Person-Centered Leadership with Dr. Mark Goulston

Dr. Mark Goulston is a psychiatrist, executive coach and consultant to major organizations. Mark is the author or co-author of several books including the international best-selling books: "Get Out of Your Own Way," "Just Listen," "Real Influence" and "Talking to Crazy.” His latest book is called, "Trauma to Triumph: A Roadmap for Leading Through Disruption (and Thriving on the Other Side)."

He has contributed to Harvard Business Review, Biz Journals, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Psychology Today and appears widely in the media including CNN, Wall St. Journal, NY Times, Fortune and Forbes. He also appears frequently as a subject area expert on television, radio and podcasts. He hosts his own podcast called “My Wakeup Call” where he interviews influencers about their wakeup calls.

Inside This Episode

  • What is Imposter Syndrome?
  • The Antidote to Imposter Syndrome
  • The Difference Between Founder CEOs and Professional CEOs
  • The Danger of Focusing Too Much on Your Exit Strategy
  • The Difference Between Stress and Trauma
  • Finding the Lessons From Trauma
  • The Power of Gratitude through Struggle
  • The VCG Trifecta
  • Finding Courage as a Leader
  • Beyond Fight, Flight or Freeze
  • How to Handle Bullies
  • Defeating Self-Defeat
  • The Real Reason We Procrastinate
  • Using Accountability to Create Massive Results
  • Social Leadership


Defeating Self-Defeat:





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John Ryan
You're listening to key conversations for leaders. This is episode number 55.

John Ryan 0:05
Hey everybody and welcome to key conversations for leaders. I'm your host John Ryan. And today we have a very special guest Dr. Mark Goulston. Mark is a psychiatrist, executive coach and consultant to major organizations. He's the author or co author of several books, including the international best selling books. Get out of your own way. Just Listen, Real Influence, Talking to Crazy. His latest book is called Trauma to Triumph, a roadmap for leading through disruption, and thriving on the other side. He has contributed to Harvard Business Review his journals, Business Insider, Huffington Post Fast Company, Psychology Today and appears widely in media including CNN, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, fortune and Forbes. He also appears frequently as a subject area expert on television, radio and podcasts. He hosts his own podcast called my wake up call where he interviews influencers about their wake up calls. Welcome to the show. Mark, I appreciate you being here.

Mark Goulston 0:59
That's a great introduction. I don't know who this I have the imposter syndrome. JOHN, what?

John Ryan 1:07
How long is this been problem? Let's go and break it down for you.

Mark Goulston 1:10
What's actually interesting about this imposter syndrome, because in some of the circles I run in, I've been trying to figure out what's, what is this imposter syndrome. And something that I've noticed is that people who actually are about providing service like health care workers, nurses, doctors, they don't suffer as much from the imposter syndrome as people who are trying to drive revenue. And I've been trying to sort that out. So a lot of nurses or social workers, especially that I meet, and the doctors who are in it to just become rich. I'm not against that. But the people who live to serve, they don't seem to have the imposter syndrome, they can be disappointed in themselves that they could have been a better job. And so I've been drilling down what is this imposter syndrome about so my latest drill has hit this idea that I think people who suffer from the imposter syndrome, they either don't want the world to discover that they don't know what they're talking about, or they're not as competent as they're portraying themselves.

Mark Goulston 2:24
But I think a more sinister part of the imposter syndrome is they don't want the world to find out that they don't care about the world. They don't really care about their people. And despite the words, they say, it's always about how can I increase my power, increase my wealth. And so it's still sort of a work in progress. But I've just been hearing in a number of the circles I'm with in especially entrepreneurial circles, you know, I, I'm hearing it thrown around the same way as people used to say, oh, I've got a DD or I'm on the spectrum. I'm What? So I'm starting to hear this creeper. And so I just wanted to share that with you see where that lands? I think it's very, very interesting. So

John Ryan 3:13
if if it's the idea that I don't care about other people, because truly you said service, people who are in the frontlines in the helping professions, they're serving others, if entrepreneurs had that same perspective, theoretically, that could be the antidote for the imposter syndrome.

