S. 1 Ep. 53 – Building A Distraction Free Business

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Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!

Cece Payne

Marketing Coordinator at SpeakerFlow - Follow us on social media to stay in the flow!
Technically Speaking S 1 Ep 53 - Building A Distraction-Free Business with SpeakerFlow and Neen James

In today’s episode, we’re talking about the power of attention and focus.

And the best person for that? Attention expert, Neen James!

We talk about what true focus and attention is and how to use systems to elevate yourself out of the minutia.

Let’s face it – building a business is hard. Especially when we don’t have giant teams to do all the work for us.

If you’re not careful, attention will slip and so will your profits.

So let’s not have that happen, huh?

Listen to the episode to learn how to build a distraction-free business.

Watch the Podcast 👀

Listen to the Podcast 🎤

Show Notes 📓

✅.  Get Neen’s Attention Pays Resource List: https://neenjames.com/attention-pays-resources/

✅   Get a Free copy of Neen’s book, Folding Time: https://neenjames.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Folding-Time-by-Neen-James.pdf

🎤  Thank you to our sponsor, Libsyn Studio (formerly Auxbus)! Want the best podcasting solution out there? Learn more here: https://www.libsynstudio.com/

🚀   And as always, don’t forget about all the mind-blowing free resources at https://speakerflow.com/resources/

Read the Transcription 🤓

Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts Taylorr and Austin and today we are talking about how to build a distraction proof business. Let’s face it, when you’re running a business, you’re confronted with so many different opportunities out there. You might want to go down one path for a new product or a new partner or whatever comes across our desk. We are always confronted with different opportunities and long story short, if we don’t have attention and focus in our business and know the exact direction that we’re heading at any given time, chances are we’re missing out on profit and productivity. So, to talk about this subject, we decided to bring in the infamous Neen James. 

Now Neen James is the author of Folding Time and Attention Pays. She has been named one of the top 30 leadership speakers by Global Guru several years in a row because of her work with companies like Viacom, Comcast and Virtuoso travel among others. She is an attention expert and believes that if you don’t have attention and focus and use systems to be able to elevate yourself out of the minutia, we are missing out on profits and productivity. So, in this episode, we are talking exclusively about that and the systems that we can use to bring attention back into our business. As always, we hope you enjoy this one and don’t forget to stick around till the end for some awesome resources. All right. And we are live. Neen, what a pleasure. This has been a really long time in the making.

Neen: Oh, good day, what a treat it is to finally get to play with you and to serve your listeners. I’m really excited about today.

Austin: We are too. I love that you just started this out with a good day too. It felt very…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Australian…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Which is applicable…

Taylorr: Yeah. I felt that awe. That was good.

Neen: You know Austin good day only works for hello; it doesn’t work for goodbye which is kind of hilarious. So, if you really want to look like you’re in the know with an Aussie, you only use it. And one thing with Aussies Austin is we’re really lazy with our language. We couldn’t say like good day, we say, goo day, so we shorten everything the moment that we can.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Nice. I like that. It’s efficiency. Exactly right. 

Taylorr: We have this issue up in Minnesota because everyone wants to feed each other. So rather than saying, did you eat yet? It’s geet yet. So, it was just like one whole big jumble of a sentence into two words.

Neen: Oh my God. I remember this happened to me in Dallas. Someone said that and it took me three times where I had to actually say I’m so sorry, I really don’t understand what you’re asking me. So yeah…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Neen: [Cross-talk 02:46] Around the world of the language that we use. And I think that’s an important thing for speakers too, is because words matter and they grab our attention so quickly and if you say something someone doesn’t understand, not everyone wants to ask about it, right?

Taylorr: That’s right.

Neen: And so being deliberate with language and being on brand is a really important thing for every thought leader.

Taylorr: Oh man, I love that tip. So Neen, we were doing some research before the show and so there’s this line in a past event that we found where we could find you on a Harley wearing awesome shoes. So how did those passions start? Can you fill us in a little bit there?

Neen: I have always been around motorbikes since I was tiny. If you see any pictures of me, baby photos, I’d probably have a bike helmet on and so I’ve always been around motorbikes. I love them, I’ve always loved them and fortunately my honey also loves them. So, we’ve always had Harleys and what’s been fun about that is there’s a whole community around Harley Davidson and if you ever go to a highly oriented event, you can be sitting next to a rocket scientist, a doctor, a customer service representative, it doesn’t matter, it’s this one beautiful level playing field. So always…

Austin: Yeah.

