The ICONIC Mindset

10 ICONIC Lessons of 2020

December 30, 2020
The ICONIC Mindset
10 ICONIC Lessons of 2020
Chapters
1:18
Thank You Listeners!
4:41
Lesson #10: Trust Your Team
8:02
Lesson #9: Leaders Emerge During Turbulent Times
12:57
Lesson #8: Lead with Empathy
17:55
Lesson #7: The Illusion of Control
21:52
Lesson #6: Have a Plan B
28:50
Lesson #5: Failure Breeds Creativity
32:28
Lesson #4: Never Give Up
38:21
Lesson #3: Get Comfortable with the Unknown and Ambiguity
41:54
Lesson #2: Community is Everything
46:54
Lesson #1: Mindset is Everything
50:25
ICONIC Points
The ICONIC Mindset
10 ICONIC Lessons of 2020
Dec 30, 2020

10 ICONIC Lessons of 2020
Episode #10

Without a doubt 2020 has been a year of unsuspected turns and sudden surprises. This year has been draining, overwhelming and exhausting, uncertain and worrisome. But, on the flip side of the coin, this tumultuous year has also been an exciting, full of growth and learning opportunities, and plenty of adrenaline to survive on.

To close out the year and in commemoration of our 10th podcast episode, John and Calvin have put together a list of 10 ICONIC Lessons of 2020. And a special thanks to our listeners for their continued support and listenership. You’re all unequivocally ICONIC! 

  • 0:01:18 - Intro: Thank you, Listeners!
  • 0:04:41 - Lesson #10: Trust Your Team
  • 0:08:02 - Lesson #9: Leaders Emerge During Turbulent Times
  • 0:12:57 - Lesson #8: Lead with Empathy
  • 0:17:55 - Lesson #7: The Illusion of Control
  • 0:21:52 - Lesson #6: Have a Plan B
  • 0:28:50 - Lesson #5: Failure Breeds Creativity
  • 0:32:28 - Lesson #4: Never Give Up
  • 0:38:21 - Lesson #3: Get Comfortable with the Unknown and Ambiguity
  • 0:41:54 - Lesson #2: Community is Everything
  • 0:46:54 - Lesson #1: Mindset is Everything
  • 0:50:25 - ICONIC Points

To learn more about John Avola and Calvin Stovall, visit iconicpresentations.net. All The ICONIC Mindset episodes can be downloaded at theiconicmindset.com. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to our show.  Remember to select a star rating and/or write a review for The ICONIC Mindset podcast.

Connect with us!

To leave a podcast review:

  1. Open your podcast app and search/navigate to The ICONIC Mindset
  2. Scroll to the subhead titled "Ratings & Reviews" 
  3. Tap to give a rating and/or select "Write a Review"
  4. Once you've finished, select "Send" or "Save" (top-right corner)

Thank you for listening! We value our listeners and subscribers.

Don't just be, Be ICONIC!

 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

10 ICONIC Lessons of 2020
Episode #10

Without a doubt 2020 has been a year of unsuspected turns and sudden surprises. This year has been draining, overwhelming and exhausting, uncertain and worrisome. But, on the flip side of the coin, this tumultuous year has also been an exciting, full of growth and learning opportunities, and plenty of adrenaline to survive on.

To close out the year and in commemoration of our 10th podcast episode, John and Calvin have put together a list of 10 ICONIC Lessons of 2020. And a special thanks to our listeners for their continued support and listenership. You’re all unequivocally ICONIC! 

  • 0:01:18 - Intro: Thank you, Listeners!
  • 0:04:41 - Lesson #10: Trust Your Team
  • 0:08:02 - Lesson #9: Leaders Emerge During Turbulent Times
  • 0:12:57 - Lesson #8: Lead with Empathy
  • 0:17:55 - Lesson #7: The Illusion of Control
  • 0:21:52 - Lesson #6: Have a Plan B
  • 0:28:50 - Lesson #5: Failure Breeds Creativity
  • 0:32:28 - Lesson #4: Never Give Up
  • 0:38:21 - Lesson #3: Get Comfortable with the Unknown and Ambiguity
  • 0:41:54 - Lesson #2: Community is Everything
  • 0:46:54 - Lesson #1: Mindset is Everything
  • 0:50:25 - ICONIC Points

To learn more about John Avola and Calvin Stovall, visit iconicpresentations.net. All The ICONIC Mindset episodes can be downloaded at theiconicmindset.com. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to our show.  Remember to select a star rating and/or write a review for The ICONIC Mindset podcast.

Connect with us!

To leave a podcast review:

  1. Open your podcast app and search/navigate to The ICONIC Mindset
  2. Scroll to the subhead titled "Ratings & Reviews" 
  3. Tap to give a rating and/or select "Write a Review"
  4. Once you've finished, select "Send" or "Save" (top-right corner)

Thank you for listening! We value our listeners and subscribers.

Don't just be, Be ICONIC!

