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Welcome to episode #62 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. This week I spoke with Ian Brooks, the CEO of Road Smith Consulting and the author of Intention: Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story.

Top Talking Points

  • Hard conversations are always hard conversations. You just have to prepare yourself and then do it.
  • All you can do when offering advice is offer it. You can’t force the person to do the things you think are best for them.
  • The meaning of life is to understand, learn, and love.

Resources & Links

Share Link for this episode.

Connect With Ian at www.rhodessmith.com or read his book, Intention: Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story

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Episode Transcript

Ryan 

Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the Morning Upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that have also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20 minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development, upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morningupgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share. And now on to the show.

Announcer 

Welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan  

Hey, Ian, how are you? Welcome to the Morning Podcast.

Ian 

Thanks for having me, Ryan. Pleased to be here.

Ryan 

Yeah, I’m excited to talk to you and dive into our questions about morning routines and personal development. And wherever else we go in these 15 or so minutes. So why don’t you start off by telling everyone who you are, what you do for a living, and then maybe one or two hobbies?

Ian  

Oh, sure. So my name is Dr. Ian Brooks. I’m the CEO and founder of Roadsmith Consulting, which is a personal and professional development firm specializing in behavioral transformations. I’m also the author of the book intention, building capabilities to transform your story. For over 24 years, I’ve been working with individuals from the clinical psychology boards to those in organizations, all with the sole purpose of helping individuals build skills towards achieving new heights. I’ve had many clients from an organizational perspective, such as Netflix, Shonda Land, Bank of America, Guitar Center, Nike, and even Sony. But my real passion is overall just helping individuals seek expansion, and helping leaders within organizations but also people in general build skills towards navigating new heights.

Ryan 

Why would Netflix, bring you in for developing their team members?

Ian 

Yeah, so going into organization some, so what I’ll come into an organization and do is actually work the leaders and develop their skills from a leadership perspective, and how they’re impacting their teams. So in this, like in the Netflix scenario, working with the leader, or leaders in the plural, around developing communication, how do they engage their staff? How do they navigate peers of whom they now have reporting to them, as well as how they demonstrate influence?

Ryan  

Let’s talk about how you started off your morning, what does your routine look like?

Ian 

You know, my routine is pretty standard, at least for myself, maybe not for others. But I work out in the morning, I wake up around 5:30, start my engine, you know, just kind of slowly getting out of bed. And I’m usually at the gym by 6:30. In the morning. This routine allows me to invest in myself both mentally, as well as physically, as you might imagine, from my career and profession, investing in others and having to pay attention and focus on their development and path. But what’s not to be lost is my own personal development, my own personal investment. So I use my mornings to really establish that investment in myself, both in my mental preparation of what I need to think about through the day, but also my physical nature as well, as you know, obviously investing myself from a health perspective.

Ryan 

What do you do to work on your mindset, the mental side of it?

Ian 

You know, one of the things from a mental perspective is one I’ve focused on, you know, my breathing, as well as when I’m focusing on my mental perspective of, you know, what am I anticipating for the day, both from a positive as well as anything from a resistance perspective, in that I try to own when I’m feeling but also my preparation of actually thinking through how I’m going to handle certain conversations, as well as what do I need to now push myself moving forward for from an expansion standpoint, to ensure that one, I’m prepared for the day that I’m focused on what I’m actually seeking to achieve. But also in that behavior perspective. And at that moment, walking back from the gym, allows me to recenter myself to make sure that that, again, did on being in tune and authentic in the space for my clients, but also for myself.

Ryan  

You mentioned something about preparing for Conversations, I’m assuming you’re talking about hard conversations, what difficult situations conversations? Do they get easier over time with the work that you do? Or is it always hard to see doesn’t it? It doesn’t, I guess, affect you as much as it used to?

Ian  

Hard conversations, always hard conversations. And while I am preparing for conversations coming back in the gym, they could be positive conversations as well, you know, doesn’t necessarily a, you know, one or the other. It does mean what words and what level of focus do I need to play in that particular moment and for the individual or individuals plural, of whom I’m speaking to, but more to your question around difficult conversations. They’re always challenging because you don’t know the nuances specific to the topic as well as to that the uniqueness of the individual or individual’s plural, of whom I’m speaking with, some are a lot easier from a difficult conversation perspective, knowing the routines that I’ve already put in place and the relationship I have with that particular group or person, there are instances where I’m not as familiar with the individual, or we might have more challenges across our dynamic in our relationship, which makes the conversations that much more challenging. But when I’m actually setting, establishing myself, as I’m coming back from the gym and establishing my mindset, it’s really putting myself in the place of what am I actually having a conversation for? And what is the benefit? Oftentimes, you go into the conversation, especially those that are difficult, with a mindset of I want to win. And if you don’t win automatically, and inherently, you’re losing, in my perspective, and what I’m really focused on from a conversation standpoint is, what am I doing to make sure that we’re having a mutually beneficial engagement, in that it’s not about winning or losing, it’s about to let’s stay to the facts, let’s stay to what’s true, and be authentic to our position in power. So that we’re having a conversation for a solution, rather than one that’s based on power.

Ryan  

Let’s stay on this topic of a difficult conversation. But both let’s go more towards challenges in business, you have a, you have a formula that you use to tackle challenges, like a way that you approach them.

Ian  

Yeah, as you might imagine, I do my own consulting business for personal professional development, I’m always in conversations that bring about challenges, and bring about hard conversations with people. My formula and my approaches are fairly straightforward. And that is to acknowledge what I’m actually seeing, as well as experiencing through my interactions with my clients. Because of that, and being from a coming from an authentic place. I’m actually having conversations from a formula formulaic standpoint and doing number one being present. Secondly, make sure I’m articulating what I’m actually seeing and experiencing. And number three, coming from a place of, I’m here to help. I’m not here from, as I mentioned, from a position of power, as much as we’re having a conversation for a solution, a mutually beneficial solution that I also recognize from a fourth principle is that I don’t own the ultimate decision. Right? When I’m coaching my clients, I recognize that I’m there to help them navigate their own paths. I’m not here to own whether they do or not, that’s up to them, that I have to afford, and provide allowance to what they decide to do because it’s their story, not mine. And so when I do those four things, I’m now coming from a place of the authenticity of support, while also acknowledging my perspective, and that usually makes the conversation a little bit easier.

Ryan  

You mentioned being present, I feel like that’s a muscle that we all need to work on, myself included. I find that, you know, I’m trying to get the habit, a habit out of it by just stopping and being present and looking around, just you know, because sometimes, you know, you get lost in your head, and then-No, or if you’re talking to someone, are you really listening to them? Are you thinking about something else? Or thinking about what you want to say next? I think it’s, I think it’s probably I don’t know, but from all the distractions that we have and the phone’s notifications, it’s, it makes it much harder to be present. But I think it’s something that you need to work on, and then it gets easier. Would you agree with that?

Ian  

I absolutely agree with that. I actually even talk about it in my book quite explicitly. And in that context, I ask people to pause the process and reflect on what you just mentioned, there are so many distractions in our life and world, which creates noise. And that noise provides a distraction to our thoughts, and what we’re really experiencing and feeling. And because of that, we can show up in an authentic way. And as you mentioned, we’re oftentimes looking to respond rather than actually actively listening. So by pausing, processing, or reflecting, it forces us to unplug, it forces us to really take stock and what we’re thinking and feeling and even what we would have done or will do. And as such, it’s very powerful when we can do that number one with ourselves. But secondly, even when we’re having conversations with someone else.

Ryan  

Yeah, I am finding it gets easier the more I work on it, I just used to have to force myself to think about it now. It just happens. Yeah, automatically. Yeah, finding leads for myself.

Ian  

That’s it, the more you do it, the more it becomes a habit and the more that habit becomes, you know, ingrained into us from an unconscious standpoint. And in this case, that’s something that’s extremely beneficial.

Ryan  

Okay, the question for you is sort of a deep question, but I’m just curious to see what your thoughts are given your line of work. I know this question is personal for everyone. So in your personal opinion, what is the meaning of life?

Ian 

That is an extremely Deep conversation or question, excuse me, and one could spend quite a bit of time on it. But the meaning of life for me really comes down to three particular pillars. Number one is to understand, understand what’s around me, understand others, even understand myself. The second pillar around the meaning of life for me is continuous learning. It’s about knowing that I’m not a finished product. It’s recognizing that because I’m not a finished product, at some point, I do have to leave this earth, whether I want to or not. So because of that, I’m trying to take instances or look at life from a, from a definition of discovery, and constant learning. And the third thing is the meaning of life is love. loving others, loving yourself, and demonstrating that every single day that I can. I literally have frameworks for everything.

Ryan  

I guess it should, I shouldn’t be surprised given your line of work, but you’ve got a process and a framework for everything. I love it.

Ian  

Yeah, keeps me on track. But while it’s principles and ideas of which I live by, while also acknowledging that it’s flexible enough to move and adjust based on what I’ve experienced when I’m consistently learning, it’s not captivated in a box, but created in a place of constant discovery and evolution. And I think we’re all based on being defined by that one word, and that’s evolution. We evolved, we’ve learned, but we all have principles by which we live. And I’m just clear as to what moves me forward and how I choose to live.

