Disrupt You! The Keys to Master Personal Transformation, With Jay Samit – PS041

Episode Overview

Jay Samit is a globally recognized, serial entrepreneur who has been involved with some of the most successful startups of the last 30 years.

Jay’s book, with the honor of being Amazon Business Book of the Month for July 2015, is Disrupt You!: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation. (MacMillan, 2015)

It’s chock full of stories illustrating how personal transformation underpins successful growth, igniting business innovations and impacting lives in every walk of life.  Jay shares a number of his own successes stories, as well as the findings of his research into how disruption is changing how business is done.

Episode Introduction

Jay Samit on Personal TransformationWhat is really daunting:  Jay keeps company with, and advises the highest net worth people globally. Popes, politicians and pop stars come to him because of his entrepreneurial successes and his approaches to business, society and the world at large.  As a change agent, he says that we live in an era of endless innovation, and is totally excited to share with audiences how they can master personal transformation, seize opportunity and thrive in such an environment.

Jay Samit’s motivation to write his book is to pay it forward — to help people follow a path and patterns that work, and minimize the cost of doing business.  He wants to change how business is done by helping us get over limitations, and by highlighting the role disruption plays propelling us forward.

The Book, Disrupt You!

DisruptYou-120The structure of Jay’s book is designed in thirds.

The first third is directed at the individual.  What do you need to disrupt in your own life and belief system, that may be limiting you from your fullest potential?  The world today offers so much more than at anytime in history.

The second third is about how to look at the business world and taking the perspective of unlocking the value change  to identify areas of greatest potentiality for the business.

The last third is about tackling the “big issues” and changing the world: having an impact for the better. It’s particularly targeted at those who have already achieved a level of success and have taken care of their financial needs. However, anyone at any stage in their career and life will find the entire book valuable.

Promo Video of the Book

Disrupt You Video Trailer on Personal TransformationCheck out the awesomely produced promotional video of the book on Jay Samit’s home page.  If you can solve the rubric, you may win yourself a consultation with Jay (time-bound offer.)

Reframe Limitations and Disrupt Assumptions

On a personal level, Jay shares that his experience with dyslexia helped to foster leadership and provide opportunities for growth.  What was perceived as a weakness, he turned it into a strength.  A UK study shows that ⅓ of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. It’s not uncommon for people who are told that they are not good at something to tend to mask that problem or limitation with something else.

An early experience of Jay's own disruption in a business context was finishing university during a recession, and not being able to find a job.  As a result, Jay made up business cards and a company, and positioned himself as a salesperson for this “mythical company” to see what he could do.  He turned it into a successful business and became a model of what moving beyond the limitations and defaults can lead to.

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No Shame in Failure  – What’s your Purpose?

“Get up and take a risk. The worst thing that can happen is that you’re back where you started.” – Jay Samit

What Jay finds bizarre is that many people don’t like their job. He perceives they are giving up their life day by day, hour by hour, and they don’t get that life back. If you only have one shot in this world, what is your purpose? Your purpose in life is to have a life filled with purpose. If you’re giving up on having a purposeful life, then how else do you expect to experience your life when years go by and you feel considerable unhappiness?

When people in their 80s are asked what they regret most in their life, the answer isn’t the things that they failed at — rather, it’s the things that they didn’t try.

There’s nothing wrong with “failing” at something that you at least attempted. Failure means giving up. Failing means learning what doesn’t work, and then trying again. In fact, some of the most successful businesses today were close to ending until they pivoted. They saw new insights because they blazed a trail where no one else had been, and discovered something of value in that path.

What’s my Legacy?

Jay’s axiom: “Be the best in the world at what you do, or be the only one doing it.” You may think that you’re not the best in the world at anything.  In reality, you’re walking a path in life that no one else is experiencing, so there’s some aspects of what you’re experiencing that you know better than others.

Realize that the issues you are facing may be the same issues others are also facing. By looking at alternatives and other possibilities, you can help shape your legacy — and perhaps many people will thank you for making their lives easier.

Excitements about the Future we can Co-create

Some of Jay’s excitements  for the future include: autonomous vehicles; 3D printing; just-in-time manufacturing; Internet of things. There are so many opportunities to create new businesses and to enhance life.

