Losing his eyesight didn’t stop Issac Lidksy from starring on a TV sitcom, getting a Harvard degree at 19, becoming a Justice Department Attorney, becoming a CEO of Florida’s largest residential construction services company, or writing a New York Times bestseller. And that’s not all. Listen to Issac as he shares how his new vision, born from blindness, taught him that no barrier can come between us and our mission if we show up fully as ourselves and keep our eyes wide open. Lynn Rose is a motivational leadership speaker that explains when we can fully be authentic and connect, we can walk this world without walls into our destiny.
I’m so glad you joined us because we have Isaac Lidsky and Lynn Rose. Isaac is the bestselling author of Eyes Wide Open. It’s a New York Times bestseller and he tells the story of how he lost his eyesight and yet, he’s continued to transform his life with an amazing transformational story. Next up would be Lynn Rose, who is a celebrated media entrepreneur. She is a powerhouse. You’ve probably seen that she’s the expert and CEO of The POWER To WOW. She’s been on CBS, ABC, NBC, and Sony. I’m anxious to have her on the show. She’s definitely a motivational leadership speaker and I’m interested in talking to both of them.
Listen to the podcast here:
Keeping Your Eyes Wide Open with Isaac Lidsky
I am with Isaac Lidsky who, according to Inc. Magazine, has the most eclectic resume in the business. He starred as Weasel on NBC’s sitcom Saved by the Bell: The New Class. He graduated from Harvard College at age nineteen with honors degree in Math and Computer Science. He has founded an internet advertising technology business that’s thrived to this day. He also returned to Harvard for Law School graduating Magna Cum Laude. As a Justice Department Attorney, he argued cases in Federal Appellate Courts on behalf of the U.S. and never lost a case.
He was a law clerk to two U.S. Supreme Court Justices, Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He’s the CEO of ODC Construction, a company that was founded in 2011, which is Florida’s largest residential construction services company. Probably the most striking issue is that he accomplished all of this despite losing his eyesight slowly to a disease from age 13 to 25. He’s got a great TED Talk. He’s published a book, Eyes Wide Open, which is a New York Times bestseller. It’s nice to have you here, Isaac.
Thanks so much, Diane. It’s great to be with you.
It’s a really fascinating story to me because my father was born with 2% vision, so legally blind. I’ve always been fascinated by what he was able to accomplish. When I saw what you were able to accomplish, it’s pretty amazing. Watching your TED Talk, I loved how you started with ‘guess the five things, which one wasn’t true’. It would be hard to know you were blind if you hadn’t said something. You really do not appear to be blind. My father did much more so. How was this journey that you had to go through at such a young age? Do you think it was easier because you were young? I like to hear a little bit about what you had to go through at that age.
Easier or harder, better or worse, who’s to say? I’m not big on comparing a little burden or blessings in life and you never know any experience but your own. At first, it was pretty terrifying, and it was pretty awful. I went through some difficult years anticipating the onset of symptoms and then noticing them as I was gradually losing my sight. Eventually, that process of progressively losing my sight overtime became one of the best things that ever happened to me. I say that with all sincerity and with some precision too. I gained tremendous insight into the way our minds work and the amazing power we have to create the realities we experience. Those insights ultimately led to a life filled with a lot of joy, fulfillment, and success. That was how my journey progressed.
Were you on Saved by the Bell when you found out? What age were you then?
I was diagnosed when I was thirteen right around the same time that I landed Saved by the Bell: The New Class. When I went out to Los Angeles to work on the show, I knew that I had the disease already. It was an interesting time in my life. Two very major and very different events that were coming into fruition at the same time.
I imagine the emotions. I’ve had Tanner Gers on my show and I’m having Erik Weihenmayer and I think that everybody’s got a different story. Tanner, he had a car accident so it went like overnight. He had a tree go through his face. I’ve met Erik in the past and watched him rock climb. With him, he focused on outdoors, things he could tackle. Did you have that sense to want to do that? Is there a sense in you that, “I want to overcome this area of my life, I need to explore a different area”?
By nature, I’m someone who loves challenges and needs challenges in life. I love to grow, evolve, and learn and the best way to do that is to put yourself to new challenges. There’s no doubt about how it relates directly to the eyesight. I do snow skiing. I’m sure I’m on essentially the bunny hill with 90-year olds, five-year olds whizzing by me. In my mind, it’s an extreme sport and at the razor’s edge of risk. I don’t know why I’m exhausted just thinking about all the amazing things that Eric has done. I do point to him often as an example of that elemental proposition that we sometimes have such a hard time believing. You can do just about anything you want to do if you set your mind to it and you’re committed to doing it and if you’re able to get out of your own way. Too often, we are our own worst enemies in that respect.
