Ep. 60: Ryan Leak on The GREATEST Tool For Change In Diversity (Part 2)

In this episode, David sits down with Ryan Leak, Speaker, Author, Executive Coach, and Podcaster, to discuss the GREATEST tool for change in diversity.

Buy David’s NEWEST Book “Trusted Leader”: https://amzn.to/3luyqf1

Ryan’s Bio:
Ryan Leak is a speaker, author, executive coach, and podcaster from Dallas, TX. He’s known as the ultimate risk taker from two documentaries, one being the Surprise Wedding where he proposed to his wife and married her on the same day after he planned the wedding for two years. The second documentary is called Chasing Failure that displays his journey of trying out for the Phoenix Suns. He speaks to over 50,000 people a month and trains upwards of 12,000 leaders a year from C-Suite Executives to professional athletes.

Ryan’s Links:
Website: https://www.ryanleak.com/
“Chasing Failure” by Ryan Leak: https://amzn.to/3ru3dw2
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanleak/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ryanleak/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ryanleak
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ryanleak
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqoJtQgM2gMlGf8BaZIZglw

Key Quotes:
1. “Who knows who I really am?”
2. “People can know your name but never know your pain.”
3. “Being authentic is good for us.”
4. “Authenticity is massive when it comes to building trust.”
5. “Friendship is by far the greatest tool for change.”
6. “We all need someone in our life to take a chance on our potential.”

Links Mentioned In The Episode:
“Chasing Failure” by Ryan Leak: https://amzn.to/3ru3dw2

Buy David’s NEWEST Book “Trusted Leader”: https://amzn.to/3luyqf1

David’s Links:
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/36AXtp9
Follow us on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2S9O6mj
Follow David on Twitter: https://bit.ly/2BEXgla
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Show Transcript

Kent Svenson: Welcome to The Trusted Leader Show. I’m Kent Svenson, producer of The Trusted Leader Show.

Kent Svenson: And this episode is part 2 of David’s interview with Ryan Leak. If you missed part 1, Ryan discussed why we should all be chasing failure, the 5 questions we should be asking when counting the cost of our dreams, and why our calendar’s will actually determine the trajectory of our lives.

Kent Svenson: If you missed last week’s episode, definitely go check it out. But let’s rejoin them now for part 2 of David’s interview with Ryan Leak. Enjoy the show.

David Horsager: Let’s jump into this, you know.

David Horsager: The self leadership questions because you’re asking a few questions, maybe not all 12 of them, but your what are a few you know, in your learning from leading yourself and leading.

David Horsager: inspiring executives and really pro athletes, or whatever you get these 12 questions you’re thinking about and I think the interesting thing we talked about this earlier where.

David Horsager: You know you learn an executive coach and you told them something they didn’t do much, yes, through a question that started them sometimes ignited transformation, what are some of those questions on self leadership that we can take a peek into.

Ryan Leak: Oh you’re asking for a sneak preview.

David Horsager: peak that’s What about giving value here.

David Horsager: This is why we do the.

Ryan Leak: Okay sneaky agree, this is the insider information without paying you right here yeah.

Ryan Leak: So one of the questions of the.

Ryan Leak: That, I think everyone should be asking themselves to help themselves grow.

Ryan Leak: Let me see which one do I want to to reveal um.

Ryan Leak: The one, the one that I think has resonated the most with clients and friend, is is this question, who knows who I really am I call this the transparency question.

Ryan Leak: The reason for this is is We live in a society where we post our best hide the rest.

Ryan Leak: I know so many people who have gotten divorced over the last two years and they still had to show up on zoom and perform and by the time they told their co workers and colleagues and friends, they had gotten a divorce, the typical response that they get is, I never knew.

Ryan Leak: I never knew that you, you were having having issues, and so, most people take their issues and they go into a corner and they just suffer alone, and nobody actually knows who they really are people can know your name and never know your pain and that that can be.

Ryan Leak: You can find yourself in a pretty unhealthy situation.

