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Fact: Over $300 billion a year is spent in the USA on executive and employee stress related physical, emotional disability, addictions, communication and personal problems, presenteesim and other stress related problems.
Fact: This is NOT an American phenomenon; the World Health Organization forecasts that stress will be the major cause of physical disability in the world by 2030.Leaders. Avert a natural disaster in your workplace because YOU can! Resiliency-building it, championing it and using it as an integral part of management, leadership and team development is critical.
Business success is about people; and if we do not build resiliency in our leadership initiatives, in our employee coaching, training and mentoring, we are on a collision course with disaster. Why am I passionate about 3Q Leadership™? Many reasons, one of which is the critical imperative to not simply empower and engage, but to build a new skill set that helps us, and helps our people build greater resiliency at the speed of change, and in the face of challenges that will continue to accelerate.
Sharing an excerpt from a Passion Point Interview with Canadian Resiliency Expert, Michael Ballard, and the original web TV interview >>in its entirety.
Irene Becker: Welcome to Passion Point. My name is Irene Becker and I welcome you to a half hour of passion, purpose and potential. A show that will engage you, inspire you and hopefully add some fun to your day. Today, I’m welcoming two incredible men, one of whom is Canada’s leading resiliency experts: Michael Ballard, and I really look forward to having this conversation with Michael, so stay tuned.
Michael Ballard: It’s great to be here.
IB: Thank you! Michael is one of Canada’s foremost resiliency experts, and I want you to tell us about your timeline, Michael, because I love it.
MB: Resiliency for life is all about bitter or better. There are several different ways to have taglines, so I have several. So you know Ballard’s the name, resiliency’s the game. I think it’s corny.
IB: Well, I think it’s very nice though. Tell me why resiliency is the game. Tell me about your – I mean this show is about passion, purpose and potential, Michael. And you were a man who left the corporate machine.
MB: I did.
IB: To become an entrepreneur, to follow your passion. How did you go from being the corporate machine and being a sales executive to setting up an organization based on resiliency and engagement?
MB: To go back in time, somewhere between 5 and 8, I had a brain injury. So off in the car, no ambulance, you know in the old days there was no ambulance service and down to the sick kid’s hospital where I got hustled in and a few days later I had to go home. But it started me on my journey on how we all react to certain things in so radically different ways. I since then learned as an adult that with head injuries, either you go quiet or it’ll make you really agitated. Believe it or not, I was the really quiet one.
IB: Hard to believe Michael.
MB: I know, very hard to believe.
IB: You were the quiet guy?
MB: I was the quiet guy. So, I wanted the lights off, the noises to go away, and I had a headache that was 8 miles wide and 10 miles deep and I wanted my roommate, who’d had a head injury and who was screaming incessantly, to just go away. And of course I went home, I was like,”Wow, that really is interesting. Two people, similar issues, you couldn’t react to it any differently.” So that got me thinking that being in grade one or grade two and off you go — and for your viewers I’m that old that bicycle helmets weren’t available then to the general public. So fast forward and then I had a medical condition at 17, and the doctor with good intentions said, “Well, there’s nothing you could do, it’s a chronic illness.” Well, he never met my mother and father and he certainly didn’t know my grandparents because you’re not allowed to say in my family “there’s nothing you can do”. There’s prayer, there’s family and friends, there’s exercise and there’s diet. But you know, sometimes when we’re experts we got to be careful with tunnel vision and I jokingly, respectfully refer to experts as a body of interest two inches wide and 10 miles deep. The nice thing about resiliency is that it gets me to pay attention to 10 miles of wide and only 2 inches deep, but I’m not shallow. So that got me really going because I mystified the experts with the chronic illness, because it kept disappearing. At a cellular level I was really sick, but I had no symptoms sometimes for 2 and 3 years. Then I’d have a 90-day speed bump test and that made me think that, “Hmm, maybe this mind and matter thing, there’s more to it.” Fast forward, I had two bouts of cancer where I confounded the mental help professionals because I was “too happy”.
IB: Oh my gosh, I got to share this with you, I relate to this. Because when I was pregnant, I had a life-threatening ailment and there was a good chance I wouldn’t see my first and the baby I was carrying. And when they were coming to do rounds, I mean you have to do something to keep your spirit up, I would make jokes. Ultimately, doctors came to see me, told me off and told me, “Don’t you realize you’re going to die? Why are you joking every day?”
