Dorie Clark Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Dorie Clark
Dorie Clark is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview.
Dorie is a lady who has been on a bit of a journey in her professional life, to find the thing that she loves doing.
Now known as a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent writer to the Harvard Business Review, TIME, Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum blog, it seems from the outside that she had a master plan from an early age.
A step by step blueprint to success and the life that she is living today.
But then you read in her words this interesting section detailing the life before it all came together and you can see that this is far from the truth.
How The Dots Joined Up For Dorie
As she says when she dissects the Dorie Clark personal history “I grew up in a very small town in North Carolina – pre-Internet era – and felt incredibly frustrated with the lack of opportunities and like-minded people.
I left home early to head to college, so I could get a jump-start on doing the things I cared about, like getting a masters degree in theology and becoming a political reporter, presidential campaign spokesperson, nonprofit executive director, and documentary film-maker.
In 2006, I launched my marketing strategy consulting business, and eventually started writing, speaking professionally, and teaching for business schools. I’m passionate about helping others take control of their professional lives and make an impact on the world, and have written two books – Reinventing You and the Stand Out – to help make that a reality.”
And the key word being “eventually”
She took action, worked hard, undoubtedly hustled until eventually it all come together and she became being who she is today.
So looking back to her younger days, would she still leave home early or would she take a different road to where she is today?
And what would be the biggest learning that he has gained over the last few years?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start joining up the dots with the one and only Dorie Clark.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Dorie Clark such as:
How so many people get to a point in their life when they know that they could be doing something great, but just cant think how to start doing it.
Dorie Clark shares the best practices for getting an idea out to the world, by getting it past the many obstacles that can kill it before it even gets the first chance to grow.
Why men and women are always going to be arguing over the central heating control, and who should win that battle (and unfortunately she has scientific facts to back the winner up guys!)
Make sure that you make decisions up stream, so that you don’t limit your decisions down stream…… live beneath your means so that you can take the risks to grow.
Dorie Clark Books
How To Connect With Dorie Clark
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Audio Transcription Of Dorie Clark 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 [0:21]
Yes, hello there, everybody and welcome to Join Up Dots. It’s October and yes, I’ve started having a battle with the wife over the heating. She things. I don’t know what you guys think so much. You can send me emails. She thinks by the end of September, you should have the heating on. Is that true? Is that true? Or is that just a lady trying to sort of heat the house up the tropical standards? I don’t know. But I’ve got a lady on the show today. And I’m going to ask her that question because it’s a kind of deep stuff that we do on join up dogs. And she is a lady who I’m absolutely delighted to have on the show because she’s been on a bit of a journey in her professional life to find the thing that she loves doing. now known as a marketing strategy consultant, professional speaker, and frequent writer to the Harvard Business Review, time entrepreneur and the World Economic Forum blog, it seems from the outside that she had a master plan from an early age, a step by step blueprint to success and the life that she’s living today. But when you read in her words, this interesting section detailing the life before it all came together, and you can see that it looks like that is far from the truth. And she says, I grew up in a very small town in North Carolina pre internet era. Yes, there was a time and felt incredibly frustrated with the lack of opportunities and like minded people. I left home early to hit to college so I could get a jumpstart doing the things I cared about, like getting a master’s degree in theology and becoming a political reporter, presidential campaign spokesperson, nonprofit executive director, and documentary filmmaker blogging. In 2006. I launched my marketing strategy, consulting business and eventually started writing, speaking professionally and teaching for business schools. I’m passionate about helping others take control of their professional lives and make an impact on the world. And I have now written two books reinventing you and stand out to help make that a reality. Now the key word for that is eventually she took action. There’s no doubt she took action. She worked hard, and undoubtedly hustled until eventually, it all came together and she become who she is today. So looking back to the younger days, which he still leave home earlier, which you take a different road to where she is today. And what would be the biggest learning that she’s gained over the last few years? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show to start joining up dots with the one, the only Dorie Clark, how are you doing?
Dorie Clark [2:44]
Hi, David. I’m great. Thanks. How are you doing?
David Ralph [2:47]
I am rocking and rolling. So I’m going to get to the nitty gritty. I’m here. I’m on one side of the mic. Your lady on the other side. When does the hating start coming on in your house?
Dorie Clark [2:58]
You know, I hate to do it, David, but I got to take your wife side, though me, I’m the host, I’m the host, you don’t start insulting the host right at the beginning. So you would go with the wife, would you? Well, you know, there’s actually been some interesting research that’s done on the subject as a matter of fact. And it turns out, I was reading an article about it recently, I think in the New York Times, and basically because of differences in so this wouldn’t necessarily apply at your house. But in terms of offices, there, this is, you know, the ultimate battle of the sexes, you know, where you should set the thermostat. And they said that, because of differences in core body temperatures between men and women, and also the fact that especially in the summertime, the the dress code for men is typically still a suit. And for women, they may be wearing sun dresses or things like that. There actually is a difference in in body temperature between men and women have about five degrees Fahrenheit in terms of what they feel comfortable at, and so it
It is a very real difference in terms of what men and women prefer. And that’s why we keep tussling over how hot or cold to make it.
David Ralph [4:10]
I’ll tell you what I will come to my house their Limbo dancing. That’s how tropical it is in my is hotter than hell, I come out to record these shows just to keep away from it. So I’m not going to tell her that and I’m not going to get her to listen to this show. Don’t worry, I’m going to censor that. But I will keep it a secret. We keep it secret. No one’s listening. Anyway. So you have been on a hell of a journey, haven’t you? Because what what I like about the research I’ve done on you is it now seems that it’s almost obvious you’re doing what you should be doing and you love doing it. But as in all join up dot stories. That wasn’t the case. It seems to be that you kind of stumbled across something, looked around and thought wow, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But it feels great. Would that be about right?
