JF1165: You’re Never Going To Feel 100% Ready – Just Launch Anyway! With Leeza Gibbons
In true entrepreneur fashion, Leeza saw a need for support for family caregivers, and created it. Leeza’s Care Connection was created when she was looking for support, to no avail. Against the advice of her agent – who told her it was a bad idea and it’s too negative, Leeza went through with creating her company, helping caregivers the way she wished someone had been able to help her. Oh yeah, and she fired her agent! Leeza has great advice for anyone wanting to start a venture of any kind, make sure to tune in with a notepad ready! If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Leeza Gibbons Background:
-Emmy Award-Winner, Co-host for Entertainment Tonight, & Host of syndicated daytime talk show, Leeza
-Appeared in TV hosting roles since 1984, covering everything from the Golden Globes to Soap Opera Awards
-Winner of Celebrity Apprentice Season 7 in 2015 (in the final season in which Donald Trump was the host)
-Took earnings from Celebrity Apprentice, to build a non-profit Leeza’s Care Connection to support family caregivers
-Has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her TV work
-Inducted into the Direct Response Hall of Fame and won the icon award for crossing the billion dollar mark in sales.
-Best Selling Author of “Take 2: Your Guide to Happy Endings and New Beginnings,” and “Fierce Optimism; 7 Secrets for Playing Nice and Winning Big.”
-Say hi to her at http://leezagibbons.com/
-Based in Los Angeles, California
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluff. With us today, I am pleased to announce – how are you doing, Leeza Gibbons?
Leeza Gibbons: Hey, I’m doing great! How are you?
Joe Fairless: I’m doing well, and nice to have you on the show. Best Ever listeners, you know who Leeza is – she is… Well, let’s see – a daytime Emmy winner, a New York Times bestselling author, a winner of Celebrity Apprentice, co-host at Entertainment Tonight for 16 years, had an award-winning daytime talk show, and also has a nonprofit called Leeza’s Care Connection, which we’re gonna talk about. Leeza, November is National Caregivers’ Month – what does that mean to you?
Leeza Gibbons: Well, like it does for millions of other people joining us right now, it means a challenge, it means depleting financially, spiritually and emotionally, trying to answer that question “Now what do we do?” when somebody you love gets a diagnosis, and there are lots of people that are dealing with chronic illness, or disease, or some other care giving situation where the family members, the non-paid family members – the husbands and wives and sons and daughters – are showing up for duty every day, really to do a job that they are not prepared for and don’t get enough respect or support for.
So a part of what we do at Leeza’s Care Connection which you mentioned is help educate and energize family caregivers so they can feel more confident and more competent, so that you take better care of those caregivers, you’re gonna get better outcomes from the care receivers. And I’ve gotta tell you, it has never been more crucial than it is now, because the healthcare system is in a little bit of a mess, and caregivers are the backbone of what is an extremely challenging economic situation for us, not to mention the human suffering side.
Joe Fairless: And how did you come to create Leeza’s Care Connection?
Leeza Gibbons: Just like with business opportunities or any other life change, I think that I went kicking and screaming into it when my mother had Alzheimer’s disease, and we really should have been better educated, I suppose, because my mother’s mom – my granny – also died of the same disease. I created in the world what we wish we’d had. They say if you’re an entrepreneur, to create products and services that you want… So this was what we needed and what we wish we’d had for our family when we were going through the journey of dealing with my mother’s Alzheimer’s. It really is a place for people to kind of get you to understand what the challenges were, where you could feel supported, where you could learn the skills and techniques to make your life easier, and where we could really connect you to your own strength.
We always say “Call on your courage and summon your strength”, because nobody wants to be the world’s best caregivers; this is really not anybody’s dream of happy ever after. But when you get there, you can find ways through it.
Joe Fairless: On that related note, one of your books, titled “Take Your Oxygen First. Protecting Your Health And Happiness While Caring For a Loved One With Memory Loss” – I have not read it yet, but based on the title and the research I’ve done, I believe one insight is to take care of yourself first so you can take care of others. If that is correct, then initially is there a guilty feeling that we have to protect against, so that if we’re taking care of ourselves, we don’t feel guilty about not always taking care of the other person?
