CEOs have the greatest impact on the business than anybody. This is why they need to be coached and consulted so that they can grow into something bigger. These CEOs need to build leaders within their companies for a brighter future. Stop being selfish, and start being selfless. Learn how executive consulting works with Michael Zipursky and his guest Jeff Mask. Jeff is the founder and CEO of MASK Principles. He helps CEOs grow without losing their soul. Discover how Jeff started his career by getting fired. After that, it was all uphill from there. Know how he gets leads by referrals, some pricing strategies, people’s relationship with fear, and more. Get some insight into the consulting process today.
Listen to the podcast here
I’m very excited to have Jeff Mask joining us. Jeff, welcome.
Thank you very much. I’m so happy to be here.
I’m excited about this. I saw you speak at an event in Arizona several months back. I thought it would be great for you to come on the show and share some of your experiences, your framework, and how you have gone about building your business. For those who are not familiar with you and your work, you are the CEO of MASK Principles | Elite Executive Coaching.
Your clients include organizations like the US Military, DigitalMarketer, NPAworldwide, and a whole bunch of others. I want to get into how consultants can build their business while increasing their happiness, freedom, and all of that good stuff but before we do that, let’s go back in time. I would love for you to share what were you doing before you got into the world of coaching and consulting.
In my mind, I was already doing it, and I will tell you a little bit about what I mean by that. To answer your question quickly and simply, I was building software companies but years previously, I was introduced to the world of coaching and particularly coaching CEOs. As the CEO that I was working with had hired a private coach, I saw the transformation in him right away. The CEO was my brother.
He came back from his first coaching session and I could see his countenance was different. He was more on fire, had more conviction, and more competence. I said, “Where did you come from?” He said, “I had my first coaching session.” I was like, “That’s right,” and then I looked at him and thought, “That’s what I’m going to do.”
You have those light bulb and lightning bolt moments simultaneously. That’s what it was for me. He looked at me, and knowing me as well as he does, he said, “You are right. You are built for this,” but I said, “In time.” I want to learn how to operate businesses from the trenches so that when I coach, it’s more from application and theory, and not just theory. That’s the long answer to my question as I was building other companies and leading people. I did it from a frame of if I were coaching you, then what? If I were not here, how would you be strong on your own two feet versus relying on “the leader”? That’s a long answer to the question.Vulnerability in leadership is more courage and strength and less of a weakness. Click To Tweet
As you were in the trenches, you were a leader inside of a growing organization as many of the audience have been in that place. You are moving up the executive ranks, your salary is doing well, and you have all this stuff that that lifestyle can provide. What was going on and what was the impetus or the turning point when you decided you were ready to go off, build your own business and start doing the coaching and so forth work?
I don’t think you are ever ready. If people who are reading saying, “I will do it when I’m ready,” fast forward 1 year, 5 years or 10 years, you will still tell yourself you are not ready. What happened was we were relocating another software company from a location in Arizona up to Utah, and to do so, there was a particular place where I was going to reside that I thought, “How do I make sure that works financially?” I was doing all the puzzle pieces and thought, “What if when I start this new tech company, I will coach on the side in the morning before I go into the office and get started that way?” I made sure I cleared that with the CEO of the new company. He was all for it. He’s an entrepreneur himself.
I started doing that about a year and a half. I coached simultaneously while building a separate software company. I worked 5 or 10 hours a week and on off-hours that were not part of my normal work routine until I got fired. I had a safe and natural plan with about 18 to 24 months of building this other software company that I would then jump on my own two feet and run.
There were other plans, and what happened, for those that are intrigued, we grew that company so fast that we did not grow the infrastructure and the cost structure as effectively as we could. Our systems were reporting our revenues were great and they were. The problem was our cash was not resembling the same trajectory. We had systems issues. We had refund credits going on and all kinds of holes, and we had more expenses than we realized that were not compensated with the income that we thought we had, so I’ve got to let go.
I created my own problem, which was perfect because it gave me the shove that I needed to say, “Here we go.” I had a few clients at the time and I thought, “I love what I’m doing. My plan was to jump in anyway.” It was a forcing function to say, “All in,” no matter what. That was my unique story but the short answer is I was not ready, and I don’t think you ever really are until you go for it.
