Episode 22: Defy Drift
with Todd Sandel

If we are not careful, we can easily become victims of drift- the unintentional disconnect between who you are and how you live. Many leaders find themselves sacrificing physical and relational health in order to achieve the highest levels of professional success, waking up one day to realize that this is not who they want to be. In today’s episode, executive coach and marriage and family therapist, Todd Sandel, joins us to share how to defy drift.

About our guest

Contact Todd on Linkedin
Find more information at
 The SouthCity Group and Defy Drift

Todd is the Founder and CEO of The SouthCity Group, a small boutique executive coaching and leadership consultancy firm that addresses leadership change and development from both the clinical and leadership sides of psychology.  He has two Masters degrees in both organizational leadership and marriage and family therapy from Fuller’s School of Psychology and also the Goizueta Leadership Certificate from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

 Todd has served as an executive coach, consultant and speaker for many companies both in and beyond Atlanta such as Chick-fil-A, Inc., Southern Company, Chick-fil-A Owner/Operators, Willis Towers Watson, Savills Real Estate, Capital City Real Estate, Telus International, Winshape Foundation, and serves as an executive coach through Emory’s Executive Education Program.    

Todd and his wife, Beverly of 21 years also started a marriage leadership entity called Defy Drift.  They design card decks to be used as a practical tool for increasing deep compelling conversations with your spouse and with your kids.  They also host high end, small group marriage adventure trips around the world for athletic, adventurous travel-oriented couples longing to lead their marriages to greatness.  From a couples surf camp in Costa Rica to hiking the Inca trail in Peruvian mountains to cycling the undulating hills of Italy’s Tuscan region, Todd and Beverly provoke, inspire and lead couples to call forth greatness in their marriages.  

They are currently challenged in their efforts to raise their four teenagers with high intentionality and integrity.  And some days, they’re not that bad at it.  As a family, they enjoy running, hiking, paddleboarding, and summer sabbaticals to incredibly gorgeous places to avoid the Atlanta heat.  

Episode transcript

Sara: Todd Sandel, welcome to the Growing as Grown-Ups podcast, I'm so excited to have you on here today. You and I have kind of oddly similar backgrounds, which is a fun combination. We both have studied marriage and family therapy and we have both ended up working in the leadership space and so I wanted to bring you on because you do bring this perspective that I'm super passionate about, which is kind of this whole person development, that it's not just what's happening at work, but it's also kind of your whole life. And as you know, the Growing as Grown-Ups podcast is part of the Leaders Lyceum, we've partnered with you in the past to do work, but this whole person thing is really important to us and so we will get into that in a minute. But to start it off, I just love to ask people what their definition of leadership is and given that you work in this broader space of personal and professional, I'm really excited to hear what you say leadership is.

Todd: Yeah, pretty big question, and obviously there's a thousand different ways to answer that, I just approach it a little bit different, Sara. So, as you mentioned, being in the kind of very similar space and the people space, the clinical side of psychology work and the whole person, I just kind of see leadership as everything we do. I mean, honestly, it's how we wake up in the morning and if I want to sleep in versus wake up and have my quiet time in the morning where I'm working out or I'm having coffee or I'm reading or I'm just getting myself centered and thinking about my day and who I want to be, right? I can either be intentional in how that sets me up to lead my life well that day and be really focused on creating early impact or I can just kind of wake up late and just put out fires and just live in a reactive state all day, just kind of going from one thing to the next and I just call that leadership because leadership is really, to me, how we just lead. How we live our life is leading and it doesn't necessarily mean people are following us, but we're human and we're around people, and so we're always being watched, we're always being observed and how we just move through our day does have significant impact on people. Oftentimes we call that wake, right? We just leave a wake where we go, wherever we go, if we impact people around us, whether we're even standing in line at Starbucks waiting on our coffee, or we're upset that the person in front of us at the red light is texting when the light turns green. How we react or choose to not react actually is leading because we have the ability to impact that person in front of us as well as around us. And so just how we flow through life, how we live our life each day, I just call that leadership and we can either be intentional and set forth the path of leading the way we want to lead or we can be reactive and just let life happen to us.

Sara: Yeah, so that sounds like to boil it down, it really is about thinking intentionally about the impact that you want to have. Is that kind of the heart of it?

