#SeriouslySocial The Podcast
with Simone Douglas and special guest Dan Kuss
Today’s guest is Dan Kuss from Strengths Academy. He chats with Simone about parenting, working to your strengths, and his best tips for personal growth.
Special guest: Dan Kuss
Connect with Dan here:
Check out our page for updates and teasers about upcoming episodes, links, and details about Simone’s best-selling books. https://socialmediaaok.com.au/podcast
Hosted by Simone Douglas
Videography by Marie Carbone
Audio by Chris Irving
Music used in this episode is “Alte Herren” by KieLoKaz, used with permission under a Creative Commons Licence
This production is protected by a creative commons CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence.
Chris Irving 0:00
Welcome to the seriously social podcast with your host, Simone Douglas.
Today’s guest is Dan Coates from strength Academy. He chats with Simone about parenting working to your strengths and his best tips for personal growth.
Simone Douglas 0:15
Welcome to this episode of seriously social Today we are joined by the fabulous Dan s from strength Academy.
Dan Kuss 0:22
Simone Douglas 0:22
Good morning. So, Dan, perhaps if we can just start off with the cliff notes version of how you find yourself on the red chairs today,
Dan Kuss 0:31
with Cliff notes version without anything beige on to By the way, which was a good one,
Simone Douglas 0:36
it was a good one because it blends into the background.
Dan Kuss 0:40
So how did I get here, the short version would be that for 20 years, I had my own design and marketing business. The bit I loved about the most was the communication with clients. Conversations didn’t take long to stray from sales and marketing to management, HR relationships, you know, I’ve found that our problems follow us around, right. So having challenges at home, you have challenges at work, and we tend to portray our challenges on everyone else. So before he knew it, with my clients, everything was on the table, all conversations, all the things, all challenges are on the table. And that was the meat that I love getting into pretty quickly going into coaching tooled up, learn to trade and here I am.
Simone Douglas 1:25
So what would you say? is the most common excuse that people give you for why their lives or businesses are difficult?
Dan Kuss 1:37
Blaming other people?
Simone Douglas 1:37
Yeah, that’s right.
Dan Kuss 1:39
It was not me. It was them. It was a government. It was my partner. It was my child. It was my school. It was my childhood. Yeah, some of those are valid. But we need to let go of baggage at some point and take charge. Right?
Simone Douglas 1:50
Yeah. So I have a golden rule that you have to have a use by date for your story. The only person that can give you that use by date is you.
Dan Kuss 1:58
Simone Douglas 1:59
But you do have to have the use by a date. And I think you know, and you would be happy hanging out with a lot of really successful people. They don’t this no conversations about excuses.
Dan Kuss 2:11
No, it doesn’t last long. It’s a little bit like one of my mates who he hosts dinner parties. He’s in the wine industry. If someone comes around with a crappy bottle of wine, he’s like, thanks. leaves it on the table. Or you pick it up anyway. Yeah. So crappy wines not allowed into the dinner party. And I think that old conversations old excuses. Oh, poor me. He’s not allowed into current life. We need to get rid of them and move on.
Simone Douglas 2:33
Yeah. So one of the things that you are credited in is the Gallup strength, um which I absolutely love. I found it not that long ago, but it just gave me so much insight into the other people on my team that I needed to recruit, to make up for the things that I really slept. So what is the benefit? What is gallop strengths all about? Sorry? Was it helpful?
Dan Kuss 3:01
Good question. Gallup strengths really is founded on about 100 years of research and data. And it’s all about the pursuit of excellence like in humanity, so that we can live better lives doing more of what we love. For about 30 years now they’ve had a survey and you’ve done the survey, which helps us identify what our natural talents are and what we’re naturally good at. They strongly believe that our best chance of success is by capitalizing on the things we’re really good at. So if you’re six foot four, and you know how to aim a basketball,
Simone Douglas 3:33
Dan Kuss 3:34
a basketball, maybe not into Formula One, do you know and when like capitalize on the things that you’re good at? Yeah, the challenge with school and I always get kids, you know, where when I talk about this is we get taught at school to be well rounded.
Simone Douglas 3:45
Dan Kuss 3:46
but no one no superstars well rounded. Even Elon Musk, he spends all day engineering.
Simone Douglas 3:52
Dan Kuss 3:55
He has built two busy businesses so that he can do what he loves, which is engineering and numbers. It’s crazy.
Simone Douglas 4:00
Ya no, what? That makes sense to me that because I’m not well rounded. I’ve got three businesses. And all I like to do is network network network connect people. That’s it.
Dan Kuss 4:10
Simone Douglas 4:10
And then I’m still thinking about how I can do that when I’m at home. And I don’t like to watch television because it feels like a complete waste of time. But sometimes, I will sit and watch television with my kids, because that’s important. But I actually have to actively activate things in my head. It’s made me take the time.
Dan Kuss 4:29
So how do you manage sitting down and being focused and present with your kids, when your brains taken away with a million things on your mind?
