Speak-Up Culture: Building Psychological Safety And Trust With Stephen “Shed” Shedletzky

VCP 231 | Speak-Up Culture

In a culture that encourages authenticity, every spoken word becomes a catalyst for change. Stephen “Shed” Shedletzky joins us in this episode to talk about the importance of speaking up and creating a culture that values authenticity and empowerment. Stephen talks about how his fear of public speaking turned into a motivation to find his purpose. He explores the transformative power of embracing vulnerability, the importance of psychological safety, and the notion of what truly constitutes success. The discussion also reveals a sneak peek at Stephen’s newly released book, Speak-Up Culture: When Leaders Truly Listen, People Step Up. Tune in now and start your journey towards making your voice heard!


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Speak-Up Culture: Building Psychological Safety And Trust With Stephen “Shed” Shedletzky

It is my honor to introduce to my guest Stephen Shedletzky. He is called Shed to his friends, and that's going to make it a whole lot easier for us to introduce Stephen. He helps leaders make it safe and worth it for people to speak up. He supports humble leaders, those who know they are part of both the problems they experience and the solution they can create as they put their people and purpose first. A sought-after speaker, coach, and advisor, Shed has led hundreds of keynote presentations, workshops, and leadership development programs.

He's the author of the newly released bestselling book Speak-Up Culture: When Leaders Truly Listen, People Step Up. It's amazing. As a thought leader on psychological safety in the workplace and creating speak-up cultures where people and organizations thrive, he works with leaders around the world and serves clients in all industries where human beings work. He graduated from the Ivey Business School with a focus on leadership, communication, and strategy, and received his coaching certificate from the Co-Active Training Institute. He lives in Toronto, Canada with his wife and two children. I am so thrilled and honored to welcome you to the show.

I'm feeling the warmth, the flames, and the crackling of the wood. It's great to be here with you, Tony.

I'm so thrilled. This has been great. I have been following your journey to getting the book out in the world and even before the book. I love your vibe. I love what you are up to. I love what you do in the world but what I want to know is this story that led up to this amazing human being here doing all this amazing stuff in the world.

That's very kind. Thank you.

I want to spend some time and give you a space to create this opportunity to share with everyone a bit more about who you are through what we call flashpoints. Flashpoints are these moments in your life that have ignited your gifts into the world. You could have one or many. I'm sure you have got many. In a moment, I'm going to turn it over to you and let you share what you are called to share. Let's pause along the way and see what shows up.

Let's do it.

Let's take it away.

I love these flashpoints because I worked for many years with Simon Sinek and helped Simon and many others through the process of how to articulate your "why." The language we use or the way that I'm interpreting flashpoints are peaks and valleys. I'm such a believer that so much of our growth doesn't necessarily happen in those positive moments. It's also in those struggles. I envision this line of life and all these ups, downs, peaks, and valleys.


So much of our growth doesn't necessarily happen in those positive moments. It's also in those struggles.


As it relates to the book Speak-Up Culture, there are a couple of flashpoints that directly contributed to my writing this book and have influenced who I am and what I care about. One is growing up with a stutter. I have a speech impediment. I still have a stutter. I have learned how to work with it. I married a speech therapist. It's a good choice, more so for my children, nieces, and nephews than for me.

I knew from a very early age what it felt like to be voiceless and potentially have something to say but out of fear of failure, embarrassment, or not being able to get the word out, I remained silent. Even a few times when I tried to speak up, it ended with my tongue feeling like it was in a finger trap, and I couldn't get that word out. One big flashpoint for me was in grade six French class where we were snaking through the class, everyone taking turns reading something that wasn't our first language. That was a very nerve-wracking thing for me, reading in front of a class and reading not in my mother tongue.

I remember. As I sat in either the second to last or last row of the class, secretly I was praying that we would run out of time, and I wouldn't have to read aloud but as the probability of my turn to read increased, I began to chart which paragraph was probably going to be mine so I could quickly skim through what words I might have issues with and de-emphasize certain syllables or do anything that I could to freak myself out more.

