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Embrace Innovation to Make Your Vision a Reality #106

Warwick Fairfax

March 1, 2022

You know Walt Disney, the guy who invented Mickey Mouse and created the modern theme park. You’ve heard of Reed Hastings, who grew Netflix from a DVD subscription service to an Oscar-winning film studio. And, of course, there’s Steve Jobs, inventor of the Mac and iPhone. But do you know they all started out with visions much smaller than the heights they would someday reach?

Host Warwick Fairfax and cohost Gary Schneeberger discuss in this episode why you shouldn’t be intimidated by the inventiveness of these and other great visionaries. You should follow their example and achieve your own dreams rooted in your vision and talents. How? Start with an idea, fuel it with your passion and then just try something.

Highlights

  • Warwick’s blog and the stories that fuel it (2:30)
  • When doubt creeps in … and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s solution (5:44)
  • Step 1: It starts with an idea (13:06)
  • Step 2: Fuel that with passion (15:38)
  • Step 3: Try something (18:32)
  • Step 4: Let your vision grow (26:35)
  • Step 5: Link one step to the next step (35:32)
  • Step 6: The power of flywheel (38:56)
  • Step 7: Celebrate the wins (43:16)
  • Step 8: Celebrate the wins (47:43)

Transcript

Warwick F:

Welcome to Beyond the Crucible. I’m Warwick Fairfax, the founder of Crucible Leadership. Each of these three people, Walt Disney, Reed Hastings and Steve Jobs, they didn’t start out with this billion-dollar mega vision that says, “I have an idea. Let me try something.” And each of them had setbacks. So, I think we just need to unlearn what we think of these “overnight successes.” They didn’t have a big vision. They just had an idea. It started with an idea, and then it grew from there.

Gary S:

Yes, you heard that right. The guy who invented Mickey Mouse and created the modern theme park, the man who grew Netflix from a DVD subscription service to an Oscar-winning film studio, and the inventor of the Mac and iPhone, all started out with visions much smaller than the heights they would someday reach. How did they do it? That’s what we examine this week.

Gary S:

Hi, I’m Gary Schneeberger, cohost of the show. Warwick and I discussed in this episode why you shouldn’t be intimidated by the inventiveness of great visionaries. You should follow their example and achieve your own dreams rooted in your vision and talent. How? Start with an idea, fuel it with your passion, and then just try something. Those are the first three steps of eight unpacked here and in Warwick’s latest blog. And here’s a tip, you’ll want to pay special attention to point number eight.

Gary S:

Why we’re talking about inventiveness, listener, is that one of the ways to move beyond our crucibles. And we’ve had scores of guests come on the show to describe this. Warwick himself has described this many times. One of the ways to move beyond your crucible is you hatch a vision. And then you proceed to launch into that vision, pursue that vision. This episode, this conversation is about what if you think that vision might be out of your league, out of your reach. Maybe you have this idea that seems too big for you to accomplish.

Gary S:

And what we want to talk about here is that that’s not true. It’s not too big for you to accomplish. And in fact, we’re going to go through several steps, eight steps in Warwick’s blog to talk about how you can begin the process of putting one foot in front of the other, and pursuing that vision of inventiveness. All visions at some level are inventive. They’re all something new. It’s new to you if it’s not new to everybody else.

Gary S:

So, that’s what we’re going to talk about here. That’s the long preamble to set up why we’re spending time at Crucible Leadership and Beyond the Crucible talking about the subject of inventiveness and how it applies to you. So, Warwick, tell us a little bit about this blog that you’ve written, why you chose the subject and what you’re hoping to impart to readers of the blog and today on the podcast, to listeners of the show.

Warwick F:

Yeah, thanks, Gary. I mean, sometimes you think of being a visionary and getting some amazing things done. And you look at some of the great inventors, some of the great visionaries in popular culture. You might think of Walt Disney or Reed Hastings with Netflix or Steve Jobs with Apple and you’re thinking, “Well, I’m not Walt Disney. I’m not Reed Hastings. I’m not Steve Jobs.” I mean, and probably the hardest time to be thinking about this is when for many of our listeners, at some point, they’ve been in the depths of despair, the bottom of the pit after a terrible crucible.

Warwick F:

And one of the one of the ways to move out of that is yes, you’ve got to forgive yourself and learn the lessons of the crucible and all that. But at some point, to move forward, one of the most healing things is if you can use your pain for a purpose, figure out, okay, is there something good I can make out of what I’ve been through and for most of the guests we’ve had on this podcast, I’d say almost all, that’s been true, a vision has been formed eventually.

Warwick F:

It may take years, but it’s come out of just challenging times. So, whether that to you or maybe you haven’t had a massive crucible, maybe you’ve just hit a speed bump, maybe you’re stuck, maybe you just feel like is this all there is to life, somehow you want to do something new.

Warwick F:

You look at some of the great inventors and visionaries and you go, “Wow, let’s just forget about it. I mean, there’s no way, there’s no hope.” And so, what we want to say is a couple of things. I think one of them is it misunderstands the life journey, the career journey of these great visionaries. You always just, it’s like people in Hollywood, actors and actresses, it’s like, gosh, how can they be so successful? Well, there were years of failed times when they were trying to get into a movie, and they didn’t get the role and being a waiter or waitress, I mean, the overnight success, in most cases it’s not overnight.

Warwick F:

So, that’s really the premise of our discussion here is, how can you actually make your vision happen and figure out what the vision is and why you shouldn’t just give up and why you shouldn’t compare yourself with some of these great visionaries that you might have heard of.

