Drew Browne is interviewed by Tracy Sheen - Founder & Creative Director of Unusual Comms - for The Better Business Book now available on Amazon.
In this interview, Drew talks about deliberate courage, why he believes secure people lead bigger lives and how Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones fame, got it wrong when he sang, Time is on our side.
- Click here to download Drew's chapter for free - 'Your cheque’s in the mail, and so is your confidence - Courage and confidence never arrive at the same time in business.'
- Click here to listen to the interview
Podcast Transcript: The Better Business Book
Your cheque's in the mail, and so is your courage.
00:00 - 30:57
Better Business Book - Author Interview with Drew Browne
[00:00:00] Drew Browne: In 1964 the Rolling Stones released a 45 vinyl. Side 'A' was their iconic 'Satisfaction' song. On side 'B' of that same 45 vinyl was their song that said, 'Time is on your side'. I'm sorry Mick, you were wrong. Time is not on our side; it's never been on our side.
[00:00:30] Everything is becoming quicker. We are running out of time in business. We cannot just, let our business organically grow - we have to find accelerators. We have to plug in learning. We have to read and listen and think we need to do it deeper because I'm sorry, Mr. Jagger you were wrong - time is not on our side.
[00:01:00] [00:01:21] Tracy Sheen: Drew Brown is a straight-talking financial advisor who believes that life is not all about money. He's on an Epic Quest to help small businesses protect and provide for those they love and are responsible for. A big believer on protecting your purpose, Drew believes that when people feel secure, they live bigger lives and lead better businesses
[00:01:49] His company Sapience Financial and Investment is a certified B Corp and Drew is a proud brand ambassador for the microfinance charity [00:02:00] Opportunity International Australia. Drew is allergic to wasting food, Safari suits and playing life safe. In 2017 he received the Westpac Businesses of Tomorrow award
[00:02:13] Drew's chapter is titled. 'Your cheque's in the mail and so is your confidence - courage and confidence never arrived at the same time in business. Drew Brown It's a pleasure to be chatting with you. For people listening in that haven't been exposed to any of your work before. Who are you and what do you do?
[00:02:32] Drew Browne: Tracy thank you for the opportunity; my name for those who don't know is Drew Brown. my company is called Sapience Financial and Investment Services, and for people who say, 'hang on what does the word sapience mean?' it actually means 'wisdom from unusual places'. So. I work in the financial services space and my specialty is working with family members and families who have businesses, primarily to help them protect [00:03:00] and provide - to make sure that if something happens in a business, it doesn't then have a negative impact upon the family and vice versa. I suppose you could say I'm the big picture Financial Advice guy.
[00:03:12] Tracy Sheen: What was it about the Better Business book that intrigued you?
[00:03:17] Drew Browne: I think the concept of writing a piece for The Better Business Book was really interesting because in my work, I see that all businesses and families are made up of stories.
[00:03:30] Each one is normally succinct. It's a block. It's a piece of time captured and if you don't understand the stories of their lives, of their businesses, you really have no idea of where their future was going and how to help them get their better. So stories and the lives of people are a critical part of understanding for what I do.
[00:03:55]Tracy Sheen: Tell me what is your chapter called? And what was the thinking [00:04:00] behind it?
[00:04:01] Drew Browne: My chapter is found on page 230 and it's called, 'Your cheques in the mail and so is your confidence' and I suppose the tagline is 'courage and confidence never arrive at the same time in business'.
[00:04:16] Tracy Sheen: It's your assertion that courage is a learned skill. Why is that so?
[00:04:23] Drew Browne: Absolutely. Look I've been doing this for 20 years plus and it won't count the plus but I've always thought that Courage was in fact a character trait in the same way that some people are introverts some people are extroverts - and your somewhere stuck in the middle with what you genetically got.
[00:04:42] But I've since changed my view about courage as a trait; It's not. It really is a learn-able skill and I think what I've seen repeatedly over time and time is, that courage is the choice that has to come first before you even have a capacity; [00:05:00] well before you even have confidence. Courage really is the first pivot point and I suppose you could save you unpack that idea,
[00:05:10] It's the issue of dealing with doubt because doubt is something that takes you to the edge of what you know and allows you to look over the edge to what you don't know. And at that point, it’s not a thinking issue It's not a matter of your brain, It's a matter of your heart where your heart is that's unknown. Traditionally that’s scary. But the reality is until we all learned the skill on how to push out into the unknown, you will never discover not just the new worlds, but you never discover the type of person you will become on the other side of that journey.
[00:05:48] Tracy Sheen: How does one tell the difference between courage and confidence?
