Pete Sena Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
Introducing Pete Sena
Pete Sena is todays guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots podcast.
Pete is a design-led entrepreneur who loves to partner with future-forward founders, entrepreneurs, and business leaders to unlock new possibilities and growth.
At nine years old, Pete was the kind of kid who found taking computers apart and putting them back together fun.
A digital native on steroids, “Pete the Geek” started coding at 13, consulted for global companies in high school, and launched Digital Surgeons from his dorm room.
Digital Surgeons, a forward-obsessed brand experience consultancy.
But what is being forward-obsessed all about.
He chooses to place his passionate, purpose-driven focus on leveraging the power of design and technology to make the world a better place.
This is Pete’s Ikigai — the thing that gets him out of bed in the morning.
As he says “My heart would always would start beating faster when it came to art and technology.
How The Dots Joined Up For Pete
My coding and design skills became my ticket to college. Ready for a mentor but not sure how to find one, I turned to geniuses, innovators and billionaires both real — Steve Jobs — and fictional, like my old favourite, Tony Stark (Iron Man) for inspiration.
But the one thing i knew more than anything was by improving people’s businesses and increasing their bottom-lines with next-level design, I could help people and organizations build affluence and influence — so they can pay their success forward.
Helping as many people and businesses as possible use their power for good.
So why has he been driven so much to help the world, when so many business owners are all about me, me, me?
And what was it about a talk by the pretty unknown Brene Brown that truly changed his life forever?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Pete Sena
During the show we discussed such weighty subjects with Pete such as:
Why Pete believes what happens in life is similar to being a DJ by mixing songs to bring something new to life and in business.
We discuss how so many people come out of college and university with no clear idea of where they want to head but thats ok.
Pete believes that creativity and inspiration is broken in the education system and gives steps to how to improve it.
We find out a great new system called start, stop, continue that makes such a difference to Pete’s life and one that we can all use.
How To Connect With Pete Sena
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here– enjoy
Full Transcription Of Finding Your True Ikigai Meaning
Life shouldn’t be hard life should be a fun filled adventure every day. So now start joining up dots tap into your talents, your skills, your God given gifts and tell your boss, you don’t deserve me. I’m out of here. It’s time for you to smash that alarm clock and start getting the dream business and wife You will of course, are dreaming of. Let’s join your host David route from the back of his garden in the UK, or wherever he might be today with another JAM PACKED episode of the number one hit podcast. Join Up Dots.
David Ralph [0:40]
Yes, hello there. Good morning to you. Good morning. And good morning. Again, welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you so much for being with us on the show today. And I’m gonna say I know I know this is gonna be a good one today because you just get a flavour you get a flavour when you speak to someone. And I’ve been reading this guy for the last couple of days on medium. And he’s got opinion on literally everything which we’re going to cover on the show. He’s a design lead entrepreneur who loves to partner with future forward founders, entrepreneurs and business leaders to unlock new possibilities and growth. Now if we go back a few years at nine years old, he was the kind of kid who found taking computers apart and putting them back together fun. A digital native on steroids paid the geek as he was known, started coding at 13 consulted for global companies in high school and launch digital surgeons from his dorm room. Now digital surgeons is a forward obsessed brand experience consultancy. But of course, what is being forward obsessed all about. He chooses to place his passion, purpose driven, focused on leverage the power of design and technology to make the world a better place. It’s not just about him. This is his iki guy, the thing that gets him out of bed in the morning. As he says my heart would always start beating faster when it came to art and technology. My coding and DisArt design skills became my ticket to college, ready for a mentor but not sure how to find one. I turned to geniuses, innovators and billionaires both real Steve Jobs and fictional like my old favourite Tony Stark, yes, Mr. Iron Man himself. But I knew more than anything was by improving people’s businesses and increasing their bottom lines with next level design. I can help people and organisations build affluence and influence so they can pay this success forward, helping as many people and businesses as possible use their power for good. So why has he been driven so much to help the world when so many business owners are all about me, me, me? And what was it about a talk barley pretty unknown brand a brown but truly changed his life forever? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show, to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Peter Sena. Morning, how are you?
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [3:05]
Doing great, doing great, awesome to be here.
David Ralph [3:07]
It’s lovely to have you here. And I’m going to start straight with fat, because I was reading loads of your stuff. And I was really interested when you sat down in a conference room and a lady who was quite unknown at the time called Brene. Brown, who’s very well now well known now started talking and it kind of changed your life. It’s one of those moments that the message hit at the right time. Tell us about it. Because I think that’s a real big part of where you are today.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [3:36]
To really appreciate that. And clearly you do your homework, which is one of the reasons why I’m so excited to be on Join Up Dots today. So thank you so much for that. So I think the the talk if you’re not familiar with it, so Brene Brown, she was she is a shame researcher, she researched shame and a number of different things for years. And what she discovered in all of her work was the importance of vulnerability in both authentic leadership, but as well as just living a happy, productive and successful life. And it was, you know, my whole life, I sort of grew up the son of a my father’s family came from Italy, and he’s a blue collar guy, union guy, and here in the States, and we grew up watching 280s action movies where you had all these tough guys that were, you know, doing amazing, spectacular things and sort of growing up and 80s Baby, you know, I was sort of taught and bred to be this like tough guy and, you know, hiding my feelings and hiding my emotions and sort of always being this invaluable, kind of, you know, super, super strong, tough person and it wasn’t until I discovered the Brene Brown work around vulnerability that I realised you know, one of the famous things she she talks about a incredible Teddy Teddy Roosevelt quote where she talks about, it’s not the critic who counts and she talks about the sort of man in the arena or, you know, person in the arena, obviously want to make just Multijet. Enter. But I think it was that point in my life and career and work, I had been running a business for a number of years, advising a number of other businesses. But I realised that the more vulnerable I could be, the more I could open up my true self. Pete, the geek as you, as you sort of lovingly brought back up, the more I could be me, you know, nobody else can be you. Right. So the importance of vulnerability really changed how I lead, it changed how I show up now as as a son, and a father and a husband and a leader, and changed every aspect of me. So if you’re not familiar with Brene, brown, do a Google search on her for all the listeners out there. She’s got some incredible YouTube talks, Ted Talks, she’s got some Netflix specials. And she’s really taken the world by storm, because I think what the world needs is more compassionate kindness and what the world needs is more vulnerability. And I thank her I don’t know her personally, but I thank her for how much her work and her thinking and her research has really inspired me, in the many people I get the chance to work with every single day
David Ralph [5:55]
is a key point to not just business, but life. I spent many years in corporate world. And I think I’m as close to where I am. Now, as I was playing, I didn’t try to play an act, which in many ways held me back in my career, because it was all about playing a part. It was about looking like what they expect you to be like, but it’s exhausting. It’s so exhausting. And the more authentic and playful you can become, the more you enjoy yourself. And then the more passion comes because you want to do more of it is it seems an easy win to me that it’s not about chasing the money. It’s about chasing the fun.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [6:39]
I totally agree with you. I love that chasing the fun. I wrote that down. Hopefully, the fish writing with the pen isn’t making too much noise in the headphones. But ya know, that’s a good one. Now,
David Ralph [6:50]
what is fun for you, then you you wake up, and we’re going to talk about iki guy, let’s jump straight into that, because that’s the Japanese kind of picture of finding the sweet spot. That’s the bit in business and life and your passions and your talents where you really are in that moment. That is almost flow state all the time, as soon as you bear. Now your iki guys seems to be about a mission bigger than yourself. Where’s the fun in that for you?
