Mary Wong has studied and applied leadership for over 20 years and is known for helping people step up the career ladder and become recognized as leaders in their industry.
Mary says the ability to comfortably converse in all situations forms the basis of great leadership, and this ability comes from being aware of our strengths and our areas of challenge, and through our dedication to self-improvement.
She further asserts that being open and honest about our struggles and reaching out for help is pivotal to leadership (and life) success; and paying it forward by mentoring is key to establishing authority as a leader. In her work, Mary helps organisations, executives, managers, and their teams to connect on a deeper level, resolve their disputes and create new relationships through clearly speaking their truth in a kind, respectful, and supportive way. With this kind of excellent communication in place, teams become more connected, innovative, and highly productive; and businesses become more successful, with extra sales, happy customers, reduced absenteeism, and better bottom lines.
Mary’s clients become highly respected, self-aware leaders who exceed KPI’s, enthuse their team members and set the benchmark in their industries. Author of 7 books, Mary also has a book coaching and publishing business assisting established industry leaders to birth their memoirs and business IP books, allowing them to mentor future generations of leaders. You can find her at Optimal Coaching.
Interview Transcript Mary Wong
Richard Lowe 00:01
Good evening. This is Richard Lowe with author talks. I’m the writing King. I’m a ghostwriter, a book coach, and a LinkedIn branding expert. And I’m here with with Mary Huang. And we’re going to talk about her books and her life and all the exciting things she has going on. Mary, how are you tonight?
Mary Wong 00:20
I’m great. Thanks. It’s actually morning where I am. I’m here in Australia. So we’re on the other side of the world. It’s a beautiful, sparkly day.
Richard Lowe 00:27
It’s 7pm here, and we have a massive thunderstorm going on in the background. So if you hear the lightning and thunder, you know what it is? I love it. It’s Florida, though. We get those. We get these every day now. Does hear in this in this intro that you’re fascinated with leadership and you’re studying and applied it for over 20 years? Why don’t we start from that point?
Mary Wong 00:51
Yes, sure. Leadership, something that’s always grabbed me I can remember I was just a child, listening to Nelson Mandela speak on the TV one time and and was just so fascinated by this man and who he was and what it was that he had that made people just stop and listen and be so enthralled with him. And it’s always been something that’s just fascinated with is this sense of looking in from the outside and going, you know, why is it that this person is so enigmatic what makes them something that people just want to listen to want to hear from want to follow? Want to do what it is that they say, and always my entire life have done that. Now I’m I was just saying before, I’m nearly 60. So that’s a long time since I first started that, but it’s been the last 20 years or so that I’ve been putting formal study into it. And really making myself more aware, not just from my own perspective, but from the perspective of those who’ve studied it, and been scholars of leadership for many years. And it’s a study that I don’t think I’ll ever stop, because I just I just love it so much. I enjoy it so much being part of that growth thing where you can look at it and go, Wow, there’s so much more to what I’m capable of, and not just what I’m capable of, but what the people around me are capable of and what we can do with the world when we apply what we’ve learned and what where we’ve grown and use that to help other people.
Richard Lowe 02:32
Very good. Yeah, I was pretty much a leader in the tech field for 33 years and then became a ghostwriter. And I had trouble with leadership because I was highly introverted, and very, very shy. So it kind of got in the way you really, Leadership isn’t and shyness don’t really go together. Well, at least that’s my experience. I’m sure there are shy people who are leaders. I broke that by becoming a photographer and going out and photographing by 1200 people and deciding not to be shy anymore not to be so introverted. I still like being at home, I was supposed to be out, but I’m really not a party person. But yeah, leadership is interesting, because you’re you’re influencing other people to go in the right direction, right direction. And I’ve found that people have such different definitions of leadership, that I think they that many of them have it, in my opinion, incorrect. Leadership is simply causing one or more people to go into certain direction you’re leading them. And how you do that is what most people describe as leadership is actually the how, and not the what. So
Mary Wong 03:45
very hard to quantify. A lot of people can’t quantify leadership, if you say, you know, what is leadership and ask them for a definition, a lot of people can’t quantify it, because it’s so many things. It’s so there’s so many aspects and important parts to it, that create a leader that that create that charisma that a leader has that makes people want to know what they’re doing and want to be part of it and get engaged with their cause. I think I think in a nutshell, what you said is pretty much it. It is around having the ability to influence or persuade people in a certain direction. I like to think that it’s also the ability to engage people and have them enthusiastic, not just following but being enthusiastic and even driving the cause that you have whatever that causes as a leader that you’re having, that they become enthused about it and want to be part of it not just following because they’re being sheep.
Richard Lowe 04:49
Well, yeah, yeah, that’s that’s part of leadership is getting them to move in the right direction as part of getting is getting him enthused because I think I’m holding a whip it generally doesn’t work for people, especially in the modern age. I mean, you can always look at arm old, you know, old times and back that may have worked in the past. And it may still work in areas in the world. But in modern society, modern democracies, at least, it doesn’t tend to work very well. Although sometimes people have a tendency to get diluted by so called leaders, and treat them as authority figures. And there’s things like the authority bias in life study logical fallacies and things. And authority bias is a big one where you say, you think this person is the authority, so he must be right, he or she must be right. And you follow them without question. They are leading people, but they are leading people, because they, they might be a bad example of leadership. And there are many, many, many examples of that. I mean, Adolf Hitler was people followed him to the death of Stalin. I mean, those are old ones probably noncontroversial that people fall
Mary Wong 06:08
away from the modern ones, shall we?
Richard Lowe 06:10
Yes. Certainly, I don’t want to get into politics or anything? No,
Mary Wong 06:15
I actually find that politics isn’t a great example, when we’re talking leadership. Because in politics, it is more around a plastic perversion, if you will, of who the person is. It’s what they allow you to see. It’s not them being authentic. And that doesn’t matter what side of politics you’re on. The same machine runs each one. It’s the same sort of publicity machine. And I think a big problem that the world is facing right now is that we’re so easily swayed by what we see in things like social media. And you know, this, this plastic idea of who we actually are, it’s not us, we have to be real. If we want to be a leader, we have to be real and authentic, and absolutely honest and transparent about who we are. And in politics, that doesn’t happen. In politics, it’s all about we have we have this wish for power, we need to stay in power. So let’s do whatever we have to do to get there. And that’s not leadership.
Richard Lowe 07:20
Well, I read a, an article lately, and I can’t remember what it was or who wrote it, but ever did read it. That said that the problem with the world now is we’re being led by psychopaths. And, you know, I’m not saying all people, all leaders are psychopaths. I’m not sure I’m saying no, I’m not making any judgment on any particular leader. But if you look around, as you say, the politics aren’t, politicians don’t tend to be interested in the people. They’re interested in themselves. They’re not interested their constituents they’re interested in themselves, or they’re interested in the people they represent, meaning the people who pay them. So maintaining power, some semblance of power.
