The Happy Engineer Podcast

009: Olympic Training Techniques to Help You Engineer Peak Performance at Work with Coach Kon

In this episode, put on your mental gym shorts with Konstantinos Apostolopoulos, lovingly known by leaders around the world as Coach Kon. He is a successful CEO, author, and award-winning coach for corporate professionals… AND athletes in Olympic Development Programs. Coach Kon knows exactly what it takes for peak performance, in and out of the cubicle.

Discover the role of raw talent in your career growth. Expose the leadership paradox, and how to navigate the new challenges we face during this fourth industrial revolution. And finally get clarity on why improving your skills as an engineer often leads to success at work, but problems at home.

So press play and let’s chat… now is the time to get out of your comfort zone, and into your performance zone!


The Happy Engineer Podcast




Listen on Apple Podcasts // Spotify // Android // iHeartRadio



The world would be a better place if we could all go sit under an olive tree with Coach Kon for a while. His legacy of 4,000 years of wisdom will inspire you! He will also help you unlock your peak performance as an engineer. Listen to this full episode to understand how.

Remember, knowledge by itself is not power. I probably say this too often, but I want you to hear it again and again. Only the knowledge you apply and take action on creates power in your career and in your life. You must act to experience the happiness and the success that you’re looking for. 

How important is natural talent to peak performance? When you’re talking about average players, the median, the middle of the road… Talent can have a big impact. If you’re hanging out with B and C players all the time, then your natural talent may be the thing that helps you to stand out. 

But if you want to be an Olympian at engineering, if you want to be an A-player on some of the best teams in the best organizations, talent is not enough. It’s not even the majority! 

Talent is 10% of the equation. 

Hard work and effort, driven by purpose and passion, is 90% of your success.

Listen to me for a moment. That doesn’t mean that you have to work a hundred hours a week! But it does mean that when you are working, you’re not relying on natural talent as your ticket to the top. You bring work ethic and focus to every task, every day.

This is great news for you if you’re an engineer who feels like you weren’t born with as much talent as your peers.

So, are you living that way? Are you bringing the energy and effort? Do you have a coach? Are you purpose-driven and passionate about what you do? Or, are you saying that you want to be an A-player, but you’re actually not willing to do what it takes to get there.

Peak performance is not a static thing. You do not arrive there and you’re done.

Peak performance is not a solo thing. You do not get there by yourself.

I remind all of my engineering clients, it doesn’t matter how many conferences you’ve attended, how many books you’ve read, or how much leadership development you’ve done. We all still need a coach to get to the next level.

Previous Episode 8: Unshackled Life with Gly Gabriel




Konstantinos Apostolopoulos is the Founder & CEO of Fresh Biz Solutions, a Human Capital Management consulting group that provides performance improvement and training solutions to help organizations develop their people, improve business results, and reap the benefits of a comprehensive Talent Management strategy. He is also the coauthor of the timely book, “7 Keys to Navigating a Crisis: A Practical Guide for Emotionally Dealing with
Pandemics & Other Disasters,” and a regular contributor to Thrive Global and Achievers Engagement Blog

Konstantinos is a recognized speaker and sought-after expert in performance and change management that has delivered hundreds of workshops and events for leaders in North America and Europe, sharing fresh ideas and best practices that engage his audience and empower participants to take the next bold step forward in their professional and personal life. Drawing on many years of experience as a consultant and award-winning coach, Konstantinos has been helping organizations manage their transformational change efforts and prepare their leaders to handle difficult transitions.

As a young man in Greece, he experienced firsthand the devastation left behind by natural and economic disasters. As an adult, he was fortunate to help play a small part in the rebuilding efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Today he helps others navigate the challenges brought by major events in their lives. When not working with business leaders, “Coach Kon” gives back to his community by developing young soccer players in local, state, and Olympic Development Programs. Sports is a great way to teach important life skills!





Please note the full transcript is 90-95% accuracy. Reference the podcast audio to confirm exact quotations.

[00:00:00] Zach White: Welcome back engineers. It’s awesome to be with you today. And we are lucky to have Konstantinos Apostolopoulos with us today, the founder and CEO of Fresh Biz Solutions. And I secretly love that biz is spelled BIZ in your business name Kon and a human capital management consulting group. Provides performance improvement and training solutions to help organizations develop their people, improve business results, and reap the benefits of a comprehensive talent management strategy.

[00:00:42] I’ve seen their stuff. It’s fantastic. Go check out their website. And he’s also the coauthor of a really timely book. The Seven Keys to Navigating a Crisis: A Practical Guide for Emotionally Dealing with Pandemics and Other Disasters and a regular contributor to thrive global and achievers engagement.

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:01:02] Kon is an award winning coach, and I’m so happy that you’re here today. Kon. Thanks for making time to be with us.

