The amazingness of my guests and the insight they bring keeps astounding me. You are in for another fantastic show today with Roderick Jefferson.
The first conversation he and I had, I was scribbling notes like a madwoman. Today, you’ll hear us talking about the importance of making someone else’s day a little bit better. The first wake up call that woke him up temporarily and the adjustments he made after that. The other piece of the equation to ROI. How to be a better leader. And so much more.
Roderick Jefferson’s list of titles and experience is extensive and impressive. He’s a rock star in the sales enablement world. And we didn’t focus on any of that in this show. For the record tho, he’s the Vice President, Field Enablement at Netskope with 20+ years of field enablement leadership experience. He’s also a keynote speaker in that space and the author of the Amazon bestselling book, Sales Enablement 3.0: The Blueprint to Sales Enablement Excellence.
He is currently an Executive-in-Residence with VentureScale and one of the founding members of the Sales Enablement Society. Roderick is also a member of several Advisory Boards.
When he’s not working – which he is much better at doing now – you’ll find him perfecting the art of barbecuing or playing on his bocce court with his family.
Today's episode is sponsored by Zen Rabbit. The question many people are facing lately is – are you in a really bad place? Or a less bad place? Either way, it’s bad.
The Great Resignation isn’t happening because people simply want more money. Studies show it's because they want to work in a culture that values them and thinks holistically about their happiness and well-being.
This is where the F*ck Being Fine program for companies comes in. It’s time to stop saying everything’s fine when, clearly, everyone’s hair is on fire. The program teaches business leaders and their teams how to stay calm and grounded no matter what’s going on around them. So they can focus better, respond thoughtfully instead of react impulsively, work more efficiently. And ultimately increase profitability.
If this sounds like something that would be valuable in your work environment, message me at Lori@ZenRabbit.com or text me at 571.317.1463.
Roderick’s walkout song is "Brush Your Shoulders Off" by Jay-Z
[00:00:09] Roderick Jefferson: absolutely honored. Can't wait to jump in with you.[:
[00:00:30] Roderick Jefferson: There are four.[:
[00:00:32] Roderick Jefferson: They are faith, family, friends, and fun. And those have not shifted since I was a little kid.[:
[00:00:47] Roderick Jefferson: They were instilled by my mom and you'll probably hear me quote her quite a few times throughout this. So buckle in and prepare. This is a woman that, and I always believed in and said that if my mom didn't like someone they're just not liked, you must have to do some really crazy stuff.
My mom was one of those people that can find the best in anyone and her faith was always foundational of everything. And then it, I was always taught that no matter what happens inside of your family, You're stuck with them. You may not like them, but you still are stuck with having them. So you've got to work through things and figure out how to work things out.
And then the friendship thing, I've always been a people person. So it's always been about having a very small, tight network of folk, but these are people that I trust intrinsically and we'll share everything under the sun, whether it's good, bad, or indifferent. And I expect the same thing back from them. And just as I've grown throughout life, if I can't have fun with, on it with something with it, then as you.
say, your, your forward four letter word, forget it.[:
[00:02:08] Roderick Jefferson: my goal has always been as a person and then secondarily as an executive and a leader. I've always believed that I'm successful. One by making more people successful. The second piece is I've never believed that I'm important because I wrapped my arms around things.
I think we're all extremely important because we open up and allow to share and be your authentic self. Right. And know the last piece is if I can help someone's journey be just a little bit better, maybe not easier, but a little better. And I can give one person a smile, even if it's the person that is serving me at a restaurant and the people that are invisible, the mail carriers, the folks that are doing the garbage cans.