For example, autonomous vehicles can provide opportunities that could solve some of today’s challenges. Elderly drivers may not have to have their vehicle keys taken away. Blind or severely visually impaired people may be able to have a vehicle of their own and travel in it. Traveling can be more fun with enhanced in-car features.

Another example is the continuing impact of the Internet. The Internet has enabled a narrowing education divide among populations of people. Not only can people attain an education, they can connect with others, create and establish a business, and generate some wealth.

There is no End

Endless innovation can inspire people to create great things. There is so much potential out there — and within yourself.

Links Mentioned In This Episode

Books Mentioned In This Episode:

Jay’s Articles/Papers

The 3 Secret Words for Raising Startup Capital
When the Tech Bubble Bursts, Unicorns Get Slaughtered
Four Reasons for a Startup to Turn Down Capital

Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

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If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

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  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

Think Agile to Create an Agile Culture, With Taffy Williams – PS037

Episode Overview

In this episode, Taffy Williams shares his experience, learnings and insights about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur today.  Mindset is a big part of it.  Having  flexible, positive mindsets are key to playing well in this space.  Organizational cultures that value  optimism, opportunities, possibility, resilience, excitement, interest, imagination and creativity enable entrepreneurial characteristics to flourish.

Episode Introduction

Think Agile to Create an Agile Culture, With Taffy Williams

Taffy Williams, author of Think Agile: How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed talks to Positivity Strategist Podcast host, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel about his new book.   It’s a really good read, featuring real-life case studies, stories, and invaluable tools, and what I found particularly valuable in this book is the Concepts to Action section at the end of every chapter.  Taffy provides great insights into the need and value for thinking agilely or flexibility and why it’s important. The book provides practical know how on issues as such as funding, launch timetables, planning, repurposing  and more.

Taffy is the founder and president of Colonial Technology Development Company, which has helped launch a number of successful, entrepreneurial biotech, software, and pharmaceutical companies. He writes the popular Startup Blog,  as well as articles for Examiner.

Motivation for Writing “Think Agile”

The motivation to write “Think Agile” was a confluence of events. After years of varied professional experiences, and helping companies in turnaround situations, Taffy created his Start Up blog, and then began to contribute to the Examiner. His intention is to be able to help entrepreneurs build companies by sharing lessons learned.
The validation to write the book and its title came from talking to a trusted colleague about the need for a flexible mindset for any entrepreneurial endeavor to succeed.

Defining “Think Agile?”

Think Agile is an amalgam of thinking flexibly, and being prepared.  Some things you can prepare for and some you can’t, so a flexible or agile mindset implies thinking more about where you want to go, how to get there and what you might accomplish after you have embarked on the journey.  It implies you are aware in advance that you may have to pull out alternatives and options in the event of something coming up that you could not predict.  It’s about having a number of “what if”  scenarios.

Five Lessons Related to Thinking Agile

Listen into the conversation to learn more about Taffy’s five lessons related to thinking agile. They all come from his lived experience including being a PdD student, a civilian in the military and ongoing business advisor.  Taffy offers interesting examples and practical know-how around each of his five lessons:

  1. Question the status quo
  2. Take more that one shot on goal
  3. Banish bureaucracy
  4. Accept failure as the cost of doing business
  5. Believe you can do anything

Why “Entrepreneur”?

As you listen in, you'll realize that much of what Taffy talks about is relevant and applicable to anyone who has an idea, a passion, a belief they have something to offer in any field of endeavor.  While the book aims to help young entrepreneurs with Taffy seeking to help people fast-track and learn from the experience of others, the ideas and practices works throughout life.  Think agile is akin to having an entrepreneurial mindset.

Agile Culture and Positivity

In enterprises today, irrespective of size, the attributes of an agile culture are the best bet.  The organizational culture that fosters collaboration, participation, inclusion, diversity, curiosity, openness and many others mindsets and practices, that I would deem positive, strength-based and appreciative is what is most likely to sustain and engage and fit with the ethos that collectively we have the capacity and capability to co-create.

Other cultural strengths that come to mind are inclusive decision- making, adept at change, letting go, and resilience.  When you surround your self with people who are curious, optimistic, look for opportunities and who pay attention to unexpected possibilities joy, excitement, interest, imagination, creativity flourish.

All of us, irrespective of our roles or titles can train ourselves by acquiring skills, changing mindsets and beliefs that integrate all dimensions that produce a quality of work and life for all.

