Wreckage to Triumph with Tab Pierce

Tab Pierce is the CEO of Caliber Security Partners and founder and CEO of Refiners, he’s also the author of  the book Upsurge, there are loads of hacks and learning in this episode including:

  • The importance of asking yourself great questions
  • The resilient steps in rebounding from wreckage to triumph
  • How to reinvent yourself after failure
  • How to become a healthy narcissist

Transcript:Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services

The Leadership Hacker News

Steve Rush: What does Funny AI mean for leaders, people skills. AI is getting better at making people laugh according to a team of academics, putting robots on track, to secure a key leadership attribute. So, in the news today, we explore how leaders should react. It’s long been assumed that artificial intelligence has lagged when it comes to soft skills, but that’s facing a challenge now from emerging generation of human-centric robots, according to a startling article from a team of academics. Published at the European business review, the piece provides leaders with a wake-up call, chipping away at the notion that AI still has a way to go before it can successfully adapt some of the human emotional reflexes that underpin interpersonal relationships and leadership. The research was led by Dr. Jamie Gloor who’s a senior lecturer in Management at The University of Exeter Business School.

The academic highlights, several AI robots that have pushed the frontiers of what was thought impossible to be possible and raise some laughs along the way, such as humanoid robots of fear, who cracked jokes on US late night tv. Robot stand-up comic called Data who responds intuitively to audience feedback. A German made irony bot that has been programmed to dish out sarcasm and a growing assortment of programs cooked up in the research labs that have been designed to serve up amusing, acronyms and song parodies and puns. This suggests that AI powered machines can indeed adapt and develop a sense of meaning, sensitivity and context that’s necessary for skills like humor. With all this in mind, they point out that humor can be thought of as an extreme demonstration of whether robots have the social-emotional skills necessary for leadership. If robots can master humor, this suggests that they could be positioned to step into more human-like roles that require exemplary soft skills like leadership.

So, for us flesh and blood leaders, what should we take away from this new research? The first thing I’d encourage us all to think about is new innovation and in insight. We should be paying attention to this stuff because we never know where it’s going to lead. Secondly, we should embrace it and help understand where AI can really help businesses. Indeed, some of us might already think that our bosses might have less humor than some of the new bots that presenting themselves. Well, there’s an opportunity for feedback there too. So that’s been The Leadership Hacker News. If you have any interesting stories, insights, or information, please get in touch with us.

Start of Podcast

Steve Rush: Our special guest on today’s show is Tab Pierce. He’s a CEO of Caliber Security Partners. He’s also the founder and CEO of Refiners and author of Upsurge. Tab welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast.

Tab Pierce: Thank You. I’m really excited to be here.

Steve Rush: Me too. I’m delighted you’re here. And you’re all the way in Seattle today. Is it raining? folks are going to want to know.

Tab Pierce: Well, the truth is, it was raining too much in Seattle. So, my wife and I hopped on a plane and went to Phoenix, Arizona. It’s going to be about 80 to 90 todays, so we’re not suffering too bad.

Steve Rush: Awesome. That’s really good news. Want to kick off by really getting to understand that the man behind the book and the businesses, tell us a bit about your backstory Tab of how you’ve arrived to run two firms, two businesses and put your pen to paper?

Tab Pierce: Well, I always wonder where do I start? You know, I was born in Seattle. No, that takes too long… So, you know, it was 2010 when I founded Caliber Security Partners. And I started the company because I’d been in cybersecurity for many years since, since 1998. And I had helped a couple of companies, you know, reach a point of being acquired and I was faced with time to go get another job. And I kind of went, you know, I’m going to rinse and repeat and do this again. And I’m going to end up where I’m at now. I’m going to end up there later. It was time for me to decide, no, I want to start my own company. And so that was kind of the start of that. It wasn’t my first company I started, but it was, the kind of the first real dive in full on company I would say. And you know, things went really, really well there. And for the first, I don’t know, call it four or five years, revenue was great, things were great. Bottom fell out of it; things went South really bad. And you know, it was in the middle of that, that I started writing the book Upsurge. And, you know, since then, you know, the end of the store, well, not the end of the story, but the story where we’re at now is things are successful. And you know, as you mentioned started another company called Refiners. So that’s kind of the backstory in a cliff note version.

