43: Pivot – Featured Interview with guest expert Alan Zimmerman

Alan Zimmerman, Hall of Fame Motivational Speaker

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Interview Insights

Listen to this interview to learn:

  • The #1 complaint on the job for professionals and managers.
  • What to do about an attitude you want to change.
  • How western cultures and eastern cultures view attitude differently.
  • Practical ways to assess and manage your attitude in order to achieve more happiness and success.

Read the Show Notes from this Episode

  • 1:19 [On getting started as a speaker] “I never planned on doing this as a career. I was a professor at a university. I was tenured. I loved teaching. I kept getting asked by local service groups like the Rotary club or Kiwanis club or church groups to speak for their organization on some of the things I was teaching on communication, motivation – and some of the people in the audience would ask me if I could come to their company and talk about that.”
  • 2:30 [Comparing his speaking career in 1985 to now] “I think people, because of the challenging times, the economy being difficult, they want real meat. ‘Tell me what to do. I don’t care about theory, I don’t care about academic models. I just want to know how to do my job more effectively, what’s going to bring a big payoff for our industry.’”
  • 3:09 “The number one determining factor of success is attitude. It comes higher than education, a GPA level in school, racial/ethnic background, nothing comes higher than attitude.”
  • 3:55 [On why attitude is overlooked] “I think it’s overlooked because it seems like common sense, people think they should already know that. Why go to a class and learn that?
  • 4:01 “I find a big gap between, what I call known common sense vs. applied common sense. People may know what to do, but may not always know how to do it.”
  • 4:25 [On negativity in the media] “After being exposed to enough negativity, people just kind of lose their attitude in the process. They tend to absorb the negativity and lose all positive attitude.”
  • 4:45 “The #1 job complaint I’ve heard at the beginning of my career, I still hear today. You can do a hundred things right and not hear a thing about it, but do one thing wrong and they’re right on your back. People can so easily give negative feedback, but tend to not hear the positive often enough.”
  • 5:17 Dr. Zimmerman describes the differences between what people in Eastern and Western Civilizations want out of life: success vs. happiness.
  • 6:07 “We have some strong competition coming from some other countries in the East because of a different mindset of success.”
  • 6:10 West meets East: The story of how Apple collaborated with Chinese manufacturing to come up with a better product.
  • 7:40 “There’s an attitude amongst some American workers that says, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ rather than, ‘How can I contribute to the success of the organization?’”
  • 8:26 Dr. Zimmerman describes how it’s possible to develop a better attitude.
  • 9:10 “85% of an average person’s self-talk is negative, they’ve got to learn to stop that.”
  • 9:30 [The Old Fashioned “Act-as-if” Principle] – “If you wait until you feel like doing something, you may never feel that way…if you act happy, you’ll feel happy.”
  • 10:22 “People take a look at someone’s life and think obviously you’ve got it made. You’ve got a great career, you have success in this area, it’s easy for you. What they don’t see is what people have come through.”
  • 10:41 Dr. Zimmerman tells a bit about his personal life journey, and why having a positive attitude is so important for him despite hard times.
  • 10:52 “When you come to a big problem in life, it’s a choice point. You can choose a better point: to get better, or get bitter.”
  • 11:36 “It’s not a matter of arriving, there will always be challenges, it’s a matter of do you have the skills for getting through it. People think that those who are positive don’t have the issues, problems, or challenges, that’s not true. They simply have the skills to not stay down as long, get through it more quickly, and stay more effective in the long run.”
  • 12:05 [On the inspiration for Pivot] “I see so many people in the workshops I do, programs I give, who can do so much more. They don’t believe in themselves, they have significant doubts, and I felt a certain kind of sadness that people with great skills aren’t going very far.”
  • 12:30 The answer to the question: “Why is it that some people with so much talent accomplish so little?”
  • 13:06 [The phenomenon of Mind-Binders] “A mind-binder is a phrase you tell yourself negatively. ‘I could never do that. I couldn’t give a speech. I can’t make a cold call. I can’t close that sale. This is a terrible day.’ When you think that, there’s a very strong chance you’ll be in that negative emotional pattern for some time.”
  • 13:30 “We perform exactly as we see ourselves or as we tell ourselves. So if we ourselves or if we tell ourselves negative things, that’s where you’re going to spend your day.”
  • 13:53 “Once you stop the negative, a very easy thing you can do is take a few seconds and go through what I call the ‘attitude of gratitude.’ Start listing things you’re thankful for.”
  • 14:50 The practical reasons for counting your blessings against your problems.
  • 15:25 “We don’t lack for knowledge, we lack for implementation. I don’t think people need so much to know that some things might be good for them to do, but they want the skills.”
  • 16:11 Two tried and tested tips for how to finish what you start.
  • 17:05 “Everybody has the potential for being extremely happy, incredibly successful, on and off the job.”
  • 17:31 “If other people can do it, you can do it, if you use certain skills.”
  • 18:06 Personal insights Dr. Zimmerman gained during the process of writing the book.

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Expert Bio

Dr. Alan Zimmerman is a full-time professional speaker and trainer in the areas of motivation, leadership, communication, change, and work-life balance. He has given more than 2000 programs in the last 25 years to more than a million people in 48 states and 22 countries. A Certified Speaking Professional and a member of the National Speaker Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame, he maintains a 92% ratio of repeat and referral business.

Alan is the Founder, Owner, and President of Zimmerman Communi-Care Network, a speaking, training, and consulting company with offices in Minnesota, Florida, and the U.K. He is also a professional speaker and consultant for the State of Missouri and was twice named “Distinguished Faculty Member” by Institute for Management Studies.

He is the author of Pivot: How One Simple Turn in Attitude Can Lead to Success and The Service Payoff: How Customer Service Champions Outserve And Outlast The Competition, among other titles.

Contact Info and Social Media for Dr. Alan Zimmerman

Books Authored by Dr. Alan Zimmerman

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