My father, when I was growing up, I never thought about how all the things he did would be scary. He’d go horseback riding with me and I never thought about it until I got older. How did this impact what you wanted to do as far as going back to Harvard to do different things with your life? Did you always have the desire to work in the court system? Was this something that you always have in the back or were you wanting to be in movies? Was that more your path earlier?
I’ve been blessed to live this episodic life where I have had a string of very different and very interesting experiences. Looking back and trying to make some sense of it all, trying to come up with some overarching narrative, initially, the years post diagnosis, I would say from like thirteen to roughly my late teens or around the time I graduated college and started business, my fears about a blindness, my fears about going blind, the awful assumptions I made about all these negative impacts that I thought blindness would have in my life, I don’t know if I was 100% conscious of it at the time, but in retrospect, I was really living in quite a hurry. I had this sense that I wanted to get as much done. I want to squeeze as much as I could out of my life before it was “over” with blindness. It did feel like blindness was to be the end.
As I gained the new vision that was born of blindness because I lost my sight, I came to embrace this episodic character of my life in a totally different way. As something that I enjoy immensely, that I like and that’s a liberating and empowering way to look at life. As your priorities change, as your interests change, as your family changes, it’s okay to look at your life and say, “What do I want to be doing now? How do I want to be spending my time? Who do I want to be?” If your answers don’t reflect the life you’re living, do something about it. I definitely do jump around a lot. Now, I enjoy it and it’s part of my life, but initially it was this sense of time ticking away on the clock.
I can imagine that would be something that would be very difficult. I remember as a kid, I asked my dad what it was like to be blind. I asked Tanner about it because to my mind, I would see black because I know what it’s like to see color. I asked him, and he said, “It was like looking out of his knee.” It freaked me out to think like that. He goes, “Your eye isn’t connected.” Tanner said it was more like he saw black. Is it black for you?
I had never heard the ‘looking out of your knee’ thing. I don’t see black. It’s not seeing black, it’s the absence of sight, which is something different for me.
That’s what my Dad was saying. Tanner claimed he sees black. That’s interesting to me. When you’re a kid to think like that, “I tried to look at it in my knee,” and I’m like, “How do you do it?” You can’t. I thought that was a great way to make me think about it.
It might sound bizarre, but though I essentially see nothing, it feels different when my eyes are open or closed. When my eyes are closed, it’s more akin to a black. When my eyes are opened, it’s like the signal’s been unplugged or whatever. The cables have been unplugged.
I liked that you talked about missed opportunities. Your TED Talk was just amazing. Your delivery, I was just watching you. You just seem so not nervous. I love the way you delivered it so calmly and matter of fact. It was entertaining without you running around the stage or doing anything. I liked your talk because you’re talking about missed opportunities and I’m writing a book about curiosity in general. The things that hold us back is what fascinates me. I was thinking about social influence, technology, fear, and all the reasons that we could be held back, but I liked your assumptions. Can you focus on what you were trying to get across in terms of how we make assumptions?
We’re built to assume. We’re meant to build up this vast database of experiences. We reason from those experiences and we do it instantly naturally. We predict, we infer, we assume, which is very helpful in many ways. It’s helpful in a small matter of survival, for example. It can also get us into a lot of trouble. What I learned in my experience, breaking fear spell, learning to see through my fears about going blind or being blind is the danger is it’s not always clear to us when we’re doing this predicting or inferring or assuming. It often feels very subconscious and passive and immediate and we can become confused.
We get confused on what’s the external objective beyond us and what are the things that we are creating in our brains, the machinations of the mind? The analogy that is compelling to think about is has there ever been a time when you spotted a friend across the room and you walk over, you tap on the shoulder and it’s a complete stranger? You asked the question, “What happened?” You thought you saw your friend and the answer is, “No, not at all.” You knew you saw your friend. You didn’t think anything about it. In your world, your friend was there and then he wasn’t when you tapped. We can experience our fears in much the same way. I told myself all these awful things about what blindness would mean in my life, about my inability to do anything about it.
The trouble is, these weren’t things that I feared so much as things I knew. They felt like truth. In a beautiful way, my disease windup being part of the cure. The way in which I saw that that sight is very much a similar illusion. I was blessedly able to make the leap to my fears. That’s the main point I have in mind when I talk about the power of these assumptions that we make. We do it with our fears. We do it with self-limiting assumptions, the things we tell ourselves about our purported weaknesses or vulnerabilities or insecurities or vanities. All of those things and far more. The key is introspection and awareness and a conscious decision to take back control.