I want to dig deeper into your business and how you create it and what you are doing now. Before we do that, on your website, you state that you are a cancer survivor. I have a few questions around that but the first is, why put that on your website? Why be vulnerable? Many people have challenges going on in their life, whether it’s health, relationships or something else but they don’t share it because they think it may not be a good thing to do “professionally.” Why do you share that?
It’s because I have tried to debunk old-school leadership and the facade of business ownership. Too often, we like to put on a pretty face. We like to put on a show and make everything look great and say, “I’ve got it all figured out, and therefore, you should trust me.” I believe in the last couple of years, leadership has evolved dramatically, thankfully, and vulnerability is more courage and strength, and less of a weakness.
I think humanity in business is super powerful. I believe humans connect to humans, and too often, we have our own insecurities and Impostor syndrome that’s going crazy exacerbated by people projecting perfection and that they have got it all figured out. Nobody has it figured out, and that’s fine. That’s why there’s humanity. It was a rude awakening for me to live into my purpose. If I was given a second chance at life, which I was, then what am I doing with that? It’s part of my story.
Where were you in your career or at what stage were you when you had cancer?
I was at a Fortune 50 company. I was in Southern California. I had two kids at the time and had been married for about six years or so. I went to the doctor to get a flu shot because my young daughter who was a year old had a bad breathing issue, so we’ve all got flu shots to protect her. In a random checkup, he said, “Let’s do a skin test.” Lo and behold, he found melanoma in my lower left-back. I had no idea what melanoma was at the time. I thought, “Carcinoma and melanoma sound the same,” and he was like, “No. Melanoma is the silent killer of men your age.”
This was 2006 at the time. I was working for a large corporation. I saw myself being there for my whole life. That was my career. I was excited about it. I had progressed, been promoted, and was doing some fun things in my career and had this massive brick wall awakening of, “What are you really doing? What does purpose mean to you and why are you on this planet?” It was a great moment for me. It sounds bizarre. Now I can say it was great but at the time, it was not so great. It was pretty bleak and pretty difficult. It woke me up and helped me realize there’s a bigger purpose that I can serve, and I need to find that.
When you were going through all that, it sounds like you learned a lot from it. You said it helped you to discover your purpose and make sure that things were aligned. For those who are joining us who may be in a similar situation, maybe it’s not cancer but it’s something that is a very strong trauma that they were not expecting. Whatever reason they are or where they are but there’s something going on in their life. What did you take from that experience looking back could you offer to say, “If you are going through a tough time now, health or otherwise, here are the things that I did that I would recommend?” What would you tell a friend that might help to get them out of that place or improve where they are?
This is where spirituality for me is important. It’s not for everybody, so I don’t want to put this blanket statement on all but I believe believing in a higher power helps you determine what the bigger picture is. What’s your purpose on this Earth and how can you play a part in that? That helped me a lot. Even if you are not spiritual, there’s great thinking that I have learned over the years, and this thought that I have said over and over, and that is, “The difference between a trial and a blessing in our lives is our application of time.”
If you think about it, when you are in the throes of a trial and it’s super hard, dark, and difficult, you hear that and you want to punch someone in the face. It’s like, “Don’t tell me this is a blessing.” If you rewind back to the hardest parts or difficult moments of your life that you would never wish on anyone, you can look at where you have become better, where you have grown, how you have received more empathy, more wisdom or whatever it is. It’s now a blessing.Treat every interaction as if it's a lifelong relationship instead of a transaction. Click To Tweet
The only difference between the trials that we go through and our blessings is our application of time. I learned the faster you can concentrate time and start to see the blessing in the trial, the more you can become stronger in the moment faster versus wallowing in your misery and being frustrated. There’s time and space for that.
I’m not saying to snap out of it. I’m saying that if you are there for months, years or decades, you have a choice to look at where the good is and to be a champion from that versus a victim. I would say that those are two things that helped me and continue to help me as I look at any obstacle or issue in my life. I still apply them and have issues. We all do. I like to be able to say, “Here’s another time to prove my mantra. Where’s the blessing in this trial? I’m not seeing it.” I work myself through that process.