Dorie Clark [4:54]
Absolutely. The biggest frustration that I had was when I was finishing college. Basically all of the careers that I wanted, were very mysterious to me in terms of how to break into them. I think that a lot of people who aren’t sure of their path kind of fall into things that seem easy because oh, you know, they send a recruiter to your college or, or your your friend’s father does it. So you know how to do it. Yeah. But but all the things that that seemed really appealing to me, you know, working in politics or having, you know, as I was very interested in, in coaching and consulting, there’s no clear roadmap for it. And so I just had no idea I had to really fumble my way in the dark. But isn’t that the beauty of it all that there isn’t a roadmap because if it was a roadmap, everyone would be following it and then it would be congested. Surely the the beauty of life is that you stumble around and you kind of find your own little path through and if you work hard, more often than not, you’re going to get there. Yeah, absolutely. I think that there is real virtue and that that you have to discover it for yourself. And, of course, it’s, it’s a little bit of a winnowing process too, because there’s a lot of people that might be interested in something that’s non traditional, but they don’t necessarily have the patience or the fortitude to endure that uncertainty. And so you really, if you’re going to succeed, you really have to get good at perseverance. And are you somebody like that because in this old intro we were talking about you felt incredibly frustrated with the lack of opportunities and like minded people So was that just your situation or you naturally somebody that come on let’s get going, Oh, yeah, I’m I’m naturally pretty impatient. And one of my, one of my great learning projects over the past two decades has been to try to temper that and to make sure that that I am not rough around the edges and generally events, patients to the world. But in terms of my internal dialogue, I’m still very impatient.
David Ralph [7:05]
And is that something that ultimately becomes a value? Or does that hold you back?
Dorie Clark [7:11]
So good? A good question. I mean, I think that, for me, impatience is mingled with perseverance because I get indignant, you know, at various various times in my career, when I have wanted to do something, and I ended up not getting hired for a job or not getting picked for an assignment or an internship or something like that. I was I was very frustrated, because people, I felt, I felt that the people in charge, were not seeing my true value. And so the impatience, really just kind of tied in with, you know, come on, what’s your problem? Why don’t you get it that I can do this and do a really good job at it. And so that that kind of forged into determination that I was going to do it and
Hopefully they would they would live to regret turning me down. But that’s that’s the beauty of I suppose the entrepreneurial spirit isn’t a ultimately it’s very I’m going to prove myself that there’s something in you and it fosters and festers and it grows and grows and grows. And more often than not, I know what you’re saying, you’re in a situation where you just want a chance to do something bigger or you just knew you can do it, but it is not given that chance. So the entrepreneurial spirit grows quite quickly when it starts getting going. Yes, absolutely. And I think it can be a pretty powerful force. I mean, once once you’re able to tap into it and realize that you have the ability if you are crafty enough to find ways to circumvent obstacles and to not take no for an answer. That becomes very empowering.
David Ralph [8:52]
And so you think you have to be crafty, you really have to, I don’t know use the kind of tools and the skills that may be you’ve got but nobody else has to maneuver around.
Dorie Clark [9:03]
I think you do. I mean, the, the sort of employee mentality and I say this, you know, with with no disrespect to literal employees, but but because, you know, I think you can be a very entrepreneurial employee, you know, regardless of you know, where you work, but a kind of employee mentality is, sit back, do what you’re told the check will, you know, hit your bank account, and you need to just do what’s necessary to to keep people happy. And if you propose something, and it’s not accepted, Well, okay, you tried.
I think that in the in the entrepreneurial world, you would go out of business really quickly if that was the case, because people are always going to say no to you, people are always going to be skeptical of new ideas or innovations or say, Why do I need that? Yeah, it doesn’t sound useful. And so you need to either get better persuading those people or you need to find new people to persuade. And that is how you put food on the table.
David Ralph [10:06]
But that’s life generally, isn’t it? Whatever you do in life, as they say you in sales, it’s all about persuasion, isn’t it? Whether you’re doing what you’re doing, or what I’m doing ultimately is about convincing somebody but you’ve got value. Yes, absolutely. Where do you find Batman in yourself? If you haven’t? And this is a sort of hypothetical question that goes out for the listeners, that listeners that are sitting in cubicles pretending to their boss, but they’re doing the work, but they’re actually listening to this conversation. But they’ve got something in them, and they’ve got that nagging feeling that they should be doing something bigger with their lives. Is there a good way of reinventing you the first stage of reinventing you where you’ve just got that feeling, but you don’t know which way to turn? What would you say being the author of the standout publication, reinventing you?
Dorie Clark [10:55]
Dorie Clark [11:00]
Yes, very nice. The the whole reason in fact that I wrote standout, my most recent book is exactly for that situation that that there’s someone who wants to make a difference wants to make a contribution knows they can, but just isn’t quite sure how or what form that would take. It’s kind of an encoded desire. And so I interviewed about 50 top thought leaders in a variety of different fields, to try to understand what was it that made their ideas get noticed and resonate and enabled them to become really successful in their fields. And so I learned a few interesting pieces about it. And, you know, one of the biggest ones is that I think there’s a lot of myth around breakthrough ideas and really, you know, successful thought leaders, that they somehow have this amazing idea and then they just go and execute it. And that’s how they get famous. And I think that the problem with that is that a lot of people say, Well, I don’t have any big ideas. I don’t know what my idea is. So therefore I don’t qualify. But the truth is that’s exactly reversed. For most people, you do not start out with the idea and then go do it. You start by doing, and you fumble around and you figure it out, and you try some things. And some things work and some things don’t. And it is through that process, that the big idea comes to you not the other way around.