I was thinking how much my dad would like some of the things that you have more control over now, like self-driving cars. Do you feel comfortable doing and getting into those? Would you want to drive or do you feel like that gives you some sense of independence and control?
In the grand scheme of things, it’s a good time to be blind. The technology now is great. The screen reading software, there’s accessibility software on iPhones. I joked that our dirty little secret is that it’s not all that bad to be blind. The mobility, getting around transportation, remains a major limitation, a challenge, obstacle for folks with vision impairments, and other disabilities. I am so excited about this whole autonomous vehicle revolution. The short answer is, yes. As soon as they’re willing, I’ll jump in and go for a ride. For the disabled, it’ll be a game changer And for everyone, for society at large. There will come a time when maybe our grandchildren or great grandchildren will not be able to conceive of a world in which everybody owned their own car and drove themselves and that will be the most important. Why would you ever want to own a car and why would you want to drive yourself somewhere? It’s our horse and buggy.
It’s a little unsettling. My husband is at Tesla. You put on the auto thing, and it’s a little scary at first. I still don’t feel comfortable having it take over, but I think it’s going to offer so much for so many people.
It’s a direct point about fear and assumptions in the way that the wiring of our mind tells us what we should be scared of and what we shouldn’t, and it often doesn’t make much sense. I like to joke with people sometimes if I’m speaking to a corporation or organization. I’ll ask the folks I’m talking to don a blindfold or maybe turn the lights off. I’ll ask folks, “Are you anxious?” Invariably, yes. It’s super anxiety producing. We’re inherently visual creatures. These were folks who are very safe, sitting in comfortable chairs and they’re in no danger whatsoever.
Then I’ll ask them, “Did you feel as anxious as you do right now when you were driving on the highway to get here?” They answer, “No, not at all.” I got news for you. You were facing some serious risks when you were driving on that highway. It’s the same thing with the autonomous vehicles. The transitionary period is difficult as they refine the technology. Social norms have to change, but eventually, I’m comfortable reaching a state in which you’re far safer having a computer drive your car than a person.
When you’re saying that, it reminds me of the people who don’t like to be stuck in an elevator. Nothing’s going to happen. You’re just in one position. It’s funny what our minds tell us. I’m fascinated by all this that you have done with your background. I was curious about your work with Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What was it like being in that Supreme Court clerks situation?
It was a long-standing dream of mine. I actually applied four years in a row. I was a rejected three years and running. I used to joke that I was going to keep applying until I was older than the youngest justice, at which point I would stop that. That’s how badly I wanted that experience and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. The opportunity to have this behind-the-scenes look at what I think is the most remarkable institution in our democracy, the Supreme Court was amazing. Justice O’Connor, I absolutely adore on every level. She is a phenomenal human being, was and continues to be so good to me and my family. It was a gift beyond all proportions to be able to work for her for a year.
You went into this completely different industry. Why construction?
I had a great run in law in the public sector. I loved my gig on the appellate staff or the Civil Division of the Justice Department. That was probably the best job I’ll ever have and clerking for Justice Ginsburg was amazing. The bad thing about that job, it’s only for a year. You don’t get to stay. I took the easy path than most. A straightforward path, settling in a big international law firm. I was unhappy with my work. I didn’t have any interest in working 70 hours, 80 hours, 90 hours a week for scorched-earth, arms raise litigation, fighting for fighting’s sake. It wasn’t for me.
There are folks who find success and purpose and great personal rewards in the practice of law and that’s great for them. It makes perfect sense to me and I’m glad they enjoyed it. It’s not who I am. I was looking to make a change. Around this time, my college roommate, Zack, and I were talking, and he made this audacious suggestion that maybe we could buy a small, humble business together. He would keep his fancy day-job in the world of finance, but I could leave behind mine and run it. That’s exactly what we did.
You did the TED Talk later and you’ve done this book later, what took your time to do this? You could have done it awhile back. What was the delay?
I have been thinking about and even writing a little bit here and there some of the things I talk about in my book, this Eyes Wide Open, vision for years. There’s one little vignette in the book that’s largely taken from something I wrote in April of 2002.Like anything in life, you got to be in the right place and the right time. Early on, I felt that I didn’t maybe necessarily have quite enough to say or haven’t exactly worked it out for myself, how I would want to say it. My business, ODC Construction, at first seemed destined to fail spectacularly, but with the tremendous efforts, dedication, and loyalty of my team, we were able to turn this business around. It wound up thriving truly beyond my wildest imagination and growing and thriving.
