Alan’s life focus stems from his own personal development growing up with severe stutter and overcoming the handicap decades into his Engineering Career. Alan has since built a business as an Award Winning International Professional Speaker.
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Alan Cote helps people to BeTheNextStep in their Life’s Journey
Alan is an Award Winning International Professional Speaker. In his presentation "From Stutter to Stage" he shares his journey managing obstacles to success!
Alan is the Founder, Director, CEO of “Be The Next Step” as a discussion of the journey of personal and professional life. He shares tips, tools, and techniques to shift your life to your next level through positive habits, goal setting, and life-long learning. Alan’s life focus stems from his own personal development growing up with severe stutter and overcoming the handicap decades into his Engineering Career. Alan has since built a business as an Award Winning International Professional Speaker. He maintains his skills as a DTM (a Distinguished
Toastmaster displaying leader and speaker skills), a qualified member in National Speakers Association, and motivated student at Stage Time University.
Alan believes that coaching other people to find the steps in success will not only save them time, but create a positive lifestyle that will enhance their personal, family, and business. People will experience a LIFE that exceeds all their expectations and therefore having less stress, happier experiences, and financial and spiritual prosperity. AND makes the world a better place, one person at a time!
The right habits puts you in control of your health, relationships, mindset, and more. But most people lack the tools to stick with those habits long enough to see results that is about to change. Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast with your host, habit change specialist and speaker Stephen Box. Join us each week as experts share their stories, experiences and insights and give you the tools to build unshakable habits so you can live life on your terms. It's time to take your habits from unsustainable to unshakable.
Stephen Box: 0:46
Hey, welcome to the unshakable habits podcast. My name is Stephen Box. I am your host, and I am joined today by Allan Coe Tay. So Alan, thanks for joining me today, man.
Alan J. Cote: 1:01
It's great to be here. Steven. I'm looking forward to this.
Stephen Box: 1:04
So you have this incredible story about going from stuttering to the stage. So you, you went one of the most on guessable routes that anybody could go right like here you have this issue with speech. And now you are a professional speaker. So I can't wait to hear how you went through this journey and just progression. Before we jump into that I do want to take a second term minder audience of the unshakable framework that we look for in these stories. Every time that someone develops an unshakeable habit, every time that they make a major change in their life, you're gonna see a few things. Number one, is some point, they get a vision, they set an objective. Once they set that objective, they have to acquire certain skills in order to do that. So be on the lookout in the story for those skills that Alan had to develop. And then finally, we're going to look at the behaviors and the actions that Alan had to take with consistency. The consistency part is important there in order to develop those skills so that he can make those behavior changes. And then that will tell us how he ultimately went from stuttering to the stage. So Alan start us off by telling us a little bit about what it was like growing up as a stutter.
Alan J. Cote: 2:31
Well, I would often start by introducing myself like this. My Mum Mum, mum, mum, mum and and then and then and then the name is Alan Kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, kick, Cody took a long time to say and it usually made people pretty uncomfortable. And, you know, most people do start their language development at four and five years old with a basic stutter. That's kind of a normal thing. I just never outgrew it. And so growing up with that stutter, I was made fun. Oh, that was picked on. I was really cool. What are you stupid? I always had good grades. But you know, I couldn't talk to anybody. I got into music in about sixth grade and started playing trumpet. And it began to excel pretty quickly with trumpet. We talked about unshakable habits. It's constant practice daily hours and hours of practice to get better. It doesn't happen overnight. You know, my first story of my trumpet playing was when the Trumpet came home, it opened the box and my guy grabbed the horn out of the case, and he picks up the mouthpiece and puts the horn together. And he makes a big sound out of it. Not a good one. But he made a big sell. It passes it to my mom and she, she makes a big sound. She passes my little sister and she goes, she makes a big sound. They got to me and it went air, nothing came out. You know, the irony of that is is that everybody else was making the big sound except for me. I was supposed to be the one who's supposed to play it. And I practiced a lot. I did pretty well. I played Carnegie Hall, you know, the old joke. How do you get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice. And I played Carnegie Hall when I was in high school, and I have to record albums. So I did Excel somewhat with that, even though it was a rough start. I think I think of unshakable habits, it's that constant follow through. And that kind of built the whole framework for me, I think for the rest of my life. as I progress through high school and college, I get into college and is the first one of my family to go to a four year degree program. And I looked around and found the only major that did not require a foreign language for graduation was engineering. I couldn't speak English. I was going to speak a second language. So I became an engineer to avoid foreign language. It's not usually the way most people go to engineering. It's usually a dream or passion or whatever. But for me again, I kept practicing. I was pretty good at what I did for a job. The problem was that once I got into working in the career world, I couldn't answer telephones. Could not present my own plants couldn't talk at staff meetings. Once I got comfortable with somebody, I could kind of flow through the conversation. But to walk into an empty room, like I said, I can play on stage not a problem. But to talk to somebody was impossible. So I wasn't progressing in the company. And I think that's where the first lesson that you were just talking about Stephen, it really kicked in, is that I knew for me to progress in my career, I was going to have to do something. And that's when I found an organization called Toastmasters International. I think you're familiar with that, too. Right?