Mary Wong 08:07
I’m going to give you another word to add into that statement, where you said, the problem with the world is we’re being led led by psychopaths, I wouldn’t say that the problem with the world is that we are allowing ourselves to be led by psychopaths because every one of us has the opportunity and the ability to make our own decisions. And making informed decisions is very important. But to do that, it requires us to open our eyes to where we’re looking. And I know that both sides of the argument, there’s not only two sides, there’s more than two sides to any of these sorts of conversations. But a lot of them on either side, are being funneled into their belief system because of things like for example, algorithms on Facebook, if you like a certain sort of, of host, you are directed towards those kinds of posts. If you dislike a certain sort of post and say, I don’t want to see this, you don’t have to see it. And were being blinded to what’s actually going on by ignoring half of what’s going on, or at least half of what’s going on, and getting this what we call confirmation bias where we are, our bias has been confirmed by the things that we’re seeing articles that we’re seeing. And of course, you know, the younger generation, the ones who are going through school now are actually being taught how to research things properly so that they’re not just researching what they want to believe in that they look at, okay, is this thing that I’m looking at real? There’s an awful lot once the Internet came in, there’s so much stuff that was just put online by anyone and everyone as being you know, real. I can I can publish my own newspaper, my own newspaper article and say it’s real, and people could open it anyway. And I could write Any sort of rubbish in there? And people anywhere can open it and go see it’s real. I can share that on Facebook, I know it’s real. See, I’m this person’s and authority, how do they know that? Have they actually looked into who I am? And that about me know, they’ve read what they wanted to see and put it up there. And that’s what’s happening.
Richard Lowe 10:17
And have an example of I have an example of that, from my own life. I was in a discussion with somebody who had different politics than me. And he said, well, well, you know, you should look. So I looked and came to the opposite conclusion of him as him totally the opposite. And and I’m not going to get into the details, because I don’t want to get into the politics. And he was shocked. How could you not come to this conclusion? I said, Well, how do you come to your conclusion? I mean, I went out there. And research. I read actually, it was a court case, I read the entire court case from the beginning, all the transcripts, I read the the appeals, or the Supreme Court case, I read everything. And I came to the conclusion that in this case, the Supreme Court made the correct decision. And because it was the appeal of law, Lawson, the Supreme Court said, No, we’re not going to, we’re not going to overturn this. And he was shocked. He’s like, Well, Supreme Courts all all, you know, bad and they’re corrupt and stuff like that. And it’s actually I read the decision that was like 140 pages. And they were going to great lengths to try and fall on the side of the opposite side. But they couldn’t because of this, and this and this. And it was just this one. So where did you get your information? I mean, I got mine from the official transcripts, which is close to you can hear that he’s original, unless they recorded it, which they didn’t. They didn’t in those days. And he said, Well, I read it off the the political website from my particular party. And that’s what it said to say. So did you do any research at all? Well, no, of course not. Oh, well, okay. You just proved my point.
Mary Wong 11:53
Yeah. I’d be curious if that person was about the same age group as us.
Richard Lowe 11:59
Know, he was in his mid 20s. At the time,
Mary Wong 12:02
mid 20s. Wow. Because most of the ones who were that young, actually looking closer, and looking at the research, I know, from my my son’s 22. And he’s always like, oh, yeah, you know, I’ll say to him, or I was reading this, and he’ll go, Oh, yeah. But have you looked at that, and he’ll give me a whole list of things to go and, and I love it, actually, it’s really handy. Because I’ll be going, where am I going to find that information to find out whether or not this is true or not. And I’ll just say to him, and he’ll go, okay, you’ve got to look at this, and this, and this, and this, and this, he just gives me a list. And so I’ll go and look at that list. And then while I’m looking at that list, I’ll get other little rabbit holes to go down and look at things as well, and then make my decision. From a more informed perspective, my favorite way to make a decision is to actually be in the room when the thing happens, but most of us aren’t. So in most cases, we have to reserve our opinion, to a degree because we weren’t there when it happened. We didn’t see it. And then of course, there’s the added benefit of our own perceptions and the filters that we look at things in so we have to even if we are in the room, have to consider were we looking at it through a particular lens. Was there something that happened to us in our life, that makes it look at it makes us look at it a different way? So there’s so much to that sort of thing, like how do we how do we approach this stuff? And I think that that constant questioning of yourself and your own opinion, not to the point where it takes away your confidence, but to the point where it makes you go, am I right about this? Or am I not wrong about this so that you’re open to listen and to look into research? Rather than to go no, absolutely right. Full stop. Because when you’re absolutely right, full stop. You close yourself off to amazing learning experiences. But when you are open, you learn, you learn so much. And and one of the things that we as humans have forgotten how to do is to say, well, you know what, I was wrong about that.
Richard Lowe 14:04
I was I was married, so I know about being wrong. I was always wrong and married and I know about being wrong. I was always wrong. According to my late wife, I was constantly wrong. Yeah. This is an interesting subject, that I spend a lot of time on the the phenomenon that you mentioned on the internet is the result of advertising. They’re called echo chambers and advertising created that so that you would get the ads that were of your interest. It was pretty it seemed like a pretty harmless thing. You know, if you if you’re, if you’re watching a movie and you’re interested in in Chevy trucks, you should see buying a Chevy truck you should see an ad about Chevy trucks. Well, it spilled over into the content. And that’s where it will win. wacko. I mean, I’m not a big fan of advertising. I got ad blockers on everything, but that I can and I curse on my TV because it doesn’t have an apple Awkward everytime YouTube puts up it’s stupid out interrupting the movie, I curse at it. But I’m watching YouTube. So I guess I gotta compensate them somehow. That’s the rational part of me. Or the irrational part, whichever
Mary Wong 15:12
I actually pay for the premium one, so I don’t have to watch it.
Richard Lowe 15:16
Yeah, yeah, over here, it’s a little expensive, I think 16 bucks here in the States and a month. And that’s, that’s a quite a bit of money for no ads. But I tend to buy DVDs and blu rays rather than watching streaming because I’m not interested in the bias of the streaming service. That kind of happened a little bit older, and I have 3500 blu rays, so I’m not going to throw them away, and be even sensory movies and things like all of the Disney cartoons, a lot of them have been censored to take out the smoking scenes that cuts out a big part of the meaning of the cartoons. They’ve been censored for all kinds of things. And I’m not going to watch a censored version of something that was made in the 1930s. There was a different time I smoked, was got under she did I see
Mary Wong 16:00
we I had a great conversation with some people last night around this exact same thing. We were talking about comedy, and how comedy has changed. And we were talking from the perspective of people around about the age of the mid 50s to 70s or so. We were talking around, you know, what did we watch as kids and what we loved and thought was fantastically funny as kids. And I related, an experience I had recently, I remember when the Crocodile Dundee movies came out of the Crocodile Dundee and we loved them. And we laughed and laughed. And my son when he was about 1617 He picked up a knife to do some cuts and vegetables. And when it look I’ve got a knife and that’s not it. And he looked at me and went, What are you talking about? And I’m like, I just gone. Oh my gosh, I’ve neglected your your training your your education. I’ve never let you watch Crocodile Dundee, I have to get that out. So you can watch it. And I went and got it, put it on the TV. And we sat down to watch it. And about five minutes in he turned around looked at me and said, What is this sexist rubbish? You have been watching mum. You know, I’ve had been sitting there myself going. Wow, I remember when I thought this was really funny. Now I don’t. Now I’m not I’m not buying into it. I mean, can see how it was funny when we were growing up. But society has changed so much since then. And in this conversation that we’re having last night, they were talking about Benny Hill, for example, now Benny Hill, the master of the comedic facial gesture. But what he was doing was really terrible. It was it was getting people encouraged to be very sexist and very objectified and objectifying behavior and all that sort of thing, but hilarious in the day. But now we look at it and go, Oh, that’s terrible. How do people watch this stuff? Isn’t it amazing how much we’ve changed?