That’s such a powerful concept around how you view time and your relationship with time. Often, as entrepreneurs and business owners, we are expecting results instantly. We become impatient. We don’t have that long time horizon, so I love the way to play with what you described. I will take a hard right turn now and take us from all of that was going on in your life.
It’s so great that you were able to navigate out of that, be healthy and over, and be cancer-free. That’s wonderful. When you decided to start running your coaching and consulting business, what do you do or where do you go to get those first few clients? It sounds like you had some clients even while you were working your full-time job. Where do those first few clients come from?
My network of people I have worked with over the last couple of years, in every interaction with an individual, treat it as if it’s a lifelong relationship versus a transaction to create a great mantra and a way to live versus being selfish and intrinsically motivated. That helped me over the years, and then when it was time to say, “I’m going to coach,” I went to social media and posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram as well. I said, “It’s time. Here’s what I’m doing. Here’s why.” I had all sorts of raging doubts as most do. It’s like, “Who am I to do this?”
I knew I needed to coach CEOs because CEOs had the greatest impact on culture than anybody else, positively or negatively, and I had seen positive and negative results from different CEOs. I thought, “I want to help more people.” Working with CEOs is the key but I have never been a CEO. Who am I to do that? All the raging doubts and insecurities would come in, and that’s normal and natural but I had to push past those. I had to figure out who is my laser target focus customer. If I’m going to get clear, who do I serve well?
I did some thought work before that and wrote some stuff down to get my bulls-eye. I’m a big believer in direct targeting versus spray, pray, and hope you find someone. The more direct, the better and post it on social media. A few people reached out and the rest is history. Even now, I don’t do any direct marketing. I’m not doing any paid ads. It’s all referral and word of mouth. It’s purposely how I built the brand and premium brand that I’m trying to build and make sure that it’s not just anyone. It’s a very select process with a select type of individual that they find me and it works.
You are creating all kinds of questions that I don’t want to dig deeper into. You mentioned that you were wrestling with that limiting belief of, “I have never been a CEO yet. I want to serve CEOs.” Let’s start there. How did you overcome that? How did you convince yourself that you can add some value here even though you have never been a CEO yourself?
I had operated in enough businesses and seen the pros and the cons, and the good and the bad. I knew enough frameworks to know like, “It does not matter if I have been a CEO or not. I know what works and I know what does not.” I have worked from Fortune 50, venture-backed firms, early startups, and a little bit more mature startups. I have been around enough to know my business acumen, business experience, and conviction is strong enough.
The greatest thing was, and as bizarre as this sounds, I was spiritually motivated. I felt like there was a deeper purpose to what I was doing back to the spirituality that I shared before I felt like I know this will bless people’s lives, not only the CEOs and their families but all the people that they influence, which is almost infinite. It would be hard to be able to track that.
As I feel so passionately about making work-life better about getting the best results out of people, and having them be thrilled when they get home versus completely drained, it pushed me through. The simplest form is I had to be selfless and not selfish. The more insecure I was, the more I was worried about myself, and what gave me the confidence was to think, “I know I can bless these people’s lives. It’s about them, not about me. Get over yourself and go for it.”
The other thing I want to ask you about is referrals. You mentioned that you don’t do any marketing. Your business comes from the work that you do and the people that you work with. Is there anything that you do when it comes to referrals that you feel is beneficial in the way that you coach and the way that you maybe ask for referrals? Very specifically around referrals, what do you feel influences and is a best practice to help you to generate these referrals?
It’s getting back to my target client who I serve the best and painting that picture to my clients. You would think that they know because they are who they are and I’m coaching them. They know other people but they may not know that I’m that disciplined in who I focus on. When they say stuff like, “This session rocked my world. I cannot believe how I was thinking this way and now it’s this way. It’s completely changing the trajectory of my life and my business. Thank you.” When they have that euphoric moment or tangible value, it’s a great natural moment to say, “I’m so glad you are feeling that. The CEO is somewhat like this,” and go through 3 or 4 different criteria that could also say the same thing and benefit from this and let it be there. That’s it.