Mark Goulston 3:31
Yeah, absolutely. In fact, something that I'm also noticing, there's a difference between founder entrepreneurs, founder CEOs, and professional CEOs, and, and often the founders who have put years and years into their business really care about their products, the value it provides, as opposed to an exit strategy. And I've run into a number of founders who put in all that time, and then they get investors, maybe private equity, put some money into their into them because they think they could get more of an ROI if they change the management, including sometimes the, the, the founder with the who originated the intellectual property is sometimes kept on but then they get rid of the other ones. Because they're underperforming.

Mark Goulston 4:30
And it's fascinating because I i've, maybe we'll spend a whole episode on this, but I run into some founders, in which they didn't realize how much their identity was in building their business, growing it to the detriment even of their families. I mean, that company was their baby and then they grew it. And then what happens is when that identity is ripped away and and when In a private equity or another investment from investment bank drills in, it's all about ROI. And what happens is, they can often feel a level of guilt, because they're going to do well. But a lot of the people who have been in that company for 10 or 15 years may not participate in the upside. In fact, some of them may be let go. So there's often this anks, about people who devoted so much time may not be part of the future of that company. So there's often a feeling of some guilt about that. And then also, when they nurtured their company, they nurtured their brand. And they see it being diluted, in the service of our ally, you know, it's like, what are they done to my baby, and the greatest things is, they feel I don't have the right to complain about it, because I got to cash out. So it's an interesting, interesting phenomenon, a lot of variables coming together and imagine changing a moment to moment, is it best in that regard for the founder to stay on? Or is it better for them to go and reforge, perhaps a new identity?

Mark Goulston 6:22
Well, I think they'll try to stay on, but what will happen is, as you know, as investment firms a lot more professional management that can can increase the the value of the company, you know, often they're that founder is not, is not capable of thinking like a business person, they grow to a certain level, but outside is so we could grow it 5x. And so they will often be kept on. Rarely will they stay on his chairman of whatever board is found, they'll remain on the board, sometimes they'll go away and be able to just work on their passion, which was creating whatever the product or service was that they originally invented, that turned into their company. But frequently, more frequently, that they'll leave and try and find something else. And, and some of them can get through that rough period where they lose their footing, and, and rebuild something else and have more perspective, the next time. But some of them, you know, are not serial entrepreneurs, they don't live to grow something, and then flip it and get cash out and then grow the next one. So it runs the gamut of people who, who are able to make the transition to others who have more trouble.

John Ryan 7:51
So Mark is that a form of trauma in and of itself, or someone who's gone through and built this up from, you know, the idea to creation, they give birth to the company and have a whole bunch of team and then all of a sudden, their their separation from the family they've had with them for many, many years, and the baby itself has become a different entity altogether.

Mark Goulston 8:13
It can be trauma, so you're in our book, and Diana handle my new book, trauma to triumph, a roadmap for leading through disruption and thriving on the other side. You know, we make a distinction between stress and trauma. One of the differences between the two is when you're stressed, you can still focus on your goals. You know, it's a little, it's not that easy. But if you're a leader, you know, you're fairly tough and you can make it through stress and stay focused and make the decisions you need to when it crosses over into trauma. One of the goals becomes relieving the pain that is too much from the trauma. So stress, you can still focus on the goal. When you become traumatized, the goal becomes just the survival as opposed to growing the company and then having it thrive. So what we hope readers will get from trauma to triumph is that how to get through a traumatic situation such as COVID, but then use that as a springboard to become better than you've ever been. And that's why it says thriving on the other side. And there are certain things that we talked about the Institute. So we talked about that. You want to create a a ready to go team that has various processes in place that you learn by going through this first trauma and where should a another crisis happen? Instead of people running around, people will know exactly the chain of demand, who reports to who who's responsible for what? And so you want to you want to take that lesson away from a current trauma that you're going through. And also, as we were just talking about someone who sells their company and find that traumatic, well, if they get into a another company, you know, what are the lessons that they should take away from it? You know, jeez, they thought they would feel free and excited. And yet, the ones we referred to feel kind of out of sorts.

