Eric Williamson

Andy Lopata is an acclaimed professional relationships strategist, with global clients including Paypal, GlaxoSmithKline, and Brother. He has authored books on networking and often been quoted in the media, including The Sunday Times, The Financial Times, and Inc. In fact, the FT called Andy ‘one of Europe’s leading business networking strategists’, and both Forbes.com and The Independent called him ‘a true master of networking’. His latest books are ‘Connected Leadership’ and ‘Just Ask.’

Andy holds the PSAE award which is UK’s top award designed to recognize excellence in professional speaking. He is a Board Member and Director of the Fellow’s Community of the Professional Speaking Association (PSA) UK and Ireland and a member of the Global Speakers Federation (GSF). Also, he’s a Fellow of the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI), and a Master of the Institute of Sales Management.

Outside work, Andy is an avid fan of Charlton Athletic Football Club – although he describes this as a “dubious pleasure”. He also follows other sports, including athletics, tennis, rugby union, and cricket.

Website: lopata.co.uk

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Andy Lopata, Shares His Remarkable Journey and Valuable Insight on his New Book “Just Ask”

Pamela Bardhi
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of underdog. Today I have an amazing guest here with me. He’s actually in the UK. Andy Lopata. How are you?

Andy Lopata
I’m good. Pamela, how are you?

Pamela Bardhi
I’m doing lovely. Andy, it’s so awesome to have you here today. And I want to thank you so much for being here and we have a lot to discuss in terms of things like your new book ‘Just Ask’. Just you in general, I am so excited to hear your story. Your personal story and then, sort of intertwine that with the book a little bit.  My first question to you will be how or what inspired you? To sort of go on your journey and write that book, Just Ask’?

Andy Lopata
So in terms of just asking what happened about five years ago. My business was really struggling and I’m a member of the Professional Speaking Association in the UK. And came across the NSA, the National Speakers Association in America and we call each other our tribe. You know, I’ve got really close friends within that community, both in the UK and globally. Including the States and I mean. More than just professional friends, people who have become close friends of mine and I were going to a lot of PSA meetings around that time. And people were asking me that classic question house business and I was giving them the same answer everyone gives. It’s great and fine. We were told in the 80s, stop saying it’s okay. Say it’s great, It’s wonderful.

And I was giving these answers and I was at one particular meeting. There was a workshop and there were questions in the workshop. About the current state of your business and I noticed that. When we had to fill out this questionnaire and then, put our hands up in the air. As to how we answered it and there were four options, growing stable, new or in decline. And I noticed that nobody put their hand up in the air for their business being in decline and I included myself. We were really struggling and so, I was going to these meetings and I was lying. I was in this workshop and I was lying, and I realized, I wasn’t just lying to these people, I was lying to myself and I wasn’t really allowing people to help me.

And I consider myself to be quite an open person, as you’ve probably gathered from the book. I thought if, I’m closed about this. What about other people and if I’m not sharing with this community. Who I’m close to, who am I sharing with? So I made myself a commitment at that point, that I would turn the business around. With the help of other people and then, when I had done, so I would deliver a keynote. Talk at the annual conference of the PSA. To encourage everyone else to do the same and that’s exactly what I did. The response to the keynote was such that I realized. That wasn’t the end of the journey and this was something that was a fit with the work that I was doing. Although, at first sight, it might not be.

I’ve been known for years, for networking and laterally professional relationships. That actually is a bit, because it’s about who you share with and having a network of people you trust. Why I felt comfortable delivering a keynote to that speaking community. The talk was a lot about our experiences and our shared world. And that wouldn’t necessarily translate with my corporate clients. So I needed to dive deeper into the topic and there’s no better way. To dive into something fairly new than write a book about it. Because you can’t publish a book, if you shouldn’t publish a book. So you can’t because people have you shouldn’t publish a book, unless you’ve really tried to master the topic first.

Pamela Bardhi
Amazing. That’s amazing. So basically, it was through your keynote. You were inspired to write the book because it just kept it going further. And did you have any inspirations? Why was that book written beyond that?

