David Rendall | How to Embrace Your “Freak Factor” and Grow Your Business

David Rendall is a keynote speaker and MC. During the last 15 years, he has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent and his clients include the US Air Force, Australian Government, and Fortune 50 companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, UnitedHealth Group, Fannie Mae, and State Farm.

Prior to becoming a speaker, David was a leadership professor, stand-up comedian, and nonprofit executive. In between presentations, he competes in ultramarathons and Ironman triathlons. He has a Doctor of Management degree in Organizational Leadership as well as a graduate degree in Psychology. He is the author of four books: The Four Factors of Effective Leadership, The Freak Factor, The Freak Factor for Kids, and Pink Goldfish.

John Corcoran, host of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast is joined by renowned keynote speaker, David Rendall, to discuss the importance of embracing one’s imperfections and being different. They also talk about David’s background, the reasons behind his pink and freak factor trademarks, and his advice on managing a business before and during a pandemic or an economic downturn.

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Here’s a Glimpse of What You’ll Hear:

  • How David Rendall’s upbringing shaped his life.
  • David shares how he developed his pink and freak factor trademarks and how this challenges other people’s assumptions.
  • The importance of embracing one’s imperfections and being different.
  • David shares how the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced his business mission and his advice to businesses struggling during the pandemic.
  • How being different can help you stand out from other people and businesses.
  • David explains how being different, unforgettable, and a change of perspective can help people live through an economic downturn.
  • The people David admires in his industry and those he acknowledges for his achievements and success.

Resources Mentioned:

Sponsor: Rise25

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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:14  

Welcome to the revolution, the Smart Business Revolution Podcast where we ask today’s most successful entrepreneurs to share the tools and strategies they use to build relationships and connections to grow their revenue. Now, your host for the revolution, John Corcoran.

John Corcoran  0:40  

All right. Welcome everyone. John Corcoran here, I’m the host of this show. And you know my story, I’m a recovering political hack and a recovering lawyer spent many years working in politics including as a speechwriter with stints working at the Clinton White House and for California Governor spent years practicing law in Silicon Valley in San Francisco Bay Area. 10 years ago, I discovered the medium of podcasting and I’ve been doing ever since. And I love this medium because I get to talk to such interesting people, including our guests here today, and many top CEOs, founders and entrepreneurs from all kinds of different organizations. I’m also the co-founder of Rise25, where we help b2b businesses with the strategy and production they need creative podcasts that produce a tremendous ROI and connects them with their ideal prospects, and referral partners. And I’m excited today because my guest is Dave Rendall. He has spoken to audiences on every inhabited continent. His clients include the US Air Force, Australian Government, Fortune 50 companies such as Microsoft, T&T, UnitedHealth Group, Fannie Mae and Statefarm. 

Prior to becoming speaker, he was a leadership professor and a stand up comic. He also manages nonprofit enterprises that provide employment for people with disabilities. And he also, in between presentations, competes in ultra marathons and Ironman triathlons as well. He is a doctor of management degree in organizational leadership as well as a graduate degree in psychology. He is the author of four books: The Four Factors of Effective Leadership, The Freak Factor, The Freak Factor for Kids, and Pink Goldfish. And before we get into this, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 Media, where we help b2b businesses to get clients, referrals and strategic partnerships with done for you podcast and content marketing. And if you want to learn more, you can go to rise25media.com to learn all about it. Alright, Dave, I’m excited to interview you, perhaps because I kind of relate to some of the stuff that you talk about in a different way. I guess the fact I used to joke about the fact that I worked in politics, I was a lawyer, I think going around my career by going to work for the IRS. So I’ve worked for all the professions that everyone hates. So I feel like a little bit of a square peg in a round hole sometimes. But you know, you grew up kind of poor in a trailer park in Wisconsin, I believe it was, and that shaped and guided and molded who you are today talk a little bit about that about how the your upbringing shaped who you are today.

