February 11

Jack Skeen, Principal of Skeen Leadership


Dr. Jack Skeen is a coach for executives, entrepreneurs and high performers across the country.  He has the unique gift of hearing and understanding people’s uniqueness and bringing it to the surface of their lives.  Clients say that Jack changes how they see the world and how they operate in it.  They become more effective leaders, spouses, parents and human beings.

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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:00
Today I have the pleasure of sitting down with Jack Skeen. Jack, welcome to the program.

Jack Skeen 0:05
Thank you very much for inviting me.

Umar Hameed 0:07
So Jack, I want you, I want to take you back to when you were 15 years old.

Jack Skeen 0:12

Umar Hameed 0:12
And there's always a girl in the story. Before we started recording, you were telling me about that experience where you had fallen madly in love with her. And the only way you could be with her during the summer was to go to like Bible camp, where she was going to tell me what that experience was like. And the reason we sharing this with you audience is something magical happened. Take it away, Jack.

Jack Skeen 0:35
Well, my family was not a religious family at all. In fact, my father would try to get us to go to church and my older brothers would fight him.

Umar Hameed 0:43

Jack Skeen 0:43
Sometimes they would win and we wouldn't go and sometimes he would win, and we would go but nobody liked it. So I found myself at this church camp, and I had no interest in their message at all. In fact, I was completely resistant to it. So the kids stood up sang. I wouldn't stand up and I wouldn't sing I was just there to, to hold the hands of this girl. So on the last night, they had something that they call an altar call, which was unfamiliar to me. But the idea is if you believe that Jesus died for your sins, demonstrate that by getting out of your seat and coming to the front of the chapel, I would never have done that in a million years. But I found myself drawn, drawn to do it. And so I went to the front of this chapel and walked out into this field. And I had this absolutely amazing experience, hard to put words to. I mean, it might have been that I experienced the love of God, I experienced new meaning in my life, I found purpose. But whatever it is, I knew all I wanted was more of that.

Umar Hameed 1:46
So what's kind of interesting is like, we live in this amazing world, like right in front of us, we've got this task cam unit that's like a 24 bit recording studio, that it's in the palm of your hand, these fancy mics, all kinds of technology. And so we've got so used to that, you know, this logical intellectual part of who we are as humans. And we all understand the physical part because we have aches and pains and we feel amazing when we run and stuff. But that spiritual side, which is as human, if not more human, part of who we are, we feel disconnected from and you're just describing the power of that part of being human, right?

Jack Skeen 2:23
I'm convinced is the richest and most powerful part of each of us. And if we only knew how to tap into it and expand it, our lives would be amazing.

Umar Hameed 2:32
Listeners, dear listeners that going, wait a minute, "isn't this like a sales and leadership podcast? What are we doing here?" And what we're doing here is that if we could tap into that spiritual side of who we are, and that's not religious, but could be but if we could tap into that part of who we are, it's almost like we're we're trying to be leaders and we're trying to be salespeople or trying to be better human beings with both hands tied behind our back. If we just embrace that spiritual side of us. There is amazing power. That's available to us to do things and then amazing way.

Jack Skeen 3:03
You know, one of the questions I asked leaders frequently is what's the most important thing you've done today and not one yet has said, kiss my spouse or my children goodbye.

Umar Hameed 3:13
So let me push back on that. Because your premises, you know, that's the most important thing in their lives. And I would say for some people, that is absolutely true. For most people, if you ask them, they would claim that's true. But your behaviors dictate what you're truly thinking. And if working 50 hours a week, or 80 hours a week, and the story we tell ourselves, we're doing it for our family, the reality is sometimes family isn't as important. I would suspect that most people really don't realize what's truly important to them because they don't know themselves.

Jack Skeen 3:45
Well, their response has been you're absolutely right. It was the most important thing. But then I ask why didn't you think of that? Right? And they don't have a good answer for me.

Umar Hameed 3:55
I wonder what would happen if you went back people that you asked that question to a month ago Six months ago, are you spending more quality time with your family? Now? I got you to get that realization. And I suspect a percentage of people would say "absolutely, Jack, thanks so much for pointing that out." And I would suspect that a vast majority of them would go back to their old ways, and just do what they were doing. Your best guess to statement false statement?

Jack Skeen 4:21
I'm sure you're right. But that's why sometimes the conversation needs to be longer than one question.

