256: The Hidden Power of Transitions, With Kim Sawyer

March 28, 2023

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Dr. Pelè (00:00):

Hello, happy people. Welcome to the Profitable Happiness Podcast. Hello everyone. This is Dr. Pelè with the Profitable Happiness Podcast. And today for the second time, I am so pleased to introduce you to Kim Sawyer, who is an enterprise leadership development and executive coach, a true warrior in the trenches, helping organizations get things done, create high performance cultures. And you know, Kim, you wanna know, one of the things I'm so excited about you is the idea of trust. Now, I didn't tell you this. I, I didn't tell you I was gonna surprise you here, but you are someone who really inspires trust. Can you imagine, we met on LinkedIn, we still haven't met in person, but you have built a culture between myself and you, in which I trust you completely. You teach me things, you take me to places of thinking that are just completely different. Kim, thank you for being a friend, uh, and, and, and a partner with people who inspires trust. But anyway, we'll get to that. Kim, you're gonna teach us some powerful concepts about building high performance cultures today. How are you doing today?

Kim Sawyer (01:16):

I'm doing outstandingly well, my friend. And thank you for the acknowledgement and I'm really glad you've experienced me that way. I think it's mutual. That's why we're still here and still interacting and planning meetings together over this time. Um, so I'm really looking forward to, um, diving in with you.

Dr. Pelè (01:35):

Absolutely. Absolutely. So let's get back to the number one issue, which is, I hate to use the word problem, but let's face it, we solve problems for corporations. How do you do that and what exactly is the core problem that you, in your unique practice solved?

Kim Sawyer (01:55):

Core problem underneath all the particular applications is under performance.

Dr. Pelè (02:03):


Kim Sawyer (02:05):

People and teams and systems in a company that are capable of creating much more valuable than value than they actually are with the available time and resources they have. So I consider myself a performance coach and my work on any level is to bring the next level of performance to the coaching and consulting work I'm doing.

Dr. Pelè (02:35):

Hmm. You know, when we first met you, um, had a, an approach that I found very unique. You know, it was within your wealth source, um, uh, concept. And for anyone who, uh, may not have heard of that, we have a video, which I'll include a link to, uh, from this, uh, conversation where you talk about the wealth source, the idea of helping companies and people thrive, you know, beyond survival, but really thriving. It was a yes, really powerful concept. Tell us a little bit about how you've evolved that and, you know, what led you to the current systems and, and coaching approaches that you have today.

Kim Sawyer (03:11):

So the story is funny cuz when I first launched my coaching business, long time ago, coaching had just started. I'd just gotten trained. I just left my last company that I tried to start and failed. And I came up with a name and I had a marketing consultant who asked me a bunch of questions and we toyed and played. And so I came up with the wealth source. Hmm. It sounded good. It seemed cool. The logo was pretty, but I didn't really know the significance of it. And then 10 years after 10 years into coaching, I began to see how this concept of wealth was holding everything I did together. And so I just redefined wealth as anything I think will make my life better is a form of wealth. And so from that perspective, I was able to bring all of the wisdom and methods and technologies we apply to money, wealth, and apply them to any other area of life where we want to create good stuff.

And so I built a model of how do I go about creating the most, most wealth possible in my life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and it, we then focused on value. And so in like creating the most valuable possible for every moment I spend and everything I do, um, how can I be an investor in my own life moment to moment, even if it's my spiritual life or my family life. Um, and then how can I be sure that when I step into doing something, I am performing at the highest level so I can create the greatest value possible mm-hmm. <affirmative> in that activity. And that's really where I've come to now is I'm really looking at performance and I've given it a really clear definition and I've built a set of tools around optimizing performance.

Dr. Pelè (05:09):

Wow. So, you know, I have to ask you, what is your definition of performance? <laugh>.

