Welcome To The Join Up Dots Podcast Interview With Jennifer Kahnweiler
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Introducing Jennifer Kahnweiler
Jennifer Kahnweiler is today’s guest on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
She is a professional speaker and author who helps introverts lead with quiet confidence.
She shows the no shouter, quiet types that they can hold their own in the business world and lead by example
Her bestselling books, The Introverted Leader: Building on Your Quiet Strength, Quiet Influence and the Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference have sold over 60,000 copies and been translated into eleven languages.
Her 35-year journey to become an expert on introverts included jobs as an elementary school counsellor, university administrator, federal government program director, and career coach.
She has deepened her knowledge and appreciation for introverts through her work as a learning and development professional working inside leading organizations such as GE, AT&T, NASA , the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam, and the CDC, where she became committed to championing quieter people, by helping organizations recognize and value them, and by helping them step confidently into leadership roles.
She is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), granted to only 8% of the National Speaker’s Association even though she attended her first National Speakers Association convention in San Diego just seven years ago.
How The Dots Joined Up For Jennifer
She has been hooked on NSA ever since.
But that isn’t all as also being a wife, and mother of two daughters she will have al the same issues and time restraints that family places on us all.
So how does she manage to deliver such high quality work, for such varied organisations?
And if she had to choose what element of her work gives her most satisfaction and enjoyment, speaking, writing, or seeing an introvert blossom into a leader of note which would she go for?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots, with the one and only Jennifer Kahnweiler.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics Jennifer such as:
Why it is so important to have quite time in each morning, to reflect, get your thoughts together and tackle the day head-on.
How now is the best time ever for introverts to make themselves heard amongst the madness of life, using social media at the right times to cut through the madness.
How she wrote a book in 2005 even though she didn’t consider herself a writer. She had not found the mind-set to embrace her talents fully.
How in her earlier years she believes that we was trying to prove herself to herself and the world in equal measures, and found it hard going to say the least.
Why it is so important to realise that when you start something it is going to take a long time to get anything going. Its these times that really lay the foundation of success and can’t be rushed.
How To Connect With Jennifer Kahnweiler
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Audio Transcription Of Jennifer Kahnweiler
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, everybody and welcome. Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to episode two to six. Yes, 226. We are now over a quarter of the way into the third century of Join Up Dots. Pretty amazing stuff. And today’s guest is going to be pretty amazing stuff as well. She is a professional speaker and author who helps introverts lead with quiet competence. She shows me know shouted quiet types, but they can hold their own in the business world and lead by example, a best selling books the introverted leader building on your quiet strength, quiet influence and the introverts guide to making a difference. Episode over 60,000 copies and been translated into 11 languages. A 35 year journey to become an expert on introverts included Jobs and elementary school counsellor, university administrator, federal government programme director and career coach and she has deepened her knowledge and appreciation for introverts for work as a learning and development professional working inside leading organisations such as GE AT and T, the US Embassy in Vietnam, and the CDC where she became committed to championing quieter people by helping organisations recognise and value them, and by helping them step confidently into leadership roles. She’s a certified speaking professional granted only 8% of the National Speakers Association. Even though she attended our first National Speakers Association convention in San Diego, just seven years ago, she must have been born to it. And she has been hooked on NSA ever since. But that is an old as being a wife and a mother to daughter she wouldn’t have all the same issues and time restraints that families plays on as Oh, so how does she managed to deliver such high quality work for such varied organisations? And if she had to choose what element of our work gives her most satisfaction and enjoyment, speaking writing or seeing an introvert blossom into a leader of note, which will Chico for Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start Join Up Dots, but one and only Jennifer Kahnweiler. How are you Jennifer?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [2:32]
David, I’m great. Thank you. I love that intro. I love how you synthesise a lot of different pieces of information. I did you tell me who tell me who I am? did
David Ralph [2:43]
not do a fair job. And is that is that the kind
Jennifer Kahnweiler [2:45]
of show? Yes, you did better than fair, I would say thank you.
David Ralph [2:50]
So that’s the show finished and we can sit and have a glass of wine together or something can we can we love
Jennifer Kahnweiler [2:54]
it? I I could definitely see doing that with you. You’re such a friendly person.
David Ralph [2:59]
That’s not what the wife says, I tell you things about what the wife says Jennifer that’s between you and me. But you know what she’s like now?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [3:07]
Well, you know what they say here? I live in the south in Atlanta and they have bumper stickers people drive around with keep mama happy. I think you’re doing that.
David Ralph [3:17]
I spent a weekend in Atlanta. And it was the coldest I’ve ever been. I never really Yeah, but in my head Atlanta was going to be sort of really sunny and stuff. And it was bitter. It was so cold. It was untrue. And then we went to Martin Luther King’s House or his flower was, and I stood in a garden. And just for a second the clouds open and I could feel winter heat on my head. It was like God was speaking to me. Freezing myself. So did you sort of ever get used to the sort of cold winters down there? Are you a natural winter lady? Or do you like the song?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [3:54]
Well, I grew up in New York. I grew up in New York, David and I and my parents came from where I’m my grandparents came from the old country, you know, Eastern Europe. So we were always bundled up and you know, my mom always said if you have if you dress right, you can handle anything. I actually went to London my junior year of college and I would say to you that I was never as cold as I was that winter. That christmas in london back in the 70s a week. I think it’s that damn cold you know that jam?