Steve Rush: If you can give our listeners a bit of a sense of, you know, the kind of work that you do in the world of cybersecurity and so on and so forth, and then how that differs from the work you do with Refiners. Cause they’re very different business models, aren’t they?

Tab Pierce: Yeah, absolutely very different. So, security is, you know, people will say, how did you get into security? Like a lot of things, you know, you just stumble into it. You don’t, you know, I didn’t set on I’m going to be cybersecurity before it was even called cybersecurity. But what we do and my niche within that market is, is the surfaces side. So, you know, large companies, you know, fortune 500 companies, emerging technology businesses, and probably everybody in between, but business to business, you know, they’ll turn to us to do things like testing of systems or applications or websites, and basically act as an ethical hacker to find out what vulnerabilities they have. So, we do a lot of that. We do a lot of, you know, the compliance, the risk, the privacy side of things as well, helping organizations become ready or that, which, you know, as you mentioned, is a lot different than Refiners.

Refiners is a community of entrepreneurs, small business owners and individuals that, you know, kind of want to gravitate towards that. We’re still in the fledgling building stage, but the idea of that is peers, helping peers grow as well as mentors that are there to guide them in dementors specific domain knowledge. It’s interesting because you know what I’ve learned over time, doing two things is that I really liked security, but I love what I’m doing at Refiners. I love bringing people together. I love helping people out. And so, it’s, you know, it’s kind of a different, just two different flavours of being an entrepreneur.

Steve Rush: And what was the defining moment for you that said Refiners is where I want to take my entrepreneurship in that direction. What was it that kind of key thing that said, this is what I want to do next?

Tab Pierce: I guess the first thing is, I want to do them both, you know, I’ll say I want to do it all, but that’s a little too broad, but probably the key thing that started me into the direction of Refiners was all the trouble that we had at Caliber. And just having to go through the hell that we went through and just, you know, one day talking to somebody and, you know, I was always very open and transparent with what was going on inside the company, partly because I knew that it would help me manage things, but also, I really felt that it might help somebody else. And I think what really kind of drove me to be like, wow, that felt good. I liked doing that, was sitting down for lunch one day. And somebody had introduced me to another small business owner and I said, how’s business? And he goes, it’s great, it’s this, it’s, this it’s this. And he goes, how about for you? And I said, you know, we’ve been going through hell for years and I think we’ve got about another year. And I kind of, you know, I said, I won’t go too deep into it, but you know, it’s rough, but we’re doing it. He did a 180 and went, can I be honest with you? Things aren’t great for me either. Because I say that because I have to put forward that. I said, totally get it, totally understand that. And we had just an open and frank discussion for the rest of the time we were together. And I kind of left feeling really good about that. That kind of started the slow pivot into.

Steve Rush: Right.

Tab Pierce: You know, I want to be able to, you know, ideally help people avoid what I went through altogether. And if they are experienced in it, get through it quicker and better than I did.

Steve Rush: That’s really great a cause. And I think for those leaders listening to this today, Tab who may be also in that space of wanting to promote a public face of great strength and awesomeness. But deep down, when you peel the layers back, it’s a really tough and a difficult period for them. It’s almost really important to kind of let the demons out because in doing so, you can deal with the real issues rather than the band-aid that sometimes covers them, right?

Tab Pierce: What’s really interesting is, you know, we always think of, you know, and I used to always tell people, and I talk about this in the book about how, you know, people would say, man it’s really great that, you know, you just went to battle and you covered it and you did it, and you know, you succeeded. And I say, I felt like a warrior dragging his sword to battle early on. I didn’t have the strength to pick it up. And so often we have this mental image of this warrior with this just amazing, you know, Armor on. And it’s, you know, it’s just perfect and everything else. We never have the image of the warrior coming back after the fight, just alive and, you know, stumbling, but, you know, going back to clean up, rest up and go at it again another day, you know, that’s a warrior. Warrior is somebody who fights hard, takes their knock and then comes back, beat up. Only to get ready and to go do it again.