Mark Goulston 10:33
So, so it's really important to learn from these traumas. And I think the people at the companies and the leaders that learn from them, are going to be in a much better position than the ones who just just survive and then collapse. Something I did want to also mention, I'm not sure how this impacts leadership, but they may be observing. And what we're discovering is that, as the pandemic seems to be, we're getting past that, that there's a certain amount of the population that instead of feeling excited, are listless, they're unproductive. And it can be confusing when you it's safer. Now you can go out, you can party you can see people face to face. And the way we've explained it is, if you can remember going through final exams in high school, or in college, you know, you could make it through that four or five day period. And then after you finished, you didn't go out and celebrate you collapsed.

Mark Goulston 11:43
And so let's imagine that what we've all been through during the pandemic is one long term final exam period that's lasted over a year. And how we've explained it is that what allows you to make it through final exams for a short term, or maybe when you see the playoffs with the NBA or other sports teams, is you your adrenaline pumps you up because of the excitement. And in the case of the pandemic, the danger, what happens is we're running on adrenaline to deal with the stress. But if the danger goes away, the adrenaline goes away. And so people collapse, because as they feel safer, all that feel listless, they feel unproductive. And something I want to point out to your listeners and viewers is when you feel that collapse, whether you're a leader or an employ, one of the most common things you will feel is just wanting to withdraw.

Mark Goulston 12:56
You know, you'll go to work. And you often don't want to be around people, because you're exhausted. It's the opposite of what you need to do. What you need to do is be around people, what you need to do if you're a leader is keep the conversations going, and not give in to the temptation to withdraw. So making any sense do

John Ryan 13:20
I think it is making sense I love the analogy of finals is an essence kind of making it happen based on the adrenaline that we have. And then once that adrenaline is gone, the fear is gone. In this case with the pandemic, there can be a collapse. So the urgency here is to continue Is it like developing the muscles and redeveloping the strength of being in a social economy?

Mark Goulston 13:48
Yeah, it's as if it's as if certain things have atrophied. So it's a great panel of the choosing about our social muscle has atrophied. And now you have to build it up. I'll tell you something that leaders can do now, that will dramatically help their cultures maybe even transform their cultures. After 911 I was called into organizations and companies to do something with their people. I was called in by some financial institutions, you know, can you meet with our high net worth clients because they're just out of sorts, and one of the programs and I'll send you a link to this because it was written up in a leadership essentials magazine. What we would do is we would meet with people and we'd say, share a time in your life. Not in the present a time in your life that you never thought you'd get through. But she did a time in your life where life was different afterwards, but life wasn't And over.

Mark Goulston 15:01
And it taught you how strong you were how adaptive you were, and pick a time when someone helped you. And so when we would do these programs, if you can picture in your mind's eye, and sometimes people would be assembled a table, seven people in the table, and they would start sharing things from their life in the past, that met all those criteria, people would be crying within about 30 to 40 seconds, because they'd be reliving them, but they'd also be reliving, having gone through them, and then reliving the gratitude of the person, toward the person who helped them. And so something we've come up with, if you want to take advantage of the pandemic, and use it to boost your culture, if you're a leader, is something we call the VCG trifecta. What VCG g stands for is vulnerability, courage and gratitude, vulnerability, courage and gratitude. And why it's helpful to bring up past events that show the vulnerability is that will cause everyone to look at you like you have courage. Whereas as you're telling the story, you don't think of yourself as being courageous, you just thought of yourself as surviving and getting through it. And but you got through it, and past that, and you did become stronger than you thought you were more adaptive. And then when there is a person that you're grateful to part of the homework is fine, that person or their next of kin. And while it's fresh, in your mind, thank them.

Mark Goulston 16:38
And it really changes things. What we've also noticed is that if people are going through recurrent trauma, you know, let's say you're, you're wanting your company to feel supported. And so you invite people to share kind of what they're going through, you know, one of the problems is if someone in your organization brings up a truly horrendous trauma, such as well, you know, this past weekend, you know, my son died by suicide. I mean, when you invite people to open up and they open up a present trauma that they're going through, it can sort of twist the whole meeting that you're in, because you want to attend to that. And everyone's going to be watching, are you going to? How are you going to leave that person when they just, you know, filleted themselves open. So what we recommend is, is you say, look, if people are having a particularly rough time, currently, we have these, these places you can go to these people you can speak to, because we don't want to cheat you out of the undivided attention, that the trauma you're currently going through deserves. So someone's having a trauma in the background. Yeah. But But can you see this is an important distinction, because a lot of times, leaders will think, Okay, so we're trying to allow people to show their vulnerability, we're going to bond around it. But there are times when people will share something that's overly vulnerable. And then the group doesn't know what to do with it.