David Rendall  3:01  

I think it shaped it. And I think it also gave me an opportunity to see real early the kind of person I was, I think the poverty so much shaped it as much as you know, the interaction. So I went to a very conservative religious schools and was always in trouble because I couldn’t sit still and be quiet and do what I was told in an environment where sitting still and being quiet and doing what you’re told, were sit considered kind of the pinnacle of proper behavior and a sign of future success, your ability to conform your ability to be obedient, your ability to do what you were told, was considered kind of the gold standard. And my inability to do that was not just like a behavior problem, like in a lot of situations, but it was kind of like a fundamental weakness a fundamental problem with who I was not just sort of behaviorally but but on the inside and, you know, my parents reinforced that they I get in trouble at home for the things I got in trouble for school, and then, you know, grew up thinking that something was wrong with me, I have to learn to sit still be quiet and do what I told I can’t sit still and be quiet and do what I’m told, therefore I’m going to fail. And then you know, fast forward 20 years and I become a professional speaker and people are paying me to stand up not to sit down to talk and not to be quiet and to run my own business not to do what other people are telling me to do. And there’s a lot in between those two things. But I think that was the main lesson I drew from my childhood was that we’re bad at predicting who’s going to be successful and who’s not going to be successful. We’re bad at understanding the characteristics that make people successful and that very often, we miss understand people’s strengths as weaknesses and define them as people that are going to fail when in fact those are the very things that are going to help them succeed.

John Corcoran  4:55  

Yeah, I love that. I love the love the message of encouraging people to To embrace what’s different about them, because I think so often I was just talking to someone yesterday about this, who he had done a stint in prison for three and a half years. And it related to the work that he done did now because he was a coach. He is a coach who helps preach and mentor executives on ethical leadership. So it was completely relevant. But I was looking at his website and looking at his LinkedIn profile, and it didn’t mention it. And I, that was the first comment I made like, why don’t you embrace that which is most different and most memorable, memorable about you? So you know, your trademark is pink glasses, pink hair, pink, everything shoes, that kind of thing? What point? Did you start developing that? Was that in the conservative upbringing? Or is that something that you made a conscious decision about as this became your message as you got older?

David Rendall  5:50  

Yeah, I mean, it was definitely an evolution. I mean, growing up and starting my career, the goal was to be professional, right, the goal was to fit in the goal was to seem like the person you were supposed to be. And especially since I earned my doctorate at a relatively young age, the age of 30. And started started teaching, and I was teaching non traditional students. So here I was teaching people who are sometimes you know, 15 2030 years older than I was, there was a real desire to look the parts, you know, nice slacks and a nice shirt and a nice tie and a belt that matches your shoes and be professional. And so it was definitely an evolution to where I started developing my own message, started developing this concept of the freak factor, and started being more comfortable being myself instead of what I thought I was supposed to be or what I thought other people expected, or instead of worrying about how they would perceive me. And so it’s definitely been an evolution of me sort of learning my own lesson, applying the lessons that I learned that I teach, practicing what I preach being a role model of that, but but also doing it because it works, you know, discovering that it works, and that I enjoyed it, and that other people enjoyed it, it was a great way to connect with people in a great way to be memorable. And that just reinforces itself. So I get more excited about the concept. And then it I use it even more. And then I get even more excited about the concept, and I share it with more people. So it’s really become kind of a reinforcing loop where this is, you know, this pink hair is from October, I did a fundraiser for breast cancer awareness. And that, but that was my first time ever doing pink hair. I’ve done a lot of other pink things, pink glasses, pink wedding ring, pink, everything, basically, but first time on pink hair. And so it’s still an evolution of taking it to the next level, pushing the boundaries, finding what works, and exploring, you know what it means to be myself and not worry about what other people

John Corcoran  7:48  

think. I love to hear about the struggles along the way. So you know, I went and got a law degree. So I know what those academic halls are like. And I can only imagine what it was like to be an adjunct professor or professor, where you’ve got the administration or a dean who’s giving you a side look for the pink shoes or whatever. So were there times when you had you know, other professors or you had administration who were penalizing you in some way as you were evolving this image of yourself and the message that you put up to the world?

David Rendall  8:23  

Well, I quit teaching before that evolution began. And that’s probably part of the reason why, but no, I mean, there was a point at which my speaking life was very distinctly different from my, from my teaching life, I would, I would, you know, it’s kind of like, you know, a costume, you know, when I was at work, I would have my standard professional gear. And then I would go do my speeches, I’d put on my freak factor gear. And those worlds didn’t mix. Because, you know, they had their own goals. And their goals weren’t for me to express my personality or to express myself or to be myself, their goals were for me to be a good representation of what they thought an intelligent professional person was. So that those two things really diverged in 2013. So about seven years ago, I quit teaching full time to do this full time. And that’s when, you know, I got first of all the flexibility and the freedom but also more interest in in developing that a different look and a different style and kind of doing things my own way instead of again, trying to conform to what people

John Corcoran  9:32  

expected of me. A lot of times people describe those moments as a, you know, self realization or liberation for them personally, is that how it felt when you went full time you were able to embrace that side of you without kind of living two different lives?

