260: S.W.I.P.E., With Tim Vandehey

April 25, 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 it is my pleasure to introduce to you New York Times best-selling ghost writer, co-author and book doctor. And by the way, jazz singer, dude, <laugh>. I'm so excited to talk with you. Tim Band. Hey, how are you doing today?

Tim Vandehey (00:30):

Ah, Dr. Pelè. I am. If I was any better, it would be illegal, man. It's great to be here. It is great to see you.

Dr. Pelè (00:37):

Oh, I appreciate that. You know, you are in Kansas, uh, city of Missouri, I guess the show state, as they say, <laugh>. That's awesome. You know, uh, Tim, I have to say, you know, as an author, as a musician, you are truly a creative soul, but you've done some really big things. But the things we're gonna talk about today are really around your current book, which is called Swipe the Science Behind Why We Don't Finish What We Started. I'm really excited to hear your spit on that, but can you tell us, just to get started, what exactly is the central challenge that you help people solve, whether they're in companies or just as individuals using this book?

Tim Vandehey (01:16):

Well, I think the subtitle kind of says it all. Um, you know, when my co-author, who you've already talked to, Dr. Tracy Maylett mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, you know, when, when he and I first conceived of this book, it was going to be a purely business book about employee engagement. And then the more we talked about the ideas about distraction and people sort of, uh, being conditioned by technology to think, to feel like they could jump from one reality to another, or one situation to another, away from discomfort and closer to something that would make them, uh, put them at ease. We realized this was a, something that afflicts everyone, which is cherished goals, personal things. We want to ex we want to complete relationships that we want to, uh, to build, that we don't finish those things. That we don't finish what we start, we fail to engage with work life, with personal life, or with personal goals.

Because in achieving those goals come moments of discomfort, moments of embarrassment, moments of self-doubt, and if we, if we hit the panic button and we jump away from those things, so those moments of doubt and embarrassment, those are when growth occur. I, I always, I like to, I like to compare it to, you know, you and I were talking earlier about working out. Mm-hmm. And I like to compare it to, you know, building muscle. You only build muscle when you work the muscle to failure when you stress it out. Yeah. You can't build muscle by lifting five pounds. You have to lift 50 or whatever you lift. Yeah. Then that's, that's hard. And it hurt, and it, you know, it's, it makes you sore and it, it puts your body under stress. The stress is where the growth comes from. So what we, we wanted to write this book to address what we think from everybody we've talked to is a universal problem, which is, I am, I want to get to the finish line of something, whether it's my marriage or my j my my work or losing weight or finishing a first novel or something like that.

But I can't get there. And I keep trying and I keep failing, and I keep feeling regret and remorse and not being able to advance in my life or my career. That's what we want to do. We wanted to address.

Dr. Pelè (03:19):

And, you know, I find that that's a powerful concept. I've taken a look at the book, and I have to tell you the idea of swiping past things that are uncomfortable. I mean, that is universal. I, you know, I like to apply that to leaders. You have a leader who knows that they should be applying things like appreciation to their employees or helping them build engagement or a better experience in the office and all these things. And maybe it's uncomfortable to say thank you every time. Right. So they just swipe past it. Right. <laugh>. And so your, your book, I'm understanding your book helps people get down into the science of why that's happening so that they can predictively move away from swiping away from things, is that's, that's correct. Right.

Tim Vandehey (03:59):

That's, yeah. That's really, that's really the ultimate goal was the reason we, the reason we called it what we called it, the reason we subtitled the science behind this was because we wanted people to understand that disengaging from those moments of discomfort mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's not, is a predictable outcome. And it's a predict, it follows a predictable process. It's not, it's not a failure of character. It's not a failure of courage. It doesn't mean, Pete, you're a loser. It doesn't mean you're never, the, one of the worst things that we see in this repeated pattern is the fatalism that comes with it. Mm-hmm. That, that, that, that self-talk that says, I'm never gonna be able to do this. I've failed to, um, complete training for a marathon. I've failed three other times. That means I'm never gonna be able, I'm never gonna be able to do this.

I'm never gonna be able to engage my employees, or I'm never gonna get a promotion at work. Well, it's not a failure of character, and it's not a failure of work ethic. It's a failure of, of approach and an understanding that where there is a predictable process, there are predictable solutions. Most people don't think about it this way. They just start beating themselves up because they can't reach the finish line. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And when you understand something, when you, when you understand that there's science, you understand that there's predictability, and when there's predictability, you can create solutions.

