Thom Singer Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Thom Singer
Thom Singer is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview.
He is an entrepreneur who it seems can have a go at most things and make a success of it.
From authoring ten books, presenting across the world, hosting his own wildly successful podcast, and generally being a very nice chap, he has the world at his feet.
But it has been a slow journey to where he is today, and one that has crossed many different areas of commercial industry.
He has worked in Law, Banking, litigation and a myriad of other organisations which has certainly helped him become the expert in branding, positioning and networking.
He has trained thousands of professionals in the art of building professional contacts that lead to increased business.
It’s not what you know, its who you know is the order of the day, and he believes that valuable business relationships will be something that will continue to provide value and opportunities to us for years and years.
How The Dots Joined Up For Thom
If we only do it in the correct way.
Thom Singer speaks regularly at business and association conferences around the United States and beyond – and has presented to over 350 audiences during his career as a speaker.
But although he is now loving his life, and the success that he has worked so hard to gain, where did it all start?
Where did his fascination with presenting the art of networking begin?
And did he struggle himself to find the magic key to open the doors to communication and impactful interaction when he was on the first rungs of his career?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, the Host of the Cool Things That Entrepreneurs Do podcast, the one and only Mr Thom Singer.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Thom Singer such as:
How as a child he wanted to be a game show host or movie star and even though he lived in LA never made any effort to live the dream.
Why there is never the wrong time to start the second part of your life, you just need to know what you want and go for it
Why so many people in life don’t have the follow through DNA and will forget the simplest things that they have promised to do.
Why it is so important to be passionate about other peoples interests whenever possible
How others believed in him far more than he believed in himself at times in his life.
How on a roadtrip his buddy stopped the car and said to him “I am fed up with your wishing so start taking action”……and he did and never looked back.
How To Connect With Thom Singer
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Audio Transcription Of Thom Singer Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there. Good morning world and welcome to Episode 214. of Join Up Dots and I am still in the back of the garden never going to escape from this place. But it’s where I feel comfortable is where I feel safe. And I’m going to feel safe today because I’ve got a guest who I’ve been chatting to him before we started recording, and he’s got one of those voices that just kind of makes you feel safe. He is a man who it seems can have a go at most things and make a success of it from offering 10 books presenting across the world hosting his own wildly successful podcast. And generally being a very nice chap, he has the world at his feet. But it’s been a slow journey to where he is today and one that has crossed many different areas of commercial industry. He’s worked in law, banking, litigation, and a myriad of other organisations, which has certainly helped him become the expert in branding, positioning and networking. He’s trying to panels into professionals in the art of building professional contacts that lead to increased business. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know, is the order of the day. And he believes that valuable business relationships will be something that will continue to provide value and opportunities to us be years and years. If we only do it in the correct way. He speaks regularly a business and association conferences around the United States and beyond. And it’s presented to over 350 audiences during his career as a speaker. But although he’s loving his life and the success that he’s worked so hard to gain, where did it all start? Where did these fascination with presenting the art of networking begins? Did he struggled himself to find the magic key to open the doors to communication and impactful interaction? When he was on the first rungs of his career? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start Join Up Dots, the host of the cool things that entrepreneurs do podcast and that’s just one of these things. The one and only Mr. Thom singer. How are you, Thom?
Thom Singer [2:18]
I’m doing great. David, thanks for having me.
David Ralph [2:21]
is lovely to have you here, Thom Singer. It really is. I’m feeling good. You’re feeling good. So it’s gonna be a good show, I believe. I think so. But you were you were a little bit critical earlier you said but I am you. Well, you’re not my first Austin. Virgin. You said that to me. And you you you were quoting people that have been before you in the Join Up Dots bedroom?
Thom Singer [2:42]
That’s right, you have had at least two other guests from Austin, Texas. And while you’re in the back of the garden over in England, when I was scrolling through all your shows, I’m like, wait a minute, I’m here in Austin, Texas. And he’s already he’s already had guests from Austin.
David Ralph [2:56]
I’ll tell you what, they didn’t have a good word to say about you, Thom Singer. I don’t want to say anything about it. But, man, No, really. There’s nothing that’s bad about you at all? Is it? Yeah, I’ve been looking into you. And I’ve been doing some research. And you are somebody that it’s kind of got to the top by being a very nice chap. Is it? Is it naturally your thing? Are you just naturally a nice guy?
Thom Singer [3:20]
Well, thank you for saying that. I hope I am. I’m sure that along the way, you know, there’s some people who don’t like me. But you know, it’s from that old Seinfeld episode where one of the other comedians didn’t like Jerry Seinfeld, and he was okay with that. But it really upset his mind, his mother. And I think if my mother was alive today, she wouldn’t like it that maybe somebody didn’t like me. But you know, I kind of am like, yeah, whatever go on to the next person.
David Ralph [3:41]
It seems to me more often than not, but especially since I’ve been doing this job, that the idea of success goes hand in hand with being nice. I speak to people on a daily basis. And the old sort of adage that you’ve got to basically claw your way to the top seems to be a thing of the past, it almost seems to be something that the people that don’t believe that they too can have the success will buy into the fact of No, I’m going to be where I am, because I’m not going to screw people over. But the people have got to the top have done it in a nice way. And they continue to do it in a nice way by giving back more than they actually receive, which then brings more into them which they can give back and it keeps on going around. Do you find that?
Thom Singer [4:25]
Yes. And I really believe that’s true. And my dad always said, you know, the expression nice guys finish last, my dad always said that wasn’t true that at the end of the day, when you really look at the people who finished not just with the most money, but with a family who loves them and friends. Those people were nice along the way. And my father, he was older when I was born, he was in his 50s. So he passed away at the age of 99 years old last December. Yeah. So a lot of months
David Ralph [4:49]
ago, so me about that. But he was closed, wasn’t he?
Thom Singer [4:52]
He? Well, you know, he had a good run. And people would say, Oh, I’m sorry. And my brother had a great line. He said, Well, you know, there’s no cure for 99. So don’t be sad. He had a good life. But, you know, he said that, when he died, one of my I have three much older brothers. And I talked to them all, of course, the day that dad passed, and one of my brothers said, you know, how wonderful to be 99 years old, and have all four of your sons, like you so much. And it was like, wow, that’s true. We all really did. We love them, we liked him, we wanted to be around him, we were going to miss him. And at the end, that’s what it all came down to. So I think it’s a combination. My dad always believed that being a nice guy with a good heart would take you to the end. And he certainly lived that
David Ralph [5:32]
easy some of the values that you would pass on to your children, did you? Is it nice wins? Or is it hustle, perseverance and and a myriad of other things? Or what what would you say that the key factors are for a successful life?
Thom Singer [5:49]
Well, I think it’s a combination of all those things, right? I mean, you can you can be a nice person, but at the same time you you’ve got to work hard, I have a 17 year old daughter who’s looking to go to college, and she has one of the best work ethics of anyone I’ve ever met. And she’s really smart. But I think the combination of being really smart, working hard, and then having a good heart, I think it’s those three things together that will take her the long way. And then I have a younger daughter who’s the same way, who is smart as a whip, you know, can buckle down and do the work. And at the same time she has this like amazingly caring heart for animals and other stuff, that I know that she also will, you know, go conquer the world in her own way.
David Ralph [6:25]
Where did you direct your daughters? Do you direct them? Obviously, parents don’t. But in your heart of hearts? Do you want them to get a safe, reliable job as we used to preach maybe 1520 years ago? Or because you’re so involved in the entrepreneurial spirit? Do you like the idea that they can own their own money, which ultimately is nowadays a safer route? And how do you sort of you plan that in your head with your daughter’s roots?
