Believe it or not, the law of diminishing returns doesn’t apply to being grateful. In other words, it’s impossible to practice too much gratitude as long as it’s sincere. So, as long as I’m in the moment, thank you for listening to Technically Speaking. I really appreciate your company.
But, what does this have to do with growing an expert business you ask?
And to talk about this, we invited employee engagement and retention expert Lisa Ryan.
Lisa’s programs focus on positive workplace culture, inter-generational communication, employee acquisition, engagement, retention, and gratitude strategies (“Grategies”) for personal and professional development.
Today, she’s sharing with us how to use gratitude as a strategy to grow your expert business beyond the 6-figure mark.
What’s not to love about that? Let’s get into it!
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Show Notes 📓
✅ To connect with Lisa and learn more, check out her site: https://lisaryanspeaks.com
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Read the Transcription 🤓
Taylorr: Welcome to another episode of Technically Speaking, we’re your hosts, Taylorr and Austin and in today’s episode, we’re talking about how to grow beyond six figures, using gratitude as a strategy. Believe it or not, the law of diminishing returns doesn’t apply to being grateful, meaning it’s impossible to practice too much gratitude so long as it’s sincere. So as long as I’m in the moment, I just want to say, thank you. Thank you for listening to Technically Speaking, we really appreciate your company. Okay, so what does this have to do with growing an expert business? Everything. And to talk about this, we invited on employee engagement and retention expert, Lisa Ryan.
Lisa’s programs focus on positive workplace culture, intergenerational communication, employee acquisition, engagement retention, and gratitude strategies, grategies, for personal and professional development. And today she’s sharing with us how to use gratitude as a strategy to grow your expert business beyond the six figure mark, because she’s done the exact same thing. So what’s not to love about that? As always stick around until the end for some awesome resources and we you enjoy this one. We’ll see you in there. Alright, and we are live. Lisa, it is awesome to have you welcome.
Lisa: Thank you so much for having me. It’s great to be here.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure.
Austin: So great to have you and your cool background, by the way.
Taylorr: I know.
Austin: We’re just talking about this before the show, but…
Taylorr: Taking notes.
Austin: Yep. If any of you guys need a cool virtual background, turns out Lisa’s the person to talk to because it is awesome for those of you just listening, you’re missing it, pop over to YouTube, check it out.
Lisa: It’s not green screen people, not green screen.
Taylorr: And it’s not a real wall either, which is crazy.
Austin: Yeah. It’s amazing.
Taylorr: Nice plug for the video by the way, Austin. Appreciate that.
Austin: Yeah. Thanks.
Taylorr: Alright. So Lisa, we brought you on for a very special reason for this episode, and it’s kind of around your core kind of subject of gratitude, but it’s more importantly how you’ve leveraged that and your whole philosophy about gratitude and what you teach others and to building a successful business, an expert business speaking, training, coaching, and the gamut. So thank you again for coming on today. We’re really excited to unpack some of this.
Taylorr: Yeah, definitely. So what was funny though, is we like to do our research a little bit before every episode. So, just [inaudible 02:30].
Taylorr: Yeah. I know the internet is powerful.
Austin: That is the appropriate response.
Taylorr: Yeah, that’s usually the thing we get. But we saw on your site that you can weld.
Lisa: Yes, I can.
Taylorr: That’s a pretty cool thing.
Taylorr: So a couple questions, how? And why? And what’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on?
Lisa: Actually I was in welding consumables. I had a 25 plus year sales career, And part of that was in industrial sales, which is why my speaking business really focuses on manufacturing. But in the welding industry, I sold a maintenance engineered line of welding rod. Which basically means a lot of your welding products are designed for clean, flat surfaces where mine were designed to reduce time, so welding through grease and dirt and oil and stuff. But I loved the industry and I loved going into auto plants and steel mills. I got to go into the salt mine, so I was like a mile below Lake Erie and four miles out, which is a little terrifying when you realize you have a lake as you’re ceiling, but…
Taylorr: Oh my goodness.
