Find the Silver Lining

Episode 954: Find the Silver Lining, with Steve Farber

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Find the silver lining no matter what crisis you are in. Listen to this podcast with Steve Farber and find the silver lining.

As I was mapping out and thinking through this episode — I wanted to be sure the content would be super helpful as you continue to find the silver lining that COVID has created for all of us.

Because what’s especially challenging about COVID actually isn’t just the uncertainty — it’s that the uncertainty…is a continuously moving target.

We’ve all seen so much ebb and flow to what is taking place — and because of that — your team, your clients, your audience, your vendors…all of your stakeholders…are looking for guidance. And…dare I say — they’re also looking for leadership. In fact — some are desperate for it.

Because of that — I invited bestseller author and leadership expert, Steve Farber to come back for an encore interview.

Steve and I are going to focus this conversation around how his Extreme Leadership principles can help you and your team navigate your way through COVID — or any crisis for that matter — and come roaring out the other side.

And what I love about Steve is he asks the tough questions — and those questions are asked out of love — but they also might make us squirm a bit in our seats.

And sometimes getting uncomfortable is the point.

Because here’s the reality, Onward Nation.

The data is clear…if you and your team double down and make progressive decisions…if you invest in the right areas while ensuring your operating as efficiently as possible…you will find the silver lining to COVID and you will come roaring out of this recession just like other companies have done after the last 6 recessions.

The silver linings are there — IF — we’re brave enough to look for them and courageous enough to step into them. All of which requires Extreme Leadership from you as the business owner.


What you will learn from this episode about find the silver lining:

  • Steve shares what he means by Extreme Leadership Principles, and he shared why he named his methodology Extreme Leadership
  • Why too often we use “leader” as a position title rather than a descriptive term for the person filling that role
  • How the LEAP methodology powering Steve’s Extreme Leadership is composed of four principles: cultivate Love, generate Energy, inspire Audacity, and provide Proof
  • How love, energy, audacity, and proof are invaluable leadership tools that can inspire your team to new levels of success
  • Why the entire LEAP leadership framework is powered by the first principle of cultivating love first and foremost
  • Why it is important to learn as much as we can from the challenges and changes brought about by the global pandemic and then find the silver lining amidst the chaos
  • Why leaders demonstrating love by connecting with their teams during this difficult time is critical
  • Why being open, reaching out and being a receptive listener can help you build profound relationships
  • Why it is important to decide now what we want our businesses to look like five years from now in a post-pandemic world
  • Why too often when the present becomes challenging, business leaders forget about preparing for the future


Additional Resources:



Find the Silver Lining: Full Episode Transcript


Get ready to find your recipe for success on how to find the silver lining from America’s top business owners here at Onward Nation with your host, Stephen Woessner.


Good morning, Onward Nation. I am Stephen Woessner, CEO of predictive ROI and your host. As I was mapping out and thinking through this episode. I wanted to be sure that content would be super helpful as you continue to navigate your way through what are clearly choppy waters that Covid has created for all of us. Because what’s especially challenging about Covid actually isn’t just the uncertainty.


And we know that there’s a lot of that. It’s that the uncertainty, it’s a continuously moving target. So we’ve all seen so much ebb and flow to what is taking place. And because of that, your team, your clients, your audience, your vendors, all of your stakeholders, well, they’re all looking for guidance. And dare I say, they’re also looking for leadership.


In fact, some are desperate for it. And because of that, I invited bestselling author and leadership expert Steve Farber to come back for another encore interview. So Steve and I are going to focus this conversation around how his extreme leadership principles can help you and your team navigate your way through Covid or any crisis, for that matter, and come roaring out the other side.


And what I love about Steve is he asks the tough questions, and those questions are asked out of love, but they can also make us squirm a bit in our seats. And sometimes getting uncomfortable is the point, Onward Nation. Because here’s the reality. The data is clear. If you and your team double down and make progressive decisions, if you invest in the right areas while ensuring you’re operating as efficiently as possible, you will find the silver linings to Covid and you’ll come roaring out of this recession just like other companies have done after the last six recessions.