Thom Singer [6:54]
Well, something I believe is that, you know, not everybody can or should be an entrepreneur. I mean, in order for business to work, some people have to work for a company, and you can be really successful in those roles. So I think the answer to your question is, whatever is best for them, whatever they feel in their heart they’re being drawn to is really what they should should go after. And I probably didn’t do that when I was younger, and I wish I had.
David Ralph [7:15]
Well, that’s the key thing. And that’s the part of Join Up Dots that we talked about all the time, where so many of the people that I talked to literally every single one Thom Singer went into a path that wasn’t really for them, they stumbled into something because it was a job or they just didn’t know any better. So you would say that you was that kind of guy. I certainly was that I went into a role that was just bad. So I did it.
Thom Singer [7:40]
Oh, yeah, I mean, as a as a teenager, I wanted to be either like a Hollywood actor, or maybe like a game show host like hosting, you know, the $25,000 Pyramid like Dick Clark, or something like that. I could imagine you doing that actually. Well, and it was, it was fun. In fact, I was actually a contestant on that game show when I was in my 20s. And I would watch game shows, and I would watch movies. And I would think I want to be, you know, one of those people who’s up sort of in front of the mic. And my parents had grown up in Los Angeles, and weren’t really fans necessarily of the movie business. And my dad was a great guy. But he worked for one company for 45 years and retired with a gold watch. And their attitude was go for the safe job, go to college, get a skill, go to get a job. And then later after you’ve made some money, if you want to pursue your own thing, maybe you can do that. And I’m not saying they were wrong. I just had this pulling in my heart that I wanted to do something that way. But I went to school and I got a job. And then you know, you get married, you have a family. And you can’t just say hey, we’re moving to Hollywood, everybody. So I didn’t do that. And now that I’m earning most of my living as a speaker, and I have this new podcast, and I get the chance to consult with people, I feel like I finally have sort of found my way. And although I’m not in Hollywood or on stage, I’m getting fulfilled for what I desired for that. So I think you have to go back and look at who were you when you were 15. And what did you really want to do doesn’t mean you’ll do that job title or that thing, but find a way to tie your self to it. And that’s what being a speaker and a podcast podcast host has done. For me. It
David Ralph [9:04]
is fascinating that you say that because the tagline to the show is connecting our past to build our future. And you you sort of nailed it that this could be a 10 minute episode. Because it is true, isn’t it, they they recognise between the ages of about six and 12 that are our key passion states, when we talk about Find your passion, that is when we knew it, we might not be able to put a label on it. But that was the times when we play to our key streams. And we just got it. So you really would say that to all the listeners out there that if you are feeling lost, if you’re feeling like there’s more to life, you’ve got more to offer, but you don’t really know what you should do. A good thing is to look back at your younger self.
Thom Singer [9:49]
Well, I think so. And when I think back to that, you know, teen and preteen years, you know, I really did have a desire to sort of be an actor. And like I said, I grew up in Los Angeles. So you know, shame on me, I was 15 miles away from Hollywood. And I never pursued it, I never pushed my parents that that’s what I should do. I never really went down that path. And looking back, it was probably fear, it was probably being a little bit of a pleaser. When I got into high school, my mom got very ill. And a lot of the focus of our family really became you know, her battle with cancer. And when I was 18, and I left for college, she she lost that battle. And then a lot of my focus was when I would come home, a lot of the focus would always be about the relationship with my father and spending time with him. So those years of my life when maybe I could have had the gumption to go for it. I had other priorities. And looking back, I mean, I wouldn’t change a thing, right, I did the right thing being there for my family. But I never found that, that spark inside me that allowed me to go for what I wanted. And I was probably 40 years old, before I really started saying, you know, you gotta go do this. And even then, I didn’t do it the right way. It took me a while.
David Ralph [10:56]
It’s scary, isn’t it, I was 44 years old, when I just thought, I can’t do what I’m doing anymore. I’ve got to do something. But that is me. And there was elements of the job that I was doing. That was me. But there was a lot that I was just playing a role. And I look back on it now. And I don’t think it was wasted years in any shape or form. I think that I gained a lot from doing those roles and performing those tasks. But it can start at any time, can it your second part of your life. And I think, really, Unless Unless you’re very, very lucky. And I speak to some people, and they were like four and I start their first business. And it’s just like they are Uber entrepreneurial. It was just squeezing out of them. But then I know other people, as you say, that are never going to be entrepreneurial. They need to do the job and get paid for it and come home and know where their salaries coming from. But you can start anytime, can’t you whether you’re 14, you’ve got a mortgage and a family or whatever. When it’s right, you can transition to something better?
Thom Singer [11:58]
Well, I think there’s there’s what you’re talking about, about transitioning, and I don’t think there’s an age limit. I think it’s the baby boomers are getting older. As I myself, I’m almost 50 years old, I suddenly realised that you can start a business at 50, you can start a business at 60. That’s still young, you’re still vibrant, because my father lived to 99. People think oh, I’m 60 years old will shoot my dad had 40 more years from the time he was 60. In fact, if you think about it, he was 52 when I was born, I’m not even the age now, with teenagers. I’m not even the age now that my dad was when I was born. And I think Gosh, what if you started over with a new human little life that you had to raise in your 50s. And you know, yikes, but he said it kept him young and kept him going. And he you know, he had to be especially with my mother dying when I was a teenager, he felt obligated to stay healthy and get through. But the other side of this is you don’t have to go launch your own business. You can be an entrepreneur inside a company and draw that check. I think if you have a calling to create something, many people can succeed inside a company, the term entrepreneur is thrown around. I think that that is as valuable as being an entrepreneur. If that, if that is what works for you. Yeah, I agree
David Ralph [13:06]
with you, I think. But ultimately it comes down to happiness, isn’t it that that’s what you’re saying, if it works for you, if you are in a job, and you hate it, then you don’t have to be in that job, you can get another position, you can try to find that spark within that job to make you happy again. Now I lost mine. I just lost my mojo and I just felt I was going through the motions. And I got to a point when I realised that it was just going to take too much effort to find that spark. Again, I needed to do something different. But if you are in a in the listeners on the train, in the buses with the headphones on listening to our conversation, and I think you know, some really fancy best as a band, it’s up to them to get in there and find a way to fancy it do you think?
Thom Singer [13:53]
Well, I do think so because I think I was a seeker and that’s a team I term I use because I was seeking something I didn’t know what it was I was kind of going through the motion I worked for I worked out I wasn’t a lawyer, but I worked for the law firm as their marketing director, then I worked for a bank and a consulting firm in a similar type role. And I liked it and I was good at it. But at the same time I had this calling to be doing something, you know, inside and part of my job morphed into training the lawyers, the bankers are the consultants on how to network and get out in the community and bring in business, I was really good at that I had a sales background, I had a good personality I like to I’m an extrovert I like to be out and networking events and meeting people. But it wasn’t about the introvert extrovert thing it was about making Connexions that really mattered. And I didn’t think I could make a living on that. I just like to do it. And what the when I worked for the law firm, the managing partner asked me to create a class for the lawyers. And I was pretty new at the firm was about 36 years old. And I thought they’re going to hate this, it was going to be a 90 minute mandatory class that all the attorneys were going to have to attend. And I thought they’re just going to hate it. And at the end of the speech, one of the partners raised his hands, and I didn’t know him very well. And he said, I have a complaint. And I thought, oh my god, this is how they do it in the law firm, they’re going to complain in front of all at people. And he looked at me and he said, this was too good. You should have made this three classes. And we should have delve deeper than what you gave us. This should be something we come to every month. And he proceeded to instruct the younger lawyers, what pieces of what I said, should matter. And then he called all the offices in this large firm and said, You have to have our new marketing person fly in and teach this class. And I was like, wow. And as I was going around the country, I was in the Washington DC office of the firm. And one of the partners came up to me and said, Why do you work for us? You should go be a speaker, you’re This is what you should do. And I thought, Well, how do you make a living doing this? I’m, you know, I’m doing it on my salary as your marketing guy. And he was like, yeah, start asking questions of people who are trainers and speakers, you’ll make more money than you make working for us. And it took me another eight years to get there. But he was right.