I don’t ask it very much. I let the natural value that they are feeling be the catalyst to then ask the question. I also say as I’m coaching clients, especially clients that things are going well. Three months into it or when things are great, I will say, “Just so you are aware of my intention, my intention is to coach you for years to come as you build and scale your business so that as new problems arise, we partner together and you can feel confident to tackle them. You are not obligated to do that, and it’s up to me to add the value that’s so massive and clear that it’s a no-brainer for you to do that.” That gets in their mind and they realize, “He wants me to succeed.”As a leader, you have to be selfless and not selfish. Know that it's about the people, not about you. Click To Tweet
Some consultants hear that and say, “That’s a bad way to do it. I disagree.” I understand that. What they say is what you are doing is creating a conditional dependency in a relationship of that CEO in you, and that’s hurting and inhibiting them. To that, I counter and say, “You are assuming that they are going to be the same person a year from now and their business is going to be the same in that argument.” It’s not. The business is different. They are going to come across new problems. They are going to come across the new scale of, “How do I go from $30 million to $100 million? How do I go from $100 million to $1 billion? I have never done that before.” It’s different.
I can give them frameworks, coaching tips, and ways to coach themselves. When big, massive roadblocks like that come, it’s nice to have someone in your corner. To each of their own, I’m not saying it’s the best way or the only way. It’s the way that works for me. Naturally, the by-product of that is referrals because they know I’m in it for the long haul with these people. I want their success to come to fruition because when they win, I win, and it feels great. That’s a long answer but there you go.
It’s a great perspective. Let’s get a little bit deeper into your actual business. You mentioned you are at capacity, which is a sign to many consultants, executive coaches, and so forth dream of and are working towards. How has your pricing strategy shifted over the years as you have seen increased demand?
That is a genius question because the pricing strategy and capacity are directly correlated in a very potentially atypical way. I have found that what a lot of people feel is that at a price point that is not a major gate, meaning it’s more open for many people, so if I’m pricing lower, I will be at capacity faster. I have found the opposite to be true, so I purposely have priced it at my definition of premium that’s purposely positioned to cater to a select number of people.
Back to laser targeting and laser focus. I found that when you price at a premium, you, 1) Don’t need as many clients. 2) It can be at capacity faster. 3) Can create a little bit of exclusivity of, “I will be ready when I can be ready,” but if I’m always available to everyone all the time, then the value and the perceived value are a little bit less.
I will be super transparent and share my pricing. I started at $2,500 per month at the base level. That has now increased above $3,000 a month at the base level up to $15,000 a month depending on what they consume and what we are doing together. That way, I’ve got behind it and said, “If I’m going to build this, I want to build it not at the expense of my family.” I want to build this so that I can still be a loving husband with time and an awesome father who’s there when they are getting ready for school, need a carpool, and a father figure. I don’t want to be “so busy” building my business that now they don’t remember who I am.
That was a great discipline that I instilled right in the beginning to create that natural constraint to say, “If I’m going to be here with my family and I’m going to price, then I will end up pricing at a higher premium so that I can have the luxury of time.” That’s where it all came together in a powerful way so that I can be present.
My daughter says stuff like, “It’s weird when I come home from school and you are not here whereas I remember before you were never here because you were building these other businesses and you would not go home until 6:00 or 7:00 and we would not see you. Now, you are always here and when you are not, it’s weird.” I was like, “Define weird as a sixteen-year-old. Does that mean you miss me? Is that what you are saying?” She’s like, “I would never say that.” The point was she felt it and they know that my presence is different. I chalk that up as a massive internal win.
I know many consultants think, “As I increase my experience and I’m seeing more results, working with clients, and have case studies, then I will increase my fees,” but it sounds like you were very intentional from the start. You were like, “This is how I’m going to price it.” How did you arrive at that price point? You mentioned that it ranges anywhere from about $3,000 to $15,000 a month that clients pay. How did you decide that that would be the initial pricing? What I would love to know is what is the difference between a $3,000 and a $15,000 per month engagement?