Todd: If we use the word leadership, because then we're we are cognizant, we are making a conscious effort that living is leading. If we don't think -- if we don't connect those to two things, then intentionality really doesn't matter but, yeah, it would be an intentional, conscious effort to say, "Hey, I want to -- there's a certain way I want to live my life today based on the impact I want to have with others."

Sara: I love that so much because it makes it so clear that leadership is not at all about the position that you're in. It's not at all about the number of people that report to you, which is a good charge to everyone. You know, like our listeners, a lot of them are in professional leadership roles -- not all of them are -- and a lot of people would think, "Oh, you know, Sara, you do a leadership podcast or you work at a leadership company," but it is, it's are you leading yourself well? Are you leading your family well? Are you leading your friends? Are you leading your community just by living with this thoughtfulness of how you are impacting those around you? So I love that. So let me ask you then, is there a person that you think has really embodied leadership for you in a way that has made a difference in your life, and how did that impact you?

Todd: Yeah, I love this question. it's kind of a little bit bittersweet, I would tell the story, it's my high school soccer coach, Dean Johnson. I grew up in Lakeland, Florida, home of Publix, by the way. That's how Lakeland's known, and I used to tell story all the time and I still tell the story, but literally right after I told this story at a conference a couple of years ago, I got back from the conference and found out that Coach Johnson had a brain aneurysm and passed away. And I went down to his funeral, got on a plane literally the next day, went down. And this story came up in his -- in one of the eulogies, because it was a former alumni soccer player, and I feel like this story is a symbol of why my soccer coach, had kind of the biggest impact for me of modeling leadership. And really, it was the state championship game that I always joke that my team waited until after I graduated high school to win the state championship. I don't know if there's any correlation to that.

Sara: Totally not, I'm sure it's not. Todd: I know, but seriously, I'm a freshman in college that was pre-Internet, pre-cell phone, all that kind of stuff. So my dad calls me right after the game because he was there and told me that our team won in sudden death overtime. So as soon as a goal is scored, the game's over and I was like, "Awesome, that's great!" So he sent me the paper. I get the paper like four days later and the front page of the newspaper from my hometown had a picture of Coach Johnson, the whole front page. It was a picture of him on the ground, kneeling, holding the head, kind of the face of a player who was on the ground sitting and you could see just the player was exasperated and exhausted and coach is just -- he's kneeling, holding his face and you can tell he's, like, encouraging him. Well, the interesting thing is it wasn't one of our players. So think about a state championship that you host on your field, you win a goal and as soon as that goal scored, pandemonium, right? I mean, the players are looking for the Gatorade to pour on coach and they're cheering. The fans rushed the field. It was crazy but all of a sudden, the journalist from the newspaper was the only one who caught this. My coach, Coach Johnson, actually, instead of celebrating with our team, he made a beeline over to the opposing goalie that just got scored on, who was a senior and the season's over. So the goalie just was flat on the ground, as we all would at the end of an exhausting game if we were on the losing end of that. And you're just you're just so devastated and your season's over. But Coach Johnson went over there and then the reporter saw this happen. So she went over and interviewed the player afterwards and that's how the story unfolded and basically in the newspaper story, what happened was the boy, the kid, the goalie, when asked what did the coach say, he said, "He just -- he asked me to sit up because he just really wanted to encourage me and he said, you just need to know that in all of my twenty-plus years of coaching high school soccer, I've never seen a performance as fine as yours today.'" And he said, "And then he told me specifically the leadership that I lead my team with and how I played and how I conducted in my character and my authority in just how I encouraged my team and where I was and he said not only as a soccer player, but as a leader of the team in the back of the field, he said he's never seen a finer performance from any kid. He just said you have, whether you pursue soccer or something else, you are going to -- you're going to be great at whatever you do in life and I'm praying for you, I'm encouraging you, and don't let this one loss have anything to do with your life, although learn from it and continue to just be awesome," basically, is what the kid said. And that – (I tell that story because that that's what I have in, for four years of high school soccer, I had this guy who actually was pretty bad at soccer himself as a coach because he never really cared about the game. He just said, "If you prepare well and you train well and you and you play well as a team together and you show up with the highest integrity to absolutely learn how to play in the biggest version of yourself, at your highest contribution in every way with integrity and character and attitude and composure," he goes, "the wins and losses will take care of themselves," and he was right. We were on the highest end of the winning part, again, except for the championship -- they waited for me to leave -- but that's what I experienced in leadership and I still I –when I got into the leadership space and started having these conversations like we're having or in a in a big group or even one on one, I would keep coming back to the story of Coach Dean Johnson and just kind of saying that is actually leadership. It's not about the achievement, it's not about the end goal, win or loss. It's not about the winning. It's about who you are becoming in the process of the game. The person you are becoming, the integrity, the character and I just feel so passionately that that that was a big part of shaping my mindset about leadership. That character is the currency that leadership will trade in as we keep expanding into the future. And leaders can either, you know, trade in that currency of character or they can suffer the downside of compromise and the consequences that come with compromise. Sara: “Leadership is trading in the currency of character" Is that what you said? Todd: Yeah. Yeah, we can either trade --