If I can give those folks a smile that may be the only smile that someone gives them all day or shows them that they're not in this.[:
[00:03:16] Roderick Jefferson: not just important it's imperative these days. There has never been a time, I think, in the history of the world where empathy and humanity, and truly connecting with people. And I'm not talking about getting connections on social media, because one, I think social media has made all of us less sociable, but I believe that making true connections, I can put my fingers on probably 15 people from high school. That I'm still connected with, and that was a long time ago. And so to still be connected with those folks and have them in your inner circle and to have been through the ups downs, the ins, the outs, the divorces, the whens, the babies, the depths, all those things speak volumes to how important.[:
[00:04:32] Roderick Jefferson: Oh, I agree. There, there has to be one. Yeah. You're right. There has to be one person that constantly kind of herds the fleas. If you will, to get everybody back together on the same page. And I've always believed that, um, we should get together at times other than funerals, because after every funeral, what do we all say?
You know what? Let's not be the next time we get together the next funeral. And then, well, you know, we're at another funeral together. So I try and reach out and go, it's not a funeral, but we should probably get together before. There's another. So that we can talk about not getting together only at a funeral.[:
Um, the first time everything was fine in your life, but it really wasn't fine. That, that story of, um, in, in[:
where I thought everything was good and then I suddenly one day. So in a quick story, we all check our laptops on Sunday nights, getting ready for the preview the next week. Well, I was checking my laptop, checking my email and I woke up face down. On my laptop and I thought, oh, something's wrong here.erally, so this was November,:
And we were just about a week away from going in to do. A cut into my brain to relieve the swelling of my brain. And even to this day on my right-hand side of my head, right behind my ear, I've got a lump because my brain had began to squeeze and it was pushing against the inside of my cranium. And what I learned was, um, there is no job that's worth your life.
And I thought, everything's fine because you know what? We all walked around with a badge of courage. Oh, I worked 60 hours or 70 hours, or I just do whatever it takes. Quote, unquote, to get. Well, this is one of those times where I look back on it and go, I saw the warning signs, but I didn't listen. My body told me you need to slow down.
So I have come to the conclusion. If you do not slow down, your body will find a way to shut it down. And you don't want your mind to turn off.[:
[00:07:57] Roderick Jefferson: Oh. Oh, I was in a great deal of fun I was loving, I was flying around the world. Uh, you know, we had done a tour and we'd done London, Paris, Geneva, Sao Paulo, Toronto, Beijing, Hong Kong, and, and Sydney all in 18 months. And at that time that was my idea of fun. I was going to see the world and I was doing it on corporate jets and we were on corporate helicopters and, and, you know, it was amazing, but what I didn't realize. subconsciously I was loving the travel, but I was missing out on the life of my family. And one day it just suddenly hit me. And I literally broke down into tears and I was like, I'm sitting in this beautiful palace here in Kahn, Monte Carlo, and I have nothing but pictures to show my family. My kids are growing up.
I come home. Sparingly to, you know, get my dry cleaning changed and catch up with my family and try and help my kids with their homework. And before I knew it, I was gone again. So one, my wife said I didn't, she didn't sign up to be a single mom. And secondly, there was an enormous amount of resentment in both of my kids, because that's not there for all of the things, the activities at school, he's not there to, to coach them in sports.
He's not there to help with them. And then I just thought, you know what? This is just not worth it. And so I changed companies later and I had settled down. And then what do you know? I stepped right back into that same routine because of my position. I stepped right back in the same thing. And it just started that same problem all over.[:
[00:09:43] Roderick Jefferson: Oh, I w I, I was[:
[00:09:46] Roderick Jefferson: warning signs that I was also seeing that I was overstretched my brain and my self physically, but this time I actually stopped it and slowed it down and started meditation and made sure that I was doing. Um, yeah, date nights with my wife and I had specific time with each of the kids that I was spinning and I was coaching them in athletics again and going to their activities, but I wasn't always present as a problem.