Neen: Always loved bike adventures. The other thing I love about when we would do longer trips is on a Harley. It kind of like blows all the cobwebs out, if that makes sense to you. So yeah, I love that. Now. Obviously, if you have a Harley, you may want to dress accordingly. And so, on one of our visits to the US when we lived in Australia, I found these insane boots that had red flames that go up the side.

Taylorr: Oh man.

Neen: Obviously I had to have those. And so, yes, I definitely have a love of shoes and I’m known for my love of shoes but even more important that you look stylish when you’re riding the bike as well.

Austin: Oh yeah. You have to, those things go together, Harley too. It’s sort of like they’ve got their fashion component too.

Taylorr: Oh yeah.

Austin: It’s like way more than just motorcycles. It’s a whole oh my goodness. Austin that’s so true and they’re one of the only brands in the world that people want to tattoo on their body. I mean that’s genius as far as like attention and marketing but I know that what’s really common among Harley lovers is when you’re in a new town or you’re visiting an event, you go to the local dealership and buy a t-shirt just as your souvenir. And so, Austin, that dedication and commitment to their merchandise line, that’s an incredible revenue stream for them and it also makes it accessible for everyone. So, depending on who rides the bike, the other person might enjoy shopping in the store.

Austin: That’s true…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: That’s great. It’s a whole activity. Family-friendly activity right there.

Neen: It’s family-friendly, yeah.

Austin: Okay so from your early days, like in Harley Davidson’s to now, headlining keynote speaker, there’s big journey there. I’d love for you to unpack some of that. What’s brought you to where you’re at with your career now?

Neen: Austin, I grew up in corporate business in Australia. I worked in retail banking, telecommunications and the oil industry. They were not a lot of to senior chicks in oil when I was there, but as an executive strategist, I’m obsessed with getting people to pay attention to what matters. Because my belief is that if we can pay attention, companies make more money, our relationships are deeper and we take care of the planet on which we live. And so, I’ve had the privilege of working with all kinds of clients, whether it is the top media companies, Viacom, Warner Music, Comcast or pharmaceuticals, Johnson and Johnson, all of the places, even the FBI. And what I am often referred to as like the Energizer Bunny for their meeting, because my job is to bring that energy and focus for a group of people. I think what’s unique about me, Austin is while I’m Australian for people trying to work out the crazy accent, I have a very global perspective, but I became an American citizen too so I have a local perspective.

I’m the oldest of five. I sound like I’m five. So, I have this combination of being like the most responsible but sounding like a child. And I’ve written so many books and my body of work is around productivity and attention so I think I’ve always been fascinated in this Austin. In my corporate career, I realized very quickly the people that got promoted got things done and I paid attention to that and so I was very deliberate with my corporate career. There’re some challenges that the world faces and it doesn’t matter if you’re a thought leader, an entrepreneur or a corporate executive. A lot of people say to me, things like Neen, there’s just never enough hours in the day or they might say there’s so much to do, I don’t even know where to focus first, or maybe they say, I’m exhausted. Now at the time of recording, we’re coming out of a very unique time in our world and so my job is to fix those challenges. And often as the opening keynote speaker for a large corporate event, that’s truly where I do love to play ballrooms and board tables on my favorite playgrounds. And so, I have this very unique practice and I call it a practice, not a business. It is absolutely me; I will never sell it; I’m not licensing my IP. It’s just me when I retire, that’s it. But I’m…

Austin: Nice.

Neen: Deliberate about that strategy because I want to be able to run my business no matter where I am in the world. And I want the client relationship to be very directly with me. So, whether it’s keynoting, whether it’s executive strategy work or sometimes I mentor quite a lot of very senior execs, all of those different profit centers have a very common through line and that is how do we focus on what’s most important? And that’s why I do what I do. I just want people to be able to really find those significant moments that matter whether that’s personally or professionally. So yeah, my career has been all over and I think too, being so young in my corporate roles and also being female and being Australian, I have this very unique perspective that I can bring to a lot of the organizations and having worked with so many of these wonderful brands around the world. I learned so much from each of them that I can also share with others. Does that answer your question?