Sara: Wow, that’s a really cool, different way to think about it.

Todd: We can either trade in that currency or we can compromise and suffer the consequences. So, that's what he taught me that -- I was just going to say that's what coach taught me as a high school kid. I didn't know it then until I got into the leadership space, but as I kept studying this, I kept coming back and that's why I like when people ask that question because, like, that's the man. That's the human that shaped that in me, those seeds long ago.

Sara: Yeah. So let's just keep going with this then and talking about how that has impacted the work that you do now, because I know a little bit about the direction that you've gone with your work, and I love it so much and so bringing in this idea again of this whole person. Developing who you are, kind of that identity, the character, the intentionality, all that stuff, I think is so relevant and just not quite the norm in the leadership development space, right? It's not skills training and all the different things that you can learn to do, it's about who you really are and we've had a number of guests on recently that have talked about that -- which I just love we're getting that message out -- and so for you, like, talk about this blend of your marriage and family work and your executive coaching and your leadership development and how all of those things relate. How is leadership development not just something for the professional space?

Todd: So let me start with marriage and family, so really, I think what I loved most about, what captured me about the clinical side of the psychology spectrum that we're talking about with marriage and family and what makes marriage and family therapy unique is the theoretical underpinning of systems thinking and the idea of systems dysfunction and diagnosing a systems dysfunction, how a system itself is actually operating to achieve homeostasis, but it has an ineffective result. So everything's a system. A couple, a marriage is a system. A family is a system. A sport -- a soccer team is a system, an executive C-suite team is a system. How I actually live my life, I've created systems and those systems either fuel really positive impact in my life or those systems create interference and have negative impact toward the goals that I want to have. And so I think --

Sara: I think what's really important is that we have all these different systems, but they are all connected and I think that's where, same as you, my marriage and family training, the systemic theory that underpins it is you knock one thing off-kilter at work and it's going to affect the system at home because I am a piece of both systems, right? And so many people try to separate my system at work, my system with my spouse, my system with my kids, my system with my community, but they're all connected and the more people can understand that, the more they'll be able to kind of free up themselves to grow because they do see how it impacts all those things.

Todd: Yeah, yeah and I think, I'm not sure if it was maybe Aristotle or whoever. I think I've read that it's Aristotle, I could have this quote wrong, but he said, "How we do small things is how we do all things," and that idea of how we do anything is how we do everything. I've even heard, I don't know if it was you and Keith or I've probably seen it in books I always forget kind of who said, you know, we're never not ourselves. So wherever -- however, our system, however, we are flowing and impacting our environment or others around us, whether it's at home or our friends or our team at work or our clients, that's still us. We're still the common denominator of who we are and the variable of how people experience us is how most people experience us and of course, in marriage and family work, we call it "parallel process". How one person experiences us parallels how other people in another area of our life experience us and that's fascinating to me.

Sara: Yeah, that's why when we do 360-assessments, as you know, we don't just have you ask the people at work how they experience you. We make you include your family and your friends to get that full picture, because so many people will tell me, "Well, this is just how I am at work. I'm not like this at home," and I'm like, "OK, well, your 360 is going to tell you that's probably not the case," right?

Todd: I know, I love it. I love it when people say that and I say, "How do you know? Are you sure?" And most of the time, you probably had the same conversation a thousand times, right? They go, "Well, I don't think I am," but that that just because you think you're not doesn't mean you're actually not that way at all. Yeah, it's pretty fascinating.

