Lisa Cummings Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Lisa Cummings
Lisa Cummings is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business podcast.
She is a guest who is a remarkable woman who believes in something profound, and has created a career around that something too.
Something that I buy into wholeheartedly.
She believes that life should be built on finding your key strengths and leading the way with them.
Not focusing on the things that you cant do very well, but finding the super talent that you do naturally well to then blaze a path across the world.
Starting her career as a Sales Executive for Business To Business back in 1998, it appears that the path best trodden for her actually started when moving into staff development.
Like myself she has spent most of her working life, building the strengths of individuals in corporations to make better, higher functioning teams.
How The Dots Joined For Lisa
Getting people to feel inspired by the working day instead of dreading that ringing sound by the side of the bed.
But what interests me is what personally was driving her back in the day.
As with a career strewn with employment lasting a couple of years at each time, it is clear to me that her ambition, was equally matched with a desire to find her thing too.
And now as a podcaster herself, or as she calls herself the Chief Strengths Sleuth: Host of the “Lead Through Strengths” Podcast: she helps people find and leverage their strengths at work.
Complimenting her workshops, keynote speaking and by performing a role of StrengthsFinder Performance Coach, which as you know is a publication that I have recommended many times on the show she is busier than ever..
So what is it about keynote strengths that lights her up inside and makes her want to build a business around it?
And is the inner talent something that is easy for someone to find themselves, or do they need a coach or mentor to point it out?
And what is the fascination with moonwalking in offices, or leaping dramatically from exploding vans?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start joining up dots, with the one and only Lisa Cummings.
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Lisa Cummings such as:
Why is is so important to have more and more fun in your life, especially when you are at work, and how this could be the secret ingredient that brings huge success.
Why she was consciously squashing her number one strength, as deep down she felt that it was somehow wrong to her to display this.
Why it is so important for Lisa to get out every week and meet new people, and why she makes so much effort to do so.
Why it is so backward to focus on your weaknesses, but from childhood to adulthood that is all we seem to do.
How To Connect With Lisa Cummings
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Lisa Cummings 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 [0:25]
Yes, hello, everybody. Hello world and welcome to Join Up Dots Episode 510. I don’t know why I’m going to tell you this. But I’ve got a bit of a problem bit of problem before we start recording. I’m desperate for a drink. I’m so thirsty. I can’t stop drinking. But when you do an hour podcast, you might need a wee break halfway through and I’m battling and battling mentally with do I drink or do I just push through? I’m gonna have to ask my guest today because she’s a podcaster as well. And she’s doing stuff which is rocking and rolling. She believes that her life is based around on something profound and she’s actually created a career around that something to something I buy into wholeheartedly. She believes that life should be built on finding your key strengths, and leading the way with them not focusing on the things that you can’t do very well, but finding the super talent that you do naturally well, and then blaze a path across the world. Now starting her career as a sales executive for business to business back in 1998. It appears that the path best trodden actually started when moving into staff development like myself, she spent most of our working life building the strengths of individuals and corporations to make better high functioning teams getting people to feel inspired by the working day, instead of dreading that ringing sound by the side of the bed. But what interests me is what personally was driving her back in the day as with a career stream of employment, lasting a couple of years, each time it’s clear to me but her ambition was equally match with a desire to find her being too and now as a podcaster herself, or as she calls us, The chief strength sleuth hosted the lead through strength podcast. She helps people find and leverage their strengths at work, complementing our workshops, keynote speaking and by performing a world of Strengths Finder performance coach, which as you know, is a publication that I have recommended many times on the show. She’s busier than ever. So what is it about keynotes strengths that lights you up inside and makes her want to build a business around it? And is it in a talent something that is easy for someone to find themselves? Or do they need a coach or mentor to point it out? And what is the fascination with moonwalking in offices and leaping dramatically from exploding vans? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start Join Up Dots with the one and only Lisa Cummings. How are you Lisa?
Lisa Cummings [2:44]
Hey, David. Life is good, doing great. Ready to go.
David Ralph [2:49]
He’s a delight to be on this show. Did you wake up feeling inspired and all infused or did you have that dreading feeling?
Lisa Cummings [2:58]
Oh, I don’t have a dreading feeling no longer I wake up feeling good. I sometimes I’d like to wake up a little bit later when the sun comes up. But yeah, you know once in a while you have a great podcast that you need to set your alarm for but it is. It is so good not hating your alarm clock or not hating your phone because it would cost $700 to replace it if you smacked the snooze button too hard.
David Ralph [3:23]
I don’t have a phone. I don’t have anything in my life. I don’t have a phone. I don’t have a watch. I have nothing. I I’m like Dances with Wolves. I see the sun come up. And that’s the only time I know.
Lisa Cummings [3:36]
I love it. Well, sometimes I’ll show you a picture of the the woods that I live in and I’m kind of off in the countryside. So I could have the dances Wolf with Wolves theme with you. Yeah, we would do that.
David Ralph [3:47]
So let’s start with the big question. And I’m sure it’s the question that everyone is hanging on. It’s important. It could be life changing. But as a podcaster Do you battle with having lots of drinks of water I’m been wanting to have a way halfway through your show.
Lisa Cummings [4:04]
This is where I know my strengths and holding it for an hour show is not key for me. It just couldn’t happen. So I do while I will today on yours, but yeah, I would have the same issue. So I do a 30 minute show. There you go. That’s my solution.
David Ralph [4:21]
hour hour plus I do I could, I could go longer. It’s a talent that I’ve created over years and years and years of bladder control. That’s the only reason I did it. I could have gone 15 minutes but I decided to go an hour to prove my bladder control to the world.
