E6 The Unlock Moment: Dr Mark Goulston – Catching People When They Fall
In this episode, I interview best-selling author, coach, and psychiatrist Dr. Mark Goulston about his unique methodologies Surgical Empathy, and the Michaelangelo Mindset. He brings these powerful approaches to life through the stories and experiences that have led him to where he is today. A master storyteller and a master listener, Mark is someone you could listen to for hours – this is truly a powerful episode that you will remember for a long time. Dive deep inside his mind when he describes his formative experiences at medical school and how he intentionally translated that experience into the design of the work he has built his career on. * CONTENT WARNING: Dr. Mark Goulston is a psychiatrist and expert in suicide prevention, and this episode discusses suicidal feelings *
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Gary Crotaz 0:00
Content warning. This episode of The Unlock Moment podcast discusses suicidal feelings. My name’s Dr. Gary Crotaz. And I’m a coach and author of The IDEA Mindset, a book about how to figure out what you want, and how to get it. The Unlock Moment is that flash of remarkable clarity when you suddenly know the right path ahead. When I’m in conversation with my coaching clients, these are the breakthroughs that are so profound that they remember vividly where they were, who they were with, what they were thinking when their Unlock Moment happened. In this podcast, I’ll be meeting and learning about people who have accomplished great things, or brought about significant change in their life, and you’ll be meeting them with me. We’ll be finding out what inspired them how they got through the hard times, and what they learned along the way that they can share with you. Thank you for joining me on this podcast to hear all about another Unlock Moment. Hello, dear listener, and welcome to another episode of The Unlock Moment podcast. Today I’m delighted to be bringing you a really special guest, I know you’re going to enjoy this conversation. Dr. Mark Goulston is a member of Marshall Goldsmith MG100 coaches. That’s pretty much the best of the best in the global coaching community. And he’s a CEO blind spot executive coach, helping them become aware of counterproductive behaviours and correcting them. He was recently named to LeadersHums Power List of the top 200 biggest voices in leadership in 2022. He is the author or co-author of nine books with his book Just Listen being translated into 28 languages and becoming the top book on listening in the world. The HBR Ideacast episode Become A Better Listener, featuring Mark, has been ranked number one for the last six years. Mark also hosts the highly-rated podcast My Wakeup Call, which I was delighted to appear on recently, and is the inventor of Surgical Empathy, an approach that helps people unlock their attachments to limiting beliefs that cause success-limiting behaviours from the inside out of a person. He is also a founding member of the Newsweek expert forum. We didn’t mention he was a doctor, a UCLA Professor of Psychiatry and ALS, and a former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer. I’ve listened to many episodes of My Wakeup Call and Mark is someone who always dives deep, thinks hard and brings real enlightenment. You already know you’re in good hands. And over the following few minutes, find your favourite chair, take a steer from Mark’s book and Just Listen. Mark it is my great pleasure to welcome you to The Unlock Moment.
Dr Mark Goulston 2:44
You know, I was thinking people who speak with a British accent are automatically eloquent. But that was eloquent on steroids, Gary! As one of my mentors, Warren Bennis used to tell me, you know, when people say nice things about you, the best thing is it gives you something to live up to. So I hope I can do that.
Gary Crotaz 3:05
I’m sure you, I’m sure you will. So to start out with telling us a little bit about your story. And a question that I have to kick off is, you’ve done many things and worn many hats in your career. So what of all those things feels like your identity today? And how do you think that’s changed over time?
