Dan Krikorian sounds like someone who came out of a comic book. Much like Peter Parker is Spider-Man, Scott Lang is Ant-Man, he lives many lives. Dan is a college basketball coach, touring musician, fellow podcaster, and professor of leadership. But what makes him better than these heroes is he can manage these multiple lives as a whole. He gets to live a more fulfilling life because he can do all these things that he is passionate about.
The way Dan makes it work tells us that you can do more with your time. It’s just about prioritization. I am guilty of the shiny object syndrome, but listening to Dan made me realize that perhaps we should not be fighting that urge so much. We should instead try to leverage that, embrace it, and enjoy the ride.
In this episode, Dan and I also talked about the importance of leadership in all aspects of life. It’s a skill set that can be taught. It is something you want to develop no matter what position you are in, especially in business. According to John Maxwell, leadership is influence. For aspiring entrepreneurs, you need to be able to influence a group of people with the same vision toward a unified goal.
Finally, to complete Dan’s superhero image, we will also be talking about learning to be more resilient.
With that said, I want to end this introduction in memory of the late Chadwick Boseman, who has shown much resilience in the last moments of his life. As T’Challa, he said, “In times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers.” To withstand difficult situations, you need to be able to adjust and adapt to conditions and remain persistent.
Now, let us learn from Dan on how to become a resilient leader.
Covered in This Episode
[1:54] Early Life and Background
[3:40] Learning Leadership
[6:51] Definition of resilience
[8:22] Things that you need in your toolkit to be resilient
[12:50] A Leader in One’s Own Right
[15:13] Meaning of leadership
[18:50] Who can become a leader, and how?
[20:23] Importance of leadership
[21:11] How leadership differs from management
[25:12] Lens of leadership
[31:21] Starting a Podcast
[39:55] Dan’s Musical Career
[43:09] Developing a Personal Resilience to Ups and Downs
[46:19] Leaderships Qualities You Need to Have
[49:03] How to Contact Dan Krikorian
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dankrikorianmusic/
Podcast: Beautiful Work Podcast
Chris Ippolito 1:01
Dan Krikorian 1:02
Chris, great to be here, thanks for having me.
Chris Ippolito 1:05
You’re welcome. I’m glad to have you on the “Get Coached Podcast,” welcome. A little bit of a different conversation. As you know, I have normally business coaches or professional coaches, but with a business slant. You’re a little bit unique in that you are, in a sense, a professional coach, but there was something else that really appealed to me when we first talked. I’d love if you could share your story. I’m sure you’ll mention what it is that you do and I’m pretty sure the audience will pick up on why I invited you to be on the show.
Dan Krikorian 1:40
Sure. Well, thanks, once again, for having me, I’m really excited to have this conversation with you and really enjoy what you’re doing with the podcast. I’m hoping to just add to the other great folks that you’ve had on.
As far as my story and how I ended up getting here with you, as we’ll talk about, I have multiple prongs of my career, multiple avenues that I coach in or that I’m involved in. But I am a professor at Chapman University, in the leadership department at Chapman. I am also the Associate Headman’s Basketball Coach at Chapman University. My day to day is coaching at the collegiate level college basketball, then as of five years ago I started teaching leadership, as well, in that leadership minor. We’ll get into other things that I do. Also, I tour the world as a musician and I’m a podcaster, as well, all rolled up into one.
Chris Ippolito 2:48
Awesome. Yeah, when you had mentioned that you were a professor of leadership, that really caught my attention. Because, I don’t even remember if I’ve mentioned this on the show, but I went through pretty much all of 2018 where the vast majority of the books that I read were on the subject of leadership. I took a lot of value out of that for personal purposes, for business purposes. To learn that that’s even a thing, that somebody is teaching leadership at colleges, I thought that was really interesting and unique. I just wanted to get a little bit of what is that experience like, how did you get there, and what made you want to do that?
Dan Krikorian 3:40
Yeah, it’s a great question. Being full-time on campus at Chapman six years ago now, Chapman has a master’s of leadership, as well, you can get your master’s in leadership development. I took that and that’s what I got my master’s in. The capstone class project that I had to do, you had to basically create a project or something for your capstone for the master’s program. I created a course, what would be a potential college course that you could teach. Specifically my course was on resilience, resilience looking at athletes, looking at people in all different parts of life, and how you can become and how you can learn to be resilient.
