Success Podcast Post

Maximize your Potential with Colin Hunter

George Grombacher November 10, 2022

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Maximize your Potential with Colin Hunter

LifeBlood: We talked about how to maximize your potential, getting back to our authentic selves, how to help people feel comfortable with that process, and the benefits of doing it, with Colin Hunter, CEO of Potential Squared, disrupting the way they engage and develop their people and author of Be More Wrong

Listen to learn why working to regain our childhood perspective is valuable!

You can learn more about Colin at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Colin Hunter

Episode Transcript

nknown Speaker 0:00

Unknown Speaker 0:15
what’s up? It’s George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Colin Hunter. Colin, are you ready to do this?

Unknown Speaker 0:22
I’m ready to do this. George is looking forward to it. All right, let’s go. Colin is the CEO of potential squared International Business inspiring leaders by disrupting the way they engage and develop their people. He is the author of be more wrong. kinda excited to have you on tell us a little bit personal lives more about your work, why you do what you do. Nice. Thank you, George, thanks for having me on. So author of be more wrong, the title gives you a lot about my career. I’ve screwed up more times than I care to admit, you know, I realized that screwing up was part of the secret sauce about making yourself successful. Yeah. So it helped that I was introduced to IDEO and design thinking. So if you haven’t heard of it, or largest design agency in the world, based out of San Francisco, and got to work with them, and then suddenly realized that the best way to success was to leave your ego and expertise at the door, and start to put the human at the center of life, design around them, think about them, observe them. And I suddenly found my space. And so that’s what I’ve been doing. And so therefore I travel. You know, we were just having a conversation that I’ve been in Singapore, being in Tokyo now in Boston, I live in the UK, I have two daughters. So I describe myself as a father of daughters. So they will always say I travel too much. But my passion is travel people culture. And that leads me to the work potential squared do that, we describe it, you’re just creating playgrounds to disrupt the way people are LED. So we use professional actors, we use VR, virtual reality. And we talk about getting emotions that allow people to be themselves to unpeel, to take off some of the masks that they have, and learn how to bring that that true person out to not waste energy on being somebody then that are not in the work. So that’s what we do. That’s my background. So yeah, I love it.

Unknown Speaker 2:29
A lot of people to be themselves. So it’s, it’s fascinating. And I’m sure that this is one of the main reasons you do the work, because human beings are fascinating. So we spend so much time trying to figure out what it is we want to do. And then we get really, really, really good at it. But then the answer to unlocking the real potential is to put that expertise and that experience and the ego of feeling good about it aside, to really step into it. Yeah, you know, I was listening to a book by mogul Goddard this morning, which is all about happiness. And he talks about ego in the positive sense, rather negative sense. So ego sometimes is seen as arrogance. But he talks about it in the positive sense around, you know, this is what we want to stand for what we want to be known for, when we put it out there. So you know, the unpeeling is an interesting one. Because if we are to be truly effective and spend our energy and our lives in the right way, we’ve got to get back to something that is not fake, it takes energy to be somebody, you’re not. But most of us we spend most

Unknown Speaker 3:42
of our childhoods starting to think about how we lay that teacher tell us understanding and I was one of those people. And it led me to break down when I study led me to sit in a doctor’s room, who was a family friend, and he, he shut the door, he cancel all the rest of the patients for the next hour. And he sat down. And he gave me one of the most important lessons I’ve ever had in my life, which was about energy. And he said, You got to find your source of energy and your source of energy is finding your true self, your passions. And then you’ve got to take care of your energy as you go through your life. So I spent the rest of my life consciously or unconsciously working on how I distill that into other people’s lives and coaching them and how they do that and how they lead in that that context as well. Yeah. What an amazing doctor. Yeah, great. Just a silver omelet. My dad was a doctor. So there was a bit of a connection there. But I love the fact that he just he knew. Yeah, his gut feel told him that this was an important conversation. And what my biggest regret is I never got the chance to thank him. It’s never really came to me till about 10 years and he’s passed away. So wherever he is, if he’s listening, thank you. Yeah, thank you, Dr. Gus. Yeah, fine to protect your source of energy.

