Hello and welcome to the Career Success Podcast on Jason Connolly. If you are regular listener, it’s great to have you back, but if you new, welcome to the show in this series. Every week we speak to the biggest names in business all across the globe. We talk about their career stories, the lessons, learn how they overcome challenges and what success habits they practice. Practical advice to help you in your career if you have a passion for business then this is the podcast for you.
In this episode I’m joined by Clint Pulver from Utah in the US. Clint is a professional keynote speaker or for musician pilot and workforce expert. Clint is the author of I Love it here. How great leaders create organisations that people never want to leave. That’s due out paper back on the 13th of April 21, Clint is known as the leading authority on the employee retention. He’s transformed how corporations like Keller Williams, AT&T, and Hewlett Packard create lasting loyalty through his work and research as the. Undercover millennial he’s been featured by Business Q Magazine as the Top 40 Under 40 and as a professional drummer. Here’s appeared in feature films and also on Americas Got Talent. In 2020, Clint won an Emmy Award for his short film be a Mr Jensen, which tells the story of how a single moment in time and one particular mentor can change the course of a life. Clint, thanks so much for joining me on this episode. It’s an honour to be here, Jason. Thank you for having me. You do so many things. Keynote speaker and all. For a musician, a pilot or workforce expert, but tell us about how this all kind of came about. Tell us about your career story. Yeah, growing up I was a kid always struggled to sit still. I had a hard time focusing. I would just tap all the time. My right hand would move. My left hand would move and obviously that’s annoying to everybody else in the room and everybody saw that limitation as a problem. It was an annoyance and I had one teacher in his name was Mr. Jensen and he told me to stay after class one day and he said we’re going to talk. You have a conversation and I’m thinking as a 10 year old I’m getting kicked out of school for sure because I just couldn’t sit still and he pulled me to the back of the room and he said listen, everybody kind of deemed you as the problem kid like you tap in my class and you tap in everybody else’s class and you just you can’t sit still and you’re the kid that’s on the list. He said, but I’ve watched you, though it’s crazy, you’ll sit there and you’ll do an assignment and you’ll write with your right hand and then you’ll tap with your left hand. And then you’ll switch the pen and you can write with your left hand and then tap with your right hand and he said, I think you’re ambidextrous and I was like no I’m Presbyterian. He said no, he said no, that’s not what it means, he said. I think you have independence over your limbs, he said. Can you tap your head and rub your belly at the same time? And I gave it a go and I could do it and he said, no switch it, he said, can you rub your head and then tap your belly and back and forth? Jason, without thinking about it, I could do it. And he leaned forward. And he smiled. And he said, Clint. I don’t think you’re a problem, I just think you’re a drummer and some people here that how old was Euclid with this? With this revelation manifested it’s right. Yeah, I was ten years old. I was ten years old and he looked at me and said, you know, you’re not a problem. You’re a drummer and I, I believe in moments. Jason, I think that in our lives we don’t remember days. We remember moments and in this moment, Mr. Jensen, the old teacher, he leaned back in his desk and he opened up the top drawer and he reached inside and he took out my very first pair of drumsticks. My very first pair and he put him in my hands and he said, Clint listen, I know everybody else sees this annoyance. They see this problem, but I want you to know I see an opportunity. I really do and I just want you to keep these sticks in your hands as much as you can. And that was 22 ago and I can see here today an on this show tell you honestly 22 years ago, literally to this exact moment. I’ve tried my best to keep my promise to Mr Jensen and for 20 years 22 had the opportunity to tour and record all over the world as a professional drummer. America’s Got Talent. I’ve played with incredible artists like Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood and The Blue Man Group and I graduated college with zero debt. I graduated University with no debt at all and that was because I had music scholarships. Beautiful thing for its each. It’s connect you with something like that and to see these traits which will manifesting themselves to kind of think that you know that’s what you’re going to be great at. But he’s obviously made a huge impact on your life because you won. An Emmy Award for a short film. Be a Mr Jensen, yes yeah you can go on YouTube and just type in be a Mr Jensen and you can watch that short film and it’s the re-enactment of that moment that life changing moments where somebody decided