[00:01:08] Coach Kon: Oh, it’s a pleasure, Zach. I’ve been looking forward.

[00:01:11] Zach White: So you have an awesome name, but you don’t go by Konstantinos that often. And when not working with business leaders and doing executive coaching and all the things that you’ve won awards for there, you give back through young soccer players and coaching and earned the nickname coach con, can you tell us a little bit about that side of your.

[00:01:34] Coach Kon: Uh, there’s

[00:01:34] a lot of stories there, but let’s, let’s, let’s start with the simple fact that, you know, I’m very, very fortunate, very blessed. Um, I love the game of soccer. I love working with kids and I love coaching and teaching. Therefore it’s, it’s no wonder I landed in that situation where I work with the young kids, they keep me young out there.

[00:01:54] They help keep me grounded. Perspective in life and everything else. And it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to give back to my community here. Um, I’ve worked with kids at all different levels. I mean, whether it’s kids in a recreational league that are just trying to find something to keep them out of trouble and just engage themselves and test the waters, uh, to competitive club teams, uh, at a very high level, uh, to varsity high school and to the state’s Olympic development program.

[00:02:19] And throughout that process, it’s really. Kept me grounded and it’s really helped me hone in on a lot of things that are important to me.

[00:02:30] Zach White: What would you describe as the difference between. You know, maybe what we would call it, the average player, the person who’s recreational doing it for fun and personal development and growth.

[00:02:40] Versus when you say Olympic development programs, con some of the people listening may see their career as like, Hey, I want to be an Olympic level. I want to achieve success in whatever that looks like for me. What’s the difference that you see in people who approach it, you know, from that recreational perspective and kids who are approaching this from an Olympic development personal.

[00:03:04] Coach Kon: That’s a great question. That’s a great question. And one, I don’t get asked often, but here’s my take on this. Uh, it’s the same one that I saw in my career. It’s the same one. When I work with professionals at all levels. Um, if you look at the two components. Pretty much impact. This one is the natural talent, the strengths that we bring to the table that are innate to each one of us.

[00:03:25] And you look at the desire to really harness those strengths and go for that purpose and be willing to put in the work. 90% of success is going to be that hard work. And 10% is going to be that talent that really going to put you over the edge. So if we’re dealing with one of those exceptional, exceptional individuals that have both the talent and the hunger and desire.

[00:03:50] Then you really see something special. And again, that happens in sports that happens in our professional environments, in the workplace that happens everywhere in our communities. You can see those things now, again, I emphasize that it’s important to have both of those elements to really reach that highest level.

[00:04:11] Zach White: How do you nurture. That hunger and work ethic. If you’re already, you know, like me, you’re in your thirties and maybe Olympic days in sports are well in our history, you know, too late for that. But, but we want to become an Olympic mindset leader in whatever our area of purpose and passion is. Is it something you.

[00:04:33] Develop later in life, or is it something, you know, these kids are born with or we lost to content? Do we have hope? Tell us what do we do?

[00:04:42] Coach Kon: There’s always hope if there’s hope for me to rekindle that passion of mine in a different capacity, there is always hope. And I would encourage people to think about it this way.

[00:04:51] Um, you mentioned two words that are very important in this equation. Hmm. So when you look at those things, I, I’m a big believer in a quote that says the two most important days in your life are the day you come into this world and the day you figure out why. With you. And with me, for example, we have found that passion in coaching, in teaching, in being able to help others to serve, that’s a passion that we have.

[00:05:20] And that’s a passion that you can, if you haven’t discovered it already, you can still discover as long as you’re alive. And once you tap into that purpose and that passion, it’s almost like your, your, your ship is sailing with a full. Gust of wind right behind you pushing you in that right direction. And it’s, it feels, I don’t want to say effortless because that wouldn’t do it justice.

[00:05:41] There’s a lot of work that goes into it, but it is work that doesn’t feel painful because you’re not going against the grain. You’re not going against the forces of nature. You’re embracing them and you’re allowing them to push you and open up the possibilities in front of you.

[00:05:58] Zach White: This is so important. One of my.

[00:06:01] Con recently was coming into our program. Completely stuck, frustrated, burned out, depressed, every negative emotion you can name. And it’s one of the few people I can say that the moment that purpose clicked, everything changed in an instant for him. It was so awesome to watch. Tell me about your, your journey then.

[00:06:23] Like where did you discover it? Your own passion for leadership development and coaching and training. Where in your journey did that start to Kendall?

[00:06:33] Coach Kon: Um, no. Steve jobs was famously quoted as saying you can only connect the dots looking backwards. So if I look back on my life or my career, um, I feel like all of the challenges, all of the, the, the adventures that I’ve had have led me down the specifics.