Leeza Gibbons: Yeah, and you’re so right on… I think all caregivers — it’s the constant companion; everybody has guilt. When I was caring for my mom, and now my dad, who has coronary heart disease and had bypass surgery, I always felt guilty, because I’m on the West Coast, my parents have always been on the East Coast… I agonized about that. When I was with my mom I felt guilty because I wasn’t doing enough; there were so many things I was missing. When I was away from her I was guilty. I felt guilty because I was healthy and she was sick… I even felt guilty when I didn’t feel guilty [unintelligible [00:05:19].19] so to normalize that, to recognize that you’re doing the best you can, showing up with your best intention… I used to come up with mantras to kind of help me with it, and then you kind of get down to the business of getting a grip on how you deal with these feelings of overwhelm.
For me – and I hope this doesn’t sound trivial – it was a very key component to success for me, just like in business, is to really engage your optimism; it is a driver of success. This is a mental competence that is going to tie you to your ability to find answers and solutions. And it’s not just Pollyanna, pie-in-the-sky thinking, it’s being more resilient and being able to bounce back and fight back more quickly than the people who throw in the towel and the people who are pessimistic and negative. The optimistic caregiver will engage the tools that are out there.
One of the things that I’d like to remind our guests at Leeza’s Care Connection is to look at the technology that’s out there. There’s a lot of free apps that can help you, whether you need a care calendar to invite your friends and family to contribute to things they can to help you, whether it’s dropping off food or sitting with mom while you take a break… There’s CareCalendar.org, and Lotsa Helping Hands has a free one… There’s a lot of meditation apps out there to really help you get centered and stay connected to your strengths, and then there’s a lot of really super cool technology that really helped me with my dad, for example.
My dad is now 88, but he thinks he’s John Wayne, and he was like “Nothing’s ever gonna happen to me…” You know the type, right?
Joe Fairless: Yup.
Leeza Gibbons: This is my real hero in life and in business and in reinvention, but when we found out dad had heart disease… He lives by himself and he loves his independence, he’s got a busy life, but I said “I really want you to have a personal emergency response system, like a medic alert.” He was like, “Honey, I don’t need that”, and nobody wants to look vulnerable or feel frail, but this is where I used guilt to my best advantage. I said “You know, daddy, I worry about you”, and I did the old “It’s for me, not you”, so we got him a Philips Lifeline, and sure enough, two years later – my husband and I didn’t even know, we thought “Is he wearing the thing? We’re paying this bill… I know he can’t return it because it’s a gift from me”, but he had a heart attack and had he not been wearing it, the first responders wouldn’t have been there in time to save my dad… So I’m really so grateful, and it’s one of those cool business stories where I called the Philips people. I said “I’m sure you get these calls all the time, but I wanted to thank you for saving my dad”, and that’s really how I got involved with them in educating people about the technology side of things of Philips Lifeline, their personal emergency response service, the medication dispenser which my dad also has… So it’s interesting, life always puts you exactly where you’re supposed to be.
Joe Fairless: You mentioned you had or have mantras… What are some of those mantras that you tell yourself?
Leeza Gibbons: Well, it’s funny, because one I had to employ way back when I was doing Dancing With The Stars, and they get you — this is a horrifying visual for many women… They spray-tan you, they get you naked in front of this [unintelligible [00:08:41].04] and on the day that I was doing it, I’m standing next to — I think it was like Julianne Hough and Cheryl Burke’s perfect [unintelligible [00:08:47].27] and I was like “Oh, my god…!” I could even breathe, so I just started going “My body is strong and healthy… My body is strong and healthy…” [laughter]
But when I’m hiking, I often do mantras and I tell myself repeatedly that my brain is sharp — look, I’ve got two generations of women that have Alzheimer’s disease… So I never borrow tomorrow’s troubles today, but I’m not naive. I know that mitigating stress is good for anybody, no matter what is going on in your life. So when my mom was sick, my mantra was just “I love my mom. I’m doing the best I can. I love my mom, I’m doing the best I can.” It’s just a nice reminder, because it’s what Tony Robbins always says – you get what you focus on, end of story. And if you focus on how you’re failing and how you’re underwater and how you’re overwhelmed, then you’re just gonna get more of that.
