Neen James Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Neen James
Neen James is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
She is a lady who can get more done in a day than most people get done in a week.
Actually Neen James can get more done in a hour than others do in a week.
She is a master at productivity and blitzing though piles of work at a rate of knots.
Now she is ensuring she gains maximum results from her work too.
But don’t think that this a lady who burns the candle at both ends, and just works harder than most.
Neen James looks amazing, seems to have more energy than most, and can often be seen whizzing around on her Harley Davison, or searching for another pair of shoes for her expanding collection.
She loves her life, she loves her job, and she loves getting out in front of people and presenting her time saving strategies to the world
How Did The Dots Join Up For Neen?
With a strong background in learning and development and managing large teams at various corporations, Neen is the perfect fit for organizations wanting a presenter to provide implementable strategies to save time, increase focus and help their people get more done.
Not the kind of stuff that you might have seen time and time again, when the work management takes as long as doing the job in the first place.
But practical stuff that can make a huge difference.
Neen James is the author of eight business books including “Folding Time, Secrets of Super-Productivity, Strategic Networking and Network or Perish” to name just a few.
So what is about this Australian lady, that has made her see that there is so much wasted time in life, and for the most we are simply doing the wrong things at the wrong time.?
And why has she left her home in Australia, which is one these places that so many would die to live in, and now has two homes, the other being in America.
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs with the one and only Neen James.
During the episode we discussed such weighty topics such as:
How many people told her that she had to get voice training when she first started out, and she ignored them all to remain authentic to herself.
How she watched Forrest Gump on a plane, and still thought “Can I invest enough time in this…or should I be doing something more productive?”
Why it is so important to have a plan going into each job, and why she shares how important the 3,6,9,12 system has been to her success.
How she would interview people in her office over a cup of coffee to ask them what she needs to do to get a certain role, or many times their role!
Why she feels a huge belief when she goes into anything that she is going to be successful in life, and loves the belief that she has in herself.
Neen James Books
How To Connect With Neen James
Of course if you want more amazing episodes then you can jump over to the podcast archives
Audio Transcription Of Neen James 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 to you. Good morning. Well, good morning, everywhere. Hopefully you’re up in about hopefully you’re not just laying in bed listening to us because it’s the eighth of January today. So you made these new year’s resolutions we talk about them a lot. But this is the Prime Day apparently when things will stop working and yoga are can’t be bothered, I stay in bed for another quarter of an hour. So leap out and get going because we’ve got a lady on today who can well she she lives by the mantra of getting going she can get more done in a day, but most people get done in a week. Actually, she can get more done in an hour than others doing a week she is a master at productivity, and blitzing through piles of work at a rate of knots, and ensuring she gains maximum results from her work too. But don’t think that this is a lady who burns a candle at both ends and just works harder than most because she looks amazing, seems to have more energy than most, and can often be seen whizzing around on a Harley Davidson or searching for another pair of shoes. But we’re expanding a collection. What is it about women and shoes got no idea. She loves her life. She loves her job, and she loves getting out in front of people and presenting her time saving strategies to the world. With a strong background in learning and development and managing large teams at various corporations. She is the perfect fit for organizations wanting a presenter to provide implementable strategies to save time, increase focus and help their people get more done and not the kind of stuff that you might have seen time and time again, when the work management actually takes as long as doing the job in the first place. But practical stuff that can make a huge difference. He’s the author of eight business books, including folding time, secrets of super productivity, strategic networking, and network or perish to name just a few. So what is it about this Australian lady that’s made her see that there is so much wasted time in life. And for the most we’re simply doing the wrong things at the wrong time. And why she left her home in Australia which is one of those places that so many would die to live in. And now has two homes the other being in America? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start join up dots with the one and only Nene James How are you?
Neen James [2:33]
Good a What a great way to start the day. I’m absolutely delighted to be here with you.
David Ralph [2:39]
You haven’t lost your Australian twang, have you did you do still go with a good day, every time you meet someone?
Neen James [2:45]
You better believe it. And I hope I never lose my Australian accent. But I gotta laugh because each time I have to use one of those silly call operator systems. They never understand what I’m trying to say. And I do understand that I probably sound like I’m 12 to all of your listeners this morning.
David Ralph [3:02]
No, I did not this but started speaking to you. Is that something that people are aware of? You have got quite a young boys, haven’t you?
Neen James [3:10]
Oh, I do. I absolutely do. I mean, ideally, I would have a cartoon create, you know, character created for me, that would be like the perfect job. But I do a lot of it’s a first thing a lot of people notice that my voice is so high.
David Ralph [3:23]
My my son is 12 at the moment, and he’s just going into that, that age when we’re expecting the voice to change. And all these mates voices concerning going very, very deep. And he’s walking around like a small girl. And he’s desperate. He’s desperate to change but I’m now he he he sounds a bit like he’s not a 12 year old boy.
Neen James [3:43]
No, I feel his pain. I feel his pain. But you know, I remember when I first started speaking professionally, everybody told me I needed voice coaching David every person, including the President of the National Speakers Association, and those only one person who said, You know what, it’s authentically you, you should stick?
David Ralph [4:02]
Well, that’s who you should listen to. And that is that you cut to the chase here. This is why you’re a productivity expert. You’ve gone straight to the core of the show. Because the thing we talked about time and time again, is being authentic to yourself, and forgetting about what other people tell you and do the thing that comes from your heart and your gut intuition. Because being authentic to you name is easier than being something that you’re not isn’t it that that’s what Please do your core strengths.
Neen James [4:28]
I think easy is a tough one though, I think what happens is we feel this pressure from outside you know, to to change something to fit into something to do something. So while we talk about authenticity, David I think that when we say it’s easier to be authentic, sometimes I think it’s tougher to be authentic, because it really challenges you to stand up for what you believe in and it makes you question what you believe in? And is it the right thing. So I think we often second guess ourselves. The great thing about authenticity is when you step into it and it’s actually easier to be you once you realize you can just do it and hope the world loves it rather than try and live up to the expectations of the world around you.