Gary S:

Right. And it’s easy. The “easy part” is the dream. We all dream. We have dreams, but we also have doubts. We dream but we doubt. And what we’re talking about here I think is when you have the dream, you have the vision or the starts of a vision. But then you have this doubt. And then the doubt gets sprinkled with a couple of dollops of fear. Doubt and fear together can lead to serious stagnation when it comes to moving beyond the crucible, particularly as you hatch a new vision and try to move forward. So, what we’re trying to do here today is to encourage folks, equip folks to know that not only is it possible, but here’s some ways it is possible.

Gary S:

And it’s interesting, Warwick. You talked about some sort of well-known people who’ve been very successful visionaries and you feel you don’t measure up. You also talked about some people who have busted through after failing and failing and failing and failing. And I went and found some quotes as I like to do. We do these episodes where it’s just the two of us talking.

Gary S:

Here’s a great quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. He said this and this is, if there was a poetic theme to what we’re talking about, it’s this. “Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment,” Emerson said. “The more experiments you make, the better.” That’s a pretty good jumping off point to talk about the idea that, yeah, okay. We do have dreams. They are sometimes stalled by doubt and fear. But what if we have the gumption as Emerson says here, What if we have the gumption to press forward? What if we try?

Warwick F:

That’s exactly right. I mean, I think with every great visionary, they have the gumption, they have the courage to try. So, you can get in a negative tailspin of, I’m not worthy. What happened to me is awful. I made a mistake and I just need to hide for the rest of my life, 30, 40, 50 years. I’m surrounding myself with people. Hopefully you’re not, but some of us do, who say, ah, you’ll never make it. It’s hopeless. Give it up. What if we fail and I mean, I could have written a blog that’s the eight ways to certainly fail. And it will be probably the reverse of the steps we had.

Warwick F:

And many of us know those steps very well. We just, it’s every day. But I think what’s important is we need to relearn, if you will, or reimagine some of these great visionaries. Because the key hallmark they had is they weren’t afraid of failure and they were willing to try. They had this passion and this energy. But I think one of the things we need to unlearn is you tend to think of the amazing things each of these three people I mentioned had. And it fundamentally misunderstands who they were.

Warwick F:

So, Walt Disney, for instance, when he started in the ’20s and early ’30s, he was just thinking, “I love animation.” It was a relatively new field then, cartoons. “I think I can make a cartoon that’s better and tells a better story.” And he was an animator, graphic artist. He routed himself at other graphic artists. And off they went. There wasn’t some big vision other than I think I can do this better.

Warwick F:

Now, it grew step by step. And I think around 1937, he made Snow White. He bet the farm and put all of his money into it. Everybody said, it’ll never work. Nobody will pay attention an hour and a half movie about a cartoon, And it’s in color and it’ll hurt your eyes, et cetera.

Warwick F:

Well, it was a big success. And then from thereon, he had Disneyland and then Disney World, which Disney World was built. He conceived it while he was alive. When he died, I think it’s ’66, was built later in like ’71 or something. But we think of Disneyland and Disney World and all the movies and everything he did, but we forget that, at the beginning was just I think cartoons could tell a better story. Reed Hastings, when he started, I think around 1997, sometime around there, his vision was DVDs are just coming out. It wasn’t dominant yet. VHS tapes were, the people that go to Blockbuster or their local video rental store, as then was.

Warwick F:

But it’s like, well, I think with DVDs, yeah, it wouldn’t work with VHS, but DVDs, maybe we can kind of have a subscription mail service, where people just kind of get it in the mail. And then when they’re done, they send it back. And then we get them another one. That wasn’t some massive vision. It was like, I think we can do something better with video rentals using DVDs. Well then, it expanded to online streaming service when the technology came. And then now, he’s doing Hollywood level movies and getting Oscars.

Warwick F:

Steve Jobs, when he conceived of Apple back in the late ’70s, early ’80s, he just had this vision that he loved technology. And back then, personal computers didn’t exist. You get it in a kit and assemble it yourself. I think there’s probably a better way of doing this. And eventually, Apple I didn’t work out too well. But Apple II took off. And then from there, we’ve got Macs and iPads and iPods. And he also did a little stint with Pixar and Toy Story.

Warwick F:

But at the beginning was like this whole technology thing and personal computers, maybe there’s a better way of doing it than a bunch of very tech savvy people assembling kits in their home. Maybe there’s a better way.

Warwick F:

But each of these three people, Walt Disney, Reed Hastings and Steve Jobs, they didn’t start out with this billion-dollar mega vision that says, “I have an idea. Let me try something.” And each of them had setbacks. So, I think we just need to unlearn what we think of these “overnight successes.” They didn’t have a big vision. They just had an idea. It started with an idea, and then it grew from there.

Gary S:

Right. And if this podcast was being recorded 10 years ago, speaking of technology, I would have to say, so listener, you don’t know what this is, but now that vinyl records are back in style, there’s a thing you can do as you’re playing a record, you can pick the needle up and move it back a little bit. And I think what we need to do when we’re examining these people that you’ve talked about, the Steve Jobs and the Walt Disneys, we focus too much on the end game, the huge success. And we’re like, “Oh, I could never do that.”

Gary S:

But let’s pick up the needle, bring it back on the record, put it down at the beginning, we can all do what they did at the start, which is begin, which is try.

Gary S:

Here’s a quote from Vincent van Gogh. I’ve never heard this before, love it. He said, “What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?” And that’s really what we’re talking about here. It’s having the courage to try, it’s having the courage to attempt. And as you indicated, Warwick, point one in your blog is it starts with an idea. Sounds like it’s almost too rudimentary. But it’s got to start there.