David Ralph [4:23]
Yeah, we we have it bad over here, Jennifer, where we’re tough we are is you know, this is this is probably one step down from Canada. Three steps up from the North Pole. We actually have it in London is it toughens us up it makes men of the main and men of the women as well.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [4:41]
And I know Atlanta is a wonderful town. I’ve lived here for 24 years. So I feel like it’s really home now I you know, I’m not quite a native. But then again, most of the people that live here are many come from many different places in the United States. But it’s a great town and I what I love about it is that we have four seasons, so you happen to hit the season. That was the the cold one we had a we had a day last year that was it was in it will probably go down in infamy is because it was everybody was stuck on the road. So you probably saw that even on CNN last March. And so when I see people now when I travel, they always say oh, you live in Atlanta, it’s so cold. But you know how you can get a bad rap sometimes that way.
David Ralph [5:21]
I always say to people in Atlanta, and we’re not going to spend our whole time talking about Atlanta. But if I go to fish tank, isn’t it? It’s got the biggest fish tank I’ve ever seen in my life.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [5:32]
Oh, the the aquarium? Yeah, yeah. I’ve been there once or twice. Yep,
David Ralph [5:37]
that that is when you walk around the corner, and you see that fish tank in front of you, it just blows your mind. It’s ruined every other fish tank I’ve ever seen in my life.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [5:47]
Fish Tank, I love it. I love it. Yes.
David Ralph [5:50]
That’s where we’re going to go. So let’s start sort of joining up the dots of your life because you have done. You know, in the last few years, you’ve really kind of come into a moment, I’m not saying that your whole career wasn’t in your own zone. But it seems over the last 10 or 1112 years, you’ve really found your place, but you just haven’t found your place. You’ve made the most of your place as well. Do you feel that?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [6:14]
I do feel that I do feel that you’re very good. You know, I came up through counselling, I would say you have that. That intuitive sense. You know, David, I think I love your title of joining the dots, because I really feel like everything that I did before led up to what I’m doing now. And I know, I’ve listened to some of your shows. And that seems to be a theme with the guests. But I do feel like now there’s just like no stopping me, you know, you just feel like I I’m so excited about what I do. And it really is because of all of the other experiences that I’ve had in my work. So I it’s it’s very I’m very fulfilled right now. Is it something that you literally jump out of bed every morning, because one of the things that I seem to be touching on with the successful people that come on the show is there was a part of their life, but they had trouble getting out of bed. And now they don’t want to go to bed because I feel like they’re wasting time. There’s things to do. There’s exciting task to tackle do to build on that. I do feel that way. But you know, I always felt very excited about work. You know, you mentioned in my bio, I was a career coach for many years, that was always a big part of the work that I did both in higher education, and my own practice, because I truly felt that work was so important to love. And, you know, my parents taught me that I my dad was a writer, he was self employed as a screenwriter. And I saw him make a living at what wasn’t an easy job, but one that he loved. And so I always would be I would land in work situations that really fulfilled me. And when I was not feeling that way I would move on. And so I kind of moved in between independent work and through work in organisations. But I think one of your guests, it was interesting, she was talking about how she would when she got bored, and she stopped learning and she plateaued. It was time to move. And I felt very similarly. So, but I’ve always loved my work. I think now, I agree with you about the morning, though. I mean, and you probably I’m sure feel that way too, you’re sort of like I want to get started. But I also have to temper that with you know, in my later years now, I guess my later your Well, I guess it is I’m up there, I’m a baby boomer so you can kind of guess where I’m at. But what I what I feel now is that I really have come into more of, you know, the balance. And, and, and also taking time in the morning to you know, do some quiet time that I’ve learned from the introverts in my life as well as doing yoga and things like that. And, and that’s really centred me more. So even though I have a lot of energy and I’m raring to go. I also feel the discipline of having some kind of spiritual programme or just some sort of grounding from myself has really made a big difference in my confidence and my ability to really take on new challenges,
David Ralph [9:06]
that the quiet I am I want to talk about yoga is one of those things I kind of half interested in. And the other half thing is hard enough just putting a pair of socks on in the morning, I’m not going to do the downward dog or whatever, either. But But yeah, quiet time. That is something that resonates with me greatly. And again, literally every single person has said to me, I don’t kind of believe in meditation, or I didn’t. But I realised a time to actually just be quiet and reflect with a cup of coffee and just sort of get my thoughts together is almost on the way to meditation. And they they absolutely same to us. But I say 1015 minutes, it’s kind of like the Miracle Morning, you spend a bit of time framing your day getting your thoughts ready. so important. Instead of this slamming your hand on the alarm clock jumping out of bed, showering brushing your teeth, and away you go. It’s that slow period before life gets you and you feel bad as well.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [10:03]
Oh, I love it before life gets you. That’s really that’s really beautiful. That’s definitely treatable. Yes, absolutely. For me, I’m and I love how you said with a cup of coffee, you know, because in the quiet influence book The last book I wrote, I interviewed many successful introverts people who were more introverted side, but also were tremendous influencers, people that made a difference. And I would ask them, you know, how, how did you? How do you take that quiet time? You know, what is it like to be alone, because as we know, or most folks probably know, introverts really thrive in solitude. So I really wanted to understand more what that solitude look like. And what was surprising to me, what I didn’t expect to find was that solitude isn’t necessarily going to sit on top of Mount Kilimanjaro, you know, and meditate for three weeks or a month, it really is making it hard work in your daily routine. So many people talked about taking the the walk, you know, we know how that really helps the brain to do that. Or they would say, as you said, they sit with a cup of coffee, they would just be in the car, you know, and just be been nothing meditating, but just not put the radio on, you know, just have quiet so quiet took many different forms. And so once I really got that, I had been kind of getting to that place of understanding what quiet and solitude could do for you, then I started being more accepting that there isn’t just one way, you know, to be alone and to be quiet. And that the best thoughts, the most creative ideas that we have, you know, they come in the shower, don’t they? I mean, that’s when you get those aha was. And so I’m also a big journal or I write and ever since I started getting more serious about writing back in 2005, I started keeping a journal and a notebook with me everywhere, I would take notes and I even actually do swimming and I I started getting these great ideas, doing laps, you know, you get the cardio going. And I’m making it sound like them the super athlete which I I do do workouts, you know, through the week, and I kept I started putting a little notebook in my gym bag, so that as soon as I got out of the pool, I inevitably have an idea. I’ll write that down.