As that was going on, I was keenly aware of two things. The first being that I felt our then Chief Operating Officer had earned the opportunity to run this business and I felt great confidence that he would do phenomenally well running it. I thought it would be great for the company to have his leadership. He is someone who, unlike me, has a lot of experience in our industry and knowledge and a passion for it. The second thing was I’m really big on staying focused on what’s important to you in this moment, in this part of your life. What are your priorities? Who do you want to be? What do you want to be doing?
I realized I wanted to write this book finally. I handed over day-to-day responsibility of the business. It took us about six months to essentially work me out of a day-to-day job. At that point, I sat down to write my book and I started to do some public speaking as well, which is what led to the TED Talk. It’s been quite a journey. In 2017, I spoke 33 times in seven countries to more than 30,000 people. It’s so immensely rewarding to be out there sharing this vision because I’m convinced that anyone can choose to see what I see, to live their lives the way I’ve been blessed to live mine. I’m certainly going to keep talking about it as long as I can convince folks.
I saw that you’re with Sheikh Mohammed in Dubai. Did you enjoy being in Dubai?
I did. I spent it all in about a week there. It was part of this Global Leadership Conference put on by an organization called YPO or Young Presidents Organization, which is a phenomenal organization that I’m lucky to be a member of. There were like half a dozen other phenomenal people and I got to get up there and give my spiel. It was actually when I was speaking in Dubai where some folks who are closely affiliated with the TED Organization saw my talk. A few weeks after I got back to the States, they reached out and said, “Would you be willing to give that talk on the main stage for TED?” I was like, “I’m pretty sure I’m willing.”I wound up speaking at the TED Conference a month and a half after the Dubai conference.
I can see why people would want to hire you. You really are a great speaker and you have an amazing book. I’m sure a lot of people would like to know how they could find out more about reaching you to get your book and maybe have you come speak to them. Can you share all that?
The best place to go is my website, which is at Lidsky.com. The TED Talk is there, the book is there. I have a blog and a podcast, which I love for folks to check out. The one thing that I do ask is if you do go to Lidsky.com and check it out or if you watched the TED Talk or read the book ,I’d love to know what people think. You could provide feedback through the website. I read every single submission and find it very rewarding. I think there’s great wisdom in community. One thing that I ask folks is to let me know what they think.
Thank you so much, Isaac.
Diane, thanks for having me.
Leading Without Walls with Lynn Rose
I am with Lynn Rose, who is a celebrated media entrepreneur, a performance leadership expert, and the CEO of The POWER to WOW, as well as a highly sought after entertaining business motivational keynoter, emcee and entertainer for Fortune 500 events. You’ve probably seen her on CBS, ABC, NBC, Sony as an entertainer. She shared the stage with Mariah Carey, Jay Leno, Stevie Wonder, Meryl Streep, Tony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra. She is a wonderful speaker and performer and has an unbelievable singing voice. Thank you for being here, Lynn.
Thank you so much. There’s a whole other aspect there that we barely touched on because a lot of folks know that that’s a forward-facing part of the background of entertainment and media and I have a wide background in that. Definitely, within business from having a nationally syndicated radio show on personal achievement and getting to interview those leaders in that world of personal achievement and having my own businesses that support high performance and marketing in media. There’s a wide varied background there.
I was invited to some after party thing and you were with what Ashton Kutcher and Matthew McConaughey. Where you just at the awards?
I was hosting the City Summit and City Gala. City Summit is a business acceleration, two-day event that with the incredible top industry leaders in business, billionaires and founders. I mean Priceline, Constant Contact, Monster Inc., Quest. They had Jack Canfield and Tai Lopez. They had some celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Matthew McConaughey who are incredible businessmen as well as philanthropists. The City Gala is celebrating giving back and philanthropy and these great causes. The main through line of that whole three days is Jeff Hoffman of Priceline said it best, “I don’t want to be remembered for the number of dollars, but for the number of lives I’ve impacted. You come from caring about the impact that you make far more than I got to get this dollar amount or this particular goal.” It was extraordinary hearing leader after leader that played at such a big game, what they’ve been through, but also where they’re coming from. It matches and aligns with what I stand for, what I bring to the table when I keynote or speak on all the work that I do too and I’m sure with you as well.
Gail Watkins was on my show and she’s like, “You got to go to this after party.” I never made it. She probably thought I was insane. I’m like, “I’m so tired. I had a big week. I was going to another event last week.”I’m sure it was amazing.
