Are you super hungry? In this episode, you’ll discover how to get infinite resources to create an abundant lifestyle. Dr. Diane Hamilton’s guest today is Jeff Badu, the Founder and CEO of Badu Tax Services, LLC. Jeff shares with Dr. Hamilton how the scarcity mentality can push people to a life of crime and violence. He witnessed it firsthand in his younger years. Today, Jeff is passionate about helping people open up to abundance. He teaches financial literacy skills you need to build your wealth and become free. Tune in and create abundance!
I’m glad you joined us because we have Jeff Badu. He’s a CPA. He’s the CEO and Founder of Badu Enterprises. He is on a journey to impact companies and society to have infinite resources. This is going to be a fascinating show.
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Are You Super Hungry? Create An Abundant Lifestyle With Jeff Badu
I am here with Jeff Badu who is a CPA and CEO and Founder of Badu Enterprises, which is a multinational conglomerate that owns several companies. He’s also the author of Infinite Expansion. He’s on a journey to impact society. I’m excited to have him here. Welcome, Jeff.
I appreciate you for having me, Diane.
I was looking forward to this because I know you’re doing some amazing things. I want to get a backstory on you before we get into the journey that you’re going into. How did you reach this level?
To keep it short, I was born and raised in Ghana. It’s on the West side of Africa. In Ghana, one thing we have is a lot of entrepreneurs. It’s a hustle mentality, meaning you have to go out and get it. If you want to feed your family, you have to go out there on the street and sell clothes, food or whatever it is that you’re good at selling and put food on the table. That’s how most people in Ghana are born and raised.
We do have this hustle mentality. However, it’s also a bit of a scarcity mentality. The thing is, we have so many resources but we’ve never either been shown or taught how to properly use those resources. Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of that. Fast forward when I was eight years old, I got an opportunity to win the immigration lottery and come to the United States of America.
What does that feel like?
It was a great feeling overall but here’s where things went downhill. I was thrown into a neighborhood called Uptown. For those who don’t know, when I was eight years old back in 2001, Uptown wasn’t the best neighborhood that a child should be in. It was surrounded by a lot of violence, shootings, a lot of stuff that you wouldn’t want someone young like myself or anybody for that matter to be in.
They say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” I became close to the people that were well causing these problems in the community. Unfortunately, some of my friends weren’t the most like-minded individuals that had their head on straight. Between the ages of 8 through 16, I went through a rough time. It was something that I wouldn’t want anybody and not even my worst enemy to go through. However, it’s what allowed me to see things from a different perspective and, ultimately, what got me to where I am now.
Going through that experience, being surrounded by violence, shootings and everything like that, in a way, first of all, it makes you more conscious about your environment. They put you in a bit of a survival mode. Being in that survival mode, thankfully, I got out of that environment when I was sixteen when I took a trip back to Ghana and I discovered my purpose in life, which is to inspire and support the super hungry to take hold of infinite resources to create an abundant lifestyle. You’re probably wondering how in the world that I even come about that.
First of all, when I saw that struggle when I was a kid, I didn’t understand it. I saw it but I didn’t understand what it meant. Little did I know I was taking life for granted. I had an opportunity to come to the United States of America, the home of the brave, land of the free and I was throwing away a lot of opportunities that I could have taken advantage of. That allowed me to know that I was being complacent. I was missing opportunities.
When I saw with my own two eyes a lady that had not 1 but 2 babies wrapped around her back with a huge load a basket of apples, oranges, whatever it took to make ends meet and you still see her standing and walking as if nothing happened, I’m like, “Holy cow.” That individual is super hungry. That’s somebody who I meant to help. I need to learn how to be able to help that individual because I can see their struggle in their eyes. However, they’re super hungry. They’re motivated. I can tell if they had a little bit more, if they knew a tip or trick about something else then they would be allowed to get to the next level to create an abundant lifestyle. That’s how the purpose came about.
I saw other similar situations. I saw the mechanics and people who were looking to make ends meet. I said, “It’s great. They’re hungry but that’s on the scarcity side. Let’s step into abundance.” For me, I now became abundant in my spiritual life. I started going to church more when I came back to the States. I surrounded myself with more like-minded friends. I acquired a mentor, someone who had been through something that I went through something similar and was able to teach me what to do in certain situations. It’s scenario-based training. That allowed me to get out of the bad environment that I was in and surround myself with more like-minded people.We have so many resources, but we've never been taught how to use them properly. Click To Tweet
Overall, that allowed me to go to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I was the first person to get accepted into that university from my high school. I was back in 2010. As an eighteen-year-old back in 2010, that allowed me now to build a business plan known as Badu Tax Services now, which is a CPA firm or tax firm that does tax preparation, planning and representations for individuals and businesses across all 50 states in the US. We also have clients in over 25 countries.
I can’t imagine growing up in Ghana thinking, “I’m going to grow up and have this CPA conglomerate.” Did finances ever appeal to you early on?
