Without discomfort, there can be no growth… EP #158 - Den Lennie

podcast video business Feb 18, 2021

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Today, Den tells wild tales and drops gems like they are going out of style! To say this episode has some value is like saying Warren Buffett has a few bucks.

Here's a sneak peek at what you'll hear: 

  • Why discomfort and growth go together like Han Solo and Chewbacca. – 00:50
  • A startling statistic that proves people avoid discomfort like Golddiggers avoid prenups. - 1:10
  • A common mindset "quirk" that explains why most people give up on their goals far too early. - 3:55
  • Den's blood-curdling mountaineering story that ends with him being helicoptered off the tallest mountain in Europe. Den's life-changing tale starts at 5:30
  • What a doctor told Den that turned Den's career upside-down. - 10:20
  • How Den went from a lowly warehouse worker to owning a share in the company! - 13:35
  • Den's sneaky (and very clever) reason for taking a sales job back in the day. - 16:30
  • The absolute worst mindset to have when selling. - 18:20
  • Den gives a rundown of his entire business career in under 30-seconds! (From his days of living in a garage while working for the BBC, right up to his successful coaching business here in the Land Down Under. Sheesh. He's been a busy boy! - 18:50)
  • Thinking of moving overseas? Then heed Den's wise advice at 20:00
  • The little-known “P-n-D” method for getting customers. But don't get too excited, this method involves two things that are like Kryptonite for most creatives. Get the full scoop at 21:20
  • The “7-letter word” every business lives or dies by. You're either doing well at this or not. Hear this oh-so-important word at 22:00
  • Two types of people that are rife in the video industry. Hopefully, you're not either one. - 23:00
  • Den leans into the mic and throws down the gauntlet to his listeners. Listen up at 24:10 folks!
  • Two Columbian lawyers who will inspire the hell outta you. - 24:30
  • Advice for lonely people you've never heard. - 25:00


Connect with Den on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/denlennie/
Get more great resources over at https://www.denlennie.com/ 


Episode Transcription

Den Lennie (2s):
Good day, guys! Den, Lennie here host of the how to scale a video business podcast coming to you this week on the usual place in Noosaville here in Queensland, Australia with episode 158 of the how to scale a video business podcast. They really are ramping up. So I I'm, what does it go back over some of my archives and just talk a bit about some of this stuff we've we shared with our members and some of the mindset shifts that I feel are going to really benefit you if you are trying to Scale a Video business right now.

Den Lennie (43s):
And today, it's a topic of discomfort because Without discomfort that just simply can't be any growth and it's just not possible to draw without pain, without breaking something and then repairing it. So, you know, I want to just talk about something that's really a very personal to me and, and, and there's no judgement in this, but it's a really interesting observation than that is that, you know, that 88% of the population live within three to five miles of where they grew up. I just find that to be a staggering statistic.

Den Lennie (1m 24s):
Now, if you're in the other 12%, that there has to break with the States as core and start a business, then you ready. You know, you are already on the back foot as far as fitting in goals because you know, and it's the 12th percent who moved away and do something unusual that I feel is where the growth is. So if you are trying to grow a business, you're already at a disadvantage because the majority of people around you potentially all think the same way. And if they are part of that 88%, who don't feel like the want to grow beyond where the grew up. And so to grow a business, you need to think differently.

Den Lennie (2m 5s):
As a Steve jobs says, you need to be prepared to ride out discomfort. You know, the more you do in your life that brings discomfort. Then the more conscious your decisions you'll make, and it will be to take on risk. And that may not involve a brilliant outcome for you, or it may involve some risk-taking. But if you're willing to do that, then the more likely you are to succeed. Just think about that for a minute. What if that feeling of discomfort it's actually what you need in order to grow stronger? And the more resilient think about that, you know, when you break a leg, he was stronger because it's been broken, the callus, Hughes the leg stronger, and it makes you stronger.