Dr. Pelè (05:16):

Yeah. You know, I've always been intrigued, um, when I hear the idea of someone who is a ghost writer, because really what that says to me is, you're kind of the brains here. You're the, you're the engine pushing something and making something real that would've been hard for someone like me by myself to do, for example. Um, and so I wanna hear your story. How did you become a New York Times bestselling, uh, ghost writer, <laugh>? Um, I mean, you, dude, you've done some big things. I'm, I'm looking at them right here, and, and I'd love for you, in your own words, how, how did you, here there's

Tim Vandehey (05:52):

A few. Well, I mean, I, I've always written, I, I, I took a pretty conventional path for a while. Um, you know, I got outta college and I worked at magazines. I worked, worked as a magazine journalist for a while, and I still consider myself a journalist because my favorite kind of work is still investigative. I love digging in and solving a mystery or solving a puzzle, um, in a, in the context of a book. But, you know, you, we know most of us don't find our path right away. And certainly I didn't, I I had a lot of learning to do, and I, I worked for an ad agency for four years back in 1995. Wow. Okay. So 28 years ago. Yeah. I, uh, left my ad agency job. I said, look, I can do this. You know, I can, I can do this myself.

I can make better money, control my time, have more freedom, live at the beach with my best friend, which is what I ended up doing. <laugh> my best, my best friend in the world, my buddy Anton, who lives up in the Bay Area now, he and I are still best friends. Uh, we moved to a place down in Laguna Beach, California, um, below living, living in a duplex below an Irish couple that was always drunk. Um, oh my goodness. I, St. Patrick's Day was really fun, <laugh>. Um, and I started writing for myself, and I was writing marketing. I didn't get into writing books until, um, 1999. I wrote a book for a client who might just asked me, you know, he, I follow one of my principles of life, which is just say, yes.

Dr. Pelè (07:06):

Ooh, <laugh> something,

Tim Vandehey (07:08):

When something comes along

Dr. Pelè (07:10):

Anti Nike. Right.

Tim Vandehey (07:11):

<laugh>, right. When something comes along, you know, uh, he said, can you write a book for me? I said, absolutely, Peter, I can write up, I could write a book for you. And I hung up the phone and went, oh my God. How do you write a book? <laugh>. Yeah. And so you, you know, that's what you do, is you, how do you wanna take opportunities? You say Yes, and then you have a brief panic attack, and then you figure it out. Yeah. And long story short, I wrote the book. It was terrible. Um, but I got, I had one under my belt. I wrote three more books for the same guy. The fir the, the third one did really well, sort of catapulted my career. And so 2004, 2005, I got very busy. I got an agent, and I finally realized I can make a living just doing this.

So, um, I've written probably 65 non-fiction books by now. Wow. Something like that. Um, had a few bestsellers, you know, um, had some books that have won some awards, and that's been great. But, but what I, what I, what I really value most is I've had, I've written some books that have changed the conversation mm-hmm. <affirmative> on the topics they were written about, some cases about science and sports and things like that. Um, but yeah, it's been, it's been great. I love, I love, it's a great way to be a professional writer. And, you know, I, I'm always busy. I turn away more work than I take on. It's, you know, but you know, that, that led to working with Tracy. Like I said, you know, who my co-author, um, I actually ghost wrote two books for him prior to us deciding to become co-authors on swipe.

Dr. Pelè (08:31):

Wow. Wow. That, that's, that's powerful stuff. You know, I, I think of a ghost writer, almost analogous to, um, a session musician. Um, you know, you, you've got your hands at everything, and you bring that element, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, tell us about your musician part. You are a jazz singer, <laugh> exciting stuff. Yeah.

