Karl is an Executive Coach & Children’s Book Author
Karl Hebenstreit, Principal Consultant for Perform & Function, LLC., talks about his passion for writing business and children’s books. Karl talks about how his writing helps with his career, having support from his co-workers, approaching different work cultures and much more!
• Getting into writing
• Writing a children’s book
• Support from co-workers
• How writing has helped his career
• Approaching different company cultures
Please take 2 minutes
to do John’s anonymous survey
about Corporate Culture!
Perform & Function
The How and Why
Nina and the Really, Really Tough Decision
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Welcome to Episode 555 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. And each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby, or a passion, or an interest outside of work. And to put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you at work. And in other words, who else are you beyond the job title?
And if you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the award-winning book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. The book goes more in-depth with the research behind why these outside of work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. And I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and writing such nice reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.
And if you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audiobooks. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every weekend. And this week is no different with my guest, Karl Hebenstreit. He’s a principal with Perform & Function in the Bay Area, California. And he’s the author of Nina and the Really, Really Tough Decision and also The How and Why Taking Care of Business with the Enneagram. And now, he’s with me here today. Karl, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on what’s Your “And”?
John: Thank you so much, John. This is really a pleasure.
Karl: Yeah, this is gonna be a blast. Super fun starting out the new year and this is gonna be great. So we have 17 rapid-fire questions though. Get to know Karl out of the gate here. So let’s see how this goes here. I’ll start you with I think an easy one. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Karl: Definitely Star Trek. I love the inclusivity. I love the message. I love the diversity that’s celebrated and the way that all the different “races” are being brought together and explained.
John: Yeah, the world.
Karl: Yeah, definitely Star Trek. And it really goes along with one of my favorite actors and Patrick Stewart is just amazing.
John: Okay, there we go. I was gonna ask you do you have a favorite actor or actress. So there we go. Two for one right there on one.
Karl: Yeah. It’s like a Groupon.
John: Yeah. It’s like a Groupon right out of the gate. That’s hilarious. All right. How about your computer, PC or Mac?
John: PC. Me too. I’m the same.
Karl: I learned on a Mac in school. I learned on a Mac, but every job that I’ve worked at has been PC since then. You know, the other thing is I’m also an android rather than an iOS, so yeah.
John: No, I’m Android as well. I’m all in on whatever’s not Apple just ’cause I’m not cool enough I think is probably why.
Karl: I’ll join you in that club. Don’t worry.
John: Right, right, right. Would you say you’re more early bird or night owl?
Karl: Early bird.
John: Early bird. Okay.
Karl: I’m disgustingly an early bird. Everyone will tell you that I just jump up and I’m like “Good morning, everyone.”
John: Right. Like go back to sleep and wake us up at a normal time.
John: I’m a huge ice cream junkie. So ice cream in a cup or in a cone?
Karl: Cone. I wanna be able to eat the packaging. And especially if it’s differently flavored. There’s an amazing gelato place in Palm Springs and they have all these different flavored cones that are just— Like they have chocolate and they have creamsicle-flavored cones. Amazing.
John: Okay. Totally going to Palm Springs now just for that and then like fly in, fly out. How about do you prefer more hot or cold?
Karl: I run warm, so I prefer cold. Although vacation wise, I prefer hot.
John: Sure. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. How about favorite band or musician?
Karl: Wow. Okay. The first thing that popped into my mind was probably my formative year. So let’s go with Abba.
John: Oh, okay. Yes! There you go. All right. I love it, man.
Karl: Although more recently, I would say more along the— Well, George Michael favorite musician overall, but band— You said band, so I’d have to go with a band.
John: No, that’s fine. That works. No, I’ll take either one. I actually do a music video parody of You Are My Adding Machine from Abba. So it’s a little play on words of see that girl watching me digging my adding machine.
Karl: Dancing Queen. Yes.
John: Yeah. Exactly. So a little bit of nerdiness.
Karl: Yes. The accounting, bringing that in.
John: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Do you have a favorite number?