Joe Fairless: It sounds like your mantras — it’s a dynamic process, where it’s based on where you’re at in that period of life, and then you come up with a customized mantra based on that situation. Is that accurate?
Leeza Gibbons: Yeah, it’s true, and I try to have a meditation practice, but I used to tell myself “Oh my gosh, I don’t know how to do it” and “I’m not doing it well”, and “I’m even failing at meditation. What a loser! Who fails at meditation…?!” and I realized that the things that work for me in business, when you’re in the better business of trying to get better yourself or trying to help someone else get better, or just in the philanthropy world of wanting to make someone better, we sometimes stop ourselves because we think we don’t know enough, and that’s probably one of the greatest pieces of advice that I’ve ever received and that I give out, is “Don’t wait until you know and don’t wait until you’re ready!” That business of saying “getting your ducks in a row” is so instructive, but it’s not true, because the mother duck never waits for the ducklings to follow behind her. The mother duck just starts walking, and then the baby ducks fall in line.
So I think that whatever journey you’re starting out on, it’s never gonna be perfect and you’re never gonna feel 100% ready, but just launch anyway.
Joe Fairless: On the launching part, when you launch anyway, I know there are bumps in the road, and you mentioned earlier you’ve gotta be more resilient than others and bounce back quicker than others… How do you do that?
Leeza Gibbons: Well, I talk about the Tigger factor. In Winnie The Pooh, you look at Tigger – he’s a party to himself; he bounces from everything, and people want to be around Tigger, because Tigger is positive, and when you are in the situation where you need to bounce back from something, that’s when you do really need to edit the toxic people out of your life. They always say “We become like the five people we associate with most”, so if it’s a business plan you’re trying to get off the ground, or if it’s a health plan you’re trying to activate for your family, putting those people in place who are on your team is really important, and it may not be your bio family; it may not be the logical people that are your blood relatives, because they may have their own limits that prevent them from showing up in the way that you want them to. So I think it’s really important to know that this is not a solo sport, and you really do have to get your team, people that can coach you through it, and you’re gonna be playing out of position, because you’ve never been feeling this personally invested in an outcome in quite this way.
Joe Fairless: Can you tell us a story of when you had to implement the Tigger factor and bounce back because something completely and utterly flopped?
Leeza Gibbons: Well yeah, so many come to mind, but as it relates to my mom, when my mom got Alzheimer’s disease, I was hosting my talk show at Paramount, I was doing Entertainment Tonight, I was doing a radio show, and my kids were little… Busy life, like everybody sharing in this conversation right now, busy life. But suddenly, it was like my world just went silent, and the steps to the dance of my life – I was tripping all over myself; it didn’t make sense. So I knew that I needed to listen through the pain and try to figure out “What is this pain trying to teach me?” and my mother in the early stages of the disease said to me “You know, honey…” I was like “Mom, I don’t know what to do. I feel so helpless…” and she said “All your life you’ve been a reporter, you’ve been a storyteller, you’ve told other people’s stories. Now, go tell this story.” And that was great, but I couldn’t figure out exactly how to do that, beyond the outlets that I had.
So I went to my agent at the time and I said “Look, I’m gonna start a foundation, and we’re gonna help people like my family…”, and immediately he’s like “No, no, no. Bad idea. This is not marketable, this Alzheimer’s stuff is negative and it’s old and it’s not sexy. Stick to your kidss charities; people get that, they understand that, but I really can’t recommend that you do this. It’s not gonna help your career, it’s not gonna help you book gigs…”, and I listened, and I said “Well, thank you for that insight, which tells me how bad this needs to be done… It really needs to be done. And just one other thing, you’re fired.” [laughter] That was my first time of really saying “Okay, it’s not the end of the road here; it’s a bend, a very big bend in the road, but I need people that see the vision of where I need to go.
Joe Fairless: You talked about earlier being very selective with the five people you associate most… Who are those five people for you?
Leeza Gibbons: Well, one is my husband and business partner who runs our company. He’s my best friend and my best gauge for when I’m sort of drifting too far out of my lane, because I tend to be very entrepreneurial in my thinking and I like to have lots of projects going on, and he’s the one that helps them get to fruition.