Andy Lopata
Yes. So in the period between me, making that commitment to myself, and delivering the keynote, someone in my network passed away. A guy called Richard. Richard was a really wonderful human being. I went to his memorial service and it was the classic example where everyone stands up and shares memory and every memory is the same. Every memory was that he was always there for me. He was always helping me. You know, he traveled to Africa at his own expense. To help someone set up a charity there and someone flew in from the US and said, you know what. I still don’t know what Richard did for a living because every time we met, he was only interested in me.

And he never talked about himself and I found out the next day. Because there’s a lot of mystery. Over what has happened, he was a fit, healthy, early, middle-aged man. And a friend of mine had seen him a week or two before. No sign of any health issues and my worst fears were confirmed. It’s confirmed that he had taken his own life and he had been around money problems. There was a big disconnect between the amount of wealth and love in that room and the fact he had money problems and anyone would have helped him in any way. They could have known that alternative. But nobody knew. His wife didn’t know the extent of it. So that gave him a very personal ring to the mission. That I was on, I guess.

Pamela Bardhi
Wow, I actually had read that piece myself too. And I was blown away and it just like, it kills me because like you said. If I’m an extrovert and I’m closed off about my struggles. Then what about the people that aren’t right? Or maybe could be in a worse position or you know, who’s not saying it. And that’s the thing about society and you mentioned this in your book, too, when I was reading. Social media has created this depiction of reality that simply is not real. We all struggle and I was telling you right before this interview. That now my whole mission for this podcast was all about helping empower people through hearing the stories. The simple fact of knowing that they’re not alone. So I completely like the mission of your book, I think it is absolutely outstanding.

Andy Lopata
Thank you. One positive thing I’ve seen, because social media comes in for a lot of criticism and one of the things I tried to explore in the book. Was whether it’s a force for good or bad. I don’t think there’s a black and white answer to that and I share Claire’s story, where her social media saved her life. When she was in hospital with sepsis and not getting much sympathy. Or support from the healthcare professionals around her and her tribe on social media that stood up for her. And there are other examples in the book of that nature as well, but we also talk about social perfectionism and how it drives particularly the younger generation.

But I don’t think exclusively, so I put up a false narrative of their lives. I didn’t have time to explore in depth. Bullying and the impact of social media on bullying. When you go to an even younger generation, one of the nice things about it is I see people being more open. Using social skills, than they ever would have before in environments. They wouldn’t have done it before. So I’ve been a football fan for a long time for most of my life and I grew up on the terraces. With all the laddish culture and the drinking and the banter that goes with it. I mentioned in the book that one of my friends. From that world tried to kill himself a few years ago and he’s now a very strong advocate for mental health issues. He talks very openly about what, he went through.

And he was amazing. See, the support, this group of young lads, macho alpha male lads all fighting to be the peacock. The hardest in the troop, the way they all banded around him when that happened. He wasn’t a pariah, he wasn’t excommunicated, he was enveloped. And I thought that was important and I followed the club’s hashtag on Twitter. It’s really struck me how many people are talking openly. About mental health challenges about depression and yesterday, someone posted about how much is oversharing. She did this on the football club discussion forum and only people don’t know her. Many won’t know, she just came into support and I don’t think that would have happened 20 years ago. So I think with all the ills of social media, it’s also brought a lot of positives to the party as well.

Pamela Bardhi
Yes, I would agree with you. And I’m always going through that grey area of what is it. Because then you see the good and then, you see the bad. It’s just so in my generation, I’m 29 I see a lot of perfectionism coming into place and that’s why for me. I always kind of lean a little bit more. I’ve heard so many people, who have just like. They look at their idols or somebody who’s really successful and then, they just feel so detached. What it’s like, it’s not that far away.

Everyone has their own journey and you just never know. Who’s going through what, at work at some point in time. So like you said. Your friend with mental health issues and then your friend Richard and all of that with an impacted sort of these story. You know, of ‘Just Ask’. Which I think is so powerful, because that’s truly all you have to do. Just ask.