Warwick F:

Yeah, I mean, the first idea is it does start with an idea. Now, maybe it comes out of your crucible, and it’s like, “Gosh, I went through this, and I wish there was some way that I could help people not go through what I went through.” Or maybe you just feel like you’re just moving along in life and you’re just floating along and you don’t feel like you really taking charge and you’re thinking, “I wonder what would happen if the world had this?” You know?

Gary S:

Right.

Warwick F:

It could be something in your neighborhood, with friends. It doesn’t have to be big. Everybody’s idea, whether it’s Tupperware, it starts with things back in the ’50s maybe. You gather women together and they would show here are these easy ways to store food. I mean, grand visions, they tend to start pretty small, but it starts with an idea. And you think, gosh, what if. That’s the key. It starts with an idea.

Warwick F:

And what you have to do when the idea comes is put away the knives and sledgehammers because what will happen is, oh, it will never work. Oh, it won’t happen. And you just squash it before the level plot has grown. You’ve got to be disciplined. It’s like, you have that idea. But don’t crush it before you’ve even thought about it. Ruminate on it a bit.

Gary S:

One of the things I love about this blog that you did and this conversation that we’re going to have is that it’s a step by step process. It starts with an idea. And we’ll get to the second point in a minute, but to your point that you just made about, don’t give up too early. Here’s what Thomas Edison, who is a little bit of an example of someone who didn’t give up too early. Thomas Edison said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Gary S:

And Edison is an example of someone who realized how close he was to success. And he said something along the lines of he didn’t fail trying to make the light bulb. He just improved it like a thousand times or whatever. He just kept after it. And that’s the idea of you have an idea, to give you the energy and the fuel to stay after it, to be an Edison, to be a Walt Disney, to be a Steve Jobs, your second point is you have to fuel that idea with passion. You need to pour a little passion fire on that idea, don’t you?

Warwick F:

Yeah. And passion will give you persistence. I mean, Edison’s another great example. He experimented-

Gary S:

Oh wait, I’m going to interrupt you there. Because listener, listen to what Warwick just said. That’s what we call at Crucible Leadership, a Warwick-ism. Passion will breed persistence. Write that down somewhere. Put it on a bumper sticker and put that on your car. That’ll tweet as they say. Passion will create persistence. Sorry, I didn’t mean to, but that was a good one.

Warwick F:

All these folks that we talked about, Walt Disney is a great example. He had a passion for entertainment, creativity. And he wasn’t willing to give up when he was creating Snow White in 1937.

Warwick F:

Everybody said, “There’s no way. It makes no sense.” When he was thinking about amusement parks in the late ’40s and early ’50s, and he launched Disneyland in the ’50s, everybody said, “Well, this is lunacy, again.” Amusement parks were unsafe places with alcohol and sometimes disreputable people. Not a place that you bring kids. And so, he says, “Well, I’m going to keep it clean. And I’m going to charge a cover charge to get in.” So, you don’t charge a cover charge for amusement parks.

Warwick F:

So, everybody said, “This is lunacy, and it won’t work.” All the conventional wisdom. So, that’s where passion is so important, because it will help get through setbacks, each one of these. Like Steve Jobs, yeah, Apple II was a great success, while Apple I wasn’t so much. Apple II was his first big success. The Mac was great. While there was something called the Lisa, which probably about as much people have heard the Lisa as people have heard about the Edsel, not many. It bombed.

Warwick F:

He launched a thing after his time with Apple ended in a sort of a boardroom fight. He launched a thing called Next, which was this high-end computer, very complicated. It was very expensive. And people didn’t want it. This is more like for universities and high end uses. Well, it bombed. But he didn’t let that hold him back. And what kept him going is his passion. Each of these folks had passion.

Gary S:

So, that was point two. Point one, have an idea. You have an idea. Point two is to fuel that idea with your passion. Passion breeds persistence, copyright 2022, Warwick Fairfax. But the next step, point three in your blog, point three that we’re discussing here now, is where the rubber meets the road. You’ve got an idea, you’ve got passion. And I love how simply you phrase this. You phrase it in your blog as simply try something. That’s step three.

Warwick F:

It may be if you forget everything else, it may be arguably the most important step because there are some people that are born entrepreneurs. They kind of act and then think later. I mean, I’m somebody as we’ll probably discuss later, I’m a very reflective strategic planning contemplative. I tend to think, think, think, think, think, think some more and then maybe stick my baby toe in the water for a second. I’m not somebody that leaps before they think. So, I do get that it’s hard to try something.

Warwick F:

But at some point, and really, whether you’re that kind of try something and then change course later. And there are some people that are like that. And that’s great. If that works for you, more power to you. If you’re like me and a bit more cautious or a lot more cautious, either way can still work. But at the end of the day, whether it takes two minutes, two hours, hopefully not two years, but let’s say, two minutes, two hours or two months, you’ve got to try something.

Warwick F:

Yes, I have a strategic plan. I worked on Wall Street. You don’t necessarily mortgage your whole house, your kids’ education, all the rest of it. So, if it fails, you’ve had it. Yes, this whole concept of moderate risk taking. And some ideas cost more than others. But you’ve got to try something. And as I’ve mentioned before, each of these folks, they had failings. One I talk about in the book with-

Gary S:

And that book, wait. Nobody knows. What’s the book?

