Podcast Replay: Tame the Advice Monster with Michael Bungay Stanier

Today I'm thrilled to re-share my podcast episode with Michael Bungay Stanier, whose book The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever is celebrating its one-year anniversary! 

If you haven't read the book yet, now's the time to grab it! From March 1 to 3 The Coaching Habit eBook will be available for purchase for just 99 cents on Amazon. 

There's also an awesome contest running from March 8 to 24. In honor of his famous haiku (mentioned below), Michael is inviting other influencers to submit their best coaching wisdom in just 17 syllables — their own coaching haiku. You can learn more about the contest and prizes here. 

And here's my own coaching haiku for some inspiration:

Listen deeply. Dig
for what's not said. Flicker of
Joy becomes fireworks.

Podcast Replay: Tame the Advice Monster with Michael Bungay Stanier

We have all had the experience of sharing something that’s on our mind with a friend, family member, partner, or co-worker — then bristling in frustration or quiet defeat as they jump straight into trying to solve our problem with their brilliant advice.

What’s the alternative? Curiosity and a few simple coaching questions. That what I dig into on this Pivot Podcast with Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever! Not just for managers and coaches, today’s conversation will help all of us become better black-belt listeners. Written as a haiku, Michael’s message is:

Tell less and ask more.
Your advice is not as good
As you think it is.

    More About Michael

    Michael was banned from his high school graduation for “the balloon incident,” was sued by one of his Law School lecturers for defamation, gave himself a concussion digging a hole as a laborer, was fired on his first shift as a garage attendant and has held a number of jobs where he had little or no impact.

    Luckily, there’s also been some upside. He is the author of a number of successful books including: End Malaria (which raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Malaria No More), Do More Great WorkGet Unstuck & Get GoingGreat Work Provocationsand most recently The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever. He is also the founder and Senior Partner of Box of Crayons, and was the first Canadian Coach of the Year. His real success in becoming a Rhodes Scholar and going to Oxford was meeting and marrying a Canadian who refuses to take him too seriously. 

    Topics We Cover

    • Why coaching and today’s podcast isn’t just for “life coach-y types”
    • 7 key questions to guide a coaching conversation
    • How you can apply these questions to coach effectively in ten minutes or less
    • What pick-up lines have to do with coaching and The Kickstart Question
    • The best coaching question in the world (and it’s only three words long!)
    • Why laziness is a benefit to you and the person you are talking to
    • The importance of getting comfortable with silence; why it is challenging and the reasons silence is actually a measure of success 
    • No more fake active listening! 
    • The benefit of sticking to questions that start with   instead of why
    • The pitfalls of trying to get more data (asking questions for your sake) versus getting curious instead
    • Avoid rushing to action; even how questions aren’t as important as exploring the what 
    • Stop solving the wrong problems and get to the heart of things with The Focus Question: what’s the real challenge here for you?
    • How the Drama Triangle (Victim, Persecuter, Rescuer) can inform conversations (and relationships) that have veered off course
    • How to pull yourself out of trying to be helpful to so many people
    • Why we should stop humblebragging about being “good busy” and “working smarter, not harder”
    • Combatting those habits with The Strategic Question: if you are saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?
    • Double-loop learning and The Learning Question: what was most useful for you?

    Podcast: How to Tame the Advice Monster

    Press play on the embedded player below or listen on iTunesSoundCloud, or Overcast:

    Resources Mentioned

    As Michael says at the end of his book,

    The real secret sauce here is building a habit of curiosity. Find your own questions, find your own voice. And above all, build your own coaching habit.”

    Book Giveaway: The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

    One of my favorite TED Talks of 2016 was Neil Pasricha's How do you maximize your tiny, short life? Entirely composed of questions, Neil likes to call it the world's first TED Listen, and it's a great thought-starter about the impact we each want to make in our lives.

    Watch: How do You Maximize Your Tiny, Short Life?

    Listen: Want Nothing, Have Everything: The Happiness Equation with Neil Pasricha

    Today I’m re-sharing my podcast episode with Neil from September, where we discuss the success trap, why advice is irrelevant, and the reason you wake up in the morning. Listen to the Pivot Podcast in the embedded player below or subscribe on iTunesSoundCloudOvercast, or Google Play Music. And be sure to check out the book giveaway at the end! 

    "Be you. Be you, and be cool with it. There is nobody else you can be better."
    —Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

    Neil Pasricha's writing is like a cup of hot chocolate, or as he would describe it in Awesome Thing #119, like watching butter melt on a hot piece of toast. It is comforting and delightful. His latest book is about what he learned along his own roller coaster ride of reaching smashing success with his 1,000 Awesome Things blog and books, then realizing he still wasn't happy. We break down topics like The Saturday Morning Test, the three time buckets, and many more. Enjoy!