Lisa: I loved welding so much that I actually took four quarters of welded art. So I would sell welding all week, and then on the weekend I would go to this class and the instructor and I would hang out for like four hours afterwards and we would just play at the weld shop. So probably my favourite of my creations, I just call The Bug. And he is about a four foot tall praying mantis, he’s got a beautiful copper back that I coloured using flame, he’s just beautiful rebar and all kinds of stuff. I have all of my art, there’s a folder on my face book page called Lisa’s Welded Art. So if you ever wanted to go and, and check out what I’ve done, I did a Kokopelli wine rack, I’ve done all kinds of things, but the bug is definitely my favourite because I got about 60 hours into him.
Taylorr: 60 hours. Wow.
Austin: That’s amazing. And four feet tall, this is pretty substantial size preying mantis.
Lisa: Yeah, he’s big. Yeah.
Austin: Man. So cool.
Austin: I have such respect for that craft, it is amazing. I’m one of those people that will watch YouTube videos of, I think they call them dime welds and all these really cool, intricate things of people. It’s amazing.
Lisa: It’s fascinating. It’s fascinating. When I go to Lincoln Electric has a welding school way out east and they have different welds from contests, and you just look at that and they are works of art in themselves because you’re just looking at this [inaudible 05:10] because I know what it took to be able to create a bead that’s that beautiful.
Taylorr: Holy cow.
Austin: It’s kind of amazing. Welding is like one of those things where you’re using a medium, that’s so tough, like metal, but such an intricate thing and so it straddles this line between durability and finesse and there’s just not that many things out there that do that so respect Lisa.
Lisa: Yeah. Oh, thanks.
Taylorr: Yeah, for sure. Super cool. So how did you segue that from like the selling and manufacturing into what you do now? When did the whole idea of gratitude as a subject come up for you?
Lisa: Well, the funny thing is, is when I was in the welding industry, I was also their corporate computer trainer, so I got used to doing eight hour training classes. When you think about the average age at that time, and this was, the late nineties to early two thousands, the average age in the industry was 58. So I would have to go and teach these guys primarily who had never even learned how to turn on a computer, why they should take their laptop into the field to do welding demonstrations instead of carrying around their six inch wide binder with a leather handle. So that got me into training and then I’d go into my clients and customers and do oxy acetylene safety training and that type of thing. And then when the economy crashed in the early two thousands here in Cleveland and I went into healthcare and I was selling surgical gloves and hibiclens and into the surgical environment, I started doing continuing education programs for nurses and surgical techs on exciting products like hand hygiene, double gloving, occupational asthma, latex allergies, all the really fun stuff. Actually hand hygiene is coming back to haunt us now.
Taylorr: Yeah, isn’t it sure? It sure is. Should have taken that more seriously,
Lisa: But in the seven years I was there, I did more than 500 continuing education classes, and I discovered the national speakers association along the way, thinking that this would be a fun thing to do. I really didn’t know that speaking was a business nor did I know what I wanted to speak about because being in sales, that’s not what I wanted to speak about. But it wasn’t until I started keeping a gratitude journal as a practice with three of my friends that we just after a four day conference that we went to and did a fire walk, the big Tony Robbins thing, that we knew that we wanted to keep that momentum going that we had with four days with Tony. So we opened up a Facebook thread and we shared experiences, that we had people that we met, things we learned and then one of my friends said, well, why don’t we write down things we’re grateful for? And we shared with each other every day we held each other accountable.
And when I started seeing the results of that in a very short time, I knew to the core of my being that that’s what I was supposed to talk about. And the funny thing is I started my speaking business and it was going be all about gratitude and creating a workplace culture of appreciation until one of my friends kind of patted me on the arm and said, you know nobody’s ever going pay you for that, right? Because it was 2010 and they weren’t, so I actually changed the language to employee engagement because that was marketable.
Taylorr: That’s right.