In general, I love money. Anytime you hand me money, I would be thankful for it. Anytime you handed me a candy bar, I would go out and sell it on the street because that’s all I saw. I saw other people doing this so I’m like, “Let me go and do it too.” In a way, you become what you see. For me, I saw people who were out there looking to make ends meet and make some money. I was genuinely interested in finances.
At that point, I didn’t know I was going to become an accountant. That didn’t happen until it was junior in high school when I took an assessment and they said, “You’re probably a good fit for an accountant because you’re detail-oriented, you like numbers and money.” I had done some additional research learning that accounting is the backbone of the business. If you understand accounting, you understand every area of the business. It also told me that accounting was a stable career. Everybody needs an accountant. On top of that, it paid good and it allowed me the opportunity to earn infinite income and build infinite wealth.
Knowing all of that, I had built the business plan in 2010 when I was a freshman at the U of I. I was also working on my second business plan, Badu Investments LLC, which is now a real estate investment company that controls over 100 apartments on the South side of Chicago. We help restore traditionally underserved communities, sections of the South side of Chicago. To allow me to do all of these things was I have to expand my mind. That’s that abundance mindset. I had to think way beyond what I saw. I had to think way beyond what my parents or anybody else around me have achieved. With that, I went to college. I was doing taxes for people for free while I was in college. I was also a party promoter so that allowed me to build my network. It was that hustle mentality that I had learned since I was a kid. I kept that up.
The Charity Water CEO went on my show and he started being a promoter and getting people into clubs. Harrison did this amazing transformation to see that he can use that skill to become something positive more than going into clubs or parties. It sounds like you did something similar. Hellicy Ng’ambi has been on my show. She was one of the first female vice chancellors ever at a public university in Zambia.
To me, it’s interesting when you are raised in this tough culture and how some people have that drive and then some don’t. Dr. Maja Zelihic and I studied that for our book on perception. You were talking about the drive that woman had with the two babies on her back. Do you have that naturally? Do you think you can instill that in somebody else? What’s your idea about that?
In my opinion, you can’t instill drive and hunger into somebody. You can motivate them to be hungry and to want to do something with their lives. However, I don’t think it’s something you can instill. You can create that within an individual. You can try to spark up the flame a bit. As Stephen Covey said, “Motivation is a fire from within.” When someone tries to light that fire under you, chances are it’s going to burn briefly. That motivation, that fire has to start within the person. Someone who’s a mentor or coach, all they do is ignite the fire even more.
I teach a lot of courses where we have them read Covey’s books. The 7 Habits is one of the best books. As I studied for my research on curiosity, what I found is curiosity was the spark to the motivation and drive and everything else. For me, what I wanted to find out was what inhibits curiosity. If you could figure out what’s stopping curiosity then you can work on everything else. That’s the spark to motivation, drive, engagement, innovation and everything else. I found that there are four things that inhibited curiosity. There’s our fear, assumptions are the voice in your head, technology, the over and underutilization of it and the environment, everybody around you, the things that they say or how they impact you. Did you find that those things impacted your curiosity at all?
I would say so. In general, we are all motivated. What impacts curiosity is similar to that. For me, my curiosity was, “What does it look like to be successful? What does it look like to be a millionaire or a billionaire, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos? What does it take to get to that level?” One thing that I’ve learned is that they’re fearless. They don’t allow fear to get in the way of being great. What sparks their curiosity is the lack of fear. I know for a fact that we’re all afraid of something. Speaking to you, there’s still fear there. However, it’s a good kind of fear. It’s the fear of missing out on greatness as opposed to fearing losing. I’m afraid to not win as opposed to being afraid of losing. For me, I’m more motivated by gain as opposed to losing.
How do you get people to see it that way?
First of all, you have to lead by example. You have to promote a lifestyle of abundance. It all comes down to an abundant mindset. For me, what I do is host different workshops. I host a radio show called Money Talks where we teach people about financial literacy. I’ve written books such as Infinite Expansion: How To Infinitely Expand Your Vision Of Abundance that someone can read and their mind can shift overnight. It’s a short book. It takes them into a world that they’ve never seen before. Overall, what you can do to help someone get to that level is you have to lead by example. If you can come out with content that can help promote whatever it is you’re doing, your purpose, vision or your mission in life then I would go ahead and do that so that you can inspire others to get to the next level.
I’m curious what your parents think of all this.
In general, my parents are proud that I was able to turn things around.
Can they understand what you’re doing? Is it beyond their scope of what they deal with on a day in and day out basis?
This is where the whole mindset thing comes in handy. I don’t think they ever saw a path that I was going to go on like this. They probably thought I would get a nice job at a public accounting firm, I’ll graduate college and maybe own a house.
It’s still great.
You can live a great lifestyle with that. They were never allowed to see more because they would never put through the training that I was put through to say, “This that you have is not enough.” If you want $1 million, you can get to $10 million. What happens is now you get in between and you end up at about $5 million because your vision is way beyond what most people can see. In reality, what we’re getting at now is you are what you see. You become what you see. If you see wealth then you probably will become wealthy because that’s all you aspire to be. That’s that curiosity. However, if all you see is survival then that’s maybe all you get.
