Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast Interview with Mr Ray Engan
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Introducing Ray Engan
And unusually believes that laughter is a great way to develop leadership in most environments.
But does this have to be an unusual approach, or should showing a sense of humour in the work place, be the perfect way to reduce stress, inspire others, and of course to show that you are in control?
Well for over 15 years, Ray toured America as he excelled in one of the hardest entrepreneurial routes you can take, that of the stand-up comic. Honing his craft.
Where the ability to learn from complete silence, and take the nights when everything goes wrong, helps you find your natural self, and ultimately bring laughter to any audience.
And why did he do this?
How The Dots Joined Up For Ray
Well Ray Engan knew he had to overcome his fear of public speaking, after meeting a gentleman at a toastmasters meeting he knew it was down to him to beat this fear.
He was told “The only way to get better at something is to do it.”
As he says, “Everybody in this world has a story to tell and they should share their stories. I believe we learn how to overcome adversity when we share our stories.”
And he is doing that to great effect, and bringing smiles and laughter to everyone he meets?
So can he remember the nights when every joke went down like a lead balloon?
And did he know at those times that he was learning a valuable lesson, or was it just “How long till I can get off this stage?”
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 Mr Ray Engan.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Ray Engan such as:
Why he is a great believe that its not the words that you say that really has the maximum effect, but the confidence that you say it with does.
Why more and more companies are looking to bring fun into the office environment, as they can see an increase in moral reduces staff turnover.
Why he feels he was so lucky to have the Dad he had, who gave him the permission and confidence to go after his dreams.
Why there is no sweet spot in humour, and no matter how hard you try you will never win over a whole audience in one go.
Why he believes that everyone can be taught to be funny, as its a process that we can all go through if we work at it, and are willing to learn.
How To Connect With Ray Engan
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Full Transcription Of Ray Engan 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, bear. Yes, I’m still alive. Yes, I’m still at the back of the garden. And I’m still in the UK. This is David Ralph, he sees Join Up Dots. And we have got another amazing show for you. And the shows are getting, I think stronger in many ways. I think the show’s really bedding down and going where basically I want you to go right at the very beginning, but it takes a while to really find your path. And I think that’s what we’re going to touch on today with today’s guest, and he is a man joining us on the show, who knows a thing or two about having a laugh and unusually believes that laughter is a great way to develop leadership in most environments. But does it have to be an unusual approach? Or should showing a sense of humour in the workplace be the perfect way to reduce stress, inspire others, and of course to show that you’re in control? Well, for over 15 years, our guest has toured America as excelled in one of the hardest entrepreneurial routes you can take Battle of the stand up comic honing his craft, where the ability to learn from a guest complete silence at the beginning and take the nights when everything goes wrong, helps you find your natural self and ultimately brings laughter to any audience. But why did he do this? Well, he knew he had to overcome his fear of public speaking after meeting a gentleman at a Toastmasters meeting. He knew it was down to him to beat this fear. He was told the only way to get better at something is to do it. And as he says, everyone in this world has a story to tell. And they share their stories. I believe we learn how to overcome adversity, when we share our stories and he’s doing that to great effect. Bringing smiles and laughter to everyone he meets. So can you remember the nights when every joke went down like a lead balloon? And did he know at those times that he was actually learning a valuable lesson? Or was it just Oh, how long till I can get off this stage? Well, let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Ray Engan. How are you?
Ray Engan [2:19]
‘m fantastic. David, how are you doing today?
David Ralph [2:21]
I am very well indeed. So I’m loving this, that does it come to a point in your life when and I’ve been posing this a lot. You can almost love something too much and feel guilty that you’re earning money doing it.
Ray Engan [2:36]
You do get that feeling sometimes. I remember the feeling the first time I ever felt the feeling that I had the audience in the palm of my hand. And I walked off the stage and I was feeling so great. And people came up and put a hand on my back and patted me on the back and the owner of the club came and stuck money in my hand and I thought what is wrong with this picture? This house life is this is great. And and what
David Ralph [3:03]
was it though about that sort of that mental issue that we have there are that there’s a big pop star in the United Kingdom, Robbie Williams and he hasn’t sort of made it in America. So I don’t know if you know him as well as we do over here. But he always found that when he was doing extremely well, he almost wanted to self sabotage it because he felt that he didn’t deserve what he was getting. He was getting out there doing these concerts singing and earning lots of money, but enjoying himself so much. He almost tried to sort of break it somehow Can Can you sort of understand that logic?
Ray Engan [3:36]
I can completely understand that. And frankly, there are several people I know that used to do the exact same thing. When I did stand up, I was young. And I when you first discover that you’re funny, it’s almost like this toy that you have that you used to annoyance where I can make people laugh. I didn’t realise so now people We’ll accept me and then the like me Yeah, but there were times when we were doing stand up where we would try and go up and dig as deep a hole as we could just to see if we could climb out. And so we tried to do as little we tell as few jokes as possible in the beginning of the Act to see how far we could go and still have people like us at the end of the Act. So I completely what it goes through I never really thought about that before till you brought that up.
David Ralph [4:24]
And and what did that teach you digging that hole and getting yourself out? Did it teach you that? You were a bit mad for doing it? Or did it teach you how to work an audience in any direction that you wanted?