David Ralph [16:00]
Two, two questions that come up when you were talking. And the first thing was, but you had that mindset, didn’t you? But so many people have that you’re naturally good at something, you find it easy. How can you make a living from that? And do you remember that kind of mindset that you had? Yeah, I can do networking, but you know, you can’t make a living from it. It’s just something I’m naturally do.
Thom Singer [16:24]
Yeah, and then that was the thing with the speaking and presenting I would get a real high from it. I would be, you know, really up for the whole day after doing the presentation. And people would come up and tell me what they liked about it and, and how you know, other people would come to me later and say, Wow, that really touched me. I changed how I’m doing my business. And it got me really excited. But like I said I was a seeker I was I was looking for something. I just didn’t know what it was. And slowly it started to show itself to me, but it didn’t happen. Like I talked to some entrepreneurs and it was like a flash of lightning like, bam, that’s what I should be doing. And it was a slow trickle for me.
David Ralph [16:57]
I think he’s a slow trickle for most people, isn’t it. I had an epiphany not to do this. But just but I couldn’t do what I was doing before. I just knew that I’d come to the end of the road. And I’ve told the storey numerous times about when the realisation hit me it was like a fundable it was an epiphany. I’ve never had it before, and I don’t think I’ll ever will. But the energy just went out to me. I just felt absolutely exhausted, like I could fall asleep on my desk. And I got up and I went home. And I realised that was the end, I’d come to the end of my life. And I was ready for the second part. But I still didn’t know what the second part was. But I think once you get that mindset and you become aware and you become a seeker, as you say, that’s that’s one of the things that people can do currently, they can start looking around, they can listen to these conversations and being I quite like speaking, how does Thom Singer do it? Let’s go over to his podcast. Let’s listen to that. And then one thing will spin off and you go down rabbit holes. And then every now and again, you’ll see something you think I could do that. And if you get to that point, then you started moving in the right direction. Would you agree with that?
Thom Singer [18:08]
Yes, David, I was I was an avid reader. So I read a lot of books by people who were were sales experts and marketing experts and people who started their own businesses and that inspired me, but I think the people today I mean, this was 2025 years ago, I was reading these books. And if I hadn’t been an avid reader, and most people aren’t, I don’t think I would have had the the exposure. Now we have all these podcasts. I mean, if you’re interested in any topic out there, my father in law’s learning to speak Italian in his 70s. And I told him Well, I you should listen. I’m sure there’s a podcasts on speaking Italian. And he first of all said, What’s a podcast? And I said, you mean you don’t listen to mine? Every single day and it comes out talking about set. So I had to teach him how to download a podcast. And the first one I had him download was mine. And then I’ll have him download yours after this episode. But then we just did a search for Italian. And I couldn’t we lost count at how many neither we’re on speaking Italian on things about Italy on Italian pod language podcasts. And he was so excited. Because that’s a passion of his right now that it was unlimited. We stopped looking, there were so many podcasts.
David Ralph [19:13]
It is crazy, isn’t it? Because you know you’re in podcast land, I’m in a podcast land. Everyone who’s listening to this is obviously in podcast land. But if you say to people, the majority of people, oh, I host a podcast, nothing is absolutely blank look on their face. So how how do you describe yourself when when they sort of asked what you do for a living?
Thom Singer [19:35]
Well, just finishing the thought about the podcast. So people who today can I mean, if you want to learn about business, or you want to learn about whatever it is you’re seeking, there’s information out there, and it’s coming free over the headsets. So when when you ask sort of how I would describe myself, you know, you get that question a lot. You’re at a cocktail party or you go you know, you’re standing in line at the airport, and somebody says, what do you do? My answer, first of all, is that I have the greatest job in the world. I am so fortunate to be doing what I’m doing. And then if they want to know more, which usually people do, because how many people do you meet who say that right? Not a lot of people say I love what I do for a living. I tell them that I’m a professional speaker and trainer. And that I now I mean, I’ve only been hosting the podcast for less than two months. But I you know, and I host a highly successful podcast on entrepreneurship. And people look at me and go, you can make a living doing those things. And, you know, yeah, you can Yeah, I think you can make a living doing most things. If you just figure out, you know, what you can give people that brings value to being the fundamental question,
David Ralph [20:33]
why they pose value is not because of what you’re doing. But the fact that you love it so much. Do you think most people think that they go to work, to earn a buck and not actually enjoy themselves at the same time?
Thom Singer [20:49]
I don’t know if it’s most people, but I certainly think a lot of people feel that, you know, they work. And then they close that chapter at five o’clock, and then they go do what is their life. And I’ve been able to marry my the things I love and the things I enjoy doing into a career that pays me. And I’ve been able to create a business around, you know, our life as a family. Now, I work a lot, and I’m sure my kids would like it if I put my phone down a little more often. But as they know that the work I do, and I travel a lot, but the work I do is what pays for the things that you know, help run our family. And my wife and I have come to an understanding that I’m happier now the last five and a half years that I’ve been working for myself. So the trade offs of the travel and kind of always having to be thinking it’s better because in general, we have a better home life. And while sometimes people will say, well, Thom Singer, you travelled so much. But when I’m home, when my daughter was in elementary school, I drove her to school like 70 or 80% of the time, because while I’m away, you know, often, I’m not away all the time. So when I’m home, I totally own my schedule, when I had a nine to five job I had to leave before school in order to beat traffic out of our neighbourhood. So now I can be at you know, to this coming Tuesday, I can take my daughter to the mall with her friends, because they need a ride and I’m not travelling, so of course I can take them to the mall
David Ralph [22:05]
ggV that is a key part that people look at. And that is the entrepreneurial side that they like, because I started this and I thought that was going to be the case for me. I thought I was gonna have carte blanche to do what I want. But getting it going, what Oh, it was a it was a total shift. I couldn’t believe how many hours I was working to sort of get it going and get some momentum is easing up now. Do you think people look at that and think that entrepreneurs are literally spinning around? Or do you think that people are frightened of the work that comes into it?
Thom Singer [22:39]
Well, I would say that it’s the hardest job I’ve ever had, because there’s no off switch. And if I turn it off, the money may get turned off. Whereas I could phone it in for a couple of days if I was tired or sick or something in another job. So you know, yeah, I think from the outside looking in, it’s like oh, you know, you’re able to, you know, go for a walk in the afternoon or I go to the gym, maybe at three o’clock. And people look at me like what is the independently wealthy? Why is he at the gym at three o’clock. But you know, I also at eight o’clock at night, am sending emails, or I’m editing my podcast, or I’m doing whatever I have to do to make sure that everything’s getting done, because I’m a one man show, I keep all the balls in the air. So I think people look from the outside and think lots of things I you know, I don’t know if they think entrepreneurs work, you know, 100 hours a day, or if they think they work two hours a day in cash checks. But the reality is somewhere in between. And I think it’s different for everybody. I mean, I I spend a lot of time with other professional speakers and corporate trainers. And all of our businesses are different. I mean, there’s no, there’s no cookie cutter way to get here.
David Ralph [23:38]
So so one of the cool things about entrepreneurs do that’s that that was perfect one. And that was a perfect segue. So you’re having your conversations, and you’re obviously doing like I am you have these conversations, and you reflect on what these people are saying to your situation? Are there any eggs or really cool stuff that people have said to you? And you go, Wow, I didn’t even know that was possible.