It takes a lot of time. How much time do you spend working every week? How much effort are you putting in compared to the average person?
I follow the 8-8-8 rule where eight hours of my day is dedicated. When I say dedicated, I don’t mean hopping on Facebook or anything like that but dedicated to truly doing work. I’m meeting with clients. I’m doing something that I love doing. For me, I don’t consider it as work anymore. I consider it my passion, helping people. Another eight hours is sleeping time to get my rest. In my profession, your mind needs to be fresh every single day. Another eight hours is what I call free time, open time whether you’re spending time with your spouse, you’re watching the movie or you’re doing whatever. For me, three out of those eight hours are usually spent reading a book. For me, it’s podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks.
Development in things you’re curious about.
In reality, I spend probably about twelve hours a day doing things that I’m passionate about to the “average” person’s work standpoint. Eight hours is me helping clients and helping other people. Four hours is me helping myself.
I talked to a lot of people who are in companies where they expected you to work 70-hour weeks and I saw this a lot in higher education. It was like, “We’re going to spend eight hours on Zoom and then the rest of the work has to be done afterward.” We’re burning people out. Do you see a lot of that?
We are burning a lot of people out in general when it comes to overworking. I see that. I was at PricewaterhouseCoopers, PwC. I can be attesting to that. For me, part of the reason why I left PwC was that I felt like I had chains around my ankle.You have to think way beyond what you see. Click To Tweet
The golden handcuffs.
During the busy season, we’re working 70 to 90 hours a week.
It’s brutal. You have no life. A lot of it is an inefficient use of time when you work for a corporation instead of for yourself. A lot of people are putting meetings on the calendar to have meetings. I see a lot of people that their job is to make sure they continue to have their jobs so they make it look busy. A lot of people reading this don’t necessarily have their own company yet. Maybe they have the aspiration for that but they’re working for another organization. How do you work towards your own company and getting these infinite resources, abundance and all that you talk about while working for somebody else if they’re doing this 70 to 90-hour week?
September 2nd, 2016 was when I turned in my two-week notice at PwC. September 16th, 2016 was when I became a full-time entrepreneur. To this day, it’s still the best decision that I’ve ever made in my life. To backtrack a little bit, I was an auditor at PwC. We would be working from 8:00 AM, most nights, until about 10:00 PM. Imagine you’re stuck at work. What I did is I sacrificed my weekends. To get to the next level and attain success in life, you have to make sacrifices.
Thank God, I didn’t have a wife at the time. I don’t have kids or anything like that. I had that advantage. That allowed me to focus more on working on my business. After work or during the weekends, instead of going to hang out with friends and having a good time and all that, I would make that sacrifice because I knew what was coming. I knew that if I did taxes for people during the weekends, I would end up doing taxes for people during Monday through Friday and then enjoy my weekends.
I had to sacrifice my weekends. Whatever free time I did have at work, I would be on the phone with my own clients, not PwC clients, saying, “Do you mind sending me this document?” I would be communicating via email. Sometimes you have to do that. Thankfully, I was able to build a virtual business and it’s still virtual to this day. 100% of what we do is virtual. It didn’t require me to meet in person with clients or anything like that.
It’s much more efficient and a lot less time. That’s why I love my teaching. I do it virtually. You could teach so many more courses. You’re not driving, parking and all that stuff. As you’re talking about this, it brings to mind that it’s hard for older people, women who have kids or men if they’re the ones staying home. It’s slanted towards young people who are willing to give up their lives to the workplace for them to be able to work for somebody else. I keep waiting for people to burn out from that. It seems an imbalance of who it’s impacting.
For me, I was always willing to give up a certain amount when I got older. When I had kids in the house, until they were sixteen and can drive for themselves, I wasn’t willing to do the jobs that made me work 70 to 90 hours. In a way, I felt I was missing out on doing things that I love. I could work 70 to 90 hours. I don’t feel like I’m working now. I’m not neglecting my kids because they are gone. It’s a hard thing because you have to make these choices of what you want to do. I had those golden handcuffs. I worked for twenty years for a company. It was a hard decision. Like you, the day I quit was the best thing. You don’t know what you don’t know until you leave and you try something new. There’s an excitement to that, don’t you think?
You’re right, there’s excitement. For me, my heart was pounding.
The thing is I eventually got used to that fear. I allowed that fear to be my motivation to get into other things like real estate. Buying my first property was a scary experience as well. I’m like, “Holy cow. You own this huge building. What if it collapses?” I changed my wording from what if to why not.
Watching the Florida building probably scared you.
It went down for insurance.
Real estate has always been one of the things that I wish I had gotten into more when I was younger. It’s such a good way to build wealth. Neither of my parents worked. I didn’t have that influence. You were talking about mentorship being important and it is. I was thinking of my parents because you were saying that your parents don’t understand. With my mom, I’ll show her something I’m doing and she seems endlessly impressed but she has no idea what it is. Sometimes you’re the only one who knows what you’re doing. It can be lonely to be an entrepreneur especially if you do something that no one around you understands. How do you connect with people who are like-minded?
