When a presenter is talking to the IRS and get’s this response, you know you have a winner! “Your presentation was very inspiring and full of energy. The examples you used were so funny, mainly because we could relate to them all!”–L. Blair, IRS, Dept of the Treasury. My guest is Vicki Hitzges and she is nothing short of awesome. You’ll love today’s show which is upbeat and refreshing. Join me in welcoming Vicki to Straight Talk Radio.
Tired of traditional talk? People pontificating about this or that? The left or the right? Sometimes the truth is just off lost in the noise. Having learned life lessons the hard way, Chuck Gallagher, international speaker and author, cuts through the noise to share truth through transparency!
Nationally-known guests talk about what’s important to you – your life, your concerns and your success. So tune in, turn on to Straight Talk with Chuck Gallagher.
Now, here’s your host, Chuck Gallagher.
CHUCK: And welcome to Straight Talk Radio. It is such a delight to be with you today. We’ve got a great show lined up. There’s times when you sit back and you look at what’s taken place in life and what’s taking place currently in life and know that there’s all kinds of lessons that we can learn from the experiences that we happen to go through.
Sometimes it’s just a joy to connect with people. I remember back in 2006, which seems like a long time ago, since it’s been several moons ago for me, being in Dallas, Texas, and, boy, I mean, things were buzzing there and I think still are every time I go back, but I remember starting my career in speaking and having been exposed to the National Speakers Association, North Texas Chapter. I remember going in the first time and seeing people and talking with people and finding some folks that are wonderful [1:54] in the ways that they connect with people, knowing that folks have reached out in many, many ways and said, “What can we do to help?” It’s such a giving and open community and there I had the opportunity to meet some fabulous people one of which is my guest today.
Now, we’re going to talk about a variety of things, postpone doing some things, we’re probably going to talk about how that is, why that is and what we can do to eliminate procrastination.
But let me start off by saying my guest is Vicki Hitzges. Let me spell her last name, H-I-T-Z-G-E-S, because you will want to visit her website vickihitzges.com. She is a certified speaking professional and what a pleasant person to connect with. She started her career in the public front office for the Dallas Cowboys. Now, whether you’re a Cowboy fan or not, we’ll slip that to the side, the fact is, [chuckles] this is a pretty cool way to start.[Vicki laughs]
CHUCK: Then, 15 years later, hosted her own TV show called “Special Edition”. She has worked in television as a news anchor, talk show host in Dallas, Texas, interviewed five US presidents. How cool is that? Vicki, it’s so great to have you on the show.
VICKI: Well, Gosh, Chuck, how lovely of you. What a nice introduction. Thank you! By the way, you have a wonderful way of being you. You are so enthusiastic, but it’s not a cheesy, yucky enthusiasm. It’s a genuine, pleasant, upbeat, wonderful way about you.
CHUCK: Well, you’re very kind and I have to say there are times that I was wondering on this show, because over the past three weeks I have had, well, a little more than that, three herniated discs and- –
VICKI: Hmm?! Really?
CHUCK: Two epidurals. So it’s been in the royal pain in the you know where…[Vicki laughs]
CHUCK: So I’m just thankful today that the Tuesday epidural has had a nice positive impact by Friday and that I can feel comfortable and good enough to carry on the conversation. But, it’s easy when I’m talking with someone like you.
VICKI: Well, aren’t you gracious. Thank you.
CHUCK: So I have to ask a question, just as we kind of get started. I don’t know many people that have talked to five US presidents. So, although that’s not your claim to fame, tell me what that was like, because I’m just curious to know.
VICKI: Oh, Gosh, Chuck. Well, it depends on which part of my career you’re talking about. When I first started in television news, I had the amazing opportunity to start as a reporter in Dallas, Texas. Usually you have to start in a tiny market and work up, but I was just really blessed to start in Dallas, but I didn’t know anything about news, I mean, nothing. In fact, my very first interview was with a mayoral candidate and he was withdrawing from the mayors’ race because of a scandal. And I, to this day I don’t even know what the scandal was. So they throw me in a news car, they race me upstairs, they sit me across the desk from him. I have lived in Dallas all my life. I was really young, I’ve lived in Dallas all my life, I didn’t even know Dallas had a mayor.[Chuck laughs]
VICKI: I didn’t know about this guy, didn’t know about the scandal, I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t know what to ask him. I’ve never done an interview before and I was terrified and I was terrified for a good reason for quite a while. [5:42] was on a date with him and I said, “You used to think you were the best man to run this city and now you don’t. Why?” and that’s pretty much the way I did all my interviews. It certainly was the way I did my presidential interviews, because I didn’t know about them. But that was in the beginning and then towards the end, I started reading and I found out something about him. One thing you notice about presidents is they block the freeways, nobody’s allowed to be around them, they fly men on helicopters, they have bands playing and it’s amazing that presidents are livable because they’re just– I mean, there’s just so much pomp, and circumstance, and I would think that would just absolutely go to their head, and I’m sure it probably does, but it’s really something. They have to fight to get their job and then once they get it, they’re the most powerful person on the planet. It’s an amazing job.
CHUCK: So, when you had the chance to talk to Clinton and some of these, who did you find to be the, I don’t know how I want to put this, who did you find to be the warmest person, the easiest person to actually talk with?
VICKI: Oh, easily that was Bill Clinton. He was– I don’t care what your politics are. I would tell you, and I know people would disagree with me, but I think he is an impossible man not to like. He is warm, he is caring, he is generous. I have a friend who is a very wealthy physician and he a stodge republican and I don’t know why he was, but he was invited to the White House and he came away not agreeing with Bill Clinton, but liking Bill Clinton. He’s just a– He’s had a lot of hard things happen to him. The way he was raised, the way– It’s not fresh in my mind right now, but he had, as I recall, his mother married several times, and he had a hard life coming up, but there’s a warmth to him. I think warmth comes out of pain and I think he had a lot of pain in his life. He’s a gracious man. After I interviewed him that week, I was invited to speak at United Airlines and it was while the Monica Lewinsky scandal was going on.
VICKI: One of the Vice Presidents said to me, “Did he hit on you?” and I said—[Chuck chuckles]
VICKI: “No, he didn’t,” and he said, “You sound disappointed.”[Chuck laughs]
VICKI: And I said, “Well, you know, I kind of am.” I said, “It’s not like he’s got high standards.”[Vicki and Chuck laugh]
VICKI: My feeling was, even if you don’t want to go to the party, it’s nice to get an invitation.[Chuck and Vicki laugh]
CHUCK: I can’t think—That, I love that. That is classic. I think that level of humor and openness is one of those things that makes you so incredibly successful. You obviously know the value of stories, and humor, and practical content, and that’s why you’ve earned the designation as a certified speaking professional, which is the highest designation awarded by the National Speakers Association, because of the experience and expertise that you have. I understand why your career is where it is. How did you get started speaking, though? I know that you were in television and broadcast and so forth, but what was the transition from media to professional speaker?
VICKI: Oh, aren’t you so, so, so gracious. Well, I was in television for a number of years and then I had gone from Dallas to a news anchor job in Corpus Christi, Texas, because believe it or not, they paid better. I had started at the independent station in Dallas and got married and moved back to Dallas and assumed that they would be elated to have me back. And they weren’t. They weren’t happy at all. They couldn’t have cared less. There were three jobs in Dallas. There was ABC, NBC and CBS. I didn’t want to go back to the independent station having worked in a network station in Corpus Christi. I didn’t want to be a reporter again and work for a living, so I [laughs] didn’t know what to do.[Chuck chuckles]
VICKI: So, I knew how to get people on television, having had a TV background, so I became a publicist. One of my clients was Zig Ziglar, who at the time was the number one motivational speaker on the planet.
CHUCK: Oh, absolutely.
VICKI: Yeah, absolutely he was, and a fine man. He liked me, thought I was creative and he said to me, “You know, you ought to speak,” and I thought, oh, that sounds fun. He mentored me and got me going and I’ve been speaking ever since!
CHUCK: A lot of, how do I put this, a lot of things become putting yourself in the right place at the right time and having the right attitude so that those serendipitous moments can happen.
I do agree, I remember years ago, talking to a guy by the name of Dan Kennedy, and Dan happened to be working with Zig Ziglar at the time, and this goes back into the ‘80s, and it was kind of interesting, because he said, “Zig is great on the platform, but people flock to buy his material,” and he said, “Just go to one of his sessions,” and he said, “by the end of it, you’ll be hanging on your seat wanting to rush back to buy.” It was absolutely correct and you could not ask for a kinder or more gracious person. And so, as I hear music in the background that also says we’ve completed the first segment, which I’m quite amazed by.
VICKI: I am, too.
CHUCK: My guest is Vicki Hitzges. You might want to go to vickihitzges.com. Vicki is an international speaker, has an absolutely incredible following and we’ll be back in a minute with Straight Talk Radio to talk a bit more about some of the topics. Attitude and procrastination.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: Well, this is Chuck Gallagher. This is Straight Talk Radio and we’re back with my guest Vicki Hitzges. You should check out her website vickihitzges.com. Vicki is a certified speaking professional, has had a background in media, broadcast journalism, interviewed five presidents from Reagan to Clinton, talked with business moguls, movie stars, Hall of Fame athletes. Vicki, I’m amazed at the people you’ve talked to. But, let me ask you a question. Have you encountered much adversity along the way or has it been a smooth road for you?
VICKI: Oh, no, it was hard for me in the beginning. When I very first started, I was terrified to speak. I don’t know if you felt that, you seem to be a natural, but I was shy in high school and I was never a really comfortable reporter. I was good on camera, but I was never a really comfortable reporter and I got so I could talk to anybody. I totally got over that. But then I got this job as a speaker and speaking terrified me. I think life, as you’re going to move ahead, you just have to step out. Zig had this wonderful quote, he said, “If you wait until all the lights are on green, you’ll never go anywhere.” I think life is about moving ahead when you’re scared. So, anyway, that’s my life story.
I started with Zig and I believe at the time he was an $80,000 speaker. Every time he went to speak, he charged $80,000. I, on the other hand, was a $500 speaker and I wasn’t any good. I had one speech, I read it, and every time I spoke I’d lose my voice, because I was [laughs] so afraid. But, I knew how to make a video demo tape and, because of my TV background, and there were speakers out there– I didn’t even think Zig had a tape, he didn’t need one, but there were other speakers out there that charged, I don’t know, ten, twenty, thirty thousand dollars, and my tape was a lot better than theirs. So, people would hear how much Zig was and had no idea, and all of a sudden they were interested in me and they’d see my tape and they were like, “Wow! Let’s book her.” Then I’d show up with no voice and I’d read my speech [laughs], but I had credibility because I was associated with him so I got booked a lot and then after a short period of time, I started to get good. So, anyway, that was my beginning.
CHUCK: It’s interesting to hear you say that. I think a lot of people have this idea that people who are successful just have always been successful, just fell there. I was listening to an interview with Bonnie Raitt and she’s had an incredibly successful career as a singer and songwriter, but somebody in the interview said, “You know, you’ve just been successful all your life,” and she’s like, “Whoa, time out. No, that’s not true. You don’t know how many bars and dives and places that I sang in to develop the skill of being able to be today comfortable and good at what I do.”
VICKI: Isn’t that true?
CHUCK: Yeah. I’m hearing the same thing from you. Everyone starts somewhere and I think on this show, on Straight Talk Radio, if there’s a takeaway to that, it’s you know what? If you wait until you’re an $80,000 speaker, you’re never going to do anything, because you’ve got to start some place in order to get where you’re going. You’re so transparent in sharing that. I think that’s incredibly powerful for our audience.
VICKI: Well, that’s very kind of you to say. I read an interview just a couple of weeks ago with Will Smith who I just love. He’s always so happy and positive and everything he does is great. He said the secret of his success, he said, “Nobody can outwork me. Nobody.” He seems like he just shows up and he has fun and that’s why he’s successful, but he said, “Oh, nothing, nothing could be further from the truth.” He said, “If you get on the treadmill and I get on the treadmill, I guarantee you I will walk faster, I will walk harder and I will be the last one off.”
VICKI: And he said, “That’s true in every single area of my life, I will work harder,” and I thought, wow, isn’t that something?
CHUCK: That is really powerful. It’s kind of like in the generation, I’m a baby boomer, but in the generation that I grew up in, to me Michael Jordan was the greatest basketball player of all time.
CHUCK: Now, people today will argue maybe it’s LeBron or some other people, but the one thing about Jordan, he was always first to practice, always last to leave and was always going to shoot a 100 free throws every practice, because he knew that the power of being great is a function of doing over, and over, and over, and over again till you get it so well crafted that it looks like it’s easy, but there’s incredible work that goes into it.
VICKI: Yes! Yes. My dad is a preacher and he’s old now, he’s retired, but he was written up as– Listen to this title. We called him one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English-speaking world.
CHUCK: Oh, my goodness!
VICKI: I know. When I was starting out, I just—“Oh, I’m never going to get the hang of this! I’m never…” and really, he mentored me as much or more than Zig, and I remember saying to my mother, “I’m never going to get this. I’m never going to get this,” and my mother said to me, “Stop it! Stop it!” because I was comparing myself to my dad and she said, “Your father has been preaching for decades and you are just beginning. Stop that.”
VICKI: I think it’s so easy, we always have a tendency to compare ourselves to the best instead of comparing ourselves to where we were last year.
CHUCK: Vicki, you know my background and most of the people that listen on this show on a regular basis know that I made some really poor choices early in life and that ended me up in federal prison. So people, a decade after my release, when I was a senior VP in a public company, said, “How is that possible? We don’t get how you could be a senior VP in a public company and a convicted felon. And what happened? How did you get there?” And the answer was simple. I was willing to do what other people didn’t want to do. I sold cemetery property door to door, but more important than that wasn’t the job, it was that I chose to be the best at the job and I think that’s kind of what you’re saying. You start off at a certain place and if you say, “I will work harder, I will work longer and I will be the best at it,” regardless of what the job is, it takes you to a place where you get so good at it that people recognize it and will naturally elevate you.
VICKI: I totally agree with that, or at least, “I will be the very best I can be.”
VICKI: You may not be able to be the best at it. That’s something I struggle with. In fact, [laughs] maybe this is too transparent, but I was beating myself up this morning for not being Jimmy Fallon.
Vicki and Chuck laugh]
VICKI: Jimmy Fallon, what can’t he do?! He’s in shape, he’s adorable, he’s funny, he likes everyone, everyone likes him, he wins at almost every game he plays. I mean, what can’t the man do, you know?
VICKI: One of my friends, and that’s another great thing, have wonderful friends, be friends with you, who wouldn’t want to be a friend with you, you know? Calls me and said, “Vicki, he makes something like $47M a year. He’s the best there is. Quit comparing yourself to him!” [laughs]
VICKI: And I mean that’s the truth. I mean, I know that, but it’s just there’s things you need to remember. Compare yourself to where you were last year and work hard to get better and better and better each day.
CHUCK: Yeah, and for all of us if we’re the best we can be, you don’t know when you speak in a group, the same as me, when we’re standing in front of an audience, whether it’s an audience of 50 or 5,000, we don’t know who in the audience we might touch by something that we say.
CHUCK: If we’re the best we can be, we’re where we are because that’s where God has put us for whatever reason we’re there to touch someone. You know that you’ve reached out and you’ve talked to people, literally around the world, and you would not continue to be invited to do those things if you weren’t touching lives in some form or fashion. I think that goes back to your book Attitude Is Everything, which I think is a great book.
VICKI: Well, thank you. Thank you.
CHUCK: Now, let me ask you a question, because we’ve got a couple of things. I know that you’ve written a new book on procrastination and I don’t want to procrastinate talking about procrastination, but I do—[Vicki laughs],
CHUCK: But I do want to talk about your book Attitude Is Everything. You talk a little bit about worrying in there. Can you share a little bit about that whole “worry” concept thing? Because it seems like it’s pretty [22:16] of these days.
VICKI: Yes, I can and I could tell you that maybe the most popular chapter in the whole book, and it certainly is the one that resonates most with men, which I think is very, very interesting, I was worried about– I went through a divorce. I never ever thought I would get divorced. Maybe I’d get hit by a bus, maybe I’d get cancer, maybe I’d… Bad things happen, this is not heaven, but I never thought I’d get divorced and I was scared to death. I was just, I just, I just… I went to talk to a very prominent businessman in town and he gave me this advice. He said, “Vicki, you need to learn to wait to worry.” Isn’t that interesting advice?
VICKI: Wait to worry. He was an old man at the time. He was in his nineties. He was, even at 90, he was full of testosterone and what that means to me is he had a male ego. So I was sure he’d never admit that he worried, even if he did, but I asked him, I said, “Do you ever worry?” and he said when he was a young man he did. He said he got a job, even though, a really important, high-level job, even though he had not gotten a college degree.
CHUCK: With that, Vicki, let’s take a break. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and I think that is an absolutely incredible segue to our next section, but let’s wait to worry.
CHUCK: Stick with us here on Straight Talk Radio. We’ll be back in just a minute.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: This is Straight Talk Radio and I’m Chuck Gallagher. Thanks for joining us here today. We are having a great time. My guest, Vicki Hitzges, is a wonderful certified speaking professional. We’ve had a lot of fun talking this far, but in our last segment I think there was something that was pretty significant. We were talking about her book Attitude Is Everything, and a gentleman by the name of Fred who worried because maybe someone would take a job that he had, that had a more advanced degree and he decided that perhaps it was best to worry when there was something to worry about. Vicki, the thing that hits me about that is I am a firm believer in the law of attraction so I believe if I sit around thinking something bad is going to happen, probably something bad is going to happen.[Vicki laughs]
CHUCK: I’ve seen it so many times. It’s, to me, it’s just a fascinating thing. It’s like I look at Randy Gage, who, again, a great speaker in our industry, and Randy talks about prosperity and he thinks prosperous and he lives prosperous. It’s like “Hmm,” and I know some other folks, good friends of mine, who are always complaining about not having money, and they don’t have money. And it’s like, well, if you think I don’t have money, well, then you’re not going to naturally attract it to you. So if you don’t want to sit around worrying about what could happen, wait to worry. What powerful information you’re sharing.
VICKI: Well, thank you. I think the law of attraction– I’m not sure that I do agree with that. I think just because you want something doesn’t mean you get it. I don’t mean to be contrary of it–
VICKI: I’ll tell you a funny story about it. There is a book that was so popular, that came out a few years ago, it was kind of new-agey, it was called The Secret.
CHUCK: Oh, yeah.
VICKI: And the whole basis of it was if you really, really want something, you’ll attract it to you, which I think is a bunch of hooey, you know. We don’t get what we want necessarily in life, you know? But I was discussing it with a man on the plane, a man on a plane, and I was telling him about it and I was telling him that that was if you just boil it all down quickly, that’s the premise of the book, and he said to me, “Well, I’ll tell you this. Nobody ever wanted or thought about anything more than I thought about Brigitte Bardot in high school.”[Chuck laughs]
VICKI: “And all I can tell you is she never once showed up.” [laughs]
CHUCK: Oh, too funny. Too funny. I like that. I have to say, and it is in contrary, it’s interesting to me, and we’re going to switch books here in a second, but it is interesting to me that whole concept of wanting something, because I think there, and this is philosophical, I guess, but if I want something, then what I am attracting is wanting. Therefore, as long as I want it, I will want it because I am thinking about wanting. Now, I know that’s a play on words to some people, but I look at it this way. Vicki, if I have an objective of having a radio show we’re on today, I might have said at one point, “I want a radio show,” but more important to me was I am a radio show host. Now I need to take action to get there. I could want Brigitte Bardot, although she’s a bit before my time, but I could want Brigitte Bardot, but that isn’t going to happen. I get that. But, am I willing to put forth the steps necessary? Am I willing to move forward? I think that’s kind of the thing that got me with your next book. And this one, listen, I’ve had a conversation with my wife, about this very conversation, but the name of your book is Stuck on Stop: How to Quit Procrastinating. And, oh my Gosh, my wife and I a week ago we had a very detailed conversation about my procrastination.
VICKI: I’m surprised at that. You seem like quite the goer and doer to me.
CHUCK: Well, you know, going and doing is one thing. The question is, and look, this is the transparent side of me is, so I get an email and it says, “Well, you need to do something,” so I’ll flag the email to remind me that I need to do something instead of just doing it right then.[Vicki laughs]
CHUCK: My wife is like, “Well, why don’t you just do it? It’s simple, I don’t want to do it right now. Well, yeah but you wait to do it. Well yeah, but, you know, it gets done. Yeah, but at the end, not when it could be. Just touch it one time and move on,” and I’m like, “Oh.” What that says to me internally is, “I’m not having fun with this. I want to do it in my time, not in someone else’s time,” but yet at the same time I’m procrastinating., which means I’m stuck on stop or doing it in the future. So, tell me what motivated you to write the book.
VICKI: Well, when I was a kid, I procrastinated. I’d get a book report assignment and the teacher would say, “You’ve got six weeks to get this book, read it and write a book report.” Well, you know, when you’re a kid, six weeks is like dog years.[Chuck laughs]
VICKI: It’s never going to come, but it does come. Six weeks comes quickly.
VICKI: And then the night before, I’d scrambled to get the book and make up some fiction, and the book report would be horrid. I did shockingly well in school given that that was my MO, but in the fifth grade I went from being an A student to a C student, and I’d never gotten a C before. I remember my teacher, Mrs. Atston, writing these bright red Cs on my report card and the feeling that that gave me. I just, oh, I hated– I knew my parents would not be pleased, but I wasn’t pleased. I didn’t want to be mediocre and nobody wants to be mediocre. You don’t want to, your listeners don’t want to. Nobody wants to be mediocre.
CHUCK: Right. Absolutely.
VICKI: Right then I was going to change, and I did, man. I changed. So now, I get things done and I’ve noticed that when I do that, I feel good about myself and things are done and they’re not hanging over me and I don’t think, oh, I got to do that. I got to that. Now, you know, I’m not a 100%. This isn’t, I turned a new leaf and nothing goes undone, but the big stuff if it’s work stuff, I take care of it right away. If you looked at my closet, you got to get your shots[Chuck laughs]
VICKI: But that kind of stuff, that’s not a huge priority to me, but if it’s work stuff, I take care of it right away.
CHUCK: So, when you’re out and you have the opportunity to talk with people, literally around the country, do you find that people gravitate toward wanting to not procrastinate or do they listen and say, “Gee, that’s really great,” but they still are hung up in the habit and things don’t change?
VICKI: Well, what I find interesting is I– The book is fairly new and I’ve had a lot of demand for the other talks that I’ve already written and I do, and it’s brainless. You can kind of wake me up and I can give those talks and I can easily customize them, so I do. But when I tell them I’ve got these– And I also bought out the supply of my book on attitudes, which is the cutest book ever. I would defy anybody else to come up with a cuter book title. It’s got ducks on the cover going over a cover, just a cute book.
VICKI: There’s an easier website for me, it’s keynotespeaker.com by the way. If you just focused to look at the cover, it’s just so cute. But when I tell people I wrote a book on how to quit procrastinating, people just light up. They want the book on attitude, but when they hear that, they go, “Oh, I need that.”
VICKI: “I need that.” So apparently there’s a huge need for it.
CHUCK: Well, you know, it would appear from just a purely a societal perspective that most people aren’t focused on, here’s what needs to be done, do it, move forward and be done with it. In other words, I would say most people, at some level, do in fact procrastinate. If you know that to be the case, I think being able to figure out how to stop procrastinating is really an incredible thing. It’s an incredible value, let me put it that way. Now, you wrote eleven chapters in this book.
CHUCK: With tips on how to get things done when you want to get them done. What are some of the tips? Let’s pull back the curtain, so to speak.
VICKI: Well, Gosh, there’s a bunch of them. Things like… Oh, Gosh, Chuck, that’s… Let me flip the book open and let me see. One of them is not a job, it is some jobs are worth doing poorly. That’s a good tip. People have in their minds, particularly perfectionists, that a job has to be done just [kiss sound]. And so, if they’re perfectionists, they put it off, because they know it’s just going to take them forever and they want to do it just exactly right. A lot of times perfectionists just delay, and delay, and delay and it’s not because they’re lazy, it’s because they want the job done well and they have fear of messing up. But if they put it off, then they have a built-in excuse: I didn’t have enough time.
CHUCK: Got you.
VICKI: The truth is, most jobs just need to get done. You don’t have to have perfectly created file folder tabs, you just need to get them done. In fact, nowadays you don’t even need file folder tabs, you just [chuckles] need to get stuff off your desk. Just do the job, write the letter to Aunt Mary, clean your refrigerator, just do it. But do the job.
One tip that seems to work for a lot of people is to leave your desk and go someplace new. There’s something about being in a new place that’s quiet that helps your creativity.
Here’s a tip that, I don’t know that I agree with it, but the studies show this works. If you need to do creative work, if you go to a place with a little bit of noise, it will boost your creativity.
VICKI: So they say, “I like to work in a place where it’s as quiet as a cemetery. I like quiet. It’s worked [35:43].
CHUCK: Yeah, no kidding. Okay. So a couple of things you hit on there that really struck me. One is I do like the idea of grabbing all my papers that I have procrastinated in dealing with, moving to a different space and then I knock them out. I don’t know why that is, but that sure works and it is a great tip.
We’re talking with Vicki Hitzges. She has written a book Stuck on Stop: How to Quit Procrastinating. We’re going to take a quick break and come back and talk about a few more tips as we wind up this segment of Straight Talk Radio.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: Thanks for sticking with us here on Straight Talk Radio. This is Chuck Gallagher and we have been talking about Vicki Hitzges’ new book Stuck on Stop: How to Quit Procrastinating. Oh, I had said my wife was very clear with me that as she is not a procrastinator at all and I tend to be at least in some things. I think I made her really happy the other night, she had a list of things that needed to be done and I just started knocking them out like crazy. Not that I wanted to, I just wanted to see what the impact would be to her and her eyes lit up and it was like, man, it was almost like I brought her flowers.[Vicki laughs]
CHUCK: I think I’ve learned in marriage happy wife, happy life. Just don’t procrastinate and it might actually create a little romantic spark there, you never know.
CHUCK: Now, Vicki, you talk about the law of good enough and I think that’s what we were finishing with on our last segment, which is just do what needs to be done, it doesn’t have to be done perfect. Is that right?
VICKI: That’s exactly right. Just most jobs—See, a fun thing, you’ve got to get them right. If you’re writing something, a report for your bosses boss, and he’s going to show it to the board of directors, that’s the job that’s got to be done right. Most things just have to get done, just do them.
CHUCK: One of the things, Vicki, that you were talking about, and it does strike me as interesting, I probably am not a perfectionist, I would be the first to say that. I mean, there’s some things that I really like right and I’m pretty opinionated, but in comparing myself to people who really are perfectionists, I’d much rather get it done and move on, than worry about the “is it absolutely at its best?” I have to assume that perhaps, perhaps people who are perfectionists don’t want to be criticized. They don’t want to be judged. If it’s perfect, then you have to judge me perfectly, whereas I don’t care too much how I’m judged. I just want to make sure I feel like I am doing my best. So, there’s probably some psychological reasons why things aren’t being done. But you give a tip. You say, “Squeeze the most out of your day.” What does that mean?
VICKI: Well, this has been a story that’s been around for a while, but it’s good advice. About a 100 years ago there was a consultant named Ivy Lee, and he told Charles Schwab who at the time was the president of the Bethlehem Steel, that he could get Charles Schwab’s executives to produce a significant amount more work if he could just spend 15 minutes with each of them.
VICKI: He told Schwab that he wouldn’t charge him anything. They wait three months and if his results paid off, Schwab could just pay him whatever he thought his advice was worth. So Schwab thought, well, deal. What happened was Lee met with Schwab’s executives, but he only spent 10 minutes with them and what he told him was this, “Every day make a list of the six most important things you have to do the next day and write them in order of importance. Write down the six most important things you have to do tomorrow and write them down in order of importance and then work them through and scratch them off as you do them and anything you don’t finish, goes on the list the next day.”
VICKI: That’s all he said. Well, three months later Schwab was so impressed, he gave Lee $35,000. Now, that may or may not sound like a lot of money to you, but back then–
CHUCK: That was a lot of money.
VICKI: It was like, it was $2 a day or $4,000 a year, which was a heck of a lot of money. Even today, if you spend 10 minutes a day with a couple of executives, and somebody gave you $35,000, and it was that simple of a tip, you’d be happy [laughs] about it, but that’s how valuable the tip was. Every day see through what you’ve got to do tomorrow, the six most important things, put them in order of importance and then whack them out.
CHUCK: It’s so simple and yet so profound. I’ve found myself. I’ve got my to-do list, but I’ve got 50 things on the to-do list, not the six most important so I may find myself going through the to-do list and knocking some things out, but the question is, and it’s a profound question, is will my knocking out the things that are most productive for me right now that will move me to the direction of my dreams or am I knocking things out that need to be done, but if they weren’t done today, wouldn’t be relevant? I’m leaving the things that need to be done today and perhaps continuing to procrastinate. Vicki, I think that’s awesome.
VICKI: It’s a good tip, isn’t it? Mary Kay, in one of her books, wrote about that study and she changed it a little bit. She said, “Don’t just put the most important things,” but she said, “Start with the hardest thing,” because she said, “Once you get the hardest thing done, the rest of your day is going to be downhill.”
VICKI: And I think that is great advice.
CHUCK: Yeah. I have to agree, especially when you get up first thing in the morning, once you kind of get invigorated, you’ve got your energy to be able to knock out the things that are the toughest, and you’re right, if you knock out the toughest thing, after that the rest of it does tend to fall downhill, which is– At least it makes you feel a whole lot better as you’re moving toward those things that you need to accomplish.
VICKI: Yes. That’s why I always make myself work out first thing in the morning because if I work out then, it will get done. If I say, “Oh, I’ll do it tonight,” no, I won’t. [laughs]
CHUCK: No, I hear you. No, I hear that girl, and I’m the guy that hasn’t worked out and then have herniated discs and think to myself, well, you dummy. You should’ve been working out. Maybe you wouldn’t feel like you feel. So, needless to say, I have a different attitude, not only toward working out, but compassion for people that move slow because when I was zipping through an airport, I’d get right frustrated at people going kind of slow, and now I’m moving kind of slow and I think I look at life perhaps a bit different.
VICKI: You know what? That is one of the benefits of pain. It really does change your perspective. Doesn’t it?
CHUCK: Yes, it does. It absolutely does. You have a tip called “allow yourself a second chance”, and I wrote a book called Second Chances. So tell me, I’m always fascinated when two words come together “second chance”, so what does that have to do with procrastinating?
VICKI: Well, I find that if I blow off a morning, like, I work out at my house, sometimes I’ll sleep late, or I’ll blow off a morning, or I’ll blow off until like one in the afternoon, and then the tendency is to think– I’m pretty strict about what I eat, but I used to think, oh well, I’ve blown my diet so I’ll just keep blowing it. No! What a terrible attitude! You stop that and as soon as you think, okay, it’s 1 o’clock, or it’s 10 o’clock, or it’s…you know, I’ve eaten this cheesecake, right then start. Get back on it. Give yourself a second chance and start right then.
CHUCK: Oh, I think that’s incredibly powerful. I do agree with you. You tend to find people, and I’ll step out and tell myself included, if you blow it today, oh, what the heck, let me go and get myself some ice-cream or whatever the circumstance may be. I’ll pick it back up tomorrow. Well, if I’ve already recognized, “I’ve blown it, why not get back on track?”
VICKI: Yeah! Don’t make it even worse.
CHUCK: Yeah. Absolutely. I think for folks who are on this call, the title of the book Stuck on Stop: How to Quit Procrastinating, and if you want a copy of the book, go to the website keynotespeaker.com. By the way, Vicki, cool keywords there, but keynotespeaker.com. You’ll see Vicki’s website there, all the information about how to hire Vicki, the programs that she does, but if you want to quit procrastinating, pick up your copy of the book Stuck on Stop there.
As we close down where we are, and I’m not sure where our time is right this moment, but one of the things you talk about is a buddy system. I firmly believe that if you’re a part of a buddy system, or a mastermind group, or you’re having an accountability partner, just the fact that I’m accountable because I’ve committed to you I’m going to do something, or you to me, probably puts us into the position of we’re more apt to get it done. Is that the concept?
VICKI: That is exactly the concept. If I have a workout partner, I’ll show up. Some days I’ll think, oh, it’s cold, it’s rainy, but if I’ve got a workout partner waiting for me, I’ll go show up for her. When I have a speaker friend like you, you’ll sharpen me, you’ll make me more competitive and we’ll help each other. That’s what it is. That’s exactly what it is. Get a buddy.
CHUCK: Well, Vicki, I have to say, this has been so much fun. My guest has been Vicki Hitzges. You can find her on keynotespeaker.com or vickihitzges.com. Vicki is outstanding in her career. She’s a certified speaking professional. She is literally an international speaker, has spoken to banks, insurance companies, hotel chains. If you’re interested in someone that can motivate your audience with Attitude Is Everything, or Stuck on Stop, or a variety of programs that she offers, go to keynotespeaker.com, and Vicki, thank you so much for taking the time to join us here on Straight Talk Radio. I know that people listening will have gotten some really profound jewels that come out of this show. So, thank you for what you did.
VICKI: You couldn’t have been more delightful as the host. Thank you for having me. It was great to visit with you.
CHUCK: You know, it’s my pleasure. For those of you that are regular listeners to Straight Talk Radio, we will be back next week with a great show. Otherwise, as we always close out remember, every choice we make in life has a consequence. So let’s work hard to make positive choices and claim the success that we can have in our lives. This is Chuck Gallagher signing off. This is Straight Talk Radio.
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