One of the things that I’ve learned to do when there’s something I don’t know, to reach outside myself and find the people who DO know. With the foundation right now, I’m working with a very passionate woman from the nonprofit world who I’ve engaged as a friend as a business consultant… So I usually have kind of a business voice in my ear.
And then there’s my hiking girlfriends; they’re the stress-relievers and the ones that will just listen and not try to fix. One of the best things to tell caregivers is have somebody on speed dial that you know will answer, that you know will just let you vent… Because we really do have to get that stuff out of us.
Joe Fairless: So you’ve got the personal, professional and social components then.
Leeza Gibbons: [unintelligible [00:15:28].26] inspirational. I really get inspired by other women. I think that girls compete, but women empower, and if you look at the most meaningful women for most of us – and certainly for me – one of my inspirations in my life right now is Olivia Newton-John, who is not only on my vision board before I ever met her as someone that I wanted to be like… I certainly don’t have her talents as an entertainer, but I wanted to have her goodness and her grace, and there’s always a serenity about her, but she’s a very smart businesswoman.
After I met her, we became friends and have remained in each other’s life. She’s a beautiful reminder of resilience, and when cancer came back recently, I always say “Olivia…” She always operates on the notion of “More. More joy, more time for friends, more opening up to let love in”, and when the cancer came back it was “More faith, more hope and more ways to deal with that, and more ways to share it”, and that’s another big thing that I learned from her, and the other person on my list, which is Maria Shriver, who’s such a powerful change agent in the world, and has always been great at sharing what she knows and offering it up.
Joe Fairless: How do you decide how to spend your time?
Leeza Gibbons: Well, I used to chronically chase that thing called balance, and look for the middle of the see-saw, because I thought “Well, my time’s not balanced. I’ve gotta be balanced – I’ve gotta stay fit, I’ve gotta be a great mom, I’ve gotta be a great wife, I wanna be successful at work, I wanna meditate and have a spiritual practice”, and okay, great, but it wasn’t happening. It balanced. And then I shifted that, and it’s one of the best things I ever did from my mental health; I don’t look at balancing my time anymore, I look at investing my time, as you imply… And when you invest, you expect to get dividends, and I do.
When things are out of whack and I’m traveling and I’m away from my family, that’s not balanced, but I know that I’m providing support for them, I’m growing as their mother, I’m setting an example for them – those are great dividends for the being out of balance for that short amount of time.
Joe Fairless: That’s a powerful insight, that’s for sure… Shifting from balance to investing your time. On the investing your time note, if we were at an airport and we’re just sitting there, waiting for the flight, or maybe we have private jets that whisk you all over the country — let’s just assume we’re flying commercial; if we’re at the airport and waiting on the flight, are you on the phone talking to some of these people in your close circle? Are you Facebook on your phone just killing time? Are you doing something else? What are you doing at that moment?
Leeza Gibbons: I’m probably looking to feed my base, which is — I always look at people who empty out, and I can’t pour from an empty vessel. So what feels really nourishing to me and what feeds my ability to do more work and to show up in the world the way I wanna show up, is I’m a little bit of a self-help junkie, and so either I’m reading some articles, or I’ve got a book and I get great inspiration from that. I love books by and about women. I’m reading Sherry Lansing’s book Leading Lady right now, I just finished Shonda Rimes’ Year Of Yes, which I really loved, and next on my list is Sheryl Sandberg’s book Option B, so I’m looking forward to that one. So that’s really how I fill up – by looking at how other people get through and get by, and what keeps them sane.
Joe Fairless: I asked my audience to submit questions, and I hand-picked just a couple for you, and so I’m gonna sprinkle them in as we go through. Here’s the first one – this is from Christine [unintelligible [00:19:26].02] in Flint, Michigan. She asks “What influence (if any) did Barbara Walters have on you and women in the media?”
Leeza Gibbons: Well, Barbara Walters was my head Barbie doll, and here’s what I mean by that. When I was a kid, I played business, and I used my Barbie dolls to play business. My barbies were reporters, and they were owners of all kinds of businesses; they had jet companies, and cruise lines… But the Barbies that were the reporters were named Barbara Walters and Nancy Dickerson, who was one of the coolest, most pioneering newswomen of the day… And my Barbies ruled the world, they really did.