In general, you have to put yourself in the right room. You have to attend events of like-minded people. You have to find networking events. You have to find people you connect with. You have to go on LinkedIn and connect with other similar entrepreneurs. You have to read books and watch videos. You have to fill your mind with so much abundance to the point where the only people that you’re associated with are people that think the way you think.
First of all, you have to know your core values, which are the things that motivate you to do things in life. Once you know your core values then you find people that are aligned with those core values. How do you know? First of all, you have to have real conversations with those people. By having real conversations, you figure out what their core values are if there’s alignment between your core values and their core values. If there is, you keep the conversation going. If it’s not, let’s go our own separate ways.
For a lot of my students, I have them create a personal SWOT analysis, which is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and to write down some of the ways to overcome the threats and weaknesses. That’s important. Even in the Curiosity Code Index Training that I do with organizations, a part of it is a SWOT to overcome the things that keep people back from being curious. Once you find out what stops you then it’s easier to move forward. It gives you a plan and then you create SMART goals to have things to strive toward. You’re on this journey to help companies and impact society. What would you like everybody to know here that we haven’t talked about so far?
One thing that I would say is once you “make it” or even as you are “making it”, however you define that, you have to give back. For me, my giving back is financial literacy and financial education to the community. We created the Badu Foundation to teach people about financial literacy where we put kids on Zoom for a month, four Saturdays in June. We teach them budgeting, saving, investing and scholarships, fundamental concepts that I wish I would have learned when I was their age.
It can accelerate their wealth to the next level and allow them to stay away from the streets, allow them to have a better lifestyle for themselves and their family and see a better future so that they can teach others the same thing that they’ve learned. That’s our giving back moment. We also give scholarships to students once they successfully complete the program. They can repeat the program every year up until the age of eighteen.
I’ve had Gerald Chertavian on the show. Year Up is the company that he created. That was later in life to get you prepared before you go for your first interview or your first job. Those things need to start early. Rishi Dixit has a company and I’m on the board of their advisors, it’s Leaderkid Academy. It’s to get kids a lot of the soft skills at an early age, emotional intelligence.
One of my first books, the editor wanted me to write was about personal finance for young adults and I never ended up with that because I was working on a book on personality assessments. For my time in the mortgage industry and real estate industry, I love teaching personal finance. Kids need that at a young age. The people who need it most aren’t looking for it. When I write about emotional intelligence or curiosity, the people who need it most aren’t looking for those issues. How do you get those kids interested?
Here’s the thing. My purpose in life is to inspire and support the super hungry to take hold of infinite resources to create an abundant lifestyle. First and foremost, they have to be internally motivated and they have to be hungry. How we determine that hunger is they have to complete an application. By completing the application, there’s a question on there, “Are you ready to create an abundant lifestyle?” If they answer no, they can’t get into the program. If they answer yes then they do have an opportunity.
We also ask them an essay question, “In 100 words or less, why do you deserve to be in a program?” We read that and we and we hear certain buzzwords, certain things, “I want to create an abundant future. I want to build wealth for myself and my family. I want to start my own business. I want to own real estate.” When we hear these things, we’re like, “This is someone who we could potentially be able to help.”
What about the people who aren’t to the point of even knowing about your business or this questionnaire? How do you get them?
Honestly, it’s through PR. It’s through talking to people like yourself, doing news and media outlet things and a PR campaign. Outside of that, they won’t know unless maybe it’s friends, family or clients that might have found out about what it is we’re doing. You’re right, it is hard. Here are some statistics. In our program for 2021, we had 370 students apply. We could only accept 30 of them. Thankfully, in 2022, we’re going to have 100 that we can accept. There’s a heavy demand. The only reason why we got many applications is that we went extremely heavy on promotion on the PR of our cause.Allow your fear to be your motivation. Click To Tweet
If somebody is reading this and wants to find out more, get involved, follow you or any of the above, how do they find you?
The easiest way is on my website, which is JeffBadu.com. That’s where you get access to all my resources, my books, my articles, any videos that I’ve done, my YouTube channel, my courses. There’s a lot of stuff that’s on that website. There’s also a Contact Me section. If you want to contact me directly, you put in your name, your phone, your email and then the message that you want to send. We’ll respond back to you. We typically respond within 24 hours. That would be the best place to reach me and get all the infinite resources we have available. That also has links directly to the foundation, to the tax services, to the enterprise, to everything that I do and my organization does. JeffBadu.com is an essential website to get to everything else.
Thank you, Jeff. This has been inspirational. A lot of people could use your help. I’m honored that you wanted to share your story here. Thank you for being my guest.
No problem, Diane. I appreciate it. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be with you.
I get many great guests on the show. Sometimes I want to take a little bit of time to talk about some of the research I do. I’m going to talk to you about perception and some of the work I did with Dr. Maja Zelihic, who is also one of the people I’ve worked with at the Forbes School of Business. She’s been great in this process of researching how perception process in our mind, opinions, version of the truth, biases and how we live. What’s in a rose? Would it smell as sweet by any other name? All that we read about.