Richard Lowe 18:00
Well, Benny Hill is based on vaudeville and burlesque. And those things are pretty much died these days. They’ve gone by the wayside, and people aren’t used to that. I’ve watched the Neil exact I have the entire series on Blu onto DVD. And that’s hard to find. at a reasonable price. Yeah, it’s like 25 DVDs or something like that. It’s some outrageous number of DVDs. And I’m not amused by them, not just because of the racism and stuff. I mean, you know, that can be funny. Sometimes in context. I mean, Blazing Saddles is an example of a movie that’s just hilarious from front to back. And I’ve watched it with black people. I’ve watched the like to watch reactive videos. And as black people watching raises sales, if anybody’s interested. It’s on the surface, one of the most racist movies ever made, but it’s actually it’s actually satirizing racism and proving, trying to show how stupid it is by exaggerating it. And it’s hilarious all the way through. But Benny Hill the jokes just fall flat parsing, some of them are political. And I don’t understand the politics and partially because a lot of are just stupid nowadays, but when I was younger, especially I think that came out when I was really young, like Benny Hill, and what’s the other one Monty Python’s Flying Circus,
Mary Wong 19:16
Monty Python. I never do. You know, I never ever understood Monty Python, even when I was younger, and it was in vogue. And everyone was saying, Oh, my gosh, it’s hilarious. Or there have been a couple of little snippets that I’ve thought that’s really funny. But most of it, I’ve just gone. What on earth were they on? It does, it’s never surely made sense to me.
Richard Lowe 19:35
Here’s a key point that might help it make sense. Benny Hill perfected the art and they were the first to do this of having drunk jokes without punch lines. And if you use if you used to joke with punch lines, they don’t make any sense. But if he’s, I’ve got the whole Mega Collection and Benny Hill of Monty Python. It’s the they actually went through frame by frame and repainted all of the scenes and fixed all of the bad apart, you know, because they’re very decayed. They’re gorgeous. And now I watch it go, why did I buy this? Because it’s just I don’t even understand because all politics, I don’t even understand these jokes and British politics even worse, not even US politics. I don’t understand any of this. I don’t know who these people are. Because it’s very specific at times. And that the jokes, there are no punch line. So most of them don’t make sense. The movies actually are kind of funny. You know, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and the Holy Grail, the Holy Grail, and I forget the name. Those are actually mildly funny to me. That used to be hilarious, but it’s the same thing. And I don’t think it’s an I’m getting older thing. I think it’s just a they actually never were that funny. They were stalking back then. And they’re not shocking anymore. They’re more just, this just isn’t good.
Mary Wong 20:55
Yes. And how sad is it that we as a society aren’t as easily shocked as we once were. That says a lot about what we see and what we do in life these days, compared to what we did, I remember looking at my mom talking with my mom about her growing up and the things that they got to see and do. And, you know, it actually might even tie in with what we’ve just been talking about, with how people are so easily influenced with advertising and things like that. When mum used to talk about, you know, to see the news, you had to go to the movie theater, it wasn’t or listen to the radio, you didn’t, it wasn’t something that was constantly in your face that was constantly available to you. So you would hear it once a day on the bulletin. Or you would read it in the paper, which was the previous day’s bulletin or printed. Or you would go to the movies and see the latest updates on the movies, which were more kind of kind of short Darko type presentations. And that was it. And what you saw was what was what you were told was truth. And there was no reason to disbelieve that because nobody questioned anything. Nobody, you know, you were just told that this is what’s going on. So that’s what you’re saying, you know, and said, there was no there was no questioning. So when advertising came out, and it was coming up on screens, or in the papers, it was there was this presumption that what they were showing you was real. And we as children were brought up by parents, who had that belief system who had that presumption that everything’s real. So we were had ingrained, because when we’re, when we’re tiny, our brains are like sponges will take in absolutely everything around us and be modeled by the people around us. In that first couple of years, in particular, whatever happens to us, and whatever belief systems and things around us, it’s very difficult to break out of that unless you go into very concerted effort to change your neural pathways. So the information that we gained from our parents as children, their belief systems around what was true, and what was correct, that was ingrained into us. And then we grew up believing stuff like that. Now, not everybody has had the opportunity. In fact, very few people, comparatively, have had the opportunity to do that neural pathway work where they really learned to make their own mind up about who they are, and really learn to not just jump to even subconsciously jump to a conclusion that what they’re saying is correct. And that’s part of the reason that, that all of this has happened. It’s a generational thing that’s come down, it’s the way that society has evolved. It’s the way that our brains work. And the way that we absorbed things around us right through until it’s about 12 years old, when all of those bits of spongy fiber between the pathway start to resolve that period of time, up until that age, we just are absorptions. We’re little sponges that absorb anything around us. It just comes straight into us. So that’s what we learn, because that’s how society was 5060 years ago. And that’s why people of our generation accept it very quickly. And what we have done is trend that into our children. So for the people who are now saying, hang on, we’ve got to have another closer look at this. And I’m no, I’m not going to go into conspiracy theories and things like that. I mean, because some of them are too easily swayed in the other direction as well. But people, people are now questioning what the narrative is. They’re questioning what they’re being told. And that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing that we that we question. We have to be careful, though, that we are looking at the whole picture, not just that part were being funneled into because that’s kind of how it all happens. So yeah,
Richard Lowe 24:43
one of the things they stopped teaching here in the States was logical thinking. It used to be when I was in school when I went to college. The first class I took was logical fallacies and cognitive biases and how to separate them. I don’t teach that anymore. You’re here in the States, I don’t know. But I don’t know about where you are. And that’s important. There’s there’s literally 50 or 60, or maybe even 100, logical fallacies. And there’s dozens of cognitive biases. And they form how you think cognitive biases tend to be formed earlier in life. Those come from that first couple of years, like mother says, Never crossed the road. That’s something you have his bias on the Lord, never talk to strangers. That’s a cognitive bias. Don’t talk to strangers. That’s just dumb. You’re not going to survive in life very long, not ever talking to a stranger. Maybe, maybe hear, right? From your parents not wanting to get run over by a car? Probably.