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [7:24]
Yeah, so you know, I want to be a force for positive change in people’s lives. So you know, the thing I think is so beautiful about the consummate geeky guy. And I can go into more details if it’s helpful, David, but just at a very high level, when I’m thinking about anything I do. I’m always looking for the intersect, you know, what I like to think of is that we are all DJs of our own life. And we’re sort of mixing together different songs. And by DJs I mean, literally, like someone who’s mixing two different songs together. I think everything’s a remix. And the answer your question, what gets me excited is just the way that I blend different things together and how those things come together and intersect. I love to be in a place of service, you know, coming up growing up, I didn’t have a lot of people that were sort of cheerleading for me that were championing me and helping me along the way of becoming a creative entrepreneur. And I’ll talk about what it means to be a creative entrepreneur later on today. But really, what gets me out of bed in the morning is being able to solve creative problems and help people really unlock the possibilities that they have in their life and work. So that’s really what gets me out of bed in the morning. I’m a huge tinkerer, I love to play with design and technology and business and human behaviour. And I think that’s one of the reasons why I consider myself a student of life is that I’m always learning something new. And one of my biggest goals, you know, both past present and future is going to be just continuously being curious and trying to get what I call 1% better every single day. And I do that with myself. And then I try to embody that in myself when I work with my clients, and help them to do that with their businesses and themselves as individuals and as a collective group. So that’s a big thing for me, that gets me going. Some people think I’m a little crazy for still running a service business, because you know, I’ve obviously been a part of a lot of very successful products, some that I can talk about some that I can’t. And, you know, ultimately I think being at a place of service just makes me feel good and makes me feel good to be giving back and to be giving, giving value to folks that can help push their dreams forward. And I love that I like to know.
David Ralph [9:22]
Now, one of the things you said was that your life is similar to being a DJ, and you’re mixing different tunes. Now, obviously works when the tunes blend very well. But if you’re if you’re mixing the wrong stuff, then it doesn’t work. How do people find the right tunes in their life when they are on a journey of kind of cloud discovery. And what I mean by that is they just don’t know they’re in a cloud. They’ve just gone through the education system. They’ve gone into university. They don’t really know what they want to do. How do they find the right tunes to mix
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [9:59]
first I love that. And it’s the timeliness of this. I don’t know when this is going to actually release. But literally this morning. For those of you that are on LinkedIn, definitely check out LinkedIn this morning, I literally posted something on my LinkedIn I kid you not. So this is April 14, just for the date if you if you want to check, but literally, I wrote, stop telling people to chase their passion, if they don’t know what their passion is. So to answer your question, I’m going to answer the tunes metaphor and the DJ metaphor in just a second. But what I say is, help people find out what their superpower is, help people connect the dots between what they offer and what the world needs.
David Ralph [10:35]
And can I say Join Up Dots? Can we can we say join us join the dots in steps.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [10:39]
Absolutely, as long as everyone on this on this podcast that’s listening knows because it’s the beauty of the internet is it’s out there, right? I can’t edit it now. I said connect the dots. But now I want to go back and I wish I could edit it, delete it and put join the dots because join the dots is so much better than Kinect. And then last but not least, is identify what it is that they love to do. And to answer your question. One of the things that I love is there was it someone said that the like, someone recently took all the sounds that Apple computers make. So if you have an Apple computer, you know when you turn it on that the apple noise, someone I can’t recall the chaps name. But there was a there was a guy who went and took all the apple songs or the sounds from Apple devices over the past, I don’t know 1015 years. And he made this really, really cool. Like, I got almost like a house electronic music beat. And I share that. And you might be the audience might be saying, well, why the hell are you sharing that PII. And I’m gonna tell you exactly why I’m sharing that, I share that because you wouldn’t think that a bunch of computer sounds could be put together in an ensemble that in the right mix, and the right recipe could lead to something that’s very interesting. So oftentimes, I tell people, you can take any two songs and find a way to put them together. Now let’s be clear, you might have to do what a lot of you know, popular rappers and hip hop culture do which is you have to sample you have to take small bits and pieces. Maybe it’s a drum, maybe it’s a vocal, maybe it’s different parts. And putting those things together. And it’s about the order, right? Timing is everything. Order is everything. And it’s the blend of those different things. So I think the term that I used to DJ, if you can’t tell when I was younger, the term that that DJ is typically referred to when you have a bad mix is it’s called a train wreck. And we all we all know when I say the word train wreck, you can imagine in your mind what you see, you see the sort of crashing down if something so not not all two songs, if you try to slam them together gonna go well, there’s a finesse that’s required, there’s a blending that’s required. So whatever you’re trying to do coming out of university, or maybe it’s, you know, restarting your second career thing to remember here is a lot of folks, they don’t you know, Sam Walton didn’t start Walmart until his late 40s. I mean, there’s a lot of entrepreneurs, I believe, we definitely fact check that a lot of entrepreneurs are starting businesses in their 40s. So it’s not all the Whiz Kids in the garage is that 19 That dropped out of college and become the next Mark Zuckerberg right. And I think I say that because it doesn’t matter where you’re at in your journey. But being mindful of those ingredients, whether you like the food metaphor, or the DJ metaphor, you’ll just choose one, I encourage folks to look at all the things that they have, even if they only have a limited set of collective experiences, they can understand the energy that comes from those different things. And that’s why I say sort of like, blending these things together is really how you do what I call, which is how do you how do you find your purpose? How do you find your EQ guy. And I love that concept, you know, discovering that concept, again, not my idea. It’s an amazing Japanese concept. And believe it or not, it actually had nothing to do with work if you dig into the origin of it. In Okinawa, Japan, there’s a great book on on sort of, you know, a guy in general, but I’ve sort of taken it, remixed it a little bit and really put a business thematic lens on it, which I’ve helped a number of people, including myself, kind of shaped their careers as a result of it. So I hope that that answers the question, David.