Stephen Box: 5:34
Stephen? Yeah, I've only been a member for about six years now.
Alan J. Cote: 5:37
Yeah, I've got a number for forever. And since about the 90s, but I joined it to begin to practice, this was a great place to practice over and over to get that stage time, if you will. And that was the beginning of the changes that began to happen.
Stephen Box: 5:56
So I want to kind of back up for a second because you hit on a couple things. So one, you talked about the story with the trumpet. And you pointed out something I think people so often overlook, you were terrible when you started. You're You're the worst one in your family, right? Well, yeah, you went on to play Carnegie Hall, and you have two albums. So I just wanted to point that out. Because I know so many people, they start with this idea that they need to get to a certain level or that they have to be perfect. Or they already have to have the skills. And here you have this great example of you know, what, just start didn't even matter if you if you're good or not, didn't matter if you're the worst person in your family.
Alan J. Cote: 6:48
Exactly. And that's, I think a thing for a lot of people is that they don't have that natural innate talent. And so therefore they quit before they really get started. You know, one of the rules about about success is just continuously showing up, and putting that effort in, you can do the same day over and over the first day over and over and over and do it for 30 years, you've only got one day experience, as far as I'm concerned. Yeah, but you need to continuously progress it and to move through, you know, and that took teachers and coaching and practice and hours and hours of practice was that consistent with it every day, probably not. You know, I was a kid. But that was my job, if you will. And I think the same through with my with my speaking patterns as well. I obviously was not a good speaker to start with. And I work every day still to try to improve that skill to try to make it better, to be more.
Stephen Box: 7:40
And then you you, you talked about you know being in your in your job and knowing that you're going to have to do more speaking if you wanted to advance. And so you went out and joined Toastmasters. So here we are, we're starting to see the first objective, right? Of this kind of vague, I want to move up my job, I know that's going to require speaking, you weren't thinking at that time, Hey, you know what I'm going to go start be the next step in your journey, right? I'm not there yet. At this point, I just want to get a promotion at my job. So your original objective isn't where you ended up. But it ultimately did lead to where you ended up.
Alan J. Cote: 8:21
Sure. And one of the stories you and I were talking about the other day was that I looking for other opportunities in my career, since they weren't happening as fast as I wanted them in engineering. I get into some of those network programs like Amway. And that wasn't the only one I did, by the way. But I was in a major convention one time and say next to my upline, my, you know, my team lead, and this couple got up on the stage, and there was no 1000 people plus, and they get up and they were helping people develop better, better life, a better lifestyle, you know, not waking up to an alarm clock, and all the great things that you hear and all these things, all the things that draw you into those kinds of programs. And I leaned over to him and I said, How do I get to do that, you know, I liked helping people. Engineering is building roads and highways and things that make people safe. And so I want to do something like that. He says, Oh, you have to sell a lot of product, a lot of shampoo to get up there on that stage. And I kind of revamped that and said yeah, that's not the way I'm going I'm gonna find a different route for that. So I took a different path to get there. I never did make it very far in the NY organizations, but I probably speak as much or more than most people on those platforms do now. So But yeah, I found a different avenue but that was the first time I saw it like on stage and saw what that look like. But the real key part I think was where you're headed toward is when I was completing my distinguished Toastmaster which is all of the levels in the speaking part of Toastmasters and all of the leaders Christos Toastmasters. By the way. For those that may not know that here is a club type organization that meets 2030 people, and it builds your speaking skills. But it builds communication, listening skills and leadership skills. And it brings all of those together. And so when you finish through the program and you get to a certain level, you get to the level of called distinguished Toastmaster, which I am. And I was finishing up my distinguished Toastmaster part of it and I talking to a friend of mine. And I said, What else could I do with my life? You know, like, engineering wasn't my first choice. And she said, Well, why don't you get engineers to speak to the rest of us? Me? You You speak to them, they'll get them to speak to us. I said, that doesn't make sense as to that's like seminars and stuff. I can't do that I stuttered. He was Alan, we don't hear that. So just like Now, most of you aren't hearing me stutter and say, Oh, of course he's up on stage. And listen, the way he speaks, you know, and they immediately immediately put in their mind that, oh, he could never have had that problem. Well, I just demonstrated what it sounded like before. And so there was a big change. But I literally refocused my thought process. And quit engineering became a guy that gave daily seminars, 180 cities a year different city every day on business topics. So changed my entire profession. Lots of practice there.
