As the Connection Counselor, Joe teaches busy professionals how to unlock the 12 SuperPersonal skills that elevate your career. He is the author of the ground-breaking Unlock Your Leadership series, including “Unlock Your Executive Presence,” which finally wrestles to the ground this elusive ability. An acclaimed coach and keynote speaker with over 20 years of experience in Corporate America, his goal is to help you unlock the best version of yourself. Joe also hosts “The Big Lie” and “Why It Works” podcasts and when he is not teaching, loves to spend time training in Aikido. Joe holds a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from Georgetown University, and lives in New Jersey with his family.
- CEO Hack: It is never finished until it is finished. I try to do a little more when am trying to finish something
- CEO Nugget: Am inspired by a quote, if you chose to do something, it gives you an identity unlike saying you like to do something
- CEO Defined: Being in charge of serving others, I unlock peoples full potential and connect to others
Forbes article on Charisma
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 0:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and have a very special guest on the show today. Have Joe Kwan of connection counselor Joe. It's awesome having on show
Joe Kwon 0:39
Gresh I'm so excited to be here and meet you and participate in your wonderful program.
Gresham Harkless 0:44
Yeah, absolutely. I always say My job is to hold up the microphone and you do the awesome work. So I appreciate you, you know, hopping on the show. And before we jumped in, I want to read a little bit more about Joe so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And as the connection counselor Joe teaches busy professionals how to unlock the 12 Super personal skills that elevate your career. He's the author of the groundbreaking unlock your leadership series, including unlock your executive presence, which finally wrestles to the ground. This elusive ability and acclaim coaching keynote speaker with over 20 years of experience in corporate America, His goal is to help you unlock the best version of yourself. Joe also hosts the big lie and why it works podcast and he has notch teaching loves to spend time training and Akito Joe holds a BA in psychology from the University of Miami, a JD from Georgetown University Jolla Saxon and lives in New Jersey with his family. Joe, are you ready to speak to the imcl community?
Joe Kwon 1:40
Ready to go? I'm just want to mention undergrad UVA. So University of Virginia.
Gresham Harkless 1:45
Yeah. Okay. And the JD from Yeah, Georgetown. Right. Okay. Yeah, we'll definitely take that. I'll make sure I get that in again, because that's important. It did kick everything off. I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through your SEO story? When did you get started with automation? We're
Joe Kwon 1:59
gonna Yeah, absolutely. So my whole life I've just loved talking to people coaching is maybe too glamorous of a word, just, you know, exchanging ideas being a sounding board. So I've been doing that my whole career just because that's kind of who I am just how what you do is, you know, Gresh is part of what, who you are. And one day I'm on the phone with. I hope she doesn't mind that username, Paula portal, former colleague of mine from Argentina. So I met her on a business trip, we worked for the same company. And I guess I must have made a good impression on her. We we stayed in touch over the years, you know, she's a seasoned executive. And several years later, and we both did different companies, I get an email from her. And she says, Joe, I really want to invest in myself this year, and I want to hire a personal coach, and I'm willing to pay for it. Would you be my personal coach, and Gresh my mind just, like explode, I was like, wait, wait, I can get paid for what I was already doing for free. And the reason why that's my origin story was I didn't truly appreciate the value of those conversations of those insights. And I was going to do it anyway, whether I was getting paid or not, because that's who I am. But then I started thinking, Wait a second, there is a business, there is a value that people will gladly gladly exchange, you know, whatever compensation happens to be, it doesn't have to be money necessarily, for the insights in the coaching I receive. And that's kind of how the connection counselor was born.
Gresham Harkless 3:35
Nice. I absolutely love that. It's so interesting. I always feel like when you're in your zone of genius, often we forget those gifts that we have, and we sometimes don't appreciate it as much because it comes up naturally. And it's you don't have anything you have to work at. And it's often other people that often will say, hey, you should get paid for that, or Hey, I will buy your service that kind of opens up the floodgates to all the awesome things that we can do.
Joe Kwon 3:57
Well, here's the funny thing. Gresh that now you say that the read the time it actually became a business was not that first one, right? It became a business when I was having another conversation with a former boss of mine. And we were just talking about something that she was struggling with at work. And then at the end of the conversation, she says to me, Hey, Joe, you're really good at this. You're better at this than I am now. I can't teach her anything about the law. We're lawyers by training, but I could teach her about all those sort of connection principles. And here was the key Gresh I stopped. And I said to myself, hey, I'm not gonna say her name. so and so. It's funny, you mentioned that I just started as a side business coaching, would you mind? If I send you a proposal, look it over and if you want this way we can talk on a regular basis. I can give you more time and attention. And what did she say? She said, of course, and she became my second client. That's that kind of recognition that like, you know, it's not just a favor. It's not just something I do with friends. It's it's a viable business. That was the key game changer for me.