Unknown Speaker 5:00
GE ego

Unknown Speaker 5:02

Unknown Speaker 5:04
Do you think that most people, when they hear ego, they have a negative connotation or thought about it.

Unknown Speaker 5:11
Even the way I said, leave your ego and expertise at the door, you know, ego is built on a lot of the times about the things that other people think are important in life. So your parents, my parents said, go be an accountant. Nothing wrong with accountancy, but I was just not. I was not definitely.

Unknown Speaker 5:29
That’s, I tried it eight months. So you know, there is this piece about we listen to other people’s measurement systems, we adopt their measurement systems that what we think is right. And I think I think this is where we’ve moved on the ego side is that we’ve moved to this point where people are being truly human, putting the human at the center, understanding where you are as a human being. And therefore, we started as mentors, leaders, to lead with, you know, Stephen Covey’s, Seek first to understand and get to the true person underneath that. And once you’ve got that, then that’s, that is the source of all power, really, you know, whereas when we’re trying to be somebody we’re not, and we’re listening to other people’s advice. It’s difficult, but people fear experimentation, like GA is the key thing. So if you think about it, we likes certainty, we like paths, and a lot of paths are defined for us. And therefore we take them we go to college, go to university in the UK, we then get a first job, when normally an apprenticeship, we tend to think that being a leader of people in growing that space is a good thing. But we’re all different. We’re all unique individuals, and we just, we’re all perfectly imperfect. So how do we choose our path? That’s right for us? Yeah. Yeah, fascinating, right? There are all these systems that we’re measuring ourselves against, that we’re living under, there’s these assumptions. And in nature, you know, when an animal is, is an outlier, that’s not a good thing for that animal. And now in group out group, so we are really, really conditioned in our DNA and our nurture to just go with the flow a lot of time. Yeah, it’s fight or flight. Yeah. So, you know, when we find somebody that doesn’t, we don’t agree with, we tend to reject it. And therefore, most of the great thinkers of the time or the greats, you know, change people of that time, go through the three phases. First is rejection, second is exploration, and then finally acceptance in there, but that’s a tough road to take. And so if you’re somebody who is doesn’t fit the mold of what is seen in front of you, as a leader, for example, and the organization doesn’t see you as that, then you’ve got to fight that. And you’ve got to have the resilience to take that on that. That is tough. I think that’s the toughest place, we’ve all been through a massive change with COVID. Resilience has come to the forefront. But if you think about just fighting everything that’s in front of you, that seems to be fighting against you. That takes resilience as well. So that’s a lot of work. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 8:07
So it’s hard. That’s a lot of work. So the playground

Unknown Speaker 8:14

Unknown Speaker 8:16

Unknown Speaker 8:18
Yeah, it’s I mean, it’s, it’s an interesting because we started with the concept of laboratory to start with, but then people were going so you got people in white coats, it’s a weird looking thing and analogy, and, and even with playgrounds, you know, there’s a lot of people who see the context of, of the bullying the playground and school experience, but, but when we started putting a wider context of playgrounds, we started to get this piece that Where are people happiest. And that playground could be, you know, from the the extreme of a gambler who loves going into a poker room. And that’s their playground, and they love the thinking they’re working through through somebody’s hanging off a cliff, you know, by one hand without a rope attached. That’s their playground. And for some of us, it’s just, it’s the intellectual the nerdy playgrounds that we have, but it’s where you you feel you can fall out of your own thinking that, that you’re pushing and stretching yourself to limit but you know, there’s a safe landing space, that that you can fall you can fail. And a core principle behind the be more wrong is how would you get into your self this growth mindset piece that failure and is a good thing and the only way you can progress and stretch,

Unknown Speaker 9:29
wherever you are, is to fail. So the playground analogy we took, and then we started to put it into actors. So the actors came in.

Unknown Speaker 9:39
And we do this amazing, the technical for the theater where we have two actors. So if you ever seen the comedy show, Whose Line Is It Anyway, sure. Where the comedians are interacting with the audience, it’s the same with the actors. So we create a playground there to how to have different conversations. And no matter where we go in the world, people will enjoy it beginning the playground.