Sara: So, you know, if we think about typically this podcast is geared more towards the professional space but I'm super passionate about growth also happening in life outside of work, right? Those are the stories when I'm working with a client in a coaching engagement or at the end of a program when people share out. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm better at work, but I am a better dad," -- I'm going to get emotional right now just talking about it, but -- "I'm a better dad because I've learned just to spend time with my kids or I'm more intentional about taking my wife on date nights and connecting." Why does it matter for people to pay attention to growing in those areas of life and not just climbing the corporate ladder?

Todd: Yeah, you know, this whole big part of our personal wellness and how we take care of ourselves and how we flow through life has everything to do with how we achieve success in the business world and there's so much research right now in the past couple of years about burnout and I don't know if you've seen this, but some research that that showed actually burnout now is a diagnosable disease in the World Health Organization. It came out two years ago. It's now a classified disease.

Sara: Wow.

Todd: And it's amazing they actually call it clinical, that they can call it "burnout", and it's because we continue to pursue success without successfully managing stress and so we just want to focus on the upper end of our contribution. Produce, produce, produce. Add value, add value, add value. I mean, overdeliver, overdeliver, overdeliver. Be at the highest end of your contribution work-wise and then we crash. And what happens is that life of crushing it and pursuing success and achievement at the highest level actually creates that decline and at some point stress has a, you know, there's a certain - on the stress curve, a certain amount of stress actually motivates us for a high level of production and once we pass that tipping point, we start to deteriorate and so it's this really interesting balance between stress and recovery. And most people just think recovery is being lazy or "I don't need sleep" or "I don't need to kind of eat right and I don't need to take care of myself and keep fit," but that's all about the energy and if we don't manage the kind of energy that actually helps us to achieve in our career at the highest level, then we're actually working against ourselves. And if we don't have a model of a foundational way of taking care of ourselves, then all we do in those situations as our only answer is to work harder. And so the more we work harder, the more we increase our burnout, which makes us want to work harder until eventually I mean, I don't even want to talk about the trajectory on that end. So there's a huge amount of research with this idea of stress and recovery and finding that balance.

Sara: So something I love in the work that you do is this idea of drift. So do you want to tell our listeners what that is, how it fits into all of this, and kind of the work you've been doing over the last few years on this topic?

Todd: So it's really funny, so the convergence of this idea of the personal side, who we are as a spouse, who we are as a parent, who we are in being fit and taking care of ourself and being well and healthy combined with who we are at the highest end of contributing in my role at work, right? What I began to see and I'm not even sure where it started, it could have been because of my marriage work, it could have been on my leader work, but what I noticed over and over and over were the highest level leaders were starting to experience incredible burnout and the reason -- where they saw the indicators of burnout was on the personal side. And as I began to dive deep with them and figure out, "hey, where did this begin to happen?" I kind of started seeing a pattern that at some point who they were and how they lived personally began to -- there began to be a divergence, because the more they pursued success, the more they pursued excellence and success and achievement, the more they diverged away from their personal leadership and how they led in their personal life, again, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually in your marriage, in your family, and in all those areas as a whole person. And so what I just -- the way I describe that was we just start to drift because no one ever wakes up in the morning, says, "OK, today, because it's Tuesday, I think I want to be very, very different than who I say I am and how I'm behaving in my personal life." Like nobody makes that decision, right? There's just a slow drift.

Sara: So let me clarify for me what these two things are: who we are -- who we want to be, who we say we are. What's the definition, per se of the who and the how? What are the things that are splitting?