Lisa Cummings [4:36]
Just to show off
David Ralph [4:38]
just to show off to older pregnant women in the world.
Lisa Cummings [4:44]
Yes, you don’t have coughing problems on your show. It works out really well. See, I’m the flipside when I get on an aeroplane. I know it’s not gonna happen. I don’t want to go in that disgusting room. And so I d hydrate myself and then I sound horrible. So I have no skill in the we break one up our
David Ralph [5:06]
trampolines even going here but what I just looked outside my window and I saw a trampoline and I thought I’m gonna ask that last question before we move on
Lisa Cummings [5:15]
you know I could get down on a trampoline I don’t have any kids. So when I when I find a trampoline and kids want to get on it, I definitely am up to try a flip and toe touch and all those sorts of things. So yeah, that’s quite a lot of fun. I’m a klutz also. So I have to watch it and not hit my head and fall off but but the jumping is a good time is having
David Ralph [5:37]
a good time key to your life because I’ve been doing some virtual stalking on you. And as I was saying that the leaping from an exploding van, which I’m going to talk about, and the moonwalking in offices, which I just stumbled across, I don’t know how I stumbled, but all these kind of things, but not only are you doing and it looks fun, but you’re putting it out to the world does that say a lot About Lisa.
Lisa Cummings [6:03]
So moonwalking, whether it’s terrible or not, I think the cool thing is, is I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to see how valuable it is to, to show a side of myself the creative and fun side, I used to be afraid of doing that, because I’m perfectionist. And when I started showing a little bit more of the fun, silly goofy side, which is totally me, I just didn’t think that business people would want to see that. So I didn’t show it. And I noticed how much of a reception I get when I just put out me being me. And so likewise, I’m trying to do the same thing and my speeches and my training and my business, to show more of that and to not be so concerned about whether I’m, you know, dressed in a suit and acting perfectly and all those sorts of things. And so what scared me so much before is proving to be the opposite that want to put myself out there a little bit more. And actually show my real personality people go, Oh, you’re, you’re credible, but you’re also human and fun. And that’s so much better than being a boring, stodgy corporate suit,
David Ralph [7:08]
whether he’s in the it’s weird why people feel valid, because I come from the training background, and I used to balance my training courses, half education and half stand up comedy. And I used to try to balance it equally, where people would come out, trained, but also having a good time as well, where I used to go into training courses, and I’d be bored after 1015 minutes with this person just reciting the information. And it is it’s the ability to connect in a natural engaging way without losing the understanding of why you bear in the first place, which is so powerful.
Lisa Cummings [7:46]
I agree. And I bet I think because we both started in our training careers and financial services, that is kind of like the ultimate in expectation of being boring and buttoned up. And I remember By letting that go for the first time I was training mutual reps to become licenced, so that they could sell mutual funds and get their series six and 63. licences from the SEC is very serious stuff. But when I start playing the Blues Brothers and doing activities to the music that helped them remember the concepts or I had some things that I did with my body like arms making levers for interest in principle and helping them remember how one
David Ralph [8:28]
goes up here, Mikey, what lovers did you say?
Lisa Cummings [8:34]
cleavers. May we leave leavers? Oh, as
David Ralph [8:38]
we say in the United Kingdom leavers. I thought you were making lovers with your body. And I thought, that’s the kind of training cause I don’t want to be in a position Oh, well, you can find that in any old magazine. Can you really?
Lisa Cummings [8:54]
Yeah, that’s the one we’re showing, showing my real self. I’m not there yet. That might be the next Evolution. So, right now definitely we’ll keep it at leavers. We’ll have a an interview in about a decade and we’ll see if I’m ready for the lovers to be on display.
David Ralph [9:10]
I’ll tell you what, though, that even though it’s it’s stupid, and it’s fun, and it’s flippin, but it’s still something but there is an angle to create a business. I’m an absolute advocate on, the more mad and unique you get, the more there’s a market waiting for you. And I totally see that now where before as you were saying the starchy, you’ve got to be professional. If you can bring in that farm with that business, then you sell product. I totally beat bind to that. What do you think?
Lisa Cummings [9:43]
In my mind, I buy into it fully now. And in my actions. I’m trying to live into it and not be scared. So I’m starting to do more of that. And I think it’s going to be true it still scares me for some reason. So this is the year 2016 of making more content like that pulling those things into my speeches, I’ve been doing some stuff that I thought was crazy before pulling in interactive drumming, and things where people are doing activities based around percussion. And it’s cool to me, it’s memorable, they have movement. So they’re able to remember how they got all of these concepts pulled together, they had an experience a great time. And then they actually learned something during the process, but I was scared to death to put that stuff in before and I’m starting to learn that that can actually be the biggest differentiator because who else is doing stuff like that? But I don’t know why I’m still a chicken. It’s still a little scary to me to put that stuff out there and lead with it.
David Ralph [10:43]
Don’t be a chicken. I tell you what we should we should join forces I can push you into the world of lunacy. I’ve been doing it for 30 years And believe me, it’s it’s funny. I still have people now who are trained maybe 25 years ago, and they still come up to me and go Oh, do you remember that cost you Did so and so. And part of me slightly blushes, because it was me finding my thing and it wasn’t quite right. But I remember it. I remember it and I enjoy it, which is half the battle, I think more than half the battle.