Dr Mark Goulston 3:23
Well, you know, you mentioned that I do executive coaching, and I do a different kind of executive coaching. Because when I work with my clients, and it’s a crossover from having been a psychotherapist for 40 years, what my clients will say to me is, I can’t hide from you. And I asked them, Is that good? And they will say, it’s not bad, but it’s weird. And then they’ll say, But I hope you never stop being able to do that. Because I’m hidden from everyone, including myself. And I think I learned to do that because one of my specialty areas was suicide prevention. And I want to share three stories that I think are memorable from my, from my past, and one is about how I learned to listen into someone’s mind. Then how I learned to listen into someone’s eyes. And then how I learned to listen into someone’s soul. So the first one, I was a medical student, and we were on rounds, which means I was assembled with a bunch of doctors, there was an attending doctor. There was a resident, there was an intern. There were other medical students. There were specialists, and we were at the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital doing rounds. And I had some challenges in medical school and we probably won’t have time to go into them. But, you know, I, my mind was not in really the best place. And so we were outside Mr. Jones room, that wasn’t his name, but we’ll call him that. And everybody was competing with what to do with Mr. Jones. One person said, I think he needs more X-rays. One person said, I think he needs chemo. One person said, I think he needs surgery. And everybody is saying all these things. I wasn’t saying anything. Because I was intimidated. And then a nurse came over to us and we were outside Mr. Jones room. And she said, didn’t you hear Mr. Jones jumped from the roof last night and he’s in the morgue. It went totally silent. And then I heard a thought or a voice. We’ll just say it’s a thought. I don’t think it was a hallucination. But it was as loud as my voice is right now. And the voice said, Maybe Mr. Jones needed something else. And then the little group shrugged their shoulders, went on to the next room. So fast forward, I actually dropped out of medical school twice and finished and I dropped out, I believe, for untreated depression. And, but when I did come back, I was able to finish my training. And then I also knew that I wanted to become a psychiatrist. Because of that incident with Mr. Jones, where I would, I would listen to between words. And if you listen between words, and you listen into people’s eyes, they tell you a lot. So the second anecdote, there I was in my psychiatry training at UCLA, and I was called up to the cancer ward to okay an order to put one of the patients in restraints, in other words to tie down their arms and legs and give this person a shot of major tranquilliser because he was kicking in the bed and he was pulling at his IVs, he was pulling at the respirator tubing, and, and I was paged to go up there and okay the order, and I go into Mr. Smith’s room, not his name. And his eyes were as big as saucers. And he couldn’t speak because of the respirator tube. And he’s going, eh ah eh ah eh, and I said What? And his eyes are just wide as saucers and he continues eh ah eh ah eh so, and then I put a pencil in his hand, which was strapped down. I said, Write! And it was just scribbled. And so I figured, well, maybe the other doctors are right, maybe he’s just psychotic. And I said, We have to put your arms and legs down because you’re kicking at everything and you’re pulling at the IV and you’re pulling, pulling at everything. And when you calm, and we’ve given you a tranquilliser, when you calm down, we’ll take everything off. And he’s still looking at me with these wide eyes. And so a day later, I was paged by the doctors. And they said, Mr. Smith is up. He’s in his bed, he’s seated. He’s off the respirator. And he told us to page you. So I go into his room, and he’s seated. And as I walked into his room, he grabbed onto my eyes with his eyes. So this is looking into people’s eyes. And he looked at me, and he said, pull up a chair, and he seated me with his eyes. And he wouldn’t let go of my eyes. And then he proceeded to tell me, What I was trying to tell you yesterday is that a piece of the respirator tubing had broken off and was stuck in my throat. And you, and you do know that I will kill myself before I go through something like that again, do you understand me? And he just held on to my eyes. And my eyes got watery with emotion. And I said, I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I understand. So, that told me a little bit about the importance of listening into someone’s eyes. Fast forward, I finished my residency. And one of my mentors is a fellow named Dr. Edwin Shneidman. And he’s one of the top five people who are experts in suicide and suicide prevention. And he referred me a lot of suicidal patients. And I was very fortunate because when I finished my training, a fellowship I was going to go into fell through so I just went out and opened a practice and figured Oh, let’s see if anybody shows up and Dr. Schneidman would be referring me these suicidal patients. And I was fortunate because when I was seated with them, and I learned from Mr. Smith and I would look into their eyes. They were screaming at me in their eyes. And what they were screaming in their eyes is You’re checking boxes, and I’m running out of time. And because I didn’t work in an… if I worked in an institution, I would have to check boxes, because I would have to report to you know, what was the chief complaint? And what was their illness? What was your differential diagnosis, yada, yada, yada. And I did those things. But I had the choice of checking boxes or letting their eyes take me