[00:06:50] Hmm, the common theme, the common denominator in all of the things that I’ve done is that I found myself one way or another, um, in a role of, of leader of teacher, of coach, being able to, to serve others from that perspective and being able to guide the way, um, when I was in the military, I gravitated towards being an instructor for two years.

[00:07:12] So I was in basic bootcamp for two years there. Um, leading the way and developing people. Uh, Uh, when I entered into the professional realm, I always found myself gravitating towards roles that would put me into a leadership role to kind of set the stage, but not just telling people what to do, but rather teaching, developing, serving others through that capacity.

[00:07:34] I wanted to be able to have a bigger influence in my area, in my, in my little corner of the world. Try to tap into what was important for me and. And to be able to become that teacher, that coach, even in my studies in college, I didn’t just go out and study my subject. I went out and studied it in the capacity of being a teacher.

[00:07:53] So all of those things that I did in my life loud and clear, came through to me and said, you know what? This is your, this is why you’re here. And the minute that I embrace that is the minute that I found that, that, that power, that passion, that energy

[00:08:07] Zach White: was there. Nudging you along the way, con where you just felt an urge to go that direction, or was it really a moment where you looked back and said, wow, I’ve, I’ve ended up in these places again and again and again, this must be a part of who I am, or if you were to go back say in the military or one of the roles you just described, was there a part of you that kind of longed for that type of energy?

[00:08:33] Coach Kon: Yeah, I would say it’s, it’s, it’s a natural tendency. It’s the same way you pick up the fork to eat with your right hand or your left hand, because that’s a natural tendency that you have. You just enhance it. You just take what, what naturally happens and then you build on it again, we let’s go back to that paradigm that we were discussing about.

[00:08:51] Natural tendencies and desire. And that’s part of thing. Once you start really engaging that, embracing that passion and start feeding that passion. There’s the fuel, there’s the jet fuel that’s going to launch you.

[00:09:03] Zach White: I love that. So as an engineer, I can tell you, and you know this from working with people in our world.

[00:09:12] Sort of labeled or picked out as a special group sometimes, right? The way that we think, the mindsets, the training, the approach to life, and, the, the engineer listening that they want success just as much as anyone else, they want to be happy, be fulfilled, find that purpose and passion like you just described.

[00:09:29] And a lot of times what we find is the things that create success for engineers in the workplace can also make it difficult. Outside the workplace and living in these two worlds. And you know, when we got to talk before recording today just mentioned, you’ve had this experience in coaching folks where success in the two domains in the office as an engineer and taking that approach and applying it outside the office can create some problems.

[00:09:56] Can you just describe what you’ve seen in that space and for the engineer listening? What do we need to be aware of in how our mindset is a strength in some contexts and maybe a weakness in that.

[00:10:08] Coach Kon: Well, it’s interesting. Um, there’s a study that was completed recently. Um, and it, I think they interviewed the abuse thousand, um, auditor.

[00:10:17] The people that, that their job primarily was to find problems. Um, they, they discovered through the process and in researching how effective they are and their work and the impacts that that has on their personal life, that there is a correlation, the more successful they found themselves in their work, meaning the more they were able to zero in on finding errors everywhere.

[00:10:40] Both people had a hard time switching gears when they stepped away from their job. And they found themselves in a situation where their mind, literally their mindset, the way that their mind processed information was constantly stuck in that mode. And therefore they would go home and they would nitpick at their spouse.

[00:10:57] So they would constantly criticize their kids about what they were doing wrong and really not being able to find the positives because it wasn’t part of their, their, their, their microphone. Behaviors, if you will. So what we find is when we’re working with, with, let’s say with the engineering mind that the same things that make us successful in our work, it’s hard to think differently when you approach your life on other, in other ways, you and I know that when we coach others, now there’s been a transition, especially over the last 18 months.

[00:11:31] Very, very evident transition because of the challenges that we faced. I know that I no longer coach my clients on work-life balance because that’s become a thing. What we’ve seen is that the way that our life professionally and personally has been kind of convoluted, if you will, we now coach people on work-life integration on embracing what’s happening, inside them, on how they, how they operate, but also helping them balance things out in a different way.

[00:12:01] In the moment in the opportunity and looking at their life as a whole. So rather than coaching the nine to five person, we coach the complete person, we say, okay, what’s happening in your world? Because if your life’s falling apart, like the client that you mentioned earlier, if your life’s falling apart, outside of work, how can you expect to be successful in your work truly successful and sustain that.

[00:12:21] So we got to find a way to be able to get all of us engaged. All of us nurtured our whole being. In a place where it can succeed.

[00:12:34] Zach White: There’s a popular belief con that you can compartmentalize. Easily in our, in our mind, maybe men hold this more than women do. Uh, but, but gender indifferent, the idea that I can be one way at work, where I constantly pursue failure, modes and problems, and really, you know, flex this left brain and my, my engineering skill set in a big way.