So Barbara was incredibly inspirational for me, and by the time I went to major in broadcast journalism and I was a freshman, it was the year that Barbara Walters was named the first female anchor of the Nightly Network News, and she was making a million dollars; that was a big headline. It’s still a lot of money, and Barbara Walters was making more than the men.
I went to my journalism 101 class and said “Did you read that? Did you see? Barbara Walters. That’s gonna be me. I’m gonna make a million dollars in the broadcast business”, and they said to me “Oh, my gosh, Leeza… (I’m from South Carolina) Listen to yourself. You’re a South Carolina, girl. You’re not even gonna get out of town!”
My mother, who would always say to me “Just put your blinders on, baby; you just run right past them, don’t look at them. Run right past them.” So years later, when I met Barbara Walters – before I met her, actually, I wrote her… I was watching one of her shows and I was so inspired, and I wrote her basically like a fan letter, and she wrote back. She was very encouraging and very generous with her advice and her support, and I will never forget that. So yeah, Barbara Walters was a big influence.
Joe Fairless: Do you remember what she wrote back in terms of advice or support?
Leeza Gibbons: You know, I had mentioned that on this show that I was watching – it was one of those specials – that I really loved at best, as many people did, when she would get to kind of the personal vulnerabilities of her interview subjects, and she reminded me… At that time I was working on E.T., and that was a great gig at the time, and I’m so grateful for it, and she reminded me that that’s the basis of any good interview, no matter who’s in front of you or on the other end of the mic, that your best approach is to be authentically you, to open up that space where they can be who they are.
Joe Fairless: On a related note, from a business standpoint — we talked about the challenge that you mentioned with your mom, but from a business standpoint, with maybe a venture that didn’t go well… Can you tell us about a venture that didn’t go well and how you approached it during and after?
Leeza Gibbons: Yeah, it’s some that were within my power to change, and then, obviously, things that weren’t. The first time I got fired I was on location in Rio when I got a call, like “Hey look, we packed your stuff up, it’s in a box outside your office door.” I was working at KCBS in New York, and they said “But look, you’re there, so spend an extra day, or whatever, and then come on back, and… Thanks for your effort.”
My friends were like “Great, we’re gonna enjoy Rio!” We were down there covering the carnival, and I’m like “Uh-uh, no.” I was already mentally re-editing my demo reel to send out to news directors and to try to get the next gig, because I think that bold action is always the best action. But what happened was I got so myopic… My desire to kind of move ahead so quickly didn’t give me the best perspective to kind of survey the landscape. So I don’t think I had enough of a 360 view of where I wanted to go next and what I wanted to do next.
It ended up that I ended up leaving New York and going to L.A. to work for Paramount and for ET, which was a great thing in my life. But the better example may be — I think that as a businesswoman and as an entrepreneur that was pioneering in an area that was not my core skillset, and helped advocacy and offering direct services to families, I was so excited to do something innovative and I fell in love with my vision to the extent that I tried to control it and kept other people from contributing and from guiding and from really over-powering what I may have thought was best, so I wasted a lot of time dealing with hospital systems and looking for how I could economically franchise this thing.
In the end, we ended up just kind of going with whoever was throwing money our way, and we had the great gift of not having a perfect plan, and that’s when I learned the value of not waiting for it all to be perfect, but just to get started offering the services.
Gloria Steinem says that “The truth will set you free, but first it’s gonna piss you off”, and the truth about me was I’m a long-standing control enthusiast, and that tends to be in many cases, and tends to be an Achilles’ heel when it comes to wanting to create new things.
Joe Fairless: Based on your experience professionally and personally, what is your best advice ever for entrepreneurs and investors?
Leeza Gibbons: As a general overlay, the best advice I ever got I learned from my partners at Guthy Renker. Bill Guthy and Greg Renker are incredible visionaries that taught me so much about direct-response marketing, and selling products, and the psychology of success… That’s how I got into business with Tony Robbins, so it was just a really great relationship. But the skill that I value — so many skills they taught me, but one of the initial ones was in meeting and with new partners and new relationships to talk less and listen more. And typically, if you look around the room in those committee meetings or those boardrooms, or where those deals are going down, the most powerful person in the room is often not the one talking the most, not taking up all that space on the verbal sidewalk.