David Ralph [12:33]
I had a gentleman on the show called Dave David gagging David gag and he was an episode 337. And he built something I can’t remember what it was now. But he sold it to Google for about $800 million. Funnily enough, I can remember the money but I can’t believe what he saw. And he was saying to me that he was in a conference and there was somebody there and he said, you wouldn’t over he didn’t say who the person’s name was. So I was thinking Bill Gates or Zuckerberg or or somebody it was, it was a big guy. And he, sat there for ages. And he thought, should I go over and speak to him? So ultimately he did. And he went, we didn’t need to ask you a question. I’ve been quite successful in my life, and I’ve been all this money, blah, blah, blah, but you are coming up off the scale. How did you have that breakthrough? How did you go from kind of my level to that next level? And he was hoping for some kind of, in a Yoda wisdom, come back to him. But the guy just said, exactly, as you said, I tell you how we did it. We tried a bit of this. And we tried a bit of that, and we got lucky. And that was pretty much his plan. It was all down to if you try enough things, more often than not, something’s gonna stick. And did you find that when you was talking to your guys, in your book stand out? You almost wanted them to say, right? Don’t wait. You do this step one, step two, step three, but actually nobody could answer it.
Dorie Clark [13:57]
Yeah, I think the world wants a magic bullet, right? I mean, wouldn’t it be nice if there was one. But what I, what I came to understand through doing these interviews is that it’s much less a magic bullet. And it’s much more a smorgasbord. There are common strands in terms of what people do in order to break through. But it’s not one person replicating of a formula again, and again.
If that doesn’t work, if you try to do literally the exact same thing that Mark Zuckerberg did, or that Bill Gates did, because circumstances have changed, and you need to adapt with that, but the question is, how do you draw from common themes and employ those in new ways? Because each each success is just slightly different. Yeah. And I think that that’s, that’s the most empowering thing actually is that you can find your own way to it. In stand out, I lay out some some common principles about strategy
These people use and we can certainly get into any of them that you’d like. I talked about how to develop a niche strategy or how to combine ideas from multiple fields, things like that. But if you can use those as the ingredients, you can create your own unique cross section that enables you to be successful in your own way.
David Ralph [15:22]
But you still got to get past that point where you’re sitting there in a job, and you have this idea. And you think this is a brilliant idea, and you turn around to the person next to you and you say, Eric, I’ve just had a great idea. And he goes, somebody must have done that already. I can’t imagine you’ve come up with it. How do you get past that first? Kind of a nice saying gatekeepers, but stop any ideas get going?
Dorie Clark [15:46]
Yeah, so I actually have a whole section. The whole latter half of stand out, is where I talk about once you’ve come up with an idea, how do you spread it successfully, and the very first step in doing that, I would argue, is developing a close knit network of people around you, who you trust and respect. We can think of these people as the equivalent of a mastermind group or a kitchen cabinet or a personal Board of Directors, but they need to be people who are hand selected by you. Because you respect their judgment. And you know, if it’s a random coworker that doesn’t like your idea, fine. Okay, that’s that’s great. Not, you know, not. I mean, I don’t love Justin Bieber, but that doesn’t mean that Justin Bieber is not a worldwide phenomenon.
David Ralph [16:34]
He likes Justin Bieber, really? He’s right. outta hell he’s buying these records. It is it is a mystery. So well, that’s the only one cellmates in prison borders that have got to know him.
Dorie Clark [16:50]
But you know, if you if you actually go to a curated group of people who you feel very good about their judgment and you say to them, is this a good idea?
If they like it, then that should give you enough confidence to pursue it. And if they don’t like it, then actually that might be a very useful mirror that they’re holding up to you to say, you know what we believe in you. But this particular idea may not be the right one. I love the idea is just stupid. You look at them now and their genius, but at the time, remember it was in the 80s or 70s. I’m getting old now. It all blows into one. You had those little pet pebble things, but yeah, pet rocks What the hell was that about by that blokes? Probably a millionaire based on that and then you get that the Rubik’s Cube got all these ideas? They must have had so many people go to them. This is stupid, who’s gonna buy that who’s gonna buy a little pebble and put it in their pocket? But they get past it? That’s, it’s the kind of lunacy ideas but I like the ones that you think there’s no reason for this becoming part of our consciousness, but it got through somehow. Absolutely. Yeah, that’s that’s exactly right.
David Ralph [18:00]
So have you had any ideas when you’ve gone? This is amazing. And after six pints of beer, it becomes even more amazing. And then the next morning, you wake up and think, Oh, it’s the worst idea I’ve ever had?
Dorie Clark [18:12]
Haha. Well, I have, I definitely keep a running list of things like book ideas, you know, I have, I have a, you know, a million ones that that I could write or want to write. In fact, you know, just just in terms of the sort of twisted path to where I am now. The my first book that actually did get published reinventing you came out from Harvard Business Review press in 2013. But it was, it was actually the fourth book proposal that I wrote, my first three all got turned down rather unceremoniously. And, you know, I thought they were all great ideas. But
David Ralph [18:52]
give us an idea. Was it the equivalent of the pet pebble?
Dorie Clark [18:56]
Haha, well, one, one was a book, I had worked in presidential politics in the US. And so one was a book, creating parallels between really good political communicators, and then what business people could learn from them. So it was, you know, sort of like, how do you analyze Bill Clinton or ronald reagan or people like that? You know, we could say Tony Blair, Margaret, Margaret Thatcher,
Unknown Speaker [19:21]
whoever, what good is an idea?
Dorie Clark [19:23]
Yeah. And then and then, you know, so like, how can business people get better and learn from that, but people were just not really interested, which I, you know, befuddled me, but I thought that was a pretty good one. I then I wanted to write a book that was kind of advice for millennials in the workforce, which, you know, I mean, there’s a lot of books like that, I think, probably the problem was that maybe it wasn’t differentiated enough. But, but you know, not a bad idea. The third idea, I was stretching a little bit, I just really wanted to write a book, I kind of didn’t care what book and I had. And I love this idea to I actually truly love this idea. My mother was, was single, she was widowed. She actually just got remarried about two months ago. But But you know, for a number of years, she was widowed. And I had a friend who also her mother was divorced. And so we came up with the idea that we would write a book called How to help your mom date. And it was be a guide for kids to help fix up their moms and I
David Ralph [20:22]
thought it was boy idea. Who wants them to be dating when they were a kid? Honestly,
Dorie Clark [20:29]
well, no, not you know, it’s not for like, you know, 12 year olds, right. It’s like for adults. So yeah, Mom, I
David Ralph [20:36]
was like five years old. I don’t want my mom out and about clubbing I want to own. That’s, that’s where she should stay.
