Incredible Parents Create Incredible Leaders
Learn how your unique strengths in parenting, leading, and living can bring success, fulfillment, and happiness in all aspects of your life.
LinkedIn: Dr. Ryan Darby
LinkedIn: Brandon Miller
Amazon: “Incredible Parent”
Want to learn more? We have a Masterclass with Dr. Ryan and Brandon scheduled for April 1st, 2021. Register here!
Listen to the podcast here:
Read Along as Karla, Dr. Ryan, and Brandon discuss Parenting and Leadership
Karla Nelson: And welcome to the People Catalyst podcast, Dr. Ryan Darby and Brandon Miller.
Dr. Ryan Darby: Karla, thanks for having, we’re so excited to be here today.
Brandon Miller: Hi Karla, great to be here.
Karla Nelson: Yes, sir. This is very exciting and such an incredible book for incredible parents. I’m super excited to hear about what you guys have to share today, as well as what your entrepreneurial story is because we always have an entrepreneurial story. We want to put that dent in the universe. And so Dr. Ryan Darby, if you want to go ahead and start and just share that path to what you’ve done to where it’s brought you today.
Dr. Ryan Darby: Would love to. I actually call Brandon and I fated partners because we know each other from, what was it, 10, 12 years ago, Brandon, when we did the first certification with Gallup?
Brandon Miller: Yeah.
Dr. Ryan Darby: So I was working for a different company at the time. If you’re familiar with Gallup, they’re probably the world’s leader in strengths-based assessments. And Brandon was a young, hungry entrepreneur, and he came in and he did our very first coaching certification program. And I remember in that meeting, it was just so cool, talking with Brandon, the very first day he was doing something else with your business, you were doing some kind of business coaching, right?
Brandon Miller: Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s right.
Dr. Ryan Darby: And he was like, “You know what, I’m going full bore on strengths. I am committing my whole life for it.” He came up with a logo for his new company, he came up with a title for his new company. It was a two-day training, and when he left, he went and built this amazing business that helps …
Karla Nelson: Brandon the ultimate mover, hitting the ground running, I’m so surprised.
Dr. Ryan Darby: He moved, he shook, and he just rocks the world. So Brandon goes out and we kept in contact from there for a few years, but he went out and started this amazing organization that helps businesses embrace strengths and become better businesses, 34 Strong. And I went back and I was with Gallup for a few years and then went back into academia, doing research in positive psychology, and assessments, and stuff. And then Brandon comes to me one day, and he said, “Hey, my wife and I wrote this really amazing book that helps parents really play to the strengths of their kids. We want to build an assessment. Do you think you can help?” And I was like, “Well, yeah, I can”.
Brandon Miller: I think what I actually said was, “I need your letters, Dr. Darby.”
Dr. Ryan Darby: It wasn’t me, it was the PhD.
Brandon Miller: “I’m lacking letters. I think it might work, but I need someone with your expertise come and help make this a valid,” right?
Dr. Ryan Darby: Yeah. So he comes in with this real big vision and he’s like, “Let’s change the way that people parent.” Because what we do now, Incredible Family, so we had this big vision, “Let’s change the way people parent,” right now, the world has, I’ll call it a weakness mindset with their kids. We have a fix it with our kids. Our kids are born into this world and we spend the next 18 years telling them they’re doing the world wrong, right? “No, don’t do that. No, don’t do that, stop. You really got to improve on this. You’re just not pulling your weight this,” and we’re constantly-
Karla Nelson: We’re just so powerful and with the work, I love you guys is because holding kids and/or people in their magnificence versus their smallness.
Dr. Ryan Darby: Oh, that’s a beautiful phrase. That really is it though. And there’s a biological reason for this. So your brain is hardwired to spot problems. And way back when we were hunting wooly mammoths and we had to run away from lions, and tigers, and bears, a brain that was set up to spot problems was awesome, but we don’t have those anymore. And so those brain systems are still there and what do they do? They pick on our kids and they pick on us by spotting all the problems. And so Brandon comes in with this big vision and he says, “Let’s change it. Let’s change it so that we start seeing the best in ourselves as parents and the best in our kids.” And once he laid down that vision I was like, “I’m all in, let’s do this.” And it’s been just this amazing partnership since then, at least on my side. I don’t know Brandon, your-
Brandon Miller: It’s worked out pretty good.
