Wallstreet Journal and USA Today bestselling author Dr. Karyn Gordon talks about developing fundamental leadership skills in children at a young age, focusing on building confidence and self-discipline. She relates her experiences as a mother and a family and marriage therapist to encourage parents to set boundaries with technology. She empowers everyone to establish a daily routine to chase their definition of success.

Brett Gilliland: Welcome to the Circuit of Success. I’m your host, Brett Gilliland. Today I’ve got Dr. Karyn Gordon with me. Karysn, how you doing? 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: I’m doing well. How are you doing? 

Brett Gilliland: I am great. We were talking before we started recording. You’re up there looking at a, maybe a foot and a half of snow or something and just what, two hours north of Toronto?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: I am two hours north of Toronto and literally we had a snowstorm last night, so my kids are actually home today. Uh, they have a snow day they’re very excited about, but it is a winter wonderland. Um, but, you know, it’s beautiful and I feel very blessed.

Brett Gilliland: Very blessed to be inside where it’s, you know, 70, 72 degrees and warm, right?.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Right. Yeah.

Brett Gilliland: You know, the snow days are kind of getting ruined, aren’t they? I mean, it used to be you could get a snow day to go play, but now sometimes they say snow day, but you’re still gonna get up and get on Zoom and do some, do some schooling. That happens every now and then. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Usually, you know what, their last school, they did that, but not this one. This one. They’re like, snow days just enjoy yourself. 

Brett Gilliland: That’s right. Right. Um, we’ve got a few of those built in the, the old school days are built in, but then there’s a number of them that if, if we get to that number, we gotta go back online. I’m gonna read a few things about you, Karen, because you’ve gotta quite the resume. Um, I can’t read at all because we would just have a podcast about your resume and then that would be boring for everybody. So, uh, but we’re gonna start with, uh, you are a ‘Wall Street Journal’ and ‘USA Today’ bestselling author. You are a ‘Ted Talk’ speaker, and here’s what I thought was awesome. You were the top 10 most popular Ted, ‘TEDx’ talk in 2022 globally. That’s a big deal. Ums a very big deal. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: The actual number was number six. 

Brett Gilliland: Six. Number six for those counting and keeping score at home, what you got to in life, right? Uh, you were the CEO and cal, uh, co-founder of DK Leadership. You have a doctorate in marriage and, uh, and family with, uh, and you were the spokesperson. 

I thought this was cool For Maple Leaf Foods, Microsoft, eHarmony, and UNICEF. Um a professional counselor for 25 years, an executive coach, uh, a media personality who’s consulted for ‘Good Morning America’, ‘Forbes’ entrepreneur, the ‘New York Times’ and Cityline. And again, I could go on and on and on, but a doctorate is a big deal.

Uh, and I didn’t put put in there with, uh, honoring her work for organizations and families, uh, by the council, general counsel of, uh, Canada, uh, in New York. That was cool. But emotional intelligence is a big part of your life as well. So again, I could go on and on, but that’s, that’s her resume, ladies and gentlemen.

So, Karen, welcome uh, to the Circuit of Success. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: I’m glad.. I’m excited. to speak with you and all of your awesome listeners. 

Brett Gilliland: Great. Well, if you can, I always ask a very big question first on all these episodes is what’s made you the woman you are today? Uh, to get you to where you don’t wake up and do all this stuff without a, without a backstory. So what is that?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: The backstory? You know, that’s a great question. Um, if, for anybody who’ve seen my TED Talk, uh, it, I designed it specifically for families, teams, and schools. And in the TED Talk, I talk about, uh, it’s really the three mindsets of a leader, insecure, competent, arrogant. And in the talk TED Talk, I talk about being diagnosed with a learning disability when I was 13 years old and told by a clinical psychologist that I had a very severe learning disability and I’d be lucky to finish high school. And that was the story. That was kind of my own kind of, that’s my backstory on kind of when my leadership really started was really at a, at a crossroads and I had to make some very fundamental decisions at 13 years old around what I was gonna do with my life.

And so, It was definitely, uh, that was kind of with when it started being a very stubborn, strong spirited kid, uh, having to fall badly, uh, having parents that really were amazing and letting me fall. And then finally at 14 years old, being willing to actually receive help. And so once I actually started receiving help, going for extra help, learning about my disability, all of a sudden I that, you know, I started to receive success and, um, and it was so, so I really, really believe that leadership, and this is for everybody listening, whether or not you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, professional, parent, whatever it is, I really believe that leadership is a mindset, not a position or a role.

And you can actually start teaching that to children at a very, very young age. And so one of my biggest things when I’m speaking to parents, the importance about letting your kids fail and really trying to. Fundamental leadership skills at a very, very young age. Um, and so that’s part of the reason why I’m so passionate about this work is because, you know, there are so many things in life we cannot control.

But if we can help ourselves and our teams and our kids focus on things that they can control and having that locus of control, all of a sudden, that’s really when success starts, uh, taking off however people define success. Um, but that’s really with what it starts, it starts leadership. Really just start with developing yourself.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah, I, I couldn’t agree more. And I, I think it’s always a question I like to ask, and usually later, but I’ll start with it now, is, and you just said it as, success is defined differently by everybody, right? I think in our modern world that we live in, and probably for generations success, I’m using air quotes.

