485: The Power Of Deep Thinking
The MASSolutions core value of thinking is about thinking for yourself, practicing empathy, having self-awareness to know that delivery matters, vulnerability, accountability and resiliency, and more. In episode 485, Dave Mastovich talks about how leaders can leverage these skills and behaviors to achieve personal and professional growth and success.
It’s the No Bullshit Marketing Show. I’m Dave Mastovich, CEO and founder of MASSolutions, the world’s only no bullshit marketing consultants. The sign said, ‘think’. It was in a classroom, in seventh and eighth grade with an English teacher, Ms. Krueger, and she had the word, ‘think’ pasted right in the center so you could see it every day throughout the entire class. ‘Think’ made an impact on me. I thought, I would think, wonder what the heck that means, and over the course of the year would hear her thoughts on that and how we had to think. It’s become a part of the MVP, mission, vision and purpose here at MASSolutions. It’s a core value. So today, I want to talk about the power of deep thinking, and how that can help you and your company, and help you achieve personal and professional growth.
With a core value, at MASSolutions, we break it down and talk about the word ‘think.’ And we want everyone to use that as a core value. And the first part of think is think for yourself. When you look at the power of deep thinking, starting off by thinking for yourself, is about self-managing, self-management. One of the ways that I coach and mentor team members, when I talk about think for yourself and self-management, is I say, ‘Ask yourself open-ended questions to yourself. Ask yourself open ended questions like, ‘Why might my teammate, my peer be responding to me this way? Why is the client thinking this misperception about what we’re doing? Why is the client’s client not doing this behavior or action that we’re working on?’’ When you ask yourself open-ended questions and you begin to make that a part of your system and process on a daily basis – but on a hourly basis, minute basis throughout the day, continually asking yourself open-ended questions and pondering the answers to your open-ended questions – that’s part of self management. Another part of self-management and think for yourself, here at MASSolutions as a core value and it can help you is, having that thirst for knowledge. And a thirst for knowledge is not just words, a thirst for knowledge is not just saying, ‘I want to learn as much as I can about my position at Company A,’ where you work. But a thirst for knowledge is wanting to learn more about each of your clients and your clients’ clients, wanting to learn more about things, subjects, anything, just constantly wanting to ask questions, listen and learn. That’s the thirst for knowledge that we want to be part of our culture here. But I would encourage you, as a loyal No BSer watching this show, listening to the audio, that if you can have that thirst for knowledge, and it’s a true thirst for knowledge, that enables you to think for yourself.
Another idea that I have about thinking for yourself that I talk to our team about all the time is I call it the Google rule. And it goes like this, I want everybody here to ask questions of me, of their peers, of others in the organization, of clients. I want them to ask questions. I already talked about how important it is to ask yourself open-ended questions. And I believe open-ended questions are often better than just a yes, no question because you get more of a sense of what someone’s thinking. But when it comes to asking questions, I say try to follow the Google rule, which is when you have a question, Google that, because it will often give you not only the answer, but it will lead to an even better question. So the Google rule is about continually having that phone that you already got in front of you at all times, and that iPad, that laptop, and get that question that you think you want to ask your boss, your teammate, your client. Ask it, but maybe first ask it to yourself via Google, get some level of an answer, but probably get an even better, deeper question, because today’s episode is about the power of deep thinking. And it started off by that seventh, eighth grade English teacher. Ms. Krueger had the word ‘think’, dead center, in front of me every day for two years. And I’ve now made that a core value of my life and it’s part of the mission, vision and purpose here at MASSolutions. A core value of the word ‘think’ starts with think for yourself, self-managing, asking yourself open-ended questions, having a thirst for knowledge, and asking a ton of questions, but first googling that question to see if you can get a better question and get some of the answer. That’s the first part of the ‘think’ core value that can apply to you for how the power of deep thinking can help you grow and achieve your goals.
The second part is: Think beyond yourself. Think for yourself, think beyond yourself. This means practicing empathy. Very early in my life, I had someone explain to me, ‘No, there’s empathy, and there’s sympathy. And sympathy is when you can actually feel what that person has happened to them. But empathy is when you’re hoping to understand what they’re going through.’ And when you can practice empathy on a regular basis, that enables you to help think beyond yourself. It takes intentionality about it. You’ll hear me use that word a lot, intentionality, about many things that we as humans do, or want to do, and just don’t do enough. So being intentional about practicing empathy, but having self-awareness of how others perceive, or maybe misperceive you, and self-awareness of the impact you have on others. Your delivery matters. I want to stress that I strive to live these core values at my company and for our clients and in my life. But I’m human too. I’m a work in progress constantly trying to improve on all this stuff I’m talking about. So when it comes to self-awareness, it’s understanding how you’re impacting others, and that your delivery matters. Most people don’t have an intentionality about hurting someone else or frustrating someone else or disappointing someone else. It’s not usually what you do. You don’t usually get up and go, ‘I’m going to go out today and I’m going to make seven mistakes; I’m going to fail at something; I’m going to piss somebody off; I want to get my client mad at me; I’m going to get my friends mad at me; I want to anger the person next to me at work.’ No, that’s not really what most of us do. But we sometimes lack the self-awareness of how our delivery matters, and how that delivery is being misperceived by others. Or maybe our delivery was bad, and it impacted others in a way that wasn’t positive.