 

Introduction:

Welcome to the iconic mindset podcast with John Avola and Calvin Stovall. This is the only place that uncovers the multiple levels of iconic businesses and brands. Every episode reveals the secrets behind what it takes to make your business idea or movement iconic. Now, here are John and Calvin.

John Avola:

Hey Calvin. We have an exciting episode today, don't we?

Calvin Stovall:

We do, sir! We are on number 10. I cannot believe it, John. This is just so awesome.

John Avola:

Absolutely. 10 episodes. Who would have thought back in May, when we started out. Do you remember our first episode? The good, the bad, and the ugly, COVID -19 iconic businesses. Remember that?

Calvin Stovall:

I do remember that. It actually was funny. That was actually our most popular episode. So just on behalf of John, I'm sure John's going to say the same thing , we want to say thank you to everybody out there who has been riding with us on this journey. We're really looking forward to continuing to do this into the upcoming year, and I'm just excited to be on our 10th episode, but we couldn't have done it without you. Thank you very much for downloading us. Just super appreciative of you loving that iconic mindset.

John Avola:

Absolutely. Couldn't say it any better, Calvin. You're absolutely right. Without our listeners, there would be no point to having this podcast. So we are so appreciative of our listeners. We have those dedicated ones as well that we all know, and we're all very, very appreciative of you listening to us.

Calvin Stovall:

That's right. So we dedicate this one, number 10, to you out there. So today, John , talk about a crazy year, right? Without a doubt, this has been a year of unsuspected turns, sudden surprises. We still have a lot of people that are out there dealing with some challenging situations. A lot of people are still unemployed, John. I know we're in the holiday season and I was supposed to be positive, but I think some people are still dealing with stuff that we still need to be mindful of. Some people are still dealing with some tough stuff. Honestly, it's just been tough.

John Avola:

A tough year of challenges. But we've got to also say there's a vaccine on the way. And I think things are turning around, right? 2021 is a couple of weeks away. So there is a light at the end of that tunnel.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. And so today this is going to be an iconic episode because we're going to talk about 10 lessons that you and I have learned during the year, which is great because this is called the iconic podcast. So the thing is, I think you and I will agree that to make it through a tumultuous year, like this one, i t's all about mindset, i n how you approach things. Today we want to talk about some of the lessons that both you and I learned.

John Avola:

We've learned a lot, you know, and I think that's what keeps us moving. It keeps us motivated. It's always learning, it's growing, it's understanding, it's accepting. And , we will talk a lot about that today.

Calvin Stovall:

About the vaccine. There are some positives. I think there are even some positives that may have happened through COVID. Again , it's been a year of excitement, full of growth and learning opportunities and a lot of adrenaline that we can live on. But I think you and I also agree a lot of the stuff that happened was outside of our control. But despite that, we can focus on the things we can control. And I think a lot of the things we're going to talk about today are around things that you can actually manage or improve or scale on . These are things that are certainly not out of reach for anyone. So , again, first of all, you've just got to shift your mindset and be flexible and adapt a little bit. This is going to be a good one. So let's get into it.

John Avola:

Let's kick it off. So the top 10 iconic lessons of 2020. Who's up first?

Calvin Stovall:

Why don't you start, John?

John Avola:

All right . I will kick it off with the number 10 lesson. Similar to other countdowns we've done, we just want to restate that just because we are listing them in order from 10 to one doesn't necessarily mean one is more important than the others. They're all equal. So the first lesson, Calvin, of 2020 is trust your team. Let me explain a little bit here what I mean by trusting your team. So pre COVID, there was always that assumption that working from home creates more of a distraction, right? You'd have your manager that you request that work from home day and they kind of raised an eyebrow at you . However, a recent report from Freedom Dynamics found that it's actually quite the opposite. This study revealed that working from home actually showed less distractions than there were in the office. The majority of respondents found themselves to be more productive in their home environment without interruptions. And they were able to work on their own schedule and accomplish more without being in a physical setting. So I wanted to talk a little bit more about trust and what that means. As a leader, as a manager, you've got to trust your team, whether you're physically with them , in a building or an office setting or they're working remotely. And looking at a team without trust, it really isn't a team at all. You can't half trust your team. You can't trust them in the office and not trust them at home. And the lesson learned here was that regardless of the environment, it has made the team stronger, more efficient. We've found productivity has increased. And those meaningful goals are being achieved. Trusting someone really means relying on them to follow through with their responsibilities. And COVID has taught us that trust isn't entirely dependent on the behavior of the individual. It's brought to the forefront that it's our own responses and interactions with those behaviors and how we contribute to trusting them. So it's not necessarily only on the person, but it's also on the leader and that perception of the individual. One of those responses we can control is not letting our own physical work environment alter our trust in teams. To go back to that report for a minute, I'm excited to share that the majority of leaders have found that working remotely has actually increased trust. And they found that, I think it was more than half the respondents, expressed that they're trusting and empowering more employees today than they were pre COVID.

Calvin Stovall:

That's a positive thing. And so I look at that as you should have been trusting your team in the beginning before COVID protocol, but as you said, this environment has kind of forced you to have to trust them. You mentioned empowerment and I'm going to add autonomy. Accountability. All of those things, your team has to feel that you trust them and you have to give them that freedom and know that they're going to get their jobs done. Why even have people on your team, if you feel like you've got to do everything anyway? That's the waste. It's a waste. I love it. And like you said, I think a lot of the things we're going to talk about today, John, COVID has made better. Great lesson. All right, here we go. Number nine for me. Real leadership, or I'm going to say leaders who emerged during turbulent times. Let me elaborate on that. What I mean by that is this. When things are beautiful and everything's going well, yes, you have to have skills to be a good leader. But your leadership will be tested and how well you lead your team is going to be tested when things go awry or when you have chaos or when you don't know what to do, or when you can't predict what to do next. Being able to lead your team through a crisis will really test how good you are in leadership. And I think this year, if you had a team of direct reports, I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about. Because I think sometimes as a leader, I think as human beings, we like routine and our brains crave routine. And I think when you've been successful as a leader during good times, you get a little bit comfortable. And in a situation when you can't predict what's going to happen, that's when you have to learn how to get comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone. And being open to new ideas and diversity of thought, because what worked in the past probably is not going to work in an environment like this one. So, I think one of the biggest lessons for me was getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I kind of talk about that a little bit more, but that's when real leadership emerges. Are you going to improve your level of communication with your team? Because a lot of people had to work remotely. If you really want to keep your team engaged, you have to communicate more. And I think right now, if you did this right, John, you should know your team better than ever before, because you were on Zoom calls. And I think we talked about this before, you're in their living rooms, you have the cat walk across , you have the kid walking into the room. You had all that stuff. If you were a good leader, your level of communication should have amped up. And you should now be more comfortable stepping out of your comfort zone and doing things a little bit more differently as a leader. So, again, a plus for COVID. I truly believe this, when you feel comfortable, that's when you should be most fearful, because that means you're not going beyond your horizon a little bit more. Taking steps that are going to help you rise and thrive. And that's where I'm at on number nine.

John Avola:

And you touched a little bit on complacency. If you're feeling comfortable , don't get complacent, right? These challenging times separate real leaders from the rest. It's that extra step. You look back at history. Those leaders that you think of that come to mind, those are the ones that have acted in the face of challenging times.

Calvin Stovall:

So get out of your comfort zone. That's my number nine. And I know sometimes people freak out when we say get out of your comfort zone. Some people were jumping out of a plane. No, that's not what we're saying. All we're saying is, shift a little bit more from a place of comfort or where you know what's going to happen. It's taking a leap of faith a little bit and just trying to do things a little bit different. And if it's difficult for you to do that, sometimes if you have a colleague or a mentor that can help you do that better, I encourage you to do that. They can actually help you do that and keep you from slipping back into that routine again. Get people to help you along the way, if you need that, that's cool.

John Avola:

You want to practice being comfortable in an uncomfortable situation.

Calvin Stovall:

Well, this situation, we hope that it never comes back, but ambiguity and uncertainty is always going to happen in our lives. So the better you're able to handle that going forward, the better type of person or individual you're going to be, whether you're leading your team at work or your family.

John Avola:

Lesson number eight. You ready? This one, I think you're going to agree with wholeheartedly because we've talked about this before, and that is leading with empathy. One of those characteristics that were once seen as weak now is brought to the forefront as one of the most important qualities a leader can have. I think this lesson was really brought to life with the onset of COVID. We talked about how people's lives were flipped upside down, literally overnight. And as a leader, you have to empathize with your team. Each member, as we've talked, has a unique situation. We're all in different boats. Just because it's the same storm doesn't mean we're all weathering it the same way. Leading with empathy is one of those leadership skills that is a genuine concern for others. You're naturally motivated to help them thrive. It's something you can work on and develop over time. And specifically at a time when life is uncertain and fear is running high, empathy is crucial. If people don't think or find that you care about them during turbulent times, they definitely aren't going to believe you care about them during non-turbulent times. Going back to what you just said about leaders standing out in turbulent times, the same thing with empathy. If you can't empathize during a situation that's most crucial to an individual, they're not going to believe you have it in a regular natural environment. But on a positive note, I think COVID has shown leaders the importance of being deeply connected to the emotional landscape of their teams. Leaders must be able to speak to unspoken concerns, rein in fears, and all the while fueling optimism at the same time. And letting people know that there's going to be a better side of this situation . Treating employees as real people is another key point , not as numbers or costs on a balance sheet. And so as an empathetic leader, I had a few points I just wanted to quickly share for those that are trying to work on practicing being more empathetic toward your team. The first one is investing time to understand concerns, spoken or unspoken. This builds a sense of trust and strengthens relationships, leads to better collaboration and improved productivity. The second point is promoting connection and belonging by reinforcing that everyone's health and well-being matter. Hosting those team huddles, those virtual happy hours, those skip levels, the one-on-ones, the games, just showing that connection, that inclusivity, the belonging , making sure that everyone on your team understands that you're all in this together. And the third, which I think is most important, is active listening. It's complete focus on the person or the thing in front of you. Don't be easily distracted by something else. Listen more and talk less.

