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Transforming adversity into opportunity - Rhett Power [Interview]
Bushra Siddiqui
August 10, 2020

Rhett Power

Transforming adversity into opportunity - Rhett Power [Interview]

Rhett Power is the CEO and founder of Power Coaching and Consulting. He was recently named the 2018 Best Small Business Coach in the US, joined Marshall Goldsmith's 100 Coaches, and was named the number 1 Thought Leader on Entrepreneurship by Thinkers360.

He has been featured in the Huffington Post, Business Insider, The Hill, Time, The Wall Street Journal and CNN Money and is a regular contributor to Inc. Magazine, Forbes, and Thrive Global. We are so excited to have him with us today! 

Akanksha Kulkarni

Transforming adversity into opportunity - Rhett Power [Interview]

Welcome to another episode of the peopleHum interview series. I am your host Akanksha Kulkarni and let's begin with a quick introduction of peopleHum. peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work.

We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.


Welcome Rhett, we’re thrilled to have you. 


It's wonderful to be here. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you and your audience and it's a real pleasure. Thank you. 



So Rhett, let's just start with the interview and the first question that I would like to ask you is, just like I mentioned you are a thought leader. So you've had an incredible journey so far in becoming a thought leader. What does it take to become one and what are your future plans?


Well, that's a wonderful question, and I approach the work that I do just like any other business, I learned a long time ago that no matter what you're trying to do in business or life, you put work into it. And so developing thought leadership is years and years worth of work. I've been working on, I’ve been writing articles and speaking and writing books for years and years, and so it's really just a day in - day out process of developing content that is relevant, that people need, that helps people. 

It's publishing, it's engaging people on platforms like LinkedIn and other social media platforms. It's responding to messages. It's the whole thing. I approach it like I do a business and put a lot of time and effort into what I put out there and then how I respond to that when people give me feedback and so I approach it just like I approach my business ventures very methodically, and I put a lot of energy and time into it. And if you do that, I think that that's, you can develop thought leadership around your specialty and around what you do. And in your industry, I think anybody can do it. 

And one of my future plans. I love what I do. So I don't see me making any major changes or anything in the coming future. I mean, I get to help people every day, and I really enjoy it. I'm a people person, so I love to engage and talk to people. I know what they're thinking and what they're doing and find out about them. So, to me, that brings me joy and it makes me happy. And when you find that in life, you find that thing that really makes you happy every day, I don't have any reason in the world to change it. 

And so, continuing to do that, continuing to put out and work and learn from entrepreneurs and business owners and the people that I work with and coach. And then turning around and putting out content that maybe can help others that I can't speak to and I can't work with. So that's that's what I plan to do. Keep planning to do that. And I guess one day I'll take it easy or sit back, but not not any time soon. 


That’s great to hear. So you are just here to inspire more people continuously, right? And you are, I, though I have seen your ideologies and checked out your profile. And I really hope that our audience are really going to understand what you are bringing to the table today, right? 


Me too. 


So yeah. 

So, according to you, how have startups evolved over the years in terms of culture and innovation? 


Lots of changes. When I first started my business, even not that long ago, in 2006. There weren't particularly an area that I started my business in the city, in the part of the U. S. that I started the business at. We didn't have access to incubators and we didn't have access to accelerators. And to a bunch of the resources that entrepreneurs have today.

We didn't have, I didn't have a peer group or a mastermind or, and these things have been around for a little bit. But I didn't have access to him. And I think that put us at somewhat of a disadvantage because we had to learn a lot on our own. We have to do things the hard way. 

I think that across the world, you see this growth in incubators, accelerators, coaching, you see a growth in coaching. You see a growth in peer groups and masterminds and accountability groups. And I think all that is really, really wonderful because often we as you know are lonely and you often are making decisions by yourself and you're kind of stuck there at the top without anybody to talk to.

And I think that’s a good thing, that these more and more of these things are part of the culture of entrepreneurship and part of the culture of the ecosystem that we are part of. And I think that's happening worldwide. And I just love it. You can get help now with networks like LinkedIn. 

Again, that's another thing that makes it so much easier now as an entrepreneur. You can find somebody that can give you advice, is willing to step up and help you solve a problem. So I think that again, that's changing. I think the other main thing that I see that is fascinating to me is, not even 15 or 20 years ago, I didn't talk about culture in the business. I didn't talk about innovation.

These weren't the words I guess I would have used, and I didn't think about intention now, and intentionally building a culture in the business. And so now I think there's a lot more awareness, a lot more understanding of, it's important to build culture, and it's important to focus on the culture in your business. And I think that people are paying more attention to that, and I think that that's a great thing, because it's good. 

What that's gonna do is it's gonna make better businesses, it’s gonna make happier people. It's alarming how many people hate going to work. And I hope that with that focus on culture, that people are, leaders are more aware of how people are feeling, how to include them more, how to build inclusive and innovative cultures. And I think that is something that I see a lot of, a lot happening in terms of entrepreneurship and lots of things and looking at innovation, I think that with that recognition that culture is important, there's a lot of conversation about diversity, inclusion and I think the facts are clear and the research is clear. 