John Ryan 18:23
So you have to pre frame the rules, to set the container for what's appropriate at that conversation, and also point them to resources, if it's something that's beyond the scope of what the intention of the exercises and so on in light.

Mark Goulston 18:40
Right, right. But can you see that in your mind's eye, because every now and then when you say, well, let's do a check in let's see how people doing, we're all having a rough time. And again, you still want people to be able to talk about what they're going through now. But, but I've seen it happen, where someone is going through something really, really horrendous. Now, you can designate another time, you could say we might want to make available for people who want to share a particularly rough time, like one of my good friends to partnering with, he lives in Delhi. And we're, we're creating a program for for mental wellness, that the whole that all of India is going to use in the next few months. I'll keep you posted on that. But he was saying in Delhi, he said almost every family has had a relative who has died from COVID.

Mark Goulston 19:45
That's a big population. So but, but you want to make available, you know, times places and resources if people do want to open them up about those things. But that other exercise, when I did it with groups after 911, I've heard from some of the people who are still at that company or left that company. They said, they occasionally run into people who went through the exercise after 911. And they don't remember me, they remember we remember when they psychiatrists in California came in. So they don't remember me by name or anything, but they remember the exercise of people opening up and really bonding with each other over that shared vulnerability that taught them how strong they were.

John Ryan 20:38
In going through that process, obviously, you're much better equipped than most managers leaders out there. So it was okay for you to go through that process. But for the average leader, that's probably a little bit much to handle it after a 911 type of event. Is that like, to that degree, is that fair to say?

Mark Goulston 20:57
I'd say that's very fair to say, because, you know, that's why they're bringing me in. But I think if you frame the process, and if you go through, because when I did it with groups of CEOs, I would, and they would get it, I'd say you go back to your company, and you can redo this exercise with them. But if you frame it, with regard to past traumas that they've lived through, it takes it takes it away from being overwhelming from the current trauma.

John Ryan 21:34
Makes sense? With the one risk of being like, so deep, that it's beyond the scope, and that's why you go into past traumas, not current traumas. Is there ever have you found the experience where people are just waiting in the waters? not really going in the deep end? And just being superficial?

Mark Goulston 21:54
Oh, yeah, you say, look up, I remember I was called in to a big big bank and on Wall Street. And, and, and, and I was meeting with the executive team, because they knew that they had a rough patch coming their way. And when I said, You know, I want people to share a difficult time that they that they went through that helped them realize how strong they were, you know, most of them were able to do it. But there was one person who looked like grumpy from the Seven Dwarfs it his arms were crossed. And I thought, he's, he's just not liking this at all. And so I love anyone who didn't want to participate the option. But by the time everyone else participated, I thought he was going to poopoo the whole thing. And he said, worst, worst time I've gone through, you know, that got through? Well, I don't know that I've got through because it's happening now. You know, my, our son, our son is a manipulative drug addict, and we kick them out on the street. And we don't know where he is, or what's happening to him. And, and because I had felt that there was a really supportive group, by the time we got to him, I said, Can you share the impact that this is having on your wife? And, and he just really lost it. I mean, he got emotional. And he said, you know, she's, she's just out of her mind. But then they were able to sort of pull together. So, again, I'll send you the link to the article. And certainly customize it to your comfort level your expertise. But but it made so much sense.

Mark Goulston 23:55
Because what happens is, when people show vulnerability, and share a story with vulnerability, and you see that you attribute to them the courage that they got through it, plus the lessons learned and the wisdom, plus the gratitude to someone else who helped them. What happens is everyone feels honored to be in the group. When we used to do the program, and we'd have people do this at tables, after they did it, you could feel the room flex. And I would ask every group hot Raise your hand if you feel that you're that you're in a group of special people, you know, in some of these left brain analytic types, and they all raise their hand and I said, what happened is you're no more special than you were an hour ago. But what happened is you all shared a special moment. You know, that you got through and you looked at everyone else as being incredibly courageous. When, for them, it was the same as it was for you. They were just getting through it the best they could. And then when you also heard people just being grateful, as opposed to be, you know, arrogant and full of themselves. You just had a special experience. So that was the thing. They've remembered it forever.