[00:12:59] And then I’m a different person at home. You know, that, that isn’t going to affect me when I’m at home. But the study you just mentioned pointed out, there’s a really direct. Relationship between people who are really mastered that skill set of finding problems. And they end up unable to switch from that approach.

[00:13:16] You mentioned, you know, the micro-behaviors at the same, how we do anything is how we do everything. And, you know, what would you say to someone if they hold that belief that I can just compartmentalize, you know, between the different domains of my life, but also how do we change the behaviors then if success demands finding problems, Right.

[00:13:36] Coach Kon: Um, I think to me it goes beyond just compartmentalizing. I think now we’re in a where as we, we are already in the midst of this fourth industrial revolution, if you will, we are now in a place where the environment itself, whether it’s at home or at work demands. That we take a growth mindset towards this, that we embrace that mindset, that we look at it and we say, okay, it’s important for me to be able to learn unlearn and relearn skills, because this is constantly what’s happening because our database of information is constantly being updated.

[00:14:11] What was, what was gospel yesterday? Is no longer the case today. Things are changing too rapidly for us to be stuck in that fixed mindset. So our success now is dependent on our ability to be agile, to be able to flex, to be able to adapt to that. And let’s take that one step further. If you are an engineer now that is leading other engineers, look at what’s happening right now.

[00:14:35] There’s a concept that they’ve been exploring over the last few years, both in my classes and in my coaching sessions. And it revolves around what we call the leadership paradox and like any paradox. It’s a situation where we need to take two concepts that might be on opposite ends of the spectrum. And we are now hold to combine those and synthesize those into a new thing.

[00:14:58] So let’s take, for example, all the times where we have people that are working. Um, not an unfamiliar place for engineers to be able to work because they like their, their, their, their deep thinking time. They like to be able to isolate and be able to focus on a problem. But now if you’re leading a team of people like that, um, if you’re in a situation where now that environment is impacted by what’s happening, okay, now we’re coming out of this.

[00:15:18] So it’s not as bad, but six months ago, Susie, who I oversaw might be working at home. And she’s at the kitchen table because let’s face it. Not everybody has a private office at their home. She’s sitting at the kitchen table next to her fifth grader, trying to be teacher mom, engineer problem-solver and short order cook at the same time.

[00:15:40] So I have to show a certain degree of empathy as her leader and understanding the kind of challenges that she’s facing. So empathy is on one end. On the other end, I have to show tough love and I have to, to set boundaries that benefit both Susie and protect her, but also the team and the organization on the other end.

[00:15:59] So I don’t burn Susie out and I may need to say to her, Hey, I get where you’re at. I understand what’s going on and how will you really. Having that contact with her. But then on the other hand saying, you know what, I don’t want you working till two in the morning and then getting up at six before the kids have to get ready for school, because that’s not going to last.

[00:16:18] You’re not going to last very long. And all of a sudden I lose a talent on my team. So that’s one example, empathy and tough love synthesizing those two things together to be able to create something. Let’s take another example. You are nine now are interacting as if we’re in the same room. So the technology is there.

[00:16:36] Now we have high tech to be able to connect with people the way synchronously work with teams, but what we, what we need to maintain at the same time is that high human touch. I need to be able to reach out to you, Zack, and, and in the privacy of our call here, be able to reach out to you and say, Hey, how are you really doing Zack?

[00:16:55] I know that things are tough. What’s going on? How can I support you? What do you need? High-tech high touch. Now, all of a sudden we’re dealing with that situation. We have, we have that degree of synthesis that we need in that leadership position.

[00:17:11] Zach White: I love that second example. I see it all the time that the opportunities for the human side of leading teams may have happened around the water cooler, after work at happy hour, going to lunch together and all of those opportunities to connect, you know, taken away in the time that we’ve been in with COVID and we didn’t replace it with a different behavior, a different way to solve that paradox.

[00:17:37] You know, coach con, if you’re helping somebody who’s aware and you’re coaching them, like you need to learn how to hold these two conflicting ideas or paradigms in harmony and balance in your mind. How do we improve at that skill? What is the. Action or the practice of mastering a leadership paradox.

[00:17:58] Once I become aware that it exists. So somebody may really resonate with empathy and tough love. We could just riff on that example. If I know it now, you just heard you describe it. So it’s there, but I don’t really have any mastery around this, this as a leader, what’s the first step to take action towards improving.

[00:18:20] Well,

[00:18:20] Coach Kon: let me give you an example of that, that I dropped from the kids. So again, to me, soccer is, is a wonderful example of working with the kiddos, uh, has given me an opportunity to take all of these complex concepts that I apply in my coaching and my teaching and simplify them down or work with the kids at the most basic level.

