Episode 093 – Chris Tuff
Welcome to another episode of The HERO Show. I am your host Richard Matthews, (@AKATheAlchemist) and you are listening to Episode 093 with Chris Tuff – The Millennial Whisperer Bridging Gaps Between Generations in the Workplace
Chris is the author of USA Today’s National Bestseller #2 business book called “The Millennial Whisperer”. Where he describes the millennial generation as “one of the most misunderstood generations of all time.”
His book provides real-world testing solutions for the recruitment and motivation of the millennial workforce for leaders and entrepreneurs. He shares how to build a corporate culture where millennials can thrive and be productive.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
- What is Chris’ 70/30 rule?
- Mindfulness is a muscle that we must flex every day.
- Curious about Chris’s next book? Learn more in today’s episode.
- Why you have to custom design your life around what you want, according to Richard.
- Find out what two traits Chris is trying to instill in his children.
- There’s always a huge return for being truthful and authentic when communicating with people.
- Impact and success should be judged daily instead of milestone moments.
Chris is the author of the bestselling book below:
The HERO Challenge
Today on the show, Chris challenged Hank McClarty to be a guest on The HERO Show. He is the founder of Gratus Capital and Chris thinks that Hank is a fantastic interview because according to Chris, he is one of the most resilient and goal-driven people he’s ever met.
How To Stay Connected With Chris
Want to stay connected with Chris? Please check out their social profiles below.
- Website: www.TheMillennialWhisperer.com
- LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/christophertuff
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/tuff22/?hl=en
With that… let’s get to listening to the episode…
Chris Tuff 0:01
From a connection standpoint, so much comes down to connection with humans, whether it be your employees, or people that you might be doing business with, or potential customers. It really is all about relationships and connections. And I’ll tell everyone, the first thing you got to do is follow your people on Instagram. They’re like, I’m not following my kid, y’all, these young kids on Instagram that work for me, that feels awkward. I was like, well, then you got to work in that relationship because they’re not going to stick around for you. They don’t feel like there’s some sort of real connection, and it’s not for them to follow you. So, don’t worry about what you’re posting, it’s for you to take a vested interest in their life.
Richard Matthews 0:37
Welcome back to The Heroes Show. My name is Richard Matthews. I am live on the line today with Chris Tuff. Chris, are you there?
Chris Tuff 1:46
Richard Matthews 1:48
Awesome. So for those of you who don’t know who Chris is Chris is the author of USA Today bestseller the Millennial Whisperer. In his book, Chris offers research space time tested strategies for bridging communication gaps between millennials and the rest of the workforce with millennials on track to make up 75% of the workforce by 2030. It’s crucial for employers to harness the strengths of this generation, help develop strong leaders for future generations. And you debunk myths about millennials while providing an in-depth look at generational stereotypes that do tend to be true. And I know in the book, you share practical real-world testing solutions to better understand millennials and effectively recruit, retain, and motivate this passionate generation. So, with that introduction, what I want to talk to you about first is what is it that you’re known for? Why do people come to you? What is it do you actually help people with?
Chris Tuff 2:35
It’s funny, you bring that up because I start a lot of my conversations around that being your currency. And my currency, it’s been a big part of my own story, which is I kind of fell into the digital media and social media space really early right out of school. 2003, I had one of the first viral videos of me proposing to my wife, and things kind of escalated from there. And what I was really known for up until about three years ago, I was the digital and social guy. And so that’s what brought me to my agency 22 squared 11 years ago and helped me become a partner. And you know, what happened three years ago was I pivoted my currency to be one of the kinds of the digital and social media side to being more of how can I be an empathetic leader and a true servant leader in everything that I do. And it was around that time that I inherited the most amazing group of 30 millennials, and I’ve always been surrounded by people younger than myself. And, you know, I was at an executive retreat with Tommy Breedlove, who I know, introduced us, I think, and he said,
Richard Matthews 3:46
Yeah, he did this.
Chris Tuff 3:47
I didn’t know Tommy and I introduced myself at this executive retreat that he was running. I was like, I don’t really know what I do anymore. But I’m kind of the millennial whisperer. And these guys are like, Oh, wow. Like, tell us more. And I told him some of the tactics I use. And they’re like, I can’t believe you do that stuff. And it was Tommy that said, “Hey, you better write that book, Chris.” And if you don’t do it, I will. And I don’t really know Tommy at the time. And I then, that planted a seed. And three weeks later, four of the 14 executives on this retreat there were like, “Chris, I started implementing some of the things you were talking about, and it works.”
And so, really, it was in that moment that I went from becoming known as the, being known and my currency being this thing around digital social media to then being more of everything that I do now is about how can we build environments where empathy and connection can thrive. And so that’s kind of what I’ve built that journey since publishing about 14 months ago, of what I’ve been kind of doing. And what’s cool is it’s opened up doors with companies like Nike, and others where I create the relationship using that need. Then I bring in the agency alongside me for other stuff. So, so far, so good.
Richard Matthews 5:07
That’s really cool. And so when you talk about fostering empathy and stuff, right, that you’re talking about building teams that are primarily or at least a large part portion of the team is made up of millennials.
Chris Tuff 5:19
Correct. I mean, listen, it doesn’t matter. One of my favorite quotes publishing, “millennials aren’t the problem. They just expose all the problems.” And so, if you look at the need base, whether it be millennials, Gen Z’s, or even Xers and boomers when it comes down to it, everyone can agree that, yeah, we all kind of want these things, right. And, you know, whether it be inspirational leadership, autonomy, or transparency, which are kind of the three main things that millennials statistically and Gen Zs are looking for from their leaders. And so what I found is using really these need bases and letting that act as a catalyst for the changes that need to happen. I mean, look at what’s happening now the number three thing behind from a workplace that millennials were wanting is work flexibility.
And now for the first time ever, we’re being forced into that with this pandemic. And a lot of people are finding it. I think, a little bit easier than probably what they anticipated, but they’re being forced into it. And I think that will continue to carry on and we can talk about more of that later.
