Interesting background includes competitive swimming, veterinarian delivering calves and doing eyelid surgery on leopards, army officer responsible for security and animal welfare, to a postgraduate student at ophthalmology, to MBA, to an unemployed and award-winning business coach, to a business development strategist, to an applauded speaker, writer, and author.
Quite a journey and we will get him to talk about that journey and a variety of different things.
Richards own success has been dynamic and diverse. A lot of what we will be focusing on is he puts it all together in his book called, Hoof It! Seven key lessons on your journey of success.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I want to highlight a few things. One of them is his outstanding new book, Hoof It – seven key lessons on your journey of success. I think what came apparent is that Richard truly excels and is challenging the status quo and the clients he works with to do better, to do better and to retain better results across their lives through businesses and their organizations. That applies whether working with entrepreneurs, or executives, leaders or followers, individuals or teams. Richard contributes articles to varies publications online and in print on a range of tops about business, leadership and personal success. He has also presents, speaks, and lectures across various institutions, conferences, and events around the globe.
As a competitive swimmer for 23 years, Richard lives by the adage, a healthy body is a healthy mind. Today, Richard continues to get his endorphin fix whether in the gym, on the road or in a pool, or on the radio! Richard is a lifelong learner and has invested significantly in his own personal development as well as others. He understands the power of applied learning, that allows for growth and delivers results, simply, effectively and consistently. With an absolute belief that inside everyone is greatness. Richard by example and passion uniquely inspires this belief in others. Welcome to the show Richard!
Dr. Richard Norris: Thank you very much Cathy, thank you very much Relly for the opportunity, I appreciate the line might be a bit muffled because the line must swim across the Atlantic but hopefully it will get there in the end.
Dr. Relly Nadler: So, where are you right now Richard?
Dr. Richard Norris: I’m sitting about an hour north of Edinburgh in the rain.
Dr. Relly Nadler: Well, let me start off and what we like to do is find out who has been some of your key influences, and I think you have a very unique background which we definitely want to dig into but who have been some of your influencers that have allowed you to get to where you are today?
Dr. Richard Norris: If I was going to use, probably the most influential is my dad, quite simply, just because some of the adages he would say, tend to sprout out of my mouth. I now hear myself talking back to my little toddlers. Oh Gosh, I am my dad. He had an education but he was responsible for, just to give you a quick idea of where his career took him, building the entire world financial center across from the twin towers in New York. I learned an awful lot about my dad, really about things like integrity, which I think is an overused word in leadership and outside of leadership, today. I think it’s a word that’s used but not many people understand or live it. That’s certainly something that impressed upon my dad.
Generally, my dad and I are into fitness, so hence that got me wired into that. He would say, “nothing is worth doing unless you’re going to do it well,” and again these are things that I just find myself saying to my kids right now.
Really a lot of it just comes down to my dad, I was self-sufficient but if I was going to role-model myself after anyone, a question I normally ask myself is, would this bring a smile to my dad’s face? Yes or no?
Dr. Relly Nadler: That’s great. I’m hoping what you say is true because I gave one of these adages out to my teenager yesterday about problem-solving, you have a problem and how you react to the problem, and now you’ve got two problems, you have the problem and now how you are reacting to it is a second problem. He goes “I know, I know, you always tell me that!” So, I’m hoping what you’re saying Richard, later he will go, “Oh! Now I’ve got two problems.”
Dr. Richard Norris: There is a tip in that one, that you said how do you react to it. I appreciate that it also ties into what you’re focused on, Relly, in respect to emotional intelligence. It’s a distinction I picked up recently, in the last six months, which it really hammered home. When you get a problem, you’ve got an opportunity: One, is you can react, which really is coming from ego or you can respond, which is coming from your higher intelligence. The challenge is always being, certainly for me is I always tend to let my ego kick in first. Take your foot off the gas, and think about how you are going to respond to it.
Dr. Relly Nadler: Richard, maybe you could say a word about your varied background, and I know it peaked my interest and I’m sure it peaked the listeners interest. The variety of things you have done, from veterinarian to going back to school. Maybe just highlight some of that, and I would imagine that would kind of tie into your 7 keys.
Dr. Richard Norris: It’s always a good spot to start, the Reader’s Digest version of my life. For me, when I was 8-years-old, I wanted to be a veterinarian, and that was the only thing I could absolutely see. It was the only thing I was really passionate about, and that’s why I focused on it and progressed all the way through that and ended up being a veterinarian for 12 years. Probably the last, and my best years, were when I was in the military because it was nice and diverse, I don’t know how much you know about veterinarians but certainly, globally, to get into a veterinary curriculum is the hardest curriculum to get into. So, you really get high achievers getting into the veterinary curriculum but the challenge is what comes out at the end is you’ve got these highly motivated people, very intelligent, but the majority of your work is very mundane and routine. Especially if you go into general practice where 40% of your cases are skin cases, or vomiting and diarrhea in animals. If it were small animals or if it were farm animal management systems, when you are doing large animals. When you take these highly motivated people and put them into something where you are seeing the same thing day in and day out, it can become demotivating.