[00:18:38] And then take the example of the kids and bringing it up to my executives. So they understand the basic truth of what we’re talking about. So let me give you an example. If I’m trying to balance things out and I’m trying to apply a new skill. When I work with the kids during the week, I will challenge them.

[00:18:54] I will push them to the point of failures. I will challenge them with questions. I will ask all that stuff. That’s the learning zone. That’s the learning zone in our process where. If I’m progressing from this piece, I’m in my comfort zone. I need to get beyond my fear zone, where my hesitation is now I’m entering into the learning zone where it’s okay for me to fail, but I have to try and figure out this new thing.

[00:19:18] And I practice it in a safe place, in a safe environment. Before I get to the peak performance zone, which is our games on the weekend, where there. I’m not going to sit there and yell at my kids. Like a lot of coaches do out there. We’ll try like a joystick coach to move them around. I allow them to express themselves in that real time environment because all the work’s been done during the week.

[00:19:39] Well, let’s take a look at what, how that translates to the engineer out there. The engineer that’s working with youth Zack in that safe environment to role play, to practice, to, to test the scenarios of what, of what he or she is doing with you in a safe place. How can I express this? What does this sound like?

[00:19:57] Where am I going with this? You’re going to ask them the, as we coaches call it the dumb questions, because those are the decisions, questions that are going to lead them to make those realizations. And then they’re going to go out into the peak performance zone. Is it going to be perfect? No, but it’s important for them to reach out to their people and say, you know what, Hey, I want to be able to support you.

[00:20:16] I’m trying something new. Let me know how this is working for you. Engage the other person in the process to be able to get to that next level. Right. Keep doing it, keep doing it. Those moments of micro excellence and micro habits add up.

[00:20:32] Zach White: There’s two things here that I just want the engineer listening to hear it because it’s, it’s so easy to understand in the context of sports and I love connecting it to career because then we see how different it is when I played high school baseball.

[00:20:46] For example, you know, we practice. 80% of the time. And we were in games 20% of the time, maybe even 90 10, right? The time and peak performance was very small in comparison to the time in practice. Then we go get our engineering degree and we show up on day one to do our jobs. And we’re 100% of the time in this peak  performance mindset.

[00:21:11] Like you, you just have to do the job, show up and start doing it. When do you actually practice the skills? What are you doing to create space for that? And it completely flip-flops, you’re lucky if you have any time to actually practice and what you just described there, you’re role-playing with a coach.

[00:21:29] If you’re a manager, if you’re a director, a VP and you want to improve at how do I perform in holding a leadership paradox effectively as a, you know, as an engineering leader here, what have you been. Practicing. And do you have those systems and, and things set up in your life to actually be present with that and get the repetition before game day before peak performance time.

[00:21:52] That’s so easy to forget that world-class athletes practice a lot and world-class leaders do too, whether it’s with a coach or by yourself and visualization or meditation, journaling, all of these skills and practices that are simple. But neglected. And so I just, I love that. I love that. I mean,

[00:22:12] Coach Kon: look, look, look at the situation, Zach, if I may kind of stay on this point for just a second, um, peak performance is not a static thing.

[00:22:21] Real peak performance is, is a constantly evolving. Situation, um, a measurement that the environment is changing around us because the standards change because we’re constantly pushing ourselves. When I work with high performers, whether they’re executives or athletes, for example, um, the environment is constantly changing because as they master something, as they go from their comfort zone to the, beyond their fears onto the learning and peak performance zones, once they get there, that new peak performance level is their new company.

[00:22:49] So now we start the cycle all over again. There it’s never a static from that piece. If you’re not challenging your people in the right way at the rate that they need to be challenged, they’re moving backwards because the environment is moving forward. It’s like, even you think about our place in the universe, the world is not static.

[00:23:08] We may feel it is, but it’s rotating on its axis. It’s going around that orb, we call the sun, which in itself is moving within the, there is nothing static about our life. It’s, it’s an illusion that we reach a certain summit and all of a sudden we’re done.

[00:23:26] Zach White: I can relate to the point that with you, if you feel static, if you feel stuck, That’s one of the most frustrating things I hear from my clients all the time, and I love this. You’re not intended to be static. And so when we feel that way, it’s no wonder that it grinds against that purpose and passion. We talked about earlier, coach con, what else do we need to keep in balance in our lives?

[00:23:54] Coach Kon: Um, When we, when we look at, we talked about the purpose and the passion, purpose, and passion should transcend our job. Um, I come from a culture that’s probably 4,000 years old. If my Irish name didn’t get no I’m serious. It might, my Greek name. Didn’t give it away. So Greeks have been around a long time and we spent, uh, we spent generations sitting under the audit.