Tim Vandehey (08:49):

Well, I've been a singer. I mean, I'm a singer at em. I mean, I've, I've, I, I've been singing almost for almost as long as I've been writing. I mean, I've, I've sung coral music. I was a front man in a blues band for seven years, and I lived in LA Wow. Writing a lot of original tunes and opening for like Jimmy Vaughn and people like that. Wow. Um, I sang Renaissance music. I sing Christmas Mu I, I, I'm a product c uh, professional Christmas caroling group. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Uh, but one of the big things I do is I, I'm the, I'm the tenor in a, uh, an acapella, uh, jazz, acapella, vocal jazz quintet here in kc. So, um, that's a lot of fun. And actually, we're finally starting to write some original tunes, um, and do some original arranging. I'm not the arranger, I'll write the lyrics and melody sometimes, but I've got a, a brilliant, absolutely brilliant director, uh, named Dr. Dr. Jeff Wilkin, who's the arranger of all of our pieces. And he's just absolute genius. So, um, that's, you know, that's, that's the other outlet. That's the other creative outlet that's very different from, uh, the writing that I spend so much of my time doing. Yeah.

Dr. Pelè (09:53):

No, that, that's, that's powerful stuff, Tim. So, let's, let's talk again about how you solve some of the problems that you're trying to solve, because the idea of swipe and the idea of helping people getting, get away from swiping out of uncomfortable things. It's a big topic. It's huge. Exactly. Yeah. Exactly. How do you break that down so that people can digest it and use it either in their personal lives or at work?

Tim Vandehey (10:17):

Well, um, what, what we really had to do was identify really the, what, what swiping is, first of all. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, and how it's been shaped by technology. Because, you know, the word alone suggests most people that suggest Tinder, right? Yeah. Swiping is the screen. Yeah. Yeah. The whole dating app thing aside,

Dr. Pelè (10:39):

Addictive, by the way, isn't it, <laugh>?

Tim Vandehey (10:41):

Yeah. Yeah. It knows, you know, but, but it suggests the behavior really more than just the app. I mean, people associate that with Tinder, but, um, you know, the, it, the, the behavior is one where technology has, has conditioned us to instinctively, unconsciously react to discomfort or dissatisfaction or disillusionment by saying, now I'm gonna move on to something else real quick without thinking about it. Yeah. Swiping is not a, what we call swiping is the act of disengaging, but it's not a, it's not a considered process. It's not something we say, I think I'm going to stop doing this thing now that I've been trying to do for six months or six years. We just do it. It's a panic response. It's a, it's a, it's a reflex. It's not something that we, we, that we use system two of our brain for the considered analytical part of our brain.

It's the, it's a reflex. Um, what we had to do that was identify some of the key causes behind it, behind why people do this, and, you know, and applies, you know, it, it actually, I wanna talk about the workplace in particular, because I know that's relevant to, but probably what Tracy talked about, but also to your audience. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, because it really is the same mechanism just in a different environment, which is in the workplace. The same two factors really come into play. We had to identify those, and we identify the process. The factors are expectations and motivation, right? So when, what, what we see a lot in employee disengagement or managerial disengagement, anybody disengaging from what they're doing is you're, you know, you're pulling back from, um, from the, the work, the environment, the responsibility, the trust, whatever it is. And you're basically, uh, it's, I don't wanna say the apathy might be too strong a word, but it's certainly a, an area of indifference mixed with a little bit of fear.

I don't wanna engage in this. I mean, I, maybe I, I don't care as much, or I, it makes me uncomfortable, and I, I'm gonna, I'm going to, uh, escape that discomfort temporarily by going to, by not doing the work, or not taking the opportunity or not not choosing to advance. Or if I'm a manager, maybe I'm not going to engage personally with my, my subordinates, because it makes me uncomfortable. Maybe I wasn't raised in a home where, where we had deep personal conversations and having, you know, really engaging with an employee who's in distress about something, makes me as a, as a leader, maybe makes me uncomfortable. So I swiped from that. Everything, all, all that swiping is just shorthand for, I'm gonna disengage from that. And what we do is, for two reasons, are one, the first big reason is faulty motivation. Hmm.

What, so why is it that you're trying to do this thing, whatever it is that you're trying to do, whether you are an employee, you know, why are you at, why are you in this job? What, what, what are you hoping to get out of it? Is it simply a paycheck or is it a career? Is it something that, uh, or is it a, or is it a, you know, it depends on, it depends on what, what the subject of the engagement or disengagement is. Is your job in general, is it a a specific project? Is it a specific person? Is it, uh, uh, an initiative that you're working on? But whatever that thing is, why is it important? Why does it matter? Now, if if the the motivation is strong, you're motivated to move past those temptations to swipe, and I'll talk about those in a second.