It was absolutely elevating, transformative. You’ll hear people talk about that, but it really is when you see leader after leader and they’re sharing from an authentic, real grounded place and sharing their own story, their own philosophy. There was through line after through line about the grit that it takes, the mindset, the amount of failures and mistakes and even dealing with their own fears and worth. Even now as they’re at success and then what they stand for. That collectively, I can’t help but seep into your own mindset and motivation plus to connect with them is fantastic.
WOW is an acronym for Without Walls. You really are quite a speaker. You talk about a lot of different leadership aspects, but you’re all about connecting and authentic in compelling ways. I wanted you to talk about what the S.P.E.A.K. Formula is.
One of the things was the core foundational principle for everything that I do whether that’s working with an expert and consulting with them, so they can be launched or working with a CEO and then how they can better speak. Without Walls goes beyond what it might initially sound like. For me, that’s where the real leadership, the real speaking, the real ‘how we live’ is. That’s when we can dissolve the barriers to our connection and show up fully as ourselves, fully expressed and authentic. Staying deeply connected to our purpose, our mission, our clients, our team, when you really have that Without Walls approach. It’s like an inside-out approach.
A real quick reference point to where that comes from is, I was doing Broadway, TV, film and I had a period of time in my life, I was early twenties at that point. Parts from my past, parts in that period of time caught up to me and I got completely shut down. Shut down with fear, shutdown with those nerves and negative voices to where I lost all ability to sing, lost all confidence, and I had to leave the entertainment industry for two years. I had to cocoon. I had to find my way back and now, it was from a different place. Previously, it was like, “Look at the outside. Let me paint the picture for you,” and not from that inner place.
I did this deeper work and certainly why I’m all the more inspired that I get to work with the heroes of whose books and work pulled me through the hard times. Then from there, I went on and did all sorts of other TV shows and touring around the world and following my dreams. It was an unstoppable fire and purpose. Not that it’s perfect, believe me. That certainly has its bumps and challenges and the voices that come up, but you know how to manage them. That’s why I want to give that context because the Without Walls approach makes that learning curve, people work so hard on their speaking and they try to learn, “Let me hold my hand this way. Let me say things in this way.”They’re becoming essentially contrived robots instead of truly speaking. Techniques are great and help but you want number one to come from the connection. The core principle is connection. That’s number one. Also to give some context, “I don’t care about speaking or I don’t care about how that works.”
Warren Buffett, who I think we can agree is one of the greatest business leaders of all time and certainly one of the most successful billionaires out there and most influential and he says, “The number one skill for business is public speaking.” He got that early. In fact, he used to be terrified and he went proactively to learn to heal that part of himself and he did. It makes a difference because you have to pitch your business to clients or it’s all about relationships. Everything I’m sharing here, if we can put in that context, it can support you to have better deals, to make more compelling impact when you do your presentations and to speak that better whether in front of a group or on video. Now, we can get to that speak formula.
It follows the acronym of SPEAK. S is to Smile when you talk. Smile when you talk, and that is basically 101 in sales, in selling, but that creates rapport, that lifts your energy, that creates connection. Even if sometimes we’re not always in the most ideal space when it’s time to have a meeting or a time to hit the stage or press play for video or press record for a video and that smile can all the more elevate you. You want it to come from an authentic, connected place. It also can physiologically act as a trigger to help get into that even more energetic, connected place as well. It’s also a trigger to remember that often we get in our heads, we’re too often thinking of what we’re going to say and missing that coming from the heart piece. When you have that smile, it also brings you back down from your head and back into your heart. Smile when you talk.
P is to Play with how you say it. What that means is dual purpose in that word play, is have a sense of play under the surface and give yourself the permission to play with how you say it. In other words, the way I said it without trying, I didn’t manufacture how I was going to say it, but I just said, “Give yourself permission with how you’re going to play with it.” I played with the words. I stretched them out. I gave myself that permission and explored. What happens is often we make ourselves compressed, intense, and squeezed because we feel like we have to hit this one target that we’ve got to get just right and if it doesn’t hit this one little target and fall short, that we’ve not done it, and instead to recognize there’s not one right way to do it. There’s this open field of possibility. There’s a myriad, millions of ways that it might come out or work and make an impact. Then give yourself this open playground of possibility instead of this constricted one target I have to hit. It’ll create this much more open sense and play is a secret ingredient to bring forward your personality, to bring forward that open feeling. Smile and to talk and play with how you say it.