If you’re just listening it, it used to be defined as just money, right? Oh, this person, man or woman, makes a bunch of money. They’re successful. I’m in the money business. I work with money every day, all day. I own a wealth management firm. It’s what we do, but I personally define success for myself and for our clients as time with your family, right? your vacation planning, your, your, the books you’re reading, the people you’re surrounding yourself with. Money is certainly part of that, right? 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Sure. 

Brett Gilliland: but, how do you define success? 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Yeah, great question. So in my book, the three chairs, I talk about what I call the six piece of engagement.

And it’s something that I. What I love doing is looking at data. I’m a data girl. I love numbers, love math, love good research. But what I do is I find patterns in the research because there’s a lot of stuff out there, but if you can kind of boil it down and kind of look for patterns. And so when I really started studying, uh, teams that were doing phenomenal, families that were doing phenomenal people that were doing phenomenal, I started to notice that there were six categories.

That people we’re paying attention to. I called the six piece of engagement. I talked about ’em in my book, the three chairs. And you can actually literally do this, whether or not you are a parent, you have got teenagers, you’ve got teams who can do it right across the board. But the six categories are six areas that we all need to be paying attention to.

So the first piece is purpose. We all need a sense of purpose. What drives us, uh, it comes with our values. How are we actually giving back? We’ve got professional goals and career goals. Um, School goals. Profit is the other piece. So that would be, you know, how do we manage our money? I did actually, you find this interesting, I did my doctorate in, uh, over indulgence for families and speak specifically on financial literacy and what happens when that skillset is not, when, when we don’t properly teach that to kids.

So profit, really getting, getting really managing your money so your money does not manage you. Uh, physical health is another one. Play and people, so those are the six, the six piece. And this is an exercise I do as an individual. My husband and I and business partner do it every year. We get our teens or we’ve got twins that are 15 years old.

We get them to do it every year. We get our team to do it. And you basically look at these six different categories and you start identifying your goals. I usually recommend one to two per category, and that becomes your roadmap for the year. Um, so that you. Proactive in terms of how you’re lead leading your life instead of reactive, which is what too often we actually see.

And so I find all six of those categories are extremely important. And when I work with different leaders, depending on who they are, sometimes they may be like, gosh, you know what? This makes sense. I’m really focusing so much on the profit and the professional goals, but my physical health is totally off for my people and my wife.

My marriage is totally off. And to be really successful, the way I look at it is you have to pay attention to all six. You have all six require time and energy and some intentionality. So to really, you know, it’s pausing. It takes 15 minutes, but just having that roadmap per day will be such a gift to yourself this next year.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And, and, and it’s amazing what you just said there, the six Ps I, I have what I call my f to the six power, right? It’s, it’s your faith, your family, your fitness, your fun, your firm, which for me is work. And then your finances. And so I agree because, um, you know, a lot of people talk about work life balance.

I don’t know if there is balance, right? Mm-hmm. , because sometimes it’s gonna be a little bit better in this category and maybe it’s a little bit better in that category sometime, but I think as long as we don’t let it get too far away, I think that’s the value of journaling and the value of keeping score, all those things, right?

That, that you have an integration. And because no matter what, if you and your spouse, uh, you know, this isn’t a spouse conversation, but if you guys got in a big fight this morning, it would certainly affect you on this podcast right now, right? Mm-hmm. your energy to be a little different, and I think we gotta, as people go through and score ourselves.

So when you hear me say all that, would you agree with that? What are your thoughts on it? 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Absolutely. I really believe in scoring everything. I, again, I love numbers, I love metrics. I think that way we can kind of sometimes take some of these le leadership and relationship topics and make it all of a sudden really concrete.

And so, um, I actually believe very strongly on measuring things. I actually get people to measure in terms of the six piece of engagement. Um, I also get people to measure, we really focus on leadership, emotional intelligence. I could be able to measure their emotional intelligence, um, and how you can do that.

We’ve gotta score a card for anybody listening. If you’re like, “Gosh, Karyn, that sounds interesting. How do I do that?”, Uh, you can go to our website, dkleadership.org. DK stands for Dr. Karen in Canada. Dot org is for-profit and non-profit. Uh, It’s very funny, whenever I talk to my American clients, they’re like, oh, dot org is like, charity in the states.

I’m like, no. In Canada, it’s, it’s different. 

Brett Gilliland: Oh, really? Yeah. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Yeah. dkleadership.org. You can, you can go there, you can download a free leadership scorecard. And that is a really interesting way to kind of launch into this topic because you can measure your emotional intelligence. You can do it with for yourself, you can share it with your teen, your family, and by having something that is a nu that is measured.

Then you kind of know what your baseline is. You can know here’s where I’m, we’re starting, here are the skills that I really wanna work on, and here’s the goal that I wanna achieve by the end of the year. And just having that gives you a, a plan. Cause otherwise everything feels too abstract and out there.