Calvin Stovall:

All of those things. Again, I think pre- COVID, you should have been doing this all the time, but now that we're here , I'm glad to see it's happening more. I was thinking the other day, Gallup did the American Workplace Report. It said 70% of employees were disengaged at work. They talk about the cost of American economy. Between 450 and $550 billion a year in lost productivity because these disengaged employees are not being productive. They're totally disengaged from their workplace. This was pre COVID. Talking 70% of people. Now they're at the office. They're disengaged. So now you have people that are completely separated from the office, working from home. So I think in my mind, how many people, if you already were at 70% pre COVID, what happened to that level of engagement when they went home? Now I know statistics say people are more productive at home, but there is still an element of feeling disconnected from the organization, its culture, and all of that. So all of the things that you just talked about are even more important, super important. And you've got to think about that as a leader. Hey, okay, we're already at 70%. You're hoping that's not your organization, but the numbers speak for themselves. But as John Maxwell says, people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. You've got to care about your employees' well- being and all of that good stuff. I thought that was awesome. Excellent. Number seven. This was a big one for me, a huge one for me, John. And that is the illusion of having control. I bet people that are listening right now , all the self-proclaimed control freaks in the world know exactly what I'm talking about in this illusion of control because it is an illusion. A person that likes to control things, they put things in compartments and think this is going to happen. This is going to happen. This is going to happen. And this is going to happen. But in this environment, when you didn't know what was going to happen next, this was a very difficult time for people like myself. Because it is an illusion and I talk about this all the time. I think in one of our other previous podcasts, when I said that COVID-19 threw a plot twist on our laps. And again, we love movies with plot twists, but we don't like them when they happen in our lives. And so that unpredictability drives us bananas. The illusion of control was a learning lesson for me and I'm sure for a lot of other people out there, because nobody could have ever predicted we'd be where we are globally right now. No one could have ever known. What I had to learn is, okay, Calvin, the meetings business has changed. The speaking business has changed. All of this has changed. Those things are outside of your control. What can you do to focus on the things that you can? And I'm here. And I think even this podcast evolved out of that as well. It was shifting your mindset again, and focusing on the things that you can control, like your optimism, as you mentioned earlier , because optimism is a force multiplier. And without it companies will fall into these varying states of paralysis. So you need that. But I focused on my inputs, which is what I took in, like what I watched on television, like news, what I was reading, what I was watching, the social media. And even the people I was surrounded with. You've got to be careful because those people can also either add optimism to you or fear. All of those things. All of that stuff controls your thoughts and that will drive your emotions and that will control your actions and then your actions make your results. And so if you want different results, I could start thinking about, what am I putting inside my head ? You just have to learn that. And I think as a leader, once you make the decision to focus on those things that matter most, going back to the framework, be consistent. Focus on what matters most and deal with that. And then you can thrive in an environment like this and make it to the next level.

John Avola:

Really well said, Calvin. Control's a tough one. It's hard because there is the illusion of control as you said. And then you have the acceptance of the situation, too, so I think that's a limiter of control. You can't really control even your mindset until you accept what's happening. And you've got to accept that to begin controlling that mindset in order to better yourself for moving forward. There's that push and pull there as well. A lot is uncertainty or uncontrolled, but the illusion of control is an excellent, excellent lesson. All right . Lesson number six. Ready? Have a plan B and C and D. All right. So I think, and you will probably agree, that this lesson can resonate with everybody .

Calvin Stovall:

Yes sir. Yes it can.

John Avola:

We all learned, thank you, COVID, not to put all our eggs in one basket. As cliché as that old saying is, it has never been brought to light as much as it has been over these last nine months, because if you are one of those individuals that had all your eggs in one basket, you quickly realized that you had a problem on your hands. Especially those that did not have a contingency plan in place and did not have that plan B ready to activate , come an unforeseen or uncontrollable situation. Plan B doesn't necessarily mean that you need to completely have a different approach to your business, right? If you're in retail, you don't have to add a gas station to your company. You don't have to completely alternate or jump ship to a completely different industry. But it does mean that you have to have something that can contribute to your original plan. Maybe it's an addition or an expansion. Having multiple alternatives can save you from that devastation if plan A doesn't work out accordingly . Contingency plans are important as well. Having an opportunity to write up a disaster relief recovery effort, doing your best to prevent risks, minimize disruption , ensuring everyone's safety, letting your employees know that you have a plan in case something doesn't work out as it's intended to , having a backup plan helps you prepare for the worst in the best possible way , provides you better flexibility, allows for quick reaction. And most importantly, it can drastically minimize losses. Calvin, I know you have a few examples on the hospitality industry, the restaurant industry . These were some industries that were hit the hardest by COVID. They were completely forced to shift their working business models. In some cases they were forced to redo their business practices. A lot of brands had to reinvent themselves, had to find new channels to interact with customers, new marketing opportunities, new market opportunities, modifying even their facilities. We had some restaurants drilling holes in their wall to add a drive through as a modification to keep the doors open. We've talked about a lot of those examples in our first episode. We talked about Nike converting some portions of their factory for PPE. We talked about how Uber extended their meal delivery service, restaurants opening curbside. I'm going there, Calvin! Our little dumpling company, they changed their entire business model to same day delivery service. You had so much opportunity that came out of this for those that were able to adapt and move forward and try something new. And those plans B, C, D were really a leading effort behind a lot of those new initiatives and innovations that we saw.