Thom Singer [24:01]
So I think that, you know, the similarities that are there are that you do work a lot and there is no off switch. And I think the upsides are, you do have a little bit of flexibility. But from talking to entrepreneurs, solo printers, and people who are just entrepreneurial, I have sort of these eight quick tips I can give people when people ask me the question of, of what do you need to do? Or what do you see that similar? And I think number one is that they really believe they’re doing the right thing. Entrepreneurs really believe in their self and their mission. Number two, they think bigger than where they are today, they think bigger, and then they do bigger in order to grow your business, you can’t just be going, Oh, this is all right, because you could lose a client tomorrow, you could not get a deal. So you’d better be thinking two and three clients ahead. I think that the entrepreneurs who I’ve seen be really successful number three is they believe they’re having an impact on their clients, or society or their family or the world or all those things. Number four is kind of the old standby is their risk takers. I think that the similarities for entrepreneurs is you’re taking a risk because you don’t have that paycheck. And there’s going to be a lot of naysayers out there who are going to try to undermine, you know, your your efforts and what you’re trying to do. And then the last four, just really quick, I don’t want to read a list to you. I didn’t mean to go there. But I think that entrepreneurs, number five, entrepreneurs are always looking to learn and grow and read and listen to podcasts. I think number six is when they see an opportunity, they jump on it and take action. Number seven is they don’t hide if you’re a solo printer, you have to be all over social media. Sometimes my friends will tell me you know, you’re talking too much about your speaking career, your podcast on Facebook. Well, if I don’t talk about it, will you? And they look at me like one though I’m not going to talk about your business. Well, someone has to do it, you know. And so it’s got to be me. So entrepreneurs don’t hide. And then the last thing is, I think the entrepreneurs really want to help people. And I think that the best ones are always willing to find a way to mentor somebody or to answer a question or to give a tip. And like I said, I didn’t mean to go into a list. But I started talking and I had the list here and it was like boom.
David Ralph [25:57]
I think that is spot on. lyst. Really, and yeah, I resonated greatly with the promoting yourself on Facebook and stuff. Before I did this. I wasn’t on Facebook, I had no interest in being on Facebook at all. But I realised that I was missing a trick. And I had big successes in this show. And I have a gentleman in America called Duane Scott and I salute him and he’s got his own show as well called the shifting work podcast with Duane in band, so if anyone wants a good Listen, go over to that on iTunes, because he’s a great person. And he’s really big. I say to him, this is amazing. I’ve hit number one in iTunes, and he goes, you should promote it. Okay? Yeah. promoted, promoted. But boy, I’ve even done it. He’s created these images, and he’s whacking it all over Facebook. And then I think to myself, Oh, I better do it as well, because he’s doing it, I’m gonna look stupid if I don’t. But you do have to get over that, don’t you, you have to get over that, that that fear that you’re creating more social noise, so that you do get yourself noticed?
Thom Singer [26:59]
Well, I can anything you do, whether it’s promoting yourself or starting your business, or just taking a risk to go and grow and try to become someone different and bigger. There’s going to be people who are going to be naysayers, they come out of the woodwork to sort of suck the energy out of what you’re trying to do. And they’ll tell you, oh, well, you shouldn’t do that, or that annoys me or that’s wrong. And if you fall prey to it, it’s going to stifle you, it’s going to hold you back, there’s an old expression or analogy or whatever. And I don’t know if it’s actually true from the standpoint of these actual animals. But they say that you can store either crabs or lobsters in a box that’s like four feet by four feet with like a one foot wall on either side of the box. And they’ll never escape. Because if one lobster tries to crawl out of the box, another one will grab it with its claw and pull it back in. And so you don’t need to put a lid on the box because the other lobsters will keep them in, they don’t want to see one escape. And it’s a perfect analogy for what happens with people. If you’re really trying to promote something or grow something or expand or do something new, there’s always going to be somebody either close to you or near you, or maybe far who’s going to try to like knock the wind out of you to take the legs off your chair. And if you’re going to be Sidon sidelined by them doing that, you’re never going to succeed. So when it comes to putting yourself out there on social media, there’s a lot of people who have opinions. But if you don’t promote it, no one else will I find some of my closest friends who I love, won’t go leave a review on my podcast on iTunes. And as you know, a new show lives and dies by downloads and reviews. And some of the people closest to me, I’m like, Hey, did you know they said, Oh, I listen to your show. I really liked it. You’re good at this. And I said, Well, you go leave a review. And they go, Oh, that’s really not my thing. Or worse, they say I absolutely will do that. And then they never do.
David Ralph [28:43]
I must admit, I get a lot. And in the early days, when I was really trying to get the show going, it used to really annoy me. And I used to sort of even buy them a pint or be down the pub and I got well is a point, you know, thanks so much for doing that. That’d be great. I mean, I’d look at it like three days later, and there’s no sign of it. And I used to sort of come contact them. And I don’t know now what do it tonight. I do it tonight. Now, you know, I’m going to say this to the listeners, because I don’t generally say it at all once in a blue moon, I say. But it really is the Rocket Power that makes the show rise to the surface subscriptions and ratings and reviews. And if you can do it, then thank you so much or means so much to me or means so much to Thom Singer. But it is a funny thing, isn’t it? Because Yeah, people who love you, and really want you to succeed. It’s a little thing for us. But it’s a huge thing as well. But it’s even smaller thing for them. And they don’t do it today that they would look you right on the face and say that they’re going to do it but I don’t.
Thom Singer [29:39]
Most people don’t have what I call when i when i do speaking and training, I use this term follow through DNA. Most people don’t have it. So they tell you, they’re going to do something, hey, David, I’m going to go ahead and review Join Up Dots because it’s such a good show. And I know it’s going to help you, they get back to the office, they get back home and they get busy and they’ve got stuff going on. They really meant it at the time that said yes. But then they don’t do it because their own life takes over. And they really don’t think of you again. And they’re nice people and they have the intention of doing it. But what I remind people all the time is intention does not equal action. And in our society, I think we’ve come to that point where we think, you know, oh, I’m gonna donate money to that charity. And then a year later, you hear the charity meets all its numbers, and you think I was part of that. And there was never a check written because your intention never equaled an action. But you kind of feel like you were part of it because you thought of it. Or they’re listening to this show right now. And they think, you know, Thom Singer and David seem really cool. They bought their shows would benefit if I took 90 seconds and gave them five stars and wrote a couple sentences about what I like about their personality, or why David’s a good host. And then later in the day, they’re like, well, but I don’t know what to say. And his five stars really right, maybe I should give for well, but if I give for David won’t like me, so I won’t do anything. And yet they had the intention all along to do it. They just don’t have it in their DNA to pull the trigger.
David Ralph [31:00]
I can understand that. But because when I started to get my show together, I was listening to a guy show and I was I was a big listener to it. And he was your episode number six, Michael O’Neill. And he had this like little speak pipe thing. But on the side of the screen that you could click and leave a little message. And I thought to myself, I’m going to leave a message for him. I’ve never done this. I’ve why what why would I send it to him. And it took me three days to do something that probably took 30 seconds to record. And it literally changed my life. I sent it to him. He played it on the show. I listened to it. And it was so exhilarating up or I can do this. And I started Join Up Dots on the back of it. But yeah, I fell into that whole thing took me three days to do something which I look back on it now. I think what held me back, I have no idea. Was it fear? Was it sort of I was just laksa days ago. I don’t know. But I certainly didn’t have follow through DNA on that. It took me a while to do it.
Thom Singer [31:56]
But you did have follow through DNA you just had delayed follow through today. I’ve never used that term before. But I kind of like it because that’s okay. I mean, you did it, you actually had follow through D and in your DNA. You did it. It just you had to warm yourself up to it. Most people don’t ever get three days later, they’ve forgotten they’re not thinking about it anymore. So I think you have followed through DNA in spades. It’s just it was just there was a little there was a little hiccup on that one.