Simone Douglas 4:38
I taught them a catch phrase that activates a different thought pattern in my head. So they will come to me and go, Mom, can I have your full attention please? And that’s code for me to go. It’s time to parent now. Yeah. So you need to be fully present. Yeah. And it happened because they were in the other room all the time. Go Mom, mom, and you’d be like Jesus Christ just, and then I caught myself in the other room yelling out to them, and it worked out that, okay, I created this pattern of behaviors in any time pocket. So we started, we had a family rule that you’re only allowed to talk to someone if you’re in the same room as them. And the second one was, if you wanted to talk to someone, and you actually wanted them to participate in that conversation, that you had to ask for their full attention first.
Dan Kuss 5:24
So that’s kind of like saying, hey, Siri, devices off, please. Yes. Like everyone, shut down, put everything down. Focus. Who’s got the conscience? let’s engage. Because at the moment, I mean, I watch my kids in there on Xbox circa one hand on an iPad, they’re on house party on their device. How can they be on anything with full attention?
Simone Douglas 5:43
Well, and you can’t it’s it’s been fascinating, because my eldest is started high school now. So he’s gone from Steiner education, which is very low tech, very present and very in the body when you’re doing things to know and mariotta where it’s, he’s your school laptop. You know, he’s your mobile phone, because I’m gonna have to pick you up from street. And it hasn’t gone. Well. Like
Dan Kuss 6:09
You got to be very strict and consistent with those things.
Simone Douglas 6:11
I was very unpopular. I installed a thing called Sentinel on his computer and firewalled. Every social media account. Yeah. Well, I didn’t my IT person. Do you say you took charge of the decision? Yeah. Well, because he’d been at school for a week and his teachers were like, he’s distracted in class. He’s YouTube. And he’s talking to his friends in Arizona, because it’s nighttime. And that’s the other thing is like, they have a global stage. They have networks that we never thought crazy.
Dan Kuss 6:40
And even if we shut down social, they’re on like, the gaming with
Simone Douglas 6:45
discord and Twitch, and
Dan Kuss 6:47
it’s crazy. So there’s almost a need to be able to throw a noose around that stuff. And yeah, if we’re going to bring it back to talents and strengths, how do you recognize what their natural needs are? Yeah. How do you use what your natural talents are to to manage that? Because one of my talents and it’s not always a strength is activator, right? Yeah, I get impatient real quick. So I go from please get off your device. It’s almost a Frisbee. Yeah. Back in. Yeah. In 10 seconds. We’ve all been through that. Yeah. But children do what we do, not what we say. So pretty soon they’ll be crawling things about off the back of that and modeling your behavior.
Simone Douglas 7:24
Yeah. So I think it’s, but it’s also no different if you if you take it out of a parenting context and into a workplace. You know, when things aren’t working within my business within the teams, the first person that I look at is me. Okay, okay. Where did I break the culture? Because it comes from the top? Mm hmm. And yeah, you’ll say people, you know, all the time that struggle to get a culture within the workplace that is a culture of accountability and self reflection and ownership. What kind of advice would you give to business owners or CEOs that are sitting there? And they’re like, Oh, my culture is broken. I say that it’s broken. Now what?
Dan Kuss 8:04
Yeah, so great question. Something that I learned. And this is a bitter pill to swallow from one of our trainers is the mirror is always up. Yeah. Which means, you know, if something’s going on, you need to look in the mirror, because it’s probably coming from you, as you said, with leadership and leading from the top down. So we want to bring it back to basics and identify why we in that leadership position. What is it about that leadership role? Did we get it by earning it? Did we get it from a favor? Is it because you know, in your case, you love the business? You love? working with people you love serving people, you love community? All those kinds of things? How do you then pick that up? and replicate it by treating your team like your community? Yeah. Because isn’t it interesting how you’re in a supermarket and you’re bumping into someone in the aisle, and you kind of get Oh, sorry, but then at home when you’re making dinner if the kids get in the way, they get brought up? Yeah. So what do we treat strangers better than we treat people that we love?
Simone Douglas 8:58
So really good question. And a good one to look at?
Dan Kuss 9:02
Simone Douglas 9:04
Dan Kuss 9:05
Simone Douglas 9:06
Yeah. Oh, and it’s kind of funny I am. So we’ve just moved house this week. And we’re in the middle of ripping out floorboards and painting which wasn’t part of the plan. But me being me, and being an activator and very big at the executive decision level, like these, these these things. So I’m not the most popular girl at home currently, because we’re sleeping on a mattress on the floor this night, which wasn’t the plan. But yeah, one of the things is, you know, I had to make up for the decisions if that makes sense. So there had to be a payoff and some negotiation around. I’ve done this and this but I’ve also organized for the data cables to run to the TV so that you Premier League football plays without any lag.
Dan Kuss 9:48
That’s an incentive for the discomfort
Simone Douglas 9:51
Dan Kuss 9:52
but also, I want to pick up something you said before you said it wasn’t part of the plan.
