How To Get Pursued By People: Tips On Being Compelling And Present With Dr. Mark Goulston

AL 15 | Getting Pursued

It is awfully nice to be pursued instead of being the one doing the pursuing. Whether in relation to your dreams, business goals, or relationships with other people, getting pursued gets people to give back to you without you even asking for it. Dr. Mark Goulston, a leadership consultant, podcast host, and bestselling author, joins Alicia Dunams on the show to talk about this. For Mark, one gets pursued through goodwill and generosity, and a lot of that entails listening to people. His three decades of experience as a suicide specialist have taught him a lot about empathy and being present to others’ experiences. Join in on this episode and learn more about the secrets to being compelling and being present, the art of listening, aspirational leadership, and more.

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How To Get Pursued By People: Tips On Being Compelling And Present With Dr. Mark Goulston

I’m excited to introduce Dr. Mark Goulston. He’s the author of seven books, including the bestseller, Just Listen, which is one of the top books on listening. Also, he teaches empathy to the Russian government. I’m excited to introduce Dr. Mark Goulston. He has some great news. He signed a three-book deal with HarperCollins. Congratulations, Mark.
Thank you. I’m excited. Of course, now I have to write them so that’s not that exciting, but it’s nice to be pursued except by the law. People reading might go, “How do you get to be pursued by people?” You have to stay at it. What you have to do is build goodwill with generosity. It has to be a generosity of spirit and deed without asking for anything. What happens is after a while, people notice that you haven’t asked for anything. I have a podcast called My Wakeup Call and I’m posting two of them a week. I don’t even know what the analytics are. I’m old. I’m not even sure what’s happening. I don’t have sponsors, although I might join a network. I can go back to every one of the guests and they’ll get back to me because I lead from generosity. When I go back to the guests, I’ll introduce them. I’ll say, “You need to connect with so-and-so because.”
My Wakeup Call is about people talking about their purpose in life. I probably get 3 or 4 requests from PR people and I say, “This is not to promote a book or a platform. It’s to show the human side of my guests in such a way that people want to find out about them.” I’ve done about 108 of them and I give everyone the option of whether we post it or not. Seventy percent of them have said it’s the most vulnerable they’ve ever been in public and I say, “We don’t have to post it,” but two people have said, “No, I want people to see this side of me. You just brought it up. It doesn’t often come out.” The two people who said, “I’d rather not,” they were purely transactional.
I know we’ve had the conversation of being compelling versus being convincing. That’s why I feel like being pursued, magnetic, or attractive, there’s something counterintuitive with that because there’s something in our brain that says, “To get things in life, we need to pursue, hustle, push, and convince.” How do you turn that part of the brain off where you can sit back and allow things to come to you?
You have to realize my background is I was a psychiatrist. I’m still licensed, but I retired. I was a suicide specialist for about 30 years and none of my patients killed themselves. In order to do that, I had to throw away my agenda and stop checking boxes. I learned to listen into people’s eyes. I was fortunate because, after my training, I went into practice instead of working for an institution. If you work for an institution, you have to stay in the protocols. After seeing suicidal people for many years, I would look into their eyes and I could tell that before I let go of the protocol, they’d look at me and their eyes would be saying, “You’re checking boxes and I’m running out of time.”
I had to make a choice. Do I want to help them or do I want to check boxes and make sure that I’m covering myself? I’m not saying the protocols are wrong. I’m not sure that I would trust people who only come from their intuition, but I seem to have some ability to get where people are coming from without them having to tell me. When people sense, “You get where I’m coming from and I didn’t even tell you,” they lean into that because most people feel nobody gets where they’re coming and nobody cares to get where they’re coming from.
I learned to listen into people’s eyes. You have to take this with a grain of psychiatrist background. If you can let go of any agenda for you and you listen into people’s eyes, especially people having a difficult time, they’re always screaming out at you to be heard. When they see that you can hear and feel their screams, they start to cry because they’ve felt alone and they’re not knowing what to do with it. What’s happened is that’s what I’ve done. I’ll share something because we’ve even had this conversation. I mentor and coach a number of people.