David Ralph [5:10]
And it’s a big world isn’t it? So there’s good there’s gonna be Nene haters and David Ralph haters of course they are but yeah, you can ignore them and and work with the people that love you because they like what you’re bringing?
Neen James [5:23]
Yeah, one of my mentors one said to me, some will some won’t. So what and I love that you know, some love you someone some lot. And that’s the way that I think we need to approach it.
David Ralph [5:34]
Oh, you mentally stronger? Because although I was kind of flipping and say yes, that’s the way we should do it. It’s quite difficult, isn’t it when you start to get those kind of disparaging comments or hate comments or emails about just kind of not nice and not the things that we want to hear? Do you just brush them off now? Or do you sort of read them think why do you Wait, can I meet up with you? I’m going to get you.
Neen James [5:57]
When I first started in my profession, when I first speaking professionally, I would take it to heart a little bit and think well I have to change because I was brand new David I didn’t know differently. But what I learned to do is to develop a few one liners. So whenever I speak in front of large audiences, and with many of the clients if they’ve met me, for the first time, I have a couple of throwaway lines. You know, Ozzy is a great at self deprecating humor, I have a couple of lines, I’ll throw in my speech in the first two minutes. So the audience feels comfortable with my voice. They know I’m really comfortable with it. It’s interesting when I first did it in the south in America, because the self deprecating sense of humor is different here. And sarcasm is received differently here. And I had to learn that as well. So my way of coping with it was with humor, but I think it does make you mentally stronger. Because it also makes you realize that’s what’s different, and different is good. And we have to leverage different because if you really want to make an impact being the same as everyone else is not always going to serve you. If you think of old of rocking and rolling people across history really. They were different one though, if you if you think of Elvis and the Beatles, and Richard Branson, and Donald Trump, they’ve all you can’t imagine anybody else being them. You can’t. I always say with Elvis, if you stand up and you do a karaoke song, Elvis, you sing like Elvis is almost impossible to sing that song without going, whoo. And all that business. I recently watched I rewatch Forrest Gump recently on the flight from LA to Sydney. And you know, the first time I watch that movie, I loved it, it was so long, I thought, well, that’s a big time investment, but I was on a plane with nowhere else to go. And I love the way that he tied together so many things that happened in history. But some of these people are so unique and how he stayed so true to himself through the entire movie. And so I think that that’s the way to make an impact, like you said, is being authentic to yourself. That’s how you make a greater impact influence the world. That’s a fascinating
David Ralph [8:01]
insight into you, but you’re on a plane, you’re trapped, and you’re still going can only invest the time in something that’s just enjoyable. Surely, when you’re on a plane, productivity goes out the window. And if you want to go and sit in the toilet for eight hours, you can do you want to play,
Neen James [8:20]
you might upset some guests, if you do that. And I think about that you have a really captive amount of time. Now on the way home from a trip to Australia, I was very blessed to be upgraded. We had we invested some points, so I could sleep a lot of the way home. That was a brilliant investment of time. But you got to think about the fact that your body reacts different in time zones, that sometimes I am, I’m on the road all the time. That’s what I do. I fly every week, multiple times a week. So I’ve got to have little routines and little systems on planes in order for me to feel like I get things done. Because on planes like you know, you know, when we go from the east coast to go and visit in London, it’s only eight hours, it’s not so bad. But we you go from LA to Sydney, it’s a visit a little longer than that. So you want to make the most of the time and not go stir crazy as well. Here’s how I explain it to people. A lot of Americans want to go to Australia, but I say to them this, you just have to think of it as six movies from LA. It’s not as long as you think
David Ralph [9:17]
it is, isn’t it you can say you can say anything you like I’ve been to Australia a couple of times. place I want to go again. Oh, it’s so long.
Neen James [9:26]
And it’s beautiful. And it’s worth it, you know, helping my tourism.
David Ralph [9:30]
It’s worth it. It’s a long way away. I always say to people now that if people want me to go to Australia, I shouldn’t have put America closer,
Neen James [9:44]
at least once or twice a year. And it’s always worth it.
David Ralph [9:47]
So how do you actually begin your career you in Australia, we’re going to go back in time now. And obviously where you are now, but for many people is a million miles away. And when I start off on their education and going through to get qualification, but they’re not really thinking about what they end up doing. And you seem to be somebody who’s ended up doing something, which is really you and you love it. But so many people end up doing something that isn’t them and I hate it. So did you have a plan when you started when he was in school in Australia?
Neen James [10:21]
You know, I I feel what I did at the interesting thing was David if you track my career is when I started out, I was desperate to be a teacher. And I thought I was going to be a teacher when I was little. And I remember that all through primary school. And I remember thinking that’s what I wanted to do. I love school, I love my teachers. And so I wanted to be a teacher. And then I decided that wasn’t really what I wanted to do. So then all of a sudden, I was going to be a lawyer. So I thought I would be a lawyer. Well, that didn’t last very long. And I realized that they were bad people that I didn’t want to represent. And I didn’t realize I could only represent the people who will right. So as a little person that was a little devastating. So then I thought I Hey, how about I be an architect because I was the only girl in high school that did technical drawing. In Australia, they called her graphics. I’m not sure what they call it in the UK. But I was the only girl who did that in my school. And I thought it would be such a fascinating career until I went and did work experience for a little while in an architectural firm as part of my high school year. And I thought this is just too painfully accurate. And I am very spontaneous. And I am not detailed. I am blessed to be married to someone who is an engineer, who is very, very logical, very rational, and has OCD. I am not that person. And I realized that the precision required in the beauty that is architecture is not my personality. So then I was a little lost. I thought all these things. And this is still I’m still in high school at this stage. And and then my dad who’s just retired from teaching, would have loved to see me be a teacher. But I realized that I’m not the most compliant person and I don’t fit all of the rules that people would want me to comply with. And so then I decided that an exciting career would be journalism. So when I was in high school, I was really great at communications, I was fantastic at writing, I would volunteer to jump up in front of a room of people and do a presentation. Present presenting didn’t scare me. So I thought journalism would be great. And then I applied for the we have what’s called back then a long time ago David the T School, which is your tertiary entrance school, you know it, it’s l SATs, it’s all kinds of things around the world, but it’s the school that somehow defines your intelligence in a moment in time because of the stupid tests that you’ve set. And that’s what allows you entrance into college. Well, I didn’t get the score I needed I was 20 points short. And I was pretty devastated. I thought that my little world was going to come to an end and my final year high school. So I decided to join the bank and I deferred every course I’d been accepted into. And that was fascinating, because I thought I’d only do it for a year. And then nine years later, I was still in banking in Australia.