Dorie Clark [20:43]
I wanted my mom to be out partying, but you know, she she had all these hang ups about, you know, she didn’t want to go online and whatever. So anyway, clearly you you are I took the side of your wife with with the thermostat. And you are taking the side of the publishers with how to help your mom day. But yeah, so that was an idea that I thought was pretty good. But but the world did not necessarily agree with that one. Now,
David Ralph [21:06]
in my head, it was hard to get your mom laid back that was that?
Dorie Clark [21:12]
Maybe that one would have sold? Who knows?
David Ralph [21:14]
Who knows? Yeah, 50 Shades of Grey, knowing that would be something along those lines. So the thing that jumped out at me when you was talking about that was the fact that you got to that point that you just wanted to write a book, and you didn’t care. Now, that’s that seems strange to me, or is that liberating? Is that when the ideas start to flow when you’re not trying to force it?
Dorie Clark [21:34]
Well, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s, it certainly wouldn’t have been terribly strategic, because I, you know, if you are a business person, and you want to write business books, which is mostly the direction that I had been going in, presumably, it will be most advantageous for you to write a book that ties into your business somehow, so that you can use it to drive multiple streams of revenue consulting, or coaching, speaking, etc. I would have had to develop a whole new product line essentially, or a whole new business focus if I wanted to, like really get on the helping your mom date bandwagon.
Unknown Speaker [22:11]
But go Oh, yeah, that one?
Unknown Speaker [22:14]
Dorie Clark [22:17]
It wasn’t. So yeah, it absolutely would not have been strategic. But it it just was in the category of a bucket list kind of thing. I wanted a book. And I actually, you know, I really didn’t care at that point, it would have been great if it had been strategic from a business perspective. And ultimately, you know, reinventing you, which was the book that came out was, so that was great. But uh, but yeah, you know, I think you could almost class it in the category of just something you want to do. You know, some people want to go windsurfing. Some people want to visit Argentina, I wanted to write a book, and even even if it was kind of in the hobby category, I was still willing to expend energy doing it.
David Ralph [22:59]
You know, welcome guess still on whether you’re strategic or hustler at your core? Well, what would you say?
Dorie Clark [23:06]
I think I think that I am pretty strategic, in the sense that I write a lot of, you know, I’m a big goal person I write, you know, lists, I Love New Year’s resolutions, I love trying to come up with a big picture and then work to implement it. But I also realized that a very large percentage of things that I try to map out, end up failing, or just end up not coming to fruition in the way that I want. My early career. I mean, the reason I’m doing what I am now is I wanted to be an academic, I wanted to be an English professor. And I got turned down by all the doctoral programs I applied to, then I wanted to be a journalist, and I in fact was, but then I got laid off from my paper, and I couldn’t get hired at other journalism outposts. And so then I thought, all right, okay, I’ll do politics, and then all my candidates last. So I, you know, whatever plans you make, you, you just have to hustle because sometimes due to factors outside your control, they just don’t work out.
David Ralph [24:10]
Well, let’s play some words. Now, that’s going to take us to the second stage of the conversation. And I love these words, and I play them every day. So I’m gonna do it again, this is Jim Carrey,
Steve Jobs [24:18]
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 [24:45]
So is that the message that we need to get out to the world today that there is a different way of operating the fact that you got turned down by all those people, were now probably five or 10 years down the line, you could almost say, well, just do it yourself. You know, if you want to quit radio station, buy a microphone and get online, if you want to be a publisher, start blogging is a different way of doing it. Now, as Jim says, Go for what you want to really love doing.
Dorie Clark [25:10]
I think that that that that is absolutely true in a big picture sense. I think that the key piece that it’s necessary to keep in mind is that, you know, there’s, there’s clearly a reason his father decided to be an accountant, which is that it sounds like he had a family that he needed to support. And so I think it’s important to go for people to go for their dreams and to, to do the things that they’re passionate about. But I also think that a really important piece is making sure that you are making decisions upstream that won’t limit your options downstream. So when I was starting my businesses and entrepreneur, I made a point of being very careful about how I spent my money. I had bought a condo, and I bought one that I knew would be affordable for me that even if I had long stretches where I was not getting work, that I could still continue to make payments, I think it’s really important wherever possible to try to live below your means, at least until you’re able to store away a nest egg. When I launched my business I and I think this is important for anyone who’s deciding to leave their job and go full time. I can’t remember if it was six months, or a year’s worth of reserves that I had in the bank. But But I had, you know one of those I mean, if you can have a year, I think that’s important. Because when you are up against a wall financially, you do make desperate choices. And it leads to bad outcomes. People can smell that desperation. And they don’t want to do business with you, or it makes them feel more entitled to take advantage of you. And it, it just pollutes everything, you need to be operating from a position of strength, and you need money in the bank in order to be able to do it. So I would encourage people to nurture whatever they’re passionate about as a side project for as long as you need to, in order to get a level of financial security that enables you to feel comfortable taking risks.