Throw away your agenda, stop checking boxes, and learn to listen to people’s eyes. Click To Tweet
There are some people I’m coaching and I said, “It’s easier to have confidence in you than it is to trust they’ll respect you. It’s not because I don’t trust you and it’s not because I don’t respect you. It’s because you’re convincing, passionate, and dynamic.” What I’ve said to some of these people, especially women, “If people could trust and respect you as much as they have confidence in you, you’d have it all. You would be Jacinda Ardern from New Zealand. You would be Angela Merkel with empathy. Do you want to be that person?” This is a slight tangent, but I’m down on older white guys. The world needs a break from older white guys and I’m one of them. I need a break from me.
What we need is people who are not only capable, but part of their DNA is about connecting instead of convincing. Men aren’t the greatest connectors. I’ll share something else. I don’t know what this has to do with authoring. What’s happened is the world is led by a lot of technologists, and technologists aren’t that good at connecting emotionally. What’s happened is technologists have addicted the world to adrenaline and oxytocin, which is what causes us to bond with people and it’s becoming extinct because it’s too slow, too boring, and too much work.
Years ago, being tender, patient, and loving used to trigger dopamine or pleasure. Oxytocin used to lead to pleasure. The technologists of the world who aren’t particularly good at emotionally connecting, they love the excitement of technology and addicted the world to excitement. If you look at younger people, they can’t stand to be bored. Since they haven’t developed or cultivated that connectedness, they don’t know what it is, and it’s boring. That’s the opportunity if we want to seize it.
It’s Authoring Life, so we’re talking about scripting our life. It’s writing a book and unveiling and seeing your life as a story. We talked about storytelling here. You bring up Jacinda and I am a mentee of yours and also, I’m following you on LinkedIn. Everyone gets to follow Dr. Mark Goulston on LinkedIn. You are a proponent for women’s leadership, empathy, and compassion. I’m curious, we see there is a war happening and it’s always happening. This great pause, I call it the great reset, that’s happening, the slowing down was needed because something that I live by is things that are unsustainable cannot be sustained. We live and lived in a world that could not be sustained. We’re in this place where we’re seeing the top leaders that got us over the hump and places like South Korea and New Zealand in terms of COVID are female leaders. The Elon Musk and the Jeff Bezos who’s going to be a trillionaire, these white male leaders or these technologists, or whatever, what can they learn from female leadership?
A good friend of mine told me, “People don’t do what’s important. They do what they care enough about.” I don’t know if they care enough about connecting the world to each other in a more humane way. I will tell you something that wakes them up because I’m a suicide specialist. Someone who’s become a good friend, a fellow named Jason Reid, reached out to me because his fourteen-year-old son killed himself years ago. He’s a serial entrepreneur and has been a member of YPO for a number of years.
When one of your kids dies by suicide, it wakes you up because you never quite get over it. You get past it but when someone says to you, “Do you have any kids?” there’s the pause. “Yes, we had three.” I’ll tell you a little bit of a story because I hope people will check him up. He did a TEDx Talk. It was called The most important conversation you will have with your kids. In the TEDx Talk, he talked about being in Mexico with his wife and he was celebrating their great life.
He gets a text message from his son, Ryan, and it says, “Don’t blame yourself. I’m sorry. Goodbye.” He called home screaming and his mother-in-law was there. He said, “Go and find Ryan.” She ran around the house and he had hung himself up in the attic. He left two notes. One note was passwords to his computers and the other one was, “Tell my story.” Jason did a documentary called Tell My Story, and it’s available. He interviewed parents, people who have been suicidal, and treatment programs. He got involved with something called Goalcast. If you don’t know what Goalcast is, it’s huge and their most popular videos get 100 billion views. He did a Goalcast episode and they filmed him with fifteen entrepreneurial men. He has had 7.5 million views. He said, “I blew it. It’s my fault.”