where they needed me to go, kind of what happened with Mr. Smith. And so about that time, one of my patients who I’ll call Nancy, and that wasn’t her name, referred by Dr. Shneidman, she’d made three suicide attempts, had been in the hospital up to one month at a time. And back then you could stay in the hospital that long this is before I started seeing… and, and I saw as an outpatient. And I didn’t think I was making any progress. She didn’t make any eye contact. She wasn’t catatonic but I’d look at her and she’d be looking to the left, to the right. And then, during those times, once a month, I would moonlight in a psychiatric hospital, which means I would cover for the other psychiatrists when they were away on the weekend. And I would do, I would admit patients or I’d go to the wards, and I would order medications if one of the patients was acting up. And sometimes you could do that and not sleep for 24 hours. And so there was a Monday after I had been at that hospital, and I hadn’t slept and there I am with Nancy. So this is the story about listening into someone’s soul. So I’m with her. And as I’m seated with her, she’s not looking at me, all the colour in the room turns to black and white. And I’m looking, I’m saying this is really strange. And then I feel cold, and I thought I was having a stroke or a seizure. So I do a neurologic exam on myself, I’m a psychiatrist. So I was also trained a little bit in neurology. So I’m tapping my elbows, I’m tapping, and I’m looking at my fingers seeing if I have double vision. And, and it wasn’t rude because she wasn’t looking at me. And I thought to myself, I’m all here. I’m not having a stroke or a seizure. And I had this crazy idea that I was looking out at the world feeling what she felt. And it was black and white and cold. So because I was sleep deprived and kind of curious, I just leaned into it and it got colder. And then at one point, because I was sleep deprived, I blurted out something that normally I wouldn’t say, and you’ll understand why I wouldn’t say it. I said, Nancy, I didn’t know it was so bad. And I can’t help you kill yourself. Because she had made three attempts. And I said, but if you do, I will still think well of you. I will miss you. And maybe I’ll understand why you had to get out of all that pain. And I thought to myself, did I say that? Or did I think it? And I thought, I think I said it, I’m in trouble. I just gave her permission to do it. And at that point, she nervously started to look at me. And then she looked over and then she grabbed my eyes like Mr. Smith was trying to do. And I said, What are you thinking? And I thought she was going to say, Thank you for understanding. I’m overdue. But you didn’t say that. What she said was, If you can really understand why I might have to kill myself to get out of my pain. Maybe I won’t, maybe I won’t have to. And she smiled. And she held on to my eyes and the colour in the room came back. The coldness went away. And then I leaned in this time and I held on to her eyes. And I said, I’ll tell you what we’re going to do. I’m not going to give you any treatments that you’ve tried before. Unless we have a conversation you say maybe we should try some medicines or something else. Because none of them have really worked. Would that be okay? And she looked at me with a slight smile as if to say, That’s okay, keep talking. And then I leaned into her eyes. And I said, what I’m going to do instead is I’m going to find you wherever you are, because you’ve been there alone too long. And I’m going to keep you company as long as it takes. Because I just don’t want you to be that alone. Would that be okay? And she started to cry. And I connected with her in the dark night of the soul. What people don’t understand, unless you’ve been suicidal is death, and suicide, are compassionate to hopelessness that won’t go away. When you feel hopeless, or worthless, if you’re an entrepreneur, and you’ve failed so many times, and you’ve sacrificed so much, and you feel incredibly worthless and humiliated, death is compassionate. Death says, I’ll take it all away. And I will tell you, anyone who has been suicidal on more than one occasion, something they won’t tell you is they pack it into their back pocket. And they think, if worst comes to worst, I can always end it all. They don’t tell you that because they don’t want to scare you. But if they can feel felt, as Nancy did, they may let go of death being the only way out of their pain. So I know those are long stories, but hopefully it gives you an idea of something that led me to what I’m doing. So that when I coach executives. And here’s a taste of Surgical Empathy. I learned it from a friend of mine. He was the COO of the Marines during the 1990s. And he became the first CEO of the US Intrepid aircraft carrier on the Hudson. His name was Lieutenant General Marty Steele. And I was involved with him on a transition programme with returning Marines. And, and I asked them, What do you talk to these Marines about? And he said, I use the Five Reallys. So this is an example of Surgical Empathy. He would say Marine, how’s it going? Well, you know, it’s a little bit different between being actively on you know, warfront, and civilian life. And he would say, Yeah, I know, it’s different, what’s really going on? Well, you know, my spouse, and I, you know, we don’t talk much because she just doesn’t get it. Now, I understand that that’s rough too, what’s really going on. Well, sometimes I just, I just don’t, my head doesn’t know what’s going on. I just feel sort of lost, that I know what’s really going on. And he said, sometimes they would just look at you like a deer in the headlights. And they’d said, I saw and did horrible things. And he would give them a direct order. He’d say, if you’re a Marine, and you’re