David Ralph [13:13]
The same thing is fascinating, I started off with a vibe of being a teacher. And he’s interesting now that you are effectively a teacher, you’re out there you’re presenting, you don’t actually have to do all the horrible things that teachers do. I do, first of all, and mark and, and, and just kind of structured, why I went into presenting because I was a trainer as well, was the fact that I liked getting the message across. But I didn’t like all the kind of compliance behind the scenes. So when I was in banking for 1015 years, whatever it was, I always thought to myself, I want to become a teacher, I’m going to become a teacher, because I liked communicating a message. Pretty much I’ve ended up in this because of that reason. So you have you’ve you’ve kind of gone full circle, when you meet the essence that you loved when you was a child, this is what I fancy doing standing up in front of people talking, being the focus of attention, bang your bell.
Neen James [14:10]
Right. And in banking, what was fascinating was, I constantly offered to run the run the meeting or to teach someone how to do something I you know, I wanted to work in the training department of the bank, I think something inside us knows what we are good at. And we find opportunities to share those skills, we can’t always articulate it at the time. But when you do find that when you step into it, it literally does change your own little world. And that’s how I think you make a greater impact on the world as well. Because once I left, I had a great career in Australia, in corporate I moved from banking into other industries. But when I left and set up my own company, I think that’s when I became the happiest David and probably when I work the hardest.
David Ralph [14:55]
Let’s look at that, because I was looking at your LinkedIn profile, I go through a lot of background history. And quite often they’re very brief, yours isn’t brief at all, I actually, I actually strained my finger scrolling to the bottom and see your finger. And then a lot of jobs early in your career, but you didn’t seem to hang around very long. And you sort of moved through, move through until you get to your thing as you’re saying now. And you’ve been there for 13 years. So when you were going through those experiences those careers, where you were aware that actually you were working towards something no experience is wasted.
Neen James [15:36]
Yeah, here’s my theory. And for those people who are listening, who might still be in a job, who are looking to make a switch, this was the plan I always had. I always know it would take me three months to learn a job six months to master it. Nine months to find my successor. And within 12 months, I wanted to move on. I was very deliberate David I would learn it quickly, I would find out what I need. Did you do to master it, I would always discover who could I get promoted into the job? Who else could I cross train in my job so I could move on to the next job. So in banking, you will track I moved every nine to 12 months. And then what I would do is once I left banking and went into other industries, I went into oil, I went into telecommunications. And what I did was that was always my strategy 369 and 12. Because I believe 90 day cycles are things we can do a lot in. And so I think in 90 day cycles, I was very deliberate. So in my own practice, when I started my own company, I had my first client as a retainer client, within 30 days, I had bought on board with me a trainer who could deliver to them a great program within 90 days. It’s something that I’ve always been quite conscious of. And it’s the same way I run my practice. Now, if I mentor people in my mentoring program, it’s always 90 days, there’s something really powerful about that segment of time.
David Ralph [17:00]
Is that something that’s just occurred to you? Or was Did somebody give you that that theory as you were moving through your career?
Neen James [17:07]
At the time when I was younger in my career, I didn’t realize I was doing it the first couple of times, then I started to see patterns. So it became more deliberate a few years into my career. It’s very deliberate in my own practice now, because I’m obviously a lot older, although it sounded, I am it’s something that I applied very deliberately now. But for the first couple years, no, but I think when you look at it, it sort of makes sense. You know, there’s this whole myth out there that it takes 21 days to create a new habit. I’m not sure that’s true. However, I do know that it takes a good few months before you make something as an impact. You know, we want to change our diet like we’re in January, right? So we all decided we’d overindulged in the holidays, whatever holiday you celebrate. And now I guarantee you within a week, maybe a week more you said the eight day David you can’t get on a treadmill in the gym, you see people in the supermarket buying super healthy things, it doesn’t take long, I’m not sure it’s even 21 days for people go back to their own habits. 90 days gives you the time, it gives you grace period, and it gives you the opportunity to see a shift
David Ralph [18:13]
is that something that people actually do have to work on because I’m very good at going, right, I’m going to do something like we were talking just before recording, I’ve decided that I want to get more work done at times, that doesn’t affect my family. So after they go to bed is going to be my key time. So I’m looking at going to bed at 12 o’clock and getting up at five so that I can do maybe four or five hours of work. And as far as the kids are concerned, it looks like I don’t have to work anymore. And once I decide that bang, I’m on it. Nobody’s going to shift my mind. That is what I need to do. Am I fortunate by having that mindset? Or is that something that everybody can have? They just need to develop it.
Neen James [18:57]
admire your drive and your ability to do that. I think for most people, it depends on the way that they there are the status or finishes. And some people you’re fortunate that you may be both, I am a brilliant starter, I come up with phenomenal ideas, I can change the world. And then a few weeks after once the project’s done, I’m like, Okay, I’m done, I want to hand over to someone for maintenance, I can start a lot of fantastic things. And I’ve learned that in my career, I don’t always want to finish them. And by that I mean I don’t want any form of maintenance. So what I’ve learned about that is I have to have people in my team that can help pick up that or I say to the client, I’m going to come up with some brilliant ideas with you, then I’m going to hand you over those ideas, and you’re going to give them to your team to implement. So some people are really, really great at starting. Some people are brilliant at finishing. Some people are fantastic. If I come up with the idea, they then run with it and make sure it’s implemented in their organization. In your case, it might be that you’re both You are a fantastic starter and finishes. And I find most people and make love one or the other. So what we need to think about is where are we really good. It took me a long time to realize I was a starter. It’s not that I can’t finish projects. I’m really good at execution if it interests me. But what I don’t like his routine. So if I had to do the same thing every day, I would go mentally crazy, but there’s people in my life who love doing the same thing every day. So I think we got to understand what which one’s important. Back to your comment though David about you know, working when the kids are, you know, see it’s not affecting the kids. It’s interesting to me what we do around you know, little people and the example we set them my god daughter is seven and she is you know, one of the loves of my life. And her mom, one of my dearest friends in the world, works some crazy hours and travels but what I’ve learned about watching Maddie, my god daughter in response to him, if she wants to grow up and work hard, and travel and do all those things, so we send so many subtle messages to little people when they see us working.