Lisa Cummings [11:13]
Absolutely, yeah, this is it’s fun. And I’ve always been attracted to people who would lead a room like that or lead an event like that. And I would put small bits in there, they were just the amount of bits that felt safe enough to me and so I probably would have been your most excited participant in your training. But then if I went up to deliver the exact same one, I would take, you know, one quarter of them and put them in because that felt safer to me. So I’m with you. I think that it’s on the scale of get a little bit more mad get a little more loony. As if it’s you and it is legit like they they have to get something out of it. If they felt like they were getting their time wasted for two hours. They would be frustrated But if you can put that in a package where they’re having a great time they see your quirks. And you’re helping them learn something and they’re having fun along the way. I think it’s going to be a magic potion, the more and more of that I’m willing to reveal. It sounds like it worked for you from the beginning. You got it. For me, I’ve had this wall up. It’s almost like what but my quota I better back it down or they won’t take me seriously.
David Ralph [12:26]
Now just just go for it be your unique, authentic self, as we talked about every time on this show. And you know, it comes down to podcasting again, but you hear people replicating the same show, and it’s one of my bugbears where you hear people and they’re very successful doing their thing. And then somebody goes, Oh, I want to show I will replicate that. And I think, no, no one’s going to listen to you because you’re weak version of what was there before, just do your own thing. And if it flies, it flies and if it doesn’t, you can pivot but do your own thing.
Lisa Cummings [13:01]
Absolutely, yeah. I’m David, I’m gonna, I’m gonna live into it more.
David Ralph [13:07]
Yeah, go free. And I’ll tell you, I’m on your show soon, I am looking forward to it big time, I’m gonna have an early night. And then I’m going to drink heavily for about an hour and a half beforehand. So that, you know, we never know what I’m going to say all the way through, right?
Lisa Cummings [13:20]
The success of the show will depend on what the drink of choice is.
David Ralph [13:25]
Absolutely. And whether my bladder can can control myself all the way through. Now, it’s actually go back into your, your career. The thing that I am really interested in is that and we used to talk about it all the time on the show about the Gallup Strengths Finder. And it’s a brilliant little book. And the test is better than the book but the two sort of complement each other and we used to talk about it all the time. When you did yours, which I imagine you did because you’re now a coach in that area. Were you in the same way as me surprised by but ones down the list because you get And my first one I thought, yeah, okay, I can buy that. Second one. Yeah, pretty good. Third one. Oh, I’m not too sure about that fall from fifth. Mm hmm. I really know. And now over a period of couple of years, I think it was spot on. But I actually saw my strengths before I could see them were you to sign?
Lisa Cummings [14:19]
Oh, that’s such a cool phenomenon. I saw them for sure. I had a little different experience. So I saw them in me big time. I’ve taken it now three times over the last I think 11 years. And the biggest fascinating piece for me was that competition was one of my top 11 years ago, and I didn’t want it to be and I spent about 10 years trying to squash that in me. And when I took it again, this year in 2015, it had moved down the list substantially. You can you can spend more money and get the full 34 so you can actually see The full list of all 34 talents and how they stack rank. So I did that in all the reports I could find they liked you to only take it once, but I at first couldn’t find the old report and eventually did and so I took the 2009 version compared it with the 2015 version. And that competition piece was most fascinating to me because I had been consciously squashing it out so that part was interesting. And then
David Ralph [15:26]
Lisa Why were you squashing competition because surely competition is good. sharpens sharpens your veggies?
Lisa Cummings [15:35]
Yeah, Isn’t that fascinating? Well, I see it differently now because I practice this as a as a key part of what I do for a living. So now I see Oh, if I had nurtured it, it could be really helpful for me because if you’re always comparing yourself to other people, you have this litmus test about how you’re doing and so for me, I could have I could have matured it and I could have found new games for me to play, I could have found new comparisons, I could have found new ways to get jazz because I had a win. And instead, the reason why I squashed it is that I thought, Oh, if I’m in a corporate environment, that must not be a collaborative talent to display, it might be an unwanted one, except for when I was in a sales role, then competition was very supported. But in other roles, I thought, this isn’t going to show a side of me they want to see. And especially when I started leading a team, I thought, what does that mean for me as the implication of the compete against my team members, and that would be a crappy thing to do as a manager. So I just had all these ill perceptions about it and didn’t try to see the good in it and then just tried to push it out.
David Ralph [16:46]
Now you were raised in a household of boys and boys are naturally very competitive, and girls kind of operate in a different way. Do you think this kind of fear of competition or was sort of inbred from you your upbringing because I think it was.
Lisa Cummings [17:03]
Yeah, I think there’s a huge nature and nurture component. So for sure, I think part of it is just genes. It’s just how I’m wired. And no matter who you put me around, that’s how I would have come out. And then on the nurture side of things, so when I mentioned growing up with all boys, they’re actually all my cousins. I have a sister so she was my, really my my girl thing to be around, but she was younger than I was, and still is, by the way. But the boys, you know, there were a handful, say 1015 boy cousins, and heck, yeah, everything was about creating a sport or a game and winning it and my whole childhood was about going outside and winning at wiffle ball or the game we made up or football or whatever the thing was. And sure, I think that was huge and creating that drive to win because I got The high off of it even at five or six, I got the high from winning. And I think nature and nurture combined and made it really huge in me.
David Ralph [18:08]
Because people used to say to me, David, you’re a bad loser. And I used to say no, I’m a brilliant loser. But while I’m playing, I want to win at all costs. And I used to really work hard to win to win to win. And once I lost, I used to think, Okay, fair enough. I don’t really care. But people used to sort of put it into a parcel of, if you’re competitive, then you have bad loser, but I never saw it that way. What about yourself?