David Ralph [12:15]
So So how to, in your interviews with with the sort of introverts? How does an introvert get successful because isn’t part of success actually reaching out? Taking risks and pushing past your sort of boundaries, your comfort zone, and the majority of introverts, but I know they don’t really do that. So what was different about the people that you interviewed?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [12:42]
Well, what I really came up with David was that the the main, the main differentiator is when introverts stop trying to do it like extroverts, when they tap into their natural strengths and leverage those, that’s when they have the success. And just to clarify, introvert isn’t really the same. Shy, shy is really when you have more social anxiety, psychological withdrawal, that kind of thing. But introversion is really how you’re wired. It’s where you get your energy from your energies, what from within. So I came down for me to discovering that there were six different strengths that I call the quiet influence process. And it starts with the quiet time it moves to preparation, their tremendous of preparation. They listen, you know, you think about the introverts, you know, they’re one of their some of the best listeners, people say, like, wow, you know, that person really made a difference to me. And that person didn’t say anything about themselves, but learned learned a lot, right? Sort of like you’re doing now. And then focus conversations, they do use that that’s another strength that they have, where they, they also share their ideas, but they do it in a low key more one on one way rather than bellowing it out to the crowd. And they also use social media to do that, as well, as well as writing. So those are the sweet spots of introverts. And time and time. Again, no matter what sector I looked at, you know, in terms of profession, or as far as organisations go, you would find that introverts will be will be using those strengths. And and so that’s what I came away with. And they do it quietly, they don’t do it in your face, they oftentimes have the best idea is the quietest idea, the person that you sort of lean forward, and they have something to say, and Wow, it should be just really nail it, then, that those are the folks who do extremely well. And I think the exciting thing now about this whole introvert movement, you know, there’s a lot more interest in the topic that people are now seeing that we can all we all have these parts of ourselves, but maybe we just haven’t been paying attention to them enough.
David Ralph [14:40]
Did you think the introverts out about because there’s so much noise in the world, even on online, we can say it’s noise, there’s so much stuff going on, because they do sort of by prepare, and they do things the right way, and they listen, I would say now is probably the optimum time to be successful. So if you’re an introvert because you can do it in your own space, and you can send your message out exactly the right time where somebody like me, I find it very hard to find the right time for me every time the right time. And I go bang, bang, bang, bang. And the amount of times I’ve been in meetings where I’ve realised that I’ve been talking to 90% of it. And a chatbot aside to me hasn’t said a word until he does nothing, or he’s outscored my 90% because he’s only said two or three words, he’s found the right time to do it. Do you think that is a sort of truth now? Or is that just a kind of opinion from my side?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [15:37]
No, I think that’s a great a great question and very keen insight, that it is the right time you can control when and how oftentimes or you know what you put out there. Some of the best bloggers are out there are introverted, and they’re putting out substantial, substantial content that really is making a difference. I would say that one of the challenges that introverts have is the world of organisations and workplace to I’m sure in Britain, you have the same thing. And it’s still now we’re moving you know, we’re much more into that open space kind of environment. So that can be if that’s done well, it can cater to the introvert sensibility at work where you have rooms for instance, like they have a Google where you can go and, and have conference rooms. My publisher Barrett Kohler, just moved to a new space in Oakland, California. And they were very conscious about making private spaces for people. But the fact is, you still have work spaces where people are together. So there’s a lot of really interaction and the introvert gets tired from all that people exhaustion. So what they do very well is to manage the folks who have you know, who really own their strength as introverts. They manage their their time by taking, like you say, it’s, it’s related to social media, but they also know when they need downtime, and when they need to exit and they have exit plans, if you will, to extricate themselves from all that noise.
Unknown Speaker [16:57]
So are you
David Ralph [16:58]
an introvert become interested in introverts because you kind of pushed through and changed? Because why, why? Why are you so interested in in that side of the character?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [17:11]
Actually, I’m not an introvert. I call myself a champion of introverts because I’m an extrovert. But I tell you, I’ve been married to my husband Bill for over 41 years. That’s one factor that that has influenced me, he’s a very strong introvert. And so, you know, I had to learn early on that he wasn’t when he was going away after a party, and would retreat to another room, you know, wasn’t that he was angry at me, but he was dying to be alone. You know, he did that time. So it was little things like that, that got me interested in that whole personality type dimension, and figuring out, you know, introverts and so you know, I had sort of a survival, a real incentive to make my marriage work and our relationship work. So that was like on a visceral level. And then as I got into organisations working in some of the ones you were talking about, I would, I would always find that in myself speaking. And, you know, and working in coaching inside companies, as well as outside that introverts were having a very hard time being being heard, they were overlooked, they’re ignored, they come to me and say, you know, I did just as great a job if not better than this other person. And, you know, I’m being passed over continually. And so they had, we had to work together to look for ways that they could become visible in a way that was comfortable for them. And so I did a lot more of this work. And then when I started looking around for, you know, readings and books on the topic, I realised there had really been very little written, if anything about this subject, and that’s when I came up with the idea for writing a book on the introverted leader, which some people said was an oxymoron when I started to, to tell them about it.