David Ralph [21:09]
Well we do Don’t wait. And one of the sort of interesting things about your history and the way that my kind of vibe goes nowadays is when you were moving through your career, you were jumping from job to job to job nowadays, that is actually seen as a good thing. When I was back when I started my career, that was a bad thing. And you know, where’s your loyalty? What Why are you not at the same company all the time? Where’s it all going wrong. So kids nowadays have got that ability to be able to go on very quick stepping stones, true careers, if they want it hard enough, which kind of works we have how kids are anyway, they like things to be very interactive and and quick and fast paced and whatever. But on the other side, we are by being entrepreneurial, setting out that spirit bad, you can actually earn your own money. And if you can earn your own money vain. You can do things that you love at times that you want. And really have you taken at Can you.
Neen James [22:06]
Yeah, the foot the mansion we have in our practice right now is do what you love with people you love in places you love. That’s the way we run our practice. But it took me a long time to get there, I had to earn the right to do that. And I didn’t realize that at the time, because I’d grown up in a family where you got a job and then you did your time and and so for me that deliberate 30 6090 day planning that I would do early in my career at the time, you have to also understand that I didn’t have the luxury of the same brand. So on my resume, it looked like I was employed by the same bank for a long time. It’s just that I shifted my roles within the bank. So for people who are listening, who is still employed by someone and they want change, it’s about looking beside you and above you for opportunities and projects that you can get involved in that is different to what you’re doing now. Because sometimes it’s taking a sideways move, or doing a new project or volunteering for a committee that gives you that desire for change. So you still feel like you’re learning. But maybe a title is not changing. But your job is shifting
David Ralph [23:11]
squiggly careers we’re talking about we’re talking about
Neen James [23:14]
love that what a cool term.
David Ralph [23:16]
And it is exactly as like that’s what comes out in join up dots but the people that have made it and have done great things like yourself, you haven’t got there a to be yours is a point one 8.2 8.3, and then you move on. And that is how life is. And that’s what we need to get across to the listeners if you’re thinking of doing something. But it’s too big for your mind to get there straight away. Don’t try to do something, just a different change of routine or whatever back and start you working towards it. Because I’ve never met somebody that’s gone. This is a crappy job. I hate it. I want to be a professional football player. And two days later, they’re doing it. That never works. There is practice isn’t it.
Neen James [24:01]
And the other thing is find people who are doing what you love. So what I would do when I was in banking, when I was in oil when I was in telecommunications, and I was being employed by someone else, I would look at people and go, I like what they’re doing. And so I’d interview them. And I’d say hey, you know, do you have 20 minutes, I’d love to buy you a coffee and understand your career path and how you’ve done what you’ve done. I did the same thing when I was in the telecommunications industry and decided I wanted to be a speaker. I didn’t even know there was such a thing David that people get paid to talk. I mean, a blew my mind. So what I did was I went to a meeting of the National Speakers Association, and I saw a gentleman who I targeted to be come eventually my mentor later my business partner. So what you may want to think about if you’re listening to this and you’re looking for a shift is you may want to think, Okay, what associations organizations are sort of along the lines of what I want to do and meet some of those people and interview them. Because then you also get to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly of what you think you might want to do. And you still get to make a decision if you pursue it. So sometimes it’s about doing things at the same time if you’re employed in the job, but you want to be an entrepreneur, interview some entrepreneurs and get the real scoop on it. Because sometimes the grass looks greener, when you’re not doing what it is that you want to do. You got to understand the whole picture.
David Ralph [25:22]
But let’s play some words. Now that kind of bring us up to the point when you made that leap of faith when you decided right corporate land isn’t for me, I’m going to go out and do my own thing. This is Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [25:33]
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 [26:01]
Neen James [26:03]
powerful words? Yep. really powerful.
David Ralph [26:06]
So how did you know that your leap of faith was going to be something you love? Did you or was it as he said you were just taking a chance.
Neen James [26:17]
I’m sure listeners have probably already understood by the conversation that we’ve had. So far as I love life, I am a person who wakes up on the positive I am the Pollyanna rose colored glasses wearing person who believes that they can do anything, I just assume I can do anything. And I walk into a room and I assume everyone wants to play with me, I always have. So for me, I pretty much believe anything that I try anyone on me anything that I want to do, it’s going to happen. And so I think there’s an element of fearlessness to what I do, that’s not always a good thing. It’s just an assumption I have about the world, knowing that I could leave corporate and start my own company, I just assumed I’d be six. Now, I also have the luxury of having a partner who I love and adore. And this year, we celebrated 25 years of being married. You know, let’s just say I was married at 10 David So the reality is, I was also very blessed to have someone who was incredibly supportive. And so to some extent, while I thought I was being all independent, and you know, going out on my own and leaving the security of a corporate job, I had to hustle, don’t get me wrong, but I made sure that I had a lot of stuff set up. And I engineered my departure from my company, by telling the board that they were going to pay me a significant amount of money to re engineer the company before I left. So I left my corporate job with a lovely payout and a very supportive husband. So I created that.
David Ralph [27:51]
That’s easy, though name, isn’t it? company. I’m leaving, but you’re going to pay me to do I don’t know many people that would be at do that.