Lisa Cummings [18:32]
Same thing I can. I can be a sportsman I can lose and be fine with it and everything’s fine. But when I’m in it, it’s all the way and I think that is what gives me my achievement drive. I mean, I think without that drive for competition. I’m not sure how much I would want to succeed in life. I think when you combine that one with my number two talent is Maximizer. That one’s about making everything better. Just being okay isn’t enough. And so you combine those two together and I have this, I want to win, I want to win. And I want to know where I am compared with average. And then you have Maximizer, which is like, Alright, just putting out crap isn’t Okay, it has, you can always make it better. And it also gets into a life thing like live life to the fullest. What’s the point of being here if you’re not going to make the most out of your time. So then maximizers, the other piece that kind of creates the achievement drive because they can always be better I do deliver a programme, and then I make mental notes, okay, those four things, I’m going to go change this activity, I’m going to change this thing, this part could be made more useful this way. And then every time I can get a little bit better, so when you look up six months from now, that thing is amazing compared to when you started it.
David Ralph [19:50]
Well, let’s play some words. Now. Then we’re gonna delve back into that because that is fascinating, especially on your entrepreneurial road because I think some of that can naturally hold you back. Even Boats a shrimp. This is Jim Carrey,
Jim Carrey [20:02]
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,
David Ralph [20:21]
not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love. Now, tying that up to your story, it seems to me that you found the thing that you love, but you now want to love it even more by making it more yourself more fun, more freeing more unique. does that tie into what Jim Carrey says? Do we need to sort of go through several stages of finding that thing we love or should the listeners out there, just be able to see it at the end of the rainbow and they follow the rainbow and there’s their thing
Lisa Cummings [21:00]
Though the end of the rainbow thing just gets people so tripped up, and it makes people just have indecision and stop what they’re doing. So yeah, I totally agree with you that it happens in layers. I discovered this strength stuff like in tooth, the year 2000. I was just using it with my team when I read first, first break all the rules and now discover your strengths by Marcus Buckingham. I just used it to help myself not be a crappy manager to my team. And then I started using it for self discovery. And I learned a lot of things about me. And I thought, Oh, yeah, I’ve learned quite a lot. And then over the years, more and more and more, and look at it. Now. It’s 16 years later, and the depth that I’m getting into, it’s almost like you, you can’t unravel too much. It’s like that rocking chair test. Have you heard of that? Where you? You think of yourself when you’re 85 sitting on the rocking chair and say, What are you going to be thinking about? What would you regret now? Trying and this thing about letting myself loose and show the fully authentic me but still adding business value. That’s what I won’t regret. But if I wonder when I’m 85 What if I had put myself out there? What if I had added interactive drumming into the programme? What could that have become? Who could I have reached? How could this message have helped hundreds, thousands or even millions of people if I hadn’t before? And for me, that’s what makes me get out of the indecision to say, What if and think ahead about what I would regret.
David Ralph [22:38]
Oh, yeah. I love this conversation. Because in podcasting, the more I know about podcasting, the more I realised, I don’t need to know about podcasting. There’s a certain amount of stuff that people talk about, Oh, you got to do this. You got to do that. And I think that’s rubbish. Just record the content, get the audio as good as possible. Get it out to the world as much as possible. And that’s it. The other stuff that you can do forget about it. But within the area that I operate, and I record in a very different way to most people I know Well, I record an edit live. I just want to know more and more and more about that little area that’s super talent within the podcasting world. And that’s what you’re saying, the more you know about something, the more you want to know about something, and it just never stops. You can see how these, these old men have been doing the same thing until they’re sort of 90 and they say, I’ve got a lifetime’s more learning to know and you think really, you’ve been doing it for 80 years, but it’s the passion, isn’t it?
Lisa Cummings [23:38]
Yeah, it’s that that set thing also that as you get more competent and an area, then you start to become conscious of all the things you don’t know. And it can either open up an exciting world of like the wanderlust world where you go, oh my gosh, there’s so much more to dig into. This is amazing. Or you could take the opposite stance, which happens to me as Well, I’ve to two minds a little loony here, but the other side of it is, okay, now I start to question myself. Now I think back to all the things that I didn’t even know I was doing wrong or not seeing and you start to self edit, and you start to get a little concerned about, oh my gosh, there’s so much I don’t know, I have this really high awareness of it. And then you get that chicken factor that comes in where you’re afraid to put yourself out there. But you didn’t realise we don’t know.
David Ralph [24:27]
But you can’t edit your lack of knowledge because that lack of knowledge was the best knowledge you had at the time. And I say this to everyone. If you look back on your life, and Oh, God, I could have done that differently. What’s the point you couldn’t have done it differently? You did it as well as you could and that time with your level of knowledge, move forward. Don’t be a chicken, be a big turkey or whatever. But just keep on moving forward.
Lisa Cummings [24:50]
There’s a mantra for the year I’m writing it down. I’m not gonna be a chicken this year. I’m gonna be a turkey. It’s It’s beautiful.
David Ralph [24:58]
He’s and they have happy things in life. turkeys good. No wonder we eat them. It’s just a stop looking at them. Is this the right way to get them off this planet? So you’re on five streams? Do you know them off by heart because what happens listeners is you do this test. And when you get these five lists by little sort of statements of truth of your strengths, and then they give you like background information, how to develop them. And I found myself Lisa, as I say, I went through the list, but I worked really hard on some of them and others I kind of didn’t bother and I need to get back onto it. Do you know yours inside out?
Lisa Cummings [25:37]
Of course I do. And I’ll tell you mine and then you have to show me yours too.
David Ralph [25:40]
So I would say that to me for years.