So we start off talking about ‘think’. Then, it’s think for yourself, we went through that. And then think beyond yourself is practicing empathy, being intentional about self-awareness, being intentional about your delivery, because delivery matters. And then I call it VAR, V-A-R, vulnerability, accountability, resiliency. Vulnerability, when we’re vulnerable, we admit where we weren’t as strong as we wanted to be, might even admit it’s a weakness. We might admit that we learned from something. We might admit that we misperceived something. When we’re vulnerable, we let our guard down, we’re our natural self. I said moments ago that I don’t achieve this all the time, but when I’ve achieved vulnerability, it’s amazing the impact that has on the room, the impact that has on others. I had a person that looks to me as a mentor who was in a difficult situation at work. And they wanted to defend, defend, defend, and I said, ‘Are you open to feedback?’ ‘Yes, that’s why I called you.’ ‘What if you went in and said, Hey, here’s something that didn’t go the way I wanted it to. My intention was A, my delivery led you to think B, I realized that and I want to get better and avoid that. And I want you to know that I’m working on that.’ ‘But he was wrong, and the way he treated me…’ ‘I understand, but open the meeting with that.’ And he opened the meeting with that, and he texted me as soon as he left the meeting and called me driving home saying, ‘I couldn’t believe it. My boss completely changed his tune, and started asking me why this happened and what I thought.’ And so, it’s happened to us all. I’ve done it myself, where you stiffen up and you want to defend and almost every time I do that, and have done that, it doesn’t work out as well as I’d like. But when you’re vulnerable, and you come to a point of saying, ‘This is what I could have done better,’ the other person might not. On this podcast, I’ve talked from time to time about a mentor who told me trust begets trust. And he said, ‘You have to trust people first and they’ll trust you.’ And he said, ‘You’re going to get burnt by it.’ His name is George Hartman, and he used to call me bullet because I was early in my career and he thought I was flying through and hitting goals and helping drive positive change. He said, ‘Bullet, trust begets trust. When you trust people, you’re going to get burnt, but the one out of 10 that burnt you is actually worth it because the nine out of 10 that trust you back will more than pay up for it.’ Well, that’s what happens with vulnerability. But the VAR, V-A-R, also has accountability. You’ve got to hold yourself accountable. When you hold yourself accountable, you gain respect, and you build trust with others. So hold yourself accountable. And then resiliency is this. I got punched in the face today, not literally, but when I got up in the morning, something happened immediately. And I had to practice resiliency because every day of all of our lives, we’re going this way and something’s going to force us to go that way. So when we’re vulnerable, accountable, and show resiliency, vulnerability, accountability and resiliency, that’s part of thinking beyond yourself. If you do that and practice empathy, and you have self-awareness that your delivery matters, when you admit your work in progress, you’re not going to achieve vulnerability, accountability and reliability to perfection, when you do that, you’re living that second ‘think’, word. And it’s think beyond yourself. Think for yourself, think beyond yourself.
And the third one that’s tied to those two is once you start doing that on a regular basis, you begin to think about the possibilities. Think about the possibilities. That’s a core value at MASSolutions is ‘think’. Think for yourself, so you can do things to get things done. Think beyond yourself so you’re helping others and empathetic and practicing vulnerability, accountability, and resiliency. But then think about the possibilities. And this means cultivating a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset. Now, growth mindset, fixed mindset has been the rage for the past two or three years, but it’s been around for a long time. And growth mindset is when you see possibilities, fixed mindset is when you already have a preconceived notion. The thing is this: We vacillate and jump around. On one thing, we have a growth mindset and another we might have a fixed mindset, at least I know I do. What I strive to do is have that growth mindset as much as possible and try to fight that fixed mindset, which is hard. Because most of us have a growth mindset, growth mindset, growth mindset and fixed mindset on this thing. So cultivating a growth mindset is saying that failure is an opportunity to grow. I don’t want to fail. And while I’m failing, I’m bitching and moaning and complaining, and sometimes having that fixed mindset and seeing the negatives, but I can tell you this: I’ve learned from those failures, and adjusted and grew. And I’ve done much better at saying this is a failure. This is an area where I could have done better. This is an area where I I learned so much, I can do better. Great example is the storytelling mastery cohort. We just put that together based on some feedback I got from people in a mastermind group that are friends of mine that I trust. And I took these workshops I’ve been doing. I turned it into an online zoom cohort, did the first cohort, had nine people in it. We had some of my team interview each of those nine, and we got feedback and they all agreed to be testimonials and so forth. But the feedback they gave us enabled us to learn and grow. That wasn’t that it was a failure, they just said, ‘Here’s something that I think could work better, something I think that could look different.’ We tweaked that storytelling mastery cohort in a way that each of those nine people now said, ‘Whoa, we talked to you, we gave you that feedback, and you adjusted. He was already great, we gave you great testimonials, we think it’s going to be even better.’ So that’s the way that you take this feedback, because feedback is constructive. And failure is an opportunity to grow. Feedback is constructive.