E is for the Energy with what you speak. Energy means two things. That people are connecting to the energy of who you are far more than the actual words you say. This has been scientifically proven by countless studies. There are two studies where they had two speakers in front of the same audience. The first speaker was very professorial, very typical business paradigm. Very monotone voice, very straight, and very brilliant in content, but it wasn’t landing because it was just so in his head and monotone. You could call it boring. The second speaker was full of life. He was passionate, he has conviction. He was talking like it was a conversation with a best friend. He was even a little entertaining, full of life, except if you were to look at a transcript of what he said, it was really mostly platitudes and “All right”, but you could really feel what he was saying. They asked the audience an interesting question afterwards. They didn’t ask the audience, “Who did you like the most? Who did you trust the most? Who would you buy from? Who entertains you the most?”
All very important aspects that you want to see a good result from within your audience. They asked the audience, “Who did you learn the most from?” 70% of the audience said that it was the second speaker. It’s a shame because that first speaker had this brilliant content, but it was getting lost in the process. It wasn’t landing. It wasn’t connecting. It didn’t have that engine of connection, which comes through the energy of how you connect. The energy of who you are. We want both obviously. We want great content and we want to connect and make that compelling impact. The engine is that energy of how you show up. When you know that, that can also free you up to not feel so tense, and so in your head that you have to nail it so perfectly. When you recognize that your energy is doing the communicating, it gives you a lot more freedom. If you make a mistake, you go with that. You laugh at it. It’s that energy that’s connecting.
We’ve got smile when you talk, we’ve got play with how you say it, the energy with which you speak. A is to Authentically amplify. You want to come from that connected place first and then now that you’ve got that connected place, you can amp up how you would normally say or speak or do it. If it’s from that authentic place, you give yourself that permission to amp it up even more. It’s amazing how much more life has brought forward. How much more personality, how much more connection? Let’s say I bring people up and coach them in front of a group when I’m training them or speaking, you see transformation in minutes and it’s amazing. People who have been locked up for years, the people who have always been in their head, how they come to life when they take this on.
Even if you’re already great, to even try this on for yourself and see it’s impactful and you can give yourself permission to practice first and watch it back. Then you can see if you can feel safe about it. It’s amazing the difference that makes. Les Brown is consider one of the greatest motivational speakers of all time and he is just electrifying onstage. He has this famous phrase, “You’ve got to be hungry.” When you see it, you’re just like, “Wow.” When you’re sitting in your seats, the audience is electrified with the passion and the energy, but if you were inside his body, you would feel like, “This is too much.” No, it isn’t. It’s what makes it electrifying and compelling so authentically amplify.
K is to Know who you are. That means two things. One, honor how it comes through you. Yes, I’m saying all these things to authentically amplify it to play with it. Even if you tend to be a more professorial business expert all in your head, but you can bring these other elements that’s going to bring to life all the more who you are. If Wayne Dyer was to be like Tony Robbins, that wouldn’t work. If Tony Robbins was trying to be like Wayne Dyer, that wouldn’t work. Tina Turner, they were trying to make it a Diana Ross and thank goodness she didn’t let that happen. Know who you are and honor that while taking in all these other aspects.
The other aspect is to absolutely know, no matter where you are right now, that there is so much more available to you than you even have any idea right now. So much more possibilities, so much more where you can go that can come forward. We’ve seen it again and again, no matter what level of folks that I’ve worked with and to just trust that and know that. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been shut down all your life and all your years and you just go, “No, I can’t do it.””Yes, you can.” No one is a hopeless case, and no matter where you are, there’s always room for growth.
You’ve got a bunch of things going on and I’m sure there’s some introverts here know who you are. Not everybody’s Tony Robbins and not everybody can sing and not everybody can do the stuff that other people can do. How do you advise somebody who’s more of an introvert? Do you see people who are locked up? Is it more introverts as if more men, more women? What’s your experience with that?
I haven’t sat down with data and evaluated from that perspective. I have definitely seen the engineers or maybe there’s business types because what’s tended to happen, even subconsciously, is this paradigm that’s permeated where in order to be taken seriously in business that I’m going to take on, “I’m going to talk like this. You’re going to take me seriously and now you know I’m the expert. You don’t want the authority.” It’s a paradigm that I am on a crusade to break up because I’ve brought this work to venture capitalists to financiers on Wall Street, to lawyers, and they have begged me to bring it to their industries especially at these venture capitalists. They were saying, “I can’t tell you.
The people who come in and they’re presenting their presentation and doing this business paradigm type of way of speaking and they wish people would talk to them like a conversation and to connect and come to life in this way.”Look at Richard Branson, did we take him any less seriously? I’m not saying be like Richard Branson. Be who you are and work with the lawyers that are very business paradigm type of way. When we get to inject with these principles, they add more dynamics. They add more a personality within their personality and there is no less connection. They’d take you more seriously. They believe you more because they feel you.