David Ralph [18:43]
So So was it an epiphany when you realise that you were going to be focusing your talents and your energies? Or was it just the dawning realisation that there was a need in the marketplace and the world, but these books,
Jennifer Kahnweiler [18:58]
I think it was some evolved, you know, I had been working in that space in that area for a while and I actually brought in a colleague or a woman that I actually hired to help me crystallised my thoughts. And, and I, that’s one of the lessons I’ve learned throughout my years in particularly being on my own is that you need to surround yourself with really good people who can help you see what you can’t see, you know, and we both kind of came up with this idea together that, you know, this is the book title that you want, let me backtrack just a little bit. I had written a book in 2005. And I hadn’t really considered myself a writer, but I started dabbling it a little bit more and doing columns, you know, and careers and magazines, and that kind of thing. And, and then I said, You know what, I think I want to write a book. So I collaborated with my husband Bill, who’s a professor, that didn’t go so well, we didn’t really work well as work partners. But the good news is, we did get a very good publisher, Elsevier was actually based in England at the time, we got the book written. So I knew that I could write book I just knew that I didn’t want it we knew we didn’t want to write together then. But it got me on a journey of writing. And so when it came time to write another book, I said, You know, I really want this book that I write to be aligned and, and really sync up with this passion that I have, or this growing interest I have in this group of individuals who I think are at least 40 to 60% of the population who I keep bumping up against people in organisations who are the quieter ones are the ones are, are just so brilliant, many times but just not getting their opportunities. And, and so I thought there’s got to be a way to reach this group. And so a lot of things came together. And certainly I drew upon my lot my strong experience in doing in doing HR D or leadership work and, and decided to put the book together at that point. So I’m not sure I answered your question, but I guess it was really more of an evolution.
David Ralph [20:51]
Yeah, you certainly Sandy love. It certainly wasn’t an epiphany. But I imagine the the Epiphany really was when you got over that mindset of I’m not really a writer, because you want obviously, yeah, I’m a writer. And now Yeah, so yes, you consider yourself a writer now, because you’ve produced the works, and it’s out there.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [21:11]
Yeah. So you know, it’s funny, you say that I for a long time, I didn’t even call myself a writer, like, Oh, I write, but I don’t I don’t, I would never use the term. I’m a writer.
Unknown Speaker [21:21]
Jennifer Kahnweiler [21:24]
No, I didn’t use just but I wouldn’t say I’m right. I wouldn’t say just because I did other stuff. You know, as you said, I’d have other roles that I played, but I would say, Yeah, I write I write a little bit, you know, I put it down. And, you know, I became recently aware of something, you know, that really I played into for a while, and that was I, you know, we I, I like I’m sure a lot of people have these rigid ideas of what it means to be a writer. And I, well, of course, I had my dad, as I mentioned, who was a professional writer, so I was like, Well, I’m not like my dad, but I am not a creative writer, but what am I you know, I couldn’t find my niche. And then I started taking writing classes, like sort of like continuing ed, you know, classes at the university, because I wanted to dabble and figure out, you know, just figure out a little bit more about what it would look like. And I decided, you know, my niche really is, is in nonfiction and writing about what I know business writing, and I started to get more confidence about what it was that I wrote about and what I could, what I could draw from, and I was listening to a writer the other night to a one of my favourite authors speak the other night. Her name is Anna Quindlen, she was a New York Times columnist. She’s written many, many books, and both fiction and nonfiction. And she talked about never putting a book down when she was younger, and being steeped in literature. And that’s how she believed the lesson was how you become a writer, and particularly a novelist. And, you know, I thought about it, I said, for a long time, I would not consider myself a writer because I didn’t read the great works all of the time. You know, I didn’t go rush to retail store, you know, but what I did do is I would always listen to that was a news junkie. And I still am, you know, I read several newspapers I still do. I watched movies I am now I’m, you know, I certainly had that’s, that’s led to just so much available on the online, you know, and I just soak in news and features and particularly business news, all kinds of news. And so, you know, back when I was little I wanted to be Brenda star, the girl reporter we had who was a comic strip one here. So you know, that was my learning curve, like, you know, she sat in her room and read novels for hours. But I, I would always do that ever since I was young. Not necessarily read the New York Times, but that was the Bible in our house, by the way. They call that the Bible. So, you know, I read and I read other kinds of things. And that really prepped me for the kind of writing that I do now, which is I draw from many current periodicals from nonfiction and and really integrate that into my own writing.
David Ralph [23:56]
Because it is interesting it as opposed to question that really needs to be asked everyone is, when does experience become training, when you go on a training course, to learn how to do something, but if you’re on this planet, for long enough, you have so many experiences that you should be able to tap into them and bring them out. And I think that’s really that the key to that is the mindset, once you actually believe that you have a voice and you have something worthwhile saying, then you can get a four step steady. head of steam, can you you can really start going or pistons.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [24:32]
You really can I you know, and I think about all the career clients that I had, and they would just expect Express remorse and, you know, just sadness that they weren’t in the right job. And oh, they had a lousy boss. And, and I’ve never looked at it that way. In my life. David, I’ve always said like, I maybe I’m sound, I’ve been accused of being a pop being called a Pollyanna. But I always looked at every experiences, one that’s going to add up to learning something isn’t a bad
David Ralph [24:57]
thing. No being accused, and I would have thought that’s a good thing. badge of honour.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [25:00]
Well, I used to kid with it. One team I was on when I worked at GE they used to kidneys. Oh, Jennifer, you’re such a Pollyanna. They looked at as a negative? No, I don’t think it is. But I think you can go maybe go a little too far like that. And you know, you’re not looking at the possible risks and that kind of thing. But it’s it’s served me very well. I’ve just I never look at with regret and any of those jobs or any of those those past experiences, because it you’re going to use it somewhere. You know, and I would even say, it’s funny, I would even say that with some of the things where I waste time. You know, I was taught I was teaching a time management seminar for some reason I said yes to that the other day. And we were talking about, you know, wasted the time that what is it that Bertrand Russell said about that, you know, the time that you enjoy wasting is not wasted time? Yes.