Karl: 5. My favorite number is 5. My lucky number.
John: Oh, in Episode 555. Look at you, man. This is the universe good coinciding. Yeah. Exactly. Making it happen. How about books, audio version, e-Book, or real book?
Karl: I want the real thing. I want the actual real book. Yeah. So I can write in it. I can make notes in it. I can fold the pages over like yeah.
John: Okay. I get all up in there.
Karl: Stick it in the bookshelf. Yeah.
John: There you go. How about a favorite Disney character? There’s a million of them, so I’ll take anything animated.
Karl: Wow. Disney character. So Huey, Louie, and Dewey are the nephews of—
John: Oh, yeah!
Karl: Yeah. I love Huey, Louie, and Dewey. Yes. I don’t know why.
John: There you go.
Karl: They have Ducktails and no one probably even knows what that is, but they were so creative and would resolve and solve all the different problems that Scrooge McDuck was getting himself into. Yes.
John: Right. There you go.
Karl: I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten that answer before, but yes.
John: No. No. I forgot all about them. That’s so great. Thank you for the reminder. That’s hilarious. How about puzzles, Sudoku, crossword, or a jigsaw puzzle?
Karl: Out of the three, I’d probably go with crossword just because it’s closest to Wordle, which you know obviously I’ve fallen into that trap.
John: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Karl: But ultimately, Lego, if Lego is considered a puzzle. I love Legos.
John: Oh, yeah. Okay.
Karl: I love Legos growing up and I still love the adult Legos now too. Yes.
John: Oh, really? Okay. All right. Yeah, I was definitely a huge— I mean, we had two giant tubs of Legos as kids and you just get all the leftovers of whoever and wherever and, yeah, all that. So yeah, Lego is awesome. How about a favorite color?
Karl: Red. I’d go with a red and probably more of like a darker red. When I was younger, it was probably brighter red. And now, it’s probably more like the burgundies or the Malbecs.
John: The red you can drink.
Karl: The red you can drink. Also the red you can drive. How about like a soul red or a candy apple red? I’d go with that one too.
John: Okay. Okay. All right. How about a least favorite color?
Karl: Oh, wow. Puce. How about Puce?
John: Oh, wow.
Karl: I mean, you could ever do anything with that.
John: Oh, it even sounds terrible.
Karl: Yeah. I don’t know if you could do much with that one. That’s in no one’s color wheel. Yeah.
John: Right. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Would you say you’re more talk or text?
John: Talk. Yeah, I’m same. It just gets to the point faster. We got three more. Toilet paper roll over or under?
Karl: The right way. Over.
John: There we go.
Karl: I actually saw there was like the original when they went to patents.
John: The patents?
Karl: Yes, it is over. So, yeah.
John: Yeah. No, no, it definitely is. It definitely is. Two more. Do you have a favorite animal? Any animal at all.
Karl: Oh, okay. So if it’s just any animal in the world, I’d have to go with monkeys because monkeys are awesome. But if it’s something that I can have, it’s obviously dogs because of our little pack.
John: A monkey riding a dog. No, no, I’m just kidding.
Karl: And I have a lovely little Chihuahua mix who’s a rescue from Mexico. His name is Turbo.
Karl: Yeah. So he’s a lovely little monkey dog. Absolutely.
John: That’s awesome. Yeah, exactly. That’s perfect. I love it. I love it. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Karl: Wow. I’m gonna go with freedom on that. My freedom is my favorite thing I have or own ’cause that allows me everything else.
John: Yeah. definitely. I love it. That’s awesome. So let’s talk writing Nina and the Really, Really Tough Decision children’s books are just writing in general, like how did you get started with that? Is it something you did a lot as a kid and then just kept going or—
Karl: I think writing came easily for me just in school, reading and writing papers. And I never sought to write a book. The business book came first and the children’s book came second because, again, I like to talk. I’d rather talk than text, so I’d rather talk than write.
John: Yeah. Right. Right.