There’s a lot of deep psychology that goes on with pricing, namely around our self-worth as consultants. Very often, when we are not able to price at a certain level, we either, A) Don’t have confidence in our own skills. B) Have issues with money. We view money as something that’s evil and that can ruin people’s souls, which it can if your heart is set on money. I had to get clear first on my value and what I could bring. I had to do an ROI analysis and thought, “If I were CEO, what would I need to see? What would be worth it for me to invest X? What return would I need to see?”
I did my own analysis, and then I’ve also got clear on my relationship with money. I was like, “What was the purpose of building a business? Was it to make $1 billion and drive Bugattis and Lamborghinis and look awesome?” It was not. It was to do X, Y, and Z. I knew what my purpose was with that. Therefore, I had a clear, competent conscious on this is why I’m building wealth and I embraced that.
Being raised the youngest of six by a school teacher dad who is amazing, wealth and money were not in abundance in our home. There’s some scarce thinking that I had acquired over the years around money that I had to work on and get more at peace with my relationship with money. Once I did that, we were set. I did a few analyses in that regard to get to the pricing that I wanted to get to.
To answer the other part of the question, I look at growth and development. There are different studies that are out there that show what percentage of your gross income should you be reinvesting back in the business and learning in development. That’s another analysis that you can look at. I triangulate it with a few things.
Also, I had to look in the mirror and say, “Can I boldly, confidently say, “Here’s the investment,” and not flinch and not say, “If you do it by Tuesday, I will discount it.” There should be no flinching, discounting, or disclaimers but confidently say, “Here it is,” and smile. Very often, people would say, “That’s a ton.” How you respond to that is everything. I would smile right back at them and say, “That’s relative of who you are talking to. It’s a bargain.”If you don't proactively and intentionally build leadership within your business, you will stunt your growth. Click To Tweet
That puts it right back on them. They say, “What do you mean?” We then talk about what is the value of you doing X, Y, and Z. What is the value of building your leadership bench so that they are more capable and that will level you up to be able to work on the business? What price tag do you put on that and what are you investing to do that?
Sales and marketing skills come in handy and are critical. If anyone reading is going, “I hate selling,” then continue to price it at a low premium and be frustrated that you don’t have enough time. You have got to embrace your relationship with sales and see that it truly is serving when you are blessing them to help them solve a problem and accomplish a goal that they need versus money is bad. Sales are icky and horrible. It can be. It’s how we think about it.
The other part of that was the difference between a $3,000 and $15,000 per month engagement. Is that the amount of time that you are working with them?
I’ve got so excited about my tangent that I forgot that second of the question. It’s a combination of a few things. It is a time investment on both sides. It’s also where I bridge the gap between one-on-one coaching and actual consulting where I will do some strategic consulting. I will also, very often at that higher level will be coaching members of their executive team as well. It’s more than just the CEO.
Whereas the first couple of levels is focused on the CEO, the top two levels are more around the broader picture, either the executive team or sometimes the entire leadership team. Any people leader will do an intensive leadership development, exercises, and curriculum that I have created over the years that help instill sustainable growth because I have learned the hard way.
If you don’t proactively and intentionally build leadership within your business, you will stop their growth. There will come a time when you can’t take on a new opportunity or problem to solve because your leadership bench is not deep enough. The leaders are already at max. You have got to always be building them, and that’s the ROI for the higher levels. They see that and they know they don’t want to get in their own way.
When you think to look across all the different leaders or CEOs that you have worked with over the years, is there a tendency or a commonality, whether it’s a limiting belief or an area that the majority of the clients you work with have been challenged by or they get stuck at that it happens all the time? Are there a top 1 or 2 things that you feel are typically applicable to leaders?
The answer came right to me when you asked the question. To give a little bit of background before I answer the question, the clients that I coach, I purposely don’t focus on 1 industry nor 1 business size, because what I coach is universally applicable across the board though the threshold is roughly about $5 million in annual revenue. That’s about the lowest that I will coach because the problems that I helped solve start to show up at that level.
I coached for $5 million. The highest-grossing business that I coach is $70 billion. It’s publicly traded. I have gone from public venture-backed, bootstrapped, and all of the above from technology to marketing, healthcare, automotive, education, and mining. It is so diverse. The reason why I’m sharing that is that the patterns are still the same. Back to your question, the number one thing that I see in CEOs and leaders, in general, is trying to understand their relationship with fear.