Gresham Harkless 5:01
Yeah, that's so funny that you say that because it actually makes me go back, you know, to working with clients and it you know, of course you do things sometimes you get paid for, but it's really sometimes the person that doesn't really know you, or isn't as warm of a connection that truly validates you and what it is that you do that really put that stamp on. So I love that clarification. Thanks, Gresh. No worries. And so I know we touched on it a little bit when I read your bio you did as well. So if you just take us through a little bit more on how you work with clients, and what exactly that process looks like.
Joe Kwon 5:30
Yeah, absolutely. So my philosophy philosophy seems like too grandiose aboard. But my approach is, I believe that everyone has tremendous value right now already. Right? You were born, already you had that value. What happens is it often gets buried underneath cultural norms, expectations of our parents of our bosses of our society. Fear, right, you know, fear of being great of taking risks. So the work that I do doesn't seek to change you in a way to change you into a new person. I've started calling myself a leadership transformation coach. All it does is help you unlock what was already there, but was kind of like locked inside. You know, so it's kind of unleashing, you know, Beast Mode.
Gresham Harkless 6:20
Beast Mode, I love
Joe Kwon 6:22
my clients and and that has been so fulfilling for me, right? So it's like, it's like imagine, like you see, like a tiger in their cage and the Tigers like all docile, they don't know they're a tiger, or to use a what's what's that movie, you're a pair with these. That's not a great example. But you know what I mean? Like, you know, people don't recognize how powerful they are. Just to help them understand that. And that's kind of the process. That's what I try to, that's what I do for people. Yeah, I
Gresham Harkless 6:48
absolutely love that it was reminded me of this, this image that I saw where it was, I feel like it was a horse that was attached to one of those like lawn chairs, and it had a rope around it. And the horse didn't feel like it can move because I guess it didn't make condition and all those things happen where the horse thought that it could move this small, flimsy lawn chair, but like you said, you know the about the line, kind of being able to break out of the chain, so to speak, maybe, and being able to kind of be their best self and walk in their zone of genius, so many times, external things. And I guess even things that happen, you know, within our lives can kind of reduce us from that ability to really be our best selves and unlock that greatness.
Joe Kwon 7:24
Yeah, and I love how you say zone of genius. I'm not sure if that's a term you came up with. But that really, that really resonates. Where did you hear that from?
Gresham Harkless 7:32
That was from and I'm losing the the leap of is from gay, gay Hendricks that's the name of the author. Yeah,
yes. It's a really phenomenal book. And I often say zona genius. Some people say zona brilliance. But I think being able to kind of find that and I love because like we kind of talked about so many times, we're looking externally for a bit when in reality, sometimes we have seeds of it already within us and things that we've done. Sometimes we just ignore it. And I love that you're able to help people find it
Joe Kwon 8:00
and bring it out. For me, it's all about alignment. Mm hmm. Right? Are you aligned with what you're super? I call them super personal skills, right? Are you aligned with the power that you already have? Or are you busy trying to be something else, which you can be very good at, you can be very good at impersonating. But you're never going to be good as good at being someone else is you will be a being who you're meant to be?
Gresham Harkless 8:23
Yeah, absolutely. I do say sometimes if you, we are always running somebody else's race. But if you run your own race, you cannot lose. And we're always kind of running somebody else's race, which sometimes gets us in trouble. So let me ask you this, I wanted to ask you for what I call your secret sauce. And this could be for you personally, or your business or combination of both. But is it that ability to kind of see that within individuals and bringing that out? Do you feel like that's part of your secret sauce?
Joe Kwon 8:46
Yeah, that definitely is there's probably one other thing that I would mention. And it's my ability to focus and communicate the hidden principles behind why things work. So let me use an example then that is very, seems to get a good response. charisma, right? You're very charismatic. Lots of people would love to have your charisma. If they asked you how you're charismatic. I'm guessing you would have difficulty explaining exactly what it is you're like, I'm Gresh. Or I'm friendly, or I'm on myself. Like that's not really helpful to us like people. Yeah, you like people? Well, I like people like me. So there's a challenge here. And what happens is, you know, you not knowing is normal, right? Like Roger Federer, you ask him how he hits his serve. He can't break it down. He's forgotten more about hitting a serve than they will ever learn. Right? But that doesn't help anyone get his serve or become better. So where I come in is I break down those hidden principles and charisma was a good example. If you look at all the information that's out there about charisma, they'll describe traits that charismatic people will have or they'll give you like a list. And they'll say stuff like, posture, eye contact, be yourself, well, you can do all of those things in isolation, but they will not generate charisma. So what I've done is kind of break it down totally. Coincidentally, this happened that I figured this out. But once I kind of figured that out, it was super powerful.
