The Happy Engineer Podcast

090: Let’s Go Win with JM Ryerson | How Timing, Authenticity, and Perspective Create Careers that Make You Happy and Wealthy

In this episode, we talk about WINNING. My guest is JM Ryerson, host of the Let’s Go Win podcast and creator of the Let’s Go Win process.

That process has allowed JM to successfully build and exit two companies, creating the financial freedom and personal success that most engineering leaders dream about.

We talk about the importance of timing, the power of perspective, and the two questions JM asks himself every day to make sure he consistently performs at his best in business results AND emotional experience.

JM knows you want to be happy, and will share with you how he does it.

He is now coaching high-performing leaders to grow their impact and income. His Show Up As You system helps utilize your role as a leader to ignite the ambition and confidence your team needs to hit next-level success.

So press play and let’s chat… and Let’s Go Win!

Join us in a live webinar for deeper training, career Q&A, and FREE stuff!  HAPPY HOUR! Live with Zach

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The Happy Engineer Podcast




Previous Episode 089: Q&A #5 with Zach White | 6 LinkedIn Profile Improvements to Stand Out | My Opinion on Layoffs in Tech and How to Respond




Awesome conversation with JM. I hope you enjoyed that. 

I want to share with you something that just happened to me recently. 

I was in Colorado vacationing, doing some snowboarding for the last two weeks. 

Amazing people, amazing time mastering my snowboarding and had a lot of fun where we were staying. 

It was a place that we chose specifically because they have a pool that is heated, like a hot tub.

A few days into the trip, the pool heater went out. Boo!!! 

This is the worst possible thing that can happen on a ski trip. When the pool goes out, everybody’s in a bad mood. So I get onto Airbnb and I message the host right away.

Let ’em know, Hey, the pool heater went. 

We’re gonna be at Copper Mountain for another 10 days and we really, really want that pool heater turned on. 

And that host messaged me back as if they didn’t even care. 

They totally passed the buck. They said there’s nothing they could do about it on their end. And that if I needed any help, go to this section of the listing and there would be a number for the onsite service provider. 

So I was a little frustrated by that, but I went to that number. I called, I emailed, I reached out, and first they ignored me. 

And then when I finally did get a message back, which was not until the next day in the evening, they basically just treated me like a child. 

They recited some of the information that was on the listing because I had used the word hot tub in my message, and they were letting me know in their reply that this was not a hot tub and that the pool would not be at the temperature of a hot tub that the amenities listed was a pool, not a hot tub.

All this information had nothing to do with the problem, like I don’t care what we call it. 

I know that two days ago the pool was hot and today the pool is cold, and we just want the heater turned on. 

I received terrible service and it was days before we got everything up and running.

They got the heater back on and here’s the worst part, the heater went out on the second to last day, so our trip in a way was kind of spoiled by the fact that we weren’t able to enjoy one of our favorite amenities. 

Thankfully, the snowboarding was awesome. 

Here’s the point, that story is exactly that.

It’s a story, and I want you to think back to JM’s final question about what story are you telling yourself and is it true.

And I tell you this story about my recent snowboarding trip because we want to discern and get really clear about what actually happened. 

Call it the raw data or the circumstances of our life and our story about what happened, the lens that we put on those circumstances and that data through our own values, our own mindset, and our thoughts and beliefs that we bring to the situation. 

So let’s go back to the story I just told you, and let’s separate the two so that you can see clearly. 

What actually happened versus my story that I’m telling myself and telling you about what happened. 

So in this instance, the pool heater went out. That’s what happened. 

I messaged the host and they messaged me back. That’s what happened. 

I received words in a direct message via the Airbnb app. That’s what happened. 

How I read those words, the idea that they didn’t care, the idea that they passed the buck, that I received poor service, that I was patronized, that I was treated like a child.

Those things are the lens and the story that I have put on what happened. 

You see, they didn’t care about me, it never happened. 

That’s a story that I’m making up about what happened, them giving me terrible service that never happened. 

That’s a story that I am making up about what happened. 

And the question that we are asking ourselves, is that story true?

And how we answer that question is really important for the way that we then act, the emotions that we experience. 

This is happening around you all the time at work, at home, and in your life. 

Where we allow what happened and our story about what happened to be the same thing in our life. 

We don’t realize that they are in fact different.

You’ll say, oh, my boss was really mean to me today. 

Well, what happened Is your boss might have used a certain set of words with a certain tone or energy in their voice. They might have looked at you a certain way or sent you a certain email, they were mean to you is a story. 

Is that story true?

Well, the way that you define “mean” and the way that someone else might define “mean” could be completely different.

Is that story true? 

Well, if it is, you’re going to respond one way. 

If it is not, let’s say your boss was not being mean, but was in fact doing their best to coach you, to challenge you, to help you rise up to a higher standard of your own capability, well, that’s going create a different response in you.

Here’s my challenge that I want to ask you to take on for today.

Look at what’s going on in your life and ask yourself, what is the difference between what happened and my story about what happened? 

I’ll give you another example. Many of you might be listening to this in the car. 

When someone drives fast and cuts you off on the highway, your story about what happened could be that jerk driver cut me off.

But them being a jerk never happened. 

What happened was they pulled their car in front of yours. 