Steve Rush: Right, and the book Upsurge, when we first met, it struck me. You spoke with such rule of candid is almost a playbook for others now to learn from the lessons that you went through to end up being triumphant at one stage, but feeling at one stage, it was kind of almost game over. We’d love to get into understanding a little bit about the inspiration for that. And what was it that put the energy behind the pen to start putting things down?

Tab Pierce: Yeah, I’ve never considered myself somebody that journals. When I was going through, early on I was going through, when I first found out just the depth of trouble, we were at Caliber, you know, $750,000 dollars in debt, 18 different individuals, government agencies, companies, we were deep in debt and I was emotionally in debt. Like probably way worse than that. I mean, I was depressed. I felt like a fraud. I let my family down. I can’t believe I’m here. So stupid. I’m dumb. I’m, you know, whatever gave me the thought to think I could actually run a business like that. You know, all of those things. And I sat in a chair, this lazy boy chair with the TV set on. My wife next to me, like at the end of the day after work. And I would just stare at the TV set and I don’t even watch TV. I wasn’t watching it. I just was like trying to drowned out the noise in my head. She would talk to me, but I didn’t hear her. I mean, we’d sit next to each other. Wouldn’t talk. That was just horrible. And you know, all these crazy thoughts went running through my head. And then one day (I think this went on for a couple of weeks), One day, I can’t remember if it was a good hour or if it was a good day, but I just kind of, I felt like I was in the eye of the storm and I took out I will say I took out pen and paper. I took out my laptop and kind of pen a letter to myself and, you know, I called it, you know, I called it the poor wayfaring man of grief or something like that. And it’s funny because I read it since then. And, you know,

It’s in the book, I put the letter in the book and I just went, oh my gosh, how fricking melodramatic was I? I almost didn’t put it in the book because I was like that. It’s kind of hurts the person I am now to just read that because I’m like oh so melodramatic. It was so real. I mean, it was a plea, it was a beg for me, just try to get back to some normal.

Steve Rush: But it was real feeling, right?

Tab Pierce: Actually, I don’t talk about this anywhere, but later on, I felt the same way and I did a video for myself and it was like, I was just like in a great mood, I was on fire. Things are going really well. And I knew they weren’t going to stay that way, but I did that. And, you know, for the guy that wasn’t going to be happy, it wasn’t going to be in a good Mood. So, he could go back and watch that later and just kind of like, oh yeah, hey man, that’s you, that’s you man. You can, you know, you can get back to that. That’s the real you and I had, you know, I mean, I haven’t watched it for a long time, but I did for quite a bit. But writing that kind of started me writing a little bit more and I wrote that, you know, the first chapter on thought and when I was done, I said chapter one and because I just thought it was funny. It was like, I think I just wrote a chapter in a book. I hadn’t planned on writing a chapter. I wrote a chapter called burn baby burn, which is like really to try to motivate me to like, like just build this energy and you know, this fire and this, you know, and just try to share all of this stuff. And, it’s interesting because I’ve had people read it now and they’re like, hey, you don’t think that’s a little arrogant. Like you get to understand what it was when I wrote that. I mean, you know, I mean, it’s like asking somebody, you know, do you think you overvalue air when they’ve gone down under the water for the second time and they’re about ready to go down on the third? You think you overvalue air? No, not at that point in time. And so, I wrote that second chapter and I called it chapter two and I went, ah, I think I’m writing a book. And then that’s what started the book right there. And so, the start of the book is me in the middle of that. And then as the book gradually goes on, it’s me coming out of everything. And then at the end of the book, it’s, you know, me out of all of that. So, you know, it’s kind of is a playbook, but I didn’t set out to write it as a playbook, it just happen.

Steve Rush: I remember when we spoke last, you were almost telling me that it was a way of you going through some almost personal reflections, some self-leadership in order for you to move forward. Is that a fair assessment?

Tab Pierce: Yeah, it is. And you know, there were a lot of times that, you know, like take that chapter, you know, that I called burn baby burn. I mean, what I was writing wasn’t necessarily what I was feeling. It’s what I know I needed to feel. What I wanted to feel and what I was trying to direct myself to feel. But yeah, I mean, a lot of it was just trying to guide myself and build that up, as you know, as I went through it, I didn’t sit there and go, you know, I’m going to go through this and by chapter 26, I’m going to be better. You know what I mean? I mean, I didn’t, have that clarity when I started writing that book.