AL 15 | Getting Pursued
Getting Pursued: How do you get pursued by people? You have to build good will with generosity.

What he talked about is he said, “When you’re an entrepreneurial man, and a lot of entrepreneurial women are like this too, we focus on being strong. We don’t want to show weaknesses to our family. We want them to be able to rely on us. What I didn’t realize is if you have a kid who’s struggling, they feel a lot of shame if they’re struggling with demons because you never tell them you’re vulnerable. They should know you’re vulnerable because when you snap and you get angry, it’s our vulnerability coming out as anger. I never shared my own vulnerabilities, my failed businesses. We got his password and he’d been looking for ways to kill himself for months.”
I’m sharing that because he has a business and he’s successful, but it’s his life’s work. It was interesting we gave a talk at EO, Entrepreneurs’ Organization. It’s like YPO. We did that in Arizona and it went well. He presented his story and then I talked about, “If you’ve got a kid you’re worried about, here’s how you might reach them.” It shouldn’t have to take that much to wake up people but unfortunately, it will take that much because people, especially men who are about solutions, being competitive, and winning as opposed to connecting, I don’t think they will wake up.
That’s why women are the best chance for the future. I speak at women’s conferences. Sometimes, I’m the only man and I remember I spoke at one and I said, “Women are the best people in the world.” One woman raised her hand and she said, “I need to correct you, Mark. Thank you for the compliment but you’re only half right. Women are the best people in the world and they are the worst people in the world. They will cut each other apart.” Madeleine Albright said, “The road to hell is paved with women who undermine each other.”
There’s a special place in hell or something like that.
We’ll see what happens. Here’s my BHAG. I put it out there and people say, “That sounds like communism.” I said, “No. This is humanism.” My BHAG is creating a world where nobody gets what they want until everybody gets what they need.
What if we live that way? That would be interesting.
If you’re reading, you can connect, and Alicia would buy into this. To me, what if our world several years from now is a world in which people have food, healthcare when they’re sick, a place to live, jobs, and education for their kids? We have a way of making the planet better and we make that division of success for the world. I wrote something a few years ago, I said, “Part of the reason the internet was created was to connect all the people in the world so 90% of the people can see that they want the same things. We are all being led by people who try to stir the paranoia so they can stay in power.”
People don't do what's important. They do what they care enough about. Click To Tweet
That’s the idyllic world vision that everyone has what they need before people can get what they want. There are people in power who feel, it’s almost a sense of lack or scarcity, that equality for people, everyone being on equal footing or equity in some places where people who haven’t had that chance in terms of education may get a bit of a head start. They feel that that takes away their power. Power is being defined by someone being lower and someone being higher whether it’s economically, success-driven, what have you.
I’ll tell you a story. When I was in medical school, I was working part-time doing cardiograms in a home for the agent outside of Boston. I was early in my career. When you’re young, you’re trying to get ahead and trying to succeed. I remember I was in this nursing home and there was one older guy seated in his wheelchair at the end of the hall in the dark. I said to the nurses, “Who’s he?” They said, “He was a Supreme Court Justice and nobody visits him.” “Why?” “He was a difficult person so nobody visits him.”
I went into a room and there was this guy who is probably in his late 80s. He was spry and filled with all kinds of energy, Mr. Cohen. I looked at him and I said, “What are you doing here?” He said, “What do you mean?” I said, “You’re filled with energy and no offense, but you walked down the halls and it’s a little bit depressing. Why are you here?” He said, “I want to be here.” I said, “What?” He said, “Pull up a chair. Two floors away from me is my wife of 60 plus years. Three years ago, she had a bad stroke. She’s on that floor for the stroke people. Every morning, I wake up and I go up to the room. I’ll bathe her. I’ll braid her hair like it was in the old country and change her diaper. I sit and I read my Jewish newspaper.”
I said, “You could do that. You can visit.” He says, “I don’t even know that she knows who I am. Sometimes, she smiles but I don’t know.” I remember he said to me, “You don’t get it.” I didn’t and he said, “I get to give my wife dignity because she’d give me dignity. She saved my life several times. I saved her life. We’ve had a good life. Our kids will visit.” I would change the word equality that every human being deserves dignity. When we see on television where they’re living, there’s no dignity. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I was thinking, “Why not start a counter to Facebook? It wouldn’t be that too hard to figure it out. What you need is people who get this mission. Let’s create a Facebook that connects people. Let’s create the rising tide that lifts all hopes.” It will never happen. It’s idealized, but I’m still thinking, “Maybe there’s a way to make it happen. Who knows?”
I’ll tell you something about being an author. I’m in a good place because I’m being pursued. I was never good at pursuing. I’m not lazy, but I don’t hustle. I don’t have that gene. I’m being pursued because people trust me to never hurt them. One thing my mentors had in common, and I didn’t realize that that’s why I sought them out, is you could trust them all to never hurt you. That didn’t mean they suffered fools gladly. That didn’t mean they wouldn’t say, “This is not working,” or “That’s stupid. You need to stop it.” It wasn’t being judgmental. When you stand for something and you won’t compromise it, people seem to be attracted to that.
I appreciate you bringing back that concept of pursuing versus being pursued and the idea of having an agenda. Many people who have a business or who want to be the next author, speaker, a thought leader, get Instagram followers, and all of these bright shiny objects that we have out there, there’s this feeling that you have to pursue it. You shared with me that you’re busier now than the last couple of years of your life so you’ve done the work. You have the schooling, education, credibility, and books. There’s this concept of you sat into the work so people are coming to you. There is some hustle because you put in the time and you put in the work.
I didn’t do it on purpose. I learned from my mentors. I had some challenges in medical school and I dropped out a couple of times. Someone stood up for me against the whole medical school and said, “Essentially, Mark doesn’t know it but the world needs him.”