Kim Sawyer (05:14):

<laugh>. Yay. I thought you'd never ask <laugh>. All right. So performance consists of two aspects. I like simple definitions aspect. One is the competency and effectiveness I bring to any activity. Two, the alignment of that activity with my values. So am I picking an activity from amongst my choices that furthers what I value the most and am I bringing the best of myself to that activity? Wow. And if I'm doing both of those, my performance is optimal.

Dr. Pelè (06:00):

Wow. You wanna know the genius of that. It just occurred to me, um, I love the positioning of that, especially the second question where you, you you connect performance to values. For me, the, the, the real insight there is just imagine all these companies that have employees and they're not really sharing and selling their vision and their values and their purpose to these employees. So you have a bunch of people coming to work every day not really knowing why <laugh> and what it's all for. And even if they know it, some of them don't even agree with the values of that company. Yes. Right. So I could see how performance would be affected.

Kim Sawyer (06:37):

Well, and so here's the thing, because I wanna define what I mean by value back in the context of wealth. Yeah. Okay. Because we say values on the one hand, and we're talking philosophies and principles and characteristics, that's all good. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I can value those things, but I mean value in the much broader sense of do I think it'll make something better? Do I want it, am I willing to invest to get it and hold it? So anything that I want to obtain or care for is a value to me. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, some things I value more like maybe my family, some things I value less, like, uh, maybe my social life, um, I'm at work. Um, I may value, uh, getting my to-do list done a certain amount, but I may value spending time coaching my direct report to take 50% of my workload off my plate. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there are different amounts of value, and I wanna make sure that what I'm choosing to do with best of my competency is going to create the most valuable thing from what those various values are. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that's how I be an investor. Okay.

Dr. Pelè (07:55):

Wow. And, and of course the investment idea is, is part of the analogy of of the wealth source, you know, where wealth is defined more than just finances. Yes. But really just all of these things that bring benefit. Um,

Kim Sawyer (08:07):

So, and, and, and by the way, I invest more than money. I invest time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I invest my focus.

Dr. Pelè (08:13):


Kim Sawyer (08:14):

<affirmative>, I make that choice. I invest, um, my energy mm-hmm. <affirmative> that I have physical and other energy, I invest relationship. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> how I connect with which people to help me do more than I'm capable of. All of those are like currencies I have.

Dr. Pelè (08:28):


Kim Sawyer (08:29):

Yeah. And then I invest to hopefully build the things that I wanna have to and add to my business or my life.

Dr. Pelè (08:37):

Yeah. No, no, absolutely. And you know, on the topic of investing and relationships, you know, I've already mentioned that you are someone who approached me with this really unique approach to building trust with people no reason whatsoever. That's business related, other than to to grow relationships that you, you find, uh, uh, mutually beneficial. And that was powerful for me. But I, I would love to know, is there something in your history as just as a human, as a, as a, as a person, you know, maybe from your childhood, you know, that, that made relationships and investing in, in that aspect of life, it's so important to you. Is there something that made you get here from there?

Kim Sawyer (09:18):

Sure, there is. So, you know, I came up through what I came up through in my childhood. We all do. But it, and, and you know what? It, it, it, it's nobody fault. It just is what it was for good and for bad. But it left me imprinted mm-hmm. <affirmative> with a certain way of looking at myself and the world. And, and so the world happens in front of me and I have thoughts and emotions that come up based on that. And if I'm not careful, they're gonna tell me what to do next, which is usually a bad idea. <laugh>, I, so what it was telling me to do is, I grew into teenage adulthood, was to be on my own, to blaze my own trail, to be an iconoclast, think different thoughts stand apart from the crowd. Um, because deep down I had fears that I wouldn't be accepted, that I wouldn't fit in.