Steve Rush: Sure.

Tab Pierce: It was, you know, it was just a step by step. I mean, after a while I was like turned into more of a reality that I was going through, a journey and I was mapping it. But early on that wasn’t the case.

Steve Rush: What struck a chord with me as you start to think about the evolution of not only writing the book, but you going through that from that place of debt and despair to being successful once more. Is that this is a real story of a real leadership experience. One that you can’t take from text, it can only come from experience, right?

Tab Pierce: Yeah, absolutely.

Steve Rush: Let’s get into a couple of those chapters Tab.

Tab Pierce: Yeah.

Steve Rush: Because there are some real things in there that struck a chord to me that I know our listeners would love to hear from you, but it will also help kind of understand some of that journey that you went on. The one chapter particular that kind of struck a chord with me was this whole principle of learning to ask yourself great questions.

Tab Pierce: Yeah.

Steve Rush: How did it work out that you weren’t and what did you work out where the great questions?

Tab Pierce: You kind of realized that maybe you didn’t ask yourself great questions after the fact, right? I mean, rarely do we sit there and go wait a second. That wasn’t the level of question I need to ask. That’s where we should go. That’s where we need to go. But what really got me realizing that I needed to do a better job of it? It was, you know, there were some things that if we would have stopped as a leadership team and said, we don’t have to make a decision right now. So, if we don’t have to make a decision right now, you know, what can we do to prepare ourselves to, you know, to make the right decisions? And that would have been our best question, right? Is to ask ourselves, what do we need to do to prepare ourselves and to allow ourselves to have that time. Instead, what we did is we said, you know, we’ve got this, we’ve got this, we’ve got this, let’s go take out this loan. And it was a bad loan. And you know, it made things worse because what we would have done is, we would have looked and said, if we take out this loan, what actually gets paid? What actually gets done? As opposed to, if we take out this loan, then we won’t feel that, you know, we didn’t say this, but basically it was, if we take out this loan, we won’t feel the way that we feel right now. It will buy us time.

Steve Rush: Right.

Tab Pierce: Which it did, it bought us time. But what it bought was time that we were going to ultimately reach a worse place than we would have been if we would have made the hard decisions early on. So, you know, there were things like, you know, we should have been asking ourselves in that situation, might’ve been, you know, what are the real issues that we’re facing right now? And, you know, maybe what is it we really need? You know, things like that. Maybe saying, what happens if we choose to take out a loan? What’s the good? What’s the bad? What’s the consequences of taking out that loan? What’s the consequences of doing all of these things? And so, I spent a lot of time trying to analyse how I’m going to ask myself the best possible questions and always think, you know, if I can ask myself good questions, I can get great results. So, I think, you know, where I’m at right now? You know, am I looking for something that’s strategic or tactical? What is it I want to accomplish? Am I looking at, you know, what’s the end game? I always look at like, you know, kind of a five-point process. And that’s like, what am I specifically facing? If what I do, is it going to push me to a logical need? That’s, my goal. It got to be able to help you focus on the basics and things that are logical. And I have to always open my mind to all of the possibilities, right. That’s the key one, because often we look and say, if I, you know, back to my swimming analogy and I mean, it’s, you know, if you’re drowning, maybe it’s hard to do this, but if you look up and you’re like, I’m going to grab that log. A better question might be, if I grab that log, am I going to find out that it’s the tail of an alligator?

Steve Rush: That’s a good analogy.

Tab Pierce: I mean, it’s hard to do when you’re drowning, but in a case like this, those are the things that we could have done, what could go, right? What go wrong if we make that decision? And ideally it creates, you know, for us, for me, it always creates more questions. This can lead to ideally greater answers. And then I always, usually will end it with, is this is what I decided to do. Is it the best possible outcome? And that may seem like a lot to go through and you don’t have to go each one of them, but if you can train your brain to prepare to ask, like, what’s a better question? You know, you know, what’s a better question that I could be asking that’s more helpful to me today or where I’m at now than any other questions. It would have saved us, you know, just to give you an example of what really happened for us. You know, everything came out when it all flushed out. Like I said, we were $750,000 dollars in debt. We would have been in a lot less debt. It would have been more painful for us if we hadn’t taken out the loan, but it would have probably been, we would have been through it in about six months instead of almost three and a half years. So, you know, that’s the question, you know, I mean, you know, in hindsight, you would want it to be easier at the front and harder, you know, for three and a half years, or do we want to bite that bullet of just sucking for eight months and having a bunch of people really mad at us and then be done with it? I know what I would say now, but at the time, you know, I was more focused on, you know, finding a band aid to stop the bleeding.