Unknown Speaker 10:00
crafting, there’s no perfect conversation but crafting different forms of the conversation. There’s a playground now, in our world of politics and everything else that’s going on. Wouldn’t it be great to have a playground where there’s no consequences to finding a different way of speaking up? Speaking out of listening to understand, so that’s what we do SafePlace playground?

Unknown Speaker 10:23
Yeah, we absolutely need to put all of our all of our political leaders on a playground and just see if they can work it out.

Unknown Speaker 10:32
When that’d be a great concept.

Unknown Speaker 10:36
Yeah, it would be his

Unknown Speaker 10:39

Unknown Speaker 10:43
I was just thinking, I don’t think there’s a simple answer to any of those, those problems. But you know, I think the worst case is that old analogy, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the first sign of madness. So we’ve got to find a way of stretching and changing ourselves and our dialogues and our conversations. So why not create playgrounds? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 11:02
I imagine it’s, it’s, it’s relative, when people are, are emotionally ready to be able to step into this kind of a process. Some people, it’s gonna take them chipping away at it. How do you think about that?

Unknown Speaker 11:18
Yeah, it’s interesting, because it’s cultural as well. So when we’re in Asia, for example, you know, it’s different, more reticence more about face. And therefore, when we were running for a theater, for example, we were struggling to get people to come forward and have a go in the hot seat, as we call it. But then culturally, one of my colleagues said, I’ll tell you, what we’ll do is we’ll play in the cultural norm across there. So we, we put a number on under each of their seats. And then we had a bowl with pieces of paper with numbers on and we got somebody to choose a number out and whoever’s seat had that number on gets into the seat. And of course, they were like, Yeah, let’s try it. That was my number. It’s time to get in. So there’s different ways to get people in. But what’s what’s interesting is we fear something we don’t know. But once we’re in there, playing, and once we’ve done what we would call a workout a warm up, yeah, so we’ve got to prime people to get into that, that space.

Unknown Speaker 12:17
And so whether it’s design thinking leadership, we need a primer in people’s minds to go, Okay, I’m ready to play. So it’s a bit like going to the gym and a workout, you’re going to do your warm up, so you don’t hurt yourself. Same for people in there. So whether it’s a cultural thing like that, or whether it’s design thing, one of my favorite design thinking warm ups, for getting people in Majan at investment bankers in a room who were looking at me going, so you’re gonna teach me design thinking, you know, why the hell do I want to do design thinking. And so you do rock paper scissors with them. And you’ve got 70 people competing against each other on a rock, paper, scissors. So you’ve got two people in the room, who have two groups of supporters chanting their names from the back end.

Unknown Speaker 13:00
And when you give them in analogy from that, so you warmed up, but you had an equal opportunity, you had to leave your ego behind when you supported the person who beat you. And now what we’re going to do is give you a process to start design things so warmed up there in the playground, then you teach in the design thinking, and they’re more willing to dive in. So yeah.

Unknown Speaker 13:22
What do you think it’s harder getting kids to follow along or are bankers and executives?

Unknown Speaker 13:31
Well, with my daughter, my daughter’s my, my eldest daughter is my best coach, George. So I think she’s given me more wisdom than I’ve got for most of my coaches and mentors in my life. So I think for me, the the ability to listen to children is the interesting bit. And I’ll tell you why. Because I was coached by a brilliant guy called Jamie smart, who’s written a book called Clarity. And he has this analogy which he he started a three day session with me at the beginning of three days. He said, on a flip chart, write down everything that’s wrong in your life that you want to solve in three days. So I had three pages of stuff that I wanted to solve in my life, everything, relationships with every family member, business owner. And we did this work. And we got to the end of three days and came back the flip chart, he says, So what’s relevant, and none of it was relevant, because he has this analogy which I loved, which he said, as a child, we have a self correcting mind system. So we are like the Colorado River cutting through rock with power and energy. And then actually, as we grow older, all we do is we get these little bits of frozen thinking coming into our lives. So we start to freeze that power of that river. So most of us when we get to a certain age have this little trickle of really free thought and most of its frozen and therefore the power of cutting through rockers is is not as easy so I think it’s more difficult on the bankers and executives