Ray Engan [4:38]
Well, the first time we actually didn’t do it to our centre, there were three people on a on a on a show and I was the middle act at the time and there was an opener and the headliner was a gentleman that we all knew all three of us knew each other. So I talked to the opener. It was the headliners. First time headlining and so we went up and he had to do 45 minutes and I went to The opener said do 15 minutes of the headliners material and I’ll do the other 30 and then see what he does after. So we actually cut him a hole. And what he did is he got up and he started doing our acts, but he did it better than we did it. And so that’s what we learned that really doesn’t matter. What you go up there with, it’s more of an attitude. And the feeling of success walking out in front of people is far more important than what it is you’re saying to them. So so this is self esteem of the confidence. Yeah,
David Ralph [5:30]
I can see that. So that’s a frame for the listeners what you’re doing at the moment because it is different. And then obviously we’re going to go back in time and join up the dots leading you back to this. So you have been on the road for the last eight weeks. You were saying to me this is your first day back in in your home. And the last thing you probably wanted to do was this. So what has been taking you around the country for eight weeks.
Ray Engan [5:54]
I talked to around the country talking about leadership and laughter different Types of leadership, different styles of leadership, what I really get people to understand and I do sales seminars, also public speaking presentations. What I want people to really understand is if we go back to the caveman days, what laughter is, is the ultimate form of acceptance. And when if you and I met years ago, before we had fire, we would kind of for our eyebrows look at each other, and we’d probably lower our chin a little bit because we weren’t sure if we were going to fight or not. And we laterally naturally lower our chin, because that’s what people do to protect the throat, which is the most vulnerable part of the body. Well, what laughter really is, is the exact opposite of that, because when you laugh, you throw your head back in laughter you’re exposing your most vulnerable part of your body, telling everybody there, hey, I accept you come on into my world and you do that subconsciously and things haven’t changed for you. years and years and years, and it took me a long time to realise that that’s what the power of laughter was.
David Ralph [7:05]
That’s interesting. I’d never heard anyone say that. So when we’re sort of looking down, we’re actually protecting ourselves. And when we’re laughing and throwing our heads back back where it is, we’re totally at peace with the environment that we’re in.
Ray Engan [7:18]
Yep. And when you
one of the my acquaintances over the years is a gentleman who has created social interactions up to a, I don’t know, like a PhD level. But when somebody approaches you, when a stranger walks up, even to this day, there’s four things that pretty much race through your mind. And that’s is this friend or foe? Who are you? How long you here and what do you want? How long you gonna stay? So those are the four things that everybody think of, and what laughter does is it drops those guards down extremely quickly, and makes you feel more like a friend.
David Ralph [7:57]
And is it something that is Becoming more commonplace in the office. And I’m gonna leave that as a sort of leading question and then I’m going to delve into it a little bit more because I’m a believer fat it’s not but for me from where you are now are more people finding the ability to laugh in the office a good thing?
Ray Engan [8:17]
Yeah, more and more each and every day. One of my friends a gentleman named Darren Lacroix who’s a past world champion of public speaking, he actually wrote a book on laugh and Grow Rich. And what he did is he interviewed CEOs and how they use laughter in the workplace, and more and more companies are turning to it as a productivity mode. One of the most expensive things that you have as a businessman is your payroll and turnover is extremely expensive to accompany. If people are laughing and having a good time at work, they stay there. And if you look at what college has done over the last I’m not quite sure exactly how many years, they’ve changed their format and created finally in college, because the younger generation demands that as part of part of their culture. So it is something that is you see more and more companies. You know, Google does things like that where there’s a local, there’s a local brewery called lagunitas Brewery here in Petaluma, California that has started to grow across the country. And they are extremely funny people that have just turned work into an extreme joy and their their slogan is a beer speaks, people mumble.
David Ralph [9:39]
Because I think it has to come to a point where companies as you’re saying, understand that turnover just keeps you in the same position. Now I’ve worked for many, many companies, where the last thing they wanted to do was have a laugh, and I used to go into work. Fortunately, I was a trainer so there was a certain amount of flexibility and I was allowed certain way of doing things. But I used to like to have a lot of and I used to go out actively to find out ways of doing it. But still doing my job making sure about the job come first. But I did enjoy myself afterwards. And when that was taken away from me the second stage, then I left that company and I’ve moved into this environment now. So do you see that? It’s the middle management that suppress it? Even Bova CEOs and the sort of the directors might be going this is going to be our company culture, we’re going to build up more morale in the office but the middle management don’t want to see their teams and their employees look like they’re having a good time. Um,
Ray Engan [10:42]
I think it I think the direction really comes from the top either way, but it doesn’t move does it the last company? It doesn’t it Well the thing is if I hired you and you are a humourless minute middle manager, but I was a CEO that just love to have fun. I can bring you along, I can teach you how to have fun. But I can’t, I can’t make you into a laugh a minute person. That would take too long. I could do it. But it would take a long time. Because that’s the other thing that I firmly believe in over the years. If you’re not funny, you can learn to be funny. If you’re not charismatic, you can learn to be charismatic. We aren’t born with this things. There’s things that we created.
