Vern Oakley on the How To Be Awesome at Your Job Podcast

Fear is excitement without the breath. - Vern Oakley

Tribe CEO, Vern Oakley, recently appreared on the How to Be Awesome at Your Job podcast with Pete Mockaitis, sharing his wisdom for connecting more sincerely whether you’re speaking on video or live.
You’ll Learn:

  1. How breathing helps you release fear
  2. The optimal mindset for delivering a presentation
  3. The essential question to answer when designing your communication

To stream or download the podcast, go to the How to Be Awesome at Your Job website.

Transcript follows.

Welcome to the How to Be Awesome at Your Job podcast. The show where brilliant professionals share how to sharpen the skills required to flourish at work, enjoy more career fun, wins, meaning, and money with your host, Pete Mockaitis.

Pete: Hello and thanks for joining us here for episode 208 with Vern Oakley. Vern has made many an award-winning film in his day and he shares the perspective he’s gained by doing that many times and working with other folks that have story and connection and resonance, all that good stuff. So, you’ll learn: one, how breathing helps you release fear, two, the optimal mindset for delivering a presentation, and three, the essential question to answer when designing your communication.

So, if you’d like to check out the show notes or the transcript or the links to items that we reference here it’s on over at and while you’re there at, I hope you investigate some of our cool resources. One I dig is [inaudible 00:01:07] the gold nugget email list, which is the notes. We take them for you. If you wish you could put pen to paper, but you just can’t to capture some of the cool stuff guests are saying we take those notes right for you, send them right to you, and you can sign up at or right from your smartphone directly all the faster by texting NUG. That’s N, U, G, number 44-9999.

You text N, U, G to 444-9999 and get signed up for gold nuggets that way.

Now here is Vern’s story: a veteran filmmaker, teacher, speaker, and industry thought leader. Vern Oakley has been helping institutions and leaders connect with and mobilize their tribes through soul expression and communication. His mission to humanize leadership is achieved by crafting great stories that appeal to and impact the people that matter the most. Here’s Vern.

Vern, thanks so much for joining us here on the How to Be Awesome at Your Job podcast.

Vern Oakley: Thanks, Pete. Glad to be here.

Pete Mockaitis: Well, in learning a little bit about you, I discovered that you’ve earned over 150 awards for film, which is a huge number. So, I’d love to hear from you first of all to break the ice a little. What’s been one of your favorite film projects and how is it that you are able to win so much acclaim?

VO: I think what sort of differentiates us is we have a strong point of view about what a film should be and I have a background in theater. I’ve directed a feature film that Columbia Tri-Star released. I did a TV series for PBS and that I sort of took all those story telling mediums and translated them to our unique point of view on corporate and college and university and nonprofit videos. We think deeply about story. We think deeply about the audience. We think deeply about how to connect the mission of these companies to the work that we’re doing.

Pete Mockaitis: Super. Now, what is the strong point of you if you were to articulate that in terms of you’ve got a take that can vary from others? Could you maybe lay out the distinction? Like whereas most would say this, we would say that.

Vern Oakley: Sure. A lot of people approach the kinds of sponsored films that we make or films they’re making for these kinds of clients with inside out thinking. It’s like, “This is what I have to tell the audience. We like to talk about, “Okay, tell us what you want to tell the audience, but let’s think about what the audience is willing to hear. Let’s think about the context, where the audience is coming from on their journey to hear your story and what beliefs they might have here.”

Secondly, we’re really encouraging people not to sell and not to dazzle and not to be glitzy, but to be honest and authentic because that’s what cuts through in today’s society. It’s just so rare when that comes through from a company that people pay attention to it because they go, “Hey, well this must be a different kind of company because they must feel self confident enough to show their true colors.”

Pete Mockaitis: You know, I love that honest, authentic principle. I’m having some flashbacks. We talked before a little bit about my background at Bain doing consulting and I remember we had a session maybe once a month on a Friday. We’d call it debunk the myth where folks could submit anonymous questions and then the head of the office would put them up on the projector and just answer them, whatever they were. Every once in a while, he would say, “We can’t quite disclose this right now because it’s in process or this and that.” But for the most part, they were just very honest. Even when they were joke questions. So, they’d maybe do a joke right along with it or they’d say, “Hey, be careful about this kind of joke. It can really be unprofessional if such and a such person would be present.” Then the jokesters learned their lesson. But it was awesome to see that realness there.