Andy Lopata
And be open and be honest about it. I think you make a really important point and you said it earlier as well. Letting people know they’re not alone and this social perfectionism. The idolizing of other people, which is you know, runs through centuries. From ancient Rome, they idolized The Emperor’s as gods and so forth. So it’s nothing new there. But in the book I share, I talked to Hattie Webb. Who, with her sister, was a backing singer for both Leonard Cohen and Tom Petty and she shared stories with me about both of them. Where they betrayed their nerves before big gigs. Leonard Cohen and Tom Petty and I think it’s so important. We know that, as a speaker, I tell people. When they say I can’t do what you do for a living, I get so nervous.

I tell them, I do as well. You know, before I give you a big tool. I am sweating like crazy, I won’t tell you what my body does to me, but it’s not. And I’ll be sitting, directly before a talk, be sitting in the audience, I’ll be trying to look at my notes. To remind myself to forget everything, I’m gonna say and the lights have gone down and I can’t see it. I’ll be going over everything in my mind again, I’ll be asking why do they want to listen to me? And why are they paying me so much. They don’t need to hear this and I’m going to bomb. It all goes through my head. When I tell people that and they’ve seen me speak, they’re gobsmacked.

Because I don’t betray that when I’m on stage and that’s the thing you wouldn’t see Tom Petty performing. I’ve been lucky enough to do so. And think that he’s not, he’s nervous before the game. You want to think Leonard Cohen does it to Beyonce or whoever it might be. I promise you Beyonce gets nervous. She hasn’t told me personally. But she also gets nervous and whoever it might be the best actors, actresses. Some of your biggest stars have been sick, before they go out and perform physically sick, but we don’t see it. Because we don’t see it, we think they are beyond us. They’re capable of things beyond us. That might be true to some extent, but they are still human. And this stuff going on in their lives. Any biopic will tell you about it.

Pamela Bardhi
Right now, I think it’s so important that the message is too simple. Know that you’re not alone. Just this simple thought that in my hardest times in life, both personal and business. It was always like, well, if this person got through it, then I sure can. Like you always look to someone else who did it right. And I feel like that’s the case for a lot of people, even for myself. It’s like, Okay, well, I saw this person going through it. So it makes it less scary.

Andy Lopata
Yeah, as you said, Sometimes you’re not alone. There are coping mechanisms out there and I think that’s really important. I interview a guy called Luke Ambler, in the book and Luke is a former professional rugby league player. Who was international player top of the game, his brother committed suicide and he started a support group for young men. At the peak of his career, he quit international rugby to focus on Andy’s man Club, which is named after his brother.

And he said to me that you get guys to come into these groups. Now these are guys under 40 years old likely to come, particularly where Luke’s originally from. It’s expanded all across the UK and possibly beyond now. But certainly where Luke’s from likely to be sort of very macho, alpha environments. And they’ll all come in and they’ll look at their feet, he said, but when they hit start to realize that they’re around people. Who are going through the same things. Then something changes, something shifts in them and they suddenly share vulnerability. That’s the shift when they know, that they are surrounded by people, who are going through the same as them. I can’t quote you directly.

So I haven’t got it, in front of me. But one of the things I wanted to get to the bottom of in the book. Which perhaps I didn’t really get my answer to was the gender differences. Are men, more vulnerable women will be more vulnerable than men. Who each gender share with and so forth. But Luke, I think it was the close of that chapter. Luke said to me, it doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a woman. People will share with, people who have experienced the same things as them.

Pamela Bardhi
Right? I mean, I totally agree. Cuz, I mean, I know from the female standpoint. Just nobody wants to admit it, I don’t even think it’s a gender thing like nobody that I know. Because then, there’s macho men that will never tell you that they’re weak. And then there’s the women that are like, it’s ego, right? It’s like your mentality, you never want to show weakness and that was the case for myself, too. Like I was mentioning to you before the podcast.

I would never show any sign of weakness, I would never show any vulnerability as I’m like, No, I’m the tough resilient one. But like, that’s not the healthy way to view, right? Because then people see you as some sort of like superhuman person and they can’t relate to you. And it’s just and it’s like, actually I know that, that is me. You know, I’ve been through all these experiences and I still struggle every day.

