Part 1, Dr. Paul Corona: Finding True Fulfillment in Life (even in a pandemic) | Episode 16

Part 1, Dr. Paul Corona: Finding True Fulfillment in Life (even in a pandemic) | Episode 16

Are you looking for fulfillment? How can understanding your why give you purpose? Are you willing to do the work?

In this podcast episode, Billy and Brandy Eldridge speak with Dr. Paul Corona about finding true fulfillment in life, even in a pandemic.

Meet Dr. Paul Corona

Dr. Paul L. Corona is a clinical professor of leadership in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, where his teaching and coaching ratings average 96/100. Paul is also the founder of the award-winning Lee’s 3 Habits system, which helps motivated professionals and organizations build stronger relationships and achieve greater happiness – and he’s the author of The Wisdom of Walk-Ons: 7 Winning Strategies for College, Business and Life.

As a Leading Global Coach award winner, Paul was considered for the first Thinkers50 Marshall Goldsmith Coaching & Mentoring Award (the Thinkers50 Awards have been called “the Oscars” of management thinking).

During the past 35 years, Paul has transformed himself from a business person into a performance improvement specialist. He previously held a variety of leadership roles in Fortune 500 corporations, a Big 4 accounting and consulting firm, and major research universities.

Most importantly, Paul is a husband, parent, and friend.

Visit Dr. Corona’s website and connect on LinkedIn.

In This Podcast

Summary

  • What fulfillment truly means
  • Fulfillment formula
  • Accountability, vulnerability, and authenticity
  • Do we ever really understand who we are?
  • Finding purpose and fulfillment during tough times
  • Pushing people to go deeper to find their purpose

What fulfillment truly means

If you can find out your meaning, your why, and have strong relationships, I believe that is true fulfillment.

In Paul’s own life journey, he learned about achievement and accomplishment in a very Western way which can be terrific but what he ended up discovering later in life, through his own experience, is that a lot of people still didn’t feel very good even when they did all that. Paul began to wonder why and what more is needed so did a lot of research. This research suggests that in order to be truly fulfilled, we have to have:

  • Great relationships – deep, sincere, respectful relationships, at work, at home, and in our communities.
  • Purpose beyond accomplishment – something that is more meaningful to us. What kind of significant impact are we trying to have above and beyond just earning a good living or having the right job?

Fulfillment formula

It’s not just what you’re trying to do, but why? What is the significant positive impact that you hope to achieve? Why are you doing this? And if you feel good about your why then I believe you’re purposeful. So when you put all that together, somebody who’s coachable, somebody who cares a lot about relationships, somebody who cares about their why then I think we have a chance at fulfillment and that’s why I come with this fulfillment formula.

Paul’s formula consists of these vital variables:

  1. If somebody wants to be helped, if somebody wants to do the work, then that’s great. If they don’t then he just can’t be a good helper to them.
  2. Are they embracing the idea that relationships are vital and foundational?
  3. Do they have a purpose beyond accomplishment as mentioned earlier?

Accountability, vulnerability, and authenticity

You can’t get people there, they have to get there on their own when they’re ready, you can’t fast track the process. So many times, people want to take their struggles behind closed doors and go into the public as a well put together human being but there’s no vulnerability involved in that.

Billy tells people that they can’t save their face and their ass at the same time, they have to pick one. You have to pick yourself up off the floor and be a little honest with some people in your community who have earned the right to hear your story so that they can come alongside you and you can enter into that coachable space.

If we don’t really understand who we are, and we’re not willing to be authentic with ourselves, then we’re living a charade.

Do we ever really understand who we are?

Over a lifetime, we all experience so many different things in different ways in our professional and personal lives. As long as we’re constantly learning, we can adapt. The details of how we adapt to circumstances and environments need to change in order to survive and thrive. We have to have a willingness to grow, change, and keep figuring out who we are. Really understanding who we are is more of a constant pursuit rather than an ultimate outcome of certainty.