Den Lennie (2m 53s):
So I'd been reflecting on this as I do often add in a lot of different areas of my life. I'm always optimizing life going on. Am I actually doing stuff that really makes me happy? Or am I spending my time in a space with people that really fill me up and lift me up? Or am I walking with people who are bringing me down? And I'm fortunate that I get to work with amazing people and that's because it's been a choice, but I think its really important to invest time in reflecting on where you are and where you're going. Because if you're not making conscious decisions, then you're not actually running your life. You are letting external forces run it for you. I speak to a lot of people who complain that life's been tough and the last year its it's been challenging for sure, but that's also been an enormous opportunity and I have seen businesses to thrive and grow at a time when others are kind of complaining that they're not getting enough for the handout.

Den Lennie (3m 47s):
So when was the last time you checked in with yourself to see if you are still aligned with who you are today? Not who you are a five years ago. 'cause a lot can change in five years. I think it is Tony Robbins. He said, you know, most people overestimate what they can achieve and a year, but wildly underestimate what they can achieve at five. So what decisions have you made or not made in the past that may have directly impact the outcome of your life significantly? So I want to tell you a story about my life. It was back in 2001 and nearly 20 years ago in September that I took the job that it evolved climbing a mountain Mont Blanc and Chamonix its the highest mountain in Europe.

Den Lennie (4m 32s):
And the project was the film, a couple of guys who were going to Paris and all of the summit. I mean, you know, looking back its kind of crazy, you know, but at the time I was also offered a gig as a freelancer filming inside of Spain. And it was a holiday program that was going to be a very easy week of filming and nice restaurants in great food shooting, nice scenery and really quite a gentle a week. But my mate Pat dial rang me and he said, Hey Den, I've got this gig or some crazy guys want to climb Mont Blanc, which was the highest mountain in Europe. And they went to Paris end of the summit and be the first people to ever Paris' end of this summit. Do you want a film it? And my immediate response was shit. Yeah, let's do it. I'd never climbed a mountain before to that degree. And I thought what an amazing achievement would be to get on the top of that mountain, standing on top of where my mate, Pat and celebrate.

Den Lennie (5m 20s):
So that was it off we went, you know, it was a, I was a 30, maybe 30, 30, 30 years old. And I was like, Hey, I'm on I'm you know, I'm, I'm, I'll give it a go, you know, whatever. And now unfortunately on the very first day, the gravity of the job hit me and to get down to the base of the merded glass, which was the glacier and you have to climb down the vertical cliff face on some metal ladders that are basically bolted into the side of the cliff. And you know, if you want to check this out, look just a Google map of the glass and look up the ladders. There are pretty scary.

Den Lennie (6m 1s):
Now I have a 15 kilogram Beta cam SX camera on my back in a backpack. And I claimed down these ladders and absolutely bricked it, it was, it was actually very, very scary at that point. I realized this wasn't going to be a walk in the park, but I was already committed. So I just have to kind of crack on with it. But later on that day we'd been doing lots of filming on the ice and that we had to learn how to use crumbles. We actually had to train on ice training to learn how to walk on the ice before we could claim the mountain and then crampons or like out of metal spikes, you put it on the bottom of your feet and the grip on the ice.

Den Lennie (6m 41s):
Now I'm going to be completely honest. I was not feeling at all confident on the ice. I remember distinctly thinking, well, I'll just get practicing on this little slope and put the camera down at this stage. And I saw it started to kind of climbing out this a little slope and I kind of got really terrified actually, because I was like, Oh, this is actually really scary. And I remember that guy is saying, Hey, I'm not too high. And that that point I want to term. And I dug my heel in, which I know, I know in retrospect is the wrong thing to do on cramp crampons. And I slid down the slope. The next thing I find myself sliding down those slope, just, just ice. And I get to the bottom and I clear this crack.