Lisa Cummings [25:43]
Uh huh. Yeah, I know you’d like that.
Strategic is number one, and then Maximizer and then positivity, individualization and Woo. So I could describe those if you think the listeners would want to know what in the world those mean. But what’s the last one Whew, that’s the only one that is actually an acronym. It stands for winning others over. So it’s kind of an influencing theme of talent. And it’s about being able to have a lot of friends and a lot of social influence and watch what’s going on and see if you can win people over by the thoughts or the actions or the the value that you’re trying to put out there to the world. And so it’s kind of it’s definitely a relationship building kind of phenomenon. But instead of that person who has three close friends, this is the person who is like, I’ll take 1000 I can’t get enough of knowing more people.
David Ralph [26:42]
And do you need that in your life, do you because personally, I don’t need more than five people in my life or two people in my life. I don’t feel that at all. But do you feel that that is something that is a strength?
Lisa Cummings [26:55]
Yeah, and I’d be curious to know if relator is in your top because that’s kind of the opposite one where you might relate to those couple of really core important people. Yeah, I love it. I eat that up. So kind of like you I work from home. And I could be a complete hermit in the woods and never see humans, but I have a drive to want to go out and experience that. So a couple of times a week I go out, I make sure that I’m meeting with someone new. I love to get into new groups, and people just fascinate me. So I love to meet new people, and individualization, that other one plays really well together because individualization is about seeing what makes that person special and being able to spot it and quickly in a conversation, be able to find that thing that you can really relate to each other on. So whether it’s going to a new Meetup group, whether it’s going to an improv class and playing with people, whether it’s a networking, happy hour with somebody or even like international Travel is my most amazing favourite place to apply this because you’re meeting all these new people and you’re trying to find connection points, but you may not even be able to communicate with each other in the same language. So I, that those things to me just really fired me up. And that’s often the clue to those talents is the things that just get you fired up, you can’t get enough of them.
David Ralph [28:22]
And did that lead you into training, that ability to actually work with new people because as a trainer, you basically get a herd come through the door, you deal with them, they move out when the next lock come in, and you just keep on sort of churning over new people.
Lisa Cummings [28:37]
I think it made me love it. I don’t know if it led me there because I came into it a little different way. But once I got in, I loved that about it. Because then people three years later, might see you in the hallway or in the grocery store and go oh my gosh, I did that class with you about this. And yeah, that’s so fun to me to have that collection of people in my life.
David Ralph [28:59]
Well, let me see show you mine right now. Because and I do the first one and I want you to go Yeah, okay, or No? Okay, so this is like a game show with you scoring. So my my number one is futuristic.
Lisa Cummings [29:15]
You want me to do your game show all the way through individually? Absolutely. It’s my rules.
David Ralph [29:20]
Yeah. So every single one of them Yes or No? Okay.
Lisa Cummings [29:22]
So futuristic. This one is totally fascinating. We should come back to this one. Because in thinking about your whole theme of joining up the dots that one requires you to look back to make sense of it. So if I said my wonder if you’re teaching what you need to learn, people with really high futuristic tend to spend a lot of time looking forward and anticipating and thinking about possibilities. And so if you’re trying to ground yourself with joining up the dots and saying okay, you actually don’t need to worry about making sense of it today. Wait until you can Look back and join them up. It could be really good medicine for someone high and futuristic, who’s always the possibilities thinker.
David Ralph [30:08]
Yeah, because I want to do a show that’s reflective, I spend all my time looking at the possibility. And that’s what Join Up Dots is all about. It’s looking at by connecting your past, you build your future. So it’s a backward look to move forward. Number two Maximizer.
Lisa Cummings [30:26]
So this is interesting. Because I hear you, when you’re talking to me about the medicine I need with Maximizer. It’s like, hey, just put yourself out there, get it out there and it doesn’t have to be perfect. So I’d have to listen a little bit more to hear how that shows up on you. Exactly. But I suspect it’s, it’s in your podcast if I listened to how it’s changed over time, you listen to your early episodes, and you look at how you didn’t let your personality through as much and you said okay, I think this could be better if I loosened up, I just could be better if I let my personality in, I think it could be better if X, Y and Z and you keep improving it because it’s never okay to just keep it as it is, if it’s static, it’s dying kind of thing. So that one, I’d have to listen for a little more. Now,
David Ralph [31:20]
I have a problem with Maximizer. Because although I’m very quick at getting stuff out, and I don’t spend a lot of time, I always beat myself up afterwards. Always, if I do a training course that it goes amazingly well afterwards, I think that one joke didn’t quite go or that didn’t quite go, you know. So I do have that constant, not settling. I’m always looking to try to fine tune it and bring it up to the next level. So I think Maximizer is a strength, but I also think it’s an anchor as well. If I spend more time thinking about what could have happened, how could I made it better than anything else?
Lisa Cummings [31:56]
That’s so good. And that’s such a cool part of them as they each have We call it a balcony or a basement. It’s It’s as if each one has this really beautiful side like you’re on vacation on holiday looking out over the ocean feeling at peace with it. And each one also has its basement, the dark, dark, dank, mouldy side of you where it shows up and, and kind of haunts you or might drive other people bonkers. So that’s a great demonstration with Maximizer in that unchecked or on maturity. Yeah, it can be a thorn in your side too.
David Ralph [32:30]
Yeah, it’s a complete pain that one is, um, the next one is a belief.
Lisa Cummings [32:36]
So this is a good one. This one always relates a lot to values and when I see you using words like sermon on the mic, let’s say for a show segment. Belief is one like that where it’s it’s very driven by values and if you believe something to be true, you feel like it must be shared with the world so I can really see that showing up and driving you to create the Show and make sure that other people have the opportunity to see some of the things you’ve learned and to bring that through your guests. So I definitely see belief shining through.