I think there’s a lot of strength in silence, and there’s a lot of power in things that we don’t say, and if you listen really intently, you can analyze situations, you can analyze your role in the situation, and you can get to know the players around the table a little bit better. But I also think that in negotiations, what has worked well for me is give something first, and I know that’s antithetical to the way a lot of people find success, but it’s very organic to me, and I think it creates trust, it shows that you’re really willing to be a deal maker, and that’s something that I have found to be just a conversation opener and a deal expander.
Joe Fairless: Can you give a quick example of a negotiation where you gave something first?
Leeza Gibbons: Well, it’s easy to give examples, and I’ll give an example from a talent deal, for instance. If I’m signing on for a contract with a company – and it’s almost never about the money, right? The money situations, in that case, it’s like okay, well there’s money, and you have the money that you need, and you go back and forth with money – it’s the things wrapped around the money, the terms. So we had reached the top of money, and so I was willing to extend the length of the contract because I knew that’s what they had wanted, because they had initially made an offer for longer, and I was willing to extend the length of the contract, and I said “Look, but I would like to have the radio rights.” This was back in the days of working at ET. It was early on, like in the late ’80s, early ’90s, and they’re like “Give her the radio rights. Nobody’s doing anything with that”, and it turned out to be such a great thing that I dined out on the radio — I did Entertainment Minutes, and then I did Hollywood Confidential, and they had given me the rights that I owned a lot of content that was being generated in my daily work.
I don’t know why they gave it to me. Maybe they thought it wasn’t valuable truly, or maybe it was because we were just in a very good, and always were in a very solid give and take.
Joe Fairless: Two last questions from our listeners that were hand-picked, and this is related to what you’re just talking about, the direct response and the insight you got from that. This is from Grant, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio – “What are the biggest lessons learned from selling over a billion dollars in products through direct response?”
Leeza Gibbons: It’s a relationship, just like any relationship. You have to certainly know your features and benefits of the product, and you have to believe in the product clearly. You have to have integrity and believability, and that doesn’t come from being polished and perfected. In fact, look at what’s going on in government right now – people are suspicious of the status quo and of politicians that have the right words and that are very careful. This has been in part because of the advent of social media, of course, but people are more connected to someone that seems more authentic and is willing to be vulnerable. So whether you’re the head of a company or whether you’re selling a product, I think showing your vulnerability and offering that up is really important.
Before I ever sold a single thing, I was a reported in Dallas and I was sent to cover a Mary Kay convention. This will kind of give you a date stamp. So this was in the ’80s, and Mary Kay – it was the pink Cadillac ladies that were selling. It was one of the first business opportunities for women, and it really created a generation of women who could self-identify beyond the norms of the time and really claim their power by selling something that was authentic to them – they were selling beauty products, they were selling empowerment. Well, I wanted nothing to do with that. I felt like “How do I get this [unintelligible [00:29:17].16] cover these crazy pink Cadillac ladies at this convention?”
I walked into the room with my photographer at the time and I said “You know what? Just spray the room, get some beer or whatever… We’re not gonna be here very long.” And they had to pry me out of there. I listened to Mary Kay Ash, I watched the effect she had on women. She was selling a business opportunity, they would then be selling the products. And she unleashed something in them that made them believe. So getting into the direct response hall of fame and crossing that billion dollar line of selling products come from that same place of helping somebody — yes, they were addressing a need, but the kind of product that I have sold and been most successful with, they open up something that we can believe in about ourselves… Whether we’re selling personal power with Tony Robbins, whether we’re selling Sheer Cover Mineral Makeup and helping you connect with your confidence, whether it’s selling a scrapbook line and helping you connect with how important legacies are in your life… It always comes down to what’s underneath the features and benefits.
Joe Fairless: Last question – my major was advertising at Texas Tech, and this is from the former dean of the college of Media and Communication at Texas Tech, and he said that — you use to work in Beaumont (which obviously I knew that through our research) with a gentleman named Jerry Beaulieu at KFDM TV. Jerry mentioned to ask you, and you can choose whichever story you wanna go with, but he said to ask you about during your time at PM magazine, the alligator story, or the story you did Gilly’s in Houston about the mechanical bull they use in midnight rodeo with John [unintelligible [00:31:04].29]
Leeza Gibbons: [laughs] When I was in Texas it was the height of cowboy chic, and Urban Cowboy and all that had come out, and everybody was doing those mechanical bulls; it was a great time. And being right there, on the [unintelligible [00:31:20].19] and right there in Louisiana… You know, I’m from South Carolina, it wasn’t a culture that was completely foreign to me, but one of our stories we were set out on was called Getting Gators.