Warwick F:

Crucible Leadership: Embrace Your Trials to Lead A Life of Significance. Yeah. So, in the book, I talked about Walt Disney. And before Mickey Mouse, he had an animated character in I think it was in the ’20s that was doing really rather well, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, household name. Everybody’s heard of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. So, he signed a contract with this distributor in New York. He took the train from Los Angeles to New York, because that’s what you did. People didn’t fly in the late ’20s, early ’30s, at least not much. Not certainly commercially.

Warwick F:

This guy was a lawyer. He was very smart. And there was some fine print that Walt, the animator didn’t really understand that swindled him out of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. And the guy behind his back took away most of his animators. At that point, he could have said, “Look, I’ll try this whole animation thing. Clearly, I must be clueless about business. I mean, how can I be so dumb? And I’ve lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. I’ve lost the core of my team, probably time to give up.”

Warwick F:

But yet, he didn’t. He was willing to accept failure on the train on the way back. He was doodling three circles on a piece of paper. And he said to his wife, Lilly, “What about a mouse, Mortimer Mouse?” And she wisely said, “Mortimer is not doing it for me. How about Mickey Mouse?” He said, “You know what, Lilly? You’re right, Mickey.”

Warwick F:

Well, he tried something. His passion and his persistence wasn’t … He was willing to push through the devastating loss of most of his team and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. So, it’s that idea, you got to try something, but you’ll hit setbacks, not hopefully as cataclysmic a scale of losing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. But it’s that idea of try something and if it doesn’t work, okay.

Warwick F:

He made some mistakes, something he learned a lesson of his crucible, have a good lawyer, have a business partner. Later on, he brought his brother on board. He had more of a head of the business. He learned the lessons of his crucible, but you’ve got to try something and not being willing to fail. And that is the key thing. Try something and if it fails, it’s okay. Keep going. Learn from it. Try something else.

Gary S:

Yeah. Because whether or not it fails, ultimately, is a decision you have to make and it doesn’t fail until you say it fails, and keep pushing it. And there’s a real world example I want to talk about here for me right now. And I haven’t talked to you about this even as we were preparing for the show, let alone just in conversations we have.

Gary S:

And I’m going to walk through the first three steps in this idea of how it came to me and it’s funny. I’ll preface this story by saying, so the name Dennis Gillan is where the story begins. And Dennis Gillan was a guest we had on the show a few weeks back. He is the founder of the Half a Sorrow Foundation. And he’s a suicide prevention speaker.

Gary S:

And I am dangerously close to mentioning Dennis Gillan in every episode of the podcast. It’s like Warwick’s a huge tennis fan. And you may have noticed every now and then, he’ll mention Roger Federer. Well, Dennis Gillan is my Roger Federer because I keep talking about him. But here’s why I’m talking about him.

Gary S:

So, it starts with an idea. When we had Dennis Gillan on as a guest, actually even before that, before we had him on as a guest, the reason we had him on as a guest is I read an article he wrote on Entrepreneur Magazine about something he calls the Purple File. And it’s a file that he has created full of attaboys and affirmations and successes and thanks that he gets from people when he speaks. And this is big Purple File. It’s a literal file that he keeps.

Gary S:

And I was so moved by that that I started my own. And I have kept notes that people have given me through the years, so I created a Purple File. So, the idea that got planted in my head was reading Entrepreneur Magazine, Purple File, what a good idea. If I’m having a bad day, I can go to the file. It’s going to cheer me up. I created one. Well then, we’re going to fuel that idea with passion. Step two, my passion was so great that I’m like, Warrick … In fact, I didn’t even ask you, should we have him as a guest. I’m like, “Oops, sorry. I went outside of the order of things,” but he turned out to be a great guest, right?

Warwick F:

Absolutely.

Gary S:

And we had him on the show. And we talked again about the Purple File. And I was so passionate about it that I then did another reading of something from my file. And that passion just kept me. It just kept churning in my head. There’s something about this idea of a Purple File, this file of affirmation that you can keep when the crucibles come and help you get through it.

Gary S:

Well, Dennis and I have been talking behind the scenes and we’re actually working together right now to the do something stage, the try something stage. We’re going to talk about how we can create the Purple File as a thing beyond just what’s happening here, beyond Entrepreneur. I went out and bought the website, thepurplefile.com. I own that now. And we’re going to try, We’re going to talk about developing that into something that will encourage other people to get the benefits from having that affirmation at hand the same way that Dennis created it and the same way I’ve aped it. I’ve come alongside and adopted it.

Gary S:

So, there’s a great example of starts with an idea, you got to have passion, and then you try something. I don’t know what’s going to happen. Are analog files full of notes even a thing anymore in the digital age? I don’t know. But we’re going to find out. He and I are going to talk we’re going to explore and we’re going to find out. So, that’s a great example of your encouragement, what you wrote about in this blog, that’s happening for me right now in real time.

Warwick F:

That’s amazing. I mean, it’s a great example, really, and maybe this is the leading of the next point, let your vision grow?

Gary S:

Absolutely. Very good. Good cohosting to say, good for you.

Warwick F:

So, yeah. So, it started out with Dennis Gillan and just that whole Purple File concept. Because sometimes on your worst days, you can feel very down. And it’s easy to remember all the bad things people say about you. And you tend to forget the good things. So, the reason I think a Purple File can be a good idea is that you got it in front of you and you force yourself to read it. And say I guess, maybe there are some things that I’ve done right and some praise.

Warwick F:

Anyway, the point that Gary is making is it came from reading something on Entrepreneur Magazine, talking to me about Dennis Gillan and we had him on the podcast, creating his own Purple File, and now, potentially thepurplefile.com. And from there, each of those were steps that started with reading a magazine. And so, that’s one of the key things with visions. And I think if you look at the three people that we’re talking about, Walt Disney, Reed Hastings and Steve Jobs, each of their visions, they grew.