Simone Douglas 9:57
Dan Kuss 9:57
‘m cut off from it as an activator. We don’t have a plan. We just like go, Yeah, all right, everything pulled up. Why did we pull it up? What are we doing? How do we keep everyone happy while we work out why we started that project in the first place..
Simone Douglas 10:09
exactly where I found myself this week.
Dan Kuss 10:11
So how are you coping with that?
Simone Douglas 10:13
Look, I think, okay, in my, so outlaw, Alex, and I’ve been together for nearly five years now. And we work really well together, because we’re both really calm. So it’s, he just goes, Okay, you’ve done it. So the here are all the steps that you’ve missed. And this, and these are the things that we now need to fix or put in place. And so he’s terrible, he’s really good at mopping up the messes that are created, and rolling with it. And he’s also fantastic flying by the seat of his pants. So between the two of us, we tend to really rely on the very robust networks that I’ve built, as well. So being able to pick up the phone and say, to the flooring guy, hey, any chance he can lay floors, like this way? Or the electrician or whatever? So I think having those robust networks where you’ve and I was talking to Hazel Walker about this the other day, you have to work in your network before you need your network.
Dan Kuss 11:17
Right. And also, isn’t it network not net sit? As we started BNI, people woke up for the free ride. And then they went for the benefits, but they don’t always turn the handle
Simone Douglas 11:27
No. Exactly. So I think I spent, because my favorite thing to do is to turn the handle and go, Oh, let me introduce you to this person. Or you guys should work together or Let’s all go have lunch and make friends. That then when I call in the favor, I get the you know, the knowing kind of smile that says yes. Okay, yeah, let’s talk in a day on the Tyler. And you might say, I know you do really big commercial jobs. But the builder has told me I should really get all these tiles just resealed because it will give us the two years to renew. And he’s like for you. For you.
Dan Kuss 12:00
Right for him to save for you. So somewhere along the line you’ve built up the bank. You’ve put sort of love and reciprocation in the bucket. So it’s easier to share it now.
Simone Douglas 12:10
Yeah, exactly. So I think that’s, you know, my best piece of advice is people need to do that, I need to go out and make. So my golden rule is I try to do three things each day. So one is I try and do three things for each of my businesses that move them forward, in whatever aspects that was like. I try and solve somebody else’s challenge, once a day. So like one person, I need to solve a challenge that they’ve got. And I try and you know, rain, some sunshine on people. So they random acts of kindness. And if I can manage to do all three of those things in a day, it’s been a successful day.
Dan Kuss 12:50
That sounds amazing. And the whole idea of rainy on some sunshine gets back to the bucket feeling this philosophy of if you feel people’s buckets of feels yours or yours. Yeah. If we spend our day going around looking for what’s wrong. It’s kind of stealing of us. So they’re positive love and light as well.
Simone Douglas 13:05
Dan Kuss 13:06
And the other thing, part of the reason why you’re doing so well is that obviously you’ve recognized that differences are advantages. Okay? So you get things started, someone else comes and finishes, maybe maybe Alex is like tie her hands behind her back before she starts another project.
Simone Douglas 13:21
He’s sometimes like that,
Dan Kuss 13:23
You gotta coming in and finish it off. So you’ve got this team of people who do all kinds of amazing things to contribute to a bigger hole. Yeah, a better hole a better outcome.
Simone Douglas 13:32
Yeah, absolutely. I think that is a good spot to end on. But then you have had a really interesting business journey and evolution and probably personal journey and evolution that goes on with that, because I don’t think you can have one without the other. So if you were to give some advice to the you know, I’m saying a lot of 20 to 25 year old business owners coming through at the moment, really successful, you know, driven excited human beings. But what’s the best piece of advice that you could give to someone that’s just starting out in business in these in the enthusiasm, but also in the grind stage where it’s, you know, hand over fist to try to make ends meet?
Dan Kuss 14:12
Can’t do it all yourself? Yeah, identify as quick as you can what you’re best at, delegate the rest. I know that we say we need to wear all the hats when we start a business. We can’t afford to. But it kills us when we try and do everything. So we’ve got to capitalize on the things we’re best at. If you’re best at winning the sale. Find someone that can can you know process the project like I used to do, win it, thrown over the fence, get someone else to do the work? Or at least find someone that can help you do the work because you can’t do it all?
Simone Douglas 14:41
Dan Kuss 14:42
That would be my advice.
Simone Douglas 14:43
That’s very good advice. Well, Dan, thanks very much. And you’ll find all of them social media links and links to his website in the bio for the podcast. So look him up and particularly if you’ve never encountered The Gallop strength finder process down does some really interesting coaching around that kind of stuff. So yeah, thanks very much.
Dan Kuss 15:07
Thanks for having me
Chris Irving 15:09
Hope you enjoyed this episode of seriously social. Check our website for the latest news show notes and for details about Simone’s latest book, confident networker.