John Ryan 25:21
Is that comparison to others where they can view the same behavior and others and say that's courage, but not feel the same way? Is that also relating to some of the things that happen with imposter syndrome?

Mark Goulston 25:35
That's an interesting angle, I think. I think when people to be honest, I be shooting from the hip. And I'd rather not but but I want to give it some thought, because, because, again, what we talked about is that people who feel this imposter syndrome, it's, it's they're afraid of being found out as either not knowing what they're talking about, or not caring about other people that they're promoting themselves as caring about.

John Ryan 26:11
That's fair. Yeah. And I appreciate that. And obviously, the angle was more lack of compassion for self versus respecting others, and which is more of a self esteem, perhaps perspective. you'd mentioned previously around the survival mechanism. And we've kind of danced around, you know, fight or flight with trauma that occurs, his survival mechanism equivalent to fight or flight, or are they exactly the same? Or is there overlap, but not equality?

Mark Goulston 26:39
I think there's overlap. So because because what happens and and I'll give you just enough neuroscience for some of your neuroscience listeners to take me to task. But what happens is, when we are stressed out or traumatized, there is a huge outpouring of cortisol. And cortisol is a stress hormone that basically signals the rest of our body get ready to deal with stress. And the higher the cortisol, the more likelihood it's going to trigger something in our brains a part of our brain called the amygdala. And the amygdala is like a point guard, you know, in the NBA, in it. And what happens is when the stress and the cortisol are high enough, the amygdala does something that's called an amygdala hijack, which causes our blood to preferentially flow into our lower survival brain. So there's either fight, flight or freeze, something we talked about in trauma to triumph and my co author is much more experienced at this she's she's observed a fourth f during trauma, at least for healthcare workers in organizations. And she calls it friends fight flight or freeze and friends meaning some of the some of what helps you to get through it is that you're not going to let your your your appear down. You may not know how you're going to go back and and survive the next shift. But you can't let other people down when you talk to people in the military. One of the reasons that they they put themselves in keep going back in a traumatic situations is they're just so bonded to their peers, that they can't let them down.

John Ryan 28:35
That seems insightful and credible. So people are willing to for the benefit of that social contract. Go back into situations that might be even ongoing trauma, despite the fight flight or freeze response because of the poll of the friends.

Mark Goulston 28:55
Right and also something we talked about and why coping you can heal is that you know, when you when you're going through the trauma and you don't think you can get through it, the the high cortisol, the danger, the amygdala. There's also an outpouring of adrenaline, because adrenaline is not just about excitement. It's about danger. And adrenaline insulates you from pain. You can play a quarter of an NBA final game on a fractured leg, because the adrenaline insulates you from the physical pain. And as we talked about before, adrenaline can insulate you from some of the intrusive thoughts and feelings that if you allow the man would paralyze you, but then the adrenaline goes away. Now those thoughts and feelings and having confronted things that were horrific, start to threaten to come back and take you over and take you down.

John Ryan 29:54
I understand that there might be a lot of the cortisol the stress hormone happening when There's there's bullying and I understand that you're also you have a conference coming up about never be fully began. And that's that's the top of the real lecturing about what happens inside the mind is that a fight flight freeze or friends situation when someone's being bullied as well,

Mark Goulston 30:17
I think that is exactly going on. And I'll just give you a little teaser because I have a feeling this is going to be a frequently requested presentation. And what the presentation is about will be to a conference of women in technology, it's actually the organization is called witty women in technology International. And, and what I've learned about bullies is not that it's a whole different thing, if there's physical bullying going on, you need to call in something. But if it's, if it's verbal bullying, and emotional bullying, what I'm going to teach them in the presentation is that many of these bullies bully you. And we don't have to talk politics, but you can think of what I might be imagining, but many people bully you, because they want to get too so agitated, that you can't notice that they're incompetent at what they're doing. They're covering up for something they're covering up for not knowing what they're doing, or covering up for, they're really not caring about the company.