to see what was right with a young kid. Instead of seeing what was wrong. Have you kind of spoken to him throughout the years about the ability of Jesse? I’m guessing he must know if he’s got a short field Bates about it, that’s another yeah. Yeah, he’s still a massive part of my life and massive part of my life. I call him Larry. Now Mr Jensen’s become Larry and he is a huge instrumental person still to this day and you know I asked him three years ago I said why me, you know I said Mr Jensen. You taught thousands of kids, why me? Why was I the kid that got the drum sticks and one of the things he said is he learned early on in education that he couldn’t save every kid in the classroom. But he could say and every term every semester he chose just one kid and it was usually the kid that was the problem. Usually the kid that struggled or everybody saw this. This child is a problem. And he chose that one kid and every day he woke up as an educator. He wiggled his toes. He knew he was alive and he went to work for one kid and I was that one I I’m so grateful, right. I’m so thankful that a caring adult took the time to advocate. Took the time to see possibility instead of limitation. And I mean it, it changed my life. Jason changed my life. I’m guessing. Kind of tell us more about how the kind of stories unfolded for you, because obviously music has kind of been. You know a pivotal pillar in absolutely everything that you’ve done, and I think it’s such a beautiful story about your kind of childhood. But kind of walk us through how it’s kind of gone from there, because this is only one part clip of your kind of repertoire of what you do. But it sounds very much to me like that’s kind of being the pillar that’s kind of even just paved way for you to go on to do all these other things. Yeah, I growing up I wanted to be a helicopter pilot, I wanted to fly. Being a drummer was not like. The chosen career path that I grew up saying I wanted to be calm I end up diagnosed with an eye disease at 21 and I was told that I was going blind and I was losing my eyesight. Every year my site would get worse and worse. I was diagnosed with a disease called keratoconus and by the age of 31 32 I would be completely blind and so I went through that challenge of trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life and I ended up going to University. I graduated, everybody told me I needed to pursue, you know, the money I needed to get the benefits, the stability. Get a good, stable job in a career that’s going to have longevity, and nobody really like emphasised. The importance of passion or doing something you loved or purpose in your job. It was all just about stability, and there was a mentor in my life and he in college. And he shared with me a quote by Oscar Wilde, the British playwright and his quote was simply this. To live is the rarest thing in the world. For most people merely exist, and that is all. And that quote haunted me every day after I graduated University. Because I was just existing every day, I would do the same thing day in and day out. There was no sense of a thrill. There was no, there was no excitement. There was no living taking place and to live like really live. That’s a rare thing. Gallup just posted out a new study two years ago where it showed that of working adults hate what they do for a job, but they’re just miserable. It’s not fulfilling issues to job. Be glad you have a job. You’ve got the benefits. Put your head down, go to work, you’re working for the weekends. You’re working for the benefits, congratulations. But you’re not happy about it and I was in that position out of college and I sat down with two of my friends and I said, wouldn’t it be crazy if you could find one job that allows you to do three things? And I proposed what I call the three piece and it was passion. The ability to provide a number three was a sense of purpose, so passion provide and purpose. What if you could find a job, Jason that allowed you to do what pulled on your heartstrings like something that my goodness almost if you had three hours on a on a Saturday with nothing to do? Like, could you find a job that would allow you to do it? You would choose to do on that Saturday, something that was excited you something that felt thrilling. That was fun and then suddenly, like I can’t really agree with you, right? I mean, wouldn’t that be wonderful? And then the second thing is though, is providing because if you want to live as a responsible human being like there’s a word called a mortgage, right? And rent and utilities and medical expenses and insurance and taxes and life can be expensive. So for some people they need a year to live. Some people need $40,000 a year to live it. It’s all. There’s no right answer, it’s just it depends. But what if the job could provide in a way that’s sufficient for you and then number three? Was purpose? What if what if you could do something bigger than yourself where you felt like on your job you were contributing to the world, not just your own ego, not just your own bank account, but you were doing something that was significant, not just successful. And I propose this to my two buddies and they looked at me and they said, dude? It doesn’t exist there like. I just don’t think you can find one job that allows you to do all three. They’re like look at a teacher. A teacher is doing what they love. It’s full of passion and purpose. But every summer, they’re looking for another job because they can’t pay their bills or look at a doctor medical doctor.