Todd: I would even say for me when I started to experience that same drift, I mean, I remember being in the car on the way home from a tee-ball game of my son's five-year-old tee-ball game and we were laughing about something, some event that happened in the game and as we were laughing about it, Beverley just all of a sudden got this serious face and leaned over and said, "I just can't help but feeling like that kid in the tee-ball game," because he was all stressed out and was anxious and everybody was yelling at him and tell him what he needs to do and he's to throw the ball here and tag this run and all this kind of stuff and he was just stressed and Beverly finally just said, "I feel like him." I said, "What do you mean? That's kind of out of nowhere." She just said, 'The way we're living our life. The way we're living our life, I just I don't know that I could do this anymore," and of course, I almost, just, drive off into the ditch because I thought she's talking about us, and then we get home, go on the patio and have a three hour conversation. And she's like, "No, not us, but the way we're living our life." And I'm thinking the way I'm living my life is I am absolutely pursuing career achievement at the highest level. I don't know what she's talking about and what she's describing is who she and the kids experience of me when they see me and how my clients saw me was way up here and how I was at home was way down here and that was the first time, and she was the one that exposed that and I'm like, "What do you mean how you all experience me?" And the way she described me, I would almost say, "There's no way, you're kidding me!" and it just took me a couple hours to really get my mind around what she was saying. So that's how I describe this drift. Somewhere I had started to drift and we were just we were burning the candle at both ends, so we were -- our pace of life was we were captured by hurry and hurry sickness and keeping up with the Joneses and just trying to build a business and building a family and at the same time, I was drifting away from who I really wanted to -- the impact as a dad and as a husband and a family culture that we really said, "This is how we want to have as a family," and I literally was kind of doing this by the way I was achieving and pursuing excellence and success.

Sara: And none of that was intentional. You didn't choose to prioritize work over badly in the kids. You didn't, as you said, you didn't wake up today and decide, you know, "I'm going to spend all my time here," but it just -- it happens, right? It's like the current of life takes us down that path if we are not intentional about it and so what is it that you do in your work to help people resolve that, right? The one answer is I just quit my job and just stay at home and spend time with my family but how is it that you do both well?

Todd: So part of it is, like, so with the leaders, my biggest thing is really helping them understand, I just kind of have what I created like a leadership drift audit and it's on one page. They can go through four dimensions of our life and I got that idea from back in the early 2000s. Harvard Business Review put out this research called -- from Tony Schwartz, called the Corporate Athlete and that was the first time the business world was introduced to this idea of balance and so they were talking about the successful executives at the highest level were able to hold in balance and tend to four dimensions of their life: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual and what they defined as spiritual, as being a part of the bigger purpose, volunteering or bigger cause or something that is benefiting others or a bigger cause outside of yourself. And how we keep those four dimensions of our life, that we tend to all four of those, instead of myopically only seeing career success as my number one thing that I want to get a 10 out of 10 in and everything else drifts but how do we intentionally focus on living a well-balanced life of energy in those four areas of our of our life? And so I will help clients begin to think about that, to assess that, to evaluate that and to get feedback because we all know that's why any of us that believe in 360s, it's because all the research and the science has proven that we do not see ourselves accurately. We have this idealistic distortion kind of mechanism that makes us believe we see ourselves more favorably than others do. So we have to actually get critical feedback and then embrace that feedback and say, "OK, how do I want to begin to fuel and improve and increase muscle in some of these areas that -- " I just kind of call that your "base" and once you get your base built up, you're stronger, you're more fit -- and I mean metaphorically, but also physically -- but as a leader, we're actually in a better position with more energy, more satisfaction, because when things are happy in our marriage, in our parenting, and if we are living life fully aligned with high integrity and character of who we want to be in our personal life, we're literally set up to just crush it in our professional life and that bleeds over and carries over. Our clients notice it, our coworkers notice it, the people we lead, our peers, and that's -- so that's really the focus when I'm coming alongside people.

Sara: If going with the flow and just kind of doing the things that come to us -- being more reactive in terms of demands that come on our plate, schedules that fill up, all that kind of stuff -- if that is what kind of sneakily causes drift, what do we do to notice it and get back on track? Like, how do we either fix it or prevent it? Like, what are the specific things that we can be doing to make sure, to the best of our ability, we don't find ourselves too far off course at the end?

