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Perceived Pain of Change, Emotional Intelligence, and Self-Awareness and Limiting Beliefs with Don Riddell

Posted by Ben Isley on Dec 29, 2020 8:00:00 AM


Don Riddell is an executive coach and the Master Chair of Vistage Peer Advisor Groups. Vistage Worldwide is a global organization that assembles and facilitates private advisory boards for CEOs, senior executives, and business owners.

Vistage and its affiliates have over 23,000 members in 20 countries, representing the world's leading chief executive coaching organization. Their members grow at an average of 2.2 times the rate of average US companies.

Today we discuss Don's philosophy about how nobody changes until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, the power of asking questions, the importance of emotional intelligence when managing relationships, and much more.

Don brings a unique background. He played basketball in college and immediately moved into coaching basketball. He then went to work in the restaurant business. After this, Don started his own Human Resources Consulting business. He then sold this business and left to run a state-wide independent study charter school.

At this time, Don joined Vistage. He quickly began to learn about life and business and his personal growth took off. After leaving the charter school, he became a Vistage Chair, the person who builds and facilitates the groups. Now, at any given time, Don is coaching about 20 C-level executives.


"People will not change until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the perceived pain of the change."

Decision-making individuals often make up a story about how painful a certain change may be by thinking through all of the layers of connections and ties that will need to be addressed if a change is made. That fear of confrontation becomes too much and the executive moves into a state of denial.

Often, it's as simple as playing through the different scenarios and creating a gameplan for what will be done if certain things do happen in the future. The exercise of projecting forward in time and determining future consequences can greatly help broaden the perspective of the business owner with their head in the sand.

"I always want you to be the hero in your own story."

When leading other team members within your organization, it's important to guide the individual to the correct process and result, but do not do the work for them. They need the proper resources, but also appropriate space, to produce results by themselves.

Leaders may get frustrated when staff doesn't see things on their same wavelength. Leaders may know the solution and attempt to lead the staff to the ideal goal and action plan, and the staff member may not arrive there.

"The more you can empower your employees, allow them to make non-fatal mistakes, to learn and grow from those mistakes, you'll be able to grow a lot faster."

As a leader, you have to wear a lot of hats. You can be a dictator, a coach, and a mentor - all three may be appropriate at different times.

  • Consulting - giving expertise/knowledge
  • Coaching - asking great questions
  • Mentoring - sharing experience


Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a skill that can be improved like any other skill. Don felt, early on, that he always suppressed his emotions.

A lack of conflict isn't always good - if there's no conflict and a conflict arises, the parties may not understand how to deal with the issue.

To work on emotional intelligence, individuals must spend time and learn from other emotionally intelligent people. Individuals must read and study emotional intelligence, there are tremendous resources available. There are also assessments available to gauge emotional intelligence.

Limiting Beliefs

Often, individuals have a perception of what will make them happy or successful. They have beliefs about what is required of them to receive love and adoration from others. These beliefs become heavily embedded into daily life. Even then, many individuals are aiming at the wrong targets for success and happiness.

"To be _____, I must be _____."

Limiting belief: To be loved, I must be successful.

Achieving financial and business goals may result in financial success, the disconnect is that financial success won't automatically transfer into personal success or happiness. So the individual, after achieving their lofty goals, still feels depressed. The belief itself is incorrect.

Limiting belief: To travel the world, I must be very wealthy.

With this mindset, this person will never travel. However, with curiosity and asking questions, truly restructuring your life to make travel a priority, this can be done.

In our world today, we often look to address the symptoms of depression rather than addressing the root cause. We need to ensure we're bringing up problems, not symptoms. Many individuals fail to differentiate between problems and symptoms.

You can say whatever you want to someone, and even if it's great advice, it won't matter if the recipient isn't ready to receive the message. The right questions must be asked before offering this advice - the recipient needs to be led to open up to the feedback and guidance. Before digging too deep into giving unsolicited feedback, the recipient must be on board or a disconnect will be created and both parties will waste their time.

"The key to a lot of our relationships is to shut up and listen, and be curious. If you do those two things consistently, you'll increase your own self-awareness."

Learn more about Don and his work:

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