So I avoided running the test of whether that was true or not by just staying on my own. And I did that for a long time. But it also gradually co it gradually led me to a lifestyle and some habits that were very destructive to me and other people. My disregard of others led me to do things where I wasn't considering the impacts on them. Hmm. And that lack of confidence in myself that led me to hold back had me doing things that were destructive to me. So at some point, I hit a place, I ran into a wall where I had, I had to be willing to totally change all that mm-hmm. <affirmative> let it go and be open to something different because I couldn't keep on that path. And in the process for that was letting in community and fellowship. Mm. You know, in order for me to get off that path onto a different one, I had to join a group of people who were on a similar path. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I had to get a mentor, I had to have peers that I reached out to and shared what was going on. I had to get help. I had to listen to feedback and put it into action. I had to build a way of life that was relational

And it saved my life and ultimately flourished my life in remarkable ways. And I built a whole new idea of what it meant to be in relationship. And I realized from that, that it was the relationship itself. It was what was important, not what we did in the relationship. Hmm. And so that led me to this idea of social capital. How can I reach out to other successful business people just to build a relationship? Because probably then good stuff happen.

Dr. Pelè (11:54):


Kim Sawyer (11:54):

<affirmative>. And that's how you and I met.

Dr. Pelè (11:56):

That is how you and I met. And I'm, I'm so proud to, to be one of the people that, that you count in, that number of folks that you, that you connect with, you know, you, you, you really are an example of what I like to say, which is, you know, the greatest teachers are the people who have learned the lessons they teach You are someone who literally is, is practicing what you, what you preach. And that, that's powerful. So let's get into the nuts and bolts. Like the, the, let's dig down just one level deeper. We've talked about the problem of underperformance in organizations, you know, from the people to the systems to the companies. Yeah. How do you address this as an executive coach, as a, a leadership, uh, development expert? What methodologies do you bring to the table?

Kim Sawyer (12:40):

So I have a, a toolkit of methodology, okay? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I define coaching as the science and the technology of success. So I study success. What is it? What serves it? What gets in the way of it? And then I build technologies that help remove the obstacles and empower to achieve success. So my job is to accumulate a library of concepts and a tool bag of methodologies. And I learned them as each client comes to the table with their circumstances and challenges, and I create these in conversation with them. And when they're repeated by other people, I give them a name, I put some steps to it, and I stick at my toolkit. All right. <laugh>. So, um, I can't answer that question without an entire one year course of presenting all my methodologies,

Dr. Pelè (13:37):

Which I'm sure you're working on right now, <laugh>.

Kim Sawyer (13:40):

Exactly. <laugh>. And that's what really brought us to this conversation is, um, you know, they all fit in the framework of how can I create the most wealth possible in my entire life over the length of my life. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and every tool is some way to do that. Yep. Um, now, lately, right. I'm building a new tool that has come to me as I've watched a lot of clients miss opportunities to raise their performance. Mm. You know, I'm always looking for ways that any individual team or company can raise their performance by doing things a little differently or thinking differently. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. And these are already high performing successful people and teams mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but are they getting all of what's possible? Yeah. So one of the things I, so I tell you what my first coach used to tell me, Kim, our job is to give our clients an unfair competitive advantage.

Dr. Pelè (14:39):


Kim Sawyer (14:40):

Okay. So I'm looking for the things that no one else is doing, the things that people aren't doing that my clients can do, that'll really make a difference that everyone goes to. Okay. Yeah. And so the one I've been working on lately has to do with harnessing the invisible opportunities that exist as we transition from one activity or area of our life to the next activity or area of our life. Hmm. I call it the hidden power of transitions. Mm-hmm. And I haven't yet got the steps together, but I'm pulling together the pieces of it right now as we speak.

Dr. Pelè (15:21):

Wow. And you, you, you mentioned that to me and we've talked a little bit about it, but I have to tell you, first of all, I do believe it's very unique. Uh, it's not something a lot of people talk about, but maybe we could start by a little definition. What do you consider, uh, transitions and, and and what is that hidden aspect in the power of transitions?