So Absolutely. I, I agree with you that things need to be measured so we can kind of have a roadmap to, to make progress. 

Brett Gilliland: So let’s, uh, talk about kids for a little bit. I think it’s important. I actually get some feedback in December, like, Hey, it’d be pretty cool with all these amazing people you talked to if, uh, you talked about parenting and some kids stuff.

And so, so when you think about that, what, what are maybe the 1, 2, 3, whatever they are, uh, habits. Things that we need to be as a father of four boys, what do I need to be focused on to be the best dad I can possibly be? Or you know, somebody listening that’s the best mom they can possibly be. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Oh, so it’s such a good question.

You know, my doctorate’s in marriage and family, so I’m a still registered therapist. I still practice, although very, very part-time. So I started my practice 25 years ago working as a family practitioner practitioner, uh, at a medical office with families and with teenagers in particular. And there’s certain kind of fundamental skills that are really, really important for parents to really focus in on. And if there was one skill that I would say, just focus on this one and everything else is gonna start falling into place, it’s confidence. Cuz when you actually start really building and developing your kids to be confident, everything else pulls out of that.

So for example, again, the ‘TED Talk’, when I designed it, I specifically designed it so that parents could be on the sofa watching it with their kids. I had this vision of myself when I was speaking to the audience that parents or me sitting on their sofa watching this ‘TED Talk’ with their kids and to help facilitate that conversation, we designed discussion questions to do that.

So again, you can go to our website, dkleadership.org and download those. And so for Mother’s Day, I actually had my own kids. I’ve got twins, they’re 15. I’m like, okay, I know what I want for my Mother’s Day gift. I want us to watch my TED talk together and do the (inaudible:discussion questions) together because it’s all about confidence.

And when you see the three chairs and you actually understand how the three chairs actually work, and you can start talking about these three different mindsets of confidence, everything else falls into place. So that would be kind of number one to really kind of do, you know, really focus in on developing confidence that the ‘TED Talk’ is a great place to start with that. 

The second skill to really, really focus in on is self-discipline. There’s been a ton of research. I talked with this in my book, the Three Chairs. There’s been a ton of research on if you can help kids develop self-discipline, which is the opposite of delay gratification.

That is so correlated with overall happiness, wellbeing, and success, however you define it. Because when people have self-discipline, they are, they are the, they’re leading their own life. They’re not being reactive to their life. So really helping your kids develop a solid sense of self-discipline would be kind of my second.

Um, and the third, honestly, I’d almost say if you can just focus on those two. Everything started, everything else starts falling into place because if you have confidence and you’ve got self-discipline, then everything else, it’s like a domino effect. Everything else starts falling into place, whether it’s with, with school or with academics or with physical health or with money.

But if you’ve got confidence, self-discipline. You’re gonna be, you’re gonna be fine. However you kind of define in your life. Those would be the first, the top two.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. That thoses are great. And I, I talk about attitude just decides where you go. Your discipline decides how fast you get there. Yes. And it’s so true with what you’re saying right here.

So, and here’s my, my kind of, let’s have some fun with this, but, How in the hell do we work through these telephones? Right. So, you know, they can you watch Social Dilemma on Netflix if you haven’t watched it? They should. People should. But you, you watch it. It’s, it’s, they’re built to guide us, right? And, and attract us into those things and not leave.

What, what have you done, uh, that maybe your kids liked or didn’t like, but maybe to control those cell phones?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: So here’s how I see social media in all, really all technology. The way I describe it is my philosophy around it’s a tool and like all tools, uh, car driving is a car is a tool too, right? These are things that are there to help us.

So if we can really. Always make sure what is the purpose and function of that tool and making sure that we have boundaries around that tool. That’s the biggest thing. So, you know that whether or not it’s with technology or video games or social media, all of it, you know what it really is, the purpose of it and then setting boundaries around it so that it doesn’t control the person.

And so from a, uh, social media perspective, I just follow the research and the research basically says that anything over two hours of being entertained for children is gonna start affecting their learning. That came out of Columbia University and they just really found that, you know, video games, for example, are not, they’re not wrong.

They’re not a problem. In fact, it’s very social. Okay. Actually, just last night, uh, we were encouraging one of our sons to, to maybe go, you know, they’ve got a, they’ve started business, they make their own money and one of them will actually wants to maybe kind of go and upgrade his computer so that he be more interactive with his friends, uh, with, with a video game.

Great. He’s like, really? I’m like, sure. You’ve earned the money for the money. You’ve earned it, you’ve saved it, you’ve managed it, and now you’re actually gonna go buy some more technology to do something that’s social. We’re all in favor. And so we’re, we’re, so that is kind of a good example on how you can kind of partner with your kids.

On something that’s really exciting for them, but you still put boundaries around it. So not just because he’s buying this computer does not mean that he’s gonna have access to it for eight hours, but still, his parents still put boundaries around it. You can have fun with your kids with this, you know, same thing with telephones.