AL 15 | Getting Pursued
Getting Pursued: The world is led by technologists, and they aren’t that good at connecting emotionally.

I remember that story.
He told me, “You won’t know until you’re 35. You deserve to be on this planet.” This person stood up to the medical school at their own risk. That flipped the switch in me when someone sees a future for you and stands up for you. That’s what sent me down that road of being that suicide expert because I probably wasn’t that far away from it. One of the problems we see in President Trump is he covets respect and he doesn’t know you have to earn it. Not only does he covet respect, but he also goes crazy when someone is disrespectful or dares to humiliate him. We’ll see him at his worst and he doesn’t know you have to earn respect and earn trust.
My work is staying true to my values that somehow earn trust and earn respect. Something that you can see reflected in my lousy bank account. I’ll return an email to a homeless person in India and forget to return an email to a Fortune 500 CEO. I’ll just do it. People who are in business would say, “That’s idiotic.” I’ve never assembled a team that I could say, “Can you keep on top of these things because I’m returning the wrong emails?” It is what it is. I remember there was an email I returned from a young man in India and occasionally, I do have conversations with CEOs and it’s a little bit heady. It’s an adrenaline rush. This email exchange with this young man in India, he reached out to me and I responded.
I said something and I did a TEDx Talk called What Made You Smile Today?. We’ll revise it when people are more in a smiling mood, they’re still nervous. I remember I wrote to him, “Arul, I was happy to help you. What made you smile today?” He wrote back and he said, “Nobody as famous as you have ever typed my name.” I go to my computer every day and I touch what you typed, and I touch your name. That changed his life. That meant a lot to me more than a deal with a Fortune 500 CEO.
Do they have an agenda? Having known you for many years now, one of the things I love about you and one of the things that you support me with as my own leadership and development is that there’s something around sales for you. I know that could be triggering when people were agenda-focused or sales-focused. Is that Fortune 500 CEO focused on his bottom line? That’s not as interesting.
I’m not against sales but let me clarify. If you’re a leader, something’s been written about leaders who cry. It is not only okay, but it’s wonderful when you cry over someone else’s pain. If you’re a leader, it’s not that great to cry over your own pain. When you go to a school where there’s been a school shooting and it overwhelms you and you’re touched by it, it’s good. I’m not against selling but what you’re selling has to have a huge purpose that benefits the world. You have to make a living to survive.
I knew Jack Welch and his wife but not that well. I remember one of his interviews when he was a GE and they said, “Jack, what is the responsibility of a company like GE to the community?” If people are reading, they probably don’t know who he was, but he said it the way it was. He said, “If you’re a for-profit company, your responsibility is to make a lot of money. If you have excess money after you take care of your company, grow it, and develop it, your values will determine how you spend that money. If your values are, ‘I want to buy three more homes and a couple of jets,’ that’s what you’ll do. If your values are that you take that money and help the world, you’ll do that.
If you're a gracious leader, your team gets all the credit for anything good and you take all the blame for anything bad. Click To Tweet
The problem is if you’re a for-profit company, especially a public company, and if you focus on doing good, you won’t be around to survive. You won’t survive. You need to make money and you need to throw the money back into the company to keep it growing and pay your overhead, but your values will determine what you do with the excess.” I thought that was neat. I’m not against selling something. For instance, I’m here selling the rising tide initiative that lifts all hopes and I’m trying to see how we can create a world in which nobody gets what they want until everybody gets what they need. I would sell that to anyone. That’s a purpose.
In sales languaging, you’re either selling or being sold. Part of that is inviting people into that belief system and into those values that everyone in the world gets what they need, but it’s how you do it. Are you being compelling which you have been or are you being convincing? It’s the way you do it. It’s what’s in you. It’s managing your being and how you show up, and that’s part of the work that you do. You work in compassion and empathy.
I’ve often heard that if you’re giving a solution to the world, give them medicine and don’t give a vitamin. I’m sorry if you sell supplements. What my books are going to be about is leadership. It’s about how leaders can alleviate fear, pain, and anger in the world. One of the books is how you can eliminate fear, pain, and anger in yourself.
I want you to give some names. Who would be an example of a leader who alleviates pain and anger in the world?
I wrote a blog that people are reposting. It’s called Deconstructing Jacinda Ardern, Angela Merkel and Pope Francis. What I thought of is those are the three people I can look up to and they don’t have feet of clay. I’m not saying I agree with all their policies, but I don’t look up to any of them and then go, “Et tu, Brutus.” No, don’t do that. In my blog that I wrote up, I said, “The leaders we need in the world, what they trigger in the people is we trust them, have confidence in them, feel safe with them, respect them, admire them, like them, and we’re inspired by them.”
If corporate people who are for-profit say, “That’s too woo-woo,” I say, “Really?” How impactful will you be if nobody trusts you, has confidence in you, feels safe with you, and admires, likes, or feels inspired by you? How effective will you be? What I came up with his seven observable behaviors. If you find that column, I came up with something and it’s interesting. There’s something called 360-degree coaching in the world. What I’ve developed is 360 Degree Aspirational Coaching because much of the coaching in the world, there’s a company that will say, “We’ve got a high performer.” We need their IT but they rub people the wrong way so you get a 360 from people who tell you how they’re rubbing them the wrong way. You stay involved with the stakeholders and say, “Are they better?” Some people will convert over but maybe this is a little bit skeptical.
It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. Someone might learn how to delegate better and someone might learn how to not have the last word, but you can pick up a real nasty vibe. The only people I work with is I say, “Look at that article. Do you want to be that leader? Do you want to grow into it? People have confidence in you and you want them to have trust and respect. The observable behaviors, I give it all away, so you don’t need me as the coach.” Aspirational Coaching is every time you go to a meeting, have a conversation, or you’re doing a presentation, on a scale of 1 to 10, how well did you exhibit these? You were unflappable. Meaning, you were in the face of anything. The second one is you were connected, so you weren’t a robot.