Umar Hameed 4:27
Oh, absolutely. So I'm sitting here looking at this amazing book. It's called the Circle Blueprint. The author's incredibly handsome is Jack co written with Greg Miller and Aaron Hill. Jack, what's this book about?

Jack Skeen 4:39
Well, one of the things I've learned about people is that they're absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing. Everybody is and yet very few people understand how amazing they are. And very few people live lives as rich as they could be. So this is really an effort to wake people up to how they could live an amazing life a more powerful life.

Umar Hameed 5:02
There's a phrase I like to use, and there's a better you inside you. But most people don't get there and this book is kind of giving you that that how to find that better you is that is that right?

Jack Skeen 5:12
I suppose that's right. Although their concepts more than their directions, they're their big ideas that I think people need to understand. That open up the vision to what's possible to what's possible. Yes, brilliant.

Umar Hameed 5:25
So let's talk about who is a leader that you admire, doesn't have to be like a historic but could be that was really tapped into that spiritual side of who they were as well.

Jack Skeen 5:34
Well, the one who comes to me the most is Gandhi. I think Gandhi story was an amazing story because he started his career trying to be somebody he really wasn't. He wanted to be an English gentleman.

Umar Hameed 5:46

Jack Skeen 5:47
And he didn't turn out to be very powerful as an English gentleman. He was actually not a very good lawyer, and it was hard for him to even find work. But when he discovered who he really was, he became very powerful man who changed the world forever. And I think that potential is in every one of us.

Umar Hameed 6:04
So let's go back to Gandhi, because he's from the hometown for me. So what was the pivotal event that got him to kind of see the universe as it was, as opposed to how he perceived it before? Like, was there an event that transformed him?

Jack Skeen 6:21
Well, my understanding is he was riding on a train in Africa. And he was in first class. And they told him because he was Indian, he had the Rosa Parks.

Umar Hameed 6:31
Move to the back of the bus.

Jack Skeen 6:32
Right, right. And he wouldn't do it. So they threw him off the train. And I think that was shocking to him, that they didn't buy into the fact that of who he wanted to be. They saw him for who he really was. And when he could see who he really was. then things started to change.

Umar Hameed 6:47
What's kind of interesting is sometimes people ask, you know, Gandhi was all about non violence. And one of the areas that he kind of uncovered and discovered non violence with the Maori people of New Zealand. So when the British came, and there were a bunch of bastards, because they did horrible things in the US when they occupied here. Over there, they made it against the law to repair any buildings that weren't inside a city. And the idea was that will force those people that are indigenous to move into the cities and conform these people started building fences as non violent protests, that this is our land that sparked the idea that, hey, non violence is a way to go. So So tell me about one of your clients Jack, where you help them get this insight that there's more to you than just your logic and your passion and your desire that there's this other part of you. Do you have one of those, you can change the name to protect the innocent?

Jack Skeen 7:42
Well, I was working with a executive team in a major actually was a beer company, but very successful company in the country. And I was talking to them about discovering what their unique gift was and then aligning with it. And this lady thought about it and she said, "You know really wanted to go to seminary." Right? And so I explored that with her. Why did she want that? And what was the purpose of it and she actually quit her job as an executive and went to seminary. Started a whole new life herself in middle age. Oh, that that was remarkable. Somebody would do something like that.

Umar Hameed 8:17
This day and age. She's got another 45 years left, right, and probably another 35 in good health, right. So why do something you weren't meant to do when you couldn't start doing stuff that makes your heart smile?

Jack Skeen 8:31
And yet, I'm sure most people aren't going to work doing what they love to do.

Umar Hameed 8:35
Go to any location. Most people don't know what their purposes are doing something at some point in their life to look around and go on. This is not the life I wanted. I wanted something different. And the thing is too late, but it's never too late.

Jack Skeen 8:49
It's never too late. In fact, the first idea in the book is an idea I'm calling it's a simple idea called Your Circle. Well, your circle is just why you get out of bed in the morning. What matters to you, and you can have a very, very small circle, like, just my own pleasure, I could get up and just do what feels good to me. But if I do, my life is not going to be very meaningful. And so if I'm going to have a big life, I've got to draw a big circle. And I would say, Gandhi drew a circle around all the Indian people, then you have to become that guy.

Umar Hameed 9:22
Yeah, you step up into what you need to be.

Jack Skeen 9:26

Umar Hameed 9:26
Great leaders, since the dawn of time, have often done that kicking and screaming.