What if they have a pregnant wife in the car and they’re in a hurry to get to the hospital. Then our story might change. 

And the thing that we’re all in pursuit of is to get more and more clear about which stories are true, which stories are authentic, which stories are aligned with your values, and which stories might be rooted in something that is not serving you or in something that is a lie or is a partial truth, but not the whole story and the whole truth.

There is so much to be learned and so much coaching to be done in this area.

If not careful, we might be kicking off a self-fulfilling prophecy.

A core tenet of emotional intelligence is understanding what actually happened versus our story about what happened. 

When we separate those two, we take on a whole new level of control and choice and agency in our lives to go and respond differently versus responding by default in these moments. 

I hope that’s clear for you. If not, ask some questions. Let me know where you need help in distinction. 

Join our Facebook group and throw a question in there, or reach out to me directly anytime. 

It’s an honor to hear from all of you. I love when Happy Engineers reach out to me at [email protected]

Please feel free, reach out anytime, and I hope this conversation with JM really inspired you. 

Enjoy yourself in that pursuit of the career and life that you love. 

Crush, comfort, create courage, and let’s do this.



As a founder and leader, JM Ryerson has built and successfully exited two companies that have created personal and financial freedom. The Let’s Go Win process has allowed JM to transform himself into the leader he is today, and in turn has given his companies the foundation and tools to propel to success.

Now, JM helps high-performing leaders define and execute their own individual leadership styles in order to grow the impact and profits of their businesses. His Show Up As You system helps utilize your role as a leader to ignite the ambition and confidence your team needs to hit next-level success — both individually and as a company.





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

[00:00:00] Zach White: JM, awesome to see you again. Welcome to the Happy Engineer Podcast brother. 

[00:00:05] JM Ryerson: And I’m fired up to be here. For those of you that don’t know, Zach was on my show and absolutely crushed it. Actually, the most interesting engineer I think I’ve ever met. 

Expand to Read Full Transcript

[00:00:16] Zach White: So, oh man. Jay, I’m honored to take the most interesting engineer you’ve met.

[00:00:21] Slot. That’s a big deal. Most engineers can qualify as. Fairly interesting. Maybe that’s not always a positive connotation, but I’ll, I’ll take it and uh, yeah, shameless plug for JMS podcast for the Happy Engineer out there. Let’s go win. Of course, selfishly, I’d love for you to listen to the episode I’m on, but you will not go wrong anywhere in James podcast.

[00:00:41] It’s tremendous. So really honored to have you here with the happy engineers out there JM you sent me and I loved reading. Your book also titled, let’s Go In. Everybody go into the show notes. There’ll be a link to get your copy there. Definitely grab one. But what I actually wanted to open with is what you opened with in the book that I thought was really interesting, and it’s a little section in your introduction here that says Timing is everything and it’s not a topic that has come up on this podcast very many times.

[00:01:13] where we really talk about timing, lots of strategy, lots of leadership tips, lots of work-life balance, conversations, all these things that are important. But timing is something that I can’t remember coming up from a guest on the show. So can you unpack a little bit, what did you mean there and how do you think about this idea that timing is everything?

[00:01:34] JM Ryerson: Yeah, man, it’s such a fascinating idea because if you think about how much people plan to do X and I want to start a new business, okay, cool. Is it the right time? And what I mean by that, is there ever the right time to start your business? Well, yes there is, and there is also not waiting on the sidelines.

[00:02:00] it’s one of those things that we have a precious amount of time. Yeah. I don’t want to waste any of it. I want to utilize all of the time that I have. And so frequently, uh, I’ll ask people, well, is this the right time for you? And what I mean by that, Is this what you really want in your life?

[00:02:21] Because often I’m looking at the Joneses, I’m looking at my neighbors and it’s like, oh, he just got a new boat. I want a new boat. Well, dude, you got a two year old, a a a six month old. And of new business is getting a boat really the right time? Probably not. Mm-hmm. , because now you’re not gonna use it. Now it’s just more responsibilities and now it’s become something that would be amazing to the bane of your existence because now you’re just shelling out money.

[00:02:50] And that’s a small example. It’s a boat. Yeah. and I know you’re big into questions as am I asking a couple questions before we just act I think is really important. Timing. Is everything cool? Is it the right time for me to start the business? Well, I’ve been waiting for six years.

[00:03:07] That answer’s probably yes. I just thought of this hair brand idea last night. I wanna start this new business. Maybe we should slow down just for a moment, figure out if this works into our life, yes or no. And so that’s really what I mean by that, brother. Yeah, it’s one of those things where just slow down a little bit and let’s make sure, and if you’ve been on the sideline too long, let’s act.

[00:03:31] Zach White: jm, do you see in your clients and the work that you’ve done, maybe your own personal experience where right idea, wrong time, leads to what we might call failure or a setback is, is it a hundred percent of the time or do you see people crawl out of that? It can still work, like right idea, wrong time.

[00:03:51] If that’s the path somebody takes, what kinds of outcomes can we expect? 

[00:03:57] JM Ryerson: I hope you have some real grit because often these amazing ideas, at the wrong time, you are going to get your ass kicked again and again and again and yeah, it’s watching a Rocky movie. You’re just getting beat and beat and beat, and beat are you get back up and that’s the challenge.