Lisa: And the funny thing is that 10, 11 years later, however long it’s been now is that I actually get booked, it’s about 50/50. I get booked just as often for pure gratitude as I do employee retention. And when you think about my market, it’s manufacturing and I’m teaching them about gratitude. So it’s something that relates to us on such a personal connected level that people get it and it doesn’t matter the industry that you’re in because that’s what we want to bring in our lives.
Austin: Oh man, that is so cool and such a powerful thing. And honestly, there is some futurist stuff happening there because today we’re seeing the great resignation happening, and one of the key reasons that people are attributing as a lack of feeling, meaning and appreciation inside of the workplace, so I think you were on the cutting edge of this and probably you’re extremely valuable as we’re trying to navigate the new world that you’re in. Also I have to point out very cool that you took this thing that you do, which is this love and appreciation, no pun intended, for what gratitude can do for an individual in a business, but you still niche it down…
Taylorr: That’s right.
Austin: Despite the fact that it could be anybody. Anybody on this planet can benefit from having more gratitude in their life I can imagine, but you really chose to just continue applying it to the sector that you already were built into, and that’s probably contributed to the success that you’ve had. Obviously you’re a very well accomplished speaker. So props there, there’s probably some conversation for us to have, but I do want to sort of double back into this era that we’re in right now, where companies are seeing scourges of people leaving. And I don’t know if anybody really has answers. In fact, on your website, we saw that there’s a stat, 64% I think of people leave an organization because they don’t feel appreciated. Why do you think that is, can you speak a little bit more to that phenomenon?
Lisa: Well, when people feel connected to an organization, they stay. This is not taking money off the table because you have to pay people a marketable wage, and particularly now, as we are go, going to see salaries and hourly wages going up, just because of what we’ve gone through in the last 19 months, and people realize that, hey, if I can make 28 bucks an hour collecting unemployment for a year, I’m certainly not going back to your $8 an hour job, but that’s completely beside the point. And that’s it that people are looking at, do I feel valued? Do I want to stay here? And the funny thing is, is that my husband was part of that. He was laid off for eight months last year, and then the only reason why he really got called back is that his boss quit and he was the only one with cost accounting experience to go back.
But his company did a lot of the right things on paper. They would take everybody to Cedar Point Amusement Park in the summer. And they had for St Patrick’s Day, they would bring in corn beef and cabbage for the entire shop and all this cool stuff. But the day to day never said, thank you. Never showed appreciation. Nothing Scott ever did was correct, and he was there for 13 years. And so even though after he got called back to work, all the work that we had done while he was laid off with updating his LinkedIn profile, he was still getting dings from people. And Hey, are you looking? And the day before his 60th birthday, my husband took a job with another company and they are amazing.
Scott’s probably the oldest guy that works there but he has the flexibility that his last company had nothing to do with flexibility. You are coming back to the office, and it wasn’t for any other reason, aside from the fact that because we don’t trust that you’re actually going to work, and that was very apparent. Where with his company now, and Scott loves going to the office, so living in Cleveland, if we have a bad snow day, he can work from home, but just the flexibility that’s there if he wants it.
Austin: He had a choice.
Lisa: He feels connected. And like when the guy that retired, that the position was created because of him, they took the entire account department out to cheesecake factory to celebrate. In 13 years Scott’s other company hadn’t done that. So it’s just these little things that we pay attention to that Scott would have taken a pay cut to join them, thankfully he didn’t have to because they know as an organization, as much time and effort, as they put into bringing him in and getting to the point of making an offer, they didn’t want to come in basically at less money than he was making. But from my own standpoint, I was in medical sales and I had a six figure job and, yI was like, ah, there’s no way that I can ever work for less than a hundred thousand dollars a year until I started my speaking business and starved for four years.
Taylorr: Can we get an amen people? [Cross-talk 14:07].
Lisa: And I thought my husband would be like, oh girlfriend, you are going back to work. But we also have that whole happy wife, happy life thing. And it was so apparent to me that when you are happy, you work for a lot less money than you think you need. And the way to feel connected and appreciated is people catching you in the act of doing things well, of thanking you for being here, thanking you for doing your job, of listening to you, of investing in your personal and professional development. All of these little things that are saying as an employer, I am investing in you because I value and appreciate you.
