Tuesdays with Corey interview with Nadia Bilchik and Ruth King
Nadia Bilchik, President of Greater Impact Communication, is an internationally renowned television personality, communication and professional development training expert, author and keynote speaker. Nadia has anchored and hosted feature programs for CNN International, CNN Airport Network and MNet Television (South Africa) and reported for CNN Weekend. Nadia is currently Editorial Producer for CNN’s Weekend Morning program. Her uniquely dynamic, entertaining and substantive approach to communication skills training, comes from her extensive experience in conducting training workshops, coaching business professionals and delivering keynote addresses to a broad range of audiences both in the USA and globally, as well as interviewing high-profile figures, celebrities and corporate leaders. They include President Nelson Mandela, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Anthony Hopkins, Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon, and George Clooney amongst others. Nadia is author of 3 books including The Little Book of Big Networking Ideas, small changes BIG IMPACT-Maximize the Power of Your Presence and Leverage the Power of Your Personal Brand and OWN YOUR SPACE – The Toolkit for the Working Women. Learn more about Nadia Bilchik at https://nadiaspeaks.com
Profitability Master Ruth King is a serial entrepreneur owning or having owned eight businesses since 1981. She has a passion for helping businesses get and stay profitable utilizing the latest technology and resources. Ruth holds an MBA in Finance from Georgia State University and Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Chemical Engineering from Tufts University and the University of Pennsylvania, respectively. Her latest book, The Ugly Truth about Cash, is preceded by the #1 Best Selling book, The Courage to be Profitable, which explains how to get and stay profitable in less than 30 minutes a month - in English rather than accounting babble. She is also the author of two other award winning books, The Ugly Truth about Small Business and The Ugly Truth about Managing People. Learn more about Ruth King at http://www.thecouragetobeprofitable.com/index.html
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's time for Atlanta Business Radio, spotlighting the city's best businesses and the people who lead them.
Katy Galli: Hi, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Atlanta Business Radio. And it is Tuesday, so it is our very special episode of the month, Tuesdays with Corey. And of course, I'm joined today by my host, Corey Rieck. How are you doing, Corey?
Corey Rieck: I'm doing great. Katy. How are you?
Katy Galli: I am doing fantastic. And so, who did you bring in studio with you today?
Corey Rieck: Well, I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. We have two exceptional ladies here. We have Nadia Bilchik, whose company is Greater Impact Communications. And her company delivers presentation skill training strategy as to maximizing executive presence and leadership and assistance in how to best leverage the power of your brand. Nadia, welcome.
Nadia Bilchik: Thank you, Corey. Lovely to be here.
Corey Rieck: We also have Ruth King. And Ruth has a great business. She is a profitability master and helps companies maximize the profits. She, too, is an author, having written the following books: The Ugly Truth about Cash, The Ugly Truth about Small Business, The Ugly Truth about Managing People, and The Courage to be Profitable. She also has a really cool TV show that I was fortunate to be on earlier this fall, and she's helped many business owners in the HVAC space be better in their businesses. Ruth, welcome.
Ruth King: Thanks for having me, Corey.
Corey Rieck: So, starting out, Ruth, introduce yourself to the listenership, and how you got to be in the business of helping the business owners that you do help?
Ruth King: Well, I started in a very different environment. I started out as a chemical engineer. So-
Corey Rieck: Hang on. That's pretty significant. Wouldn't you say?
Ruth King: I had two summer jobs in chemical engineering, loved them both, got in the real world, and absolutely hated it.
Corey Rieck: Why?
Ruth King: Because I'm not a person to sit behind a desk all day, and that's what I was doing. It was all things that related to numbers and number crunching. And remember, this is back in the day when we didn't have really-
Corey Rieck: 1995?
Ruth King: Yeah, we wish. How about 1979? Not a whole lot of computer power. A lot more slide rolls, a lot more calculators. So-.
Corey Rieck: Certainly a different time.
Ruth King: It was a very different time, and I didn't like it. I absolutely hated it. So, I went back to school, got my MBA, had a friend who was actually working for a franchisor called Service America, which was a franchisor of heating and air conditioning companies, has found a niche, never left it. It was cool. And I found that, going through chemical engineering, you go through MBA school, and everybody freaks out with differential equations, and I'm laughing. But I found out I was really good at explaining financials, explaining numbers, because numbers are in my head, very much so. And that's how it all came about. And that's how I started really working with small businesses was because I hated what I was doing and had to find something else to do.
Corey Rieck: You hear so often that people don't like what they're doing; and yet, people continue to do that. And always, I love it when people realize, and they tell themselves the truth, and they say, "I don't want to do this anymore." So, I mean, for you, what was the jumping off point? How did you decide, "Even though I went to school for this, I can't do this anymore"? And how did you decide to transition?
Ruth King: Well, I went back to school and got my MBA. Granted, I have degrees in Chemical Engineering, but that wasn't where I was going now. I totally pissed off my parents at that point because they had spent all this money on my education. And I said, "Daddy, one thing that's really cool is they teach you how to think, and they teach you how to solve problems. And that never, ever goes away." And so, I found a niche. I started working with the Small Business Development Center back in the '80s when it was still Sunset Legislation and it wasn't a full thing yet, and started the one in Decatur, which is now since moved and found that I really liked what I did. Now, I was also in my 20s, so I didn't have a house that I had to worry about or anything along those lines. So, I was still fairly free, so I could make that decision.
Corey Rieck: Well, you could sort of afford to take that leap in that risk, it sounds like.
Ruth King: Yeah, yeah, I mean, I was working for somebody, and I just quit. I literally quit. I said, "That's it. It's done. It's over," and went out and did it. Now, a 23 or 24-year-old, it's not a big deal. Well, it is still a big deal to make that decision.
Corey Rieck: I think it is.
Ruth King: And then, built it up, went to work with Service America for about 18 months later on. And push came to shove, and all of us left there a day. And I swore I'd never go back and work for somebody else again. And I said I'd rather starve.
Corey Rieck: And when was that?
Ruth King: 1989.
Corey Rieck: So, you've been out on your own doing your own thing since 1989. That's what? 30 years?
Ruth King: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: I mean, you're the numbers person, right? Is that 29 years? 30 years?
Ruth King: It's actually 30, a little over 30 years that I've been working with contractors and with small business owners. And if you take what I did, well, Business Ventures is the consulting firm. And that's been going since 1981, kind of went underground for a couple of years when I started working with Service America, but I always had a client or two. So, if you want to take it back to 1981, it's a lot more than 30 years. It's 37.
Corey Rieck: And so, how is ... I mean, obviously, it's different working for somebody else versus working for you. What would you tell people about that experience?
Ruth King: Well, I don't-
Corey Rieck: Good, bad, and indifferent.
Ruth King: Good, bad or indifferent, number one, I have total freedom to do what I want. Number two is I have to worry about keeping the roofs over the heads of many people now and food on their table. So, there is the thing that you have to do from that perspective and enjoy what you're doing. I mean, I love what I do. It's not-
Corey Rieck: Gee, that doesn't come through at all.