[00:04:17] Now, if you do persevere through all of those challenges, which by the way, you’re gonna get knocked down, so we’re. , but when it’s the right idea at the wrong time, often that’s where I’ll see people just give up when they’re, you know, three feet from gold is, you know, uh, is talked about. Um, and it’s, it sure makes it a, a bigger struggle and mm-hmm.

[00:04:41] uh, recent examples is as we watch this innovation craziness happens, it’s like, look, if you just wait just a little bit till this innovation. Stacks with this one. Now you can really flourish or you could have been too early to market and you get crushed. it, it’s an interesting one, man, because I want people to act.

[00:05:03] That’s a big part of my coaching. But at the same time, just know that you do, again, step back for a moment 

[00:05:12] Zach White: in your own journey. How have you been with timing? Did you learn this lesson the hard way or like, I’m speaking from the heart here. Wrong timing, or do you crush it in this area? Like what’s your personal experience been?

[00:05:25] Oh man. 

[00:05:25] JM Ryerson: If there’s a mistake when it comes to timing, I have nailed it. I, I have bought so much real estate that has lost so much money, and if you think of this timeline from like, let’s take it from 2010, 11 to 2023. How is that possible, brother, that you lose money in that time? It’s like you have to, man, really try hard, but there are certain investments that weren’t ideal, and so just throwing money at everything wasn’t necessarily a good strategy.

[00:06:00] although some people did and they worked out okay. But it is, it’s, that would be an example. I’ll give you another example. I started a mortgage company in 2008. Literally bought a building. Oh, wow. Go well, brother, that, that did not go well. And we generated 700 loans in the first 90 days Oh, wow.

[00:06:23] JM Ryerson: In 12 . 

[00:06:24] Zach White: Okay. So, so firsthand experience with good ideas at the wrong time. And of course the engineer in me, James immediately wants to know. How do we take our life experience up to this point and actually get good at knowing when it is to the right time? So I, you know, I’m senior manager at a automotive OEM and I’ve got an ambition to go out and start my own thing.

[00:06:51] Or I want to go be a director at some other company. Should I move to a new state and take on the risk of a new opportunity? Like we’ve all got these things brewing. And now we’re all asking, is now the right time? You know, JMS got me worried about going too soon or doing so. How do we get better at knowing now is the right time?

[00:07:10] JM Ryerson: That’s a really good question. And actually, there’s a great book that just came out not too long ago. It’s called Who Not How. And the reason I talk about that, I think we need to continue to find the who’s, so for instance, if I had spent more time when before opening that mortgage, And really reached out to those in the know, they would’ve said, pump the brakes for a second.

[00:07:34] You are sitting on a pile of gold that you are absolutely going to smelt down to nothing if you open this. And so the more that you can reach out to someone that has knowledge in whatever endeavor you’re going for. People that you can trust that aren’t holding you back because of insecurities and fear, but rather are holding you back to say, have you thought of X?

[00:08:01] What about Y? we have so much amazing, people in our lives and, and surrounding us if we choose to open it. And that’s one of the challenges when you have a lot of confidence is when you’re crushing in in your business. . I’m, I’m indestructible, bro. I eat well. Sometimes you can and, and sometimes having that outside, perspective is really key.

[00:08:26] Just like you and I were talking off air, you’re like, dude, this one thing happened. It’s really exciting. That’s a great who that could really maybe expand your business. what a great tool to have at your disposal. 

[00:08:37] Zach White: Mm. This is a really important. In the way to approach the question and I just wanna mirror it back, Jim, cuz I love what you did there.

[00:08:45] My engineering brain, even to this day as a coach who’s done this for years, wants to ask that how question, how do I improve at my timing in this instance? But you know, you know, it comes up at every situation that how question is that default setting for technical leaders is the way we’re wired. To say, look, instead of asking, how can you get better at great timing.

[00:09:09] First question, who can help you assess if now is a great time, go tap the network. Find the mentor, find the coach. Find the person who’s like jm. Done it a hundred times, some right, some wrong. Has the lessons. Start with that, who? That’s a really important shift in perspective on approach. the timing question.

[00:09:30] And I think for engineers, we like to sit on the sidelines more than we do. Act too fast. If I’m painting with a broad brush, James, we’re, we’re sideline sitters. We’ve got the great ideas. We’ve got a lot of fear though that keeps us out of the game. I think that’s another place where the, who can kick you off the sideline.

[00:09:47] Somebody would say, look, you’ve got everything you need to get started. Why have you not already begun? And when you keep asking how you can come up with 10 more reason. Why now is not the right time. And uh, so I think that’s really important. Speaking of perspective, jm, you, you teased me with that word before we hit record today, and I am a huge fan of that word.

[00:10:09] And you as a mindset coach and a speaker and an author, you’ve done so much work in this space. Share with me where is the idea of perspective brewing and how’s that impacting your life right now? 

[00:10:22] JM Ryerson: So I lost my dad in March I say that to say the greatest amount of perspective I’ve probably ever had in my life happen in March, and I value my time on Earth more today than I did March 5th.

[00:10:39] So he passed away on the sixth, and as much as I want him back in my life and I miss him, and all the things I could say, he gave me a level of perspective that I, I, you can’t buy. And. . I want to operate the way I do today for the remainder of my life with this level of, of perspective. That when I get to see my kids tonight, no matter how tired I am from whatever the day look like, that I’m going to give everything to that moment with them.