David Ralph [33:11]
Because one of the things at the very beginning that I felt strongly about my show was that it was going to be something that couldn’t be replicated. But it was going to be totally unique. And a lot of people were saying to me, are you gonna make it 25 minutes because the average commute of an American is 25 minutes. And I used to think, oh, sup, Americans, you know, what about truck drivers in Canada, in a car or truck for four hours or 10 hours or three days or whatever? There’s more to life than those 25 minutes of commuters. And so I was totally now dawn that my show would be as long as as short as it would be. And that belief has helped me firm on many things where people have said to me, You shouldn’t do it. And now I continue doing it. I see. But it was actually a strength and I’m so glad I had that belief to kind of ignore them. Lisa.
Lisa Cummings [33:59]
Oh, it’s Such a good talent. And for someone like me who is a little I could. I don’t want to say I’m a waffler, but I can get distracted by, oh, that would be an interesting thing to try. Oh, we could go over here for a bit. Oh, I would like that belief is a really good grounding one to use when you want to stay a course and say, You know what, I don’t care about these outside inputs. I know this is the right way to go for it. And to see it all the way through instead of doing a little experiment and changing course. Imagine if you had changed course your show might have died and now it’s a successful one. So it’s really cool how it shows up.
David Ralph [34:34]
Absolutely. And I don’t mean to say subtle Africans. I love Americans. You come and listen to my show as much as you want and I will always make you welcome, Americans. Right? positivity.
Lisa Cummings [34:50]
positivity. So, I mean, this one’s all over you this positivity tends to have an optimistic flavour to it. That’s the most obvious out of The name, the other element of positivity is like a piece that life is too short. So let’s have a good time while we’re here and loosen up and bring the fun loving part of things, just the stories about you using comedy and your training classes. It’s one where it’s like Work is work and the thing that needs to get done, and those with positivity feel like hey, that can get done through fun because it makes the experience better. It makes it more memorable. It makes it worth having. And so you do you did that in your training 20 years ago, 15 years ago, you do it in your podcast today you goof off, you make jokes, and you don’t feel bound by being especially stiff. And so that part of it the fun part of you just oh gosh, it shows through all the way I would have guessed positivity. If you made me guess before,
David Ralph [35:51]
and the very last one is activator which to be honest, I once I got down that far, I didn’t really bother with activator. I’m not 100% sure what it is.
Lisa Cummings [36:01]
Well, this is a perfect demonstration of the word activator because activator tends to be the person who gets it started. Let’s just go You don’t have to fix it. You don’t have to make it perfect. You don’t have to analyse it 2000 ways over just get the thing started. And if you compare that with for example, another talent is called achiever. Well achievers are more concerned with the finish line, they have to get it done. And activators are more concerted are more concerned with getting it started. And so you got your list of five started and then trailed off before you got to number five. It’s just perfect. It’s perfect. In demonstrating activator, like Okay, I’m gonna get the strengthsfinder thing started but by number four, I’m not gonna finish looking at the list.
David Ralph [36:44]
So the beauty of what we’re going through and this is for the listeners is they’ve spent all their life going through education and they bring back bear sort of certificates and their reports from school and that they’re getting an A in math and they’re getting a BA in English. And the mums and dads look at it and go, Oh, no, that’s great. Oh, you’re doing really well. Oh, I think we need to get you some help in French or something. What we’re saying is don’t worry about French, you’re never going to be good at that. Just be really, really, really brilliant at the things you’re really good at. And more often than not, you’re going to enjoy a more as well. Is that true?
Lisa Cummings [37:19]
So true. And if you think about what happens anybody on any of your listeners who have kids, they’re probably doing this where they look at report cards, or if you don’t have kids like me, you can think back to your experience as a child. When you say, all right, you get the report card, you have three A’s, one B plus and one c minus. What do you focus on? Well, the conversation about 90% of the time is that you focus on the C minus and get the help in French like you were saying, and it’s just so backwards land when you actually discover strengths and go Okay, well just mitigate it. I mean, you don’t want to totally ignore something in If it’s going to be a risk in your life, so you need to work around your weaknesses, I try to avoid them as much as possible and either give them to somebody else or avoid that kind of work. But there are other things you can do if you need to work around it. But why give all the energy to French when that’s the thing you’re so terrible at put your energy and your focus of your development into this stuff you could be amazing at. It will make you feel more excited about doing the work, you get more productive, you get more done with more speed than your peers. And I’m not saying to ignore the other thing entirely. But why give it all your energy it makes no sense you feel drained by it sucks the life out of you, you procrastinate it, you don’t want to do that stuff at work. So give it the attention it needs, hopefully by working around it. But boy, look at your superpowers and invest in those you double down on those and you start to enjoy the work more you get way more productive and life is good.
David Ralph [38:57]
Now in an entrepreneurial world, I would say That your super talents come to the fore and you really maximise them big time. Now I know what my super talents are. And I know in this environment, they operate very well indeed. I also know in a corporate environment, a lot of people didn’t like my super talents. And a lot of the managers I used to clash with all the time because they were the stuffy professional. Let’s look serious kind of people when I wasn’t an even at the end of day. I remember going through sounds and smashing my targets, but still get into a bad reports because I wasn’t doing it in a certain way that they wanted me and I could never understand it. I used to say that I’m smashing your targets. That’s the end of story. That’s it. That’s what I’m here for. Why your focusing on on all that bad stuff? Oh, well, we got to make you more rounded. And even as a sort of 1819 year old I used to think this is fundamentally wrong. You’re asking me to do a task, make sales I’m doing there. And then you’re monitoring me on how I speak to a customer on the phone or something. You know, it was always totally wrong. How do the people out there listening to this who go Yeah, this is great. I love this strengths finders concept. I think I should take this test, I will find out my two or 345 Super talents, I will develop them. But then they’re boring manager who’s been there 100 years and is just pure middle management is trying to suppress them. How did they get past them?