I was there physically, but Hey dad, can you get off your phone? Hey dad, I know you've got to take these calls. Hey dad, can you stay in for the entire basketball game instead of leaving at half times, and you have to go and do work stuff and you know, it's something. I don't wish that on anyone. So for those that have those small kids, my kids are older now they're 32 and 24. I wish I could go back to that time, but you don't get a do over in life. You don't get the restart button and looking at this in hindsight. And I heard them both say these exact words, dad, we would have wished that we had less money and a different life. And we've given that up to have you here. We wanted you, it wasn't the lifestyle we wanted you present.[:
[00:11:26] Roderick Jefferson: I had a journal as well.[:
[00:11:30] Roderick Jefferson: was just, it became a checkbox.[:
Yeah. Like another thing on the to-do list and it wasn't really a feeling of it so much[:
[00:11:42] Lori Saitz: a task.[:
And I realized that I had allowed what I do in my job to overcome and, and overtake who I was, which was friend, husband, father, brother, et cetera. Instead I'd become that title or that ambassador of that logo or something. That I was tied to at the time.[:
[00:12:46] Roderick Jefferson: if I would have been given examples of what was going to happen, if I didn't listen. Right. So here here's an example. We always talk about ROI, right? The return on investment, but I've realized in. Was them from agent stage. That's only half the equation. There's another piece.
There's something called COI now, which is the cost of inaction. And that is what happens if you do nothing to change what you're doing right now, what is that going to turn into? And I didn't realize that what I was doing was essentially, I was like a wave on a rock. I was chipping away with every wave.
It was destabilizing my stability of life. Right. And, and so they could have shown me that experience. Yeah. I would have listened. And how would I, what do I would tell folks now, first and foremost, never allow what you do to overtake who you are, because it's very easy to do. And it happens before you realize it, especially as you're fighting to ladder climb in your career, and you're trying to advance financial aid, et cetera.
The other piece is, um, and this was a hard one to learn corporate America. Entrepreneurship also is here to make a profit. It's not here to make friends. We are all interchangeable parts. I have been released three times in my career, not for performance, but because of reorg and you know what, even as I was talking about earlier, the company I was in, where I was flying around the world with the CEO and we're on the corporate jet and I got riffed, I got re really. And he didn't even realize it was, I was gone right until it was time for the next time. And it was time for us to fly and unbeknownst to him, all of my passwords at the time were something that only meant something to me. So he didn't even know how to get into his own laptop for presenters. Cause I, I ran what the, his presenter. And he called me on a Friday. Fortunately I was back on, um, payroll by Monday and we were on a plane by Tuesday again, but you know, my mom used to say something and she'd asked me all the time, you know, when your CEO was on vacation. And I said, no, I have no idea. He just kind of comes and goes. She said, yeah, but think about this.
If the garbage man or the plumber doesn't come for one to two weeks, you'd notice that wouldn't you. And I said, yeah, she goes, nothing. Who, and what is really important in life. Don't let that job become who you are and override who you are. Just allow it to be what you do. It is something that provides from a very lifestyle, lovely lifestyle for my family, but it's no longer what I do or who I am.[:
[00:15:38] Roderick Jefferson: this was early two thousands, and then I, as we, as we all do, Lori, I forgot about how tough that was. And then it happened all over again.[:
[00:16:18] Roderick Jefferson: Uh, are you saying today or throughout my career?[:
[00:16:28] Roderick Jefferson: And there were times where I would go to my leaders or folks on my team and say, you know what? I can see that you're running red line. It's real hot right now for you. And I can see that you need. Take a couple of days off, take a long weekend, whatever it may be. And I also instituted something in that time period with my team that I called off the grid.
And that was, if you need to go take care of a dentist or your child has something going, I'll play in the middle of the day, or you need to go in. And, you know, one guy had to, he was selling his home and he needed to go sign paperwork. I said, don't take time off. Allow the rest of the team, communicate with us and let us know that you're going to be out that way I can always cover.