[00:11:11] That when I see my wife tonight, that I am going to hug her and kiss her the way that if she was gone tomorrow, that I made sure I felt it’s this perspective piece. It’s a part of humanity that I wish I could change. I don’t want something tragic to happen for us to realize how amazing our life is.

[00:11:32] Yeah. And yet time and time and time again as human beings, we fall into this laissez faire attitude of we have all this time in the world and we have, which is funny, we’re just talking about timing is everything. Yeah. . But it’s, uh, this level of perspective. when you think about things differently and you say, what if this is the last day I on earth, okay, I probably would still be doing this show because I love podcasting, and then I’m gonna go have the most amazing meal with the people that I love, and then I’m going to spend time in community with them.

[00:12:08] Okay? But I didn’t die tomorrow, so why? Roll the dice every day and show up half-assed with my cell phone while my kids are there and I’m juggling three things at the same time. It’s so asinine when you say it aloud that you’re like, dude, wake up. Be in the now. Right now be present and give everything you have to this moment.

[00:12:30] Cuz this is the only time I’m guaranteed right now. Yeah. Yeah. And so that’s what I mean by perspective, man. It, it hit me so heavy in this meditation this morning that I was like, damn. , I gotta speak more on this. And so when you said what’s on your heart, that’s what’s sitting there, brother, is, is this perspective idea.

[00:12:49] Zach White: I really appreciate just, you know, pause and acknowledge the loss of your dad. It’s so hard and there’s no words for that. Would you be willing to take us back to that timeframe? And you mentioned the kind of before and the shift, the perspective that, that loss and, and the grief and the, the change in your world.

[00:13:10] How would you describe what actually changed in your own perspective as best you can put words to 

[00:13:16] JM Ryerson: it? Sure. So I talked to my dad the day, the day he passed, and I did, I told him I loved him, but was I over the top? No. I was running around at a tennis tournament and I, we had a very passing average conversation.

[00:13:37] Of course, I didn’t know this was going to happen, but it did. And so I did. I said, I love you, dad, but it wasn’t like, I want you to know how much I love you. I want you to know, and I’m sure he did, but I was going through every day and I was talking to my dad and, and he was in, I think he was in, Arizona at the time.

[00:13:57] You know, and then I go about my day and my son and I have a pretty average meal he had performed, and we talked about that, just a very average day. And then I get the phone call at 1130 that night and my whole world just gets turned upside down. Yeah. of course, about a week. Serious reflection and darkness and mm-hmm.

[00:14:20] all the things that, that you go through when you lose someone that close to you. And then I started getting this overwhelming sense of joy towards life. That, you know what? I’m here today and I had 71 years with this, or he was on this, or 71 years and I had 44 of them with him. I should actually focus on that rather what I.

[00:14:44] then it allowed me to bring that into my relationships. shortly thereafter, I had a business partner stealing several million dollars over the course of years. I found out and I think I would’ve been really pissed in the past, and I was just like, yeah, that sucks. What am I gonna do?

[00:15:04] JM Ryerson: And I’m gonna whine about it. No, it sucks. Move. and of course moved on, got bought out of the company, lost a couple million dollars, but I can still go make it. My dad can’t. I? Can I had that. Yeah. Yeah. So, I don’t know, man. It just shifted everything to where these little things that happened to us. Oh, I stubbed my toe.

[00:15:23] I had a flat tire. My, dog died. It sucks, man. Yeah. Guess what? you’re alive today to feel that pain. You should be grateful for it. 

[00:15:31] Zach White: Hmm. I’m really connecting with what you describe. The initial experience being a period of real darkness. You know, like, oh gosh, you’re sitting there, you’re thinking maybe the mind is running into some regrets about not saying what I wanted to say with the passion.

[00:15:48] I wanted to say it, and we’re we’re in that place. But then the loss in the grief shifted to joy for you. This awareness that, you know what? I have a choice here to show up differently. I’m curious for you if somebody feels stuck in the dark place, they’ve had a loss, maybe they got fired or let go from their job, and they’re sitting there regretting that they didn’t.

[00:16:12] Work harder or, or say the thing that needed to be said or whatever. Or maybe it’s similar to you, a, you know, loss in the family or a relationship ended, but they feel caught in the dark place. There hasn’t been a shift to seeing it for an opportunity to shift their perspective and a new lease on life the way that you did.

[00:16:31] Is there anything that. Say as either a coach or just from your own experience, the, what’s that catalyst moment or how do we get there to where the, the shift actually happens? Because I do think the grief and the loss is normal and healthy and good. It’s like, okay to be in that dark place. We don’t need to shame that at all, but we didn’t want to come out of it.

[00:16:51] So what’s what’s happening right there at that moment? 

[00:16:55] I talk about being a victim or taking full responsibility, and I agree with you, by the way. I don’t mean to poo whoo on, on grief, like be in at all. Be in that moment so that you can move forward. Yeah. But once you’re ready to move forward and realize that this didn’t happen to you, it happened for you, and that’s not the first time you’ve heard that note, certainly won’t be the.

