Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Joe shared his story and the organic start of his company. He talked about how we all have “tremendous value” and how his work helps people to unlock “beast mode.” We often forget our own power and like Joe talked about SuperPersonal skills. It was so powerful when Joe talked about the power of trust. Not just “wanting” to do something but “choosing to.”
Joe Kwon Teaser 00:00
I'm in charge of serving others. And 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.
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 00:49
Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. And if you've been listening this year, we're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes under certain categories or topics that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
This month is going to be about not forgetting about the human part of business. Often we forget about the human part of life. We often forget about the human part of business. So look for self-care tips, fitness, burnout, purpose, biz and personal, personal branding, motivation, drive, success, understanding your why, and of course, how important customer service is. But at the heart of it, it's all about, remembering the human part of business. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I am CEO podcast.
Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and have a very special guest on the show today I have Joe Kwan of Connection Counselor. Joe is awesome to have you on the show.
Joe Kwon 01:47
Gresh, I'm so excited to be here and meet you and participate in your wonderful program.
Gresham Harkless 01:52
Yeah, absolutely. I always say my job is to hold up the microphone and you do awesome work. So I appreciate you, hopping on the show. And before we jumped in, I wanted 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 Your Executive Presence, which finally wrestles to the ground, this elusive ability. An acclaimed 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 in Why it Works podcast, and when he is not teaching, he loves to spend time training in aikido. Joe holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from Georgetown University, Hoya Saxa, and lives in New Jersey with his family.
Joe, are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?
Joe Kwon 02:46
Ready to go!
Just wanted to mention undergrad UVA so, university of Virginia. Okay.
Gresham Harkless 02:50
Yeah. Okay. And the JD from Georgetown. Okay. Yeah, we'll definitely take that and make sure I get that in again, because that's important. And to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through your CEO story? We'll let you get started with all the awesome things you're working on.
Joe Kwon 03:05
Yeah, absolutely. So my whole life, I've just loved talking to people. Coaching is maybe too glamorous of a word, just, exchanging ideas, and being a sounding board. So I had been doing that my whole career, just cause that's who I am. Just how what you do is Gresh is part of who you are. And one day I'm on the phone with, I hope she doesn't mind if I use her name, Paula Portal, a 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 stayed in touch over the years. She's a seasoned executive. And several years later we were both at different companies, I get an email from her and she says, Joe, I really want to invest in myself this year and I wanna hire a personal coach and I'm willing to pay for it. Would you be my personal coach? And Gresh my mind just like exploded. 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 gonna 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 exchange whatever compensation happens to be, It doesn't have to be money necessary for the insights and the coaching I receive. And that's how the connection counselor was born.
Gresham Harkless 04:33
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 so naturally and it's not 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 services. That kind of opens up the floodgate, all the awesome things that we can do.
Joe Kwon 04:54
Well, here's the funny thing, Gresh, now that you say that, The time it actually became a business was not that first one. 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 sorts 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 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 kind of recognition that like, it's not just a favor, it's not just something I do with friends. It's a viable business. That was the key game changer for me.
Gresham Harkless 05:52
So I know we touched on it a little bit when I read your bio, you did as well too. Could you take us through a little bit more on how you work with clients and what exactly that process looks like?
Joe Kwon 05:59
Yeah, absolutely. So my philosophy, seems like two grandiose of a word, but my approach is I believe that everyone has tremendous value right now already. You were born, already you had that value. What happens is it often gets buried underneath cultural norms, and expectations of our parents, of our bosses, and of our society. Fear, 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 locked inside. So it's unleashing, beast mode, yeah.
Gresham Harkless 06:44
Yeah. Engage beast mode. I love that.
Joe Kwon 06:46
It's for my clients. And, that has been so fulfilling for me, right? So it's like, imagine as you see like a tiger in their cage and the tiger's like so docile, they don't know they're a tiger. Or to use a what, Well, what's that movie? You're a bear with these claws and these hands, that's not a great example, but like, people don't recognize how powerful they are, just to help them understand that. And that's the process. That's what I try to do, that's what I do for people.