Andy Lopata
Can I just pick up on the language you use there? And I think the crux of the point, three times you said, weakness and it is the problem. When we equate vulnerability with weakness. You said people want to look good and that I found was the biggest obstacle. Vulnerability is a strength. Someone who has the courage to turn around and say, “I don’t know how to do this. I’m struggling with that, will you help me,”. Is a damn site stronger than the person. Who worries about looking bad and therefore won’t tell anyone and won’t get the answers that will help them.

And as for resilience, you mentioned, I’m resilient. Vulnerability for me is a key ingredient in resilience. Because resilience isn’t about standing strong and letting things bounce off you. Resilience is about getting through difficult times still on top. And what better way to get through difficult times, then with the support of people who understand how to get through it. Or even if they don’t, will still give you a push or hold you up through that journey. So vulnerability increases resilience. But we don’t see it that way. We no longer see ability as the antithesis of resilience.

Pamela Bardhi
Amen to that. Andy, you said, it’s so perfect and the thing is, like. I was conditioned to believe that vulnerability is a weakness. So this was me prior to, ‘I’m not gonna talk about this.’ And I was, like, petrified to be vulnerable. Because this podcast, getting into this field and starting this forced me to be vulnerable. What I’ve learned over the last year and a half is like. Exactly like what you just said, it’s actually a strength. And it actually builds resilience and not only that, but you’re also magnifying the lives of those around you.

Because they feel comfortable that. Okay, she’s sharing and she’s gone through that. Or Andy’s gone through that and he’s sharing about this, like, I don’t feel so crazy or I don’t feel so alone. That goal is maybe not too far away. I’ve just got, you know, maybe what Andy said about the coping mechanisms might help me or all these different things. And I just found it so profound, what you just said. So, thank you for that. Thank you so much for that and I think it’s so important for the world. To hear and the listeners to hear and everyone’s gotta read, Just Ask. And in addition to the book, you have a podcast as well.

Andy Lopata
Yeah, well, actually 2020 is a very creative year, two books and a podcast. So the podcast is framed more around my fourth book, which came out in the summer. Just ask came out in December, so my fourth book was Connected Leadership. Which looks at how professional relationships underpin executive success. So the podcast is the extension of that. It’s the same premise that you need strong relationships to achieve. Whatever your goals are, which includes the support network, so one of our launch week episodes was a very powerful conversation. Around mental health in the workplace. This is very much linked to this topic, so I’ve been very lucky.

I’ve interviewed some fascinating people from all over the world, predominantly US and UK. But they’ve included a NASA astronaut, who was on the backup crew to Columbia. And the follow up mission to that and Israeli orchestral conductor. We talked about how you take all of the disparate talents and egos, and an orchestra, and bring them together into harmony. I guess, would be the right word, the former CEO of Porsche and BMW who took Porsche from a really failing business and turned it around and really excuse the pun.

But accelerated BMW profits as well and Kevin Hudson. He also happens to be a world record holder for crossing the Atlantic in a rowing boat and has gone to two poles and so on. So he’s a huge adventurer as well and a range of guests. I’m probably doing a disservice. If I try and sort of pick them really, so that launched in September. And I’ve been really delighted with the guests, that I’ve had on that as well.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s fantastic. And I mean, all of this pretty much coincided with your career path, which has been business networking strategist.

Andy Lopata
Yeah, it’s quite interesting. Someone pointed out, I hadn’t worked it out before. I’ve written five books over the course of 15 years and they actually plot my career. Because they start with building a business on bacon and eggs. Which is about running business breakfast meetings, which is how I got into the business. Then it goes into depth came third, which is about networking skills. How to work the room and how to speak in public. Then on to recommended, which is about referral strategy. Which became the core of what I did and then, the two books this year, so moving more into professional relationship strategies and vulnerability. So it’s been quite interesting, to see how the books have plotted exactly what I’ve been doing and how I’ve evolved as well.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s so interesting. So what inspired your career, path in the networking space?

Andy Lopata
My dad co-founded a business network in 1998. At the time, he said. Would you like to come and see what we’re doing? And I said, it’s seven o’clock in the morning, isn’t it? He said, Yes, I said Good luck and then six months later I quit my job and I was going to become a freelance writer. And he said, come and help us while you get some writing commissions. He ever intended for me to ever get any writing commissions and so suddenly into it. But it was just natural for me. I’d never heard the word networking. Before he set up these groups. Because back then it wasn’t banded around as it is now, but it was something I’d been doing. It was something I did naturally. So it was just a natural adjustment for me.