Mary Wong 25:41
Exactly. So it’s a fear that something bad might happen to you if I’m not there to protect you. So I’m telling you don’t do that. But then we as adults have to remember that what we were taught as children was to protect us as children. And then the point where we need to flip that and go hang on a moment. Is that a instruction to keep me safe as a child? Or is it an instruction that I need to carry throughout my life? And that’s something that a lot of us don’t question as well?
Richard Lowe 26:10
Well, it’s hard to question because it’s very deep in that one to two year old timeframe. And I found that that kind of thing. You need therapy to work with a therapist or some something, to find it, and go, Oh, okay. Yeah, my mom told me not to jump in front of cars when I was a kid that, okay, I don’t have to obey. Well, I probably shouldn’t jump in front of cars. But you know what
Mary Wong 26:31
I mean? That’s reasonable, right.
Richard Lowe 26:34
But I should probably apply this logically to each situation I’m in rather than applying it as a blanket statement. And those are those are learned early. And there’s lots of cognitive bias. Authority bias is one we mentioned earlier. And that’s where you believe in authority, just because I mean, what on earth, Michael Jordan is one of the greatest bachat he is the greatest basketball player that ever lived. And he’s a great person. But what does he know about sneakers? You know, he, he’s just a spokesperson. So his authority there is there’s no authority. Or to make more pertinent example, here. We had a Playboy bunny, who said that via the vaccines were bad. And everybody was saying this bunny said vaccines were bad. She’s a friggin Playboy Bunny. What was she know about vaccines. Now, I’m not saying vaccines are good. I’m not saying they’re bad, I have my own opinion. But that’s not the right authority for vaccine authority when listening to who has the authority, that’s the authority bias. So you’re just listening to this person, because this person said, some you’ve accepted them as an authority. A lot of politicians become authorities, they shouldn’t be. You know, why on earth would a politician be an authority on climate change? There are politicians, they if they have a nice agenda, but if they have some from climate scientists behind them, and and you know, climate, people talking with them, and so forth, their authority grows, then they use these other things. So you have to look at, we’ll get the whole picture and look and see if you’ve got any of these logical fallacies and cognitive biases going in your and you always do. I watched or listened to a fascinating course, it’s, I think it’s called great courses. And they have a course there on logical fallacies and cognitive bias. And they go through this group of people that climbed Mount Everest, and all of them died, and why did they die. And they just went through all the logical fallacies and cognitive biases all the way up the slope, and how it led to the death of each and every single person going up there. Because they just have these false beliefs. And life is the same way. It might seem harmless to be following somebody, because they recommend Nike shoes, and you’re just buying shoes. But when you apply that to things, like buying a car, or spending $70,000 Now on a car, I don’t know why anybody has been $70,000 on a car, it seems silly to me, but they do, apparently is pretty popular these days with, I don’t know, or spending your money or whatever. Maybe you should look at actual authorities or maybe you should determine whether or not you’ve got any other biases and there are a lot of them. And it’s
Mary Wong 29:17
the perception of the superstar knowing and being everything like the influencer. Why Why would the super star be an influencer? It’s what you’re saying about Michael Jordan, for example. Why would you know some Tom Cruise for example, who everyone knows in love, Why would Tom Cruise be an authority on I don’t know underpants? And the reason I’m thinking of that is that Risky Business seen that what makes me think about them, but why would he be he’s just a bloke like any other bloke, you know, and just a man like any other man. It Why Why does that make him a superstar? Why? Especially he’s very good at his craft. He’s very good at his craft, and, you know, was very good looking as a young guy. I don’t think he’s all that hot. There. These days, not my cup of tea, but that’s a whole different story. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? Like we, we get this perception that someone is a superstar, therefore they must know all be all. And we allow ourselves to be so easily influenced by all of that. And that just doesn’t make sense. So leadership is part of leadership is learning how not to be easily influenced by the wrong things and distracted by those, that that noise that’s everywhere, that white noise that’s everywhere in society now, learning to be able to know what you’re about to be open to other ideas and opinions and to growth and to learning and to being able to apologize as well when we get it wrong. Because hey, we are human. And every single one of us gets it wrong. At some point, you know, every one of us and like you said, every one of us has our biases, but knowing what your biases are, and understand understanding and being aware of that, like some of the stuff that I do in my leadership work I have, I do a 360 Emotional Intelligence profiling tool, which is just phenomenal, because what it shows people when they when they go through it, when they do the tool, and they sit there and then we do some coaching around or at what came out what stands out for you there, it’s coaching. I’m gonna go into hobbyhorse for a second here. A lot of people think coaching is sitting there and telling people what to do. It’s not coaching, real coaching executive proper coaching, is where you question and you ask the questions that facilitate the answers that come from within that person, it’s not guiding a person with what you believe is correct. It’s helping them to find that inner guide that inner sense and that understanding for themselves. And then if they don’t have that understanding for themselves, helping them to work out where they might find it, how they might find it, how else they could do things so that they find those sorts of stuff. So when I’m working through this 360 with people, I’ll say to them, Well, this is what this is how the profile works. These are the little things. And these are what these things mean. And you know, for example, self awareness, this is what self awareness is. And this is how it would manifest within different situations in your life. Tell me what stands out for you around what’s come up in that profile response. And then that person gets to talk about, and quite often, as somebody looking at a profile before I debrief, I think there could be this that could be there. When you ask them, they go, Oh, it’s this and it’s a mile away from what you thought it might possibly be. Because when you look at it, you might think about those things, but only as an idea as a prompt for yourself, when you’re coaching them to remember to ask questions around those sorts of things to make sure that it’s not, but allow them to tell you what it is because within them, they know, they know what’s right and what’s wrong within their life. But they aren’t necessarily consciously aware of it. Because until they get asked the right question that makes them go, Oh, I’ve just realized, oh, that’s what that is. And that’s why that’s happening. And then there’s the question. So what could you do about that? How is that affecting you? How else could you do that? What else could you do about that? How else could you look at that. And that’s when they go, ah, oh, I’m gonna do that. And for them, whatever that block has been, they’re able to then move forward from it and, and grow as a person because of it just be by being asked the right question from someone who’s open, to allowing it to be whatever is right for them. And it’s important, particularly if we’re talking leadership, but important for every human in the world. Regardless, I believe every human is a leader at some point at some place in their life. So it is important for us to allow them to be the individual