Success Podcast Post

Having Hard Conversations with David Wood

George Grombacher September 2, 2022

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Having Hard Conversations with David Wood

LifeBlood: We talked about how to have hard conversations, a framework for thinking through how to bring up problems with other people, and how to let things come to you, with David Wood, high-performance coach, and author of Mouse in the Room. 

Listen to learn how to have the courage to go first and what that means!

You can learn more about David at, Focus.CEO, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

David Wood

Episode Transcript

Unknown Speaker 0:00
Come on.

Unknown Speaker 0:11
Lepo This is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful David Wood. David, are you ready to do this? I think so. Depends what you’re going to throw at me. We will see I have all the confidence in the world. David is a high performance coach after life as a consulting actuary for Fortune 100 companies, David built the world’s largest coaching business becoming number one on Google for life coaching. He’s coaching Rockstar business owners to double their revenue double their time off become even more extraordinary. He’s the author of mouse in the room because the elephant isn’t alone. David, tell us a bit about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do. Wow. Well, those are those are some big questions. Personal life I live in Hollywood, I moved here recently because for 10 years, I have this secret dream to be an actor. And I didn’t tell anyone about it. And then I made the mistake of telling someone about it. And she said, Do you want to come to this audition with me? I’m going to audition for Dracula

Unknown Speaker 1:14
a play and I said okay, so I went along and may cast me in the lead. And I did a couple of commercials, a few short films then decided to relocate to Hollywood. So that’s the big exciting thing in my life, right now I get to launch a book, mouse in the room, I get to coach amazing business owners to not just improve their business, because that’s, that’s fun. But if that’s all they want, I say you should go to someone else. Because I want your life to be great. I want you to be loving your life. And let’s deal with the person as well. So as a bit of a sense of who I am and what I’m up to in the wall

Unknown Speaker 1:56
and love it.

Unknown Speaker 1:59
Is it odd that you spent so much time as a consulting actuary? And now you’re you’re you’re going to be a famous Hollywood star?

Unknown Speaker 2:09
Yeah. Yeah, it’s on. It’s unusual. I know people have more careers now than they used to. But I just went to see my friends back in Boulder, Colorado, and he’s more than one person has said, I really look forward to seeing what the next iteration is going to be. So all I knew out of school was that I was really good at math. And they were offering scholarships for actuaries. So I paid to go to college, that seemed like a good thing to do. And I got to be a consultant, which seemed fun, because I got to be with different companies. I thought it’d be a bit dry being in the one company all the time, I got to go and consult to Sony Music and Ford and Exxon. But I like to think I was one of the few actuaries who had a personality. And it was a bit of a small box for me. And when I discovered personal growth, I’m like, wait a minute, there is more to life than this. So I sweat, blood and tears. And I came top of my school, but I still it was it was grueling. To qualify. And then a year after qualifying, I quit. Didn’t think I’d quit forever. I thought I’d come back to it, of course. But I quit. And my next career was a professional entertainer and singer and guitarist for pubs and parties, and even a national Gong Show. So that was Korea. Number two. Fortunately, it was short because I really couldn’t sing.

Unknown Speaker 3:35
And then I went into coaching and I’ve never stopped coaching, then speaking was a natural outcome of coaching. Writing a book is kind of similar to so I became an author. And then this, this career as an actor is another iteration. And yeah, and in two years, I might say, Okay,

Unknown Speaker 3:58
did it went to Hollywood? Did it did a couple of films had a really good time? I am loving it. And maybe I’ll move on to something completely new. I don’t know but yes, it’s unusual to be a consulting actuary who’s who then moves into coaching and speaking and then moves into into acting

Unknown Speaker 4:21
wow, I think it’s awesome. So I’m super excited to to track your progress there and and and just just to see what you decide to focus your energies on. So tell me little bit about the book. What was what was the motivation What what are you hoping that that people are going to get out of it when they pick it up? Well, there was the what seemed like the, the trigger that that had me write the book and then there’s the deeper background to my life that made it something I actually care about. I guess I’ll go in reverse order.