The silver linings are there. If we’re brave enough to look for them and courageous enough to step into them, all of which requires extreme leadership from you as the business owner. That’s why Steve Farber is here. So without further ado, welcome back to onward, Steve. 


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Steve Farber’s Introduction


Thank you. Stephen, it’s great to be back with you once again. I’m honored.


Well, it is great to have you back once again, my friend, and thank you for accepting the invitation to come back for what is now your third episode here at Onward. And, let’s start by setting some context for Onward Nation. Just in case they haven’t read your bestselling books, which I would highly encourage them to do, and all those links will be in the show notes for today’s episode.


But let’s start by giving some foundational context around when you say extreme leadership principles, give those to us, and then we’ll start slicing those apart as we’re trying to find the silver lining here. Sure. So there are a couple of premises, if that is the plural of premise? I think it is. There are a couple of premises that I want to clarify.


So first of all, the phrase extreme leadership is kind of a loaded phrase in and of itself. Now, that is the name of my platform. it’s the methodology that I teach, and I named it as such for a very specific reason. I’ve been doing this work for 30 years. So, you know, I didn’t just come to this overnight, but what I noticed a long time ago, early on in my career, is that talking about leadership was a much easier thing than actually doing it.


And there’s been this, tendency in primarily in the business world, although it’s true in every context where we use the word leader as a description of one’s position or as part of their title, and even though somebody can certainly hold a position of leadership, the position itself doesn’t automatically make a person a leader. And I’m being nice about this.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: What Real Leadership Is


We’ve all known people that sit very prominently on their company’s organizational chart and still have, let’s just say, a bit of work to do as far as their leadership goes. Right? And we’ve all known people and there are many listening to this podcast right now who fall into this category, who have no position or title, but are great leaders.


So when I use the phrase extreme leadership, it’s to help people to understand that if you choose to step into the leadership activity, the leadership mode, it should feel extreme because leadership, by its nature, real leadership by its nature is extreme because it’s about the act of transformation in some way or another, or it’s going places we’ve never been before is creating things that have never been created before.


That’s what true leadership is. So extreme leadership is really, in essence, my way of saying real leadership. Because if it doesn’t feel extreme, if we’re not doing something extreme, in other words, trying to change at least our piece of the world for the better, we can’t really call ourselves leaders other than the kind of leader that we just print on a business card and wash our hands of, and anything else involved in the activity.


So that’s where the phrase comes from. Now, what that looks like is, is really about how we engage ourselves and the people around us to step up, to change things for the better, often at the risk of self-sacrifice or or quote unquote, failure. Are we willing, as leaders, as human beings, to stick our necks out in order to make things better for all of us?


So there’s an inclusivity element to it. There’s a risk element to it, and there’s an aspirational element that says, I think things can be better and I can help. Not that I’m going to be the hero riding in on the white horse and, and, you know, change it all myself. But I can help set the stage in the environment and engage people in such a way that we can change things for the better.


However we define what those things are. So I like to talk about changing the world with either a capital world or a small world, as in changing the world of my company or my team, or my employees, or my customers, etc.. So how do we go about doing that? Is this really what the Radical Leap methodology is about?


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof (LEAP)


So Leap stands for love, energy, audacity, and proof. So my first book called The Radical Leap, came out in its first edition in 2004. That’s the first time I laid that framework out. And so now, you know, it’s been around for 15 years or so longer, actually, because I’ve been teaching it. You know, since before the book came out.


So it’s been around for probably 20 years or so. And so lots of people have been working with this model and in businesses and as individual leaders. So both culturally and individually for a long time. So the proof of concept is, you know, we’re beyond proof of concept. This shit works basically. But if you think about it, I’ll give you a quick overview of that leap framework and what it means, and then we can, you know, we can dive into some of the elements of it and see how it applies today in these, shall we say, unusual times that we live in.


So cultivate love, generate energy, inspire audacity, provide proof. That’s the leap methodology or framework or operating system. There’s lots of ways to characterize it. Love is the foundation of the whole thing. As you know, my most recent book is called Love Is Just Damn Good Business. And the reason I titled it that is because love is just damn good business.