Todd: Yeah, so the first big piece is really however we can generate self-awareness. So feedback is huge, to whatever level. You know, if we say, "Well, I can't do a 360 or I don't want to talk about, I'm afraid to just kind of like you bring this up with people at work," well, who do you trust that you know cares for you, has your best intentions in mind, whether that's your spouse or if you're not, if maybe you're in a situation in your marriage, where your spouse probably doesn't see the best in you, maybe it's your best friend or somebody else, but someone who cares for you that has your best interests in mind, be brave enough to invite some feedback. "Hey, I don't know that I'm seeing myself clearly and how I'm showing up and being experienced, how I'm taking care of myself in my life. Can you give me some feedback? How do you think people experience me? How do you think -- you've known me for a long time -- would you say I'm getting healthier and a better version of myself for the last three-to-five years, or am I declining in some way?" Is there, you know, you need we all need some kind of truth. That's why in corporations, obviously the 360 is a safe way to really start that self-awareness process but, again, it could be talking to your kids. If you have middle schoolers they are unafraid to give you blunt, brutal truth and they will give it to you so you could just ask your kid if you have a middle school or even a high schooler. The high schoolers temper it a little bit and you have to dig but however -- and so bottom line is, we'd start with some kind of self-awareness. You could even do that just sitting down and doing some hardcore brutal self-reflection for yourself and journal out some thoughts. If you're someone who is a person of faith and you want to pray through that or read some scripture to help induce that, or if there's a really good book on leadership that talks about self-awareness or some things that are higher level personal wellness, and you read that and go, "Wait a minute, where do I measure up in how I'm caring for myself?" But we've got to start with a brutal awareness of how we are right now and then compared to who we feel like we want to be, what is our ideal version of our self that is doable? If I'm five-foot tall, I can't say I want to dunk one day on the basketball hoop, that's not doable, right? So it's got to be realistic, but what is the most idealistic version of myself that's realistically achievable that I would be proud of that I would say that would that would be living life with integrity, that would be stewarding the things I've been given to steward with responsibility and integrity, what does that look like? In marriage and family therapy, actually, in clinical work, they call it the "miracle question". I don't know if you remember this question in training or whatever, where it says, you know, if a miracle -- if you went to sleep tonight and middle of the night a miracle happened and you woke up in the morning and your life was better in a most ideal way, that it's achievable for you one day, what would be different in your life tomorrow morning than it is right now? And I do that as an activity and exercise sometimes when I'm doing like team retreats and just to get people to think: Quit being complacent. What's a better version of yourself? What would be ideal? and just to get people to think of, "Hey, there's a better version of who I want to become," because we need to know if we're going to evaluate how we're doing now, we've got to put that in context of "what's the better version of myself?" and that gap that you guys -- I love it because you guys call it "Growth Gap" -- that gap is what we have to start and go, "OK, I have a gap," and that's always the first step. It's like, "Hi, my name's Todd, I have a gap." OK, who I am to where I want to be, you know?

Sara: Feel like we should start making that a T-shirt with, like the Lyceum or the Growing as Grown-Ups logo on it. "Hi, I have a gap." I think that's so true and even when I'm in the world where I teach this stuff, hearing you pose that challenge to our listeners of "go out and ask these questions", right, to seek feedback, there's an immediate reaction that most people have, myself included, that's like, "Whoa, I don't know that I want to hear what they have to say." Like, "what if?", right? What if I realize there's a gap? and I heard this great interview with Ray Dalio, who just put it so perfectly, who talked about like, "Why would I not want to know? If my goal is to be the best that I could be, why would I not want to know where I'm off course?" Right? If the goal is to try to pretend that I'm that person now, then don't ask but if your goal really is to become the best version of yourself, bring it on. "Tell me where I'm not doing a great job so I can fix it" but it's just so counter to how most people view that because it's so vulnerable, it's so threatening to their identity because they think, "I know where I'm off." Like, for me, I know the things. I'm like, "Oh, I know what's in my head. I know what's in my heart. I'm hoping you don't see those things in me." It's like, "No, no, everybody sees those things."

Todd: Right.

Sara: But it's, again, if your goal is to grow, if your goal is to succeed in all areas of your life, that really is a valuable process to engage in. You just have to get over that, "I'm going to hear some things that are hard for me to hear."

Todd: Sure, sure.

Sara: So I love that.

Todd: Yeah and a lot of times that -- it's just a fear of what would people think of me or what I what I would feel about myself and those are just assumptions and we're just afraid of assumptions that we're predicting some big, bad, ugly thing of what that would feel like to hear that from someone that cared about us when, really, when we lean into those assumptions to verify either confirm the fear or debunk the fear or the assumption, we realize most of the time they get debunked and that caring person goes, "Actually, it makes me more drawn to you that you embrace this," and actually then we're like, "Oh, so I don't need to be afraid of hearing, you know, less than ideal feedback, because it actually drew that person toward me!"

Sara: Right? That vulnerability is, yeah.

 Todd: Ok. Exactly, it's that vulnerability but we have an assumption that that's going to be bad for us and so that's where we're bumping into that piece and change, always, the linchpin of change is on debunking these limiting assumptions and beliefs that we have.

Sara: Yeah. So one last question before we kind of wrap up the conversation in this context of how do we define "drift". One thing I know you're really passionate about, and you do it in your own life and your family and you encourage others to do it, is this idea of habits and rituals. So what role did those play and how do you integrate those into your life?

Todd: So, I mean, it's so fun now, I mean, a couple, probably 10 years ago, not many people were talking about habits and just over the last couple of years, there's been, of course, James Clear's Atomic Habits has been a successful book and a lot of people have followed that because we just aren't -- we're people of pattern. We just get stuck in patterns and ruts and we just think, "Well, this is just who I am," and of course, Carol Dweck in her book Mindset years ago kind of started to say, "Well, that's actually a fixed mindset and then there's growth mindset." Now people go, "Wow, I want to be 'growth mindset'! How do I do that?" Well, luckily, we know we can change the brain. We can form new pathways. We can form new ruts by changing our behavior but it literally is so hard. It's like paddling upstream until we actually build habit but we don't just wake up and say, "I want to build a habit." Habits are actually built from committing to rituals and the ritual is literally just a choice to do something. It's the environment in which a habit is built and so whether that ritual -- like for me, if I wanted to start waking up in the morning at 5 a.m. and forever, I never woke up early and just determined that I "wasn't a morning person" and so I had to figure out some rituals, like maybe setting the coffee maker the night before I go to bed so that it's fresh and powerful and robust at 5 a.m. when I get out of bed, or whatever it is that I need to do, there are some rituals that by doing the rituals repeatedly, then we become what that habit is shaping in us. We become what we repeatedly do. I mean, we just kind of know that in the science of human behavior. So whatever we repeatedly do, even if it's different than what we did before, we start to form new habits and those habits collected together shape us and put us on a new pathway, a new direction.

Sara: And do you set habits or encourage people to set habits and kind of all of those spaces of mental, physical, relational, spiritual, whatever categories are important to people?

Todd: Yes, so I'll just kind of help them identify what's the one big area that, you know, as we start looking at each four of those areas, what's the one that really, as you kind of look at this, you take the audit, you think about this and it starts to go, "Yeah, I'm probably not tending to that piece." OK, what's one small ritual, we slice it really thin to make it achievable. You make it as easy as possible to do and then you build progress that way. So I would have to pick a ritual and just each either dimension or an area of their life. So as a dad, what is one small ritual you can do differently as a dad that by doing that will form and shape you into doing something better that you want to be better at? What is a ritual as a spouse? And this is years ago, I realized that Beverly and I had conversations we'd be in these long road trips in the car at dinner, and we would we would kill two hours of a date night at a nice dinner, 50 bucks or more for dinner, and then however much we had to pay the babysitter because we have four kids and the house is a mess and stuff, and we could kill two hours just talking about work, in-laws, the kids, or our neighbors and never grow closer to each other. And so eventually at some point I was like, "Well, why don't we just write some really good questions that we can pull?" and that that led to us building the product of the Defy Drift conversation cards and those are just cards. We take them to every date night. We take them at every road trip. We now built a parenting card deck. We used them the other night with our kids. We just pulled out a question, I passed them around, the kids got the pick, which question they feel like they wanted to be asked or answered by everybody around the table and it's just a great question because sometimes we're just exhausted and think, "Oh, how was your day?" versus, "Hey, what's a bigger way that we could know more about each other and grow closer?" and so that's a ritual that formed a better habit of having good, courageous, deeper conversation. Yeah.  

Sara: I love that. I love that and we will definitely link people to the Defy -- it is Is that the website?  

Todd: Yep.  

Sara: Those cards are so great, if people want to get those to help with this process. Well, Todd, thank you. Thank you. Thank you for coming on into and some of your wisdom. We'll send people to and South City Group, that's kind of your more leadership-oriented consultancy. Anywhere else that people should come to find you? You have --  

Todd: That works, those are two sides. Yeah, that'll work.  

Sara: Ok, great. Well, I hope people reach out and you get a little uptick in sales of those Defy Drift cards because they're pretty awesome, so.  

Todd: Good, I'm glad you got some.  

Sara: All right, Todd, well thank you and we'll be in touch soon!