David Ralph [32:22]
Did you think it was because I found the thing that I loved and I was willing to do the additional? Did you think if I was sitting there thinking What should I do, I’ll just do this, you will naturally put it into a mental storage compartment and file it away because you’re not that bothered. But when you find your thing, when you find your passion, then you start cooking on gas.
Thom Singer [32:43]
Yeah, I certainly think when you find your own passion, but one of the things I try to tell people is get excited about the passion for other people. You know, when someone one of your friends is really into something, be into it, you know, if they’re really into fly fishing, you don’t have to go stand in the water with them. But when you see an article in flight magazine, when you’re flying on American Airlines, and you see a little article on fly fishing, take the magazine home, it’s not stealing, they tell you, you can take the magazine and bring it to them. So that happened one time, I brought a flight magazine to somebody because there was an article about flight fishing. And he said, Wow, five or six 810 people told me about this article. But I don’t fly that airline. So I never saw it. And he said thank you so much for bringing me the magazine. Well, those other eight people could have shoved the magazine in their bag, it’s not heavy, it just didn’t cross their mind to take that extra step for their friend. So if your friend is into something that your friend has a podcast, go leave a review, if your friend is going to be in a play by the front row ticket, if they’re if they’re planning or hosting some sort of a conference or an event. Go be there. You know, tell other people about it, retweet what they’re doing. But people don’t do it. They just get excited about what they’re excited about. And my advice is get excited about what the people around you’re excited about. And you’ll be excited all day long.
David Ralph [33:58]
Now I’m going to take you back into time in a moment, cuz that’s what we do on Join Up Dots because I am fascinated to that moment when you suddenly felt your life coming together. Yes, it’s taken eight years or so to get to where you are now. But still that moment, and I’m gonna play the words of Jim Carrey, which nicely segues into this. This is Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [34:17]
my father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. Now, did you?
David Ralph [34:45]
Well, first of all, what do you buy into those words? First question.
Thom Singer [34:50]
Yeah, I mean, you totally can fail it what you don’t love. So you might as well try for what you do love, I think. I mean, I think those words are brilliant.
David Ralph [34:57]
What do you think that people don’t point about? Then why do you think that we generally will go on paths that are so far away from where we should be channelling our energies.
Thom Singer [35:10]
For safety. I mean, I think a comfort zone, we don’t want to be the lobster who crawls out of the box, because first of all, we fear someone will pull us back. And then what happens if you get out of the box? You know, I think it’s the fear of the unknown. So I think that’s why people don’t do things. My own storey was I wanted to go be a professional speaker, I had spent eight years wanting to do this I had trained inside the companies I worked for I was giving speeches and things on the side for free at rotary clubs and wherever I could. And I got on April 1 2009, arguably the bottom of the recession. I mean, April 2009, was about as bad as the Great Recession got, I got laid off, because the company I worked for, while it was a wonderful company, the the owner had to let go of 50% of the staff in order to save the company. Now, she did the right thing. But fast forward, what six years, the company is thriving, and it’s growing. And it’s bigger than it ever was. So she did the right thing for the company. But I was one of those people who was told, you know, there’s the door. Now, I had already written a couple books, I was already speaking, I was already getting accolades. I had a blog that was pretty well read at the time. And yet, I was kind of scared to quit and go do it. And I got laid off. And I called my wife and I said, you know, there’s no jobs for you know, middle aged guy who does marketing for services firms. I’m going to go try and be a speaker and trainer. And fortunately, my wife was supportive. She said, All right, let’s do this. You wanted you ever since I’ve known you, you’ve been seeking something new, you know, let’s do it. And you know, I think she jokingly said, Don’t lose the house. But you know, we went out and we struggled for a couple of years trying to make money. I mean, there was always work but trying to get the the fee up and trying to get enough, enough speaking gigs and training gigs. But then it happened. And you know, about three years ago, all of a sudden, it all started to come together. So I think that I don’t know that I would have done it. If I hadn’t gotten laid off. Even though I was saying I wanted to do it and I was prepping to do it. I needed sort of to be kicked out of the nest
David Ralph [37:06]
is fascinating that isn’t it? Because you’ve already written books. You’re doing everything to jump into that world, but you want to be in. But still Yes, you’re sort of holding on? It almost seems to me that that that analogy of lobsters, if you looked in there, the biggest lobster in there would have your face on it. And you’re actually holding yourself into all the others. It is it’s weird, but we do limit ourselves, even though it’s something that we really want.
Thom Singer [37:36]
Yeah, no, that’s that’s very true.
David Ralph [37:39]
That was so true. It was a short is hard. Sell that right back, Thom Singer. So with the lobsters and with yourself, how did you overcome that? I know you you got made redundant and you had to sort of move into that. But how did you get through those three years when you said it was a struggle, and you were trying to find business and pay the bills and stuff, you must have had sleepless nights, you must have struggled, you must have had bills coming up, I mean bills going down when you suddenly had some money that you could pay them. And it’s a struggle, how do you push through when it gets harder and harder.
Thom Singer [38:14]
I was really fortunate, I had a great support network around me, my wife really believed in me and supported me. And you know, I’d love to say that she was never scared or frustrated. But she believed that I could do this. And every time we would look at it, we were moving forward, we were not moving forward fast enough. But we were moving forward. I also had a friend who started the publishing company that publishes my books, and I own part of the publishing company. And he’s so he’s my business partner. And he really believed in me, and I often look and think, does everybody why doesn’t everybody have a best friend who will invest in them? I mean, he had not only the financial means to help, you know, start the company in the in the publishing company and get the books out there. But he also would take a call, no matter what was going on, if I was worried about a bill, if I was scared about, you know, where the next check was going to come from. He was always there, he never one time said, you know, we’re not friends anymore, quit calling me or whatever. He was always there. And I had several other people just like him in my life, who were who were right there. I joined the National Speakers Association. And I can’t say enough great things about that organisation. Because a lot of people go into any type of trade organisation, and they sort of stock the celebrities, they think, oh, there’s Brian Tracy, there’s Harvey Mackay, there’s the famous speakers. And they think maybe they’ll discover me, that’s not what I did. The advice I got when I joined was find your own peer group, find the people who are just like you who are a couple of years into the business, who are scrappy, who are out there trying to do it. And I built friendships with dozens of other speakers, some of which left the business because they didn’t make it others of which have grown amazing careers. But we’ve established these peer relationships that when you’re on a long drive from Austin, Texas to Dallas, we call each other or wherever they live in the country when they’re in the car. And they have windshield time. And they say I’m struggling what this one client or what do you think about me changing my speech to go to this market, and we’ll brainstorm with each other. I started a mastermind group with four other speakers where we get together and open up our books and say, here’s what I’m doing. Here’s how I market and then we have four brilliant minds, jump on it and say stupid, stupid, good, good, good, great, brilliant, no. And so those things together, it was the people around me, that motivated me, inspired me kept me from crying and lifted me up when I needed it gave me a hand. And then hopefully I’ve done the same thing for them. And so I think that the answer to that question is, if you don’t have the right people around you, it’s a lonely, lonely game, being an entrepreneur
David Ralph [40:41]
who believed in you most yourself or the people around you when it was tough?
Thom Singer [40:46]
Oh, it was the people around me. I won’t even pretend that it was myself.
David Ralph [40:52]
Well, why why did you not? Because you seem to me you’re coming from a position of competence now. And if you go back to when you were 15, and you you wanted to be a game show host. That’s ultimate competence, isn’t it that that’s, you know, that’s really smooth. That’s cheesy in many ways, which is like the ultimate sort of confidence of communication. Where did you lose that belief? Or was it something that was just just sort of simmering away until the thing came that really, really tipped over the edge?