Austin: That was a great answer.

Taylorr: Heck yeah.

Austin: Absolutely, what a journey. And so, we’re definitely going to unpack that expertise more. This is a topic that Taylorr and I love to explore and I know I can always improve in this area…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: So, I’m excited to learn a lot…

Neen: Me too. Just between you and I, don’t tell anyone.

Austin: Shh. Those of you don’t say anything. Something that I have to point out though, that I really appreciate about you and I’m sure that this has played into your success, but you’re very authentic…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: I can tell that when you’re talking, you’re coming from the soul here. This is not buzzwords; this is not you borrowing ideas from other people; this is just Neen.

Taylorr: And so passion…

Austin: Yeah. I can feel the passion. Yeah. That’s awesome. So aside from whatever topic…

Neen: I appreciate that. It’s funny because I think you have to work harder at being real because when you think about the environment in which we live, we see the highlight reel of people’s lives through social media and people…

Taylorr: Yeah.

Neen: Are only posting and believe me, I don’t want to post an ugly selfie either so hands up, guilty. However, I feel like if you are standing in service of an audience, whether that is as a coach or a mentor or as a trainer or a facilitator, or maybe a keynote speaker who you are onstage and who you are offstage is vital for the experience, because it’s actually really hard work if you’re going to have different personas and so for me, it’s just easier. Now what that also means Austin I’m not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay with me. I would rather be someone’s glass of champagne and them savory it deliciously. Champagne stuff for everyone and that’s totally okay too. But I think you have to know as a speaker who you are for and who you’re not. I just walk into a room; I just assume everyone wants to play with me. That’s how I show up.

Austin: Nice.

Neen: And so, I think that also differentiates me because please understand I’m also a little old lady. So, it’s taken me some time to get to that place. In the early days of my career, let’s be super clear, I thought I had to be perfect and every word had to be precise and I had to look a certain way and sound a certain way. When I first started professional speaking, I cannot tell you how many people told me I had to get voice coaching and I needed to drop my voice and I needed to change my voice. And I remember the president of the National Speakers Association saying nobody will ever pay you with that voice. It was so wrong.

Taylorr: Oh my.

Neen: Because that’s the thing, is if you try and pretend to be someone else or you see someone and you admire them and you try to mirror that then you’re not showing up and to me, that’s just too hard work. I’m too old for that. I’m just too old for that

Taylorr: Amen, Wow. So many golden nuggets. We’re not even 10 minutes into this you guys. I hope you’re all taking notes right now. So be someone’s glass of champagne, it’s okay, so much to unpack. So, okay Neen, one of the things that we watched your reel of course, because we’d want to get some research, obviously learn more about you, all those things. One of the lines that really stood out to us though, is that we now accept distracted as the norm. It almost like hit my soul when I heard that from you. So, did you always realize…what realization did you have that was like we accept distracted as a norm? What did you kind of experience to land on that?

Neen: Taylorr, look around you. If you ever attended a zoom meeting and people don’t have their camera on, you know that they’re checking their email or doing their laundry, right?

Taylorr: Guilty.

Neen: Yeah right, and so you know that. Watch people is the most fascinating to me. Here’s the thing, I am old enough to remember like people’s cell phones, don’t hold that against me but that’s like a true thing. So, what you’ll notice is if anything stops, meaning if you’re on public transport, if you’re in a conference room where people stopped, just say we go to break instantly it’s like everyone’s like praying and bowing to their cell phones. So, we have become so addicted to our technology that we’ve actually made technology more important than people. Watch people on a hot date at a restaurant and then the couple they’re often on their phones, this is insane and we’ve accepted that. We’ve allowed and tolerated that behavior and then we get mad at our little kids because they’re doing it, but we are the ones role modeling it.