Warwick F:

I mean, Walt Disney started with, there’s got to be a better way to make cartoons tell a bit more of a story. And then, color came out and he made a deal with the people that created I think it was Technicolor, you have the patent and color and says, “Okay. Give me a year lead on every other animator. I want to be the first with color.” Okay, so color cartoons. Wow. And then Snow White, Disneyland, Disney World. It went from there.

Warwick F:

Reed Hastings, he started with this DVD subscription service. But then it went to video streaming once the technology was there. And he started making his own movies that won Oscars. Same with Steve Jobs, his incredible journey and he had many setbacks. He got tossed out of Apple at one point, his own company, like the phoenix came back 10 years later.

Warwick F:

But he had lots of bumps, but he started with technology and the Apple I that didn’t work out, Apple II was better. And then from later on, you have in his second stint at Apple, the iPod and the iPad. When he was with Pixar, he created Toy Story. So, these visions, they grew a step at a time and it grew out of their passion, whether it was animation, technology, the potential for video rentals and video streaming.

Warwick F:

This passion and persistence, these visions grew a step at a time over years. And there was often each of them had failures, and some big ones. I mean, getting tossed out of your own company was seemingly a big failure. He could have said, “They stabbed me in the back, those awful, horrendous people. How could they throw me out of Apple?” Steve Jobs could have thought. But yeah, I’m sure he was pretty down about it. But he didn’t sit back. He went on to did other things, including Pixar.

Warwick F:

So, there’s a huge point about let your visions grow, passion and persistence. And it sort of happens organically. Neither of these three people if you said when they were young, can you imagine that A, B and C will happen, and they’ll go, “Wow, not really. But that sounds cool.” I don’t think they would have believed it themselves, that what they ended up happening. So, let your vision grow. There will be obstacles. But trust the process.

Gary S:

And you had just got done talking about how that applies to the three folks that we’re mostly talking about here, Walt Disney, Reed Hastings, and Steve Jobs. There’s another person that it applies to. And it’s the guy whose book you mentioned a little while ago. Oh, yeah, that was Warwick Fairfax, the author of Crucible Leadership: Embrace Your Trials to Lead A Life of Significance. The Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Crucible Leadership. Warwick, your story, this podcast, what we’re doing right now is a prime example of a vision that grew. Because when you started Crucible Leadership, I’m guessing starting a podcast was nowhere in your orbit.

Warwick F:

It’s a great point. And I’m a very reflective person. But I do not at all think of myself as a visionary. I don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur either to be honest. I mean, I’m a reflective writer, thinker perhaps. But yeah, I had this idea as listeners know when I gave a talk in church at my church in Maryland in 2008, gosh, if I can write my story and the lessons learned in a way that helps people, it’s worth writing the book.

Warwick F:

So, that was the idea, writing a book in a lessons learned format that can help people. I didn’t have a whole big structure. In fact, I did something very un-Warwick like. I kind of maybe wrote a very brief kind of, not even 100,000 foot level outline, maybe a million mile high outline, very, very broad.

Warwick F:

And I just thought, “Okay, I’m just going to start writing.” Because I’m a writer and this is kind of my medium. So, I just started writing. And huh, okay, yeah, maybe I’ll combine my story, but with stories of my dad and John Fairfax, my great-great-grandfather, the founder of the company, maybe stories from inspirational faith figures, maybe historical figures, and it just started writing itself.

Warwick F:

I didn’t quite have that three-tiered structure, if you will, mapped out before I started writing. I had this idea of writing a book to use my story to help people. And then I just started writing. And it became clearer, the chapters became clearer. They refined themselves and we’ve gone back a few times to refine it some more. But that’s just how the book started.

Warwick F:

But beyond the book, I was thinking I could get a publisher in Australia, because my story is more well-known there. Some folks were like, “Well, we want more of a cessational book where you diss on your family.” And I wasn’t willing to do that. It’s more about mistakes I made, not arguably anybody else. But then one, publisher said, “This could have promise. But if it’s going to be in the business leadership space, you need a following, hopefully a committed following and you need a brand.” Well, I have a Harvard MBA. Conceptually, I get that. He says, “Huh.”

Warwick F:

Through a mutual friend, they mentioned Cheryl Farr, and her branding a marketing firm, SIGNAL in Denver. So, this was a few years ago now, maybe 2016, something like that. And okay, so we began creating a brand. And then, it grew from that. I started doing a blog and being active on social media. And then, it’s like we need to take communications and public relations to another level.

Warwick F:

And you, Gary came onboard, where you had a lot of experience with radio and Hollywood and Focus on the Family. And somebody said, “Well, how about a podcast?” It’s like, huh, I like doing the reflective thing. I’m an International Coach Federation certified executive coach, I can ask questions. You’re used to cohosting podcasts and radio shows. This good work. We could do this. Well, let’s try.

Warwick F:

And then, it grew from there. And as the book, which came out October 2021, well, we’re going to need to speak. I don’t think of myself as Mr. Charismatic Speaker, but well, let’s try. Got training and help and we started it’s like, well, it actually didn’t go that badly.

Warwick F:

But if you told me, I don’t know, back in the early 2000s, before that time in church or even soon after, are you going to have a … The book is going to get published. But you’re going to have a blog, social media, speak, and a podcast. It’s like, wow, really? It sounds all the little intimidating. Maybe I’ll go back and hide under the covers because the listeners may not believe this, but I am a relatively fearful person.