Richard Matthews 6:31
I’m actually something you know. I’m like, just barely outside the millennial range, on the older side. And I’ve always been a huge proponent of workplace flexibility, and I haven’t even when I worked in corporate. I managed to score work from home, work my own hours deal with them. Because it was something that it was really just important to me. And if there was like, if you want my skills, you’re taking them at a distance.
Chris Tuff 6:58
Totally and you cannot taste that. I mean, I think people now are finally getting a taste of what that is. And some might say, “Actually, I’m craving to be around people,” I think the truth will be somewhere in the middle where you have a kind of corporate environment where everyone gets together and does the rah rah and brainstorms and does the teamwork and stuff, but then everyone kind of leaves out of it. I read a statistic recently, though, that 35% of all jobs have the ability to work remotely. And you know, so we’re talking about the predominantly white-collar, corporate type gigs. So, not everyone has that freedom. And I recognize that, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that you can put into place to create this environment of empathy. And one of the things I emphasize is like rewards and recognition. Have those things in place, coupled with constant feedback, don’t wait for someone’s quarterly review to give them feedback and the good, the bad, the ugly, and there’s art, the science to how we can deliver these things in a way that we could build people up versus take them down.
Richard Matthews 8:06
Truly. So, do you find that those skills sort of translate cross-culturally to organizations that have team members from you know, US, Canada, UK, Philippines, India, wherever they’ve got talent?
Chris Tuff 8:22
Sure, that’s a great question. So I’ve worked with a handful of companies, Nike being one of them. And we actually, I led an executive kind of team building day. And we had people coming in from all over the world, we had representatives of every single country while and not every continent, but all you know, everywhere from Asia, South America, etc. And it was astounding to me how much of the stuff that I was talking about, struck a chord with them, regardless of what culture they’re from, and I’ve also done some engagements with some other multinational companies, there are nuances to it, right? So they’re some of the tactics and things are that I talked about, like, especially this idea of like rewards and recognition and over communication, that doesn’t translate directly to places like Germany, right? Like Germany, Germans are wired very differently and takes kind of a different set. But for the most part, these are all areas, regardless of culture that people can agree upon. We all kind of want and need that. What’s different is where their starting points might lie. Right? So like, I mean, a culture, German culture or, Indian culture or a handful of others. They’re not necessarily as adept at that constant kind of optimistic view and, that entrepreneurial mindset to a certain extent so. So, yeah, there are nuances.
Richard Matthews 9:58
Makes sense. I mean, you sort of have to adjust them to fit the culture. But human psychology is human psychology and I’m understanding you correctly. You’re talking about we’re finally getting to a place in the workplace where it is looking to actually take care of the people instead of using the people like cogs and machines.
Chris Tuff 10:16
Exactly. Deep down as human beings, we all just want to be loved and accepted. And whether or not you care to admit that within your corporation is one thing, but I mean, it is the truth. And so how can we create environments where people can feel that on a daily basis, while also setting and, I think it’s easy to go and talk about all the needs but it’s also it’s just as important to talk about what are the places that these younger generations and even some of these cultures can the younger people can learn from, right? Discipline and getting stuff done and the same, turn your “let’s” into a “by when” and say, “Let’s do this. Let’s do that.” You gotta have accountability within – with by when. And so what are some of those things coupled with what has happened with kind of the onslaught of social media and what I call kind of this Pinterest station of a generation where everyone has this idea in their head that the perfect job exists. And prior to all this pandemic stuff, people were competing so hard for talent that a lot of these younger, whether it be X or Gen Z, or for jumping around when they didn’t have that hundred percent fit. And so, some of the concepts I bring up, like my 70-30 rule are that 30% of your jobs just gonna suck. So, stop believing what your friends are telling you, or what you’re seeing in your feed. 30% of life is going to be tough and 30% of your job is gonna suck. 70% should feel you up and fire you up. And if that’s not the case, I’ve talked to some corporations were on the panel of young people that I have up to bring some of this stuff to life. They’re like, it’s actually more 30-70 the other way, and I’m like, Okay, I get that you’re earlier in your career. So, it’s up to that corporation, your boss to help you fuel yourself because that’s not sustainable. So, let’s find out what are some of the side hustles or passion projects that they can help you pursue. And I tell everyone, you got to embrace people side hustles, whether it be with 20% of the time, or just support or your guidance, you got to allow people to thrive in that way. So, once again, it’s a two-sided kind of conversation that I try to elicit with this that.
Richard Matthews 12:34
Absolutely, I love it. So my next question for you has to do with your origin story, right? So we talk all the time in the show, every hero has their origin stories where you started to realize that you were different. Maybe you had superpowers, and maybe you could use them to help other people. Where did you get started on this whole entrepreneurial journey yourself?
Chris Tuff 12:51
So I’m the youngest of six kids and an identical twin, and I’ll tell people that I was a double mistake. My parents didn’t want a fifth kid. And then, I was like that freak anomaly, the second one. And all the way through, I was this ridiculously young and I was brought up in a British household where, you know, I think our most famous saying was “Rise above it.” You don’t talk about your feelings. But I was like this anomaly in every aspect of that and struggling for my own identity, both in the face of twin hood, having an identical twin just like me, but also being the youngest of four siblings that were overachievers. And I was always striving to be different. So it’s why, you know, I’m like my brothers and sister who went to Ivy League schools, I stayed in the south, you know, and that’s really where my path started to track it. So in my identical twin brothers stayed in the north, and then became an educator. And so that then I’m like, Alright, I might as well just roll with this and it actually took me 64 job interviews before I found my niche, which was, I’ll tell people that it was through that process that I started to identify some of my own passion points and strengths. But it took a while of taking a lot of lateral moves before I could make it happen. And so I fell into this kind of digital social media world in the early days. And, you know, I got to work directly with Zuckerberg and some of these, you know, now, they are the beacon of entrepreneurship right through these faces that I was very lucky enough to do some projects with people will ask me like, oh, what was it like to hang out with Zuckerberg and I’m like, Okay, listen, I gotta admit that I only had dinner with him once. He didn’t say one word, all dinner. This is before he had gone through a lot of development stuff. But being exposed to a lot of these startups, from early on, and watching them grow, really instilled in me, this yearning to do things differently. And I think also that coupled with being the youngest of six kids and an identical twin. And it just so happens that I’m married an identical twin. And my wife has an identical twin. I branded our wedding http://doublemintwedding.com/ and there was a big PR play around that. And it just, once again, ridiculous things tend to happen when you start living and breathing what it is that you do, passion, purpose, and profession. When all those things overlap. You don’t know when you’re working and when you’re in my wife hates it, because she’s like a very personal person, but a private person. Not in that sense. So yeah, I would say that’s really what instilled in me the entrepreneur, kind of gene if you will.