David Rendall  9:49  

Yeah, I mean, I think it’s been again, an evolution. It’s a gradual process of every day, being more comfortable trying, you know, doing your own thing. I mean, even Starting the business, even while I was teaching was a liberation because I had managed I’d been in management before I’ve worked in organizations before, I’ve had bosses who thought they knew better and that my ideas were sort of second rate. And since I worked for them, I had to do things their way. And so to see my business being as successful as it was, it really confirmed that my style could work that my way of doing things wasn’t wrong or incorrect or misguided. And so that gave me more confidence, which, you know, had me then doubling down on the way I would do things, and then it just kept going to the point where I felt comfortable quitting. I mean, even by the time I quit teaching, 80% of my income was coming from my speaking. So it wasn’t like I wondered whether it was going to work or not. And so really, at that point, I was making more than the president of the college was. And so you know, it was a weird situation to have your boss telling you what they thought you should do when you made more money than they did and and we’re having, you know, more outside success than they were having. And yet having them treat you like, you know, that nobody looked, at one point I was consulting for a bank. That was run by the chairman of the board of the college. And yet the president of the college didn’t know my name, and would never ask me any questions about the strategy of the organization couldn’t have cared less what I thought about the future of the college. And yet, you know, the person who was who was managing him, trusted me to help him guide his organization. And so there was very much this weird world of, you know, you’re down here in one situation, and you’re up here in this other situation, and there was no real good way to put them together. Because people just see you the way they see you. And so again, that was part of the liberation was quite, quite literally leaving, and putting myself in the situation where who I am can stand on its own merits. It’s not about what’s my title, or where I’m at in the hierarchy. It’s simply about my performance. And I like being in those situations, I always tell people that organizations put boundaries between you and the consequences of your behavior. And so if you’re good at what you do, you’re not going to experience all of the benefits of being good. Because you live, you work in an organization that’s puts boundaries between you, and the consequences of your behavior. But if you suck, it’s awesome, because the organization is going to put boundaries between you and the consequences of your behavior. And so what I learned was, I didn’t want that buffer between me and the consequences of my behavior, I am willing to live with the consequences of who I am and what I do. And I and I, and I see that that’s mostly beneficial. So I want all of those benefits. And I’m not worried about anybody shielding me from the negative consequences.

John Corcoran  12:40  

Would you say when you embrace your imperfections, when you embrace what’s different about you that it accelerates the process of people determining whether they’re for whether you are for them or not to use the example that you gave of the chairman of the board of the college versus the president of the board of the college? President Board of college maybe takes a look at you sizes you up says not for me? And the chair of the board says this guy’s got something to say that can help organization?

David Rendall  13:12  

Well, I think perception is definitely a big part. I think the president of the college was probably just unaware didn’t care or again, I didn’t come across his radar in a way that would make him pay attention, right. I’m just another employee and there’s no reason he should listen to me or interact with me I’m nothing special. It’s funny to talk about perceptions. I’ll tell you a story. I spoke at Microsoft one time. And I was speaking for a marketing one of their marketing divisions for like for their windows and other things like Xbox and stuff like that. And they have a cocktail reception The night before. And I was wearing my, my black shirt with said freak on it upside down. And I had my pink pants on and my pink shoes on and you know everybody else’s in their basic kind of corporate casual aware. And I did the speech The next day, and it went really, really, really well. And the vice president of the division booked me to speak to his whole, you know, his whole division that was just like the managers or something like that. And so I came back to speak to everybody. And he said, Dave, I’m going to introduce you and I’m going to tell this story, but I want to run it by you first. And he said, When I saw you at that cocktail reception, I thought, oh my goodness, I’ve made a terrible mistake. This is not the person that I want speaking to my team, this is not going to go well you win some you lose some sometimes the speakers you pick aren’t the speakers that you need. And then he said the next day I got on stage and absolutely, you know, blew him away. And he knew that he wanted everybody to hear the message, but he had definitely prejudged me, right. And so I think that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to do two things. I’m trying to weed out the people who get it from the people who don’t, but I’m also because if you don’t get it, you don’t like it. That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we don’t need to spend a lot of time not Understanding that, but I’m also trying to challenge people’s assumptions. And that’s what I did in that situation. I know that I can seem weird and look weird in bad ways. with, you know, I think we tend to think of weird as wrong, weird is bad, different is wrong different is bad. And so I can tend to look weird and strange and all the wrong ways when I get up on the stage and prior to being on the stage. And then I change people’s perception of who I am once I start talking. And once I start doing my thing, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do is get people to challenge their assumptions about what works and what doesn’t work, who’s good and who’s bad, who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s effective and who’s ineffective. And when I when, when I’m on stage, when I do it, well, I walk away, and people are going to think differently the next time they see somebody who’s dressed differently, somebody who’s behaving differently, somebody who works differently, because that’s not only my message, it’s everything about what I present. And so yes, that’s what I’m doing. If somebody looks at the pink pants and says, That’s ridiculous, I don’t want that guy anywhere near my organization, we’ve just saved ourselves some trouble, because they’re not going to want my message either, right? The message is just a billboard or the pants or just a billboard for the message. And then if somebody to your point, somebody looks at that, and they’re like, hell yeah, that’s the kind of guy that I’m looking for. We need something like that. They’re making all of those assumptions, but there tend to be right, you know, that guy’s gonna shake things up, that guy’s gonna change people’s minds, that guy’s gonna bring a different perspective. So you know, and I talk a lot about this in a book I wrote with a guy named Stan Phelps called pink goldfish. The idea is to attract the right people, but to deliberately repel the wrong people. So when somebody says, You know, I want somebody who’s going to say what I want them to say, and who’s going to keep things the same, and who’s going to reinforce the way we’re already doing things, they don’t look at me and think I’m that person. And so that saves us all a lot of time and energy, you know, right on the surface.

John Corcoran  16:56  

So, you know, I look at you and I think, Man, I wish I had that incredible self confidence to walk into a room full of people and khakis and blue, you know, Izod shirts, to wear a pink pair of pink pants, pink glass, all that kind of stuff. And then you have COVID that hit, you know, we’re recording this in November, actually an election day, which would what’s more freaky than waiting for the election?

David Rendall  17:20  

I vote for you, John,

John Corcoran  17:22  

I vote for you. I appreciate that. I appreciate that. So we’re waiting for like the results. But I wonder because, you know, we’ve got this crazy curve, curveball. COVID, which hit your business hard as a speaker, right. And on the other hand, your message Your mission is to say to the world embrace your what’s different about you? And yet, this is such a curveball, it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t enough for your business. It wasn’t enough for a lot of businesses right now. Did that cause you to doubt yourself or question what you’ve done so far? Or did you just say, Okay, this is such a crazy curveball. And if no, anyone could have predicted it, how did you react to all this?

David Rendall  18:08  

No, if anything? It’s a great question. I love it. If anything, it reinforced what I’ve been doing, because I had people contacting me and saying, Dave, can you talk to my employees at home and to their kids, because your message is relevant to their whole family? And I want to encourage them during this difficult time, right? I think if I had if I had a basic message and a basic look and a basic program and a basic situation, no one would have even remembered me to contact me during this time. Most of my speeches come from other speeches. And once I stopped doing speeches, how am I supposed to get those new speeches I had people contacting me I did a thing from I was telling you this before we started recording between two and nine in the morning for a group in Saudi Arabia for for Beiersdorf the people who make Nivea lotion, and I was doing a management team meeting for them from two to nine in the morning because they couldn’t do their management retreat, but they need to get connected and they’re all locked in their own places, disconnected from each other. And so a guy that I knew from four years ago contacted me about that, and people that I’ve worked with for years or haven’t worked with, for years, have contacted me asked me to do virtual speeches, I’ve done real life speeches, you’re involved with the Oh, I did a speech for eo in Connecticut. It was their first person to person face to face event that they had earlier in September. So I I survived or have survived so far. A huge pandemic, that that shut down a lot of speakers, businesses that caused a lot of people to go out of the business and quit the business. And so if anything, it just reinforces that I’m on the right track for in two ways that I’m memorable and valuable enough for people to feel like they would benefit from what I do even in a time of total disruption where you can Think nothing, you know, you know, I’m not teaching people how to make money specifically, or how to, you know, do something so tangible that they need training for their employees on my thing right now. And so to be memorable enough, and to be useful enough to make it through a time, like this tells me I am doing something right and that this is working, and that I am on the right track, if even this pandemic can’t stop my business from functioning and can’t stop people from feeling like my message is relevant. Excuse me, that’s

John Corcoran  20:32  

great, great answer. Now, let’s take it a little further. So for the businesses that are watching this, and many of which are struggling through this extended pandemic, what is what do you say to them? What should they be doing right now?

David Rendall  20:46  

Well, they should be doing something right now that that that makes them you know, more relevant the next time this happens, right? So, so many, I mean, this is what we talk about in pink goldfish, and it’s related to free factor we, everybody knows you’re supposed to differentiate, and then very few actually differentiate their business from anybody else’s. And so be willing to be authentic with who you are, and build that into your business and be willing to be authentic about your business’s weaknesses and not trying to be perfect. I did a call with somebody earlier today. Like I said, I was doing their family retreat. So this guy’s serious, you know, he does retreats with his family, just like people do with like, their management team. He’s always trying to make them better. And he wants him to be better as a family, and he wants to develop his kids almost like you develop employees, like do leadership development. And his business is he advertised, he puts it in his email. I just saw it today. I hadn’t seen it. I’d seen it some other ways. But he said his business is for the half percent. Right half person that’s provocative, right? Nothing provocative, not the 1% for the half percent, if you’re a half percent, or if you’re in the top, you know, if you’re in the 99 point, fifth percentile of income earners, or, or of the wealthy in the United States, or the world, he wants to talk to you. And if you’re not, he’s not interested, that’s provocative, that’s antagonistic that’s exclusive. Nobody looks at that to your point, nobody looks at that and goes, Oh, that might be for me, I make 40 K. And I get a little mutual fund going. And it probably turns a lot of people off. But those aren’t his people right in the people that he does want to talk to, they look at that. And they’re like, that’s me. And I’m proud of it. And I feel pretty special. And this guy understands I’m special, and I want to work with him. So that’s, that’s a great example, whether you like it or not. It’s working, it’s attracting the right people and repelling the wrong people. And so that’s what I would tell people is, when everything’s going well, you might be able to, you know, a rising tide lifts all boats. So you might be able to just kind of keep bobbing along when everything’s going well. But when the bottom drops out, you know, there’s going to be people that don’t speak again ever for the rest of their life, they’re going to be people who get out of the business completely, there’s going to be less people doing what I do in the future. And that’s going to be the same way in every industry. So is that going to be you? Or isn’t that going to be you and when things get back to normal? And when it’s time to do business? Again? Is anybody going to remember you as anybody know, you? And are you willing to take some chances and do some things differently this time? Are you going to hope that Well, hopefully, everything will get better, and everyone will start doing better? And as all of them start doing better all start doing better? and things will be okay again? Or are you going to invest in differentiation this time? So I mean, that would be my message is I mean, I, part of the part of the message that I tell people is, you know, a lot of people do what I do a lot of middle aged men do what I do for a living. A lot of people that look just like me in every way, except the way that I dress, you know, tall, middle aged white guys. And in fact, that’s a huge knock on the speaker business is that there’s too many tall, middle aged white guys. And so I have to stand out in a sea of people who are very much like me. And I do that by having a message that’s different, but also by behaving and being different, fundamentally, and not trying to behave like all of those other people do. And it’s really worked out for me, and it’s really been effective. And unfortunately, a lot of people see it. I mean, you made the point earlier about the pink pants. I thought that was good because a lot of people walk up to me. It’s always a guy, and he always kind of looks around to make sure nobody hears and he goes Hey, man, I love those pink pants.