Lisa Cummings [40:22]
Yeah, I talked about this all the time, it’s like this quest to become well rounded. That is so sad. Your your sharp edges get ground off by situations like the probably bad managers you’re describing. So in this case, let’s say your positivity actually was kind of masquerading as a weakness to that manager. So one thing that I think is really cool about Strengths Finder is you know, it’s a lot easier to tweak the way that your talent shows up, or your strength is showing up instead of trying to change who you are as a person. So I have had something kind of similar because my positivity is also very high. And on in a corporate world, it’s not always received, I felt like if I let that out too much, they’re gonna view me as the court jester. And no matter what I do, whether I smash my targets or not, then you can just get the scarlet letter and not look good. So one thing I really recommend is find where your talents might actually be masquerading as weaknesses, and then come up with some coping strategies for it. So in the example of positivity, I would realise Okay, for the for the analytical type, who needed to be sure that things were getting taken seriously or for the deliberative types of leaders who needed to make sure that decisions were really thought through carefully and that you weren’t just saying, oh, naively, I love this. Let’s go do it. Then I needed to present my ideas a little differently. So for me, I did a couple of things with positivity one Is that I would actually acknowledge what I had considered. Instead of moving past it, I would say, Oh, I looked at this situation. And I’ve considered this, this and this solution. I’m comfortable with the risk that we’re going to take on and doing this path, and we’re going to go for it. And then boom, they’ve seen the acknowledgement that I’ve actually thought about the business risks. And then I’ve done some analysis, or I’ve had somebody else help me with analysis, and then we move forward, and then I can be optimistic me and they think, Oh, it’s not just this naive goofball. And then the other thing is trying to find the other talents that would help get the influence you need. So for example, with positivity, that in its raw state can just look like a cheerleader. But when I would bring in my woo or my communication and some of the other talents I have that are really good for influencing. It would help me get in the mindset of my audience and say, Alright, how can I position this in a way that they’re gonna care about it? And then I could craft the communication or the story and way that they would receive well, and that didn’t feel like a lot of labour to me, because those were my talents too. So I just consciously applied other talents to the same conversation.
David Ralph [43:12]
What I used to do was, I would say to them, this is what I think we should do. And then they you’d come back and go, No, this is what we should do. I’d go, Oh, you’re so right. I hadn’t seen it that way. And then I’d come out of the meeting and do it my own way anyway. And I used to do that years upon year upon year. And when the results are good afterwards, they used to basically claim that they’ve made it up anyway, I had a boss, and he’s a owner of a company, and I’m not going to say his name. But if you listen to this, you will know who you are. You own this company, and I worked for this company for 10 years. And I used to go in there on a Monday for the meeting with him and I used to really hate going into this meeting. And he always used to make me feel uncomfortable. And he used to say right, what’s on the agenda today, David and I used to go right, I think we should do this bass, bass, bass bass, and he would say no, that’s Not that at all. What I think you should do is do bass, bass, bass, bass bass. So I used to think, Okay, fair enough. And I used to go out and change direction. And then a week later, he called me in and say, I’ve had a great idea. And he’d start throwing the ideas I had the week before him. And it was absolutely dreadful. So I just became very good at saying what the other person wanted. And then just doing my own thing, and after a while, nobody if and this is this is a super talent. It just occurred to me. If you’ve been in a company for long enough and you are better than anybody else at doing the job. After a while, nobody knows what you do. You just kind of do it. And things get done, and I don’t really understand and it can hold you back because especially in training, as you’ll say, Lisa, but it kind of looks easy. If you’re just standing up there and doing a course and you’re got a little flip chart and you’ve got your PowerPoint. You get people going I could do that easily because I don’t see this all night but 25 years of experience as lead up to that. And that super talent, but you can make it seem easy actually starts bringing you down because they can’t see the value and you’re kind of screaming, don’t isn’t just me making up as I go along, I prepared for this. I’ve done it really hard for years and years and years. But people just think that they can do it. How do you overcome that when you’re super tan and actually start becoming something that people can give you the value that it deserves?
Lisa Cummings [45:26]
Yeah, I think that a lot of times that happens because you also start stop seeing it as a super talent. So at least this is what happens when I lead these coatings or these trainings. I see most often. People forget that they’re their own super talents. And so then they’re not going to even try to make a case for showing what they’ve, what they’ve achieved or showing the results or making thing about it because they start to think oh, anybody can do this. This is so easy. They just can’t Spot their uniqueness anymore. And that’s the biggest danger, I think because number one, you have to be satisfied with who you are and what value you’re bringing to the world. So until you do, they can’t see it either. So in your case, that probably wasn’t the the situation. But this happens all the time where people are like, Hey, I’m competent, I can do my job just fine. It’s not maybe it’s not even difficult for them to do their work. It’s easy, but they’re, they’re bored with it in an easy way. And they don’t even think they have any special gifts. So when people say, oh, find your one thing, find your one passion, or what are you into? Or what are you great at? They’re like, I don’t have any gifts. And it’s difficult for them to see it. That’s why I think a tool like strengthsfinder going through this process is so valuable to people because especially if you can do it with others, you start to see Oh, well that wouldn’t be easy to me at all. Or Oh, that sounds so simple to me and this person’s true. struggling with it and you just start to see the contrast between who you are and who they are. And you realise, oh, wow, I do have something really special here.