Parents often say to me, when should my kids get phones? And I think one of the best ways to do is let them pay for it. Let them earn it. And paid for it. Like you and I could talk for a whole session just about financial literacy. I’m very passionate about how do you financial literacy to kids.

Brett Gilliland: Yep, yep. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: One of the biggest mistakes that I’m seeing with parents, but what we’re doing is we’re giving money. We’re not teaching them how to make it, how to save it, how to manage it. Giving money does not teach financial literacy. And so, so you can have fun, creative ways of saying, great, you want a phone?

Perfect. How are you gonna earn that money? What’s, you know it’s gonna cost you $500,000. Here’s the monthly program. And all of a sudden now you’re partnering with your kids. It’s very perfect parents to partner with your kids, not to manage their kids. It’s. One of the big differences. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. When that’s that self-confidence and uh, and self-discipline, right?

I mean, that’s it. And, and it’s, and it’s working right there. So, so do you actually have like, say the two hour boundary? Like if, once they’ve played, whether it’s, you know, whatever, what’s the TikTok or, uh, Fortnite or anything like that? So once they’ve kind of hit that limit, we’re out.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Yeah, there is max two hours. In fact, we’ve actually just even talked about maybe actually reducing it down to an hour and a half, but that is at this. The other thing about self-discipline, I talk a lot in my book around the importance about a daily routine. When we talk about successful practices, successful habits, whether or not it’s a CEO that I’m coaching, or if it’s a 15 year old client, it doesn’t make any difference.

It is really important that people are designing a successful daily routine with successful habits. And one of the things you wanna do, if the end goal is self-discipline, which I think everybody on the call would probably agree is a good thing, then you have to design your day to reinforce self-discipline.

So how do you do that? So the one of the ways that, again, I do this with CEOs, I do this with, with my own kids, is you make sure that you get your work done first. You work first, you play second. Yeah. So in our home, they come home, they do their, you know, we have family dinners. They do their homework and then their rewardis if they want a game with their friends. Yeah. I’m totally believer I have no problem with that. They’ve worked hard. Now you get to treat yourself. Yeah. And, and but the difference between where a lot of people, the misstep is all sudden they come home and then they’re gaming. So they’re rewarding themselves before they work.

That’s gonna re. Delayed gratification, which is the opposite with what we’re actually trying to do. So really important, we kind of figure out what’s the end game, what’s the, what’s the goal that we’re really trying to achieve as parents? And then you have a strategy plan in place, just like the same way you do with business.

You apply the same principles actually to marriage and for fa, for for parenting. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. I love it. So I mean, think about it too, from a standpoint of even in their sleep, I mean, if they’re getting more than that, and if it’s leading up to bedtime, It’s gonna lead in, you know, worse sleep, and then that’s, that’s then the next day.

I mean, it just goes on and on and on. Right. It’s, it’s so important and, and you’re right, we do it as a bus, we have a business plan, right? Some people have business plans. What’s your daily plan? What’s your family plan? Uh, those are important. So…

Dr. Karyn Gordon: and what’s your married plan? You know, I work with, you know, our company. We work with companies in seven countries with 5,000 different leaders, every single different industry. And one of the things I love to do is teaching all these, uh, professionals and business leaders, That the skills that you learn in business and in entrepreneurship are the exact same skills you could actually apply to marriage and family.

They’re the exact same. You know, I’ve been doing this work for 25 years. I fir, I started the first 10 years working just with marriages and families, and then I was asked by companies that responded from my work to transfer that doctorate in family systems into organizational systems. So I kind of did it backwards.

I started with families. And then I started working with businesses. And when I started working with companies 15 years ago, I just kind of assumed incorrectly that a lot of business leaders would’ve applied the same business, best practice to their marriage and family.

Brett Gilliland: …right. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: …and I was totally wrong and, and so it wasn’t until I started working a lot of these leaders, I’m like, well, you’ve got this strategy brain.

Have you applied the same strategy? Brain? Brain to your marriage? No. I’m like, well, does it make that sense while your marriage is falling apart and there’s no connection, your kids don’t talk to you like you need plans without a plan. Things kind of start falling apart. And so the last, um, actually we’re launching, I was sharing with you just before we started, we’re launching a marriage mastermind for couples of business leaders to apply the same str because your marriages need a strategy plan. Just the way your businesses need a strategy plan. Your kids needs a strategy plan. And so when we’re talking about success and habits of success, that’s one of the most important things. Everything needs a plan.

Otherwise, we’re very reactive and our culture is so fast, and everything’s moving at such a fast pace that without a very proactive plan. We’re reactive and then we pay the price for it.

Brett Gilliland: Yep. Yep. So let’s, let’s turn the page to IQ versus eq. I mean, obviously for years people have talked about your IQ, right?

How intelligent are you? How much information can you process per second in your brain, right? The emotional side. Explain that to people. And how important is one over the other or one with the other? 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Well, like I was sharing with you before I, my next, right after your podcast, I’m, I’m doing a keynote for an insurance company Exactly on this topic, so… 

Brett Gilliland: Ah, there you go. We’re getting some practice in, 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: …you’re getting, yeah, getting a little bit of practice, so, So, yes, for years people thought IQ was a thing to aim for, and your IQ really what it does, it tends to be more fixed. It tends to, it really, it’s like how many a’s did you get in school?