    More About Neil Pasricha

    Neil Pasricha is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome series, which has been published in ten countries, spent over five years on bestseller lists, and sold over a million copies.

    Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and after ten years heading Leadership Development at Walmart he now serves as Director of The Institute for Global Happiness. He has dedicated the past fifteen years of his life to developing leaders, creating global programs inside the world’s largest companies and speaking to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. He lives in Toronto with his wife and sons.

    Topics We Cover

    • Feeling trapped by extrinsic motivators, ever-escalating goals
    • Achieving massive success—multiple bestsellers, TED talk—then feeling trapped by the never-ending search for more
    • Overcoming compare-and-despair
    • The Success Triangle: sales, social, self
    • The Meat Grinder of marketing, stress from emphasizing sales
    • "The goal is not to be perfect, it's to be better than before."
    • What the healthiest 100-year-olds in the world can teach us
    • Ikigai, a Japanese term for the reason you wake up in the morning
    • Retirement is an arbitrary, relatively new concept; many of the world's healthiest places to live don't even have a word for stopping work
    • The Saturday Morning Test
    • Advice is irrelevant; "When we are looking for advice we are usually looking for an accomplice."
    • How he decided when to leave his job as Director of Leadership Development at Walmart
    • Why having a side hustle for so long as an author allowed him to take big risks at work and in his writing
    • Three Bucket Model of the Week: Sleep, Work, Free/Creative/Fun (56 hours each)

    Podcast: The Happiness Equation with Neil Pasricha

    Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloudStitcher, or Overcast:

    Resources Mentioned

    Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesAndroid or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

    Book Giveaway

    We're excited to announce that one awesome Life After College reader will receive a copy of Neil Pasricha's The Happiness Equation!

    To enter to win, please answer the following question in the comments by Friday, February 3. We will pick a winner via and email to let you know! Good luck!

    Comment to Be Entered to Win: 
    As Neil asks in his TED Talk: "What story or idea of yours might survive as a tiny, flickering light millions of years into the future?"

    Pivot Podcast Round-Up: Techno Literacy, Ego is the Enemy, Navigating a Non-Linear Universe and Standing Out

    Written by Jenny Blake We hear so much about pursuing your passion! But sometimes a passion pursues you. That has been the case for me ever since I took the Pivot Podcast “pro” by launching it in iTunes late last year, and committing to releasing one episode per week. Although it is a tremendous amount of work, I had no idea I would come to enjoy it so much. It turns out I love everything about it, from interviewing fascinating guests to audio editing and teaching myself GarageBand.

    And in true Pivot form, I have come to realize it’s not a 180 from the other business activities and strengths I have: my 8+ years of coaching experience help me to be a better listener and question asker. When I was a kid, in interviewed family members for a newsletter I created called The Monthly Dig-Up. I also used to record fake news broadcasts with our video recorder. I have always loved teaching myself new technology, and audio editing is really giving me a run for my new skill money!

    Today I’m sharing the last four episodes of the show, as they are some of my favorites yet. Listen to the Pivot Podcast in the embedded players below or subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloudOvercast, orGoogle Play Music. And if you enjoy these episodes, I would be oh-so-grateful for a rating and/or review! It helps me know you’re listening, and what I should focus more on in future shows.


    “If we have been living in rigid ice, this is liquid—a new phase state. We are marching inexorably toward connecting all humans and all machines into a global matrix. This matrix is not an artifact, but a process. Our new supernetwork is a standing wave of change . . . the particular products, brands, and companies that will surround us in 30 years are entirely unpredictable. The specifics at that time hinge on the crosswinds of individual chance and fortune.

    . . . The Beginning, of course, is just beginning.”

    —Kevin Kelly, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

    I almost fainted when this week’s guest, Kevin Kelly, said yes to be on the Pivot Podcast. Kind, brilliant and the king of techno-literacy, Kevin is one of the great technologists, futurists, and thinkers of our time. We talk about how to get better at systems thinking, become more techno-literate in an ever-changing environment that fosters a constant “newbie state,” artificial intelligence, centaurs and robot whispering, virtual and augmented reality, why now is the best possible time to start a company, and much much more. I could listen to Kevin talk all day, but alas! This week’s episode is a digestable power-packed 50 minutes.

    Side note: If you enjoy this episode please share it with a friend!! I am a huge Kevin Kelly fan and would love to see this episode spread its wings and fly across the listener-o-sphere :)

    Be sure to check out the previous Pivot Podcast, How to Become a Robot Whisperer with Dr. Tom Guariello (founder of RoboPsych), and as I mention in todays episode, if you want to have your mind blown watch this two-minute Magic Leap video: Exclusive Footage of What It’s Like to See Through Magic Leap and the Magic Leap website homepage demo.


    “Is it 10,000 hours or 20,000 hours to mastery? The answer is, it doesn’t matter. There is no end zone.”