Gresham Harkless 10:18
I want to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app or a book or a habit that you have. But what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Joe Kwon 10:27
It's never finish until you finish. Okay? So let's say you have 10 chapters to write in a book. Normally, you would write the first chapter, you would put it down? And gosh, how hard is it to start that second chapter, right? It's really hard because you have this sense of completion. So what I always do is, once I get close to finishing the first chapter, it could be anything, it could be a podcast could be anything you prepare, I always even if it's only like, the first word of the second chapter, I always do a little bit more.
Gresham Harkless 11:01
Awesome. So now what it asked me for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or piece of advice, and might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Joe Kwon 11:12
All right, well, we've touched upon this a little bit before, but I'll put a finer point on it. And and I can't claim credit for this one. I originally heard of it from a quote, by a Scottish chess champion in a in a book that I was reading, his name is, um, I think, I think is like Jonathan Ross. And he's like a Scottish chess grandmaster. And what he said, and I'm paraphrasing here is, if you want to be a chess champion, a chess grandmaster, you will never succeed. You have to choose to be a grandmaster, you're not yet. Right, obviously, you haven't gotten there yet. But when you choose that as your identity, then everything you do every action, every decision informed, is informed by your identity. Whereas when you just say you want to do something, all you see are the gaps and the things that you don't have yet, right? Because people often think that our choices make who we are. And our choices are important, right? Because they show who we are, but really we do the things, because we've already decided who we are, and all our actions flow from that. Right? So to me, that's a very powerful principle, when you choose when you chose to be a podcast, or when you chose to, and then you're off to the races. And every call, you took every conversation you had probably nudged and informed what you did, versus You know what, this is kind of a hobby of mine, you never would have had the success you had Gresh if you hadn't chosen that identity for yourself from the get go. I
Gresham Harkless 12:46
absolutely love that, Joe. And so now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different clinical CEOs on the show. So Joe, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Joe Kwon 12:57
Yeah, to me, it's pretty simple and straightforward. I'm in charge of serving others. Right. And you know, each organization has a different purpose, in terms of how they serve, but the organization only exists to serve others, right, without serving others, there's no reason for the organization, and it won't be sustainable. And my specific service that I provide, is unlocking people's full potential, by helping them understand better how to connect to themselves. And we've talked about this, right, like your identity, what you're meant to do the alignment, and also how to connect to others. So that's the charisma, the executive presence, and you know, the other things that I sort of teach. And when you have those two, when you understand, like, let me connect to the best version of myself, and let me understand how to connect that and communicate that and deliver that best to other people, then you, I'm not gonna say you're going to become a CEO. But what I am going to say is you will fulfill your greatest potential, whether it means you go here, halfway or way above, that's not important. Wherever you are meant to go, you have a better chance of getting there by doing that, than by not being connected and living someone else's life or thinking you're so great, but you can't connect anyone else. So no one knows who you are. truly appreciate, you
Gresham Harkless 14:18
know that definition, I appreciate your time even more, what I wanted to do is pass you the mic so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know and of course, how best we can get ahold of you. Find out about your book and all the awesome things and podcasts that you have as well, too. Sure,
Joe Kwon 14:34
absolutely. So I have two podcasts one is called why it works. And it explores hidden principles about why things work, and it could be any topic I've done stuff. It's kind of obvious, like sales, performance management, I've done stuff that's not obvious, like heartbreak and anger. My other podcast is called the big lie. And it's basically your like this crash. What is the lie that you've believed for so long? And then when you realized it was a lie. Everything changed. Right? So So that's my newest podcast and then I have a guest coming up. She's the co worker that I worked with and, and then we may do something on black lives matter which I'm very excited about. And then in terms of my books, you can find them on Amazon it's the unlock your series, you can just google You know, my name Joseph Kwan unlock your charisma unlock your executive presence. And the easiest way to get in touch with me and learn more about what I do is just my website, www dot connection counselor.com. And from there, you can get to all my you know, various socials, LinkedIn, Twitter, there'll be on there or email me. And yeah, we'd love to hear from your listeners and just continue the conversation.
Gresham Harkless 15:43
Yeah, absolutely. I truly appreciate that we will have the links and information in the show notes for your books, podcasts and everything as well too. So that is, you know, super easy to be able to find that and I love you know, that podcast you're absolutely right, hit the nail on the head I, I love that kind of concept. Because I think so many times we forget that we can sometimes create our reality. And that lie that we tell ourselves that may not actually be true, might be holding us back and might you know not allow us to reach our full potential. So I love that you're having conversation, obviously on the podcast, but in so many different ways around that and how we can you know, unleash our best selves and really take things to another level. So, Joe truly appreciate you again, my friend and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.
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