MB: And that’s what I dealt with when a mental help professional with good intent said, “But Michael, I looked at your charts. You’ve got four cancer tumors, stage three of the primary, one spread and two stage twos! You’re in deep trouble!” I know I’m in deep trouble, but the day I got the diagnosis, on the drive home, I stopped at the lawyer’s office and got a new will. I stopped at the insurance agency and said, “In case I die, here’s contact information for father-in-law and father, and spouse’s work number. And you’re going to do a good job, right?” Poor guy, blood drained out and he almost fainted!
IB: So you became a resiliency expert because it’s an innate talent. You were innately resilient.
MB: Yes, my family culture is that it’s not nice to have an adversity, and it’s okay to feel what you feel, but after you’ve understood and reflected on your feelings, what do you want to do and what do you have to do to fight through? Resiliency doesn’t always change all the outcomes but it always changes the quality of the experience.
IB: But do you not say that, you know, we live – somebody asked me a while ago, because my practice is all about helping smart people work, communicate and lead smarter and happier.
IB: So, there is a great synergy between what we do.
IB: But somebody asked me this, I mean when are we going to stop riding the wave of change? The wave is only going to continue. That’s why, you know, my methodology is building the three Q’s, yours is resiliency, you need to find a way to really continue to ride the wave because it’s continuing. When you think about resiliency, I mean, it’s not only health – in terms of health and well-being, it’s really really critical. But within the machine, and within entrepreneurship, engagement, communicating with influence, really being able to survive and thrive in this climate demands resiliency.
MB: Well, I had a problem with a sales staff turnover problem, because in the old days – in the 90’s – it took 4 or 5 sales calls to get a “yes”, “no”, or “not right now it’s not in the budget, but come back soon”. Now, with some other clients, it’s taking 19 points of contact to get to that, and it’s burning people out. And I said that it’s great you’re giving out these people this amazing sales training – very professional – but what have you done to help people with what I call “mental stamina”? Because resiliency helps kids with raising graduation rates, it helps them with behavior; it helps adolescence with university and handling things and doing the right thing instead of the wrong thing when you’re in university away from home. But in the corporate world, it’s retention, it’s absentee versus presenteeism versus engagement and high productivity.
IB: Isn’t that a great term? Presenteeism? For those of you who don’t know what presenteeism is, this is a new term that was created that refers to people being present at their jobs, but basically not doing anything.
MB: The body showed up, but the mind’s on holiday, so they do a little bit of work to get by, but only enough to get by.
IB: Yea, that’s a huge problem.
MB: So, they went, “Well, it’s expense to hire people.” But I said it’s really expensive to hire new staff and also makes your customers vulnerable. Because when I was in sales, I got some of my biggest captures and stole business away from some of the competitors when their sales people changed over. Because they had a bond and an emotional connection with their sales people with high trust. I came along, for four years and said I should change things; we’d like a chance to talk. And I got all sorts of business that nobody had gotten for 20 to 40 years, away from the competition, when their reps changed because I had an emotional connection and trust, even though I wasn’t their supplier and the new guy was just “the new guy”.
IB: So, I have three questions for you.
IB: Number one, what would you say is the most important thing to develop in resiliency? Hold on. What, Michael Ballard, are you passionate about in terms of the work you do? Is it keynotes, is it training? Tell us about that. And also, I want your passionate tip for the day.
MB: Okay. One of the key things about being resilient is we live in a society that Dr Helmstetter in the 80’s brought up to my attention that something upwards of 80% of what people think and what they say is framed in the negative. Not a compliment of, “Oh, Irene, I like black, it suits you,” but “Oh, Irene it’ll show all the lint! Oh, Irene, are you sure? It’ll show all the pilling eventually that type!”
IB: Oh my gosh, no, I’m so self-conscious… Michael!
MB: It doesn’t, it doesn’t. So in a world that focuses 80% of the time on the negatives, how do we make progress? So, I also with some clients talk about realistic optimism. Because, you know, some people think that optimism or being positive is just this bright sun-shiny face, the clouds will go away, the sun will come out… But it isn’t that way. There’s homework to be done, there’s a process.
IB: But the homework could be fun!
MB: Oh absolutely! So I get people who would say: if there’s a dictionary that was personal and private and your picture was there, what have you allowed, and who have you allowed, to help you define who you currently think you are? Some of those things are positive in truth, some of those things are in the neutral – half true and half that clutter and get in the way – and some of them are outright lies! And so when I get people who do an inventory of how and who they’ve allowed to define themselves, some of these things really get in the way. My grade 10 math teacher, who had retired the year after he taught us – 69% failure rate of all classes taught – nice man, chronic illness, undiagnosed, nice guy, lousy teacher. If I had believed him, I’m a 52% kid in math. No I’m not! Next year’s math teacher said, “You want to be a bridge builder? An engineer?” No. “Want to be a rocket scientist?” No. “So, you’re good in business math! Be careful of how you let others influence you in your thinking, Michael!”