an active duty, we’ve all seen and done horrible things, collateral damage. And I’m giving you an order to let those go. Because you have earned the right to have a life. And he got letters from spouses telling them, You saved my husband’s life. So using the Five Reallys, you can get people to open up, and you don’t want to do it in a way that’s annoying them. You say No, I understand. That’s rough, but what’s really going on? And you can do that with anyone. I mean, I could say, Gary, you know, I understand that I’m on this podcast, and you have a certain following, what’s really going on? You might say, well, you know, I’m trying to give value to them, you know, the more value that I can give them, the more satisfied they are, the more satisfied I am and the more they’ll tell other people but what’s really going on? Well, you know, it’s a new avenue. It’s a new means of reaching people. It’s, I’m a little bit behind the ball because other people started a long time ago and I’m, you know, kind of just getting started and, and I hope it’ll work out. Well, what’s really going on? Sometimes it can be a real energy drain. Just managing it. Just getting the podcast ready to be published. That’s a lot of energy. And I hope that pays off. So do you follow how I’m going, Gary?
Gary Crotaz 20:07
I think it’s, it’s so interesting. And I’m reflecting on listening, because I’m hearing in all of these stories, to listenings. First is, the way you’re listening to the other person in a really deep way, with all of your senses, it’s not listening with your ears, just listening, you know, looking at body language, it’s something very holistic. But I also hear you listening to yourself, when, when you’re engaging with the other person. And I think I’m, I’m seeing in you, in those stories, what you’re learning about yourself, about who you are, as those come through, as well. And I think that’s something that is, that is really interesting to, to dive a little bit more into, to understand, as you’re going through that journey, as you were having those experiences with those stories with those patients. What was it doing for you, in helping you understand the kind of doctor you wanted to be, the kind of person you wanted to be, that those experiences shaped you as much as they, as they did?
Dr Mark Goulston 21:11
Well, I think it taught me a difference between pain and suffering. Pain is pain. And we can often live with chronic pain. But we can’t live with chronic suffering. And one of the differences, one of the distinctions I make between pain and suffering, is pain is pain. Suffering is feeling alone in the pain and having your mind go places that are really scary. I can’t take it anymore. I just, I just, I want someone to kill me. And if you can somehow help a person feel less alone in their suffering, suffering they can’t live with becomes pain that they can. And, and here’s one of the reasons for it – I’ll give you a little bit of the neuroscience. When we’re under stress, our body releases cortisol. Cortisol is released by the adrenal glands. And cortisol is known as the stress hormone. high stress, high cortisol. And when you have high cortisol, it does something where it tends to activate or over-activate something in our brain called the amygdala. And the amygdala is like an emotional sentinel, like a point guard. And when it becomes overactive by high cortisol, it sends a signal to shunt blood to your lower survival brain. So literally, the expression deer in the headlights is all the blood has drained from anything higher up in that deer’s head, and they’re just staring at you kind of frozen. And the next step is fight, flight or freeze, because you’re not able to think because the amygdala has hijacked the blood from your thinking part of your brain to a lower part of your brain. And so when you have high cortisol, from stress leads to high amygdala activation leads to hijack blood flow to survival brain. What people don’t know is one of the ways to reverse high cortisol is through a chemical called oxytocin. And that’s the bonding chemical. It’s also referred to as the empathy chemical. And it’s very high in young nursing mothers. Because when they give birth to an infant, and that infant isn’t nursing, the infant isn’t sleeping, and that mother is working a job and that mother is exhausted. And she’s going out of her mind. The oxytocin allows her to have incredible patience with that infant and to bond with that infant. Even though that infant is stressing her out. Now, she might divert it. And here’s a problem I’m seeing with younger marriages. Because often millennials and younger generations, because of, because of technology, are very impatient. You know, we get impatient when we get on a phone call and someone says would you mind taking a survey after the call? The majority of people say I don’t want to take a survey because they’re impatient. And one of the things that I’m seeing a lot of with younger generations’ marriages who have children is when a young mother is really stressed out, and exhausted by a baby who won’t sleep, a baby who won’t feed, again, their oxytocin allows them to bond with that baby. But they will redirect their frustration at their husband, and start taking out on their husband. Because they don’t want to start thinking I’m a bad mother, maybe I shouldn’t have had kids. And so their husband will just sort of come in, almost like Bambi who was prancing in the forest, comes in. And that exhausted, frustrated mother will be like the hunters shooting Bambi’s mother. And I’m seeing a lot of that going on, and it worries me. But, but high oxytocin causes the other person to feel felt. And that lowers cortisol, lessens the amygdala activation, and the blood flow can go back to your upper brain, and you can begin to think again.