Steve Rush: Right, and I guess what you’ve just described is self-coaching, it’s kind of like the voice in our head that we talk to all the time, but it’s easy to say, but like, you’ve also described it’s much more tougher to do because it takes discipline to coach yourself, doesn’t it?

Tab Pierce: And there’s one thing that we always have to remember when you’re in a rough situation, you’re emotional. And you’re like, I got to figure this out. The truth is you don’t have to figure it out today. Maybe you don’t have to figure. I mean, you know, maybe that’s the first question is, what happens if I don’t make a decision today? What happens if I don’t make a decision tomorrow? What happens if I don’t make a decision this week? And because then it gives you time to really set back and dive into those good questions.

Steve Rush: You’ve got a chapter in a book called reinventing yourself after failure. How do you go about doing that when things are tough and how do you go about reinvention at a time where perhaps you’re cognitively not in the most effective place?

Tab Pierce: It’d be really easy to say, just do this, this and this. Kind of interesting, you bring this up because I recently gave a seminar or I had a speaking engagement. One of the people came up to me afterwards and said, hey, I’m going through exactly what you’re going through right now. And so, we’ve been talking about it. I’m living through this reinventing yourself. And, you know, I’d asked them this question and said, what did you see for yourself when this all started to go south? Because this guy, I mean, is your shoulders are rolled in, heads titled, eyes are droopy. And I’m like, dude, I’ve been there, man. Your head is too dang heavy to hold up normally. I mean, it’s a weird feeling to think my head’s too heavy, but I looked at this guy.

I was like, you know, you’re in a bad spot. So, what did you think of? What were you going to do? What was your vision? And he’s like, ah, you know, and all of a sudden, he sits up and I was going to do, you know, he started getting hand gestures. I was going to do this and I was going to do this and this and this, all these things. And he’s like, you know, he starts going over this and he goes, but, and as soon as he said, but, his tilt, shoulder rolling. And I stop. I don’t want to hear anything else; you have to say. That’s the first time I’ve seen you excited about anything. Is when you start talking about what your vision was, they said, is it still your vision? Yeah, it is.

I’m just in, I’m like, no, no, no, I don’t want to hear all the, just. If it is still your vision? Yeah, that’s what we’re going to work on. And the thing is, is that, you know, if we can see the picture of where we want to be, and we can hold onto that and we can live on that and we can build on that, you know, we can start to get a lot of the energy and we start to believe it, but we have to be okay with having hardship, right. We have to say, this thing is hard, right, and this painful, and I don’t want to do it. And you know, what we have to do is we have to train ourselves that we’re going to outlast everything that no matter what comes our way, we’re going to outlast it.

And that means that if, you know, if we’re talking about, you know, looking at our, you know, for us, we looked at the business and said, you know, even though people were telling us, you know, filed bankruptcy and start over, I’ll say we can fix it. This is still a good company. We just have to be smart, patient, resilient and move forward. And whether or not you look at your business and say, there’s something still here. I just need to reset and settle in and be resilient and move forward. Or you look at it and say, you know what? I know I can something. And I know I’m strong and I know I can build something, but this thing, isn’t it because it’s not sustainable. It’s not profitable. It’s not whatever. And you know, we have to be okay to move towards risk.

It always amazes me that when I look back at where I was or we were as a company, I was okay with taking risks when I thought things were good. But as soon as things went bad, I stopped taking risks.

Steve Rush: That’s interesting. Isn’t it?

Tab Pierce: Yeah, that’s when we should have been more willing to take risks.

Steve Rush: Right.