One of the professors in the master’s program also is involved in the undergraduate program at Chapman and just really enjoyed my presentation, him and I had a good relationship, and after I had finished my master’s talked to me about bringing me into the faculty at the undergraduate level. It was a great opportunity. I teach two courses at Chapman, I actually wrote both of those courses and teach both of them. They both have to do with sports, leadership, society, and looking at the broad spectrum of how sports, society, and leadership intersect and all that surrounds it.
It’s a really fascinating, never-ending case study. I mean you can open the paper every single day, right now is an amazing time to look at how leaders in sports organizations are shaping and developing our society on a day-to-day basis as we’re talking right now in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a fascinating subject to be a part of and that’s briefly the story of how I got into it.
Chris Ippolito 5:36
Right. For me, the thing about leadership, the skill of leadership, because it definitely is a skill that you acquire, you develop, and you learn, it is so transferable in all aspects of life. You had mentioned, obviously, for you there’s a big focus on the side of sports and athletics. But I think that’s also why a lot of the athletes who were the leaders in their sport of their team, then when they retired they tend to end up in a leadership capacity. Sometimes it’s in the media channel where they’re now a spokesperson, host, or whatever it is. Then there’s been a few that have gone on to have very successful entrepreneurial careers and whatnot.
One of the courses you mentioned was teaching resilience. How would you go about teaching somebody resilience? Where we could maybe start is let’s define what resilience is in regards to the way you teach it, then let’s maybe walk through how you would help somebody develop that skill set.
Dan Krikorian 6:51
Sure. I’ll say I’m not the foremost authority on resilience and resilience training, there are some fantastic people out there that I use that just do a fantastic job of looking at it. But one of the things when you’re trying to teach resilience is that you can teach it and it’s different at all stages of your life. There’s different things that go into it, what your background was like, what your personality is like, all sorts of different things like that. But it can be taught and it can be worked on like any other skill. It’s something that’s really transferable with athletics because on a day-to-day basis you’re dealing with loss, you’re dealing with not getting the playing time you want, or your girlfriend breaks up with you and you’ve still got to go to practice in hour, all these things that our guys have to go through on a day-to-day basis and we try to help them through.
Broadly defined, it’s someone’s ability to bounce back from difficulty or to persist through something that’s difficult. This is something that people have looked at for a long time, my project and the beginnings of the class just centered around what are some of the things that you need to have in your toolkit in order to be resilient. That’s how things spun from there.
Chris Ippolito 8:19
What would be some of those things you would want to have in your toolkit?
Dan Krikorian 8:22
Yeah. I wish I had my whole thesis in front of me so I could go back through because some of it’s escaping my memory, all the finer points of it. But having a great inner circle of people that you can rely on, your network, people that you can go to to discuss stuff or talk about difficult times. That’s really important to being resilient. When you talk about a team, having strong bonds with your coaches and your other players when you go through a hard time or whatnot, that’s really one of the great factors that helps show if someone can be resilient.
Having an optimistic, or a realistic but with a tinge of optimism, part of your personality. You’re not always pessimistic and you’re not too optimistic, but you’re nicely right in the middle where you see things as they are but you believe that things are going to work out.
Another one is having what’s called an internal locus of control. There’s external locus of control and internal locus of control, not to get too into the weeds. But an external locus of control would be if a situation happens, you feel like it’s outside of your control. You blame it on other people, you blame it on the situation, or whatnot. An internal locus of control you feel like you have the ability to change how you view it, how the outlook might be. People that have more of an internal locus of control feel like they can bounce back because they can work through things.
Those are just some of the points that we discuss and that we find.
Chris Ippolito 10:07
Yeah, that’s super interesting. I mean I’ve done, this will be, 35 conversations now, then I’ve read a ton of books on personal development and personal growth. Those three things you share, though you worded them differently, if you break it down.
That first one, having that support network, that to me is like the principle of association. Surround yourself with people that want to see you succeed, they’re there to support you. That’s super critical in any arena if you want to be successful. Trying to be a lone wolf and being successful is almost never going to work. That’s really evident in team sports, as we both know. I played a lot of basketball, soccer, and a lot of team sports. It’s really evident in basketball. Yes, LeBron James can carry a team, but he can’t win championships on his own. Right?