You know making good money, but they’re stressed out of their mind, their burnt out there, never see their family. The malpractice lawsuits that it’s the stress. I don’t think they’re living that either. And then my friend just said what you’re asking for is so rare and that triggered that. Quote By Oscar Wilde. Really interesting what you’re saying, but do you think that the world is becoming more? You know, people are starting to wake up to this a little bit more these days, or because you know everyone wants to feel fulfilled, but you know, I guess a lot of people just think, well, you know, that’s where I am in life and you know that this is the hand I’ve been dealt and I can’t leave. You know, I’m stuck in this job. What is it? I’m asking you many questions now or within the one question. But what is it that makes that sort of individual version? Has that get up to go out and go? No, I’m not happy with this. I want to make these changes, you know, compared to these other people, because everyone wants a fulfilled life and you know you spend a third of your life working absolutely, and that’s where I was at in this story. And two weeks after this conversation, Jason, I quit my job. I burnt all the ships. I left everything. I was in a successful career, making great money, had stability, had the benefits, and I left it. I burn the ships and I jumped into another career that allowed me to do those three things. And so I think if someone’s listening to this and they’re like, well, nice story, Clint. But I’ve got three kids and a wife, Ann. I’ve gotta put food on the table and I can’t just go gallivanting off on my dreams and hope for the best. And I agree with that. But there are things that you can do to de-risk a situation. I think most people live by default rather than living by design. They let life happen. Yeah, right? Like it’s letting life happen to you graduate. You get this degree. You find the job, it works, but you’re not fulfilled. So be willing to change it. Designer life, is there somebody in your world that’s living and breathing the life that you wish you had? If you could start over, what would you do if money were no issue, what would you do? Take a minute and dream like literally. Just dream. That’s where it starts and I think sometimes we let the realities of life beat out the child in the inner child. They beat out the hopefulness they beat out the possibilities because it’s not rational or it’s not real. But I think it starts with dreaming. It starts thinking OK. It starts with thinking OK well. What would fulfil me if I could start over? If tomorrow I could be in a new chapter, what would that look like? You’ve got to first figure out what goal is right. If you’re facing in the right direction, all you have to do is keep walking, but most people have no clue on what that direction is. How would one person go about finding that out? You was obviously very blessed. He sounds like you’ve come across some great people that have really helped you in your life, finds that kind of direction and so on. But how would someone find that if they? Just thinking, well I just don’t know what it is. How do you even start that process? That’s a hard question because it depends for every person every person is going to have different talents, gifts, strengths, ideas, personalities, loves, passions, desires, fears, strengths and so you have to get acquainted with yourself. That’s why. Again, like OK, if you had three hours on a Saturday, what would you be doing? Some people that’s playing Xbox. Some people they love to hike and be out in nature. Some people they love to ride horses or they would. They would love to just sit on their phone and scroll YouTube like what does that look like for you? Who do you follow on social media and why do you follow them? Are you someone who loves to watch sports and you follow athletes? So you follow specific teams? Or are you someone that loves finance and business and you’re following business accounts like what do you like to do? That’s the first question. Like what is it that pulls on your heartstrings? Figuring out what’s passion to you? What is what fulfils you? What it? What excites you? Start there and then second. Once you figure out what that is. My dad was my wrestling coach growing up. I grew up wrestling in America and. Every Friday night my dad would take me to the Varsity wrestling matches to watch the really good wrestlers and I remember Friday night that was like date night that was go hang out with the family or excuse me go hang out with friends and go on dates and that was Friday. Night is a big deal for a high school student, an everyday and