As the voices got clearer, the sound of my heartbeat in my ears got louder. It was my turn to read, and it was going okay. It was going quite well until I hit the word très, which is the third word you learn in French. We all say, "Très bien." I couldn't say that word. It's a harsh-sounding word. It's a sound that I still to this day have trouble with. It was stuck after what felt like an eternity of silence. I'm sure it was only a few seconds.

My teacher said, "What's the problem?" I tried to force the word out once more. It didn't happen. I relinquished, gave up, and said, "Madam, I can't pronounce the word." She said, "You can't pronounce très. What joke are you trying to pull here? Suivante. Next." She skipped me, and I felt so embarrassed. I went up to her after and attempted to explain that I had a speech impediment. She didn't believe me. She thought I was trying to pull something.

I had known for 4 or 5 years at that point that I had a stutter but it never got too much in the way. It was at that point that I went home and said, "Mom, we have to get on top of this thing. Otherwise, it's going to dominate me and rule me forever." That summer, I went to the Speech and Stuttering Institute, which is an amazing institution that still exists. I got strategies and found a community and a way not only to work on my stutter and speaking habits but also to help others.

I was quite young. I was thirteen at the time. There was one other 14-year-old, and everyone else was 20 and up. I ended up forming a nice relationship with a 25 to 26-year-old guy who was bright, young, talented, and smart but couldn't get a job because he would buckle under the pressure of interviewing. He became my big brother, and I was his little brother. We would trade crib notes on how to help each other. That's one huge flashpoint in my life. I can keep going and share more but I'm happy to pause. I'm sure you might have some comments, questions, or thoughts.

We are off to an amazing start. I can't believe what you shared because it's this sense that the very thing that you needed to do is to speak up about your challenge, which took a lot of courage.

It's very meta too.

The key thing is you doing that and realizing that this is something that you are going to have to do a lot more in your life as you move on.

Here's the funny thing that I have learned about courage. In my experience in the moments in my life when I reflect, and I'm like, "That was courageous," or when I speak with others who are so clearly to me courageous leaders or acted with courage at a moment in their life, very few of us ever go, "I'm going to put on that courage button now. Here we go. Fire it up."

Any act of courage is we get to a point in our existence or experience where we can't not do something. It's as if there's no choice. I wasn't aware that I was being courageous. As you describe it back to me, I'm like, "It was." Courage for me is this enigma. Courage is this thing that is a lot easier for us to see in others than it is for us to see in ourselves, which is beautiful.

That's so brilliant that you say it that way because it's almost like this internal force that drives us where we can't take our situation any longer, and we pull into the direction of doing something but we don't know it until it's already happened that we were courageous. It'so amazing that you did that because the other gentleman you saw went his entire life probably suffering with that and feeling small and feeling like he had to deal with this thing that made him look like he was flawed.

We all are but what do we do with those flaws? How do we either work on them or work around them unless they rear their ugly head and get in the way?

Let's continue on the journey. I would like to hear more about what happened next. What's the next flashpoint you want to share?

I will keep going in order. Why not? I ended up getting some amazing tools. I built some confidence. If I'm honest, I realized my stutter wasn't as bad as some others, which gave me a little bit of guilt but also made me feel quite grateful. I had some skills and tools. The next summer, I resumed my regularly scheduled programming and went to an overnight summer camp North of Toronto in a place called Haliburton, Ontario, Camp White Pine. I happened to be in the section Gnu but the G is silent.

Every section at camp has its performance, whether it's the Blue Dolphin's rendition of Rent, or what you do when you are at Gnu. You do toward the end of the summer a Saturday Night Live skit where you do a gag performance, making fun of stuff in a wonderful and jestful way. I love improv and comedy. We did a rendition of Singing in the Rain to Pooping in Boys Maine. It was wonderful. I had a lot of fun. There was a ton of creativity and wonderful self-expression.