We looked at what can we do with the perception in the workplace to discuss it. We looked at it as a combination of IQ, EQ, CQ for Cultural Quotient, CQ for Curiosity Quotient and we thought, “This is something that they’re not talking about enough in the workplace.” We talked about this perception reality and to what extent are our perception is true? They’re our perceptions. What is a reality to us may not be the reality to them.
There is a truth to some extent but what’s real and all that? We start to get into this analysis paralysis thinking about it. We thought, “If we’re thinking like this, we need to showcase what others have done to try and look at this because the world’s changing.” We’ve seen The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, which is a great book. We know that what we used to think is the reality of everything that we thought we could do. Now, it’s different. We’re becoming more connected and we know that there are a lot more issues with global tragedies.
As companies are trying to do work in a global dot-com industry, it’s a lot different from how we look at things than when I originally got into the workplace or when Maja got into it. We’re looking at some of our belief systems of what shaped us both consciously and unconsciously. If we know that, we can be more responsive and respond to this multicultural and multi-language world in which we’re living.
If we can monitor our perceptions and guide them towards where we want to go or where we don’t want to go and understand what other people believe and maybe not necessarily agree with everything that they believe in, we can understand that and see where they’re coming from. That way, we manage our perceptions and we’re able to build empathy, which is a big part of emotional intelligence.
Maybe you can’t walk a mile in my shoes but we can have a better appreciation for what it would be like to do that. We looked at what was available in terms of assessments out there of how we can test and validate and do all these things with that. We came up with a Perception Power Index, which goes along with the book, The Power of Perception. Those are the things that we’re going to talk about.
We come into this world with this predisposition of how we view and interpret things. Imagine if you’re born where you are now compared to if you were born somewhere else. We know that twins are different if they were separated at birth. There’s a different upbringing. We have this cultural impact on how our behaviors, our beliefs and everything that we relate to is impacted by our social, ethnic, age group and everything. We’re seeing that there’s a lot more conflict in the world. A lot of it is because we don’t understand each other that well.
Something that we don’t even think about as acceptable or not questionable here in the United States might be something questionable in another culture. If you’re wearing a miniskirt in Brazil, it’s a lot different than if you’re wearing that in Saudi Arabia, for example. We have to appreciate where other people are coming from. Maybe we’re allowing our culture and our society to dictate what we’re thinking and perceiving.
I’ve had Joe Lurie on the show. He’s got a great book, A Mind Opening Journey Across Culture, where he writes about all the different perceptions of things that he’s found in different cultures. Eye contact in Western cultures is maybe candor and confident. If you go to Africa, they don’t want to do that. Eye contact with a person of authority, you’ve got to worry about respect. There are a lot of different issues when you’re talking about the Western culture versus other cultures. In Asian cultures, they might use a calculator to negotiate the price of things but you might not want to do that in some other areas because it may seem disrespectful.
Looking at different areas is fascinating. Even how certain hand gestures mean one thing. It might mean A-okay in one language and maybe be insulting in another culture. A lot of studies look at Western culture versus other cultures and that is worth reviewing. Now we know that there’s a lot of stereotyping going on. We’re trying to get away from that. We’re trying to get away from biases. We have biases.
Beau Lotto talked about that on my show. I hope you’ve read that episode. He talks about how you need it and how you can’t live without some bias to give you some decision-making ability. We have to pay attention to unconscious bias. We’ve got to be careful that we don’t come across as arrogant or condescending. Saying something like, “Keep it simple, stupid,” might mean one thing in one language. We have that as a saying and it’s not meant to be insulting. If you tell it to somebody else, it could be insulting.
These are the things that we were looking at when we decided that we needed to look at cultural quotients, IQ, CQ, our drive, motivation, knowledge, cognition, metacognition and all those things to look at how we come up with these actions or behaviors. Do we have to adapt to customs or should they adapt to ours? Should we be more tolerant of differences? Change is a big thing that we teach in business classes and being proactive to it is also important. We know that we have these teams where there are in-groupers and out-groupers. We want to try and get people to get along.
I’ve had Amy Edmondson talking about teams, teaming and how people get along. A lot of collaboration is about having the curiosity to ask questions and learn from each other. We want to look at the path that we’re on that’s similar but also understand the path that we’re on that’s not so similar. Some of the things that impact that are things like spirituality. Whether you’re religious or not, it can be different. Some people have this impact of how important their spirituality or their religion is to them where other people might be agnostic or atheist and that could completely shape your whole perception of the situation at hand. You might accidentally insult someone without even realizing how important something is to them.
I don’t think a lot of people give a lot of thought to the differences of how much strength that can have in their ideas and things that they question or don’t question. It can have a big impact because we inherit a lot of beliefs from our family. We personalize our beliefs. We take things that work for us or maybe don’t work for us. We make something around what works in our situation. That can make us think we’re right and they’re wrong and vice versa. That is a problem in the business world if we don’t examine what is shaping what these people are coming up with or not coming up with.