self, because our genius is in our individuality. And you were saying earlier about being shy as a leader or being being introverted and shy. So introversion and shyness are two different things. So you can be a shy introvert you can also be a shy extrovert. So introversion is about getting your energy from being alone from being in your own space without people and noise and clutter around you. That’s where you recharge. That’s where Yeah, yeah. And, you know, and that’s me sometimes. And we all have our moments of introversion. We all have our moments where you just go enough. I just need some time alone to let my head clear, right? It doesn’t it doesn’t matter how extroverted we are. Very few people don’t have those moments. And what we have to realize and remember, as people working with people, everybody’s different. Everybody has the level on the scale where they sit, is that we also can go into that space, even if it’s not our regular space that we sit in So it’s important for us to remember that and with so with introversion that’s introverted with shyness, something has happened. That makes us at some point in some place, whether it’s something conscious or unconscious, it may have even happened before we were one year old. So we don’t even have an idea. But something has happened in life that we have we carry some trauma from. And usually with that sort of thing, sometimes you can get through that without any therapy. Sometimes you need therapy. I didn’t realize what what was holding me back. As a child, I was very badly bullied. I knew that was part of it, I had an experience with a boy with holding guns to my head when I was 11 telling me he was going to kill me if I couldn’t find my shoes that he’d hidden things like that. And, and then being told by the school principal that I lied about it, which said to me, You’re nobody wants to know anything about you. Nobody wants to hear your truth. Nobody wants to you know, don’t don’t don’t bother talking about what is happening to you. And that led to a series of very complicated things growing up and a whole lot of things that if I had spoken out about the outcomes would have been a whole lot better. I can look back on all of that now, comfortably, without a problem, because I’ve done therapy around it. But there was always something that was still holding me back. And I couldn’t work out what it was. And I discovered that when before I was two years old, that my so it wasn’t actually my grandfather, he was my pop, my grandmother remarried. So because the first husband had died very young, and she remarried, and poor up had come back from the war with a psychological problem. They used to call it shell shock, but with trauma with PTSD, and he had come back from the war with this trauma, he always carried a knife and a rope in his pocket will pop did himself in publicly in a park. Back in the late 60s, when, if somebody in the family had suicided. That was a great shame on the family and a huge stigma. I wasn’t aware of any of that. But that happened before I was two years old. And when I started working on like working through family history and working through like what else has happened in the family, what else has gone on and that was just through interest. And I found that out I went, now I get it. Now I get why? Because I had always felt like I’d been rejected even as a tiny child, I couldn’t work out why I’d felt like I was being rejected. Why did I feel like no one loved me. And it would have been around my mother’s distress and grief, and having to deal with all of that. When I was a tiny child, and she wouldn’t have been feeling it, she wouldn’t have been and which would be completely reasonable. Wouldn’t have been feeling like oh my gosh, you know, I need to look after this child, I need to do these things for this child, she’d have been caught in her own world of grief and distress, and tried to help her mother and everything else that went around that. And then going to school, the bullying that happened was also part of that came from the teachers who were adults, in a society where there was a massive stigma around any kind of mental health issues. So because there was a mental health issue in the family, we then became the stigmatized family. I was a precocious chatty child. And they needed to shut me up and push me down to keep me quiet. So once they started bullying, all the other stuff blinks. This is the leadership stuff, right? This is it being led by a authority figure who was the teacher, so the children were being led by the teacher and the teachers behavior. And that’s how it played out. Now, I’m past all of that now, because of the work that I did. But if I hadn’t done work on that, I wouldn’t be past it. But it’s really interesting because I’ve always been had this curious, inquiring mind that like to looking from the outside, even as a child, I can remember lying in bed as a, you know, eight 910 year old and thinking about if I was an alien, out in the spacecraft looking down at the world, what would I be seeing? And I’ve always had that sort of perspective of looking in from the outside which has it because I’m so curious. And because I like to look at things and think, you know, I haven’t had we actually look to someone looking in. And it’s, it’s just a fascinating study to look at. Who are we as a society? How do we, how do we move forward as a society? How are we it’s so easily led, how are we so easily influenced? Why are we so easily influenced? And what could we do better? What can we do differently? I actually watched the Barbie movie a couple of weeks ago. And boy, is there some comment on that in there? Have you seen it? It’s incredible.
Richard Lowe 39:53
I have not seen it but no, I’ve even liked
Mary Wong 39:57
the movie. as such. I got it. wasn’t fond of the storyline? I thought it was a bit. It’s a bit boring. It’s a bit nothing. But the actual social commentary in it was phenomenal and made you go. Blimey, Wow, it really I’ve been pondering on it. Ever since watching the movie, you know, it’s incredible.
Richard Lowe 40:17
Well, I discovered in my own journeys through therapy, that the reason why I was shy, was because my parents always fought. And whenever I spoke up, my dad had the opinion that children should be seen and not heard, not heard. And if I cried, he would hit me with a two by four Real men don’t cry. Even when I was in my 40s, and my wife passed away, and I was standing there on the podium in front of the audience, you know, utilize, utilize you doing the eulogy. I couldn’t cry. I didn’t cry through that whole time, until
Mary Wong 40:56
really, really not good for you
Richard Lowe 40:58
until therapy. And I even ran away from home several times. And each time it came home, because I had to protect my sister from my dad. Yeah, and his anger and other issues. And so I stayed there. I found also that I have several specific things. They have words on them that I suffer from, even today, one of them is catastrophism. Which means the boss gives me a frown. And I think, Oh, my God, I’m getting fired. That’s catastrophe. You immediately jump to the other end?
Mary Wong 41:35
That goes back to that what you’ve just talked about, doesn’t it? Yeah. catastrophize it around. Oh, God, this is going to be bad. Immediately. This is bad.
Richard Lowe 41:44
Well, my mom, apparently, my mom went through the Great Depression that I looked at her her age, and she only bitch. She did not go through the Great Depression, but her mom did. So she might be just carrying that over. So everything was a catastrophe. And then, you know, other things similar to that, that have names on them. And I discovered one recently, I’m trying to remember now that, oh, yeah, I tend to address problems. When they become problems, rather than beforehand,
Mary Wong 42:21
being reactive rather than proactive.
Richard Lowe 42:23
Well, I wait till the last minute, and then it’s a problem. And then I can fix it. And it’s fixed. And that’s obviously something that doesn’t work well for planning a business. You know, I don’t know, if you’ve run out of customers, you need to go get customers before you start running out of customers. You shouldn’t be right going. After they’re all gone.
Mary Wong 42:42
Yeah, but I’m very good. Any business a great learning curve?