AL 15 | Getting Pursued
Getting Pursued: The secret to being 100% present is to focus on what another person is listening for, not what they’re listening to.

If you remember Mitt Romney who is a great guy, but people thought he was robotic. He seemed unflappable but robotic. Are you knowledgeable or did you shoot from the hip? Are you wise? This means you focus on what was important and able to say, “Let’s not focus on what’s unimportant.” You are gracious. If you’re a gracious leader, your team gets all the credit for anything good and you take all the blame for anything bad. That’s gracious. Are you humble or is it all about you? I may be missing something, and then you rate yourself. I do well in all of them except for humble. People will say, “Mark, you’re more humble than most people.” I say, “Yes, but I name drop.” I do that. People will say to me, “Mark, when you name drop, you know the person. It’s okay. Some people name-drop and they don’t know the person.” “When I do it, I could have been a little more humble.”
That LinkedIn article is a powerful read. There are some examples of leaders who do not exhibit that. I watched the Facebook Live where you gave some constructive feedback for leaders, specifically for Trump in this particular instance. What leaders are you seeing as there’s an opportunity for learning and growth? What suggestions would you have for them? Particularly in this pandemic, who is showing up? We talked about Jacinda and Angela Merkel. Who is not a great example? Maybe some business leaders.
I’ve been too critical because I’ve met a number of business leaders through YPO. I’ll speak at YPO and EO, and they care about their companies and they care about their well-being. One of the books I’m doing is mostly Ink, but I’ll be co-writing a book with Ken Blanchard, The One Minute Manager, and Garry Ridge who is the CEO of WD-40. They both are poster children for how to lead. There’s a person I’ve gotten to know named Simon Leslie. He’s the Co-CEO of Ink, and Ink publishes all the inflight magazines. They’re going through a rough time because of the airline industry and nobody’s buying magazines and no one’s advertising, but he’s been steadfast and he’s being empathic, humorous, and positive to his people. In fact, he’s bringing on a number of people who give talks to keep them inspired and motivated. I’m speaking to his company remotely. Those people exist out there. The way we rubberneck accidents, we rubberneck the bad leaders.
Monday morning quarterbacks.
The point is that the great leaders, it’s not about them being stars. It’s about them taking care of their company, community and people. They’re busy being that and being humble, you don’t hear about them because if it bleeds, it leads in the news. There are many examples.
This is an example for all of us to practice compassion as we look at leaders and want to talk about them or put them down. This has been a great opportunity for us to learn compassion. What I’d love for you to share with the audience here is, what are some tips? You started off with a big tip in terms of being pursued versus pursuing. What’s something you’d want to leave us with?
When I spoke in Moscow, I introduced my latest work in thinking and listening. My book, Just Listen, was a bestseller there. The Russian edition is called I Hear You Through and Through. I like their title better than Just Listen. I introduced the concept and you can find it if you look up Mark Goulston on YouTube. If you go to, I have a blog with an embedded video on the secret to being 100% present. That’s what I want to leave you with. It’s simple. The secret to being 100% present is to focus on what another person is listening for, not what they’re listening to. If you focus on what they’re listening to, you’ll have a transactional conversation. “They’re listening to this. I’ll give them six bullets. They’ll take notes, maybe they’ll buy something.” If you focus on what people are listening for with a beginner’s mind, which means you have no agenda, and if you get it right what they’re listening for and you are there totally to serve them, they’ll give you everything.
When someone says no to you, it doesn't mean you're wrong. It just means they won't help you. Click To Tweet