Tab Pierce: Because at that point in time, I mean, at our lowest low, I mean, anybody who reads the book, I mean, I’m not taking money out of the company. I’ve put everything I’ve had financially into that company. I’m driving Uber to try to live, to make it, you know, to pay everybody, to pay people off, to sustain this business, to make it go. I mean, dude, I was at the bottom, right. And I felt like I couldn’t take a risk. The truth is, is what did I have to lose? Was I going to lose my business? That thing was pretty much already gone, I was rebuilding it and we don’t think like that. We don’t think like, okay, I can manage to find the bottom. What am I risking?

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Tab Pierce: And, you know, I mean, we still have to be smart, but you know, we just have to, you know, be okay with moving towards risk. And, you know, we just have to, you know, if we’re going to restart and just say, you know, either rebuilding a business or starting new a

new business, you know, go back to asking yourself, good question. What is it I really want to do? I’m not a big fan of, do what you love and the money will follow. I’ve never been a big fan

of that because not everything we love to do is going to be profitable with it. I’m not saying do anything, but I’m saying look for things that can work, it can be profitable. You can build it; you can sustain it and don’t expect your life to be an overnight fix. You know, when we went through this and this is something I finally learned, like, no matter what I do, I can sit there and say, here’s my business plan, or here’s my plan to get out of debt. And I’m going to be really conservative, or maybe I’m going to be really, whatever it is. I’m going to be really conservative; I’m going to try to manage that. It’s almost always going to take me three times longer than I think it’s going to take. It just does, and I mean, you know, as I said that, I’m thinking Refiners.

What we’re looking at doing, you know, we’re going to be holding an online conference

In February. And I’m like, things are going to probably take longer than I think they’re going to take. Just that’s the way life is for me. So, we got to be okay, that things are not going to happen overnight, things aren’t going to get fixed overnight and that we need to be consistent and we need to be resilient. And at the same time, we really need to learn to try to enjoy the journey. And I didn’t start enjoying the journey until we were way into it. And I finally started to realize, you know what? If we’re going to do this, once I let that bot into my head that I think we’re going to do it. That was the game changer. I really started to believe it.

Steve Rush: And it’s getting used to being okay with not being okay until it is.

Tab Pierce: Exactly, and you know, and just realizing that one thing that we’re not good at as humans is realizing the prize at the end of it. You know, the prize at the end of it is that we’re a different person and we’re much better, and we’re much stronger, which can lead to a host of other phenomenal things. But we don’t see that. We just see the pain and the anguish, and then we beat ourselves up, but don’t look at it and go, you know what I’m done with this. I’m going to stand on top of that mountain and it’s going to be glorious. And this is going to be the win. These are the things I’m going to experience. We don’t allow the ourselves to do that.

Steve Rush: There is one thing that you finish off the book with, which is when I read it, it was kind of, I struggled with the concept and I’d love you to explore it. It’s this whole principle of becoming a healthy narcissist. Tell me a little bit about that?

Tab Pierce: You know, it’s interesting because out of everything that I wrote, that is the one I get the most. Like, I don’t want to say like flack, like I, I do get a little bit, you know, I’ve had people come to me and say, I lived with a narcissist and, you know, there’s no such thing as healthy narcissist. I mean, there only one out of every 35,000 people on the planet. That’s a narcissist, but everybody knows a narcissist. So, I think one is it would help us really know what that is, but I get that people don’t like the term, but I didn’t coin the term healthy narcissist. I’m not that clever. But the idea was, I was going through this, I felt horrible about myself. I did not like who I was. I was verbally abusive to myself. I mean, if, you know, if it was a marriage I would have been, you know, that abusive to my wife, she would have left me. I mean, I just was not a good person to myself. I mean, I constantly, you know, the words I chose to say to myself were bad. Once I stopped doing that, once I started to be gentle, be nice, be kind, be forgiving of myself. Once I started to do that, and I started to become healthy, I started to become a better person. By the time we came out of this, and it was June 18, 2019 just last year that we paid our last debt. And it was just like this phenomenal feeling of like, wow, we did it, we actually did it. And all the way up to the end, it was a battle. We were paying huge amounts of money. And it was a struggle, like nothing, but we handled it. And then, you know, as I came out of it and I started thinking about it, I was like, man, that was pretty awesome. I did a great thing. I did a phenomenal thing. I’m much better at these things than I thought I was. And I started to become really healthy in how I viewed myself. As an example, I can’t think of anything that can come my way, that I’m not going to be able to handle because I handled the worst possible thing, I’ve experienced in 56 years, and it was brutal. So, I think, you know, I can handle anything. So that’s the narcissist side of it. Feel good about who I am.