I noticed really early in my corporate career that if something wasn’t applicable to someone in the meeting room, they tune out. They check their email or they would just zone out and so I’ve been very conscious of this for over twenty years. But then when you magnify social media’s addiction, technology’s’ addiction and the fact that we’re frankly just tired. We’re just overtired. We’re over zoom. We’re Teams whichever one you use. We’re over full inboxes, we’re over all the meetings, we’re over COVID, we’re just over everything and so we sort of hide in our distractions and I think we as leaders have to defend against those distractions. I mean, think about the way the poor brain is working. Every time you ask your brain to do something it’s like opening a new tab on your computer. Now I don’t know about you, some days I have way too many tabs open and so your brain is craving this completion and we just keep adding, adding, adding. And one of the things when I was researching one of my books Attention Pays, I found this study out of California that said that the brain takes on average twenty-three minutes to switch tasks. 

Taylorr: Wow.

Neen: No wonder the brain, the poor thing can’t get anything done is because we keep switching it and so this brain switching we’re doing all the time, this distraction is also fed by the fact that not only are we overtired, is that the expectations of us are even greater to show up perfect on social to be present in every meeting, to answer every email and some of these expectations that we put on ourselves are totally unrealistic to the point where society has said, oh, you’re not allowed to have a rest or you can’t have a vacation. Americans are hilarious, no offense I am American now, but in Australia it’s different because we get four weeks of vacation here.

Taylorr: That’s right. 

Neen: And we take it. And sometimes in a row. Americans, if you take like a four-day weekend, you call that a vacation. No, no, that’s just a long weekend. And so, when you think about the way we teach this work ethic, so, so young, it’s no wonder we’re distracted. We’re not scheduling any recovery; we’re totally addicted to all of the devices that are around us and we’re not really living these purposeful intentional lives. And I think that’s where it becomes really difficult because we don’t even know we’re doing it.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Wow.

Neen: I don’t know if you know this, but the average person touches their cell phone two thousand three hundred plus times a day.

Austin: What? Did you just say two thousand? Oh my gosh. I had no idea.

Taylorr: Wow.

Neen: Just disturbing.

Austin: Yeah.

Taylorr: Yeah. [Inaudible 15:41]

Neen: So as a thought leader, when you think about some of the people that are listening to a show, they have this responsibility to think big ideas, to be able to sell those ideas and then deliver them out into the world. That’s their job. And how do you think about big ideas if you’re so involved in the tiny little notifications and annoyances and distractions that you have? How do you possibly ideate and think bigger for your clients, think bigger for your audience if you’re just focused on how many followers you have on social media or answering every email in your inbox or attending every meeting on your calendar? So, we have to defend against that distraction.

Austin: Yeah. You know, that was a really good example. I liked the macro scale and I even see how that applies to the micro scale, the little everyday stuff compared to crafting content or being a world changer. That’s one thing. But even I noticed that if I go from sending emails to working on administrative tasks, as soon as you said earlier, it takes 23 minutes to switch tabs. I felt that it’s like it takes me a significant amount of time to shift my mindset from the one thing that I’m doing to something else. And it always feels like you’re sort of trudging it first and once you get into the flow and you’re back into it, then you can be efficient and so on but that transition is really difficult and I can see why something like your phone distracting you could amplify that exact thing.

Neen: I don’t want people to think I’ve mastered this like…

Taylorr: Sure.

Neen: Full disclosure. I get distracted like everyone else, I multitask like a lunatic at times so please understand I’m talking from the pain that I also explained to my own life, but it’s just that I’ve spent so much time researching it and being in it that I’ve looked for solutions to help that. Let’s add to the fact that the brain not only craves completion, it gets excited when you do get something done. So, Austin, when you think about the fact that if you write something down, your brain feels safe. So, the act of writing something down can be a strategy for people if you want to be more focused, right? So, if you’re going to write a blog, tell yourself I’m going to write this blog today and write it down and put a timeline on it. But here’s, what’s really also fascinating about the brain and when you think about attention is the moment that you cross something off the list, your brain gets so excited for you that like, you just did something, and so then it gives you this little shot of dopamine like a high five from your brain. Like, wow you did something today, good for you.

And I think what we are craving is that sense of completion. And the reason we’re so exhausted, overwhelmed and overstressed and overtired is we don’t have anything complete. We have all these ideas for blogs as a thought leader, but we haven’t written them. We have all these ideas for creating video or updating systems and processes but we don’t get to them because we’re too busy checking the little things off the list and I am as guilty of just wanting to cross the little things off. But the challenge is if you’re just crossing off all those little things, you’re not getting to the bigger things and people listening to this podcast, are people who have committed to changing the world in their area of expertise. Which means you have to dedicate time and focus and energy to scoping out distraction, free time to ideate and really think bigger about what your clients need.