Ruth King: No, no, no. And I really truly do love what I do. And I can't imagine working for anybody else. I mean, because I get to take the direction. And we started ... now, you were on my TV show. Well, we started that in 2002. Actually, 2001, we had a contract to start it with $1.6 million. I had $800,000 investment writing on it and a partner. And we got a phone call and said the contract's no longer even though we had started it, and lost it all, and still started. And you were sitting in that studio. Now-
Corey Rieck: That was cool.
Ruth King: That was 2001 when we started it. And so 2002, March 13th of 2002 is the first broadcast that we did, and we kept going. I mean, one of the things that happened after that phone call is I went outside to the office and just sat on the curb and cried. I mean, that's just a normal emotional reaction. I'm sure a guy would do that too. And then, I had this little voice back in my head from my dad going, "Just pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep going." And that's all it said. And so, I started there. The last 25 grand I had on a credit card, we started.
Corey Rieck: How many TV shows have you done, do you think?
Ruth King: I have no idea. We have 600 in Profitability Revolution, which is where you were. I probably have an equal number of shows with the HVAC Channel easily. So, probably over a thousand.
Corey Rieck: Profitability, it seems like it's a straightforward thing, but it-
Ruth King: It's not.
Corey Rieck: It isn't?
Ruth King: No, it's not.
Corey Rieck: And what do you find with these companies? Your expertise, I'm sure, is extremely valuable. What do you find in terms of adjustments that you make and your insight that you give companies, what are some of the most common things that you find the companies have to change to be better?
Ruth King: They are afraid of their employees.
Corey Rieck: What does that mean?
Ruth King: That means that they know a person is not in the right position, or they're not profitable for them, or they're driving everybody crazy, they need to be gone, and they won't do it.
Corey Rieck: So, what happens then?
Ruth King: It implodes, or they're not as profitable as they could. They are miserable. I have one client that we replaced in a year every one of its employees except one. And he's doing phenomenally well now. But he also took the leap of faith that he knew he had a real problem and he had to fix it. I mean, there's other things where they just don't understand their numbers, and they don't understand that overhead as a part of cost. It's not only the direct cost, i.e. the cost of labor, and materials, and producing the products. So, sometimes, it's just not understanding numbers. Other times that you've got the wrong people in place.
Corey Rieck: Why do you think people are afraid of their employees?
Ruth King: Because they figure a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. And I hate to use a cliche, but they're-
Corey Rieck: That makes sense.
Ruth King: They're afraid that they might find something worse rather than they might find something better. Does that make sense?
Corey Rieck: Yeah. It's being totally conservative as opposed to being in attack mode.
Ruth King: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: It's like competing. I mean, you don't want to just-
Ruth King: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: You want to keep winning more as opposed to just maintaining status quo. But having been in companies, I get that that can happen.
Ruth King: Yeah. I mean, and the one equation that I make them all do is, what is their net profit per hour? That's for every revenue producing hour, every billable hour you have, what are you actually bringing to the bottom line? And quite frankly, sometimes, it's $2 an hour. Sometimes, it's negative, which means they're paying their customers to do their work, and they'll look at that, and go ... I won't use the expletives. We're in a clean show here.
Corey Rieck: I appreciate that. I'm sure Katy appreciates that.
Ruth King: But think about it, that is usually the wake up call and the shocking call. And it's like, "Hey, what do we do to get this higher?" And the average that I've found for businesses, not only that I've worked with over the years is it's about 22 bucks an hour. Now, there's some that are doing a lot better than that, and there are some who are doing a lot worse than that, but why would you do all the work, have your name on the dotted line, have all the stress - and the rewards too; don't get me wrong - for 22 bucks an hour?
Corey Rieck: Yeah, I mean, that's-.
Ruth King: Your bookkeeper's probably making that.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, that's a fair question.
Ruth King: And that's usually the eye opening experience, and it's like, "Okay, what do we do to make it better?"
Corey Rieck: Well, isn't there something to having the bad employee or having the problem employee, don't you see a significant lift when that person is either re-positioned or escorted out of the company?
Ruth King: Career readjustment program has that.
Corey Rieck: I like it.
Ruth King: Yeah, and everybody else. I mean, the entire morale lifts.
Corey Rieck: Yes.
Ruth King: And the fun part about all of it is once you start putting everything in place from a profitability standpoint and all of your employees get bonuses, not Christmas bonuses anymore, not a dartboard, I'm going to give this person X because I like it, or they did this really good this year, and they actually do it based on profitability and longevity that they've been in the company, your employees start kicking out the bad people because it's affecting their bonus. And you will start seeing that they won't put up with somebody who is a slacker. They won't put up with somebody who is actually affecting their bottom line.
Corey Rieck: How did you arrive at that? I mean, I'm in agreement with what you just said. How did you come to that?
Ruth King: I don't know. I figured out one day. I drive around a lot. What can I say? I'm on airplanes a lot. I feel a lot of thinking. But really, I looked at a lot of the bonus plans that are around, and nobody had one that was reasonable in terms of, had you really and truly impacted an entire organization and have everybody participate, what I call, fairly? All right. It's not-
Corey Rieck: What does that mean?
Ruth King: That means it's not an emotional decision by the owner because he liked or did not like a person or that person screwed up right before bonuses, and that's what's in his mind. Being the engineer, it is very logical and it's very-
Corey Rieck: Based on metrics and numbers, right?
Ruth King: That's right. Exactly. It's not based on any sort of emotion. And it's funny because when a long-term employee leaves, everybody knows that their bonuses get bigger, and they'll love it. Had that happen.
Corey Rieck: Can you explain kind of in a general sense the bonus system you help employers set up?
Ruth King: Yes. It's really easy. You take the number of months the person is employed, times their compensation, sales, commission, and all that sort of stuff, but their total compensation. So, somebody who's been there a really long time, let's say 10 or 15 years, but is not making as much as somebody else who's they are a shorter period time, their actual bonus number is bigger because they've been there longer. And so, what we do is you add up, you multiply that number of months they've been there times their compensation for each employee and add up the total. And the total is this huge, huge number.
Ruth King: And that person's percentage of the bonus is simply their number, whatever it is, divided by the big, huge number on the bottom. It might be point 0.005%. It might be 0.002%. It might be 1%. I mean, it just depends upon how many employees you have and how long they've been there. And then, the owners decide how much of a bonus they want to give. And normally we establish not only a revenue goal, but a profit goal because you're not going to give out bonuses that the company is not profitable. So, they have to achieve both. And that's totally dependent on what the owners want to do. And I'll let them do whatever they want.
Corey Rieck: So it sounds like the employees really hold a lot of their destiny in their hands with their performance-
Ruth King: Yeah, they should.
Corey Rieck: ... and activity and what they do. And it all makes sense to me.
Ruth King: They should. I mean, they're there to do something. And I think, quite frankly, millennials love it simply because they'd like to be compensated based on their contribution. And this is the best way I know of to compensate them, based on their contribution.
Corey Rieck: Well, that makes sense. So, how did you decide to write the books that you've written?
Ruth King: The first book, The Ugly Truth about Small Business, started because it was my thing of losing a $1.6 million contract, $800,000 investment, and a partner the same day. And I knew if I had actually survived, that other people had survived horrific experiences too. So, I got a publisher interested in it, sent out a letter to the top 250 Chambers of Commerce, and the story started pouring in. So, that's how the first one got written.
Ruth King: And I had a three-book contract with Source Books that did really, really well. So, we then did The Ugly Truth About Managing People, which was the next book. And then, the third book in the series was supposed to be The Ugly Truth about Cash, but Source get out of the small business market. And so, they let me out of my contract. I was pissed. I mean, I really, truly was. Can I say that? Okay.
Corey Rieck: You just did. Just in case anybody was wondering.
Ruth King:So, I wrote The Courage to be Profitable instead. And that's just based ... it's literally P&Ls, balance sheets, how to really and truly understand the financial side of business in English rather than accounting is, taking less than 30 minutes a month to just do it.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Ruth King: Just absolutely do it.
Corey Rieck: Does it help you in your business with your clients to be able to refer them to the books and so on? And does it help truncate the client's learning curve by reading your books? And in effect, it really makes you more effective, does it not?
Ruth King: Yeah, I just say, if I don't know the person, I got a referral from somebody, first thing I'll do is go buy The Courage to be Profitable. It's like 10 bucks on Amazon. And if you can't afford ten bucks on Amazon, why are we even talking?
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Ruth King: And so, I make them read that first. And it's like, okay, the light bulb starts going on. And then, I implement everything that's in The Courage to be Profitable and other things too, but reality is it starts there. And then, the reason I finished the book, the Ugly Truth series, is I had a company owner called me and said, "Would you help me in my financials, and my pricing doesn't seem to be right, and I put it all into my spreadsheet?" And it was the most diabolical, creative, nasty way I've ever seen anyone steal. And I've seen a lot over the years.
Corey Rieck: You mean employees were stealing from-.
Ruth King: Yeah. the bookkeeper. Somebody was. I can't say the bookkeeper was. I can't say who it was.
Corey Rieck: I understand.
Ruth King: But what they would do is, let's say we have a total on our P&L that says our auto expenses this month were $1000. If you add up the sub-expenses - gasoline, oil, maintenance, repairs - it came out to more than $1000. So, they had changed the totals. And it's really easy to do.
Corey Rieck: Really?
Ruth King: Yeah. But who in their right mind thinks about adding up all the sub parts of a P&L? You assume that QuickBooks does their job or whatever accounting system is doing their job. $52,000 later, I finished the book.
Corey Rieck: Wow. Interesting. To me, having played athletics in high school and college, it seems to me like you're a coach. And do you find that your clients, they must be very open to your direction, open to your experience, and you're helping them get better. To me, it seems like you're like a profitability coach.
Ruth King: I am or consultant. I usually have very long or very short relationships with clients. I mean, my oldest client started with me in 1989. I've had several who I started in the 1990s who have sold their businesses, or gone on, or whatever else it is. And I have very long relationships or very short ones. There's generally not one in the middle.
Corey Rieck: How do you know when to end a relationship? You mentioned that you've had a lot of long relationships and some short ones. How do you know when it's not right? What are the triggers for you?
Ruth King: They're not doing what I tell them to do. So, why would I waste their time, and my time, and their money? Time is the most important thing that we've got. And I'm not going to waste their time, or their money, or my time on somebody who's not going to do what I know works. I mean, I probably couldn't say that when I was in my thirties, but I can say it now because what I do absolutely does work. It's just you’ve got to be willing to fire the people who need to be fired. And if you're not willing to do it, it won't work. And you've got to have an open mind to listen. And I'm very direct, as you can probably tell.
Corey Rieck: I never would have picked up on that either.
Ruth King: And some people can't handle direct. And that's okay. They'll find somebody who can work with them. I generally, depending upon a personality style, can be not direct because I've done all the personality profiling, and training, and all that sort of fun stuff. But as a general rule, I'm there to do a job. I'm there to help them get better, or more productive, or more profitable, or whatever it's going to be. And that's my job. And so, it's something that works really well. And it's really cool when they do really well too.
Ruth King: I started working with the client probably, I think, it was 1999. And they were $700,000 in size. They had just bought the business from their former owner, from their boss, for all intents and purposes. June 30th of 2015, they walked out with $9 million in cash. That was cool. That was really cool.
Corey Rieck: That's some movement in the right direction.
Ruth King: Yeah. They went from $750,000 to about $10 million and $9 million in cash bottom out, and they walked away-
Corey Rieck: Unbelievable
Ruth King: ... which was cool. It was really cool.
Corey Rieck: How do you balance the writing, you have a TV, and all that you do? How do you balance all that? Do you gravitate more toward one area than the other?
Ruth King: Wow.
Corey Rieck: Because having been on your show, I just thought you did an excellent job.
Ruth King: Oh, thank you.
Corey Rieck: And to me, it was very easy. Now, I would say-
Ruth King: I make it look easy.
Corey Rieck: I don't think it's easy. And so-
Ruth King: It's not actually.
Corey Rieck: ... for me, it was very, very comfortable because they say ... I forget who, I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said that you should do something every day that scares you. And I definitely achieve my goal that day when I was on your TV show. But you made everything comfortable, and another word that I would use is seamless.
Ruth King: Yeah, we try. We try very hard to do that. The thing that works really well is there are some days I'm working on consulting, there's other days I'm doing the shows and preparations for shows. There's other days. I write every single week. I have an email newsletter I still write that I started in June of 1999. Every week, I write. And every week, it goes out to the to the group. So, I mean, every week, I write. So, a lot of it comes from my client experiences. And sometimes, they get, "Oh, you used me this week."
Corey Rieck: Do you find yourself favoring one more than the other, the writing-
Ruth King: No.
Corey Rieck: ... the TV show, the consulting.
Ruth King: I like it all, I like it all. I have fun doing it all.
Corey Rieck: So, is there any issue balancing your time? Because I see all of it, you're involved in. And that's one of the questions I had because you don't strike me as somebody that spends much idle time.
Ruth King: No, I don't. And to be perfectly frank, you know that my husband passed away about two years ago.
Corey Rieck: Yes, I remember that.
Ruth King: I could not be doing what I am doing now if he were still alive. I've often wondered how people got it all done. And Barbara Corcoran once made a comment that if she had had her kids early, her business would not be where it actually ended up. She had her kids very late in life. And you may know, she's on Shark Tank.
Corey Rieck: Shark Tank.
Ruth King: But she started as a real estate investor. And I had met her and talked to her and stuff along those lines and way before a Shark Tank. And I get what she said now. I didn't understand it at the time, but, I mean, I have time to totally focus. My child is going to be 30 years old. She's on her own. And I literally have time to totally focus on the business. And I didn't two years ago.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, I think about growing up, my parents are no longer here, but I had an older sister. In fact, my sister and my mother, I was heavily influenced by them. And this is really the basis for the show is extolling the virtues of successful females, but I look at all the time that my mom and dad spent with us, a lot of time, and I've benefited tremendously. And my wife and I made a decision not to have kids. And I wonder, my dad said to me one time, he said, there's no judgment one way or the other, he said, "But if you have kids, you're going to wonder where all your time is," because that's probably being applied there. So, it is an advantage to being singularly focused and not have those other things that could need your time.
Ruth King: Well, yeah. And when Kate was growing up, my daughter was growing up, she decided that she wanted her mother's attention because I was out of town, not to the extent that I am now. And so, she decided to flunk all of her tests to get her mother's attention. This is a 9-year-old. She got it.
Corey Rieck: I'll bet that pleased you greatly.
Ruth King: I made her a deal. I said I won't be out of town for more than two nights a week, and I kept to it. Until she was about 16 when she said, "Bye, mom. I've got my truck. I'm out of here." Not out of here, but she's grown up. And we still to this day, her birthday, we always go away for a really cool week or 10 days. And that's my birthday present to her every year now. So, I mean, what do you give to a 30-year-old other than time?
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Sounds like a good start. So, how exactly are you getting your clients?
Ruth King: Right now, it's all through referral.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Ruth King: Every bit of-
Corey Rieck: What a great place to be for you.
Ruth King: Yeah, it is. It really, truly is. I get all of them free for all. I still do a lot of speaking and some come through speaking, but most of it is coming through right now. How did you get where you're getting? Well, this is how we got there.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. What's the most challenging thing do you feel about your business?
Ruth King: Well, if I could clone myself, I could do a whole lot more. I mean, you talked about time, and it really and truly is time. I mean, I don't waste a whole lot of time, but I still-
Corey Rieck: No, I've never gotten that from you.
Ruth King: I still don't have ... I could do so much more if I had more time.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, how does technology play into leveraging your time? It seems to me, with your TV show, you've got a great educational tool there. And that must help you leverage your time somewhat, does it not?
Ruth King: It does, yeah. But it's also okay, we're shooting on this particular day, and we're doing this on this particular day, or we're doing whatever else it is. And a lot of time on weekends, I'm still talking to clients and things along those lines until I tell them, "Okay, this weekend, I'm off now. Don't call me." Other than that, I'm open.
Corey Rieck: What's the most satisfying thing about what you do in your business?
Ruth King: Light bulbs go on. It's the fun part of thing. Got it. And seeing them take it and just run with it. And that's cool. To me, that's really, really, really cool.
Corey Rieck: [Well see, it must be cool being sort of their coach and their mentor, giving them things that you know will work and you know will help them. And then, seeing them apply it.
Ruth King: Yeah, that's the fun part. That's a lot of fun because it's cool to ... when they walked out the door with $9 million in cash, I was, "Yes." And they're doing what they want to do. I mean, they like getting me tired, as they put it. They're not older either. I mean, they're young enough at this particular point that one of them hasn't even hit 60 yet. So, he's on life number two.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. That doesn't seem that old to me, just for the record, while we're on that
Ruth King: No, it's not that old.
Corey Rieck: It did when I was 21, but now that I'm creeping up on that, I have a whole different perspective toward it.
Ruth King: Yeah.
Corey Rieck: How has your business evolved over the years, Ruth?
Ruth King: Has it evolved? Oh, my gosh. I mean, if you look at what we did back in the 1980s and 1990s, the technology. And you mentioned technology. I mean, we were doing videoconferencing over standard dial-up phone lines. And the internet was not even invented when we started. I couldn't be doing today what I was doing back then. Just the technology just keeps going and going and going. Does it make it any easier for me? Probably in terms of how we get things out from that perspective, but from a consulting perspective, it's still me and only me.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. To me, you've done an incredible job of branding things. And I'm certain that you could help pretty much any business owner with your experience. You've been invited on the show because you're successful, and you've also been favorably introduced by a former guest. What exactly sets you apart, do you think, if you had to pick two or three things?
Ruth King: Persistence.
Corey Rieck: I get that from you.
Ruth King: I don't give up. I guess that's persistence. And I'm in a position that I really love what I do and not very many people can say that.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, I get that from you, that you're very, very happy. I know that impacted me, even after Katie introduced us when we had breakfast. I thought, "Here's somebody..." And I can spot that a mile away. I've worked with people for a long time. And I thought, "Here's a lady that's very, very content, very happy with what she's doing." And it's really cool, especially since there's so many people, I think, that really aren't in the place that you're in with being happy and so on. So, congratulations on doing that.
Ruth King: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: If you could give the younger version of Ruth some advice about knowing what you know now, looking back, what would you do? What would you tell her?
Ruth King: I would tell the younger Ruth not to be afraid to make a mistake. I had to be perfect. Believe it or not, way back, when I was in college and everything along those lines, it was like I should have dropped courses. And the should-haves type things. But don't be afraid of making a mistake. Don't be afraid of doing and going where your path is leading you. You'll find your passion with it after a while. I mean, there was a point in time when I absolutely hated doing financials, believe it or not, but that got through it when I saw what the results were. In my early thirties, a lot of times, financial is yuck. But it really got me to where I am today in being able to help customers and things along those lines. So, whatever you go to school for may not be what you're going to end up doing. And if you start a path and you hate it, change.
Corey Rieck: Excellent advice. I think that that part of it, I think is really impactful for me, the fact that you went to school for one thing, and you decided early on that this wasn't for you, and then you decided to transition. If there is a young lady that wanted to follow in your footsteps, Ruth, what would you tell her?
Ruth King: Work her butt off, learn everything she possibly can. And then, it's not only numbers, it's financials, it's marketing, it's dealing with people. Get as much training as you possibly can. Learn how to deal with people, learn all the personality profiles that you possibly can, and become a generally rounded person. I'm known for financials, but financials affect every part of business. So, you got to know marketing, you got to know dealing with people, hiring, firing; although I leave those to the HR experts these days because of all the laws that are around. But just don't quit learning, keep reading, keep writing if you want to write, and don't stop.
Corey Rieck: You've had tremendous success and congratulations on all that. If the listenership wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that? Do you have a phone number, email, website that you'd like to give us?
Ruth King: Phone number here is 770-729-8000. And Profitability Revolution website is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corey Rieck: Ruth, continued success. You've been a great guest. Thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you again.
Ruth King: Thanks, Corey. I appreciate it.
Corey Rieck: We'd like to welcome Nadia now onto the show. Nadia, how are you this morning?
Nadia Bilchik: I am wonderful. I loved listening to Ruth King, and I learned to love just sitting here.
Corey Rieck: So, you've had a great career also, but it didn't start off in the United States, did it?
Nadia Bilchik: No, I'm actually from Johannesburg, South Africa. And in 1997, I was a primetime anchor in South Africa, and I had the first media and presentation skills school in the country. And it was a rather remarkable time to be living in South Africa because Mandela became president in 1994. So, although he was released from prison in 1990, 1994 was officially the end of apartheid. We, now, had Nelson Mandela as the president. So, 1997, I'm living in South Africa. Did you see the movie Invictus, Corey?
Corey Rieck:I did.
Nadia Bilchik: So, we were the Rainbow Nation, no longer the pariahs of the world, spectacular career. And on a cold Thursday night in 1997, we got a call that a friend of ours had had five armed guys burst into his house, tortured him with a burning iron, and they said he was in critical condition and not expected to live and didn't. And that same night, my mother called to say a lawyer friend of ours, very active in the anti-apartheid movement, had been hijacked and murdered. So, my husband looks at me and says, "Look, we've got an opportunity to move to Atlanta." We had actually won our green card in the lottery. So in six weeks, I move countries, and continents, and sides of the road-.
Corey Rieck: Wow!
Nadia Bilchik: ... and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, went from total visibility being a household name and started again in 1997.
Corey Rieck: That's not just a transition. That's multiple transitions.
Nadia Bilchik: And the reality is people - Ruth was talking about the fact that her husband passed away two years ago - that's a change. For me, it was changing countries and careers. I was very lucky in that I came here and started anchoring for the CNN Airport Network almost immediately. But the reality is, change happens in our lives.
Corey Rieck: It does.
Nadia Bilchik: I mean, you're in long term care. People get ill. And what I realized that although my change was so dramatic, people get divorced, their children grow up, things happen. And resilience and dealing with change is probably one of the most important qualities, abilities, capabilities we develop. So, it has been quite a journey. When I came to Atlanta, I did not know anybody with the exception of the head of security at CNN Center. And I knew of him because he knew the head of security at MNet Television, where I was an anchor. So, when I'm teaching networking, I always say, you just never know where your contacts come from, right?
Corey Rieck: Well, you don't know who is connected to who. And somebody, that little fish, sometimes, grow up to be big fish. And so, you never know.
Nadia Bilchik: And the security guard could be your best friend.
Corey Rieck: Yes.
Nadia Bilchik: Because so often, we think of the people who are going to help us who are so high up in business, but how you deal with everyone every day is so critical to your success, and building those kind of relationships. So, 1997, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia with two small children and start again. And I always say I wish I knew in 1997 what I know now. And when I teach, and speak, and train, that's part of the wisdom of the journey, isn't it?
Corey Rieck: It is.
Nadia Bilchik: Going through that. So, one of my best quotes is don't let good suffering go to waste.
Corey Rieck: So it seems to me, based on what your story and what prompted you to come to the United States, is it fair to say that you didn't feel like you were safe staying where you're at? Is that-
Nadia Bilchik: Yes, we had a sense in Johannesburg at the time. And Johannesburg is really considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world. I also do share with you all in this moment, this was pre-9/11, and pre-Columbine, and pre-Sandy Hook. So, the thought of raising my children in a safer place was the motivator. And to all intents and purposes, living in Atlanta day to day, I mean, none of us, not Ruth, not you, not me, not Katy is worried, is our car gonna be there when we get outside? Johannesburg, the day-to-day crime is so real. It's still one of the most remarkable cities in the world. And South Africa is a miracle when you think of a relatively peaceful transition. You think of Libya or Egypt. So, it's complicated. And that's what I always say, but part of my heart is always in South Africa.
Corey Rieck: Of course.
Nadia Bilchik: But just the transition to a new country, and having to rebrand yourself, and rebuild a business. Part of when I was on television, I remember doing a program for Mercedes Benz, and I said to them, "Don't you want me to tell you what I'm going to do with your people?" And they said, "No, don't worry, we've seen you on TV," because that kind of visibility gives you such credibility. When you start again, and you are having to rebrand, reestablish your career, it takes so much because you've really got to start networking.
In South Africa, I had an organic network. I had people like you or Ruth, who I grew up with or I went to school with. I remember being on the front page of the Sunday Times when I started my media training business because the head of The Sunday Times had gone to high school with me. That's an organic network. Now, in America, most people aren't living where they were raised or went to school. When I teach classes here, I'll have a class of 50 people, and I'll say, "How many of you actually born in Atlanta and raised?" and maybe two or three.
So, part of just the importance of real relationship building. I had to learn that because I didn't have to make the effort in South Africa. So, I had to start doing consciously what I had never really had to do because I had an organic network. So, a lot of my work is really based on my journey, what I've learned, what I've learned from listening to people like you and Ruth, and just then making it very practical for people to say, "I know what I should be doing in terms of relationship building, but do I do it?" And there's often a big gap between ... I mean, Ruth coaches people, they know what they should be doing, but they hire her because she helps them implement it.
Corey Rieck: Well, probably knowing Ruth holds her feet to the fire to say, "Hey, is this gonna get done? And if so, what's the timeline?"
Nadia Bilchik: But the scale that it takes Ruth to get people, because it's about mindset and hardcore technique. And whether I'm teaching leadership presence, or networking, or your brand, it's about shifting people's mindsets, so that they understand why they need to make these changes, or these three things I always say, why they need to stop doing what they do, why they need to stop doing other things or continue doing, but it's raising people's levels of consciousness. And then, giving hardcore technique because part of it is, what am I practically giving you that you can do? But until you help people shift mindset, none of that matters.
Corey Rieck: Don't you think that the majority of people's issues lie in the four-inch space between their ears?
Nadia Bilchik: That's interesting. The most important conversation you ever have is with yourself.
Corey Rieck: What do you tell people about that, Nadia? I mean, you clearly are incredibly resilient too. For me, I mean, knowing you, that really impacts even more how ... I've always been impressed with you. I've seen you in action. I've benefited by your techniques. But that's a whole other level. Moving countries, starting over, bringing your family over here, getting everybody re-established and all that. What do you tell people about about establishing their brand?
Nadia Bilchik: Well, a brand for a person is different to a brand for a company or product. A brand for a company or product is like a reputation for a person. So, you can't dictate a personal brand. I can't walk around with a T-shirt that says "More saving, more doing,". or "Coca-Cola, taste the feeling." So, a personal brand really is how you show up in people's minds. And that's based on every interaction with you, every experience I have of you. So, my branding programs always start on an individual basis with how do you want to show up in people's minds?
And it's interesting having Ruth King here because Ruth's expertise is really in business branding and in profitability of companies. I do a lot of work with individuals within organizations saying, are they, as an individual, as one of those employees you spoke about, adding the most value? And I begin the process always by saying, "How do you want to show up?" And if anybody is listening today and says, "Okay, how do I want to start this process?" Start thinking about what are the first five things you want to have to come to mind when people think about you. So, in the same way as when I think about Starbucks or Apple, what pictures, what experiences come to mind? When people think about Corey Rieck, what experiences, what moments, what pictures come to mind?
And the reality is we are already branded. We already have a reputation whether we are consciously involved in the process or not. My goal is to get people consciously thinking about how they want to show up in people's minds, and then seeing what experiences am I providing to be seen in that way. And so, often there's a delta. There's such a disconnect between I want to be seen as - one of the examples I always give is I still work at CNN as a producer on the weekends, I want to be seen as having initiative. Well, I can't walk around saying, "Hello, Corey. Hello, Ruth. I'm Nadia. I've got initiative." Unless you experience me in that way, and unless I've provided the actual concrete evidence to be seen in a way, you don't see me in that way.
So, I give an example. When Muhammad Ali died, we knew that Muhammad Ali was very ill on the Friday. So, that Friday, I remember thinking, "Who can I get?" I spoke to Manny Paquiao, and Don King, and Evander Holyfield. So, by the time he did die on the Saturday, very tragically, I had those people that I could immediately call. So, I always give that as an example if you want to be seen in one way. And the same if Ruth working with the company, and they want to be seen as having the best customer service, they have to provide that experience, and they have to provide that experience consistently.
And it's an interesting thing is we, sometimes, have to step back and almost decode what we do intuitively. Of course, we know that a reputation should be reinforced by into action and action, but so often, people would like to be seen in a certain way. And when we do this exercise, they actually realize that they're not providing the experience. I was once in the newsroom, and one of the directors, breaking news is a very volatile time. He was screaming and shouting. I said to him, "Do you want some feedback?" He said, "Yes." Always have to ask, right? I said, "How do you want to show up in people's minds?" He said, "As calm and fresh. I want to be seen as somebody who can deal with stress." I said, "The experience you have just provided is contrary to that."
So, a big part of what I'm teaching is saying now, is the way you are behaving congruent with, in harmony with the overall way you want to be perceived?" And once you do that, every decision you make is based on that. And so often, in the corporate world, the space that I'm in, people will get a very rude email. And what's your automatic reaction to that rude, aggressive, angry e-mail? You want to respond in the same way, right? So, I'm saying, is the way you are about to respond congruent with, in harmony with the overall way you want to be perceived? Well, that makes life so much easier because you're not depending on other people's anger, frustration as to how you want to act to react. And Corey, this is important both personally and professionally.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, it sure is. I mean, it's almost never a good idea to respond when you get an email that doesn't strike you right. I mean, I think it's easy to respond that way, but how many times that you do that, and then you have to walk back whatever you said, or you spend time apologizing or what have you, and it's almost never a good idea to respond right away. But many qualities come up when I think of you, obviously resilient is one that comes to mind, courage and initiative. All of these things are really important when you're training people to do the things with their brand and how they show up. And I think personally, how do you want to show up when people think of you, that's a great question.
Nadia Bilchik: And it's not something that can be dictated. A question I often get asked is, can you rebrand yourself? That means, you're in a corporation, and you're getting feedback that you're being seen in a certain way. Well, you've come to this class, or this session, or this presentation, and you start realizing that, actually, the way you're showing up is not in harmony with the overall image you have. And you start looking at your behavior and saying, maybe some of my behavior is negatively impacting or sabotaging you. You can't again come to work and say, "Good morning. Today, I'm rebranding myself. I'm going to wear a different outfit." It doesn't work like that. You have to change behavior. But we know that all self-improvement comes from self-awareness. So, it's an interesting space that I'm in, in terms of training and speaking, because it's mindset. And I always say hard core tips, techniques, and things you can actively do.
Corey Rieck: How is what you've learned living in Johannesburg, how does that help you here, all your life experiences up to 1997?
Nadia Bilchik: I mean, South Africa, in general, there's just so many things. First of all, I grew up in South Africa during the height of apartheid or segregation, but we grew up without television really. We only got television when I must have been 8 or 9 years old. So, so many things. I think I have learned more about South Africa and appreciated the miracle of South Africa and a leader like Nelson Mandela more than ever because what he managed to do in South Africa was take this very divided ... I mean, grow up in this segregation, the first ever Democratic election in South Africa in my lifetime is in 1990, 1994. That's not very long ago. 1994. Then, prior to the election, Nelson Mandela brings South Africa together. It was very divided. There's a famous activist who was murdered in South Africa.
His name is Chris Hani. Chris Hani was murdered by a white guy. When Chris Hani was murdered, he could have been the next president. That was an absolute Rubicon moment, because Nelson Mandela in that moment said, "Let's come together." I mean, there could have been blood on the streets. So, if I have to think about the miracle of having met Nelson Mandela many times, I actually opened the first SOS children's village in Cape Town with Mandela. I was the emcee. He sat next to me. But to have had a leader like that and watched him firsthand has probably been my greatest impact. And talk about resilience.
Corey Rieck: Oh, yeah.
Nadia Bilchik: I mean, resilience, but also just watching ... South Africans are remarkable individuals.
Corey Rieck: How did your experience with Nelson Mandela, how did that impact you?
Nadia Bilchik: Profoundly. Profoundly because he was in prison for most of my childhood. Think about it, over 40 years in prison, and emerges with no bitterness, no anger. There's so many lessons that I think we all learn from somebody who is just remarkable. Was he a perfect being? He will be the first to tell you no, but just an ability to lead, to have presence. We talk about presence as your ability to positively influence and persuade. He is a superb example of that.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, he sure is. Your business now is helping people with their presentation skills and helping them with their executive presence and leadership. Tell us about what prompted you to start that.
Nadia Bilchik: So, in South Africa, when I was a primetime anchor, I remember my first experience was interviewing. It's so interesting sitting here with you and Ruth because I am having a déjà vu - interviewing business-
Corey Rieck: A good one, I hope.
Nadia Bilchik: Very good one, but interviewing business people like yourselves on television. And then, what would happen is people would be wonderful in person, and then suddenly the camera was on them - Ruth, and I'm sure you experienced this - and they froze. So, my first experience was training the people who were coming on to our business show to be better in front of camera. Then, I also knew that by the time I got to 50, the chances of me being on air were limited. So, I've always had dual careers. I taught, and trained, and spoke, and then was on television. So, that's how I started really helping people get as comfortable in front of a microphone, or a camera, or a podium as they were in person.
Corey Rieck: That seems to be very, very impactful. Do you have one part of your business that you gravitate toward? I know you're doing some work with CNN as an editor on the weekends, and then you're helping train people. Is there one thing that resonates with you more than another?
Nadia Bilchik: I have three core programs. I do one on executive. We call it professional. Sometimes, we call it professional presence. Sometimes, we call it executive presence. And it's one of my favorite programs because it's very holistic. You look at yourself in terms of your physical presence. And physical presence, dress is a small part of that. Physical presence is your overall demeanor. Do you show up in people's minds as somebody who looks like they want to be there? So, we focus on physical presence, meetings and presentations. And then, we look at virtual presence because so much of our interaction action now is virtual. And if I want to get hold of you in the next five minutes, Corey, what am I going to do?
Corey Rieck: Probably send me an email or text.
Nadia Bilchik: Text. Text has become such a huge part. And how are we texting? Don't you find it irritating when people text you, and you don't know who they are. They go, "Hello, Ruth. Just to let you know, the meeting for Tuesday is rescheduled," and Ruth goes, "That's lovely, but who are you?" So, the tips like even texting is, don't forget to say best and your name, because texting has become so prolific now in how we communicate. So, we talk about your virtual. Ruth's focused on personality style. I do a big chunk on personality style. I use two specific assessments. I like DISC just cause it's very easy. And then, there's another one called Social Styles. So, how do you show up? So, I do that. And then, we look at your social presence, your ability to network. That's one of my favorite programs, just because it's very comprehensive.
But sometimes I just do a speaking with clarity and confidence class, just presentation skills. And sometimes, it's just building relationships for career success. The program I did that you came to at the Bucket Business Association, correct?
Corey Rieck: It was at the Georgian Club.
Nadia Bilchik: At the Georgian club. That was on just what we called Lighting the Fire: Tips and Techniques to Build Rapport Every Time You Communicate. And I've got a big dilemma. I'm doing a TedX talk on February 23rd, and it's deciding, do I do ... I wanted to do Own Your Confidence, which is-
Corey Rieck: Interesting.
Nadia Bilchik: ... own your confidence, which is overcoming nervousness because I could almost that a lot. People always want to know how you overcome nerves. So, own your confidence and overcoming nervousness.
Corey Rieck: And what do you tell them?
Nadia Bilchik: Well, I have one huge technique that really is helpful. There's a multitude of things. I've actually got a YouTube video called Combat Nerves with Nadia, but I spend a lot of time talking to people about overcoming nervousness. But the key to overcoming nervousness is really to develop a very strong, positive emotional memory database. And that is to build up a series of positive past experiences because the brain is fascinating. Positive thoughts is truly like Teflon. And negative thought is like Velcro. So, if you find yourself being very nervous, or anxious, or walking into a high-stakes meeting, focus on positive past memory, and it is remarkable in how powerful it is as an antidote to nerves. And I use that every time I go live on television, or if I've got a big presentation, I do that because, then, you're not focusing just on the moment you're focusing on your success.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. I would concur with that. I mean, anybody I think that's ever competed in anything, if you're going into a big presentation or business deal, what I do is I look back on the things that I was successful at or deals that I've gotten that were successful and recount those experiences. It leaves the freshness and the confidence in your mind. And also, I think if you prepare hard, and play hard, and play enough games, you're going to win more than your fair share. And I think what I-
Nadia Bilchik: That's nicely put.
Corey Rieck: But I think that your point on calling on past successes and bringing them into the immediate consciousness is very important because, to me, I find that people's biggest issue, usually, is what's going on between their ears, and how they talk to themselves.
Nadia Bilchik: Your inner voice so important. Ruth said earlier about allowing yourself to fail. And it's so interesting because we really are not always kind to ourselves. And sometimes, I call that a BLO, a blinding light of the obvious. But the inner dialogue-
Corey Rieck: That's very accurate though.
Nadia Bilchik: Yeah, a blinding light. It's what conversation are you having with yourself? And that's the thing is years of being live on television or giving presentations, nobody views you with the microscopic lens you view yourself. Famous-.
Corey Rieck: Why is that?
Nadia Bilchik: Because they're too busy starring in their own movies. Famously, that's true. I know Ruth wanted to add something here. You were saying. I wish you would.
Ruth King: No, confidence is what really gets it. You prepare, you do your homework, and then you go for it.
Nadia Bilchik: And it's so interesting because I said when I handed Ruth, own your space, I said, for me, she exemplifies that. It's this just this absolute sense of, "I am Ruth King. I am an expert in my field." There's that comfort that comes. Now, were you always like that?
Ruth King: No.
Nadia Bilchik: Okay. It was developed over time. But sometimes, don't you want to say to people, "I just want you to give yourself permission to be the expert, to be the person presenting that information." And sometimes, that is a journey for people.
Corey Rieck: How do people do that, though, Nadia? How do they give themselves permission to be excellent?
Nadia Bilchik: You give yourself permission by, first of all, reminding yourself that right now, if I'm the one giving the presentation or speaking up in a meeting, I know and I'm comfortable with the fact that I am an expert, because so often, we tell ourselves somebody else is better, somebody else has more information, somebody else has more knowledge but it's actually saying I do know. And you know what? I might not be the foremost world expert in this area, but I'm very knowledgeable.
Nadia Bilchik: Self-doubt is such a saboteur. Now, a certain amount of humility is necessary, but often, we have unnecessary self-doubt. And Eleanor Roosevelt, you quoted earlier, but she said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." We are in a society right now-
Corey Rieck: That's true too.
Nadia Bilchik: ... where social media highlights what we don't have. Famously, we say we compare other people's highlight reels to our behind-the-scene life. I mean, if I'm depressed, I just need to look at my Facebook and go, "She's having a lovely life." It's just it's being able to thought replace as well. So, for example, this is one of the techniques, I'm spiraling down in moments of self-doubt. I'm feeling like I should have done better. We literally say, "Stop." Internally, "Stop." And then, thought replace with something that is positive and does work.
Nadia Bilchik: And I use that all the time because it's very easy in our environment. I work in television. I'm sitting on the set with someone who may be, well, I always say certainly younger, whatever, but in that ability to just look internally and say, "What do I have?" You know, Brené Brown said, it is not joy that makes us grateful. It is gratitude that makes us joyful. So, we hear all of these things. I always say there's a finite amount of universal truth. The question is, do you internalize them? Do you know how to dialogue with yourself? And that's a very powerful thing to be able to do.
Corey Rieck: Do you agree that the only worthwhile competition at all is with yourself?
Nadia Bilchik: Well, I'd like to think that, but would that be ideal? But I don't know that that's human nature. I think we have to understand how our brains work, how we respond to things. However, unrealistic competition with others and unrealistic comparison with others can be very, very sabotaging to your inner psyche.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. I concur.
Nadia Bilchik: And never before has it been more relevant to us in a society where people are checking themselves out or comparing themselves to the Kardashians. People feel if they're not the next Zuckerberg, who are you? And it's that ability to say, what do I have? And if you've heard about writing gratitude journals and the attitude of gratitude, the reason that that is so powerful is that it does work.
Corey Rieck: It does.
Nadia Bilchik: Because of you with Katy, I had to sit down now and say, "What in our life is good," there's plenty of good. Now, what . What in my life do I wish was different or better? There's nobody who doesn't.
Corey Rieck: And that's the easiest thing to do is to find what's not right.
Nadia Bilchik: Well, it's because our brains are really designed to perceive danger. The reason we have been in existence for so many hundreds of thousands of years is we're survivors. So, we are absolutely programmed to look out for danger. So, sometimes, you've got to listen to the danger. And sometimes, you've got to override the danger, which is, famously, courage is not the absence of fear, it's the taking of action despite the fear.
Corey Rieck: But saddling up anyway.
Nadia Bilchik: And saddling up anyway, John Wayne. But as we sit, whoever's listening to this saying, "Am I using my inner dialogue constructively because if I'm going to speak up in a meeting, do a great presentation, if I am going to write the book or write the several books that Ruth has written, what does that take?" It's so interesting, when I wrote my first book, I remember somebody coming up to me and saying, "It was so simple I could have done that." And I remember going, "Yes, but you didn't."
Katy Galli: Because what's what's the difference between Ruth King doing it, or you doing it, or me doing it? And I think that's such a gap. And believe me, it's always a journey. But one thing I can say, anybody listening to this can be a better presenter. You can. You may not be the next Tony Robbins, or the next Ruth King, or the next Corey Rieck, but you can be better because you can create new neural pathways in your brain. You learn to drive. You learn to switch from your BlackBerry to your iPhone. You can be a better presenter
Corey Rieck: Well, one of the things that's served me as, okay, did I do everything I could do to prepare? That's one.
Nadia Bilchik: Very important.
Corey Rieck: Did I play enough games, metaphorically speaking? If there's nothing else I could have done to win, then then you got to be okay with whatever happens. You're not going to win them all. And that's personally how I deal with it. Now, if there's something that I should have done differently, then that's on me, and I got to own that. But for me, that's what I do. But what you've said is very insightful about getting people in the right frame of mind to be confident enough to do these things.
Nadia Bilchik: You know that rejection is experienced in the same part of the brain as physical pain? So, I doubt anybody who's listening and certainly none of us in this room have not had a projection on some level because that's just how life is. But again, I like what Ruth King's father said. You pick yourself up, you dust yourself off. And sometimes, easier said than done.
Corey Rieck: Well, isn't it as simple .. to me, it's as simple as saying, is there anything you could have done differently to win? And if the answer is no, then you've got to be okay with it.
Nadia Bilchik: But sometimes, Corey, even that you do everything right, or you look back at yourself and say, "I wish I could have done it differently."
Corey Rieck: But that's a little bit different if you realize, "Hey, I should've taken a different attack," then, okay, well, what do I learn from it? How can I take that and be different when that circumstance presents itself?
Nadia Bilchik: And that is the one thing that all successful - I say successful in inverted commas, people who pick themselves up, people who carry on having common, and it doesn't matter who they are, business leaders, politicians, the ability to build to be resilient, the ability to look back. I mean, I remember when I first moved to Atlanta, I had gone from primetime anchor position starting again. And I remember working with the woman who said, "Nadia, I think you are very talented, and I would like to work with you, but I can't because you are in too much pain." I really thanked her telling me that. I still hate her, but I thanked her. But my point was I didn't know that negative energy, and I didn't know that nobody really wanted to hear my whole long story. People are much more attracted to a level of positivity.
So, one helpful tip I tell people if you are trying to network, it is so much more productive to say, "Ruth King, you have navigated your career really well. What advice or guidance do you have for me?" than saying, "Ruth King, you've had a remarkable career. Please, can you give me your contacts?" But asking for advice or guidance in a way that makes you come across as honoring the other person, you have to be sincere, and you have to be authentic, but that's a powerful way of getting people to assist you.
Corey Rieck:I agree fully. You've had an extraordinary run, and I've enjoyed my interaction with you. What do you think? To me, there's a number of things that set you apart. But what do you think sets you apart? If you had to pick two or three things?
Nadia Bilchik: Well, I think because I have a broadcast background in terms of what I'm doing as training speaking, so both the broadcast background and the fact that I am a professional speaker, when I teach speaking, I'm not coming at it from a theoretical point of view. So, I think that's very powerful in terms of tips and techniques. But at a certain stage, it's just a life experience, having had my own business, having gone through transition. I think it gives you a depth and an understanding. There are a lot of very talented speaker coaches and a lot of people who teach networking or personal branding, but what I like to say that I bring is just years and years of experience, wisdom. And so much of it depends on the interaction of the people in the group you're in. And I genuinely enjoyed the transformation and am fascinated by each and every session people. There's not a session that I don't learn so much from the people in the group.
Corey Rieck: And they from you, I'm sure.
Nadia Bilchik: Well, the ability to facilitate a session where you are allowing knowledge sharing, so much happens. It's remarkable what people know.
Corey Rieck: What do you like best about what you do?
Nadia Bilchik: I like it when somebody comes up to me, and it happened this week, and she said, "Nadia, I gave a presentation on Tuesday and I nailed it." Now, she was somebody who has a remarkable career but was so nervous. And just through helping her understand how other people are perceiving her, that's very rewarding when people say, or they get a job because of a networking class you gave. So, just the tangible results of people who find it transformational.
Corey Rieck: What's the most satisfying thing about what you do?
Nadia Bilchik: [01:03:34] Again, just watching people shift. Watching people shift, watching people start a day nervous, unsure. And by the end of a session, being so comfortable. That's just wonderful to see and just remarkable to be part of that process.
Corey Rieck: It has to be a huge compliment to you and your expertise, I would imagine as well.
Nadia Bilchik: Years, Corey, of experience, of working with great people. I was so lucky when I first moved to Atlanta, I met a woman called Nancy Neal. She had a company called the Atlanta Communications Group. And I met Nancy, and she mentored me. I had a degree in English Drama, and then I had done something in speech and drama. And she just gave me a first chance. I must have been very lucky to learn from remarkable people. And for those of us lifelong learners, keep continuing to learn and grow. I'm so grateful to TED talks, and podcasts, and the moment I'm reading Inner Engineering by Sadhguru.
Corey Rieck: And?
Nadia Bilchik: And it's about inner engineering, everything you spoke about, what's between your head.
Corey Rieck: Speaking of learning, knowing what you know now, if you could give the younger version of Nadia some advice, what would that be?
Nadia Bilchik: I really believe there was a right to choice in life. I've believed that you make a decision, and somewhere exists the right choice. I would like to say to the younger Nadia, there is no right. You just have to make a decision, and then make it right because I'm always waiting for a sign that the choice I'm making is right. Somebody once said it's like you decide you're going to buy furniture, and you're so busy looking for the perfect piece of furniture that you never buy the furniture. I have to say to myself that it's okay. Just make a decision because the truth is, often, particularly when you move countries, I had hoped that I would come here and it could just be, "I've made the right decision." But the fact is life is nuance.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, it sure is.
Nadia Bilchik: And just say it's okay. You may not know if it's the right decision. I had this what we call an irrational belief that in life, there were right decisions and wrong decisions, but often they aren't just decisions.
Corey Rieck: If there was a young lady that wanted to pursue a path like yours, what would you tell her?
Nadia Bilchik: It's very complicated because the foundation of doing speech and drama, which is what I've done from the time I was seven or eight years old, so I would really do ... in South Africa, we have speech and drama teachers. They're like elocution teachers. They don't have them here. So, I would start off doing speech and drama. Then, I would go into journalism, but mainly, it's an understanding that you have to have a multitude of different skills and capabilities. Sometimes, people will say to me, Corey, can you write a speech for me? Nobody can write a speech for you. Ruth King's talk is her talk, and yours is yours. It's an eclectic journey. But I could say if you wanted to be an editorial producer at CNN, then start off going into journalism, work for a radio station because CNN is not a place that people begin at. It's often a place where they come to with experience. Another thing is you just have to do it.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, well, you've had a great run. Congratulations on all of your successes and all of your endeavors. And if the listenership wanted to get a hold of you, how would they do that? Do you have a website or an email?
Nadia Bilchik: Very simple. My website is nadiaspeaks.com.
Corey Rieck: Is there an e-mail address or any other contact information?
Nadia Bilchik: It's all there. So, if anybody wants to reach me, it's just nadiaspeaks.com. They can contact me, they can buy books, I will put this podcast up.
Corey Rieck: Well, Nadia, you've been a great guest. Continued success. Thank you so much for being on the show. Ruth, thanks again for being on the show. Another great show here at Tuesdays with Corey. Thanks again to everybody.
Katy Galli: Yeah, it was. And it was a great episode today with Tuesdays of Corey, which was made possible, of course, by The Long Term Care Planning Group. And we will see you all next time on Atlanta Business Radio.