Gary Crotaz 26:05
And what was the moment for you in your career where you’ve, you realised this whole listening thing was the thing that you wanted to, to really pursue? Was, was it always there for you? Or do you think that, did you get to a point where that became clear for you that, that it was about listening, and helping people to listen better?
Dr Mark Goulston 26:30
Well, there’s a backstory. And I didn’t know whether I would say it, but looks like I’m gonna say it because you pulled it out of me, Gary, so I’ll say it. So I, I dropped out of medical school twice, because I had untreated depression. And the first time I dropped out, I worked at a blue collar job. And I love that job. I still think about it and how simple it was and how stress-free it was. And my mind just wasn’t working at a real high level. But I came back after a year. And the depression came back. Now medical schools, as long as you’re not failing, will give you one year off, but they lose matching funds to your tuition doesn’t just pay for your place, they’re losing money. And so I came back, the depression happened again. But I was still passing. And, and so I thought to drop out again. And I met with the dean of the school and the head of the school was a good guy, but he asked to keep the school financially sound. So I don’t even remember meeting with him. But I think he must have been worried that I could do something destructive. So I got a call from the Dean of Students who cares about students. And the Dean of Students said, Mark, you better come over here. We have got a letter here from the Dean of the school. And I want you to come there so we can read it together. So I get there and I meet with the Dean of Students. And I’m feeling pretty low because I come from a background whereas if you can’t do anything, you’re not worth anything. You’re worthless. And I think my mind was flirting with that thought. And I go in there, and he reads the letter. He says here, here’s the letter. I read it. It says I met with Mr. Goulston. We talked about a different career. And I’m advising the promotions committee that he be asked to withdraw. I said, What does this mean? He said you’ve been kicked out. And it was like a blow, it was like a gunshot wound. I literally kind of folded over. And I felt something wet on my cheekbones and I thought I was bleeding from my eyes. I’m not spiritual. I’m not religious, but I felt something wet. And I started touching my cheekbones with my fingers and I kept looking at my fingers. And it wasn’t blood, it was tears. And I basically cratered in front of him. And that’s when I think a miracle happened. Because if he had said to me, if I can help you, you know, give me a call, you know, because of my pride, foolish pride, I would have gone back to my, where I lived, and I might not be here today. But he didn’t do that. Instead, he said Mark, You didn’t mess up because you passed everything. But you are messed up. But if you get un-messed up I think the school would one day be glad they gave you a second chance. And even if you don’t get un-messed up, even if you don’t become a doctor, even if you don’t do anything with the rest of your life, I’d be proud to know you. So I just started crying. Because he was just … the compassion was overwhelming. And then he looked at me, and he said, Look at me. He said, You have a streak of goodness and kindness in you that we don’t really grade in medical school. We probably should. And we assume it’s there. But you know, we don’t really grade it, but you got it. And he said, You don’t know how much the world needs that. And you won’t know it till you’re 35. But you have to make it till you’re 35. And you deserve to be on this planet. And then he, and then I looked away from him, because he’s, I couldn’t stand the compassion. And he said, Look at me. And he pointed his finger at me. And he said, You deserve to be on this planet. And you’re gonna let me help you. So he arranged an appeal. And he put us, and here’s the trifecta of hope that he gave me. He saw value in me that I didn’t. That was the goodness and kindness. He saw a future for me that I couldn’t see. The world’s gonna need that when you’re 35. And he went to bat for me, against the institution. At his own risk. He was just a PhD. He had to tell the school and the Dean of the school we’re appealing the Dean’s recommendation that he be asked to withdraw. And I think there was something about