Jack Skeen 9:31

Umar Hameed 9:31
Thinking, I'm unworthy, I can't do this. I don't want to do this. But somehow, the act of doing creates the ability to do.

Jack Skeen 9:39
Right. And you know, all of us, or most of us really practice this concept frequently in our life. I speak to people about remembering a time when they were single.

Umar Hameed 9:48

Jack Skeen 9:48
And often when I do people giggle, and I say, well, you remember you were free. You could do whatever you want to do whenever you wanted to do it. So why did you put somebody in your circle and give up your freedom? In some ways, that's a big loss. But the opportunity is you get to learn to love somebody. And if you give yourself to that it changes you forever. So you've expanded your circle by putting somebody in it.

Umar Hameed 10:11
Absolutely. What's amazing is when I look at the military pick any country, let's pick the US. How many people that are in a platoon, would take a bullet for a politician? Not many, not many, how many would take a bullet for a four star general? Not many, right? But almost every single one of those men and women would take a bullet for each other.

Jack Skeen 10:32

Umar Hameed 10:33
And so having that circle, that platoon becomes your family, right? And you do heroic, amazing things. And what if you could bring that into real life and actually know that circle and it would bring the best out of you if you realized it existed?

Jack Skeen 10:48
Well, and if we just applied this concept to work, you can come to work with a very small circle. I'm just here to get a paycheck, right? And then all you do is what's necessary to get paid. You could expand your circle and say I I'm here to learn something. And so now you come with questions. And that makes you more useful. Or you could come to work aligned with the company and go, I really want this company to succeed. And so now you come to work thinking, what is the CEO trying to do? What is the mission of this company? What things can I do to contribute to it even beyond what I'm currently doing? I mean, all every time you expand your circle, you become more useful.

Umar Hameed 11:25
Absolutely. And the more useful you become, the more resources you get. Why do you think most people don't get this concept? Because it isn't a new concept, that we somehow fall into the lives that we live, and think that we're hostages to it when the reality is, we can step it up anytime we want.

Jack Skeen 11:45
Well, in the book, there are four big ideas that I consider developmental steps. So you really can't get to the second one, until you've mastered the first one. And they're progressive. Do you want to know what they are?

Umar Hameed 11:58
I don't but you gonna kill me anyway, please do.

Jack Skeen 12:02
Okay, so the first one I call independence. And what I mean by independence is discovering your uniqueness.

Umar Hameed 12:10
And listeners were in a urban environment and an ambulance just went by. So this is a real podcast. So please go on Jack.

Jack Skeen 12:17
Okay, so you think about like snowflakes. The two things I know about snowflakes is that everyone's different. And everyone's beautiful. And I think that's true of people, that everyone's different. And to the extent we show our differences to each other, we're beautiful. But most of us have been trained to hide those differences to conform to fit in to become what other people want us to be. .

Umar Hameed 12:40
So let me pause right there. So I get that another way of looking at it a scarier way, is not so much the differences. But the vulnerabilities. What I found in my travels is we hide those vulnerabilities as if our life depended on it. But when we reveal them to another Instead of somebody looking down upon us, people step up and want to help us. So the very thing we're trying to hide is the very thing that builds bonds and builds community, kind of your thoughts.

Jack Skeen 13:12
I think you're absolutely right. My wife was telling me that she knows that I'm funny, but I don't show that too many people.

Umar Hameed 13:19
Right. Did she mean funny looking?

Jack Skeen 13:23
Well, I asked her, when did you discover that I was funny? And we had met 10 years before we actually started dating. And she told me that in those first early meetings, she had told me she was going to visit her aunt. And I said, Is she a red ant or a black ant?

Umar Hameed 13:38
But a boom.

Jack Skeen 13:39
She thought that was funny. I remember that all those years.

Umar Hameed 13:43
That is excellent. So what's the second thing?

Jack Skeen 13:45
Okay, so if you finally figure out your independence, so if you finally are willing to be who you are, rather than be what other people want you to be, then you can find your power and your power is I believe everybody has a unique gift. And if you discover that gift and give yourself to it, your career starts being more than a job, it becomes an expression of yourself something that actually gives you life rather than draining you.

Umar Hameed 14:13
So I would obviously agree with that. But I think there's a power because someone may not realize they have a gift. But one thing they do have is authenticity. And when they actually, because I think we have three faces when we show the outside world, and normally that's "Look at me, I'm smart, I'm pretty." The second face, I call that first place is illusion. second phase is delusion. This is who we think we are. And sometimes we think we're less than we actually are. And then we've got the third space, which is who we actually are. And once we step into who we actually are, that is our most powerful, amazing self.