Austin: Yeah. So, I’ve got a question that’s sort of tangential to this. I think I’m getting the philosophy behind this and I’m somebody that thinks very linearly so I always go to practical practicality and things. And what we’re talking about reminds me of something that I’ve used in the past, although less consistently than I would like to, but the Pomodoro Technique. And I’m sure you’ve heard of this. What’s your take on that? And maybe for somebody that doesn’t understand, maybe to give them a high level of what that looks like, if you’re able.

Neen: There are about a bazillion techniques on the market. So, find one that works for you. But the premise of Pomodoro is that you work hard for a period of time. Then you take a break, then you work hard, then you take a break. And so, these are not unique strategies. It’s just, some people have been more clever in packaging them than others.

Austin: Sure.

Neen: And so, I think whatever works for you. If you are the kind of person who looks on your bookshelf and you might have like twenty plus productivity books, chances are you have this desperate desire to find a technique that works for you. The challenge I have for our listeners is there is no one technique that works for everyone, but if you want some practical strategies Austin, I can share with you things that I’ve shared with my clients that have certainly helped them. And find something that works for you. Now, I have tried every app, planner, digital analog. I’ve tried the apps, I’ve downloaded the systems, I’ve attended the courses and they sound great at the beginning and they work awesome for a few weeks. And then you’re like, it just isn’t working for me and you can’t work out why. So, I created my own. So, I have a daily tracker that I literally look, it’s on my desk. I print this out, it’s physical because I know the science of the brain and it says today I will. And here’s the thing Austin, just choose three things.

If you want to be productive in the day, choose three things you’re going to focus on. Have a fifteen minutes strategic appointment with yourself and just say, what’s my three not negotiable activities? I recommend all my executives do this technique and then write them down. The act of writing them down is powerful because you’ve heard me say the brain wants to cross them off. But the challenge that I found with so many of those techniques Austin is they sometimes are too work-related or too personal-related, but they’re not holistic. And I’m happy to make my daily tracker available to your listeners. I can give you that, you can pop it in the show notes, it’s easy peasy. But what I realized was I wanted to track was I really taking care of my body? Was I taking care of my physical health, my mental health, my spiritual health, my financial health? And so what I did was I created a one-page system. I like you, am obsessed with systems thinking and so I realized the systems that I needed in my life were also beneficial for my clients. So, a lot of them use my daily tracker, one of my clients even laminates them and just uses a dry erase every day so it’s more environmentally friendly, love that, that’s genius.

But I think you’ve got to find something that works for you. There is a lot of science Austin with commentary, the idea of being intense in your focus and then taking recovery. That recovery means away from devices. It means away from your desk. You know one of the most disgusting things we can do every day is eat lunch at our desk in front of that computer.

Austin: Yeah.

Neen: But everyone does it. Your poor brain doesn’t even know you’ve eaten because you’re empowering through your emails or you’re sitting on a zoom call. And so, if you really want to stand up and serve the world, you have to think about a system that works for you. My suggestion to our listeners is start with fifteen minutes every day. Have a private appointment, a strategic appointment with yourself, just look across your day and say what are my three non-negotiables? Stop there. Feel good about crossing them off, and that’s how you start to think about. On one of my daily trackers, it actually says, did I write content?

Austin: Nice.

Neen: Did I share something in the world to advance a conversation? So, you have to think about what works for you. I wish there was one-size-fits-all, but we’re such beautiful, unique beings that it doesn’t work for everyone. So, I’m happy to make my tools available to anyone who wants them.

Taylorr: Yeah, that’d be awesome.

Austin: So, kind of you.

Taylorr: Yeah, thank you. We’ll make sure those are in the show notes so listeners go check that out. Neen, one of the things that well we loved very early on about you and your messaging and even as we’ve had this conversation today is this mention of systems. You’re obviously a very systems-oriented person. We’re two peas in a pod in this kind of category and one thing that’s unique is you’re running a very powerful business as a practice, which means it’s yourself. You’re doing everything, which means you have to have a lot of systems helping you out which are allowing you to have focus in your business, to focus on the bigger picture things like higher level things. So, how did that come about in your business? Did you always know you needed systems? Did you get things right off the get-go? Tell me about that whole systems thing and how systems have applied to your business.