That evening, you eat dinner early, go up to the theater, and get ready to perform. When the rest of the camp eats dinner, oftentimes a small group of performers from the show come and do a live commercial to invite everyone up to the mandatory evening program that they don't have a choice whether they can come to anyway or not. It's this whole fun promo skit that you do, and because I had a decently prominent role in the performance that night, I along with two others, were invited.

We sat outside the dining hall in this grassy area that I can picture in my mind's eye and practiced this little skit. I couldn't pronounce the name of the character I was playing. It was stuck. We kept trying to practice, and I kept stuttering and getting nervous because I was about to go into a dining hall with 450 kids plus staff. My worst nightmare was coming to life there. The staff member, Lauren, who brought us down to rehearse the skit was like, "What's gotten into you? What's wrong?"

We run out of time. It's our turn to go up, and it's my turn to speak and do my bit. I still stutter over the name of my character. Ironically, the person I was playing because we were all playing a staff member or camper in the camp was someone who shares my last name but we are not related. We come from the same town in Poland 3, 4, or 5 generations ago. I couldn't pronounce my last name. I forced it out.

It was both awful and one of the best moments in my life because I messed up. I did the thing that was my worst fear. Either no one noticed or no one cared, and I didn't die. My worst nightmare came to life. My sister was there. I asked her after, "Did you notice?" She was like, "Not really." It was brilliant. I was like, "It can't get much worse than that." I did the performance that evening. It was a blast. I remember the feeling of jubilation, joy, and being on cloud nine. It's such a peak experience from a valley of awful to amazing all in the span of a few hours. That's another flashpoint of my worst nightmare coming to life, and I didn't die.

It's what we need more of. We need to have those moments that put us on edge and create this element of, "What's the worst that's going to happen if I try that or do this thing?" Unless you are doing something potentially life-threatening, I do not advise people to do that but it's great to put yourself on the edge of your growth zone.


It's great to put yourself on the edge of your growth zone.


The phrase that came to mind when you were sharing this is, "You lean into the skid." Here you are, somebody who for all intents and purposes would not want to get into drama or get on stage because of the fear of getting it wrong and people not responding well but you talk for a living on stage. Here you are at a very young age doing that. You didn't run away from that. You leaned right in and said, "Here I am. I'm going to do what I can." Maybe in some ways, you welcomed not the criticism but welcomed people in to say, "This is who I am."

When I felt comfortable and was among friends, I was always outgoing and gregarious but when I was younger, not as much in front of groups. This was one of the first experiences of trying it out because I enjoyed it. It made me feel fully alive. It's an interesting experience.

This is an early stage of your life. What had you thinking, "This is something I want more of." It was a great experience. You enjoyed it but what happens next thahas you leaning into the work you are doing now? What were some of the moments along the way that have defined who you are?

When I was at college in my first year, I did what a lot of young men would do. I'm like, "Everyone is rushing fraternities." I rushed to a fraternity and went to a few events. I'm like, "This is awful. I don't want to be treated like scum because they were treated like scum. That's the hierarchical rite of passage BS." My friends and I ended up refounding a chapter that had been on campus. In my first year in college, I was a president of a fraternity, which was hilarious. When you are in a role like that, I was flung into speaking opportunities and roles to promote this event. I didn't enjoy speaking. It terrified me.

There was one time when I asked my chemistry professor if I could promote an event that we were doing. We were showing an early screening of a movie to raise money for the Alzheimer's Society, a cause that's near and dear. She said yes. This was a 500-person auditorium class. I went up and gave my 45-second spiel with a slide. It was a projector screen. I put down the clear thing. I wasn't breathing, and I felt my face getting red and my heartbeat going again. My leg started to shake but the real turning moment for me was three years after that, I was in my last year of undergrad.

I was in a great business program at the Ivey School of Business. I had a professor who changed my life forever for the better by the name of Dr. Denis Shackel. He's a Kiwi. He is still with us. I'm in touch with him often. He showed me and created an experience where I felt fulfilled. The way I define fulfillment is using our strengths to contribute to something bigger than us. It's purpose in action.

I took the Shackel Trifecta. I took every single class that I could take of his. One of his classes was a public speaking class, Advanced Presentation Skills. At the end of the first class, he showed Martin Luther King Jr's I Have a Dream speech and said, "Your assignment for the next class is to prepare a five-minute talk and deliver it with as much passion as Dr. King," which is no small order.

I was sitting next to my friend Alex. I remember having this feeling inside knowing that there's only one thing that I could speak about with as much passion, which is overcoming my fear of public speaking. I'm Canadian, and the school is in Canada. There were people who spoke of their love of curling or their favorite hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, and why they hate themselves. There was one person who spoke about their love of Baskin-Robbins' mint chocolate chip ice cream.

I went up there, and I remember that I practiced my speech a bunch. I did it in the shower that morning. I did it in the bathroom stall. I practiced, went up, and shared this five-minute speech sharing the moment of not being able to say, "Très," and sharing this universal fear. Whether English isn't our first language, whether we have a speech impediment, or whether we have a pulse and we are human, public speaking is a universal fear.

In that moment of sharing those five minutes, I remember the feeling of my feet on that carpet. I remember a few people in that class. I remember this feeling that I was saying something, and it was having an emotional or a visceral impact on others. I remember having that out-of-body experience, "This is helpful or good. I feel alive, and I get the sense that I'm serving." That was the moment where I was like, "I need to do more of that." I had done some public speaking and shared some events in this and that but it was the first time I shared something deeply personal with the intent to serve and help others, and it was glorious.

I viscerally felt that when you described it. It's this sense of true and honest emotion that you had. It's funny because oftentimes we remember the early days of our presentations, "I was so nervous doing this or that." When we were in the corporate world during those periods, maybe we were so nervous because we didn't have a passion for the thing we were doing but when we found the thing that we were truly passionate about. We are like, "I could talk about this all day," then you start to realize, "I have hit a nerve for me, and I have to feel it first before I can make anyone else feel it." What you described is that sense of resonance between you and your audience, and then you realize, "I can do this all day. I can do this all the time, and I want to do it all the time."

Anyone can give a speech at their kid's wedding but it's pretty easy to feel the passion there and be compelling.

I want to switch gears a little bit. Here you are feeling this emotional connection with speaking but I want to hear about what made the switch to psychological safety and getting into this particular line of work and what led to the book itself so you can draw that connection because I would love to talk about the book as well.

That's where we are on the timeline. I ended up graduating. I started my first day at my first corporate gig ever, which was a rotational management program at a big oil and gas company. I wasn't passionate about the industry but it was a "leadership development program." I neglected to ask them how they define the term because as it turns out, there's no standard definition of leadership, which there should be. For me, leadership meant service. For them, leadership meant title. I'm more on the side of leadership as a behavior rather than leadership as a title.

VCP 231 | Speak-Up Culture


On my first day at my first corporate job, one thousand people were let go post-merger. I was walking in as many more folks were walking out with boxes in hand. I saw firsthand the impact of uncertainty, lack of transparency, and leaders who were far more in self-preservation mode than service mode. On the whole, I experienced one leader in particular who was my direct manager who was months away from retirement, and he was one of the most courageous leaders I have ever seen. He laid it all on the line to fight for his people and their future because he had nothing to lose. It was brilliant.

I distinctly remember that there was a colleague who sat in the cubicle across from me. I was days into my new job, and she had 37 years in this company. She showed up every single day, terrified that her pink slip would arrive next. I saw the impact of that tumultuous, unknown, uncertain, and fearful environment not just on her work productivity but on her physical and mental well-being. I saw higher incidences of cancer and car accidents. I started my career in a hurricane. I'm grateful that it was my first job and not something I had been in for decades. It was a rude awakening.

When you go through school, it's like, "You are on level six. Do these things, and you can get to level seven. If you do it in this way, you get an A or a 424." It's like climbing up a staircase, and then you enter into your career. Instead of it being this very clean staircase, you are in this spiraling parking garage. You are in an episode of Seinfeld. You thought you were on P7 but you are on P4, and you are like, "What is happening here?"

That rude beginning of my career made me question myself. It was terrifying. By about five or so months in, I began to realize that I cared about employee engagement, fulfillment, and enjoying our work and ourselves. I began to feel demotivated. The first person I made wrong was me, "What's wrong with me? Why am I not motivated?" versus, "Why is this environment, role, or organization perhaps not the best for me?" That was the beginning of my career. At that point, I was introduced to Simon Sinek's work.

I want to pause there and say that I love that you have this focus on fulfillment. It's one of the things that I focus on. I loved your definition earlier, which was spot on. It's interesting how a lot of us who navigate in that path of our careerstart to see, "I have to ride it out. I have to deal with it because this is the way it is." What is amazing, and although you probably look back and say, "It sucked," is you got a strong wake-up call. Someone opened up the door to the top floor, and you were like, "I got a peek inside of what it's going to be like a few years down the road." It woke you up to the realization that it's not a fair world out there. It's not a place of rainbows and unicorns.

We have got a place that can be chaotic. Chaotic is a word I use a lot because I'm always talking about trying to be grounded and calm in the chaos of the world. How can we create leaders like that? In reality, you were put into a chaotic situation, and you had to find your way out, "How can we create a calmer and more intentional environment? How can we be better? How can we lead better? How can we get out of that tornado?" I loved the way you described it. Finding Simon was a beautiful moment but you already had a Master's class in what you have learned in the workplace.

You and I are both in the public speaking world and the coaching world. If it's in the context of being in an organization, look to the folks more senior to you or look to the folks that you are like, "I'm following their trail." If you look up, and you are like, "No, thanks," you are probably on the wrong path unless you feel you can do it differently. You are right that I was in this moment, and as the months rolled on in that job, I realized, "This is not the path I want to be on," which was hard because it was my first gig out of business school.

This is another flashpoint. I had a very visceral moment. I was sitting in my cubicle. This would have been the winter or spring of 2010. My grandfather is a huge inspiration of mine. In 2010, he would have been 94. He lived until 98 and 11 months to the day. The day we moved into this house was the day that he passed away. He lived a mere eight minutes away. I remember sitting in my cubicle and having this reflection moment, "What's it all for?" I have two questions. I thought, "What was my grandfather doing at this point in his life?" He's a huge inspiration of mine, and I will share why.

The other is I said, "What would success in my life be?" I had these two questions. I don't know if I wrote it down. I probably did because I like to write. It helps me lock in my thoughts. The answer to the first question is my grandfather was either at that time in a prisoner of war camp in Germany as a Polish soldier, or he had escaped and he was already in hiding in rural countryside Poland from Nazis as a Jew. My grandfather ended up surviving the war, surviving the Holocaust, and saving a group of 7, which then became 5, and because of his heroism, I have a life. My uncle has a life. My father has a life.

I feel an immense gratitude toward him. He ends up moving to Toronto, Canada. I'm born. I reflected on all that he had sacrificed in his life to give me life and give me a shot at this thing. I had this very clear realization moment that I can't waste my life, and I have to take risks. I'm so lucky. At the time, I was still living at my parents' home. I convinced myself, "Maybe if I move out of my parents' house and pay rent, I will be happy." I'm glad I didn't do that. Leaning into his journey has given me to this day that I have to do everything in my power to make the most use of the life that I have been gifted, which isn't around my success. It's around what I can contribute and give to others.

VCP 231 | Speak-Up Culture


That was one. Here's the other answer to the question of, "What is success? What would a successful life be?" For some reason, I had this vision of being in nature, sitting outside with grass and a campfire for this conversation, and being with my kids and their kids all outside together, multiple generations enjoying each other. If I look at it now, it's so much of what my parents have now, which is so wonderful to be able to follow the path that they have modeled. That was another big moment of clarity that gave me the courage and clarity of what success in my life could look like and feel like.

I'm so taken aback by what you shared because first of all, it's a beautiful sentiment. I have had a few times when people mentioned how their first flashpoint was before they were born and this element of, "If it wasn't for the people before me, I wouldn't be here." I love the way you shared how important it put your life in perspective to look back and realize how precious our lives are.

It makes you appreciate how you look forward and say, "Me being here and what I want to project forward from here is important too." It's such a great sentiment. A lot of us need to be questioning ourselves about what we want. A legacy might be a little overdone. People often talk about legacy but what do we want our legacy to be? It's answering the question, "What does success look like?"

As long as you use a definition of success, which includes contribution and service because if your definition of success is about possessions, accumulation, title, and climbing, when you retire or die, people will say, "Good riddance." There's only legacy if you have lived a life of service. It doesn't need to be Mother Teresa or Gandhi's scale. It can be, "I am who I am because of that person." That's legacy.

I could talk to you all day. We have so many things I want to cover but I do want to get to the book because I loved your book. It was a master's class. Psychological safety has been touched on by so many others. A big hat tip to Amy. Amy Edmondson is a rockstar and an amazing person but I want to get into your take on the Speak-Up Culturewhat it is about the book that you think is so important, and why we need this message.

Thank you. The book is semi-autobiographical. One is growing up with a stutter and having that feeling. I ended up joining Simon Sinek and his team because of that flashpoint moment at that first job, having clarity and discovering Simon's work. It was introduced to me. I did another quick stint at a consulting company that I ended up doing a lot of work with in the years following to help them feel more engagement, fulfillment, and purpose, which is awesome. It's very full circle.

VCP 231 | Speak-Up CultureI ended up having these amazing ten years on Simon's team. I grew a ton. There were peaks and valleys in that experience as well as there would be with any career path. I had this amazing career and experience on Simon's team. When you work for a prolific author like that, you would get a question now and then, "When are you going to write your book?"

My answer was always, "If and when I ever come across something worth writing about." I never wanted to write a book because that's what keynote speakers need to have in the back of the room. That to me is the definition of a book that does not need to exist and a waste of paper and time. I only would write if I came across something that I felt was worthwhile.

I began to reflect and had experiences over the span of my now fifteen-year-plus career of moments where I was part of a team where I could say there's a speak-up culture, and even seeing teams transformed to having a speak-up culture and then losing it because the leaders, the behaviors, and the values changed in that team as well.

I'm a huge fan of psychological safety but even Amy herself admits it's not the best term. The reason she uses that term is because there was a reviewer reviewing one of her papers early in her career, and the reviewer said to Amy in feedback, "You are describing psychological safety." To which she said, "If it gets me published, it sounds good." It doesn't describe what it is. There are a lot of syllables. My feelings about it and so much of the work on psychological safety up until recently have been highly academic. We put this academic lab coat on a very deeply human, emotional, and personal thing.

I wanted to rebrand psychological safety. At first, I started calling it listen-down, as in great leaders listen down within their organizations but down is a negative term. It also feels authoritative, pedantic, and hierarchical. It was Sue Barlow who worked closely with Jim Collins on Good to Great. I had Speak Up in the subtitle, and she was like, "Call it speak-up culture." I'm like, "That's brilliant. Thanks for speaking up."

Good old Zig Ziglar said, "People don't buy drills. They buy holes." I thought, "If psychological safety is the drill, what you get is a speak-up culture, and we want a speak-up culture, an environment in which it feels safe and worth it to share ideas, opinions, feedback, concerns, disagreements, mistakes, and all the things, believing it will lead to improvement, not being ignored, or not being punished."

As I delved into it, I realized that there are two axes. It's not just psychological safety that creates a speak-up culture but it's also this other less-explored question, "Is it worth it?" I realized that the phenomena of creating a speak-up culture are these two questions, "Is it safe to speak up? Is it worth it?" Ideally, it feels both. It's never without fear of speaking up.

For anyone who says, "Leaders eradicate fear," they don't. They are not superhuman. Leaders create less fear but leaders cannot eliminate fear. I harp against the term fearless leader. If they truly come across as fearless leaders, they are dangerous. Fear is biological. We should all feel fear. If you don't feel fear, something is wrong with you. Leaders feel fear, use it as data, and then choose how to pursue, fight, flight, freeze, or whatever it might be.


Leaders create less fear but leaders cannot eliminate fear.


It was this experience of working with clients and seeing this myriad of teams that made me feel there was something here, even having moments in my career and life where I spoke up, and it went great, and having moments in my career and life where I spoke up, and all of a sudden, I was the problem. There was gaslighting, toxic positivity, and all the things. That was the impetus to write this book.

Early on in the writing process, I shared the first three chapters with a friend of mine who's a professor at U of T, Tiziana Casciaro, who wrote the book Power, for All, and she said to me, "Are you writing different things? Are you writing things differently?" It's so good that I kept it on this cue card right here. I thought at the moment that I was writing things differently.

As I delved in, I realized I made the mistake of sharing the book with Adam Grant. I said, "It's original. Why did you tell Mr. Original that you think it's original?" Adam was lovely about it. I have written this book, which is like, "This is my leadership curriculum." I pull in the work of Kim Scott, Susan David, and Rich Diviney and create my leadership development in a book. I did include some original ways of looking at a speak-up culture as well as going beyond only psychological safety.

That's well-said, not only because it is a blending of all these different things coming together but it's also how you deliver it that makes a difference and the unique stories that you are bringing. No one can do it like you. If write a book, no one can do it like me. That's what often gets in the way of people putting their thoughts out in the world, not speaking up for themselves. They feel as though, "Someone else will say it. Someone else has said it. I will wait," but we need people to speak up and say, "This is what I think. This is how I want to say it." It doesn't mean you have to write a book. It means that if you have a thought that's important and will contribute, don't be afraid.

One of my favorite Simon Sinek quotes is, "Every overnight success is ten years in the making." It's the concept of the 10,000 hours and whatever it is. If you want to find your voice and use your voice, you have to go on the journey of exploring what might your voice be. The more reps that you get, whether it's writing, speaking, or anything, the better off. Get to it and work on that voice, especially if you have something to say and something bigger than yourself to stand for.

We are running very short on time but I have one last question I'm going to ask.

We will do part two and do a longer session.

There's one last question. What are or books that have had an impact on you? Why?

The first one that comes to mind is Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning. Coming from the past that I come from, I'm a huge believer aided by that book that the two most powerful human forces in our existence are hope and each other. If we have hope, the belief that tomorrow can be better, and then other people, anything is possible.

I love that book. There's something about it that touches everyone in some way. Is there any other book that you want to mention?

Two others that were hugely influential are Simon Sinek's Start with Why, which led to me working with him for over a decade, and Adam Grant's Give and Take. That book has probably been the most impactful book on my career and life. It's how helping others drives your success. I love that.

It's funny you mentioned both Simon and Adam. Both of them have mentioned at one point that there was a rivalry between the two but how amazing would it be to see the two of them team up and do something like a collaboration together? Let's plant that seed and see what will transpire.

Simon has had Adam on his podcast, A Bit of Optimism. It was fun.

I have to start by saying this was so amazing. I'm so grateful for all the insights and stories. You have made my week or maybe my year. I'm grateful for you coming to the show.

Thank you. That is very kind. It has been fun. We have been circling each other on LinkedIn circles, and it's great to be talking at the same time. Thanks for the work that you do as well. I'm pumped to stay in touch.

Before I let you go, I want to make sure people know where to find you. What's the best place?

I'm the only Stephen Shedletzky in the entire world. All you handfuls of Shedletzkys out there, please name your children wisely. I'm always a Google search away. I'm most active on LinkedIn. If you want to learn more about my work and the book, head on over to SpeakUpCulture.com.

Thank you again. Thanks to the audience for coming on the journey. I know you are leaving inspired and ready to speak up to the world. Grab Stephen's book. It's amazing. Consume all of his great stuff out in the world.


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