I’ll give you an example of it. I’ve been doing this with people interviewing me. I focus on what you’re listening for versus what you’re listening to. If you don’t know, Alicia, she’s an amazing work in progress. Sometimes, she revolves but she’s mostly evolving and it’s important for her to be the best version of herself. Every now and then, little scarcity leaks in and that’s not the best version of herself, but she’s made amazing progress if you’ve gotten to know Alicia. That’s why she’s one of my favorite people. If I focused on what you’re listening to, it will be checkboxes and we might even talk about, “Mark, what’s the secret to getting a bestseller?” Although, I’ll just walk out of the room if you start to say, “What’s your business funnel and how’s your conversion rate?” If you say that to me, Alicia, I’m done. That’s a bridge too far for me. It’s a legitimate question, but I am not going there. If I focus on what you’re listening for, people are trusting you.
They’re looking up to you and they’re trusting you to give them value. Some of that value is how to be successful, but they’re trusting you to give them a value that will improve their lives, not just their bottom line. You’re listening for ways to give them that value because their trust means a lot to you and you don’t want to take advantage of their trust. You know how to sell but you don’t want to just do a bait and switch with people who are trusting you to be better than that. You’re also listening for a guest who maybe has the bestselling book, but you can’t post it because they’re boring. You’re listening and go, “I get to protect my viewers from this. God bless you that your book has sold so much, but I can’t let my viewers see you.” You’re listening for ways of honoring the trust that people have who look up to you because you don’t want to cheat them out of that.
I do want to provide value and anytime I feel that I haven’t, I figure out ways to do that. One of the reasons I have this show is for my clients. You attended my Bestseller in a Weekend program.
I attended your Bestseller in a Weekend. It works 100% of the time if you are committed to what she teaches here. People don’t do what’s important. They do what they care enough about it. If you care enough about it, and she has honed this down, it’s unbelievable what will come out of a Bestseller in a Weekend but you have to have the commitment to follow through. Follow through means never having to say you’re sorry.
I created this show so I can interview my clients and support them in launching their books. I know you have a successful podcast. I’m getting publicists sending me these big-time offers. It started happening and I’m like, “I’m on publicist lists now and being connected with some cool people.” I always reserve a spot for my clients.
That was not an obligatory plug. I remember going to it and it was three days in Las Vegas and the experience of hearing people talk about the book they had in them was phenomenal. I hope they’re like this because I didn’t pick up anyone who said, “I have nothing to say. I don’t have anything to write a book about. I just want to be famous.” There was nobody like that. They all had a purpose in writing a book and it was an unbelievably uplifting weekend.
Thank you for that, Mark. That’s what I’m finding. I talked to a woman one time and she wanted to write a book. She was like, “I don’t care if only a few people read it.” She works at a nonprofit and she works with children. “If my story could change one child’s life, it’s well worth it.” That’s what I’m finding in the people who are coming. I’ve worked with people who wanted to be on Oprah, “I want to be on Oprah?” There are a lot of people who are writing it as a catharsis as a way to heal and a way to impact one person.
It’s been such a fascinating container to meet beautiful people. It’s a gift. I never knew where it was going to take me and I was always wondering like, “I want bigger.” This does speak to what you spoke. I’ve come to a place where it’s not about having an agenda. It’s just being an attachment and being an invitation. I’m here to support you and I wish you the best. I’m hoping and praying whatever direction you want to go in. That took me a long time to get there.
I want to share something about how I came to write books because I was a Math-Science major. I was pre-med. I don’t think I ever got higher than a C in anything having to do with English. What happened is I went through med school and I had some setbacks. I shared about someone who stood up for me and changed my life. It took me 6 years to 4 and when I finished the six years and I graduated, I pulled out a little journal. I wasn’t a writer. I’m not someone who kept the journal. The first thing I wrote down is, “I can’t believe I made it through. They have released a madman.” Here is volume 251 with 45,000 pages. This is how I started writing books. Sometimes, you have an observation about life but there are a lot of naysayers in the world. People say, “What are you going to do with that? I am not going to make money out of that. What does that have to do with anything?”