Neen James [28:01]
What’s the worst thing they could say? No. And if they say no, just work out something else. And that’s the theme listeners, I think, what’s the worst thing that can happen? And if in your mind, you can deal with the worst thing that can happen? The worst thing I could have said to me was Forget it, you’re fired, I would have still had to find something new anyway. And I was going to be leaving anyway. There’s a lot of people out there who are scared of the you know, the flip side of everything. I’m not if you consider what the worst thing is that can happen. And you’re okay with it, then do it. I think what happens is we waste so much time worrying about stuff in our head without even really knowing what the consequences so work it out. If you can deal with it, then take the step. It is ballsy, you’re absolutely right. But that is also part of who I am.
David Ralph [28:45]
I love that. Because Yeah, what is the worst thing that’s going to happen? What’s in our head, and I still have those I had that last night, when I looked at how many shows I’ve got scheduled. And then I realized Christmas was coming up and nobody wants to record over Christmas, I suddenly thought, oh my god, I’m doing a daily show. I haven’t got enough shows going live. Normally I have about 2021 sort of scheduled up. And there was about two minute bursts when I was thinking, oh my god, what am I gonna do? What am I going to do? And then you think to yourself, Well, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna get into it? And you can try it out? And what’s the word? Yeah, what’s the worst that’s going to happen, people are going to come to join up dots and he’s not there. Now I’ll put something else on. And I’ll try and bridge the gap somehow. So you can’t do that, can’t you, you can do that in your mind.
Neen James [29:34]
And that’s you joining the dots, you know, here’s the thing, I will I will book something, book an event and then I’ll build the program for it. Because I know that it’s on the calendar, I’m deadline driven in the same way you are, you’re going to find guests, and you’re going to find the most amazing guest feature. And the thing what happens is we put our assumptions on the world. If for example, it was at a time when it was leading to the holidays, you make an assumption people don’t want to record on the holidays, but maybe that’s the It’s time for them to record it.
David Ralph [30:04]
And they want to get away for a while.
Neen James [30:06]
Oh, maybe they’re so busy at the rest of the this is the time of year that they actually get, you know, time to do the luxury of these type of things. I remember my last flight for December, my last business presentation for December, my last business trip for December. And when it was all done David I thought to myself, now I can do some of the things that I really want to do. So I think we make assumptions, and we put assumptions on the world. And they’re not always right. It’s just about asking, I don’t see any anything wrong with asking I told the board, this is what I wanted to do. They said okay, they could have said no, but they said yes. And that’s the thing. Sometimes people say yes, and that surprises you, and then you’re like, oh my god, no, I have to do what I said I was going to do.
David Ralph [30:51]
Yeah, he’s like when you go up to this really hot girl, and you asked her out? And she actually says yes, for a moment. You can’t quite believe it. And you you’re looking over your shoulder in case she’s answering a question to somebody else. What is the worst that’s gonna happen? She’s gonna say no. And through our life, we are forced to make bows, yes, no decisions aren’t way. And although we might do ourselves how she’s gonna say no, she’s gonna say no. Well, I’ve seen some ugly blokes ending up with some amazing women. So you can always ask that question.
Neen James [31:24]
You bet. Absolutely. You always, always ask the question. And the cool thing is sometimes you can even build up courage by asking the question in Moodle situations in your life. And then when you get the confidence that hey, people are saying yes, then you get more confidence in the big things in your life as well, just to that test the theory today, ask somebody something you think they might say no to? And if they say yes, it builds up your confidence, start small, and then it ends up making big impact.
David Ralph [31:52]
So how did you find your thing? When you want to be an entrepreneur, you want to be a speaker? But that is the from actually having that, that product to actually speak about how did you decide that you was going to be a productivity speaker?
Neen James [32:08]
You know, I think productivity found me I made an assumption David that the world was productive, because I always could get things done. I was the chick who always spoke at the conferences for corporate, I was the chick who had high profile projects, I was just the to get stuff done. And so I just assumed the world knew how to do that we have these things in our life that we are naturally good at. And we just assume others are as well. It wasn’t until other companies and other leaders started to ask me how did you do that? How did you get the team to do that? How did you get that project back on track that I thought, Oh, that’s interesting. I don’t know how to do that. Then when I realized I could commercialize what I knew, that’s when it clicked for me. Then I thought, well, people are going to pay me to teach them how to get things done, people are going to pay me to teach them how to be more productive when they communicate. It wasn’t until I realized that that thing that we do so easily. Other people want to know, that’s when it changed for me. So everyone listening to this is naturally good at something. But you just assume the world is good at that same thing. And the reality is they they aren’t. And so when you can learn how to commercialize that. That’s what makes the difference David, I didn’t know that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. But I knew that I didn’t want to be in corporate. I didn’t know that I wanted to be a speaker. But I knew that I wanted to share with the world how to do something. So sometimes it’s not always clear what Ellen picture is. But we have to keep taking the steps towards it to get closer to what it is. And then when it does gel when we join those dots. It absolutely changes the way you show up every day
David Ralph [33:51]
is like magic, isn’t it? When you when when I started this show, I knew I wanted to show and I knew what I wanted to talk about. But I think it was round about 30 4050 episodes in. But it started to click to me. And I realized that it was I need to get excited by the conversations. And in the early ones. I was trying to find my feet in the interview. But now when I’m talking to you, and I’m talking to the next guest lecturer all the time, I’m thinking this is amazing. This is pretty
Unknown Speaker [34:22]
nuggets of gold
David Ralph [34:22]
we’re sharing here. This is an Emmy Award winning podcast.
Neen James [34:29]
Leave it it is and do
David Ralph [34:30]
you think the excitement that you show to your employees and to your clients? Is that? Is that a key thing about you as well?
Neen James [34:39]
Yeah, and you know, it’s interesting what you say about, you know, being 50 episodes in I have been keynote on the topic of productivity for many, many years. And I love it. One of my books, as you know, is in that area, or many of my books in that area. But when I in recently, I got the opportunity to work with a phenomenal speech coach by the name of Lou heckler, he is one of my favorite people on the planet. And he and I sat down for a day and wrote me a completely new speech, I’d never really gone through a formal process in the true sense of the word. And he was able to pull out of me stories that I’d never told the world examples and things that were truly authentically 100%. Just my unique intellectual property, my experiences, the first time I delivered the new what we call the lose speech, the first time, which is authentic to me, the crowd jumped to their feet. And every time I’ve delivered it, since I love delivering it. But it took me years to be able to get the skills for that David to even want to share some of those stories. But I also had to have a platform where clients already know of me and this is like a new keynote, I can share with them. Does that make sense? So sometimes in our own journey, it evolves more and more into what’s really asked, sometimes you just gotta have the guts to stay out there and do something. But this new keynote that I do David is probably the favorite thing that I’m doing right now.