Finding purpose and fulfillment during tough times

We need to pay attention to the cues that we get during times of difficulty. Rather than saying oh, it’s COVID-19, and just locking down, putting on our masks and washing our hands, maybe we can also ask ourselves what we’re going to do when we get out into the world to the new normal.

Use the time to be a little more reflective about what your priorities are and why. You can come out of this more purposeful because you have time to take a breath and think a little bit.

Pushing people to go deeper to find their purpose

Paul tries to get people to understand their “behind the bio” story. Everybody writes their bio to be impressive and it is true and great but it tells us what we are, not who we are. When you understand who you are and why then we can get some hints at what your purpose might be.

Sometimes purpose comes from deep in life’s early experiences and then comes the resilience of how to stay on track when times are tough because once we find our deep purpose, it is what gets us through the tough times and the good times.

Books mentioned in this episode

Are you ready to find the freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free beta revolution course is for you. Sign up for free.

Useful links:

Meet Billy Eldridge

billy-eldridge

Meet Billy, the resident beta male. For Billy, this is a place to hang out with other beta males and the people who love them. We’re redefining what beta males look like in the world. I have learned to embrace my best beta self, and I can help you to do the same. As a therapist, I understand the need to belong. You belong here. Join the REVOLUTION.

 

Meet Brandy Eldridge

brandy-eldridge

Hello, Beta friends. I am an alpha personality who is embracing the beta way of life. I feel alive when connected with people, whether that is listening to their stories or learning about their passions. Forget small talk, let’s go deep together. Come to the table and let’s have some life-changing conversations.

 

Thanks for listening!

Did you enjoy this podcast? Feel free to leave a comment below or share this podcast on social media! You can also leave a review of the Beta Male Revolution Podcast on iTunes and subscribe!

Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Podcast Transcription

[BILLY]:
Beta Male Revolution is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts seeking to change the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Empowered and Unapologetic, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.

Welcome to the Beta Male Revolution. This is a podcast for beta males, the people who love them, and the alphas that enjoy their company.

Hey, Beta Male Revolution. The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University is the number two business school in America. And we had the honor and privilege of talking to their clinical professor of leadership, Dr. Paul Corona. It was such an interesting conversation that we had to break it down into two different podcasts. In the beginning he goes into fulfillment and what true fulfillment means, and it’s not what you think. And then we move on into his simple yet proven and effective strategy, three keys to just revolutionizing any relationship that you’re in. He comes from a business standpoint, but when I read it and I looked at it, you can use it in a marriage, in your life, in your community, to change the way you see the world. And so, guys, here we go. Dr. Paul Corona,

Hey, Beta Male Revolution. We have Dr. Paul Corona with us today, and we’re so… I don’t know what the word is.

[BRANDY]:
Honored, excited.

[BILLY]:
I say excited, but I don’t know that I would ever say that we’re not excited to have a guest. But we have been talking about him and going over his content and his work for a couple of months now and are just extremely grateful that he took the time out today. He’s a clinical professor of leadership at the Kellogg School of Management, and he’s in between classes, and so right now he’s got time to spend with us, Paul.

[PAUL]:
Hi Billy, hi Brandy, it’s an honor to be with you. Thank you so much. It’s something I too have been really looking forward to. And I appreciate the opportunity to chat with you and your guests.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. So, we just want to learn a little bit about you and your story, and kind of what got you to where you are today. So as much as you want to go into it, can you just kind of take us on a little walk here and take us to where you are today and where you’ve come from?

[PAUL]:
Sure. I’d be glad to. I’ll give you the short version. The journey has basically been 35 years of professional life. I was in business, and I was doing well enough, but I wasn’t passionate about it. So, I decided to follow my heart and get into education. And so, I’ve basically transformed myself over the last 35 years from a businessperson who held leadership roles, into an educator who has the good fortune of being able to work at the Kellogg School of Management. And then I also do coaching on the side for leaders who are basically trying to become not only successful but fulfilled. So, the real why I’m here now is because I finally paid attention to my heart and had some good luck and some good support networks that got me where I am today with a little hard work.

[BILLY]:
Well, and I’m reading helping leaders find true fulfillment. And when we look at happiness, and we think we know what happiness is going to be. And I work with a lot of people, and that’s their big thing. I’ve got everything that I finally thought I ever wanted, and I’m not happy. So can you take us a little bit into fulfillment and what that truly means, as opposed to, I just want to be happy and that usually means get a lot of stuff and then you realize the stuff didn’t bring you any joy. And then you’re looking for something a little deeper. How do you find that out? And how do you take people there?

[PAUL]:
Yeah, great question. And I know you both in your work with leaders probably run into this as well. So my take on it is that in my own life journey, I was learning about achievement and accomplishment and success in a pretty Western way, where we win the championship and we get an A, and we make money and we attain a C suite role. And that’s all terrific. I really mean that and believe that. What I ended up learning though, later in life, through my own experiences, and observing and working with others, is that a lot of people still didn’t feel very great, or good even, when they did all that. And, you know, I began to wonder why, and what more is needed. And there’s a lot of research, pretty serious scholarly research from places like Oxford and Harvard and National Academy of Sciences, that suggests, to be truly fulfilled, you have to have great relationships. I mean deep, sincere, respectful relationships, at work, at home, in our communities. And if we don’t have strong relationships, something will be missing. And then there’s some other research – and some colleagues at Kellogg are experts in this area – that we also need some purpose that is beyond accomplishment. And by that I mean something that is more meaningful to us, you know, what kind of ultimate, really significant impact are we trying to have above and beyond just earning a good living or having the right job? And so, this is kind of like you might think of your legacy. So, like, why am I doing all this accomplishment when people can tap into that? It might be because of how they want to co-lead a family, or serve a population in the world, or do something above and beyond another trophy. Whatever that is for you, if you can find out your meaning and find out your why, and have strong relationships, I believe that’s true fulfillment. And you know, in my own path in helping others, I feel confident about this as a way that we can be helpful to others, serve others.

[BRANDY]:
In the short time that I’ve known you, in the few times that I’ve spoken with you, you’ve always been really encouraging, and you have a way about you that you dig deep really quickly. My first conversation with you was because of a topic, a dissertation topic that I was working with. And when I spoke to you, we put that aside and you just kind of dug into me in the most motivating way that someone has talked to me and not in a way of… you weren’t teaching me something, you were digging to find stuff in me. And I felt like when we were finished, I felt lighter, I felt better. And it’s odd to me that you’re not like a relationship coach, that that’s not what you’re doing, that you’re not a therapist, but you do speak a lot about the importance of relationships. And you talked very briefly about this scholarly research, but it wasn’t something that was… you are a professor and empirical data is something you take seriously. And so, will you talk to me about measuring relationship and fulfillment and how you came about to this formula?

[PAUL]:
Sure, sure. Glad to and I’m honored that our partnership and our idea exchange helped you get those results and helped you feel that way because that’s really personally fulfilling to me. And allow me to say, Brandy, and I know, Billy, you know this from the clients and others that you serve – to me at least, it’s about 90% involving the person that we are helping, and only about 10% us, with what we say and the tools we use. So, the coachability if you will, is the vital thing. So, to me, Brandy, when we were talking about your doctoral work at USC, I could just tell, you were all in, so it’s a pleasure to work with you. So that’s variable number one. And, you know, I’ve learned this from one of my mentors, Marshall Goldsmith, who I know you’re familiar with, and that’s criterion one; if somebody wants to be helped, if somebody wants to do the work, great. And if they don’t, it’s okay. It’s okay. But I can’t be a good helper to them.

And then you talked about the research and how my sort of worldview was formed. The experiences I had with relationships, meaning lots of relationships, mostly very fortunate but I’ve had some struggles now and then. And I’ve been thinking about this really since I was a teenager. And then when I saw the research that says, the relationships are vital, literally vital to one’s well-being, in terms of how they feel, what their medical markers are, and what their true fulfillment at the end of life is, that became part of it. So coachability is one thing, does the person want to get help? And are they also embracing the idea that relationships are vital, foundational? And then the purpose part, as I mentioned, became part of my formula, because I began to – later in life, you know, 30s, 40s, even into my 50s – see people who were highly accomplished, I mean, like 99th percentile accomplished, sitting with me in my office saying, but I still don’t quite feel great, or I still have the imposter syndrome or, something’s missing, I want more and what is more. And then learning about purpose from a more scholarly perspective, if you will, it became important to me too. So again, as we were saying earlier, it’s not just what you’re trying to do, but why? What is the significant positive impact that you hope to achieve? Why are you doing this? And if you feel good about your why then I believe you’re purposeful. So when you put all that together, somebody who’s coachable, somebody who cares a lot about relationships, somebody who cares about their why, then I think we have a chance at fulfillment and that’s why I come with this fulfillment formula.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Oh, and the way I’m relating to this is I do a lot of work around recovery, and especially from alcoholism and drugs and other addictions. And when you talk about the coachability, and the willing to engage in the right relationships, that goes hand in hand. When we say coachability, is the person ready? Are they really there? Are they willing to lay down some of their old ideas and thoughts and belief systems that aren’t working? And are they willing to enter into the relationships and the connections it’s going to take to have the accountability and the structure to grow and change and do a new way of life? And I can’t get people there. They just have to get there on their own. And when they’re there, it’s like they’re ready. But you can’t fast track that process. And I told someone today, we heal in community, not in isolation. And so many times people want to take their struggles and the things that they’re having a hard time with, and go fix them behind closed doors, and then go out into the public and be this well put together human being, but there’s no vulnerability involved in that and there’s no swallowing of the pride and I tell people, you can’t save your face and your ass at the same time, you have to pick one. And you know, when you’re picking yourself up off the floor, sometimes you have to be a little honest with some people in your community. And we talked about you don’t have to share all of your story with everybody. But some people have to earn the right to hear it. So, they can come alongside you and you can enter into that coachable space. So, for you, does that relate at all? I mean, can you feel where I’m coming from?

[PAUL]:
Yeah, totally. I feel it, I think it, I am 100% with you and that authenticity, that vulnerability, understanding who we really are at this point in life, whether we are in a therapy situation or coaching situation or just you know, a leadership situation, if we don’t really understand who we are, and we’re not willing to be authentic with ourselves and then, as you say, Billy, go public to a certain extent, to a level of appropriateness, I think we’re living a charade. And I used to do that, you know, I wasn’t evil or anything, but I was just trying to do what I was supposed to do, what was expected, what was societally normal, and so on and so forth. There’s nothing bad about, it’s just we all, at least in this country, can fall into that pretty easily. And from my own experience, until I got out of that, and figured out what I really wanted to do and why, and then pursued it, and had some luck and some great mentors and teammates, it didn’t really work for me. It took me 25 years. I joke with people I’m trying to help – it took me 25 years to figure out who I really was, not who I was supposed to be. And then embrace that, not suppress it. And then finally, figure out how to execute that rather than be resentful that I couldn’t do it. 25 years I say, what I’m trying to do is save you a lot of time. I can’t save you effort, but I can save you time.

[BRANDY]:
Do you think that we ever really understand who we are? Or is it something that we can even do at a young age? Because I look at myself at 20, 21, and I was super confident and thought I understood everything. And now, the second half of life, I’m questioning everything I ever knew and having to unlearn all these things that I’ve learned and who I am again, and is that, in your experience, is it an age, is it knowledge, is it willingness? Where do you see that?

[PAUL]:
Yeah, I think it’s a little bit of all of that, Brandy. And I don’t mean to sound cliché about it, but I really believe that you’ve hit on all those points. And over a lifetime, we all experience so many different things in different ways in our professional and personal lives that if, as long as we’re constantly learning, we can adapt. And we do keep figuring out who we are, and I don’t know that the core of our personality, or the core of our beliefs changes a whole lot, but it could. But certainly, the details of how we adapt to circumstances and environments need to change in order to sort of survive, Darwinian a bit, but also to thrive, however you define thrive. So, I think we all have to have this learners mind, willingness to grow, willingness to change, and keep figuring out who we are. Looking at age 57 this year, I feel like I have a good understanding of who I am. And I feel like I have for about 10 years. However, that doesn’t mean at all that I’m not still learning and growing and fine tuning. I’m still doing that. So maybe your ultimate question is, can we ever really do this? I bet it’s probably more we’re always in the pursuit of this. It’s never an ultimate outcome of certainty.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. Well, in one of your most recent articles I read, I believe it’s recent, you talked about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. And I studied that in grad school and it, man, it sat well with me. But I love the way that you talked, you know, we do have to have those basic needs met of food, water, shelter, we need to be safe, but we start moving up that and we get that love and belongingness. And then we get those esteem needs met. And I think when it comes to self-actualization, we just hit blips of that throughout our lives where we kind of move into it and move out of it dependent on how well we’ve got our ego regulated and, but I loved how you frame that, that even when we’re struggling, we can find purpose and fulfillment. Even when times are hard – and I believe you were addressing the isolation and everything that everybody was going through with COVID – it doesn’t mean we have to give up on our hopes and dreams of becoming truly fulfilled just because we’re going through a tough time. Could you talk about that a little bit?

[PAUL]:
Yeah. Sure, Billy. And thanks for citing those ideas. To me, when we’re all pursuing comfort, and you know, Maslow would describe it as sort of loving and being loved, which you do all day, every day when you help your clients and partners, Billy, to me the purpose, especially at a time like COVID, especially when we’re facing adversity, especially if we’re even depressed, the purpose sometimes is hinted at and we need to pay attention to the cues we get during these times of difficulty. So rather than sitting oh, it’s COVID, let’s just lock down and put on our masks and wash our hands – which are vital behaviors for survival – maybe we can also say, okay, what am I going to do when we get to the new normal and we get out in the world? Let me use this time to be a little more reflective about what my priorities are and why. And if I can come out of this more purposeful because I have time to take a breath and think a little bit, I think that’s appropriate. And I point out in that little article on LinkedIn, I’m not at all trying to say that we should go for some self-actualization. There are people around the world who literally are fighting for their lives, we have to honor and respect that. I’m just saying, once we have that safety, then I believe it might be actually a good time to look toward the purposeful life that we want. Cuz we run around all the time complaining that we don’t have time to do that before. Well, we might have a little time to do that now.

[BILLY]:
Well, I believe that that’s where people opt out, where they quit, they start moving up that scale, and they get their safety needs met, they get some belongingness and then they just sit back and they rest on laurels and stuff. And then misery sets in because they thought, they mistake – I think there’s a mistake made, and I do this in my own life all the time – I mistake stuff for fulfillment. Maslow, I love one thing he said. He said, it’s quite true that man lives by bread alone when there is no bread. But what happens to a man’s desire when there’s plenty of bread, and when his bellies chronically filled? You know, when I’m full of stuff, and I’m still unhappy, when I’ve gotten everything I thought I ever wanted, and then that despair creeps in, you give an antidote to that. And that’s the why. Why are you here? What’s your purpose? And to me that moves into a lot of stuff that I love by Viktor Frankl when I was studying and his Man’s Search for Meaning and what is your deep purpose? Why are you here? When you’re suffering, you can go a little bit deeper, but I think sometimes we stop. How do you push people past that, to go a little bit deeper? What’s your purpose? Why are you actually here?

[PAUL]:
Yeah, I try to get people to understand their true-life story, which is what I call their behind the bio story. And it starts with that. Everybody writes their bio to be impressive. And it’s true. And that’s great. And the bio tells us what we are, not who we are. And by that I mean, what happened to you in your life? The significant events, the significant people, when. And when you understand who you are, and why, then I think we can get some hints at what your purpose might be. So, real example, I’m a guy who, you know, I’m very fortunate to have the position I have at the Kellogg School at Northwestern, and it’s ironic that I actually was not at all into school growing up, even in my undergraduate experience. And so, part of my life story is my resistance to the school systems at large. And I know, Brandy, when you were a principal and a teacher, you can probably relate to the ups and downs of how schools are run. And I was a resistor, and I was bored, and I was distracted, and I was mostly just plain lazy. I didn’t want to do the work. So, through all kinds of interesting mini miracles, I sometimes call them, now I’m an educator, and I try to do, as an educator, everything I wish that other educators did for me. And that’s why I’m so purposeful about helping people realize their potential. And when I’m in a classroom, I try to bring everything I’ve got, highly interactive, highly engaging, super practical. And so, my why of bringing out the best in others, and the way I do it in a classroom, is rooted in my story, my dissatisfaction in in the schools. Now, I was no victim, not even close, you know, I got love. I was in a strong enough school system, I just was distracted and immature about schooling and I was kind of lazy, and I don’t care, I admit it now. But once I got my new lease on life, man, I really kicked into overdrive. So, does that answer the question, you know, where does the purpose come from? Sometimes deep in life’s early experiences.

And then then the resilience, you know, then the resilience of how do you stay on track when times are tough, is once you get your purpose, nothing’s gonna stop you. Right? The adversity is going to come, you’re going to work through it. The joy is going to come and you’re not going to rest on that. The accomplishments are going to come and you’re not going to rest on those, as you alluded to earlier. So, I think once we find our deep purpose, it is what gets us through the tough times and the good times. And we have the resilience and then you know, as a helper, I have a system how people can stay on track with planning and accountability and all these sorts of tools and things. But to me, if you don’t have your relationships, and some kind of deeper purpose driving you, all the coaches like me and therapists like you, Billy, and leaders like you, Brandy, and apps and books and videos and motivational sayings, like, if you don’t have your real why, I think all that stuff kind of looks cool, sounds good. And then it just kind of falls by the wayside like a bad New Year’s resolution.

[BILLY]:
Yeah. The way you put that, it takes very complex things and breaks them down into something that I can understand and that I need for my life. I want fulfillment, I want true joy. And when I look at, okay, what’s the path to that? Strong relationships, and understanding purpose, and understanding my why, I can do those two things. And for so long, I thought it was material success and all of this stuff, which, you know, I’m grateful for, but that in and of itself, you know, isn’t enough to get us to where anybody truly wants to be, I believe, and that’s just on my data from having people in and out of my office. Very successful from the outside looking in. You would think they had everything but when they truly begin to open up, they’re broken and insecure and afraid.

[BRANDY]:
I think it’s too what you said, was your story. I think story plays… and we talk about that a lot too, but story plays such a vital role in understanding who you are, and instead of ignoring your story, owning it, being part of your own story. I know Brenè Brown talks a lot about story and says – one of the things I love that she says – is something around, be in your story. Don’t be outside of it, letting other people narrate it. You tell your story, you own it. And I think that is part of that deep purpose, and exactly what you were saying, how you were in school, you were resistant of school, but once you owned your own story, the difference that you’re making and the way you educate people now is how you wanted to be educated. And those places that weren’t getting to you, you make sure to do that for people and you do, which is a good segue into [unclear] three.

[BILLY]:
Are you ready to find freedom to be yourself as a beta male? Do you want permission and tools to be your best beta? Are you ready to join the revolution to find your strength as a beta? If you want to be comfortable in your own skin and be the most authentic beta male, then our free Beta Male Revolution course is for you. Sign up for free at betamalerevolution.com/course.

This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guest are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.

Speak Your Mind

*




,

betamalerevolution@gmail.com
(903) 336-3484

Got Questions?
Send a Message!