Karl: I kept giving presentations at different conferences about this wonderful thing called the Enneagram and how to use it in business. And people kept asking me “When is the book coming out?” And I looked at them like “What are you talking about? What book?” So they were hoping that I was gonna integrate all these things into a book, which actually came really, really easily because I had done all these presentations and all these PowerPoint slides. I was using all the content in business.
So it was just very simple to just create a different chapter for each different concept or intervention. And then a friend of mine co-wrote a children’s book with his mother. And I thought, you know, when I work in organizations, it’s so difficult because we really address challenges at the executive or at the higher levels, and we really don’t pay as much attention to the lower levels or the more entry-level employees.
And if we got people acclimated, and trained, and understanding of diversity of perspective early on not just their career, but in their life, it would make their lives overall much easier. So I decided, let me do a children’s book introducing the concept of the Enneagram. And by default, the people, the parents, the teachers, whoever’s reading the books to the children, would also learn about the concept as well. And that will help be a growth opportunity for them.
John: That’s incredible. And for those listening that aren’t aware, like super quick and dirty CliffNotes version of what an Enneagram.
Karl: For anyone that’s never heard of the Enneagram before, think of it as Myers-Briggs on steroids. So Myers-Briggs is a personality typing instrument, but the Enneagram actually helps you understand what the motivation is behind the behaviors, so all the other instruments out there that measure personality behaviors, but they don’t really tell you or give you insight into what’s the motivation behind that behavior. So if you know that and there are nine, there are nine primary motivators that each human will basically affiliate with one of those more than the others, and if we understand where they’re coming from, we don’t think they’re crazy and we don’t think they’re out to get us because we know exactly what their ultimate reason and purpose.
John: There you go. And if one of ’em is ice cream, that’s definitely mine.
Karl: I think that would apply to all the types.
John: Right? There we go.
Karl: Especially chocolate ice cream.
John: Right? There we go.
Yeah. But that’s so great. And to learn it as a kid, that’s so awesome to think of that ’cause when you sit down to write a children’s book, I mean, do you have to get into the child mind? Did you have to like how to get it to their level? Because you haven’t been presenting it preschools like you did for the business book. So how did you go about that?
Karl: You are absolutely right and I don’t have children of my own other than Turbo, and Chase, and Emmett – the dogs. And you know, they were no help, whatsoever. They gave no feedback. So I don’t know what went over their head or what they integrated or whatever. But you know, we were all children once and we all know people who have children. So I tested it out on friends who are parents and have children, and I tried to make it a very complicated topic as simple as possible. So I really adjusted to the standpoint of how do you make a tough decision, right? Everyone has to make a tough decision and understanding that each of the nine different types will look at decision making differently. And if we can incorporate all of those nine perspectives or views, we’re gonna make the right decision all the time and also honor the diversity that each of our friends has in being able to see something from a different point of view.
John: No, love it, man. That’s awesome. That’s really cool. And the writing, is that something that you’ve shared with coworkers in the past? Like I’m sure ’cause you don’t just write a book overnight, you know. And so, is it something that you’ve shared in the past or is it something that you keep on the down low?
Karl: Funny you should say. I did write the book overnight. The children’s book, I did write overnight.
John: Oh, that’s incredible. Holy cow. Okay, good for you, man.
Karl: Because it was an outgrowth really of the business book which had been written 5 years earlier.
John: Oh, okay. Oh, okay.
Karl: So I took one in one part of it, and I said I can really take this concept and bring it to a level that would be a lot simpler and more easily understood by a wider audience. So yeah, the children’s book was literally written overnight. It took 9 weeks from idea to publication. 9 weeks.
John: That’s incredible. Holy cow. That’s unbelievable, man. There might be a children’s What’s Your “And”? book coming out soon. Maybe tomorrow if I can do it overnight.
Karl: Absolutely. No, I think you totally can. You totally can.
John: That’s awesome, man. I love that. I love that. Well, you also just get out of your own way and just write it.