Having personalized beliefs are fine but even though Stephen Covey says, “Spiritual renewal is one of the habits that are essential to effective leadership,” we have to look at what’s your greater purpose? What do they think is their greater purpose? What are our values or our ethical principles and what are theirs? What will our legacy be and what is theirs? Those are the things that we researched in terms of how people use their religion and spirituality. It was also fun to look at gender to see the differences in how people look at paintings.
There was a comment that we put in the book. Two strangers, a man and a woman, were visiting an art gallery and found themselves standing next to one another staring at a painting of an old country estate. Replete with an elderly man sitting in a rocking chair on a front porch of a mansion and with various barns and outbuildings serving his background. The woman without prompting commented, “What a beautiful painting so serene and peaceful. A beautiful blend of man and nature.” The man commented in response, “That barn looks like it’s in dire need of a paint job.”
We both look at the same thing but we see different aspects. There’s not that one’s right and one’s wrong. It could be the opposite way round. It could be the man seeing the great thing, the woman saying the opposite. We don’t want to stereotype necessarily but it’s interesting to see that men and women do see things a little bit differently. There are psychological differences. These have been documented including differences in their brains.
We hear gender bias and we know studies show women are viewed, treated and paid differently. We know there’s a predominance in the number of men compared to women in executive positions. Those are the things that are important for leaders to recognize. We have to know the origins of all this and why we see things through these different lenses. We know that men’s brains are structurally different than the female brain and that’s a fascinating thing to look at in itself. We’re not going to exactly see things in the same way.Our purpose in life is to inspire and support the super hungry to take hold of infinite resources to create an abundant lifestyle. Click To Tweet
There is a New York Times bestseller called The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, a neuropsychiatrist. She also later wrote The Male Brain. She guides you through how the brains of each gender differ and how they shape our behaviors from the time we’re infants all the way into adulthood. The women’s perceptions and behaviors are different from men’s mostly due to hormones. We do have different hormones. We know the women have more estrogen, progesterone, we even have testosterone but not as much as the men. It goes all the way back to some of these hormones. It’s how we are influenced by them.
I talked to Tom Peters on the show. That’s a great show if you get a chance to look at it. He talked about The Female Brain and he recalled an article from Duke University Basketball, Coach Mike Krzyzewski. In the Sunday Times magazine section, he described how that coach, often referred to as Coach K, would bring his wife to all the team meetings. He said the reason was so she would see what was going on in player’s lives that he didn’t notice. She would smell of a problem of a girlfriend 100 miles away or some distraction and he didn’t think men psychologically saw those things. He found it fascinating as an observation.
There are differences. If we pretend like we’re not different, that doesn’t work and we get uncomfortable. If we look at that as one thing being better than another, that’s also uncomfortable. It’s important to recognize that these things are part of us and that we’re intended to be different. We’re not intended to be the same. Wouldn’t life be super boring if it was that way?
I thought that would be something that you talk about in the workplace of what we can get. We know that the percentage of women in the workplace is increasing. We know that the rate of women occupying key roles in the workplace is on the rise. We know that women are being hired into leadership roles more often than they were CEOs at an increasing rate and we’d like to see it higher. We know that women are bringing different perceptions into the workplace. Those are different aspirations.
It is an interesting thing to look at how we’re genetically wired differently from birth. These differences are spawning this ground for this history of beliefs and stereotypes of how we’re taught to view each other. We’re carving a different road for ourselves, the women versus the men. That’s important to know that we’re evolving. When we’re doing that, we’re impacted by our intelligence in this process.
We talk about IQ and EQ. If we’re thinking of intelligence as what we know and how we apply what we know, we know that we need to be able to use our intelligence to understand how to relate with one another. We know that our intelligence and our perceptions evolve in different ways. Fluid versus crystallized intelligence comes about.
There’s some great work by Raymond Cattell, who talked about that. If you ever get a chance to read some of his work, there are all these different types of what we learn and how it changes over time. It’s an important thing to look at. Also, Howard Gardner is heavily cited in the area of types of intelligence. We thought we had one kind. He studied all these different types of abilities that we have. You could have naturalistic, music, logical and mathematical and existential intelligence. Also, body, kinesthetic, verbal, linguistic, intrapersonal, visual-spatial intelligence and interpersonal intelligence. The list goes on and on.
To say somebody is smart is a hard thing to do because there are these different ways of being smart. How do you value that intelligence? What’s important in your culture for that type of intelligence? That was interesting to us as we went through all the different ways that we grow, learn and apply what we know.
We also looked at emotions as in emotional intelligence in that aspect as well. I had written my doctoral dissertation on emotional intelligence and that’s such a huge area. It was great to have Daniel Goleman on the show to talk about emotional intelligence. If you haven’t read that episode, I highly recommend it.
Emotions play a big part in how we make decisions. Empathy is a big part of emotional intelligence. Sometimes that ties into the curiosity that we’re asking questions to learn more about each other. Our emotions can be different across cultures. There are different studies between Japanese and American subjects. They found facial expressions and non-verbal behaviors vary significantly between them.