David Ralph [11:28]
Do you believe that? Do you believe that totally them because I know some people that can’t? Well, I don’t like to save it, but I’m going to save it because no one’s listening. I don’t. I don’t find ladies particularly funny. I don’t find Vitale, a good joke as well as a man. So the people that really haven’t got that funny gene, I’d be amazed that they can actually learn it. It’s almost it’s in you or not. You’re either finally or you’re not but you you have a contrary opinion to that.
Ray Engan [11:57]
Yes. And what has happened to me. Because when I started in, stand up and then I got in the corporate world. And now I’ve gotten back into the public speaking realm. I have looked up the people that I used to know in stand up that I just kind of, you know, hooked up with him on Facebook and you your friend Adam, and just started talking to them and some of the people that I knew that were the least funny people back in the day when I was doing stand up, they kept going, and one is a writer for Conan O’Brien. Another one just won an Emmy. And and these are both women. And they are extremely funny people. At the beginning of their careers not funny at all. When I worked with Margaret Cho, who was a woman comedian, this fairly popular in the United States, and when she started she was one of the nicest people I knew. Not very funny at all. Now, she sells out. She sells out large venues. Right? So
Unknown Speaker [13:05]
Ray Engan [13:08]
Well, if you want to, if you want to create humour in the life, you have to look at life through a humorous vein and one of the one of the dot moments of my life. as you put it, I was the not a very good salesman. And I went to one of the best salespeople, and I said, What do you do that I’m not doing? And he told me, and I said, Oh, I guess I should try that. And I tried it and it worked. It was a little bit uncomfortable at first, but my dad always told me that when you get that thumping in your chest when something’s uncomfortable, that’s the first thing that you should run to. You shouldn’t run away from it because you fear it. You should run towards it. My dad came from Minnesota where it’s always always always snowing and he He lived in the day when gym equipment didn’t have padding on it. And so he said, Yeah, kids fell and they got hurt, but they were the weak ones. And he would say things like, we never feared the fall. We just learned to stick the landing. And I think that’s what people don’t do is they try and say something funny.
But then they don’t get laughter they stop.
David Ralph [14:25]
Yeah, yeah, I can see that.
Ray Engan [14:27]
That’s falling and getting back up again, that teaches it
David Ralph [14:29]
because I used to be a trainer, and I used to try to bring humour into it all the time. And when you got in the flow, you literally could say anything, and it would be funny. And I particularly like the moments when I would say something, not intending it to be funny, and the whole room would laugh. And I’d have in that like an out of body experience, because I’d be talking about the next part thinking, why did they laugh at that? What was it? So the next time I had a room in I would try it again. And the room would laugh and I couldn’t work out what was funny about it, but the room could and I used to find that fascinating.
Ray Engan [15:05]
Yeah. And and sometimes you’ll say something in one of the keys to the keys to comedy. Sometimes you’ll just say something and people will laugh. And you didn’t expect it. But what you teach yourself to do is stand there as if you meant that whole thing to happen. And wait for the laugh to die down. The the people that aren’t funny will walk over their words very, very quickly. The people who are funny will let every second of laughter go die down before they speak again.
David Ralph [15:35]
So if we take you back in time, were you always on this route that you are now is this been a surprise to you how you have joined up your dots to get to this point?
Ray Engan [15:48]
Um, if you look back when I was a little kid,
I had a bucket on my head and third grade so you couldn’t, you couldn’t see who I was. And well, it kind of stems From the kindergarten incident when I was a little kid, my mom used to wear these fashionable wraparound skirts. And if I ever got really, really shy, I would walk inside of her wraparound skirts. And on the first day of kindergarten, the open house with every parent, every teacher, every student in attendance, one of the other teachers, Mrs. Korea, happened to wear the same wraparound skirt as my mom. And it looked the same for where I stood down there. So I walked in the wrong skirt. And everybody laughed at me. And that kind of made me shut down. And so I didn’t say much as a kid growing up. But then when I got to fifth grade, the teacher there Mr. Huber, noticed that I didn’t speak in class, but he also saw that I sat next to the class clown, and I whispered things in his ears, what to say. So he started calling me the class clowns head writer. And he actually created a school play and made me star in it. And so that’s where that brought me out and at the end of the year, he gave a he gave a little pamphlet to all the kids that said something about him. And the the coolest thing I my page just had one line on it was the shortest thing. And it said Ray, what can I say? You’ve said it all. And that came to a kid who started his class who wouldn’t speak at class?
David Ralph [17:19]
Is that your badge of honour? Now when you look back, is that one of those dots in your life? You think? Yeah, that really did allow me to see what was possible for me.
Ray Engan [17:30]
Mr. Huber made me made me come alive. He really did it actually. It’s more than one dot two because I I went through that. And that changed a big part of me to be more outgoing. And a few years ago, back when I went and joined in Toastmasters Well, I eventually wound up going to the World Championship of public speaking. And I finished in the top 50 in the world, and the story I told was the story of Mr. Huber. And how You made me come alive. And I think the biggest thing that I learned from that was as I was giving the speech and practising it, I was in a competition. Well, it started out to be a competition. But as I started to tell the speech, and people would walk up to me and say, you know, I’m a teacher and I just wanted to tell you that that message that you gave inspired me to go back and and and do a better job for my kids, because I want them to talk about me the way that you just talked about Mr. Huber. So that just that was the most touching thing that came out of this. And that’s really two of the biggest dots that got me to where, what I’m trying to do right now.