Very often, what drives human beings, especially high performers is 1 or 2 faces of fear, either fear of failure or fear of not being enough or not being liked. Those are the roots of almost everything that we are working on. I can hear it all the time in their language. I can see it in their strategies. I can see what they are trying to put together to make sure that this does not fail, because if I failed, then it defines X, Y, and Z, and all of a sudden, I’m this. I’m getting, 1) The awareness of our fear. 2) A healthy relationship with our fear. When we can do that, the sky is the limit but that is the number one limiting belief.
For those that are reading that maybe they are not $5 millionist or they are not going to be an ideal client for you so they can’t reach out and engage. Is there a way to self-analyze this or to become more self-aware? What are some steps, if you feel that they exist, that somebody could do to identify their own fear and then be able to work through it more effectively?
When you hear fear, you think, “I’m not scared. Nothing is going to stop me.” It’s super subconscious. That’s the hard part. I like this question because it helps you to go, “What would I do?” Here are some exercises that I like to take clients through. A lot of it has to do with our own thinking and journaling. When we go to take a particular action, I like to do a five whys exercise, a particular thought, or something that either is positive or negative. Whatever it is, ask why five times. It’s called the five whys. Why am I not doing that? You answer that question, which is level one. You then ask why to that answer, which is level two. You do that until you get to five layers down.
Very often, it comes down to, “If I’m honest, I’m scared that this might break. I’ve got to do this to overcompensate or try that,” but we give ourselves these flowery answers initially that sound good and look good and protect our ego but when we are honest, all of that is ego protection. In reality, we are just being little kids. It’s like, “I hope that I don’t get ostracized the way I did in middle school or grade school.” We all have some deep scars that are there and having that relationship is helpful.
It’s asking the five whys and eliminating belief or action we might take or action we did take to understand what was the true motive behind that. I do mindset and then action. There are three Ms under action. I say, “Here are the three Ms. Figure out the Motive of that action.” It then enables you to take some Movement, which is an element of faith then that enables you to get to a sustained Momentum. They are Motive, Movement, and Momentum.What drives human beings is fear – either a fear of failure or a fear of not being enough. Click To Tweet
Anytime I’m going to take any action, I like to ask, “What’s my motive?” It is like a sister to the first exercise but it might be a little bit easier to answer that, and you don’t have to go five layers deep but you have got to be clear about that motive. If the motive is fear-based, selfish or about pride and ego, likely, it’s not going to have enough inertia behind it to build the sustainable moment that we need. If the motive on the other side is selfless, out of love, generosity, and abundance, very often when we take that movement, we will have sustained momentum.
Those are the two things I help people through that are fun and require a lot of brutal honesty and a ton of vulnerability. You can’t fake this stuff. I take that back. You can fake it but it won’t result in sustained momentum. You will just find yourself back in the same trench, problem or issue. Groundhog’s Day will be over and over again. If you do the work well, authentically, humbly, and very vulnerably, you will grow. If not, you will grow a little and cheat the system. It does not work.
I have two more quick questions. The first is you have developed your own framework, the mask framework. It’s the same letters as your last name. The question I have for you is, how important is developing a framework for you when it comes to your marketing? I know your business comes from referrals but how do you feel about having a framework? Is that something that makes it easier for you to do your work or do you feel like that also provides an appeal to clients? What are your overall thoughts about the importance or not importance of having a framework?
My answer is probably biased but I believe it’s critical to have your own framework. It gives you the confidence you need. It gives clients a little different perception. Especially when it’s universally applicable, it’s very powerful, so they get a lot of value from it. It’s powerful, and back to marketing because my principles are so clear, my mindset, action, spirituality, kindness, pillars, and these principles are my marketing.
They repel the right clients and detract the wrong clients, which is great. When they see that I’m coaching on spirituality and kindness, they are like, “What weirdo that does that?” They leave and it’s perfect. Others go, “That’s intriguing. Why would you do that?” They lean in. That framework has been super powerful. It is helpful in a $5 million business and a $70 billion business. It’s universally applicable regardless of the challenges we are going through. Again, I’m biased but it’s important.