I had Paul Ekman on the show. The TV show, Lie To Me, was based on his work. There are certain expressions that we all make that are the same whether you’re blind or not. I thought that was fascinating. My father was born blind so it’s interesting what things we have similar and then other things that are completely different. It’s conceptually different based on the way you grow up and the influences around you of how you respond to your emotions.
Your emotions can make you perceive failure differently either. Some of us have the fight or flight response. Some of us will run from it or run to it. Most of us have that sense that failure is not your favorite thing. Our perception of failure can influence how much we explore things and ask questions. It gets back into curiosity again.
I tell a story in my talks and I write one in the book about different experiences where sometimes you’re in a sales presentation where you get your rear end handed to you. You might be on a call with your partner and your partner thinks it’s the worst thing in the world where you might think it’s the best thing because you’ve learned everything you need to know to fix your next presentation.
If you don’t learn these things, sometimes your perception will get you down and you’ll quit. You have to learn from failure and if you don’t, you’re going to end up being the glass-half-empty person and you won’t move forward. You’ll stay where you are and move backward. That’s what we’re trying to avoid by understanding perception.
The other thing that we looked at when we were looking at perception was whether it’s your reality or not. Looking at some of the perception experts especially Beau Lotto, I love his TED Talks. He talked about a lot of great things on the show. If you’re wanting to know perception versus reality, I would look at some of that because it’s fascinating.
Talking about perception, you need to talk about collaboration because collaboration is a required skillset in the workplace. If you’re being hindered by your perceptions, there are so many variables. Think of the questions we ask ourselves, “Does this project intrigued us? Does it motivate us? Do we like our teammates? Do we like our leader? Do we like the role that we’ve been given?” You look at all this and if you’re getting mixed reasons for why you like something or don’t like something, a lot of it could be your perception of it.
When we talk about collaboration, I always think about Amy Edmondson‘s TED Talk because that ties into how they got the Chilean miners out in that disaster. These people were able to work together and collaborate because they maybe had different perceptions but they knew that it was life or death, in this case, to help people get out from under that rock.
Understanding that perception is critical to collaboration, getting people to work together and being innovative and creative is interesting. Gallup says we’re losing $500 billion a year on engagement. We know that people want to be collaborative. If we don’t have this ability to get along, that’s going to be huge. We want people to be creative and see things differently.
In the Dead Poets Society movie, Robin Williams had the students get on top of their desks to look at life in a different way. He said, “To make a difference, you must see things differently.” That’s a key point that a lot of people always are looking at things from their vantage point. They don’t get on top of their desk. They don’t look at things from another way.
I’ve done a lot of training classes where we’ve given Legos and we’ve had people build things as teams in collaborative ways. It’s fun to see them get ideas from each other and go, “I would have never looked at it that way.” If you aren’t a big fan of teams, sometimes it’s helpful to get on a team with people who are completely different than you are because if everybody thinks the same way, life’s boring.
It helps to look at things from a critical thinking standpoint and to do research. How did these people do this? How have they made it successful? What facts support their argument? What’s the source of their information? How did they come to that conclusion? We’re back to curiosity again. Those are the questions we need to ask ourselves. I don’t think we get enough of that. There are a lot of people who want to take things at face value based on what they’ve always known and what supports the values that they’ve always had. That’s common for people.
You watch the same either CNN or Fox or whatever that supports your values because it makes you comfortable. It is important to get curious and get outside. Our perception suggests we know something but our curiosity proves that we don’t. We need to know what we don’t know. A lot of people aren’t asking enough questions. That’s the thing that in the book, Cracking the Curiosity Code, is a huge part of changing the culture in organizations.
I often talk a lot about that to groups because if we can ask more questions, we can get better at decision-making. Decision-making can be challenging. I love a quote by Deepak Chopra where he says, “If you obsess over whether you’re making the right decision, you’re assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another.” If you think about that, you always think you have the right or the wrong thing but it’s not necessarily the case. There are shades of gray, not everything is black and white. That’s what I find particularly fascinating in the research that we did.
If we’re trying to fix all the things in work and if we’re trying to fix engagement, I mentioned before that you’re losing $500 billion a year, according to Gallup. When people are financially invested, they want to return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute. That’s what we need to do, get people emotionally invested at work and contributing. Part of that is to ask questions and to understand each other better. We’re back to empathy, which is a big part of emotional intelligence and then we’re getting that perception of the other person’s ideas. We’re seeing it not just from our own standpoint but from theirs.
Some of the questions that we need to ask to improve engagement are like, “Do my employees feel they’re growing in their work? Are they being recognized for their work? Do they trust that the company’s on the right track?” Those are some of the things that lead to great communication. I had Kevin Kruse on the show and he has a great book on information about engagement and that’s helpful. All this is so that we can be better leaders and employees. We have to sometimes suspend our beliefs and be agile. Look in some of the words that we hear a lot about like vulnerability.