Dr. Ryan Darby: Got it.
Brandon Miller: I would say this to add that with the partnership that Dr. Darby and I have begun… Can I call you Ryan, is that okay?
Dr. Ryan Darby: Dr. Ryan, Dr. Ryan. Let’s not get too informal.
Brandon Miller: We began to really look at, in what ways do we see that space between whatever parent desires, every healthy parent thinks about, “I want to launch my kids successfully. I want them to do well.” For some of us it’s because we want them to make us look good, for others of us, because we want them to be able to support us later on. But in the …
Karla Nelson: For them to leave the house when they’re 18.
Brandon Miller: So this idea of launching successful adults and how we help them get there doesn’t come from spending all our time telling them what’s wrong with them. And when we say all, I mean 80 to 90% of our time focused on who they could be, and who they’re not, and why they’re not. And so that shift, though it seems simple to understand, it’s an elegant, simple idea, it just requires a bit of a support.
Karla Nelson: Well, I always say human nature is so strong. And even in the training that we do with the Hoodoo method, it’s like it’s simple, but it’s not easy. Because it’s simple to climb to the top of Mt. Everest, put one foot in front of the other, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And I love the work that you guys do because it bleeds into all those other spaces. I mean, even think as a CEO or a manager, you still have that same relationship of trying to hold somebody in their magnificence and how do you help them be more successful, and how do you be that conduit? And so it really bleeds across so many different relationships.
Dr. Ryan Darby: The core of the philosophy here is about bringing out the best in people. And so when we talk about incredible, we’re saying, “Hey, you should be an incredible parent. You should be incredible leader in your business, you should create incredible businesses as entrepreneurs.” And when you do that, you create in this incredible world, but we only do it when we take a lens of let’s look at strengths in each other, let’s look at where you’re the strongest and let’s use that natural talent and that enjoyment for life you have there, and let’s build on that. And I’ll tell you, it changes the world for families, it changes the worlds for our businesses as well.
Karla Nelson: Well, that’s super powerful Dr. Darby or Dr. Ryan is what I’m going to call you because we’re friends. But it’s the fact that that report card that we always got and what did we focus on? We got focused on what we didn’t do well, instead of what we did do well and remove the things that we don’t do and have the situation, or work, or desire, or whatever that might be in a situation, don’t make the people fit that. Identify what it is that you’re brilliant at and just be okay that that’s what you’re brilliant at. And you might not be good at the other things, instead of focusing on making our weaknesses better, which never works out and completely derails, and usually makes you feel pretty bad about the fact that you stink at something versus the fact that there’s some things that you just do super, super well and our kids the same.
Brandon Miller: And then when the kids do something amazing, that’s where we apply pressure, that’s where we get to call them up. My 13 year old son is a straight A student. So literally his report card, 103%, 108%, 101. So the other day he got a C on a test, and I was like, “What? What happened, buddy?” And so I’m chiding him a bit because he never gets a C on a test. He’s like, “Dad, no, I knew it all, I just misplaced some numbers.” I’m like, “Come on bud. This is…” And I’m chiding, but I’m pushing because that’s his genius, that’s where he’s strong, versus a child where they get a C and that’s really what they get to overplay that to over placing, “Why couldn’t you be more like your brother? Why can’t you be more like him?”
We introduce this comparison paradigm, and what it leaves adults feeling like is, “I’m never enough.” And so as this shifts, what we were excited about, I think Ryan, as we build is this idea of a generation launching out confident in who they are, expanded creativity in their minds with no ceiling, they can truly become the greatest of what they were meant to be.
