Podcast

How to Navigate Disruption in Life and Business with David Giersdorf

Emily Williams

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When the seas are choppy and the storm brews around you, how do you best navigate to safety? Do you follow a beacon of hope or find that guiding light within? Truthfully, we all have the ability to be that bright beam of relief in times of chaos— for ourselves and others. But that means channeling all our resources, wisdom, and bravery to take the adventure head on. Which is why it’s absolutely important to learn how to navigate disruption in life (and business!)… so you don’t get lost in the sea of failure.

“We’re so focused on success and failure, black and white. And I’m less interested in your successes and your failures. I’m more interested in: what did you learn? And from that, what did you do next? And from that, how are you contributing? There’s more lessons and failure than success for sure. And different types of lessons. Why don’t we pay attention more to that because we are gonna go on, we have to go on. So let’s not treat failure like it’s the end of the world, let’s treat it like it’s another form of stepping stone to the next future.” — David Giersdorf

You’ve experienced disruption one way or another. It’s defined as an event or series of them that ultimately alter your desired course of action. It could be losing a job, enduring a global pandemic, and in many cases of business, undergoing a serious transition. Which is something that innovative entrepreneur and tourism guru David Giersdorf experienced firsthand— ultimately becoming the master of navigating disruption.

After his family lost their thriving Alaskan tourist business to a large company, David felt called to prepare himself (and those around him) for brutal storms that could potentially lie ahead. He learned that the best way to step into his identity as a leader was to lean into failure and cultivate protocols that harness our inner power while remaining vigilant about the world circulating around us.

David’s riveting boat metaphors combined with his entrepreneurial mastery makes him such an inspiring guest for the IHML Show! I’m so happy to welcome this wise and wonderful man onto this week’s episode to discuss how to navigate disruption in life and business, the highs and lows of business, different kinds of disruption, and the protocols David details in his best-selling book Hard Ships: Navigating Your Company, Career, and Life through the Fog of Disruption.

My talk with David was an emotionally inspiring one, being that both of us come from entrepreneurial families who’ve endured loss. But if either of us have taken anything away from those experiences, it’s that diving head first into the waters can seem scary at first… but there’s so much for you to learn (and experience) beneath the waves. Set sail towards your dream life now by tackling uncharted territory and embrace your inner compass!

In This Episode:

  • [0:56] David starts us off with his personal journey and introduces us to a never-before-heard topic on the IHML Show!
  • [5:25] What led to David’s first shattering experience with disruption and what he learned from it.
  • [11:17] This is what David believes is what’s enabling you to deny your power.
  • [13:04] David shares how he discovered a passion for disruption after his family’s business loss.
  • [17:22] So what is disruption? David expertly defines it for us!
  • [19:37] These are the signs to look out that you’re experiencing a slow leak disruption (according to David).
  • [21:33] David walks us through the process of handling a disruption in your business with his six protocols!
  • [32:07] Wanna step into your role as a leader? Listen to David’s wisdom!
  • [35:04] How disruption can impact you— even if you don’t own a business.
  • [38:20] David tells us what he’s most proud of throughout his incredibly diverse career! 
  • [40:03] What can you do to create a life better than your dreams? You know David is giving us ALL the best guidance and inspiration!

Quotes:

“Now, your life’s work never goes away. You find ways to apply it in new ways. And that’s one of the great things about disruption that you learn over time is with each disruption comes new opportunity. And you have to hold that mindset in order to see those opportunities out there around the near corner and grab a hold of them.” — David Giersdorf

“There’s no line between personal and businesses we talk about in larger corporations, the work/life balance. No, there’s just the company, the vision, the mission. So you lose that, it’s a huge loss when that comes to an end.”— David Giersdorf

“I’ve always thought that to deny your role in a failure is to deny your power.” — David Giersdorf

“We’re so focused on success and failure, black and white. And I’m less interested in your successes and your failures. I’m more interested in: what did you learn? And from that, what did you do next? And from that, how are you contributing? There’s more lessons and failure than success for sure. And different types of lessons. Why don’t we pay attention more to that because we are gonna go on, we have to go on. So let’s not treat failure like it’s the end of the world, let’s treat it like it’s another form of stepping stone to the next future.” — David Giersdorf

“I’m a journaler, I’ve kept journals for decades. I journal my business experiences and insights as well as my personal life. And so I had this idea of Hard Ships probably 20 years ago. I copyrighted it and started jotting down some notes. And I had these decades of journals that I could go back to and really recap: what was that disruption? How did it impact the business and myself and my life and my career and what did I do about it? What was the outcome? And that gave me some great insight. When COVID arrived on the scene, I knew it was time for the message. I’ve always wanted to contribute in meaningful ways. And I felt that my message around navigating disruption and, and the other side of that is recovery. You know, disruption and recovery, something I’d feel really good about contributing. So, um, I went about the work of getting the book written and published and available.” — David Giersdorf

“Disruption is a change in circumstances. We’re all good at operating in fair weather and fair seas. Let’s say we assume and expect it to go on forever. It never does, but that’s how we behave. But disruption is that event or circumstance that changes the trajectory and the expectations under which you were operating.” — David Giersdorf

“I always look at the behavior and attitude of my customers. Customers lead the way into a disruption, their behaviors. And they are early indicators of what the next normal’s gonna look like coming out of a disruption.” — David Giersdorf

“Things have changed. So should you, so should your thinking, so should your approach. How can you partner with the future differently? What do these changes and the response of the world around those changes suggest to you in terms of new opportunities or new risks that you need to become open-minded personally, organizationally, career-wise to address in order to have a successful recovery.” — David Giersdorf

“We have north stars, we have lighthouses, we have buoys with lights on them. Those are beacons we can navigate by. I believe people can be beacons.” — David Giersdorf

“There’s a point at which in those dark last miles, the mind carries the body and you have to learn how to tap into that. Learn how to keep a focus on the finish line.” — David Giersdorf

“There’s a point at which you have to jump off the cliff or the diving board and have faith in yourself and do it. I call it ‘footprint into the future.’” — David Giersdorf

Links & Resources

Follow the I Heart My Life Show on Apple Podcasts https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/i-heart-my-life-show/id1569047758 

Subscribe to the I Heart My Life Show on Spotify https://open.spotify.com/show/1Zw6fI37FrfVjZMXlMiZZ6

Connect with Emily:

Emily Williams Website https://emilywilliams.com/ 

Emily on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/emilywilliams/ 

I Heart My Life Website https://www.iheartmylife.com/

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Join the IHML community to receive exclusive announcements and tips.

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Connect with David:

Follow David on Linkedin

David’s Website

Buy David’s book Hard Ships: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08XYTLSS2

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