Calvin Stovall:

Wow, John, that is an awesome one. And you are right, that in this environment people, they had to make some changes or you're going to die. What is the song? Only the Strongest Survive. I always have some kind of music in my head, but that's true though. And you mentioned the hospitality industry. That's an industry near and dear to my heart and yes, the hospitality and service industries have suffered the most, but I have seen some amazing things happen. I mean, some iconic moves were made by some of these hotel companies and they've shifted and done some wonderful things. I was on another hotel cast TV earlier this week and one of the participants, his name was David. He talked about, which I thought was so awesome, was he talked about the advantage of that smaller team and them having to , including himself, having to cross train and learn other areas of the hotel. So you might've had someone that might've worked in sales and had to work the front desk , himself having to work the front desk sometimes. Somebody in housekeeping having to learn something different so that the hotel can continue to be profitable. But, when you look at that, those are growth learning opportunities for the person themselves, and particularly when you're thinking about the younger generation, millennials, they're looking for growth and learning opportunities. So again, they have to adapt, but they use ways where you could still continue to keep your employees engaged and still be able to move forward as a business. I think that's just awesome .

John Avola:

Think of the advantages of cross training your staff. So you have, let's just say a front desk person out , you can pull someone from another area and fill in that spot without missing a beat. That cross training is so important. Really that's cool. I didn't think of that.

Calvin Stovall:

John, I know you're in the e-marketing space. How many businesses had to amp up their online customer experience because of COVID? Some people would have waited for years to invest, but you didn't have time for that. If you didn't do it, you were left behind. And so many people started putting money into the customer experience to improve t heir online experience. I think that was great. Have a plan B, have a plan C, a nd man, what a lesson. All right, let's go to number five. Failure breeds creativity. I'm going to say that one more time. Failure breeds creativity. And what I mean by that, this almost kind of ties into the real leadership one e merging during turbulent times, which is, I just believe sometimes we can become so comfortable in life that we can become afraid to do something new. And I just believe the number one reason or driver of us getting comfortable o r the status quo or complacency, because the comfort one draws from knowing how things are done, creates a n i mpenetrable armor of fear. And so fear for the unknown, fear of failure. And what keeps us from stepping out of that comfort zone is fear, because we don't want to fail. I call FEAR an acronym--false evidence appearing real--because it appears real, even though it may have no real substance at all. We always talk about, we can create, we're architects in our mind, and we can create the most awesome scenarios in our heads that never even come to fruition. And one of the biggest things w e become fearful of is failure. And so sometimes in environments like these, you have to be able to take some r isks and be able to do things that may have never been done before. Because if you stay so comfortable, like I said before, the things that you used to do may not work today. And so you have to take some risks, but you have to also be able to embrace your failures and your setbacks. I'm not saying you have to love them, but you embrace them, focus on the learning that you g ain through your failures. The chips, they may not always fall where you want them to, but if you understand that reality going in, J ohn, you can be prepared to bring the most value out of the experience, no matter what the outcome is, because I think when situations like this h appen, some people will freeze and then you have some people that will take a risk despite if it fails or not. They're stuck. It's like if you're a record, you j ust k eep skipping.

John Avola:

Then you take that record that's skipping and you become a DJ. You innovate!

Calvin Stovall:

Exactly. But it does. We know , back up against the wall, you're going to crash or you're going to make something happen. I think failure, nothing will teach you how creative you are, how resilient you are, how strong minded, how motivated, how intelligent you are. Good times don't do that for you, or when things are complacent. Only failure can do that for you.

John Avola:

That's good. Say that again.

Calvin Stovall:

Good times really don't show you how resilient, how purposeful, how determined, how creative, how strong minded, how resourceful you are or intelligent you are. Only failure can do that.

John Avola:

That's good. Calvin, I don't even think I have anything to add to that.

Calvin Stovall:

I liked the DJ comment.

John Avola:

I'm going to head on to lesson four if it's good for you. That was awesome. And I got a couple of good laughs in there too. All right. All right. So here we go. Lesson number four. Never give up or what we like to say, don't lose the beat!

Calvin Stovall:

One of my favorites. Never lose the beat. I have a never lose the beat post on LinkedIn right now, kind of in that realm. And it's the most popular post I've ever done. I think it actually is, I can't remember the exact quote, it's a picture actually from one of my keynotes and I can't remember. I think the company was Avenair. I had everybody do a Soul Train line .