[00:24:14] Trees and kind of thinking about life. Um, so that’s pretty smart people that have said some pretty smart things throughout the centuries, but one of the things that we realize, uh, because our culture measures progress in generations, not in seconds and minutes, we look at things and we say, you know what?

[00:24:29] It’s important for us to understand that we are not here on this earth. We can just work. We, we, we don’t live to work. We work so we can live. Our, our passions should be funneled in some cases, if we’re blessed enough to be able to tap into that purpose, that we have that mission that we have in our life, and we can get paid to do that.

[00:24:52] That’s a wonderful blessing. But for most people. And in many times in my career, I found myself in a situation where I didn’t really expect to be doing what I was doing. If I looked at my job description, it wasn’t necessarily. Describing my passion. But what I did find is I was able to express myself my passion through my work, but even beyond that nine to five in other areas of my life, if you can’t be a leader in your workplace, can you be a leader in your community?

[00:25:20] Can you give back by working with kids, by working with people that are disadvantaged by working with the elderly others, where you can express your passion, where you can share your talents and gifts that balances.

[00:25:33] Zach White: I love this. We could, we could stop recording right now and just let everybody go sit under an olive tree with coach and, and just be silent for a while.

[00:25:42] Just let that sink in. And you know, not just in the focus of your purpose for work and purpose in life and how you’ve defined that we do a lot of work with our clients on that, but also in the way that you express. Passion and, and connect with the joy of life, you know, work can, and I believe is really rewarding when it is a source of great joy, but man, there’s so much else in life too, to get connected with.

[00:26:11] And one of our guests on this podcast recently just shared about. Deciding to be passionate about things, not, not letting opportunities to play soccer, but not bring your whole heart to it. You know, if you’re going to do it, like let’s, let’s enjoy it and really be present. And, you know, I’ve had that in my life.

[00:26:28] Sometimes you get all your energy goes into work and you don’t save that fuel energy to get passionate about things outside the office. And that’s something, you know, my wife helps me stay accountable to like, Hey, you know, don’t. All these other areas that you love to bring energy to that, just

[00:26:45] Coach Kon: think about it this way.

[00:26:46] Don’t our loved ones. The ones that we, we hold dearest in our heart and we know it, but do they know it? Do we give them, do we save enough of our best to give to them? I mean, we talk about all of these different things and even kindness. Being kind to others, but are we being kind of into ourselves and our, how are we doing that?

[00:27:05] I mean, one example of, of being able to be at your best and your most authentic self is a lot of what you do, Zach. I mean, you look at the situation and working with the coach, you’ve mentioned it earlier, you played a big part. In really helping people realize those things as coaches. Those are some of the most rewarding moments that we have, but, but working with people one-on-one as a coach is not different.

[00:27:27] No, no, not that different from what you’ve done in your past, where ballroom dancing, for example, you look at that situation and you’re working with a partner and there are times where you might lead and there are times where it makes sense for your partner to lead. I’ve never seen a situation where two people can work out their differences better than when they have to dance together, literally, and metaphorically.

[00:27:51] So, I mean, I asked you, have you seen that in your work?

[00:27:54] Zach White: I’ll absolutely. Guarantee there’s a few jaws on the floor about Zach white dancing. They may not have known that I have a history in this and I do. I, I started competitive ballroom dancing when I was, uh, at Purdue university studying mechanical engineering and like, like most of the men on the team, it started because.

[00:28:15] Uh, a lady, a young lady named Monica who invited me to a dance. And, you know, she got me hooked on the idea that we could be ballroom dance partners. And the irony of that story is Monica. Quit the team. And I fell in love with it and stayed and did competitive dance hall through college. But what you just described as is so true, the message fourth dancing in now in my life and in work for one, you know, a common vision of what we want to create.

[00:28:40] You know, there’s a certain frame, a pattern, a level of beauty that we’re seeking to create on the dance floor, but you’re not able to create it on your own. It’s truly the two of you together have to communicate and have to partner around that. Uh, but, but also it connects to your hope. And you mentioned earlier, you know, we coach the whole person that there’s no such thing in my mind as just career coaching, because you are more than your career and coach the whole person.

[00:29:09] Well, dancing is about the whole person too. You know, as an engineer, it was a great balance between just flexing the math skills and left brain in the classroom. You know, my body and my emotions and my social intelligence to the floor, but literally, and figuratively in dance. So if anybody needs a great activity with their spouse or loved one to Bork on creating that balance and connecting to some new ways, go, go, go get some dance classes.

[00:29:36] Once the ballrooms open back up at the time of recording this may or may not be open. We’re still coming out of this, this COVID crisis. Yeah, thanks for bringing that to the table. Cod. I love it. Have you ever done any ballroom yourself?