David Ralph [13:50]
I went around a friend’s house the other day, me and the wife went ran a friend’s house. And they’ve got two girls who basically we’ve known since they were babies, we had two kids at the same time as they had two kids. And the eldest one was saying to us, she’s at university now. And we said, How’s University going? And she said, Well, yeah, I’m loving it. I’m loving it, but it’s, you know, it’s stressful. I’m really, really stressed. I said, Why? Why are you so stressed? And she said, Well, you know, I don’t know, you know, what’s going to happen afterwards? And what happens if I fail? And so when we sort of discussed it with her, she was basically doing what her parents have told her to do. So she was studying. At the end of it, there’s no plan and she said, Yeah, but when I do when I come out the upper end and I said, experience life, you know, just coming out the upper end, do your best, grow while you’re there, and, and then come out and then make a decision. Look around, see what you want to do. It may not be linked to university, it may not be linked. You know what you thought you were going to do, but life has a way of bringing things to the table when you least expect it. Now, given that contrast, my two kids are at university now. And we just said stem, do what you want, do what you want, but make sure that you love doing it. And we’ve never had these conversations with them about what they’re going to do, when they come out the other end, they just kind of believe that it’s all gonna pan out because they’re more fluid with their thinking. And that’s a big message that we’ve got to send out, isn’t it pay VAT. It’s not all about learning everything today, it is about experiencing stuff today and tomorrow and the day after, but you’ve got to sort of, you’ve got to get out there and try things.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [15:32]
I couldn’t agree with you more. And I, you know, what’s interesting is, I consider myself really blessed in that from a very young age. You know, when I started, like, writing code, you know, 1213, whenever, however old I was, I knew what I wanted to do, very clearly, it was a visceral vision in my head. And I’m so grateful for that. And over the years, I used to think people were crazy, that didn’t know what they were passionate about. What I what I do now, you know, working with a lot of people, I do a lot of talks at universities and conferences and work with people of all shapes, sizes, and places in the world and different stages in their career in life. And what I’ve come to really, really appreciate is I have a tremendous amount of empathy now, for people that are battling uncertainty. And I think, you know, the thing that I would say, and I’m not here to sort of take a big giant poopoo on universities, because I did go to university and finish and finish or whatnot. But what I would say is, I think that I believe that creativity and curiosity are broken in business. I’ve been saying this for a very long time, on the record with my clients and things. And I think that we all start out creative, you know, the number of time we ask the question, why, when we’re a small child, there’s like a linear fall off. As we get older, we ask less questions, we ask why less, we challenge the status quo a lot less as we get older, because we’re put into these linear systems. We go from, you know, secondary school, to grade school to your high school, university, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. We go through these journeys, oftentimes, journeys that society has placed for us on the journeys that our parents or teachers, or professors or elders have placed for us. And I think that that the problem is when you get yourself into a linear mindset, it’s very easy to wonder, okay, what is your step A and then B, and then C, and D, and, okay, now you get to step F, well, what’s next? Right in the journey, and I think what’s really interesting is to be able to embrace the experience because one of my, my really good friends as a game designer, he worked on some video games like Halo and some some big names and, and whatnot. And he gave me this phrase that I want to share with the audience here today. Because I think everyone will really like it, which is we all get infinite restarts. Right? So let’s say your kids go to university, let’s say they finish up and they don’t want to go on to what their university sort of programming for maybe they do the first internship, maybe it’s an accounting or finance or marketing, or whatever the thing is in, and maybe they say, You know what, I really don’t like accounting or finance. I just spent, you know, 100 $200,000 of my money, or my parents money or student loan debts. And now like, what do I do? What I challenge people to do is get right back to think about those two songs when you smash them together, they sound really bad together, but really dig into what can we learn from those concepts? You know, what can we learn from that financial background? Okay, like, what can we learn about mathematics? Okay, well, maybe mathematics teaches about harmony. Maybe it teaches us if it’s accounting, it’s debits and credits. Well, that’s about balancing things. I’ve seen people leave financial careers and go on to be incredible yoga instructors, right, because the idea of balance is something that’s based baked into finance that they can now take to a completely different thing. If you might be listening to going well, this is crazy to think that someone will be finance to go into yoga. I know someone who literally worked at Google was making a tonne of money, they left and they’re happier now than they’ve ever been as a yoga instructor making a fraction of what they made. I think the way we have to think about living a full life today goes far, far deeper than the linear stories that we are met with. And it goes far deeper than the limitation of creativity that I think we impose upon ourselves. So I don’t want to get too, too meta philosophical here, David. But we are talking about joining up the dots here. So I just wanted to make sure to drop that on the group here. Let’s hear from
Unknown Speaker [19:15]
Jim Carrey. And we’ll be back with Pete 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 [19:44]
Now, I came from a state where I believed that everything was possible, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I was sitting in a pub garden this morning, and me and the wife she was having a soft drink and I was having a soft drink, and we’d been through a bit of walk. And I said to her, this is life is good, isn’t it? I said, This is amazing. Thursday morning, the sunshine and we’re sitting in a pub garden this afternoon, I’m going to record a couple of podcasts, we can do anything we want, wherever we want, because of the life that we’ve constructed for us. And she said to me, but how have you done that? And I said, basically, I’ve got my head down and worked until it became clear to me. And I think that is basically my message that there’s certain times that you you don’t know the next step, you don’t know where the dots are going to lead. But you’ve just got to keep on going. Persistence, beats everything cupping. What do you think?
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [20:44]
I love that. You know, what are the my favourite favourite quotes is genius is 1% 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. And I think that what I mean by that is not to say perspiration as as in terms of hard work, or hustle. Which excuse me, I gotta get a bad name for these days. But I totally agree with you. I think it’s by you doing all those different things. And those explorations, you’ve now arrived at this incredible thing that you’re making a great living and that you’re happy to. So I think it’s about experimentation. It’s a you know, no one ever cracks the eureka moment, on their first try. You know, we we often look at things as people being overnight successes. And what we don’t see is the 510 1520 or more years where people are spent sort of iterating experimenting on whether it’s a breakthrough product or breakthrough business, or even just transforming their life in a way that that finds things that gives them worker value. So I love that Jim Carrey quote, I’m a huge, huge fan of the way he thinks about things. And I recall that quote, so
David Ralph [21:44]
thank you for playing. Now, one of the things I’ve been looking at a lot recently is like you, I’m an avid reader. And I read and I jot things down, and I basically block out time each day to get a book out and read. And this guy I was reading today, he was talking and I mentioned it in a podcast recently. So you might have heard it, or it might be coming soon. But anyhow, he was talking about there’s no difference between success and failure. Basically, with success, you can be up high and somebody can knock you down. With failure, you can be down but you can get back up yet you’re still unstable, no matter where you are, the only place that you’re going to be totally stable is by doing nothing and just standing there. Now, we see that a lot when people get success and almost kind of destroy it, because they’re not used to the success. And they do some amazingly stupid things. Will Smith, anybody back that date stamp this one? But you’ve been What are you doing? Why are you doing that? You know, you’ve got everything and you’re doing these weird things? How does that sit with you those moments when you kind of think to yourself, actually, this is I’m having cake and eat it time and I shouldn’t feel good about this. And I don’t feel good. And then other times I don’t feel good, but I should feel good is sometimes it’s not right, even though it’s everything you’ve worked towards?
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [23:08]
Yeah, well, I knew that we were going to have a slap a good time on today’s podcast. We pray to go that way. But to answer the question, I would say that what I think about success and failure for me, what I think about is a really interesting delineation is this idea of mindset. So I was on a call, literally this morning, with with someone I’m advising, I do these these things called entrepreneur residence programmes where I get to sort of help basically help people hopefully, make less mistakes than I made my career to get to where I’m at. And one of the people I was talking to, they’re saying, you know, I got a meeting my board and you know, we’ve just failed, but so many different things, etc. And I said, Stop, walk me through why you think you failed, and they walked me through some different things. I said, no, no. What I want to talk about is fail as an acronym, fail as an F first, a attempt I n l learning. So failure, first attempt and learning. Okay, let’s talk about all the things that we learned not let’s not talk about all the ways we failed. So I basically with a reframe, which is just a classic design thinking technique. We ended up basically coming up with a long list of learnings that they had from all these in, quote, failures that this person had. So the person walked away from the call and was Austin, you can see sort of their energy. They started out when we were on the call. I was you know, even though it was a Zoom meeting, they were sort of hunched over you could see their shoulders, they looked a little beat down. Look, there’s something on the shoulders, and they walked away from the meeting after in literally just a 15 minute call, shoulders up, smiling, ready to go. And they if you really think about it, nothing changed except for this person’s mindset. So I think when you when you think about failure, when you think about success, I think that only we from within can define through that mindset, what is failure, what is success? And the one thing that I would say to anyone listening to this is if you feel like you’re failing or if you feel like you’re a failure or whatever it is you change your perspective, right? The metaphor that I give to people a lot of times is, there’s a talk I gave called the UX of you. And I often on the street, I put a picture of a thermometer, and I put a picture of a thermostat. And I asked the audience, okay, what do you see on the screen and people yell out thermometer or a thermostat? And I say, okay, great. What’s the difference between the two? And people kind of don’t really know what I mean there. Because this talk is about sort of designing your future career. It’s called the UX view, UX being user experience. But in that conversation, what I basically say is a thermometer simply reacts to its environment, it tells you the temperature, is it cold in here? Is it warm in here? What is the temperature versus a thermostat, the environment responds to it. So when you set your thermostat up or down the environment around you, hopefully, if your HVAC is okay, the environment around you responds to you. So the thing I say to people, no matter where they’re at, whatever walk or talking, that they’re at in life is be the thermostat Don’t be the thermometer because the thermometer is all is the person that’s going to be in that mindset where, you know, they’re on that hedonic treadmill, right. They’re just they’re failing, they’re or they’re not successful enough, or they just need that one more thing to be happy. And they need that one more thing to be successful. When the reality is, I think in a lot of ways, happiness, and success starts within our own minds. And, again, that’s just that’s helped me get through some really, really tough times in life, I hope it helps somebody now or in the future, on this awesome podcast here.
David Ralph [26:22]
Well, I’ve realised a time and time again, and I didn’t in the early days in any shape or form, is, sometimes you can’t control the temperature, sometimes you just got to get out of the room and go somewhere else. And I never used to do that I used to just plough through and just come back and just be sort of engulfed by issues and whatever. Well, I should have gone by sod this, leave this come back three or four days later, it’d be fine. Switch it all off. Now, are you somebody that’s very aware of when you’ve actually had enough pee, and it’s time to depart for a few days of disconnect?