Mark Goulston 31:30
So the more they can keep you on the defensive, the more they can keep your cortisol, your adrenaline all jacked up. And the more that you're in your survival brain, the less you can think and consider, geez, is what they're saying even making sense to even know what they're talking about. And so to give you just a little bit of so what do we do? Dr. Mark, I mean, you've you've teased us with the situation that many of us live in every day. So the advice is mainly identify those people in your life. And these can be at work, these can be bosses, employees, or co workers and family members. Identify the bullies in your life, the physical ones, you have to take other action to protect yourself. But if they're verbal bullies, identify them, and never expect them not to believe. So when you're in a conversation with them, holds a little bit of yourself back. Because as soon as the conversation goes in a direction, where they want you to do something you don't want to do, or they want to not do something you'd like them to do. That's when the bullying behavior comes out. And what they're going to do is try to agitate you and provoke you. Because if they can provoke you, you're going to have this internal cortisol to amygdala hijack to freeze, fight, flight or freeze. And then hold a little bit of yourself back. And then when they do that, learn to look them straight in the eye and pause for a couple seconds. And just be very calm. And they're going to be looking for you to be provoked and out of commission.

Mark Goulston 33:15
And there's various things you can say to them at that point, you could say, Would you mind saying that to me in a different voice? Because the way you said it kind of got me all discombobulated. Or, or you might say something like, do you really believe what you just said? Or you might say, Hmm, what happens is, when bullies see that they couldn't provoke you into being off balance, they often don't have a backup plan. Because many of these bullies are trying to bully you into reactivity because they're trying to trying to keep you from catching them and something that makes sense. So know who they are ahead of time. Hold a bit of yourself back. That doesn't mean be aloof, but but be ready for them to hit you with that that provocative action. Pause and instead of being a deer in the headlights and freezing, pause, lean and look them straight in the eye. Say one of the run that by me again, you know kind of the way you said it before got me all, you know, kind of out of sorts.

John Ryan 34:28
I love strategies. Thank you. What is the outcome? So I know that you said the outcome of a bully perhaps in the workplace is to distract you from seeing what else is going on in that situation. What do they want to see happen they want to see you get riled up is that that's their wind that they learned the strategy perhaps early on in life.

Mark Goulston 34:50
Well, they probably observed that as a child. You know, it's amazing what we've learned as watching our parents when we're young I've just become a grandparent of free in the last two and a half years. And I get to see them every day. And, and I'm not a great believer in cliches, but it changes your life to become a grandparent, and I, and I'm much more present with my grandchildren than I was with by regular children, because I was too busy earning a living. But I can see my grandchildren that they really tune in to their parents, my two daughters, and their, and their dads. And I can see they're really learning. And, and I can imagine that as they grow up, if they see one parent dominating another parent. Sorry about that, sorry. But if they see one parent dominating another parent, they can either take the side of the one who's dominated or they can become the dominator and say this, I guess this is the way you get your way, but they're learning all these ways of dealing with life. And, and, but but bullying others is usually because you want to force your particular point of view on them, or keep them from discovering something that you might be hiding. So to me, I think most bullies are hiding something, even even the competent ones, they're hiding something. Because if they were really smart, and they could just lay out both a compelling and convincing case, they would just make their case, and it would sell itself.

John Ryan 36:38
That's a really good point. Thank you for sharing that as well. And and I understand I know you're a prolific writer, and you give nine bucks here credit and counting. And of course, seminars, webinars, trainings throughout the world. Right now, I believe you have a program that it that has not been something you've done before. But this is also a new thing that you're launching, or you've already launched the program,

Mark Goulston 37:02
it's launched. So if you go to Himalaya learning are And I keep misspelling it but it's h i m a l forward slash defeat, it'll take you to the audio course it was called defeating self defeat. And there are 12 audio episodes that you can hear. And Himalaya is pleased with the mind, please do them. And what they are is really counterintuitive ways of dealing with certain self defeating behaviors. So I'll give you a teaser. So the earliest episode is on procrastinating. And a lot of people procrastinate about something. So each of the episodes has a different way of looking at things. That is counterintuitive, meaning I never would have thought of it that way. But it's intuitively correct, where you say, gee, that actually might work. So the one on procrastination is what I talked about is that we often procrastinate not because we're disorganized and disciplined or lazy. But because we're lonely. People don't think of that. And what does that mean? It means that when we were young, and we had to do things that we didn't want to do, because people were telling us to do it, and we couldn't get away with not doing it.