Richard Matthews 15:44
So like just starting off with having to set yourself apart from siblings and a twin and whatnot. That’s an interesting, interesting way to start life, that’s for sure.
Chris Tuff 15:53
Sure, absolutely. And, you know, family systems theory, I don’t know how much you look into the psychology of things. That’s a real thing.
Richard Matthews 16:01
Chris Tuff 16:04
I think a lot of, whether it be age or origin; do craft a lot of who we are and where we go.
Richard Matthews 16:14
They say your siblings are responsible for like, 80% of how you turn out. Your parents are only responsible for like 20. So, six older siblings. I’m sure you had quite an impact. But we looked at a lot because, you know, we got four kids and it’s funny, as my wife and I’m the oldest child, my wife’s youngest child, and you can see a lot of differences in the way we look at things just because of where we were in the family place growing up.
Chris Tuff 16:37
100% it’s funny now that I have an identical twin wife. It’s interesting to how much your partner molds you because we’ve had we’ve essentially had foils acting next to us, right, my twin and her twin, and you get to see through time, how much whether they recognize it or you recognize it. Your choice of a spouse ends up molding you into who you are.
Richard Matthews 17:08
Absolutely does. My wife made me a better person? So, that’s always good.
Chris Tuff 17:11
My wife has made me a much better person.
Richard Matthews 17:16
Shouldn’t we all be so lucky, right?
Chris Tuff 17:19
I think all relationships are getting tested to the nth degree. It was funny, yesterday, my wife turned to me, as we were kind of like winding down super late after getting the kids to bed. And she goes “You sick of me yet?” After being quarantined at the house for whatever it’s been six weeks. I was like, no, not at all. Alright, that’s a pretty good sign.
Richard Matthews 17:43
That’s what my wife and I were talking about that we’re having a good time we’re enjoying our – What do you call it? Our quarantine together.
Chris Tuff 17:51
A quarantine of your life.
Richard Matthews 17:54
The quarantine of our life. That’s what we’re doing. So my next question for you has to do with your superpower. Right. So, you know, every hero has their superpowers, this is what you do. We’re building our office world, it really helps solve problems for other people, right? The things you use to slay the world’s villains and the way I’ve been framing this from my guests lately, it has been, if you look at all of your skills, right, you can have a whole set of things that you’ve gotten really good at over the years. And if you really analyze them, you probably have one skill that really energizes or makes the rest of them possible. Right. And you know, that’s your, your zone of genius or your superpower. What would you think is for you?
Chris Tuff 18:28
So my personal purpose statement, which I came up with almost five, six years ago is to inspire and connect, and everything I do kind of filters through that. But if you were to then kind of take it down to just one superpower, it is somewhere in that of I’m addicted to momentum, and I love catalyzing things I love creating. I’m a builder, and I love working. I’m the biggest extrovert you’re ever meet. So I would say it’s something around that inspiration. Like to inspire and catalyze things, without necessarily asking for anything in return, I just love meeting people growing with people and doing projects together. And you know, even in this book journey, the single greatest day, and that was the second that I brought in. My editor, Nick Pavlidis has as a partner in the whole thing, because I was finally not like that single player on it anymore. I’m like, Oh, fine, they got someone to go and talk to all the time. So and part of that’s probably because I mean, I’ve always had someone next to me as an identical twin. So I would say it’s to really inspire and catalyze things is, I get people fired up. And I’m also relentless in that. So it will be somewhere in there.
Richard Matthews 19:46
Awesome. And I like it seems like it’s a very connection-oriented skill, right? Where where you can get people to connect with each other and step up to the plate and be part of whatever it is that’s going on.
Chris Tuff 19:58
And I mean, I think a lot of that comes down to authenticity to write, I mean, I’m the Tommy will say that self-actualization happens when you’re the same person in front of everyone. And for me, it’s like, what you see is what you get, you know that my driving force is, really, it is that that connection, striving for connection with others. And the book I’m working on now is all about how to be a more effective networker. Because I recognize that the pain points in the world have shifted with everything that’s happened. And so many people get networking wrong, but really, it’s through interpersonal connection and relationships that everything else follows. And the title of the book I just came up with, it’s called, Save Your Asks. And, so many people will go in for that ask and it’s way early in the relationship. You’re like, whoa, whoa, like even on LinkedIn, how many LinkedIn messages you got saying –
Richard Matthews 20:57
Chris Tuff 20:59
Right? Like people Just want a connection out of you where they want to be in your pocket. It’s like, Whoa, like, let’s get there, right? I mean, how many people point 1% of people have actually even known that I wrote a book and I’ve sold almost 100,000 copies. It’s like, come on, dude. Just do a little research for you. And I’ll be more than happy to connect and, and help out. But people just get it wrong. So you gotta Save Your Ask.