The other one is expectations. The other big cause is faulty expectations. What are you expecting from the experience? Hmm. If you are expecting, as a leader, as a departmental manager or a vp, let's say, um, if you're expected to go into that position and not have to deal with, let's say, employees in distress over their personal lives or over, uh, you know, a part of their job that they feel unqualified to do, even though, though maybe they are, maybe it's a personal, maybe they're inside their head. Yeah. Um, and you don't ex don't, you don't have the expectation, okay, at some point, I'm gonna have to deal with those emotional situations. And I'm not a person who, who, I'm not saying for myself, but I'm not, I'm as the, as the manager. I'm not a person who is comfortable with emotional situations. I'm very, uh, very left brain and analytical.

You're gonna have a problem. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, engaging, not swiping. When you reach those, that those stages, if you, if your expectations are, you know, we should, we should, we cannot realistically ever expect as human beings that a situation reco, that that is expected to lead to growth. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> and opportunity is ever going to be comfortable 100% of the time. That's simply not realistic. Yeah. And it's, and it can't be, because that's not what we grow. We don't, we shouldn't want it to be comfortable 100% of the time. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, I, I, one of, one of the, the examples I like to use about, personally, it's about music mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, is, you know, where I learned about this, and I, and I actually took this away from the, I, I got this, I, I, I think I gained the ability to do this more clearly and more consciously from the process of writing this book.

I am, I'm a very poor sight reader. I can memorize a music like nobody's business. My memorization is my superpower. You put me in an ensemble of 50 people, I'll be the first one by months to have a piece memorized. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But you ask me to sightread it, I am lost. I'm not, I just don't have that. I don't have that club in my bag. Yeah. And I'm very self-conscious about that. When I'm in a group of people who are all great site readers, I'm, I'm, I'm mostly a self-trained musician. I don't have a lot of theory background. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I was in an ensemble about three, about two years ago where I was learning all this renaissance music. And, um, I was incredibly self-conscious because mostly the other people were far superior in terms of musical training than I was mm-hmm.

<affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, and I was very self-conscious about it. I had a lot of anxiety about it, and I thought about quitting because my anxiety over it was so great. And I remember shaving one day thinking about thinking through this and thinking, wait a minute. The anxiety I feel right now is always el it's always elusory. It's, it always turns out to be completely baseless. And it always, in the past, it's turned out to be com nothing. Yeah. I, you know, the fear, the fear of something is always worse than the reality of it, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And I said, I said, I'm gonna, I'm gonna push my way past this, this desire, this anxiety, uh, over and self-consciousness over my musicianship and trust myself. Yeah. And just get through it. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and I did, and it was fine. I had a couple of moments where I stumbled. I, you know, nobody cared. I made a few mistakes. So guess what? So did everybody else. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But I, that was a moment where I would've, where in another context, I might've swiped, I might've said, I, I, I don't want to feel this way. I don't want to feel this anxiety. I'm going to quit and go do something else, because I don't wanna alleviate that anxiety. That's what a swipe is. Yeah. What that is.

Dr. Pelè (17:39):

You, you know what's interesting, um, when I look at the statistics, yeah. You see, or you, you find out that gallops hole, which says that 70% or or more of the people in, in the workplace are disengaged. Right. They're not engaged. In fact, there's like 20% that are actively working against <laugh>, the goals of the organization. 70%. Now, the interesting thing I've found is that that number has not changed in like, what decades. No. And yet we've been trying different things, you know, to, to, to move the needle of engagement. What I love about your, your ideas is you're really going down into the why of en engagement. Yeah. Why do people disengage? And, and from there you're bringing your solutions. And I, I'd love to hear if you have like a five step plan or a 12 step program or some sort of list of how you physically, so that someone could walk away with something they can remember, you know, about how you actually solved that problem.

Tim Vandehey (18:36):

Well, there's actually, you know, I mean, you, I, I think you probably got some of, some of the, some stuff when you talk to Tracy about magic, which came from the book as well, which is, um, you know, which is, um, really comes from the employer side, which is meaning, autonomy, uh, growth, impact, and connection. When those five qualities are present in an organization, they make it more likely that employees will, uh, will engage and, and remain engaged. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Um, but that doesn't really address things from the employee side. Why an employee can, pardon me a second, um, can choose to engage. We've got allergies going on now here in kc, so, oh, no. <laugh>. Um, as things are starting to bloom now, yeah. Um, it doesn't really address the question of, of why an employee should and would engage. And so the answer, sorry.