[00:05:53] Drew Browne: To tell the difference between courage and confidence actually requires that you listen to your stomach, to [00:06:00] your gut because confidence always arrives late. One of the analogies I use, we have Australia Post here, which is our national postal courier who's not always known for being as fast as they would promise
[00:06:14] I've always said that courage is something that arrives like an overnight parcel. But confidence is like something that arrives by the snail mail through Australia Post - its probably a week late and it's probably going to the wrong address and it's probably waiting for you at the post office because it got cut open and because there’s one 1 cent postage due before they release it to you. Courage is very much a choice about going through a set of actions and knowing what you need to do piece by piece. Confidence only comes after you've seen the big picture and you've had a degree of success. Confidence is like that fair-weather friend, who are after you have [00:07:00] sacrificed, who are after you have achieved some degree of fame that fair-weather friend, and I use the word friend loosely, comes to you and says, 'I knew you had it in you, I knew you're always going to achieve this.'
[00:07:16] Confidence can only come after it's seen the visual tangible success and proof of what really courage has actually initiated and achieved. I think courage and confidence do not make good bed fellows.
[00:07:34] Tracy Sheen: Do they share any traits in common or do you think that once you understand the difference, the flags are so different you'll never confuse the two again?
[00:07:47]Drew Browne: I think the process is really quite different. Their similarities are they begin with the letter 'c' and that's about it. I think confidence really is a settled [00:08:00] position looking backwards. Because confidence can't look forwards without looking backwards for some form of pattern to recognize. Where courage really is something that looks forward to say, 'I see the problem, I deeply empathize with the person or the people who have their problem - I needed to do something about it. I suppose I would see courage is something that compels you forward confidence is something like a compliance manager who comes after the deal and says, 'I knew you had it in you, I never had a doubt' and of course that's where confidence really isn't useful because it's always late.
[00:08:43] Tracy Sheen: Obviously done a lot of thinking and reflection on the differences in on the need for courage in business. One of the things you talk about in the chapter is a deep price too shallow thinking. Could you go into some detail about what you mean by that?
[00:08:57] Drew Browne: One of the constant frustrations [00:09:00] I have in my world is that people actually don't take the time to tell their full story.
[00:09:05] So you end up not getting even half the picture you get a small vignette, a Twitter fight version, if you like, and really the details of our lives are the things that actually hold the foundation's together. So, to simply gloss over things, is so 1990s. If you were looking at the point of what we used to value and why then, and what we choose to value and why now, I think is quite interesting.
[00:09:39] In the 1990s when access to the internet was not as deeply ingrained with social issues as it is now, we would look at the icons of business, the paragons of fame and they would look secure and premeditated and deliberate [00:10:00] and 'failure free', and in some way they were presented as being an icon to emulate.
[00:10:09] But what we found, as we now have a world that is smaller, as we now have relationships that are more integrated, what we found today is 'humanity is our biggest point of difference'. Within business the system's drive the company but the people drive the systems. It is our humanity and our capacity to actually, learn dump it, learn fresh, dump it, learn a fresh again and continue to learn that is our only real advantage. I think what's happened in the past is that we have admired what we were told to admire with our head. but [00:11:00] now as our hearts have understood the greater connectedness and understood that only advantage in our capacity to think through something - and to think through deeper into empathize with the problem and or the people who hold those problems, because it's that deep empathy that is the only thing that allows you to continue to maintain your motivation - through failure and failure again - until you find the mix, the motivation required to deal with that very raw human emotion is empathy. And empathy is a component of Courage.
[00:11:40] Tracy Sheen: You talk in the chapter about the story of David. It's an incredibly moving story. Can you tell us about the story and how you feel it relates to businesspeople?
[00:11:58]Drew Browne: Our lives are [00:12:00] composed of the stories that we live in and wonderfully of the stories that we are allowed to share and in the same way today's consumer looks at the brands around them and says is that brand worthy to become part of my personal growth,
[00:12:19] I think there are certain pivotal stories and relationships and interactions in our lives when we look at them and we say am I worthy to become part of your story. Am I worthy to become part of your personal brand?
[00:12:37] And that's an experience. I had with a guy called David and this was in a career a long time ago in a place far far away when I was actually working for the crown in a criminal case of child abuse and David was a seven-year-old witness.
[00:12:56] Now as I was running the case, so I got to [00:13:00] prepare the case and to speak with my witnesses ahead of time, and I was stunned because 7 year-old David and obviously that's not his name and all the identifiers have been removed but seven year old David was living with his foster parents because he'd been taken away from his birth parents because of a terrible terrible thing that happened.
[00:13:22] And as I sat with him with his long sleeve shirt buttoned up to the neck, I was struck by his candor, in talking about something so terrible that even to go back to that point is difficult. But he felt and he embraced his fear, but he just told it like it was because that was the part he was asked to play. And the interesting thing with David was, I felt, 'how [00:14:00] can I let my empathy for his situation propel me to excellence and to safeguard him. So I took my court security badge off and I, with his foster parents watching, I tucked it into the belt in his waist was his jacket covered it up and I simply said to him, 'look David I know 'what' happened to you, I just need your help today to tell me 'how' it happened.