Thom Singer [41:24]
I don’t think I ever lost the belief. But I think a couple of hard knocks, right, I worked for several companies that went out of business and got laid off, I made some bad financial choices. And so we had some debt for a while early in our life. And I think the combination of things, and you see some other people sort of pull away ahead, and you think I’ll never catch up. And I think that, you know, I think like everybody, you just sort of get as Oh, woe is me. But again, I have this friend who basically says, Yeah, we’re done with that, you know, no, oh, is me What do you need to do to succeed? And when you have someone around you, you know, my wife, my friends, you know, some co workers, some other people who are like, you’re really good, you know, let’s get past this grey haze. You know, all of a sudden, you start believing it yourself again. So, you know, we too many people that I encounter are surrounded by naysayers who really do hold them back. And I just was really lucky in the fact that, I don’t know if it was, you know, you know, God or me or luck or serendipity. But I throughout my life, I’ve been surrounded by some people who have always given me you know, those little hands to boost you up along the way. And like I said, I really like to believe that I do the same thing for them.
David Ralph [42:33]
It’s you, isn’t it? Oh, it’s you. Bye. Bye. You know, we went back into the intro, you being a nice guy, people will want to help you.
Thom Singer [42:42]
Yeah, I’ll let you I’ll go with that. I mean, I think back to I was in a college fraternity in when I was in university, and you know, you think Animal House when you think fraternities, and we had our share parties, and we had some wild people in the group. But I was also very fortunate when I talked to other people who were in these types of college organisations. Some of them were like, yeah, it was a lot of fun. I ended up with a group of people, it was a new, hey, was a big old fraternity nationally, but a new house on the campus where we were. So it was like being in a startup. And when you work in a startup, you have to make things happen. And everybody relies on everybody else. And that’s what happened in this group, we were always there we had, we had this vision of growing a bigger, you know, Chapter a bigger group of people. And we really work together to do that. And we built lifetime friendships. I don’t go a week without talking to somebody from my college days. And you know, we get together again, it’s like we’ve just picked up after 25 years. So, you know, I like to think that I’ve always had a way of surrounding myself with good people back to my youth.
David Ralph [43:43]
So if there’s somebody sitting out there, and they’re in their cubicle, and they’re surrounded by the naysayers, and they really want to do something that isn’t in their locality isn’t in that vicinity? Are the tips that you could sort of offer to them where they could start reaching but surely or or try to find some kind of connexion with that peer group that you’re talking about?
Thom Singer [44:06]
Well, sure, there’s, there’s organisations for every possible type of work out there. So find the trade associations that exist for the industry that you want to be in and show up at their convention, or go to their local meeting and meet the people and tell people I want to do this. Now, not everybody is going to be a giver, right? The world is full of takers. And so you have to have a thick skin. When you ask somebody, hey, I want to learn about your industry, could we talk and they they ignore you or they don’t return your call? Or they say go away? Kid, you bother me? The next person won’t do that. So you need to, you need to realise that the good people out there, the givers are out there. And you just need to go ask questions. I wish earlier in my life, I had started interviewing people, you know, this podcast that I’m doing came about, because when I was at a conference this summer, one of the speakers said, if you ever feel stuck, if you feel you need to grow, go out and interview 50 people. And when you get to the other side of that you cannot help but be smarter, and better and more confident and more inspired. And so I was going to do this on my blog, I was going to interview 50 people, I thought that sounded like a great idea. I was gonna do 50 written interviews, and over the course of a couple of months listening to some other podcasts, and I got a new car that had Bluetooth so I could stream my iPhone into my car. And I started listening to podcasts. And all of a sudden I was like, why don’t I do this? Why don’t I do this as a podcast and still go interview 50 people. And one of my friends I write a thing on my blog for the last two years because I’m a real big believer that we can’t just talk about ourselves, right? We can’t just be Oh, I’m David Ralph. And here’s what I do. Or I’m Thom Singer, I’ve written 10 books. We have to promote other people in the social media crazy world. If we are simply just putting our own stuff out there. It gets boring pretty quick. And my blog had become that my blog had become, here’s where I’m speaking, here’s my thoughts on networking. Here’s my thoughts on entrepreneurship. And it tired me just reading my own stuff. So little over two years ago, I started a thing called cool things my friends do. And every week, I wrote an article about something someone I knew was doing. I didn’t even tell them. I didn’t interview them. They released a book, they, you know, one of my friends took a trip she and her husband rented a Harley and rode across country. That was cool. I pulled pictures off of Facebook and just I wrote this article about cool things my friends were doing. And I started getting way more readers on those blog posts than anything else I did. And I kept doing it. And I kept doing it. And when I said I wanted to start a podcast, a friend said, it’s got to be cool things my friends do. And I thought, well, Thom Singer is not famous, who wants to listen to that. And then one night I woke up and said, but most of my friends are entrepreneurs. It’s cool things entrepreneurs do. But it stemmed out of this whole thing of giving to others it was promote what they’re doing, promote their book, promote their show. And I find you know, it’s the old Ziegler adage, right I’m you’ve heard it a million times you can have anything you want in this world, if you just help other people get what they want in this world.
David Ralph [46:59]
Because Did you your branding is brilliant, isn’t it? If you’re on iTunes, and you’re looking around, that one jumps out at you for its simplicity. And it also jumps out at you know exactly what you’re going to get. Were you aware when you were listening to our shows that the branding was all important. I know you’re a branding expert, but deep. A lot of people funnily enough upset to mind Join Up Dots, what does it actually mean? And then afterwards, once they’ve been on the show, they go, Oh, I know exactly what it means stick with it. But beforehand, it’s just like some weird wording. yours isn’t that way is it? Yours is I suppose it’s like you know, Entrepreneur on Fire. You look at Entrepreneur on Fire, you go, Yeah, I know what that’s going to be. It’s going to be some entrepreneur who’s doing very well for himself. And unless he is actually on fire, that’d be a dodgy one. But you? Did you feel bad? Did you feel that when you was listening to these podcasts, but yours had to be something that jumped out at you.
Thom Singer [47:52]
David, I wish I could tell you that I was that smart. And the one thing I didn’t want to do was copy somebody else. So I tried to stay away from solo printer hour I think try to stay away from Entrepreneur on Fire from Join Up Dots from these other ones I had seen. And it really the name really came from this ongoing to your blog post series called cool things my friends do. And I honestly thought, who cares what my friends do when you look at that from a branding standpoint. But my friend, Craig price who hosts a podcast called reality check. He told me the other day because all of a sudden, I’m like number two and careers, right? I’m not not every day, but I was higher than Dave Ramsey. And it’s like, how in the world am I higher than Dave Ramsey? and Craig, who’s been doing a podcast for several years, said, Thom Singer, if somebody sees and he read a lot, a lot of show names. He goes, you have to read the description to know what it means. He goes when I see cool things entrepreneurs do you did it and forwards. And I would love to tell you that that was my plan. But that was the serendipity of just playing off of this thing of promoting my friends.
David Ralph [48:54]
I think he I think he is brilliant. And what what shows were you listening to when he was driving around in your and you started to get this vibe? Was was it this old ones we just mentioned.
Thom Singer [49:05]
So it was some of the ones that we mentioned, I certainly listened to Michael O’Neill on the solo printer hour. And he was very, very helpful and inspiring me but also in helping me kind of figure out how what I needed to do to make the show a success. And of course, he’s really big on the branding. So I went out of my way to create a nice logo. And I probably wouldn’t have done that if it wasn’t for Michael’s not only like suggestion, but sort of his influence and pushing me to Yes, you have to have a good logo. Otherwise, I probably would have just gone into PowerPoint and drum something up and snipped it. So the the logo itself, I get a lot of compliments on so I’m glad that I did that. But
David Ralph [49:40]
waiting for that Thom Singer,
Unknown Speaker [49:42]
I went to 99 designs. Okay, and so it wasn’t the classic FIFO
David Ralph [49:45]
that people use?