Den Lennie (7m 22s):
And I fall over it. And I hit my very, my right ankle, a very, very hard and the smoke or valves and it flipped me over and it literally snap my ankle there. And then that one moment, one micro-decisions moment to get that little slope changing my life forever. And I know I was in agony on a helicopter arrived. Paramedics came out they filled with morphine, hit my leg in a splint and I'm a helicopter. But to me off the mountain and just went up to me off of my harness, quite a dramatic exit. And it turns out I'd broken it into two places. And so we just have to fit pens on a plate.

Den Lennie (8m 4s):
in my ankle and in my bone. I was in one of the best hospitals in Chamonix, if not the best place in Europe for that kind of surgery. So I got patched up pretty well and pretty quickly by experts who do this every day. But I had a six month recovery where I didn't work. I couldn't work. And during that time I pretty much got bored. And so as soon as my cast was off, I decided not to set around the house, but actually get on a plane in Good travel to Thailand from a month. And that's what I did. And my Sergeant was like, yeah, do it. It's fine. And so, you know, again, just a broken leg, just a lot of caste I'm hobbling around with it, but that support bondage, I get on a plan with a back pack and go to Thailand. Coz I was living in the UK at the time, it was like, Whoa, I can stay here in the rain.

Den Lennie (8m 47s):
All I can go and turn it in Thailand from a month and the new tools and just chill out. So I've always been someone who makes decisions quite quickly and just does it, you know, I don't really think on that daring, but I don't really see barriers and I decide to do something. I do something. So what's interesting as I got back to work six months later, and this was six months into my freelance career. So it was pretty, pretty crazy. I had them and it had some insurance in place that really helped. And some, some, you know, an illness cover for, if he, if you hurt yourself at income protection and which may be worthwhile having, and if you're a freelancer, then definitely get income protection insurance.

Den Lennie (9m 28s):
But I go back to what, six months later, and then the following year for about 18 months actually I was, I was doing fine and it was all good, but I was filming in South Africa with PAA again, actually, umm, and my legs just doesn't feel quite right. We were shooting a show as a pilot for a show called a place in a summer home or a way in the pilot. We shot in Cape tone. And so I kind of came back up. I wasn't a feeling quite right. So actually not a specialist. And he basically says, well you have developed arthritis, which is something that can happen when the leg break. It happened at the moment of impact, but it doesn't necessarily come on for another two years. And he said, what do you do for a living? I said, well, I'm a TV camera man. And at that point in his words, well while not any more, you're not just like that or my career was Dunn or so I thought so certainly carrying 10 and a half kilos camera and in broadcast TV man, that was at the end of my career in TV, which was a pretty damning D.

Den Lennie (10m 27s):
I mean, that's, that's why I love to do that. What I'd done since, since the age of six, you know, we want it to be a T V cameraman, but on the flip side it was an opportunity and, or, you know, while I was feeling frustrated by the situation that I was also increasingly frustrated with her or the TV industry is going, and I was finding that, you know, more and more challenging to work with less experienced directors, the rates were declining, the days were getting longer and you were kind of expected to pull productions together with less experienced directors. And so in many ways you could argue it happen for a reason. Now that the reality of that situation was that the injury and lack of income put me in a position when I racked up quite a lot of debt, I probably racked up to 35,000 pounds with the debt, just living in paying a mortgage for six months.

Den Lennie (11m 17s):
And when you went at the time, he was out at about 70,000 pounds a year. So it kind of makes sense if you're not working at all, but you know, I didn't know what else to do. I mean, I had this, this very well paid relatively career in television that I could no longer physically do. So all of these things were lessons, you know, based on the decisions I had made. So with extreme ownership, everything that was happening to me was happening to me for a reason, the decision to go up the mountain and not the beach and put my life in a different course. That was my decision. The decision to go a little bit higher than I should have gone on the Mount. And it was a poor decision because I ended up my ankle. And when I was told I could no longer be a cameraman.

Den Lennie (11m 57s):
And I was like, well, what am I going to do now? So I started walking out, what was that going to do? And I started doing the usual things that while I could, I can shoot weddings as a photographer and studied photography at university, I thought about doing, you know, anything that, any kind of photography that we'd kind of get me to be in front of a camera and you know, but it, it, I was trying to stay tied to the visual arts that I've been involved in. And, and it just something that wasn't really working, it just wasn't feeling right. So I actually was talking to a guy, John Brandon, who are used to hire my gear from it pro com and he said, well, look, you know, we've actually got a job in the warehouse.

Den Lennie (12m 44s):
It was probably not what you want, but if you want a job and I'm like, I'll take it. So I went back into that company, having been a client in to becoming the warehouse manager. So I was like, well, how do I set myself some targets to turn this around and make this kind of, you know, fun for me, an interesting, and so I want it to figure it out, how we could make the warehouse more effective, more efficient, how can we package the gear better? I had all of this experience and saw that you might think that moving into our warehouse, Raul was not great for me, but you've got to flip it on his head and say, well, how can I make this work? How can I take this experience I have and make it work for me and make something better?

Den Lennie (13m 25s):
And that's what happens. No, I did that job for two, two and a half years. And then we ended up actually in the business development role is in fact I probably do the warehouse for less than a year because it was very, very quickly realized that I had this unique set of skills that I knew how to package gear for kit and, and, and shoots. I knew what we needed and what we didn't. And I knew it was nice to have, but I can also liaise with production. Manager's who said, we've got this budget, where do you think we should do with it? And so I, I got promoted And and we brought an above a million pounds with a new business in a couple of years. And through my connections, we ended up actually supplying all of the QIT and all of the vans for a place in the sun place, in the sun home, or a way that anybody was like six vans out in that job to Vann's in Europe for like 13 weeks a year, we did a whole host of other big projects and including your helping a scrappy challenged regear up.

Den Lennie (14m 21s):
And so, you know, I even ended up with a share of the company because I'd brought so much business in, but, but I got to a point when I was getting frustrated it, I was like, Oh, this is the kind of this, the limit here. And I'm getting frustrated being an employee and the company wasn't willing to kind of give away any more shares. And that is fair enough. So I got asked if I would join a sales company and that's when Mark fourth is now the CEO of CBP approached me in settling. We'd do we'd love to see someone like you are in a kind, a business development role at MC Corp. And then I was like, Oh, I'm not sure. You know, you said, well, what do you want to add? And then I said, number, he said, well, you can do that with us.

Den Lennie (15m 2s):
And he said, I said, what's my role. They said, look, you can just be Dan at large. And he said, basically, I don't care what you do with it. I just know that when you get in front of the customers, they want to spend money. So my official job title was Den at large. And that just meant send that out with the company credit card, take people out and then they'll buy stuff. And it kind of in a nutshell that, I mean, there was a bit more to it than that, but fundamentally it was about relationships and it had a very strong relationships with so many. And so it was a lot of reasons why that works really well. So I kind of w we want it to push harder. So I decided to go in and work from It Corp. And it was funny because I knew a new Simon at the time, he was the AMD, a new Mark.

Den Lennie (15m 45s):
And as I sat in, this is a three hour interview. Yeah. It was really bizarre. Cause I mean, I'd been, I've been in the past with these guys, you know, we had done a little bit kind of that stuff together, but it was a really weird sort of dynamic shift, but, and they offered me the job and, you know, I took that role and really I did, I did that for various strategic reasons. I, I went into a sales role because I wanted to learn how to run a business and how to do sales. What I've observed with, with, with the retail and an equipment is that it's a complete contrast. It comes to creativity. It, you know, edits, it is all about selling product, moving boxes and then starting fresh every week.

Den Lennie (16m 28s):
You know, creativity is very much about emotions and feeling and, and using those kind of empathetic skills as a tool to develop the artistic side of what you're doing. But in business, business needs structure and its run on the numbers is about heading numbers, filling out spreadsheets, hitting a certain target each week, you know, targets are at least in gross profit. So when something was sold that went on, the board is Joe Gross profit. And there was a leader board and it's like, what's next? What's next? You know, we did a deal one week. It was about 20,000 pounds and profit and a seal ringing up and saying, you guys did a great job on this. Really terrific. Awesome. And then managing director a phone ringing up and saying, all right, guys, this is great next week.

Den Lennie (17m 12s):
How do we do it again? And at the time I found that quite challenging because it was like, Oh, we've just done an amazing deal. And, and it's like square one again, but that has a business like that is, that is the game of business. That is what we sign up for. So if you want to build a business, you've got to get comfortable with the numbers. And you know, I probably take it a bit personally. I found it very challenging, but the ma the MD who Mark, he was Mark, he is now the owner. He was right. He said, look, you either creative or you are a sales person, but you can't be both. He said, in my experience, Creators only goes so far in business because they get too emotionally invested. And I think on the whole, he's actually right. But I think I've learned how to do both.

Den Lennie (17m 53s):
I'm probably more commercial now than I am creative, but it just grows. And you can't have your brilliance perfect life without money. I think what happens as most creatives do is they, they kind of avoided selling and they call themselves a story about Y selling as an ethical, because its hard and it is confronting and it takes up the courage to get in the fall and make a sale. Umm, and they don't want to seem sales-y because they've got a lot of pre requisite or predesigned notional, what that is like. And, and it takes a willingness and an openness to handle rejection multiple times before making a sale. And that, that is what toughens you up. Its what callouses, you know, it's like a leg breaking and it heeling, but really the moral of this tale is that if you don't push yourself into discomfort, you will never ever achieve the goals that you desire.

Den Lennie (18m 44s):
Which brings me back to the theme of this episode, which is there can be no growth without discomfort. So if you are surrounding yourself with people who you are, you're living in three to five miles from where you grew up, then the state's his core is the house, the kids, the dog, and be near your face family. And I'm not judging anyone who chooses that life in many ways. Right? I wish I could be contempt with that, but it's just not how my life has ended up. I no live 10,000 miles away from where I grew up my brothers over in New Zealand, in my sisters, in Boston, by the sisters in Edinburgh. My mum was an Edinburgh. I left that in Brown when I was 22 and I went Australia and I came back and left again when I was 27 to live in Luton.

Den Lennie (19m 25s):
And what was the BBC and I lived in someone's garage for a couple of months. I got a job BBC and I traveled all over East Anglia to film for the BBC. But I find that that just didn't really float my boat. So I got a job on the big smoke and went to work in London and I moved there and did a 10 or so years there at my dream would always be to head back to Australia. But you know what, what the 88% asked most commonly when the ISA and we were moving to Australia in the most common comment we were given was, Oh my goodness, that's so far away. It wouldn't you miss your family. I could never do that. And so you have to be very careful who you listen to because if you hear that enough, they will start to see doubt in your mind.

Den Lennie (20m 7s):
And no matter how well meaning they are, they will project that on fears on to you. And if you take something and do something that breaks the mold and then the other they'll they'll want to stay safe. And so they'll question you and motive because by you leaving that situation makes them question their life. And so the question, your motives and want you to stay safe. And of course I miss my family really, but I can see my family any day. I speak to my family and I spoke to him last night on FaceTime. That's what my sister, two days ago, her niece, my niece Saw her daughters are coming up to be here. No I've only met her twice, but we are always on face time.

Den Lennie (20m 49s):
So she knows who I am. And so we have a relationship and given the current climate with the coronavirus, most people can't see you to do it anyway so that there is going to be a difference. And I don't think there's a time difference, but that's not going to be a big deal because by me building my amazing life, if we were allowed to fly, I can get on a plane tomorrow, fly business, class home, and see people in 24 hours. It's a bit trickier, just know granted, but other than that, and I can make my life happened. And so can you, but it only happens if you have the courage to pick up the phone and make a sale, sell something so you can learn and earn.

Den Lennie (21m 31s):
And Andy and getting customers is a process of discipline and process. And discipline is not something that generally creative people find the easy to manifest or execute. But with, with, with practice, you can, and it's absolutely possible to train yourself, to do these things and do them better. And so really in summary, you know, if you're not willing to put yourself into discomfort, that means taking a chance in investing in yourself, then you won't grow. And, and that is okay if you don't want to do that, if you don't want the, the success that you see, you, you tell yourself, you want, you can talk about it all day long, but if you don't execute, you will never get there.

Den Lennie (22m 13s):
And you know what? It's tough. It's hard. Business is really hard. And so it's a bit, if you are somebody who just talks about stuff, it doesn't execute. You have a decision to make, you know, if you're someone who spends an enormous amount on gear, thinking that that's the point, that difference. And then what invest in yourself. You need to look in the mirror and ask yourself, why are you doing this? What is really going on? Because you can choose to change that behavior. It's more than likely just a habit rooted in something that triggered you and you were growing up. And for me it was my grandmother saying, it looks on, don't get too big for your boots. And for years I was like, Oh my God, I can, you know, just, just walking class, boy, how dare I want you to want more, but I want through, I overcame it.

Den Lennie (22m 54s):
And now I'm okay with helping people succeed. And, and them paying me for that process and me being able to enjoy my life as a result. So just know that you can change how you believe and think, and you could make a conscious decision in any situation, in any conflict situation, enter a conflict or the external conflict where the decision has to be made, made, which, which involves discomfort. I know that you have the power to choose to lean into that discomfort. And as a result will come out stronger. When my ankle got broken on the mound 20 years ago, my leg healed stronger. No I've got arthritis, which was a byproduct and you know, not everything is going to go your way.

Den Lennie (23m 36s):
And you're going to be faced with issues are I'm in a fairly chronic pain every day, but I just get used to it and I don't focus on it. And I work with yoga and cycling to kind of maintain as much help as I can, but I don't allow it to dictate and determine who I am. I focused on what it can achieve and how they've learned as a result of being in that situation. And you can too. So, so just do me a favor in the beginning of this year, make this the year you stop bullshitting yourself, make this the year that you stop making excuses, stop telling yourself stories about why you can't do a, B or B or C, because you can do anything. You set your mind to. None of this is difficult.

Den Lennie (24m 16s):
It just takes courage to make a decision to step into discomfort. You know, moving to Australia for six years ago is not the easiest thing in the world. And there's been a lot of challenges along the way, but you know what I have, I have friends that I know here from Colombia who are lawyers who are not working as cleaners because they are English. Hasn't been enough. And the legal qualifications don't mean anything here. It's not as hard for me as it is for them yet. This smile, they work hard. They go and learn English at night at school. And I read this wonderful piece of advice on the day, which if you find yourself a lone for whatever it is, and you can focus on the fact that you're not alone and it can be for a number of reasons at the time of year, it was not many people around, but you know what?

Den Lennie (24m 59s):
Get stuck into a good book, improve your knowledge. You'll never feel alone with a good book, better than hanging out with people that are going to bring you down. So I really want you to think about that. How, how, how can you get out of whatever slump you're in and the best way to do that is to read, to listen to things like this, but most of all is take action. So what did I promise me that he will take action on some of that you've learned today? All right, guys, talk to you soon. You've been listening to the hotel, a scale of Video business podcast with me, your host, Den Lennie. If you're a video business owner hit the ceiling, we have benefit from mentorship support and coaching and checkout how you can work with me over at denlennie.com.

Den Lennie (25m 43s):
Don't forget to subscribe and rate the short over on iTunes. I mean, we really appreciate your taking a few minutes to leave review, and don't forget to share if you feel you've gotten value from this episode and you think it would be useful for other filmmakers, you know, and please do me a massive favor and share it in social media and in-groups that you may be in. So thanks for listening. See you in the next episode.




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