Jack Skeen 14:54
I think that's true, but the stories of people who discover this are just wonderful. Like I read a story in the Wall Street Journal about a young man who decided he would become a cobbler. Now, I don't even know that most people even know what a cobbler is.

Umar Hameed 15:08
They make pies, right?

Jack Skeen 15:09
That's where they make pies. You know, they make shoes. Yes. Now I just wonder what his parents would have said when he came home and said, I've decided for my career, I'm going to be a cobbler. They probably would have thought he was crazy.

Umar Hameed 15:20
Do what you love, and try and be the world's best. Will you ever be the world's best the chances are no. But if you kind of go, "huh, I'll just be a cobbler" then you'll be average. But if you strive for perfection or being the best, you're always improving amazing things happen when you do that.

Jack Skeen 15:37
Yeah, this guy makes Nikes makes sneakers for Nike and he sells them to them for $10,000 a pair.

Umar Hameed 15:44
So custom shoes.

Jack Skeen 15:46

Umar Hameed 15:47

Jack Skeen 15:47
He has cobbler classes. People come from all over the country to California to learn cobbling from this guy. I just think it's a remarkable story.

Umar Hameed 15:55
Absolutely. I met this guy once who was a photographer and he did portraits of horses. And it's like, that's the thing. But he's flies around the world with people on private jets. come to Japan, we've got this horse and we want a really nice shot, or Saudi Arabia, wherever. So that's number two, be yourself.

Jack Skeen 16:16
Right? independence is the first finding your power is your second.

Umar Hameed 16:19
And what's number three?

Jack Skeen 16:21
Well, I've known some powerful people, people who know what they can do and they become complete asses. They're so full of themselves.

Umar Hameed 16:28
Are you looking at me when you're raising that? So yeah, so they become the ego takes over.

Jack Skeen 16:34
The ego takes over right? And so nobody wants to follow them because they make it all about themselves. So the third one is you have to master humility.

Umar Hameed 16:43
Absolutely. And so regardless what your politics are, Donald Trump would be a good example of someone that has an ego that's out of control.

Jack Skeen 16:52

Umar Hameed 16:52
And even people that like him and support him would kind of go "Yeah, it's a bit arrogant." So don't shy away from your gift, but you don't have to bludgeon people with it either.

Jack Skeen 17:02
Well, if you do, you won't be as great as you were meant to be. The last one is purpose. So I've had the opportunity to work with very successful people. And it strikes me as odd that after they have four houses, they want to buy a fifth house or when they have 100 foot yacht, they want 150 foot yacht, there's got to be something more to do with your life, than just take care of yourself. So I think there's a purpose for everyone something that you're meant to do to contribute to the go to the world. And only when you discover that will you have as a rich life as you could possibly have.

Umar Hameed 17:37
So I agree, I think every human being on Earth has a purpose in life. And it may not be for the betterment of the world, but certainly betterment of their heart. But most people never discover what it is right? And when you do discover what it is then all that uncertainty of should I be a lawyer, should I be a lawyer? Should I do this should I do that just disappears and it's like, hey, so I uncovered my purpose. In 1991,

Jack Skeen 18:02
What is that?

Umar Hameed 18:03
To be a joyful educator.

Jack Skeen 18:05

Umar Hameed 18:06
And for my business career, you know, I was in sales and other things, there was an element of teaching. But in 2003, I stepped into this profession. And this podcast is a perfect example of me chatting with really smart people in hopes of helping people see their lives through your lens, Jack. Because sometimes when we see our lives, from our own vantage point, we were stuck. One of the things you were teaching us today might be that one thing that person goes, "Hmm, I don't need to see it that way." And if you did that service for them, I know you'd consider it a win for you and I consider it a win for me.

Jack Skeen 18:46
How did you discover your purpose?

Umar Hameed 18:49
So I've got this young lady that I'm working with right now. And she started doing the homework and the homework is get a deck of three by five cards. You go, who is someone you admire? So let me ask you, Jack who so other than me, who is someone you admire?

Jack Skeen 19:05
I admire my wife greatly.

Umar Hameed 19:07
What attribute does she have? That you admire?

Jack Skeen 19:12
She has an innocence that's absolutely beautiful.

Umar Hameed 19:15
Innocence is one. I suspect she's got lots of friends.