Dan Krikorian 11:12
Chris Ippolito 11:13
Then, sorry, what was the second point you had mentioned?
Dan Krikorian 11:21
A little bit of optimism.
Chris Ippolito 11:23
Right, optimism. Being a realist, obviously that’s good. I think to me, the way I look at that is just not being pessimistic, not being super negative, because that’s not going to really get you anymore. But maintaining more of a positive mindset. Almost, in a sense, a “growth mindset” is a different, little bit more trendy way to saying it.
But the last one, the thing that popped into my head was stoicism, training yourself to understand that there are certain things that are out of your control and you can’t do anything about it. But there is a lot that is within your control, which is typically how you react to those situations that might feel out of your control. Which, when you boil it down, means you have control over everything because you can control how you’re going to react to it.
That’s super interesting, that resilience really is a combination of all these positive attributes that you would find in different aspects, whether it’s business, philosophy, or whatever it be. What would be some of the other aspects of leadership that you would be training or coaching people on? Or “teaching” is the word you would use.
Dan Krikorian 12:50
Yeah. Well, one of the things about teaching leadership and one of the things that we focus a lot on, I’ll flip back and forth between the courses I teach, then also the real-world application and being a college basketball coach. But there’s not one type of leader. I think a lot of people, when you say, “Hey, what does a leader look like? Draw me a picture or something,” it’s somebody standing in front of a crowd, making a big speech, is this extroverted personality, and whatnot. That is true for a lot of leaders that we see in public office or social media, but there’s as many different types of leaders as there are people in the world.
I think that what we do a lot of is really looking at your own personal skill set. Who are you as a person and as a leader? What are your skills? What are your strengths? What can you bring to the table? If you’re an introvert or someone that isn’t going to really stand out in front of the crowd, well, how do you lead by example? Can you pull someone aside in a one-on-one situation, are you more comfortable with that? What are your stressors? When are you comfortable? When are you not comfortable? There’s a million things.
So much of leadership is contextual, too. Sometimes people are really good at being a leader in tough times, when someone needs to make a big speech, or someone needs to come into the locker room and get them riled up. Sometimes people are better in practice away from the big stage and whatnot. We do a lot of work on figuring out who you are, what it is that you could bring to the table. Then once you get into that situation, whatever the job is, whatever the situation is, how can you use those specific skills that you have as a leader to add to that association.
Chris Ippolito 14:49
Right. The thing about leadership I find is everybody has a bit of a different image or definition of it. For you, how would you define leadership? Is that something that you think you could define?
Dan Krikorian 15:13
Yeah, it’s a great question. Being someone that’s a professor of leadership, I should have a snappy, nice, one-line answer for you. Ultimately the goal of leadership is to try to get people to follow you for some sort of goal. You want to take them from one place to the other, whether it be in a business, a sports environment, or as a band. You want to take them someplace, then move them along, and you want to build trust along the way.
You’re trying to get people to follow you, I mean that’s really what leadership is about, is getting people to follow you. Not in a sense of, “Look how I great I am,” but just, “Hey, I think this is a great direction to go,” and you want people to come along with you. There are so many ways to do that, there are so many theories on it, and whatnot. But at the base of it it’s trying to get people to pull in one direction for a common goal.
Chris Ippolito 16:11
Yeah. I think one of my favorite, short, summarized responses that I’ve ever heard on the definition, and it made a lot of sense, was John C. Maxwell, who writes a ton of books on, and speaks about, the subject all the time. For him, he feels that leadership is influence. Because if you can successfully lead, that means you’re successfully influencing people to take actions that are in their benefit. When I first heard that, I was like, “Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.” Really it’s just being able to help people take that step forward that maybe they felt scared or unable to do without some sort of guidance. Then now you step up, you’re the one that takes them along and gets them to that destination that they ultimately want to get to.
Yeah. Sorry, go ahead.
Dan Krikorian 17:13
No, I was going to say Maxwell is great. The book I think that you’re talking about, it’s one of the required reading books in one of my classes, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. I think that’s where that comes from. I was just reading a bunch of papers where I think somebody was quoting one of those chapters. But he’s one of the foremost authorities on leadership, for sure.
Chris Ippolito 17:39
Yeah. He’s got a great story. For those that don’t know, he started off as a pastor?