I started after the military because the advantage there was it was a nice blend of a whole bunch of interesting things.
I started to get dissatisfied, so I went off and did my post-graduate, because I said, “maybe if I get specialized,” but then you just become specialized into even more focused routine things. So, I ended up scratching my head saying, “what am I going to do.” All the feedback, came back saying, you know, where do we go and everything came back: well, go off and do MBA to figure out what your next step is, and besides it will be a good facet to have to help you enter the game in a different field.
So, that’s what I did. Along that journey, all the feedback came back, Richard, you should be doing leadership and personal development. Some of that came back from all my sports days of captaining swim teams and coaching swim teams and various other things.
That’s what I’m going to focus on, I finished 3 days after September 11th, so my new job disappeared over-night. So, I was unemployed for 18 months. I had one interview in that time, and my wife said, “you are not going back to a veterinary profession because if you do, you’re going to be miserable – I can’t live with you,” so I stayed the course and I ended up buying myself a job.
I bought myself a business coaching franchise, wadded into it in a completely naked market. It is a completely new market up here in Scotland. Never heard of the word business coaching, so it was really an adventure and along the way, won a bunch of awards. Really it was probably, as you guys have probably experienced, anybody who hangs their hat and says they are a coach. The odds are they have learned a heck of a lot along the way. You’re probably learning as much from your clients and you are teaching them but you don’t necessarily tell them that at the time.
My experience from there was I moved out of that into being head of global development for a leadership development company up until September of last year.
Then I decided to venture out, put my own boat into the ocean and start sailing the sea, myself.
It’s part of that, the book came out of lessons I learned along the way and what I had observed from clients and from life. From sports people and other people who are successful, what are their 7 key attributes that they had? When they have all of them in what I call strength, the odds are stacked in their favor. Whether it’s an individual, team or an organization, they will be a success.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Now, Richard, in your work, it sounds to me that it’s so important for people to understand something about themselves, something about their purpose, something about how they want to live their life and truly design a life that has meaning. Can you talk a little about that?
Dr. Richard Norris: Yeah, happily. Again, this comes back to some of my focus, specifically in the leadership development is about self-leadership because, I’m sure both of you would validate this, you look at the people who are exceptional leaders and they are all-rounders. They understand that it all starts with being able to lead yourself well. Where that all starts is absolutely knowing what your purpose is. I get in front of audiences and I can pretty well say that a majority of a room will put their hands up when I ask the question, “how many people here are still struggling to figure out, why you are here?” We have all asked ourselves that question but the challenge is that some people ask themselves the question and don’t have an immediate answer, or that’s to uncomfortable answer because then I’m going to have to justify why I have made some bad decisions in my life, so let’s just bury it under the carpet. For me, it’s a very confronting question but the thing is, once we understand what our core purpose is, our decision making, our life path becomes so much easier.
I presented this question, for me, I keep everything as simple as possible. I posted the question up on LinkedIn last year and it gained four thousand replies in a quick period of time. In one word, what’s your purpose? Because, when you can distill down your purpose and it’s not just for your career but it’s across your entire life.
For mine, for example, my one word is transformation. Anything, whether I’m a dad, whether I’m a husband or as a business, executive or author is this on purpose for me, it is helping me bring transformation to other people’s lives. Other people have had other clients coaching them, and one was all about connecting, connecting people with opportunities, connecting them with their-selves. When you know what that purpose is, it’s far easier to make all the other decisions about your vision, you link that up with your passion. You can have a vision but if it’s not aligned without your purpose, there are people out there that have had that, they wonder why they potentially hit a wall. They haven’t gotten right down to their core. Once you know what your, what I describe as your divine design is because we are all born with certain DNA wirings, certain aptitudes, and it’s our life experience that helps hone those into excellence that we then put that all together. We need to absolutely know what that purpose is first, because if we don’t know that, we could be wasting a lot of time, energy and resources without purpose as a compass for your life.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: So, Richard, everyone has a divine design that they need to discover, is that the nugget there?
Dr. Richard Norris: Yeah, that’s right.
Dr. Relly Nadler: Cathy, I’m going to share mine but it would be kind of interesting to hear yours. Richard, like you said, we’ve all done out own type of work. Mine has been contribution. I think along those same lines that you were saying, in everything I am doing, am I contributing? To that, does it really mean that people are expanding, people are getting better, is it building their capacity? So that’s my word, contribution. What’s yours, Cathy?
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: That’s a hard one for me because mine crosses a couple different dimensions. One of which is creating self-sufficiency, it is really about creating self-sufficiency and helping people learn where they can be less dependent. I’m also into giving people, I guess what you would call, self-confidence. Maybe it’s self-mastery.
You can listen to the entire recording, above.