Kim Sawyer (15:43):

So it is so all encompassing. It, as I began to think about it, it's just overwhelming and exciting. The power of it. Everything in life is transitions. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. I wasn't alive. I got born, I'm alive. Huge transition. Yeah. <laugh>. Okay. I don't speak words. I speak words. Huge transition. Every the game changes in those transitions. I have an employee and I hire them. Big transition. Yeah. An employee leads big transition. Um, we sell our company huge transition every

Dr. Pelè (16:20):

Day. So we see it's something

Kim Sawyer (16:22):

Yeah. We see, we see. But those are big transitions now even then, people focus on what they're doing and then what they're doing. They don't focus on that a transition happened. They don't address the transition to help the shift take place so that the thing before is completed in a good way and the thing coming next happens in a good way. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Now that's the idea of a transition. When there's a change in state focus activity, how do I complete what the previous one was and get ready to do the next one in the best way possible. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. And so clearly, you know, when we finish a project and it was a success, there's a transition and we look back at it and learn from it and celebrate it before we take on the next project. That's an example. But all day long, this is the one I missed all day long.

I'm transitioning. I wake up in the morning from sleep to awake. Well, I can do that just randomly, or I can do it with a certain, I can do it with some intention so that I awaken better mm-hmm. <affirmative> into my day. Um, I go from awake into my activity and I can make that transition randomly and just bring whatever I get outta bed with into my day, or I can recognize the transition and I can do something in my thought process or even physically at times. So I go into my day better, I get off of a meeting with you, and next I, lets say I'm gonna meet with my cpa, talk about taxes. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. Well, this is a very different me and thought process and personality and focus than I am going to be in with my c p a. Mm-hmm.

So I can't just roll from this into that and really be sharp and in tune and ready to talk to my c p A about numbers in my mind. I'm gonna get out of this. I leave myself space between these meetings mm-hmm. <affirmative> and I'm gonna re-envision what we've just done and experience that. Write down any notes I need to as follow up. And then I'm gonna imagine the meeting with my cpa mm-hmm. <affirmative> and what the agenda is and how I'm gonna show up. I picture myself being sharp, acute, taking notes, asking questions. I literally, it's a, it's, it's out of neurolinguistic programming. Mm-hmm. I envision how I wanna be before I go be it. And then that guides me into my next activity. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, coming home from work and getting into my family. Too many people miss that transition. Hmm. And it's no telling what they bring into their family when they come home because it's whatever was left over from their workday.

Yeah. There's a transition there. If I want a loving family life, I have to show up with a whole way of thinking and feeling and being that's loving my family, not trying to reconcile everything that's happened in my workday. Yeah. So all of those are transitions that nobody pays attention to. And so we leave that. So I perform better in my family when I do that transition. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I perform better with my cpa. I perform better after I wake up and move into my day. So all of those are opportunities to raise my level of performance for whatever comes next if I just recognize it. And then for me, people get from me what are tools and processes and mental exercises that they can do for different kinds of transitions mm-hmm. <affirmative> to, to actually effectively do it. That that's where my expertise comes in first. Like, Hey, here's an opportunity. Oh man, I had no idea. Now what do I do? Yeah. Okay. Well here, here's some tools. You know,

Dr. Pelè (20:18):

<laugh>, you know what I, what, what I really love about this is the universal truth that I hear and what you're saying. In fact, um, Marshall Goldsmith once wrote a book called What Got You Here Won't Get You There. Now, of course, that's at a more macro that Yeah. That's probably at a more macro level. And, and you're talking about really the power of these hidden micro transitions that collectively when you ask life become things that absolutely. Making you perform better or, or not. Uh, I would love to jump into that toolkit that you're, you're, you're amassing right now <laugh> and, and pull out some of the nuggets there. But could you give us maybe just one, uh, little tip or, or, or trick or nugget Yeah. For how I can focus my mind between transitions, because I certainly don't do it. I mean, gosh, so many people could probably be listening to this and go, you know what? He's right. I don't stop and think I just go from one, you know, think to the next and I don't focus. How do you do that? Yeah.