David Ralph [27:11]
I agree with that. Totally. We never talk about a leap of faith on this show. We talk about the slider faith, but you, you do it for a period of time until you can just lift your legs up and you Yeah, your transition us you’re somewhere else. And I do think that most of us if you really want to have got the ability to come home after a day’s work, put the kids to bed and bang crack home for three or four hours or whatever you need to do to get something started. Now when I started this show, I didn’t make a penny our first six months really didn’t make a penny. Did it bother me? No, because I knew that was the growing stage. And then after that it’s got more and more sort of lucrative. And now you know, I would never go back to a job. I actually saw a man the other day Dory, and I don’t know how you feel about this. But I had to go to brownies. I don’t know if you have brownies in America. It’s like this where the guy was goes like Girl Scouts for
Dorie Clark [28:02]
Yeah, yeah, young girls. Yes. And I
David Ralph [28:05]
had to come pick up my daughter. And as I was standing there waiting, this guy came along. And I’d been sort of recording during the day. And I’d had the afternoon off. And I’d sort of floated around and, you know, being quite proactive, but not killed himself. And he turned up and he said, I’ve only just got here. And he was wearing a suit and a tie. And I didn’t ask him where he was working. But I just knew that he was working somewhere in an office. And he had to wait until these time was done before he could leave. And I looked at him, I thought I’d shoot myself. Now if I had to go back to that I really did. And even though that six months when I wasn’t earning anything, and I was just pushing through pushing through pushing through blindly thinking that it was going to work out, I would go back there like a heartbeat. And I do like a year I do two years. Once you hit that moment of knowing what you want in your life, there’s just no way of going back. Have you had that when you look to people who’ve gone off? site? I’m so glad I’m out of it.
Dorie Clark [28:58]
Oh, for sure. I’ve been absolutely. I mean, I think I think for me, the biggest thing that that really made me realize the quality of life that I have is that I have a job now where I don’t have to be on call. And I spent time personally doing this where it’s been a couple of years of my life working on very high octane political campaigns. And I was I was the press secretary. And so reporters would call me at all hours that have questions that need something. And I had to be the liaison to get them the information. Sometimes literally, I got calls at two o’clock in the morning, when there was breaking news. And it was terrible. It was a terrible way to live. Because you’re always at someone’s back in college, you always have people who could interrupt something that you’ve planned that might be very important. And I knew I didn’t want to fashion a career with it was like that. And so I’ve deliberately made choices now. So that I have, you know, a lot of different business. So you know, I do have coaching or consulting clients, but they understand that, you know, yes, they can get in touch with me, but but you know that they’re not going to be calling me at three o’clock in the morning. This is this is confined to two hours that are really manageable so that I can plan my life and feel a lot of autonomy and control. And in fact, all of the research into happiness and positive psychology and whatever says that the number one determinant of your overall well being is the amount of autonomy you feel professionally. So I really try to prioritize that. And if there are economic gains that I could make, I will choose against them in order to maintain more autonomy.
David Ralph [30:39]
Oh, well, very similar. Yeah, I turned down so many sort of opportunities, just because it’s biting into my control somehow. And my my wife says to me, why don’t you just do it? It’s only a couple of days. And I think No, I wasn’t looking for that opportunity. So I don’t want that opportunity. And then every now and again, one comes along, and it’s all of Yeah, it’s a farms. I won’t do it. But I think once you get that time that you can control your clock. You You just can’t go back. I just can’t imagine how anyway. And certainly I don’t know if you read this book, but I know so many people that were impacted by the Tim Ferriss four hour workweek. And I was reading that book. And I realized that there was no reason for me to be at my desk at nine o’clock in the morning, when I could have been doing the same work at four o’clock in the morning and then finished for the day. I could my mindset change to think why am I stretching this work out for eight hours where if I sat here and cracked on I could do it for three hours and go home. And that’s what you don’t do in your life, you can literally block everybody out close the windows turn off Netflix and do a day’s work in about three hours.
Dorie Clark [31:48]
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It’s a you know, certainly as an entrepreneur, I mean, I think I probably do end up working much harder for myself than I did at jobs that I had previous where I was working for someone else, but it doesn’t, it doesn’t feel like as much work because I can choose when and where I can, you know, do it on the sofa, I can do it from bed, I can do it from a coffee shop, I can, you know, go go spend all day in the park if I want and then work at night. The flexibility is is incredibly valuable.
David Ralph [32:22]
So if we took you right back in time, like we like to do on join up dots, what what was the little doggies sort of passion? If we had asked the sort of eight year old, a six year old, whatever, what do you want to be when you grow up? What would you have said,
Dorie Clark [32:35]
I had different things that I was interested in. One, you know, I really, really loved James Bond. And so I wanted to be a spy. That was that was really big on the list. And another one that I was very interested in actually was politics. And I remember, whenever the four year election cycles came around, I would get very excited about it and and follow it in a really competitive way. So So those were things that I liked a lot. Were you a weird kid, man, because
David Ralph [33:07]
I honestly with the greatest respect to you, I can’t imagine any kid that I know, to say, yeah, I’m interested in politics.
Dorie Clark [33:16]
Yeah, you know, these, these, save it, you know, whatever, whatever you’re into, you know, up to say age 10, or whatever is, is pretty, it’s pretty good evidence for you. It’s pretty purely determinative, because you know, that that’s, that’s the age where your parents aren’t necessarily shoving a lot of career aspirations down your throat. It’s, it’s the age where things are bubbling up that you care about. And yeah, I mean, a lot of people like comic books, or they like, whatever robots, you know, and I, that wasn’t that wasn’t my bag. I really did love politics. But well, what was it?
David Ralph [33:51]
I’m fascinated about this, because you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole theme of join up dots. But, and we used to talk about this a lot, but we don’t as much now, Fat Fat you made. But if you’re looking for things that you want to do in your life, as an adult, look back to your younger self, because the clues affair, and all the stuff that you would do, just because you love doing it, when you came home from school, and there was no pay on the table, it was just stuff. And then once you hit 13, and stuff, and you start doing your sort of high school, you kind of lose your way somehow. And then you just go into a job as a job fair, and you kind of forget all that. So what was it? Are you did you do like a good argument? Do you like what was politics all about for you as a sort of eight year old?