Neen: When I was in my corporate career, I created templates and systems for everything and it’s one of the reasons I got promoted so quickly. So, I understood the power of a simple template and I also understood the power of leverage. If you do something once, then you can repeat it often. So, the concept of systems is something that I’ve always just thought to be just like doesn’t everyone know this?

Taylorr: Yeah.

Neen: And so, when I first started, when I left the corporate for my speaking career and my mentor at the time and a dear friend now, and with business partners but he was the person who I sought out his advice. His name’s Matt Church, one of the greatest speakers…

Taylorr: Oh yeah.

Neen: On the planet. And Matt saying, what do you want to talk about? I don’t know and he said, well, you know, maybe you should talk about productivity and I was like productivity? Nobody wants to talk about that. That’s a stupid idea. Isn’t everybody productive? Like I literally remember saying…

Taylorr: Oh.

Neen: I remember where I was sitting in Sydney talking to Matt about that. He was like, no Neen. Now he’s highly productive so he was a good role model for me too but I was like, fancy that. And all the frameworks that I had built for myself over the years, what happened was when I left my corporate career, a lot of people started to ask me to speak at big conferences and best practice events on my system so I was like, there’s something to this. So, I’ve always had systems. I believe in templatizing my life, wherever I can. So, things are either automated, templatized, standardized. My belief is systems create freedom. So as a thought leader, why we need systems is because it frees up that beautiful real estate in your brain to focus on much more significant things. So, I have silly little systems Taylorr. When I traveled significantly, like lots of people listening and so I put my things on the conveyor belt at security and the exact same order with the exact same thing to the airport. I packed my bag in the exact same way. These are mindless systems to me, but it’s funny when people get excited about seeing that stuff.

But in the same way, as a thought leader, as an entrepreneur, you need ways to capture your intellectual property. You need to put systems in place for how you prep to serve audiences. Every time I speak, let me see if I can find one here. Okay. So, this is a show I did for a client. Every time I speak, no matter where I’m in the world, I always have a mind map on stage with me. That’s my notes, that’s a system. Systems create freedom. So, when I work with thought leaders, they often ask me, well, how do I get the results? How do I build the relationships? How do I get the results that I need? And often what they focus on is they focus on the metrics. But in actual fact, they need to focus on the meaning behind those metrics. Because I believe that systems direct our attention, therefore you need to create systems of attention. So, to everyone listening, chances are you might have some systems in place but there’s so many like Speaker Flow, it’s a system. They’ve done the work for you, so leverage the systems that are out there already or involve systems to make them work for yourself.

Austin: Oh man, I wish that we could just put that on repeat and just play that forever.

Taylorr: Yeah, seriously.

Austin: That’s funny. You know we’ve talked about this in previous episodes. You might already even have heard this or use this yourself Neen but systems is an acronym. It can stand for save yourself some time, energy, money and stress…

Neen: Right?

Austin: It’s just true. Yeah, across the board. I love the mental freedom piece you just brought up.

Neen: Right? Look at the great thought leaders about time. Tamsen Webster is stupid smart, she’s such a genius and she have what she calls the Red Thread Process. The red thread is a system, she has a conversational case and it’s so elegant and she makes it look so easy, but understand to build that system, her intellectual property and years of experience as the executive producer of TED events, as a marketing agency, like all of her experience went into that system. So, I think what we have to think about as thought leaders is you might be on the verge of creating a system that’s revolutionary for someone else. My fifteen minutes strategic appointment system, I’ve been doing my whole career but some of my executives claim that is what has made them more focused every day. So sometimes you don’t quite know the impact of the systems you’re building and how they impact others and so we have a responsibility to share them with the world but we can’t do that if we’re so distracted by answering all our email, sitting on team and zoom calls and being on social media all day.

Taylorr: Amen.

Austin: True that. So, I’m hearing people that I know talking to me in the back of my head right now as we’re having this conversation…

Taylorr: Such a good way to put that.