It’s how you can memorize information, how you can recite information. Um, and so, and it’s important. Okay, so I still, I wanna emphasize it is still important. Education is still very important. I’m gonna always advocate for education for a lot of reasons, but what we found is that IQ was only part of the puzzle.

There’s another part on EQ, which is called emotional intelligence. That we are found now is actually a better predictor on success consistently we actually find based on research. So again, IQ is still important, but what really is a, um, basically anywhere from the 80 to 90% of success, again, however you define it, is actually more determined based on EQ not IQ. So it’s, it’s, so we still wanna focus on the IQ, but we wanna pay more attention now to EQ. And so EQ, emotional intelligence are five core skills, all of which can be learned. And so one of the things that I found really exciting about the topic, um, is that unlike IQ, which tends to be more fixed, EQ is learned.

You can learn emotional intelligence. So when I say to my clients or when I’m speaking at conferences, I’m like, who wants to be successful? And everybody’s hand goes up. I’m like, great. So, and I say, okay, you know, the secret for, for success is really emotional intelligence. So who can tell me with what it is? Most people have heard of it, but very, very few people can actually tell me with what it is.

That’s where the gap is. The gap is, people have heard of it, but they don’t really know with what it is, and they don’t know how you can. To me, that’s foundational. And so that’s what we, as a company, that’s what we do. We teach what it is and we teach how you can build it and measure it. Um, and so it’s five core skills and everybody listening you can kind of think about this.

Um, five core skills that measure your leadership. Emotional intelligence. So it’s stands for acronym C.A.R.D.S. So your communication skills, your attitude and goal setting skills. R stands for your relationship skills. D stands for your decision making, self-discipline and time management skills. And S stands for your stress and emotion management skills.

So those are the five core skills, and again, on our website, we’ve got that scorecard that goes into way more detail and you can measure yourself. And you can start doing this when you’re eight years old. You don’t have to wait to be a senior, uh, senior leader at a company to start doing. No. You start developing this young, and as a parent, you start helping your kids develop these skills.

This is gonna be the best predictor on how successful they’re gonna be, is how much they can develop these five core skills.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And those are com again, communication, uh, your attitude, relationships, discipline, and stress. I mean, that’s obviously the high level of those. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Exactly, yes. 

Brett Gilliland: …and, and go to the, uh, dkleadership.org.

Uh, for those, it’s on there slash connect, I believe. 

Um, and you’ll find those. That’s awesome. Um, Let’s talk to about daily habits for the most successful people that you have the privilege to work with. But I would even, uh, drill down even more and say you, right, so you specifically, what are those daily habits that make you be the best leader, speaker, mom, wife, et cetera, that you can possibly be day in and day out.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: It’s a great question. It’s funny, we just, we’re we’re, um, focusing on developing a whole bunch of video content and literally, I was filming this yesterday, so this is very top, this is very top of mind. So yeah, I really believe in that daily routine and really figuring out what those success principles are.

So my daily routine is I, uh, um, the basically five 30, the alarm goes off. I get up, I do an hour in the morning on gre gratitudes prayer and meditation, and I watch that sun come up and nothing is more powerful for me than having that one hour of quiet with a cup of coffee. The whole house is still sleeping, and I just, I in the best version of myself, and so I had tested lots of different times.

For me, that’s like the best time. Seven o’clock we have a barn on property and we as a family go up to the barn and we do circuit training. Um, this is a new habit we started, uh, this last year, which has been amazing. My husband actually suggested it, and so we all do circuit training together, which has been amazing.

Kids go to school, and then I start up with clients and with our, uh, company at eight o’clock. And then generally I will work till four and then you shut it off. Uh, I’m really believe, I believe you focus on really high level what really has to kind of get done. And then you clear, you know, create really clear boundaries.

So for four o’clock, uh, we stop working and then the rest of it is I’m making dinner. So my husband and I have done a good job in terms of division of labor. Uh, that’s a big issue with a lot of mar marriages. They don’t know how to divide labor, so, Uh, he does a ton, but one of my things is I do dinner, so, and I, and I actually love making dinner, so I’ll make a great dinner.

We have family dinner, uh, kids do homework, uh, and then nine o’clock we do fireside chat. So again, a new habit we started, we put the fire on and uh, cuz again, we’re in Canada and we’ve built lots of snow. Yeah. So we fireside chat and we have a family connection, uh, for half an hour and then nine 30 to bed and 10 o’clock lights out. 

Brett Gilliland: Bam!

Dr. Karyn Gordon: So that’s the. Yeah, it is awesome. And so my husband and I also connect. We used to connect at nine o’clock. This is before we started doing the fireside chat. So now we’re actually connecting at about eight o’clock. We’ve had a hot tub, and that’s one of our favorite places to connect. So you kind of, you kind of get into this rhythm around how do you do, you know, personal time, business time, parenting time, husband time?