Dorie Clark [34:32]
I think there were two things that that appealed to me about politics. The first was I actually really did like the horse race elements of it. I know that a lot of people disdain that, and then think that’s the shallow part of politics. But for me, it was fun. And you know, of course, I guess it was appropriate that I, that I then worked as a political journalist, because that’s kind of what you cover, you know, who’s up? Who’s down? Why, you know, who’s resonating with the electorate? I thought that was really fascinating, like, Who is it, the people are going to choose? And you know, how to politicians get their message across. That was very interesting. And then, you know, above and beyond that, the second thing that was interesting to me, was, there were certain issues that I was very passionate about. When I was a young kid, I was really into the environment. And, you know, in our town, which was this backwards down, they didn’t have curbside recycling, they didn’t have curbside anything. And so it was it was actually rather onerous. For my for my mom, I was so insistent, I was just mortified that we didn’t recycle. And I thought I was very firm, I’m like, No, we have to do this, this is really important. And so she had to, like, make a special trip to drive to drop off the recyclables, which, you know, come to think of it is probably like contributing more, you know, carbon gases into the environment, just doing that. But nonetheless, I needed to solve our conscience. And so you, you know, I was I was very forceful about things like that. And so, you know, environmental policy was a really big deal. There were a lot of other issues that that just struck me in a similar way that I got excited about,
David Ralph [36:12]
is interesting. Ben, so your books are a link back to your earlier self, because your whole essence seems to be about change and forcing change, wherever in the political environment or in the personal or business, you are a change maker on you.
Dorie Clark [36:29]
I in some ways, yes. Yes. It’s, it’s about, it’s about creating change, creating the opportunity for change. And, and I think also, if I, if I was drawing a line between my books, and you know, what I’m trying to accomplish, and what they have in common with each other, it’s really about enabling people to put a finger on what their true talents are, and then being able to express that properly to the world. Because, you know, those are two separate and important things, you know, first, it’s knowing what you really can contribute and what difference you can make. And then second, it’s making sure that other people realize that, and so for reinventing you my first book, it’s kind of, you know, figuring out that transitional period, and then stand out is, is, you know, how do you run with it? How do you really make sure the world sees it?
David Ralph [37:21]
And so is it going to be a trilogy? Is that going to be a number one?
Dorie Clark [37:24]
There is going to be a trilogy? Yes. You’re very perceptive. Absolutely. I actually just submitted my proposal, and it is being evaluated now by by a number of editors. So we will, we will see where it lands. But it is in process now. And my hope for that one, the third piece of the trilogy is about essentially how to make money while fulfilling your passion. It’s, it’s a book about monetization strategies and how people can really make it work.
David Ralph [37:54]
Now, what’s fascinating about this, and so many things that you say, I listened to, and I think, Oh, I’m going to ask this on Go away, is that, obviously you’re doing everything now when you have got the opportunity of connections you can with the internet, as we’re doing now, you’re in New York, I’m just outside London, we click a button bang, go into that. Could you have done all this pre internet era? Do you think when if you look back to your life in North Carolina, because I grew up pre internet, I used to have to go to the library to do my homework. And now I say to my kids, you just Google it and find the answer. I used to have to make effort to find the answers to these things. So do you think you could have done this? Or is it of its time now?
Dorie Clark [38:35]
Well, you know, and I’m right there with you. Yeah, I would go to the library. And if I wanted to get articles, we’d have to look them up on microfiche. I mean, it sounds like something out of Dickens. It’s so pathetic.
David Ralph [38:47]
Now, but I’m 45 now and I’m starting to get into spouting for the 70s he started to creep over me.
Dorie Clark [38:53]
That’s right. That’s right. But yeah, I mean, I think in in some ways I could I could have done similar things, you know, in terms of publishing books, or giving speeches or that sort of thing. But actually, one of one of the things that I’m most interested in chronicling in this new book that I am hopefully going to be writing soon, is the the first part of the book is intended to talk about some of the older or more traditional ways that people can make money through their ideas, you know, whether it is speaking or coaching or what have you. And then the latter part of the book is actually about how do you tap the power of the internet? To do that, effectively? How do you use things like online courses, or, you know, using group coaching through Skype, or whatever it is, to be able to create new revenue streams and reach more people help more people in ways that before the internet just would not have been possible?
David Ralph [39:50]
Because of course, what we’ve been talking about is finding your super talent, your passion, and sort of building a career around it, now you do loads of things. So I use a very good at everything, or is there one, but like a beacon of light, it comes down? And that is your super talent within everything else you do?
Dorie Clark [40:09]
That’s a really good question. Um, there’s certainly some strengths that I have. One is that I think I’m a pretty good writer. And because I trained as a journalist, I learned how to write pretty fast. And so that that’s a strength that I’ve kind of used as a building block strength, you could say, and so a lot of the things that I do, are just predicated on it, you know, I write my books, and then that helps me bring in consulting contracts, or coaching contracts or speaking business, I write blog posts, and so that drop drives people to the books. So it kind of creates a virtuous circle there. Another thing that I feel like I’ve gotten, I’ve gotten better at over time, and I think now I’m pretty good at is, is public speaking. And so in the early days of my career, I would use speaking as a way of just driving awareness of and hopefully business to my consultancy. Now fortunately, since the release of reinventing you, I’ve started to develop a pretty good business, which is now you know, pretty, pretty substantial, you know, six figures a year of paid speaking engagements. And so I’m able to do that as a separate revenue stream as well.
David Ralph [41:24]
So if we stripped everything away, and we laid it all on a table, and we say, right, you can pick one career, what would you go for?
Dorie Clark [41:32]
If I could pick just one, it actually would probably be being a writer, because that’s, that’s the the thing that that really, I’m an introvert. And so I like I like people well enough, but sometimes they wear me out a little bit. So. So if I could only do one thing, writing would probably be the most satisfying, because it would enable me to share my ideas and do something that I felt like I was good at doing. But it wouldn’t be the sort of day to day wear and tear of interacting with people all the time.