Richard Matthews 21:23
That’s a really good point. Actually, I just closed three contracts this last week for our agency, and every single one of them started with a give instead of an ask. And it’s an interesting thing that a lot of people, I don’t think, understand how powerful it is like what just as an example, one of the contracts we closed that guy came to me was like, hey, I’ve been working on this project for months. We had someone else doing it. It took us all this time, and it’s still not doing what we want. And I was like, I talked to him for a while. And it’s like, it’s like in our zone of genius. And I was like, I can fix that for you this afternoon. And he was like, okay, And he was like, and he gave me all the – I was like, just give me, send me this details or whatever and I asked him for all of it and then you know, our team went to work, we fixed it by that afternoon, we put it all together and it was ready to go and they made sales like starting the next day because of the stuff we fixed. And he was like, what do I owe you for that? And I was like, first ones on the house. Right? And he turns around, he was like, dude, you’re a rock star. And now we’ve got a retainer contract going on. He’s like literally everyone in my entire organization and all of our audience needs what you have. That turns into a huge business really quick.
Chris Tuff 22:35
I love that. I love how you reference it as the gift right? And you know, and sometimes it is. I am one part of it I talk about a race to the metal which is so many people struggle with connections with others because it all they talk about is business whereas with a little bit of research you can figure out where that overlap with passions lie it might be grilling, it might be kiteboarding. I started watching sports at one point because I didn’t have kids or I would run out of stuff. But you when you start with that, and then you start talking about business problems And to your point, you do a little bit of the give and a test drive. And it’s like, the rest starts falling in place, but so many people do it the wrong way.
Richard Matthews 23:18
If you don’t have to do any selling at all, if you do it that way, too.
Chris Tuff 23:23
It should never feel like selling. The other thing people ask me is like, so what happens when you’re courting someone you don’t like them? And I tell them, it’s like, well, it’s easy. You don’t want them as a customer. So don’t let them in. If you don’t want to be friends with them
Richard Matthews 23:38
Just say no.
Don’t do business with them.
Man, that’s hilarious. But that whole idea of finding out where people are and what they’re actually interested in and actually caring about them is such a powerful thing. Like I got to have dinner with one of my mentors because of that guy that I looked up to for a long time. He was speaking in front of Oh, I don’t know, a 5000 person audience and you know, he gets down off the stage and there’s like, you know, the line of 1000 people that you know, want to come and talk to the speaker afterward. And he’s doing the, you know, the very cursory like, shake everyone’s hand and kind of thing. And I had known a bit about him. On the other side, we had a connection that was completely outside of business, it had to do with one of his side passion projects. And so I stood in line patiently and walked through and I said, Hey, I want to take any of your time, but I’m really interested in this side passion project. We’ve got the same story there. I’d love to talk more. And then I said, I’ll talk to you later and walked away before you got to say anything. And, and it was funny because he was like, he was like watching me as I left, and he sought me out later and invited me to dinner. He was like, I want to tell you more about that with you. And so he invited me and my business partner to dinner and paid for like a really nice steak dinner for us. And we got to chit chat about all these things in a room full of 5000 people that would have loved to have him take them to dinner because there was a connection outside of the business.
Chris Tuff 24:57
100% It doesn’t take that much effort to figure it out. And it’s all around us, whether it be LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. And so it’s why I say, from a connection standpoint, so much comes down to the connection with humans, whether it be your employees, or people that you might be doing business with, or, potential customers. It really is all about relationships and connections. And I’ll tell everyone, the first thing you got to do is follow your people on Instagram. They’re like, I’m not following my, all these young kids on Instagram that work for me, that feels awkward. I was like, well, then you got to work in that relationship because they’re not going to stick around for you. They don’t feel like there’s some sort of real connection, and it’s not for them to follow you. So, don’t worry about what you’re posting. It’s for you to take a vested interest in their life. So, on Monday, you can start that conversation and say Meg, that kitten you adopted is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. Tell me more about it. Meg is gonna be all fired up to be like, Oh my gosh, yeah, the kitten I adopted this. And, you know, it all starts with that stuff. So, I love that example that you use, with just understanding people’s you know, passion projects and, and identifying on that and then using that as kind of the entree into a real relationship.
Richard Matthews 26:12
And we do the same thing with our team. I don’t have a huge team we got a pretty small team but you know, we were all over the world and we use Slack to get together and chit chat for work but we have a weekends channel and we all post things like, you know, our kids birthday parties and other things and we keep up on all that kind of stuff. Right? And one of my guys are going to be editing this episode. One of my first employees will probably see this and laugh about it, but you know, he was just posting it yesterday because they’re all into the COVID quarantines but his working buddy for the day is this little two-year-old nephew and you know, posted some pictures and it was super cute and we started chatting and I showed him pictures of my quarantine buddy who’s my little one year old who keeps coming in here and like wanting hugs and to bring me all of her – that she found.
Chris Tuff 26:59
What’s her name?
Richard Matthews 27:01
We got to have my little one is Zinia and Laurel. She’s in love with the dog food. We can’t keep her out of it. So she brought me two or three piles of dog food that she had chewed on this morning.
Chris Tuff 27:15
I was like, stop. Stop with the dog.
Richard Matthews 27:24
It’s a crack up because the dog, he’s a big dog. He’s a 70-pound poodle. And like, if the cat tries to steal his food, he growls at it and like shoos him away. But if the baby comes over to steal his food, he just steps out of the way and be like, you’re above me in the pecking order, you can have whatever you want.
Chris Tuff 27:40
That’s great. I love it.
Richard Matthews 27:42
So awesome. So my flip side question for you on the superpowers is your fatal flaw, right? So just like Superman has his kryptonite, most superheroes have their fatal flaw something that’s hold held you back in business, something you’ve had to work on. And I think more important than what it is is how have you worked on that. So someone who’s listening to this and might struggle with something similar can learn a bit from you, what would you say that is for you?
Chris Tuff 28:05
Patience. And I recognize that it’s funny, I have a full sleeve tattoo all very significant. And I have two bands kind of see. This is passion and perseverance and then this his patience and patience is bigger because I need more of passionate perseverance like that comes easy to me the flip side of that is the patience you know, let it make it happen transition into letting that happen. I mean, this has been this period now in quarantine has been very challenging for me because I’m addicted to momentum and progress and creating. And it’s forced me to take some time and so have I improved? A little. I think mindfulness and you know, the tactics that helped me with that are no more than three things a day to accomplish it. Because they’ll try to take on the world. And then I think mindfulness and that constant reminder of trying to be where my feet are as my friend Marco – says. I’ve made some improvements, but it is absolutely my fatal flaw.
