S4 E82 | eXpert Tease: Jason Lauritsen shares a fundamental moment in his life when he learned it was okay to fail

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Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:20
Hello, everybody. Welcome to the CareerXroads podcast and our special segment that we like to call the expertise. I’m Chris Hoyt, president of CXR. And today, we’re going to grab about 15 minutes with keynote speaker and noted author, Jason Lauritsen. Now, these segments are typically delivered in a quick and easy sort of format. We talk about any topic that actually fits within the scope of hundreds of the hundreds of ta leaders have actually told us we’re a priority for them. So that means we could be talking about DE&I, we could be talking about people planning, technology, or like today life experiences. So if you’re interested in weighing in on what you think, in 2021, for recruiting leaders, what they should focus on, you can take part in our new 2021 priorities benchmark, it’s open to everybody and can be found@www.cxr.works. So if you’re with us live today, you can fire up your keyboard and use the chat section, you can drop in a question for Jason, we’ll do our best to get to them if we can before we run out of time. And if we don’t have time, when you think of something later, you can always join us in our open, free exchanges on the website at cxr.works/talenttalk. So enough about me explaining what we’re going to talk about, we can start talking about it. Jason, welcome to our humble show.

Jason Lauritsen 1:28
Thanks for having me.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:31
Glad to have you on Jason, for those who may not know you, because I feel like I’ve known you for at least a decade in the space. But for those who may not know, you give us a little bit of background like who is Jason?

Jason Lauritsen 1:42
Who is Jason? Jason is a native Midwesterner, husband, father to three. I am a crusader for all things, employee engagements, I kind of early in my life had an experience that I think woke me up to the reality that work sucks for a lot of people, and it doesn’t have to. And so I committed my career to fixing that. And so that really, the way I do that is through writing and speaking and training and consulting. So that’s that’s me in a very fast nutshell.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:13
That’s pretty good. That’s the escalator pitch. I like that is. So let me ask you last time you and I were talking, the reason we thought it’d be really great to have you on the show. You were sharing a story we were talking about getting knocked down and getting back up and you know, trying to run a business and trying to do the right thing. And you had shared a story with me that I just really tickled me and I thought it would be fun to bring it on the show and have you share about how how you’re okay with failure. And why what happened to set that up right?

Jason Lauritsen 2:43
You know what, I think that’s good. I say to people all the time that one of my, you know, one of my cultivated strengths, I guess, throughout my lifetime, is that I am really good at failing fairly massively, and then extracting a lot of learnings from that to propel me forward. And so this is where it started, I guess my origin story. So, so yeah, the question and I know not many people have actually heard me tell this story. So this is coming out. I guess a little bit this will explain something probably to some people, but

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:14
I’m so sorry that and I’m so sorry, because I heard it to laugh. I shouldn’t laugh. I feel horrible already laughing.

Jason Lauritsen 3:21
Everybody has permission to laugh, right? It is a funny story in hindsight. So it was only it was only not funny to me, I think at the time. So you know, I set this up. So this goes back sixth grade. You teed it up perfectly earlier, part of the reason this story is so awesome. Right now, I’m glad we’re unpacking this as my kids are right at this age one’s a little bit older. one’s a little bit younger, my two youngest and so it’s, it’s really pertinent I have told them the story. But here’s what happened. So it was the end of my sixth grade year. And at the end of sixth grade, at least when I was growing up in middle school we had and I think they still do this some places. It was like a middle school graduation, or awards kind of ceremony or whatever, at the end, right. And so, um, a couple of weeks. So this was coming up and the the day that this story happens is on that day, but to give you a little bit of background leading up to that day, probably, I don’t know, several weeks before this, I had had a friend over to my house, we were out riding bikes, and of course as boys do we were racing and I in my victory sort of beating my friend in this race had made a turn I shouldn’t have had dumped my bike and had really messed up my knee. And so I mean, to the point that it was like it my knee had gotten like huge and swollen and I couldn’t even bend it for a long time and so and so. So, so I’m coming off of that. So I have to that’s that’s the setup. So the day of the award ceremony comes up. I’m in this auditorium. It’s a traditional, if you imagine the oldest auditorium with the big stage. And so we’re all 100 of us, me and my 100 classmates are in this auditorium and they’re calling us up one at a time, everybody gets some kind of certificate for something. So everybody gets called up, you go by your class, you know order of your name. And, and so they they finally get to me I was about in the middle of the of the total, and I get good, I get to my group and we go up. And as we’re going up, I’m walking with my classmates up and, and of course, you know how it is in sixth grade, you’re super paranoid, you’re worried about everybody looking at you, you know, like the social pressures super intense.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:35
Yeah

Jason Lauritsen 5:36
I’m trying to look like walk normal, right? Instead of limping and gimping, around like I had bent, I’m trying to walk normal as normal as I could to be as cool as I could. And finally, we get to the stairs on the edge of the stage. And inside wait at the bottom of the stairs, the person in front of me goes up and goes across, and then they call my name. And it’s my time and, and the social, I think pressure of all of this sort of erased my brain for a moment. And so I started up the stairs. And I forgot about my knee. And so I took a step with my good leg, and then I went to go with my second leg. And while my knee could now bend a little bit, not quite enough to get up the stairs, and I dumped it flat on my face. But of all my all my my classmates, and and so I was terrified. Of course, you know how you react, you’re like, oh my god. So I popped right back up, my adrenaline now is flooding my body. And I just want to get up the stage and get off. So I take another step with my good foot. I then again, tried to take a step with my bad foot, bam, down on my face a second time, twice in a row. So I tried finally get up, I sort of limped my way to the top of the stairs across, I get my stuff, I go back to my chair, I am horrified, you know, just just completely horrified

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:54
This is in front of everybody walking up the stage.