Austin: We find that a lot of the people that we work with and I mean it’s partially the niche that we find ourselves in this expert thought leadership category, right? But I think a lot of people in this space define themselves as creatives, as visionaries, they’re very…systems is sort of a curse word for them. I think at least they think that going into it. So, what would you say to somebody that just says, like I’m not a systems person, I’m a creative? Can somebody that isn’t quote unquote wired that way still make this work for them?

Neen: I will not buy it, that’s rubbish. I will not…

Taylorr: Yes.

Neen: Buy into that for a system because here’s the thing. If you are creative, you may not be able to name the system that you have this incredible creative spirit in you that has to get out. Like you can’t help but make music, you can’t help but write lyrics, you can’t help but paint. If you are a creative, maybe you’re a graphic designer, you can’t help but do that. It’s in your DNA, which is great. But unless you find a way to show that to the world, that’s a little selfish. That’s just you and your wonderful gift so I don’t want you to think of system as like this huge weight around your neck, I want you to think of it as very liberating because if you implement systems, you can scale your creativity so that other people can benefit from it as well. But also, it allows you to teach others. So often I bet creatives are frequently asked, well, how do you do that? And they’re like, I don’t know. Well, you don’t know because you haven’t reverse engineered it. But imagine if you reverse engineered your creativity and your genius, you could then teach others how to do it.

And part of thought leadership is being able to reverse engineer. Some of the things you do intuitively to help others be more successful. I have worked with some of the world’s greatest creatives and once they realize the system gives them the freedom to be more creative, not less creative, then they’re able to achieve greatness in the world even more than they could have imagined. A really common thing that I hear from like salespeople that I work with. They’re like, I don’t want to put data into the CRM, that’s a waste of my time. I should just be out there and talking to my clients. If you really want to build those meaningful relationships and you have some historical context, you need to rely on the CRM system that’s in place. So, when you next have that conversation, you can touch on things before. Our brains don’t have the capacity to remember everything. So, I think it’s rubbish. I think creatives can absolutely use systems. The chances are they already use systems, they just never called it that. I bet you every creative listening to this takes a shower in the exact same way, every single day. I bet…

Taylorr: Yep.

Neen: You any money. When you get in the shower, you do the same thing. Honey, that’s a system.

Taylorr: Yeah.

Austin: Preach. Love that.

Taylorr: Mic drop what a… Neen you are amazing. You are people. Thank you so much for coming on today and talking about attention and systems and your backstory, you are an incredible person. So, thanks for being here. As you know, we’re all about creating value for our audience which you have done a tremendous job of. I’m curious if there’s any way that our listeners might be able to get in touch or connect with you. What are you working on right now that they might be able to benefit from?

Neen: The easiest way to follow in my adventures is Instagram. That’s where I play every day. That’s an easy way and then if anything is important, I’ll let you know about it on there. But for [inaudible 31:28]

Taylorr: Alright.

Neen: I’d love to be able to do a couple of things. I will make sure everyone can get a free copy of Folding Time. So, I will give you a PDF of this gentlemen that you can put in the show notes. So that can be my gift to everybody else. You will notice if you are clever in the way you read this, this is just a system unpacked in chapters. So that’s one hand and then I’ll also send you some sample chapters of Attention Pays because I can’t send you the whole book because my publisher would freak out but, I can give you some sample chapters and then that will also help you understand where I’m coming from. So as far as staying connected there’s only one Neen James online and I’d love to connect with you.

Taylorr: Awesome. Well, those links will be in the show notes. Thanks again, so much Neen for coming on the show and hey, if you liked this episode, don’t forget to rate it, like it, subscribed to it. And if you want more awesome resources like this, go to speakerflow.com/resources. Thank you so much for chiming in. I just wanted to take a second to thank our sponsor Auxbus. Auxbus is the all-in-one suite of tools you need to run your podcast and it’s actually what we run here at Speaker Flow for Technically Speaking, it makes planning podcast simple, it makes recording podcasts simple, it even makes publishing podcasts to the masses simple and quite honestly, Technically Speaking wouldn’t be up as soon as it is without Auxbus. Thank you so much Auxbus and if you are interested in checking Auxbus out, whether you’re starting a podcast or you have one currently get our special offer auxbus.com/speakerflow or click the link below in our show notes.

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