Unknown Speaker 4:55
I just as a kid, no one said to me, what are you feeling?

Unknown Speaker 5:00
How are you feeling what’s happening in your body right now? Oh, you’re angry, say more about that. What’s it like for you to be angry right now, that wasn’t a thing in Australia or really most of the world. And so I grew up not being aware of what’s going on inside me. Now the benefit is I got to be very left brained, and solution focused, and you give me business numbers, systems and money. Okay, I got that hands down. But when I went to landmark education, and I started discovering that there were feelings involved, and try to develop my emotional intelligence, my authenticity, my vulnerability, that’s a whole different ballgame. And the more I discovered about it, the better my life got. And it didn’t hurt my business, either. Business got better. So I got so passionate about sitting with teachers and gurus and finding out what this was all about. And then one day, I’m co leading a communication program. And a woman comes into class. And she’s like, you’ve just got to name the thing.

Unknown Speaker 6:10
And we all looked at us and I say more. So you’ve got to name the thing, whatever the thing is, you’ve just got to name the thing. And it took about five minutes to get that out of it. But what she was saying was, in any relationship, or any conversation interaction, there’s often something that’s going unspoken. It might be a feeling you have it might be a thought you have might be desired. Maybe you want to date the woman you’re talking to, maybe you’re tired, and you want to get out of the meeting early. So you can go on rest. There’s so much that goes unsaid. And this disconnects us. And if you name the thing,

Unknown Speaker 6:47
that gives the other person a chance to know you. And yes, sometimes it might be awkward. Sometimes it might be miraculous. But whenever you name it, you can come into connection. So my first title was going to be name that thing.

Unknown Speaker 7:01
And then I thought what do we have in society that has caused us to this concept? The elephant in the room?

Unknown Speaker 7:08
You see it, I see it, no one’s seeing anything. That’s an elephant the room? Yes, we should address the elephant room. Let’s start there. But many creatures in the room are much more subtle. Maybe you don’t see it. If I’m five, three minutes late to this podcast, maybe I’m wondering, is George offended? Is he annoyed? At me does? Does he feel disrespected? I’m embarrassed. These are all mice. And so for a year or two, his book was going to be called name that mouse. And then someone said, I think that the title is mouse in the room. Because that’s closest to elephant in the room. And people don’t know there’s a mouse. So mouse in the room because the elephant isn’t alone. The metaphor blows me away. I just love it. I want to change our language. I want kids going up to their parents saying, Mommy, can I name a mouse with you? I want people walking into a boardroom saying I just want to name a mouse before I get started here. I want that to be a thing that that we do. And people go oh, yeah, you just want to name it. And then we’ll see see what happens from there. And if you name your mice with me, George, if you’re willing to take a risk and go first and be the hero, then you’re modeling for me that maybe I could be a little vulnerable and I could share something or you might bring up something for me, I might have some compassion, and then I named that. And then that might have you feel cared for and then we ping ponging back and forth in reality, instead of me hiding most of me from myself even. And from you and you hiding most of you. Let’s have a world where mice get discovered and artfully named.

Unknown Speaker 8:51
I love it. I think that’s fantastic. Is there a term it’s like a mental model? It’s it because naming the mouse is is a tool, right? That you’re giving. I just don’t know if there’s an actual term for it. Oh, well, you can call it mouse naming. Okay. And, and there’s a there’s a process. Yeah, I want to start a mouse naming revolution. Let’s let’s be heroes and go first and speaking the truth.

Unknown Speaker 9:20
And in the book, I outline a process for doing it. Because that’s one of the reasons that we’re not doing it. One reason is, we don’t know what are my PSA we just might know, I don’t like that person. Or I didn’t know how that how that felt. I didn’t like how that felt. I’ll give you an example. It’s hot, fresh off the press. Just just these last few days. I got to be with some some of my heroes, some some thought leaders, authors, speakers, celebrities, and

Unknown Speaker 9:52
I saw there was a sign up sheet for dinner and I saw a chance to sit next to one of my heroes. So I