every Friday my dad would drag me to the wrestling matches and I remember I looked at my said Dad. I don’t want to go and he got really serious man. He looked me in the eyes and he said listen he said kid do you want to be a great wrestler and I said yeah I do and then he said then you’ve gotta hang out by the mat. If you want to get good at wrestling, then hang out by the mat. If you want to get good at basketball, then hang out by The Who. If you want to do something different and you figured out what that might look like, you should do whatever it takes to associate with astonishing people. People that are living is living the life you want to live. Go hang out by them at so if you find out you figure out I want to be a YouTube influencer or I’m going to start in an Amazon account and start selling things online, or I’d love to go into the medical profession. Where do those people hang out? What associations, clubs, organizations? What Facebook groups? Where do they hang out with? We find purpose through the Association an connection with other purposeful people, and when we’re willing to do what it takes to associate with those people, we then find that design. We find the road map. You figure out how they did it, what they’re doing to be successful, and in doing so that will breed success that will allow you to become more. I think you make some really valid points then I think. What your father said to you, it is exactly true. If you want to be that thing, you need to get to that place and you need to be in the right place at the right time and associate yourself with the right people. So I absolutely agree with that, but it sounds like you know, even in your early years it’s been challenging for you to even sort of be diagnosed. You know, with the eye condition that you had, but to still kind of have that drive to get up and go. You know? Despite that I’m gonna keep going in it. It sounds like you know you’ve had a good few challenges throughout the years to kind of overcome. As well, Clint. Yeah it is not been easy. I mean, I have literally failed my way to success.
I believe that and I look back on reason that while you are successful, the way you keep bouncing back and coming back again and you know being on that journey, that that’s probably testament to you or what? Why you rest success. Well, and I’ve learned to that sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fit together. You know? I mean, it’s an interesting concept that this whole year. I mean, I, I’m a professional speaker. And I travelled the world speaking at live events with thousands of people, hundreds of people at a conference or a convention and March 2020. COVID-19 impacted the world an shut my business down in a matter of two weeks. Jason, we went from record growth. 247 cancellations and postponements for live events. For conferences that have booked me to speak and literally stepping out of my control just disappeared out of I mean literally in in two weeks it was gone. Yeah, there’s this movie called Shawshank Redemption. I don’t know if you’ve seen that film, but it’s like it’s. Yeah, it’s a good film I I and there’s a really powerful moment in that film where he looks at the other guy and he says you can get busy living. Or you can get busy dying and that’s kind of been a general theme that when life happens when crap hits the fan when things fall apart, you can get busy living. Or you can get busy dying and sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fit together. But I also believe that God can’t steer apart car. Or in short, when we move when you choose to take action, even though you don’t know it necessarily what the future holds. Optimism that creates hope that creates possibility. And so we started to build a virtual studio and we had some clients that we proposed and said, hey, I can’t be there in person, but I can do this virtually and it will still be great quality and it’ll be unique and it’ll be different. And my goodness we’ve done over 154 virtual presentations during COVID-19 and we thrived. We thrived in a time where our industry disappeared and it was because we got busy living. Not busy dying. I think that’s a really interesting kind of analogy that you use there, because I believe it as well. But if you are standing still in life, you are not. You know, going in any direction, but I I think what I’m kind of taking from what you’re saying, Clint is, you know, to keep moving means yes, OK, you might sometimes reach these cost junctions which are really difficult and hard. And yes, you know you’re going to trip up sometimes and you know I’ve had these moments throughout my career. I’ve had so many knock back. Some of them, you know, I’d never. Or understand again. But then I stood again, started walking and then that turned into a run and then you know you learn from these things. I think that you know person I’m. I’m sure you agree with the sentiment of what I’m about to say, but I I think that if you are someone that can bounce back again and learn from mistakes, that mistake is in a mistake. It’s a learning experience, even