The healthy part of it is along the way. You know, I want to help everybody, you know, I think everybody should feel the way that I feel. I think everybody should feel phenomenal about their life and that the healthy narcissist side of somebody is, you know, I’m going to do everything I possibly can to help somebody help themselves, and that’s the key, right. They got to help themselves.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Tab Pierce: But that’s what the healthy side of it is. It’s like, you look back and you’re like, I feel great about who I am. I feel pronominal who I am. And I want everybody to feel this way. Sometimes, you know, I’ve had people like, read that. They’re like, I don’t like that, but did you read the chapter yet? No, go read the chapter, then come back and tell me, you know, then they usually come back and say, I think you should have titled it something else. Okay, I’ll give you that. But what about the content? They’re like, oh, I agree with that, awesome. It’s really, how do we go about helping each other because that’s the key of life.

Steve Rush: Right.

Tab Pierce: And that’s why, you know, when I look at Refiners, and, you know, Refiners, it’s not a for profit, you know, we’re a business, but our goal is to help people, you know, help themselves, I will give them a place to help other people and to grow and to be part of a big community and all of that. And it’s all of its bonds because, you know, if I would have had deeper mentors, if I would’ve had people that were there for me along the way, I wouldn’t have experienced a lot of the things I experienced. One of the things, there’s a gentleman that I’ve gotten to know afterwards, I’ll telling him the story. He goes, man. I wish I would have known you when you were going through this, because I could have helped you do this, this and this. And it would have eased your burden and wait, what? That was actually a possibility? I said I had no idea. And so that’s why Refiners came about really is because I’m like, we got to bring good people together and give them good member or good mentors in specific domains. So, people can, you know, solve these problems as best they can before they become real big problem.

Steve Rush: And that’s why you’re on this show to be fair Tab. Is that kind of, how do we get that learning that you’ve got? And we can share that with our wider audience. So, if they’re bumping into the same challenges, the same issues. They can learn from you. And of course, this leads me to the next part of our show, where I get to tap into your leadership mind. First place I’d like to go would be to explore your top three leadership hacks?

Tab Pierce: One of the first ones is be grateful. Gratitude has just this amazing way of making self, more aware of what’s going on. And you know, my wife and I would always like, we play this gratitude game. Like, we’ll ask each other, hey, what’s your frequency? And we’d go off this 1-12 to 10, okay, good. You know, it’s an 8, oh no. Why is it 8? Okay, well, what are you grateful for? And it’s this gratitude, gratitude just really kind of helps you set the stage. You know, that you’re good, right. And that you’re okay. And that you’ve got a lot to be thankful for. You know, another thing is, is that, you know, meditate, you know, meditate daily. I used to be horrible at it. I used to, oh, you know, in the book I talk about how I’d meditate for 10 minutes in the first, like seven of it was like putting a toddler to bed that wasn’t tired. I’ve gotten better at it over time, but meditation really helped. The other thing is, you know, is read, study, learn, you know, start to improve the way you think. And you know, it’s interesting because I’m in the process, you know, a book I would recommend to anybody that’s out there is, and you probably have heard about, it’s a very popular book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Matthew Maltz. And he wrote it, I think in 1960. But the book talks about how you think about yourself, the vision that you have for yourself, thinking upon the things that you want to be. Those are kind of the quick three ones. All of it really comes down to your mindset, keeping your mind straight.

Steve Rush: Awesome, yeah. And learning, which is that kind of last bit is, on the pins, doesn’t it? You’ve got continuous learning of ourselves means that we’re continually evolving our thinking and our behaviours as well. Next part of the show we want to get to Tab is what we call Hack to Attack. So, this is pretty straightforward. And I think for you, you may have already covered this, but there could be something else. This is time where something has gone, particularly not well for you. Maybe that we’ve screwed up. But as a result, directly of that, we have used that in our life and our work as a positive. Now what you’ve just described almost is that kind of whole Hack to Attack Journey. But is there anything else that comes to mind?