I don’t think I could pull that off. What I tell him is it’s a two step process. Step one put on the pink pants. Step two, you know, walk out. Yeah, walk out in public. Yeah. And somebody will walk up to you and do to with you Just what they did to me. They’ll tell you hey, man, I love those pink pants. I don’t think I could pull it off. When you pull them on. You’re pulling it off. Now it’s not pink pants. Everybody, I do pink pants for a reason pink started because I have three girls, I tell jokes about how living with all women is turning into a woman. It’s an authentic part of who I am. It wasn’t just one day I was like, Hey, I bet I could be weird by wearing pink stuff. And again, I started slowly, I wore pink shoes and a pink shirt, and I got pink pants. Now I have pink tattoos and pink glasses and pink hair. Because as I see it working, I want more of it. And I want to use that as a way to connect people. So many people come to me and say, Dave, why do you wear so much pink? And I tell them because it made you ask me why I wear so much pink. And to your point of business owners? Wouldn’t it be great if people had to come up to you to talk to you about why you were in the business? You were in? Why you were doing what you were doing? Just by the way you look? What if you were a human billboard, instead of trying to give somebody your card or instead of trying to pay for advertisement, imagine just as you lived your life as you were on Facebook, as you were on Twitter or Instagram, people just had to ask you, Hey, what’s up with that? Why do you do that? And the answer was part of who you are in your business. Right. But a lot of people feel like that’s a risk when I think the risk is wearing the khakis and the blue Izod shirt in a world of people that wear khakis and blue Izod shirts, and no one will ever walk up to you and ask you Hey, man, what are you up to? And I think one of the things you said earlier is that your people tend to be in service businesses like law and consulting and things like that. And what I’ve heard people say sometimes is Yeah, Dave, you know, you don’t understand the industry I’m in is pretty conservative. So that wouldn’t work. And the mistake that they’re making is, that’s exactly why it would work. If you go to a marketing conference, and you’re wearing pink pants, there’s likely to be at least one other person that’s doing it, yeah, there’s probably somebody wearing a whole purple suit. And there’s probably somebody wearing a lime green suit. And there’s probably somebody with some kind of top hat. And it might be polka.it. Because that’s a marketing conference. But when you go to a law conference, when you go to a corporate consulting conference, you would stand out when you did that, precisely because everyone else is, you know, doing the same thing and acting in the same way and has the same look. And so at some point, you have to decide, and again, it has to be about you, it’s not about paying care, it’s not about purple, it’s not about the pants, it’s not about any of that. It’s just like, you have to decide at what point is there going to be something unique about you that not that you’re going to create. But that was always there that but you’re finally going to display. are you covering up tattoos that you have that you’re proud of? But you don’t think the people that you work with would would find acceptable? Do you wish you could do your hair a little bit differently? Do you want to dress down? Or do you want to even dress up a little bit more? What is it? And how can you do that in such a way that people are going to I mean, so many times when I have my pink blazer on at a conference, and it’s that night before cocktail reception nonsense. You know, somebody’s almost always come up to me every time and go, Hey, you know, what are you up to? I just figured I had to come talk to the guy in the pink jacket. Mm hmm. What is it that that draws people in? That gives people a sense to your point from earlier? That guy’s got something going on? And I want to know more about what it is how do you do that? How do you become a little bit magnetic. And again, I think too many people are worried about who they’re repelling. And they’re not realizing that they’re not attracting anybody other way. And that’s more dangerous. Because all you have to do is attract one person, if you repel all the other people, even that one person, that’s all you need. And that person really gets you nobody’s like kind of into the pink pants. To your point earlier, people either really dig it or they think it’s stupid. Yeah. And what I’ve discovered is the only people that talk to me about it are the people who dig it. Nobody talks to me about how stupid they think it is. Because those people just go out that guy’s not for me, and they walk away. And that’s fine. It doesn’t need to be for everybody.

John Corcoran  28:39  

Yeah. And that gets to the accelerating that process that we’re talking about. They realize that right away is not. And what I love about your answer there is it was so meta, because I asked you about a liability or perceived liability, which is the global pandemic economic downturn. And your whole message is about taking what’s viewed as a weakness, turning it into your strength. And that’s exactly what you just did, in your answer talking about how that your message is even more important. Now. It’s even more important now that we embrace what’s different about us, because the next pandemic or downturn that comes along, we’re going to be Forget it. We forgotten if we are forgettable.