David Ralph [36:06]
So how did Lou managed to get those stories out? as you were saying that you You didn’t really want to share or you didn’t know that you should be sharing? How did he manage that?
Neen James [36:15]
I mean, the guy’s brilliant. Number one, he’s just he truly if you ever see any speaker that wins an award and a stank, someone lose always on the list. So his work with the greatest speakers. But what he is he has this inquisitive nature, he was a broadcaster. So as a journalist like you, he knows how to get great information out of the people who sit in front of him, you have the exact same ability David you ask questions, you dig deep, you don’t just allow one answer, lose the same. And so what was interesting was Lou has a great process that he uses when he developed speeches, and he shared the process with me, and I knew I was going through it. But he was just 100% Lou, and you can’t help but want to talk to him he affectionately gets called uncle Lou, you can’t help it, you want to share with him your story. It’s like you, David, you have that natural ability to share with people and bring out of them, what you think is going to be most beneficial for the people that are listening. So working with Lou truly transformed the way that I speak and I loved it. So even though I was already doing what I loved, I was talking about productivity, which I love. He gave me a different angle to it. And sometimes we get people in our lives who make us think differently, who give us a different angle. And then they join we join the dots to something we didn’t even know we wanted.
David Ralph [37:35]
You your big.in your life, it seems to me from listening to you talk was that moment when you went? Wow. People will pay me for this.
Unknown Speaker [37:45]
Neen James [37:48]
I love money. I figured the more money you make, the more you can give away so I’m bullish shoes.
Shoes, I am also a brat I love nice thing.
David Ralph [37:57]
So that’s a kind of mindset shift that people struggle with, isn’t it having that ability to go? I can charge for this. And I know I struggled with that at the beginning when I was doing certain coaching people would come through and I’d go Yeah, okay, I’ll do it for now. And I’ll do it for this. And I was just like doing it for nothing. Because I kind of thought, Oh, it’s easy. I don’t need to do it. And then people were saying, Are you charging? And I was going Whoa, no, not really. I’m not really. And I go Why are you not charging? And? Well, I don’t know. I don’t know any? Did you do a lot of freebie work at the beginning before you realized, hang on? I’ve got a product here. And this is a chargeable product?
Neen James [38:32]
Oh, yeah. Oh my gosh, of course I did. And here’s what I learned. Some people don’t value free. If you don’t have a price tag on something, and you might be coaching someone for free, they think well, it’s free, I don’t have to show up. So not everyone values free, some people really appreciated. I think that free is a great way to test. If I have a new speech, a new coaching program, a new article, a new concept, I can share it with someone for free and see how I respond. You can pilot things, you can test things. But I believe that when you assign a value to it, you’re also assigning a value to what you believe in. And I believe my intellectual property is incredibly value. I’ve seen it change people, it’s changed their time, their delivery, their results, the way they show up the way they communicate. Sometimes you need to see evidence to support the fact that you can justify charging, but I absolutely can charge. And what’s interesting about fee structure David is there are some common fee structures within industries that we all work in. And if you are below a certain fee structure, there’s an assumption you’re not good. So you got to know your industry to you got to know what the buyer is expecting. Because if you’re not charging, they may think you’re not good enough yet. And so you don’t have the confidence in your product.
David Ralph [39:53]
So how this this is the key question, really. But the whole show, I suppose, somebody out there that created a product by taking the leap of faith, they’re building their business? And somebody says, Yes, I want what you’ve got, I want you to come into my company, I want you to train, I want you to provide whatever, how did they find that that figure to actually charge because I think most of us will have that mental sort of dialogue in our head where we go, oh, they’re never gonna charge that, that they’re never gonna pay that. Go low, go low and just sort of getting there. How do they do that?
Neen James [40:25]
You got to research what the acceptable norms are for what it is that you offer, you got to know a range. So the first thing you want to do is do your research. The second thing you want to know is what do you bring to the table? You’ve got to know your value. And by that I mean, what’s going to happen as a result of them doing what it is that you offer? How do you want them to think feel? Or what do you want them to do as a result of working with you, you want to understand what’s the return on their investment. So if you can articulate a return on the investment, let’s just say my speech was $10,000, hypothetically, you’ve got know that they’re going to be able to get 10 times that amount back in productivity, or 10 times or 30% increase in their productivity, you’ve got to be able to articulate the value they get. So you’ve got to know what the industry standards are. And if there’s none, you’ve got to find what sort of similar, you’ve also got to be able to say something without blinking and looking away, you got to be able to stand firm in that. And sometimes we put a figure out there and people go, okay, and you think, oh, man, I should have charged more, right? And I’ve had that happen. Or sometimes you put a figure out there and people go, Oh, that’s nothing like what we thought I remember quoting someone wants my feet, let’s just say hypothetically, it was $10,000. And they said, Oh, we only have a $500 budget, we thought it would only be 500. And I said, Well, that’s not the fee, but let me suggest someone who might be really good for you. So you also have to be prepared to walk away David and in the early days, when we are hustling and scrambling. I was taken anything if they said I will pay 500 be like great, that sounds like a good deal to me. So you got to understand, I have not always been at my same fee. And I still negotiate today. And I know a lot of people say it’s fee or it’s free. And that’s not my model. So you got to know what are you willing to do it for because if you are doing it at a really discounted rate, it’s easy to be resentful. So you’ve got to think about your own value set. And I wish I had that clarity early in my business. I wish I was a lot more clear when it came to fee. I wasn’t. But I spent more time than I needed to doing stuff I didn’t love in the early days of my practice, because I wanted to fund everything. And I was just funding my practice myself. If I sold a speech, I could build a website. If I sold a speech, I could print business cards, you know what I mean? So it was all funded through the jobs I did. You got to make those decisions for yourself. But know what’s out there know the value you bring, and then say a figure without blinking and looking away and maybe laughing out loud? And if they say yes, then that’s awesome.