AL 15 | Getting Pursued
Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone

What I discovered is the fact that I felt it deserved my writing it down, whether anybody saw it, including me. There was something about writing it down so I’ve kept that journal with 45,000 pages. What happened is certain recurring themes would occur. I make an observation, put down the date, write down some pithy stuff, and write down something else. Every now and then, themes would recur. For me, instead of the shiny object thing, I’d say, “That could hold my attention long enough to write something.” I’ll leave you with these parting words about the naysayers’ life because they’re all around you. When someone says no to you, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong or you shouldn’t do what you’re about to do. It just means they won’t help you.
How’s that for parting words? No means they won’t help you. There’s someone else out there that will.
They are out there.
Mark, thank you for this journey. I’d love for you to share how the audience can find out more about you.
If you go to, my website looks presentable and I do have a case of bloggerrhea, so I put a lot of stuff out there. I have a podcast called My Wakeup Call. I interview influencers about what their purpose is and how they got to it. They are neat people like Larry King, Norman Lear, Doug Conant, and Esther Wojcicki who have two underachieving daughters. One is the CEO of YouTube and the other one is the CEO of 23andMe. Also, Sam Horn is a transformational dynamo.
You may have heard of these people. Ivan Misner, Chip Conley, and Chester Elton who has a wonderful book called Leading with Gratitude. People open up. I say, “Why were you born? What are you meant to do?” It’s the wakeup calls that brought you to it. I hope you’ll check that out. You can always go to Amazon and find my books. You can contact me on the website, Please do that. If you want more of me and if you want less of me, as Alicia would say, there’s someone out there for you.
Mark, thank you for sharing. It has been such a great pleasure being with you, knowing you, and being mentored by you.
Thank you. I’m reminded of the Beatles song except, they’ll change it. This was the long and meandering road.
Thank you, Mark.
Thank you. Take care, my friend.

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About Dr. Mark Goulston

AL 15 | Getting PursuedAs a highly sought after resource, NYT best selling author, etc and change facilitator to Fortune 500 leaders, entrepreneurs and educators across the nation, I help companies resolve, I help companies resolve interpersonal conflicts and then coach people to manage and resolve future conflicts they may have inside their companies and that they go on to use everywhere else.
As a result they go from avoiding conflicts to seeking out all the unresolved ones in their lives to finally resolve them. When they do that, the relief they feel not to mention their sense of personal mastery goes through the roof.
Furthermore, many become eager to learn and put into action our unique proactive Conflict Prevention Strategies that will help any start-up, new merger or acquisition get started on the same page and pull in the same direction with quick and easy to use interventions as soon as cooperation veers off tract. This allows differences of opinions to turn into disagreements, but rarely arguments.
As we like to say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of litigation.”
I honed my now teachable and coachable skills as a former FBI/police hostage negotiation trainer, corporate conflict resolution specialist and “boots on the ground” clinical psychiatrist and UCLA professor, focusing on suicide prevention (when for 25+ years none of my patients died by suicide).
I am the author or co-author of seven books including the international best-selling books: “just Listen” (which became the top book on listening in the world), Talking to Crazy, Real Influence and Get Out of Your Own Way. I also host the “My Wakeup Call” podcast where I interview influencers about their highest and non-negotiable purpose and the wakeup calls that led them there.
I’ve contributed to Harvard Business Review, Biz Journals, Business Insider, Huffington Post, Fast Company, Psychology Today, Working Nation and Thrive Global and appear widely in the media including CNN, Wall St. Journal, NY Times, Fortune and Forbes and have appeared frequently as a subject area expert on television, radio and podcasts.

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