Warwick F:

So, yeah, if somebody laid out the whole vision for me, I probably wouldn’t have started. It’s good that we sometimes don’t know the whole plan, assuming you believe in a creator up there. It’s like I wasn’t talking about one next step or that the truth is, don’t tell me more than the one next step because I’ll probably go back under the covers, just tell me one next step and maybe I can accomplish that. Because as I said, I’m pretty fearful. But it’s incredible how the vision grew. I mean, it’s hard to believe what’s happened.

Gary S:

And what you’ve just described was step five, point five in the blog. And that was link one step to the next step. You linked the book to a brand. You linked the brand to a blog. You linked the blog into, there’s an assessment that we have at crucibleleadership.com that you can find out where you are at on your journey to a life of significance. And then, the podcast came out.

Gary S:

I still remember, Warwick. I was in Denver. We were in Denver for meetings. And I was in my hotel room. And I was like, “Okay, I’m going to present on what I think the future can hold.” And I wrote down, I created this, I’m not a graphic design person. I’m a word person. But I created this terrible graphic design thing that was like, the Warwick Fairfax podcast, I called it. We came up with a better name. But that was those little seeds of things that come from point five in your blog, link one step to the next.

Gary S:

What you write here is “Yes, there may be days where it feels like one step forward and two steps back. But forward momentum, trying new ideas and a willingness to experiment, yes, even fail will produce progress over time.” And that is the blueprint that Crucible Leadership is followed to get us here with this show right now.

Warwick F:

Exactly. It’s all about what’s the one next step I need to take. Often, we talk about what’s the first step you need to take. Well, in this particular point, we’re talking about what’s the one next step. So, was it like 2018? Somewhere around there, we began talking about it. It’s like, okay, we’ve got a great website. We’re active on social media and blog. And what would be another way of getting the message out? Well, podcasts have become very popular. And it’s like, “Well, maybe we can do this.” And really, one of the things I think I want listeners to understand is often that one next step, it will be linked to what’s come before, but it also will link to your design.

Warwick F:

And so, for me, I’m naturally curious. I think I’m a good listener. I believe I’m a good executive coach. So, being in a format where I’m having to listen and ask good questions, I’m thinking, I don’t know anything about podcasting, but I can do this. This is something I can do. It is mission possible. Now, there are other things that I’m horrendous at, but maybe wouldn’t have been so swift to try, this thought without a massive amount of help and a large army to help me get there.

Warwick F:

But this was one thing where I didn’t know much about it, but I instinctively felt like, you know what, this is something I can do with help. And Gary is a tremendous cohost, and helps pull all this together. But I felt like, this is something I can do. It was a good next step. And so, think about what is the next step I can take from where I am. But also, how does it link to my design? Because if you feel like it’s a logical next step and it’s linked to your design in some ways like it’s mission possible, it’s absolutely worth a try. And to a degree almost, within reason, anything is worth a try because you got to keep moving, you know?

Gary S:

Right.

Warwick F:

It’s one of the things I say about the law of business. You’re either moving forward or backwards. If you think you’re coasting, pretty much every business I know, the plane is about to descend and not in a good way.

Gary S:

Right, yeah, right.

Warwick F:

Yeah. You’re either moving forward or you’re moving back.

Gary S:

What we’ve just described, what you’ve just described in talking about, I want to write a book and I need a brand. And then, I’m going to have some blogs. And then, I’m going to do an assessment and then I’m going to do a podcast, you created something not before known. That is inventiveness in action. And the way that it all happened, it’s beautiful. There’s connecting all those steps. But your sixth point is what makes all of those steps work together and build momentum and that is the power of the flywheel. So, explain that as it pertains to this idea of making inventiveness happen and keeping moving forward.

Warwick F:

I think the key point about the power of the flywheel is momentum. As one idea works, it’s like, okay, this is really working. Okay, what’s the next step? Even within podcasts, it’s like, this seems like this is working. We’re having great guests, which is, I’ve found, very gratifying. It’s a safe place. They’ve often said it gives them a place they’re able to talk about, the story in ways that maybe haven’t elsewhere. And it’s like, this is great. This seems to be working. We have a balance between interviewing guests and you and I talking. It’s like, “Okay, well, this is good.” And so, it’s like, what happens if we had a series? We had a series on resilience. We have a series coming up in in April and that was a new idea.

Warwick F:

So, even within the world of podcasts and Beyond the Crucible, there’s been incremental steps, one step, one step, making it we’d like to think more robust and even better. And so, that fuels your passion for making the podcast even better, let alone the other things that we’re doing with speaking. It’s like, because here’s an important link.

Warwick F:

Because with a podcast, I was able to tell my story on this podcast and I’m on a lot of other people’s podcasts, so I get to tell my story a lot of different times, hundreds if not more. Then when it came to speaking, it’s like, “Well, I don’t think of myself as a natural speaker. But I’ve given elements of my speech a hundred times in different ways.” And just putting together the chapters with yourself and some great help.

Warwick F:

So, the fact the podcasts seem to be going well and I had a lot of practice telling my story, that gave me some degree of confidence that with help, maybe I can do speaking. So, there was a link between podcasting and speaking. And so, the confidence in one actually fueled me to think, you know what, we’ll do what we’ve always done and get a great team together, figure out a plan and make it happen. So, you begin to increase your confidence, which increases in potentially the rate that the flywheel is spinning, so it does fuel momentum and enthusiasm.