Richard Matthews 29:20
So what’s interesting about that is there’s a lot of, I think, important things to unpack there. And one of the things that one of my early mentors said to me a number of times that really, really stuck with me, it took me a lot of years to like, actually figure out what it meant was that, as human beings, we vastly overestimate what we can accomplish in a year and vastly underestimate what we can accomplish in 10 years.
Chris Tuff 29:41
Richard Matthews 29:43
And his point and the thing that I’ve sort of recognized from that is, we are impatient with results, not realizing that it’s a journey, right. And if you put in, like you said a little bit of progress every day, when that snowballs over the course of 10 years, you can become a rock star in pretty much any space you want, right? But you have to put in the time you have to put in the work. And the other thing too, about choosing like, you know, you just have a couple of things, no more than three things a day. Instead of, you know, constantly trying to make it happen, right. I remember a time in my, in my career, I was putting in 12 and 18 hour days. And it wasn’t until I stopped doing that, that I started seeing massive growth and got to a point where like, I rarely work more than four hours a day now.
And it’s just I pick out a couple of things. I get those things accomplished and I make sure I get something accomplished every day and push it forward. And it’s skyrocketed. And it’s a hard thing to like to learn because you feel like if I haven’t got there yet I have to work more. I haven’t earned the right to sleep yet. The dangerous thing dangerous place to be.
Chris Tuff 30:55
Oh, absolutely. You know, I think your point with just the what focus brings to a lot of these things, and I talk about it in the Millennial Whisperer as what social media has done to a lot of us is, is everyone craves those Instagramable moments, right champagne moments. It’s being on top of the podium and spraying the champagne. And you know, the same thing is with a parent, right? Instead of taking in the time, like last night, reading Harry Potter with my 10-year-old and finishing up the first book. Instead of having those as the big moments, you’re craving them winning some award or whatever it is. And so it really is in the journey, and I’m actually really good at that side of it. It’s that I’m 100% addicted to momentum. And even like with one of my co-workers yesterday, they had just done a huge they just got a big sale done and I texted them. I was like, man, gosh, I could really use a win right now. And I just don’t drove an hour and a half about a whim that I didn’t recognize. And he was like, What? Because it’s been an hour and a half Chris. It was like, oh my god. So I think recognizing wins, right. And, and one thing that they talked about with mindfulness is just talking about mindfulness is being mindful because you are just the process that brings you into being mindful, right. And that’s a muscle as Tommy will say, these are muscles that we have to be flexing every single day and some are, are more natural than others, but I don’t think I’ll ever be described as a truly patient person. But that’s also it’s, you know, I think a Yang to the Yang of our own strengths and weaknesses, right.
Richard Matthews 32:43
Absolutely. But it helps to recognize where the weaknesses and you know, shore up a little bit, so
Chris Tuff 32:50
Richard Matthews 32:53
Especially, if you’ve been using it as an excuse not to see your wins on a regular basis. That’s hard to do on yourself. If you’re if you’re not recognizing the wins.
Chris Tuff 33:01
What happens if you get conditioned for them. Because, I mean, in the process of even what would excite, what excited me in the first month after launching my book, no longer excited me seven months later, right? Because there’s a tolerance that grows with, that momentum and adrenaline that I feel and that and also why I’m not as the patient is I want more of that excitement. Yeah, like, Come on, let’s go. And, you know, selling my first batch of 1000 books, and then you know, whatever it was too, you know, 10 months later, we’re at 100,000 books and you sell 1000 books, okay. You know, is that still a win? So, it’s tough, right? I mean, look at what’s happening around us. It’s like, the one time that you have a true appreciation for health is the day that you come back from something or, you know, your right knee when I busted my knee, mountain biking, and then you know, as soon as I was able to run again. I was like, Ah, this is so amazing. And so there’s a, there’s a kind of back and forth with that tolerance that built-in that you got to bring it back. And I think what’s happening right now is, like, think about what would happen if all of a sudden we had a cure or vaccine for this pandemic, and just around
Richard Matthews 34:18
I love restaurants.
Chris Tuff 34:20
Totally, and everyone goes absolutely nuts. And then literally six weeks later, we’d be back to where I think to a certain extent of where we were, and it’s like, so how what is that? How do you how do we continue like I’m –
Richard Matthews 34:33
Chris Tuff 34:35
I’m very fortunate, I still have a job. You know, like, I’m still, I have my family who I love around me and I’ve got to focus on that stuff. And there are wins in that. I don’t know. I digress. We have.
Richard Matthews 34:48
We have the same sort of thing happens with you know, raising children, right, your, your toddler every time they stand up and take a step. You’re like celebrating them but by the time they’re 10 years old, if they fall over you’re like, why? Why are you falling over? Right? Because you get conditioned and it’s interesting because I see that in my own parenting where I’m like, I’ve stopped recognizing my older children for things that would have been a huge success is just a few years ago. And trying to realize, like, Where’s the balance in that because there are some things that you know, you have expectations of as a human being that you should be doing, you know, acting in certain ways. But then there’s other stuff where it’s like, Hey, I, you know, I want to make sure that we’re still celebrating, celebrating you as a person, right? And who you are and what you’re becoming and the work that you’re putting into, you know, becoming who you are, right? That kind of stuff, raising your kids. And it’s the same kind of thing. We do that with ourselves and we just we get ourselves into places where it’s like, you know, stuff that was a win a couple of years ago now we don’t even recognize as being good.
Chris Tuff 35:47
Richard Matthews 35:49
Absolutely. So my next question for you has to do with your common enemy and your common enemy is in regards to the clients that you bring on and you work with like Nike or something like that. And if you had a magic wand, and you can remove one thing from your client’s life that, you know, would just dramatically increase the results they’re getting with, you know, in this case, their, their teams and their organization, what is that thing that you sort of like you banging your head against the wall all the time trying to convince them that they need to, you know, make this change or make the shift or whatever.