Pamela Bardhi
Interesting. And so I have to ask, this is always a fun question. But what did you want to be when you grew up? When you’re a kid.

Andy Lopata
So in my later teens, you know. When you’re seriously thinking about career path, I came from a typical suburban middle class family. And the expectation was you’re going to be an accountant or a lawyer. I would never say that’s what I wanted to be, but I think it was the expectation for me and I actually was accepted to university to study accountancy. And I changed my degree at the last minute to political science. Because I realized I, did two summers working as an office Junior accountancy firm in Central London and I realized that wasn’t for me.

Before that, to be honest with you. I can’t remember, you know. You probably had the typical childhood ideas of whether it’s an astronaut. Or a policeman, I can’t even remember. I was a very enthusiastic actor, acting where I was before I was 16. So when I was about 14, I was invited to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company, so I was pretty decent. And I normally had the lead role in most of the plays that I was in and then, I discovered football and girls when I was 16 and lost interest. So I think if there was anything that might have been a career path. Other than that, the accountancy or your expectations. It was probably acting, but I don’t think I ever got that far as to consider it.

Pamela Bardhi
Interesting. So your lead roles and everything, that’s so awesome.

Andy Lopata
I was Charlie Prince of Chyzyk. In 40, winks beauty, which is a very British joke on a very British approach and the pantomime. But yeah, I often took the lead role. I think I let that get to my head a little bit early and then I got bored. Because I didn’t get the lead role in something and through a teenage hissy fit, but it’s ironic. You know, one of my first girlfriends was still his professional actress.

And she studied in one of the top acting schools in the country, and I caught up with her a few years ago. We talked about how the world has turned and how I go out there on stage. In front of maybe 1000 people plus on a one man show or up to an hour and a half. And, you know, I didn’t give it up when I was 16. It’s not acting, but I think that certainly helped me what I do now.

Pamela Bardhi
Isn’t that interesting how the moments that you had? When you were younger, actually shaped, when you’re old, is for me, I was in the restaurant world up until I was 21. I had two restaurants. By the time I was 21, I was owning an operation, and then getting too much.

Andy Lopata
It was above them.

Pamela Bardhi
But like all these things, they actually teach you how to multitask. How to work well under pressure, like all these things. That I didn’t think the restaurant industry would have helped me in. But getting into construction in real estate and everything is actually perfectly applicable, which is awesome. It sounds like it was the same for you when we came to acting and then, kind of those skills helped you in a way when you became a speaker.

Andy Lopata
In my 20s, I haven’t had a normal career party. I mean, it probably is normal for a lot of people, but it’s not the one we teach. Because I didn’t know what I wanted to do and I’d left University early, because of health reasons. And also because I wanted to work in the record industry and there weren’t any openings for graduates and I got offered a job that lasted three months. I became a civil servant, I hated that. It was just, that was a job. So I went, checked it in and I traveled and I worked on film sets.

And I ran tours of Cape Town and I was cold caller in Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane and I worked at the racecourse. I did all these different things and I travelled. Then I came back and was a sound engineer. I did all these different things, I ran car parks was my last proper job and I think in a way that’s helped, it hindered me as well. But in a way that’s helped, because I’ve worked for big companies. I’ve worked for small and I’ve seen different environments.

I mean, I’d love to say that my work as a sound engineer. Has helped that I’m recording podcasts and so on. But it’s so long ago that we used to cut actual tape with a razor blade and stick it back together to edit it. I’m not that old, but I am that old, if that makes sense. We could get a digital one that hasn’t been with us that long. So it’s not exactly that transferrable, but yeah. It shaped me doing all these different things and not really finding my niche until I was 29.

Pamela Bardhi
Wow, that’s incredible. And thank you for sharing that you kind of went. Through all these different paths, before you got to where you’re at. Because that happens for a lot of people too and they feel like Oh, I should have known what my career is by now. You know, society’s standard of by 29, you should be married. Have a family, have your job be skyrocketing in your career, all that stuff. And it’s like, it’s not that way at all right? You have to try to see what you like, like how on earth are you gonna end up finding your dream career. Not knowing what you don’t like to do? Right, unfortunately, figure out what you don’t like.

Andy Lopata
Some people find it very quickly. And that’s lucky in many ways, but perhaps they miss out on the richness of exploration. It’s the same as you know, my sisters settled down and got married at a relatively young age. I’m still single now. Do I regret that to some degree? Yeah, I do. But equally, would I have been able to experience it? What I’ve experienced in my life if I settle down. The right person for me was way back when, you know, a long time ago.

I would have kids and you, University now if I settle down with her and I wouldn’t have done. We wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’m not saying it would have been a worse thing if I followed that path. It would have been a different path. I’ve experienced a fascinating and unusual journey in the period in between. And I wouldn’t have had that and it’s the same with careers, say my life. There is this prescribed way of living and I think that generation by generation. People are bucking that trend, people are getting married later in life, they’re building portfolio careers more easily.

When I was at school, people wouldn’t think about being an entrepreneur. The irony was both my parents ran small businesses and it never occurred to me to run a small business until much, much later in life. Because that wasn’t the expectation. You know, I went into the civil service. I resigned after four years and people were in shock. Because no one at my grade ever resigned that loan was going to go traveling the world. Those things now, I think for the millennial generation, are normal and that will shift again with the next generation coming through.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s powerful stuff, powerful stuff. And now my question for you, another one. What would be the biggest piece of advice that you would give anyone out there through your life experiences?

Andy Lopata
I think it’s very hard to answer a question like that. Because any advice you give should be predicated on what that person needs and wants. And actually, I was going to give some advice based on the premise of the book. But actually, based on that, instead, the biggest advice I would give is. Make your interactions with other people more about them than about you. And yes, when you need it. You need to be able to ask for help, you need to be able to ask for support and you need to put you at the front at certain points.

But if you’ve invested in those relationships upfront. If you sat and listened to other people. Not with what’s in it for you in mind, but just to see how you can help them. If you’ve made connections for people, whenever you see it possible, and If you’ve been a shoulder for them to cry on when they need it. Then when you need them, they’ll be there for you. I think to myself when I give this advice because I’ve worked out through this whole process of this book. That I’m one of life’s fixers if you tell me your problem, I want to fix it. But actually, you might not be telling me because you want the solution.

Or you might be telling me, because you just want to get it off your chest. And that’s what I mean by making it about the other person not about yourself, the fixer makes it about themselves. I want to fix you. But the listener makes it about the other person. Why are you telling me this? What can I do to help you not dive into the solution? Sometimes the answer is you’re just helping by listening and want more.

Pamela Bardhi
Right. I love that. And that coincides with your book, big time. Another question I wanted to ask you regarding the book. Because you had mentioned coping mechanisms, like what would be one of the best coping mechanisms. That you could think of that, would help somebody get through that hump. Whatever it is that they’re going through.

Andy Lopata
One of the best coping mechanisms is stolen from a friend of mine called Paul McGee. And Paul McGee has written a number of very successful books. His most famous is Sumo. Sumo stands for Shut up, move on and so the whole idea of this is about how to cope with stress, how to cope with issues and it’s about getting over it and moving on. And someone turned around to Paul. After the initial success of Sumo, and said, Whoa, sometimes I don’t want to shut up and move on. Sometimes I just want to wallow and all come up with the concept, the idea of wallowing, the name Hippo time.

And he says, sometimes we just need Hippo time. We just need to wallow and I think that one coping mechanism is to embrace the ability to wallow. But not let it overtake you. I think that there’s a danger of either not dealing with setbacks, not giving them the space to be able to deal with them well enough. Because we feel we have to SUMO, shut up, move on. So we talked about dealing with grief very similarly, so we’re not dealing with. Whatever it is that’s bringing us down, that’s frustrating us that’s holding us back. If we find that Hippo time and we allow a certain amount of time for it. We can then come through the other side. But the other part of that is to come to the other side.