Austin: Yeah. I love that.
Taylorr: That’s so powerful. So, there’s something I’m bringing in the back of my head though. Is it ever overdone?
Taylorr: Gratitude? Can you ever say thank you too much.
Taylorr: Is there ever a limit?
Taylorr: You answer that pretty quickly. Do you want to break that down? Well I think some people hear that and they’re thinking about like all the people around them, they could be express gratitude to more regularly.
Lisa: Well, sincere gratitude.
Taylorr: Sincere, okay.
Lisa: I tell many people in my programs, I’m like, if you think this Lisa Ryan woman is telling you to go out and thank five people, [cross-talk 15:19]. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Taylorr: That’s not what this means.
Lisa: [Inaudible 15:23] and it’s a check mark then, yeah, absolutely. But I was actually speaking at an event and Mike Byam from Terry Berry was there and Terry Barry is an employee recognition company, they do a lot with that. And in Mike’s program, he actually presented research that they did that showed that you cannot over thank if that thankfulness is sincere. So what that means is that I am not saying, hey Austin, good job. And Austin’s like, well, what was so great about it? I have no idea what I did. But if I say, Austin, the way that you set up the podcast before and your attention to detail and the sound check and everything that you do to make our time together successful, I just really appreciate you’re doing that. Now Austin knows that as his boss, that I’m paying attention. Oh, I didn’t mean to make you cry.
Taylorr: Take all the credit, Austin.
Lisa: And the funny thing is, is that when it comes down to, we can have fun in the workplace joking around with everybody. But one of the things that I remember there was a guy, he came up to me after one of my programs and he had just started working at a big box store. And he had been there for about six weeks and he got one of those kudos letters because he just went above and beyond and he served, served, served. At their weekly meetings, I guess what they would do is they would read these cute kudos letters to show. And again, what a great way to show recognition, to catch people in the act of doing things well. So his boss got up and this kid is like all proud and everything, the next manager that got up, the first words out of his mouth was “Yeah, nice letter from your mother.”
Taylorr: Wow. [Cross-talk 17:11].
Lisa: He was gone six weeks later.
Lisa: So it’s just these little things that we can do. So when you’re sincere and when you are specific ,and even in the employees that are not your rock stars, they’re not your problem children. I just call them the steady at ease. They just show up, they do their job, they’re not on either end of the spectrum, just that kind of glue that keeps the organization together. But if you can focus on them and again, catch them in the act of doing things well, being specific, they might be like, wow, that felt pretty good. How did I get me some more of that? And now you’re giving them the tools that they need to move into rockstar status instead of you think the problem children that bottom 20%, they’re looking for their recruits in that middle 50% of the people who are basically just disengaged, doing as much work to get by so they don’t get fired.
Austin: Yeah. Well, it’s amazing how much people can feel motivated and inspired when they feel like they’re plugged into a process, they’re actually making an impact. Going back to the whole great resignation thing, we just had a conversation last week with Ivin Nugent, who’s an emotional intelligence person. And he was pointing out that, that feeling of belonging and meaningfulness, as it relates to the work that we’re doing is a big deal. And that starts by being told how it is that you fit into things and how you’re making an impact. So I love that. And I’m curious too, because we’re talking about this primarily through the lens of how we’re showing appreciation for an organization. But I know a lot of the people that are listening to this are running businesses like yours. That lean teams, usually there’s maybe not a gigantic infrastructure behind it, it’s because there’s an expert, that’s running the thing. So from your own perspective, running your own personal business, how have you applied some of these principles to help you become more successful?
Lisa: Well, I have been keeping a gratitude journal since 2009. In the morning, every morning before my feet hit the ground, I reach under my bed because that’s where I keep my gratitude journal, and my gratitude journal is nothing more than loose leaf paper in a binder.