The other thing I had to do was you can't just say it. You have to model it. So I started doing those things myself, as I needed to go take care of things, because what's important to your manager or your leader is imperative to you. And they're not going to listen to what I say. They're going to do what I modeled for them.[:
[00:17:50] Roderick Jefferson: and they're going to follow what you do and to your point, it's, it's, it's a lot like children because, and I I'm always believed that I'm not building a team. I'm not building an org. I'm building a family. When I start building out my, even my professional teams and I treat them as such. And so showing them this thing. it means something because it's actionable, even with the folks that are now part of my leadership tree that have gone from individual contributor all the way up to VP and executive, they now take that off the grid with them too, as a part of their leadership team and other things that, you know, we shared and they've seen me do. So it's amazing. And it's more like children than you realize. And that is, there's an old adage and goes this way. Little, um, little pictures have big eyes. And what that means is everything that they see is watching you all the time, even when you don't even realize you're being watched.[:
[00:18:57] Roderick Jefferson: never share. It was something that I use with my team. I didn't go and say, Hey, I've got this off the grid thing. No, but what I did do is let them know that when my people have too much on their plate is when I step in to kind of intervene. And I'll say, X, Y, Z person is kid just can not take on another task.
And if we're going to give him or her something, then we've got to agree as leaders. What are we going to take off of their plate? Because we can't just keep piling them.[:
[00:19:33] Roderick Jefferson: Thank you.[:
[00:19:34] Roderick Jefferson: I try my damnedest not to be typical.[:
And it's astounding to me how managers don't realize how counterproductive that[:
here to make a profit, not. The I'll say they look out for people. Do they care about people that's debatable? And we all talk about culture, culture, culture. To me, my definition of culture is what happens when no one is watching. That's really cold culture.
It's not what you put on your website. It's not what you put on your marketing slicks and fluff. It's what people really say. On things like glass door when they leave, because they're going to tell you really what that culture was. They may not say it there because obviously they would like to maintain their employment.
Um, but when you go and look at people that have left and they go and they give feedback on social media, oh, they're going to tell you the truth, whether it was amazing, or if it's just a lot of.[:
I was going to say mindset, but it's not just about mindset. It's physical, mental, psychological wellness, all the way through. And that's what you know. So when they can be more focused and more productive, more effective, then they can be more productive and ultimately more profitable.[:
So you have to advocate for yourself when you get to a point where you're just completely burnt, like toast. Don't be afraid to say that when you say, Hey, I need a mental health day, or I need to do something different or you need to go at lunch and go outside and take a walk and change the, the scenery or go and meditate for 10, 15. Put that as a part of your calendar, because if it's not on your calendar, like most of us, it doesn't exist. So if you say I'm going to go walk at noon every day or every other day, then you know what, block that out. Because two reasons, one it's important and you won't do it for yourself. And second, because we work in a global world, 12, o'clock your time? it could be three o'clock somewhere else or any other time. So folks we'll drop a meeting in, in that time. That's not blocked out block time out for yourself. And then I always do something on Fridays. I do a, um, I call my introspective moment every Friday, four 30 on my calendar, like clockwork. I sit down and what I do is I literally write up.[:
[00:23:46] Roderick Jefferson: What did I do this week? That made a difference. And I don't mean just a laundry list and it always has to have one to two personal things on it. It's not just about what did I do for the company now I'm at a point where I'm saying, okay, where did, how did I impact someone that I make someone smile that I reach out to an old friend that I hadn't talked to in years.
Right. Um, was I able to listen to my kids and a problem that. Did I go and grab flowers for my wife, whatever the case may be. But if we don't do that every week, it just becomes part of the background of what you're doing. It's just kind of, this is what I do, right. Instead, stop for a moment. Appreciate and thank yourself for what you were able to accomplish this particular...[:
[00:24:55] Roderick Jefferson: We don't do it enough.[:
It's like when you are looking at the world with gratitude, you see more[:
Stats are the, the, and I would say to align that to life, those are the big rocks that you actually move this week to get to a big rock. You've got boulders. Then you've got small ones. And each of those, even the pebble creates the largest of ripple. So stop for a moment. And don't always think that it has to be this big rock that I did sometime it can just be the pebble that I dropped in water and that ripple reverberated, and it created an attitude of gratitude for me. And for someone around me.[:
[00:26:42] Roderick Jefferson: I have a friend Tamar Schmidt, and that is her statement, attitude of gratitude. And I learned from her that it's not just kind of a cool thing to say. it. literally is contagious, just like negativity. So as positive. And it propagates in both cases, it propagates just as fast. So why not add some there's enough negativity in the world?