John: You know? And then just let it rip. And so, is this something that you’ve shared with coworkers in the past or they know that that side of you?
Karl: They totally know it and they knew it from the business side first because the business book when I wrote that, because that I was using those concepts at work. So my coworkers were really thrilled to support me and be able to look at the concepts. And I have colleagues right now that still tell me that they use the book when they do consulting with other clients as well. So it’s great. It’s great to know that. In fact, the business book is gonna end up with an outgrowth into a training certification on how to use the Enneagram system in organizations for all sorts of different organization development interventions.
John: Congrats, man. That’s awesome.
Karl: Be on the lookout for that. Yeah. That’s coming up next year. Yes.
John: That’s very cool. Very cool. And did you ever come across other people that enjoyed writing or I guess you had plenty of people that enjoyed reading ’cause they wanted to cheer you on along the way, but, you know, those people you just have a different relationship with work-wise than you do everyone else that you work with as well or did it matter much?
Karl: So since I wrote the business book and the children’s book, another one of my colleagues wrote a book on innovation as well, Stephen Kowalski. I don’t think I was his inspiration for doing it. I think he had his own inspiration for that, but yeah. So I see people doing that. I see people who have work that they’re doing and then maybe aren’t able to— if they find something, like some sort of light, or interest, or passion in their work that they can’t do 100% of the time, that they’re able to have that outgrowth into a book that is allowing them to get more to that 100% that they can’t get at work. And I really totally recommend that to anyone that if you’re not getting 100% of your fulfillment at work, but maybe there’s something that you can grow from, to do that. Just go into that.
John: No, I love that. That’s such a great concept. Yeah. I mean, if you’re not getting it at work, you can get it outside of work through your “and.” And if it’s writing something and whether it becomes a New York Times bestseller or wins it an award or anything, doesn’t matter. Like you’re doing it ’cause you enjoy it and you’re making a difference in somebody’s life, and especially yours most importantly.
John: So, you know, that’s really why you’re doing it. That’s awesome, man. And so, do you feel like the writing side of you plays into work at all? I mean, I’m sure there’s gotta be some sort of writing or communication that happens in your job. So does that impact that?
Karl: You know, currently in my work and my role through my independent consultancy, I do a lot of executive coaching, which doesn’t really require me to do much work if you wanna look at it that way because if you’re doing all the work as an executive coach, you’re doing it wrong. The coaching should be doing all the work, right? So they should be doing all the writing. They should be doing all the accountability stuff and I just hold them accountable.
And then I do presentations and workshops. So there’s a little bit of writing that goes along in that. But again, it goes back to the I’d rather talk than text. So I would rather talk than write. So it really comes down to that. So yes, the writing can synthesize things and I really do like to have things to be short and sweet, and to the point, and not drawn out. And you’ll actually see that in the books that it’s not repeating the same concept over and over and over again. It’s one and done, and maybe bringing it back if it comes up in an overlap with something else.
John: That’s the thing I found when I was writing my book, was how I presented it had to be different than how you write the book ’cause when you’re on stage in front of an audience, you can adjust accordingly if they like it or don’t. You know, you unlock a secret level that now you know, whatever. But in the book, like if you didn’t like that chapter, I’m not sitting there telling you “Hey, you might wanna skip the next two if you didn’t like that one”, you know, type of thing. You know, the approach and the tone of the book, I guess, had to be a little bit different than when it’s coming from me in person.
And that’s something that until you have a team of people that know what they’re doing from the publisher side, then that’s what really helps on that side of things. Yeah, it’s cool to just flush out new ideas and just be like “Oh, wow. Yeah, okay.” They do sort of go hand in hand with each other like that, which is fantastic. That’s really cool. And then before you got into the writing, were there other hobbies that you had that maybe you shared with at work or was writing kind of the thing that cracked it open?