David Ralph [18:40]
And the key words that what you’re trying to do so for the listeners out there, you haven’t got all the answers you’re hustling you’re trying to never you’re just getting out there doing stuff.
Ray Engan [18:51]
Oh my gosh, I’ll I’ll speak on a street corner if you if you give me a crowd because I have just finished playing I just finished my first book, and it’s an ebook. It’s not quite ready to be sold yet, but it’s the last seminar book you’ll ever read part one.
David Ralph [19:12]
And what’s the about is it about speaking?
Ray Engan [19:15]
It is about because part of the part of the journey was
was going from a funny guy to a corporate guy and I lost my sense of humour in that and to get it back I started to go to seminars like I’m teaching now. And I started reading and I started you know, some of your past guests like jack Canfield was one of my first programmes that I ever listened to. And so I became a sponge of the people that that are smarter than me that offer advice on what I can do to change myself in a better way. And so what I did is I took the hundred one best pieces of advice that I got along the way and I put them in a book and I took them mostly from seminars or programmes Like, like jack Canfield?
David Ralph [20:03]
Well, I’m gonna apply some words now. And it’s great advice. And I like to put this in a show every day. So this is the advice that Jim Carrey’s left us.
Jim Carrey [20:11]
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 [20:38]
is that key advice is the advice that we should be giving out to the world.
Ray Engan [20:44]
You know, I’m so lucky. I had, I had issues with my father. But when I went up and I said, you know, Dad, I would really love to be a comedian. You know, I’d worked Maybe a couple years after, after college after my dad paid for college, I walked up and I said, Dad, you know, I, I really want to try I want to go to be a comedian. And he said, effectively, he said, that’s great. I always wanted to do that, too. So he gave me the room to fail. And he was a little bit of an entrepreneur, but nothing really came his way. He wasn’t a rich man, but he, he provided a a stable environment for us to grow up and one of the nicest areas of the country. And, and so he supported whatever it was we did, which I thought was amazing. My sister. She was a she’s a she’s a singer. She was on Broadway for one show with Dustin Hoffman. And she sang for the San Francisco Symphony choir. And my brother was probably the kids star out of all of us, but he went into it hardware and software and actually help solve the programme glitches in the beginning for federal expects that turned out to be their package sorting problem. So he allowed all the kids to do whatever they want. And I think that’s, I think the real key to having a great society that develops that allows people to develop what they what they want to do is you give them room to grow. You don’t pigeonhole them into what you think they should do.
David Ralph [22:25]
Well, why why do you think that your dad didn’t go after it as well? If it was something that he always wanted to do? Was it up just of the time? It wasn’t possible?
Ray Engan [22:34]
Um, yeah, well, he did what he loved he actually, when he died, I found out so much more about him than when he was alive. But he’s started a whole travel organisation in Minnesota, that is pretty, it’s called span. I guess it’s pretty worldwide, but I don’t even know about this part of my dad. My mom and my dad met through this whole organisation and so he worked at That and then from that led to being a travel agent and he worked for the San Francisco Giants baseball team as their booking their fan club to different areas, which was great for me as a kid. But that big moment of his I remember him being away all the time just working so hard to so he, he never found that one thing that he truly loved that would make us love it too. And so he spent a lot of time away from me. And I think I kind of I kind of resented him for it.
Unknown Speaker [23:37]
David Ralph [23:38]
allowed us to go there. But does he sad in you that you found out more about him after he’s left you?
Unknown Speaker [23:44]
Yeah, and one of the
Ray Engan [23:47]
one of the talk, I guess it’s it’s kind of like therapy now. So I guess you’re saving me 150 bucks talking about my dad here with a little therapy but I talk a lot about him in the seminars. Now. Because of the things he said and what he told me. And like, for example, the some of the key phrases that he always said is the second you stop learning is the second you stop earning, which I think is a important thing that everybody should hear. And he told me when I talked about that, the moment that scared me and it was something that was good for me. He, he asked me, Do you feel that thumping in your chest? And I said, Yeah, my heart’s beating like crazy. And my dad said that thumping inside your chest isn’t your heart. That’s your dreams, knocking on your door, waiting to get out. You need to open up your heart. Let your dreams in and the bigger the thump The bigger the dreams. So he had all kinds of you think somebody said to me? Yeah, I talked about us. I always wanted my dad’s way with words. But I got my mom’s eyes.
David Ralph [24:55]
So we families and because it’s very interesting when you talk about about not knowing your dad until afterwards, because I thought the same I spent a lot of time with my dad, but actually knowing him, Well, I don’t. And I think I’m going to be in that same situation that when he passes, I’m gonna find out snippets of what he was like, even though I’ve lived with him for my whole life. Well, not the last few years because of coming on family. But when I was a young kid, and we don’t ask those kind of questions, do we we don’t ask our family members, what is your dream? What did you want to do and all that kind of stuff interesting, while we sort of buckle it up somehow.