Unknown Speaker 10:00
signed out. And in the back of my mind was like, This is gonna be a mistake. There can’t be an empty slot. You know, that’s just, that’s not gonna happen, I need to be in another five or 10 years before. I’m just naturally having dinner with this person. And I didn’t say anything. So there’s, there’s a mistake right there. Now what I could have done is gone up to that person or their spouse and said, I noticed there was an empty slot next to you. I’d love to have dinner or if it’s a mistake, just tell me now so I can make other plans. Could have done that. Didn’t do it. I thought, let’s see. Let’s see, I’m probably gonna get bumped for someone else, but, but I’ll give it a shot. Yeah, in hindsight, not a good thing. And then when when I got to dinner, you know, the couple went off with some other people. And I had a chance to slink away quietly or to go and speak up. Now I’m proud of myself that I, I, I named a mouse I went up and I said, I’m a bit confused about the reservations. It looked like I sign up to have dinner with you. But if you’re already booked, and there’s no room, that’s okay. Just let me know. And they ended up saying, well, we could we could, we could squeeze in an extra chair.

Unknown Speaker 11:13
But then his his where I went quiet, and I wish I hadn’t, I wish I can go back and have a hero moment. During that dinner, I really felt like like a third wheel. Because it was three couples, and then me at the end of the table, and I didn’t really feel included in the conversation. And I really wish I’d had the courage to say, You know what, I kind of feel like a squeeze myself in here. And you guys are having a great time you got a couple stories and whatever, I just want to let you guys have dinner and just enjoy your dinner. And we can connect tomorrow or another time. And I’ll go and grab another table. I just wish I could have brought up the conversation. Yeah, sure. It might have been awkward. For me, it might have been awkward for them. But at least we get to talk about it. And I might have found out No, actually, we’re glad you’re here. You’re welcome. Or, yeah, we did really want to catch up. That’s amazing that you would, you know, suggest that I didn’t do it. And then why didn’t I do it, I didn’t really have even with all of my training, there was so much going on. I didn’t have what it took at the time to say it. And I want to say to anyone listening, and that’s totally fine. You don’t have to have it in the moment. During that meeting, when you feel shut down by your boss, you don’t have to have it, you can go back later download the form. It’s called the 3d processes a free form on my website, you can download the form, fill it in and hear it here are the three Ds this will help you i i could have even gone to the bathroom and filled in a form in five minutes. The first day is for discover what are your mice. In my example, I really wanted to have dinner with this person and to get to know them better.

Unknown Speaker 12:55
I felt like I’d squeeze myself in. And I wondered if maybe it was awkward. And it just wasn’t meant to be. And and I should leave those those are my my mice. And yeah, it might have felt awkward, and I might have felt disappointed in it. But I’d rather have that conversation than sit all the way through dinner wondering.

Unknown Speaker 13:15
The next D is for decide.

Unknown Speaker 13:19
So once you’ve discovered your mice, you know what’s going on here, which is gold. Next is decide, is this a mouse worth naming. And there are some questions in the book and on the form that will help you decide maybe, maybe there’s not a lot of upside.

Unknown Speaker 13:37
You write down the upside. If I if I name this, I can come into connection, I might get something off my chest, I might get that promotion I want like write down the upside, and then write down the downside might be really awkward. The other person might get defensive.

Unknown Speaker 13:55
Now you can actually weigh the scales and say is it worth it? Am I willing to risk these negative negative consequences for the good stuff?

Unknown Speaker 14:04
You might you might be considering a confession mouse that you cheated on your partner or I went and confessed to someone once that I broke the law. And I could have been prosecuted for jail. You might decide you know if for 20 years I decided I was not willing to go to jail to apologize, took 20 years and then I said you know what?

Unknown Speaker 14:26
I’m actually willing if that’s what’s required for me to say I was the one and I’m sorry I want to check for impact and I want to make it right I’m actually willing you may not decide that that’s fine. If you do decide that you’re yes then you can move to step three which is disarm. You want to disarm the other person you don’t you don’t want to lead with Hey, I’m pissed we need to talk.