David Rendall  29:19  

Yeah. And I think too, it’s a little bit of perspective. I mean, I don’t know how old you are. I just turned 47 in October. And so I’ve lived through the stock market crash in the late 80s. And I’ve lived through I mean, very early on, lived through the oil crisis and lived through the .com bust and through 911 and the global financial crisis 2007 to 2009. And now this and, you know, Winston Churchill said the farther backwards you can look, the farther forward you’re likely to see and in what what, what I realized is every time things go down, they come back up. And so the question the question isn’t, you know, am I gonna make it the Question is, what am I going to do now? So that I do better once it comes back? Right? What am I going to do now so that I’m better once it comes back in? And what am I going to do differently? What was I doing? Right? And I think, you know, one of the big positives of a huge negative like this is it does weed people out people who weren’t serious people who couldn’t do it very well, people who weren’t cutting it. years ago, I was working with somebody, it was a in the car, the car industry car dealer. And basically, when the economy is good, you sell cars, no matter how bad you are at your business. And when the economy’s bad, it weeds out the people who were doing, you know, Jim Collins said, I think it was in great by choice. Like one of his follow up books, he said, he said problems don’t cause fail weaknesses in businesses, they reveal weaknesses in businesses. Mm hmm. And so I think one of the huge advantages, I was doing a call with these people who were in like the doggy daycare kind of business, and they do it way differently. And they have cameras, so you can see your dog and talk to your dog and whatever, during the day. It’s called dog topia, I think it started in Canada. And now it’s starting to move through the US. And you know, what’s happened during the pandemic, people have been adopting dogs like crazy, buying dogs like crazy. People. Yeah, hear these people are like, Oh, the pandemic and Mama and I’m like, holy cow. Some of the some of your competitors aren’t going to make it through this. And there’s so many dogs. And when these people go back to work, they’re definitely going to need people to take care of the dog. So right now, yes, right now, but it’s like this, you can see it going like this. But you know, there’s this massive boom, coming, there’s all these dogs being adopted. And there’s all these people working from home or going to go back to work, go back to work at some point. And even if they don’t go back to work on any training, and need help, and need assistance, and all these kinds of things, there’s this huge boom coming, you have to be able to see that. So sometimes, you know, we get so focused on the present, we miss the bigger picture. And again, that’s one of my strengths, weaknesses, things. I’m a very big picture person. And so even in the moment when the current situation is really, really negative, I can get that perspective and see that and it changes the way changes the way that I approach things.

John Corcoran  32:14  

That’s a great answer as well. Well, we’re running a little short on time. But I want to start, I want to wrap up with two last questions versus my gratitude question. So I’m big fan of gratitude, looking at your peers, looking at others in your industry? Who does the freak factor admire? Who else out there in the pink pants? Or the lime green suit? Who are the other people that you would look across the room? Like, I like that guy? Who do you admire?

Unknown Speaker  32:39  


David Rendall  32:42  

I think probably. There’s somebody recently, a lot of people probably haven’t heard him. His name is Todd Rose, he wrote a book called The End of Average. And then he wrote another one called Dark Horse where basically he does an in depth analysis of who become successful and how, and basically says that most very successful people don’t go through the system the normal way. They’re not normal people, they don’t succeed following the normal path. And we need to redefine what success looks like. And we also need to just tear apart this whole sense of what it means to be average and above average, no one’s average, there’s no such thing as average, nobody matches the average, he tells a story about cockpits in Air Force jets, and how they tried to only bring in pilots that were a certain size. And then they tried to make the cockpit perfect for the average size person. And then when they measured all of the measurements of all the pilots, they found, they didn’t even have one who matched the average, the average didn’t fit a single person that seemed like there’s got to be most of the people we think of that most of the people are in the middle, most of the people are in the middle of the curve somehow. But they’re not he calls it a jagged profile. Everybody’s over here on this and over here on this. And sure it averages to this, but the one person is exceptionally tall, but they got short legs, and they’re short, but they have long arms. And the other person has a big head but a short torso, and on and on and, and big feet and on and on and on it goes. And so I just love the way he challenges the assumptions that we have about what’s and that’s one of my big things. That’s why I call it the freak factor that we were so stuck on normal is good and different is bad, follow the traditional path and everything’s going to be fine. We can predict who’s going to be successful by watching the way they perform at a young age and see if they’re doing things the right way and getting good grades and going to good schools and getting good jobs. You know, I went to a nowhere school in Illinois with 400 people. I got my doctorate back when online wasn’t cool and was seen as second tier from the University of Phoenix when normal universities wouldn’t touch online, anything and certainly didn’t want to touch non traditional stuff because that just wasn’t cool. And that wasn’t prestigious, and there wasn’t a lot of status related to that and now we’re in the middle of it. endemic and everybody’s doing online.