Ray Engan [25:32]
Now, and one of the things that so we didn’t, we didn’t really have a funeral for my dad, we kind of threw a we throw awake, you know, six months afterward and all his friends came in and one of the things that he did he at 84, he volunteered to work at the old folks retirement home because he wanted to be the young cute one. And at the wake, this guy got up and he started to talk about He was the only guy living at the old folks retirement home, and how upset he wasn’t my father for cutting into his action. Because he was the gigolo of the old retirement home. And I thought that was hysterical to hear that just my dad being there could ruin this guy’s action. And we never lose the array. We never lose it now. Now I made 16 we get excited over women and cars, and I don’t think that our changes just at some point, we go from sleek, sexy and tight curves to roomy, comfortable with room for expansion and growth, I think and then that would
David Ralph [26:37]
be all that’s what we want in old age.
Ray Engan [26:40]
Yeah, my dad.
I found out he was a sharpshooter. And I had no idea he ever picked up a gun. You know? But that came out. It’s weird the thing. You’ll learn some things about your father that you didn’t know and you’ll one of the one of the toughest parts of my life story. I think is my dad was given six months to live. And I realised that I’d never told him that I loved him. And I had to, I had six months to do it, and I still couldn’t do it. And the last time I ever saw him, he didn’t speak that well at this point. But I was going to, I was going to tell him that and he as I’m walking in and I’m walking toward him, he looked at me and his brow kind of furrowed a little bit. And he pointed at me, and he just said one word, he just said go. And I thought he was kicking me out at that point. So I thought, it took me about a year and a half to understand that’s not what he meant. Because my father was kicking me out on the last day I ever saw him and that kind of, you know, he talked about needing therapy that kind of messed me up, but it was when my mom took him took me to his grave because she got a new headstone. We buried him we didn’t have a headstone and she I think she did it for me because the As we’re walking toward the grave, she stopped me in the middle of the, the cemetery. She said, Listen, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a cemetery before, but the silence is actually deafening. And what she said to me, she said, you hear the silence. And the silence isn’t of the souls that have departed, the silence, or the dreams that have died with them. And what your father said, when he said go that day, he wasn’t telling you to get out of here. He knew that you weren’t happy, what you were doing, selling to people. He wanted you to go to speak. So he’s saying go live your dreams. So what she said then is, get over yourself. Go to your father’s grave, tell him that you love him and get on with your life. Now, I may have gotten my mom’s eyes but I never believe have I will I ever have that kind of vision that she has, but the funny part I walked to my father’s grave and a root or something hit my foot. And I almost almost faceplant and I father’s grave. But as I was falling, I, I didn’t my one leg came around. And so I didn’t fall in his grave. And I looked at the headstone. And it was it. I put a huge smile on my face and actually threw my arms up and said, Yes, because the head sewed, my mom got said, just it was my dad’s favourite phrase. He said, Never fear the fall, just stick the landing. And so to this day, I think, Well, that was rude. That was my dad kind of reaching up and tripping me, just so he could see that get that message across.
David Ralph [29:37]
What does that mean? Just stick the landing. What does that mean?
Ray Engan [29:41]
It comes from gymnastics. You ever see the guys they twirl around and they spin in the air and you know, they’ll land but one person will will waver a little bit. Yeah, it came from the Olympics. And they say, oh, that person didn’t stick the landing. So by sticking the landing, they mean that you’re falling and you twist And everything’s gone and your feet just plant in your lane and firmly and nothing can budge you off that spot. There was a there was a gymnast in the Olympics in the United States, then Kerri Strug, that broke her foot and had to, for the United States to win the gold medal in gymnastics, she had to hit this ball. And she did it. And I remember that I remember you know, thinking of my dad that day because she did it. And the announcer said, Oh my god, she stuck the landing.
David Ralph [30:29]
And have you had times when you have been doing your public speaking or your stand up when that phrases come back to you stick the landing just just get there and hold your position?
Ray Engan [30:42]
Yeah, and the first time when I did stand up, I I didn’t stick the landing I just said well, it’s time for me to go do something else. And, and but the other thing is, I would never have had the success. Yes in in sales, without having gone through and done stand up for for years and years and years. And now going into the process of, of teaching, talking to companies in leadership through laughter. Without knowing how corporate america worked, I never could do this. And I realised that wow, all I have to do is take the stuff I talked about and stand up and make sure there’s a message at the end and corporate America is interested in what I was saying instead of the 24 year old, you know, smoking a cigarette, drinking a whiskey, trying to get this gal excited about being there
David Ralph [31:40]
is an interesting thing, though, isn’t it stand up because he is, as I said in the introduction is possibly the most entrepreneurial route, but you’ve got to expect to not just fail, but fail more often than not until it clicks until it all starts coming together. What is it that pushes people Through that ability to stand up with the lights on them with all those eyes on them, and diet night after night after night until it comes together. And even people you know, top of the games like Louie ck and Billy Connolly and all those people, they still have those nights when not so much now because their experience but in the early days when they just died a death all the time, but I still push through.