Chris Tuff 36:19
I would say my largest obstacle or barrier is the mentality of, well, I had to do it this way. Why don’t I? And you know, you see it with just professions I ran into, right before we had the lockdown in Atlanta, where I live. I ran into a good family friend of ours. His name’s Shahrukh and he’s got a big company, Iranian descent and travels all over the place. And I was like, Shahrukk How you been? What’s going on? And he’s like, Oh, you know, I’ve been, you know, really, you know, traveling like crazy. He’s 70 years old, you know, so right in the boomer set. And he, he was like, Yeah, I’ve been to Paris. I’ve been to one I’m like, awesome, that sounds so cool. Like, tell me about it. He’s like, Oh, no, it was for work. And as soon as you associate something with work to these older kinds of generations, it’s, oh, this is a drag that has to be, it can’t be fun. And, you know, in that same realm, there’s this idea of like, I mean, work flexibility up until this pandemic, the biggest thing that I would go up against these corporations was, well, I had to do it this way. Why don’t they, you know, why don’t they have to sit at their desk from eight until five all day every day. And so I think that is probably the greatest thing that we can. We can help people get rid of, okay, the world is constantly changing, and it’s evolving faster than ever before. And we see it with technology. We see it with all of these things that are happening, the good and the bad. And so how can we help people adapt A little bit faster to alright. Yeah, let’s try that.
Richard Matthews 38:06
It’s really interesting because it’s a bit of jealousy, essentially, it’s coming in, and like, you know, not to keep bringing it back to parenting. But I realized the same thing with my son, my son, I’ve been trying to tell him that he needs to learn to type. And he keeps telling me like, Dad, I don’t have to type I have, you know, like Siri and voice activation. I’m like, I’m like, I know, we asked me a question. Like, go look that up. And he pulls up the thing and he just talks to the phone. And like, that’s not our first response. Our first response is to type because we had to learn to type and I’m like, you need to learn to type son. And he’s like, No, I don’t.
Chris Tuff 38:38
That is such a good example. I love that.
Richard Matthews 38:44
And it’s funny because like, he’s actually probably in that generation where he’s gonna have to learn to type, right? We’re not quite there. But just a few more years probably won’t be that case. Right? And it’s going to be it you know, it’s just an interesting like, solid example. I think He’s got kids in the eight to 12-year-old range. They’re probably dealing with that right now.
Chris Tuff 39:04
Yeah, 100%. And you know, it’s also this idea that your work and your work. Slash profession can also be your passion. And I’ll say that life needs to be a ruthless pursuit of passions. And it’s through that process that I’m not saying perfection, right, that it has to be all perfection, but that in the same way that things are easier in terms of technology, not having to learn these old school ways of typing and stuff. The same is also true in terms of opportunity. And there’s almost too much opportunity. So and that’s kind of where I’m starting to head with this kind of networking and currency. And you know, with this next book, which is how can we spit out into this Plinko game of life that’s somewhere close to our innate passion and purpose. And the closer we are to that the more fulfilled as well as I think quote-unquote successful we will be Wherever we end up falling and evolving from, but we’re so many people get it wrong, and I see it with my friends very well to do people. Incredible, you know, some well well-known people, and they’ll turn to me they’re like, I hate my job. And you know, it’s like, well, why are you a lawyer? You know if this person is the lawyer or partner affirm, it’s like, well, I did it. I just got into it because my dad was a lawyer. I was like, Well, what, what lights you up, you know, and then we start talking about that, and it’s on the way other side, and they’re so far along this path. And so it’s difficult for them to transition their currencies from being a lawyer to something there. And he was at digress but-
Richard Matthews 40:40
It’s very true, right. And it’s one of the things that I found interesting because like myself, I knew like really particularly what I wanted to do with my life and family, which is why like I mentioned earlier, we’re traveling in an RV with my, my kids, and we have been for two and a half years. And I realized early on that like I hit a certain income level and I was Like, I don’t really need any more money, I don’t want it like, I mean, I wouldn’t say no to it if you gave it to me, but like, I’ve got all the things I want now and what I want more than that is the time freedom to go and spend with my kids and everything. And I’ve had a couple of instances over the last couple of years where some of my clients who, you know, some of them are extremely successful in their space, right, like, you know, I got one of the guys who are really successful in the wholesaling real estate space and he does like $250,000 a month in profits, like in his pocket for his organization, and I’m like, that’s just an insane amount of income. And he was like, you have more freedom than me because of how you chose to build your business.
Chris Tuff 41:40
Richard Matthews 41:42
And it’s interesting cause a lot of people don’t think about, what I call it, they don’t think about the monster they’re building. Right. And you know, when it comes to your life and everything, if you think about that ahead of time and really build your life around like, Hey, this is what I want. You have, to your point, a plethora of opportunities. You can custom design your life to be exactly what you want nowadays, right, where there’s something that our parents and grandparents didn’t have that opportunity?
Chris Tuff 42:07
Well, I think there’s Yeah, and I totally agree with all that. But the other thing is you got to do the work to get there too. Right. And, you know, I think people often in that journey towards that will give up too early. It’s like, Listen, people look at me, like, Chris, you have a best selling book, like, of course, you do. I’m like, dude, any idea the hell I went through to do that, like, I took a $200,000, unsecured high-interest loan to help me achieve all these things. And I never stopped and I still don’t stop. And there is this, you know, what people will ask me like, what are the traits that you’re trying to instill in your children, given the changing environments, and it’s quick, and to the point and it’s, it’s resilience and tenacity, and that is a I think two big traits –
Richard Matthews 42:52
Never give up.
Chris Tuff 42:53
Right? Yeah. I mean, and I think a lot of times people aren’t willing to put in the work, right? I mean, look at that fire. festivals and many people were looking for shortcuts where, you know, in the same sense that things don’t happen overnight, but our expectations because the way that we get information is that Oh, it’s like, super quick and it’s not right.