We’ve even been in this discussion because there’s been that concern about, “I’m bringing this forward, am I going to be taken less seriously or how does this translate?” The audience then reflects back. That is so much more effective. You can try it on. Have your own little testing center. When it comes to the introvert side, it is beautiful to see an introvert come up and even if they’re willing to be worked with and they’re shaky or they’re sharing honestly and vulnerably about how that feels, but we’re able to bring that out to them, that’s not turning them into an extrovert. An introvert means you need to have your own personal time to regroup and your own time for yourself to make sure you honor that. You’ve got to be out in life among other people. If you can bring it forward in a way that connects and amplifies whatever your message or your product or service that you are connecting about or even just you, because relationships is the heart and soul of business, that’s going to up bring forward even more results for you.
I’m interested in how you’ve regained your own sense of self-confidence. I was thinking, “You just have that sense where you’ll break into song.” I watched your YouTube video with the pink microphone and you just break into a song and some of us can’t sing so we can’t do that. You’ve obviously overcome that fear that you said shut you down. What do you think it was that shut you down?
It’s all those limiting thoughts and beliefs. We all have them at varying degrees and what matters is how we manage them. It’s not about making them go away. Sometimes they will lessen to a point of silence, but they may still be there, but they lessen to a point of silence. They are the negative voices of comparing ourselves, of feeling like we don’t matter, of feeling we don’t have what it takes. For me, I felt like I’m putting myself out there so I’m going to be judged and rejected and beaten to a pulp by people’s judgments. I wanted to hide and I thought, “I don’t have what it takes and I suck.”I’m up there vulnerable and then I indeed would suck because I didn’t have the courage to just go ahead and allow my voice to come out and find its own way to sing.
Part of that came from I was trying to manufacturer how my voice sounded. I was trying to manufacturer how I came across and then it wasn’t from that authentic place of just letting myself connect and feeling safe enough to connect. Once I felt safe enough with myself, I then felt safe enough to put it forward to then connect. I remember there was an event. It was the third time I ever did a keynote. I had emceed for years. I hosted TV shows for years and sung for years in TV and media, but keynoting is a different animal.
The third time I was keynoting just happen to be in front of 8,000 people and my heroes are in the audience, from Jack Canfield and John Demartini. It was a really high-pressure event. I had flown in the night before, had no sleep and the people at the event looked at what I was going to do in my keynote. I tossed it out and wrote a new one. For whatever reason, there was no podium up to where I can keep notes. There was like this camera that would see any notes put on the floor. I couldn’t even have notes on the floor. There was no teleprompter to glance out for notes. I’m going to have to go out there blind and I was backstage and all that familiar feeling of being completely shut down. I wanted to throw up. I was shaking. I was tense. I thought, “How am I going to do it? I’m going to fail. I’m going totally disappoint this company that took a big chance on me.” I was really pressured.
Then I remembered that what matters is not me and what they think about me and me being good, what matters is these people that for 8,000 chiropractors, Parker Seminars and Fabrizio Mancini, but what matters is that the chiropractors know that they are number one in the healing arts. That they know that they matter, that they know the difference that they make, that they know to have that grit and mindset to get through the tough times of growing their business, all those things. I focused in, “As long as I make this a conversation with my best friend and I play with it, even if I forget what I’m going to say, I won’t totally fail and look like an idiot. I can at least deliver what I can for them.”
I let myself have all that fear and shaking live to the side. I didn’t try to make it stop. I can’t do it until it goes away. You have to go on now, the clock’s ticking. I let it live to the side and I kept bringing the focus back almost like an airplane is re-navigating itself. 90% of the time it’s off course, it keeps bringing itself back on course. That’s part of how it operates. Same with us, as it kept wanting to go to the fear instead of focusing on the fear and all the trembling, I kept bringing it back to my connection to the audience and that conversation of what they need to hear and off of myself and my own fears and my limiting beliefs. As a result, it went great. I got some footage that I even still use a little piece of now. I collapsed afterwards. At one point I almost forgot what I was going to say and I brought it back down into the connection. That’s why that connection piece is that driving engine that can guide you through, even when you’re trembling, even if you’re an introvert and you feel completely shut down inside. That piece is that driving engine.
I know what you’re saying, and I think it’s amazing what you’ve overcome to get back and to get to this level if you’ve had dropped out. I can’t even imagine because you seem so confident. I don’t know if fear of people asking you this, but do you have a favorite song that you like to sing when you’re at the stage?