It’s only, and everything needs, needs a time. Otherwise, what happens is, Spouses get the leftover energy, our kids get left. 

Brett Gilliland: Right. Right. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: So, and, and if I’m speaking, if I’m traveling, it’s obviously gonna be different, but for, for as much as we can when I’m home, that is kind of the rhythm. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And so those fireside chats, I mean, that’s in a perfect world, obviously, you’d say seven days a week, but I mean, how often is that actually happening where everybody’s like, yeah, I, I want to come down and, and connect and be with the family and they’re all excited about it versus I’m a teenager. And, and I think I’m pretty lucky. I sent my sauna last night with my, uh, 17 year old for 25 minutes. So I mean, they’re, they’re good about doing that stuff, but at the same time, I mean, they’re, they’re kids, right? And they may not want to do that. So what’s that look like for you?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: So for us, we do it about, we actually do it about five nights a week. Um Okay. But we live at the country, so we’re a little bit different, but it’s fireside with hot chocolate. I forgot to mention that one of the one little secrets with, with teenagers, especially teen boys, is food. 

Brett Gilliland: Yes. Bribe with food.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Like some chips, popcorn. So for us that actually works. But we live in the country. It’s a little bit different. When we lived in this city that was not different cuz there was like a lot more extracurricular and all of that. So one of the things I encourage anybody listening is it’s really great to to get ideas and get inspired by other people’s stories and all that, but you gotta really personalize what’s realistic for you.

Yeah. So for some of our clients, That’s not realistic. And so what’s more realistic is maybe they do it once a week and if it’s once a week, we do once a week and it’s pizza and fireside or, or kind of like, you know. So I think it’s great to have, um, examples, but, but really be realistic with what is gonna work with, you know, our own family culture.

We’ve got some clients that, you know, they’re in hockey and it’s like insane schedules and so, you know, their hot chocolate connection is more in the car driving between events. So you wanna, you wanna have a framework, but be flexible and think about how that’s really great. That’s inspiring. How could that work for our family culture and be inspired?

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And I think that goes back to the emotional intelligence, right? Is to not beat yourself, beat yourself up over it. Like, cuz I, in my twenties, my early thirties, I was like, oh, if I didn’t do this one thing five times a week, I was a failure. Yeah. And I was just so hard on myself, right? And I think that’s now looking back, hindsight, right?

But now I see other people and they’re like, well, I’m gonna start, I, you get this new idea. I’m gonna start doing it six days a week. I’m like, so you really think you’re gonna go from zero to six versus let’s take that baby step. Let’s commit to two times a week, right? And that can happen now becomes a bigger habit.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Absolutely. And I talked about this in my book too, just the importance about how do you. How do you really build those five different skills? Especially when you’re, when you’re referencing the attitude and goal setting skill, one of the biggest things is people either don’t set the goal or they set it too high that it’s unrealistic and then they feel overwhelmed and they don’t start.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: So having that, that attitude, that mindset around stretching, but realistic. So if you’re not having any family connection, start with trying to do it once a week and then ask your kids to get the engagement. Ask your kids, I’d love to have a little bit more family connection. What could we do to make it more attractive?

And so maybe it’s a pizza, maybe it’s like popcorn. Maybe it’s, you know, you’re going, like going up for dinner. Like talk with your kids. Really, you know, have that conversation because you don’t wanna be dragging your kids to do this. You wanna try to make it, um, more enjoyable, um, and get their input.

They’ll tell you, I mean, this is the one wonderful thing about kids, teenagers. They’ll tell you if you ask and if you really explain why you’re wanting to do it, that you, they can really kind of get onboard for it. 

Brett Gilliland: Yep. So when you hear me say Our, our firm’s mission, uh, is helping people achieve a future greater than your past. So again, doesn’t mean your past was terrible, but I think everybody wants to have a future greater than their past, right? So when you hear me say that, what comes to mind for you? H how would you methodically look at that and say, huh, I like that, but why? 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Yeah, I love that. Well, we’ve just come off of, you know, doing our six p strategy plan for the year, so this is very top of mind for us, but for, for me, um, as an individual, but also even as a business too, our whole thing is really having more global impact. And, um, you know, for, it was one of the reasons why I moved from family practice to more the leadership development to more, we have a whole, we have online courses that we teach.

We work with companies all around the world now. . For us, it was really around how to reach more people, uh, how do we help more people? And so doing it in two different ways. One, uh, we’re gonna be amplifying a lot more on social media in terms of like people that just, you know, maybe they don’t have resources taken of our course they don’t have, but they really wanna learn.

We wanna make sure that we’re serving those, we wanna make sure we’re serving and helping as many people as we possibly can. So for us it’s really amplifying our social media. And that’s why we’re doing a whole bunch of different videos and that, and then also offering more courses and that for our companies, but also their families.

Um, I really believe in developing the whole leader. And when, I mean the whole leader, I mean the leader at work and the leader at home. Yeah. You know, sometimes people see great leaders in their company, but they’re really lousy leaders at home. Yeah. And we really believe in developing that whole leader and making sure that we’re serving them with whatever it is. So for me, it’s really amplifying those kind of two parts, uh, which we’re really excited about. 