though it can seem absolutely awful at the time. When you’re going through these things and it seems to me even when you know Covid arrive for you, it’s you know, a lot of people that would have been. You know, OK, I’ve got nothing to do. My events have been cancelled, but to you saw an opportunity in that kind of moment to go out there and if anything, it sounds like you’ve probably been going to physical events is one thing, but you know, with the Internet does come opportunity absolutely. And you will come out of this, ’cause eventually and we are coming out of this. The world’s coming back and we’ll get through this and I just learned that in the end we’re going to be OK. And if I’m not OK right now, then it’s not the end. And I still hold the pen to write the story. Can’t lose faith in the end of the story, and you brought up a really cool point, Jason, where you said eventually it’s always gotten better. It’s true, I I look back at some of the rainiest days in my life, the hardest times, the darkest days and eventually the sun rose. Eventually I smiled again eventually. I it got better. And so I think we have to remember that we still hold the pen, write a great story, and no, that eventually it always gets better. I’m talking about holding a pen clean up in. This leads nicely on to your book. I love it here. How greatly discreet organisations that people never want to leave. Now this is due out in literally just over a couple of weeks. Tell us about the book. How did this all kind of come about to write a book in itself is a massive achievement that. So tell us more about this. Yeah, I will never do it again. It has been about Participants, put that you say, the pens put down for the Clintons problem. Yes, yes, I put the pen down for a time it yeah, it’s been difficult. Writing a book is very hard. It’s very challenging. This book also took four years of research. The book is based off of my work as the undercover millennial. It’s kind of like undercover boss of anybody seen that TV show? It’s like an I would go undercover into an organisation as a millennial. Someone who was looking for a job. So I’d walk into a finance Department or a retail store or fast. Food restaurant and I would go up to the first person that I saw and I would just say hey, what’s it like to work here? I’m just thinking about applying and they always kind of look around. It gets quiet. We feel like we’re doing an illegal drug exchange and then they tell you everything, everything that how often does someone get asked that clean? That’s just not of, you know. Some awards is very rare. I can imagine it was when you ask these questions to people, it’s probably the first time they’ve ever been asking, so I can imagine there’s an element of your prize. Opening up Pandora’s box right? Because and again we honesty, we created Jason, an environment where honesty could exist. We created an environment. People could speak their truth because I wasn’t a survey. I wasn’t a one on one management meeting. I was just in for Millennial and we have worked with 181 organisations and I have interviewed undercover over 10,000 employees. Wow, we’ve been doing that for almost five years now and the magic of all of the research is when I would go up to an employee and say what’s it like to work here? And they would respond with. I love it here. I love my job. I love thousand in five years cleared that is a exercise in itself. Yeah, again going back to why I’ll never do it again. I have installed much work, but we’ve created a breath of research and Anna perspective that is unlike anything else that has ever been done. This is not another leadership book written by a self proclaimed leadership expert. This is a book written by 10,000 employees who knew in their leaders were getting it right. What kind of common themes? But you when doing this, you know, kind of kept cropping up and you kept thinking? Oh it’s this one again, you know this is one of the things I keep hearing. Or was it? You know, with you quite surprised by the breadth of what? You know people would tell you yeah, absolutely honey we heard everything from illegal drug deals that were going on within companies to new scandals too. But I, and that’s the thing I didn’t want the book to be, you know, a book talking about problems. I wanted the book to be written about solutions and that’s why we titled the book. I love it here. How great leaders create organization that are people never want to leave. I wanted to write a book that was solution based that was prescriptive. It was an actionable narrative where people reading it would go. That’s what I need to do. That’s what creates lasting change. That’s what creates better engagement and retention. And we took the stories of great leaders when I would go up to their employees and they would say I love it here. I love my job. I won’t leave. I love where I work well, why, why, what keeps you here and one of the great themes that we talk about in the book is the power of mentorship, not management. When an employee hated their job, Jason, they talked about the manager, but when