John Avola:

Okay. Okay.

Calvin Stovall:

All the people out there, that don't know what the Soul Train line is, well, let me school you. So back in the day, like the seventies, eighties , a guy named Don Cornelius had a show called Soul Train, and it was a very popular show and I watched it. They would come on Saturday mornings and they would have black artists who would come on there all the time. And then they expanded to make more diverse musicians come on there, but it was primarily for black audiences and it was a show where they would perform and then they would have all the dancers. It was kind of like, some people may even remember, American Bandstand with Dick Clark. That was more of a white version of Soul Train. But it was good too. I'm not saying it wasn't good. It was good. But with Soul Train, Don Cornelius, he had this big Afro, just a great personality. And so they would do this Soul Train line. And basically you would have men on one side, women on the other side, and they would come in and walk up. It would be an aisle and you would come through the aisle, man, woman , and you would dance through the aisle and come from one end to the other. And that's when you had the opportunity to show your stuff.

John Avola:

Okay.

Calvin Stovall:

So, the Soul Train line, I did one at a conference and I do have a dream. This is my dream, one day to have the largest Soul Train line ever done at a conference. So, for people out there who hire me to speak, you may be that conference and I'm going to do it one day. But back to the relevancy here. That post had a picture of me walking through the Soul Train line. And I think it's something like , while we can't control the music life plays for us, we can control how we dance to it. That's been the most popular post I've ever had. So it's been very cool. And I think people are resonating with it, and why I said that is because it's really around this, never lose the beat. That's cool. I hijacked your lesson. Sorry!

John Avola:

No, that ties in perfectly to what I'm about to say, which is when times are tough, it's difficult to keep dancing, but it's also hard to not let go of what's going on around you. Don't let that keep you from moving forward. As a leader, you must remain focused. Keep your eye on the prize. Never give up. 99% of all failures come from quitting too soon. As an iconic leader, COVID has taught us to develop perseverance and commit to never giving up. I also like to reference that oxygen mask analogy. You're instructed to put your oxygen mask on first because if you don't, you can't help someone else. It's the same thing as a leader. If you're giving up or you're gasping for air, you won't be able to effectively motivate your team to fly forward, to reach that next destination. COVID has taught us to be thankful for adversity. When you face adversity, you must use your full potential, become more creative. You become more intense, more focused, more confident in moving forward. And I think, as we were talking earlier, those dance moves. I think there are a few dance moves that we can all practice to keep from never losing the beat. Those dance moves, real quick. They're nothing difficult. It's something that the most skilled dancer or the least skilled dancer can pull off. That first one is persistence, not giving up in the possibility of defeat. Second is p atience. Success is a long process. It's not going to happen overnight, but stick with it. The third dance move is pride i n knowing that you can succeed and you will reach your full potential. The fourth is courage. Take risks, achieve your goals. And last, but definitely not least, this is the dance move that brings it home. This is when the Soul Train clears out and t here's one man in the middle. That is commitment. Dedicate time and resources to fulfill your passion.

Calvin Stovall:

Wow. Love that. The dance moves. Give me the moves one more time quickly. What were the moves?

John Avola:

Persistence, patience , pride, courage, and commitment.

Calvin Stovall:

I love those dance moves. Everybody out there, write down the dance moves so you could do your own Soul Train line. That's awesome. All right. I don't have anything to add to that. And so I'm going to go to three. I can't believe we're down to the final three. Get comfortable with the unknown and ambiguity. It's almost like knowing what to do when you don't know what to do. It's something you have to get comfortable doing. I think that comes with curiosity too. You have to be naturally curious, asking questions often. I think that offsets some of the fears for people, when you're naturally curious. So what I want to say is always remain curious and teachable. Because sometimes I think we feel like we have to have all o f the answers and we don't. You just don't have to have all the a nswers. I always tell people, it doesn't matter how long you've been doing something. All of us can use a c heckup from the neck up every now and then. And we all do that. And the truth is you don't have to have all the answers. Albert Einstein had a famous quote. I have no special talent. I'm only passionately curious. And I think we have to be that way and be h umble enough to know that you need other people's insight, thoughts, and nature. I t's a humility thing. You can't know everything. In fact, it's impossible. It's impossible. I don't think you can, because things change too rapidly anyway. What worked yesterday is not guaranteed to work tomorrow. And in this age of disruption and uncertainty, leaders are actually increasingly being sought out, not for having all the right answers, but for asking the right questions. Curiosity is the perfect counterweight to fear and anxiety. And so learn to focus on that. Just a sk questions. Focus on those positives. I just think that helps. And, look deeper. You've got to make a choice. Look deeper into everyday things and seeing t hat true significance. I think sometimes we have to realize there's much to learn from everyone in everything.

John Avola:

I agree. I've always found that uncertainty has a tendency to make you reflect on your own challenges. It kind of takes you away from what's going on and puts it in a little bit more of a real or personal mindset when you look at uncertainty and the unknown. Start using your talents to help people, make positive impacts, participate in virtual volunteering events, get out there and be part of the community. That may be a segue into number two. You'll find that this will lead to the solutions you're looking for.

Calvin Stovall:

It doesn't have to be big. Start small. Read a book in a genre you usually avoid. Or go to an art gallery or museum you wouldn't normally go to. These simple activities will open your mind to new points of view. That's all we're saying. We talked about that hole we create for ourselves. We like to hang with people that are like us. Remember that episode? We talked about that. You want to know kids that are raised like our kids and all of that. And we get comfortable with that. You've got to start inviting new people in the circle. Get different perspectives.

John Avola:

And be open to those perspectives.

Calvin Stovall:

Right. You want to listen, right? All right. Number two!

John Avola:

Number two, or the second lesson, is community is everything. Wanted to just bring up the point, how important community is. I think COVID has taught us a big lesson in the importance of community. Being part of a community provides that sense of belonging. It enables us to share and relate to each other. In a time like this we've supported each other. Whether it's your neighbor down the street, a peer, a coworker, a colleague, a friend, a family member , there's so much opportunity to support one another to get through this time that we're all in. Community adds that feeling that we're part of something bigger than ourselves. It's the foundation when dealing with uncertainty, as we just talked about , the backbone that keeps us together. The lesson also involves the importance of networking, joking, but maybe not joking, aside being six feet apart should not limit ourselves from developing a network. You should still be building upon and maintaining your network, making sure that your network's there when you need it the most, using your network to reach out to people you care about. Send someone a note, send them an IM, or an instant message, or direct message. Let them know you're thinking about them. Use your network as an opportunity to connect and share. You'll quickly find you're not alone. We've talked about that too. You're not by yourself. Your network can help drive you, motivate you, push you through those difficult times, reinforce your purpose. I think the COVID itself, going back to some of the positive that it's brought out, it's brought out so many important aspects of how being a part of a community will help you with that support. The influence, the sharing, the reinforcement, being a part of that connection, even that whole staying together while we're apart mentality. Communities give us that shared space, a place to be inspired, solve problems, congratulate each other on achievements. With so many common beliefs, trust and togetherness, there's really no limit to what communities can do for ourselves and each other. Calvin, I think I want to just, if you're okay with it, get personal for a moment. Just talking about you and I. COVID was tough on us both. We both became teachers and caretakers overnight and we had to balance a 40, 40 hour plus week job with our children , with our significant others, family, friends . Times were tough. And there were points where we would get on the phone and we wanted to throw in that iconic towel. We were hitting some lows. We were hitting some points where I don't think if we weren't able to keep our community, our continuous calls and our friendship, there may have been times where iconic presentations may not be in existence today. We may not be recording our 10th episode, if it wasn't for the trust that we've built between each other. We've made a difference. We know that our community needs us. We've been giving now 10 episodes of iconic business strategies and tips and resources. I can tell, I think we're making a big, big difference in the communities that we're serving. And as we started this podcast, we've got to thank our listeners and our community for supporting us.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. John, I couldn't have said that any better. Hey, listen, you're right. The iconic towel was .... I've had moments where I had that white flag. We're here. We talked to each other, we helped each other. I'm a big purpose person and making sure I have clarity of purpose. And I'm clear why I'm here. But what COVID and situations like that will do to you, it will make your purpose a little blurry, cloudy, altering things, and then that compiled with your mind and how you think and all of that stuff going on around you, it can cause you to start questioning your purpose.

John Avola:

Not a good place.

Calvin Stovall:

Not a good place to be. I understand if you're dealing with it and you're trying to figure out exactly where you want to go or pivot, that's fine, but your purpose is your purpose. And once you realize, and you're clear on why you're here, you might have to make some alterations, but you've got to be clear on why you're here. And once you focus on that, and once I focus on that, then we know, okay, we've still got to press forward.

John Avola:

All right, Calvin, I think that brings us down to number one .

Calvin Stovall:

Oh, this is number one. Ladies and gentlemen, number one. Mindset is everything. Mindset is everything. I've got to throw a song there. I love hip hop. There was a song in 1991 by a group called the Ghetto Boys. And the name of the song was My Mind Is Playing Tricks On Me and when we were putting this list together, when I got to number one, that song popped in my mind. During times of uncertainty like we are dealing with, your mind will play tricks on you. And so if you don't have this iconic mindset, you can end up in this place of when you're stuck. I learned, don't let your mind play tricks on you. Whatever you build in your head, don't let it. I encourage people to think of yourself as a human magnet and constantly attract in what you speak, think, and feel. If you think in problems, you will attract problems. If you think in solutions, you will attract solutions. So I want to encourage you. My number one. Mindset is everything. Cultivate your thoughts. Remain positive and optimistic. We get what we think and so think positive. Don't let the stress and the worries of the day outshine your passion, because once your light is out, it's hard to come back from that. So don't sweat the small stuff. Please know that everything you're doing out there is making a difference. My hospitality friends and colleagues out there, ladies and gentlemen, you guys are doing a great job. So don't beat yourself up, Pat yourself on the back and be happy and glad. You guys are doing some amazing work out there. Just continue to be present for your team, continue to make every interaction matter, and be consistent. Keep your mind in the right place. Because once that shifts in the right place, you can thrive and be successful in any environment, but particularly in one with this much ambiguity and uncertainty that we're dealing with.

John Avola:

Yeah, absolutely. You hit on a lot of great points. The big takeaway I really got from you there is being mindful of the shadow that you cast. You've talked about that. It's reflective of you and it's casting over others. Keep that mindset, keep it high, keep it strong, and use these 10 lessons to keep your mindset at an ultimate high, because these are what we've learned. I'm sure there are other lessons out there, but when you find yourself in a time that your mindset is slipping, refer back to these 10 lessons because they will help you. Don't forget about your community and those that are supporting you. Stay focused and achieved. Achieve your purpose, follow your passion.

Calvin Stovall:

That's right, Johnny. I love it. That's our 10 lessons. Before we wrap up, I want to go back and quickly run through the 10. Okay. Number one. Mindset is everything. You get what you think. Think positive. Don't let the worries of the day take out your passion. Number two. Community is everything. You're not in this alone. Continue to be there to support each other. Your peers, colleagues, family, friends, all of that, please know. And reach out when you need help. You do not have to handle this stuff alone. Please reach out for help when you need it. Number three. Getting comfortable with the unknown and ambiguity. Continue to be curious. Don't become comfortable and complacent. Curiosity is the best counter attack to ambiguity and the unknown. So ask questions often. Number four. Never give up. Never lose the beat. Stay diligent. Stay focused. Give me those dance steps again, John.

John Avola:

The steps, the dance moves. Persistence, patience, pride, courage, and commitment.

Calvin Stovall:

I love the dance moves. Number five. Failure breeds creativity. When your back is against the wall, ladies and gentlemen, you will come up with some wonderful ideas, but you've got to be willing to take some risks. Number six. Have a plan B. Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Always think about doing things different. Have a backup plan. Don't focus on just one way to do things. You've got to make sure that you have a contingency plan just in case your plan A does not work. Number seven. The illusion of control. You might think you have it, but you really don't. So focus on those things you can control. Don't worry so much about the things that you can't. Number eight. Leading with empathy. Empathy was one of those leadership skills that back in the day, they might have said, oh you're too soft. Not today. That's a skill that you need to have. And that's something that your employees are looking for. As John Maxwell says, people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care. You have to care about your team's well-being. And you've got to take care of yourself. Airplane oxygen. Remember that? Number nine. Real leadership or leaders who emerged during turbulent times, you've got to get out of your comfort zone. You have to get comfortable doing that. Continue to communicate. Your team needs communication. Culture is everything. It's fragile. So you've got to keep communicating. Focus on that, making sure you keep your team engaged and in the loop. You'll continue to be successful. All right . Number 10. Trust your team. Nobody likes to be micromanaged. Give them the autonomy and empowerment and what they need to do and be successful at home, just like you would in the office, but it's even more important now. They are working. You've got to trust them to do that. So that's it. Yes, trust them. 10 iconic lessons of 2020. I am fired up.

John Avola:

That was an awesome, awesome episode. A lot of content in there. You may need to listen to that one twice for those listening. You may want to listen to it and then go back and take notes. Well, Calvin, here we go. We're heading into 2021. That'll be our next episode. We'll be in the new year. We want to make sure that we let our audience know that we are open to any ideas, anything that comes to mind that you'd like us to address, research a little bit, and use as a topic of one of our upcoming episodes. We are more than open to hearing it. So please let us know. You can find out more about Calvin and myself at iconicpresentations .net . There, you can reach out to us. There's a contact form. Drop in your idea. We'd love to hear from you. We will write you back so you can count on us on that. Thank you again, our listeners, our community, for continuing to support us, for continuing to listen to our podcasts every time they're published. And we are just so thankful for you and all of your support.

Calvin Stovall:

Thanks. Thanks to everybody out there. We are really looking forward to having a great year in 2021. A lot of opportunities ahead of us. Again, keep your iconic mindset in the right direction. I think the next year is going to be so much better than this one.

John Avola:

Agreed. Agreed. Well, Calvin, so here's to 2021. Don't just be, BeICONIC.

Thank You Listeners!
Lesson #10: Trust Your Team
Lesson #9: Leaders Emerge During Turbulent Times
Lesson #8: Lead with Empathy
Lesson #7: The Illusion of Control
Lesson #6: Have a Plan B
Lesson #5: Failure Breeds Creativity
Lesson #4: Never Give Up
Lesson #3: Get Comfortable with the Unknown and Ambiguity
Lesson #2: Community is Everything
Lesson #1: Mindset is Everything
ICONIC Points