Karl: So one of the things that’s been throughout my entire life— and I think you touched on it at the beginning when we were talking about favorite musician, or band, or artist— singing has been a huge part of my life from my childhood. And Abba was really big. I grew up in Greece. My mom worked with a Swedish embassy, so that’s where Abba was like really infiltrated my life. And I would always be singing Abba stuff. We had songs and albums from, you know, first song, the last song. I was an only child, so I was the entertainment for the adults on many different things. And that’s when it would happen. And then I ended up joining choirs in middle school and Glee clubs in college, Rutgers Glee Club. And then I joined the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus and I sang with them for over 25 years.
Karl: Yes. And hoping to go back when my schedule allows. So singing and music are a huge part of my life. And I actually do integrate them in my work because (A) I usually have some sort of song at the beginning of a workshop that aligns with the theme or the topic that we’re gonna be discussing to really generate a different way of creatively thinking about the topic because you’re engaging a different part of your mind. And the other thing was really funny. When I joined Genentech, one of the things that we had to do was we had to introduce ourselves. I think we had like 30 seconds to introduce ourselves.
And I introduced myself. Adele was big back then, so I introduced myself. I sang my introduction, which no one had ever done before. So I did the Hello introduction from Adele, and I explained a little bit about I’m an organization development consultant here to help and work with you. Yeah. So it was really, really well received and never done before or after.
John: Yeah, that’s incredible though ’cause why not? You know, like why not? And everyone remembers you. Oh, was that the singing guy? It’s less and less of the organizational development side of you. It’s more of the “and” side of you.
Karl: It’s the “and.”
John: And also too, how much singing, just those stories of it played out from when you were a kid all the way through to today and all the different jobs you had, and school, and all these different things that you did? Music and singing was there all along. That’s really important to remember that your skillsets change, your job changes, your title changes, the logo of the company you’re with changes, but the “and” is always, always, always there.
John: And that’s so cool to hear, man. That’s great. How much do you feel like it’s on an organization to encourage people to share that side of them or how much is it on the individual to just “Hey, I’m gonna sing my intro, I didn’t even ask for permission, I’m doing it”, you know, type of thing?
Karl: So I think the way that I’m always gonna be correct, just like any consultant will always be correct by saying the answer is it depends. It depends. It really depends on the culture of the organization. Like I probably couldn’t get away with doing it at a very, very buttoned-up, conservative organization. And I cleared it with my boss. I said, “You know, I’m new to this organization. What do you think?” She said, “Go for it.” And she had my back. And I think the other thing is really having a great relationship with your boss who has your back and will be looking out for you to make sure that doors are being open for you, that you’re not doing any missteps. Rachel was awesome with that.
John: And that knows that side of you.
John: You know, that knows your “and.” Like a boss that knows your “and” really matters.
Karl: And supports it and encourages it. Comes to your concerts. You know, bringing a whole group of people together to your concerts. That’s been amazing seeing colleagues come and support me by coming to the different concerts that we gave with the chorus. So to answer your question, it depends, and it’s really up to the person to initiate it. Don’t expect other people to draw that out of you. Go for it and then ask for forgiveness later or, you know, check for it and make sure that it’s gonna work because people don’t know. I mean, how would people know unless you put it out there first?
John: Amen, man. I agree totally. I mean, because we’re so permission-based for some reason, like we whisper in our ear this evil whatever, like you’re gonna get fired if you sing your intro at the—
No, you’re not.
Karl: Then maybe you’re not at the right place. Go somewhere where they want you to sing your intro or they’re encouraging it, and supporting it, and will give you a standing ovation for it. Yes.
John: Right? Yeah. Well, you know, they didn’t say that we could do that. Yeah. But they also didn’t say we couldn’t.
John: So you know, like maybe no one’s ever thought of it. No one’s ever done it. Like just do it, you know. And as long as you’re not inhibiting your ability or someone else’s ability to get their work done, then it’s fine, you know. Is it illegal or super taboo? Then maybe not. Don’t do that. But otherwise, let it rip. It’s awesome.
Karl: Yeah. Get that creativity out there. Use the outlet.
John: And it brings some emotion and some color.