Dan Krikorian 17:46
Chris Ippolito 17:47
I don’t know if I’m using the proper term. Then he just had a lot of success in building churches that he went to through leadership, but then he wanted to transition to the business world. He’s been incredibly successful in that arena.
Obviously we both understand the value of developing leadership in ourselves, and obviously you teach, but why is it that a lot of people look at the skill set or that word of “leadership” and they’ve got this stigma that you only learn leadership once you become a “leader”? It seems super interesting that people think that you have to develop that skill set once you’re in a position of leadership. Whereas I’m sure you would argue that that’s a skill set you want to have no matter what you consider a title.
Dan Krikorian 18:50
Sure. Yeah, it sounds like what you’re getting at is there’s positional leadership, where you just happen to be called the manager and people should follow you because that’s what your title is. Then there’s leadership that doesn’t matter on your position, where you are at.
Two things. One, our Head Coach here at Chapman has a great quote about when guys come in as freshman in college basketball, it’s hard to be a leader amongst your peers. When you come in as a 17, 18-year-old and there’s 22, 23-year-old guys. To be a leader as a freshman or even a sophomore is a very unique thing. But one of the things that we talk about is before you can become a great leader, just become a great follower. It’s okay if you don’t have the ability to lead people at the time, but just understand how to be part of a group, how to pull in the same direction, study and be around people that are good leaders, just be a really great follower and be a good part of that group. Then eventually throughout your growing process you will develop your own leadership style and you will become a leader eventually. It’s like crawl before you walk.
Oh, man, I forgot the second part of. What was the original question? Sorry.
Chris Ippolito 20:15
Why is it such a valuable skill, why should everybody really work on developing their leadership?
Dan Krikorian 20:23
It’s such a good question because, though you might study, you might not always see the benefits of “I want to be a leader at my work,” “I want to become the boss,” or the manager, and whatnot. Studying leadership and the skills is only going to help you in your personal life, as well, in becoming a better father, husband, brother, and whatnot, being a better community member and growing in those ways, as well. It’s really important just for your personal life, too, to understand some of the aspects of leadership. Then, obviously, as you grow and develop into some of these other roles, then you’re just going to become a better connector of people.
One of the tenets of the program that I teach in at Chapman is the difference between leadership and management. Management, though they often intersect and intertwine in a sense, you can lead from anywhere, any position within a society or within a company. Managing is more about making sure these things get out on time, do this, do that, and follow these orders or whatnot. There is a difference between the two and being a leader doesn’t require you to have to have, necessarily, a position of power, though it does help and you can make greater influence when you do.
Chris Ippolito 21:50
Right. Maybe this is almost a question, I’ll just ask it. Do you think it’s one or the other, like you could be a leader without having good management skills and, vice versa, you could be a good manager and have basically no leadership skills?
Dan Krikorian 22:12
Chris Ippolito 22:14
I think where the true value is and where you probably see people who really rise above the crowd is if they are a strong leader and a good manager. Because being a good manager means you’re watching all the moving pieces, you’re able to know where what needs to go, and just keeping people on task almost, in a sense. Whereas a leader, especially with all the books I’ve read, I feel like being a strong leader is about creating a vision, getting as many people to buy into that vision, and start marching in that direction.
Dan Krikorian 22:54
Yeah. No, you hit it on the head. We talk about the difference between transactional leadership and transformational leadership. The transactional leadership is basically, “Hey, I need to manage this, you need to be here at this time, you need to have your things in order,” managerial type of things. It is important to have those skills, don’t get me wrong at all. Where the transformational leadership is more about inspiring something deep inside another person to lift them to another level. The great leaders and great coaches that I’ve had the opportunity to be around, they have both, 100% right.
The head coaches for college basketball, they’ve got to manage budgets, recruiting, scouting, “Do this, go here, and get the bus here,” and blah, blah, blah. All that sort of stuff, they have to be spot-on 100% great at that transactional stuff. Then they also have to be really good at when a kid walks into their gym and is having a terrible day, to be able to reach down inside, find a way to get them to have a good practice, to give it their all for the team, and pull in the same direction.
It’s a full day when you’re doing both of those things and I think that it’s necessary at the highest levels. You do see the highest level leaders have both of those skills, for sure.
Chris Ippolito 24:10
Yeah. Something I have found, whenever I start studying something, I go really deep, and/or it’s very consuming, like I spent almost that full year studying leadership. When I started looking at the rest of the world, I started seeing examples of the things I was learning. With you being a professor and being involved in it for as long as you have been so far, when you are doing those other things that you do in life, being the musician, a podcaster, and just life in general, have you noticed that you look at things in a bit of a different lens, almost through this lens of leadership, just observationally looking at people and almost measuring their leadership ability based on how they’re interacting with you or how you’re observing them interact with other people? Do you ever find yourself doing that?
Dan Krikorian 25:12
Yeah, I think I do that all the time. I mean I wear a lot of different hats, like you mentioned, and I’m hopping from a meeting with university professors to young 18 to 22-year-old kids, then I’m going to band practice, then dealing with a PR manager for a European tour, then I’m doing this with somebody for my podcast. In all of those scenarios you’re just trying to just be a reader of people. Like we talked about, managing other people and knowing where you fit in, knowing who should be in what role, when to step back, when to step forward. I mean in certain roles in my life I am the leader. In my band, podcast, business, as a professor, I’m in charge of the class, the band, and all that. College basketball, I’m the Associate Head Coach. I’m in charge, but there’s a guy ahead of me. I have to know how to manage that role as well as some of those other things.
It’s a constant process of just figuring out where you fit in, then, like you mentioned too, how other people fit in. You definitely see it as you grow.
Chris Ippolito 26:31
Yeah. I mean I love the fact that you’re teaching young men to be leaders. Because I look back at myself at that age and I remember having a teacher, she pulled me aside and she’s like, “You’re going to be a great leader one day.” I didn’t really understand what she meant. But I also took that and thought that, because she said that, I should get that respect right away. I don’t know, I was just very naive at that age. But I think it’s so healthy that there’s courses out there that teach people, young people, what leadership is and to start developing that skill at a young age, because it is such a valuable skill set.
I’m trying to understand what kind of kids are you seeing come into that program? Is it primarily through the athletics program, or is it just a wide variety of kids that come into it?
Dan Krikorian 27:48
Yeah, Chapman University is, for those that are listening that don’t know much about Chapman, which is fine, Chapman is a pretty high academic university, the 4.0s, 1350 and up SAT kids, really great kids that we deal with. 8,000 undergrads, 12,000 for the full school. It’s a good midsize university out here in Southern California, out by UCLA, USC, that sort of thing. The program that I’m in, it’s for all students. I do have some athletes in some of my classes just because they’re interested in the subject matter, but it’s open to any and all students.
It’s a minor, there’s a master’s program and a minor program. A lot of students take it, they have whatever their regular bachelor’s degree is going to be in, and they take the minor to supplement it. I see a lot of business majors take my classes and they enjoy it just for a way to boost their business degree, to have some leadership work, as well. Then obviously there’s a lot of kids from other programs that just are interested in sports or whatnot that take it, as well.
Chris Ippolito 29:12
Yeah, I think I would have been attracted to that if that was an option to me. Because when I was in junior high I took, the class was called, Enterprise and Innovation. What sold me on it was part of the course and how we were going to be graded was to launch a business, so come up with a business plan, launch a business, run it within the school for a little bit. Then they would grade us on not the profits of the business, but just how successfully we rolled it out, did we have any issues, and whatnot. I think I would probably have been pretty attracted to a leadership type course. As long as it was, in a sense, pitched to me the right way, I think I would have been attracted to that. It makes sense that a lot of business majors are going.
Dan Krikorian 30:03
Yeah, I see a lot. It’s fun. It’s all over the map, to be honest. I always say this, I run the class so that whether you love sports or hate sports, you’re going to get something out of it. I actually really enjoy when I have some people take the class that didn’t play sports growing up and don’t really like sports, but just are taking it because they just were interested or it fit their schedule, whatever it is, because I like having that different point of view. It’s set up so we don’t just sit around and talk about the Lakers-Clippers score or something like that. We look at things like race, social class, the media, and how it fits within the realm of things. I really enjoy teaching it and I get a lot out of it, I hope the kids do, too. I’m assuming they get something.
Chris Ippolito 30:51
I would assume so. If not, hopefully maybe in a few years they’ll look back at that moment and go, “Oh, that’s where I learned that.”
Dan Krikorian 31:00
Chris Ippolito 31:03
Outside of that, obviously you’re quite active with a lot of other things. I’d love to chat a little bit about the podcast that you do. Because from what I saw it looks like you bring on, the same idea, a pretty wide variety of people from the world of athletics and from business.
Dan Krikorian 31:21
Yeah. The podcast was something I started a couple years ago, it’s called Beautiful Work Podcast. I’m involved in, like I said, a lot of different things. I’m a huge podcast fan, I love listening to podcasts, I think it’s a fantastic medium, way to learn and grow your knowledge base by listening to great conversations with people.
I was really into podcasts, and still am. I, from my years in the music industry, just have worked with so many unbelievable musicians and have access to a phone call can call some really great people. I’m a university professor and get to rub elbows with some of the greatest minds on the West Coast for all different types of things. Then obviously the basketball world, then the business world.
I just, a few years ago, decided to start reaching out to some of my personal contacts and see if they wanted to have conversations like this. We dive into the nuts and bolts of what they do and the things that they’ve done in their career. I love doing it, it’s been a lot of fun. We’re getting ready to release episodes, we’re right around you, 34, 35, 36 coming up here in the upcoming weeks. The last guy I had on was Daron Acemoglu, who is one of the world’s leading economists from MIT. I prepared like heck for that conversation because he’s so much smarter than me, I was just trying to make it seem like I could be somewhat in the same room with him. But I love doing it and I get a chance to learn so much about other people’s paths, careers, and leadership styles through that podcast. It’s just something I like to try to share, like what you’re doing.
Chris Ippolito 33:16
Yeah. I am such a huge fan of the podcasting platform. I was mainly a huge fan from the consumption side of it, obviously. Then I tried a podcast with a couple friends and we were on a pretty good rhythm, then just life happened. It’s a lot more difficult to organize three people every week than it is, obviously, yourself, a guest, and that’s it. When I finally decided, “You know what? Why haven’t I done my own thing?”
The biggest thing that I’ve learned, and you touched on it, is you just start connecting with so many great people, it’s absolutely incredible. All you’re doing is just asking for a conversation. For me, the area in which I’m focusing on is personal growth, business growth, coaching, mentoring, that kind of thing. Why I chose that area was just because that’s an area that I enjoyed and I was very passionate about, it’s the bulk of the books that I read. It was just like, “How can I do more of this?”
I think my advice to anybody out there, especially with what we’re going through right now, by the time this releases hopefully we’ve gone beyond it and everybody is okay. But video conferencing and calls like this are becoming more and more popular just out of necessity. All these people, it doesn’t even matter what you’re passionate about, maybe you’re passionate about crochet or whatever, start a podcast on it, then interview people that are in that space and just talk about crochet. But then all of a sudden your network starts growing and it’s just such a cool side effect that I was not even considering when I first started. It sounds like you had a similar experience, you’re just connecting with all these amazing people.
Dan Krikorian 35:28
100%. Yeah, and I’m sure you’re doing the same thing, you look back at the people that you’ve had on so far and are going to have on. To say that you get a chance to have an hour conversation with a lot of these people, to learn, and to have their time is pretty cool. Then to have them in your network going forward and to have them be someone that you can reach out to. Who knows what will develop? It’s just like that compounding interest effect of building that group of people that you call mentors or friends. Yeah, I love it.
Chris Ippolito 36:07
I think any, especially the audience that I’m building this for, entrepreneurial type people, I would literally say everybody should start a podcast. A weekly schedule, I would say, at minimum is what you would want to do, I personally feel. You could also go less frequent than that. But if you’re already going to be having conversations with people, why not record them and turn them into something of value for other people that would love to be a fly on the wall listening in on that conversation?
That’s why I think I loved podcasts like Tim Ferriss, Jordan Harbinger. They get these massive celebrity type people on their podcasts, because of the clout and the work they’ve put in. Then I get to sit there and listen to these amazing people chat for an hour or two hours, sometimes three hours, depending on whose podcast you’re listening to. But your average person will never get that opportunity, except through a podcast. I think that’s why it’s such a cool platform.
Dan Krikorian 37:22
100%. I think, too, when I listen to Tim Ferriss talk to someone that’s been wildly successful in some realm, there’s a certain amount of similarity that sometimes I think you hear when you listen to somebody talk that’s very successful, you hear their backstory, and you hear the ups and downs they went through in these conversations. It’s like, “Man, we’re all in the same thing, everybody is figuring it out.” Obviously they have some skill, desire, or drive that’s led them to their success, no doubt, but they’ve had the same struggles and the same ups and downs that so many of us have had. It’s nice to think, “Okay, well, you’ve just got to keep plugging away.”
They have these nuggets of wisdom that I always like to listen to and it humanizes them a little bit. Because if you just read an article about them, it’s like, “Man, they’re these crazy successful people, they must have something totally different than the rest of us.” Maybe some of them do, but for the most part it’s just people that love what they do, did a great job at it, built it, developed it, and eventually things went their way, which is really fun to listen to.
Chris Ippolito 38:39
Yeah. I agree, that is one of the reasons why I enjoy those types of conversations. Because when they share that personal journey of where they started, all of the trials and tribulations they went through, then in a lot of cases I look at my own life and I go, “Wow, I’ve not gone through near as many challenges as them.” And it’s like, “I really don’t have an excuse.”
That was a big part of the motivation, is just start it and keep plugging away at it because you never know where it’s going to take you, and/or through these relationships. Especially now, through these relationships that I’ve created and earned. You don’t know what kind of lifelong relationship you could be forming and it started with a 60-minute conversation over Zoom.
Dan Krikorian 39:34
Chris Ippolito 39:35
It’s a lot of fun, I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
Let’s go into the band, I want to hear a little bit of that lifestyle. It’s so crazy, you live all these different types of lifestyles. Tell me a little bit about your musical career.
Dan Krikorian 39:55
Yeah, thanks for asking. Last year I released my fifth record, it’s called Grandeur. I had a really great year with it, I was lucky to have it end up on multiple end-of-the-year 2019 best singer-songwriter or folk pop lists, especially over in Europe. I had one of the songs off the record end up as one of the top songs of the year over there, as well. It was a fun year, I toured Europe for about a month with it. I’ve got a full band here in Orange County.
It’s been a great other career with my basketball. I coach from September through March, or whenever we end up losing our last game, losing the playoffs, or win the playoffs hopefully. Then spring and summer come and that’s when I hit the road with the band and do a lot of stuff like that. I’ve got another record coming out here in a few months, a live album from one of our shows last year.
I’m 9, 10 years in. My first record came out in 2008 and I’ve just slowly kept building, kept building, kept building. It seems like it’s a totally different thing than coaching and teaching, but they all just roll into one for me. It’s a joy and a part of my life that I thoroughly love doing. I spend too many 2:00 a.m. nights writing songs and whatnot than I probably should, but it’s just part of the creative process that I just thoroughly enjoy.
Chris Ippolito 41:49
Yeah. I think we talked about this on our first call, but you don’t have kids yet, do you?
Dan Krikorian 41:55
I do not.
Chris Ippolito 41:56
I was going to say there is no way you’d be staying up until 2:00 a.m. if you had a young one like I’ve got right now.
Dan Krikorian 42:02
Or maybe I would be, but I wouldn’t be writing songs, it would be for a different reason.
Chris Ippolito 42:06
Yeah. But no, that’s awesome. It’s cool because what I saw in our initial conversation was obviously you’re doing a lot of things, but you make it work. Whereas a lot of people look at that one thing they have, their day job, and they feel almost like, “That’s all I can do, I can’t do any more.” They have these passions that they throw to the wayside or they grow apart from it, then all of a sudden there’s resentment. But you’re living, what seems from the outside, a very joyful life because you’re doing all these things that you’re passionate about and you’re making time for it. That’s awesome. That was another reason why I wanted to have you on, was because that’s such a good example that you can do more with your time, it’s just about prioritization.
Dan Krikorian 43:09
Yeah, for sure. Thanks for saying that. I am really lucky to do all of the things that I do. I mean I’m passionate about coaching, teaching, leadership, and being around that. I’m really passionate about music and whatnot. I’m getting a chance to do both things, which is really cool. But it’s not without struggle and it’s not without having to, over the years, have developed a personal resilience to ups and downs. Because the world of coaching and the world of music are two volatile, difficult professions to be in, to make a living, and to keep persisting through.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better and better, I think, at setting aside time, having a schedule, and making sure I just show up to pick up the guitar for half an hour if I have to get up a little bit earlier to give it the time that it needs, then go on with my day. But I’m really lucky and they all just weave in and out for me. I’m looking, I have my personal notebook right here and one page has basketball plays, then it’s got recruiting notes, then it’s got notes for my class on leadership, then underneath it are three lyrics that I was working on. It just all circles into one. I try to have separate notebooks, but it’s just not how my brain works, it just all flows. It is what it is.
Chris Ippolito 44:34
Yeah, that’s awesome. I feel like I’m the same way in that I’ve got a lot of little projects going, the podcast being the main one. But I don’t know if this is maybe the same with you, but I find that I struggle with really focusing on one thing for an extended period of time. I can sometimes once I really get in the flow and in the groove. Especially because there’s a lot of types of work, right now anyways, that I have to do that are pretty tedious and not the most stimulating. Chip away at that, and then it’s like, “I’m bored.” Then I flip over to a different project, work on that for a little bit.
I know I’m guilty of the shiny object syndrome, but I feel like there’s a way to almost leverage that and not fight it so much, though I know focus time is really important. If I keep fighting this tendency that I have, “Oh, try this, try that, try that,” I almost mentally exhaust myself by having to fight it. I’m trying this new approach of almost embracing it and seeing how that goes. I’ll let you know in a year or so if it works out.
Dan Krikorian 45:52
I’m sure it will. I’m sure it will, yeah.
Chris Ippolito 45:55
Well, it’s been a really great conversation, Dan. We’ve obviously covered a lot of different things. I always like to wrap up the episodes asking the guest, coming out of this conversation, which we did talk a lot about just a little bit of everything, what would be that one thing you would suggest that they take action on to level up in maybe the area of leadership?
Dan Krikorian 46:19
Yeah. I’m going to give you a cheat one, then I’m going to give you my real one real fast. Because I think that the basis of leadership across everything, I don’t think that much gets done, as far as leading people, if you don’t develop trust first. I think that that’s like the absolute baseline, you have to always be working on developing trust with people that you’re attempting to lead.
I think that’s just at the base of everything, but I’d like to add a second one that I think it makes sense with the times right now. As a leader, having improvisation skills, being able to adjust and adapt to the current situations. I think right now as we’re talking in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so many people, their businesses, and their whole lives have been turned around because of this and they’ve had to adapt. I know I certainly have and I’m lucky at this point to still being doing what it is that I’m doing. But I think learning to think on your feet, to improvise.
We do an improv practice in our class and it’s called “Yes, and.” Basically, I don’t know if you’ve heard of this, but it’s like any time somebody says something, you’ve got to say, “Yes, and,” you keep going, you keep going. It’s a fun, silly game, but I find myself as a leader all the time reverting back to that. Where you might not like the outcome of the game, we might have lost the game, but you just accept it. Then what? Then you move on. This is the new reality that we’re in right now with the COVID-19. I don’t like it, not everything is great about it, but how do we improvise, innovate, maybe do some new things, and learn some new skills?
I think that’s really important. I constantly remind myself that, constantly try to work at that in all the things that I do. It’s something we talk about a lot with both the players at Chapman as well as the people that are in my classes.
Chris Ippolito 48:40
Yeah. I think that’s fantastic advice. The skill to be able to adapt and change is, I think, going to be becoming an even more valuable skill as time goes on. Yeah, great advice.
Dan Krikorian 48:55
Chris Ippolito 48:57
If people wanted to reach out, connect with you, where is the best place for them to do that?
Dan Krikorian 49:03
Yeah. I would just direct them to my website, which is dankrikorian.com. All the things that I do are on the website. Beautifulworkpodcast.com takes you to the same place. But I would suggest reaching out to me there, then all of my social media sites and all that are from that website.
Chris Ippolito 49:32
Awesome. Yeah, I’ll make sure that’s all in the show notes. Well, Dan, that was a lot of fun, I really appreciate the conversation. Definitely looking forward to some future conversations, because there’s a lot of similarities and commonalities here. Yeah, definitely looking forward to those future chats.
Dan Krikorian 49:51
100%. Thanks so much for having me, this was a great conversation.
Chris Ippolito 49:54
Thanks, Dan. Take care.
Dan Krikorian 49:55