David Ralph [43:05]
Or talk to them on the phone. So you don’t have to look them in the eye. That’s
Neen James [43:10]
even better. Yeah.
David Ralph [43:12]
Eventually emails at work, just send the figure out, and there’s no blinking involved in that one. So so when you stand up there and do your productivity, because I am really focused on productivity, and I always was. And it was one of the things really, that made me lose my my mojo in my company, that I was being forced to stay there for eight hours a day when I knew that I could get the job done for three hours. And I read the Tim, Tim Ferriss Four Hour Work Week book, and it kind of changed my mind. Totally. So I have three things that I do to structure this show. And people say to me, how are you doing it? How are you doing it, you know, you got a team have you got this and but but these are my three things, and you tell me as a productivity expert, if this is the way to go. Number one, I always try to learn the job. Absolutely inside and out back to from so that I can look at commonalities that I am replicating so that I can work out better systems. That means I’m not doing both time and time and time again. Number two, I always look at the 8020 principle. And I look at what my results are, and what is actually bringing those results. And I focus more in on that than anything else. And I kind of forget the other stuff. And the third bit, which was a game shift for me, was Parkinson’s Law, that instead of me allowing myself to have five days to do a task, I try and get it done in an hour and a half. And more often than not, it’s exactly the same quality as it was for five days. It just means that I’ve developed focus to be able to get that done. Have a good principles or am I going about it the wrong way?
Neen James [44:49]
Yeah, what I heard you say is you systemized you focus and you compress? Yes. So I am all about systemized The more you system is and template eyes, your life that easy Your life will be. I love the focus of at 20. So many people are busy, busy is not productive. So doing that real parade application of focusing on the 20%. I love that and then compressing which is really Parkinson’s Law. How can you compress time, I think compression setting deadlines for yourself is one of the biggest keys to productivity. making yourself accountable is what you’ve done. You’ve made yourself accountable to yourself accountable to your family, so you’re not working when you’ve got little people around. I love your systemized focus and compress principles. I think they’re brilliant. And I wouldn’t change anything about them. I think it’s really, really neat what you’re doing and a lot of people could listen and learn from that, the more we can systemized. The thing I would add, maybe David is that when we have an entrepreneurial business, we have to learn everything and do it ourselves. But there comes a point where we also would need to add a fourth step, what you’re doing, and that is outsource. And that is outsource the things that you don’t love doing. When you get your point, you know things to a point where you can solicit others, I love outsourcing my life because I believe by paying other people to do and I’m blessing them and the lives that they choose to lead. And it allows me to focus even more on the things I love to do. So where people when it’s women knew what at what we do, sometimes we have to do everything ourselves. But when I was building my practice, as soon as I go, I’m not really good at doing my accounting, I then bartered with an accounting firm, and said, I will teach other people to be productive, if you will do my books for me and do my taxes. And so then we came to a point where obviously I started paying them, but we want to take the skills we have focused on the things we’re good at, and then see if we can outsource the rest.
David Ralph [46:49]
Because I have an accountant, because basically I couldn’t be bothered. And he was one of those things, I think I’ll just hand it to him. And he can just do it. And I’m quite good with the accountant. Actually, even if I get a letter through, I don’t even bother reading it, I just give it to him. Because I think what I’m paying you you, I’m not even getting involved with that. But there is a lot of stuff. But people will struggle to outsource because I think I can just do that. It’s not going to take too much time, why should I pay somebody else? What I loved about you, you’re saying actually you’re providing a gift. There’s somebody out there that wants to do that job, and you’re actually paying them for it. And so you’re making their life better? That’s a swing in how you think about things, isn’t it?
Neen James [47:35]
Yeah. And it allows you to give up the guilt. Because a lot of people feel guilty, I have my house clean my clothes, dry clean, and I use a driver. And while that may seem like a luxury, there are people who do this professionally. And I believe that being able to do that allows me to focus on other things. So when you think about it, you give up the guilt associated with that. And you know, a lot of people say it’s quicker and easier to do it myself. That might be true the first time, but it’s not the 10th time. So you want to look at what people are doing in their lives and think maybe if you don’t, if you can’t afford to pay someone, maybe you bought time with people, that’s how I built my practice. I had no money, no clients, and no money to buy shoes when I moved to America. So I bought my time and time. Time is the new currency. That’s what’s most precious now. Because once you’ve spent your time you don’t get it back. So maybe you bought a time and then in then when you build up enough income and whatever you want to do, then you start paying.
David Ralph [48:37]
Fascinating, isn’t it? It’s it’s all those small, incremental steps that you’ve made to build your successful business. And the fact that we’re talking to you now, and you fly from Australia to America, watching Forrest Gump every two weeks, then people will look at that and go back success. But at the start
Neen James [48:57]
every two weeks. Let’s not lie to our listeners, IBM crazy person, if I do that, to meet you
David Ralph [49:03]
come out whenever you’ve got the opportunity. You still cry when he sat down with the summit the TV,
Neen James [49:11]
you better believe I cried. I am a cry in movies. I love movies. And I am a cry You better believe it.
David Ralph [49:18]
I never used to be I used to go to the pictures of the movies. And I used to sit there with people around me. I used to people What are you watching? But since since I’ve had kids, I cry adverts I cry or anything.
Neen James [49:35]
Oh yeah, that’s me too. And you know what, I think that’s a beautiful way to show up in the world, I think emotion of laughter and crying out awesome. And we need to experience that regularly.
David Ralph [49:45]
I went to see Toy Story three, and it was with a whole sort of group of children. And there’s a bit at the end that really got me in many different ways. And the toys were just about to die that started me off. And Ben, and he decided he was going to grow up well, he didn’t decide but grew up and he was moving off to university and he was leaving Woody and bars behind. And I was sitting next to my son I was thinking Oh, my son’s gonna grow up and he’s gonna leave me. And it really got to me. And as the credits are running, I was thinking, oh my god, the lights are going to cover all these five year olds are going to see me crying. And it was I was ashamed. I was ashamed of myself.