Kim Sawyer (21:20):

Okay. So let me pick one. I mean, there's, there's a ton. Um, and they're easy. It just requires understanding what I'm trying to achieve and, and going through that in my mind. But the one that everyone can relate to is how they hit their personal life takes from their work life. Mm.

Okay. Whether, what, and whatever's in my personal life, family and fitness and spirituality and whatever it is, it's in my personal life. When I end my workday, everyone says, man, my, my personal life constantly takes a loss and struggles because of my work life. Yeah. Um, well, some of that may have to do with boundaries around time and that sort of thing. Those are the obvious ones. People think about work life balance. Right. You know, been there, done that. It only goes so far. But when I do make those decisions about the time I'm going to spend in my personal life, am I ready? Really get into that in a good way. So lots of richness for me and others comes from that experience. So let's take the example of a professional going home from work. Okay. And I've had this with a number of clients.

So instead of just driving home from work with stuff to be worked on and emails still needing to be answered, and all this stuff swirling in my head and my breath locked up and all of, I'm in a mode that was a great mode. Execute, execute. Now I get home. Well, if I walk in my door that way, I'm gonna hardly notice mm-hmm. <affirmative>, my wife, my kids, the dog, my husband, whomever. Okay. Let alone heal 'em, let alone connect with them, let alone appreciate them, have them feel me. There's love there. But if I don't pay attention to the love, it's useless. We're not experiencing it. So I have my client find a place on the way home where they can pull over, close to their house, they turn off their card, they take some deep breaths, they close their eyes and they run back through their workday, kind of what all happened.

And they get to the end of it, and they complete themselves in their mind. They write down any notes of anything left over that needs to be resolved. And they see themselves mentally, literally walking out of the work world to where they are now in their car. And then they imagine their home in the sidewalk and walking up to the door and opening the door and having the dog come jump on them and feeling the love and seeing their kids run up and feeling the love and seeing their spouse. Yeah. And feeling the love and walking on the house, giving hugs and connecting with everybody and being present. So they envision that the whole little process takes about three minutes.

Dr. Pelè (24:28):


Kim Sawyer (24:29):

That's the only investment awareness of the transition and the willingness to spend three minutes. So when I actually walk in that door, I'm in that state of mind now. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> not that state of mind. Yeah. And how much better is my family, even if I only have two hours? Cause I work long hours, those two hours will bring more family, joy, warmth and love. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> than eight hours at home with me, still thinking about work.

Dr. Pelè (24:59):

Yeah. No, that's powerful. And I really appreciate that very specific example, because I think far too many people hear about these soft skills, if you will. I, I actually think they're very hard <laugh> and powerful skills. But these soft skills things like profitable happiness and, you know, focusing on things and it's really using your mind to create outcomes. People don't know how to connect the, the, the, the, the, the, the results that are possible from these soft skills. What's your perspective on building cultures, uh, where people develop habits of doing the kind of thing that you've just talked about, or building profitable happiness in their organizations in order to create outcomes? H how do you do that?

Kim Sawyer (25:46):

So first of all, you have to be willing to pay attention to the individuals in your company as individuals. Mm. Each one unique and different, not just as defined by their job description. Mm. In their role in the org chart, but defined, but defined by their strengths, their skills, their interests, their personality, their communication style. And that's where supervisors come in, is to build those relationships and become aware of those things, and then be coached to manage each person in a way that fits for them, even though it's a common sense of objectives we're trying to achieve. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, company-wide, it's the same way. Learning how to align the skills and interests, the passion and the values of individuals with the goals of the company. So it's a win-win all the way through. Hmm. And actually talking to employees and saying, well, what does success look like for you? And whether it's in your personal life or whether it's in your career. And so how can we help you get there while you help us get here?