Taffy shares what has worked for him and values about himself. What's worked for him is to cultivate a positive attitude, when you need it most, then you’ll be able to access it.  Having a belief and a conviction about what you can do, and the stick-to-it-ness has served Taffy well in his career to date.  He now works for equity, so he truly believes in his own capability to make a positive difference in the long run.

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Consider Repurposing

Many products and services are repurposed.  They are designed originally for one purpose, and, as times change, the composition, the use can be repurposed for something else. Taffy cites a number of examples, ranging from the drug world, engineering and fashion.

“In a fast changing, technology driven world, relatively few things remain successful for long.”

And, excitingly, we humans have all the ability in the world to repurpose ourselves.

I think about the thread of my life and wow, I love that I have been able to repurpose, reinvent, redefine myself.  It's a continous improvement, and a discarding of what no longer serves.  Being and thinking agile is useful!  If you think about the trajectory of your own life, what number repurpose are you on?  What are your stories?

Links Mentioned In This Episode

Books Mentioned In This Episode

Let's Stay Connected

It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:

  • Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
  • Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
  • Leave a comment on the show notes below

Help Spread the Message of Positivity!

I would be extremely appreciative if you would subscribe, rate or review our Positivity Strategist podcast. Your ratings and comments will help a lot to spread the message! Here is a guide to writing a quick review, click on iTunes and Stitcher.

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Subscribe Via RSS

If this episode was helpful or enjoyable to you,

  • I invite you to share it using the social media buttons on the bottom of this page.
  • I'd love it if you can leave a quick review, on iTunes and Stitcher.

Resilient Leadership And The FABULOUS Principle, With Barbara Rubel – PS028

Resilient Leadership And The FABULOUS Principle – Episode Overview

It is often a past loss that propels women to become innovative trailblazers, mentors, and leaders. If they are able to find solutions to deal with their losses then they can problem solve anything. To build a business, leaders have to build their resilience. Guest, Barbara Rubel shares her FABULOUS Principle, an acronym for eight core competencies that influence women entrepreneurs to grow from their experience of loss into resilient leaders.


Resilient Leadership with Barbara RubelBarbara Rubel talks about her FABULOUS Principle, and her work with women entrepreneurs and leaders to help them build their resilience.  What excites me very much about Barbara and her work is that, despite our different professional backgrounds, we are aligned  – the objectives and outcomes of what we offer are similar:  to facilitate positive change.

Barbara has a BS in psychology and a Master’s degree in thanatology, which is the study of the field of grief counselling and loss.  So from that perspective Barbara shows how we can come out stronger and triumph over adversity or loss to become more resilient.

Barbara Rubel is a keynote speaker, bestselling author and coach.

As a Leader, Know Yourself First

In a nutshell, Barbara’s approach to leadership is to focus first on yourself – start with your inner leadership.  It’s about knowing yourself, your strengths and paying attention to self-development before attempting to influence others. Self awareness comes first.

Growing From Loss, Self Compassion

From her experience as a grief counselor, Barbara teaches us that trauma and loss can be catalysts for growth. The most difficult situations facilitate opportunities for meaning making and building resilience. Loss and grief can transform the way we look at challenges.

Out of her own story of grief, bereavement and mourning, Barbara changed her life to help her overcome personal loss and tragedy.  In seeking to understand and make sense of her own grief, she proactively pursued a course of study that set her off on a career in which she has been flourishing for over 20 years.

The FABULOUS Principle

FABULOUS is an acronym that spells out the empowering capacity we have to become resilient leaders.

The key to Barbara's discovery of the FABULOUS Principle was the identification of eight core competencies that influence women entrepreneurs to grow from their experience of loss.

Listen in to hear how wonderfully Barbara explains each of these eight competencies.  She also describes her process of tapping into each of these eight core competencies. Through carefully crafted language and purposefully designed questions, you can identify how you can work with each of the eight competencies to grow in your leadership and build resilience.




UUnderstanding Job Satisfaction

L Laughter




By seeking to understand how we can build on our past successes, the FABULOUS framework allows leaders to reflect on what worked in the past to deal with adversity and positively apply that wisdom to current stressors.

Self Compassion

It seems to me that to overcome trauma, self-compassion and being kind and gentle to ourselves was the place to start (even though it's the last competency in the FABULOUS principle.)  Barbara explains how important it is to be kind to ourselves in difficult times and to win over the voices in our own heads. She mentions a number of positivity practices such as kindness, gratitude, persistence to help reconnect to our self compassion.