David Ralph [25:54]
Yeah, I can. Totally Yeah, I can see now I see
Jennifer Kahnweiler [25:57]
it because, right, because even, you know, watching film and you think, Oh, I’m wasting time, or you’re listening to some podcasts that that’s not like David, right, David Ralph join the tough one. But you know, we’re like, what am I listening to here? Why am I wasting? And it’s never, you know what, maybe you won’t use it, but maybe you will. And so I feel like what this has allowed me to do, this whole attitude is really tapped into my own creativity. And to me, that’s really been a glorious thing.
David Ralph [26:23]
Let’s play some words from a very famous chap who made a speech recently, and I played literally every single show, and Mrs. Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [26:32]
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.
David Ralph [27:00]
Have you taken a chance? Or have you just played to your strengths?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [27:09]
I’ll tell you what, I think when I think of taking a chance, yes, I have taken chances. I think back when I was a career woman back in the 80s, with two young children, and with a husband who was travelling all the time. And it was I took several jobs back then, and then started my own business. And I really had no business doing all of that with the, you know, the uncertainty of it all. And it was a very, it was a stressful time for me. But it was it was very different than a lot of women were doing back then. You know, it really was and I was I saw myself as you know, I don’t want to say a trailblazer. But it was really different. And it was hard because I didn’t have a lot of role models for that. So that’s what I think about my biggest probably, you know, my biggest chance that I took
David Ralph [28:02]
and then did you take it because you knew you were gonna love it? Or did you take it because you you were looking for something with kudos and, and, you know, a flagship role. You were a trailblazer?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [28:14]
Oh, no, I wasn’t thinking about Trailblazer back then it you know, I, it was almost like, what, what artists say to me is like, they have no choice but to write or to act or to paint. It’s not It’s not an option. You know, I used to ask my dad about why are you a writer, and he said, I didn’t, there was no other, I have to be a writer. I mean, that’s, you know, and so I felt like I had to express myself. And I always had an interesting sort of dichotomy, because I was, you know, I was drawn, I came up through being a counsellor, being a helper, but I also was a, I like to lead and start projects. So I would be like, you know, I go into a leadership role, let’s say in an organisation, and, and then I, you know, I do the helping piece of it. And I, I always wanted to start creative kind of new ventures there. So I guess it was a good way for me to blend my talents at that point. But yeah, I didn’t really see myself, you know, consciously saying, Oh, I’m lazing a role. But it was kind of like an out of body experience. I would watch myself in those. And you’re gonna laugh but you You’re too young to remember this problem.
David Ralph [29:22]
I’m not young now. I tell you,
Jennifer Kahnweiler [29:24]
I see your picture. You look young, but
David Ralph [29:26]
you got very bad.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [29:29]
But we, I would wear these. These kind of I remember being pregnant with my second child and having this jumper, we had these jumpers. You guys had that? You know, with a with a shirt under it. And this huge bow tie. Okay. Yeah. And, and I was being like a little executive woman don’t know what and men didn’t know how to deal with me. I didn’t have because I were they sort of would avert their eyes because I was pregnant. You know, it just wasn’t common when I was moving up my career to to be a working woman who had aspirations,
David Ralph [30:05]
where were you playing a role at that time? Or were you being authentic to yourself looking back on it was a lot of what you were doing the dressing and sort of the adding of the stress, when quite frankly, you didn’t need it? When you had two young children? Were you playing a role to prove yourself to others? Or to prove yourself to yourself?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [30:28]
To prove myself to others? No, I don’t think so. Maybe a little I don’t know. That’s good. This is really like therapy. I love this.
Unknown Speaker [30:36]
Did you lie down?
Unknown Speaker [30:39]
You wouldn’t know if I was right. No, no
Unknown Speaker [30:41]
Jennifer Kahnweiler [30:42]
I could do that. That’s a good idea now to do once I proving it to myself, or the other thing was to prove to my to others you said to myself or to others? You know, it was probably a little bit of both? A little bit of all that. Yeah. You there was it was it was the times you know, and I my mom didn’t work I didn’t really, it was the new we were very at one hand was there’s push pull tension, you know, we had a lot of excitement, or after the woman’s movement, you know, I was I consider myself a feminist. You know, I still do. But it was really hard. It was really hard being a being one of the few women to be in leadership in a leadership role, you know, and then I actually started my own business, which I was very proud of that that was a real self expression for me, and that I could do it. And my first client was Procter and Gamble. So it wasn’t too shabby. I was very proud of that. But it was always a push poll with two young, two young daughters. And it was never easy. Back then really wasn’t?