Tab Pierce: There is a couple of things that I would tell people, especially if they’re in a situation where they’re feeling down and they feel like they’ve let people down or that, you know, like for us, it was this massive amount of debt, you know, is to realize that in our life, there is the lead actor and that’s ourselves, you know, we’re always going to be the lead actor. Then we’re going to have supporting actors, which is a spouse or significant other, children, parents, they’re the supporting actors in your life. And then there’s all these bid actors. Those people that are only going to be in a scene of your life for a short period of time, and that you just want to give the bid actors enough time out of your life. You don’t want to give them too much. You just want to give them what you need to satisfy, what they need. And to try to make it a good experience for both of you. And as an example, you know, we had this hard money lender and the guy was fricking ruthless, just brutal. And, you know, I gave him all this emotional energy and all this just thought, and I mean was constantly thinking, here comes the date, here comes this, he’s going to uppercase me to death again. And he’s going to do this and that. And then when we wrote our, you know, when we paid the last one, he went away, you know, not surprisingly. He got his money. And guess what? That was the last one we paid, you know, June 18th of 2019. I haven’t heard from him since.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Tab Pierce: Pretty sure I’ll never hear from him again. So, the Hack to Attack is don’t give people any more of your energy than you need to give to solve whatever that issue with, but don’t overdo it.

Steve Rush: That’s really neat. And the last bit we want to do is take you on a bit of time travel now. So, you get to bump into Tab at 21 and you get a chance to give them some advice. What would your advice be?

Tab Pierce: So, can I change that question just a little bit?

Steve Rush: Yeah, go for it. How would you like to change it?

Tab Pierce: This goes to, you know, how I like to consider, like how can I really benefit myself today, right? Because telling the 21-year-old Tab, you know, how I will change it? The 76-year-old Tab showed up today to talk to the 56-year-old Tab who I am, what would he say to you? Because now I’m like, oh, I could use that because I’m 56.

Steve Rush: I like that.

Tab Pierce: What that person would say to me is don’t break. Don’t tap the brake, keep your foot on the accelerator. Yeah, you’re 56. You’ve got a lot of life to live. You’re just now starting to understand the things that you need to do to be a success. Don’t let up. Don’t think about retirement. Don’t think about, are you too old? Don’t think of it. That it’s a young man’s game because now I’m 76 years old and it’s still not a young man’s game. So be prepared to continue going forward. Don’t let up, stay in your lane, focus on the things that you need to do and do those. So that’s what the 76-year-old would tell the 56-year-old.

Steve Rush: Great reframe, love it. So, as we’ve been chatting, Tab, people have been listening to your story, been thinking about their own journeys that they’re taking. If they wanted to get a hold of a copy of your book, and they’d learn a little bit more about what you’re doing with both of the firms you work with. So, Caliber Security and indeed Refiners, where’s the best place we can send them when we are done?

Tab Pierce: If they want to get the book, there’s a few things. One, they can email me at tab@refiners.io, and I’ll give them a free PDF version of the book. If they would prefer to have it as a Kindle or a hard copy book, they can get that off Amazon. If they want to listen to the audible version, Audible. I guess that’s pretty simple, but if they want to, you know, they want to check out, you know, more of what I do on a personal side, just you know, they can go to tabpierce.com, learn more about Refiners at refiners.io and Caliber Security Partners at calibersecurity.com.

Steve Rush: Awesome. We’ll put those links in the show notes as well, Tab. So, people have them on hand. So, from my perspective, I just wanted to say, thank you. You’ve been a real inspiration to listen to that whole kind of journey. And I know that you’re coming out the other end now. And what I love particularly is it, you’re seeing this as an opportunity to start again. And I particularly love that reframe of what would the 76 Tab say to you. And that tells me that, you know, there’s loads more to come from you. So, I look forward to reconnecting with you and working with you in the future too. And on behalf of our listeners Tab, thank you for joining The Leadership Hacker Podcast.

Tab Pierce: Hey, thank you. This was phenomenal. I loved it.

Steve Rush: Awesome, thanks Tab


Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.

Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handle their is @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.

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