the combination of those three things. Feeling someone seeing value, a future and going to bat for you, I think, I think it flipped a switch in me. And so they gave me a year off. And I grew up in Boston. And I went to college in Berkeley, California. And I was going back to medical school in Boston. So during that year, I just needed to get away from all the voices telling me what I should be doing. So I went to Topeka, Kansas, which is in the middle of America. And there was a place called the Menninger Foundation. And it was one of the best-known psychiatric training centres in the country. And I went there to work at Topeka State Hospital. And I spent my days, you know, meeting with, trying to connect with schizophrenic farm boys. And the psychiatrists there, you know, this was different than anything I’ve ever experienced. And I remember saying to a psychiatrist, is this a legitimate specialty? Because it’s not like anything else I’ve known. And they said, no, no, no, it’s legitimate. And you seem to have a knack. And I didn’t, up to that time, I didn’t think I had a knack at anything. I’ll share one interesting anecdote, which I’ve never shared before. So you gotta, you gotta thing, but I hope you’re not falling asleep during these stories!
Gary Crotaz 33:43
Dr Mark Goulston 33:46
So there was. So when we were there, you know, they would assign one or two patients to you that you’d really drill down and get to know everything about them. In fact, my report on this particular person was I think, like 30 pages, you know, much longer than you put, you know, but it was part of your training, find out everything. And he was catatonic, meaning, in those days, even if he was medicated, he could just stand in the day room and just stand there all day long. And he was very compliant, meaning it was the middle of winter, if we’d go for a walk, I’d say let’s go for a walk for us, our meeting. And then there was one meeting I had with him. And something characteristic of at least the American state psychiatric hospitals. Probably true around the world. They have the hardest floors you can imagine. I mean, it is like they have ceramic tiles. It is like concrete. And this is out of context, but I was meeting with him and I don’t know, something inside me wanted to establish a connection. So I said, Oh, we’re gonna try an exercise. And why don’t you stand up, and I’ll get behind you. And I want you to close your eyes and fall back, and I’ll catch you. And because he was compliant, you know, he wasn’t rebellious, he was just flat arms by his side, he did it. And I said, Okay, let’s do it again, and I’ll let you drop even more. And I caught him. And I did this three times, I just caught him each time. Then I had this crazy idea. You know, I’m gonna suggest, I’m gonna have him do it with me. It was a crazy idea. And that’s why I brought up the hardness of the floor. I said, we’re gonna, now we’re gonna try it, where I’m going to be in front of you. I’m going to close my eyes, and I’m going to fall backwards, and you’re going to catch me. I don’t know why I came up with this crazy idea. And then I get in front of him. And there he is, you know, just sort of staring with his arms by his side, and I thought, I’m gonna die. He’s not gonna catch me. I’m going to fall. And I’m going to crack my skull open on that floor. And I remember standing there. And I was wondering, do I dare do this? Do I dare do this? And then I remember closing my eyes. And I said to myself, you got to do it. You can’t chicken out now. I can just feel it now, I can close my eyes, I get the chills. And then I fall backwards. And he lifts his hands. And he wouldn’t let me fall more than six inches. And what was weird is when I felt his hands on my shoulders, I looked around, I opened my eyes, I looked into his eyes. And I saw a spark of life. And I can’t say that, you know, I mean, again, I was just student I can’t say how much progress I made with him. But so, you know, you asked for a backstory. So maybe that sort of explains a little bit about why I, you know, my journey was, and I think why I was successful in the suicidal patients is I did what the Dean of Students did, I saw, I, I saw something of value in them, I saw a future for them. And, and I would basically communicate verbally, it’s like, You’re not going anywhere, I’m gonna grab you by the nape of the neck, and I’m gonna hold you there. And you’re gonna walk out of this.
