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Ep13 Transcript: Interview with Jamie Turner
Andrea Vahl: Hi, Late Starters. It’s your host, Andrea Vahl, and in today’s episode, I talked to a longtime friend of mine, Jamie Turner, who is a speaker and author. We talk about what it’s taken for him to get started speaking later in life, how he’s a regular contributor on CNN and what it really takes to pivot a business.
Stay tuned. It’s a great episode.
Intro: Hello Dreamers. Welcome to the Late Starters Club, giving you the inspiration, mindset, and tools you need to start something midlife and beyond. Remember, it’s never too late to follow your dreams.
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Andrea Vahl: I am joined by a dear friend, Jamie Turner. I’m so excited to talk to Jamie today. Jamie is an author, a professor, a speaker, a global consultant, network TV news contributor. And he helps executives improve communication and management skills. And Jamie I’m so excited to have you on. We know each other, we go way back.
Jamie Turner: You might want to clarify that one, cuz. People are going to go, Huh? Andrea and Jamie in Puerto Vallarta. We were both there with our spouses. It was wonderful. We had a great time. But it was great. I loved that.
Andrea Vahl: It was a crazy event that we were speaking at. And yeah. Fun fun. Welcome, Jamie.
Thank you for being on the show.
Jamie Turner: It is always great to see ya. You have such great energy and just such a joy of life, so it’s great to be here and I’m thrilled to be part of this.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, for sure. And we’re going to dive a little bit into Jamie’s reinvention and some of the things that he’s been doing throughout his life, but especially, obviously lately as is our topic here.
But I’m going to start with a couple of questions, Jamie to get us warmed up. So if you had to describe yourself or your life in one sentence, what would that be?
Jamie Turner: Curious and energetic would be the two kind of words I might use because I have a lot of curiosity, but also a lot of energy just as a, while we’re talking about personal stuff, ADHD out the Wazo.
I was that kid in middle school that just, everybody was like, Oh my God, peel ’em off the walls. And then I channeled that as I got a little bit older and figured out how to use that energy in order to, make changes in my life and take action on changes and all that stuff that creates people who are members of the Late Starters Club.
You just keep reinventing yourself and keep going through stuff. So curious as well as energetic would be the two phrases I might use for myself.
Andrea Vahl: Awesome. Okay. That wasn’t one sentence, but that’s okay. One really long sentence. No, I’m just, I’m teasing you, so that is great. I love it. And another thing that I like to ask people.
As you have had lots of success. You’re on CNN, you’re traveling the world speaking, you have a successful business, you have multiple books that you’ve written. What has been the biggest takeaway or biggest key to your success? As you’ve started things later in life and pivoted and reinvented yourself.
Jamie Turner: Probably perseverance more than anything else.
I would love to say, “Hey, I’m smart”, or, “Hey, I’ve been super lucky”. I’m one of those people that just consistently persevered and pushed through even during the down periods. I think we can all relate to that. One of the things I always love to tell people is “You will actually fail more in your life than you’ll succeed.”
What people talk about and what they notice are the successes, but anybody who’s on social media saying, Here I am overseas speaking, or Here I am writing a book, whatever it is, they are not talking about the, Hey, guess what? I got fired, I got laid off, I had a divorce, whatever it is, all that stuff.
Keeping that in mind that it’s really a marathon, not a sprint, and you just gotta keep trudging along and before long, these little victories do add up over time. And that’s one of the great things about reinventing yourself and getting a late start on things and trying new things all the time is just continuously doing it.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. One of the things I love about you, Jamie, is you are so transparent. You’re forthcoming with the challenges that you’ve had. And I think that makes people so much more comfortable in sharing their own, problems or issues or obstacles that they’ve had to overcome too. So I love that you’re making everyone more comfortable with just how real things are in achieving great things.
Jamie Turner: I appreciate that. Thank you. And I’ll tell a story that involves you and me along with a bunch of people that relates to what you just said. Andrea and I used to get on a mastermind call, and I would encourage anybody listening to this, get a group of friends who are going through the same struggles you are and are trying to achieve the same things you are. They can be all around the globe, all around the country, or even just in your neighborhood, and get on a Zoom call every two week, four weeks, whatever it is, and just talk about things and talk about this.
And Andrea and I were on one for authors and speakers, and I had pulled everybody together and one of the early things I did very intentionally was I said, “Hey, here’s what I’m struggling with. This didn’t work. That didn’t work, that didn’t work. This has gone okay. That didn’t work. That didn’t work.” And it set the trend in that group where I could literally see people’s light bulbs going up where they were like, “Oh, this is that kind of group where we actually are honest and transparent, and we’re not here to brag. We’re here to say, This is where I screwed up. What would you guys have done differently?”
And I got feedback from that group and Andrea being one of the key people giving me feedback all the time. And it was very helpful. But it was very intentional to start out with, let me be fully transparent that it may look like I’m doing all great stuff. There’s a lot of stuff in the background that’s a challenge and a struggle and hard, but I’m pushing through it. What are you guys experiencing? And everybody chimed in with their own stories on that.
Andrea Vahl: That was such a great group. I really appreciate it. Got me through some tough times and struggles and had lots of great ideas that came out of that.
So it was awesome. It was awesome. So let’s get a little bit into your journey and the way you’ve pivoted throughout your career. Cuz you started somewhere differently. You’ve ended up somewhere different and even recently, you’ve really put a lot more focus on talking about leadership.
So give us a little background on that journey and what has prompted you to reinvent yourself throughout the years here.
Jamie Turner: Yeah, sure. So I started out in marketing up in New York City and actually, I’ll tell a quick story that relates to the theme that we’ve established here, which is perseverance maybe for argument’s sake.
I’m getting my start in New York City. I send out resumes from Texas, University of Texas, go up to New York City. My dad reads the form letter that I sent out and he says great letter. I’m sure you caught the typo in the letter before it went out. And I was like, Oh my God, I just sent 13 letters to ad agencies in New York City with a typo in it, they’re going to throw it in the trash and never see my stuff.
So I thought on my feet, I was like, How can I turn this negative into a positive? And I thought, All right, I think I have an idea. I literally went out to a jewelry store, got 13 little jewelry boxes, begged them, said, Can you just gimme these boxes? I’ve sent 13 letters with a typo in it to agencies in New York City and I need to recover from this.
They said, Yeah, they get that. Then I got 13 of those printer stamps with the letter T on it because I’d misspelled the word prestigious. I’d left the “t” out of it, so it said presigious, and then I put the “t” in the jewelry box. Sent the jewelry box up FedEx to all 13 different agencies with a new letter and another resume.
That said, By the way, I left this “t” out of my last letter and I’m resubmitting my resume here just so that you know that I’m not a complete idiot, although apparently, I am cuz I sent a letter out with a typo in it. But that got me my foot in the door with a bunch of agencies cuz they were like, Oh, the kids recovering from a glaring error here.
So the lesson there, and this goes back to your question, which was you know, where’d you get your start? How did it work? Was I started in New York City doing that, just getting back on my feet, came down to Atlanta, worked in the agency business, had my own agency.
After getting laid off, by the way, I got laid off from an agency and I thought, I’m going to use this as an opportunity to launch my own business. Did that for a decade. Had a good run there. Landed at another company after that and then started a blog that Andrea and I got to know each other on called the 62nd Market, which is about marketing, did the blog. And that was an early into that whole thing.
But throughout my career, have always just out of pure curiosity and possibly a short attention span, I’m like, Oh, what’s next? Oh, what’s next? Oh, what’s next? And so got into video recently a lot because I’m like, Oh, that seems interesting. And just did that. So again, perseverance, stubbing your toe and trying to recover and then constantly being curious might be a theme of my career journey as I went through it all.
Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome. I love that story of the jewelry box. That’s Perfect. Great way to recover and not, not beat yourself up about it. I’m sure you did a little bit
Jamie Turner: Oh I did. Believe me I beat myself up and down. I was like “I can’t believe! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”
Andrea Vahl: So let’s talk about obstacles. As you have pivoted into different things, what obstacles have you faced? And we were talking before this on the call a little bit about, mindset obstacles or even just, larger challenges of how do I pivot and shift into something new.
So what obstacles have you come across and how have you dealt with those over the years?
Jamie Turner: Yeah, I’ve had all the obstacles that all of us have had. We all have had, Life is tough. Let’s just admit that I’m an optimist. I love life. I see the joy in life. But I also recognize that a friend of mine once said, life is messy.
And I thought that was a great description cuz I, I don’t ever want to say life tough, even though it is. I want to say it’s just messy. It never goes in a straight line like you think it would when you’re 20 years old thinking, here’s how my life and career are going to go, and then it doesn’t, and you gotta recover and bounce back and just have that kind of perseverance as you go through things.
But for me, there’s a great quote I’m not a huge Bob Dylan fan, but he did say something in an interview once they found great. He said, “An artist is always in a state of becoming.” And I thought that was a great way to say we’re all always in a state of evolution. We’re never. We’re never finished.
We’re always trying to become that person that we know we can be if everything was perfect, but nothing is perfect. So we end up just continuously trying to achieve that. So when I would come up, hit obstacles a lot of it was just that sort of a perseverance b kind of the recognition that life is messy.
And that took me a while to learn. I didn’t know it when I was 29. I didn’t know it when I was 33 by the time I was. Approach. In my forties I was like, Hey, this ain’t going the way I thought it was going to go so, I better just, hold on for the ride cuz it’s a buck and bronco the whole way through.
And again, I don’t want your listeners and viewers to think I’m a pessimist. I’m absolutely not, but I am a realist who goes, It’s harder than you think, but that’s okay. That’s like the whole journey is meant to be that.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, I have a joke I want someone to tell me, you are done. You have no more potential.
Jamie Turner: This is it!
Andrea Vahl: Yes. And that’s it is we’re always becoming, And I think, I I have another friend of mine who’s 52 and we’re always like, You’ve got a lot of potential.
Jamie Turner: That’s great. I’m going to use that tonight. We have somebody visiting us who’s 77 and smart as a tack and brilliant and just wonderful.
And I’m going to just say to her, you have a lot of potential, so I’ll quote you on it once. Yeah.
Andrea Vahl: So what have been, you talk about this whole perseverance and things like that, but when you’ve been really overwhelmed with something, what, how do you get your mojo back? How do you get back in the game?
How do you, you know get that, that drive to keep going?
Jamie Turner: No. They’ve done studies that show that the people who are successful are actually the people who are quick to forget and that they’re the people who have a blunder and then a day later they’re like, Nah, okay, I’m moving on. Now, that’s not easy.
Kind of born that way or not, but if you think. Quarterbacks in the NFL they throw an interception that you know, suddenly turns the tide of the game. Those guys don’t walk off the field going, Oh my God, this is horrible. I can’t believe it. They walk off, go, All right guys new set of downs coming up, and you just have to almost train yourself to do that.
It’s hard. I’m not saying it’s easy. But if you train yourself just to realize there’s always something else coming around the corner, then you can accomplish that and make it happen. The other thing I do personally that has been a game changer in my life, and it’s what I use to manage my ADHD, is meditation.
Meditation, not medication. I’m not against medication if that’s what you want to use, but I went into a doctor years ago, I said, I’ve got ADHD. I’m bouncing off the walls, and it’s disruptive in my company and I need to settle down. Do you have a prescription for Ritalin or whatever, and he said, You know what?
Do you meditate at all? And I said, Yeah, actually I do meditate. And he said, I want you to do it more frequently and get into a deeper state. And I did. And what happens is you get into something called the Alpha State, and that actually puts the energy and the blood flow and everything to the prefrontal cortex of your brain, which is the front part of your brain, which is where all of that executive reasoning happens and all of that stuff where you’re no longer reacting, you’re acting. So when we react, it’s the base of our skull, our reptilian brain that’s fight or flight or any of those things. When we move everything to the front part of our brain, we’re a little calmer. Where we see life is just a series of steps instead of seeing everything as dramatic or overstated or anything like that.
So meditation has been an absolute game-changer for me. Can’t recommend it enough to anybody, but not everybody’s into it, but it’s been a game changer for.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah. So share a little bit. How long are you meditating, how many, couple times a day, What has been your practice? I’d love to hear more about that.
Jamie Turner: Yeah, I do. I did literally when I was 14 years old, started doing transcendental meditation. You might assume my parents were hippies and they were, but they were like, Oh, hey, this guy named Maharishi Mahi, Mahesh Yogi’s coming through town. Let’s go ahead and check this out. So I started early.
I never did it seriously though, until I was in my mid-thirties and that was twice a day, I started out in my deepest moments twice a day for 25 minutes at a time. Sounds like a lot. And everybody’s going, I don’t have 50 minutes in my day. And the joke in the meditation circles is if you don’t have 50 minutes in your day to meditate, then you need to do it for two hours a day until you can do it.
And the reason is you get so much more focus. You eliminate all that sideways energy that happens, the monkey chatter that’s in our brain constantly going, Oh, I gotta, what am I going to do about that? What am I going to do about that? What am I going to do about that? That goes away and it settles your brain down, so you actually perform at your peak, and you’re actually much more efficient and you actually get more done when you meditate.
I’m now down to 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the afternoon. 30 minutes a day all of a sudden, that just absolutely is a game changer for me, and I’m much more focused, much more efficient, much more productive because I spend that 30 minutes a day meditating. It’s just absolutely been a game-changer.
Andrea Vahl: I love that. I love that. And then when you do, you like increase if you notice some things are going wrong or do you say “oh I need some more of that.” is that…
Jamie Turner: It’s usually the opposite. It’s usually not that I get in a stressful situation and increase it. It’s usually. I start bouncing off the walls a little bit, or I’m a little snarky with my lovely wife, or I’m a little bit agitated at the post office or whatever, and I go, Oh, you know what?
I haven’t gotten a good meditation in for a couple of days. And it’s like clockwork. And I’ll be in a conversation and I’ll quickly change the subject. That’s a sign to me. Oh, I’m not meditating as deeply and as consistently as I need to. So I’ll come back to it.
And I’m actually now, just while we’re on a roll here, shifting to another one called heartfulness heartfulness.org. heartfulness.org. Great. Different kind of meditation, but it’s worked out great and it’s actually I’m shifting gears on that, but it’s actually worked out really well.
Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome. I love that. We’ll put that in the show notes for sure. And talk about that a little bit more cuz I have heard other people who have just talked about how wonderful meditation is at helping them get super focused, so I love that.
And so let’s talk about your shift into kind of focusing on leadership versus marketing, what prompted that change for you? Is it just that curiosity? Is it some other desire to do something different? What? Why are you shifting into that?
Jamie Turner: Two, two reasons. A, I just genuinely love to teach and so I teach at universities, but I also love to teach from the stage to professionals.
I hope none of my university administrators are listening to this, but I actually prefer speaking to adults and professionals because they’re actually locked in and zeroed in on what you’re saying. And they listen a hundred percent. Where the students of course are doing what I used to do, which is, this is interesting, but there’s also the keg party as soon as I get out of this class, so there’s that going on.
But it was from a love of teaching and the older I got, The more I realized that I have wisdom, but we all do. In the end, you’ve learned so much through all the things that you’ve gone through in your life that I thought, I can package this up and I do something now called the Unspoken Rules of Leadership, and it’s all designed to teach people how to do a better job leading themselves so that they can also do a better job leading others, and it’s got a lot of tips and techniques, meditation being one of ’em. Another being that we have to work on our mindset first and our skill set Second. People think that you should work on your skills. I gotta learn Excel. I gotta learn how to do PowerPoint. I gotta learn this new software program.
The truth is that great leaders, successful people, work on their mindset first. Mindset being what you think. If you change what you think, that can also change your actions, which ultimately changes your outcome. And you can control the first two things there. You can control your thoughts. You can control your actions, the outcome you actually have to let go of. You can’t control that because there’s too many variables. But if you learn how to change your thoughts and then learn how to change your actions and then let go. Things start unfolding in miraculous ways. It’s really been wonderful to see it unfold and go, Oh wow, you do the right thing. The right thing happens to you.
I wish someone taught me that earlier.
Andrea Vahl: That’s why I’m doing this podcast. Let’s you know the wisdom from life lived well. Things that have gone well for you and realizing some of these things I think is huge. And even now I’m learning, I always am learning new lessons, so it that’s great.
That’s great. I, so…
Jamie Turner: I would be interested, Can I jump in on that?
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, go ahead.
Jamie Turner: It was an interesting line of thought. One, of the other things that I talk about, and this’ll be helpful to your listeners, I think is, what is your first line of code? And what I mean by that is a software program, if you have a software program and it’s a beautiful software program for a million lines of code, but that first line of code is broken in some way, that software program will never run because the first line of code’s broken.
So I ask people, in my audiences, I say, What is your first line of code? I’m not good enough, is it nobody loves me? Is it people will rip me off? Is it, what is that first line of code that’s holding you back? And if you can change that first line of code to something more positive and affirmative, then all of a sudden the rest of the software program works for you.
So in order to unleash your full potential, you have to change that first line of code and ask yourself, What is my first line of code? Is it my parents never, believed in me or nobody’s proud of me, or whatever that first line of code is, change that first line of code and you’ll suddenly start seeing the rest of your life. Kind of pull through in miraculous ways again as we go through that. Yeah.
Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome. That’s great. That is a very nerdy way to put it, but that’s. No, I love that. And now you talked a little bit about speaking. I want to just find out a little bit on how you get your speaking engagements all around the world.
You are a frequent speaker and contributor to CNN and other news programs. How have you made those connections and made those things happen?
Jamie Turner: They were both those examples are very intentional. It didn’t just happen. These are things that I said, Huh? If I really want to be a big shot, not that I’m a big shot, but if I really want to have the career I’m looking for, I should be speaking around the globe.
And so I literally called a friend of mine in London. I said, “Hey Robert, you want to do an event together in London?” And he said, “Yeah, I think that would be fun.” I said, “I’ll tell you what. I’ll speak for no fee except the event that we jointly do. The first amount of money we make from it pays for my flight over and my expenses over, other than that I’m free.”
And he said, “Yeah, I can do that. And we did it. And then what you do is then you go, Hey, everybody, I speak internationally, and that word gets out and people hear about it all over the place. And a lot of it is writing a blog and that goes global and stuff like that. Now, in a similar fashion on the CNN thing, I get on CNN, how did I do that?
I had a friend, a former client who worked at CNN and I said, Hey you’re working at CNN? Can we have lunch sometime together? He says, Yeah, we go to lunch. I said, I think I could maybe help out on CNN and maybe be a guest Sometimes. He says I think you could too. Let me get my producer, and he gets the producer and she meets me and 10 minutes later she said, Hey, I like it.
So the point I’m making is both of those things weren’t happenstance. They were like me going, How do I make this happen? So taking action in your life is much better. Than reacting to life because when you take action in life, it actually helps you reach your aspiration goal, which is, Hey I think I could sit on TV and, Yammer on about stuff.
And so both those things actually worked out and and, but they were very intentional and I took action form. Now not telling you about the hundred things I did that didn’t pan out, but those two did happen to pan out and they were actually things that I really worked hard to make.
Andrea Vahl: That’s awesome. That is awesome. This has been super fun talking to you. I have a question that I ask all my guests and what is an assumption lots of people have about you that’s wrong?
Jamie Turner: So if I may reframe it to what is an assumption that my siblings have about me and Michael, Nancy, Craig, Ashley, if you’re listening to this, Johnny, if you’re listening to this, I’ve got five siblings and again I probably shouldn’t be saying this kind of stuff.
Because they see me do all these social media posts and because they see me self-promote because that’s my job is to self-promote so that I get hired as a speaker and all that stuff. They believe I’m a narcissist and, so Nancy will be like, Oh my God, you’re so narcissistic. I’m like, I’m not, I swear I just have to self-promote. If I don’t, my revenue streams dry up.
So that would be the one thing that I would love to tell my family. They will be unconvinced by the way. I will go to them and constantly say, It’s seriously just a business decision I’m making. I gotta do this in order to make money. And they’re like, Bullshit. I don’t buy that one I owta. but it is what it is.
Andrea Vahl: That is so funny. That’s a great one. And it’s interesting, we were talking a little bit earlier too about that whole self-promotion and I think there is, Especially for people starting something new. And if you are starting a new business especially, or even something that’s putting yourself out there, you do have to promote that in order to make it successful.
And I think there is this tendency that we feel like, Oh, I don’t want toot my own horn, or I don’t want to come off as a narcissist. , How do you get around that? You’re out there doing lots of videos and things like that. How do you get through that block?
Jamie Turner: Anybody who’s seeing this or listen to this, if you’ve seen any of my videos , it looks like I’m comfortable and talkative and all that sort of stuff. I’m actually an introvert, point number one. And point number two is I actually am a little shy and embarrassed that I’m doing this. Now you don’t see that in any of the videos cuz I come across as outgoing and all that sort of stuff. But it is literally that just idea that I just have to do this, I have to make it so that I can get the word out there and spread the word and make it.
That, it reminds me of a quote you were going to ask me. I think one of the questions you might ask is, What’s your favorite quote? And one just popped in my head, which relates to everything we’ve talked about today, which is from Kevin Costner. And he said you have to remember if you’re going to take a big chunk out of the universe, occasionally the universe is going to take a big chunk outta you.
And I thought that was a great way to understand that we are, we’re putting ourselves out there, and you just have to recognize that sometimes you’re going to fall on your face or look stupid or say something dumb or get a nasty comment on social media, and you just gotta go. That’s the deal.
The deal is either, if you’re in this game, you’re going to have that happen, and it just is what it is. So I hope that’s helpful to you and to, to mostly to your listeners and viewers.
Andrea Vahl: Yeah, that is great. And so true. You just, it’s not smooth, like you said. It’s a little messy. I definitely, we’ve all had a messy couple of years especially, so
Jamie Turner: Yeah. Yeah.
Andrea Vahl: This has been, Totally amazing. Jamie, it’s been as always, so great to talk to you. Little bit selfish on my part, just to catch up and hear all the wonderful things and get a chance to talk to you a little bit more. But I know that you’ve made some great impacts on my listeners and I appreciate your wisdom and ideas on all of this.
Where can people find out more about you? Where is the best place to connect with you?
Jamie Turner: No thanks for asking. I’m pretty much if you Google Jamie Turner, you can reach out to me via any of those things. But if you want to continue this thought process that we’ve shared today, go to Unspokenrules.live and Unspokenrules.live has resources on it. It has quizzes on it. It has a blog on it. It has all sorts of stuff that’ll help you work through all of the things we’re talking about. How to reinvent yourself later in life so that you can actually achieve and become that person that you know you’re capable of becoming, and it’s all in there. So unspokenrules.live.
Andrea Vahl: Great. And what’s your also share your latest book? What’s your latest book that you got behind there?
Jamie Turner: Yeah. Latest book is this one back here called “An Audience of One“. It’s about marketing and it teaches people how to do something called one-to-one marketing, which is where we can use data to figure out which people to target for our campaigns.
And then, and this gets a little scary, but then we can also follow you around so that we can make sure you buy our products. But it’s done in an ethical way that protects your privacy. So if you’re interested in one, one to one marketing, check out an audience of one. It’ll help you understand how to do that.
Andrea Vahl: Awesome. Thank you so much, Jamie.
Jamie Turner: Oh, thank you. I’ve always enjoyed catching up with you and looking forward to catching up again soon.
Andrea Vahl: All right. Bye-bye Dreamers.
Outro: Hope that was helpful, and make sure you grab the free guide, Top Tools for Late Starters on the website at latestartersclub.com and let’s turn dreaming into doing.
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