Dr. Pelè (19:22):

No, I said interesting. I'd love to hear that, that angle.

Tim Vandehey (19:25):

Yeah. So the an so the answer to your question is, I, at least part of the answer to your question is, um, what, you know, from an org, from an organizational standpoint, um, and this, and this still falls to the manager. I mean, it's not like the, an employee may not be able to engage on their own. They may may not be able to make this cognitive leap. Yeah. But the choice to disengage, well, it's not even a choice, I should said, the impulse to disengage, cuz it really is not a conscious choice, as I said. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, it's a, it's, it's hitting the panic button. I call it hitting the eject button. You're just, you know, it's Oh, my, my my, my wellbeing, my, my peace of mind is a threat. Bam. I'm gonna hit the punch my way out of the, out the fight

Dr. Pelè (20:06):

Or flight. Right?

Tim Vandehey (20:07):

Yeah. It's fight or flight. Absolutely. And you're choosing flight. Yes. Fight would be better because at least you'd stick around. But the, the, the point is that there is a, there is a, um, what the mechanism that we, that we, we envisioned in the book was called the crossroads. So, so, so the, the, the predictable process people go through is first what we called the downhill, which is when you're first starting something, it's easy. Yeah. Um, you have that what we call page one energy. You know, you have that, that, uh, that ease of it's of the novelty and it's new, and I don't really have, I haven't really connected with how much work this is really gonna be. Then you hit that, that vertex where you start going uphill and you start going, wait a minute, this is work. Oh, this sucks <laugh>, I'm gonna have to really work hard here.

This is not what I was expecting. And that's back to expectations again. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, um, where the key point is what we call the crossroads. And that truly is, uh, you know, a fork in the road. On one one point you can swipe and you can run away from the discomfort. And what you do is you buy yourself some temporary relief, but you also buy yourself long-term regret. And that is the key to this process, because what people, what we have, what we have found overwhelmingly mm-hmm. <affirmative> in talking to individuals, um, who have swiped is while they might feel immediate relief, they inevit almost inevitably feel a strong sense of regret after the fact. Mm. Um, could be weeks or months later because they think, ah, because what we swipe away from it are almost, are almost always things that would bene that are beneficial to us.

Yeah. Yeah. You know, growth opportunities, advancement opportunities, opportunities to get in better shape, to finish a creative project, to save money, to connect with our children. All of those are good things. And when we don't do them, we look back and go, ah, why, you know, how many writers I've talked to in my world mm-hmm. <affirmative> writers I've coached and talked to who've said, you know, if I could have stuck with the novel that I started 10 different times, I'd have four novels finished by Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right. If they just stuck with, so the key, one of the keys that leaders can, and managers can help employees with, and employees if they're, if they're, you know, if they're mindful and they're present mm-hmm. <affirmative> and they're, they're, they're self-aware, they can do this on their own. It's understanding that that crossroads point is if you can get past it, like I did in my example about my music and my sight reading Yep.

That if you can get past that point of discomfort by understanding intellectually, okay, I'm at this point right now where my fighter flight mechanism is screaming at me mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but if I can get past it, there is a reward down the line. Yes. Yes. If I, if I take the other path, if I stick with this job, if I, if I believe that I can either through my own, in my own innate resources or through learning and development and training and reading, I can conquer this project, or I can lead this team mm-hmm. <affirmative>, then down the line, two weeks or two months, whatever the timeframe is, there's a big reward there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And if I can over, if I can, if I can, um, leap that hurdle of my emotional state Yeah. And focus on what's to come, there's going to be a reward there.

And one, the thing is, once we, once we are able to move past and, and take away the power of that, that desire to swipe, that, that panic button moment, it, it recedes. Yeah. It really does recede because we start to see, first of all, the bodies of both the body's, you know, uh, biological reaction dies down mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but also we, we, we feel a sense of pride, especially esp especially, and this is absolutely key if we've failed in the past to get past that moment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. I know, I know one of, one of the, there's a, are you familiar with National Novel Writing Month? Uh, no, I am not. Okay. So National novel writing month is something that was kind, I think it's gone, it's going on probably 25 years now, I think. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, was created by some writers in the Bay Area who realized that almost every writer they talked to had a horrible time finishing a book.