Ray Engan [32:22]
Yeah, and I think I think the seductive part of it is that first laugh the first time somebody laugh uncontrollably, and you did that, and you you’ve changed a person state and you’ve put a whole room in a good mood. Now the first time you do it, it’s you’re probably going on and an open mic at three in the morning in front of, you know two people a dead dog in a jar of peanuts. But you get it if you’re up there at two o’clock in the morning and there’s two people laughing at you and there’s People there, you’re like, Oh my god, I’m a success. And it’s that feeling. That is, I mean, that’s the heroine of it. You know, the, because what happens the first time you go up, you invite all your friends. And they show up and they think you’re funny. They know you’re funny. So there’s no, there’s no roadblocks. And this nervous excited this I think everybody the first time they go up, probably does pretty well, in their estimation, because they’ve never had a roomful of people laughing before. And so that little first taste is free. But then your friends stop showing up. And then you have to figure out what’s really funny. But then that’s because you’ve had that taste. You keep going back for more. I think laughter laughter is a gateway drug. I just realised my problems now.
David Ralph [33:53]
Well, we’ve we’ve got a comedian in the United Kingdom called Michael McIntyre. I don’t know if you know, Michael McIntyre. But he he does stadiums. Now he does arenas he doesn’t just do one night. He does like 25 nights at the London otu. So it’s absolutely at the top of his game and the otu must be 25,000 people. And he feels it night after night after night. And the way he does it, wow, he’s got an interesting story that he basically was a stand up comedian or wannabe stand up comedian for 10 years and literally was starving to death trying to find his funny position. And he suddenly dawned on him that he’s finally position was being himself not trying to be a hybrid of other people. And he used to see what other people was doing and that people were laughing. So try to sort of mimic it somehow. And every now and again, he just did his own thing. And then people laugh. Well, he got his break and now he’s doing these great things, but he writes he stuff and Ben he goes into like a room with maybe 15 people He says, right this is just work in progress. It might not be funny at all, but you’re going to do that. And then he carries on working pops and pops and pops. And this is a big comedian. So you know, you’d be surprised to see him in a pub. And then he works up to a small theatres, still honing it honing, honing it and when he does bigger theatres, and by the time he gets to do to, he knows it’s gold. And when he sells your DVDs and all that kind of stuff, and it seems fascinating that funniness, there’s a process behind it. Most people think that you just get up and you tell a few jokes, and you just got a funny bone, but he crafts it and he works and he gets rid of what’s not working. And he sticks with the stuff that he thinks is funny, but he he’s not getting the angle, but he knows there’s something about it, and just works. It works. It works. It can Can you see that? That’s the way that most people do it.
Ray Engan [35:48]
Well, and that actually, if you want to look back to something we talked about earlier, that’s exactly why I know that you can take somebody that’s not funny and create them into a funny person because it’s not It’s not there. There’s some things that you learn that make it appear to be God given. But it’s really a process that you uncover along the way. And part of what you learn in the beginning is how to take an unfriendly audience and win them over. That’s part of the process doing it. And the funny thing is, I’ve gotten together with a bunch of comedians, we’ve talked about the different things that people do and how they’re funny and why they’re funny. And the least funny thing in the world is to disk what makes something funny? Yeah, because it’s just such a it’s adult subject. Yeah. And I actually gave a seminar on how to create humour in your speeches. And to me it was the least amount of laughs I’ve ever had, in a conversation anybody. There’s a good TEDx talk about what humour is and it comes from the humour research. lab which he calls it hurl. But his definition of humour is a benign violation of the norm. But nine violation the norm So, if I know you and we’re walking together you trip and fall and you don’t hurt yourself, that’s hysterical to me. But if you hurt yourself it’s not funny. Yeah,
David Ralph [37:20]
it’s still pretty funny though in it. If somebody says yes,
Unknown Speaker [37:24]
there’s no getting away from it.
David Ralph [37:27]
I the funniest thing I think I’ve ever seen and it still makes me laugh when I think about it. Now I used to work in a big London City Office and it was really grand with marble pillars, a marble floors, and the floors were really, really shiny. So we used to sort of get people on chairs when the managers are going away, and sort of do do bowling with with gills on the chairs. And so I would push really fast, and somebody else would do it and we try to hit a mark down by the lips. And we used to do this all the time. And then one night, we did this and We thought it was late at night. So we didn’t move the chairs. We just sort of left them by the lift and went back to our desks to finish off. And there was this old man called Ron Granger never forget one Granger and if he’s still around Ron, salute you, sir. And he always used to, he had very bad eyesight very thick glasses. And he was one of these people that used to always seem to be rushing around clutching loads of paper, which you probably don’t get in office. Now. It’s all on computer, but he would be watching and he’d be running from one desk to another and he was always in a big hurry, gone. And he came flying out the lift one day with these glasses with these paper, tripped over one of the chairs landed on the stomach on the other chair and shut off down through the Office like Superman with bits of paper flying behind him. And I could not stop laughing. But the other people in the room didn’t see the humour of it at all. They just were had a concern for Ron, and of course, why? And I was looking back on it and I was I was I wrong to live where they were Well not to laugh. Is there a sweet spot of where laughter just works for all parties? What What do you think?