Love is at the foundation of what great leadership is, and it’s at the foundation of what great business is. So, at the foundation of the extreme leadership approach is our willingness and ability to bring our hearts into our work to cultivate. The verb here is to cultivate love in the way that we build our business, and the way that we have relationships with our various constituents.


And in what we bring personally to the work that we do. If I don’t love this place, if I don’t love this business, if I don’t love my employees, if I don’t love my customer, if I don’t love my product or my service, I’m missing out on a great opportunity. So I need to get closer to that. So let’s cultivate love.


Energy is the juice. It’s the enthusiasm. It’s the, you know, that life force that we bring to bear on everything that we do and what we need to understand about this. When I say we, I mean capital, we all need to understand that whether you like it or not, and whether you realize it or not, you have an impact on the energy around you at work.


By virtue of who you are, what you do, how you interact with people. So the operating it kind of litmus test question is, do I generate more energy when I walk into a room or when I walk out of it? Do I generate more energy when I call somebody on the phone or when I hang up? You know, when I enter a zoom room or when I leave it, it’s, you know, you can pick your in person or virtual, you know, analog of that, we have an impact on the energy.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Explaining What LEAP Means


So our job as extreme leaders is to put more energy into the environment than we’re taking out. We need to be a positive force. And, you know, we all know that we’re supposed to motivate people and energize people and engage people. We know we’re supposed to do that. What I’m suggesting is that the best way for us to do that goes back to cultivating love.


Love generates energy. And then there are thousands of other things that we could do to be more energetic. It doesn’t mean, by the way, becoming an extrovert, where yesterday I was an introvert. It doesn’t mean, you know, random personality oriented energy. It’s the energy that comes from a deep level of passion and conviction and love for who we are, what we do.


Audacity is, I define it as a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints in order to change the world for the better. So it’s not outside the box. It’s what box? It’s the audacity to not only believe, but then take action on the intent to make things better, to change the world for the better.


Like I talked about a few minutes ago. Audacity is what drives us to set aside all the reasons why not and to, to boldly and blatantly disregard the constraints that either other people put on us or that we put on ourselves with the expressed intent of making things better. So it’s a very highly charged word.


It’s a challenging thing. A while back, I did a survey among my readers as to what they felt they needed the most help with: love, energy, audacity, or proof. I’ll get the proof in a second. But by a factor of 3 to 1, the answer was audacity. Okay, so why do you think so? Because audacity is the most related to risk.


It’s something that I can intellectually understand I should do, but the fear of doing it holds me back. I think that’s a big part of it. So the subjective side of audacity, in other words, what audacity feels like is a dynamic that I call the OSM, which is spelled capital O capital S exclamation mark, capital M, that stands for the oh shit moment.


So whereas love is the motivator that gets us to step up and to be audacious. So love generates energy. Energy is what we need to be to act on our audacity and the fear that comes along with the territory is a natural thing. That’s the OSM. So what I’m suggesting is that that fear in the right context is actually a good thing.


So the very thing that holds people back from me being audacious is the thing that we should be pursuing. In other words, if it’s not scaring us, I’m probably really not doing anything. I’m just talking about a good game. So push it to the point where it scares you a little bit. Now you know you’re in the game. Oh, counterintuitive for a lot of us, but that’s what it takes to grow.


And then finally, proof is where it all comes home. Proof is that it’s not only the results that we get. And all of this should lead to results. I’m a business guy. I’m not. I’m not teaching this stuff because I think it’s just because I think it’s nice, which it is, but because it gets results. So the proof, the obvious level of proof is I got to show you that I’m making progress.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Proving Your Worth


But there are other elements to it. There’s also the fact that I need to prove myself to the very people that I’m asking to follow me. I need to prove that I’m worthy of following. I need to prove that I’m worthy of your trust. I need to prove that I’m worthy of your commitment. I need to prove that I’m credible.