David Ralph [47:08]
Everybody has something special donate a bass oh do and the trouble is, you can’t see until you can see it. And then when you can see it, you can like oh my God, I’ve always been able to do this. Now I was listening to your really good podcast the other day with Jessica Rhodes on lead through strengths. And the two of you were sort of talking about the same thing, how she has built her Strengths Finder into leading a team. And because it’s allowing her to have more flexibility because she was a one woman operation, and then her team is flourishing around her and I’m sort of engaged with them quite a lot, the ladies over there. And it was brilliant how an individual strengths could then develop a whole team and because the team were being developed, it kind of bounces back. It becomes like a boomerang that keeps on going around the room and keeps on hitting you
Lisa Cummings [48:01]
Oh, it’s so true. You know, you do it with yourself. We talked about those layers. And that’s like your own personal Boomerang, you keep going, Oh, there’s so much more to learn, oh, I have so much more to get about me. And then when you do it with a team, and you start to have this awareness about, oh, that’s why this person thinks that way. Or this is why this person’s always asking for that, or that’s why this person volunteers for that. You start to see, oh, wow, we can really shape the job to match their talents, we can really start to swap out tasks so that amazingly, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. When it comes to responsibilities, you can start to swap those out. So boy, when you do it as a team, the impact is just exponential compared with if you’re just doing it on your own.
David Ralph [48:41]
Right, just before we send you back on the Sermon on the mic to have a one on one with your younger self as we always like to do. Where is your life going now? Because obviously you you work from home, you’ve got your podcasts, you’ve got your your presentations, your coaching, where’s your focus, which is the bit that you go Yeah, actually, this is really be fun, and I think this is this hits within my 8020 I’m gonna get so much results and enjoy it at the same time.
Lisa Cummings [49:08]
Yeah, so the speaking and training and the virtual training that I’m doing around Strengths Finder and strength space development is definitely the core focus of my business and and it will continue to be, and then the real part where you talk about, alright, what’s your focus and what are you changing and focusing on this year, it’s that it’s that bringing the fun it’s letting me live out my whoo and my positivity talents in a way that I haven’t before by bringing in more of the interactive drumming activities into the speeches so that when people come to an event, they go to a conference, and they experience these things that I do with Jim Bay drums and these big boom whackers sticks and these drumsticks and they’re having a great time and they’re having a memorable experience but they walk away and a month from away from that day. They can Look back and go Oh, right. Remember when we were talking about how I maximise my futuristic talent and they’re linking it back like melody and memory together and they’re linking back to that moment. That’s the thing I’m focused on this year is letting myself bring more and more of that in to differentiate the business and to add more value to the world.
David Ralph [50:20]
I’ll tell you why. If you had a Beatles song, it would be here comes the fun when it comes the phone. I can hear that as being your anthem every morning.
Lisa Cummings [50:31]
I love it. And you know, if you listen to a couple of my episodes, I love doing theme songs. never have thought of that one. So you just won the heavyweight champion of the world for coming up with my theme song. I love that one.
David Ralph [50:43]
Do you have it? It comes to fun. Well, this is my theme tune really. And this is the part of the show that 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 lady, so what advice would you give him what age would you choose? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the theme tune and when it fades you up. This is sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [51:09]
with the best bit of the show.
Unknown Speaker [51:27]
Lisa Cummings [51:29]
okay, I’m gonna talk to my 22 year old little Lisa. Lisa, your life is gonna be amazing no matter what path you pick, your drive your relationship building that’s all going to help you succeed. What I want you to know is that you need to pick, you already know your superpowers, but you’re gonna tend to take jobs through some easy filters for the money for the title. For surface level things, but you need to think a little bit more about living and your strengths. And defining your own success and questioning what has even brought you your definition of success today because it’s probably just the life you’ve lived up to this point. There’s a lot more out there that you can pick that you don’t know about today. The other thing I’d tell you, Lisa, is to smell the roses a little bit breed. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have fun. Don’t worry about those library and glasses and that bond you’re wearing at work so that you can be taken seriously as a 22 year old instead. Just live into who you are. You already have the chops, you’re going to get more of them. Stop trying to please everybody else. If you please you. You’re going to become the best version and you’re going to be able to have a Much bigger impact on the world
David Ralph [53:05]
oh you finished I’ve you i was i was engrossed in every word you’re saying what was the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Lisa Cummings [53:14]
So number one best way would be out at the website lead through strengths comm or the email Lisa at lead through strengths, calm and all the typical good stuff, social media links are both out there. And also in your show notes.
David Ralph [53:28]
We’ll have over links on the show notes. As you say your podcasting legend you never well thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots and please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our paths is the best way to build our futures. Lisa, thank you so much. So a slightly different show. It wasn’t so much about connecting Lisa’s dots it was more about connecting the strength and seeing why that purchase of strength finders 2.0 is so important it really is because you can find the things that you do really well and then build upon them and get them better and better and better until you It can’t be denied. You aren’t willing to go forward at a rate of knots because you want to go forward because it’s that thing you love because you enjoy it so much. And when people see you back, ultimately by have to step back and go, Wow, this person’s good Strength Finders, 2.0 that’s where you go do your test. But if you’re not gonna do that, at least come back to us. This was David Ralph, Join Up Dots. See ya. Bye.
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.