Ryan Leak: By doing that, and so I think the transparency question is absolutely massive, especially in a day and age, where mental health is on the rise, and you don’t want to be the one that is ostracized or pity or.

Ryan Leak: In a lot of conversations around diversity equity and inclusion, you know if you’re a minority of any kind, if you’re the least of in a room.

Ryan Leak: And it can it can be a thing of going i’m not going to tell anybody who are really feel because I have more to lose I lose my job I don’t want to, and I just.

Ryan Leak: i’ve got a really good friend who he suffers from panic attacks can’t get on a plane.

Ryan Leak: He loved to travel with me so, but he he literally cannot, and he was telling me a story about one time he got on a plane and he he had a panic attack and begged the captain and the stewardesses to open the gate and they said, you know how much money, it will cost us to do that.

Ryan Leak: And he’s like I can’t breathe.

Ryan Leak: And you just think about man and how many people are going through so much and you just you just never know.

Ryan Leak: Who they really are until there is something about being authentic that is so good for us and.

Ryan Leak: And we we just work in a society where that’s not really applaud and all that much and and having transparency be it’s like hey we pay you to do a job so so do your job.

Ryan Leak: And so I think the world could be a better place if we were all just a little bit more transparent and I like to say, everybody doesn’t need to know.

Ryan Leak: But some Somebody needs to know who you really are and so that that’s one of the questions that I think helps develop leaders and people under huge.

David Horsager: What we see it all the time if you’re doing it, we say this if you’re doing leadership alone you’re doing it wrong you got to have team.

David Horsager: And by the way, you’re absolutely right to that you don’t share this with every everybody isn’t your you don’t dump every bad thing or every struggles to everybody, but you have to have a place, you have to have a space, you have to have.

David Horsager: Accountability a mastermind close friends or mentors or whatever to do that, you know let’s talk about this uh you know building trust.

David Horsager: Diversity equity inclusion belonging.

David Horsager: For our audience all these trusted leaders and.

David Horsager: You know, we know that one of the biggest studies out of Harvard shows diversity on its own, we only focus on diversity.

David Horsager: tends to infect in in one study, one of the biggest of its kind kind of said it pits people against each other.

David Horsager: But when you increase trust you get em meant benefits, as you know, a diversity equity inclusion.

David Horsager: Or you know, being a man of color what can all of us learn about how we could build trust, so that we enjoy the benefits of all people, as we lead a more diverse environment, then maybe we ever have in.

Ryan Leak: Here absolutely so great question I think authenticity is massive when it comes to to building trust every minority of any kind of has the same superpower thanks can smell it fraud.

Ryan Leak: They all have the same similar they can smell it from thinking always if let’s just say I was speaking to a group of women and I started speaking on behalf of women and their struggle.

Ryan Leak: Every women in the audience going.

Ryan Leak: huh.

Ryan Leak: How do you, you can tell somebody that raised some stats versus somebody that has actually sat with.

Ryan Leak: Women and really understood their struggle to make sense, and so I think sometimes what happens in the marketplace is we think okay well, one of the ways that we can.

Ryan Leak: Because here’s here’s here’s a big fear that a lot of people that nobody wants to be considered a race, nobody nobody wants to be considered, no one wants to be.

Ryan Leak: That person that isn’t trusted nobody wants to be there, and so what happens is is we try to put makeup on our website or an eye and in in full transparency, I used to help companies, change the website and they will do exactly what I told them to do.

Ryan Leak: Their website changed, but they did not.

Ryan Leak: and

David Horsager: How do they change, how do we, how do we create change we’re talking about this, all the time, how do we change the culture of organizations.

David Horsager: have changed thinking, how do we actually had we act change is not easy.

Ryan Leak: way to personal habit, I used to do this habit train, we still have it as.

David Horsager: Part of the curriculum.

David Horsager: And I would ask you.

David Horsager: How many of you’ve changed a big habit last 20 or more pounds in your life don’t have to first of all, so how many have wanted every team to have 100%.

David Horsager: How many ever change a habit, it was like 6%.

Ryan Leak: Actually, the change to.

David Horsager: happen so.