Richard Lowe 42:46
Oh, yes. Oh, boy, that’s a whole we could have a whole podcast on that. But that’s it’s better to put you into the, into the feast or famine mode of business, which is not a good place to be. I’m very, very good at handling emergencies. Trader Joe’s, when I worked there, we’d have an emergency and, you know, I’d be right on top of that handle. And that’s what I that was my whole job was handling emergencies. Computers down, you know, millions of dollars being lost every hour because the computers aren’t working. I’d have teams and and get them all handled, stuff like that. I took active shooter classes. So I’ve gotten went to a place and exercises on that disaster classes in three earthquakes, stuff like that written books on survival. So, but spotting that probably will change the rest of my life, just that because it’s like, okay, that’s the way my dad acted. I don’t need to do that. I can instead you
Mary Wong 43:43
don’t have to wait for it to be a major problem to fix it. Right. It’s that forward thinking rather than that in the moment thinking
Richard Lowe 43:50
I can put in procedures and things in place in my life. So these things happen in the catastrophism is just, it’s just a mental thing. I don’t have to deal with it. Okay, yeah, my boss frowns at me, I don’t have a boss anymore. But the customer doesn’t respond to an email like one is now. And my mind immediately goes, Oh, my God, they my customer died from COVID. That’s where my mind went. Probably not. He’s, he tends to, is he? He gets on planes. He goes on long plane flights, and he has kids and stuff. It’s probably just, he just hasn’t responded to the email for no apparent reason. What my mind is like COVID You know? Which is stupid because COVID is over pretty much here in the States at least.
Mary Wong 44:35
It’s not stupid. It comes from something that you’ve learned. So it’s not it’s never stupid. It’s it’s just a behavior, you know? And, and when we recognize those behaviors, and we have the awareness around them, then we’re able to do something about them. So I love that you’ve got the awareness about and when it when that thought comes do you then just go Hold on? Is that a logical thought? Or is that a catastrophe thought? You know, that’s and that’s all you have to do until that happens? and take that moment to just that breath. Where you go, just take a moment, go, oh, no, that’s okay. That’s not logical. I don’t have to worry about it. And then in that moment, what else could I do in this moment? And that might be, I’ll just pop him an email and say, Hey, you haven’t heard from you hope all’s well. When you get a moment, get back to me on this.
Richard Lowe 45:22
Oh, and then it gets worse, because he doesn’t respond to that. So it’s now it’s even worse than getting the cycle. Sometimes when nowadays, I’ll explain to my customer, just please respond to the email, you know. And sometimes, there’s one client who would never show up for meetings. I mean, she knows she was never she just goes to meetings, and then she, she’d have some lame excuse. So I finally put in a $200 fine in the contract. And she accepted it. She even paid it a few times. But you know, the flakiest client I’ve ever had just never showed up. Sure. Yeah, I mean, nothing. And that’s frustrating, because you’ve allocated the time. You’re ready to go, you’ve done the pre research, and you’re ready to have the discussion. And she just doesn’t show up. Why? Because she forgot. Or she, she got she, she’s double booked something or whatever. And
Mary Wong 46:17
so is there a reminder system in place for that? Like, is there a text message that goes out an hour before the meeting, saying, Are you turning up today? The day before the meeting, you
Richard Lowe 46:29
had her say, five minutes before the meeting? Yeah, I’ll be there and then just not show up.
Mary Wong 46:33
Wow. Okay, so see, I would be firing that client. Personally, I’d be going, You know what, I can’t work like this. You need to find somebody who can. And I think you might have trouble doing that. So either you need to change your behavior around this. Or, if this is what you want to achieve out of this, you need to change a behavior so that you can achieve it. Or you’re just not going to achieve it. It’s up to you what your choice is. But I can’t work like this
Richard Lowe 46:58
was one of my most fun, interesting projects ever. That she had. So I was like, really motivated to be on that. I was getting paid. Well, although, you know, I had to follow up on that like three times. But that was fine. And the project was wonderful. The book I was writing was great. She never published it. It’s been three years now. So pay for it. It’s a wonderful book, children’s book. And she just got gets distracted easily. And yeah, a lot of people do when it’s like, no, I’m not going to do this anymore. Because even if she showed up on time, then not getting paid on time is a problem for a freelancer. So, yeah. It’s running a business is interesting. You’ve written a number of books I saw on your, your, your bio, yeah,
Mary Wong 47:53
yeah. So there’s the one the balloon principle book, which is all mean, that one’s all me. And that one is around, raising your profile impact and influence through speaking. So through being a public speaker, that person who stands up in front of a group as a leader and speaks and that one is a couple of years old now. So it’s a few years old now. It actually was released, just as COVID started, say my book launch had to be canceled. We all went into lockdown. So we’re all sitting there and I’m going, I’ve just written a book on public speaking and no one’s allowed to get together. That’s kind of work. Well, isn’t it?
Richard Lowe 48:32
I had my own COVID frustration. So I’m thinking
Mary Wong 48:36
that oh, sorry. I’m thinking that we’ll do a relaunch on that one at some point. Yeah, yeah. Because otherwise, you know, you put so much into it when you write a book, don’t you? There’s all the time and effort and there’s the money that it costs
Richard Lowe 48:54
are you still there
Mary Wong 49:00
to do it, and
Richard Lowe 49:03
we seem to be having stalling problems. Are you still there?
Mary Wong 49:14
Yes, yep. Now looks like you’re back. When I was left.
Richard Lowe 49:20
High, okay. Very screen screen. Yeah, these things interesting. I have my COVID story, which I wanted, which I thought was interesting. I’m a fan of WWE wrestling worldwide wrestling, entertainment, or was a fan it’s gotten weird lately. Not that other than always weird. And there was a wrestler there that I liked named mankind and he was he played three different parts. And he was he was the insane wrestler who came out in the street jacket and was a nutcase that was just an act. He became an author. And he’s written two books about himself and probably 10 or 15 other novels after being a wrestler, and then he became a comedian. So he was He was playing locally here in Tampa. On April 1 2020, I got a VIP ticket to just to meet him in the front row seat. So I could talk to him and say hello, you know, do a typical meet and greet and whatever. And guess what happened? Yeah, that was a few days afterwards lock downs.
Mary Wong 50:24
It was a bizarre time in our world, wasn’t it? It was really the most surreal experience to live through writing a novel at the moment that set during COVID lockdown. And I will eventually finish it, but who knows how long so yes, that’s the first book was that one. I’ve also been in I think it’s seven co authored compilation type books, around a whole lot of different things. One was, two of them are voices of the 21st century, which are books written by female public speakers and leaders, and compiled my first one was around my experience of finding my voice again. The second one was around learning to listen to guidance, myself my inner guidance and be my own person and to take time to look after me. I wrote one about the experience of suicide, there was a book called touched by suicide that was locally authored here. And it was from families of people who had suicide and how it affected them moving forward, and what their learnings and their experiences were and how, how you can help. When somebody has been touched by suicide, what sort of things to do to help because suicide is is something that we basically don’t talk about. A whole lot of other ones how to rise from adversity, all of those sorts of things. letters to my 10 year old self was one that we did as well, which was fabulous. All advice to ourselves if we were 10. Again, what we would tell ourselves now, with the benefit of hindsight, which is a wonderful thing. Yeah, no, just a whole lot of different things. Yeah.