But another part of cultivating a growth mindset is being inspired by the success of others. This is a hard one for a lot of people. I noticed this the most as a coach in sports throughout my life, because I coached at a very young age, and I was the person coaching someone else’s kids. And then when I got older, I was the ringer dad, because they said, ‘Hey, this guy’s actually coached at a high level. Let’s get him to coach our stuff.’ Well, what I saw and still continue to see is there’s a struggle to be inspired by others’ success. And it starts in those sports, youth sports, where the parents are looking at their kid and they think if that kid does well, it means less of my kid. And that’s not the case, by any stretch of the imagination. Your son or daughter needs to do the best of their ability and someone else might just have more ability, might have a different drive, different outlook. So part of thinking about the possibilities is being inspired by the success of others. Remember, failure is a growth opportunity, feedback is constructive, and be inspired by the success of others. So that’s all part of cultivating a growth mindset, which is part of thinking about the possibilities as a core value and how you can use the power of deep thinking to achieve personal and professional growth.
But it’s also about having an internal locus of control. An internal locus of control means that you believe that you determine your fate to a high degree versus believing that your life just happens to you. Having that internal locus control as more and as much as possible, where you believe you determine your fate versus your life happens to you. Combining that internal locus of control with cultivating a growth mindset can enable you to get into the flow with regularity. The flow is
the phrase the last five to 10 years but it used to be, ‘He was in the zone. She was in the zone. Flo Jo was in the zone at the Olympics or Michael Jordan was in the zone.’ That’s going back decades. But in the last decade, it’s become the flow. But when you get into a flow state is when you are comfortable and you are being creative at what you’re good at. If that’s accounting and finance, if that’s content and marketing, if that sales, if that’s building something, when you get in a flow state, you have allowed that growth mindset to take over and you’re thinking about the possibilities. So when you have an internal locus of control, and when you focus on a growth mindset, you can get into the flow state much more readily and more frequently. I’ll talk more about getting in the flow state over the course of time because I have been a student of this for many years, and recently was in the Flow Research Collectives cohort with Zero to Dangerous. It was just incredible to have all this information and videos and the study of the flow by the Flow Research Collective. And it’s just helped me to get even more and more time in the flow state, which helps my team, my clients, and helps me with personal growth. So ‘think’ about the possibilities is cultivating a growth mindset, having an internal locus of control and getting into the flow state so that creative solutions that are driven by some level of behavioral science, some level of quantitative aspects and insights, gets you growth. Gets you growth. So the sign in that classroom said, ‘think,’ Ms. Krueger, seventh grade and eighth grade English class. In about a three year period, when I was there, a couple grades above, my grade, maybe a grade below me, three, four year period, there are eight to 10 people who make their living at a very high level. Peak performers in storytelling, strategy, marketing, content, writing, creative design, that all came from that class. And so for a small sample size, a lot of people saw that word, ‘think’ in Ms. Kruger’s classroom, and they’ve made a living out of it. And they’ve been elected to Halls of Fame, they’ve been recognized nationally and internationally. So she made a difference. She helped people do what I’m talking about today and leverage the power of deep thinking, which is what I’m encouraging you to do. And the way to leverage the power of deep thinking, which is a core value at MASSolutions, we break it down, think for yourself, self-management, thirst for knowledge, the Google rule, ask yourself open-ended questions. Think beyond yourself by practicing empathy, having self-awareness to know that people are either misperceiving you or they’re perceiving what you did, and it’s impacting them negatively. And so you want to know that delivery matters. And VAR, V-A-R, vulnerability, accountability and resiliency. And I like to have the phrase ask what’s in the best interests of the organization or team? What’s in the best interest of the organization? What’s in the best interest of the team? If you ask that question, when you’re thinking beyond yourself, you’re typically going to get an answer that’s not self-focused, not self-centered, because you’ve asked what’s in the best interest of the organization, what’s in the best interest of the team. And if you do that, by practicing vulnerability, accountability and resiliency, and you work on your self-awareness, and your delivery and empathy, that’s helping to think beyond yourself, then it all comes together. So you think about the possibilities, you get into the flow state, because you’ve cultivated a growth mindset, you see failure as an opportunity to grow, feedback as constructive, and you’re inspired by the success of others. You have an internal locus of control, which means you perceive that you determine your fate more than your life just happens to you. And you have creative solutions in your flow state that are driven by behavioral science that enable you to achieve personal and professional growth. That’s how you can leverage the power of deep thinking. And that’s why we, MASSolutions, have made that a core value. Think for yourself, think beyond yourself. Think about the possibilities.
Thanks for listening to another episode of the No Bullshit Marketing Show, recorded here in MASSolutions studio in bold, beautiful, downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Remember, ask yourself, what’s the big idea? And build your story around the answer. It’s all about bold solutions. No BS.