IB: That’s a key point there.
MB: So he was really a powerful force in getting me to look at my self definition. When it came to business math, I have exceptional skills, which in sales paid off real fast.
IB: So you would help a client really see their strengths.
MB: Well, I help individuals, teams, groups, children and families. I worked with IBM, the government in Singapore, but I’ve also worked with foster parent groups and boards of education.
IB: So, tell me about your path. I mean, it’s doing training, it’s doing coaching, it’s doing keynotes, it’s teaching people about resiliency, how to create greater engagement… When you look at your business and your vision, what is it that speaks to your heart? What is the next step for Michael Ballard?
MB: It’s getting more exciting in that we’re going to go into more media forms, helping people help themselves. You know the old feed them a fish, teach them how to fish? Well, we’re helping people and teaching people to learn how to fish and be their own resiliency resource. So, for experts in the board of education and we’re currently looking at my model and how it fits with their theory. They said, “Your model helps engage the kids!” And I said, wouldn’t it be better to have 90% of the kids engaged and do 90% of what I advocate, instead of 40% of the kids do what you do and you use 10%, because yours is nice, but its dry and academic, hard and unwilling.
IB: We know from brain science that engagement is really critical to ideation. It’s really critical to one of the Q’s: IQ.
MB: Oh, it’s vital too. I have an advertising guru on my team, and he talks about creating brain tattoos. I, of course, called it mental bookmarks so that when we need it, the answers and the right thing to do is right there. So whether we’re working with children, youth or adults, and I’ve done some nursing home work as well, it’s there and it’s available. So, that’s a key: self-definition.
IB: Michael, what is your tip? What do you want to tell the audience about resiliency? One tip.
MB: Beware of how you frame and reframe things, and that’s your point of view. It’s good to have a point of view, but there are always at least two or three points of view, and those points of view come with feelings attached and methods of moving forward. So we should always, to be resilient, know our options.
IB: And focus on the positive!
MB: Yes. Half empty is valuable and half full. But if we only focus on the half empty, we’re stuck; only on the half full, we’re not being realistic. If we need to buy groceries next week, buying that cute pair of shoes or that nice new sports car might not be wise.
IB: I like the sports car.
MB: So do I.
IB: I was going to buy a convertible.
MB: Well, give me a ride. As long as you can afford the payments.
IB: And I could put the top down. I will.
IB: Michael Ballard, it’s such a pleasure. I want you to tell our audience how they can reach you.
MB: Oh sure, I’m on the web, if you key in Michael Ballard or Resiliency for Life, you should find me in Toronto, Canada. That’s www.MichaelHBallard.com.
IB: Okay, tremendous. Thank you so much Michael.
Fact: Someone YOU lead, manage, work for, do business with, know or LOVE is needs to build resiliency. If you think your work, your career, your health, your business or professional practice is not negatively impacted by stress, by a gap in resiliency that CAN be corrected think again! While you are thinking, consider building the 3Q Skills that drive improved resiliency, focus and the people skills that drive hard and better results! What? Yes, recognize the five wolves, the five challenges that are facing even the best and brightest among us and beat them at their own game!
More on 3Q Leadership™ Skills and Resiliency? YOU Betcha!
Podcasts and Web TV
- From Pain to Gain in Life and Career Radio | Interview Irene Becker-Deb Scott
- HR Leadership 3.0 Podcast | Irene Becker-JoAnn Corley
- Extraordinary Women TV Interview | Irene Becker-Shannon Skinner
- The LinchPin to Your Company’s Success Interview | Irene Becker-Ted Coine
Posts: Over 600 Articles; Practical, Actionable Tips and Insights
- Winning the Race With Wolves-10 Steps to Greater Resiliency, Engagement, Productivity and Wellness
- Building Constructive Discontent-A Critical Life and Leadership Skill
- Ten Ways to Build Great Leadership in Turbulent Times
- Using Failure to Succeed
- Ten Ways to Lead and Succeed in Times of Complexity and Change
- The Power of YOUR Story
- Michael Ballard’s Bio: Speaker, trainer and champion for resiliency
- Against All Odds – A true story of courage, resiliency and leadership
- Mission Critical-Championing our Individual and Collective Ability to WIN
- Five Ways to LEAD Forward by Champioining the Challenge
- Possibility Thinking, Doing and Results – A 3Q Equation
- Over 400 Articles on Great Leadership and 3Q Leadership in Turbulent Times
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