I mean there are numerous studies by everybody from McKinsey to university studies. They really show that building an inclusive culture and looking at diversity in the workplace that the businesses are more profitable. Their products are better. And I think there's certainly a recognition as leaders now, we're understanding that more. 


Right. There is also this importance of giving your employee as much as attention to as much you’re giving to your customers as well. So I guess it has been a long journey from where we were to where we are right now, and I think we really also have to go a lot more further  ahead as well to make it a lot more better for us. 





So Rhett, these times are tough and the corporate world is dwindling. What are some important ways to convert adversities into opportunities? What do you think about it?


Yeah, that's a great question. And Napoleon Hill, who wrote ‘Think and Grow Rich’ has one of my favorite quotes ever. And he said,

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of equivalent benefit.”

and I think what that means is that adversity kind of reveals the good, right? And adversity, I think, can humble us and makes us see what's important. And I think every adversity is sort of not, I would put it as that adversity helps you see your competitive if you have your eyes out. It helps you find your competitive advantage and I'll give you a couple stories as examples. 

I'm working with, just recently, during COVID and during a lot of those unrest that's happening in the United States, a small business up in the Boston area. And she had a pet grooming service, which is a thing. And she had about three or four stores, and she sold some other products. I mean, she sold some food for animals, for pets and some clothing and accessories. Well, she turned, when COVID hit and people couldn't move around, she turned that into an e-commerce business and started selling food and accessories and all that stuff online and has grown her business nationally and worldwide. 

So she made this extraordinary change when the pandemic hit and she made that shift very quickly and very decisively, and it helped her actually stabilize her business and grow her business now, which is, I think is phenomenal. 

There's also another, there was a company, a bakery in Miami that I'm fascinated by. She turned her business from this really well known bakery in Miami to a delivery service delivering the goods, but also shipping them around the country. People who knew of the bakery, she went online immediately, she got her act together and she advertised on social media that she could ship the baked goods anywhere in the United States and so she could come with this Internet business now, and because people can't come in the store anymore, the bakery anymore, she's now become an online business, a technology business.

I find that fascinating too. In my own business, we met during the recession, during the great recession 10 years ago, 12 years ago now, we had to switch our whole business model, and we went from doing a couple $100,000 with a business a year to a $10 million in our business anymore just in, because we had, because of the recession, we had to change our model, to change your business model and that recession actually forced us to think differently and look for the opportunity, the new opportunity in the economic crisis that we were in. So I think...

“Adversity to me is a great space to live in. It's a great space to be in as an entrepreneur because I stopped growing when I was complacent and everything was great. When there was adversity, it made me creative, it made me responsive. It made me go back.”

I talked about going to day one. I remember day one of my business. I had no rules. I had my own ethical rules, but I had no constraints, I had no rules. And there was no problem that I had a policy or procedure for. So I could think a whole lot differently than I thought in year 10 when I had rules and procedures and a culture in a way that we do things. And so I think adversity is great. It puts us in a great spot, to be innovative and creative and I think that's where business really grows and thrives. 


Right. Also, people would be looking for, as people as such would turn these into opportunities, who have taken advantage of the situation and this adds something to yourself because we as humans as well, we see a problem and we are tempted to solve it. We can't just sit back. We don't do that at all. 


Right. Exactly right. 


Yeah, so I guess whatever you said, that's completely, I completely agree with it. 

And the next question that I would like to ask you is what would be some sound advice and healthy habits that one must cultivate for a better life and also to become a better leader?


Wow, that's a great topic, and we could talk a full hour on that, just alone. It's a favorite subject of mine because there's a lot written about it and a lot of people talk about it a lot, and I'm probably not going to say anything new here, but a number one I look at it sort of from a mind body spirit perspective. 

I think you have to have a clear mind, and you have to work on calming all that noise. I call that mental junk food. We have so much mental junk food out there. We have just the news and we have culture. And we have all this stuff and we have just all this noise out there. And I think being really calm is an art and it is important to figure out a way to calm all that noise, to get rid of that junk food by putting in healthy things into your mind.

Whether you do meditation, whether you have accountability groups that you talk to or like a mastermind or something or even just somebody to talk to, I think it's really important to find a way to clear your mind, that self talk, we all talk to ourselves. We all have conversations with ourselves. Those conversations in your mind have to be healthy and so finding a way to have that positive self-talk, finding a way to clear the mind, I think is really critical. 

In terms of body, you gotta eat, sleep and exercise. You got to do that, that's and I don't need to get into why that's important.  I think also, and then the spirit, right? How's your heart? What guides you? Do you have a personal mission statement where you understand your values and you understand your purpose and is your work and your life and your personal life, are all those in sync? 