You keep talking about the wide range of different organizations that you can work within different industries or sizes but what is important for everybody who’s joining us to keep in mind is that you still are very clear on the criteria that make up an ideal client. You said CEO and a whole bunch of other things. You have narrowed and hit the bulls-eye on the criteria of the ideal client but they can be in different industries and of different sizes as well.
That’s a great distinction. There are five criteria that I have that I’ve got to have those right in the bulls-eye. I have learned the hard way. If they don’t have them, they are not the ideal customer for me and they don’t get the value that they want and the word that I want them to receive.Figure out the motive behind your actions. This will enable you to take some movement, which will enable you to sustain momentum. Click To Tweet
Is there any one of those criteria that might sound a little bit weird to people? Can you share what it is?
Yes. I will tell you all five. These are CEOs that are growing high-growth companies. In other words, they have a need and a desire to improve and grow. They lead an executive team, trying to balance some semblance of life at home, whatever that is, and this is the weird one that people are like, “What?” They believe in a higher power. That’s back to my spirituality. I believe everything in life is spiritual. It does not have to be religion-based. I don’t prescribe anything to anyone. What I’m looking for is, “Do you believe that there’s something bigger than you?” The root of all this is humility. When they believe in a higher power, there’s a different level of humility and therefore there’s more coachability in them. Those are the criteria that I look for. Some think I’m weird. I just smile and say, “You are right. I’m very weird.”
That’s so great and powerful that you are very clear on that criteria because very often, people are not. I have the second to the last question before we wrap up. In the last couple of months, what is the best book that you have read or listened to? It could be fiction or nonfiction.
The best that I have re-read is probably Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott. I love that one. It’s so good. It’s about dissecting how we converse and lead people powerfully. I would say that one for now. It has been a great one. That has been helpful for me and many others that I revisited and thought, “This is a gem.” I have a list of so many others but that’s one.
You mentioned re-read it. Do you tend to re-read books or do you tend to also read new books?
Both. I will re-read those that are classics in my mind that are powerful because I believe great books can be readily applicable in the scenario you are living in the moment. You may have read it a decade ago but your life was different. Your experiences were different, and now, you re-read it in this setting and the lessons, learnings, and frameworks are differently applied. I like that principle and also learning new books as well. I read not just leadership but biographies, spiritual books, and other things that keep my brain active and staying sharp.
We are going to wrap up here but before we do, I want to make sure that people can learn more about you, your work, and everything you have going on. Where’s the best place for people to go and learn more?
If you want to learn about my business and about me, go to MaskPrinciples.com. All the information is there. All the pricing and the structures are too. I’m super transparent. I don’t hold it back. I say, “Here it is.” Some people say that’s stupid but to each their own. I also lead a run a leadership podcast. I love helping new emerging and accidental leaders to grow and have the tools that they need to be powerful leaders, and that is called Ready to Lead.
It’s available on Apple and Spotify. That’s a fun one. That’s a playground for me. I built that with a business partner because I feel like leaders need leaders. We need each other. It can be lonely and difficult. We second guess ourselves, so that podcast is there with tangible tools, tips, and real-world applications to become a better leader. It’s fun stuff.
Thank you so much for coming on and sharing some of your story and journey here with us and also lots of wisdom and golden nuggets.
No problem. Thank you for what you are doing and the leadership you are providing for people that are tuning in. I love it. It’s not easy, so thank you for doing what you are doing. It’s fabulous.
About Jeff Mask
Life has taught me a few counterintuitive truths:
–> Humility is strength
–> Kindness is power
–> Vulnerability is courage
–> Leadership is love
I believe people and organizations need these truths now more than ever.
Fear can (and typically does) run rampant in organizations across the globe.
When we’re scared, we’re dumb.
And I want to change that.
Which is why I’m on a journey to influence the “normal” way we lead.
This journey combines 1-on-1 coaching, 1-to-many leadership development, and groundbreaking research.
I LOVE this journey and am grateful to be alive to learn, grow, and add light to this wonderful world.
Drop me a line if you’d like to collaborate.
Favorite quote of the quarter:
“Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.” – Margaret Wheatley