[00:29:51] Coach Kon: I, I, I’ve done plenty of, uh, of dancing on the, on the floor with, with, with my wife, with other, with, with partners, through, with my daughter now as well.

[00:29:59] So I really, really enjoy it. My, my wife always makes me sit down and watch dancing with the stars. So I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy it. And to me, there’s, there’s. Is there a better place to, to see the manifestation of, of science and what together, when you look at that relationship, because I mean, for those engineers listening out there, there is a framework for you to operate in, in a, in a ballroom dancing structure.

[00:30:23] For example, there are set steps. There are certain patterns that you have to follow. If you’re in competitive, as you know, you have to hit certain marks. But no two dancers are exactly the same. Why? Because it allows for the artistic expression of the dancers. When you look at that and you say, okay, All of the innovations that we have, all the high performers that we have there in the engineering world.

[00:30:45] For example, regardless of what field of engineering it is, there are certain norms and patterns that we need to embrace the science behind it, but there’s still so much room for us to express ourselves to find that creativity. And if you want to be successful, do both separate yourself from

[00:31:03] Zach White: the masses.

[00:31:05] I love this. An unwillingness to settle for only one side is a trait that I see of the most successful engineering leaders that I work with. It, it’s not a question of, can I have both the science and the arts, the, you know, the hard work and the fun and the joy, it’s this relentless pursuit that I will have both.

[00:31:26] How can I create it? What, what must I do to get into that place? And. Yeah, I love that coach Kon. You wrote an amazing book here, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity before we wrap today to make sure everybody knows about it and can just get a sense of, you know, how its importance and relevance goes beyond just the pandemic of COVID-19 that were coming, you know, Lord willing out of at the time of this conversation, but you know, seven keys to navigating a crisis.

[00:31:55] And I know we don’t have a lot of time to dig into the whole content of this book, but what would you say. Is the, the, one of those that if you’re an engineer today, you would say, this is a good place to look. First of the seven keys with where we’re at right now. And maybe if the engineering, you know, frame of mind might lend you to say this would be a good one of the seven keys to think about first, and then I’d encourage them to go get your book and read the whole thing.

[00:32:21] But where would you begin? Well,

[00:32:24] Coach Kon: I would say for me, Start at the beginning of Jean. Number one is self care. Uh, we cannot hope to help anybody else. If we are not in a good place, uh, you cannot pour from an empty cup. You can’t give of yourself and you can’t go further. If you are running on it. So it’s important to be able to fuel ourselves, to check ourselves and see where are we at?

[00:32:47] So self care is where we start and we started it there for that exact reason, because it starts with that. Self-diagnosis with that self assessment, with that self care piece to fuel yourself before you launch out and try to do anything else. And essentially that launches the journey towards a roadmap, if you will, of resilience and being able to, to achieve that ultimate goal.

[00:33:11] Situation where I’m going to move forward. And I’m going to, you get to that better place to overcome that in a crisis is not just a pandemic it’s I lost a loved one. It’s I lost the job. It’s you know what? My world is upside down. I’m going through personal crisis. All of those changes that we feel out of our out of control, uh, things where this book, the suggestions, the ideas, the workbook that’s part of.

[00:33:38] All of these are included in the book that we have. It’s easy to consume. It’s not full of fluff. An engineering mind will appreciate that because everything is easy to index and get back to and you will use it over and

[00:33:49] Zach White: over again. I love that this is. Con, because it’s also one of the first things that I see engineers and probably everyone stopped doing the moment the crisis comes, you know, maybe you have a habit of, of exercise and resting, you know, seven or eight hours a night.

[00:34:08] And then the crisis comes and you stop exercising and you start staying up later to, to attempt to get more done. And we. Yeah, quit doing the exact things that were helping to take care of ourselves beforehand. The other thing I hear a lot is was that I don’t have time to take a vacation right now, or I don’t have any interest in booking a spa day for myself.

[00:34:30] Sometimes we put self-care in this like category. Big activities that take a lot of time or a lot of money to do. Can you just suggest for people, when you say self care, how simple or small some of those act actions might actually be to stimulate maybe some ideas or thinking outside the box on that?

[00:34:48] Yeah,

[00:34:48] Coach Kon: we look at, I mean, to me, we, we look at, we look at self care, even in four pillars, there’s the physical aspect, the emotional, the mental, and even the spiritual and not the spiritual necessarily a religious context, but a spiritual in something bigger than. And it’s important for us to be able to nurture and balance all of those areas, but something as simple as.

[00:35:08] Drinking more water, you know, staying hydrated, uh, getting up every hour or every couple of hours at the most away from our computers and the, and the areas where we are engaged in our activities, where it’s so easy to get lost in deep thinking and purposefully creating that break in there. Get up, get outside.