Karl: And humanity. You’re made human. You’re not just another cog.
John: Exactly. No, no, I love that so much, man. That’s so good. So good. So do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that maybe they have “and” that they are like “Ah, it has nothing to do with my job, so no one’s gonna care”?
Karl: My words of encouragement are if there’s some passion, if there’s some fire inside of you that’s not finding an outlet, give it the outlet, whether it’s gonna be at work or whether it’s gonna be outside of work. Give it that outlet because that’s what’s gonna inspire you, and drive you, and motivate you, and engage you, and allow you to do some of the stuff that may not be as exciting or stuff that you’re that passionate about. And you can get your passion through your “and” and then hopefully be able to integrate it into the less passionate stuff that you do to make that even more passionate too.
John: That’s exactly it right there, man. That’s exactly it. Because when you talk about singing, it’s always, always awesome. When you talk about work, sometimes it’s awesome, but sometimes it’s not.
Karl: Well, there’s some singing that’s pretty bad too, you gotta admit.
John: Well, I mean, but when you talk about singing, it’s great. I mean, I’m not a good singer for some reason. I can play an instrument. I can hear a pitch. I can hear out of tune. And when it comes out of my mouth, it is not good. So I don’t know why that is, but I can play instruments, I can do all that, I love music, but the singing is just not my thing. So there’s definitely bad singing, and I’m right there at the top of the list of that.
Karl: So this is another thing I say. People take personality inventories and say “Oh, you should be a librarian” or “Oh, you should be a salesperson.” Right? And the answer is “Yeah, right. Are you passionate about that? Do you aspire to that or are you gonna put the work in for it?” So someone who may have the “DNA” or personality to be the ideal whatever may not be passionate about it and somebody else that’s really passionate about it will do a far better job at it because they’re in it than the other person that’s naturally inclined to do it. So, go for it. Sing in the shower, sing in the car, sing karaoke.
John: Right? There you go. Yeah. And that’s what I tell people too. What I found from doing so many of these interviews is people wanna give themselves a label or they’re hesitant to rather because they’re like “Well, I don’t get paid to sing or I’m not a whatever.” And it’s like “Yeah, but I enjoy singing.” Well, that takes all the pressure off of being good ’cause it doesn’t even matter if you’re good. You’re doing it for yourself. So that’s awesome, man. Well, this has been so fun, Karl, but I feel like since I so rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning of the show that we can turn the tables here, make this The Karl Hebenstreit Podcast. Thanks for having me on as a guest. I guess I booked myself, so never mind.
Karl: That’s awesome.
John: So what have you got for me?
Karl: All right, John. I know that you have a very strong affinity for dogs. I know you love dogs. They’re a passion of yours. I wanna find out what your favorite dog breed is and why.
John: Oh, wow. Okay. So my current dog is like a terrier mix. I did the DNA test and it came back as Chihuahua, Rottweiler, and then like 80% we have no clue. And I was like I want my money back ’cause this is clearly a terrier mix, but that’s always fun. You know, he’s like 32 pounds, 35 pounds. So he’s a dog, but he’s not like you’re gonna get your shoulder ripped out if he goes running, you know, type of thing. A Springer Spaniel, we had one as a kid as well, and he was super awesome. So I guess if I had to pick a specific breed, probably that, but the terrier mix has grown on me. They’re super fun dogs. They’re quick. They’re smart. They’re fun dogs.
Karl: All dogs are amazing. Absolutely.
John: No, for sure. Unconditional love all the time from dogs. If humans could have 1% of that, it would be an amazing place to be.
Karl: That would be a huge difference from what we have. Absolutely.
John: Yeah. Yeah.
Karl: All right. I’m also interested to find out, you’ve been doing 555 podcast episodes, what “and” have you been inspired to add to your repertoire based on a podcast that you did?
John: Oh, based on a podcast. Okay. Well, my ultimate dream is to have a show kind of like Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs where he goes around and does it. So I would fly to the Bay Area, and we would sing and do a children’s book and then do this interview. But also, I would do your “and” with you. And I think that would be a super cool show, just figuring out how to get that out there.