David Ralph [42:05]
I can see you being bad, to be honest, as an introvert, because you need to be able to do what you’re doing, you need to be able to close yourself off and kind of recharge yourself so that you can come back strongly, being able to look at people and digest and listen intently. It is exhausting, isn’t it? So because I am very much like that as well, I’m very much when I flick the switch, I can be Mr. personality. But more often than not, I don’t want anyone around me, I just wanted to be in my own space, almost so that I can come back big when I want to, do you find that with yourself? Are you kind of ready to go again, when the world needs you like Batman, the signal goes up Dorie Clark, a big dc in the sky, and then you come
Dorie Clark [42:51]
maybe something like that, I think for me, the the biggest part that I’ve had to accustom myself to is really, really getting good at knowing what my sort of internal body signals and mental signals are that I’ve had enough. Because it’s it’s very easy. I mean, rationally, if you’re at a conference, for instance, you should just keep going, you should just absolutely keep going and keep meeting more people and keep having more conversations. Because you know, you’re only going to be at this conference once and you might as well take advantage, you spent a lot of money, you know, whatever it is. And so there’s a pressure to keep driving yourself. But the truth is, if you are an introvert, that’s driving yourself into the ground, there will be a bad outcome. If you push yourself too hard, and you don’t restore yourself. I mean, it’s sort of just the equivalent of like, you know, yeah, it would be a great idea. If you stayed awake for 48 consecutive hours. Well, you know, you know, yeah, you can meet more people, but you’ll be, you know, drooling and on the verge of collapse by the end of it, too. So you just have to know how to self regulate. And when you start to get uncomfortable, you need to, you need to just say, Okay, enough, I need to go back to my room,
David Ralph [44:04]
with your insights into reinventing you and stand out obviously, you are in observational mode. And you you sort of look at people I imagine and kind of dissect them and then build it into some kind of plan. Do you see people do you have a like a super talent glasses? When you go into McDonald’s? And somebody served you? Do you kind of think oh, yeah, but they’re good, but they’re doing something extra? Do you see people who have got that that extra skill?
Dorie Clark [44:32]
Well, it’s a good question. I, I don’t I don’t necessarily talent spot people on the street, per se. But one of the things that’s been a real pleasure for me in writing my books reinventing you and stand out, is that in both of them, I actually included a mix of you know, I’ll call them sort of celebrity stories of well known people. So you know, in standout for instance, I interviewed Seth Godin, the famous marketer, David Allen, of getting things done fame, people like that. I also profile a lot of regular people who are just applying the principles in a, in a good way in their own fields. And, and so some of them are just people that I, that I know, or that I came across, and you know, sometimes, you know, years ago, I met them, but I thought at the time, oh, they’re doing something really interesting. They’re doing something really extraordinary. Someone should write a book that and so it’s, it’s been a pleasure to try to shine a light on some of some of those people. So I have stories like, you know, speaking of reinventing yourself, a woman named Patricia Fripp, who’s now a professional speaker, and she started her career as a hairdresser of all things. And she was very methodical in her transition. She had a 10 year lease on her hair salon. And she decided she would take this 10 year period to grow her speaking business, so that by the time the lease was up, she would plan not to renew it, and she would just transition into speaking and that’s exactly what she did. So I thought that was pretty cool. I profile people like my my realtor, a woman who sold my house named value Twingo, just outside of Boston. And she has a really simple thing, but it’s become part of her brand, and I think is a really good reminder to other people, which is that she has a policy that for every completed transaction, she closes, she gives $250 to a local charity. You know, it’s very simple, but it’s it’s a way to stand out and to make a difference.
David Ralph [46:26]
I had a guy on the show, I think he’s Episode 151. Dan Martell, I’m a bit like Rain Man with my shows, I shouldn’t know what episodes are well, but um, he every time he goes into Starbucks, or McDonald’s, he always buys a coffee for the person behind. And he just walks out says don’t tell them just buy them whatever coffee is that extra bit. And as he walks out, he kind of glances secretly in the person’s surprise. And I said to him, why do you do that? He said, because one day, I’m going to walk up there and somebody bought it for me. And I’ve, I’ve created that circle. And it’s those tiny little changes that can grow into something amazing comma.
Dorie Clark [47:03]
Absolutely. Yeah, that’s that’s a perfect example.
David Ralph [47:07]
So I’m going to play the words now of the man who created the whole show. And this was the speech that Steve Jobs did back in 2005. Hugely fascinating. And then Dorie Clark, we’re going to ask you the question that I asked 99% of our guests, and I think you’re perfect for it.
Steve Jobs [47:23]
This is Steve Jobs. Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future, you have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [48:00]
Now you have created your own path, you’ve gone off the well worn path. And you started off wanting to be a political reporter and presidential campaign spokesman and kind of the speaker and the writer and everything has come together but not in the way that you’ve seen. Do you buy into those words with Steve Jobs? Can you look back and join up your dots?
Dorie Clark [48:21]
Absolutely, yes. And and he’s he’s right. The other way to that, that looking forward, you know, at 18, or, or whatever age you pick, it would have been really impossible for me to figure out where I had ended up. But I do, the way that I talk about this, in my talks, or in my books is about creating a through line, and how do you how do you find the piece that connects your history? And so for me, there’s a lot that really centers around, around meaning and around telling your story that manifests in journalism manifests in politics, and then Fs in Divinity School, which I did, right after I finished undergrad. And, you know, now I work with people and companies about about branding about, you know, how how do you tell your your story? How do you make work satisfying and meaningful? So I think they’re there is a kind of commonality that that would have been very difficult to prognosticate.
David Ralph [49:26]
So here’s the question. So if you look back on your whole life to where you are now, is there a big dot, but you hit but things started just moving in that direction? Was there a situation or conversation or something, that would be your big dot.
