Journey as a Leader Part 1

The leadership journey is never glamorous –  instead, it’s made up of small decisions and relentless focus. Join Russ Perry in the latest installment of The Russ Perry Show as he reflects on his ever-changing journey of leadership and his show in general.

This episode is unlike any previous episode. Russ needed to reexamine his role as a leader on this show and presents a new angle to it instead of just ranting and raving. Russ takes you behind-the-scenes of some of his latest speaking engagements and how getting sober was the common denominator for his success.  Watch the episode below now (and catch part 2 here):

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Each week we release an Action Guide filled with relevant exercises from the latest Russ Perry Show episode to help you expand your sobriety across all core areas of your life: body, being, balance, and business.

This week’s action guide will have you reflect on your journey so far as a leader and how sobriety has or will help you.

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BONUS: No need to take notes – we transcribed the episode for you!

Leadership is one of those fancy words you hear a lot in college, after college, in business, and most certainly when you start your own business.

My journey as a leader hasn’t always been the clearest path. If you’re new to my current phase of leadership and this show overall, let’s just say we’ve been experimenting.

For those of you who have been following this show from the beginning, you have been a front-row witness to a real-time experiment of a man testing new ways to create and lead.

The show started with zero game plan or objective. My mentor, Garrett J. White, talks about the concepts of getting reps, and I just wanted to have more practice and experience to get better at leading, talking, creating, coaching, you name it. And so I designed this weekly workout for myself to improve.

The strategy for the show, super complex.

Step one – turn on the cameras.
Step two – rant and rave about some topic.
And step three – if I’m feeling really, really confident that week, take a stab at drawing and talking, something I’ve learned isn’t as easy as it looks.

Seeing I have a decade of experience in marketing and branding, I pulled out all the stops for this weekly broadcast.

We called it….. wait for it….. The Russ Perry Show.

Overall, things looked good. The show sounded good. The name, obviously great, but, alas, there was one huge problem.

Last February I flew out to San Diego to meet with the content master, John Lee Dumas. This was a high ticket one-day mastermind to work on my brand and content channels like The Russ Perry Show and soon-to-be-released podcast with my wife.

In the first 90 seconds of meeting John, he dropped a painful truth bomb. My show, well, it sucked.

He didn’t quite use those exact words, but I knew that was the true meaning of it.

I stood for nothing. The Russ Perry Show was simply another generic-ey business guy video podcast without any niche or way for me to be the expert.

Thankfully, the aha moment wasn’t far off.

Just so happens I wrote this book called The Sober Entrepreneur and I was in the process of building my personal brand around my journey with sobriety.

So John and I talked, and, yeah, it was kind of the duh moment, why not make The Russ Perry Show all about that, sobriety, and what John coined the phrase “why sober equals success.”

At episode 16, we changed gears on the show. And, yes, it was still very much Russ teaching and talking, ranting and raving, but I had a bit of direction each week. I had a hook and a thread to tie it all together. And if I was feeling really advantageous, I would even outline my show in advance.

But back to this funny thing on leadership.

True leaders become the expert in some area or focus.

They’re committed to a cause and a vision and enroll others to follow and listen to them. They’re leading by action, not by talking or great intentions or cool sketches on Surface Studio Pro.

I knew there was so much going on behind the scenes in my world and in between the live shows that we were missing, nuggets, insights, experiences, problems, challenges, speaking engagements, you name it.

10 years ago I was attending the conferences, sneaking in the back late and hungover.

Today I’m getting reps as a keynote.

How could I share these things with my audience still under the sober-equals-success moniker but with more depth, emotion, and helping lead not by saying or talking, but by actually showing?

The answer, well, it was simple yet again.

Turn on the cameras more behind the scenes off the set without the script. Show the real side of life and what it means to wake up, live sober, and get after it every single day.

[Clip #1] But when Zack and Casey asked me to present and speak, they wanted me to come in and deliver a different kind of message and, frankly, a message that is one that is sometimes hard to hear.

What can I do? How can I know? What is this good addictions, this, like, positive addictions, and what are the destructive addictions that I need to be super aware of and I need to make sure that I’m navigating correctly?

And that’s not to say that I’m gonna live in an isolation bubble and never experience those things or be tempted with those things.

[Clip #2] Now, at this point I had started my own business, and I thought, well, maybe the answer lies inside business.

Maybe the answer lies inside making more money and working harder and doing what I can to provide for my family because if I can provide for my family financially, then, of course, we’re gonna have a happy life and a happy marriage because that’s what it’s all about, right?

That’s what I’m learning out there in the world. That’s what I’m reading in the business books. And this path I thought was working for a while, but then alcohol continued to come back into my life, isolating me.

[Clip #3] Getting clear, getting certain at the individual level then just proliferates out and out and out like a ripple in a pond. It gets rid of that fear.

Fear is like the darkness. We don’t know. We’re not sure. Should I do — I don’t know. Should I do — Just go. Just be certain and go. It’s the light that pushes away the darkness.

When we’re certain, when we’re more authentic, we just make faster decisions. Our decision velocity increases. What happens when our decision velocity increases? We get more feedback and, assuming that we’re in that place of authenticity, that feedback serves us and we get better results and we make more decisions and get better results and so on and so forth.

The last week was a reminder of how far I’ve come but also humbling because every day I wake up in a frantic state. I feel like there’s so much to do. There’s not enough time.

Do you feel this way?

Is this just the curse we all have of growth and expansion?

After that clip you just saw, we explored around Old Town Scottsdale and shot some more footage for different projects coming up.

Ironically, we started in the basement of the very first building I ever had a formal office for Design Pickle.

We made a few ominous Batman-esque shots and then moved over to a bridge that was just a stone’s throw from another office where my agency and life melted down around me in 2011 and 2012.

It was humbling to be standing there recording with my team making a few pit stops through my past and knowing the man I’d become through those challenging years.

Getting sober, without question, was one of the most challenging but impactful ways I’ve changed my life as a leader.

That lifestyle decision required me to first lead myself at the highest level.

From there I’ve now been able to lead my family, my business, my team, and my community.

Over this weekend my leadership journey came full circle. I stood in front of a few dozen folks and shared my testimony of sobriety and my relationship with God at Celebrate Recovery.

Celebrate Recovery or CR, as the insiders call it, is a Christian-based recovery group somewhat like Alcoholics Anonymous.

I teared up with my mom in the audience looking back at the journey I’ve been on. Over four years ago, the first time I entertained sobriety was at a Celebrate Recovery meeting in Chandler, Arizona.

Now I was leading others through sharing my story and my journey.

So today I leave you with these simple questions.

  • Where are you at in your journey as a leader?
  • How are you challenging yourself to grow and create?
  • If you’re living sober, how has this given you clarity and strength to lead?
  • And if you’re not sober yet, what could be possible if you made that decision today?

Thanks, as always, for joining me on this next chapter of the journey.

I’ll talk to you next week on The Russ Perry Show.

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