Dr. Ryan Darby: And you know where it starts all of these things it’s same place in our organizations. If you want to change the culture of your organization, it starts with your leaders. And so in our homes, we are, as parents, are the leaders in our homes and it starts with us. So if we want these children to have all this amazingness to launch and be the people they can be, then we’ve got to start by focusing on who we can be, bring out the best in ourselves.
Karla Nelson: That’s so true, and that’s how it moves forward, right?
Dr. Ryan Darby: Yeah.
Karla Nelson: Generation after generation, it starts there. And that’s how you can support them later on because it’s interesting. Kids always think, “Oh, wow, adults, adults.” It’s like, no, we’re just big kids.
Dr. Ryan Darby: We’re just grown up toddlers.
Karla Nelson: Exactly.
Dr. Ryan Darby: That’s all we are.
Karla Nelson: In every aspect, and all of us that run a company knows that we are grownup toddlers. Well, share with us a little bit. I love your book, and also the fact that you’ve got this amazing assessment that I had the opportunity of going through as well. And you’ve got this packet on the frontend that has this strength assessment, the Incredible Parent’s strength assessment. So share a little bit with us about that.
Dr. Ryan Darby: Go ahead, Brandon, this is your baby. So Incredible Parent, Brandon, Analyn, his wife wrote this wonderful book together. So I’ll let you share and take that moment, man.
Brandon Miller: So I’ll say this about Incredible Parent. We wanted to give something to the world of parents. And when we use that term, we’re not just referring to parents of bio kids, we’re talking about that sacred relationship that someone has to help instruct and bring up a child in their path. And that child can be teens, or young adults, whatever that stage or age is. And so what we intended was to provide a way to identify what makes you as a parent, your very best self. What is your version of incredible? And let’s move you away from thinking about who you’re not. Finding yourself caught in, “Wow, I heard another great speaker on the topic of parenting, I read another great book and I’m trying to take their process and make it me,” only to have it land flat.
Instead, let’s pull out of you what’s best and great already there and make that the essence of your parenting. So in the book we tell stories of parents who are doing that, who are actually living this out and the amazing impact that they’re having, as they walk the talk, so to speak. And what we realized, and this is where Ryan’s partnership was so instrumental, is we wanted to give them the assessment where they could assess, “Well, what are my parenting strengths?” So there are 12 of them, and when you take the assessment, as you know, Karla will talk in a moment.
Karla Nelson: Let me tell you.
Brandon Miller: You get one through 12. So we like to say you have your super six. So those are the ones that probably today are the ones you’re most commonly using. And then we have what we call your supportive six. So we’re not intended to tell anyone you can’t do any of these because you do them all, you just do them in different degrees of success, different degrees of sustained excellence. And that is where we’re getting such great feedback from people saying, “Gosh, it’s the first book I’ve read where I don’t walk away feeling all the ways I’m wrong or bad, or I’m not doing it. And I walked away feeling like, hey, I have what it takes to be a great parent.” And that’s the gift of confidence that we hope to inspire with this book.
Karla Nelson: Nice. Love it. It was eye-opening and it was inspirational as well. And then, I was torn in the same way where I thought, “Oh wow, the same way that I’m a parent is the same way I’m a leader.” So it was awesome. You guys have done a great job, love it.
Dr. Ryan Darby: We actually teach a lot of trainings and webinars related to the relationship between your parenting and your leadership. It turns out they’re the same. The style and the way that you show up at work as a leader is often how you show up in the home. And so one of our underlying core principles that we teach leaders is you’ve got to live a full life, a whole life and have that consistency and strengths across everything. And you know how freeing that is for leaders. I mean, you work with entrepreneurs all the time, and a lot of entrepreneurs, they do one or two things, they’re either burning themselves out of their business and their business is everything, and their relationships with their family aren’t going well, or they’re a leader in every aspect of life, they’re bringing their best, and they got those things, they’re actually succeeding in both.
Karla Nelson: Well, and to realize the connection to all those things is really powerful. I think Brandon, you touched on that, is understanding what you’re great at, and then just leaning into that all in, regardless if you’re focusing on the parenting aspect, the leadership aspect. Let everybody else do what they do well and be okay, and sit in that space that, “I do this well, and I might not do that as well.” But let’s lean into what we are fantastic at, and let’s be aware of the things that we might be better at, but not beat ourselves up because we’re not that.
Brandon Miller: And actually when partners get into play. So the whole reality of my strength can compliment my partners. And partners can mean spouse, partners can mean caregivers, partners can mean your pediatrician, partners are broad.
Karla Nelson: And honestly, in business it’s so funny, we’ve worked with so many companies are like, “Oh yeah, well, we are only a team of four.” And then I have them write down all the people that are associated with the organization and they can come up with 25 other individuals. It’s like, those are your partners, lean on them, right?
Brandon Miller: That’s right, that’s right. And learning how we can compliment. So where I am not as strong. So for example, I am not strong an organizer as a parent, it’s my wife’s number one. And coming to terms with I’m so appreciative of that strength she brings. And now that I have a term and I understand it, and I can validate it and her likewise with some of my strengths. And so we’ve just found this amazing alliance that can begin to take place when I can respect and appreciate where you’re coming from. I mean, in our case it solved a ten-year argument, Karla In parenting, we both realized, “Oh my gosh, you’re that version? I’m this version, let’s be great at what we’re great at instead of trying to expect the other partner to become more like me.” And it’s a fantastic shift, but I think some of us in business, we get this right. I can’t ask my team members to replicate me, I have to ask them to be the best version of them, and this is where we see effective management, effective leadership plays right into the home.
Karla Nelson: Love it.
Dr. Ryan Darby: It’s actually a lot like what you do with Hoodoo, where you take these teams of all different people and you get them to own who they are, and then you respect and appreciate the others for what they’re bringing to the game.
Karla Nelson: The work that they do well, which could be completely different from yours. And a lot of times it causes conflict if you don’t understand it, instead of going, “Oh my gosh, I’m so excited that you do that well. And I appreciate that about you.” Versus a lot of times people want to be surrounded by people that are just like them, just like them. It’s like, well, but you have to have a balance and differentiation of what your Core Strengths are. And that’s really powerful, I really enjoyed that about the assessment.
And I also enjoyed just being acknowledged there was something I was good at. Because we’re hard on ourselves, especially if you’re, I would say anybody that’s been an entrepreneur, a business owner gone out on their own that we spend so much time focusing on what we’re not. Just like a parent, you can do the same thing. It’s like, “How can I be better?” Because you can never be, in most of our minds, “good enough.” So that, it was just incredibly reassuring in regards to I’m doing something right.
Dr. Ryan Darby: I remember your quote exactly after you took the assessment, I love it, and I wrote it down. And you’re like, “It just made me realize that I am a great parent.” Yes, yes, you nailed it, that’s exactly what we’re going for. And that’s why it’s called the incredible parent assessment, is we’re trying to help people like you, who are these amazing parents who are stuck in this cult of comparison and flip through the gram and seeing all these other perfect moms and dads out there who seemingly have everything together. And we’re like, “Why aren’t I that good?” And then you read the parenting blogs and you’re like, “Oh, I’m not doing any of those things.” And then what we wanted to say is, hey, throw out the cult of comparison and just realize that you’re incredible, and let’s discover why and make you even more incredible as you lean into things that bring you energy, and joy, and success in parenting.
Karla Nelson: Love it.
Dr. Ryan Darby: Did I sound cool and hip when I said the gram, instead of Instagram? That’s what I was going for, cool and hip.
Brandon Miller: You dropped the youth lingo. Well done.
Dr. Ryan Darby: That’s right.
Brandon Miller: So Karla, I’m very curious to hear your strikes. I’m very curious to hear what you came back with and to hear Dr. Ryan tell you all about him, if we don’t mind.
Karla Nelson: Go for it.
Brandon Miller: All right, so what are yours? What are your strengths? Do you have them Ryan?
Dr. Ryan Darby: Karla, I think you have your notes right there, right?
Karla Nelson: Yeah, I got my assessment of what it stated. You’re going to have to go through it and tell me exactly what it was. But the first one was inner strength and fortitude. The second one was intensity and an organizer. So basically get it all done and lift everyone up in the process. The third was a trainer, the fourth was inspiration.
Dr. Ryan Darby: So I remember talking to you about those. And I loved hearing, because Karla, you’re intense, right?
Karla Nelson: I had no idea.
Dr. Ryan Darby: You had no idea, like mover, shaker to the-
Karla Nelson: I could leave dead bodies behind me if I’m that terrible, right?
Dr. Ryan Darby: And what I loved about that is we see the same, you show up at home and at work and we have to respect that. And so when we see fortitude, so fortitude is that parent that does the right thing, even if it’s the hardest thing they’re doing it. They’re doing it, and they’re committed to it. They have the strong sense of that “I’ll sacrifice for my kids.” And so there’s this intensity that comes in with that, that says-
Karla Nelson: There was a quote that you said to me that, “We’re not parenting for today, we’re parenting for the future.” That stuck with me.
Dr. Ryan Darby: And that’s you, man. That’s you. I don’t have fortitude high. In fact, my wife does. And that’s our point of conflict, is she’s willing to do the hard things, and I’m like, “It’s past five, can’t we just let the kids take care of themselves. I’m tired. Let them watch TV all night.” But I love this, this fortitude strength that you’re saying, “You know what, today this is hard, but I’m doing it because in 10 years, 20 years, when they’re adults, I want the best for them. So I’m willing to do the hard things.” So much respect and love for that perspective.
Karla Nelson: Thank you, sir.
Dr. Ryan Darby: But also add in, we talked about your heart too, because you got a big heart in that’s a inspiration. So when you read that inspiration and just how it lifts and how it’s this big vision, big heart, what did that make you feel as a parent?
Karla Nelson: That it’s important, because I think sometimes people think, “Oh, that’s fluff,” or whatever, but we want the best for our kids and we want them to be inspired to do something good and to put their dent on the universe. And so I think it doesn’t get as much predit as I think that it should when we’re inspiring them to do what they love. So that’s one thing that definitely spoke to me.
Dr. Ryan Darby: And this is part of what the incredible parent assessment does for everybody, but it teaches them how to connect with their kids. And what I love about your inspiration when we talked… It was a coaching session, so I don’t want to overshare, but the thing that I walked away just feeling so intensely is that you have such big hopes for your kids, you want the world for them.
Karla Nelson: Good Lord, what are you doing to me, Dr. Ryan? Geez Louise. The crazy thing is I feel that for all my partners as well and my team members. It’s funny because the way you show up, like you said, it’s just in the same place. So I want that for everyone I have the opportunity to have a connection with.
Dr. Ryan Darby: And that’s strengths-based living. That’s like, “I’m strong and I’m going to show up at work strong. I’m going to show up in my home strong, and I’m going to connect with people authentically and deeply.” For you, what I really love is you bring this passion for the world, this energy for your parenting, for your business, and it’s all driven by heart. This fortitude isn’t just like, “I’m doing it because I want to, it’s doing it because I have something. I want something for the people around me, big hopes, big loves.” I loved seeing your report, it lifted me up, just reading and doing that with you.
Karla Nelson: I appreciate that. Well, and the other thing that I thought was really cool was identifying, okay, these are the things you’re brilliant at. And even though there might be some things that you’re not as good at to identify them, but not beat yourself up for them. And the other thing that I noticed was I have done this every day since our coaching session, when my kids come in the office to turn… So if you can go ahead and share-
Dr. Ryan Darby: Good for you.
Karla Nelson: I literally have number one, number two, number three, don’t turn away, turn towards them and make sure you give them your eye connection and your body connection when you can, otherwise just say, “Hey, I’ll be with you shortly.” Because it is super powerful, especially with today, with all of us working from home and working, honestly, more hours than we probably ever had just because everybody’s there and you’re not driving and whatnot. But if you could share a little bit about that, because I think leaders even in business could learn from that, have your open door policy, but even if it’s closed be present.
Dr. Ryan Darby: So when you think about parenting at its core and leadership, so these are on the same thing. They are two big things that we have to do. One is we have to set up expectations, we have to set boundaries, we have to set goals for our kids and/or the people we lead. And then the other side is we need authentic, real, warm, loving connections. And so what happens to a lot of leaders and with your strengths, because they are intense, you’ve got this fortitude, “I’m going to do the right thing.” And so when you’re in work mode, you’re like, “I’m going to get my work done. I’m in.” And this organizer, which is super, I would say, you need to close things, you need to get it done. And so it’s very intense and very focused, and a lot of us are like this.
Karla Nelson: The Law of Open Cycles Every Coin Carrier will know the Law of Open Cycles.
Dr. Ryan Darby: It’s there, you’re closing them. You’re like, “No, we got to close.” And so a lot of us who are at work or maybe at home, we have this where we’re just totally concentrated on the work in front of us, on the urgent. And then when our kids interrupt us, they’re rarely ever urgent, but they’re always important. And so one of the things that I suggest for people who have similar strengths to yours, or who struggle with this is a way of easily creating connection to your children is when they come and they give you what’s called a bid for attention, that means in some way they’re trying to say, “Hey mom, dad,” instead of sitting there and ignoring them, which is what’s called turning away, you actually turn towards them physically with your whole self, turn towards them, even if it’s just for a moment, face them with your eyes, with your face, with your body and connect with them for a second.
And you don’t have to stop work, this is important, you can say, “Honey, I’ll be with you in two minutes,” and then have integrity, be there in two minutes, or “I can’t, I’m in a meeting, I’ll come out whenever.” But you have to turn towards them. Now, when you turn away, which means you don’t acknowledge them, you try to ignore them or even turn against, which is like, “I’m busy, I’m busy,” the message that we send to our kids and our employees is that they don’t matter, there’s no warmth, no connection. In fact, you can predict the quality of relationships simply by how often somebody turns towards.
And if we’re not turning towards the people that we lead in our homes and in our businesses, what we’re doing is saying all that matters is the results that you give me, and there’s no connection there. And then eventually they’ll say, “Well, if all you care about is results and you don’t care about me, I’m going somewhere where I’m cared about.” And in our homes that’s devastating because what that means is that they’re going to their friends for all their emotional validation. And let’s be candid, their friends make terrible decisions in life. And so we don’t want that. We want that connection to last forever. And in our businesses what that means is they’re going to other companies, they’re leaving, they’re distancing.
Karla Nelson: Super powerful.
Dr. Ryan Darby: So I love that you’re turning towards.
Karla Nelson: So I’ve got my Incredible Parent notes here that I can also use in regards to working with our team members and working with our partners. And so Brandon, how can our viewers and listeners find out about this amazing book and also the assessment?
Brandon Miller: First place to go incrediblefamily.com, incrediblefamily.com is where you’re going to find all the things. You’ll get the assessment, you’ll notice where the book is. From there you can find retailers. So if people prefer to go to their favorite retailer, anywhere books are sold, you can find this book. Type in Incredible Family on Amazon, for example, or excuse me, Incredible Parents of the book we found there, but at Incredible Family you’re going to get a lot of that information Ryan’s describing of how might you connect with a coach? You could even hear about one of the other assessments that we have, which is how you find strengths in your little ones, in your kids, which is a whole other topic that’s coming up.
Karla Nelson: Well, we’ll definitely have to follow up with another podcast on that. So super excited. I love the beautiful work that you guys are doing, keep it up. We’ll make sure that all the hyperlinks are in the podcast and I just can’t wait for the next time we get together.
Dr. Ryan Darby: Thank you. So fun.
Brandon Miller: Thank you, Karla.
Karla Nelson: Yes, sir.