Stephen Box: 11:29
So let's kind of back up a little bit and kind of break down what that actually look like. So we started with this original objective of, I just wanted to learn to speak a little better get more comfortable. So like, a job? Oh, yeah. So then it became, okay, let me now shift after going to Toastmasters kind of, you know, getting a little bit of practice maybe getting more comfortable with speaking, obviously, that helped your stutter, just getting that regular practice in because your members were no longer hearing the stutter, or they never did hear it. And so obviously, that practice helped you, then you go to this convention, and you kind of get this vision. And your objective now shifts from just getting a job promotion to Hey, I really have an opportunity here to impact people's lives. Right? But you knew in order to do that, you had to move beyond what your current skills were. And you had to develop more skills, you had to develop new skills and take those skills to the next level. Now, you didn't start by saying, Oh, I need to wait until I find this perfect vision for my life. And then I need to figure out what skills do I need? You started with your original vision, you built the skills for that vision? Then when your vision got bigger, your skills got bigger. So kind of take us through what that process like, how did you go from engineering to speaking and all of these cities? Like what did that process look like?
Alan J. Cote: 13:03
Well, you know, you touched on a little bit earlier, Steven is that I talked about be the next step. You know, every one of us is on some type of a journey, where we are is our baseline, and then building new skills in to help us get to the next levels. To be that next step, not just think about it, but to actually do it. And that's where I began to say, What skills do I have? And what's the baseline? And what things do I need to do to get me to that next step. And I continuously process that in my head, which is kind of the reason why I use that. Now, it's kind of a framework for working with other people, we each start with a very different set of capable goals. They're not all perfect. And that's the beauty of it, you know, we shouldn't all be perfect. And I think if you talk to pretty much anybody, no matter how successful they are, they're going to admit that there's something that they still see as their flock, I still think of myself as a stutterer. I know you're not hearing that. But the way I describe it is I have two sets of train tracks of conversation that run through my head all the time. And as I'm approaching a particular word, if I feel that tension, or that build up coming, that's going to create the stutter, I jumped tracks to the other track and continue on the conversation from there, and then bounce back over to the other track as I need to, to avoid sounding like I'm stuttering, but in my head, I'm still working on the process. So you start with with the with the basis of what you have, and then what do I need to get that that to that next position, that next spot. It's not a lot different than a lot of other things that we talked about, whether it's a job promotion, what skills we need to get to that next piece. If that's where you're, that's all you're saying. But I always believe you have to have a vision way beyond that to look much higher. We talk all the time in our other groups, Steven that with you're the average of the five people you surround yourself with. Mr. Rohn talks about that and I think that depending on Will you circle yourselves with depends on on where you're where your vision is. We work with stage time University, and its world champions of public speaking and, and people who are professional speakers on the on the international levels. And I don't consider myself being like elbow to elbow with them. But to be in an environment where I'm looking up to them means I can't be what I think I am reaching for the stars, I'm looking higher, and I'm building my own skills to get down to that higher level. Yeah, I don't know if that completely answered your question. But again, it's really a step at a time.
Stephen Box: 15:38
Yeah, I think what sometimes people are looking for is like a step by step instruction manual. You know, like, Hey, can you make this easy? Like step one, step two, step three, step four, like, what do I need to do here? Yeah. Was that simple to you? Yeah. One of one of my goals with with doing this podcast that I want people to see is whether it's going from someone who stutters to the stage, if it's like, my personal story of losing 80 pounds, changing careers, whatever that transition looks like for you, some of these specifics do change, right? I mean, that's, that's what I help people. That's what I coach you on is I help people do is figure out the specifics for their situation. But framework is the same for everybody.
Alan J. Cote: 16:32
Exactly. That's just gonna say, I was holding back on there. Yeah, the frameworks the same. And the reality is, is that once you start to look at the skills that you may not have the strength in. And let's face it, none of us are 100%. perfect in every single category, I don't care who you look at, that every one of us has opportunity to grow and to move, even our even our coaches at stage time all have coaches, they're building their international skills at an even higher level. We have to be striving for something next. And so that the moment does give you bigger opportunities. Because once you realize I can do this, that means maybe I could look around at some other areas. I wasn't I was just looking here. But what else is available now that I can do this, but what else would I need to do to get to another level, another tier, but the habits are the same. You and I were joking this morning, I just moved this week, and I talked to you last week and unplugged all of my systems, packed everything into a box and I can't find anything. And nothing's work belongs and my habits are all upside down. And I started I was telling you I started again this morning, just making sure it go back to the basics and start with the basic habits again and just go through. And for me that opens every day with a sense of gratitude. I try to open my day with five things I'm grateful for.
Stephen Box: 17:52
Yeah, and it's great. Gratitude is a great one to start with. And one thing I think people sometimes don't realize is we think of habits as being good habits, bad habits. And the fact is habits by definition, are just repeated behaviors that we do oftentimes without being aware that we're doing them.
Alan J. Cote: 18:16
So that Yeah, absolutely. Awareness. That's what it's all you're getting at the awareness.
Stephen Box: 18:20
Yeah. Because Because here's the thing, awareness what I used to call everything a habit like that he's over, we're, you know, we're building you this eating habit, or we're building this exercise habit or whatever
Alan J. Cote: 18:33
habits and goals those don't get hung up on. Yeah, right. So what I realized,
Stephen Box: 18:38
and actually one of the companies I work with precision nutrition, they're one of the largest nutrition education companies in the world. They started changing their language and it made me realize, so I started using the same language they're using, which is we're not doing a habit every day, we're doing a practice everyday. Practice builds the habit. The habit is automatic, when we in order for it to be a habit it has to be something that you just do without thinking about it. If you're still thinking about it, you're still practicing.
Alan J. Cote: 19:15
In only 28 days, there's a number of days you can use 28 days to create a habit that 28 days is the practicing part to get to the day before it comes to posting before it becomes natural. Oh, I totally agree and then that that's the process is that like I was saying I started this whole conversation with practicing to get to Carnegie Hall, you know, it's daily daily activity daily routine, you know, coach that would push me in a different direction or push me a little further along in that in that big book of music. I had to practice every day wasn't the same. The same song every day. For all those years. It was something gradually increasing. Yeah. But absolutely, it's, it's, it's, it's it's a structure if you will, and you know, Some days we're a little bit better at the structure than others depends on our mood and our feeling our environment. But you need to have your eye on the prize if you Well, you gotta you got to know where you're looking. And you're going to be able to see toward that, toward that thickness.
Stephen Box: 20:15
Yeah, sorry about that, taking us back to your, you know, stuttering. This is something that I think people might overlook. So I want to point it out. You have awareness around your stuttering as you started. As you started getting better with it, you started to not just have awareness that you stuttered, you started to have awareness about when you were going to stutter. And because you had that awareness, you then were able to start building up the skills that allowed you to do can like what you're describing with this switching tracks thing. Now I'm sure at this point, the switching tracks thing is ahead for you. You don't have to actively think about how to switch tracks, it just kind of happens for you automatically. True, you only need the awareness that you're on the verge of stuttering. Correct. So for you the practice, because you've pointed out and I didn't know this until you pointed this out to me the other day, that there is no cure for stuttering. Right?
Alan J. Cote: 21:21
Well, many famous people that we know that stutter, you know, everyone thinks of James Earl Jones, that fantastic voice. He's a huge stutterer and his contract says that he won't do anything without a long time of his practicing the lines. Before he does it. JACK could sing but I couldn't talk. Yeah, a lot of weird weirdness to it. And it happens more with men than it does with women. And typically, it's something I said we start off with his children and we grow out of I just never outgrew it until my 30s if I outgrew it, but I still think it's there. Now it's part of me and it becomes how I how I have conversation and how I talk how he's joke. The reason I talk as quickly as I do is I want to get as much out as I can before I stutter. Now now that now that now that they've plugged me in, they can't unplug me. Yeah, but it's kind it's kind of ironic how this has all come about. But for me, it was also about making other people uncomfortable. And that's a habit that's a that's a that's a core belief, I guess not not a habit, but a core belief that I don't want to see people uncomfortable. Yeah, when I stuttered, I could see people uncomfortable. Yeah. The interesting part is that people always ask how did you overcome the stutter. And as I started to really break it down this past year to come up with the key elements that happened, I discovered it was a lot of the same key elements, exactly the same key elements that I teach people who are afraid to speak, which number one, fear of the world is public speaking. Number two, fear is fear of death. You know, Seinfeld would like to say that most people would rather die than give the eulogy and awake. So you know, most of us don't want to speak. But the idea is that the same habits that I had to create for my stutter, I realized for the same habits that I help other people create so they can speak more effectively.
Stephen Box: 23:17
I would even go so far as to argue that the biggest fear might actually be dying from public speaking.
Alan J. Cote: 23:27
You know, what, don't you have to argue with that, because I'm not gonna disagree with you. Absolutely. But that's that's usually if you break it all down for most people, it's the fear of pain is what comes down to for most people. And it's it's the painful experience. Like I realized one day I was doing a presentation on and it was always talking about jumping from a plane, which I've always been afraid of, until it dawned on me as I was writing this particular presentation. I'm not afraid of the height. I love being tall buildings, where it's secure. I love being in a plane looking down. I think it's really cool. And I don't even have a problem with falling. I realized my pain, the the fear was the very sudden stop at the bottom. Know, the pain that comes with that. And so my fear of falling out of a plane was really not the fear it was the pain at the bottom when you land without a parachute. Yeah, so we just avoid that part. And we're okay.
Stephen Box: 24:24
It's also interesting to me because you were talking about this idea about switching tracks when you're stuttering. So I think a lot of people kind of have this idea that when we have a limitation, whether that is a physical limitation, a mental limitation, a financial limitation of economic or social limitation, it doesn't matter what kind of limitation it is. A lot of times those completely freeze us, you talk about the fear. And I think that when we talk about those limitations, what really holds us back is the fear.
Alan J. Cote: 25:14
Fear of failure, fear of pain.
Stephen Box: 25:16
Yeah, this is the pain is the failure. Or sometimes it's not even necessarily a pain as much as like, say, for example, when you're talking about other people being uncomfortable. It didn't necessarily cause any pain for people to be uncomfortable. But seeing other people uncomfortable, made you uncomfortable. And so which exacerbated the situation. Yes. So now it's kind of a combination of, you know, you're good person, you don't want to see other people uncomfortable, but it's also causing you discomfort, because now you're uncomfortable with the fact that they're uncomfortable. So people, a lot of times, you'll use this as an excuse and say, I can't do it. Because this, and I went back to you pointing out the two track thing, because it's not like this is something that you've fixed and that you've moved on with your life, this is something you still deal with every single day. The thing is, you've stopped looking at it as a disability, you've looked at it as something that you just have to do, and, and changing your mindset around that it's allowed you to be successful.
Alan J. Cote: 26:34
Well, you're the one saying that. So I guess so. I think the tracks still run in my head, I don't know that I jumped, jumped the tracks as quickly as I used to. But they're still there. It's part of my of my core of who I am. And I think that once we begin to realize who we are as individuals, then that frees us to try some other things. It's it's not trusting ourselves, or our instincts. Again, a coach, accountability partner, all those things are important for you to be able to move up, you're gonna be able to trust yourself to take that step to be that next step in the process.
Stephen Box: 27:13
Yeah, since you bring that up, you know, one thing I think that people so often overlook, is the importance of giving yourself some kind of support system. You talked about Toastmasters? Correct, you know, right now, we're both members of stage time where we're getting coached by World Champions Hall of Fame, speakers, cetera, et cetera. We have all of these people around us, they can teach us things that we don't yet know. They've been there, they've done, they've done it, they're doing it, in some cases. So we're getting this benefit of being around them. There's the accountability factor that we have towards each other as members. So by having that accountability, by having that coaching, by having all the resources, we're able to grow, if we were trying to do this on our own, maybe we get there. Sometimes people do sometimes people do to get there on their own. Some people who write it, it's it's rare. It's really rare. So kind of talk about the importance for you, in terms of you overcoming some of these struggles that you had, what role did those organizations in that coaching really play in that for you?
Alan J. Cote: 28:33
Huge, I mean, it never would have happened for me without without without the accountabilities of those, we can go back to music and say what, you know, we started this conversation, there are child prodigies, who sit down and just play, or write or sing, or whatever. But those are so far, and so rare. We don't see those all the time now. And I always wonder they're the Prodigy at three years old, but what do they look like when they're 15? Or 20? Have they have they continued their growth pattern? Or are they just stuck where they were three years old? So regardless of where you start, what do you take where you Where do you take it, and any one of us or robbing ourselves, if we don't push whatever limits that we do have, you know, whether it's a child prodigy needs to be continuously pushing their envelope as well, in my opinion, these groups give us opportunity for us to share with each other and kind of use each other as accountability partners. And not to just mention that we have these great coaches and these great people that we work with, I mean, they're just not famous people. They're they're honestly cool people. They're people you want to hang out with. You know, I've known Darren for 2528 years. You know, and I've known Darren since before he was a world champion of public speaking. And, and to know these people and to watch their process and their progress is just as inspiring as to finish For me to go through it, to know that I can see them and their progress means that I have hope that I can do some things. So it's good to have the coach, it's good to have the accountability partner. So you're looking at the coach to the you know, the accountability from from your peers. But it takes some self discipline. And that's where I think a lot of us lose our habits. That's where they become, you know, shakable habits because we don't trust ourselves. So all of those things around us gives us some confidence so that we can maintain our own sense of where we're going. Toastmasters because they have a whole pattern of how you work through the process. Stage time is we try to we use the expression via sponge, how much can you absorb. I've only been what stage time for a few months. But like I said, I've known Darren and followed his progress with stage time University for 20 years. It's exciting to watch the development of his company and his organization and the teams that he's brought in with him, the other people he's brought in with him. And I'm excited to be part of that. I'm excited to be able to work with people like you, Steven, you and I never would have met, if we hadn't had this pandemic that put us into camera mode. This is ever going away. As far as I'm concerned. I did did just here yesterday that New York City is saying that all classrooms will be live in the fall, there'll be no virtual in the fall. I think virtual is going to be with us forever. And I joke about I did a thing the other day about about the Jetsons and I can 62. Living in this kind of world answering the telephone was a virtual world first episode 1962. Yeah,
Stephen Box: 31:41
I think we're gonna have my flying car, though. Although people have enough trouble driving on the road, I'm not sure. I hear you say
Alan J. Cote: 31:53
that. But one of the things that we're watching right now is how cars can link to the car bumper in front of them. And they just follow the same speed and they go down the road. And that was something they did in the Jetsons, they get into the stream line, and they go kind of flew together. So yeah, there's some aspects that are still there. So it's kind of interesting how far we were in 1962. In thinking what we're going to be, you know, 60 years later.
Stephen Box: 32:14
Yeah. So now it's a, it's a pretty interesting stuff. And I think that when I look back at, you know, your entire story here, what we see is there's several examples, right? It's with the music, with, you know, when you're stuttering, when you were younger, wanting the job promotion, being at that conference, hearing that, you know, present presentation and deciding that that's what you wanted to do, going out getting a job doing speaking. And then we didn't really talk too much about this. But I know from previous conversations, is some point you kind of said, You know, I don't really feel like I'm making the impact I want that I want to make I feel like a glorified salesperson, because you're working for a company doing these speeches. And that's when you said, You know what, I'm going to go out on my own, I'm going to go, I'm going to do my own speaking, I'm going to teach the things I want to teach, and I'm going to go out and have an impact on the world. And I just think and looking at your entire story, it's repeated process over and over. And it's that framework that we've talked about, you set objectives, you've cast visions out for what you wanted, you look at where you were, and you gave an honest assessment, and you develop the skills and you didn't just depend on yourself to develop those skills. Because a lot of times that's where things are unsustainable is when we depend on ourselves. And we're trying to teach yourself skills that if we were able to teach them to ourself, we would already have. So so that's why it's so hard to get yourself to do this successfully. And once you develop those skills, you took consistent action, and you hit on something earlier, it is so important for people to understand, we talked about the importance of daily action. And I do believe that it is important to take at least some action every day, if for no other reason than the fact that it keeps us consistent. You can never fall off if you never fall off, right? But that doesn't mean that you're you're Trump or for an hour a day.
Alan J. Cote: 34:26
No, sometimes it's 15 minutes and some days it was two hours. You know, the other thing that's important with this and we started touching on this a little bit to Steven is the environment that we're in. You know, I have the environment have my parents encouraged me, it was only two choices. You're going to college or you're going in the military, you know, you pick one or the other, but that's where you're going. So I knew I had to go to college, even though no one in my family had ever done it before. Or had to go in the military, whichever. You know, practicing was an obligation that I had in the family that had to be done. That was that was my job. So the environment we have around us to be a professional speaker with everybody around us going, Yeah. What do you think you are what Tony Robbins, you know, it's probably not going to happen or get talked out of it. So having the accountability or to have the structure around you that we started talking about, like Toastmasters or, you know, the Toastmaster aspect was that for me just to get to attain a distinguished Toastmaster, it was to try to improve my skills at work. At the same time, I was doing other things to become a professional engineer, PE, I was doing a lot of other things, this was just one part of it. But being around other people that are trying to do the same like minded things that you're doing is extremely helpful in being successful in your habits. And so that that environment is also key. And if you don't have it right in front of you go find it. Yeah, go find a coach, go find some accountability partners doesn't have to cost you a lot. But that's what you want to put into it.
Stephen Box: 35:57
Yeah, it's funny, you mentioned that too, because I was asked on a podcast the other day. What is something that your most successful clients have in common? And my answer was, they put themselves around other people who are also trying to improve their health.
Alan J. Cote: 36:20
And whatever level
Stephen Box: 36:21
and yeah, I mean, it doesn't Yeah, it doesn't have to be the exact same goal, it doesn't have to be the same level, you just need to be around other people. Because here's the thing, if there's people above you, you can learn from them.
Alan J. Cote: 36:34
Stephen Box: 36:37
yeah. And if they're below you, you have the opportunity to actually be the mentor, you have the opportunity, and you learn from teaching others. And if there's somebody that's on your same level, that you grow together, and you encourage each other, so no matter where the people around you are level wise, there's opportunity for growth.
Alan J. Cote: 36:58
Absolutely. That's perfect. That's exactly it. And again, that's why it's important to find those organizations, those teams, the accountabilities, and you can do it at work. One of the things I used to always say about about the work environment is it's great. You learn from your boss, what if your boss never learned it correctly? What if your boss never learned how to do whatever? I asked to teach delegation and love people say, Oh, I don't delegate you, because I'd rather do it all by myself. That way, I know what's right. There's so much power into delegating appropriately, whether it's at work or at home, or when your boss doesn't delegate properly to you, how do you get it done? From your position delegate up, which is also possible? You know, so again, there's a lot of things you can learn at some places, but then you got to say there's some limitations. What can I do to expand this opportunity right now? You know, where do I take this next? And it's looking for other sources, whether it be a podcast to get you motivated. But again, you know, let's go back to my job that I've been telling now for a few months that I know, you know, Steve, there were three frogs sitting on a lily pad. beautiful, sunny, wonderful afternoon, one decides to jump off, how many are left on a lily pad?
Stephen Box: 38:06
I'll let the audience answer because I know the answers I know you do.
Alan J. Cote: 38:10
Three, there's three frogs and lily pad one decided to jump off doesn't mean he didn't, he just decided he's going to take the leap and get in and get going. So I think for anything, yeah, we can all sit and say, Yeah, I want to do that. Well then do it. You know, one of my favorite phrases is I have a lot of friends that are from the south, and they're always fixing to go, you probably said this yourself, Steven, right? They're using probably just yesterday. I'm fixing to go to the store, stop fixing. Just do it. You know, and I always joke about that. But the idea is you have to take this step. And that's where I come from either next step, what is the step you think you want to do? And how do you get there? Sometimes there's little pieces you have to that you have to fill in. Sometimes it's not as big a step as you think it is, if you find the right sources to help you get there.
Stephen Box: 38:58
Yeah, you're really just nailing it there in terms of what needs to be done. And I think that so many times people over look just how easy it is to get sidetracked. There's, there's so many components to all this. But if you just keep it simple, if you just say, you know, what, what's my vision? What are the skills that I need to develop? And then in terms of those skills as Where do I learn them? What environment Do I need to put myself in to learn those skills? And then what actions do I take? That's what it all comes down to? Is that very simple framework?
Alan J. Cote: 39:39
Say that one more time for me so I make sure I haven't down here correctly. What was
Stephen Box: 39:43
number one? Yeah, we need an objective or a vision. Okay, okay. Number two, once we have that we need to decide on the skills that we need to achieve that objective. And toward pen excuse me, turn the gain those skills. What am environment Do you need to put yourself into? And then once you are in the right environment to develop those skills, what actions do you need to take to develop them?
Alan J. Cote: 40:09
Well, that's like we were just talking about the time that I was sitting in that audience, I saw those speakers. And I have the objective of I want to do that. I can go help people, a lot of people all at once, you know, and then you said I had to figure out what skills I needed. I needed to learn to speak. Because I was a stutterer, or still had it in my head, I was a stutter, and I joined a group like Toastmasters to practice. You know, I didn't go the route that my upline told me, which was to sell a lot of product. That wasn't to get me on stage that might get me closer to the stage, but that wasn't going to take care of my speaking problem. You know, that was a tool to get there. But it wasn't the only tool. And then, of course, taking action, just keep doing what I want to do and what I love.
Stephen Box: 40:52
So are you suggesting to me that you didn't want to just sell a bunch of shampoo? That's what I'm hearing here that you don't want to sell shampoo.
Alan J. Cote: 41:03
No, did not want to shelf shampoo. And now you know what it was, I don't want to sell shampoo to my friends and my family. You know, but that wasn't the only thing I ever tried selling to a friend to sell some some some health food supplements. And, you know, I've done that routine, too. But the reality is, is Yeah, it all of those things are good. They're helping people, you know, let's face it. And why was the first home shopping network? If you think about it, you know, it was the first time people couldn't order ahead of time and have it delivered to their house. You know, now we think of that as Amazon. But you know, it really was Amway began with an A, but it wasn't the same. But again, do the same concepts. They just took them to a higher level, which was different level to a perspective that people needed. They didn't quite know they needed it yet, but they needed it.
Stephen Box: 41:46
Yep, it's true. I appreciate you joining us today and sharing your story with us. Tell us a little bit about what it is that you help people do and how people can get in contact with you.
Alan J. Cote: 42:02
Excellent. I work with people to create habits, if you will, by being the next step in their life's journey. We look at the at the basic the baseline of where they are, and what their objectives are. And then how are we going to fill that in some days, I'm not the guy to fill in all the pieces, but we at least lay out the frameworks we can we can begin the process. Easiest way to reach me right now is chat with allan.com. And that gives you an opportunity to be able to set up a one on one zoom conference with me, it puts you right into my calendar where you can pick a date when I'm available. And we can have a quick conversation about where you're starting and what your objectives are. And then shortly you'll have my new website coming up, which I'm expecting in a couple of weeks, and that will be an Alan cody.com. So again, the be the next step is a process in there. But it's not the final why the final line is what people do with those steps. You know, don't be the frog sitting on the lily pad on a beautiful day, get in the water and swim. It's nice and warm. Check it out.
Stephen Box: 43:08
There's a whole world out there, jump in the water and go find it right.
Alan J. Cote: 43:11
If you keep doing the same old thing, you're just going to be in the same old place. So
Stephen Box: 43:17
absolutely. We appreciate everyone who has tuned in to listen to this episode today. I hope that Allen's story has inspired you to start going out and creating your own unshakable habits. If you have not yet you can subscribe to the show on YouTube, Apple podcast, Google Play Spotify, anywhere where your favorite podcast get played. And just remember that yes, you can create unshakable habits in your life, even if you have zero willpower.
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