So they created a thing back in, I think it was 98, um, where they said, okay, every November we're gonna sit down and we're gonna knock out a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days. Is that connected to Scribner somehow? Because I've read something like that. Um, you know, it might be, I don't know, it might be, but, but National novel writing month, it's huge now. Yeah. 250,000 people do it every year, every November, a bunch of nut cases sit down and say, I'm gonna write a novel, 50,000 words in 30 days. And the quality is not an issue. So most of the novels are terrible and nobody cares. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, they'll get together and have huge writing parties. They'll stay up all night for the last week of November, sleep on sleeping bags in the floor, turn it into a big summer camp, and the novels are mostly garbage, and no one cares, because the point is to finish the point is, I want to get past that point in the in where five other times I've quit.

Yep. Five other times I've let myself not say, you can't do this. Yeah. You're not real writer. Yeah. And, and so what we learn is that not only is focusing on the on, in, in the work environment included, especially in the work environment, focusing on, if I can get this done, I'm gonna get more opportunities. I'm gonna get a promotion, I'm gonna get a raise, I'm gonna be i'll, I'll be, I'll have the respect of my teammates, I'm gonna get new projects, I'll get my idea promoted to the c e o. Yeah. You know, but also when we finally break that log jam mm-hmm. <affirmative> and get past that point of hitting the, the panic button, it feels amazing. It does, it does. It feels like, I, it's like you finally did it, you finally pushed past that moment where in the past you've quit.

Yeah. Yep. And that is, that is a incredib, it seems incredibly simple. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but is, which is where leaders, leaders and managers, managers one-to-one can really make a difference with people that they know we're having this problem is help them see, look, if you push past this, here's what, here's what's to come down the line. If you can get through this, there's all this, there's, there's a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. If you can push past this discomfort in this self-doubt and this disillusionment, or even sometimes, sometimes you just boredom. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that really, that that's really something people could take away. That's very simple. Yeah. Yeah. No, that's powerful stuff. In

Dr. Pelè (26:42):

Fact, I brought up Scrivener. Um, it's, it's a tool that, uh, writers use Yeah. Modern writers use, and I, I use it myself. Um, and they are, uh, connected to the national, you know, national Remo or whatever they call it,

Tim Vandehey (26:56):

Nano Remo, they call it. Yeah. National.

Dr. Pelè (26:57):

Yeah. You know, it's kinda like a, a community of practice. And I have to tell you, your points are so powerful. I use something like that for my own writing. So, for example, whenever I'm gonna write a book, as I've just almost completed profitable happiness,

Tim Vandehey (27:12):


Dr. Pelè (27:13):

A lot of people. Thank you. I tell a lot of people, and why am I telling all these people and sending them chapters every week,

Tim Vandehey (27:20):

<laugh>, because

Dr. Pelè (27:22):

They are, they are providing for me the reward at the end by being people who will say, you did it. And if I could do it, they're gonna be like, eh, you

Tim Vandehey (27:30):

Didn't do it. They're account, they're, they're accountability buddies. Absolutely.

Dr. Pelè (27:33):

They're accountability buddies. So that it really does help, as you say, to get that sense of reward at the end. Um, let's switch topics a little bit here too. Yeah. The idea of, I I, I like to call this the idea of, of happiness at work, that creates more success for work, right? A lot of people don't really like to use the word profit and happiness, you know, in the same sentence they think, Hey, how can I be happy at work? Like, is that possible? But that's really what we all want. How do we swipe? Or I should say, how do we not swipe away from trying to be both happy and profitable at work?

Tim Vandehey (28:12):

Well, I think it's the same. It, it's all of a piece. It's all one of the, a lot, uh, one of the areas I do a lot of writing in, uh, at least recently, is about, um, innovation. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> doing a lot of writing about innovation for columns. I write for some of my clients, things like that. And the idea of discomfort is one of the, one of the topics is one of the key ideas that comes up when, when we're talking about innovation, which of course is one of the keys to profit and growth. Yes. For any business, if you can innovate, truly innovate, come up with something that's truly new and unique mm-hmm. <affirmative>, then you can, you can experience order, you know, mag uh, orders of magnitude kind of growth mm-hmm. <affirmative>, but you know, that sort of, that sort of path is fraught with a lot of fear because the innovation by its very nature, is taking you into someplace that's unfamiliar.