Richard Lowe 52:11
Interesting. Yeah. It’s interesting. Being an author, I’ve probably got, well, I’ve done 60 books of my own plus 48 ghostwritten books, that’s in 10 years. And because I recognize when I first started out as a ghostwriter, I can’t use my ghostwritten works as references most of the time, but I can use my own works. So I wrote my own books. And they’re still there on Amazon. A couple of them became bestsellers in the Kindle world Kindle bestsellers. I think my one of them sold 15,000 copies in three days. I had a big marked down and get a nice, a nice sound promotion. One of the three of the ghostwritten books have been traditionally published in the restroom cell phone list. The traditional published ones did really well. In fact, I just realized that a fourth one was just published author didn’t tell me disinterment. You didn’t tell me you got published and he’s like, oh, sorry. I was on sabbatical when he got published. Okay, that’s an excuse. Yeah, life is interesting. Because you know, I started out hopeless when I was young because there was no I couldn’t foresee coming back in when I was at school they taught metal shop as your career growth path and metal shop. And auto shop economics. Yeah, exactly. Well, that was the the woman’s side was the home economics thing that was then and the men but took metal shop. And motors, motor stuff and car stuff. woodwick Yeah, good work. Yeah, I got my tie stuck in a wood lathe and almost cut my head off. Don’t wear a tie around lace lace the spinny thing is a good life lesson. That was a good lesson. Like listen to your teachers 14 It was a clip on so it didn’t do any damage but good life lesson listen to teacher sometimes they know what they’re talking about. So and then when they’ve got then I had the home life that was substandard. Let’s just leave it at that some suboptimal very, so I wanted to get out, didn’t know how then finally got a job and became a VP of a company well, within a year did a few years and a VP of a second company I designed and wrote the water systems for Las Vegas Valley and Ohio, Connecticut and New Haven, Connecticut, Ohio, California New Haven Connecticut and then went on to Trader Joe’s for 20 years and then thought I was gonna die there because you know, it was a great company thought it was gonna just and then decided now you know, I don’t want to be I don’t want to die in corporate. I want to I want to go off and do something that I believe in and ghost writing and writing was I’ve always wanted to be one. And and now I am and you know what I
Mary Wong 54:55
find that a lot of authors have got a very path to where they are I’m doing a lot of work with book coaching now on helping people book that book because I’m sure you know that the first time that you write your book by yourself, it’s pretty darn hard. People sort of stop partway through. So I’m helping people get through the whole process now. But I had a similar sort of thing. I started off as a nurse, and then a midwife. So I did all my own minutes for nurses training, become a registered nurse became a midwife, then ended up doing blood pathology coaching. Sorry, sorry. Stop it.
Richard Lowe 55:33
That’s okay. I didn’t hear it.
Mary Wong 55:36
ended up doing I’ve got two dogs and someone’s walked in the backyard, and they both gone nuts.
Richard Lowe 55:43
So don’t worry about it. Oh, good.
Mary Wong 55:45
ended up doing pathology collections, then from there, gave up on that all together and became a fashion designer and had a bridal business in creating haute couture bridal gowns for 15 years, then had my babies then got postnatal depression. And that’s what started me in this journey through coaching and counseling. So I went counseling, went coaching, business studies, all of that sort of stuff, did all of those sorts of studies, and then move from there. So it was that that 20 year journey started basically, when I had my children or that of that doing the formal study into leadership and into what makes our brain tick, and what makes us who we are, and what makes us so special as human beings, every single one of us, and that’s where it all came from. But now it’s more. I’m continuing to write, I’m enjoying writing, I love it. But I certainly haven’t done as much as you hope one day to have done as much as you because I really love doing it, it feels like a fit for me, you know, it feels like not that not that anything else I ever did didn’t feel like a fit at the time it did. But as society has moved on, as I’ve moved on, my career has moved on into different aspects as well. And I think that’s what we do as authors.
Richard Lowe 56:57
I think there’s what we do as people, if we’re, if we’re healthy, is life changes. I mean, I’m in my 60s now. And this is the age when you’re supposed to retire. And there’s no way I would even consider retiring. Now assuming that I have my health, which I do. I mean, never, never had surgery, knock on wood, you know, not planning any been healthy most of my life, in spite of all the emotional and mental issues, you know, wife passing away and toxic locations and toxic people and toxic jobs and all that kind of stuff. But I think if you’re healthy you grow, and you make changes in your life, I think if you’re not healthy, you stay. I’m not sure if you’re not healthy. But if you’re you’re doing better if you can change and accept change and grow as you grow. Because otherwise you’re just stuck in a rut. And that makes you vulnerable. If you think, Okay, I’m gonna be hired by this company, I’m gonna stay there till I die. Well, what if that company lays everybody off? Like all the big companies are now? What if? What if you get sick and can’t work anymore, you know, you can have all these what ifs, there’s the catastrophism. But things things change. Whereas if you get into the new gig economy, and you’re doing Uber or something, or you got a second job or a third job, and you’ve got your own, maybe in addition to your job, you’re running your own company, maybe a small startup, you’ve got a little bit of leg room now. You’ve got a little room to grow. I mean, when I first started I I sold on eBay, I sold $35,000 worth of stuff my stuff in one year, I went into affiliate marketing, I sold $10,000 worth of other people’s stuff in one year and that same year. And then I realized that affiliate marketers aren’t what I want to be for various reasons. And that eBay is a lot of work because you got to ship it all. But packaging it up and stuff ship me is a great way. It’s a great fallback. I got steal a lot of stuff and if necessary, I can sell stuff. That’s not my plan B that’s just the catastrophism kicking in again. But yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It’s very much recognize it now. It makes it makes it easier. I actually have a sense of humor about it. Oh, yeah, that’s just me doing that stupid thing again. And it goes away. And I work on my model kits, work on copies of fame fantasy fantasy miniatures I write these things all get rid of though I didn’t mention off all the five different things that I found that I do don’t need to we’re not psychoanalyzing me, but I, I, when those things happen, I go jump on a hobby or take a walk or I call up a friend or I do something to get out of my space. Because if I sit there, this is the thing that affects most people is they let it they keep thinking about it in your mind which the mental story you have going on in your life forms your life. So if you start thinking there’s a catastrophe coming. Don’t be surprised If one app shows up, yes. Whereas if you start thinking, Okay, it’s not really a catastrophe, it’s certainly not there yet. I mean, it’s gonna be a long time before I’m destitute on the streets, give him from where I am now. Well, that’s where our mind is going. So, let’s even not look at the end. And let’s just look at what do I need to do now? What’s the next best step? Yeah, customer frowned at me. Okay, like he said, well send him an email. Don’t go to don’t have my mind, go to two, oh, my god, the customer is bad. And he’s going to drop me and not pay the bill. And I’m gonna not be able to do this, and this and this, and life is going to collapse. And then it’s going to steamroll because I’m going to be coming, I don’t need to do that. That’s just mental. And it is mental. And you don’t have to do that yourself. And that’s all I was doing. So I turn it off your energy, right? It spins your energy, and it causes those negative things to actually become more possible. Yep. And that’s, that’s the problem with catastrophism and other things like that. catastrophism isn’t in the DSM H. That’s the psychiatric,
Mary Wong 1:01:10
it’s not a psychiatric illness, it’s a behavior. Its behavior that you’ve got to remind yourself that you’re stepping into and, and make yourself step out of I think
Richard Lowe 1:01:22
there’s a neurosis perhaps.