Thom Singer [49:46]
No, I went to 99 designs, and you know, I paid the rate for 99 designs, and I got well over 100 designs. And my family actually my 13 year old and my 17 year old and my wife, I would like like something and they would say no. And so we would knock out the ones that nobody liked them and keep the ones they liked and the ones I liked. And then I would share it with friends. And I would share it with other podcasters and and my podcaster friends all like the certain look. And other friends like something different. And my wife and daughters kept coming back to this green circle. And I green wasn’t the colour I had asked the designers for. I’d wanted something warmer, you know, everybody says red, yellow, orange or poppy colours. And they this designer brought me this one. And my daughters just kept saying, Dad, it’s perfect. It’s perfect. And at the end of the day when you know your 17 year old daughter looks at you and says, you know, Come on dad, duh. You know, you kind of have to think well, you know, they’re right about everything else. So maybe my kids are right.
David Ralph [50:44]
I think he’s inspired by all those reasons. I think it’s clean. It shows you exactly what it’s about. And it’s different, isn’t it because it’s circular. It’s very different from the sort of the squares that everybody else seems to have.
Thom Singer [50:58]
Yeah, and that again, wasn’t my intention, that was just sort of something that designer sent me and we went with it and I’m happy with it. But you know, a couple of the others that I listened to were mainly not the famous people. You know, it was people who were regular people doing the everyday fight going out there and doing their thing. More so than listening to sort of the the gurus and the people who had 100,000 downloads every four minutes and things like that i i try on my show while I you know I have some people on who are more successful, I try to get people who are real people who are out there every day doing the good fight feeding their families, and growing because, you know, we can we can listen to these people who are billionaires all the time. But we’re missing a so many of the steps when we look at Sir Richard Branson, you know, it’s like, Yeah, he’s fantastic. But you know, I’m a guy in my kitchen doing a podcast, you know what, what, there’s a huge gap and what we can learn from him, I want to learn from the guy who has moved from his kitchen to his living room to do his podcast because that’s my next step right or, or when my kid leaves for college and her room becomes the studio. So I listened to my friend Craig price on reality check. He does an amazing interview show that just gets people going. I listened to a guy at a Nashville who does a show called God, what is it? I’m trying to think it’s networking radio, it’s the new networking radio show. I listened to a guy who does a show called you leading you that was brand new this summer. And I met him through Michael O’Neill. And he does a great job. Another guy has a show called not bad for dad. And he talks about sort of just what it is to be a middle aged dad and parenting and basics being successful. And then there’s a show called the greatness zone. Jay forte. And so those were the shows that I was listening to, and I only started listening. You know, June, I mean, I got the car in the spring. So sometime around there, I realised I could feed these podcasts, you know, through through Bluetooth.
David Ralph [52:49]
It’s like a bolt of lightning, isn’t it once it happens?
Thom Singer [52:52]
Yeah. And it was great, because I have a hunger for learning and wanting to be inspired. But again, you know, I get tired of the the famous guru who gives everyone the same advice, and then no one can recreate what they say. So I like listening to people, you know, who are our average folks who are doing incredible things. And so your show is become a new favourite. You know, ever since I discovered it a few weeks ago, when we talked about me being on it, I’ve been listening to your shows. And it’s exactly the type of show that I love. Because, you know, while you have some more famous people, you also have a lot of people who are just out there doing the thing every day.
David Ralph [53:25]
Yeah, I agree with that. And that’s certainly a thank you for that compliment. That means a lot to me. But one of the vibes that I wanted to get was that the show became so inspiring to people, that those people then become guests on the show. So we would have people that are, you know, rocking and rolling and doing amazing things, the A listers, but then we’ve got people that had just started. And I think for me, that is the most inspiring thing for the audience out there, who are frightened of taking that first step, when I can hear that somebody has just done it. And then the last few weeks, they’ve gone from their cubicle, and they’re trying something, whatever it is. And so that’s what I’m trying to sort of get to that point. Where I struggle with that is the listeners kind of go, Yeah, but you know, I’m not really doing much, I’m only trying this, I’m trying better. And it’s sort of overcoming that fear of actually getting them on the show. But I love that. And it sounds like you love that as well.
Thom Singer [54:19]
No, I really I get I get really excited by it. Some of the advice I got when I launched the show was if you want to rank high and my goal wasn’t really high ranks, I’ve got that for the at least the current term. But my goal wasn’t to boom, five weeks in be number two and careers. My goal was to help expand my brand as a speaker and to interview those 50 than hundreds of people so that I could learn and grow from those interviews and maybe share that with other people. But my my thought process on it was a lot of these people who counselled me a lot of the articles I read on podcasting was in the first eight weeks get as many famous people with big lists as you can. And in the end, I liked calling my other speaker friends and saying, let’s talk about how you did this. And we just it’s it’s somebody said, it’s like you’re sitting in your kitchen having a conversation. And I chuckle because that’s where I am when I have these conversations. But you know, that’s what I want it to be is just like we’re in the bar, having, you know, having a beer, I think he’s a key thing for
David Ralph [55:13]
everyone to get really and I know we’re sort of touching on podcasting now. But there’s that vibe, you’ve got to make the most of it in the first eight weeks. And I always look to that unfold. Now that’s rubbish. If I’m planning to do this for the next 10 years, why am I so focused on the first eight weeks? Surely, it’s a journey that I’m on. And that’s one of the problems isn’t it with life generally. But everyone seems to feel that they should hit a home run instantly. And it’s overnight success.
Thom Singer [55:41]
Well, and in the speaking business, we see that a lot is people come in because they’re a celebrity or they did something very cool. And all of a sudden their phone is ringing. And they think that oh, this is what the speaking businesses people call you and offer you 10s of thousands of dollars. And then their flash in the pan celebrity goes away. And they’re like, Oh, well that that’s over, I came in is just a guy who was a marketing guy who wanted to speak and realise that it’s an entire business and you have to go, you have to go pursue it as a business. And instead of stalking the celebrities, I looked for the people like me, and it has served me so well. to, you know, not chase 10 storeys up the ladder, but just to go one rung at a time.
David Ralph [56:20]
One rung at a time. That’s the title of this show, I think I think I love it when the actual guests write the title. Yeah, one rung at a time. You can’t get better than that. Can you really because that is true. That’s what you need to do. And if you start sort of trying to reach for three or four rungs, you’re going to fall?
Unknown Speaker [56:36]
Yeah, no, that’s fine.
David Ralph [56:37]
Let’s play the words of Steve Jobs. This is the theme of the show. And it really is fascinating. But all our lives are based on a series of incidents and accidents and stumbles and falls. I’m going to play the words to find out your resonance to them. But then I’m going to ask whether you have got a big.on the Join Up Dots timeline, is there a moment, but you can look back? Yes, that’s when Thom Singer really started to find these thing. Business, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [57:05]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [57:40]
Do you feel like you’ve been on the well worn path?
Thom Singer [57:44]
Oh, I certainly feel like I’ve been been down down a path and it feels very worn. Yes.
David Ralph [57:50]
And is it a path that was you know, obviously now it’s uniquely yours? But do you believe in what Steve Jobs says Is it true that when you look back, you can go Yes, I got here because of this, this bass and bass. And it’s the action and it’s the trust. And it’s the faith I had in myself that things would work out that really have got me to where I am today.