David Ralph [31:48]
Well, why is why do you think some people and this kind of goes out to the listeners, there’s, so many people in the world about are going the easy route. And by kind of grabbing the first job that comes along, and even if I don’t like it, they will just stick it out, because it’s a job. But you’re somebody that quite obviously went the hard route, and you went a route that was harder than even you probably thought it was going to be at that time. But you were still willing to go for it. What makes the world kind of lazy nowadays, because I think it is that’s a harsh word to use. But I see it more time. Over and over again. When I speak to people. It’s not quite the right time. Oh, wait till next month. Oh, I’ll wait till next year. Yes. What is that about the world now that they just aren’t willing to kind of loosen their grip on what they’ve got in order to get something better?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [32:40]
Well, I think of one word, and it starts with the F. And you know, and it’s four letters. And it’s, it’s it’s fear, you know, it’s just fear. It’s, and I don’t blame those people at all in any sense. You know, I don’t I don’t judge at all on that. I just feel it’s sad for me, because I saw so many people in my and, as you say, you sit hearing them now is, I’m sure your listeners who you know, life is so short, it really is. And to, to stay in a place of fear. Because you think, well, there isn’t anything better on the other side is really sad. To me. That’s, you know, that’s the only reaction I have when you talk about that. David, I think one of the things that I saw come up again, and again, with the clients that I saw in my career coaching over the years, was that they bought into some negative assumptions that they they grabbed from their parents, you know, and, and their parents meant their best. So I’m sure they didn’t mean to screw them up or anything. But you know, I remember one guy coming to me, and it was just had my mouth open, he was very successful. He was in it. He had, he was just not happy and his job. And I said, you know, what’s going on? JOHN, what’s what’s happening with you? And he says, Well, you know, look at my resume, just when I looked at his resume, and he had changed maybe his job, you know, every couple of years. And he said, Look, what a job hopper I am, you know, what an unsuccessful person, this is, when you look at this record. And, you know, it was really sad, we had a good over that with him. Luckily, you know, it took a long time, a lot of sessions for me to work with him. But you know, he never really totally got over it, because he really believed he was a failure, because in his parents mind, what he was brought up with, you know, you become you go to grad school, you know, you go on this path, or you go to law school, you become a lawyer. And the rest is history. A lot of times, the other thing that I saw was that competence, and I still see this, people judge, they plan their next career move based on their skill set, not on what they like. And so in addition to having the the barrier of those golden handcuffs, you know, where you keep, you keep moving up, you keep getting more accolades, you keep getting more money, it becomes harder, and you then you keep getting more skilled, but you’re still not in the right fit, you know, it’s still not doing it for you get out of bed in the morning to really want to be there and accomplish something.
David Ralph [35:04]
Because while I see a lot of Jennifer, yes, people that dislike a job, I hate this job, this isn’t me at all. And then they leave. And I kind of go to another company that’s doing the same job. And I kind of go, why are you doing that? What it’s what I know. And I was an insurance for years. And I’ve seen so many people do the similar thing. They leave an insurance company, they go and work for an insurance company, they leave a bank, they go to a bank, where it’s quite obvious when you speak to them, that they should be working. Even if it’s something that’s not paying as much, you know, yes. do two jobs, one that you really love, and one that you don’t love. At least you have half the time that you love. That’s the way I can. Absolutely,
Jennifer Kahnweiler [35:44]
absolutely. And you know, you said you had a lot of people who listen who are younger, and one of the terms I learned from a friend of mine is the side hustle. Have you heard that? Yeah, absolutely.
David Ralph [35:53]
And I think he’s gonna be spot on.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [35:55]
Yeah. And so that’s a huge, that’s a model now I think a lot of people are using. And also if you are in an organisation, I think one of the things that I learned is that, you know, you don’t need to leave, look around and see what else is there. A lot of people it’s amazing to me how they just don’t even look past their nose and to see, you know, okay, well, I’m in finance. So I need to stay here. But no, maybe there’s something else before you jump ship. So yeah, and I think the traditional model of the working in one organisation is really changing. Thank God. You know, Daniel Pink wrote, wrote that great book a couple of years ago, about the about the the name is escaping me right now. Oh, the whole new mind. Okay. And he Before that, he wrote a book about the free nation. And he I think that was more about the Jobs and the structures of that, but like how we’re moving more to a right brain kind of world and how so much of what we’re seeing now is the kind of entrepreneurial thrust that you’re demonstrating, and your show and people are putting together really creative types of, of work situations for themselves. My daughter, Jesse is a filmmaker in LA, she’s 29. And she Jessie kahnweiler.com. Anyway, she is, and she and her friends collaborate on their projects like I’ve never seen before. So it’s very exciting to see that how they move from one film to another project to an advertising gig to, you know, all kinds of stuff to make it work for them. And I think that’s where it’s moving to, and not just in the creative arts.
David Ralph [37:28]
You know, if we, if we go back to that speech by Jim Carrey, you you can take it from one side, you might as well do the thing that you love, take a risk on that. But if you think Yes, he’s father’s point of view, his father was going the safe option, and vain, got made. Unemployed got redundant, right? Where’s the safe view? Now? Is the safe you going for a career job that might end any day? Always the safe job having the side hustle? where at least you’ve got a parachute if it does occur? Or do you go the whole hog and go for something that you totally love, and work your way up, because you’ve got the passion and the enthusiasm to do something you love. I personally believe that you should go to side hustle, we call it on this show, the slide of faith, where you’re in a position that you don’t like, and you build a side hustling, you build a few income streams over a couple of years, maybe three years, so that when you come to leave, you’ve already got one foot in the camp, and at least you can pay your bills, that’s the bottom line and pay your bills. You’ve got some kind of creativity, you’ve got a freedom of thought you can take choices, you can make choices and have opportunities.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [38:41]
Yes, apps, I would say echo, amen. Amen to that. Amen to that. And it takes a lot of work to do that, though. Right? Isn’t it?
Unknown Speaker [38:51]
Jennifer Kahnweiler [38:54]
Yeah, yeah. So I mean, people will make the mistake of jumping ship, I’m just too sick of this job. I’m tired of it. I’m going to just leave and I’m going to go speak on my PC people in my world, I’m going to become a professional speaker. Well, you know, how many people make it as professional speakers? Not that many, it’s not easy, and most you’ll talk to have many different income streams that they have. So yeah, I told I agree with you. But let’s not forget hard work. It’s hard. Gotta work, work, work work. But
David Ralph [39:21]
he’s got to be hard, isn’t it? I know, the image is that we all want to lay on the beach with a laptop and earn passive income and stuff. And yes, I totally believe you can get there. But you’ve got to put the work to get there. You know, my journey. If I actually plot my journey from the start of my side, hustle to now, it’s around about six years. And I didn’t think I was working towards space. At that time. It wasn’t even on my radar. But I can plot back the amount of times that I would come home, I would work in the evenings when the kids were watching Telly and that kind of stuff. When they would go to bed I’d work even harder get up in the morn, and I do at lunchtime. There’s always a way to find that extra time. But yes, you don’t want it having you and that’s the bottom line. You
Jennifer Kahnweiler [40:09]
know, absolutely. And I think about as you’re talking, I’m thinking about writing books, you know, I’m always having people come up to Oh, I want to write a book, I want to write a book I want to Okay, so what are you doing about it? You know, and how many people have written wonderful books while they’ve been working full time? You know, I listened to an author last year talking about she was a flight attendant. And she wrote like four novels, you know, while she was sitting on the back of the plane after she served the coffee. I mean, it is so so I feel like Yeah, it does, I think what do they say luck. Not to be too cliche, us, but cliche ish. But luck is hard work, you know, and preparation, or something like that, or preparation meets opportunity. That’s it, preparation meets opportunity, the preparation, nobody can can deny that it is hard, a hard hard work, but you’re also doing it. You love it too. Right? So yeah, and he doesn’t feel as bad doesn’t feel as hard. He feels
David Ralph [41:06]
hard when you’re in it. But I find that when I’ve moved on, I kind of forget how hard it was. And so I’m painting the next hard bit. But you’ve got the passion for the challenge. And then you move through that. And then it becomes easier, I suppose what you’re doing, you’re developing experience. And when you develop that experience, you’ve then got a commodity that you can sell to other people. And so that’s another income stream, isn’t it?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [41:32]
Yes. And and the other thing that I’d like to add to that when you’re talking, David, is, as you’re out there doing your thing, and you’re writing or you’re, you know, creating your heart side hustle. The point that the thing that I learned about that is that you are forced to connect with other people. So you get out there and you start learning and you start collaborating. And, you know, it takes a long time to build relationships and trust with people I think to do business with. So when I think back about in my latest career move, when I decided to be more serious about professional speaking and to create a, you know, a conscious niche for myself. In this, I started to reach out to speakers to writers, etc. And as I develop my plans as I started working and writing articles, things like that, and they are now many of those people are part of my inner circle, if you will, you know, they’re my, they’re my go to people when I want to bounce things off of we do business together. So I think a side benefit of all of this hard side hustle work or, you know, doing work that you love is once you put your foot into the maze, you know, like I think about Who Moved My Cheese and put this foot into the maze and he starts, stuff just starts happening. That momentum is part of that momentum of the Connexions and the networking that you do as well.
David Ralph [42:54]
So how much of it is effort? How much is it? Persistence? How much is of it is now working? Always a kind of an equal cheat in four, four corners?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [43:05]
Yeah, think about, we think about the cheese analogy, right? Or we think about maybe chemistry, you know, you put the different elements and then you get the explosion. I think it’s all of that I think you can’t let one go without without the other. And you have to keep getting better at your craft to better at what you do. You’ve done 200 yay. 200 How many shows
David Ralph [43:26]
226? This one is?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [43:28]
Oh my gosh. That’s unbelievable. I mean, you learn how much have you learned since show one about doing this, it must be incredible.
David Ralph [43:38]
What you learn is not so much doing it. But you realise that there are themes that run through everything. And it doesn’t matter who you speak to. They are on different levels, but they have got the same issues. And so you mentioned earlier about it’s like being in therapy, I’m like in therapy every day, today’s episode recorded. And every single time I listen to someone talking, and I kind of have that, why not me? Why am I not doing that? Why is this person doing the extra effort? And I’m not? Why am I not challenging my efforts in a better way to get that end product? You know, it really is a mindset shift. And it is, it’s it’s the biggest gift I’ve ever had to have these deep conversations with people for over an hour. With many of them, you’d probably pay, I don’t know, 5000 pounds to have this hour of their time. And they’re giving it to me for free. You know, if you can improve with that kind of resource in front of you, then you might as well give up.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [44:44]
Yeah, for sure. For sure. I totally agree with you. And I, I think the one other other side benefit, or the huge takeaway for me, or kind of, at through doing all of this work. And I think we’re doing we’re kind of talking about similar pursuits that we’re we’re going after creative pursuits, we’re putting our whole selves into it. What’s the magical gift of all this, David is that you don’t know what you’re going to get on the other end. And one and the gifts that I get from hearing from people who have been touched by work that I’ve, you know, I’ve put out there, it’s overwhelming. It’s sort of like surreal, you know, when if somebody tells you you change their life, and I’m sure you get comments like this to like hearing, hearing that one phrase you said made, it just made me It made me a better person, or I’ve just completely changed my feeling about who I am. And I own my I’m proud of my introversion, you know, it’s like, you don’t go out there saying, Oh, I’m going to get this comment from somebody, you know, And that, to me is the greatest gift that when you can hear that I don’t have to hear it to validate my ego or anything. But those nice surprises that I get are just they make my day.
David Ralph [45:56]
But the fascinating one that I get a lot of is I get these lovely emails from people. And they say, I’ve been listening to your show. And a certain episode, it was like you were speaking directly to me. And I find that is kind of fantastic. But they might listen to 30 episodes and enjoy them. But then one comes along, and I might just be in the right mindset or the right location, or whatever. But it is the right content for them. And it helps them move on. And then we have a conversation and I try to help them out. And we do coaching, we do mentoring and all that kind of stuff. But it’s fascinating that conversation between you and me, can impact somebody’s life out there in such a way, but they will never look back.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [46:43]
I think it’s the specificity of it and the authenticity, you know, the fact that we’re willing to to be real in this. And I think it’s really a gift that you’re giving and I hope people will will review. You go on iTunes and review your podcasts and say great things about it.
David Ralph [47:00]
yoghurt, that’s what we need. We need. I’m awake you
Jennifer Kahnweiler [47:02]
for that check that you’re sending?
David Ralph [47:04]
Yes, I’m awake to a shame to ask. But yes, yes, that’s that’s the way we do it. So what I want to do now I want to play the words of Steve Jobs, and then a theme of the whole show. And you alluded to joining up your dots mentally before coming on the show. So I’m going to play the words now. And see if I really do have resonance to how you found yourself in the successful position that you are now this is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [47:27]
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 that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [48:03]
All those words true to your life, Jennifer.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [48:06]
Absolutely, absolutely. Do the next right thing is my one of my mottos. You know, do the next right thing, what’s in front of me. And I love the way he said, you know, your gut or your intuition. You know, follow that to take it takes the pressure off of having to make all the pieces fit into a nice puzzle. You are you’re being you’re being true to yourself, you’re learning you’re growing and you keep moving on without knowing what the grand plan is. You know, but I think the common thing that I would say just as the subtext for Steve Jobs was the passion, the complete belief he had in in what he was doing.
David Ralph [48:46]
You have the same belief Oh, don’t you
Jennifer Kahnweiler [48:50]
believe in what I’m doing? Yeah, yeah, I think so most of the time, most days most days.
David Ralph [48:56]
And is that a key is that another key we were going to put another section on the cheese, but you’ve got to have total belief in what you’re doing.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [49:05]
You have to have total belief in what you’re doing. But I think it connects to belief in yourself, David. belief that you don’t have to be perfect that you can try things and they can fail abysmally it it doesn’t mean that you’ve that you as a person have failed. I think as the as I go on in life, the confidence for me is what I realised that I’ve gotten stronger and better and you know, and I think that Steve Jobs for for all the criticism he’s gotten in some in some camps, I mean, demanded, have confidence. And I think that that’s the key piece of it, for me, is confident believing that what I’m doing is is you know that I’m okay that the person Jennifer is okay. And even though I think earlier, I would really mix up I would push up the work and the person. So I was work, you know, or I was mom or I What? You know what I mean? But I’m I’m myself and I am Who am I? Who I am without I feel like singing that. Helen, what is that? You are woman you are? Yeah, remember that? Yeah. You don’t remember it again? You haven’t? Helen ready, Helen ready? I think she was a British lady. I don’t know. Maybe Australian anyway. But you are Yeah, but you believe the inner core of knowing that I’m a good person, and then I’m an n i no matter what I am with all my flaws. And you know, that I’m that I believe in myself, I think that allows me to then go out there and it doesn’t become like work and achievement. And, you know, and all the wonderful gifts that I’ve been given in terms of this, this, you know, this latest turn that I’ve made, it’s all because I do believe that I’m strong, you know, and I believe in myself. And I think that confidence is the big see here is the big one for me.
David Ralph [50:53]
And have you naturally had that? Or is it because of all the experiences that you’ve gone through? If we took you back to the the Jennifer have an 18 years old, for example? Would she be similar to you now?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [51:06]
Oh, no, no, no, no, no, she was not confident at all. But you wouldn’t as much know it as probably because I faked it pretty well. You know, I was very much around all of the I thought these things made me You know, these were attributes and kind of continuing to move ahead in my career and being supermom and all that stuff that I could handle it. But it didn’t. It didn’t last forever. Like that. I had to realise that that that was not sustainable. And that wasn’t real. So yeah, I think the 18 year old was she looked a lot better. Her skin was better. She didn’t have to dye her hair. But she was she was definitely not not confident. She but I also was a person who, who knew that I had that. You know that laughter within me I always had humour. So I was able to laugh too cancer, that’s a good thing.
David Ralph [52:01]
Well, let’s take you back in time, because this is the end of the show. And this is when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, I’m going to play the theme tune. And when it fades out, you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [52:24]
Here we go with the best of the show.
Jennifer Kahnweiler [52:43]
Well, Jennifer, you are 12 years old and you have a life ahead of you. I want to start out by just quoting you something that I learned. And that is a quote from a woman named Loretta LaRoche got it all done, died. Anyway, I know that might seem a little heavy and cheesy to you now. But life isn’t all about being a human doing. So be sure to relax. And don’t compare yourself to everyone else. And think of life as a ladder where you’re in the middle and somebody above you or somebody below you, you are worthy and you are a wonderful person just the way you are. Be sure to laugh at yourself. And you know, you are very strong young woman who’s going to grow into even more strength as you experience life and, and laughter is the glue. And be sure to make time for love with your family. And whoever is in it Your family is is whoever you call family. And I want you to remember that being bored is okay, because that’s when your moments of magic will come. And I know you’re going to have a wonderful life as a young woman. And hopefully you can a young woman who grows into a storey strong woman who achieves great things. So I hope those those words help you. And thank you for the opportunity.
David Ralph [54:10]
Jennifer, how can our audience connect with you?
Jennifer Kahnweiler [54:13]
David, they can contact me through my website, which is Jennifer Kahnweiler, that’s Kate Jennifer je n and I var k h n w Ei le r.com. And I’m very active on Twitter and Facebook. So Twitter is Jen Kahnweiler G and then Kahnweiler long as you can spell my name, you’re good. And on Facebook on the introverted leader page, as well as LinkedIn.
David Ralph [54:40]
Well, thank you so much for spending time with us today and joining up those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up those dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Jennifer, thank you so much,
Jennifer Kahnweiler [54:54]
David, it’s been my absolute pleasure. Thank you for this great interview.
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.