Gary Crotaz 38:21
And I think that what’s so powerful about the stories you tell is that the first stories are, are amazing. But then the stories you talked about, about your own journey, makes it really clear why that is you, why that is your path, why that’s your journey and, and this idea that there’s this connecting theme of catching someone when they’re falling, I hear that through every story you tell. So it’s incredibly powerful. And I thank you very much for, for sharing such rich and meaningful stories with, with myself and with my listeners. And so tell me about, you know, where you are now and what’s coming up for you now, what are the things that are, that are your priorities over the over the coming months and you know, the rest of this year 2022?
Dr Mark Goulston 39:13
Well, I formed a company with a partner of mine, and you can go to the website, there’s there’s a little bit there. And it’s called Michelangelo Mindset. Because there’s, there’s a famous phrase from Michelangelo. I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set her free. And it’s really explained my entire life. So from the Dean of Students seeing a future for me, and hope in me, and protecting me from the medical school throwing me out, and it set me free. My seeing hope, a future in suicidal patients until they could feel it. I, I have a column if you’re listening in, if you go to Real Leaders, Michelangelo Leadership, it really outlines my executive coaching. And I, and it’s the only form of executive coaching that I do. And you can actually take the article and get your own stakeholders. And you don’t have to hire me, you know, and I don’t come inexpensively. Because what is Michelangelo Leadership? Inside your people is a desire to trust you, have confidence in you, feel safe with you, respect you, admire you, like you and feel inspired by you. And if you think that’s all kind of soft, what do you think they’re going to do, if they don’t trust you, they don’t have confidence in you, they don’t feel safe with you, they don’t respect you, they don’t admire you, they don’t like you, and they don’t feel inspired by you. And so the idea is, if that’s inside people, what can you do to set it free? And so the observable behaviours that I do with my coaching clients is every meeting you have, one on one, group, and even in your home, I want this across the board. If you can manifest the following observable behaviours, it will result in people feeling all those things towards you. And that’s in the article. First off, are you unflappable under pressure? Are you just calm under pressure? Second, are you present, it’s one thing to be calm, it’s another thing to be like a robot. So people have to feel that you’re calm, but they connect with you. With regard to safety, do they see you as taking charge of situations where there’s a crisis? And during a crisis, you take charge. But when the crisis goes away, you’re not so controlling? Sometimes in a crisis, you have to be controlling, because, you know, they’re all looking at you. So do they see you as someone who takes charge? Or someone who’s afraid to take charge? Also, in terms of respect, and admiration, do you come off as knowledgeable? Meaning does it sound like what you’re talking about, you’ve actually done? You know, do you have confidence? Do you have a track record of actually having accomplished things that are relevant to whatever the crisis is? Or the mission you’re on? Are you not … are you wise? And what wisdom is, is do you focus on what’s important? Or do you get sidelined by something that’s trivial? In terms of their … also, do they admire you? Do you stand up for the right thing? Do you stand up against people who violate the right thing? Even at the cost of the company? Do you stand up to toxic people who make you a lot of money? Also, are you likeable? Do you have a sense of humour about yourself? And are you a little bit self-effacing? But you take the world seriously. And do you lift people up? That’s inspiring. To give them a sense of hope. And then also, are you gracious and humble? Gracious means you’re, you’re, you’re a good sport. Whether you win or lose. When you win you don’t gloat and rub people’s face in it. And you give credit to other people. You’re gracious. And you’re humble. You say, you know, you know, it’s, it’s my honour to be part of this amazing team. And they made it happen. You know, I just help them pull out the greatness they already had. So Michelangelo Leader… that’s Michelangelo Leadership. And I, anybody who wants to hire me, I say, look, where I am in life. The world needs more leaders who show up like that. And if, and I won’t coach you unless that’s what you want to do. So I don’t do remedial coaching. Now, sometimes a big company will say, Oh, this person has so much potential, but they’re really toxic and whatever. And so I’ll meet with the person, and I’ll listen for something inside, some goodness. And if I see goodness, but they just don’t know any better other than to act obnoxious, and I’ll tell them, I’ve even said to some