Lisa: As a person who actually has written a gratitude journal and talks about it, mine’s probably the ugliest journal on the planet, It doesn’t matter. I take those first couple minutes in the morning and set the expectation. Number one, by acknowledging the things that I’m grateful for, but also being grateful in advance. And it’s funny how that works. Because sometimes I’ll write and I’ll try to create things to happen, I’ll write down, I’m grateful for checks in the mail.
Lisa: Or yesterday I wrote down, I’m grateful for checks in the mail. And guess what I got in the mail on? Monday, I wrote down that I’m grateful for, and I forget if it was closing two speaking gigs or a speaking gig out of the blue, because sometimes I just get the feeling and that’s what I write because I want to create that and sure enough, I closed two speaking gigs and one of them was from a company I had never heard of before.
Lisa: And they just found me and there wasn’t even a question. It’s like, okay, we’re gonna hire you. This is what we have send us a contract. Okay, cool.
Austin: That’s great.
Lisa: But it’s that expectation, and I will tell you with the last 20 months that we’ve gone through with the pandemic, this is not to say that it was happy, happy, joy, joy, because a year ago, this month, January of 21 was probably one of the darkest times that I’ve gone through because it just felt like it was never going to end.
Taylorr: Yeah. How’d you find gratitude in that?
Lisa: I’m Cleveland, it was January, the sun’s out. I’m grateful, the sun shine.
Taylorr: Yeah. Right.
Lisa: I’m grateful to spend time with my husband, and then I just had this feeling that, you know what? I got to get a job. I got to do something, and I came downstairs and on LinkedIn, there was a local company that was looking for an independent contractor to basically be a produced or for their trainers to hang out in the chat room on zoom and Adobe connect calls, and I got the job, and I do that, well, I haven’t done it lately cuz I think they’ve gone back to in person programming, it it’s like these little things that you get you through. It’s just we look for the good, because when you look for the good, you can always find it and there’s also times to just give yourself permission to wallow.
Taylorr: That’s true [inaudible 21:57].
Lisa: But as long as you don’t get stuck. If you’re going have a pity party, make it a really good pity party, but also say my party’s ending at midnight and tomorrow I go back to finding the good. And if you can’t find five things that you can be grateful for, find one. Find one as the rawness of that emotion of depression and anger and frustration and all the things that we’ve all been going through the last year, make a point to find one thing. And then the next day maybe gets a little bit easier to find the next.
Taylorr: I like that.
Austin: That’s so practical, anybody can do that. Anybody listening to this can make space to find one thing that they’re grateful for even on the roughest days, I really believe that. And something that you just mentioned here, I believe that we do create our reality. The way that we perceive the world has an impact on the experiences that we have, and whether or not there’s some metaphysical thing at play there, I don’t know. I’m certainly not smart enough to know, but I do know that I forget the actual name of the psychological principle, but you buy a car and then you see that car all over the place, it’s because we’re raising our mindfulness.
Lisa: The reticular activating system.
Austin: Thank you. Yes.
Taylorr: Alright. Don’t feel bad about not remembering that Austin.
Austin: Oh no, I [inaudible 23:12] believe that. But yeah I think that even just by writing down the things that we’re grateful for, it helps us be more aware of those things that happen in the day. Probably those checks that came in the mail were going come no matter what, but when they came, you probably felt a lot more grateful for it because you had already like set the intention that you were grateful for it. So I think even just being more mindful of the things that we have the ability to be grateful for means that we’ll be more appreciative of those things truly we’ll feel that when they do arise instead of just letting them come and go, like probably a lot of us do every day without even thinking about it.
Lisa: Right. We tend to focus on the really good things, we tend to focus on the really bad things, just like we do with employees in the workplace. But it’s the day to day, that’s the practice of being grateful that it’s 18 degrees outside, but it is 70 in my house. I have two cats that I’m surprised Tinkerbell hasn’t walked in here lately, so we take a look at the day to day that we can otherwise completely take for granted And that’s what keeps us in the practice because that’s what gratitude is. And writing it down, I have what now? 12 years’ worth of journals that I can go through and you just kind of see the ebbs and flows in life. Because a lot of times it’s not happy, happy, joy, joy.