Brett Gilliland: So, um, talk about the risks that you’ve taken. I think as anybody that’s a business leader, we’ve all taken risks, we’ve bet on ourselves. Scary as hell. Right? But you still did it. What’s, what’s that risk that you took that, looking back now, you’re glad you took it?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Um, the first really big risk I took, well, I bought a cottage when I was 20 years old. Um, and uh, it was crazy. I always had this dream at 16 years old, I had a dream that I would have a cottage before I bought a house. And so I told my dad, and, you know, for a lot of people that, you know, they would say, well, that’s a crazy idea.

But my dad was like, then start saving. Like, he was very practical about it. , I started saving, I had to pay for my, for my university and college as well. So I had three jobs and I was hustling and I saved a little bit of money and I, and this amazing opportunity came up. And at 20 years old, I bought this cottage for $17,000.

And, uh, if you, if people go to my Instagram, you can actually see the before and after pictures. It’s hilarious. You’ll see me at 20 years old buying this cottage. And we ended up fixing it up and selling it. And it, not only did it, we sell it for an exorbitant amount more money than 17,000, but it made it, it was in a national magazine.

We actually got into Canadian House and Home Magazine. Oh wow. Like literally picture. You can actually see the before and after pictures. But it, um, it was a massive risk because the land was, um, there was a lot of different issues around the land. There was a possibility I could, we could lose it in four years.

And I remember at 20 years old, I was talking to my mom about it. And I had to make a decision really quickly because there was like a bidding war that was starting on it. And the way she, what she said to me, really spoke to me. She said, Karyn, she said, risk, go after with what you want, but don’t risk more than you’re willing to lose.

Brett Gilliland: Mm-hmm.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: …and I thought that was a really smart piece of advice so that I could put my little bit of money and pay for the $17,000 cottage, but am I gonna be okay if I lose it four years from now? Yeah. And I remember wrestling with that, and I’m like, is it worth the risk? Is it worth the risk? I’m, I’m putting everything I’ve got on this little thing.

And I’m like, I’m, it is worth the risk. And I had to, because I mean, you’ve seen, I’m sure with a lot of your clients too, I’m all about risk taking, but there’s healthy risk taking. 

Brett Gilliland: Sure.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: And there’s unhealthy risk taking. And so when I teach my clients now, I, I encourage them, you know, go after the risk, but are you okay if you lose this risk? And don’t over risk, you know? And so I had to make that decision. It turned out to be a really wise choice and um, and that’s sort of a whole real estate business for us. Actually. That’s part of one of our, we do real estate. 

Brett Gilliland: That’s awesome.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: So, but it started 20 years old and, uh, and so I tell, you know, my team clients like start thinking about your goals and with what you want because it does start, you start planting those seeds um, when you’re teenagers. 

Brett Gilliland: That’s right. Which is a big deal cuz it, I mean, before you know it, your, your ex age and it’s time flies, doesn’t it? Uh, it’s nuts. So what, you know, I, I spend a lot of time asking questions, right? So whether it’s to my clients, I’m asking questions all day long and then I, obviously, I host a podcast and then it’s what I do.

I ask questions. But somebody asked me a question this morning and I thought it was a great question, I’m gonna start asking, and he said in 2023, Brett, what’s the one thing that you’ve gotta do to get out of your comfort zone? So I’ll ask you that question. What’s your one thing that you gotta do to get out of your comfort zone this year?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: My one thing I would actually be really, um, really getting around the whole social media thing. It’s, you know, I’ve done traditional media for a long time. I, it’s very comfortable for me. I can do with my eyes closed, I’ve done it for 20 years. Social media’s a totally different thing and I, um, and I had to really kind of get my head around it.

Um, so that for me is really stepping out of my comfort zone because you have to film it differently. You have to share different content. It’s a lot more vulnerable content. Like it, it really is a bit of a different beast than traditional television. 

Brett Gilliland: Well, there’s no interaction, right?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: It’s so different. And so I just, but because our purpose is to, to have a wider global, you know, really help more people and to have a more of a global impact. I know it’s the vehicle to do it, and so I just need, I just wanna do it. And so for me, that has been, that has been the part. So I got, you know, myself, a social media coach, kind of somebody to kind of help. And so, I’m just trying to apply the same things I did when I was 13 years old to my disability.

I can’t do this, uh, right now because I don’t have the skills. I’m gonna find somebody who has the skills to teach me how to do it. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: And so at nine years old, I’m gonna apply the same tools. Now I don’t have the skills. I’m gonna learn how to do the skills I, I’m gonna find myself as a coach to actually help me so that I can kind of master this because I know, I know it’s gonna take with where I wanna go.

So that, for me, I think that’d be my, my, my goal. The biggest goal really for 2023. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And I don’t want to gloss over that. Cause I think so many, anytime somebody talks about this on a podcast, I always stop because they just say it like it’s just normal. Because for you it is normal. But you said, I’m gonna hire a coach.