top CEOs. I’m trying to figure out when you act difficult, is it because you don’t know any better? Or is it because you take delight in doing it? If you take delight in hurting other people, I won’t work with you because I can’t root for you. I cannot root for a person who takes delight in hurting other people. If you don’t know any better, if you have good intentions, but you’re a little bit on the spectrum, you know, you … I just want them to do their work. And when they don’t do their work, I get frustrated! Well, you know, it’s understandable you get frustrated, but you know, you show your frustration in a way that’s a bit … bullying. And if you don’t know any better, I will teach you better. And, but I have to root for you. So does that make sense? And, and I think it’s a great way to approach… and we have Michelangelo Marketing. Here’s Michelangelo Marketing. I’ll just give you a quick taste. Michelangelo Marketing. I often refer to this moment in the history of technology that changed everything. And that’s when Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak discovered the graphical user interface, the mouse, the icons at Xerox PARC. And there’s actually a video if you look up National Geographic, Steve Jobs, Xerox PARC, you’ll see a dramatisation. And when he lays eyes on the mouse and the graphical user interface, he goes from that know it all cynic, to saying to the Xerox technician, can I try it? And then he tries it and he starts to sweat. And then he looks at Steve Wozniak, like, what do you think? And Steve Wozniak actually shows up, giving a commentary saying Once they go there, they’re not going back, meaning they’re not going to go back to typing. And then at the end of it, a writer Walter Isaacson says Xerox didn’t know what to do with it. But Steve Jobs went back to Apple and they created the Macintosh. So the three components that are part of Michelangelo Marketing, you want to create Wow! Hmm? Yes. And it’s WHY, W-H-Y. Wow, I can’t believe what I am seeing. And that was Steve Jobs seeing the mouse. Hmm. This is too good to ignore. Let me look at my partner who thinks better about these things and he looks at Wozniak and Wozniak says, Yep, you go there, they’re not going back. And then what’s the Yes, I see how we can do it. Let’s build a Macintosh. So when we do Michaelangelo Marketing, even with you, even with your podcast, what you’re trying to create in your listeners is the experience of Wow. Hmm. Yes. And you’re looking for guests that deliver that. Because if you can create Wow. He had this guest on that just blew my mind! Hmm, if he has guests like that, I’m gonna, I’m gonna tune him. I’m subscribing. Yes! So does that kind of answer some of your questions?
Gary Crotaz 49:16
I’m imagining you walking through the world with your little mallet and chisel seeing where you want to carve out those little Michelangelo sculptures! So it’s fantastic and, and Mark, you’ve been incredible, telling your stories and bringing so much life and truth and deep thinking to, to this podcast and this conversation. I really appreciate it. So thank you so much for for joining me today. And I hope all my listeners have really enjoyed listening to you and sharing your wisdom over this past hour or so. I really appreciate you coming on. Thank you so much.
Dr Mark Goulston 49:52
Well, thank you for having me. And if people want to find me, you can find me at LinkedIn and my last name is Goulston. And you can go to my personal website, MarkGoulston.com. That’s pretty up to date. I have a podcast that you were wonderful on, called My Wakeup Call, where I get to hear people like you be a great guest like I hope I tried to be. And people share with me their purpose, their calling, and the Wakeup Calls that led them to who they are and what they’re doing. So I hope you’ll check that out. And, and actually, there’s actually an audio course. So if I didn’t put you to sleep and you liked hearing how slow and drawn out my voice is, if you go to himalaya.com/defeat there is an audio course based on my first book, which is also a best seller, called Get Out Of Your Own Way. And the course there is Defeating Self-Defeat. And you can subscribe for 14 days and listen to the 13 episodes and really be put to sleep by me!
Gary Crotaz 51:05
Well, I think that as a guest, you have delivered the Wow. We’re all sitting going Hmm and Yes, we probably want to listen again to this conversation and to hear all those stories that you’ve told. Mark, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate you coming on the podcast and I’m sure we’ll touch base again very soon.
Dr Mark Goulston 51:23
I would like that, I’d like us to stay in touch.
Gary Crotaz 51:28
This has been The Unlock Moment, a podcast with me Dr. Gary Crotaz. Thank you for listening in. You can find out more about how to figure out what you want and how to get it in my book, The IDEA Mindset, available in physical book, ebook and audiobook formats. Follow me on Instagram, and subscribe to this podcast to get notified about future episodes. Join me again soon!