Dorie Clark [49:42]
But I think that one thing that was a kind of turning point for me, was getting to blog for the Harvard Business Review, because that was the first time that I really had enough platform, quote, unquote, to use the the current term of art, to be able to, to have people take what I was saying, seriously, I think I had had, you know, good ideas up till then. But if you don’t have the audience, if you don’t have the brand behind you, it can be difficult to really get that noticed and appreciate it. And so when I started writing for Harvard Business Review, I was able to reach a larger audience have more credibility, and publishers started to get interested. And that enabled me to write books, which then enabled me to give paid speeches, which was able to bring my business to a new level,
David Ralph [50:33]
and what you meant to the primed for that moment, or when they say yes, you can write to us, did you think oh, my God, oh, my God, from the Harvard time to up, my game will use a mentally ready,
Dorie Clark [50:44]
I was ready for it. Because I had spent about the past year before that, trying to break into write for other outlets. And it actually never occurred to me to write for the Harvard Business Review. And then I met a woman by chance, I actually sold her my bicycle on Craigslist, who worked for them. And so I talked to her and asked her, you know, how do you start blogging for HDR, and she, she told me, and eventually, she connected me with an editor there. But, but I had been preparing lots of ideas, lots of pitches, lots of potential guest posts that I just had ready. And so when the HDR opportunity manifests itself, I was able to spring into action pretty rapidly and give them some stuff. And fortunately, they liked it.
David Ralph [51:32]
And now you are coming to law of attraction kind of person. Do you believe in sort of manifesting goals and dreams?
Dorie Clark [51:39]
Well, I wouldn’t say in a literal sense I am I’m, you know, I’m not so much for for mantras and things. But I certainly think in a generalized sense that if you are focused on the positive rather than the negative, that, that that creates a good mental frame for yourself. And I think that if you are thinking focused on trying to do good in the world, no matter, you know, to whom that will create positive outcomes, as you get known as the sort of person that people want to associate with, and you build up enough favor, so that eventually people want to be helpful to you. So I think broadly speaking, you can attract positive things into your life.
David Ralph [52:20]
Yeah, no, I agree with you. It’s just the fact that when you say, I sold my bike on Craigslist, and the lady just happened to be a lot of people would believe that that was the universe kind of leading to it somehow.
Dorie Clark [52:32]
It does that, if you start the story there, it absolutely sounds like it. For me, I had been trying very hard for, you know, 18 months beforehand and being rejected a million times, to break in other places. And so I think that was that was a very great lucky break, which I’m grateful for. But I do think that the key was that I was also prepared in other ways. A systems, isn’t it? It is persistence, you have to do your apprenticeship. And that’s the thing that I think with everybody out there, the real guys that have done it, and they’re out there, it wasn’t overnight, you know, even but I mean, Bieber, he probably spent about five years before we Baby Baby, baby, these first record in consciousness, nothing’s overnight success. Is it? Exactly, exactly.
David Ralph [53:27]
Are you now singing that song in your head?
Dorie Clark [53:32]
I’m trying to keep it out.
David Ralph [53:33]
Yeah, you keep it out? Well, here’s a song that hopefully you will have in your head, because this is the end of the show. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Dory, what age would you choose? And what advice would you give where we’re going to find out, because I’m going to play the theme tune. And when it fades, you’re up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Dorie Clark [54:00]
So my message is to a 20 year old Dory, which is right around the time that I had my first ever professional professional setback of being turned down by the by all of the doctoral programs that I had applied to, up to that point, I had pretty much worked hard and then gotten rewarded, commensurately. I got good grades, etc, etc. So I was utterly shocked that this didn’t work. And so what I would say is Dory, this is a setback, and it feels awful. But it is a short term setback. academia is a stagnant, declining industry anyway, that is going to be disrupted by the internet very soon. So Fear not, you do need, you do not need to get a doctorate and spend eight years studying an arcane subject. There are other ways for you to make a living and make a difference and even break into academia itself. Because if you are professionally successful in other ways, you can parachute in from the side without even getting a doctorate. And you need to recognize that initial setbacks might simply be a sign that the vision that you had crafted for yourself, is not the best vision. Because if people don’t want you in that place, then you probably wouldn’t be happy there anyway, because your talents wouldn’t be recognized. And so you need to go to a place where your talents are more likely to be recognized. And you don’t have to accept there’s one path to doing precisely what you want to do there multiple paths, you can crack the code, you can make the system work for you by thinking outside the box, not competing with thousands of other people for a job teaching literature in a tiny, boring little town like the one you came from. But instead, you can create a brand you can create a business you can create ideas that will have people coming to you instead. That would be my message to the 20 year old Dorie
David Ralph [56:49]
Dorie Clark, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you David
Dorie Clark [56:55]
Thank you. If folks would like to be in touch, I am at Dorie Clark, calm calm, which is do r IE CLA rk.com. And they can actually download a free 42 page standout workbook, which if they’re interested in developing their own breakthrough ideas, figuring out how to get known how to get recognized figuring out what is the idea you really wish to be recognized for this workbook actually walks people step by step through how to do that. So you can get it for free at Dorie Clark calm. And I also have more than 400 free articles available there as well.
David Ralph [57:33]
You do I was looking at that as you were saying that I was thinking 400 that’s almost as many as I’ve got shows, were like kindred spirits. You’re a writer and I’m a speaker.
Dorie Clark [57:43]
Amen to that.
David Ralph [57:44]
There we go is a perfect joint venture there. Dolly, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up the dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe about joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures Don’t forget, thank you so much.
Dorie Clark [58:02]
Thank you David
David Ralph [58:08]
and there you have it. Another show comes to an end in the join up dots land that was Dorie Clark. And of course, this was David Ralph and if you like this show, as I keep on saying please tell people because it’s the way that it will grow. If you do have a moment or two to just step over to iTunes and leave a rating review, whatever country you’re in, drop us a line tell us your name and we will give you a shout out and you can be famous to everyone that you know. Thank you so much for listening. This is David Ralph and I will see you again soon. Cheers. Bye bye
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.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.