Jason Lauritsen 6:56
Oh, everybody’s looking at me, right. So I mean, because you are that like at that moment, I am the show. And so my entire class sees me do this. So I go back to my and, the story gets worse, I go back to my chair, we sit down and we’re sitting there and we go through the other classes. And I’m still trying to like shake off what just happened. And then they get to the end. And at the end of the ceremony they’re going to give out, they’re going to give out a couple of citizenship awards. And these are award teachers had to like nominate kids or whatever. And so they’re going to announce this Citizenship Award. And so and I’m sitting there and they bring this up, I have never not wanted to win something so bad in my entire life as I did at that moment of time. And I’m sitting there. And of course, as I’m sitting there, this I wouldn’t tell this part of the story if my name wasn’t called. And so they call my name. And I take a deep breath and I get up and so of course now I’m not just like doing like the show is now me getting out of my chair walking all the way down the aisle and a crowd

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:01
Everybody is watching you.

Jason Lauritsen 8:02
Everybody’s watching me right because there’s nothing else to watch except for me. I get to the stairs, I go up the stairs one at a time with my good leg, I get to the top of the stairs in my entire class erupts in an ovation that I had made it to the top of the stairs.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:23
Like just like they’re set you have just learned to walk if you’re

Jason Lauritsen 8:28
You know, it was this kind of excitement that we have the first time that our toddler you know, like walks to us across the room. Like that’s sort of what it felt like they were they were they were giving me at that moment. And so I got my you know, that got my award went back and the you know, I look back on that story. And the reason we you know, we started out and I’m like why I get invited on to talk I’m sure about some something in my domain of expertise. And somehow we’re talking about Middle School. I don’t know how that happened. But I do think that when I look back on that moment, I have often thought that that experience sort of galvanized me against in a lot of ways against like being embarrassed or being you know, like failing in different ways because it was always like well, it’s not as bad as that. Like I remember what that felt like and and certainly I went on to make all sorts of other massive fails soon after that and throughout my life, but that was where it all started.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:28
Oh my god, it’s so funny because in my mind I mean both of us do some public speaking here and there now my mind I think the next time I have to go up on a big stage, and I’m a little nervous I’m gonna be like, you know, as long as I don’t bite it twice on the way up the steps.

Jason Lauritsen 9:43
Once it once is bad twice.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:45
Yeah, if I can just if I can get make it up on the stage, it’ll be fine. If I get past this hurdle, it’ll be fine. I say that because it does make me laugh because in my mind, it plays out like some sort of short film, right that the whole little scene but it does It does, there does seem to be a lesson in there that should probably resonate with just about anybody who’s who’s biffed it. You know, or whiffed at bat a few times before they finally are able to, you know, take a bass or God forbid, you know, knock it out of the park. Right?

Jason Lauritsen 10:13
Yeah. I think, you know, as I’ve reflected on it, you know, at the time, at the time, you know, like, you look back and you think about, like the applause at the end. And there’s a lot of different ways to interpret that, right. There’s kind of a, there’s kind of the passive aggressive kind of mean spirited side of it, which I’m sure there were some kids that were that way. I think there was probably a whole bunch of them that were really grateful just that they weren’t me in that moment. And I do think there’s some of it, that was really encouragement, probably, like, you know, just wanting to be like, God, you did it. And and I’ve thought a lot about that and, and how we respond in moments like that, right? how we respond and show up when other people biff on their face, like what, what is that? What does that feel like? And so it’s, it’s just been a story that’s given to me in a lot of different ways over the years, and probably echoed through like, when I was struggling through being the first person in my, in my family to go through a divorce, or, you know, failing at my first and my second and my third business, like all of that stuff, like there’s always these echoes of like, well, least I didn’t fall twice in front of everybody, right, I..

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:29
You know, you’re gonna be able to get back up if you just…

Jason Lauritsen 11:32
..right, right and want to survive. And it turns out makes for a great story. If you can find a sense of humor about this stuff. It’s amazing the traction, you can get out of it as a teaching or learning tool.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:44
I love it. I think it’s got a wonderful takeaway, and it’s a really fun story. Jason, I just thanks for sharing that level listeners.

Jason Lauritsen 11:49
I am happy to it’s I’m glad to get some mileage out of it. Give some enjoyment to others, I guess

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:55
Good stuff. If people want to know what you’re up to Jason, should they find you on LinkedIn, you get a website? Where do we send them to just keep up with Jason

Jason Lauritsen 12:01
You know what if you can, if you can spell my name and put it into the Google’s or any place you can find me in a lot of places. But LinkedIn is a great place the other places to stop by my website, which is just Jason lauritsen.com sign up for my newsletter, I do a weekly newsletter, where I send out, you know, management and engagement insights and different events that I’m doing or free content and different things. So that’s a good place to keep up as well.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:26
Good stuff. Well, thanks so much for joining us. I hope everyone will join us next week, we’ve invited Qualtrics Shonda Zelich to share some of her own learnings when she tried to actually evolve a recruiting teams entire strategy, she’s going to share what she did wrong and how she really messed that up. So until then, we hope we see everybody online at CXR.works/talenttalks.

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