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [27:03]
So, yes, but a clarifying question. Before I answer it, are you referring to just overall self care in terms of like, knowing when you need a break? And you’re burning out? Are you referring to like, when it’s time to like, leave something behind? Completely?
David Ralph [27:18]
The first? Sure, I’m the first mainly, but I think the second there are points where you, you shouldn’t be dragging around crappy business ideas, even though you’ve been working on it for three years.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [27:33]
Yeah, I mean, I have a lot of thoughts on that. So I’ll start with the first and then I move to the second and feel free. Of course, David is I’m sure you will, is jump in and steer, steer the ship because it’s your ship to steer, obviously. So I’d say to the first question is, meditation literally saved my life. And again, anybody who does their their googling on me, I’ve written about this quite a bit. I, like many entrepreneurs was past the point of creative burnout years and years ago, I mean, again, I have total empathy forever, what people are going through right now with this pandemic, even though some are saying what pandemic some are saying it’s over, some are saying it’s not over. But let’s not share political views. Now, let’s just basically say, I have total empathy for what people have gone through with respect to the great resignation, and rethinking their life and work and isolation and just the many, many things that have impacted us emotionally, physically, financially, etc. I had my breakdown long before this pandemic. And it was because I was a serious workaholic. So to answer your question, now, David, I meditation saved my life, I’m very much living in the present moment. So for me now, I have much more awareness. I meditate every single day, just like you read every day. I meditate every day. And it’s helped me with practising gratitude, which is scientifically proven to help you in a lot of ways. And it’s helped me in a lot of ways as well. So to answer your question, I know when I’m starting to get what I call toasty, she tell my partners, I’ll tell my team, I’ll tell my family. Hey, guys, I’m starting to feel a little toasty. And that’s sort of like, you know, kind of a fun little way to say like, I’m,
I’m on the way to getting burned out, right. And for me, I know now, when I need a break, when I need to sort of step aside from something to really kind of unlock new thinking. And sometimes it’s as simple as you know, I need to go for a walk, because the amount of mental connection by Mind Body connections you have when you go for a walk in a different location, it just creates so much stimuli for the brain and for your consciousness. So it’s an unconsciousness. So I think it’s okay, it’s just going for a walk, it’s getting up taking a short break. In some cases, it’s like, you know, I need to shut down for a week, or longer in some cases. So in the case of that, I think now grateful for meditation. It’s helped me to really keep myself in a regimented self care routine that enables me to kind of keep my head together, keep myself about now on the second part of the question is knowing when to get the hell out of the room. One of the things that I practice a lot it’s a technique I’ve been using for years is is what I call start, stop, continue. So one of the first things I always do is, is do what I call taking inventory. So if you’re a student taking inventory and all the things that are that you’re putting your energy towards taking inventory and all the things you have to do, or that you’re expected to do all the commitments you’ve made, the promises you made, and just write them all down, get them all out of your head, don’t even think about them, just literally just write them down on a piece of paper or type them up or typing on your phone, whatever your means of getting thoughts out, or I like to write because there’s a lot of science behind, when you’re physically writing something down, you actually remember it more, and there’s just a mind body connection, which I’m about, but I’m a huge tech geek. So I understand if someone wants to type in their notes app on their phone, or whatever it is, that being said, first purge your brain of all those things, then what I like to do generally is just get up and just take a quick break, go for a walk, maybe get a coffee, or you know, soft drink, or hard drink or whatever. And then come back to that list and say, Okay, what I want you to now do is I, you know, my favourite way to do this exercise is with three coloured highlighters, red highlighter, a yellow highlighter, and a green highlighter. But if you don’t have highlighters, you can you can do symbols or whatever. But basically what I do is I look at the list of things and I say, what are all the things I’m going to first and foremost, stop doing? Right? So just going to, I’m going to stop doing all these things. What are the things that are working really well, for me, whether they’re giving me energy or getting good feedback from others, I’m gonna continue doing those things. And then once I purge myself all then I’m gonna stop doing all the things I’m going to continue doing, then I look at what are all the things I want to start doing. And I find that that balancing technique, that sort of harmony technique helps me sort of get my shit together. I do that, you know, I some of the work I do with a lot of companies that I work is I come in as an advisor, they bring me in as an interim chief marketing officer or chief strategy officer. And basically, for the listeners that have no idea what that buzzword means. It basically means I help people understand how to move their business forward from a marketing or strategy perspective. So one of the extras I do literally with did the other day with a CEO of $100 million company is this exercise where I made them pick breakout a pen, you can imagine me as sort of a guy in his late 30s, sitting down with a, you know, someone much older and much more seasoned and accomplished than me of $100 million dollar company. And I’m getting them to sort of fill out on a piece of paper, it’s almost sort of funny. But walking away from it, what we were able to discover is oftentimes people have things on their list that really don’t matter that that take up space in their brains and in their minds. And that just bogs us down, whether you’re a student or a CEO, or everyone in between, that exercise I think is really, really helped me. And what that’s done for me, David, and I want to share this is that’s helped me realise that the temperature of the room isn’t always the problem, sometimes I was the problem. And quite frankly, most times I was the problem. And sort of getting things out of my head and onto that piece of paper or into that Notes app helped me to sort of see it through a different perspective. And then really, all I had to do is shift my mindset and say, You know what, I don’t actually need to walk away from this business, I just need to change the way I think about it, or I don’t actually need to quit this job, I just need to take a couple days off to to have a break. And you know, spend some time with my loved one, but I haven’t been able to do it in quite some time. So I really think that right now people are making impulse decisions, that they then later go back I have a friend recently who quit their job in pursuit of a better pasture, you know, they got a better offer, you know, people were throwing more money at them and signing bonuses and all that sort of thing. And they came back from this and p i We swear on the show debit or
David Ralph [33:20]
if you would like to.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [33:23]
Okay, so they basically call me I don’t want to say I want to make sure to say exactly this, when they call me they call me in there. Hey, you got a minute. I said, Yeah, I was gonna always got a minute for you. And they say fucked up. And I was like, Whoa, what’s what’s going on? Talk to me. And they’re like, I shouldn’t quit that job. Man. I actually had a pretty good man, this new job is, you know, the first couple of weeks are great, you know, I got the signing bonus got the thing. Now they’re just flooding me with work and kind of what they promised me upfront, not what I got. And I really had a good gig and asked the question, I said, Well, why don’t you walk away from the other gig. So I was just really tired. I was just working on this project for too long and never had any end in sight. And I was like, So you told me instead of taking like a vacation or a couple of days off or asking your boss for an extension or whatever, you’re telling me you just went up and took that on the job offer from the recruiter that was in your inbox. And they’re like, yeah, just a signing bonus and this other thing, and I’m like, wow, so now they’re in this position situation where they sort of jumped from one thing to the other. And now they’re unhappy. And then I think that in some cases, people make rash decisions. I see that happening a lot in impulsive decision without thinking it through. So sometimes look at that traffic light, think about we’re gonna start, stop continue doing and do that, because that’s where I think we can get more into that thermostat mindset. Because we have more control in any situation. I think we think we do.