[00:14:44] And he understood that distinction and I said, 'look, if you ever feel really afraid or nervous you can just put your hand on your hip we my badge is and you will know, [00:15:00] that I will know, that you're feeling scared and that's okay'. Later on in court David was exceptional. He embraced the fear of telling a wicked story in front of strangers.
[00:15:19] He embrace the fear of talking about issues beyond his age and explaining how something very bad happened, because he knew that I knew that it did happen, but I just needed his help today to tell me 'how'. And what I saw in young David was his choice to be courageous. Now it wasn't that he decided to ignore the fear or the itchiness or the
[00:15:58] the difficulty of [00:16:00] talking about such terrible things. He went past that. And he was courageous, and he went to the edge of the unknown. Looking out and seeing what was new and scary he knew what he had to do. He put his hands on his hips. And he stepped out. And David' story is just one of the many beautiful stories that I have been fortunate enough
[00:16:33] To be able to become part and then in some way they have been grafted into my story.
[00:16:38] And as we look back in time, it's always easy to see the 'dots isn't it and we can always look at those times, those pivotal moments those, people decisions that people make, where they have felt the fear, but they have pushed out into the unknown and normally that's either fueled by two things.
[00:16:57] Number one: massive trauma [00:17:00] or number two: massive deep empathy. And the reality is we cannot express or connect to massive trauma or deep empathy in 140 characters. No matter how good the Tweet is so for me there is a severe and a large cost to shallow thinking. And I think in a world that becomes more busy and more complex we all look for ways to chill out, veg out, escape, binge-watch absolute here I'm so there but there's a cost to that and I think sometimes we lose our ability to connect deeply empatheticly with the people who hold problems of which we can exist in business to solve, those same problems
[00:17:57] But it takes courage, it's a choice, [00:18:00] and we must make it.
[00:18:02] Tracy Sheen: You discuss in there a three-step sequence. I want to drill down on each of those if we can because I think they're an interesting take on how people can develop a sense of what, what's needed in regard to the courage and things. So, the first one you have there is, 'first you have to commit to the action you want to take'. What do you mean by that and how does one begin to put that in place?
[00:18:28] Drew Browne: I think there are many ways to achieve what we need to achieve in business. But if you're going to go down the road of learning about courage and making that one of your business steps, there is a process and the sequence the is critical - if you get it better front, it doesn't work
[00:18:46] Step number one for me is, you have to commit to the actions you want to take. We spoke earlier on about the need for deep empathy and our need to connect and think through deeper to the problems [00:19:00] and the people who hold those problems who we're actually needing to connect with. You have to commit to something because it's a mental choice.
[00:19:10] It's not about feeling that it's right or feeling that this would be exciting or feeling that the time is right. It has to be a mental decision because if you're pushing out into the unknown you will fail. Multiple times you may fail your way to the top but your ability to fail and fail again and not let it damage your motivation, requires a mental commitment and where confidence requires the existence of success already, a commitment is a choice - to push out into the unknown - but it has to be anchored in something other than money. It [00:20:00] has to be anchored with empathy because it's our humanity that gives us the edge to push out.
[00:20:07] Tracy Sheen: Does the commitment need to be a conscious one or can our subconscious lead us down the path that we need to go and have our awareness catch up?
[00:20:22] Drew Browne: It's a good question to ask, 'Is our commitment merely mental assent or is it also a heart connection?' The interesting thing with neurobiology today is the understanding of the connection of our physical guts with our physical brains and the idea that there's actually a much closer sympathetic interaction between the both.
[00:20:47] So in a strange way, initially we might think that the commitment is purely brain led, but I would suggest that a commitment is actually a tag-team-effort because at some point, [00:21:00] It is a response and normally a response to empathy comes from the gut; it comes from the compassion if you like and how be it it's fulfilled through the brain,
[00:21:13] I think we can unconsciously commit to something, but I think that is unusual because at some point we need to say, 'I am in.' There is something special and important about a declarative approach saying, I'm in, I'm committed to this and I think that's where accountability groups in business work better because it's 'I am in' in that public declaration of our intent that then requires the courageous walking through of the journey.
[00:21:49] So I think if you're going to have a deep commitment, it must at some point be a tag-team where it's triggered by the compassion in your gut. [00:22:00] And fulfilled through the requirements and the allocation of resources time, calories, even with a brain.
[00:22:08] Tracy Sheen: After we've made a commitment to the action that we want to take, the Second Step that you refer to is, 'then you need to be willing to feel the fear' regardless of that commitment. Talk us through that.