Ryan  

You always fit into personal growth, and what is it about it that interests you?

Ian  

Yeah, I’ve always been into personal growth. Ironically, I made a decision as a 13-year old that I wanted to be a psychologist. And you know, at that moment, it was, you know, when I made that decision, it was based out of fear of judgment, and just want to kind of break-even, but also is based on the idea that in principle that I was always curious why I did what I did, or even why people were doing what they, they did. And so that has led me on a journey and path of truly understanding people, both from a clinical psychology perspective, as I mentioned, at worked in a 24-hour lockdown Ward, to working with adults to working with children, and even now working with those organizations and people who are going beyond their normal, and really looking for expansion. So my journey of education, as well as experience, has afforded me the opportunity and pleasure to do what I’m passionate about. And what I decided I was going to do as a 13-year-old.

Ryan 

That’s pretty cool to know what you want at that young of an age.

Ian  

Yet, um, I think it was, it’s, as it led me in a lot of different directions. Clearly, I could not have written a script on this journey, even as a 13-year-old. And how I even came up with that decision as a 13-year-old, again, was based on how I grew up, and some of it was fear and judgment. And I turned that into something that was much more powerful and, and liberating, both in how I actually serve and help my clients today, but even how it served me as an adult, and even as a child as I move through this world in life, to really expand myself. So it’s been a really, really great journey to this point.

Ryan  

Yeah, sounds like it, you know, it’s a journey that never ends, right? Yes,

Ian 

it really does not.

Ryan  

I’ve got one last question for you, then we’re going to wrap up with you sharing how people can connect with us. They want to learn more. There. Let’s ask you about habits. So can you give us some beside the morning routine? Of course, she reshared Can you give us some of the tried and true habits that you recommend?

Ian 

Yeah, some habits that are tried and true for me are the first is and I touched on briefly before. One of them is discovery. I try not to get so stuck into biases or my routines in a way that restrict me. mean, I know that we make between 2010 1000 decisions each day, and roughly 95% of them are unconscious. And so as I think about that, a habit for us is just being conscious at the moment, being aware of what we’re doing, and that informs and allows us to continue down a path of discovery. The second point that I’d like to raise as far as I tried and true routine is, and we talked about this as well as just taking a moment to pause and check-in with yourself, both in your mind, body, and soul. Oftentimes, we’re just running on autopilot. And because of that we’re not checking in on where we’re at and doing things that feel right. Do I need to pivot and go in a different direction, just based on those two pieces of discovery and just understanding who you are and just doing a pause routine? affords us a chance, or at least in my own opinion, allows us to move forward and navigate a world, not based on the boxes that we place ourselves in, or boxes we’ve placed others in. But we’re creating new experiences that we can navigate in a world that’s constantly evolving around us. So any routine that’s specific to continuous discovery, learning what we’re doing, and who we are. And then secondly, understanding the principles of, of our individual selves by just pausing and taking stock of what we’re experiencing both mind-body, and soul. I think we’re gonna be better off in the long run.

Ryan  

Yeah, I agree. You know, it’s interesting habits, routines, and you think about our lives, our lives are good or bad, or are essential, the result of the habits and routines that we execute every single day. So I think it’s a really interesting topic, and you shared two big ones there. They’re unique, I don’t think I’ve heard anyone share those habits on the show for that I can remember at least.

Ian 

Glad to hear that and, and not to be lost in this time. I’m saying that some of the stuff is so it’s easy. It does require an experience of vulnerability that comes along with this. So that’s even more important than just acknowledging some of that, that is not always easy to do those things of discovery and digging into ourselves a little. You got to be open, be vulnerable. Right?

Ryan 

Well, this is great, and I appreciate the conversation, everything, everything you shared. If someone wants to reach out to you and learn more, what’s the best way for them to do so?

Ian  

Sure. So there are two areas that they can reach out to me. The first is through my website. That’s Rhodessmith.com. On that site, they can find more about me, my group, and individual coaching that I do, as well as this podcast, which will be placed on there, as well as other articles of which I’ve been featured as well as have written in. Also on that side, you’ll find my social media handles, specifically Twitter and Instagram. There, I can be found at Dr.B_ intention on each of those platforms. You’ll see some reminders, you know, updates of what I’m providing, as well as some quick tips and information that I’m thinking about but also just giving away and giving to others to hopefully enrich their lives.

Ryan 

Perfect. Thanks again. 

Ian

Thank you, Ryan.

Ryan 

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade podcast. Please subscribe and review. And don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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