And you said it twice, right? How many people listening to this right now want to do that thing? Whatever that thing is. If it’s social media, it’s, you know, jumping out of an airplane. Being a better speaker, whatever it may be. But we’re afraid to hire a coach, right? We’re afraid to put our money where our mouth is but that is, it’s been critically important for my success over my 21 years in business, is having a business coach. Mm-hmm. and personal coaches, right? Like all of those things is important and you’re doing that. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Yes, it really is. You know, I’m all around efficiency and what’s, you know, what’s the goal and what’s gonna be the fastest way for me to get the goal?

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: For me, it, the fast way to get a goal is find somebody who’s who, who has, who knows what they’re talking about, that has already done it, and learn their best practices. Like I don’t need to fall over and over and over again. And that was my learning when I was 13 years old. I, I was so resistant to getting outside help. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed of it. And I realize if I don’t start putting up my hand and asking for help, I’m not gonna get what I, I’m not gonna get my goals. Like it was, it was very clear and I figure that out at 14 years old, so, so now I’m like really quick. I just, okay. I don’t know the skill. So changing the mindset to from, I can’t do this to, I don’t have the skill to do this.

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: You know? And, and then who has that skill? And put your hand up and reach out and take action and take initiative and step on the gas. Don’t play the victim, step on the gas and take action and go and chase what you wanna chase, whatever success looks like for you. And life is full of incredible opportunities.

Um, but we do need to put her hand up and step on the gas. 

Brett Gilliland: Yep. So looking at, uh, your book here, ‘The Three Chairs’, um, talk about that for a second. Cause I know you got a, you got a bunch of people gonna be waiting on you here to give a, uh, keynote speech to, so we gotta get you going here, but talk about your book real quick.

Work your people. Find it again. ‘Wall Street Journal’ Bestseller, ‘USA Today’, ‘Amazon’, I mean, just crushing it, right? So, uh, where do our listeners get it and what do you want them, what’s your goal for them to get from that book?

Dr. Karyn Gordon: So, yeah, ‘The Three Chairs’ is a concept I created 25 years ago when actually I started working with teenagers, and then I realized how applicable it actually is to, to leaders.

But it’s basically, it’s how leaders drive communication, performance, and engagement. It’s a business book, uh, but, I’d say 90% of it you can actually apply for parenting. So I’d encourage parents to actually get it as well. But talks about the three different attitudes that we all have. The insecure leader, the competent leader, the arrogant leader.

And when you understand with what kind of leader or what attitude you actually have, it can actually, almost based on science, almost predict in terms of how you actually act out and live your life. And so the whole thing is around really focusing in on how do I become a confident person sitting in that middle chair?

Um, and so it’s very, very simple. Watch the ‘TED Talk’. You’ll actually understand more. Uh, but the book is like a wonderful guide to kind of take you to that next level around like, let’s not be lazy about it. Let’s not play the victim. Let’s all learn how to become a confident person, cuz every one of us can do it.

Yeah. Um, and so when it comes to the free workbook, so people can do it as a team, you can like do it as you know, if you’re your own leader, uh, the best place to buy it is ‘Amazon’. That’s fastest way. And so you can go to amazon.com, you can get it over or through our website as well. But it really is a very practical, all based on sciences, practical guide on how to develop confidence.

And once you have that confidence, then it spills into everything else. The self-discipline, the emotion management, um, the goal setting, everything starts spilling over once we actually have that confident mindset. 

Brett Gilliland: Yep. So last question, we’ll get you going. If you could grab Dr. Karyn Gordon, kind of by the shoulder, you know, 10, 15, 20 years ago what, what would you tell that Karyn Gordon? 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: What would I tell to my younger self, I would actually, I’d actually probably say get even more coaches. Actually I would, I always, I would have like one coach, but why not have like three or four, like if, you know, I think I was, I am actually a very cautious risk taker, very cautious risk taker, and people look at my life and they don’t, they can’t see that, but they don’t see all these other decisions I’ve actually had to make.

So I’ve been very, very cautious. And I, I wish I had kind of gotten more coaches in different areas. Um, and so that would, that’s, that’s what I would tell my younger self. And so that’s why now I’ve got like three coaches. I’m like, let’s just like amplify the coaches and let’s get coaches for different reasons.

Right? Like, let’s just amplify it. Life is short. We wanna make, you know, have a big impact, right? And so let, let’s get it, let, let, let’s get the work done and uh, and chase it. 

Brett Gilliland: Yeah. And you’ll learn to make the money to pay for the coach, right? I mean, that’s how it works. 

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Well, that’s exactly, you know, when you do, when you do this well then the money comes.

Brett Gilliland: That’s right. That’s right. Well, awesome. I loved having you on the show, uh, Dr. Karyn Gordon. We will put the links to your website, your ‘TED Talk’ and uh, to your book, uh, in the show notes. Uh, it’ll be on YouTube and all the social media platforms. So look for it there and it’s been awesome having you on the ‘Circuit of Success’.

Dr. Karyn Gordon: Awesome. Thanks so much.