And the simple way to do that is to make sure that my actions and my words line up. So I prove that I mean what I say through my actions that you can observe from me. So do what you say you will do. My mentors, Jim Quess and Barry Posner called that do as you would. Why? As why would, which stands for do what you say you will do.


Do as you would. Just sounds really nice. so that is the, you know, that’s what we’re after. So love, energy, audacity and proof they’re all required, in my opinion. All of us, like anything else, have certain strengths and weaknesses. But if you really had to get down to its essence, it starts with love.


Love generates energy. Love inspires audacity. Love requires proof. It’s really love that runs through the entire framework. And so therefore it’s the greatest leverage point. Yeah. That’s interesting when you say that. 


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Facing Your Fears


By the way, I’m on page three of my notes already. As I’m writing all of this, trying to write all of this stuff down as fast as possible because this is the essence of goodness right here.


Like, you’re giving Onward Nation business owners the blueprint. So let’s go back to what you just said about love creates energy and, and how that links into audacity as well. Because, like, it’s tough to be audacious if you’re super fearful of the awesome that if I take risk that if I try to be courageous, that if I try to, how did you describe it?


If I actually ask you what box question and I, if I’m in an unloving environment where there’s not high trust, where I think I’m going to make a mistake and get axed, well, then it’s tough to be progressive to try to find the solution or the silver lining to come out of Covid. If I’m so worried and fearful, right?


Yes. Yeah. So there are different kinds of fear. Certainly. We all have this kind of collective global universal fear and it ebbs and flows and it kind of depends on what your personal circumstance is and where you live in the world right now. But there is this fear of the unknown, this fear of the virus and this fear of, you know, the uncertain future.


How long is this going to take? And are my, you know, am I in danger of getting sick or my loved ones in danger of getting sick? I’m afraid of maybe having to stay home for another year and take care of my kids. I’m afraid there’s lots of things I’m afraid of where my money’s going to come from.


There are lots of things to be afraid of, no question about it. And that’s perfectly natural. That’s not the kind of fear that I’m talking about. Okay. That’s the kind of fear that we have to, you know, we have to take action to do things in the face of that fear that takes a certain kind of courage.


And we need to help each other do that. Not by being Pollyanna, not by pretending everything’s going to be fine, but by sticking our heads in the sand. Not by saying, you know, hoping that this will all go away because we don’t want it to be here. You know, that’s just denial. it’s really about, you know, being realistic about what the circumstances are and then helping each other to answer the question.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Focusing On the Fear


So what do we do? What do we do in the face of that? And what kind of a future do we want to create for ourselves as a result of this? So now what we’re doing is we’re focusing. We’re focusing on fear. We’re not denying it. We’re not pretending it’s not there, but we’re focusing it into the future in a positive sort of way.


Because the reality is, to a very large degree, as human beings, we write our own story, we create our own future. There are things that are beyond our control, but one of the wonderful things about we humans is that we are, on the one hand, we’re very good at screwing things up. This pandemic is a pretty good example of that.


But the flip side of that is we’re also really good at solving problems. Yes. And for the first time in human history, the entire planet is focused on solving the same problem. So I have to believe that we’re going to come up with a great solution. But again, the uncertainty is when and what are the consequences between now and then.


So our job as leaders, I believe, is to do the best we can with our teams to begin to have the conversation about rolling the clock forward, stepping into the proverbial time machine, and asking ourselves, what do we want to create on the other side of this thing? And there are lots of conversations like that that are going on naturally, right?


So do we really all need to get back to being in the same office together, which is a question that a lot of people are asking. And the reason they’re asking for it is not simply because, you know, it’s cheaper to run a business without having to pay a lease for as much space. But because these Zoom meetings that people are having are incredibly effective and working from home has been unbelievably productive for a lot of people, it’s been a real shock to people.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Pushing Yourself Despite the Fear


So we’ve been resistance resistant to this. So it’s like, okay, well, what are we learning from this? That’s a very powerful question. What are we learning from this circumstance that we can use to our advantage, either now or in the future, or both, and be audacious enough? Maybe. So I’m giving this to you to, I guess, validate or tear apart and be audacious enough to do something with the answer, right?


Even if that means completely changing the business model. Yes, absolutely. So that’s a bold and blatant disregard for normal constraints. We came into this pandemic with a certain set of normal. Right. And that’s all been blown apart. So on the one hand, this is kind of an advantage because we’re getting an experience of what it’s like to disregard constraints.


Some of that’s positive, some of that’s negative right. But to build on that and say, okay, let’s use this to start with the proverbial blank sheet of paper approach to our business. How can we rethink this? So that’s the kind of fear. That’s it’s extrinsic. It’s brought to us. And then how we respond to it is entirely up to us.


So there’s an intrinsic choice to make about the fear that’s brought to us from the outside, the other side of the fear, and this is what I really mean by the OSM, is to recognize that when we start acting in that audacious way, that when we rethink the model from a blank sheet of paper, we need to understand that the very prospect of that, for the vast majority of us is scary.


So I can intellectually understand why I should do x, y, z, and I’ve done the research on it. I’ve talked to the right people. I’m convinced that we need to do x, y, z instead of the ABC. That we have been doing okay, but I haven’t done it. And when I asked myself, why haven’t I done this new thing even though there’s no I know, there’s no guarantee, I know it’s still a risk, but I really believe it’s the right thing to do and I haven’t done it.


And if I’m really honest with myself at that juncture and I ask, why haven’t I done that thing that I am convinced is a great idea and the only answer that I get back from myself to myself is because I’m scared to. Then that’s the reason to do it. So that’s what I mean by the pursuit of the OSM.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Fight or Flight


So I’ll summarize it like this. If the only reason I can think of to not do something is because the idea scares me, and that’s the reason to do it. And so it’s a reframing of how we interpret the feeling of fear in that OSM, we tend to interpret the OSM as a sign that something is wrong. And the reason that we do is because sometimes it’s a sign that something is wrong.


The OSM oftentimes is there as a caution but we universalize that feeling and we interpret it as it always means that something is wrong when actually in the right context, it could actually mean that something is right. It could mean that it’s an indicator that I’m actually doing something that I haven’t done before. So it requires, this is not a knee jerk kind of an approach, requires a lot of introspection and awareness about how I’m responding to things.


So this is a very simple framework to look at. And you’ll find I know this is true for me. When I am embarking on something new, I’m thinking about embarking on something new. And I feel that resistance and I feel that fear if I just stop and ask myself, is there any other reason that I’m not pursuing this other than this is scaring me?


And the answer is no, then I say, okay, that means I should do it and it is. I know I’m using that pop psychology, you know, phrase reframing, but it does. It reframes the experience. It gives me a sense of clarity and what now feels like courage. Although I think it might be something different, it emboldens me to step up versus kind of cowering in the shadows, afraid of my own ideas.


But it also, at least I’m hearing you say that, which is a great litmus test, right, to be asking ourselves. This is sort of also, if this is the right word de-legitimize is the fear like, like it sort of makes it like, you know, when you recognize it for what it is. Yeah. And then potentially, depending upon what the decision is like, it almost then seems silly.


Like really that’s what’s holding me back. The light of the light of inquiry, you know, shining the light of inquiry on, where that fear is coming from, is a very powerful thing because, listen, let’s not forget that we’re we have this fight or flight mechanism built into us is a survival mode, right?


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: How Does a Business Overcome Obstacles?


So sometimes that fear that causes me to run away or defend myself or whatever, that’s a very good thing. So let’s, you know, let’s acknowledge that this doesn’t mean that all fear is a sign that you should pursue it. Right? The tiger is running at me in the jungle. I’m gonna run after this thing and, you know, run, wrestle them down.


This may not be a good idea for most of us, but you can think of that literally. Or you can think of it metaphorically, but I think more often than not, the fear that we impose on ourselves is that it does not need to be there. Well, so when you gave us this, I want to kind of give this question back to you, make sure I got it correctly in my notes because then the follow up that I want to ask you is, okay, then how does a business owner do this?


Or I should say, how would you suggest that an owner do this with his or her team? And so the question I have in my notes is what do we do in the face of that. And I just removed the word that book Covid. So what do we do in the face of Covid and what kind of future do we want to create as a result of this?


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Establishing a Connection with Your Team


Yeah. So I can yeah, let’s get into the weeds on that a little bit. So first of all, a reminder that all of this is founded in love okay. So when in doubt go back to cultivate love okay. So the question and I believe you and I discussed this the last time we were together on your podcast. The operative question should always be what should love look like in the way that we run our business and the way that we run our team?


So right now, what should love look like when you’re in these uncertain times? And let’s say your team is virtual. And I’ll start with an observation on that. What I’m hearing a lot. And because, you know, I do it under normal times when we’re traveling around and being in the same room with other human beings, you know, I do a lot of speaking, you know, keynotes and that kind of thing.


And my company does a lot of consulting, which is all on site with our clients. So nowadays, like everybody else in my industry and other industries, I’m doing a lot of things virtually. So I’m connecting webinars, doing meetings with zoom, you know, zoom meetings with teams and companies and so I’m hearing a lot from people as to what is going on out there.


And the themes that I’m hearing are now more than ever, you love this love thing. Love is really important. Support is really important. Connection is really important. Engagement is really important. Especially when we’re physically isolated, we need to reach out to each other and hang out together virtually and ask how people are doing and offer our help and be a sounding board and be a virtual shoulder to cry on.


And we need to build relationships. I’m hearing this a lot, and what’s really striking to me is that it’s always been true. It’s always been true. It’s not all of the sudden, if we need this, it’s just all of a sudden it’s come to such sharp relief that we can’t we can’t ignore it. We can’t deny it.


And as business people in particular, we spent a lot of time pushing this love thing aside, as in dismissing it as California touchy feely who are crap as some kind of an abstraction, whereas really it’s about how we engage people to accomplish great things. So right now, in this half weird time, the act of, you know, for a leader to reach out to his or her team and individuals on the team just to establish a connection, just to say, how are you just to have a conversation about what’s important to them.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: Find The Time to Know People Better


And in that context, also remind people why our work is so important, why we need to persevere through these times. So the tactic here is carve out time on your schedule leader to have individual calls with as many people as possible as often as you can. And again, this is, I mean, I remember having a conversation with the top three people of a huge utility company electric, you know, gas and electric company in the Midwest, the CEO, the head of generation and the head of transmission and distribution, the top three guys in the company.


And I remember lecturing them. This was in the 90s. I remember wagging my finger at these guys saying, you need to spend time out of your office just hanging out with people and talking with them. Wag, wag, wag. Management by the ground did that. Well, they got it. I mean, they understood it. But then in the subsequent meeting where I sat down with them, I said, so how’s it going?


And they were all like, Well I wanted to but I really couldn’t find the time. My point is that management by wandering around me was something that, you know, one of my mentors, Tom Peters, first talked about in Search of Excellence in the 80s. This is nothing new. And the reason that it’s so important is because that’s how you get to know people when you’re hanging out with them, right?


So when I suggest to people now that they should carve out time in their calendar to have these calls or these zoom calls or whatever they are, this is nothing different from what I’ve been saying. And not just me. All of us have been saying this for the last 30 years. Right? The difference now is that people are going, oh yeah, you’re right.


And so do that. Just carve out the time. No, I’ve done this myself in a different context. When this Covid thing first hit and we were all sheltering in place and everything was in full lockdown, I sent out an email to my entire email list and I said, here’s my personal schedule link.


You want to talk at a book time with no agenda. And I said back to back zoom calls for four weeks. And it was amazing. It was a wonderful thing. You know, I had quite a range of experience for everything from, you know, people that have been following my work for a long time and have never talked to people I’ve known for a long time and just haven’t talked to you for a while.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog


Find the Silver Lining: A Foundation of Love and Trust


To people that have never even heard of me, they just happened to be on my email list for some reason. And so, oh, here’s a guy offering free advice or whatever and booked a call. So for me it was incredibly rewarding. But the feedback that I got from people was just simply thank you for reaching out because I need it right now.


And I had people write to me to say, I’m not going to book a call, because I think there are other people that could use it more. But I just want you to know how much I appreciate it. Wow. Very simple. Now, what did it take for me? Time? Energy? There were days where I was pretty tired by the end of the day, but there were no days where I wasn’t energized in spite of being tired.


So you have you being your listener who is considering doing this. You’re going to gain a lot from this personally. And what your team will gain from your reaching out in that way is something they will never forget. It’s not just about persevering now. It’s about using this to build and deepen a relationship that we can continue to expand on for years.


Because doesn’t that go back to your point that you made a few minutes ago? It proves that I’m worthy of your trust, that I’m worthy of you following me. Yes. When I first demonstrated love. Right? Yes. And their weight there. The reason is a little bit of a nuance, but the reason it proves that is because I’m proving that I love you.


I’m going first. I’m proving that I believe in love and trust you. And this is a reciprocal kind of a relationship. Right. So if I can prove to you that I really care about you, chances are pretty good that you’re going to care back. Not just about me as a leader, but about us as an enterprise. Okay?


And then I can’t ask my team to be more audacious or to. And I can’t try to inspire audacity if I haven’t built that foundation of love and trust. Right? Yeah. I mean, I can demand, I can try to demand it. You will be creative. That’s right, that’s right. You will be courageous.


You and you know, if our relationship is deep enough and strong enough, then that could be an approach that could work. But it doesn’t work for very long. In the absence of it, there are command and control leaders, and there are people that have made lots of money doing it that way. And I submit to you that they’ve accomplished it in spite of that, not because of it.


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Find the Silver Lining: What Kind of Future You Want to Create for Yourself


Right. Now there’s one other tactic that I would add to this. If tactic is the right word, outreach to just to connect with people personally, like we’ve been talking about is a great foundation. But then there’s also the opportunity to bring people together and put the future oriented question on the table. So it could go something like this.


Okay, guys, we don’t know how long we’re going to, you know, this Covid thing is going to be here. But we do know that it’s going to pass. So the question on the table today is what kind of future we want to create for ourselves. And so here’s one way of there’s lots of ways to do this.


But I’ll give you one simple approach okay. Let’s all pretend. So I’m the leader I’m talking to the team. Let’s all pretend that it’s now July of 20, 25, five years from now, the virus is past. It’s a distant memory. We’re having conversations like, hey, remember when we were all sequestered in our homes? We had to do everything by zoom.


Remember, that’s where we are. It is now that time. Let’s paint the picture of what that future date looks like. How is our work different? What are we doing? What are our customers saying about us? How are we working together? And this is not about taking out the crystal ball and predicting five years from now. It’s about taking out the canvas and the paint, brushes and painting, creating what that is five years from now.


What do we want? And it’s so there are lots of ways to set it up. The other way is, okay, we’re stepping in the time machine and we’re setting it to July 2025. And I’m waiting for you over there. You step out of the time machine, I’m going to take you on a tour, and I’m going to describe everything that we’re seeing and hearing and experiencing five years from now.


So in other words, let’s pretend that we roll the clock forward. It is now five years from now. Describe it in rich, full, vivid detail. That’s really what active vision is or what it should be, right? It’s creating a picture of the future that people get so excited about that they want to make that happen. So then as we start with that picture, then it’s okay.


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Find the Silver Lining: Shining a Light into The Future


Now we want to make that happen. What do we need to start doing today in order to make that future a reality? So it has implications on everything from how we work to our policies to our products, to the things that we roll out, our launches are all that stuff that comes into play. But now it has a purpose.


And now we’re taking people psychologically. We’re taking them out of the fog of the present, and we’re shining a light on the future. And funnily enough, that can actually help us to dispel the fog of the present. I love this, this is fantastic. And what I, what I love is how you took it back into leap and then tied that so masterfully into being able to not only solve for today, but it.


But I love how you were like, let’s get out the paintbrushes for five years from now because that is what it is, right? It’s not just about surviving today, but it’s about making sure that everything that we do today hooks into whatever we see for five years from now. Right? Yes. Yeah, exactly. And I mean, isn’t that what leadership is, is about taking people places.