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Mmm. But actually, if you can get people to realize that when they fall out of their own thinking, they’re a better decision maker, a human being a leader, than they suddenly discovered this perfectly imperfect child that they used to be that we’ve had the self correcting system. And it sounds very psychologists, but it’s, it’s more fundamental than that. I’ve got a client, Sarah Gardner wouldn’t mind me mentioning, and she posted on LinkedIn just the other day when we were talking about this. But she says she has a picture of her seven year old self. And she goes back to reminding how she was in those days, because a lot of the stuff that she holds on to restrict her potential. So to answer your question, I think it’s more difficult with the adults and the bankers and the senior executives. And therefore, if you can change them, wow, that’s powerful. Yeah. What a great metaphor about the river.

Unknown Speaker 15:54
And the idea of potential and and how we

Unknown Speaker 16:00
how we self sabotage and put those dams up, or Nikki talked about freezing it whatever it might be, just that restricts the flow of the water in this example, and it’s Yeah, I think that that’s super helpful to think about that. And if you’re able to, to get closer to the way that we were when we were seven years old, and things were possible, and anything was possible, and the future was wide open. And that’s not silly to think as it that’s, that’s obviously worth worth exploring. It is I mean, you know, that the realization I had was that when I was a child, one of my biggest loves was experimentation. So I had two groups of friends. And I tried to bring these two groups of friends together, because I thought of if I was friends with one set, they would be friends with the other sets. So there, you know, let’s bring them in. It didn’t work out. And I was at that moment, I was fascinated as a child about that. So if I look back at what I was, as a child as seven year old, 10 year old, 12 year old, it’s what I do now, it’s but I spent all the rest of my teens and early 20s. And up to the breakdown, trying to be somebody I was not when I suddenly got back to what I was supposed to be doing what I was, was good at, or what I had a passion for. Wow. unfroze my thinking? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 17:27
Love it.

Unknown Speaker 17:29
I love it.

Unknown Speaker 17:31
Closing thoughts con as we’re running out of time, we’ve covered a lot of ground but

Unknown Speaker 17:38
closing thoughts? Well, I think the closing thought for me is that if I have if I think about my own life, I’ve got four systems that I need to feed. One is relationships. And therefore I think about my echo chamber, that I listened to the same voices tend to be attracted. So I’m trying to break that out. So that’s one thought that I’ve got my life that has changed my thinking. The second system, I’ve got his energy, my personal energy, whether I’m jet lagged at the moment, well, it’s coffee and juice. But how do I spiritually, everything else provide my own energy and that source is important. And the third system is fresh ideas. So that’s what I’m constantly reading new books, listening to podcasts, do a lot of audible work audible, the book, digital books, and that allows me to grow and the final system is growth. So if I was to look at one final thought, it’s that growth piece, we can’t grow unless those other systems are strong or in flow. So we need to do our work in those four systems. And if we do that work, and it’s authentic, then the Colorado River is possible. Yeah. Cutting into into the rock. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 18:47
I can’t thank you so much for coming on. And me? Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you? Where can they get a copy of be more wrong? Yeah, well, they can if they want to go to be more they can see me there.

Unknown Speaker 19:03
The second place they can find me is it’s an interesting place. It’s the Colin Hunter. So one of my colleagues once said, So what’s who are you? And I said Colin Hunter. And so she said to me, the Colin Hunter went Nope, just call it Hunter and she went no, the call Hunter. And so I took that on as I’m vehicle Hunter, and it just gives me energy. So I therefore call it v colanders. It’s less about ego and more about that story, but that’s where they can find me on Instagram. And then I’m also on Twitter. But LinkedIn is also you can find me Colin Hunter on LinkedIn, and connect with me there. I’d love to connect with anybody who wanted to export it’s been pleasure. Likewise, if you enjoyed as much as I did, she’ll call on your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas. Go to be more Pick up a copy of the book. Go to the Colin Hunter. It’s C O li N Hu

Unknown Speaker 20:00
NT The Colin and find him on Instagram and Twitter and LinkedIn I’ll list all those in the notes of the show thanks again Colin

Unknown Speaker 20:08
Thanks George pleasure and until next time remember do your part by doing your best

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