Karl: And paid for.
John: Yeah. And paid for. That would be the biggest part of it.
But you know, just to show the human side to all of us. But you know, I guess yoga might be one that I’ve gotten more into or mindfulness in general from speaking to a couple of people that have been on the podcast. So that might be an example. You know, I’ve picked up a couple of other “ands” just periodically, but not specifically from the podcast. But yeah, probably yoga, or mindfulness, or things along those lines that I wasn’t as open to before or hadn’t really learned much about before. So just being like “Oh, wow, okay, that seems interesting. Let’s learn more about this.” So I would say those.
John: I have one last question if you’re up to it.
Karl: Last one. It’s your show, man. I’m at your mercy.
John: All right, here it goes. What comedian inspired you growing up?
Karl: Ah, wow. So, I mean, as a kid, I grew up in the heyday of Saturday Night Live, so it was Dana Carvey, and Mike Myers, and all those. And then it transitioned into the David Spade, and Chris Farley, and Adam Sandler group. And then Jim Carrey came out within Living Color and all those, and the weigh-ins, and all that. And so, I grew up with watching that and reading Mad Magazine, and Cracked Magazine, and all that. But that’s improv or sketch. That’s different than standup. My first standup that I ever saw, it was a sixth grade slumber party and my older brother had Eddie Murphy Raw, the VHS cassette of Eddie Murphy Raw, which no kid should ever see.
And so, that was the first standup I ever saw, was us sneaking like a group of us at a slumber party watching Eddie Murphy Raw. But then, you know, as I got older, I mean, I’m sure like Seinfeld or Ray Romano and a lot of that was because they had the sitcom, so then you learn about them, and then you find out that they did standup, and then you learn about their standup as well. So, you know, probably early on, it was kind of that clean observational kind of humor and then got into Bob Newhart Hilarious, like some of the older genre, you know, super funny.
Karl: So really all across, all the different genres.
John: Yeah. I mean, you know, like Steve Martin, amazing. No one specific person. I guess just kind of like observational humor, I guess. Like nothing with an agenda. Like it was never anyone that has an agenda of I’m trying to get you to believe what I run. No, no. It’s more of like isn’t life funny and look at that or look at this and be like “Ah, I never thought about it that way” or whatever, you know, type of thing. So, those sort of things.
Karl: And we definitely need more of that. We need tons more of that to help us really understand, and appreciate life, and just get all the differences that are out there.
John: It’s a philosophy I feel like. They’re philosophers. As a comedian, you look at the world through a different lens, and you bring other people into your picture, and then you start to now see the picture that’s in my mind.
Karl: So you just described the Enneagram by the way. So you look at the world through a different lens, and you’re trying to bring them into yours as well as you understanding what their lenses are too.
John: Yeah, because I have to also meet you where you’re at.
John: Wow. Awesome. Okay, very cool. I’ll still start with the children’s book because that’s probably best for me.
Karl: I totally agree with that. And I think the other key thing that I would impart on people is the Platinum Rule versus the Golden Rule. So treat others the way that they want to be treated. So I think that’s one of the biggest learnings that people need to really tap into because there’s been so much emphasis on the Golden Rule, which is very me focused as opposed to other focused. And everyone doesn’t see the world the way that you do. And everyone doesn’t like ice cream or the same flavor of ice cream.
John: And those people are terrorists. Those are terrorists. No. No. I’m kidding.
Karl: On the no-fly list. Yes.
John: Exactly. That’s awesome. Well, no. Well, thank you so much, Karl, for being a part of What’s Your “And”? This was really, really fun.
Karl: Oh, I had a blast. Thank you so much for having me, John.
John: Absolutely. And everyone listening, if you wanna see some pictures of Karl in action or maybe be sure to check out his books or connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. And while you’re on the page, please click the big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. Thanks again for subscribing on Apple Podcasts or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.
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