We went out, we got a call… I thought “This is like a feature.” I was sleeping with a police scanner [unintelligible [00:31:38].14] 2 AM. “Okay, we’re heading to the swamp now. Meet the crew.” Alright, great. So we go out on this boat, and I look at it now and I go… When the red tally light is on the camera, I think that I either always got incredible courage, or became ridiculously foolish, just thinking like how is that gonna save me, right?
But we were with a team of people that were hunting alligators; I’m sure it was not legal, and it’s certainly not legal now, but we were doing one of these culture stories, and I had these waders on and I ended up getting in that swamp. They said “Now look, to get the gator into the boat, we don’t kill them, we just stun them”, and there was a stun gun as I recall — I don’t know if this is the story exactly… But we had stun this alligator and I had the tail, which was the stupidest place to be, but it was just a mild [unintelligible [00:32:24].18] There might be something else to the story that I’m not remembering. Did he give you a hint?
Joe Fairless: No, no, he just mentioned those two things on the Facebook post that I mentioned.
Leeza Gibbons: Was that Larry Beaulieu?
Joe Fairless: Jerry Hudson, who is…
Leeza Gibbons: Oh, Jerry!
Joe Fairless: Yeah, he’s a former dean of College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech. I’m on the alumni advisory board there.
Leeza Gibbons: So Jerry is giving you the story — your Jerry is giving you the story about KFDM.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, exactly. Yup.
Leeza Gibbons: Oh, that’s so sweet. Larry Beaulieu was another executive and talent; he was like the news director and the anchor of the news, and he really taught me a lot about collaboration. The world went through a lot of specialization, and now we’re back into this wonderful zone of collaboration that’s partly borne out of necessity and also borne out of our proximity to bring other people in, and I think that people who really can collaborate and who recognize that, as my mother always said, it’s “I will versus IQ”, that success really doesn’t have that much to do with being the smartest person in the room; it’s who can either build consensus, or bring people together, and who can most effectively collaborate towards that end goal, and Larry was a great mentor for that.
Joe Fairless: Leeza, where should the Best Ever listeners go to learn more about your organization, or wherever else you wanna send them?
Leeza Gibbons: Here’s how people can reach me, and I really hope they do, and thank you so much Joe for this time, I’ve really enjoyed it. LeezasCareConnection.org is where we can help you if you have a loved one that has a chronic illness or disease. If we can be of service, we would certainly love to do that. And just connect with me on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, I’m Jessica Leeza Gibbons. I’d love to keep the conversation going.
Joe Fairless: I’m so grateful that you’re doing what you’re doing… And really, who cares about me? It’s about other people who are being impacted in a positive way through your organization. So my business is I buy apartment communities and I partner with investors, and one of my investors recently had his wife diagnosed with an illness, and he was going through the “What now?” question that your organization addresses and helps other people with, and it is a necessary organization. I’m so grateful, and others are so grateful for it, I know it. So first and foremost, thank you for spending time doing what you’re doing.
And then secondly, lessons I learned from our conversation – there were many. One of them is the resiliency, bounce back factor; you mentioned the Tigger factor, where you bounce back, and you gave a couple of examples… And then the point that really resonated with me from an investing/entrepreneurial standpoint is shifting the focus instead of from balance, but rather on investing in your time, and looking for how to feed your base, as you mentioned. You’re a voracious reader for self-help books and content, in particular of books by and about women…
Then another point is what you mentioned towards the end of our conversation, the gift of not having the perfect plan — it is a gift, of not having the perfect plan. It’s rather just getting started, offering the services, and that certainly is applicable to all real estate investors and entrepreneurs.
So thank you for spending the time with us, thank you for doing what you’re doing, I’m really grateful for that. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Leeza Gibbons: Thank you so much. Best ever back to you, too!