The framing and the questions Barbara poses to help us focus on what was helpful and productive in the past resonates with the Appreciative Inquiry world view.  It's far more resourceful to focus on how we have overcome past challenges versus dwelling on the circumstances and people that may have contributed to our grief or stuckness or loss.

Empowering Questions for Self Compassion

  • Describe a time when you showed compassion (i.e. empathetic caring awareness of another person’s difficulties along with the desire to lessen it.)
  • Summarize a time when rather than negatively appraising your situation, you focused on what you did that was productive and helpful.
  • Appraise how you generously extended loving kindness to yourself (Barbara cited her own example of  savoring a meal).
  • Thinking back on a past loss, tell a story about your self-soothing activities that helped alleviate your past personal distress.

Palette of Grief™

From her own experience, learning of her father’s suicide while she was in hospital giving birth to triplets, Barbara, a water colorist, experienced the entire turmoil and mess of her life as a swirling blend of colors.  Her insights were that grief did not present itself neatly as a series of steps, a process, or sequence of events, but as a palette of swirling emotions, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors co-mingling as water colors bleed into each other in a painting when water is spilled across the surface of the painting and the colors blend and bleed into each other.

Burnout in Professional life

In her work with professional grief workers, Barbara became aware that the grief workers themselves were burnt out; they were experiencing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.  Barbara began to refocus her efforts to support the professional carers to keep them healthy and happy.  So she moved from working with those who were grieving to creating a space for the grief workers, like herself, to deal with stress.  She saw the value in shifting the focus from experiencing the de-energizing effects of stress in grief workers to being energized by the stress they were experiencing.  She switched to reframe stress so the grief workers could continue doing the work they loved before they were burnt out.

Do The Work That You Love

Barbara’s shift from a bereavement counselor to a speaker, specializing in overcoming stress led her to create tools and strategies that help people and leaders thrive and stay healthy so we can all do the work we love.  This is her mission today.  It’s about staying resilient in our work.

Listen to Barbara explain each of the other core competencies of FABULOUS in some detail. She provides helpful questions, stories and pearls of wisdom taken from her own story of transition.

In our conversation, we emphasize the importance of language, positive inquiry and sharing personal stories to help us find our inner strengths. True wisdom is gained in sharing our stories.  We triumph over struggles when we talk openly and make meaning together.

Questions to Build Resilience

  1. What positive themes do you continue to see woven through your story?
  2. What’s the constructive takeaway and how do you talk to yourself about your story?
  3. How does finding meaning in your narrative provide purpose in your life?
  4. What strengths kept you positive during the struggle?
  5. How can you apply what you learned during those difficulties and challenges to confident self-leadership?

As Barbara talks in detail about each of the eight core competencies of the FABULOUS Principle, you will be energized by her generous sharing and great wisdom.  When we get clarity around each one, we will experience that stress can be a great energizer.

POSITIVITY LENS for this EpisodePositivity Lens Notebook

Download Barbara's suggested “positive activities” for this episode: Hint- it’s about how to gain clarity and identify your strengths.

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Links Mentioned In This Episode

Barbara's Articles/Blog posts

Books Mentioned In This Episode:

If you are seeking to receive CEUs, please purchase your copy of Death, Dying, and Bereavement from Western Schools.

The NICE Reboot – Entrepreneurial Know-How, with Penina Rybak – PS013

Penina Rybak Image

The NICE Reboot – Episode Summary

Women, entrepreneurs, passion, courage, mentors, positivity are topics covered in this episode with Penina Rybak, speaker and author of “The NICE Reboot.”  This digital age is such a gift to women who live true to the feminine values of transparency, collaboration, and care. Access to thought leaders who can be virtual mentors and whose experiences and expertise is readily available on-line opens up unprecedented opportunities.  Penina outlines how, despite personal health issues and the tragic loss of her own mentor and best friend, rebooted her life to be the bootstrapped entrepreneur she is today.

Entrepreneurial Know-How

What it takes to be a female entrepreneur is the topic of my conversation with Penina Rybak. Penina is a speaker, author, speech therapist and entrepreneur.  She is CEO of Socially Speaking LLC and Director of The NICE Initiative for Female Entrepreneurship.