[00:17:19] JM Ryerson: But whatever happens, it happens for you. Just the way the universe works. We’re energetic beans and realize whatever gift this darkness has brought. Now I talk about embracing the suck, right? But I’m talking about when you’re building a company, when you’re weightlifting, when you’re, whatever you’re going through, that really sucks.

[00:17:39] Just embrace it because you know what? You get that opportunity. There are people. Kill to have that opportunity. They, they can’t come back on this earth to enjoy that pain. but I think once you choose responsibility, like, okay, that sucks. What am I going to do? What’s the gift here? How is the way I’m showing up today serving my life?

[00:18:04] let’s just say I lost my wife of 30 years. . That sucks. that’s a big grieving moment. No doubt. If I’m sitting there binging on Netflix, drinking too much, and you know, I’m not seeing sunlight, how’s that serving me? how is that making my life better? It’s not. So let’s not be a victim anymore.

[00:18:25] JM Ryerson: Let’s take responsibility for our life and let’s go. Let’s go live. Yeah, because the one thing, again, this word keeps coming up. Time is not guaranteed and it’s short. If you think about how long we’re on this planet and there’s a whole lot of cool stuff to see and do, so let’s not loathe and wine and pine, let’s go seek the next thing that might be or could be even better than that 30 year marriage.

[00:18:48] Maybe that happened for you because your true soulmate you never got a chance to connect with. Hmm. These are the things that you can ask yourself, and it’s like every time something really bad happens. , guess what? Something great is about to, yes. So every time something terrible happens, I’m like, all right man, this sucks.

[00:19:08] Can’t wait to see what the greatness is. 

[00:19:10] Zach White: I love that. where is my upgrade coming as a result of this loss is something I say to myself and jam I It’s in your book as well. I love what you said and I’m just gonna highlight it because I need to hear it again and again. And sometimes you don’t realize how jaded you get about information that’s, that’s gold that you’ve seen before, or you think you already know it.

[00:19:31] And I remember in your book you described like basically asking the reader say, Hey, I want you to be willing to relearn what you’ve already learned and to give yourself some freedom from the ego of, I know this already, I’ve heard this already, and for me, your book. Simple, solid, golden nugget.

[00:19:50] One after another another. But as a coach, yeah, I’ve heard it before. The majority of that, not through your voice, your lens, but it was easy for me to shut that off and just say, oh, okay. It’s another one of those. But the truth is when I come into it with that open mind, that willingness to relearn, it’s like, holy cow, this is a life changing book.

[00:20:06] And that statement, life happens for you, not to you. Yeah. It’s been said a thousand times. , we have a choice right now to receive it as a fresh word that what I need today is to remember that. But sometimes you just are like, oh, okay, duh. I’ve heard it. Or even worse sometimes, like forget that I, I’ve heard it and that’s not true for me right now.

[00:20:27] Or I don’t, I don’t want to hear it. So. Hmm. That’s really, really The show up idea. You. In that response to taking responsibility and not being a victim is how I’m showing up. Serving me. And part of your genius and your magic as a mindset coach and a business coach is in this idea of showing up as you.

[00:20:49] So Jay, would you walk us through what is that concept and how do we take what life’s given us and then come into the, the arena and show up as you, what does that. 

[00:21:01] JM Ryerson: Yeah, man, this is a huge idea, and yet it’s the most simple idea there is, in my opinion, at least. I, I’m a simple guy. I, I, I like to keep things simple.

[00:21:12] I’m six foot five, okay? God made me that way. It doesn’t mean it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s bad. It takes me zero time, zero energy. My back’s in complete alignment at six five. I could try to be five five, and it’s gonna take a hell of a lot of time. A hell of a lot of energy and my back’s completely out of alignment.

[00:21:31] It’s uncomfortable. Why not just be six five? And the point of just showing up as you is that authentic self is really attractive to the right people trying to be anything that you’re not trying to fit in, which starts real early. Man, we put on masks, try and fit in. It’s all horse shit, man. Your authentic self is attractive.

[00:21:56] It’s beautiful. It’s what people are, they want to be surrounded with you as a shell of yourself, trying to act a certain way. it’s not attractive. And I speak from experience because my first company in a half, I thought I had to wear a suit tie, be buttoned up, sound a certain way.

[00:22:16] And man, we grew, we were growing 15% a year. I’m making tons of. , my health was all screwed up. My relationship to my wife sucked, man. We were, uh, separated for a year. I almost lost my kids in that whole process. All because I’m trying to be something I’m not. What a waste of time and what a waste of energy.

[00:22:39] once I realized what was happening and I go through the development work and I do all the things that I needed to do, I realize, wait. . I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. And by the way, I don’t care what wardrobe you use, it’s just whatever you’re comfortable in. Yeah, yeah. I’m a jeans and t-shirt guy.

[00:22:55] JM Ryerson: I’m gonna show up as me and wow, my relationships are fulfilled, I’m way healthier. And here’s what’s crazy. My business was up 22%, so 7% more than when I was acting as some other person. And it’s like, Hey, dummy, it’s not that. Just be you. my wife always says, stop assuming people know that because we’ve been connection to want to fit in, to wanna be a part of something, to want to be accepted.