    —Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy

    What happens when you reach previously unimaginable pinnacles of success . . . and still find yourself miserable? Listen to this Pivot Podcast with Ryan Holiday—marketing master, studier of Stoic philosophy, and author of several bestselling books. His first, Trust Me, I’m Lying—which the Financial Times called an “astonishing, disturbing book”—was a debut bestseller. His next books,Growth Hacker Marketing and The Obstacle is the Way were both published by Penguin/Portfolio, and his latest, Ego is the Enemy launches next week. Fun fact: he has the last two book titles tattooed on each arm.


    “The new attention span is about scope. Time stops, everything is instantaneous, coordinated and synchronous. You can already feel the result existing.”

    —Penney Peirce, Leap of Perception

    I have had such a blast talking with Penney Peirce about her Transformation Trilogy on intuition, frequency, and now perception. Talk about a dream come true! Today’s Pivot Podcast is our third in the series, and we dive deep into the nature of our holographic universe, the shift toward right-brain perception, why attention is the new intention (forget the law of attraction), how to find flow in projects, and how to navigate the void after major life or work phases are complete. 

    Check out our previous conversations on Intuition and Frequency, and Dreams as a Doorway to 24-Hour Consciousness.


    “It’s not about selling books or going on the lecture circuit or schmoozing at elite conferences. It’s about solving problems and making a difference in a way that creates value for yourself and others.

    True thought leadership is a gift. It is a willingness to be brave, open up, and share yourself. It is a willingness to risk having your ideas shot down because you genuinely believe they can help others.”

    —Dorie Clark, Stand Out

    Last up for this podcast round-up, I’m thrilled to share an interview with my good friend and business author doppelgänger, Dorie Clark. I interviewed Dorie while writing Pivot on the big ideas from her book Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around ItWhen we’re not scrounging up interesting New York activities to try, we both love thinking about how to reinvent careers and the best way to develop and share ideas that make a difference in others’ lives.

    Thank you for listening, and I welcome any and all feedback and guest suggestions for future shows!

    About Jenny

    Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career StrategistJenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book Pivot. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business. Today you can find her here on this blog (in its 9th year!) and at, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

    Smart People Should Build Things

    Written by Davis Nguyen

    You’re 26 years old with $100,000 in student loans. Your recent start-up has just collapsed. You have a law degree and your friends and family pressure you to be a lawyer, but what you really want to do is build things.

    What do you do?

    This was a real dilemma facing Andrew Yang, who is the author of Smart People Should Build Things: How to Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path for Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America, a few years ago.

    I met Andrew a few month ago at a conference where he delivered our keynote. The conference had nothing to do with business or start-ups, but when Andrew asked “how many of you would want to start your own business or join a start-up?” 80% of the attendees raised their hands.

    Andrew followed up by telling us that while the dream of building a company is one most of us have, when it comes time to choose, most of us will defer our dream for security and comfort. He understood that this was a normal reaction.

    Bootstrapping Your Life

    Andrew graduated from Brown University in 1996 and earned his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1999. After graduation he started working at private firm. Despite the job security and six-figure salary, Andrew couldn’t find much meaning and purpose in his work. Six months into his career as a lawyer, Andrew quit to pursue his passion of building things with no experience in business and $100,000 in student loans. Less than a year later, his first company,, was a victim of the dot-com bubble in 2001 leaving him with no back-up plan.

    Despite his parents jeering him, “Didn’t you used to be smart?”, his friends introducing him as a lawyer, and his growing pile of bills, Andrew decided to give entrepreneurship another chance.

    Today, thirteen years later, Andrew has had a successful career as an entrepreneur and founded Venture for America, a non-profit helping recent college grads become entrepreneurs by pairing them with early-stage companies to gain experience. He was recently named Champion of Change by the White House and one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” for his work with Venture for America.

    While most people in the audience were amazed by Andrew’s successes, I wanted to ask him about the story behind the success: the nights no one will talk about.

    Two lessons I learned about being a successful entrepreneur from Andrew Yang

    1.     Find Your Yoda (Mentor)

    After Andrew’s first start-up failed, he started to work for Manu Capoor, whom he met while networking for Stargiving. Manu was a former doctor and investment banker who had started a healthcare software company, MMF Systems. Andrew had no prior experience in this industry, but working under Manu, Andrew had found his Yoda.

    Andrew notes in the book that it was from Manu where he learned the most important lesson about getting things done in business. It comes down to “people, processes, and technology.” Andrew left MMF after three years to work under his friend Zeke Vanderhoek at Manhattan GMAT where he learned to shape company culture, scale a business, and provide unparalleled customer service. Andrew eventually became the CEO in 2006 and ultimately grew the company to employ over one hundred people and had it acquired by The Washington Post Company/Kaplan three years later.

    2.     Learn to live within your means

    Andrew gave up a six-figure lawyering job to work at start-ups that were paying him just enough to cover food, housing, and other essential needs. Through this process, Andrew learned that what he previously thought he “needed” were really just “wants.”

    Besides paying for living costs and his student loans, Andrew never went broke or homeless. As one of my favorite quote about entrepreneurship goes, “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

    Audio Interview with Andrew Yang

    I had a chance to do a 18-minute audio interview Andrew, where I went into more depth about Andrew's decision to quit his six-figure job, managing a start-up with student loans, and how you can take the first steps towards being an entrepreneur today if you wanted. You can listen it below.

    [soundcloud url="" params="color=cc0000&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

    You can buy your own copy of Smart People Should Build Things here.

    We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:


    What is the biggest obstacles facing your entrepreneurial endeavors? 

    What is one first small step you can take?


    Davis Nguyen

    About Davis

    Davis (@IamDavisNguyen) graduated from Yale University in 2015. He currently lives in San Francisco and works at Bain & Company. When he’s not helping CEOs transform their companies, he is helping recent graduates figure out the type of life they want for themselves and helping them get there.


    A Delicious December Hodge-Podge

    Grab a cup of coffee, this is a long one! Many of my blogging counterparts have a weekly series where they round-up their work and link to great posts from others: Friday Linky Love, Writing Around the Webb, and Fresh Finding Fridays to name a few. As much as I admire their consistency and commitment, I have fun doing mine completely randomly and giving them a new name every time (Couldn't Have Said it Better Myself, Crock PotsLinks Galore, and Miscellaneous Musings). What I'm really trying to say is that I don't have nearly the self-discipline to post these regularly. And yes, I also have commitment issues.

    Change Makers TV Interview - Video Now on YouTube! (~30 minutes)

    I was honored to be a guest on Gopi's local TV show -- during which I talk about blogging, the book, career advice, and even my dating life (which led to a guy jumping out from behind a car as I was ask me out...after he watched the interview from the sound room...and continued to beg ask as I politely said no at least five times. FML.)

    One note before you watch: my book is called Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want, not "The Complete Guide to a Perfect Life," which I would not claim to have or advise others to strive for. The real beauty of life is in imperfection, which is also what makes a slight verbal typo perfectly okay with me. :) {RSS/email readers: Click here to watch}

    Two interviews with fabulous women: Betty Jean Bell and Tia Singh

    Love Your Work Life LogoAudio interview with Betty Jean Bell of Love Your Work Life - It only took five minutes on the phone with Betty Jean for me to feel like I was instantly talking with one of my best friends. Her passion and energy is absolutely contagious! Take a listen to the ~25 minute podcast or click here to download the mp3, where I talk about my blog, the book, the quarter-life crisis, and pursuing big goals. Head on over to Love Your Work Life (and check out her adorable Christmas header!) to learn more about Betty Jean and her network of coaches.

    Written interview with Tia Singh for her Live Your Life YOUR Way series - Tia is another coach extraordinaire who I met through Twitter. She literally sparkles (as her Twitter handle suggests), and we have quickly bonded over our emoticon abuse (exclamation mark, anyone?!?!!) and our love for helping others flourish. I was so honored to be featured in her series, and very touched by her wonderful introduction. Read more here.

    Both of these ladies are giving a way a free copy of my book, so head on over and comment to enter!

    #Reverb10 - I'm participating and have an author prompt on Dec. 21 -- wuhoo!

    I'm excited to be participating in the #Reverb10 project with many other bloggers. It's a daily prompt to help people "reflect on this year and manifest what's next." I'm also incredibly honored to contribute an author prompt (author bios here) - look out for me on Dec. 21, baby!

    I'll be answering the prompts on my Tumblr so I don't annoy you with daily posts -- here is a sneak preview of my first post:

    2011: This next year will be the year of FREEDOM. Freedom from shoulds, cant’s, have-tos and obligations. I want 2011 to be the year of trusting my gut, listening to my intuition, and making decisions that are nothing short of SOUL-STIRRING. {Read more here}

    Awesome links elsewhere - most definitely worth checking-out:

    A follow-up note to my June post, Serendipity and the Art of Being Alone

    Some of you may remember my story earlier this year about spending the weekend alone in New York City after existing plans fell through. While shoe shopping, I met a woman named Ann - an amazing lawyer who had a house built for herself in Italy (with her own hard-earned dream fund).

    We ended up going to lunch then dancing on booths together at Bagatelle Bistrot in our new Louboutins -- girl power at its finest! I later dubbed Ann "my NYC angel" and she calls me Jenny From the Rock (as in Alcatraz).

    While in NYC this week I'm attending Ann's big 40th birthday bash to help her celebrate in style. Living proof that random meetings can turn into beautiful friendships...and a reminder to get out there, be yourself, keep going when life throws a curve-ball, embrace surprises and be open to the beautiful art of serendipity.