Richard Matthews 43:16
People look at me and they’re like, “Oh, you’re an overnight success.” I’m like, “You just didn’t see the 10 years it took to get there.”
Chris Tuff 43:21
Richard Matthews 43:24
And it’s, it’s really interesting because we, you know, I tell people regularly I was like, there’s no competition for, for real men, right? Or there’s no competition for real women. And what I mean by that is someone who’s willing to put the work in, you have no one there’s no one who will compete with you. Right? And I tell people all the time, I was like you can’t compete with me because I’m working under a table. Right? Right. I will just straight up we’re working under a table that doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s in my realm of possibility I would destroy you at it because I just know that about myself that I would just, I would work until you dropped. And keep going. And that’s sort of like a, it’s a prerequisite for being able to build the life that you want is the ability to put in the effort it takes to do it. Right and not, you know, I don’t know what the opposite side of that is, but maybe it’s just expectations but also laziness, other things.
Chris Tuff 44:16
That hard work, people take that So literally, and you know, this is why, well, Gary Vee and I don’t exactly align on everything that he says, but, you know, you take that literally to, like, you got to work non stop, and it’s not that it’s about energy put in and part of that energy output. Exactly. And, and part of that is staying out of a hole when you get punched in the face five times. Right, that takes a lot. bounce back from than 40 hours, you know, whatever it is 20 hours a day.
Richard Matthews 44:50
And it’s like the same kind of thing where I tell people now regularly that uh, that creativity thrives with, with limits. You know, when you Look at your day. And when I first started and I was working, you know, 12-18 hour days, I had no limits on what I was doing. So it’s just doing everything and your work quality sort of like drops over the day. And when you give yourself limits, like, Hey, I’m only going to work and I’m only going to accomplish these three or these six things today, then you get a lot better work done. And I noticed when the same kind of thing happened when we moved on to the road, where you’re like, you know, I’m sitting outside of Yosemite Valley and like, I finished my work today I get to go hike, right and go like jump off the waterfalls with my kids. You have limits on like, how long you want to spend working and you get a lot better higher quality work out of yourself, essentially, when you give yourself solid limits towards what you’re
Chris Tuff 45:43
Richard Matthews 45:46
So my next question for you is the opposite of your common enemy. So the common enemy thing you fight against your driving force is the thing that you fight for. Right? So just like Spider-Man fights to save New Yorker, Batman fights to save Gotham or Google fights to index and categorize all the world’s information what is it that you guys fight for? Or you personally? What do you fight for with your organization?
Chris Tuff 46:05
What I fight for? I would say that it’s I mean, it’s to create a place where everyone feels truly accepted and valued. While also being challenged along the way. And you know, that’s a tough balance to find I call autonomy within the structure. Right? And you know, it’s funny, my wife asked me for five years, it was right after I became a partner at the firm. And she said, “How are you still there?” Because she knows I’m very entrepreneurial. I’m very ADD I love creating things and you know, I had a prior to that bounced around quite a bit in different positions. And I said I think it’s pretty simple. Richard Warner CEO, he gives me a lot enough leash to be entrepreneurial, but enough structure that I’m always becoming a better leader. And that’s kind of autonomy within the structure. And I hope that what I’m fighting for and against is both kinds of that, in a nutshell.
Richard Matthews 47:15
So, just out of curiosity, do you sort of see that having a major ripple effect in that once you get more and more people operating sort of at their highest and best that we start seeing a lot of the problems we see in our world gets solved because we have more minds coming to it, operating at their highest and best.
Chris Tuff 47:35
Richard Matthews 47:39
Interesting. That’s sort of where it was like when you were saying that I was like, that’s what I kept seeing is that you’re what you’re actually doing like that’s a method that’s going to lead to a lot of solutions when we started getting more people operating at the highest and best.
Chris Tuff 47:52
Richard Matthews 47:55
My next question for you has, is a little more on the practical side, right. We call this the heroes about maybe you got a big magical hammer like Thor or bulletproof vest, like your neighborhood police officer, I’m curious about some of the practical tools you use to really help people, you know, make better organizations for their teams. And I’m not you know, I’m not sure we have time to go through like your whole book, but maybe one or two things that are really practical, it’s not a walk away with they’ve got, you know, Millennials in their workforce that they could they can make some changes.
Chris Tuff 48:29
So, I mean, I talked a bit about its rewards and recognition, create a rewards and recognition top down. So what are you putting into a place where people you know, I use the Big Blue rooster as the example where there’s this company Domo in San Francisco, they give the salesperson of the month, this big blue rooster that sits next to their desk, they don’t give any cash bonuses or anything else. They just give away this. Rooster sits next year’s desk. And so I will tell people from the top-down, create a reward system that is something special that you can give to your employees and also create a peer-to-peer solution for them to reward one another. You know, I start our meetings with snaps, where I will just actually give props before we get going. So people talking about their current events or some status sheet, I’ll say, Hey, I’m just gonna kick us off and I want to say, Meg, you did a killer job to that presentation, you know, way to push yourself out of your comfort zone, blah, blah, and then everyone goes and gets snaps. And then that goes on and everyone starts giving snaps to each other. And so rewards and recognition is, I think, a key component to both this connection as well as how people can be a little bit more inspirational. A simple tactic, statistically speaking also in that domain is that if you anyone gets a compliment, have some sort of, you know, Job well done from a client or coworker just forward that to the boss and the boss’s boss and CC them on it and say props to mag for killing it like so there are simple things that we can do. So, rewards and recognition is a big piece. And then, the other side of it is also, I feel like creating a place where transparency can thrive. And most people misinterpret transparency to either be financial transparency or transparency as a realm of vulnerability, where you got to cry from your people. And it’s like, it’s not either one of those what people want from transparency, they want context. So talk about all the things that are happening right now is a perfect case. Give them the facts, what’s happening with their client base right now, you know, who’s doing poorly and who might be susceptible to what’s happening around us with a pandemic and, you know, talk about the decisions and things that you’re putting into place because it’s all about the context that they want from transparency. Why are you making the decisions that you’re making and the more that you communicate those things while also be truthful about it, and authentic, I think you’ll find a huge return.
