Tommy Breedlove, a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author came over to the PeopleStar Podcast to share his view on leadership and accountability, among other topics. He got his favorite piece of advice from a river rafting guide and it is all about participating in your own rescue. Taking care of ourselves will ultimately help us take care of others, and the same thing happens with leadership. Human beings can be complicated sometimes, but you can always learn something from each individual you cross paths with.
Join us in this short but packed with wisdom episode!
Accountability is a very much needed skill in today’s world.
Working on those things you don’t like that much is important to become a better version of yourself.
To lead others, you need to really know yourself.
Your hobbies can teach you a great deal about leadership and teamwork.
About Tommy Breedlove
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PeopleStar Podcast Intro: Welcome to the PeopleStar Podcast. We deliver leadership perspectives from industry experts on their people, architecture, routines, and culture as they solve HR's newest challenges. And now your host, Julie Rieken.
Julie Rieken: Hi, it's Julie Rieken, host of the PeopleStart Podcast, I'm thrilled today to have Tommy Breedlove as our guest. Tommy is the author of Legendary, about how to build and live a legendary life, which, by the way, the book is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller. So super excited to have you with us today, Tommy.
Tommy Breedlove: Julie, I am humbled and honored to be here, and let's lean in together.
Julie Rieken: Let's do it, cool! So looking at the title of your book, there were a couple of questions that really stood out to me that I would love to hear your perspective on, and maybe if we could just get started. I'm wondering, the first thing I sense from you is energy, and so maybe that's where I'd like to start. What makes you energetic? What is the thing that fuels you?
Tommy Breedlove: I think it's net giving. You know, I, a little back story here, I was in large financial consulting for about 36 years, and it was soul crushing for me. Not for everybody, for me, it was. So I felt like I was always on the taking side, or, you know, my job literally was a hired gun to tell people what was either wrong with their money, their company, or to devalue their company. That is so crushing for me. Now I've spent the last 12 years on the giving side, the serving side, you know, helping people be better leaders, be better fathers and mothers, be better husbands and wives, including myself, I worked very hard on myself. So what energizes me is not only the work that I do to work on my heart muscles, my mind muscles, my body muscles, but helping others do that to hopefully live their best lives, to live their dreams, to not have regrets, and to look back and say, hey, yeah, I did build them live a legendary life. So that's what fuels me up.
Julie Rieken: That's a super great answer, which leads naturally into another question that I've got for you. As you're thinking about the things that you've learned and the things that you share with others, what is a piece of advice that's ringing in your head right now for those of us that want to live that kind of life? What's the first thing that comes to mind on some advice for us?
Tommy Breedlove: Always, it's participate in your own rescue. It's a piece of wisdom that was given to me on a river rafting by river rafting guide many years ago, and he was talking about if you fall into a very dangerous rapid, you got to turn over, look for the rope, swim feet up, head up and just, you know, participate in your own rescue because we might not be able to get to you. And I was like, that is the greatest analogy for life. And the reason I think it's the greatest analogy for life, for human beings, the number one thing I believe that we need in this world right now is personal accountability. So what does that mean? Go find the nearest mirror, look in it, and that is the biggest problem you have and the biggest solution that you have. And whether it's happiness, financial success, freedom, love, whatever it is that you feel lacking in your motivation, inspiration, or do you feel worry and fear? You know, all of those things that we as humans go through, if we just choose to participate in our own rescue. Now, there's no magic pill, there's no quick fix solution, there's no politician that's certainly going to come save us, right? That is a lie we've been fed. That we've got to participate in our own rescue, we've got to lean in and do the daily work to be better emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, and if we concentrate on ourselves first, it's not the most selfish thing you can do, it's actually the most selfless because how are we going to lead others if we don't lead ourselves? How are we going to love others if we don't love ourselves? How are we going to respect others if we don't respect ourselves? So it's actually the most selfless thing you can do, and so participate in your own rescue and choose to do the work to be better and whatever area of your life that you're struggling in.
Julie Rieken: I love that. That's really important advice for all of us, and it is the hardest thing to do. Sometimes we find ourselves in a place of being defensive or feeling like things have happened to us and looking within ourselves to find our own power of super great piece of advice. So I love that.
Tommy Breedlove: Absolutely.
Julie Rieken: So now, I've just got one more question for you, and you kind of mentioned this, and so I'm interested. You said that you got this piece of advice when you were on a river rafting tour. So I'm wondering, do you have a hobby or something that's taught you something about being a leader? Is it river rafting? Is it something else? What hobbies have taught you about being a leader? What have you learned?
Tommy Breedlove: Yeah. So I'd say the biggest hobby that taught me leadership or lack of leadership, I've learned leadership through one incredible failure after another. And then eventually you're like, well, I'm just not going to do that and do something else, and it actually starts working, you know, like, OK, I screwed that up, let's get it right. So whether it was basketball in my youth or band in my youth, what you realize is that you're always with a group of humans and sometimes it's your turn to lead, sometimes it's not your turn to lead. That river rafting guide that was one of the most dangerous rivers in the world, it was one of the top three, I think, most dangerous rivers in the world, and I used to be into stuff like that. But from how we had to paddle together, when do we have to listen to this, the first person in the boat has to lead during certain situations, the middle of the boat has to lead certain certain situations. I think what it's taught me, all of those sports or band or hobbies that I've had over the year is human beings are messy. We're complicated, we've got our own desires, we've got our idiosyncrasies, but we all want to be seen, heard, loved, valued and safe. That's what we all want. And if we can come to a common ground, whether it's in a team sport or a community or an organization or yoga, doesn't really matter, if we can all have common ground, if we can come with compassion, we can come with a sense of excellence, we can come with personal accountability, but we can hopefully be open minded to others, we can all work really well as a group and we all can be leaders of ourselves and lead others. So that's what I've learned from a hobby.
Julie Rieken: What a great answer. Tommy, I have loved this conversation. I've learned a lot and I'm super excited! I want to tell our listeners that Legendary is available on Amazon. I am excited to read even more and I appreciate the conversation today. So thank you so much for joining us.
Tommy Breedlove: Julie, it's truly been an honor. And here's to all of us, god willing, building and living legendary lives.
Julie Rieken: Thank you.
PeopleStar Podcast Outro: Thanks for listening to the PeopleStar Podcast. For the show notes, transcript, resources, and more ways to get a seat at the table, visit us at TrakStar.com/Podcast.