So if I say to you, follow me, how am I going to be a leader? Follow me. What are the questions you’re going to ask? Right. Naturally. But where are we going? Right? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? Do it. First of all, do it. Where are we going? Does that sound good enough to me?


Do I want to go there? What are the obstacles we’re to experience along the way? And who are you right now? I need to know that as well. Right. But what is your credibility and what are your values and what do you believe in? And these are all the questions that are going to help me to determine whether or not I trust you enough to engage and to go on this journey with you.


So that’s what leadership is. And we tend to, particularly when things get challenging. One of the first things we forget about is that whole future piece and what do we want to create? Because we feel like I don’t have time for that, because I just got to survive today.


And it’s the focus on the present and the focus on the future at the same time. Then we need to ultimately get to, but you’re right, it does. It all ties back to leap. And again, it’s because, you know, leap is an encapsulation of what I’ve seen over a lot of, you know, over several decades now.


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Find the Silver Lining: Motivation to Tackle the Future


It just works. and it’s my way of trying to capture the essence of it. So it’s based on love, the energy you’ll see when you start talking about the future that we could fall in love with. It energizes me today. And, you know, it gives me whatever, you know, umph. I need to tackle the obstacles.


It inspires me to think audaciously. And it requires that I prove that I mean what I say. It’s easy to talk about the future. Doing something about it today is the challenge. It’s not a and in fact, it’s not enough. I don’t have this conversation about the future until you’re prepared to ask, what do we need to do today in order to make that happen?


That’s the proof. That’s how I prove that. I mean, this isn’t just a, you know, a fluffy exercise to con people into thinking that everything is going to be okay. This is not, it’s not what this is. This is literally and literally is a word I use literally about creating the future that we want. My friend, this has been awesome.


Thank you very much for your generosity and sharing your expertise and the way that you just did. I know we covered a lot, but before we go, before we close out, because I know that we’re quickly running out of time. Any final advice? Anything you think we might have missed? And then please tell Onward Nation business owners the best way to connect with you.


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Find the Silver Lining: Final Advice and How to Connect with Steve


Steve. Yeah, my last little bit of perspective on this is that all of this is very personal and I believe it all starts with each of us asking ourselves, you know, what do I love about this business, about my team? Why do I love them? There’s lots of ways to ask the question, but why do I love this business?


And how do I show it? That’s the foundational question. And the framework within the framework is to do what you love in the service of people who love what you do. So you’re doing what you love. That’s genuine, authentic. You’re using that to serve people, to serve the people that work for you, with you and around you, and to serve them in such a way that they reciprocate and they love you in return.


And that’s where the commitment comes from. That’s where the engagement comes from. That’s where repeat business from customers comes from. Do what you love and the service of people who love what you do so you can find me, you know, on social media, if you can remember my name, you can find me pretty much anywhere. is my personal website. is the Extreme Leadership Institute website.


And there’s lots of lots of video, lots of ways for us to engage. And I hope that you will be okay, Onward Nation, no matter how many notes you took. And obviously I took a bunch or how often to go back and listen to Steve’s words of wisdom. And I sure hope that you do. The key is that you have to take action.


You have to take in, distill all of this down into and and put it into practice, into your business right away and accelerate your results, become of it, and to find those silver linings because they are there, if we’re courageous enough to look for them and Steve, my friend, we all have the same 86,400 seconds in a day.


And I’m grateful that you again say yes to come back for a third time, to help us move our businesses onward to that next level. Thank you so much Steve for teaching us how to find the silver lining. It’s my pleasure, Steve. And that’s a lot of seconds. I’m happy to have spent a good chunk of them with you and your listeners. Thanks. 


This episode is complete, so head over to for show notes and more food to fuel your ambition. Continue to find your recipe for success here at Onward Nation.


Learn how to find the silver lining by reading this blog

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The Sell with Authority Podcast is for agency owners, business coaches, and strategic consultants who are looking to grow a thriving, profitable business that can weather the constant change that seems to be our world’s reality.

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