Reaching Your Full Potential | Ryan McKinney


What holds people back from their full potential?

My guest Ryan McKinney is here to answer that question.

As a sought-after leadership coach, Ryan helps business leaders transform so they can create high impact at work and at home.

In this episode, he’ll give you a taste of his coaching wisdom, including:

  • Your intentional vs unintentional personal brand
  • The energy leadership methodology
  • How to ask powerful questions
  • The meaning of “don’t play it small”
  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Ryan McKinney: There are some really cool powerful frameworks that I offer. It makes things easy to remember in the moment. And that’s when the things matter most, is in the moment.

Voiceover: You’re listening to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast with professional speaker, coach and consultant Nicole Greer.

Nicole Greer: Welcome everybody to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. My name is Nicole Greer, and they call me the vibrant coach and I am here with Ryan McKinney. Let me tell you all about him. Ryan McKinney is a sought after speaker and leadership coach. He works with business leaders on their personal life, their professional life, and he helps them do people development. 

After 20 years, oh my god, 20 years of leading in corporate America, he knows what you’re going through, I promise. And he’s raising a loving family all at the same time, which I know all of you are doing too. Ryan now teaches others to create high impact at work and home using his powerful frameworks and I think he’s gonna tell us a couple. 

Ryan loves facilitating workshops and leading transformation with his clients but he still believes his most important work is being a husband and a father. And don’t you know, we need more Ryan McKinney’s on the planet. Welcome to the show. I’m so glad you’re here.

Ryan: Oh, thank you, Nicole. I’m glad to be here, and thank you for the warm welcome.

Nicole: Yeah, you’re welcome. Okay, so first of all, tell us about kiddos at your house. We all have to know who they are, how old they are, and what their names are.

Ryan: Oh, boy. So we are in the throes of it. We have a 17 year old daughter. We just got back from University of South Carolina yesterday touring a college. She’s 17. So we’re in you know, doing ACTs and scores and essays and all kinds of stuff.

Nicole: We’re all praying for you.

Ryan: And then my son is 13. And he loves soccer. He’s in competition, soccer and travel ball and does all kinds of things. And, you know, he loves sports in general. But soccer is his thing. That’s the one he loves. And he’s good at. So we’re in the middle of all of that. And my wife and I are just, you know, holding hands through this and trying to make sure that we don’t mess anything up. Like we’ve got two really good people entrusted to us. And we just don’t want to mess them up.

Nicole: Oh, that’s fantastic. Yeah. So you know, every stage is different, people. But that teenage stage is not, it’s wonderful. You’re getting them ready to go fly into the world. And I mean, hey, what would it be like to have a daughter who graduates from University North Carolina, or South Carolina. Excuse me, excuse me. South Carolina.

Ryan: Well, and it’s an interesting thing about that because and I know this is not like an SEC football podcast by any means, but so I am from Georgia. And since I was a little little tyke Uga, the mascot for UGA has been on my pajamas, my pillowcases, my mind, everything. So when we went to the University of South Carolina yesterday and toured the campus, it was hard for me at first to admit, but it is a beautiful campus. 

It is awesome. And a great school. Because for so long, it just you know, it was just given to me that I’m not supposed to like that place. But hey, it was a beautiful place. And we loved it. And it actually made it to the top of her list. So okay, there we go.

Nicole: That’s fantastic. All we care about is that she’s real smart. And she makes lots of money in the future. And then daddy will have a wonderful CNA to take care of him in the rest home. That’s been my plan the whole way. Get them educated so that my long term long term will be taken care of. So that’s fantastic. Yeah. So Ryan, you and I were introduced by a gentleman who’s been a guest on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. 

His name is Bill Liebler, and he has been a friend and a client and a colleague and everything else in the world to me for a very long time. And so he introduced Ryan and I, and Ryan and I do a lot of the same thing. So we’re going to talk about coaching today. Because here’s what Ryan and I both know, there’s enough people on the planet that need coaching. It’s underutilized. It’s much needed. And so I’m curious what called you into coaching?

Ryan: You know, it’s a great question. And you’re absolutely right, though there are plenty of people and I always get asked that. It’s like, hey, are you in competition with each other? It’s like, actually, no, there’s not enough of us coaches out there to support all the issues and things that people are going through. And that’s really why you see so many people specialize in different things. 

But in my coaching, where I got called into it was, you know, leading a successful career in corporate America in leadership. Spent 10 years working in the banking industry, and did marketing, sales, management, leadership. Went over to durable goods and was working for a company here in Charlotte. Doing well there, enjoying my career, and I applied for three different roles in three different parts of the organization. 

And here’s the thing, I was hired in the durable goods business as a sales liaison. Someone who could speak sales, but could clearly understand and help people in operations. So they hired me into the operations part of the business. Well I’d been there for, you know, five, six years in operations, helping people understand how to speak sales, they didn’t know me as anything else. They thought I was an operations guy. 

And so I applied for these three different roles. I got turned down by all three of them. And one of them was a sales role. One of them was a sales support role. And one of them was a transportation and distribution, warehousing role. All of them senior director roles. And I was like, well, how come I didn’t get the one for sales? And they’re like, well, you’re an operations guy. And I was like, well, how come I didn’t get the one for sales support? 

They said, oh, well, you’re overqualified. Well, how come I didn’t get the one for transportation distribution Senior Director? Well, because you’re a sales guy. So the operations people saw me as one thing, the salespeople saw me as something else. And I said, you know what, it’s not them, it’s me. Something’s not right. I got a coach. 

And in short order, in short time, she helped me understand that it was indeed me. It was all about my personal branding. It was about not the quality of work that I was doing, not the attitude piece of it, but really about that personal branding and the message that I was sending without sending the message. And that’s how I got into coaching. And, you know, a year after working with this lady, the tables had turned. I got tapped on the shoulder by the organization to take on a new department, build it from scratch, gave me a budget for 10 new people. 

New people, not borrowing people. 10 new people, a software implementation that would far reach the entire North American footprint. And I said, yeah, let’s do that. And that all came from coaching, and she said, what do you want to do next? I said, I think I want to do for other people, what you just did for me, and that’s where it started.

Nicole: That is a fantastic story. And I think a lot of coaches could relate to that. Because, you know, really, what coaches want to do is they just want to help people, you know. And just just for pure definition, you know, if you were to look at the history of coaching everybody, you know, Cinderella got in her coach and went to the ball, and everything was happily ever after. That’s oftentimes what coaches are trying to do. 

We’re just trying to get you in some kind of container, which is called a coaching session, talk through where are we headed. Let’s tell the footman, where to take us. You know, let’s go to a ball. It would be a ball to do this, it would be a ball to do that. And we ask powerful questions, and we get people there. So that is fantastic. So I want to ask a little question about personal branding. So that might be a little fresh idea out there for some. 

So at work, you might just be showing up going through the motions, you know, you got this thing called the job title. Maybe you’ve been there a long time, your job has morphed into all sorts of things that we never saw on day one. But you got to really be cognizant and alert and conscious to what’s going on with your career. So will you talk a little bit about what personal branding is? I bet you people have a question mark.

Ryan: Sure. So if you think about an overarching word, the words of personal branding. This is how you are perceived by the other people in your organization and your sphere of influence. And if you look down below that overarching personal brand, there are two different types of personal brand. There is your intentional personal branding, and your unintentional personal branding. And these are some of the frameworks by the way that I was talking about. 

The intentional personal brand is the well, I’m going to be the first one to work, and I’m going to be the first one to raise my hand and say something. I’m going to be the one that’s curious. And I’m going to, all the things that you want people to see you as, those are things that you’re constantly working on. And people see that. And they know that. 

They accept that that’s part of people in a corporate environment, or in a small business environment, or you know, anything like that. The unintentional branding is the part that really trips us up, right? It’s the thing that says, hey, I want to make sure that I’m putting my family first. So I’m not going to be here after five o’clock. And that’s a pretty good boundary to set for yourself. And I’m not, certainly not saying that anybody needs to work late every night. 

But when you say that over and over and over again, and you continue to put your hand up in front of the organization’s face and say, I don’t work after five o’clock. Well, when they need somebody that’s going to need to help them at 6:30 or seven or eight once in a while. They’re not going to call you and your unintentional personal brand says I’m unavailable for anything that’s above and beyond what you’re paying me for. 

So that’s kind of the sharp edge side of the unintentional brand, but there’s also the unintentional brand that has the good things about it, right? It’s the, hey, people recognize that you carry yourself. That definition of character that says, it’s what you do when no one’s looking. Well, when you think no one’s looking anyway. Well, that’s also part of your unintentional personal brand. 

It’s really the who you are, as you show up in the world in which you live in. So being cognizant of both, like understanding that there’s an unintentional brand too. I mean, by definition, it’s unintentional, but it’s just who you are. And then there’s the intentional piece. The hard part is when clients get those mixed up. The hard part is when they think they’re being intentional and saying, I’m the best employee you’ve got, and I want all the great projects, and I want all the good stuff. 

And I want all the amazing promotions. But what you’re actually saying is, I don’t work past five, or I want a project, but I don’t want that project, I want to be looked at as a utility player, but I don’t want to go over there and do that thing. And that you’re setting a boundary without intending to set that boundary.

Nicole: I love what you’re saying. Because this thing of personal brand, it’s really the answer. And all my listeners know, this is my favorite coaching question of all times. What is it like to experience you? And a lot of people are asleep, they’re totally asleep. They don’t know what it’s like to experience you. 

So I mean, you know, what you are saying is so huge, so don’t miss that. He is laying down what he said he would when I read the bio, which was, you know, you’ve got to think about these frameworks. So, you know, what are you intentionally doing? And what are you in, you know, unintentionally doing? 

And what made me think of is like, you know, oftentimes I’ll talk to leaders, like we put this bonus program in place, and it’s working wonderfully, well. Fantastic. And then they’ll put this other bonus program in place over here, and they’re like, oh, my gosh, we have all these unintended consequences of this bonus program. So you gotta weigh stuff out.

Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, testing and adjusting is part of good business, right?

Nicole: 100%, you gotta have a plan A and a plan B for all these things and a little testing time period. That’s right. Okay, so you’ve shared a little bit about your journey from corporate to coaching. So, you know, you help business owners. And so wow, you had to become a business owner. Hello, you had to be entrepreneurial.

Tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial quest to kind of get your business started. I know that a lot of people listen to my podcast are leaders inside of organizations, big and small. But I think sometimes too, all of us think like, should I do my own thing? Should I do that? Would that be smart? Should I go build my own vibrant culture? What do you think?

Ryan: It’s interesting, because before I got into corporate America, I owned business and ended up selling that business and moving into corporate America. This was, I mean, I was a kid. I mean, honestly, I don’t mean to, I don’t mean that in a bad way, if anybody is, you know, 26 years old or younger, I don’t mean that you’re, it’s just I look back at myself at 26 years old, I recognize there was so much more to learn. 

And I didn’t know it. But I had a small business then and sold it. Went into corporate work and all that amazing stuff. But when it was time to go back, I was, I had left working for the company here in Charlotte, and was working for an exercise equipment company. And if you want to know all those, you can find them on the LinkedIn profile, but for an exercise equipment company, out in Utah. Flying back and forth, between there and here. 

And they had a lot of demand, as you can imagine, when the pandemic started. People staying home wanting to stay in shape, and all that good stuff. And they had not enough product. Well, part of what I did for them was to help to balance that supply and demand piece. So when I come in and start, you know, looking at different things and said, oh, wow, yeah, you had more demand than you could support before. 

But now you’ve built a lot of things and demand is starting to fall off. The company ended up running into some trouble and ultimately laid off roughly 60-70% of their workforce. Well, I had been coaching at this point for three years. And I was part of that 60 to 70% layoff, and I said, you know, put my head in my hands for a moment. And then I put my hands together and prayed and I said God is this your message for me to get out and start coaching full time? 

And I got some confirmation around that. And my wife and I sat down and talked about it. We sharpened our pencil, looked at it and said yeah, it’s time to go into business for myself and it was scary, and exciting. And scary and exciting. Did I mention scary? It was exciting too and no, it was a crazy thing.

Nicole: It’ll make you stay up late and work a little harder. It’ll do that for sure. You know, just like you were scared about getting an A or an F on your paper that’s due at school. You stay up a little later, put a little more effort in. But you know, those are the moments when you’re really stretching yourself. And everybody has lots of stretchy. We’re all like, what was that toy? I don’t know you’re I’m way older than you. But that toy that we used to stretch.

Ryan: Stretch Armstrong 

Nicole: Stretch Armstrong. We’re all Stretch Armstrong or Gumby? Maybe you know Gumby? Okay. So we all have stretch ability. And I think that, you know, we do need to put ourselves in position to stretch a little bit more often.

Ryan: Yeah, it was, looking back, it’s been a great experience. But there’s a lot of stretching to your point.

Nicole: Absolutely. And again, I you know, and here’s the thing. If you work inside of a corporation, you know, one of the things that Ryan said is he said he helps the leaders grow personally, professionally, but also grow the people inside their organization. And that’s what coaches do. And my guess is Ryan, you’re doing the same thing I’m doing is, you know, I’ll coach, my client, but then I’m like, go do this with your people. Talk to them, ask them powerful questions. Get stretchy. So I think all of that is really important.

Ryan: Absolutely, absolutely. I mean, there are lots of statistics out there for sure that will tell you that people, it’s not always money that they want to work for. They want to be recognized, and they want to be challenged. People want the challenge. They don’t want you to challenge them by giving them an impossible feat. But they want to know that they’ve got what it takes. And they’re using their job to prove that to themselves. Give them the opportunity, challenge them, coach them through that.

Nicole: And I think there’s kind of like two kinds of workers probably in your organization, those of you listening that have employees, you know, here’s the thing. You’ve got folks that are like what I like to call my steady Eddie’s. You can’t have your business without these people. But they still need stretching, you got to get Eddie to do more. Because Eddie has this thing called institutional knowledge, right? 

And then you’ve got some young hungry people or some even people like Nicole Greer, old hungry people who, you know, want that challenge that Ryan is talking about. So you got to figure out how to stretch them. And that whole thing is coaching. So your coach will help you learn to coach. Alright, so business leaders are busy people, of course. 

What do your clients find that helps them remember what they’ve learned about themselves when they’re coaching with you? You know, so people, do people tell you this? They’re five minutes late for their coaching session, they reschedule their coaching session. It’s like, I don’t have time to coach and it’s like, oh, my God, if you’re doing all that, you totally need to be coaching.

Ryan: Yeah, those are the times when it’s with some really, really good coaching moments. It’s like, okay, well, let’s talk about what caused you to not feel ready for that. Let’s talk about those things. But yeah, I think when clients, when they would say, hey, this is what I remember about working with Ryan. And first of all, any good coach, in my humble opinion, knows that I’m not the savior. If I’m not the one that’s going to fix the issue for you. Client is going to be the one that fixes the issue. 

I am to support you to walk you through that. And sure, we’re going to put together a roadmap that gets it really clear for you. So we know just what to do and when to do it. But what they’ll tell you is, is that there are some really cool, powerful frameworks that I offer. It makes things easy to remember in the moment. And that’s when the things matter most, is in the moment, right? It’s not after the moment or before the moment, because we think it is. 

And when we’re thinking, if it’s before the moment, we’re kind of creating some anxiety for ourselves, right. We’re creating an ideal image of what something looks like. There’s going to be a little bit of anxiousness about whether that’s going to come to fruition or not. And when we look in the past, we’re looking at either, you know, a sense of accomplishment or a sense of guilt or shame, like we’re looking back and saying oh, coulda, shoulda, woulda, and but when we’re in the present in the moment, that is when those things matter most. 

And having some powerful frameworks that you can operate off of really make that much simpler to do. Make you quicker on the spot, and able to do those things. They’ll say that and then they’ll also say that he really asked some powerful questions. Like the ones that I don’t want to answer, but I know they’re good for me. I think they would say that too.

Nicole: Yeah. So let’s pause for a second and talk about powerful questions. When I went through my coach training. I was shocked. Okay. At the way I interacted with people in terms of like, I’m quick to give an idea. I’m quick to give my opinion. I’m quick to tell you what you need to do. Because I just, I’m excited about life in general, it’s my personality. 

It’s how I’m hardwired. And when I learned to ask a powerful question, the truth of the matter is, is that if I asked Ryan a powerful question, he’s gonna search his own mind, his heart, dare I say it, his soul? And he’s going to be like, I don’t know, what is my answer to that? And so he owns it. He owns what he’s talking about. He develops his own plan. And when it’s your own plan, you give it a little more cred? 

Well, you know, I was talking to this woman, Nicole. She gave me some advice, I’m not sure. But oftentimes, we take our own advice. So asking a powerful question is absolutely huge. And just write this down everybody. It’s the old sales training thing. You’ve got to ask open ended questions. Who, what, when, where, how, why, and I love this one is called an inquiry. Just say, tell me. Tell me more about how you’re going to do this. Right. 

And it gets people talking, gets them thinking, which is so huge. So you’ve done all this, you know, giving them your frameworks, and you’ve given them powerful questions, and you have this great relationship with your clients. What is something unique, you believe is important to support the client as you keep moving through the coaching process? How do you support them?

Ryan: You know, I think there’s a few things. One, is they’ve got to have a clear journey. They’ve got to know that where they are is not I mean, we’re all pioneers in our own way. But most of the time, somebody’s taken a very similar journey that you’ve got. So being able to map out a clear journey for someone is very, very important. Having some systems and frameworks for the things that they do, the way they deliver what they deliver, and the way that they support the people around them. 

I also believe that you need to have a strong mindset. And by strong, I don’t necessarily mean that you always feel strong. I mean that your mindset is one that says I’m going to be vulnerable at times so that I can learn. And in other times I’m going to be strong against my own Gremlins, and you know, doubting Thomases on my shoulders. I’m going to be strong against those things. 

And then I fully believe that you need to have a high impact support system around you. Sometimes that’s a coach, sometimes that’s a mentor, sometimes it’s a friend, sometimes it’s a really, really, really good partner in your marriage, in your life. Sometimes it is, it’s a boss, sometimes it’s an employee, right? And let me clarify that. 

I don’t think that we need to share the tough things that we’re going through a lot of times with employees, but there is value in sharing that you have been through the tough times they are going through, and to let them know that they’re, again, the coaching piece, and you’re letting them know that there’s a clear journey, and a beginning and an end to where they’re at. 

I think that those are some of the unique things that I offer to help people in my coaching. And also, as an iPEC grad, we do a lot with energy leadership coaching and energy leadership. Or the energy leadership index assessment is one of the Forbes top 10 leadership index assessments that are out there. Ranked up there with DISC assessment and you know, strengthsfinder and a lot of other really great ones. 

So it’s really cool. And to be able to offer that framework around stress, energy, that fight or flight energy versus the anabolic or growth energy, where people really get things done in a sustainable way. I think that’s a little feather in my cap that I really enjoy because it’s made such a big difference in my own life.

Nicole: That’s fantastic. Yes, and I have read that book. And I love that. So you can’t just throw out a word like anabolic and leave us all having to get our dictionaries out. So will you talk to us a little bit about energy management, you know, in my coaching methodology, I have SHINE and so I talk about people like you got to do self assessment, you got to do habit work, integrity work, next right step work, and energy work, which is huge. Like you cannot get all this stuff done in life without amazing energy. So will you share a little bit what you mean by energy? Anabolic? What are you talking about?

Ryan: Sure, sure. Yeah. So there are, essentially there are two types of energy that are outlined in the energy leadership methodology. And they are catabolic energy, and anabolic energy. catabolic, it comes from the core word, meaning to destroy or to tear down. Cata does. And essentially, this is the fight or flight type of energy. And it’s, you know, it’s survival instinct energy. 

And when we talk about that from a biological standpoint, catabolic energy, it’s catabolic hormones are cortisol and adrenaline. They are there to break down cells to give you quick energy to save you from saber-toothed tigers and grizzly bears and all that good stuff, which is where fight or flight comes from.

Nicole: Or people at work and the vendor who doesn’t get your order to you?

Ryan: That’s right. But it’s based on survival. It’s based on, you know, just surviving. And as humans, we’ve done a pretty good job of that. So catabolic energy is not bad. It’s just it gets misused a lot. Anabolic energy on the other hand, this is service oriented, compassion energy, this is regenerative energy, this is opportunity energy. This is everything works together for good kind of energy. This is energy of passion. This is the energy that moves us forward towards a place of advantage. 

Now, they both have their place. And essentially working through the energy leadership framework is how I support people in learning both of those places, and where which one’s appropriate. You know, there’s one that we call victim energy, or level one energy. It’s part of that catabolic. 

And you wouldn’t want to do that if you were. There’s a commercial. I love this commercial too, by the way. It’s the one where the captain gets on board of an airplane, and he says, hey, everybody, it’s my first day. Hope everything goes, okay. I’m not really good at this, like, that’s not the place that you want to exhibit that catabolic energy of the victim thinking it’s all happening to me kind of stuff. And at the same time, you wouldn’t want to show up in a dire situation with over excited enthusiasm as well as opportunity. 

Let’s take for example, you know, someone’s pet passes away. You don’t want to, well, the opportunity in this is, no, that’s not a good place for that. That’s a time to demonstrate some of that compassion, put your arm around them and say, hey, this is tough, and it’s going to be hard. But I’m here, right? So having the right energy in the right place, is doing that. Most of, and we talked about it earlier, but most people are on autopilot with this. 

Like we’ve given so much over to our subconscious, that we just let our responses happen. That unintentional energy that we give off, we may be saying something we don’t intend to say. And that just awareness around that energy that you bring to a situation changes everything. And then once you’ve got awareness, apply the intentionality. Oh, I can actually shift the energy of this room? 

Like everybody in here is upset because we didn’t hit our goals as a team. I can shift the energy and make us more productive instead of you know, licking our wounds for the next week. It’s very powerful. And then once you’ve got that intentionality, clearly it’s about putting a plan together, measuring, can you do the right thing and stay on track. So yeah, it’s good stuff.

Nicole: Oh, my gosh, totally good stuff. I love it. All right. So you can contact Ryan McKinney to take an assessment and learn more all about, how many of y’all want to shift the energy in the room when you didn’t hit your goals. Oh, my gosh, your inbox is going to be full. All right. So that’s important. That’s important. And so let’s do this too. Let me think about this. 

You know, I failed to ask you at the top of the show. But what’s your definition of leadership? I’m collecting definitions. I don’t know if it’s definable. I get so many great answers. I would have to write a tome this thick to get people to put all their answers in. What do you think about leadership? How do you define it?

Ryan: So I’ve heard, you know, doing what we do, and people that are listening to your podcast, they’ve probably heard a gazillion. I mean, the only thing that’s got less definitions is the word aloha. And I think it’s, you know, it’s probably pretty close. But for me, it’s putting into action what needs to be done to move yourself or a group of people from where they are to a place of advantage. And I think that demonstrating that, putting that into action, putting your values into action, I think that that is a really a great way to accomplish that leadership. Because when you live from an authentic place, you can see what needs to be done, and do it.

Nicole: Yeah. So don’t miss his little definition. I love this. He said a place of advantage. So is it good to have some money in the bank? Everybody say yes, that’s an advantage. Is it good to have somebody you love laying next to you every night? Say yes. Is it an advantage to have a roof over your head? Say yes. So when you hear that word advantage, you might think what? 

But that’s what business is about is like what, I mean, is it good to be Apple. I mean, they have an excellent phone that everybody uses. I mean, sort of the Samsung people, but I mean it’s about really having something excellent, I think too right. Excellence and advantage. I’ve done some excellent work, stretched myself, Stretch Armstrong again. 

I think all of that is huge. Absolutely. Well, what do you find is usually holding people back? Oh, I love this. Okay, how much time do we have? We don’t have that much time. This is like a 12 hour dialogue we could do. What do you find Ryan is holding people back from their full potential? What’s your theory on this?

Ryan: Clearly there’s a lot. I’ll name a few that I think are the big ones. I think that people make mistakes when it comes to growing their careers, growing their businesses, because I think a lot of times, again, a lot of it’s, we’re on autopilot. We don’t even think about it. They don’t have an awareness of what they’re doing. There’s this unintentional piece, right. I also think that there’s this intentional piece, but they’re going at it solo, and they do it for too long. 

I think that they’re trying to figure this out all by themselves. I think that’s an issue. I did that. I was pretty successful. Had I gotten a coach 10 years before, 12 years before, I think I would have been far more successful sooner. Coaches are essentially Cinderella could have gotten to that ball without a coach. Would have taken her longer, she might have missed it.

Nicole: And her dress would have looked terrible. Her hair would have been a mess, it would have been awful. Yeah, you need a coach to get the ball.

Ryan: That’s right. But it’s not all about just having a coach. I think other mistakes that people make, that are holding them back is they get misaligned. They don’t have the alignment to move forward smoothly and swiftly. Most of the time, because they’re going too fast. And if you slow down, and remember this. Slow is smooth, smooth this fast, you know, that’s that’s why the tortoise won the race, right. 

Doing methodical things over and over and over again, that can be helpful, but people get misaligned. And a good example of being misaligned is saying you want one thing, but actually doing the things that are opposite of getting you that thing or not doing, you know, doing something that gets you something different. A decent example is, you know, losing weight. We’ve all had our own fitness journeys here and there, that kind of thing. 

But if somebody says, hey, I want to lose 50 pounds, and you go cool, you know, I’d love to support you. Awesome. And they go yeah, and then you see him Friday night, and they you know, starting on their second large pizza and their second six pack of beer, you’re like, I don’t think you’re doing the things that are gonna get you where you want to go. And there’s like, so that misalignment. 

And then another one that pops up is when people play small, right? They sit back and they say, you know what, it’s not my turn, it’s not my time. That’s dangerous. I don’t want to say that, that can be in a meeting room in a corporate office. And trust me, I have been the one that didn’t raise my hand. And I know that it feels awful. 

Like, we all know that feeling like I should have said something but didn’t. And then we watch a project, you know, flounder a little bit, and then we want to come in and help. But we’ve also, you know, we’ve seen those people that just don’t say anything. They look down at their like, they’re looking at their plate, looking at their peas, because somebody said something ugly at the dinner table, they don’t want to say anything, right? 

And that kind of that look. So playing small. You are meant for much more and my background and the faith background, you know, I believe fully that if God puts it in your head and puts in your heart, the world needs that. It’s up to you to bring it forth. So don’t play small. And then one more, one more. I’ve got nine of these mistakes, but I know we’re pressed for time.

Nicole: I want all nine. We can do nine. People are on their treadmill, you can do an extra mile. Ryan, let’s rock and roll, especially for those of us who had two pizzas and beer last night.

Ryan: So I’m thinking one of them is nesting. A lot of times people, they get productive on doing things that don’t move them to their goal. And it gives you this false sense of accomplishment. And I mean, this is a very, probably a terrible example. But let’s say that I needed to put a presentation together today for a workshop group, a pitch I was going to do next week or something. And let’s say I did that. 

But instead, I went out and worked out for 30 minutes in my garage. I was productive. And then I clean my office because a clean office helps me to do better presentations. Well that was productive. And then I filed some stuff that was in my email. Because that’s just kind of it’s an open loop that’s bothered me. That’s productive. 

But none of those things, get a presentation in front of a client next week. That’s nesting, and kind of, you know, doing productive things put you in the productivity trap. Let’s see another one. Another big mistake that people have that I see all the time, it’s fear based decision making. This one is huge, right? 

We get into a place where we’re like, I can’t do that. There’s no way that I could afford to do that. There’s no way that I can say that’s a good idea. And that usually comes especially with respect to you know things like investing in themselves. 

That comes from a place of not balancing affordability and possibility when they are evaluating whether to invest in themselves or not. If you compare working with me, the price of working with me, to the price of that beer and pizza, I’m gonna be expensive. If you compare working with me and what I do, to the possibility that it can provide for you and your career and in your business, it’s cheap. It’s super cheap. 

So, you know, making those decisions based off of all of the facts, not just some of them. So not don’t make your decisions based off fear. Don’t let emotions drive the bus. That’s another good one. Yeah, so it’s a bunch of them.

Nicole: Yeah. And the emotions are really the fuel in the bus. Right, you know. So you know, earlier, he was talking about his catabolic and anabolic energy, and both of them can be fuel. You don’t have to show the catabolic to everybody, but it can be in the fuel tank, and definitely getting the bus down the road. That’s what I know. Have you ever been so angry, you worked so hard, you got it done. That’s what he’s talking about. Yeah. 

And so I think out of all the ones that you listed, my favorite one is don’t play small. So I’m gonna give everybody a little treat right here. So this is a little reading that I give to clients all the time, Ryan, and it’s called Live Big. So don’t play small, live big. And it’s from the words of Marianne Williams, who wrote a book called A Return to Love. And Nelson Mandela used these words in 1994 when he was elected president, so it’s real short. 

But I want you to hear this. Because you can thank Ryan because this triggered this in me, I got all sorts of little things I collect. But this one is so great, live big. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be? Brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? 

Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God and your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are born to manifest the glory of God within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. 

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, don’t miss that. It’s what he was talking about. Fear. Our presence automatically liberates others. Oh, my God. Email me, I’ll send you this thing. Don’t you love that?

Ryan: It’s amazing. Absolutely.

Nicole: So good. And I just want, something else bubbled up when you were going through your list, is you said this thing. He’s got this, like, we have unintentional things going on and intentional things going on. So wake up is what Ryan is trying to tell you all. 

But one thing I was coaching a whole group of leaders in a manufacturing facility yesterday, and I was talking to them, because they were in a leadership development thing. Like learning to coach their people. So as like, you know, hey, listen, the people that come to work for you, they’re letting life unfold. And I don’t know if that helps anybody to kind of see that unintentional piece. 

But it’s kind of like get up. It’s time to make the widgets at the manufacturing company. Time get up, go work in the bank and open accounts and close them and invest the stocks and do the stuff. So people are letting it unfold instead of going what could today be full of? It could be full of way more than just that. So don’t let it unfold.

Ryan: No, that’s that’s good stuff. Right there. Absolutely. Be intentional.

Nicole: For real, for real, all right. Well, everybody’s like, oh, I bet you she’s about to say it’s the top of the hour. That’s what she always says. So, but there’s listeners, there’s listeners, Ryan? And they’re like, no, no, no, one more nugget. One more nugget from Ryan McKinney. What would be the little nugget that you would leave us with that we could like maybe even jot this down? Did you hear that people? Get a pencil. Jot it down and they could live with until they have a moment to give you a call.

Ryan: Let me think about that for just a second.

Nicole: Of course. And while he’s thinking about that, let me tell you where you can find Ryan McKinney. You can find him at Ryan D. McKinney. Let me spell it for you. R y a n d as in Donald McKinney. M c k i n n e He’s also over on the LinkedIn just type in Ryan D McKinney r y a n d m c k i n n e y. Also on the Facebook and look at this a Star Wars reference on Twitter at f3_jedi. Hello I love a guy who loves Star Wars. All right. So that’s where you can find Ryan. What’s your nugget for us?

Ryan: I think it is wake up. I think it’s be aware. There’s so much going on around us. Like your brains job is to put things on autopilot so that you can still manage to survive. And you need to take some of that stuff back off of autopilot. You need to take it back. You need to own it, need to step into it, lean into it, play big, and don’t just let life unfold. 

I think I’ve learned more from you today going through this podcast about myself then I certainly would be sharing with other people. But I think those are my takeaways and maybe everybody else can learn something from that.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. So you know, if you want to take your life off of autopilot, get your subconscious clued into your conscious, reach out to Ryan McKinney. He’s on the LinkedIn, Of course, it’s in the show notes. Just look there. Everything you need is right there. 

And if you love this episode, would you please go and click the like button? And would you do this? Would you subscribe to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast? It’s been an absolute delight to have you on the show, Ryan McKinney. Let’s hang out really soon. And talk more coaching.

Ryan: Absolutely. The pleasure has been mine.

Voiceover: Ready to build your vibrant culture? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference or organization to help them with their strategies, systems and smarts to increase clarity, accountability, energy and results. Your organization will get lit from within. Email And be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at

Posted in

Leave a Comment



arrow right down

Name the challenge you're facing in your culture, and I will help you solve it.

From executive coaching, culture-shifting workshops, or long-term partnerships, my work is to help you develop your next leaders.

I was fortunate to learn this early from an exceptional leader. She took an eager, overconfident new hire and developed me into a capable leader.

I went on to lead marketing & training for 80+ sites across the U.S. Later, I went out and got almost every credential in leadership development you’ve heard of. (see the list)

Since that time, I’ve joined organizations in almost every industry to build VIBRANT CULTURES where employees take initiative and true ownership in their work.

Let’s build your leadership development strategy together.



I'm really interested in...
(select all that apply)*