Unknown Speaker 14:50
colleague of mine sent me a text like that it was funny. Like they you know my my reaction was no you need to talk I don’t need to talk to you

Unknown Speaker 15:00

Unknown Speaker 15:01
right. So you disarm the other person which might and there are some tips on the worksheet that might be letting them know the upside that you’re interested in. I’d like to name names something with you. That’s been on my mind. Because I think it might have us feel more connected and work better together as a team, for example, or I just, it’s been weighing on me, and I want to clear the air and have some peace around it.

Unknown Speaker 15:27
Would you be open to a couple of minutes is now a good time. And by doing that, you’re getting consent? The person says, Yes, I’m willing to hear what you’ve got. They’re in a much better frame of mind than if you just start talking about stuff, you come to me with something awkward, I’m probably not going to assume even with all my training,

Unknown Speaker 15:48
that you want the best for me. That’s not where I go. I go, I’m in trouble. So let’s start with here’s why. And is do you have a few minutes now? Would it be okay to talk about it? I’ve got a friend, really good friend.

Unknown Speaker 16:04
And it occurred to me that I could contribute to her life by saying something quite edgy. This is a friend who I think is stuck in her patterns, and is not moving forward. And it’s been years and won’t get a coach. And I thought, what if I named that?

Unknown Speaker 16:25
It might be awkward, and she might hate hearing it, but it could be real contribution. So Did I did I just launch into that? No, fortunately, I had, I don’t know, I’m not always intelligent. But I reached out and I said, I think I have something that could be a contribution to you. And it might be really hard to hear.

Unknown Speaker 16:44
tell me to shut up. And I’ll leave it for a while. I’ll probably come back to it in a few months. But I’ll leave for a while if you want to hear it. I’ll let you know what it is, I think it might actually make a real difference for you. response back. I don’t want to hear it.

Unknown Speaker 16:58
Which blows my mind.

Unknown Speaker 17:01
Because I don’t have many friends who would say that. But this is one friend. So I wanted that gun to leave it.

Unknown Speaker 17:08
What I got is she is clearly committed to the path that she’s on even if the path is a circular one. That’s her commitment. Who am I to say that she should be doing anything else. But I checked in got her No, sometimes you’ll get a no. And then at least he got it. So those are the three Ds if you think you might have a mouse on your hands, decide discover, decide this arm and it’s a, I’m sure we’ll give you the link at the end where you can get that as a free download, print off 20 of them. Get something with your kid, with your partner, with your friends, with a customer, with your boss, with a staff member, a colleague, fill in the sheet things are gonna go.

Unknown Speaker 17:53
I can’t say that definitively, things are very likely to go so much better for you. If you go in with some clarity, versus just, I don’t like what’s happening, which is still a leg up on not saying anything. But you can do so much better.

Unknown Speaker 18:10
I think that that is super powerful. And to have to imagine that the more times you go through the exercise, you’re strengthening that muscle and becoming more competent. And you might be listening and say there’s just 0% chance that I could ever have a hard conversation like that. But when you go through those three days a couple of times, like you know what, I think I can do that. Yeah, that’s well said it, the more you do it, the more you can start doing it on the fly with practice. I’ve been practicing this for 20. Since 1997, I’ve been practicing this,

Unknown Speaker 18:47
I didn’t have the 3d model. And I didn’t have the worksheet. So it was easier to go through it with a coach. And even still, if it’s a big one, if you got some conflict resolution at work, if the stakes are high, if you got to a really tough conversation, you might want to work through it instead of the worksheet but work through it to get clear with someone else. I often roleplay it with my clients. If it’s a tough one, I say, Look, I’ll be you. You’d be the person you’re worried about talking to and I’ll show how someone else might do it. And it’s often incredibly illuminating to see oh, I never thought I can I could do it without much compassion. Or I could do that with with some humor, or I could you know, who knows? Yeah, super powerful framework. I think that that was the term that I was searching for for a little bit earlier. So more i think i For me, personally, I’d see so much value in this because I just been able to follow that step by step and to work through something. I think that that’s super helpful. So thank you, David, the people are ready for that difference making tip even though you’ve already given us some really really powerful ones. What do you have for them? You

Unknown Speaker 20:00
Yeah, well, I want to give to I want to give, have the courage to go first in telling the truth, because we need heroes to lead the way.