Because I think a lot of people struggle with it. Whether it’s mental health problems. Or whether it’s as simple as just finding life difficult, it doesn’t have to be mental health issues. I think the wallowing is a very attractive place to be, a very easy place to get stuck in. And so we need to come through the other side. So I share in the book, how the journey of getting the book published was not an easy one. I got my contract very quickly with a globally known big publisher, but the experience wasn’t what I hoped. The manuscript was rightly rejected, because they weren’t good enough.

And after the third rejection, when I thought I’d got it right. I wallowed for two months and I share in the book how I came out. But, for two months, I couldn’t do anything and I didn’t even tell anyone you know. That I’ve written this book about being open and honest and transparent and setting the world, I didn’t tell anyone. But that was right for me and when the moment came to talk about it, I talked about it. And it’s about having that Hippo time in your journey, but knowing is only part of the journey and not getting stuck in it.

Pamela Bardhi
Right, allowing yourself time, because the thing is, like, you can’t just pretend like that issue is not there. You can’t because it is right and you need yourself time to heal. And that’s okay.  Like you said, don’t Drown and don’t get stuck in. Just keep it. It’s interesting that you went through the process yourself too before realizing that.

Andy Lopata
It was fascinating, when that became a core part of the beginning of the book, as you’ve read. You know the journey because I think I call it the just ask journey. It’s quite funny. When I had my initial conversations with the publishers, I had a lot of interviews. As you’ll know, a lot of stories I share in the book, one of the key things they said is, make sure your story is in there. Truth be told, I have stories, I have the story I’ll share with you at the beginning. I have stories, but they’re not as emotionally powerful to my mind, as some of the ones I share. There’s some very powerful, very personal stories shared in the book.

And I don’t feel that if I was writing the book, I would use my stories as an objective one, necessarily. But I know I had things that worked for the beginning and the end of the book. So that connection with me was there and why else am I writing the book. And then it was really funny that Just Ask journey turned out to be the perfect story for the book. To lead it off with and it was the book was going to provide me with that story all along.

What Would Andy’s Older Self Tell  His Younger Self?

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. Oh, my gosh, now with all your life experiences, the books and everything. Now, what would your older self tell your younger self?

Andy Lopata
Seeing this question and dreading being asked it, because it’s a very complicated answer. I didn’t have a brilliant childhood, I was heavily bullied at school, I suffered badly from asthma and eczema, I was very small, I had a pretty rotten time of it. And I think that my message to my younger self. Would be to persevere and to understand in the long run. Winning against these bullies and winning against society, it didn’t matter. That doesn’t matter. It’s about what you achieve yourself and you can be proud of yourself in your career, in your life. You know, I think I’ve done that. I believe I’ve achieved that and I remember many years later seeing one of those bullies in pub football and he was all on his own.

And I found it by friends and he was upset that I didn’t want to deal with him. Now, maybe there’s a part of me these days. That would be more open, and have the conversation. But you know, if the tables are turned, that’s not what I advocate, necessarily, but it was a win. Let’s face it, to be able to turn around to that kid and say that they will come. I don’t care how spiritual you are, how optimistic you are. That kid would have needed to have heard that. I think the other thing I would say, would be to understand the internet very early and set up an online bookshop that you then develop into an online seller of all goods. And do it before Jeff Bezos does

Pamela Bardhi
Amen to that. And you’re so awesome. You’re so awesome and now everyone’s needs to know. Where to find your awesomeness and your book and where can everybody find you?

Andy Lopata
Well, I’m pretty easy to find with a name like mine, Andy Lopata, so the books are on Amazon. It’s on all the bookstores online and you can order it from local bookstores. If they don’t stock all the relevant links to me, Link tree. So it’s linktr.ee/AndyLapota, that’s linktr.ee/AndyLapota. And in the past, I’m sure you’ve put those in the show notes. That thing has links to the podcasts, to the two most recent books to my Amazon page. My blog, YouTube channel everything or just, search me out on. Whichever site you’re on. I’m on most of them.

Pamela Bardhi
And you’re so awesome. Thank you so much for being here today and for your message and just genuine authenticity.

 

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Andy Lopata.