Gary S:

I love how this conversation has evolved. And we didn’t really plan it this way, necessarily. But we start out with, okay, we’re going to talk about inventiveness. And here’s three really inventive people that automatically people are like, oh, you’re worried you can’t reach the level of those Walt Disneys and Steve Jobs of the world. And we’ve broken it down as we’ve gone through the points in your blog. We’ve broken it down, really as to what has happened with Crucible Leadership, which is, I think, much more identifiable to listeners who have, especially those who’ve been along with us through the ride, through a hundred plus episodes of the show.

Gary S:

So, the takeaway from what we’ve talked about so far is not only should you not look at and compare yourself to a Steve Jobs. You don’t have to end up where Steve Jobs is at, and that’s where you say all the time, Warwick, it can be in your own neighborhood. Your life of significance, the life dedicated to serving others, living with purpose can be a “small” impact, but one life is a huge impact if you make one huge impact.

Gary S:

And what you’ve just explained as you’ve walked us through this process, outlined in your blog about Crucible Leadership, it’s how you’ve enacted a life of significance out of your passion, birthed by an idea, and stringing one idea together with another, which then leads us to, perhaps the best part of your eight points, and that is, celebrate the wins. Why is it important to celebrate the wins as you’re going through pursuing a vision that’s inventive?

Warwick F:

It’s very easy to gloss over positive feedback and things that go well and go, “Okay, that went well.” But yeah, there’s always a bit like Eeyore and Winnie the Pooh, any Winnie the Pooh fans, it’s like, I know, today is going to be terrible. It’s going to be awful. I may as well give up. I know it’s sunny now, but I know it’s going to rain. There’ll be lightning. I have a flat tire. You can go through life with an Eeyore mentality.

Warwick F:

But I think what you’ve got to do to counteract that, and we’re all human, is celebrate the wins. So, yeah, when I got my book published in October last 2021, a few months before when I got that first book, it was a big day. Now, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get a swollen head and because I’m a person of faith, I was literally on my knees saying, “All glory to God and this is your success, not mine,” and that’s all good. But when those things happen and my team actually, you Gary and others helped me, you set this wonderful sort of plaque with the cover of the book in glass and a frame and it was beautiful and I have it in my office.

Warwick F:

And sometimes, it takes a village, it takes a team to help you celebrate because we can easily gloss over those things. But yeah, celebrating the wins, that gives you encouragement and momentum to keep going. So, it’s not just about, oh, look at me, how wonderful I am. Even if it’s like, oh, I have a wonderful team or God is so great.

Warwick F:

How you want to process celebrating, you’ve got to celebrate it because it will help give you encouragement and enthusiasm, passion and persistence to keep going. So, there’s a business reason for doing that. Not just patting yourself on the back. It’s so important. And it’s not something I do naturally exactly to be honest. So, it’s something I have to tell myself, it’s okay to celebrate the wins.

Gary S:

Well, and you’re not the only one who thinks that because Oprah Winfrey said this. Oprah Winfrey, who has a bit to celebrate, one would surmise. Oprah Winfrey said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” And I mean, talk about a flywheel. The more you celebrate life, what’s happened in your life, the more there is to celebrate in your life. So, it becomes this not vicious circle, but this encouraging sort of.

Warwick F:

Yeah, as I sometimes say, this virtuous circle.

Gary S:

There you go, a virtuous cycle.

Warwick F:

Yeah.

Gary S:

There’s another one. Wait a minute, hashtag virtuous circle. Warwick is dropping wisdom and pithy comments in this episode. I love it.

Warwick F:

Yeah, I don’t know if I created that or not, but it’s certainly something I’ve used over the years. But one of the things linked to that as we’ve talked often on this podcast and elsewhere about gratitude, celebrating the wins, it’s another way of saying be grateful. Like for me, more broadly, I’m blessed to have my wife, Gail. We’ve been married over 30 years, three wonderful kids who are now adults. I go to a great church, have a fantastic team at Crucible Leadership such as yourself and others. I have a massive amount to be thankful for and to be grateful for.

Warwick F:

So, the larger point beyond celebrating the wins is having, and this is not my phrase, but having an attitude of gratitude also is really important. You can start off complaining about how whining and winching as we say in the industry how bad life is and life can be tough for many. I get that. But to the degree that you can, having an attitude of gratitude and celebrating the wins is so important.

Gary S:

Yeah. And it’s great that that connects to because you talked about a team in the midst of that. And that really is the eighth point of your blog, the final point of your blog, is this idea of building a great team. So, once you’ve built the infrastructure and you’ve built the step by step flywheel of how you’re going to bring inventiveness to work in bringing your vision to reality, having a team around you, build a great team is important. Why? Why is that such a critical part that it’s the last point in what you’ve written.

Warwick F:

This is something that many, if not most entrepreneurs struggle with is like, “Hey, this is my idea. I created this idea in my garage, and I want to do it all. It’s all me.” And that’s why they typically flame out or hit a wall and don’t go beyond a certain amount of revenue. But we all have our positives and negatives. Walt Disney is a good example. He was an animator, creative guy. He wasn’t a business guy, hence getting swindled out of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Warwick F:

Well, so he brings his brother onboard, who’s a business guy. Now, obviously, there’s always tension. Walt’s dreaming dreams and wants to do all these things. And the business guy is saying, “Wait on, Walt. Hang on a second. I don’t think we can launch 85 things this year. How about 84? I mean, come on, let’s be reasonable. I got to go to the bank and get funding from this. I mean, please. Don’t give me a heart attack.”