Neen James [50:22]
Oh, but isn’t it beautiful that they see the humaneness behind you and that you loved it like they loved it.
David Ralph [50:27]
Nobody all pointed at me and said you big girl.
Neen James [50:33]
David Ralph [50:36]
Good. So So what I’m going to do, I’m going to play the words of the show at this moment, because we’ve been talking about your your history, your path, how you’ve hassled your way through how you took the leap of faith, how you’ve, you’ve built your business from a shoestring up to what it is now. And Steve Jobs made a fantastic speech back in 2005, when he he taught about only being able to see your path when you look back and you connect the dots. This is Steve Jobs
Unknown Speaker [51:02]
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. Do those words speak to you need?
Neen James [51:39]
Yeah, they do. I mean, he’s brilliant. The thing I love is about trusting your gut, I am a gut instinct, go. I love what he says about following your heart. It sounds easy. When you’re established and you’re successful. It’s sometimes tough when you’re in the moment, and you’re trying to make the mortgage payment or pay for your kids education. But I’d love those two things, especially and that is trust your gut and follow your heart.
David Ralph [52:03]
You You talked about belief all the way through to show revenue the fact that you believe you’re going to be successful when you walk into a room you believe you can do that task. Does that help with joining up the dots as well. But the fact that you’re willing to go into the unknown, knowing that you’ve got the the abilities to hustle to believe to make it work for you.
Neen James [52:22]
It’s vital. And here’s what I’ve always believed David someone always knows the answer. It doesn’t have to be me. So maybe I walk into a room and assume everyone wants to play with me. That’s a belief I hold true. But I also believe that if someone asked me a question, I don’t know the answer to it, someone will. And so it’s also about believing that some of the people you know, around you someone has the answer. It doesn’t have to be you. You’ve just got to ask the question.
David Ralph [52:47]
And virtually now you’ve got friends across the globe. I mean, you do you can any old days, you might have sat there with four or five people on your desk and thrown out the question. I heard this story. And this is amazing story. And it kind of really says that if you think about not knowing the answer, but getting it. And there’s there was there was a lady who my friend used to work with who was really high up in the internet world. And people would ask her a question and meetings and say, right, how do we do this? And it was always internet sort of it related? And she would go? Well, okay, let me let me research. Or let me think about that. And I’ll come back to you. She never gave the answer out straight away. And she’d write it down. And she’d go off. And she’d go on to some forum or whatever, and post a question. And some really clever person across the world would come back with the answer. And then an hour later, she’d come back into the meeting ago, this is what I think we should do. And she would get that out. And she was doing that for years. And nobody realized she didn’t know the answer at all. And she was just knowing where to ask the questions.
Neen James [53:50]
See, someone always knows the answer.
David Ralph [53:52]
They do they always know the answer. Name, just before we put you on the sermon and the mic, and we send you back to join up dots do that every one of our listener out there, can I have a kick ass life?
Neen James [54:05]
You better believe it. It’s all the choices we make.
David Ralph [54:09]
And these key choices always just going for the what’s the worst that’s gonna happen vibe,
Neen James [54:16]
is my mantra, I want to be amazing that is, ah, amazing. I want to be an all of everything every day. That’s a choice that I made. Because I believe when you are amazing, you can create moments that matter. It’s the moments we make choices in the moment, we choose how we show up on a daily basis. And that is something we get to do. It’s not people doing it to us, it’s us choosing it, if you really want to show up in the world choose to be amazing.
David Ralph [54:47]
I think that’s the title of the show. This is the end of the show, this is the part where we’re going to send you back in time, like a time traveler to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young mean, what a would you choose? And what advice would you give? Well, I’m going to play the female and when it fades, your up, this is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [55:30]
Hey, little Neen, I’m so excited to be able to share with you a couple of things that I think you’re going to make a big difference. You know, you can do anything, you can be anything, you can have anything that you want. But I don’t want you to waste your time doing stuff that’s unhealthy and willing to make choices that will allow you to feel great, I want you to know that the body that you have now is not the body, you’re always going to have that you can make choices about looking after yourself about exercising about the food you put in your body, that you can make those choices today. You know, I wish I’d made different choices. I wish I’d realized how awesome I was when I was your age. I wish I’d realized that I was beautiful. When I showed up I wish I’d realized that the body that you have now it’s not the body, you’re always going to have some make some different choices. Because what happens is it gives you confidence. So what I would say to you is this, make choices on a daily basis to take care of you that you do make a difference that when you walk into a room, everybody wants to play with you and you make people feel comfortable. And that’s a gift you’re always going to have. So make the most of it now and then bring other people along and then show them how to do it. Because when you do that, you’re going to have an even greater impact in the world so little mean I am out of you. You did great. And you’re going to be great. That’s my sermon.
David Ralph [57:07]
Neen how can our audience connect with you David
Unknown Speaker [57:12]
my websites the best place Neen James.com but for those of you who are on Twitter, come follow me. Let’s play my Twitter handle is at Neen James. Or you can come across to Facebook if you like me and Neen James communications is a place to find me. I love social media. I love connecting it would be awesome to play with you Neen James is only one in the world. And you’ll find me if you Google it.
David Ralph [57:34]
So last question. Just before I say goodbye to you. How many shoes have you got then?
Neen James [57:41]
I can’t declare that what if my husband’s listening
David Ralph [57:44]
he’s not listening. Nobody listens to this show. It’s just you and me. I’d lose you in the proper show.
Neen James [57:52]
Let’s just say we have a completely dedicated place in our home just for my shoe collection. And that is all I will admit to publicly.
David Ralph [58:00]
I’m gonna find you one day and get you drunk and then find out and share it with the world. Thank you so much for spending time with us today joining those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build up futures Neen James Thank you so much.
Neen James [58:22]
It’s my absolute privilege David quality for what you’re doing in the world. I think you’re amazing 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.