Dr. Pelè (26:57):


Kim Sawyer (26:58):

And so let's build an alliance to move forward that way. Okay. That's called a coaching culture where the manager does that with the employee. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> not, not, instead of managing, they're still a boss, but alongside that mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they have that relationship. The company needs to take a look at what its values are. And I don't mean the ones that get written up there with the mission statement. I mean, we value learning. Mm. So we want everyone learning, okay, do we value a collaboration and we want people collaborating. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do we value, um, quality of process over end result? I mean, there's so many things. If a company has certain things that it feels like if we do these we'll succeed and it's different from company to company, well then it helps to help people pay attention to those things. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it has to build compensation plans, communication, internal.

It has to build processes where people will be thinking about what's valuable. Cause if they're not thinking about what's valuable, it's nothing but words. Yeah. So if, if I've got a list of the 10 things that my company thinks that if these people are thinking and talking and doing them, we're gonna be successful. Well, now I have to build things in place that systematically keep people thinking and talking and doing those things that are valuable. Yeah. And that's really a culture. A culture is the top values that if people are focusing on them will make that company successful.

Dr. Pelè (28:38):

I, I just love that part when you talked about the systematic, uh, approach mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So a culture is not something you do once and then wait till a year from now and do it again. Right. <laugh> culture is a systematic, repeatable, uh, habit building exercise, really. Um, so thank you for, for sharing that. You know, Kim, uh, I always love learning from you and, um, I'm, I'm looking forward to more of our conversations, but what are you excited about right now? Uh, what's coming up next? You have a project you'd like to share, and, uh, importantly, where can people find you online?

Kim Sawyer (29:12):

Okay. So I've spent most of my career in traditional coaching relationships with individuals and teams.

Dr. Pelè (29:19):

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>,

Kim Sawyer (29:21):

But I'm excited about launching coaching programs for groups. Ooh. So pulling 10 or 15 executives together around a specific topic, like how to look at your life as a wealth-building process and create those processes in your life. And I'm creating video content and then activities and homework and interactions amongst the participants and with me in between over a period of three or six months. So they will learn what they need to learn and build what they need to build. So systematically going forward, they're creating wealth in their lives. And that could be around other topics too. So it's a big leap for me in doing this blended sort of multimedia interaction for groups rather than individual coaching. So I'm in the process, I'm running my first beta in May.

Dr. Pelè (30:14):


Kim Sawyer (30:14):

And, uh, and so I'm hoping to, by the end of the year, to come out with really set really beautiful programs and be marketing them to my current clients.

Dr. Pelè (30:23):

Well, if you use that, uh, that black background with the black T-shirt where you're just like a talking head and arms, uh, it's gonna be a hit because it, it's really just, just very, very strong the way you present visually. So that, that's, that's something that, that's some feedback for you. Um, thank you. Where can, where can people find you online? What's the best way to connect with Kim Sawyer?

Kim Sawyer (30:48):

Well, in LinkedIn you can look up Coach Kim. Okay. LinkedIn. My LinkedIn is Coach Kim. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the LinkedIn website slash Coach Kemp. Um, my website is the wealth source.com. Okay. Be wealth source.com and you can go there, learn a lot about what I do. You can ask for a complimentary coaching session through the website. I'll be happy to spend 30 minutes with you and you can taste coaching with me and see if it's a fit.

Dr. Pelè (31:19):

Well, you know what, I'm, I'm gonna just, uh, just step out here and endorse you. Um, I've experienced a relationship just of talking with you, um, that felt like coaching. I, I, I was always some, you know, you, you seem to care about people, you ask a lot of questions. So I think anybody who's interested in, in, in, in learning from you and hanging out with you will really enjoy it. Kim, thank you so much for being a guest on the Profitable Happiness Podcast.

Kim Sawyer (31:45):

Been great to be here. Hope to see you soon.

Dr. Pelè (31:49):

All right. Thank you.

Dr. Pelè (31:51):

Thanks for tuning in to the Profitable Happiness Podcast. For more episodes, visit dr pa.com. And remember, get happy first and success will follow.