an employee loved their job. They talked about the mentor. I agree with that. I always say to people in my company. I don’t like the word manager, people don’t like to be managed. They want to be led and he went even when I saw your kind of chapter summary I saw the mental manager and it instantly. You know it, it struck a chord with kind of my own experiences and believes in the people that did have felt they were being mentored rather than managed. Was it kind of absolutely glaringly? Obvious to you. Kind of difference in in behaviour and mind-set that these people were displaying absolutely because they felt advocated for not just developed. They felt like they not only were seen, but they also had a future and they had an advocate within the company that was there to help them grow. That was there to help them succeed. That was there to make sure that they were seen every person wants to be seen, heard and understood. And your people in your business, if they can’t grow where there at, they will go and grow somewhere else. We’re in real time right now. Jason, where during 2020, retention rates in companies are at an all time high. Everybody was nervous, everybody’s hunkered down. Everybody was grateful if they had a job, and retention rates are great, but now that we’re coming out of this recession. We’re coming out of this pandemic. Two things are going to happen, and we’ve done research during COVID-19 who are to 47 different organisation during this time, and I’m calling it right now in quarter three and quarter four, we’re going to see a mass exodus of people leaving their jobs for something else for two reasons. Number one, they remember how they were treated during COVID-19, I saw some pretty horrific things Jason that leaders did to their people. During COVID-19 I also saw some incredibly significant empowering and beautiful things that leaders did during COVID-19, so that’s number one they remember and they will remember how you treated them during the pandemic number two. It’s given everybody time to think like it’s just shut down the whole world, and we’ve we find ourselves in our career going OK. Is this really where I want to be? Oh my gosh, I mean, this really disrupted everything that knocked me out of the routine. Does my job today look the same as it did in 2019? People are realizing I can work. I can work in the UK and have a job in New York. I can I can live in California and work in Germany that the remote virtual landscape of what’s changed in our jobs and our economy has just transformed so much and a lot of people’s jobs don’t look the same. And now they’re working at home. And for some people that’s wonderful. For some people, that’s hell on earth and there’s going to be a lot of disruption. And so now more than ever we need good leaders to connect with their people. Because if you don’t, I’ll go and connect somewhere else. I know I totally agree with you working in the recruitment industry I. I’ve been saying this to my team for awhile. It’s it. There’s going to be a lot of movement in the market and it’s going to happen very quickly. All you need is for the market to kind of open back up again and you know that is going to happen and as soon as that happens, there’s going to be a lot of movement because we’re even here in the UK. A lot of people didn’t move because of Brexit. The hung Parliament, then they haven’t moved because of Covid. And there’s gonna be so much movement in the market and I think your prediction of quarter three quarter 40 is exactly in line with my prediction, so it’ll be really interesting Clint to see how this kind of unfolds and manifests over the course of the rest of this year. Agreed. Agreed, yeah, I think we’re in for a big wake up call. I do too. And I was going to ask you for one particular bit of advice or listen for people, but I think you’ve covered so much throughout this episode. Clean and I think you’ve made so many. Very valid points to people who you know might be in a job that they’re not satisfied in, or perhaps even to people running businesses, so I think it’s been really insightful if people want to find out more about you, Clint, or indeed they want to get their hands on a copy of I love it here. Where can they go to? Yeah, they can go on Amazon. Amazon’s at the greatest place for it, so it’s available for pre order right now. If you just type in. I love it here. Yeah, and that book releases globally April 13th, 2021. Well, I wish you the very best of luck with that. It sounds like an. Absolutely fascinating read, and it sounds like it’s been, you know, right journey for you to kind of go through this, but I, I thank you Clint for coming on the show. It’s been absolutely fascinating and I’m sure so many people will find gold throughout this episode which is going to help them in either one or several aspects of their career or their life. I appreciate you, Jason. Thanks for having me on the show. Thanks for what you do and it’s truly been a pleasure that was Clint Pulver from Utah in the US. I’m Jason Connolly. This is the Career Success podcast until next time goodbye.