Ray Engan [39:07]
Well, the problem that comes with with humour is it’s so close to tragedy. And what makes things funny, usually when something goes wrong, it’s funny to see somebody involved. So in that instance, you knew he was okay. You saw all this stuff flying around there, but the other people looked at as Oh, that’s sad, because that he might be hurt or something like that. So to you it was a benign violation the norm to them. It was not benign. And so they were worried about that guy. Is there a sweet spot straight down the middle? I don’t think so. Because there’s way too many. Way too many opinions on what’s funny and what’s not. You know, you if I have a room of 100 people, and I don’t think I’ve ever had one joke that got 100 people laugh. I don’t think I ever will You just get the the majority or you get half the people or whatever it is. Now, the good thing is humour is contagious. So if you’re sitting in one of the things that good comedy clubs do is they put people up front and they pack people in up front before they let people sit in the back. Because if I can get you to laugh and your shoulder jiggles the person next year, then it kind of spreads through the room. Yeah,
David Ralph [40:24]
he must be easier, but also it must, it must sort of detract on that nervous energy. When comedians get to a point where best selling arenas, people go expecting to have a good time. So it’s not like you go into a room and there’s an audience with all their arms folded, going, going in, make me laugh, make me laugh. When you pay for these tickets to go to these arenas. You’re going right we’re going to get a babysitter. We’re going off to see him tonight. This is going to be a great night. Did you think it sort of detracts on the nervous energy? Is it better to be proving yourself with this with the arms folded crowd or the people We’re gonna laugh at you anyway.
Ray Engan [41:02]
You know, you you crave your whole life to have a group of people that come to see you.
And most comedians, if you really think of it, even the ones that are headlining comedians in a comedy club, people are just going to the club to have a good time because they have comedy there. And they that club has a good reputation, more so than to see ranking, or David Ralph. But when you get to the guy, you’re talking about what his status, they’re paying. You know, I don’t know what the tickets are private, but in US dollars, let’s say he’s selling out and he’s paying 100 bucks of seat plus the babysitter, plus parking plus dinner and you know, so $250 a couple or $300 a couple there, sit there go, we’re gonna have a good time. So he, the advantage he has is that he has about 10 minutes where he doesn’t have to be funny, that they’ll give them Then they’ll give in to whatever he says. At that point. If he’s not funny, then they start worried about we did all this to pay this money. But one of the, one of the best, I think life lessons I saw, I saw Robin Williams in a comedy club with five people in it, and about 1130 at night. And he walked in and I actually got to introduce him and I said, you might have seen this guy and open mics, please welcome Robin Williams. And they looked at each other like what it was a little place called the holy city zoo. And he walked in and he started just doing stuff and nobody laughed for like five minutes. And he said, Okay, so I’m right at the edge of my time where you will laugh because that’s me. Now I better do something funny and he started doing some funny stuff that he went back to the new stuff he was trying, but I understood completely because you have if you are the if you are a known commodity, you have an extra time to be unfunny where if you’re unknown commodity, you have like six seconds
David Ralph [42:59]
because we’re Robin Williams, you should do that a lot in sort of English pubs as well, which kind of blows my mind. I never saw him. But the amount of people that I’ve been told, when I go to a Comedy Store and just about as they’re going to finish, he would jump up and do like 1520 minutes. And of course, you you just be about to leave and you think, Oh, I’m going to stay there for him. Now, obviously, sadly, he he took his own life.
Unknown Speaker [43:23]
Do you think that
David Ralph [43:25]
comedy killed him? Do you think the the desire to go for the laugh over time was ultimately his demise? Or was it just the depression and sort of medical issues? Because he must he must get you down wherever you go. People expect you to be family all the time. And when you saw him on chat shows, he could never sit there and just be normal. He always had to be larger than life than me.
Ray Engan [43:50]
Yeah. And and one of the well, the clip you you played earlier was from Jim Carrey, right? Yeah, that’s right. And I I met him twice. And he was one he was so sad the two times I met him. And I’ve heard I don’t know him. But I’ve heard that there’s a lot of up and down in his, his life. It’s been the funny the funny kid has its has its pluses and it’s minuses. And if you’re used to that high, it can be tough now, with Robin, that wasn’t it, there was some medical issues involved. And I actually went to high school with a gal that was married to him. And so I know a lot of people that know him very, very well. And so it was mostly mostly medical issues and some things that were going on there. And you know, I’m not really privy to it all. But from what I understand, it wasn’t, it wasn’t just severe depression, there was medical issues as well.
David Ralph [44:49]
But you still must tie you out. Constantly, as you say, you could be walking down the street just minding your own business and people go, come on, tell us a joke. Let’s be funny. Let’s be funny. And it must exactly You must, man.
Ray Engan [45:01]
And in one of the things that I never have people introduce me as if I’m speaking before a group is a former stand up comedian. I’ll have them say he’s spoken here and there and done all these things. But I won’t bring that up because I don’t want to. I want them to watch me for a while and then go, Wow, this guy, this speakers really funny. Instead of Go ahead, show me what you got, because that’s the difference.
David Ralph [45:26]
I saw an interview with Jerry Seinfeld and Jerry Seinfeld was going to a comedy club. And the guy introduced him as the world’s funniest man or something along those lines. Jerry Seinfeld was few years he said, No, you never do that. You never because that sets the expectation the audience had got to find my humour. not expect the humour.
Ray Engan [45:49]
Yeah, yeah, it’s, it was the most horrible thing in the world to be introduced as the funniest man in the world. Because we know how you have to be you could never live up To that, that’s been possible introduction to live up to.
David Ralph [46:04]
It’s good to have though, isn’t it? But somebody believes that enough to say surely.
Ray Engan [46:11]
Yeah, yeah. It’s nice to have people say great things about you. And it’s kind of it’s almost that you know, the situation where, if you if you have some success and you, you help others to success, and you come to the point in your life where something goes wrong, and it’s perfect add to what you always talk about, but now you realise, oh, my goodness, I have to follow my own advice. Well, I,
David Ralph [46:34]
you know, I don’t really want this conversation to go, I found it fascinating about humour and how we can sort of develop it in our own lives and make the world a better place, not just offices, but it would be wrong for me not to play the words but created the whole show, and these are the words that Steve Jobs said back in 2005. And as normal, I’m going to play him again, this is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [46:55]
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 leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [47:30]
So what do you trust him?
Unknown Speaker [47:35]
Unknown Speaker [47:38]
I think that
Ray Engan [47:42]
one of the the things that one of the hardest things to learn how to trust in and I think it’s Alan Weiss who said it in the first sales to yourself, and I think everybody in their life at some point needs to buy into the fact that they’re a pretty A dynamic, unique individual. And it took me a long time to understand that, that there’s a message out there that I need to tell and that I need to that I have the ability to give in such a way that it’s entertaining, and people buy into it, and they actually enjoy listening to it. And that actually is a skill. But it took me a long time to get to that. That trust I’ve had trust broken so many times in so many different ways. And that would be another 12 hours show. I think inevitably, if you don’t trust yourself, there’s nothing in the world you can trust. And I think it takes people time to understand that they are to be trusted, and they’re worth being trusted and that they have a message and that they have value. We all have to learn that One way shape or another
David Ralph [49:01]
and didn’t do you ever big don’t in your life when you look back on everything and you think Yeah, okay, that was that was where it started.
Ray Engan [49:10]
I had there’s a few of them Mr. Huber and fifth grade was a big one.
He was such a dynamic individual. I talked to about 70 people that had him as a teacher and he was only there for three years. And they all said that he was the best teacher they ever had. So that was he was definitely a big dot. The when I when I went from stand up into business, I went through a period where I thought would you have never worked really a day in my life what what am I qualified to do? And understanding that I actually had entrepreneurial skills that people would die for for stand up, that it actually created. Whole sales career for me. And that was a big doc because actually, the day I wrote my resume, trying to get out of stand up into business, and I thought I had no skills and I sat down and I said, What have I done? And I actually wrote this whole resume of stand up as a sales job. And I looked at the resume said, Wow, if I was a boss, I’d hire this person. Yeah. And I sent it out to 15 companies and I got 12 replies asking for an interview. And I was like, wow, I have no skills but they’ll want to talk
so that’s what I started to buy into the me
David Ralph [50:33]
Yeah, no experience is wasted, isn’t it? That’s what Steve Jobs talks about, but you dots lead on to stuff you may not realise at that time. But when you look back, you get to that position. I know how I got to this position. Now I reflect that on a daily basis. And I can see all lining up but I couldn’t at the time, it was just it was just life.
Ray Engan [50:54]
Yeah, and and I forget who it is but one of the one of my favourite quotes is
every gift comes wrapped in a problem. And we never see it at the time. But looking back, you can always see it.
David Ralph [51:11]
No, that’s profound that is very profound. And that leads us nicely to the end of the show now, because this is another profound moment and this is the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Ray, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme. And when it fades you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [51:39]
We go with the best bit of the show.
Ray Engan [51:56]
I think if I was going to go back in time, I go back to my teenage years. And I would talk to myself and tell myself to listen to those people that had my best interests in mind, and realise that what they were telling me was actually a roadmap for success. And what happens is, is that people want to show you the path to success and they hold your hand to get there and say there’s the path to success. And let’s put up a whole set of lights. Stay on that path to success. So you can see it real easy, and everybody in the world will help you to get there. But you have to take that first step. And I think I delayed taking that step for a long, long time. In some ways, because I was exposed to a lot of ways on how to get by without being the best at something and I spent too much time figuring out how to get by and still be good in That of how to work hard and be the best. And that’s, that’s one of the things I would say the other one is to in about the same age.
I always was so jealous isn’t the word but I really wanted to have what other people had. And the grass was always greener somewhere else. And I didn’t realise what it is that I had. And if I had realised what it is that I had I could have done so many things so much better so much more quickly than the older the older me did and I would have had a lot more I guess what I’m saying is that youth is wasted on the young for gosh sakes.
David Ralph [53:52]
Absolutely. How can our audience connect with you sir?
Ray Engan [53:57]
You can set right me at centre humour, com www sense a humour calm or re at sense of humour. I’m on Facebook said say humour as well as well as Reagan there’s two different areas there on Twitter is at sense of humour. I was at cell with humour, but now I’m at sense a humour. And that’s Facebook, Twitter, what else? What else do we do with like,
David Ralph [54:25]
we have all the links on the show notes. Thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots Ray 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 path is the best way to build our futures. Mr. Ray Engan, thank you so much.
Ray Engan [54:41]
Thank you so much. It’s been an absolute pleasure and I’ve enjoyed myself thoroughly and it’d be an honour to do this again.
David Ralph [54:49]
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Join Up Dots brought to you exclusively by podcast is mastery.com. The only resource that shows you how to create a show Build an income and still have time for the life that you love. Check out podcast is mastery.com.
Now, David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you or 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.