So I think, you know, anything related to, to swiping mm-hmm. <affirmative> is all about the idea of embracing discomfort, understanding what discomfort is, whether it take, and again, it's all about, you know, the swipe is driven by emotion. So that discomfort has an emotional dimension. It is about self-doubt. It is about embarrassment. It is about disillusionment. This isn't what I thought it was going to be. It's about on we or boredom. Uh, it could be just about sheer terror. If it's something that you feel like, I'm gonna lose my job over this mm-hmm. <affirmative>, if I do this, I'm I'll, I'll get fired. I can't afford to lose this job, or this is the best job I've ever had. What do I do? It's about understanding that those emotions are all indicative of the same thing. They're all of a piece. They're all, you've been put in a situation that you, where you don't have, you don't feel like I should say, you have control where the outcome is unknown and you're not sure about your capacity to achieve what you wanna achieve.

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, those all lead to, uh, emotions. Emotions that breed discomfort that put us in a place of discomfort. And again, that, that's where the growth occurs. So really it's about, I, when it comes to, you know, this is professionally and it's personally, and of course the professional or personal are the same. There really isn't a difference. It's about the environment. Yeah. But as, as you know, as you've said, and I've, I've said it bre written it many times, the professional and personal are, are linked of course, because, you know, companies are made up of people. Mm-hmm. <affirmative> is understanding the context of discomfort, understanding that it is not inherently a bad thing. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, when you talk to, uh, professional therapists and psychologists about how do I treat patients with anxiety? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, one of the things they say is I try to get them to understand that anxiety itself is a neutral thing.

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, the context that our minds put it in might make it terrifying, but anxiety itself is just a sensation. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, there's no meaning unto itself. It's just your brain, maybe an overdrive. It has no, it's not harmful unto itself. And they, and they've learned to sit with it. One of the ways you treat anxiety is exposure therapy. People sit with it and they sit with the stimulus until the anxiety dissipates. And they might, it might take 'em two months for the anxiety to dissipate before they can move on to a slightly more anxiety inducing, um, stimulus. Yeah. It's the same thing here. It's really the same thing with the swipe is when you feel that sense of, so when you're confronting an, an enormous project or a confronting a a, a really rough deadline on a project, for example, and course deadlines add an extra sense of an extra dimension of pressure mm-hmm.

<affirmative>, um, you know, it's understanding that that discomfort isn't, there's, it's, it's not inherently bad. Yeah. It's, it's, it's telling you that you are, it's challenging your sense of self-efficacy. It's challenging your sense of capacity. It's challenging your sense of belief in yourself, and belief in your abilities. But it's not necessarily bad. It's an opportunity to push past it and grow. I'm a different person than I was when I'm a different musician than I was when I pushed past that, that moment of insecurity when I thought about quitting that ensemble from a couple of years back when I was so insecure about my sight reading, I'm, I would never do that again, because I now know that that was completely, it was my, my, my fighter flight reflex was lying to me, as it so often does. Yep. So I think that, you know, at, at any, whether it's happiness, profit, or the combination, the, the confluence of both mm-hmm. <affirmative>, whether it applies to innovation, which is where I, where I started, or anything else, that discomfort is frequently a, uh, a signal to us that here, this is an opportunity for growth. Yeah. This is an opportunity for challenge, for growth, for advancement to, for development of your skills if we see it the right way. If we don't, we're gonna swipe. But if we can get past the swipe that that discomfort is a sign that we're on, we're on the right track. Yeah.

Dr. Pelè (33:18):

And, and, and, you know, just, just to clarify, um, uh, the question, and I think the context that you've brought as excellent is, you know, a lot of people hear that happy employees produce profitable companies. Right. But I think the disconnect is people don't remember that happiness or realize that happiness is not just a feeling. It's something you do, it's an action. And, you know, just like creating profit, you have to wake up in the morning and do some things that build the kind of happiness we're talking about that then pushes you toward a profit. And so when you swipe away from doing those things, guess what? You focus on the negativity and you, you, you just end up not being the happy. Right.