Yeah. So many times, external things and I guess even things that happen, within our lives can reduce us from that ability to really be our best selves and unlock that greatness.
Joe Kwon 07:19
Yeah. And I love how you say zone of genius. I'm not sure if that's the term you came up with, but that really nice, that really resonates. Where did you hear that from?
Gresham Harkless 07:27
That's great. It was from, and I'm losing the name, the book leap of, it's from Gay Hendrix. That's the name of the author.
Joe Kwon 07:32
Oh, yeah. I've heard. Yeah.
Gresham Harkless 07:34
Yeah. It's, a really phenomenal book and I often say zone of genius. And some people say zone of brilliance. I love that you're able to help people find that and bring it out.
Joe Kwon 07:40
Well, for me, it's all about alignment. are you aligned with your 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 gonna be good as good at being someone else as you will be at being who you're meant to be.
Gresham Harkless 08:02
Yeah, absolutely. 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 a combination of both, but is it that ability to see that within individuals and bringing that out? Do you feel like that's part of your secret sauce?
Joe Kwon 08:14
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 that 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 myself. Like, that's not really helpful to..
Gresham Harkless 08:47
I Just like people.
Joe Kwon 08:48
Yeah. You like people. Well, I like people too, but no one likes me. Like, there's a challenge here, and what happens is, 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 service than we'll ever learn. 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's 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 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 break it down. Totally coincidentally this happened, that I figured this out, but once I figured that out, it was super powerful.
Gresham Harkless 09:38
I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Joe Kwon 09:48
It's never finished 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, right? It could be a podcast, could be anything you prepare. I always, even if it's only the first word of the second chapter, I always do a little bit more.
Gresham Harkless 10:20
Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO Nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you have to tell a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.
Joe Kwon 10:31
All right. Well, we've touched upon this a little bit before, but I'll put a finer point on it and, I can't claim credit for this one. I originally heard of it from a quote by a Scottish chess champion in a book that I was reading. His name, I think his name is like Jonathan Rouson. He's like a Scottish chess grand master. And what he said, and I'm paraphrasing here, is if you want to be a chess champion, a chess grand master, you will never succeed. You have to choose to be a grand master. You're not yet, obviously you haven't gotten there yet. But when you choose that as your identity, then everything you do, every action, every decision 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 chose to be a podcaster and then you are 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 a hobby of mine. You never would've had the success you had Gresh if you hadn't chosen that identity for yourself from the get go.
Gresham Harkless 11:59
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 CEOs on this show.
So Joe, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Joe Kwon 12:11
Yeah, to me it's pretty simple and straightforward. I'm in charge of serving others. And 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 the 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 the other things that I 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, I'm not gonna say you're gonna become a CEO, but what I am gonna say is you'll fulfill your greatest potential, whether it means you go here halfway or way above, that's not important. Wherever you were 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 to anyone else so no one knows who you are.
Gresham Harkless 13:24
Truly appreciate that definition. I appreciate your time even more. What I want 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, podcasts and all the awesome things that you have as well too.
Joe Kwon 13:40
Sure, 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 that's obvious, like sales, and performance management. I've done stuff that's not obvious, like heartbreak and anger. My other podcast is called The Big Lie, and basically you'll like this Gresh. What is the lie that you've believed for so long and then when you realized it was a lie, everything changed. So that's my newest podcast. And then I have a guest coming up. She's a coworker that I worked with 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.connectioncounselor.com. And from there you can get to all my, various socials, LinkedIn, Twitter they'll be on there or email me. And yeah, would love to hear from your listeners and just continue the conversation.
Gresham Harkless 14:41
Yeah, absolutely. Joe I truly appreciate that. We will have the links and information in the show notes for your books, podcast and everything as well too so that it's super easy to be able to find that. And I love that podcast, you're absolutely right. Hit the nail on the head. 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. Not allowing 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 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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