[00:35:24] Get some vitamin D from the sunshine, walk outside. If the weather’s not good. Okay. Go up and down three flights of stairs or go up and down a little bit, engage your body in such a way that you’re going to do it. Nowadays. We have sit-stand desks. Do a lot of those little things that will help emotionally look at yourself and say, okay, what, what, what brings me joy?

[00:35:44] What did, what did, what is something that I can look forward to mentally? You look at the situation really? Just read and focus, change gears in your mind, put yourself in a situation where you’re you’re you’re visualizing success on a project or whatever that case might be. Recreate that situation spiritually, look at it and say, okay, what do I need to engage with?

[00:36:06] What’s bigger than me right now. What can I draw from to have that belief that things are going to be okay. All of those areas we can look at, we have a simple self-assessment in the book that allows people to either look at it on a macro level and say, overall, how am I doing or zero in on specific areas and ideas.

[00:36:22] And those are sprinkled throughout.

[00:36:25] Zach White: I just wanna encourage everyone listening that for, for one, it really is the simple, small behaviors that coach Kon’s talking about repeated that are gonna make the kind of shifts that you’re looking for. But also, you know, this framework, this roadmap that, that they’ve painted and the seven keys to navigating a crisis, coach Scott and his coauthor, it.

[00:36:44] Really beautiful roadmap for any level of what you might call a crisis. It doesn’t have to be a global pandemic. And you already mentioned this, but maybe you’re just overwhelmed at work. Maybe you got a new job. You started in a new organization and you’re feeling like an imposter or there’s some, some low confidence or uncertainty, you know, Those same feelings may have a crisis, like experience in your life.

[00:37:06] And it’s, there’s no shame in saying, Hey, I want to approach this proactively. And this is a really beautiful roadmap. Self-care awareness, flexibility, preparation initiative, positive attitude, and kindness. So everybody needs to go out and get a copy of the seven keys to navigating a crisis. It’s awesome.

[00:37:25] Time to bring it to a close there’s a hundred things I’d love to ask you, but just to be respectful of your time today, coach con, one of the things I always tell my clients and you know this as a coach and as a trainer and leadership developer that, you know, questions we ask are really important because if we ask bad questions, we’re going to get bad answers.

[00:37:42] And we want to ask powerful questions that take us where we want to go questions, lead answers, follow. And for the engineer who’s been listening to this conversation and. You know, they want that passion and purpose to come to life. They want to feel happy on a day-to-day basis and discover more of themselves in this journey towards success.

[00:38:02] What would you say is the best question to lead them with?

[00:38:09] Coach Kon: I think we need to start with the end in mind and I think we need to start off with a question along the lines of what does success look like for you? If we’re able to define success and truly embrace that, it makes it a lot easier for us to recognize it. When we come across it, sometimes we get lost in the wilderness, keep looking for something, we already have it.

[00:38:33] Or we go in with other people’s expectations or definitions of what success looks like. Right. Other than our own. Um, I may use another example with the kiddos. I don’t know. Coach the elite teams with elite athletes. A lot of times I’ll work with kids that are just starting out or are less talented, but just as passionate and love the sport.

[00:38:53] If I define success as wins and losses, we will fail every time. Sometimes I have to define success as did we have fun? Did we learn something new? Were we able to complete three pounds? They find each other, those little wins, those successes carry you through life. They carry you through the challenges that we face and they will keep you nurtured and happy.

[00:39:17] Why? Because you feel like you’re succeeding and I’m not talking about lowering the bar. I’m talking about really defining it for what is meaningful to you. And for each one of us that might be.

[00:39:28] Zach White: I love it. What does success really look like for you? Go take some time, get under your olive tree tonight this weekend and ponder that question, coach John, I can’t thank you enough for the time today.

[00:39:40] I know everybody’s going to be hungry for one to get your book, but also just to, to follow you and understand where they can find more, uh, where would you point people to, if they want to get to know you and your work?

[00:39:51] Coach Kon: Well, two places, uh, a simple place is on LinkedIn. For example, they can find me under coach on all one word, and I spoke Kon with a K um, or purpose because it’s smart to ask people to trust you when you spell it with a C for some reason.

[00:40:06] So I go by coach on there, but also on my website, as you graciously mentioned in the beginning, a fresh build BIC solutions,, lots of tools, lots of information there, and an opportunity to book some time.

[00:40:24] Zach White: Awesome. We’ll put those links in the show notes for everybody to find you.

[00:40:28] And I encourage every engineer to get plugged in with your work and for the engineering leaders out there, directors, VPs, some really fantastic work that coach Scott and his team do around talent management. And so if you’re looking for solutions in how to develop the team and lead the team, please connect with them.

[00:40:45] Go get to the website and check that out. Coach Kon. Thanks again for your time today. This has been truly fantastic.

[00:40:50] Coach Kon: It’s been a pleasure.