[00:23:27] And so we start to act that way instead of just being us. And so that’s a whole I idea is just show up as you. Whatever you are, whoever you are, it’s amazing, man. Let it out and the right human beings that you need and want into your life, they’ll be there. Yeah. And the wrong one won’t. And that’s cool.

[00:23:43] That’s, that’s beautiful. 

[00:23:46] Zach White: The simplicity to your point is almost so simple that the engineer in me wants to reject it. It’s like, can’t, it can’t be that easy, jm. It can’t be that easy. But what I’ve found is, you know, the jeans and t-shirt example, It’s a picture of what’s actually happening on the inside.

[00:24:04] It’s not about the jeans and the t-shirt. It has nothing to do with the wardrobe at all. It’s the version of you that actually showed up at work wearing the jeans and t-shirt and how you were leading, the energy of that and all of what it comes with that makes the difference. so take somebody who’s in the.

[00:24:21] World right now. Let’s say they’re a VP of engineering or they’re, you know, director of engineering somewhere, and they might respond to what you just said by saying, yeah, but JM at my company, you can’t wear jeans and t-shirts. I’m not the ceo, it’s not my company. I can’t do that. So even if I am a jeans and t-shirt guy, this culture or this environment that I’m in doesn’t allow me to do that.

[00:24:45] What would you say to somebody who sort of feels trapp. In their environment, not allowing them to express themselves fully in some of those ways. 

[00:24:56] this answer scares people, I would ask. The first question is, are you in the right place? And what I mean by that is, if you’re truly uncomfortable to where you can’t be yourself, or let’s say as a leader, you don’t feel like I can truly show my emotions, I can truly connect with another human being, you might be in the wrong place.

[00:25:15] JM Ryerson: Or. , you may be assuming that you can’t show up as the best version of you because everyone else assumed this is a corporate culture. Well, here’s the crazy part, and again, I’ll go back to wardrobe for a second. The idea has been completely squashed the biggest companies in the world, man, they’re bringing dogs to work and they got ping pong tables.

[00:25:38] That’s right. That’s great. All sorts of crazy stuff and, and they’re running our entire economy of this world. you know, it’s just being you and being comfortable in your environment. And I get this often when I have people that have bad leadership. They’re like, but this guy’s such an asshole, James, you don’t get it.

[00:25:53] And I’m like, you’re not. You’re right. I don’t understand this particular situation, but I’ve met an asshole or two. Perhaps this might not be the best place. Or have you actually said something about it? Oh, I can’t do. Have you tried? Well, no. Well, so you actually don’t know what’s gonna happen. And what’s fascinating about us, Zach, we spend so much energy thinking about what we think is going to happen, what people are thinking.

[00:26:19] By the way, I’ve never met somebody that’s clairvoyant. You are wrong. And we spend so much time saying, oh yeah, this is the way it is. How do you know are, have you ever once predicted what someone else was gonna say to a t and. No. Okay, then stop assuming and be you. Yeah. And once you do that, it’s like this wave of freedom overcomes you.

[00:26:42] This weight comes off your shoulders and then you just walk a little taller. You’re just a little happier and it’s like, oh my God, this is really easy. Just being me. 

[00:26:53] Zach White: I love that example. And I agree, you know, the engineering leaders that I coach more often than. , there’s a belief system of what you can and can’t do in your current environment that is completely based on clairvoyance, not reality.

[00:27:09] What, what have you actually tried? What have you tested? What have you done? And I also tell people, look, if you’re in a suit and tie culture and you really believe that genes and t-shirt is the biggest thing that’s preventing you from being yourself, let’s get curious about where. Came from that. Is that really authentic or not?

[00:27:30] But also, let’s just test little by little. You know what, if you take the tie off one day and just see what happens, and then what if you do wear, you know, some other kind of shirt or a different blazer, you’d wear the jeans one day and see what happens. Let’s just test things. Let’s experiment, let’s play.

[00:27:44] But I agree, there’s so much we think is rigid that is not around us. The question for me then is, do I know. . Mm. Do I know how to be me. I really love this concept. And, and Zack White, I’ll just be totally candid with you, jm, I’m, I’m still in a journey as a podcaster and as a coach and as a ceo and learning how do I wanna be a c o and, and what is my podcast voice that’s different than jms podcast voice.

[00:28:16] You know, I wanna create the happy engineer, not let’s go win. And so at times I find myself asking, , well, who am I in this situation? Who am I in this situation? And sometimes it’s easy to answer it, other times it’s not. So what coaching would you give me? I guess if you’re ever stuck in that place of, well, who am I?

[00:28:35] How do I show up as myself here? Where do you go? 

[00:28:39] . The one thing I’ve realized in all my coaching is that people want to be happy, right? I don’t know anybody that’s like, dude, I want to have a really shitty day today. This is what I’m gonna do.

[00:28:48] JM Ryerson: That’s not the way it works, man. People wanna be happy. I’m not saying everybody’s happy, but they want to be. Yeah. So the simple concept, uh, and I’ll give you two examples, both with a thing and then with people. Perfect. Does this thing make you happy? Well, no, jm, it actually sucks. Stop. Just stop doing it.

[00:29:09] Like if it really sucks and you don’t like, just stop. Because long term it’s not gonna work anyway. It’s going to end in a divorce, it’ll break, it’ll be something. The funny thing with the people concept is I believe people either lift you up or they bring you down. I don’t think there’s a middle road brother.

[00:29:28] I’ve not really seen it. And so it’s this idea of, oh, I’m, I’m best friends with them because I’ve known ’em for 30 years. How does he or she make you feel really bad. Every time we talk, I feel horrible about myself. Maybe we should stop talking to you that doesn’t mean you’re still not friends, but perhaps a new boundary should be set.

[00:29:49] That why subject yourself to this. And so it’s really just stopping and saying, who is my authentic self? My authentic self wants to be happy, so, what actually makes me happy. Now, of course you have to have like, don’t stop working out because it’s a little hard because the other thing that happens is you’re also happy that you did it because of the positive endorphins firing up.

[00:30:12] Yeah. But it is a simple idea to just reflect and say, how does that make me feel? It makes me feel really good. Cool. Keep doing that. Makes me feel really bad. Cool. Stop doing that. And then you truly find what your, authentic self. , and then you let that fly. And it is funny, Zack, because we’ve all lost ourselves at some point, right?

[00:30:35] That’s another commonality amongst human beings. Not everybody’s self-assured and like, this is where I’m going. I know exactly who I am. No man, we’re ever-evolving. So that’s why checking in frequently is so important. Mm-hmm. , how does this make me feel? Good. Guess what? I could have loved to ski forever, but now I don’t like it.

[00:30:55] One. That’s okay. Don’t just keep doing it because that was a habit. Maybe you should stop skiing because it no longer serves you. That’s okay. I’ll take it one step deeper jam, and you tell me if this resonates for you, but what I have found, When I share a message like this, especially with an engineering audience who are very logical, very analytical, and as soon as I start engaging in the question of how does that make you feel, there’s some resistance to it.

[00:31:24] Zach White: A, because we lack emotional intelligence, period, we don’t really know how to answer that question, but B, there’s a fear about, well, I don’t wanna become an irrational chasing my feelings kind of person, doing things that are not smart, not intelligent or not wise. You know, I hear things like that. What I’ve seen is really going on there is we’re looking at emotion or the question of does it make me feel good or feel happy at a very surface level with short term first order consequences.

[00:31:53] You know, does the ice cream make me happy? Yes or no? Well, it tastes good and I like it. It makes me happy. So, Zach, are you saying, you know jm, are you saying I should just eat ice cream all day? Every. Is that what you’re telling me? What a stupid podcast. You know, I’m never listening to this again. It’s like, no, JM is not saying that because there’s a level of back to perspective.

[00:32:12] You. You brought this word. It’s like perfect word, right? Timing, perspective. These themes, man, they keep coming up. do you feel happy when you’re 50 pounds overweight and have no energy? . No, that doesn’t make me feel happy. Well, do you feel happy when you wake up thriving with energy and vitality in a six pack abs and you love what you see in the mirror and you can, impact the world around you in a positive way?

[00:32:33] Yeah, that makes me feel really happy. Okay, well then we need to consider that whole perspective, the second order consequences, the network consequences of that. When you think about happiness, and I feel like sometimes that’s what’s missing in the dialogue is people. Probably out of just a limited view or frustration.

[00:32:49] They’re like, oh, don’t, don’t tell me to do what makes me feel good. Jm. That’s stupid, right? That’s too childish. But it’s like, no, in the end, that’s, that is exactly what you’re all doing. Whether you think you are or not, your subconscious mind is in the pursuit of that pleasure, but we fail to consider the whole picture.

[00:33:05] I don’t know. Does that seem true or resonate for you? 

[00:33:07] JM Ryerson: Oh, brother, you, you, absolutely. It’s a concise and really important thing to, to put out there. It’s absolutely. The way you tied in the ice cream to, am I happy being 50 pounds overweight? Yeah. These are the, the trade offs, right? apply some logic, which engineers, I know they have logic.

[00:33:27] We’re good at that. We’re good at that. but you know, the, the other thing you said, which is funny or interesting because it is true, this idea that I am analytical or getting into the feelings, whoa, that’s uncom. . Every human being is made of energy, right?

[00:33:43] It’s just a fact. It’s not woowoo. This is science now. emotions and energy, if you wanna move mountains, you’re gonna do it through emotions. You’re not gonna do it through facts. And that’s what’s so fascinating about this is there are certain times that we’re willing. Express it and it feels good.

[00:34:03] But then wait a minute, I’m gonna go back into my suit and I’m gonna make sure I’m not putting myself out there. And one of the biggest things I’ll coach people on, and this is such a simple idea, but when you hug someone, how do you hug ’em? Do you hug ’em? Unreservedly like a five-year-old does. Cuz that’s a hug that transfers energy and emotion and it feels amazing cause that five year old is not giving you some weird side hug.

[00:34:26] They’re like giving it. And yet, somewhere along the way, Zach, we decided that, oh, I can’t do that. Now don’t become an HR nightmare. I’m not telling you to hugging everybody in a weird way. But at the same time, if that relationship exists, give that full hug, man. It feels good to the other human being and to you.

[00:34:49] And that’s the funny thing about, you know, letting that emotion out a little bit. Never once have I seen a bad thing come from. Let it out. It’s a good thing. Taking these, emotions and stuffing them deep down and then having some volcanic burst of yes madness. That’s not good. that’s really bad.