Mary Wong 1:01:24
The best case is behaving. It’s part of neurosis. Yes.
Richard Lowe 1:01:27
Yeah. And that’s fine. Everybody’s got them. But I fight neuroses or behaviors like I’m literally scared of heights. I used to go up in a hot air balloon every year. terrified of them. Yeah, but and I was terrified. Yeah, a little bit of plywood and a basket and I’m up in the air and like, Oh, my God, I’m gonna die. And it was exhilarating. It was fun. I used to be a little bit claustrophobic, and then became a cave crawler, you know, spelunker started crawling around caves. That was hard, because you’ve got I had a kilometer of rock over me. And Carlsbad Caverns is great if you want to fight class, claustrophobia, because you go through these little panels, and then you come into this huge cavern that’s literally 300 feet high, 1000 feet long and 400 feet wide. And it’s got a hotel in the middle, just a one room hotel in the middle of a restaurant. So you’ve got this mixture of storage spaces and bad spaces, it’s really good plays
Mary Wong 1:02:25
and plays with your mind, it makes your mind go wait on where am I and when you can confuse your mind like that, because something’s in the wrong space. It actually can help you deal with what it is that you’re dealing with in that space as well. So that claustrophobia sense that sense of being closed in, you’ve gone into a hotel, which is a normal, everyday hype occurrence being in a building. So that sense of being closed, and you kind of forget it, because you’re in your building, right? And then you walk back out of the building go, oh, wait, oh, that’s right, I’m still in here. So that kind of makes your mind change the way that it looks at it. And and you have to do it more than once. Generally, one experience won’t fix it, although my balloon flying experience did change my perception of flying in balloons completely, because I was terrified of them. But flying going up in the balloon was the most beautiful, exhilarating feeling. That was quite a few years ago now. And now I go, Oh, gosh, I wouldn’t mind going up in a balloon again, but I’m a bit worried about it. And so it’s still there, right? So you’ve got to keep doing it, you’ve got to keep working, consciously working on whatever the thing is that you’re working on. You can’t just do it once and go home queueing. For most of us, that’s not how it works. For most of us, it is that being conscious of it continuing to work on it continuing to grow through it. And you know, that’s and that’s the thing about life is that we as humans, we will learn how to deal with something. And then because we don’t deal with it for a while, we kind of slide backwards a bit. And then we have to relearn and relearn it until it becomes a natural pathway in our brain, which takes a lot of time, particularly if that pathway was formed as a tiny child on a
Richard Lowe 1:04:10
related subject. I was terribly shy, like, we started this conversation. And when my wife passed away, I’d spent 12 and a half years supporting a woman who was chronically ill. And a job that was very tough. So I was caved in, which made the, the, the shyness even worse. I mean, I was painfully introverted and painfully shy. I couldn’t talk to anybody. I mean, other than at work because I was a leader, you know, at work so I could talk at work. So I decided, okay, I’m full of grief. I’m terribly shy. I’m horribly introverted. My, my senses are all in my head instead of being out there in the world. And I don’t like this feeling at all. So I picked up a camera and started photographing and I went to first all national parks in the Southern California area and took lots and lots and lots of pictures. expanded my horizons, started attending renaissance fairs if I don’t know if you have those over there, we have little festivals that are like Renaissance era. And there was a local one. So I attended that they started to know me, they accepted me as part of their family, and they’re like a circus family. So it’s the same concept where they’re all very close, tight knit. I was the photographer, the group, and then one day photographing the belly dancers, the colors and the swirly and stuff all kind of made me feel better. And one of them comes up to me, her name is Marshawn. He’s still a dear friend. But I was in this tight little world and she comes up and she puts arms around me and I’m like terrified because he’s full of tattoos. Never knew tattoos before you know. He’s got piercings and scary to me, conservative guy and says, We liked the pictures you put on the internet, we’d like you to keep going, we want to invite you to the front row center seat, and I will introduce you to every belly dancer that I can. And before long, I had done 1200 Belly Dance shelf photoshoots and done 300 renaissance fairs and WWE. I photographed web for a while and photographed the world’s first first world annual mermaid photo, exceed beauty pageant. I was the photographer for that. That was really interesting. achieved a bucket list item, met two supermodels and had lunch with them. Which was very interesting, because I didn’t expect it. But they were very nice. And had a party every year with like 100 dancers come and dance for me with their husbands sitting in the corner being bored because they’d seen the same delegates a million times. And the shyness broke. I’m not the least bit Sure I’ll go up to a gang member and I’ll just ask him about his tattoos. Because that’s, that’s always something you can ask somebody who has tattoos about, hey, what’s the story behind those tattoos? And nine times out of 10 they’ll say oh bla bla bla bla bla. So I proceed that I have what I’ve considered a problem. And I came up with a kind of innovative solution and solved it. And now I don’t have it anymore. The introversion is a little different. That one after COVID and stuff, I was like COVID Cool. We’re locked down. That’s great. I’m a ghostwriter. I don’t care. I can work at home now. It’s not weird anymore. And anyway, that’s what
Mary Wong 1:07:34
I’m hoping you can hear me my microphone has just given me a fault.
Richard Lowe 1:07:40
And a little bit of feedback, but we are coming up on an hour and 15 minutes. Yeah, so
Mary Wong 1:07:47
not quite sure what happened, then. It just suddenly sent me a cease a problem note.
Richard Lowe 1:07:54
Probably too much talking going on too much hot air. Anyway, we’ve worn it out. I think we’re coming up on the end. Anyway. Is there any final words you want to say?
Mary Wong 1:08:04
Um, no, I just thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to chatting. I’m really really enjoyed talking with you. And, you know, I think that we all have so many stories and so much to share. And a lot of people just don’t take the time to sit and have a conversation these days. But it’s in those conversations that the real goal just comes out. So I guess my last thing that I’d really like to say to people is talk, get together, or sit down, spend time together and learn about each other, ask the questions, listen to each other and be open to discovering more and more about each other. Because in doing that we build community and in building community, we build a better world. So that’s kind of probably my takeaway.
Richard Lowe 1:08:52
Yep. Today. I agree. Okay. Well, thank you for coming. This has been the writing King. As I said, I’m a ghostwriter, book coach, and LinkedIn branding expert, and it’s been great having you on the show. If you could hang on after I turn off the recording. That’d be great.
Mary Wong 1:09:07
All right. Thank you
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