I don't talk about work - life balance. I don't think I believe in work - life balance. I think that there's a synchronicity or there's, you call a lot of things, but I think that those things have to sync up. When your values and your work and your personal life and all of that syncs up, and that's when you have balance. It's not about how many hours you work or, it's about finding that balance between all of that. I think finding, so that's how I look at it in terms of mind body spirit. 

I think you have to do a couple things, and these are hard lessons learned by the way. These are things I learned by doing everything wrong. So I've been on the other side of this where I was not eating and sleeping well and right and not doing the things that were important. I'm speaking from somebody that's done it wrong, and I've learned how to fix that and to do it right. So I'm not saying something, I have experience in not doing it right. 

But I think, the other thing is like one of the things I learned early on in my career was, I wasn't taking time when I first started my business and for the first couple of years. I also wasn't doing the things that made me happy. And made me ‘me’, my hobbies and doing the things that I really love to do. Like I love nature. I love being on a boat. I love being, I love diving. I love a lot of activities I really love to do.

And I wasn't doing them. And that hurts your soul. That hurts your spirit. That hurts the essence of who you are. And so it is really important to have and not forget who you are and what makes you ‘you’ and and doing the things that you really, really love, to give you that, those benefits. 

Your relationships. I think you've gotta work on your relationships, spending time with loved ones and friends and making time and making that important, showing up for them as well. And then I think that those are and then working on your self awareness and as a leader, and I think if you do it, things that you just talk about, I think you do become a little more self aware. So I think that's how I would say it, that I would look at it, I look at it from the mind, body and spirit. to become a whole leader. That's a whole I mean, you want to become a whole leader


You just don’t want to become a better leader. You want to become a whole leader. That is really interesting and I also believe somewhere that I have heard leaders talk about that even if they are somewhere else, they’re thinking about business, they're talking about business, right? 

So do you have anything at all, even a small tip that how could you just kind of balance, you said that there is no work life balance, but there needs to be some of it. So can you just give a small tip for it like how can you just relax yourself for a while and just not think about work? 


Well, I mean, like I said, I make time now. One of the things I did, that helps me do this is that I have an accountability partner. And that accountability partner, he was a friend, helps pull you out of the business, helps pull you out and say, Hey, it's Friday night. Go have dinner with your wife or and your kids. You're not going to the office on Saturday. You're going to go do a hike with your boys or you're gonna go play football with your son. You’re gonna do those things that are important. So,

“It's good to have friends and colleagues and accountability partners to help you help yourself. One of the things I think is really key, is a way to define balance and have some of that is to have a coach.”

You look the best athletes in the world, the best, the top executives in the world in any field. Most of them have coaches and the reason they

Have coaches is because you can't do this on your own. You can't be a leader. You can't be a head of a company. You can't do it all. You can't do it all by yourself, and you shouldn't have to do it by yourself. And those people help you find your blind spots. They help challenge you. They help you be your best self.

And I think getting a coach and finding a coach that you connect with is really valuable. And there's no shame in it. There's no, there just isn't because you shouldn't. I mean, I talk to people all the time, it's embarrassing to have a coach. It's embarrassing to ask for help. You have to get over that because the most successful people and I have the honor of talking and being around some of the most successful entrepreneurs and corporate leaders in the world.

They all have coaches because they know that they're not perfect. They know that they have massive blind spots. And in order for them to stay at the top of their game, in order for them to stay at the top of their organization and do it really well, they have to have some help. 


Right. The acceptance is like, I guess, the first step towards it, to understand that yeah, maybe I do really need help. And there’s no shame in it at all. 


Yeah. We all need it. We all, I mean, we all are better when we have it. That's the one message I try to convey wherever I go, and wherever I speak is that it's okay and the best people in the world, why do presidents and people who lead massive organizations, why do they have so much help? Because they need it. 



That was really wonderful and just to wrap up this interview, do you have any important soundbites that you would like to leave our audience with? 


I think I would just say get rid of the mental junk food that you consume every day. And that's not food. I mean, that is the people in your life that are toxic. It's the information that angers you. I don't watch, I'm a news junkie. I love watching the news, but the news these days makes me really mad, so I've gotta manage my consumption of it, right? And so it's, manage the intake of mental junk food.

And also just show up. I mean, people, right now, they need you. They need comfort. They need compassion. And they need confidence that everything's gonna be okay. And people need direction right now. They need to understand that they're important to you as a leader and if you can do that, you're gonna be okay as an organization. 


Right. That was really a wonderful interview that I have had and thank you so much Rhett for  giving us the insight that we have had today. And also, I really like the thing on that mental junk food. That was the highlight of today. Yeah, those were really interesting words to be honest and thank you so much for your time and for your insights and it has been really an enriching learning experience for me and I am sure it would be for our audience as well. And let's keep it touch. You have a healthy and safe time ahead of you. 


Thank you so much. You guys have a good evening and it was a real pleasure to be here. Thank you.


Thank you.

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