But on the other hand, I also know that there have been times that I’ve gotten out of the habit. My travel schedule gets all crazy or whatever happens, and I just don’t feel as good. I’m like what is going on? And it’s like, oh, got away from gratitude. As soon as I get back to gratitude, it’s like things just flip and start getting better so it’s always there. And it also something that you can do as a couple with your kids to just, instead of saying, how was your day today? Because you know little Johnny’s going be like, well, Billy was mean to me, tell me one good thing that happened today. Get into the habit of looking for the good for me, my husband’s an accountant, he is not into all this self development, professional development, gratitude stuff, ut the fact that I kept the journal, it impacted our marriage. So it really even only has to be one person, one sided and Scott and I celebrated 25 years last year. And the thing is, and it’s 25 years that were good years, not just celebrating the tenure.
Taylorr: Sure. That makes sense.
Austin: So I think a lot of people, they hear these and it seems sort of intuitive, we all know how to express gratitude, but I think sometimes like we get in our heads about how to do that effectively. So I’d be curious for you, when it comes to expressing gratitude actually to your husband, to your coworkers, to your employees, to the mailman, whoever it may be, do you have like a formula that somebody can plug into to help them be more confident in express gratitude without having to think through the right words to say?
Lisa: There’s a couple schools of thought with that and it boils down to two different ways to do it. Thank you for, and thank you because. So thank you for is thank you for dinner, thank you for the gift, thank you for the time you spent with me, so it’s narrowing down to one thing or a couple things. Thank you because, is these are the reasons that I am grateful for you. So the more effective of the two of them is the thank you because. I tell people in my programs, number one, I talk about my 30 day challenge of just to keep a gratitude journal for 30 days. Now I used to do an official 30 day challenge, which was really funny because at the end of it, people would write me and say, I’m so sorry that the gratitude challenge ended. I really enjoyed it. Part of my evil plan was for you to keep going.
Taylorr: Keep doing it. Yeah. Right. [Inaudible 27:28].
Lisa: Keep going. But it’s building these little habits like that and keeping it going that really makes that difference.
Taylorr: Yeah. That makes perfect sense. I like that formulas to the thank you for, and thank you because, I think they gave me a picture.
Lisa: Yeah. And the other thing I was going say is, think of somebody that needs to hear from you just say, okay, who…
Lisa: Needs to hear from me today? And somebody pops into your head and you’re like, well, I have no idea. That’s a really a good reason for a thank you because letter. I had one of my clients that would go to the post office every month and get a sheet of stamps. And her goal was to use that sheet of stamps to send out thank you notes. I use send out cards so for me, it’s really easy if I’m at a an event where I’m speaking, I take a selfie with the meeting planner and then I upload that card into send out cards. And that’s how I send my thank you notes.
Taylorr: You look at the way that you can personalize the experience and show gratitude in a way that is different from what they’re getting from everybody else.
Taylorr: Wow. And with that folks, that is the thing to write down. Express gratitude in a way that is truly yourself, it’s personalized to your people, it’s really intentional. Lisa, you are a wealth of knowledge. I feel like we could talk about this forever so thank you for coming on and exposing us to all these different frameworks and I love these shows because we learn so much, so thank you for providing so much value. If somebody wants to learn more or we’re get in touch with you what’s the best way for them to do that?
Lisa: Sure. They can go to my website, which is lisaryanspeaks.com. I’m also really active on LinkedIn, and I know there’s a gazillion Lisa Ryans on LinkedIn so just look for the one from Grategy .
Lisa: But I am always posting videos and my podcast interviews and that type of thing on LinkedIn. So for the most current and up to date stuff that I’m doing, that’s the best. Just write me a note that lets me know that you heard me on the show and I am more than happy to connect.
Taylorr: Alright. Awesome. Well, hey, we’ll make sure a LinkedIn link is in the show notes so definitely go check that out, definitely follow Lisa for all of those awesome updates. And hey, if you like this episode, don’t forget to rate it like it, subscribe to it. 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. Axbus. 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 podcast 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.