Unknown Speaker 20:11
And the second one, this is one I got on the weekend.

Unknown Speaker 20:17
What I got is I’m tired of grasping. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop doing it. But I’m tired of grasping, I’m trying to get into the cool kids table. I’m trying to tired of trying to get the attention of someone who doesn’t want my attention. And Byron, Katie said it to me once she said, you stand still, the whole world comes to you. So I’m not saying shut down your business. And don’t go for it. And don’t ask 100 people to work with you. I’m not saying that. But the tip for myself, which I’m sharing with with you all, is to balance that with the yin energy. So you might have the Yang, which is getting out there, the masculine, balance it with the Yin or the feminine, which is what wants to happen. Right now. More stillness, more spaciousness, I was going to get back and reach out to every single person at the event that I just went to an invite them to be on my podcast, as a way to build relationships. And then thank God, the thought followed that that said, I don’t really want to do that.

Unknown Speaker 21:26
I don’t really want to do that. And then I wrote down three names.

Unknown Speaker 21:31
Oh, wow, George, this is a cool story. I wrote down three names of people that I would like to connect more with and know more about and would be interested to interview my podcast, I thought maybe I’ll reach out to them. I don’t know. One of those three, sent me a message an hour ago.

Unknown Speaker 21:52
Isn’t that cool? An hour ago and said, Love your book title. This is a person I’ve been around for 10 years, never given me the time of day, and then just slowing down. And I named some mice on the event in a small group with her. And she said, Thanks for showing up as the real you. authentically, I look forward to getting to know the real you more. And actually is, I think we got time, right 30s, I can see the thing that I shared in that group, which was an edgy mouse for me in a name. I’ve been grasping I’ve been trying to fit in, I’ve been trying to sit at the cool kids table. It’s it’s draining. And I’m tired of doing that.

Unknown Speaker 22:34
That led to an opening. It’s counterintuitive. But that led to an opening. So if you’re grasping and you’re trying to prove and trying to get appreciation approval, it’s still okay to ask and to go for it. But see if you can balance that. That’s my my tip to myself. Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets caught. David, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can I engage work? Can they get a copy of mouse in the room? Because the elephant isn’t alone? And where can they find the download of the three Ds works? Yeah, thank you. So three things, you can get that the 3d process worksheet, it’s a free download at mouse in the Look in the top left, there it is 3d process,

Unknown Speaker 23:21
also known as mass naming and 3d. And that’s a free download. If you want the book, it’s available on Amazon, I got a mouse in the There’s a bonus there that you can get when you buy the book. It’s on Kindle, it’s on physical copy. It’s an easy read. It’s about 100 pages, I made it deliberately easy to consume and apply straightaway. And then if you’ve got some conflict resolution for your team, or there’s an issue that you’ve got, where the stakes matter, to you reach out for coaching at mouse in the There’s a link in the menu for coaching you can request a free session with me. I don’t charge for those initial sessions because it’s how I find the right people to work with and and whether or not we work together. It’s worth filling in the form because I’ll ask you some probing questions about your life and what’s going on and your goals and you’ll get a lot out of that whether or not you decide you want to actually even go to my calendar and book a session. So those are three offers all at the same link mouse in the Excellent.

Unknown Speaker 24:28
If you enjoyed as much as I did, sure David your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to mouse in the and in the top left corner, find that 3d process worksheet and download it if you which I’m sure that you have been as well as I’ve been intrigued have a conversation with David pick up some of their coaching and then pick up a copy of mouse in the room because the elephant isn’t alone. It is a easily consumed

Unknown Speaker 25:00
Ball read with a ton of value. You could find that on Amazon or on David’s website. Thanks again, David. Oh, my pleasure. And I want to say too if you have enjoyed George says podcast, one way you can appreciate a podcast host is just go and leave a review. You get a give it five stars and write something that you got out of this episode or another one. It always feels good as a podcast hosts. Amen. Well, thank you again, David.

Unknown Speaker 25:30
And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

Transcribed by

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