Tim Vandehey (33:59):

Yeah. Right. And, and I, you know, I think you have to define, you have to define what happiness is. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I mean, uh, the, the definitions of that word are frequently, um, you know, very, very surface level. Yes. Yes. I mean, I mean, I love what I do. I, I love being a ghost writer. Sometimes I work my tail off. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, sometimes I am challenged by ideas that don't work. Or, uh, I, I, two months ago, I had to rewrite a book almost from scratch because the idea didn't pan out with the editor, and it was a major publisher mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And that didn't make me real happy at the time, <laugh>. But you know, what it did was it challenged me to write a better book, and I did. Yeah. Um, so, you know, happy the, you know, the word happy can be misleading.

Sometimes we, at our, we are at our happiest, if you look at happiness as a spectrum, you also look at the totality of what happiness is. This is just to mean Yeah. You know, it's not, I'm smiling in the moment. Yes. I might be perfect. I might be smiling in the moment and be an idiot because I got, I, I followed something, I followed the wrong path, or I just don't know what's going on. Yeah. You know, is it, I think it's more of a long-term thing where I am growing, I'm engaged, I am pat is I'm, I'm content with where I am. I feel challenged, I feel purposeful. You know what I mean? Yeah.

Dr. Pelè (35:17):

You've actually just defined the real issue with happiness. A lot of people think of happiness as what people say is hedonic, uh, happiness, the sort of,

Tim Vandehey (35:27):

I'm experiencing pleasure. I

Dr. Pelè (35:28):

Feel pleasure today. I feel great today. But in fact, that's not the kind of happiness which you've just described, which is the type that builds engagement,

Tim Vandehey (35:36):

Flow, connection and meaning, and pushes you towards, uh, profit. And that's you demonic happiness. So you're right. First step is really to understand what happiness is and your explanation. Yeah. Perfect. Yeah. Tim, Tim, I have, so Tim, I have a question for you. What are you excited about next? What are you working on? I, and, and I know it's about the swipe book, so tell us where we can go find it and what, what, you know, what you're doing about it right now and where we can find you. Okay. That's, that's, that's a lot. Uh, okay. We get the book outta the way first. Um, swipe is, uh, it's on Amazon. Uh, we're working getting it in bookstores. I don't think it's in bookstores yet, although I believe the audio book just came out today. Awesome. So I think that'll be on Audible. That'll be on Amazon.

It's actually done. We've done pretty well. Yeah. Um, I, we're gonna, we're we're continuing to do, you know, a lot of press for it and things like that, so I think you'll be seeing a lot of it out there. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, in fact, I have a column today I think I have to finish to talk about the book. Um, but it's on Amazon. Uh, we're people can go to swipe the book.com. Okay. Uh, to find out more information. Um, I'm at Tim, excuse me, tim vande hay.com. Just, that's for my, my ghost writing practice. Yep. Um, as far as what I'm working on, um, I've got a lot of stuff in the fire. I'm hoping actually to work on a book. Um, one of my next projects apart from possibly a sequel to Swipe. We'll see. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, Tracy and I are still in dis discussions about that.

Yeah. Um, I'm hoping to work on a book, uh, I can't be too specific yet cause I haven't signed a contract. Yeah. But, um, that would be a, uh, a memoir from a pr pretty well known musician, all based outta New Orleans. So I might have to spend part of my summer in New Orleans, which just breaks my heart as you can now, <laugh>, you know, now to, to Italy, new Orleans and summer. Yeah. Maybe not the best time to be down in Louisiana, but, you know, there's no such thing as a bad time in New Orleans as far as I, Hey, hey, that's called Profitable Happiness. Would you? That is profitable happiness. That is, that is some, that is some jazz and some cradle for me. And I'm, you know, if I can do that, if I can do that as part of my work, I mean, what, what is better than that, man, you're good. <laugh>. Hey, Tim Van. Hey. I want to thank you so much, uh, for being a guest on the Profitable Happiness Podcast, and I will include your LinkedIn in addition to the other, uh, uh, websites that you've shared with us. Thank you so much for being here. Uh, Dr. Pe it has been a real pleasure and a joy to talk to you. Thank you so much.

Dr. Pelè (38:10):

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.