Warwick F:

And there would be a meeting of the minds. And so, you have people that complement areas where you’re not as strong in. So, that is critical. So, in the area of Crucible Leadership, I love writing and thinking and reflecting. That’s what I love doing. But I’m fearful about lots of things. And one of the things I don’t like doing is selling. I’m not good at it, hate it, hate it. And so, yeah.

Gary S:

I’ve heard that before from you.

Warwick F:

We’ve got people that Keri Childers leads our event management sales side. And so, that’s just one example. But we’ve got people that are talented at all sorts of areas, whether it’s social media and creative, helping us produce high quality videos. So, what I try and do is stay in my lane, which is reflective advisor thinking, so I don’t have to worry about selling. Other people will do that that are good at it and I’m not. And I’m not a graphic artist. I’m not somebody that creates high quality videos. I’m not a podcast producer. I mean, there’s a lot of things I can’t do.

Warwick F:

But you’ve got to have the humility and the, in an ironic sense, self-confidence to say, “I know there are things I’m not good at,” or put it this way, even if I’m good at, there are other people that are great at. And if somebody is great at it and I’m really good at it, I’m going to give it to the person who’s great at it. Why wouldn’t I? It’s all about the success of what we’re doing. So, yeah, building a great team, they’ll celebrate the wins with you as I just mentioned my team has done many times.

Gary S:

Keri Childers is the celebration. And I mean, she’s the best celebrator on the team, in my view. Keri is very good. She sent cookies when your book made it to the best seller list. I mean, she’s just really, really, really good at that.

Warwick F:

She definitely has the gift of encouragement and celebration.

Gary S:

Indeed, indeed.

Warwick F:

Absolutely, absolutely. So, yeah. And the last thing I’ll say about building a great team, and this is something that’s hard-learned lesson. You want people that absolutely have complementary skills and are the best of what they do. That goes without saying. But more important than that is having a team with integrity, having a team that will speak their truth to you, even if you don’t want to hear it. And I think I have that kind of team. And have a team that has your best interest at heart. And it’s not just about the fees, as passionate or committed to the vision as you are.

Warwick F:

So, building a great team, ability is overrated. Ability is good. That’s a starting point, you need a way more than ability. You need integrity, humility, and absolute passionate commitment to the vision. Ideally, more committed than you are. And that’s a high bar. But that’s what you’re looking for.

Gary S:

Now, this is the time in the show where I normally would say, “The captain’s turned on the fasten seatbelt sign.” Since, we’ve been spending so much time talking about Walt Disney and his expansive vision that he built on, I’m going to say, that sounds you heard was the Space Mountain ride coming to a stop. It’s time to exit the cars here in a minute and go on to the rest of the park. But before we do that, Warwick, what’s the final ribbon you want to put, the bow you want to put on the package that is not just your blog on inventiveness, but also this discussion that we’ve had on this subject?

Warwick F:

I think when you think about vision, yes, it starts with passion. It starts with an idea that you’re dreaming about. As you go to sleep, you’re thinking, “Gosh, wouldn’t it be incredible if the world had this? Wouldn’t it be amazing if somehow what I went through, I have an idea that could help people overcome it or maybe avoid it?” So, there’s ideas and there’s vision and there’s dreams ruminating. But probably the most important thing is try something, do something. What one thing are you going to do today? Or maybe it’s this week? Or, what’s that first idea you got to do and do it.

Warwick F:

Maybe it’s talk to one person, maybe have a friend help you. The most important thing with vision is all these things like the flywheel and let your visions grow and link one step to another and celebrate your wins, build a great team, those are all very important. But you’ve got to start with, okay, I’ve got this little idea. It may flop. It may fly. But I’m going to try. I’m going to stick my baby toe in the water. I’m going to do it.

Warwick F:

Yeah, and it doesn’t have to be bet the farm, mortgage the house. It doesn’t have to be a massive step. It can be what’s one small step you’re going to take and then do it. Just do it. Try something. That is the critical thing in your journey to having a vision become reality is just try something, just do something.

Gary S:

Well, I’m off the ride now. And I’m off to get a corndog. So, we will wrap this episode of the show. Listeners, you’ve heard in this conversation Warwick mention a couple things. One is his book, Crucible Leadership: Embrace Your Trials to Lead Alife of Significance. That’s available now anywhere you can buy books. You can also get it at crucibleleadership.com. You can order it there.

Gary S:

You also mentioned, Warwick, talk about his speaking engagements that he is, and we’re about ready to ramp those up again. If you would like Warwick to speak to your group at crucibleleadership.com, the aforementioned gift of celebration team member Keri Childers is the speaking agent for Crucible Leadership. She’ll help you get Warwick to your event. You can find out all that information at crucibleleadership.com.

Gary S:

So, until the next time we’re together, finding inventive ways to help you move beyond your crucibles. Remember, that we do understand your crucibles are painful. Our crucibles were painful, too. They still are as they happen because as Warwick says often, crucibles, it’s not a one and done thing. They tend to keep coming. And how we survive them is by learning the lessons of them, by not saying as a guest just said the other day that I’d forgotten we’ve used this phrase. But it’s not, why did this happen to me. It’s why did this happen for me?

Gary S:

That perspective as you face a crucible and move beyond is a key perspective that helps you learn the lessons of your crucible. And when you learn the lessons of your crucible and you apply them to a vision, even if that vision is way more inventive than you are comfortable with right now, you can pursue it. You can achieve it.

Gary S:

And the beauty about doing so is at the end of that journey as you pursue that vision rooted in the lessons you learned from your crucible, it will lead to the greatest story of your life far from the end of your story. It’s the beginning of a new story when you learn the lessons and move on. Because where that story ends is that a life of significance.