noticed we’ve been shot. We’ve been talking for a half an hour already. Wow. That is among the faster half hours I’ve experienced in question. Oh, man, um, shoot. I should give you a chat like what time So talk to me a little bit about yourself, what’s what’s going on in your, in your, in your life in your coaching business? What are you excited about for 2023? I want to know, I love these discussions, but I want to make sure we talk a little bit about about Jason Weber, and what’s what’s going on in your life in your business in, in the year of our Lord 2023.
Jason Weber 25:16
Right. You know, it’s been just an amazing, amazing start to the year and, you know, just being able to connect, build relationships, and I’ve had many opportunities to speak International, develop relationships that I never could have imagined. But yet, finding those people finding those areas that really resonate, I’ve spoken in Singapore, and the Philippines and, and others, and it’s just been so much fun. And so really broadening, just kind of the reach. But, you know, servant leadership is building momentum every single day, you know, and it really is about finding and building those relationships. And so SLI has been continuing to grow, it’s been continuing to build and, you know, we’re getting new clients, and it’s just, it’s been a lot of fun. And I am so excited for 2023. You know, my my hope is that, as I’m on this journey to, you know, continue doing things like this, this is obviously I love, you know, being able to have conversations like this, and even with the remarkable, remarkable coach had being able to spend time with Michael, and that was just so enjoyable. And so, you know, again, being able to just connect with others. And you know, to be able to help draw bridges and bring people together is really something that I’m focusing on for this year. So again, lots of great stuff. And as always, on my website, I keep it updated. And, you know, if people are curious, I’d love for him to take a look and just kind of see what I’ve been up to.
Kevin Stafford 26:56
I gotta tell you, it’s all I’ll be disciplined. And I’ll make myself Wait until maybe April. But I’m going to be reaching back out again for another another podcast with you. These are some of the easiest and most Contentful conversations I have. And I I remember our previous ones, I refreshed my memory when you when you when you reached out, it was like, oh, yeah, that was fantastic. Oh, yeah. And I was like, you kind of came rushing back to me. And that’s why when we first started talking, it really was like, when we started our conversation, it was like just reconnecting with an old friend who I hadn’t talked to in a few months. And I just love I love the way that you that you express and engage and make yourself so available and open and authentic. And even what would you know, sometimes just returned to casual conversation, we were able to go to so many places with such speed and such depth. Yeah, I’ll stop blowing smoke up your butt. I’m loving this and I’m having you back.
Jason Weber 27:53
It’s a problem. I know that.
Kevin Stafford 27:55
It’s so weird. Where
Jason Weber 27:57
did we start? And where did we end up? I get it. i It’s a problem.
Kevin Stafford 28:02
I am I am here for the journey. I’ll tell you that much. Jason man. Thank you again for chatting with me. Pre pod post pod on the pod. This is fantastic. And yeah, to the audience, just you’ve listened to us talk for half an hour. You’ve heard Jason. You want to do yourself the favor of getting to know a little bit better. Find them on find him on his website, find them on LinkedIn connect, reach out. You will not be sorry. I can promise you that much. So thank you to the audience. Jason, thank you again for being on the podcast. And we myself with other coaches and myself with Jason in a few months probably will talk to you again very soon.