Mark Goulston 38:27
We made a promise to ourselves unconsciously when I get older and I don't want to do something, I'm not going to do it. But and what happens is, when you're faced with doing something and you're not doing it, you get the the cortisol response to stress and so to avoid it, you pull away. But where does the loneliness come in? Well, if you can reach out to other people, all these 12 step programs, one of the reasons they work is not the 12 steps. It's the fellowship. It's people caring enough about you, that when you're having trouble. You reach out to your sponsor, and they say let's go to a meeting. What happens is the kid the mutual caring triggers something called oxytocin triggers bonding, and the bonding lowers the cortisol. And what I talked about in the procrastination episode, and I don't know if I want to try this with you, john, but I could I was on a radio show with this delightful radio host and I said, What is something you're procrastinating about? And she said, Everybody tells me I should write a book. I said, Well, how long have you been procrastinating? I think she said about a year and a half. And I said here's what we're gonna do. I'm I said, if you were to start working on the book, when would be the best time to start writing each day. And she said probably seven in the morning and she was East Coast time. I was pacific time, I said, here's what we're going to do for a month. Every day, Monday through Friday, I'll take a break. I'm going to call you at 7am your time 4am my time, probably not going to get back to sleep, but I'm going to call you. And, and I believe her name was Natalie. And you're not going to complain, because I just got up at four in the morning to call you. I'm gonna say, Natalie, get in front of your computer, get there, get there? No, no, no, no excuses. It's 4am for me get there, get there. And then when you're in front of your computer, I'm going to say, what's the question I should ask you that when I asked you, you start writing. We're going to do that every morning. And she told her audience, you know that crazy psychiatrists from Santa from California, he's calling me every day. And so we did that for a month. And then she got, you know, into it. And then six months later, she calls me and she says, What's your address? I want to send you the book.

John Ryan 40:55
Wow. Fantastic. Love that story.

Mark Goulston 41:00
Can you see how that would work? And because it was the the mutual caring, and the oxytocin, you know, calmed her down, and she was able to do

John Ryan 41:11
it connects back to the idea of the friends, fight, flight freeze, or friends. And that's social agreement that we have, and we're willing to do more for others more often than we are for ourselves. So I love that. Thank you so much for sharing. Dr. Mark. It has been an absolute pleasure, again, to have you here back on key conversations for leaders. What's the best way for our listeners and viewers to get in touch with you and find out more about the program and the books and all the great things that you have gone on?

Unknown Speaker 41:39
Let me ask you, so is this is there a video of this there was adjuster?

John Ryan 41:45
Yeah, we do video, video and audio.

Mark Goulston 41:48
So I'm going to show you a neat trick. And I have a video person. So hold on. Jeez, this is worth it. So look at this. Can you see?

John Ryan 42:07
Yes, love it.

Mark Goulston 42:09
Okay, so if you see the video, and I can tune you into my video technologist. So if you're listening to this, you won't see it. But there's a QR code. And if you scan it with your phone, it will take you to my LinkedIn. Or you can go to my LinkedIn, you know without scanning it, but will take you directly. Or you can go to my website. And just to do overkill, there, there's a QR code. I overdid. I've never done a twofer, like this, john, but there they are.

John Ryan 42:48
I think we can handle it. We got we got leaders, they're very competent, they can they can scan both of them. That's fantastic. I will search for the non qR folk, I'll make sure that I put the links in the shownotes save access to them as well. And again, Dr. Mark, thank you so much for being here.

Mark Goulston 43:05
Thank you for having me on again, John.

John Ryan 43:07
And thank you all for listening and watching and until next time, develop yourself, empower others, and lead by example. Thanks for listening to key conversations for leaders with your host John Ryan. If you enjoy the show, please let us know. Give us a rating or write a review. And if you'd like to connect with me and other like minded leaders, I invite you to join our Facebook group called Develop, Empower and Lead where I deliver free live training every week. If you go to It will redirect you right there. Hope to see you there soon.

Transcribed by

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

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