Thom Singer [58:12]
I do think that it is it is trusting your gut and knowing it’s going to work out that is going to lead me much farther down this path. I like I said, I don’t know that I always 100% believed in myself. I think it was there. It never died. But I did have that one moment where all the dots came together. And that was I had been on a boys weekend out ski trip with two buddies from college. And we had done this every year for a number of years. And we were in Lake Tahoe, California. And one of my friends lived in San Francisco. So we were driving down the mountain. It’s about a three hour drive from Lake Tahoe to San Francisco. And I was lamenting and this was back. I was working for the law firm at the time. And I hadn’t really started speaking but I was thinking Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to be a speaker like these famous people who come into the company and then do these training sessions. And I was had been talking about it probably for years. And my friend was driving and he pulled the car over into a rest stop. And he looked at me and said, I’m tired of this ongoing wishing. What do you need to do to make this happen? And I looked at him I said, Well, I’d have to write a book. And he goes, What’s it going to take to write a book. And you know, this was before self publishing was sort of an acceptable thing as it is now it was sort of still kind of questionable. And I knew I had sort of tried to look at Could I get a publisher and I was just a guy who worked for a law firm who believed in relationships and networking. And everybody said it had been over done. And so my friend and I talked about it in this rest stop. And the other friend was in the backseat listening. And the guy who was driving, he said to get the book done, what do you need, my wife had and a friend had written a cookbook. And so I had watched the the the effort of what it took them to produce their own book and get it out into the market. So I knew I knew what it took. And I said, I need money to publish it. And I need an editor. And he looked at me and said, okay, will take care of that. And we continued on driving, and he and his wife, his wife was an editor. And they were sort of serial entrepreneurial people. And they called a couple days later and said, we’re starting a publishing company, and you’re going to be our first book. And, you know, again, I own part of the company now and we’ve grown and we do a lot of books for other people. And we’ve done my books, and it’s become an entity. But it came about from that moment. And basically him saying, We don’t just talk about wishes, we take action, what do we need to do? Now? I don’t know that I would have done that on my own.
David Ralph [1:00:30]
I feel like I’ve changed the title of the show again. But that’s even better, isn’t it? I don’t care about wishes. I care about action. That’s about right for everyone, isn’t it? You may the world anyone listening to this? We all have those wishes, we all have those dreams. We all have those, those show highlights. When we look at people we go out, that’s what I would want.
Thom Singer [1:00:52]
But I can look back on my now from where I sit today and say yes, they all connected and it connected to that moment after the ski trip. And that’s what when it all happened. But at the time, you know, at the time, I was like, Yeah, whatever. So yes, looking backwards, I see the path. But I now trust that that’s going to happen again, you know, with somebody else. And maybe I’m the person who does that for the next person. Maybe I’m the person who not only inspires them but but clears the path and helps finance or whatever it is to get them to their dreams.
David Ralph [1:01:21]
So can you see the path going forward? Now? Can you see where the dots are going into the future?
Thom Singer [1:01:27]
I mean, I don’t see the exact path but but where it used to be a forest, it’s now just sort of like a field of corn.
David Ralph [1:01:34]
And is that scary? Is that exciting?
Thom Singer [1:01:37]
Yeah, yeah, field of corn is a lot less scary than a forest if you have to plough through it. So it’s still tall, and you still have to kinda you can hop up and down and see the future every now and then. But, you know, Is it scary? Yeah, cuz I’m not famous, and I don’t have it all made. And I don’t know where all my next paid gigs are coming from. But I do now have five and a half years of doing this full time. And I believe that I can make good go have this. And if I can’t make a go of it, you know, somebody would hire me, a lot of people talk about being unemployable. Having done this for six years, if I ever went back and worked for somebody, I would be the best employee in the world. Because I know what it takes. I know what it takes to run a business. And I would have a lot more respect for every single person at the top. So you know, if I can’t make it, I also know I can make it doing something else. Because I now know that I’ve succeeded in something that’s really hard to do. And so I can succeed at other things, too. I can
David Ralph [1:02:29]
clearly hear why you have succeeded. There’s passion in you, isn’t it? Take take away everything. You’ve got that passion?
Thom Singer [1:02:38]
Yeah, I like to think I do. I mean, I really like I like I said earlier, I love what I do. I’m the most fortunate guy in the world.
David Ralph [1:02:43]
Well, let’s send you back in time. Now, I’m not gonna just send you back six years, as you just mentioned, I’m going to send you back a long way. And this is a part of the show that we called a sermon on a mic. And when we send you back to have a one on one with your younger self, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give where we’re going to find out, I’m going to play the tune. And when he Bade you up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [1:03:19]
Thom Singer [1:03:29]
Hey, is this 19 year old Thom Singer that I’m talking to? I realised that right now that you, your brother just took your car away, he just took that 66 Mustang that you’ve driven for four years, he’s just taking it back, because he owns it, he’s got the pink slip. And it was always alone, I just want you to know, first off, you’re going to end up with another Mustang, you’re going to be 48. And it’s going to be a 2014. But it’s going to be red, just like the old one. And it’s going to be a stick shift, and you are never going to be sorry, you bought that car. So it’s gonna, it’s gonna gonna be okay that you lost the Mustang. However, there’s more to life than your car. So here’s the deal. If I could give you four real quick pieces of advice that would make this journey over the next 30 years a lot easier for both of us, the first thing you got to do is you got to trust yourself, you absolutely have what it takes to do whatever you want. Find that trust. The second thing is embrace the fact that you’re a seeker, you’re seeking something bigger, and it’s going to cause you to bounce around and change jobs and, and always be looking for something better. You know what, it’s okay. It’s okay to be a seeker. But you have to identify what you’re seeking, because it’s going to make it a lot easier. Once you know what success looks like, when you know what that perfect dream job is. Just go for it. And if it doesn’t become that job, it’ll become something else, you’ll still be glad that you went for it. The third thing is, find the right people who embrace your dreams. Look around, look around at the guys you’re hanging out with in college, a lot of these people are still going to be your best friends and 30 years. So the ones who support you and believe in you grab onto them. Because they’re going to be you’re going to be best man in their wedding. They’re going to be the Godfather to your children realise that people matter. And always choose people. And when you find those naysayers, shrug your shoulders and let them go. Because you know what, there’s a lot of people out there who want to drag you backwards. Just don’t let them do it. And don’t give them the energy. And then the final thing is interview people. If you see someone doing something that’s really cool. Ask them how did you get there? How did you get to do this? Because people will tell you about their lives and their journey. And the more people you interview and the more you listen, the more aha moment you’re going to have. Don’t wait till you’re 48 years old to start a podcast to start interviewing people start doing it earlier. I know you’re thinking, Wait a minute, this is 1985 What is a podcast? Don’t worry, you’ll figure it out.
David Ralph [1:05:51]
So how can our audience connect with you, sir?
Unknown Speaker [1:05:53]
Oh, well, please,
Thom Singer [1:05:54]
please, please send me a tweet or an email or smoke signals that says you listen to this show. And that you enjoyed what we talked about because there’s nothing I like to hear more than somebody really enjoyed something so you can find me at Thom Singer.com, and that is t h o m si n g er. But I’ll tell you a little secret David, if you go to Thom Singer, com t om, si n g er, which is how most people would probably want to spell Thom Singer if they just heard that. You’re still going to get there because I own t o m si n g er, and it’ll just redirect you to the right place. You can also find me on Twitter at Thom Singer th om singer calm. And then the podcast is cool things entrepreneurs do. And if you just search Thom Singer and iTunes bow, there’s going to come that big, marble, big green marble that says cool things.
David Ralph [1:06:43]
Yeah, go over and listen to it because it really is a good show. And I’m looking forward to a lot more than just 50 interviews. I want this one to run and run and run. Thom Singer, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Thom singer, thank you so much.
Thank you. This has been one of the greatest shows to be interviewed on you were just it’s like sitting sitting there in a pub having a bar having a beer. That’s what we do next time we have a pint on your show.
Thom Singer [1:07:15]
There you go perfect.
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up Dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.