Why not add something positive to start that ripple reverberating?[:
[00:27:33] Roderick Jefferson: Um, last October, I was again, going through. Overburdening of stress as well as go, go, go mentality. And October 28th of last year, I had a massive stroke and I didn't even realize anything was wrong. I was feeling and I do mean fine. Quote, unquote, normal. Um, I was doing my job on the 27th. I'm a normal everyday guy. On October 28th my brain shut down again. And this time it shut down in a different way. It was a massive stroke, but a blood clot floated up to my brain and it literally shut me down. I had a stroke while I was asleep and 98% of people never wake up from a sleep stroke. I am part of the 2% club and proud to be there.[:
[00:28:29] Roderick Jefferson: I went through speech therapy. I had a terrible, terrible. That became stuttered. That became stammer. And now once again, thank God. My, Um, speech pattern and articulation is back and it was all due to, and I had no idea, but it was actually due to congestive heart failure. I didn't even know that I had a bad heart.
I mean, I knew I had a bad heart, but not as bad as it was. My heart was only pumping at 23%. At 20% you get cardiac arrest and you die. And I didn't know, I was that close to death. Talking about something that'll change your mindset and your outlook.[:
[00:29:23] Roderick Jefferson: I have the recording.[:
[00:29:26] Roderick Jefferson: Doctor said that it would take me six weeks to get back. And my response was just out of gut reaction because that's who I am. I said no more like four weeks. And, and you know, it's funny Lori, because I, I listened to that thing over and over. Just again, that attitude of gratitude on my Fridays.
And since I had that statement on the, um, on the recording. I don't have that mindset. If it takes six months, if it takes two years, they explained to me it would be 18 months to two years to get back to my full mental capacity. I'd say I'm probably about 85%. Now. I am incredibly blessed to be where I am, but if it takes that long now I'm about the journey.
I'm not about just the outcome in the end anymore. Life has shifted immensely since the. No, you lose parts of your body. You lose the ability to speak. You become dependent on everyone, around you, even for the smallest of things, like making it to the bathroom, it will change you and astronomically. And personally, I'll say this, if I didn't have faith going into this, I would certainly have a different level of it right now because to know that I'm part of only 2% of people in the world that are still alive after a sleep. Man, I've got to believe. There's a reason I'm still here and the greater power has something in mind for me.[:
[00:31:04] Roderick Jefferson: No, I think I'm starting to see bits and pieces of it. It's starting to come together. Um, and I'm going to hold off on it, but the answer to you. Absolutely. And I have shifted some things that I used to do before I don't do anymore. And I'm also looking at life differently and I'm on the verge of putting together, um, a, a keynote speech and TEDx talk as well as a workshop to help others.
And I call it the 2%. Going back to my 2% club and how that 2% mentality will either make you, if you own it or will break you. If you allow everything and everything, and everyone around you to own the direction you're going.[:
Something that hypes you[:
And if I don't feel like I'm at peak performance, when I touch that stage, there's no way that I can motivate them to get to the.[:
[00:33:08] Roderick Jefferson: I always say, if you can't find me on social media, you're not trying to And here's why, um, you can find me, hit me[:
[00:33:15] Roderick Jefferson: email@example.com. You could find me on Instagram at Roderick underscore J underscore associates. You can find me on Facebook and Twitter at the voice of rod where you can find me on LinkedIn Roderick Jefferson. Absolutely.[: