THE IMPERFECT SHOW NOTES
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Bruce Turkel 00:00
For 25 years, my agency had the account to market and manage the Miami tourism business. And we did great stuff and it helped people get jobs and we did so many great things. And our tagline was, the one we use near the end was it’s so Miami The idea was, you would see things here you wouldn’t see anywhere else, because it’s so Miami. And someone sent me a video clip. And they emailed it to me of J-Lo on David Letterman, I think. And she comes out and she looks all beautiful. And he says, Wow, you look great. Oh, man, aren’t you beautiful? Oh, look at those shoes, and the camera goes down and she’s wearing these high spiky gold jeweled gorgeous stiletto sandals. And she says, “I know, Aren’t they so Miami?”
Achim Nowak 00:47
Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your FOURTH ACT? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected fourth acts, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you’re listening on. Let’s get started. I am just delighted to welcome Bruce Turkel to the My fourth act podcast. Bruce is a branding expert, a sought after keynote speaker and the author of five books on branding. This includes his most recent book, the best selling all about them. Bruce is a regular on air contributor at Fox Business, CNN International and Chinese state television. his newest book called is that all there is takes a look at Bruce’s own life and that of others who have reached a certain level of success, and then change their lives. Yes. Bruce is holding it up to me as I’m reading the intro. Is that all there is? This is perfect for the act territory. And I’m just so look forward to to having this chat with you, Bruce. So welcome. Thank you. I’m very happy to be here. We’re gonna spend a lot of time on the book. Before we go there. I’m always curious. First of all, you’re one of the few people who is actually a real Miami guy or let’s say you’re a Miami Beach guy, right?
Bruce Turkel 02:25
It will tell you why people move to Miami and they say, Oh, yeah, I’ve lived here seven years. I’m a native. Well, let me just tell you. My parents are both from New York and my wife was born in Havana. Yeah, I was born on Miami Beach. I am as native as you can get. I have all the bases covered.
Achim Nowak 02:41
And it’s funny with the look they say is I live on the beach, which is not literally in the sand. But you are a true Miami Beach. Boy. That’s funny. You say that? Because
Bruce Turkel 02:51
I’ll say to people Oh, yeah, I gotta go visit my mom. I’m gonna go see on the beach that you meet you meet your mother on the beach. That’s right. On the beach. Your mother lives. That’s Miami Beach to us. Yes. That’s
Achim Nowak 03:01
Miami Beach. Here. You say that. When you were growing up in Miami Beach. Did you? Did you have a clear idea of who you wanted to be when you grew up?
Bruce Turkel 03:13
No. Well, I did. I wanted to be my dad because my dad was my hero. So I wanted to be like him. But No, I didn’t. You know, I had an idea of what I like to do. I was always creative. I like to draw. I like to play music. I like to do all those things. But I Gosh, yeah. I wanted to be an art director or a designer or something. But I don’t think I had. I didn’t have it all figured out. No, no.
Achim Nowak 03:37
Did did mom and dad encourage your creative side?
Bruce Turkel 03:40
My parents were incredibly supportive. Yes. My father had been in architecture school. And then he enlisted in the war. He went to the Air Force. When he came back. He said that he had now been away. And then he came back and he couldn’t college just to him with a bunch of kids having fun. So he got a business degree and got out quickly. But and but it was always an artist. He was always doing that sort of thing. And he was a musician, as well. But the best story about that is when I was in college, I was studying business. I hated it. But I thought it was the right thing to study, you know, the professional thing, the responsible thing. And I went to dinner with my dad one night and he asked me, he came up on business. And we went to dinner. And he asked me how I like school. And I said, Oh, I love it. You know, it’s really fun being here. And there’s lots of cute girls and I’m playing in a band and it’s great. And he said, Yeah, I know that. But that’s not what I meant. Like, how do you like? I said, I you know, I don’t really like it at all. I don’t understand accounting statistics yet doesn’t it’s like, great to me. And I think business ethics is an oxymoron. I really don’t like it. He said, Well, why are you studying business? And I said, Well, you know, when I get out, I’m gonna have to get a job and I’m going to do all these things. And I don’t want to be a starving artist and my dad said, Listen, if you study something you love and then you get a job you love. They’ll still be days that you wake up, that you’re not going to go to want to go to work. If you do something you don’t like, think about what your life is going to be like, why don’t you study what you care about? So the next day I looked into the design school, I changed my major, I wound up having to stay almost an extra year. Because needless to say, the prerequisites for design were very different. Yeah, prerequisites I had taken. But it worked out great. I loved it. But the best part was, you would think that story would be the other way around, right? The kid is saying, I’m going to study art. And then that says, You are not you’re going to study business. But I was very lucky that my parents supported me in anything I wanted to do.
Achim Nowak 05:30
Nice. I mentioned in the intro that you spend decades in your brand or your brand, you help people brand you clarify branding, you do a brand strategist we can we can dance with the words, I want to ask you something pretty impossible, especially in light of what you just said, because many people spend 30 years doing something and they don’t love it. If you think of your 30 some years doing this work, and he had to pinpoint a moment or two we go this epitomizes why I love doing this work. And conversely, if there’s a moment where you go, this is why sometimes friggin hate this. Can you take us to both of those polarities,
Bruce Turkel 06:12
I can nail those things, I’ll tell you the ones I love. First, I’ll tell you two great examples. One we were hired years ago to help. The ACLU convinced the state of Florida to get new voting machines, a new voting system because the voting was so screwed up, which is obviously very relevant to what’s going on today. And the problem was, they didn’t have any budget for marketing or advertising, we could create the work, but there would be no way to get it out. And we created a theoretically a TV ad, but it actually run it ran online. And this was when it first started when you first started posting videos online. Because what we said was, look, we’ll create it. And then we’ll go to all these different groups who have vested interests in having the voting system and prove that it happened to be on both sides of the aisle that will think the ACLU is a liberal organization, but it’s not it’s based on first amendment, it’s constitutional. So there were people on both sides of the aisle that wanted the voting system changed. And so we sent out this this ad, it was a great ad, it showed people walking into the old style voting booth, and then they hit the lever and they would disappear. One guy went in with a cane and the cane hits the ground. And I don’t remember the exact line. But it said something like, if your vote doesn’t count, you don’t either. And then the idea was that you needed to contact your congressman or your state senator and have them vote. And we figured out we hired someone to do it. But we figured out a way you could click a button and based on where your ISP was, it would figure out who your congressperson was, and create emails, and we did all of that. It worked so well, that number one, we crashed the Capitol Tallahassee, Capitol, Florida, we crashed their servers, but number two, like that, the legislators voted for new equipment. And I thought, Wow, this is awesome. I’m not selling a can of beans here. I’m not selling, you know, something that people don’t want. You can make a difference. Yeah, that was awesome. Another story like that very quickly was for 25 years. My agency had the account to market and manage the Miami tourism business. And we did great stuff, and it helped people get jobs and we did so many great things. And our tagline was, the one we use near the end was it’s so Miami The idea was, you would see things here you wouldn’t see anywhere else. Yeah. Because it’s so my I. And someone sent me a video clip. And they emailed it to me of JLo on David Letterman, I think. And she comes out and she looks all beautiful. And he says, Wow, you look great. Oh, man, aren’t you beautiful? Oh, look at those shoes. And the camera goes down and she’s wearing these high spiky gold jeweled gorgeous stiletto sandals. And she says, I know, aren’t they? So Miami? is only two words, right? So Miami, that was our tagline. But we realized, wow, look what we can do. We can affect our language, we can make a difference. So those were the parts that I loved. I loved doing the work. I loved it from the beginning. I loved it at the end. What I didn’t love. The reason I ultimately left the agency was I didn’t love the process. The bureaucracy. Yeah, dealing with everything you had to deal with in order to get the work through insecure vice presidents, bureaucratic marketing managers, spineless people who told you what they wanted. But then when you tried to do what they told you, I was wrong. And I remember the time when I was a new business guy, I was the outside guy you might notice I get a little excited and delicate and stuff. And then so it fit my personality. So I would come back and my partner Roberto, he was the guy who ran the business. We used to call him belt and suspenders man because he’s so analytical and precise. And he’d be behind his desk. You know, I had like a slab of marble on a piece of metal and he had this gorgeous antique desk. I mean, everything about it was perfect for who we were and I’d come back late at night, having gone out and pitched him account locally or who knows where. And he’d still be there because of course he was working 24 hours a day. And he’d say how to go. And I said, good news and bad news. And he said, Well can be the good news. Good news is the XYZ Corporation wants to hire us. They have a budget of X amount of dollars, millions of dollars. And they have all this work for us to do. And he goes, Oh, that’s great. And I could hear in his head, he’s already calculating, right? Your Commission’s revenue, who were going to put on the work all that, what’s the bad news? And I take a breath, and then I’d say the x, y, z Corporation wants to hire us. They dollars, and they have lots of work we’re going to do for them. Because I knew exactly what was going to happen. I didn’t know the people. I didn’t know the assignment, the work I would love. But everything that came with it, to me was just it just drained me. And that’s when I finally decided I can’t do this anymore.
Achim Nowak 10:47
And how long ago did you make that decision?
Bruce Turkel 10:50
Well, I have been out of the agency, January was four years, so four and a half ish years. But I probably made the decision four years before that. I wasn’t honest with myself about it until three years before that. And then I guess it took a good two years to do the to leave responsibly. First, we had found a buyer for the business and long story, which I won’t bore you with. But we owned a bunch of agencies, or we managed a bunch of agencies in Latin America. And they the people who were going to buy us bought those agencies, and I watched the way they manage those. And I thought I can’t work for these people. So I called that deal off. And then Roberto said to me, why don’t I purchase the agency from you. And but again, it took about two years to do it in a responsible manner. I loved my partner, we left on good terms. Now we had some disagreements, but we left on good terms, we treated each other fairly. All my employees, I loved many of them my hands. I love them all. So it took a couple of years to unravel it in a way that was responsible yours that were tough for me, because that’s not what I like to do. And I was just like, I couldn’t wait to get out. But I had to do it the right way. So I guess eight years ago ish.
Achim Nowak 12:02
It’s a beautiful transition story. And I sold a business as well that I had for a whole bunch of years. And and when we get rid of something, it creates space for other things, right. So did you know how you were going to fill that new space? Did that emerge? Where you’re strategic about it? Like, how did you move on from there?
Bruce Turkel 12:21
Yeah, I screwed it up badly. Because when I left, I knew what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to write another book. I knew I was doing some speaking at conferences. Yeah, I knew I wanted to do more of that. And I did work on that. And that went really well. But what I didn’t think of was, how to redefine myself. I was not strategic enough about it. So I kept kind of doing the same thing I’ve been doing before. I didn’t compete with anything Roberta was doing, of course, but I would still do creative work for clients. The trouble was, I was just the same old wine in a new bottle. Yeah, except what I didn’t realize was the infrastructure I had built, the employees, the office, the processes, all of that. The partner, the CFO, everything, actually had made my life a lot better. And so I remember the time that I remember it perfectly, because it was a real road to Damascus moment for me. I was dropping off a computer file video at a production house we used because it had been shot in one format needed to be in another format. I don’t remember the details of that. But so I went there, I brought the thumb drive. I knew the woman at the front desk because I worked with him all the time. I knew the CEO, I went in, I chatted with him and gave them they did whatever conversion work they had to do. They gave it back to me, I left I went to meet a friend for lunch. And all of a sudden I’m in the parking lot. And it dawns on me. In the old days, I would have come up with the idea and shot the commercial. But someone else would have gotten the files converted, someone else would have built it someone else would have made all those things that I hate to do. Yeah, now I had to do them I can’t rid of my bookkeeper Zoya who was awesome. My CFO sailor who was phenomenal. My partner, Roberta, all those people are now gone. And instead of doing more of the stuff I wanted to do, I was saddled with the stuff that I didn’t want to do. And I realized how badly I screwed up. And that’s when the change happened. It did not happen. Ironically, I suppose when I left the business, it happened when it dawned on me that I had not I had not been honest with myself and worse, I had not been courageous about it. I just kept doing the same thing I was doing before.
Achim Nowak 14:27
Yeah, and and in my experience, the people will always keep calling us to do old work whether we still want to do it or not. My
Bruce Turkel 14:36
phone calls right places for them though. Yeah, I was able to solve client problems. And the other thing is you like the attaboys you feel good that they call you and they cut right ahead. Oh, you’re so right that did you and they and it paid really well. I can’t complain about the money I never would. But it’s too easy to fall back into that group.
Achim Nowak 14:55
So you realize shit, I’m doing more of the stuff it didn’t want to do now and If that if that was the come to Jesus moment, where where did you go from there?
Bruce Turkel 15:04
So a couple things I had been over the years and I actually told this whole story in the book because I think it’s very, it’s very relevant to what people go through. Over the years, I would have friends who would ask if they could come see me in the office. And then they would tell me they were successful lawyers, doctors grew up in Miami Beach, you know, most that’s most your friends do developers. And they would tell me how unhappy they were doing what they were doing, even though they were very successful. And they didn’t know what to do next. I would kind of wonder, why are you telling me this? I have an art degree. I’m an art director. You know, I’m not a therapist. I’m not a psychologist. And they would say, Well, you know what you do? It looks so creative. You look like you’re really enjoying it. And this happened over and over and over. Of course, ironically, I wasn’t able to tell them the truth, which was the truth is I’m bored to tears now, but the person I was going to have lunch with when I picked up those files that I told you about. I knew what he wanted, he wanted to tell me the same story. And one thing I always told these people, and I didn’t know what to do with it was, you know, I don’t know what you should do. But I can tell you, you should keep a journal. Because I think, from the amount of times I hear this, this is the Zeitgeist of everybody in our generation, I would say, people 45 plus 45 to 70. I know that’s not an actual generation. But you know, I know, people now now people who have not made it, and it’s relative, right? You’re not debating whether you’re going to take the Learjet or the Gulf Stream to Europe for the season. But you’re not worried about the existential issues of feeding your family or, or buying medicine. So you, you’ve tapped into the Zeitgeist of what’s going on, keep a journal, because you might want to write a book about this. And so now I’m going to have lunch with this fellow after I had this road to Damascus moment. And I thought, Why do I keep telling people this? Why don’t I do. I’ve written I’ve already published six books. It’s not like I don’t know how to write a book. I think I wrote the first two or three chapters in the next three days, I was so energized by this project. It got me so excited. And the funny thing was, my publisher wanted the sequel to the last book, I had written all about that grand book. And I was working on it with no joy, I have to say, and I realized, I don’t want to write this book. I’ve already written five, six books on branding and marketing. I don’t have anything else to say I don’t want to write another one. But this new project boy, I got excited about that. So that had a lot to do with making the shift as well.
Achim Nowak 17:40
So when I hear the title, is that all there is I think of the old Paley song. Is that is that intentional?
Bruce Turkel 17:46
Yes, absolutely. That was the inspiration. The opening thing I say, when Michael Stoller and LIBOR, presented her with the song. The rumor I mean, it’s probably apocryphal, but the story didn’t
Achim Nowak 17:59
want to do it, right. No, she said,
Bruce Turkel 18:01
This is my life. How did you know? Wow. And it turns out, if you listen to the lyrics, people say the song is very depressing. She didn’t think it was depressing at all. Her point was, all this stuff happens. You might as well dance, you might as well say is that all there is. And let’s keep Davison because you this, this path you’re on. It’s the path. I mean, maybe there’s another one later on or not? I’m not going to be the person to tell people what’s coming next. Right? I can tell you my personal beliefs, but who cares? But what we do know is what you got now is what you got. So if you’re saying to yourself, is that all there is, I think you owe it to yourself to explore that. And to decide, am I going to keep doing this? Or am I going to go find out what else is out there for me. So it absolutely came from from that song.
Achim Nowak 18:55
Went from your sponsor. That’s me. I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast www.my, fourth active.com, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. I know part of the book is your story. But you also interviewed a whole bunch of people and then included some of their stories in the book. What did you learn about yourself? And what did you learn from other people’s stories about doing the dance?
Bruce Turkel 19:43
Well, you’re right, the first third of the book is my story. And then I interviewed about 35 people. I started by the way with older people 70 to 80 year old who told me their life pivots but as I started to talk to people and they say oh you need to speak to so and so. The There’s a guy in there who’s in his mid 30s. So I learned a number of things about myself. First of all, I didn’t think I was that good of a listener. In fact, it was something that I didn’t like about myself, because I always come up with ideas really quickly. And I, I mean, I don’t know that I have ADHD, but maybe I would have been diagnosed with it as a kid if it was popular back then. But when people would tell me their stories, I was 150%. In the moment, just just enraptured with what they were saying. Because people have fascinating stories and the people who I listened to, and clearly the 14 that I chose to profile in the book, really were very open. I know it’s, it’s trendy to say, you vulnerable and transparent, and all of that. But they were I mean, they said, here’s what happened to me, this sucked. Here’s what I did wrong. One woman went to prison. And she told me the story of why she went to prison, and accepting that she was wrong for what she had done and all of that. So I was completely in their, in their or at their mercy. I mean, I was, I didn’t know that about myself. Number two, I thought I was pretty dogmatic. I’m pretty clear on my beliefs. I’m pretty opinionated. But I didn’t want the book to be only my opinions. Because how do I know what you should do for the rest of your life? What works for me might not work for you, I wanted to present a number of different recommendations and outcomes. So you reading the book can say, oh, my goodness, I want to do what he did. Or, oh, my Lord, I would never do what she did. Either way, I think are valuable. So there’s a woman in the book, her name is Susan Ford, Collins. She wrote the book, the technology of success, the joy of success, she’s incredibly successful. And she’s a very good mentor of mine, my mentor, probably more she’s more of a coach or consultant to me. She’s a universe will provide person a magical finger. Yeah, I am. And so we Oh, she I always tease each other about that. And we have fun with it. But she said at one point what you said earlier, which is you have to get rid of things for other things to come in her line was you have to get rid of what doesn’t serve you in order to discover what does you’ve heard the term yet, when one door opens, closes, another door opens. And she said, You have to let the universe take over and show you what to do. So I said, Okay, I’m trying not to be skeptical. I say, Susan, how do you know that the universe is doing these things? She says, oh, the universe puts little explosions in your path. And I pay attention. And you see the explosions, you’ll know you’re on the right path. And I said, Come on, Susan. You know, I don’t believe in that universe stuff. And she said, Oh, that’s okay. The universe doesn’t care if you believe in it or not. And I thought, okay, that’s brilliant. It is the definition of
Achim Nowak 22:44
faith, right? You can’t, you can’t argue with that. One. I can’t
Bruce Turkel 22:48
argue with people of faith, I may or may not agree, but you have faith. And so what I loved about it was okay, I would never give somebody that advice. But I can’t argue with it. It just doesn’t fit my worldview. So I put those things in the book as well. Because when if I respect the person, I owe it to them to respect what they have to say, even if I don’t agree. And so that’s another thing I learned about myself was that I was so interested in this subject, and I was so interested in being a good steward of their stories now provide of featuring them in a good light, not in my opinion of what, who they were, that I was very open to letting them tell their stories. Now, I will tell you that when you do a verbal interview, you cannot simply transcribe what people say it doesn’t read. Because we go back and forth. I might use a head nod to imply something, right? If you can see me, you can infer it. But if you don’t see me, you don’t know. Right, right. Or I could you know, the old joke about the guy who is being tried for murder. And he says, Did you kill your wife? And the guy says, Yeah, sure. I killed her. Right. And you can tell because I just rolled my eyes and the way I said it, that’s he’s being sarcastic. But you read back the transcript. Did you kill your wife? Yeah, I killed her. Right? Yeah. So you can’t simply write what people say. So I did move things around and edited, but always with the intention of being true to who they were and what they said. I didn’t know I was that magnanimous. I was actually quite pleased with how I handled that.
Achim Nowak 24:27
Good. So that that was part of what you learned in this very about yourself. I think it made me a better person. So can I just test a couple things out because you’re you do a lot of speaking you do a lot of writing, you’ve done a lot of brand consulting, as you look forward. And if you think of the things these are things that make Brewster Cal happy in, I want to do more of these. What comes to mind more speaking or writing or stuff you don’t know about yet what
Bruce Turkel 24:58
more speaking Yes, I spent from the two years after I left the agency I work very hard. I’m building my speaking business in 2019 was fantastic. I was traveling all around the world, I no longer have small children at home, were empty nesters. So my travel schedule is opened up, my wife sees patients. So sometimes she can travel with me, and sometimes you can’t and, and then of course, I actually I was in San Diego, March 10 of 2020. I had a gig there, my daughter lives in LA. So she came, she and I spent time together, we went back to LA I had a gig in LA, March 15. Her mom, my wife couldn’t make it because she was seeing patients, but I got to spend time with my daughter, I did those two speeches, I flew home and then boom, the speaking business just evaporated because of COVID. So I am very much looking forward to more speaking, more writing, I have already started writing the sequel to this book, it turns out that when I finished the book, it was 400 typewritten pages. As my editor pointed out, that’s a seven or 800 page book, nobody will buy or read an 800 page book. I remember when I had to read war and peace in college. And you know how daunting that was. So he cut a good third of the book out, which already gives me a place to start for the next one. So there’ll be more writing. I love consulting with clients, as long as I don’t have to do the implementation. As long as my agreement with them is I will come in, I will come back to you with a lot of ideas, I’ll show you how to get them done. If you want I’ll help you oversee it, but I do not do the work. Because I’m not gonna deal with your, your I’ll show you work. If you love it great. If you don’t love it great, but I’m not putting up with what I didn’t like before. Remember, I love the work, I don’t love the all the all the all the things you have to leap over to get it done. And then finally, when COVID started, I had a bunch of friends, clients, whatever, saying, hey, my business is gone. And I don’t know what to do next. And I know you told me about this book about what to do next. So I started putting together strategic roundtables. First one I did just to be helpful. And for funsies, I didn’t think they’d work on zoom, they worked spectacularly well on zoom. And I’ve now done six of them. One is called clarify for clarity, where we help people really narrow down to why they matter and what they want to do. And the other one is called C e only, which obviously is only for CEOs. And it’s about how do you take your vision and sort of infuse it into a company? So it’s not just you, but how does everybody benefit from this? And I as I said, Now, don’t six of them. I have two more starting in, I guess in September, and they’re going really well. So and people are finding very valuable. So I’ll continue with that. That’s part of the or what comes next that you don’t know part because I didn’t know I was gonna do that. Yeah,
Achim Nowak 27:44
enjoyed doing it. What I’m hearing is you’re doing a pretty good job of letting go the stuff you don’t want to do. And it’s so funny, because I think I’m on the Susan cam, when it comes look at things. And if you were to were to use my language, during COVID, these peer groups emerged as something, you know, that one has to happen. And you you’re open to it, and it’s becoming something that you really enjoy, and you’re of service to others by doing it without all the bullshit, right?
Bruce Turkel 28:16
That’s exactly right. Um, yeah, and I buy all of that. I mean, I learned that we talked about that when we prepared for this podcast about improvisational speaking. And also improvisational music. I play in a lot of bands. Yeah. Where I don’t know what they’re going to do. I mean, the bands I play guys I play with all the time, I do know, but one of the things I do when I travel is I try to find a band to sit in with. I don’t know what they’re going to do. And I don’t know, I might know the song or I might not know the song. And it’s figuring out okay, what are they giving just like an improv they say, right? You always say yes. You never say no, whatever the other person needs, right? work with. It’s the same if you’re playing with a band, if they change key signatures, or they changed the the progression or the rhythm changes. You can’t say, Hey, I know what was that because you got people looking at you. Right? You got to make it work. So I guess I’m trying to apply that same sort of openness to my life. And it’s you and Susan would suggest that puts an intention out there, which the universe then responds and delivers. I don’t know how far I go with that. But
Achim Nowak 29:18
when we don’t have we don’t have to take it far. But I also what I so enjoyed, about how you describe the process of the interviews the book is, and I just record it literally now before another podcast with another guest with this came up. And this particular guest to the authority in Women’s boxing that her own husband has dementia right now and she was talking about. So really dropping into every moment and letting it to be, you know, because I think we’re all so trained to force things to make things happen. It’s a normal state for us. So when you describe your willingness to listen and the way you listen to your interview is, you know, that’s the dots. I’m connecting as I’m talking to you.
Bruce Turkel 30:05
And that’s, you know, when I was doing what I was good at and did it all the time, maybe I didn’t listen so much, because I already knew what the answer was. I thought I knew what the answer was, to be honest. But when you’re telling me the story of your life, or a band is playing, and they’re changing the chord structure, I don’t know what’s coming next. You know, the key to being a good musician, besides having some technical ability, and imagination is they call it big ears, that you’re always listening, you know, I have the radio on or music on all the time. And I’m always listening. Oh, how did they do that? Oh, the cool thing about playing, especially with people you don’t know, you get people of all different levels, right? There’s always people better. I mean, I’m not that good. There’s always people better. There’s always people not as good and most musicians don’t care. What they care about is how you deal with what you have, you know, someone makes a mistake, if they stopped the group, or they look at their guitar, or they blame the drummer, nobody likes that. But we hear if someone makes a mistake, I just want to see what they’re going to do next. You know, if they hit a what’s called a clam a bad note, what are they going to do next? Are they going to riff off in another direction, or as Hendrix used to say, the hit a bad note, hit it again, even a third time and it’s avant garde? You know, me, I’m just fascinated to see how people take what they’re given. And then what they turn it into. And you can only you can only enjoy that and learn from that if you pay attention.
Achim Nowak 31:26
What a beautiful way to look at life. And what a beautiful mindset to everything, I use a phrase called anticipatory joy, meaning I anticipate what might happen and that is more joyful than what might actually happen. But the willingness to be surprised by what presents itself it’s the way
Bruce Turkel 31:45
I like to travel. I you know, sometimes I don’t like to use GPS are ways because when you get lost, you discover so many fascinating things that you never would have seen, if you hadn’t taken the effort to just be out there and see what’s there.
Achim Nowak 31:59
Now, based on what you know, now, and what I heard is you made some beautiful life transitions. And then you had a chance to whisper a few words of wisdom to to young Bruce on the beach. What would you want to tell him about life that, you know, now that maybe young Bruce didn’t know yet? Oh, boy, I
Bruce Turkel 32:18
think it’s probably I don’t have any incredibly deep, specific insight more than maybe, let it, let it go relax. And, you know, you’re good enough. I think, people I know, and all these people I’ve spoken to, we all have such high levels of need to accomplish to prove something for all different reasons. I mean, from all the years that I was in marketing and advertising, I think, ultimately most decisions people make is based on how they feel about themselves. And just understand that, you know, media, social media, especially provides us presents us with such pictures of incredible accomplishment and beauty, and, but I know how those photoshoots are done. I can’t tell you how many times models walked into a studio. She’s pretty, and then you do the makeup and the lighting and the turn and she comes in, and all of a sudden you go oh my god, but you could see what’s around it or or, you know, if you go to Disney World, everything is perfect. But if you go behind this stuff, it’s just a facade. And I think we need to apply that to our lives. And I wish I had understood that when I was younger, I still struggle with understanding now. But you don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to try that hard. The other thing that I think I didn’t understand, I certainly didn’t understand that when I run my business is that function is cost of entry, the ability to do your job, his cost of entry, if you can’t do your job, yeah, you can’t diagnose an illness, you can’t be a doctor, if you can’t make a good meal, you can’t be a chef. If you can’t drive a car, you can’t be an Uber driver, whatever. But the fact that you can do those things is not enough for success, either because of that, because ultimately, people don’t choose what you do. They choose who you are. What you do is genericized to some extent, yeah, many people can do it. As you get more and more specialized. You become a physician, then you become an endocrinologist, and you specialize in something. sure there’s less people in your competitive set. But that’s not what it’s about. That’s cost of entry. You got to be good at what you do. I’m not gonna try craftsmanship, knowledge or ability. But that ain’t it. It’s expressing who you are Oscar Wilde, who’s my favorite author. He said it best I think he said, Be yourself. Everyone else has already taken. And I wish I understood that when I was younger. Now.
Achim Nowak 34:45
That’s a wonderful place to end this conversation that the new book is called. Is that all there is riffing off of Peggy Lee which is friggin awesome. Where can where can our listeners learn more? About you the book I assume is available on online and bookstores but where? Where can they learn more about you and your work or subscribe to stuff you do.
Bruce Turkel 35:09
So my website couldn’t be easier to find if you know you’re looking for me because it’s just my name. It’s bruceturkel.com. I do write a weekly blog that I talked about all these kinds of things usually comes with a video as well, you can sign up for it. It’s absolutely free. I don’t sell anything. I mean, I might talk about what I’m going to be doing or whatever. But there’s no pitch there. You don’t get on my list. Anything else other than you’ll receive this stuff on a weekly basis. If you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe. Um, that’s the best way to find me. You can email me from my website, you can call me from my website. So just Bruce terkel.com. I’ll tell you since you mentioned Peggy Lee, there’s another song in the book that I talked about that I know you’ll appreciate since I saw the way you smoke when you did the Peggy Lee reference and that’s Bert Lars, Cowardly Lion
Achim Nowak 35:58
song. Oh, yes.
Bruce Turkel 36:01
And because I think that that has a lot to do with it. It’s you know, he says what makes the muskrat defend is musk. Courage, but and I think that’s what it takes. It takes some belief in yourself. It takes a willingness to see what’s out there that you’re not expecting. And then it takes a little bit of courage.
Achim Nowak 36:21
Here’s the courage. Thank you, Bruce. Courage. You’re very welcome. I came thank you so much for inviting me. This was a treat. My pleasure. Bye.
Bruce Turkel 36:30
Achim Nowak 36:34
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