[00:35:08] And so it is an interesting concept. And I do talk, my clients aren’t obviously as focused that way, but I do have several that, very much an introvert. I’m very analytical and I don’t wanna show my feelings. I’m like, all right, cool. So that’s the story you’ve been telling. Is it true?

[00:35:23] how’s that serving you? Mm, actually my relationship with my wife sucks because I’m cold. Cool. So it’s not serving you very much. Maybe 

[00:35:30] video1892917325: we 

[00:35:30] Zach White: can look at it. If you want to move mountains, that happens through emotion, not through facts.

[00:35:37] I think that is like really important for every engineering leader, for us to get our head wrapped around, because we wanna solve every problem through the data. That’s good engineering, but at the end of the. , the data, whether it moves people to a decision, if it moves them to action, if it moves them, it’s the emotion that’s evoked that.

[00:36:00] It creates those things, And I think that’s really, really powerful to remember. And if we fear that emotional side, we won’t have the power, the energy, to your point, to actually move mountains. And the one thing that every introverted leader I’ve ever coached has in Common Jam is they still want to make an impact.

[00:36:16] They still want to make a difference. Yeah, you can have all the facts in the world, but if there’s no emotion with it, then you, you’re gonna be very limited in the impact you can make. ah, I wish we had another hour. We gotta keep digging in, but jam, we’re getting close. I wanna be respectful of time and, and land the plane here.

[00:36:32] So this idea of showing up as you, can you just help us understand how do we assess. if we’re doing it or not doing it. if this is a key to experiencing the happiness and the quality of life that we want and, and to get the results that we want, what’s the way You talked about reflection, but like, how do I know Jay?

[00:36:52] I’m really like, am I doing this or am I, am I lying to myself? It’s really not happening. 

[00:36:58] I ask myself, two questions every single day. Because I believe we’re in full control of two things, our attitude and our activity. Hmm. I rate myself of one to five. You can do it one to 10 or whatever scale you want to use, but pick, and I asked myself, all right, I’m in full control of my attitude.

[00:37:17] JM Ryerson: How was it? I’ll five if it was good, and two if it was terrible. And then, uh, same on, And the last question I ask is, how’s yours today? And that’s just a simple, how was it? And what I’ve found is when I go back and I look in at the pages, man, there’s a lot of momentum built. When it’s 5, 5, 5, 5, 5 really good things are happening to my life.

[00:37:42] Oh man, I’m so lucky. Well, I’m not lucky. It’s because I worked hard and I was happy. It’s really not complex. The, the harder I work, the luckier I get. I, I. One of the presidents said that, it’s so true. And, and so that’s the question that I look at brother, is just, you know, how did I do today?

[00:38:00] Did I have a good attitude? Right? I have good activity. Cool. And that’s, that’s my easy reflection. It’s 

[00:38:07] Zach White: powerful. teases my engineering brain perfectly. Just give myself a simple reflection with a metric. Get a one to five. How is my attitude? Be honest. Don’t fall into condemnation and self-judgment.

[00:38:20] If it’s a one. If it’s a one, fine. It was a one. Be honest, it’s a one. Well, how am I gonna get to at least a two tomorrow or a three or four? What’s it gonna take to get back to five? jm, I know everybody’s gonna. Connect with you. We talked about your podcast and your book, but where’s the best place people can go?

[00:38:35] How can they get more JM in their life? 

[00:38:39] JM Ryerson: Yeah. If it’s not the podcast, I would say let’s go win 365 on any social media platform. Believe it or not, you do get me responding to you and uh, I love when people actually interact. So I, if you’re like, dude, you’re awesome. Love it, dude, you suck. I’m actually good with all of it.

[00:39:02] The feedback. If I suck, tell me why. Because, I like to hear that I want to get better. Right. Just like you said, as we’re going through this crazy life, like we want to get better. and that feedback is so, so key. So, uh, let’s go in 365. 

[00:39:19] Zach White: Perfect. All of the links to the book, to the podcast to connect with JM on social media will be there in the show notes.

[00:39:26] So click grab and I definitely, again, I want to acknowledge you jm, your work is fantastic. The podcast is fantastic. Your book, let’s go win and I want to get the other. I have a playbook concept in our coaching program at o Waco, and you’ve got your, playbook book as well, which is, it looks awesome.

[00:39:44] So please, everybody, go check that out. And, uh, thanks for sharing your wisdom with us here today. And final question, jm, we’ve covered a lot of ground here, but we talk a lot at o Waco and here on the Happy Engineer Podcast about engineering and coaching have in common that the questions lead and the answers.

[00:40:06] And we’re all looking for better answers. More the good life, more happiness, more winning in our experience of life. So what would be the best question you would lead the happy engineer out there with today? 

[00:40:18] JM Ryerson: Yeah, it’s what story am I telling myself and is it true? I, sorry, that’s two, but what story am I telling myself and is it true?

[00:40:28] that would be it, brother. It’s, powerful cuz we all have some story that we say and most of the time it’s. BS. And so if it’s not true, change it. 

[00:40:38] Zach White: Hmm. Amazing. Jm, thanks again for being here. We’ll do it again sometime. Appreciate you brother.