I don’t fear if people ask me. I have found sometimes it’s hard for them to know that you can actually have that aspect of whole other world to who you are along with the business aspect. I’ve tended to keep them separate, but I am blending them together. I have a whole new set of songs coming out that are mindset driven and a new book and platforms.
He sang ‘To Dream the Impossible Dream’. What are you seeing the most if you have to bring the song into your speaking?
I usually use music as a way to energize the audience and create connections. I’ll do Let’s Get Loud and everyone on stage with me as we sing it and make it as a point of showing up and going for it, even if it’s scary. I do Simply the Best and I’ll do a couple of live. If I were going to sing acapella, I have this song called Cracking the Millionaire Code. I have one I wrote called Love, Love, Love. I have one called, I’m Ready. We’ll do Cracking the Millionaire Code.
“Are you ready to go?
Are you tired of choosing the longer road?
Ready solve the mystery.
Do you want to know? Do you want a light than heavy load?
Do you want meet your destiny?
I get up. I add up into that’s not a question of faith.
Take control. It’s time to move before it’s too late.
I’m already here inside. The answer to your dreams,
I’ve got the key to the side. It’s easier than it seems.
All but the Higher Power guiding you. Your life will explode.
You’re going to be cracking that millionaire code.”
Thank you so much. I’m going to have to have singers on my show more often because I’ve loved this last two days with people singing. This is just amazing. You have a beautiful voice. It’s great. That’s going to be new thing. That was wonderful, and I’ve watched so many of your talks where you broke into song and I thought, “You’re just really amazing,” and how you speak, and I loved your energy. Thank you so much for being on the show. I would love for you to share how people can find you and get all your work.
I certainly would love people to come on down to LynnRose.com. You can go ahead and then from there you’ll get a free song. It’s called Stand-up. It’s about standing in your power. There’s also the book, The Power of WOW. There’s this tape on the video series. The Power to WOW package, you can get there for free at LynnRose.com.Also you can then explore there about the keynoting and emceeing because I’m passionate about bringing through an interactive, entertaining, experiential way about knowing, about how we can shape our team, our environment and our results through how we show up. I love to have folks come on down and stay in touch and share and connect in any way and it’s really wonderful. I really appreciate you having me on your show and what you stand for in leadership. Thank you so much.
Thank you. This is so much fun, Lynn. I just enjoyed this so much.
Thank you so much to Isaac and to Lynn. What a great show. If you’ve missed any of our past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamiltonRadio.com and you can subscribe and it’ll notify you every time we have a new episode. I hope you come back the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.
About Isaac Lidsky
According to Inc. Magazine, Isaac Lidsky has “the most eclectic resume in business.” He starred as “Weasel” on the NBC sitcom Saved By The Bell: The New Class. He graduated from Harvard College at age 19 with an honors degree in math and computer science. Then he founded an internet advertising technology business that has thrived to this day. Next, he returned to Harvard for law school, graduating magna cum laude. As a Justice Department attorney, he argued cases in federal appellate courts on behalf of the United States and never lost a case. He was a Law Clerk to two U.S. Supreme Court Justices—Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Today he is the CEO of ODC Construction, a company that he founded in 2011 which is now Florida’s largest residential construction services company. Perhaps most striking, Lidsky accomplished all of this despite slowly losing his sight to a blinding disease—from age 13 to age 25. Lidsky’s main stage TED Talk was viewed more than a million times in its first 20 days, and his recently published book, Eyes Wide Open, is a New York Times best seller.
About Lynn Rose
Lynn Rose is a celebrated Media Entrepreneur, Performance & Leadership Expert and CEO of The Power To WOW, as well as a highly sought after Entertaining Business Motivational Keynoter, Emcee and Entertainer for Fortune 500 events. Seen on: CBS, ABC, NBC, Sony and more, Lynn has a varied background in media, marketing and motivation. As an entertainer, Lynn has shared the stage with Mariah Carey, Jay Leno, Stevie Wonder, Meryl Streep, Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra and more, while hosting numerous TV shows, including her own Nationally Syndicated Radio Show on the Personal Achievement Radio Network, interviewing the greats in personal achievement.
- Isaac Lidsky
- Lynn Rose
- Eyes Wide Open
- The POWER To WOW
- ODC Construction
- Tanner Gers
- Erik Weihenmayer
- Isaac Lidsky’s TED Talk
- Isaac Lidsky’s blog
- Isaac Lidsky’s podcast