Brené Brown made a lifelong career out of that. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable doing that. That’s what led to our interest in looking at what the perception process is and how we can manage our perceptions. Creating an assessment would be important and an epic decision of how we can help people understand what they go through. What does the process look like? We found it’s about evaluating, predicting, interpreting and reshaping or correlating one’s perceptions.
The EPIC acronym we came up with is Evaluation, Prediction, Interpretation and Correlation. Those are the things that if you take the Perception Power Index, you will find out how you’re doing in those areas? What could you do to improve your EPIC process? It’s similar if you’ve taken the Curiosity Code Index. It’s simple. You get your results right away and you can find out a lot more about how well you go through this process and what things are holding you back. If you get a baseline of, “This is how I am at this,” then you know how to move forward.
Let’s look at some of these because, in an evaluation, you’re going to examine and assess. You’re going to do a lot of these different things that you can recognize if you’re open to thoughts or ideas that you look at from your own perspective of your self-awareness. I think of this one in that respect. If you applied this element of emotional intelligence and self-awareness then you’re going to get along better and you’re going to be able to be more aware of how you come across to other people. That’s a lot of a problem. I see a lot of people who don’t recognize body language, issues, tone or if they’re typing in all caps. There are all these different things they can do of how they come across and they don’t realize it.
They can predict how the other person’s going to act. In a way, that’s another part of emotional intelligence. It’s their interpersonal awareness of, “Are they able to understand where the other person is coming from, what their perception is, their capabilities, their abilities and how they make decisions?” It’s challenging to predict what other people are going to do if you don’t look into what they’re doing, have empathy, ask questions and have that sense of emotional intelligence. It’s only then that you can make your interpretation.
In your interpretation, you have to consider how all of this impacts your decision. The curiosity comes into this. You’re making assumptions and you’re looking at how their fear is impacting them. A lot of this ties back into their culture of how were they raised. We know that behavior and different things are rewarded or not rewarded in certain systems so we need to look at that. How did their culture shape them? How did the company culture shape them?
It’s about assessing and understanding your own emotions for the EPIC part but the I part is more about putting it collectively together and interpreting what you know. You end with your conclusions. Your Correlation is your final C of the EPIC process because now that you have all this, you can come up with your solutions and conclusions after researching your facts. This is the critical thinking aspect of it all.
We know that there are so many great ideas that come out but if you don’t go to the part where you end coming up with the idea with taking what you’ve learned in this group setting and changing a little bit of your behavior so you can have a win-win situation. You haven’t come to any conclusion that’s going to be good for everybody. Those are some of the main points that we make in what we’re talking about in this EPIC process and this power of perception. This would be something critical to share.
You can take the Perception Power Index at DrDianeHamilton.com. All the assessments are there. You can take the Curiosity Code Index, the Perception Power Index and even take DISC and emotional intelligence tests. A lot of that is all there. If you don’t see it in the drop-down menus at the top, there are more menus at the bottom. I hope you contact me if you have any questions and I hope that this helps you understand perception a little better.
I’d like to thank Jeff for being my guest. We get so many great guests on this show. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to Dr.DianeHamilton.com. I hope you join us for the next episode.
- Badu Enterprises
- Infinite Expansion
- Badu Tax Services
- Harrison – past episode
- Hellicy Ng’ambi – past episode
- Dr. Maja Zelihic
- The 7 Habits
- Money Talks
- Curiosity Code Index Training
- Badu Foundation
- Gerald Chertavian
- Year Up
- Leaderkid Academy
- YouTube – Jeff Badu
- The World is Flat
- Perception Power Index
- The Power of Perception
- Joe Lurie – past episode
- A Mind Opening Journey Across Culture
- Beau Lotto – past episode
- Amy Edmondson – past episode
- The Female Brain
- The Male Brain
- Tom Peters – past episode
- Howard Gardner
- Daniel Goleman – past episode
- Paul Ekman – past episode
- Beau Lotto – TED Talks
- Amy Edmondson – TED Talk
- Cracking the Curiosity Code
- Kevin Kruse – past episode
- Curiosity Code Index
About Jeff Badu
Jeff Badu is a CPA and CEO and Founder of Badu Enterprises, which is a multinational conglomerate that owns several key companies. His marquee company is Badu Tax Services, LLC, which is a CPA firm that specializes in tax preparation, tax planning, and tax representation for individuals and businesses. Another key company is Badu Investments, LLC, which is a real estate investment company that acquires residential and commercial rental real estate properties in areas such as the South Side of Chicago in efforts to restore traditionally underserved areas. What sparked his interest in launching these companies is his passion for helping people minimize their tax liability and ultimately multiplying their money by investing it and building multi-generational wealth. His purpose in life is to inspire and support the super hungry to take hold of infinite resources in order to create an abundant lifestyle. He’s extremely passionate about financial literacy and currently hosts various financial literacy workshops throughout the country. He’s a public speaker and his overall mission in life is very simple: to make a lasting positive impact in as many lives as possible, especially when it comes to their finances.
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