Jack Skeen 19:18
She does.

Umar Hameed 19:20
And if we picked one friend at random, and I asked her do you admire and your wife's name again?

Jack Skeen 19:25

Umar Hameed 19:26
Do you admire Linda? She'll say "Oh, yes, I do." What do you admire about her and she may not pick innocence at all, she picked something else. So what that means is that innocence says more about you than you think. People come into our lives. And the reason we allow them to is the attributes they have, either we admire and which means we have it in ourselves as well. The person we admire may have it the size of the building and we have it the size of a molecule or vice versa. Flip side of that is Jack is this someone that you dislike against? Don't say the name of the person but there's someone that drives you crazy?

Jack Skeen 20:02
Yes, absolutely.

Umar Hameed 20:03
Now he's looking at me I knew it. And what's the attribute that person has that you don't like?

Jack Skeen 20:09
I think he's a bully.

Umar Hameed 20:11
If people were thinking about you, Jack, certainly bully would not be one things. But I suspect there's probably a trace amount of bullying. That's the only reason that bullying irritates you. So the people that come into our lives, our gifts because they allow us to find what's noble within us, but seeing it in ourselves so hard, and also people that are so irritating, that when someone's doing that, and I got to go, "Wow, they're pushy," and then I go, "am I pushy, too?" and sometimes the answer is in this area, "yep, you are." So

Jack Skeen 20:46
I've heard that said, If you spot it, you got it.

Umar Hameed 20:49
That I love that deck of three by five cards and people write down all the attributes that they admire in other people. Second thing is what do you love to do that fulfills you and it could be being creative. Or an artist or speaking, or solving problems or whatever. And then you combine that information and you uncover your purpose with attributes and doing thing. How you know you got it is when it resonates with your heart, and you go, oh my god, that is it. And then you look back at your life and go, you know, every single thing I've ever done, has had a portion of this. And if you're lucky, what you're doing right now is 100% of that. And for me, being a joyful teacher is what I do full time. And every day is a joyous day. Even if it's like a total crap day, I come home going, "Oh, my God, I had so much fun today."

Jack Skeen 21:37
That's wonderful. What a great attitude.

Umar Hameed 21:39
Jack, before we part company, you are trying to do something amazing. So there's lots of peer advisory groups for leaders, CEOs, right? Like this teaches an amazing organization that the largest in the world, and there's other ones out there. In our hometown of Baltimore. There's insight but you want to create a peer advisory group of leaders that has a focus, what's the focus? We want to unite people around that? .

Jack Skeen 22:05
I do. I want to invite people into a conversation about spiritual growth. And I want them to learn how to grow themselves and how to grow each other.

Umar Hameed 22:17
Absolutely. So it's a come together and we'll be talking about business and life and all that stuff. But the focus will be, let's reveal and grow and embrace that spiritual side of who you happen to be. And there's, it's almost like a catalyst. You're already awesome. You add that into the mix and you create something spectacular.

Jack Skeen 22:40
Right? If I go back to the store is a question about seat to CEOs or business leaders about what's the most important thing you do. I think people need to be more aware that kissing their spouse or their kids is that important to them. If they're more aware, they might stop on the way to work and look at the sunrise and that might be a day that reorient them, to the beauty around them or to the beauty in their people or the beauty in their business. It's like almost like learning to acquire the ability to discern things in wine, becoming a wine taster. It's a skill that takes development.

Umar Hameed 23:16
And development is really funny on that particular skill. Because I went to nap I used to live out in Berkeley, they had this wine wheel to help Neanderthals like make the right wine, and they had like the colors of the wine and they had the tastes. And they also had the smells and one of the smells that could be in your wine was wet dog.

Jack Skeen 23:34

Umar Hameed 23:35
I've never heard anybody got you know, there's not enough wet dog. But I guess it's one of the primary things but the point being made is if you don't know the vocabulary, and you don't know the distinctions, how will you ever discover it and what you're providing is creating a group where they get the lexicon of this is the language of spirituality. And once you know it, you'll start embracing it, and it doesn't mean you'll end up being a tree hugger. What it does mean is you'll show up in a different more powerful way.

Jack Skeen 24:00

Umar Hameed 24:02
Jack, we're going to put all your contact information in the show notes. Jack, thanks so much for an amazing conversation and I'm looking forward to our next

Jack Skeen 24:10
Thank you Umar.

Umar Hameed 24:11
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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