Richard Matthews 51:08
That’s really interesting. I actually just had an experience with that yesterday. And you know, because we’re in the same boat, everyone else’s we lost a couple of clients because of the COVID crisis. And, you know, my staff some of them had sent me some worried messages, like how are we going to do what’s going on with this? And, you know, I started just sort of talking about, like, what I was doing in terms of bringing in new clients and where we were going in the direction and gave them a really good, you know, idea of like, what’s going on and where we’re going from going forward. And I got Thank you messages back from all of them like thank you for like, letting us know what’s going on and you know, I feel a lot better and more secure and things like that and that’s uh, I didn’t do that with that intentionality.
Chris Tuff 51:45
Richard Matthews 51:45
It’s good to know that that’s like one of the things you should be doing and helping keep your team sort of like, you know, in the loop so to speak on the things that are important to them in their job security in their part in the company.
Chris Tuff 51:59
Richard Matthews 52:01
That’s cool. So I got a couple more questions for you. This ones pretty quick own personal heroes. You know, just like Frodo had Gandalf or Luke and Obi-Wan or Robert Kiyosaki had his Rich Dad who was some of your heroes were they real-life mentors? You know, peers were a couple of years ahead of you and how important were they to what you’ve accomplished so far?
Chris Tuff 52:19
So, Tommy probably referenced this in his but I’ve got a group of guys that are kind of in a mastermind with me Tommy’s in it, Breedlove. My friend, Hank McLarty Mark-
Cotulla, Quincy Jones, a handful, not the Quincy Jones and different Quincy Jones.
But those guys are my accountability partners as well as people that I go to for very practical advice versus my very emotional kind of advice that happens inside my head and heart. So I would put all of them up on that pedestal for ones that I aspire to be. As well as the ones that hold me accountable and give back in the same way that I give them. So, those are my heroes,
Richard Matthews 53:11
I got the same kind of thing going on. I’ve got we call it the black level mastermind, it’s a group of people that are, you know, pushing their own businesses forward. And sometimes I feel like I’m the, you know, the seventh-grader who’s learning to swim who’s in with a bunch of, you know, high school water polo specialists in the water. But it’s really cool to be in a room full of people or who are pushing you to be a better version of yourself. So that’s really cool. Yeah. So the last question for you, your guiding principles. What are top one or two principles or actions that you put in the place every single day that you sort of, you know, you think to contribute to your success and influence may be something you wish you’d known when you started out on this journey?
Chris Tuff 53:54
Well, I mean, for me, it does come down to my purpose, and why I think understanding doing the work to figure out what your purpose is. And then –that guiding light to everything you do. And you know that for me is to inspire and connect. And then another key thing for me in terms of principles was changing my own metric of success, which used to be whether I admitted it or not beating my brothers the game of life, which is a horrible metric of success. And I changed that to impact. I did not win. It drove me to my breakdown, which was actually one of the best things that have happened to me because it forced me to really, reorient myself and everything that I do. And so my new metric is the amount of impact made on a day and impact and success should be judged on a daily basis to kind of our earlier discussion versus on this kind of milestone moments. So when my head hits the pillow, did I have a successful day in that, you know, did I have the impact that I intended, and most days, I could have a bad feeling very successful. So those That kind of I think two main points
Richard Matthews 55:04
I like the idea of judging your day whether or not it was successful today. So I have one last. One last thing we do here on the show. It’s called Hero’s Challenge. It’s actually how you, you ended up on the show. Tommy invited you to come to the Hero’s Challenge, and it’s basically, do you have someone in your life in your network that you think has a cool entrepreneurial story? Who are they? First names are fine, and why should they come to share their story on our show with our audience?
Chris Tuff 55:29
Well, I thought I felt like a big piece of both what we talked about and then also what the world needs is resilience. And I talked a little bit about my group of the great nine, which is, you know, Tom, who was who I think referred me, I would stick to that same both of those things. And Hank McClarty who’s the founder of Gratus Capital is one of the most resilient while also goal-driven people I’ve ever met. He is who I would recommend.
Richard Matthews 55:58
Awesome. Well, we’ll reach out later and see If we can get him on the show, one last thing, where can people find you? Right? If they want to pick up a copy of The Millennial Whisperer or if they want to bring you in to speak at their organization, where can they find, find you? and have that, have that discussion? And then more importantly, who are the right types of people to reach out and pick up that book or to reach out and contact you?
Chris Tuff 56:16
For sure. So I mean, anyone, whether it be small businesses, entrepreneurs to large corporations, I wrote the book with examples of all the way the fortune fits. So ever it’s applicable to everyone go to the http://themillennialwhisperer.com/ that’s trickiness there and actually, I just launched a quiz. So if you go to quiz dot, the http://themillennialwhisperer.com/. You can take my quiz and figure out what type of millennial leader you are as well as where your strengths and weaknesses lie. I can be found on Instagram at Tuff, T-U-F-F too, which is probably the fastest response if you get in touch with me and have questions or want to just you know, connect up That is the best place for it.
Richard Matthews 57:02
Awesome. So it’s at http://themillennialwhisperer.com/ or @Tuff22 on Instagram.
Chris Tuff 57:09
Richard Matthews 57:10
Shout to him.
So last thing. Thank you so much for coming on the show, Chris, really appreciate it. It’s been a fun conversation. You have any final words of wisdom for the audience before I hit the stop record button here.
Chris Tuff 57:21
You know, I think I signed all my books, the best is yet to come. I think a lot of us are going through some tough times and we must choose like, and so surround yourselves with those that can help you find light. And I do truly believe that regardless of what we’re going through, the best is yet to come.
Richard Matthews 57:42
Awesome. I agree with you on that best is yet to come. It’s gonna be a fun couple of years of their what’s you know, after we sort of get over this crisis. So, thank you again so much for coming on Chris.
Chris Tuff 57:50
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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