David Ralph [34:35]
Yeah, I agree. Well, one of the things I do, I years ago, I won’t bore the audience because I’ve heard it 1000 times, but I got so close to burnout I almost died it was like critical. So now I always have a square in my head split up into four quadrants, and one is just biz. One is family. One is me and one is health. So I could be working away and my kids would might come up and say, we’re going out. Did you want to join us? Now beforehand, I would have said, no, no, I need to do this. But now just in my head, I think, no, the business side is quite full. Yes, I’d go. And I try at the end of the day to have filled up for each four squares sort of evenly, so that I get some me time I get some help. The families get to see me and then the base grows as well. And it doesn’t have to be anything more than you just think of these four squares and think, yeah, I’ve done a bit too much of that one, I go up and do that. And it’s been a game changer for me. It doesn’t spend any time you don’t have to jot it down. You just have to basically visualise it in your head and think, yeah, I’m out of whack here.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [35:44]
I love that technique so much. It reminds me of a technique that are you familiar with James clear? He’s read the book, atomic habits. Yeah. He’s got some techniques, but I actually think yours is even more simple. So definitely, David, send me an email with those four boxes, because I want to I want to implement that in my life. That sounds like a really simplified way to do it. And I love simple.
David Ralph [36:05]
Yeah. And what’s good about that is my wife and my kids actually think I don’t do anything anymore. Because I’m so balanced with doing all four things. It’s almost like I’m not doing anything at all. It’s a strange whenever anyone says to me, do you want to do something? I can go? Yes. Because when I think, okay, I can come back later on. And I can finish up the business, I can just, it’s far more fluid. But it all gets done is so much more easy. But okay, so let’s move on to a guy that we’ve referenced before. But it’s great to hear from him. Again, it’s Steve Jobs.
Unknown Speaker [36:40]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards, 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [37:14]
Now, if you go back to the beginning of that speech, he actually says I’m going to tell you three short stories, nothing amazing, but just three short stories. Now you did an article that I was reading, which was force stories, part one departure, part two, initiation, part three return. And then Part Four was the end game and new beginnings. And as I was reading this, I was thinking I know all our dots join up, you know, every guest all can always connect the dots. But yours really do join up. It almost seems like a linear path to me reading this, was it Pete
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [37:52]
definitely not linear, definite linear. And I think the article you’re referring to so one of the things that I’m a big fan of is something called the hero’s journey. And the hero hero’s journey was a Joseph Campbell, sort of a myth maker, be famous book, The Hero with 1000 faces that I think was written in like the late 40s, or 50s. And he talks a lot about this narrative pattern that, you know, ultimately, as we see, in every major movie, certainly every major Marvel movie, which is, you know, sort of like we have these known unknown moments where, you know, the hero, if you will get gets a call to adventure, there’s a sort of supernatural moment. There’s a sort of, you know, a helper along the way, a mentor along the way, where the, where the sort of, you know, hero, the journey is then met with some challenges and some and some temptations and some things and someone’s helping them through that. And then they have that revolution moment, you know, Revelation moment, if you will, and where, you know, it’s death of something, or birth of another, or whatever it is, and that transformation moment happens. And then there’s a moment of sort of atonement, and then the sort of return, if you will, you know, are they are they in the hero’s journey called The Gift of the god or the gift of the goddess but, and it’s this sort of this, this cyclical returning thing. So from a narrative perspective, a lot of narratives that we see in movies, and even our lives can sort of follow that format. But to answer your question, it was not a linear journey for me, you know, I thought growing up, I was going to be a game designer. You know, the, from the moment I touched video games when I was a kid playing Nintendo and Super Nintendo and and 64. Thank you very much, the makers of Nintendo for completely brainwashing me. But from that moment in my life, I thought, I want to be games that I want to make these things. These things are so cool. How do you make games it’s like, well, then you want to make games you have to be a programmer, you have to move to California. And again, pre pre determined predestined things that I thought I had to do in my life and work. And it was going down that pathway when a shift occurred, and I started doing the closest thing I could find here on the East Coast. I grew up in Prescott, Connecticut, near New York City. And, excuse me, and growing up in that doing that When designing things, programming things, I discovered this thing called marketing, which was not interesting to me. It was not exciting to me. But then I realised that what I loved about video games that I loved about some of those 80s movies that I mentioned earlier growing up, and the action movies, those things is, it was all about storytelling, and the ability to hook an audience and what does a great game do a great game, the mechanics of the game are based on story. They’re based on behaviour, they’re based on on sort of experimenting with these different things. They’re based on this hero’s journey that I myself went through that you all of us, the listeners have gone through, map it out for yourself, because you’ve all gone through it, or you’re in the middle of it. And in doing that, I realised, oh my god, I love marketing, I love branding. I love storytelling. And what I thought was my my journey, my career to sort of go out west and go make video games or work for a gaming company, actually turned into me, getting a break, cutting my teeth, and sports marketing, doing some work in marketing. And I didn’t like sports at all, but I loved marketing. And then lo and behold, I saw problems that were being solved in the world. And ultimately, that’s what started me and sparked me to go start my own business. So I took, you know, basically, left started my own thing. And then, you know, found a partner, we took $5,000 in credit cards, and turned it into the eight figure business that we have today. And I think that the what happened in that journey along the way is the thing that I think all of you have probably experienced some time is you wake up one morning, and the thing that you think you were chasing is actually not even the thing you’re chasing. So what I was saying is respect that journey. don’t respect the desk, don’t don’t focus on the destination focus on a journey. So that’s what I went through. That’s that’s sort of how I would unpack that. And again, David, I’m so impressed on just the level of research. I mean, clearly, you dug up an old medium article that I’m so proud of. And I love that you found that one because it’s a good one. But yeah, the hero’s journey. Again, if you haven’t read the hero with 1000 faces, it’s an older book, you know, anything of Joseph Campbell is just incredible. But what’s crazy is once you read that, it kind of ruins all the superhero movies for you. Because Because you kind of know, like, Oh, they’re at this point in the hero’s journey, you know what’s coming next. So just, you know, public service announcement here, like, if you’re gonna read this, it’s gonna give you sort of the secret code behind a lot of things. But yeah, that’s what sort of help to guide my journey.
David Ralph [42:10]
I think the journey is the most important thing, and we can’t see it at a time. You know, I was I was watching a film the other day, and a film, a young girl was dying of cancer, it was very sort of upsetting. And she was about 22 years old. And her boyfriend said, This is so unfair, This is so unfair, that you you only gonna live for this age. And she said, maybe this is all I should have left. It may be this is my journey. This is my story, maybe I shouldn’t have ever been expected to get to 2324 25. And as she was saying that I was thinking that’s it. That’s it, that is when you realise, but actually, you may not end up where you want to be. But you’ve got to make the most of where you are every single day, every single second because that is the gift. And it was real sort of a message hit home to me because I think I’m, I’m a classic. My my number one strength is futuristic. So I’m always in advance, I’m always thinking, well, this be one of the board. Let’s do this. Let’s do that. But actually, you allow the gold to pass you by.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [43:16]
But ya know, I couldn’t agree more, I think, you know, I was, I was also just reflecting on you know, I hear a story like that. And it just, it hits us all emotionally. Right. So wow, like, you think about that. Unfortunately, recently, very close friend, you know, some of those, you know, I consider family to me, passed away too, too soon, from from cancer. And I was just sort of thinking about just like, how, how important is to sort of follow that advice. You just said, David, in terms of like, really, you know, showing up being present in the moment you have right now? What are the things I’ve struggled with, and I still struggle with from time to time again, is, you know, a lot of times we wake up in the morning, we say, Oh, I have to do this today. And what I really tried to do and again, let’s be clear here, folks, I don’t get a read every day. But I try and I and again, we get those infinite restarts right, is I try to change that I have to to I get to. So you know, the other day, I get up I was supposed to go to the gym, I had a bunch of meetings is a very busy day. And quite frankly, a number of the things that were on my day That day, I was not looking forward to, especially that early gym gym appointment that I had. Or I was working out with a trainer and you know, they were kicking my butt and I said, Oh my god, I have to do this, they have to do that. And I was like, You know what I get to go to the gym to, you know, I’m able to be able to stand up and walk there are so many that can’t, you know, I’m able to I’m able to be able to sort of see the road and have all my five senses. And you know, I get to do that. So it’s the shift in mindset, I think is really, really powerful and important. I love that story. You just told David about that movie because I think it’s so easy for us to focus on the thing that we want to get next or to have next as opposed to just the abundance that we have right now. And I think just the sheer mindset again, it gets back to everything. If there’s one thing I, I definitely want to harp on in this podcast today, it’s, you know, start where you stand and and really just take inventory and all the things that you do have. And then sort of really respect the journey, right? Like you said, you know, respect the journey, because if you focus too much on the goal or the destination, it’s really easy to get lost in the sauce.
David Ralph [45:19]
Imagine I put you on an island, I was just thinking this as he was talking, Peter, I put you on island, you’ve got none of the businesses, you’ve got nothing. It’s just you in your body, and somebody comes along? What gift would you give them? Out of all your experience? What one thing? Would you be able to really pass that you think, yeah, they’re going to play this forward?
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [45:45]
So for one, I think the gift of curiosity is the greatest thing that you can give to someone. One of the things that I found in my life is that I really pride myself on having the answers to a lot of things. But I think what I’ve come to learn as the people who have come to appreciate me the most, it wasn’t the time when I was giving people the answers, but it was the time when I was giving people the questions. I think a lot of times we don’t think enough about the question, we jump right to the answer. And really, for me, just giving that gift of curiosity to that person on the island, I think would help them see things differently, ask themselves things differently. And then the second gift I would probably give them after sort of curiosity would be creativity, you know, teaching them like like that great quote that you said, from Steve Jobs when you played earlier, teaching them how to connect the dots. So you know, I think about the show last right, where they’re all trapped on the island, it’s like, there’s a lot of things you can do with the resources on that island to sort of figure out how to design a, you know, an ample or a better future. So I think that first thing I would do is give give the gift of curiosity that would start through thoughtful questioning and helping people understand the why. And the second thing would be creativity, and really teaching them how to frame and reframe, and D frame specific situations, I teach creativity a lot I do it through the lens of design thinking is the is the sort of official term that we use for how to how to do that. But those are the two gifts I think I would give to the person on the island. And I think that it would be great to give those gifts to somebody that also be on the island with them, because I think we could co create a pretty interesting future for Matt.
David Ralph [47:17]
And before I send you back on the last part of the show, which is a sermon on the mic. Are you happy? Pete? Are you happy with everything that you’ve got at the moment? Or is there still some fire in your belly?
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [47:31]
So there’s always a fire in my belly? Yes, I definitely am happy, I would say, I just recently had my first son, he’s a B shirt. 10 months old this week, this past week. And what I say is becoming a dad, which I never thought was in the cards man never thought I want it to be, you know, be a parent, what not really changed the way I think about life, and work and purpose and a bunch of things. But yeah, I am happy, I don’t consider. So for me, the fire in my belly is the thing that keeps me happy. So you know, if you wrote me a check tomorrow and said, Here’s a billion dollars, you get to be completely healthy you have you never have to work a day in your life, again, for any kind of financial money, whatever it is, how would you spend the rest of your life, I would still be doing a lot of the things I’m doing right now, certainly, there are things I would not be doing like I described to you that day, the other day, I probably would have went to the gym that day. But a lot of those meetings I went to, I probably would have only taken one or two of them because they were really kind of lit me up. And you know, sometimes we have to do the things that we don’t want to do to get the things that we want. So I tell people that a lot. It’s why it’s doing the reps and being consistent support. But yeah, I think I’m very happy. And I love that question. For me, what gives me a lot of energy. So what I always say to people is, you know, it’s like a battery in a phone, right? Like, think of the things a big on writing these things down and use all the time journaling was big for me is like write down all the things that give you energy and all things that take energy from you. And what gives me energy is helping people, you know, just like the person on the island that you told me about, it’s like helping introduce that person to creativity or curiosity. It’s something I love doing, you know, I love doing it for for young people. I love doing it for people that are established and set in their ways. Is that my favourite question to ask people and um, maybe I’ll kind of roleplay it on you, David. But I think I know the answer just given chat with you here is Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? Yes. Awesome. So you are the best and the worst person to play this game with but I oftentimes if for the listeners listening, if I asked the question you said, Do you consider yourself a creative person? If you said no to that question, I would play a game with you or I would take you down a series of things. And at the end of it, I would ask the same question and literally, never in my life have I been able to not get someone at the end of that to say that they didn’t find so be a creative person. We’re all born creative. And then it’s like a muscle. It gets sort of beaten out of us, you know, through trials and tribulations in life and just that linear journey. I tell you that say that because you asked a question about being happy. And I think that achieving happiness really is about finding that creativity, finding that spark and being able to apply it in one or more aspects of your life. One of my favourite books you said, you’re an avid reader is the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Are you familiar with that
David Ralph [50:17]
one? I’ve heard of it. Haven’t haven’t read that one.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [50:21]
Next time you’re enjoying some time, with the wife in the pub garden in the soft drink, definitely crack open Big Magic, I think you both might enjoy it if your wife likes to read, got some really, really great things on how to live a life of creativity, I have found a strong, strong, strong correlation to people who live lives that are full of creativity often happen to nicely typically correlate with lives, living lives and happiness. So I will I will leave you on that thought before we get to the sermon.
David Ralph [50:49]
And I will leave you on a thought about my wife. I’ve been with her for 35 years, and I’ve seen her read 50 Shades of Grey. And that was the only book I’ve ever seen her open and finish.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [51:02]
Well, that that’s a good talk for another podcast. Maybe we’ll switch that one to a hard drink, though.
David Ralph [51:06]
Yeah, can’t believe it. Anyway, this is the part of the show that we’ve been building up to this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could speak to the young people, and spend some time with him, what advice would you give him? And why each Pete would you like to speak to well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme. And when it phase is your time to talk, this is the Sermon on the mic
Unknown Speaker [51:37]
here we go with the best bit of the show the Sermon on the mind the sermon on.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [51:57]
So first and foremost, I would say the age of my former self that I’m talking to would definitely be the high school version of me, the awkward, acne faced, high school insecure, introverted version of myself. And what I would first start by sitting down with them as I would say, to my former self, it’s all going to turn out exactly like it’s supposed to. So just take a breath, slow down. Do not fake it till you make it. Authenticity is going to be really, really important. Let me tell you something, stay Pete The Geek because Pete, the geek is going to be really, really cool in the future, you just don’t know yet. It’s more important to know who you are, that and then who you’re not. So understand that. And remember that ideas, you’ve got lots of ideas. P ideas are nothing without execution. So if you feel strongly about that idea, definitely, definitely execute it. And then last but not least, because I know you have some competence, challenges and some confidence issues, and you often either have been told you’re not good enough, or you think you’re not good enough, stay forward, obsessed. Focus on comparing yourself to yourself, not others, and focus on getting 1% better every day. And now we can transport Back to the Future.
David Ralph [53:15]
Right Stuff. Great stuff. So Pete, what is the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, sir.
Finding Your Ikigai With Pete Sena [53:22]
So I’m very active on Twitter, it’s at Pizza PE T Sen. A, at pizza on most channels. These days, I’m most active on medium, which is the online publication site, I’m most active on LinkedIn and Twitter, definitely hit me up on those channels. I’ll be there. You can also check out my website, Pete cena.com. Or if you’re more interested in hearing more about the work that I do in the branding and marketing space, you can find us on digital surgeons.com. And again, just want to say thank you to David and the team here at Join Up Dots really, really been an exciting conversation. And I think you guys are doing a lot of really interesting things with the format of the podcast. So kudos, and thank you
David Ralph [54:00]
to you. Pete, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Joining up those dots. And please come back again when you got more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our paths is always the best way to build our futures. Pizza Anna, thank you so much. Mr. Pizza, enter. So yeah, find your sweet spot and everything kind of works your way there. We covered a lot in that episode. We went off in many different directions but at its core as at its essence, it’s Have fun, enjoy yourself and keep your eyes open. You’re on a journey and sometimes you don’t know where you’re heading until it becomes obvious to you. But by doing the right things day in day out, looking after yourself looking after your family and your business and and looking for that passion. You can’t go too far wrong. Until next time. Look after yourselves and I’ll see you again. Cheers. See ya. Bye bye
Unknown Speaker [55:01]
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant sell fewer 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.