John Corcoran  35:02  

Every school,

David Rendall  35:03  

everybody is, and yours. It’s been four years that they’ve offered classes online. And they finally adopted that. But for a while there was a real stigma with that. So I didn’t do any of the things right. I didn’t go to any of the right places, I didn’t do any of the right things. And I’ve had tremendous success because I built a life around who I was, and not who I wasn’t. And I found the strengths that were connected to my weaknesses. And to your point, I’m grateful for the people who helped me along the way. And I do a lot to try to be generous and take care of the people that I meet and interact with along the way.

John Corcoran  35:37  

And then last question, let’s pretend we’re at an awards banquet, much like the Oscars of the Emmys, you’re being awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for everything you’ve done up to this point. And David, what we all want to know is, who do you think were the colleagues who were the friends or the mentors? Who were the peers? Who the business partners? Who are the chairs of the board? Who you would acknowledge in your remarks?

David Rendall  35:57  

Yeah, there’s one person, it’s a really simple answer. When I was in college, I was a Resident Assistant. And I was still the same kid that was always in trouble for not sitting still and being quiet and doing what I was told. And I was a sophomore. And I was walking down the hall in the spring in the dorm and the resident director said, Dave, are you going to apply to be a resident assistant for next year? And I said, No, because I’m the reason you have resident assistance, right? Like, why are you asking me to do that you don’t let the inmates run the asylum? And he said, No, Dave, he said, when I look at you, I see myself in all of the things that you’ve been told are negative characteristics, I see as leadership qualities, and I just want to help you use those for good instead of for evil. And so that was the first person who ever told me that I had potential. It was the first person who saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself, and that no one else was able to see as well, the first person who reframed that’s fundamentally what I spent all my time talking about, reframed all of my weaknesses as strengths, reframe every negative about me as a positive. And in doing that he changed the course of my life. And I didn’t think of it as the freak factor in that moment. And I didn’t think of him seeing my weaknesses as strengths in that moment. But that was the pivotal point where the for the first time I saw that I had a future for the first time somebody showed me that there was something in the future ahead of me, that was better than what I’ve been told to that point. And if he wouldn’t have had that conversation with me, I’m very confident I wouldn’t be here today. And I’m very confident that I wouldn’t be sharing the message that I share today. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about it. You don’t have to change everything about what the way that the way that you live your life, a one minute conversation with somebody where you show them that one of their weaknesses is also a strength, where you show them there’s a quote by Ed Cummings, who said we do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals the deep inside of us something is valuable, worth listening to worthy of our sacred tour touch and and I want to help everyone be someone who reveals to other people that deep inside of them something is valuable, maybe the thing that they’ve been told their whole life is the most worthless thing about them. And that’s what he did. For me. His name is Elliot Anderson. And he also I ended up working for him in his homecare business, because I needed to work through school and I became a Resident Assistant. And we ultimately became friends. In fact, we were texting today because he broke his wrist and he’s having surgery and I was trying to encourage him so we still have a relationship 20 years later, because he has a massive, massive impact on my life. So that’s why I would think.

John Corcoran  38:27  

What a great story. Well, you have to share the episode with him when it goes live. David Well, this is wonderful. Where can people go to learn more about you?

David Rendall  38:34  

Yeah, it’s drendall.com. So ‘d’ as in David and then rendall.com. It’s got all the videos, free assessments, links to the book, stuff like that. It’s all got there Freak Factor. Also, if you google David Rendall or you Google the Freak Factor I’m one of the first results that you’ll find but drendall.com.

John Corcoran  38:55  

Great and check out these videos because he has some great keynotes online. So thanks for sharing those online. David. Thanks so much.

David Rendall  39:02  

Thank you.

Outro  39:03  

Thank you for listening to the Smart Business Revolution Podcast with John Corcoran. Find out more at smartbusinessrevolution.com. And while you’re there, sign up for our email list and join the revolution. And be listening for the next episode of the Smart Business Revolution Podcast.