David Horsager: The ability to actually change whether it’s um you know I mean some of these systems were titled racial inequity systems or other system how what are some things you’ve seen, maybe even an individual coaching session that actually started to see change.

Ryan Leak: i’m going to give you 111 way to change in this particular area of diversity and inclusion.

Ryan Leak: friendship.

Ryan Leak: Friendship program certification.

Ryan Leak: Reading a book and give you some information on some history but friendship is by far the greatest tool for change, because when you’re friends with someone who is marginalized when you’re friends with someone who is ostracize.

Ryan Leak: You can tell.

Ryan Leak: You can tell them and said well we’ve got Indian neighbor in the neighbors who have invited us to a festival of lights, that is typically mostly Indian but they’ve invited us as their print.

Ryan Leak: In so we’re going as their friends.

Ryan Leak: it’s going to be very, very difficult for any of us to understand someone we’ve never sat with that we’ve never broken bread with that we’ve never had.

Ryan Leak: A meal with in, so I think one of the most endearing questions that we can be asking someone that is different than us in any way, shape or form.

Ryan Leak: Is what’s it like to be you.

Ryan Leak: what’s it like to be you in our organization what’s it like to be the only woman on the board what’s it like to be a person of color in an organization well this onboarding like for you.

Ryan Leak: Are there moments, where you think if you are honest, that you could lose your job.

Ryan Leak: What what what is what is that.

Ryan Leak: What is what is that, like, for you.

Ryan Leak: let’s see.

David Horsager: Really quick.

Ryan Leak: What you know.

David Horsager: You know let’s jump in there, because you your leader and some of the spaces i’ve seen in quite white dominated arenas in certain spaces, at least, that I know that you’re in.

David Horsager: it’s like to be you.

David Horsager: hey you’re feeding the questions buddy.

Ryan Leak: Right.

Ryan Leak: It is.

Ryan Leak: extremely difficult and extremely rewarding at the same time.

Ryan Leak: But, for me, it is a.

Ryan Leak: You know, there is a.

Ryan Leak: How, there is a there is a measurement when I walk in a room of going how black, can I be.

Ryan Leak: Think about.

Ryan Leak: Sports that.

Ryan Leak: black and white people love.

Ryan Leak: And then you think about sports are subjects that are more white centric or more black centric in so as an nba guy I rarely talk about nba stuff because a lot of the spaces, that I am entering into are more dominated by hunting.

Ryan Leak: Fishing or football, of which those sports are not of interest to me, nor have I ever participated in.

Ryan Leak: And so what I what I look for is commonality, but there is a an awareness, for me, of guy hey don’t talk about this simply because it won’t relate to the idea, and so, so I think that there’s there’s there is a.

Ryan Leak: A constant and especially just traveling now it gets harder because you’re going into a room you’re going is this a mask room is this a non mask room.

Ryan Leak: Is this a vaccinating environment is a non vaccinated environment is this a polarizing environment is this a red state is this a blue state is this a.

Ryan Leak: You know, are you going to be chastised for not wearing a mask are you going to be chastised for wearing a mask you so all of those things as a person that speaks to a lot of people I do more reading of rooms than I do.

David Horsager: To that point.

David Horsager: On that exact point, I would say that is what we should all do.

David Horsager: period, we should think of serving them like i’ve seen speakers, and you have to that are out there to serve themselves to have their own therapy.

David Horsager: Where are my question always every paragraph when we teach her are certified folks and coaches it’s like asking what does this mean to them.

David Horsager: So, in one way that’s a great like their stories I can’t tell from I people know I grew up on the farm and all this and I tell certain things that that.

David Horsager: that people can relate to, and it turns out, still in our country about 80% of people that only a generation or two remove gruesome grampa at least a grandpa touch somehow.

David Horsager: Many did, but many dentists, I can tell all those things right, so I think thinking about the audience is key, no matter what but but tell me one more level of what for you as a person of color.

David Horsager: And let’s even go deeper because I would assume it’s easier almost to go and speak and leave, but what about a relationship, because I know your path past leader very well who loved hunting and fishing, for example.

Ryan Leak: But how in.

David Horsager: That let’s say you’re having a leadership team meeting.

David Horsager: yeah what what you know you were I don’t know how long have a voice or not, but what what.

David Horsager: What was difficult about that, so we can, as you know, peek behind and say this is different, this is something I don’t get or understand, we can read.

David Horsager: It and we can read all these things that you said, we can even have friends, but you have a unique perspective as as kind of an executive on the team.

Ryan Leak: yeah totally you know, for me, I I even have to think through what do I wear because, so you know you’re doing you know 1520 corporate gigs in November, should I wear a navy blue blazer and sky blue shirt.

Ryan Leak: to fit in.

Ryan Leak: Or should I dress how I dress I have both So if I fit in it’s like well you you go, like everybody else, except just just black.

Ryan Leak: So so.

David Horsager: Here is I think there’s even another deeper level right here.

David Horsager: Because I can say.

David Horsager: In who I am I can wear cowboy boots and jeans and feel really comfortable I could wear something else but i’m going to actually think about the audience.

David Horsager: And where the blue blazer and the blue shirt.

David Horsager: Because I want them just to quickly trust me i’ve noticed that works.

David Horsager: So why is it.

David Horsager: easier for me there’s something here that’s a little unfair in that it’s easier for me.

David Horsager: To just think about them and do it than it is fair for you, is something we need to understand what is it.

Ryan Leak: You know I think we’re all trying to measure what will be accepted versus rejected I i’ll give a someone who is on the other side of the pendulum for me.

David Horsager: They are, by the way.

David Horsager: This is great.

Ryan Leak: You know I love this conversation so Eric Thomas okay.

Ryan Leak: Someone said number one motivational speaker in the world.

Ryan Leak: He is black he speaks in Jordan 11th Jordan shorts and his own branded T shirt or sweatshirt if it’s cold.

Ryan Leak: And a hat.

Ryan Leak: i’m speaking for one of the largest organizations in the world, next week.

Ryan Leak: There is no way I could wear Jordan 11s, Jordan shorts and my own brand of t-shirt.

Ryan Leak: There is no way.

Ryan Leak: I can do it Eric Thomas does.

David Horsager: and get let me ask you this, what, why is that because there’s no way I could either wear what I wear daily.

David Horsager: You know, so what tell me why that is because i’ve seen people hire on personality, I know a guy that wears nothing I would wear that happens to be a white guy.

David Horsager: You know, but there’s something here what why.

David Horsager: Is that that you couldn’t Is it because of that audience, or is it because of who you are who they hired you to be that you represented yourself as.

Ryan Leak: You know I think Eric has gotten to a level where he just said hey I can just be myself and i’m the best in the world you’re going to get me or you can’t but i’m not i’m not changing for you, you know.

David Horsager: i’ve never heard about authenticity why don’t I like I can I can go in with what am I gonna feel authentic but what about you, I mean.

Ryan Leak: I I love clothes like what i’m wearing right now.

David Horsager: yeah.

Ryan Leak: You look great it.

Ryan Leak: I couldn’t see you wearing it.

David Horsager: Why is that.

Ryan Leak: I mean it’s it’s like.

David Horsager: For me.

Ryan Leak: So, again I would I would wear this, but you know today, I had to think or i’m going to be on the Dallas news station right so.

Ryan Leak: Later today i’m going to go film so i’m thinking okay what’s TV appropriate.

Ryan Leak: And you don’t want to be distracting which you want to be sharp and you want it, you know, but you also don’t want i’m not a khaki pants navy blue blazer person so so thinking you know i’m not going to wear nba sweat on TV today but part of that is.

Ryan Leak: You don’t want to, I think, for me, scare people, because in part of.

Ryan Leak: Part of you know I speak up you know, one of the one of the largest churches in America, that is, you know it has quite a few white people, and I would say over the last year and a half what i’ve been able to do is earn their trust.

Ryan Leak: And, and so part of that if I.

Ryan Leak: You know Nike data.

Ryan Leak: or for a weekend or I think there would be a there is a stigma that has come with people who aren’t quote unquote professional.

Ryan Leak: And so, those are some hurdles in some stigmas that have come with the African American Community that when I walked through the door, there is.

Ryan Leak: You know I had one client they’re like, why are you always early like you’re way too early and i’m like well there’s a stigma that like people are late and I, and I feel like i’m.

Ryan Leak: Fixing it.

Ryan Leak: or or that I have to prove to you that.

Ryan Leak: that’s not the case, you know and so there’s this even there’s there’s places, you know if i’m working with a professional sports team i’ll come suited up.

Ryan Leak: And they’re like I mean you’re not overdressed but like you’re like really, really like on right now and i’m like why I almost feel like I have to represent a different brand of black, if you will, because so many people have had.

Ryan Leak: Either a negative experience with an African American of sorts, and so.

Ryan Leak: there’s people that i’ve recommended that are black that I gotten feedback from, and you know, there was just a litany of things that I feel like i’m like Okay, those are things that coming in the door, I have to fix any potential.

Ryan Leak: wrongs, if you will, and that and that can be that can be challenging.

Ryan Leak: I think for for me.

David Horsager: that’s a big weight to carry.

Ryan Leak: yeah you know in part of it is like I it’s a weight to carry but like I said it’s also very rewarding to.

Ryan Leak: really show up for my client and just do a really good job.

David Horsager: mm hmm.

Ryan Leak: there’s something about going hey i’m here to add value to your life.

Ryan Leak: And it’s not about me and I wanna I want to have your company be better, I want to help you become better and, at the end it’s like.

Ryan Leak: Man I just heard a really great message, or I just had a really great session with a guy who just so happens to be black.

Ryan Leak: But the paradigm of black people are this way I feel like I have an opportunity to.

Ryan Leak: To change that because i’m going well hey that that’s that’s actually not true, but I can argue with you and say hey here’s why it’s not true.

Ryan Leak: Or, I can just do the best that I possibly can, and just do and just do a good job so, so I think that those are some.

Ryan Leak: But but, and I have to say this, when I there’s a there’s a slide that I do whenever I do a diversity keynote I call it the breadcrumbs slide.

Ryan Leak: And what I always do is I always follow the breadcrumbs as to how I got that opportunity in on that breadcrumb slides is it’s a slide of white people who gave me access to opportunities.

Ryan Leak: That I wouldn’t have had, without them, and so part of what I like to communicate to people is going hey you might go matt Ryan see you, you made it Ryan see you you’ve done it we don’t even have a problem.

Ryan Leak: Well, yes, enough of what you don’t see about the behind the scenes of my story is there is someone that has been unlocking doors for me all along.

Ryan Leak: In so if there wasn’t about mirror if there wasn’t a Jason strand you mean it may not even be on this podcast right now, and so.

Ryan Leak: There was a at one point my parents could not afford to keep me in a private school in rockford Illinois, which is the second most dangerous city in America, so the trajectory of my life should have been completely different.

Ryan Leak: But there was a ninth grade English teacher who said hey I see something in your boys what me and my husband will pay for them to stay at the school.

Ryan Leak: And that allowed me to meet this next person and this next person that led me to go to the College that I go to, then I got connected to the President of that college, who made an introduction for me to for me to land my first job.

Ryan Leak: And then, that I mean, and I can follow these breadcrumbs until the behind the scenes, and my story.

Ryan Leak: is an incredible amount of white people who gave me opportunities that I was not ready for but they took a chance on me anyways, and so what I encourage people to do is is to say hey.

Ryan Leak: I think we all need someone in our life to take a chance on our potential, and I think we also need to be taking chances on other people for them to help them see their potential, otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting in my seat, right now, if it wasn’t for.

Ryan Leak: A lot of really great people that said hey we’re on your Ryan, like a chant and so that makes me want to give other people a chance and so So yes, it’s a.

Ryan Leak: it’s it’s challenging for me, but at the same time, the behind the scenes of is what I really want people to see of going.

Ryan Leak: There might be a minority of some sort in your organization and going yeah they can rise up but yeah there’s a lot of people who work just as hard as me that are black or that are female or or whatever, and the difference between me and them is not talent it’s opportunity.

Ryan Leak: And access.

Ryan Leak: To rooms and boardrooms and tables that they didn’t get that I got maybe at age 18 that I really didn’t deserve to be in the room, but I was invited by somebody someone did me a favor someone.

Ryan Leak: Just just gave me gave me access I wouldn’t be doing stuff with nba teams if it wasn’t, for I mean literally I could point to.

Ryan Leak: amazing white people that weren’t even trying to be.

Ryan Leak: inclusive.

Ryan Leak: They just said hey there’s this kid.

Ryan Leak: Well, I think your players would relate to, and I think you should give them a chance and they had no idea who I was they gave me an opportunity anyways so things grew from there, I started it well, yes, but um.

Ryan Leak: But that that’s what I hope people understand about if you’re in any majority category.

Ryan Leak: Hard work is not enough.

Ryan Leak: You need somebody to give you an opportunity to be heard and and I think that that’s huge.

David Horsager: Lots here and lots more questions I told you, we weren’t going to.

David Horsager: Go too long and what did we do with keeping going we’re going to go on for another one.

David Horsager: You gotta land this plane, but boy I hope we can have you back i’d love to see you at.

David Horsager: Our summit, but I.

David Horsager: A couple of big things and I somebody told me this back in college, the greatest tool for changes friendship, in that, and that is huge and I think this question, we need to ask, as leaders what’s it like to be you.

David Horsager: what’s it like to be you here.

David Horsager: what’s it like to be you, especially as we’re trying to make a higher trust more inclusive environment on our teams lots more to say lots more to think about the book is chasing failure there’s a new one around the corner so start reading chasing failure before you.

David Horsager: Before we have the other one on your desk the best place to find out more about Riley.

Ryan Leak: Riley calm Ryan Lee calm i’m Ryan league everywhere Twitter instagram tick tock.

Ryan Leak: There is another Ryan Lee professional soccer player actually on that out, but apparently he did not get.

Ryan Leak: The URLs of everything everything else so i’d be fun so Ryan like everywhere, but Riley calm, is where is where you where you will find all of the all of the Info that you need on me.

David Horsager: This has been a treat we always end with this final question it’s a trusted leader show who’s a leader you trust and why.

Ryan Leak: Oh later, I trust, and why what a great question um.

Ryan Leak: You know I would say Jason strand Jason strand, he is the senior pastor of very large church either book church somewhere i’m sure, a lot of your audience may be familiar with that church.

Ryan Leak: It may not.

Ryan Leak: But you know, the level of integrity that he operates with and his he so unassuming sell unassuming.

Ryan Leak: doesn’t I think he has maybe one or two social media profiles that are not have kept at all.

Ryan Leak: Most people in his position want to leverage it for more fame or more success but.

Ryan Leak: You know he’s he’s he is.

Ryan Leak: i’m trying to think of the best way to say he is the most special normal person and leader i’ve ever met.

Ryan Leak: him or heard that phrase the of the most special normal person yeah.

David Horsager: Jason and let him know you said that that’s all.

Ryan Leak: Right what it what encapsulates like his.

Ryan Leak: Easier so down to earth he so.

Ryan Leak: manage he’s just he’s just trying to lead a great organization he’s he’s not trying to he’s just laser focused on his tasks he’s not really thinking about much outside of that and.

Ryan Leak: And just just his his level of of integrity of of you know, trying to add value to people’s lives and ultimately their faith and I just think it’s I think it’s really cool so he’s an easy one to trust.

David Horsager: love it.

David Horsager: yeah wow.

David Horsager: Ryan Leak. Thank you. Thanks for this time today.

Ryan Leak: My pleasure.

David Horsager: Somewhat tree tree to connect.

David Horsager: like this is thanks for sharing with this audience more to come with Ryan Leak that’s been the trusted leader show until next time stay trusted.

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