[00:22:22] Drew Browne: Being willing to feel the fear is actually two different processes in my mind. Being willing is actually The engagement, the allocation of resources emotional or otherwise to actually say I am in this and to realize that everything of value requires effort stretch, uncertainty. Now evolutionary makeup alone means we are wired to remove ourselves from perceived pain and discomfort and to seek a sanctuary in ease so being [00:23:00] willing to commit to something means there has to be an acknowledgement that there will be discomfort. Discomfort is the first sign of the potential for greatness.
[00:23:14] I mean who wakes up every day thinking, today? I just want to be average. Hopefully you don't not for long but to become anything other than average actually requires a willingness to commit through embracing fear. You must feel the fear. You must embrace the pain you must recognize that you will be stained by this, but you acknowledge that it's for a greater price.
[00:23:42] And that's where we'll talk about the deeper thinking because there's nothing sadder than to see a business joint venture going forward with a dozen people and all looks good. And then you see half of them fall off because they thought this will take [00:24:00] longer. This would take more resources. This is not what I thought it would be.
[00:24:04] This is uncomfortable. At some point I think to be successful in business you have to be prepared to do what other business people simply are not prepared to do. You need to learn how to have a willing heart to feel the fear, and continue through - that is the tax you pay towards awesomeness.
[00:24:28] Tracy Sheen: The final step in your three-step sequence
[00:24:33] Is to decide to be courageous, so you can take action. How is that different? What's the nuances between step 3 and step 2 and when do you know that you're at the precipice of the third step?
[00:24:50] Drew Browne: The problem is when you reach the third step is you often don't know you're there. And that's where your motivation has normally pushed you out already into that [00:25:00] unknown
[00:25:00] And as you look around as your courage starts to call for a refuel, your brain then kicks in to say. Oh my gosh, what have you done? Where are you now? You'll known as what? You're researching this. How can that be in that is the point when you realize I have decided to be courageous and you go back to your motivation and you go back to your first principles
[00:25:29] And you say, I am exactly where I committed to be in this is the fear I committed to embrace and I will continue. I think there's a big difference between courage under Fire and bravery in an instant. A long time ago in a tree far far away I was awarded for a particular task [00:26:00] that I decided to undertake and now the interesting thing was my task took me a year and a half.
[00:26:07] It was for difficult and I had to persist him. I found that very difficult. But those awards that I were receiving were actually also awards for people who were Brave Under Fire in the moment, and interestingly I'm sure all the awards were quite valid, but some were instantaneous events and others required the sustaining of effort in the sustaining of courage over a longer period of time.
[00:26:43] And I think when it comes down to deciding to be courageous there is an expectation that is not going to be brief. It's not a single event. [00:27:00] It's not a car accident. It is the recreation of life after a car accident. It is something of obsessively longer and deeper that requires a sustained application of the courage and the sustained application only can happen by deciding where you've made peace or where you've made a commitment or however you do that, but you have decided that this is what you're prepared to do.
[00:27:30] Tracy Sheen: Our times drawing to a close, the final question I have for you is, 'what's your best thinking, what's the single piece of advice that you can leave people with who read the chapter and are now thinking that it's time that they step up, that they done the courageous cape, what's your best thinking around, 'how does one start that journey?
[00:28:00] [00:28:00] Drew Browne: I think the beautiful thing of making adult decisions is that all of a sudden you only realize that you were making them after you've already made the first half a dozen of them, and that is the difference as we transition from a teenager to be an adult.
[00:28:19] It's not so much a hard line in the sand it's an attitude you've taken and you suddenly realize I've already stepped out; at that point I suppose the question is do I return to the safety of or do I take the second step. The wonderful thing about committing to an action you want to take and choosing to feel the fear regardless of what that is and deciding to persist is this; you get to create a product out of the uniqueness of yourself.
[00:28:54] And my Lord that is what the market needs. That is what the [00:29:00] world needs. Our only differentiating power in business is our Humanity our uniqueness. So my takeaway thoughts for those who've read the chapter is to write this up on your mirror, write this on your wall put it in your wallet engrave it on something do something and let this be a motivation for you because when people say why are you doing this, why are you bothering' You can say because you are creating a product out of the uniqueness that is you. Set yourself on fire and let the world coming to watch you burn.
[00:29:40] Tracy Sheen: I would be reasonably confident after hearing that, you are going to have a number of people wanting to reach out. What's the best way for them to contact you?
[00:29:48] Drew Browne: Best way for me is, connect with me through Facebook at Drew Browne say hello, share your story and if my story [00:30:00] is worthy enough to be part of the motivation to yours that's what life really is all about.
[00:30:10] Tracy Sheen: I always feel like a better human after I've had a conversation with you Drew Brown. Thank you so much for your time again today.
[00:30:17] Drew Browne: Tracy Sheen, It is an absolute pleasure thinking deeper about the real things that people need to think on and chew on because that's the only way we can accelerate. Time is not on our side. Mr. Jagger. I'm sorry on that point you were wrong.