My observation is that Penina is tirelessly committed to her mission:

“To embed social entrepreneurship into the DNA of all entrepreneurship and to provide strategies, forums, seminars, coaching, and opportunities, to help more women successfully partake of both the Entrepreneurial and Tech Revolutions in the iEra which have intersected.”

I met Penina at a eWomensNetworking lunch recently.  We found resonance in our shared passion for spreading awareness about all the opportunities that exist in the world today in this social age especially for women in business. We’re both speakers, authors, workshop facilitators, have a good presence on all the social networks, and enjoy engaging in this space; we’re both app developers and mission-driven.  No wonder we clicked!

Personal Setbacks and a Reboot

Penina switched careers from a speech therapist to an entrepreneur in two short years.  Her story comes from her unraveling,  understanding and acting on the patterns that precipitated big changes in her life.

A series of personal setbacks, including her own near death experience and losing her best friend and mentor to cancer had Penina rebooting her life and renewing herself through a deep search into her own inner and outer worlds in order to re-engage with the world.

Change is like fireworks

Penina beautifully describes how change happens like fireworks, a series of events firing one after another, propelling us into and lining up new directions.  She promised her dying friend, she would step out onto the bigger stage to share what she herself was learning, launching Socially Speaking LLC to be a beacon in her profession as a speech therapist.

Then a few years later, she realized there was an even bigger stage. Her message was to be expanded. She founded The NICE Reboot and NICE initiative to be a guide for those who are embarking on their own change journey.

The NICE Reboot: A Guide to Becoming a Better Female Entrepreneur
In preparation for the bigger stage and stepping into the role of entrepreneur, Penina did was she does best. She read; and read; and researched; and networked; and connected.  As a result, within six months she turned this highly productive effort into a highly practical book to help all women reboot their lives.

All her learnings are now published as a resource she herself would have valued – a guidebook to entrepreneurship. The book: The NICE Reboot: A guide to becoming a better female entrepreneur.

NICE works for women & there’s so much more

Penina chose the acronym N.I.C.E. because of the play on words.

N – is for being NICE

Women especially are socialized to be nice; and it is a positive attribute:  it’s an acknowledgment of the strength of women’s soft skills and our nurture gene.  We are expected to be nice and most of us are.

I – is for being INFORMED

In this digital age, it’s essential we stay informed and all the tools and technologies are there to help us and make it far easier than ever before.

C – is for being COMPETENT

Today, if we can read and have access to the internet, we have no excuse.  We can become entrepreneurs, should we desire that road,  more readily with all the resources available than at any other time.

E – is for being ENTREPRENEURIAL

To have an entrepreneurial mindset is to think globally and appreciate the impact we can have.  The growth in social entrepreneurship is especially exciting and calling to many of us who have a desire to leave a positive imprint on the world.

Highlights of Penina’s episode

  • A painful time can become a most productive time
  • Women are extremely versatile and can reboot and are ready to reboot
  • Tools are so readily available; we are globally connected in unprecedented ways
  • The patterns can be found all around us.  Pay attention. Nothing is random.
  • Learn from those who cross our path to discover things about ourselves.
  • Live in the moment and worry less about outcomes.
  • Pay attention and find the connections.
  • Avail yourself of all the thought leadership and virtual mentors out there writing on blogs and engaging in social networks.
  • Go for diversity of experiences; meet and develop relationships with people different from you.
  • Pay attention to who crosses your path, as they inform the trajectory of your life.

The attributes of the woman entrepreneur

Listen to how Penina addresses the issues of how much, and how little we know, and the relevance of demographics.  She also talks about her attributes as a woman and what she values about herself and her most teachable moments.

The role of culture, generational values and capital

The millennials are doing their part expecting cultures of transparency, collaboration, participation, authenticity and teamwork in workplaces.  Many are more turned on by mission driven organizations and social entrepreneurship than big bucks.  They are here to serve. Reverse mentorship in some organizations is providing great value where young people bring seniors up to date with technology and leadership is shared.

Humor and Positivity

A sense of humor and a positive attitude can take you a long way.  Being optimistic to say “Yes” is to open up possibilities, opportunities, and diverse experiences.  Focusing on what will be your legacy and how you want to be remembered expands your horizons, provides a sense of purpose, offers clarity and helps you find your peace.

Links Mentioned in this Episode

Penina's Social Media Profiles

Books Mentioned In This Episode: