Put yourself in others’ shoes, so that you can understand, respect, and have compassion for where they are coming from.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ken Lindner.
Ken Lindner is a longtime Career Choreographer™ and the founder of Positive Life Choice Psychology™ and the Positive Life Choice Psychology Lifestyle™. Ken’s calling is to envision what can be in people, and to craft the steps that turn their great potential into a highly positive and productive reality. Ultimately, Ken’s mission is to strategically get Americans back to work.
Career developer of broadcasting mega-stars, Lester Holt, Mario Lopez, Megyn Kelly, Robin Meade, Liz Claman, Ana Cabrera, Nancy O’Dell, and so many other top national and local anchors and hosts, author, Ken Lindner, is widely known for his abilities to equip and empower individuals looking to identify and find a job, position, or profession that is the right fit for them and their particular skills, experiences, education, and professional likes and passions.
Ken’s latest book, “Career Choreography™: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Right Job and Achieving Huge Success and Happiness”, offers readers masterable steps and strategies to catapult their careers. “Career Choreography” will be available on April 6th, but is available today for pre-order.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I was an overweight, late-blooming, awkward youngster. I bonded with my dad through athletics, and it was through playing sports such as POP Tennis (aka Paddle Tennis), and Tennis, that I lost a significant amount of weight, became more agile, and became a more secure teenager and young adult. Through my athletic endeavors, I have learned many of my most important life lessons. Athletics have certainly taught me to be disciplined, focused, constructive, and emotionally intelligent.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“With discipline, you can accomplish anything.”
Through being disciplined, hard work, and focus, I have been able to achieve major goals in academia, athletics, my profession, and in life.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Discipline, emotional intelligence, and a passion for seeing what can be in others, and Choreographing the steps to help others attain their goals have been invaluable qualities that enable me to be of service to others.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
For the past 35 years I have choreographed the careers of well-respected newscasters, such as Lester Holt and program hosts, such as Mario Lopez, along with thousands of other individuals both in broadcasting and in a myriad of other fields. I own Ken Lindner & Associates, Inc., and together with my highly-talented colleagues, we represent approximately 250 top-drawer newscasters and hosts throughout the country. I love what I do, as my profession takes full advantage of my personal skill-sets, professional passions, and my interpersonal gifts. I plan to continue representing broadcast journalists for many years to come.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
I have always aspired to be a self-help book author, and about twenty years ago I decided to pursue this dream. In doing this, I wasn’t looking for a “second act,” but more of a concurrent act with my career choreography/talent representation services, as I wanted to enjoy both acts together. That said, I believe that many of the same steps that you can take to successfully engage in a second act, you can also take when pursuing concurrent professional acts.
When I began my quest to write self-help books, my books were consistently turned down by publishers because I didn’t have a track record in the field of self help, and I wasn’t a doctor, therapist, or a published author. So I had to go back to the drawing- board and find a strategy that would get me into the club of being a viable, publication-worthy author. After some thought, I decided to go with my tried-and-true strategy of “Lead With Your Strength,” which I had used for years in successfully choreographing my clients’ careers. What this meant for me, was to write a book about the psychology and ins and outs of TV News and Hosting, so that broadcast journalists and those who aspire to enter the field could make constructive, informed career decisions. Essentially, I would bank on my expertise and excellent client list to give me the credibility to be an acceptable author in the broadcasting area. I wrote the book and three out of the five publishers to whom I submitted my book offered to publish it. I was now on my way and a member of the published-author club.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
I have always felt that that the success-evoking steps and strategies that I use for my clients and for myself personally, would be highly beneficial for everyone. As I love writing and fervently felt that I have a lot of very helpful information to share, I took the plunge and decided to become a self-help book author.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
I have always been someone who takes logical steps to go from the starting line to the finish line. Deciding to become an author was no exception. I sat down and wrote a book outline identifying a logical sequence of chapters for my proposed book on Broadcasting. By writing a book in my wheelhouse, which was a book about the psychology of Broadcasting, I decided that it would be a great first step to helping me fulfill my dreams of becoming a self-help book author. That was the first step that I took to overcome the barriers that I ran up against when I initially submitted self-help books to publishers and agents who said that I did not have the requisite background to be a self-help author. When I ran up against the roadblock that no agent wanted to represent my Broadcasting books, I contacted Broadcasting book publishers myself, made my own submissions, and negotiated my own deal. So once again, I constructively overcame a barrier.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
Things are going wonderfully well! After publishing my Broadcasting book, I wrote three self-help books, all of which were published; I have been told that one of these books, “Your Killer Emotions: The 7 Steps to Mastering the Toxic Emotions, Urges, and Impulses that Sabotage You,” became a best-seller on a number of book lists. So, through identifying and implementing a strategy to become a published author, I choreographed the additional steps to live my dream of equipping, enabling, and empowering readers to fulfill their greatest potentials by crafting the most logical and success-evoking steps to achieve their goals and live their dreams. This is what my newest book, “Career Choreography: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Finding the Right Job and Achieving Huge Success and Happiness” is devoted to.
For example, in “Career Choreography” I suggest that if you are looking to have a fulfilling second professional act, which can imply that you will be re-entering the workforce after taking time away from it, a key step is to make a list of all of the individuals with whom you have worked with or for, who respect you and know your talents, your work ethic, and the content of your character. Hopefully, one or more of these individuals has the power to hire you or can enthusiastically recommend you to someone who can hire you. In “Career Choreography” and in my website careerchoreography.com I share steps, strategies, and stories of how individuals have secured long-term, highly fulfilling second acts. In fact, my dad who was laid-off by his department store chain at age 69, followed the steps outlined in “Career Choreography,” including that of contacting past professional colleagues, and at age 69, he was offered and accepted a job with a fledgling company called T.J. Maxx, and he enjoyed a legendary, nearly 30 year career there, until he retired at nearly 99 years young. So, an amazing second act can be yours if you choreograph and take the right, strategic steps!
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yes, my high school Sociology teacher. It wasn’t until I took a Sociology class in high school, that I became an excited and truly engaged student. My Sociology teacher saw the very best in me and encouraged me. I am sure that my Sociology teacher’s nurturing spirit led me to see what “can be” in others and want to help them live their dreams…which has been my mission for the last 35 years. I cannot appreciate my Sociology teacher more for believing in me.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
What I think is really great, is that for decades people always saw me as a talent agent and would discuss my marquee clients with me when they saw me. Now that I have written and published a number of books, there are many people who know me as an author and want to discuss the content of my books with me. I find this incredibly gratifying, as I’m able to help individuals self-actualize through both of my acts.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
When I was younger, I frequently struggled with believing in myself. However, when I became a committed athlete, I learned that any time you take the court, there is always a chance that you won’t win your match. One of the life lessons that I learned from athletics is not to get down on myself or go into a funk when I “lose,” but rather figure out what I could have done better and come back with a more constructive and effective game plan. Therefore, learning from my loss turns out to be a hugely positive first step towards securing future sweet victories! When my manuscript was originally turned down by agents and publishers, I felt that I needed to go back to the drawing board and create a more effective strategy to accomplish my goals. This is exactly what I did by writing a Broadcasting book in order to become a published author.
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
Because I embarked on my new chapter along with maintaining my current chapter, I always had a safety net, as I remained a successful and reputable talent representative when I embarked on my second act as an author. So in this case, because I had concurrent acts, I never put all my eggs in one basket. That said, I did seek the advice of experts in the publishing field, and they supplied great insights as to how to avoid missteps and land mines.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
I find that it is highly invigorating to get out of my comfort zone. I am a scientist and an experimenter when it comes to learning and growth. I truly feel that if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, don’t try something new, or don’t push the envelope in the appropriate situation, you won’t truly self-actualize.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
In answer to this question, my first answer is what I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization. Answers 2–5 are thoughts that I would pass on to others.
1. Learn how to delegate the things that you don’t need to do, so that you can do the things that will make your organization highly successful;
2. Don’t worry about others, just be the best you can be;
3. Be anticipatory; always be steps ahead of the competition and your clients;
4. If you do a great job with each client, your fulfillment and success will surely follow;
5. Put yourself in others’ shoes, so that you can understand, respect, and have compassion for where they are coming from.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
That people respect, have compassion for, and are civil toward each other.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
I would like to expand my answer to this question; I would love to have a breakfast or lunch with Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Billy Jean King, and/or Rafael Nadal. I admire excellence and would love to have the pleasure and privilege to hear their thoughts on a myriad of subjects and get their perspectives.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Ken Lindner is the Founder of Positive Life Choice Psychology and the author of “Career Choreography: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Finding and Achieving Huge Success and Happiness” and can be found at careerchoreography.com