Vern Oakley: It feels like all the adults are in the room and you’re not sort of sitting outside the circle, the inner circle, which they have all the knowledge and they’re not going to let you participate. I think ultimately what people are looking to do is to join a tribe, to become part of something they feel that they can contribute to, and their contributions are meaningful. So, if you think about it that way, then you have to tell the truth. You have to be authentic and I understand exactly what you were saying about Bain & Company, some things you can’t tell at that moment. That’s okay. That’s an adult answer, but you can’t gloss over it. You can’t put a bow around it and tell people it’s beautiful, when they kind of know they’re gonna be laying off 3,000 people or the product they just launched failed. You gotta talk to people in ways that are real and then they respect you. There’s a relationship that’s forming out of trust and mutual respect. That’s crucial in terms of video.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, that’s powerful. We’re gonna talk about a number of principles. Video is your expertise, but I think many of those principles kind of carry over into whatever you’re kind of on in terms of presenting or doing a speech or doing a slide deck or whatever. So, maybe to start us off could you give us some of the key distinctions that we should bear in mind as we’re talking about principles that are more video centric versus are universal and apply to the presentations. The authentic piece, I think absolutely is universal. But what’s maybe distinctive?

Vern Oakley: Well, I think when you think about doing a live presentation versus a video presentation is that live is like you walk onto the stage, you talk for your 15, 20, 30 minutes and then you walk off the stage. So, one of the great things about video that’s a little different is you have the power of editing. You can cut out the mistakes. You also have the power of multimedia. You can add in music or pictures that really makes it quite, quite powerful in terms of the way the brain processes that kind of information.

The similarities between the two, if you’re talking about somebody being on video or being on stage is that we like to see what’s real. We like to see the people drop the mic. We like to see people make mistakes and then we like to see that they acknowledge that because that shows they’re human. That shows that, “Hey, I’m kind of like them. I might get up and make mistake in my presentation.”

But if you make a mistake in your presentation and you don’t acknowledge it, it feels like you’re trying to create this barrier. You’re trying to create this feeling of being perfect and I have all of your listeners. No one is perfect. I’m not perfect. I haven’t met a perfect person yet and yet we try to be perfect and that keeps us distant on film or live.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, that’s good. I’m reflecting on at times I’ve made mistakes in front of large groups and presentations and whether it’s mumbling or stuttering or going too fast with the words kinds of challenges. So, I will often just say, “Oh, rewind.” Or, “Excuse me. What I meant to say was …” Or something like that. Do you have any other kind of favorite tips, tricks, phrases for those situations?

VO: One of my favorite pieces of advice is just to breathe. I know it seems simple, but one of the things you find in terms of professional athletes or professional actors who are out there performing is that they know how to do breath control and that I like to say, “If fear is excitement without the breath.” So, when we feel fearful, if we’re not breathing, you know. Just by the mere fact of breathing and taking a moment, we can release that fear.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, that’s good. Are there any particulars for breathing well? Like breathe this way under that circumstance and a different way under another context or is there a universal do this when breathing? I’ve read a lot about belly breathing or in through the nose, through the mouth, or this many counts. How do you think about that?

Vern Oakley: Well, obviously, I think you must be taking yoga classes because that’s the three kinds of breathing that they teach in yoga and those are all good. I think for any person who is about to go on camera or is on stage, the main thing is just remember to breathe. I was like [inaudible 00:09:19] complicate it. You know, my belly breathing, nose breathing, whatever. It’s just remember if you’re not breathing, you got fear. If you are breathing, you can get over it.

Pete Mockaitis: Okay, awesome. Well, now when it comes to videos, what is it about a great video that enables or really just facilitates a lot of inspiration toward taking action. What are those key ingredients?

Vern Oakley: A couple of things I want to talk about and I’m sure that the listeners will understand this is that when we are watching a video, there are two things that are going on. There’s the video that the filmmaker made and we’re watching that, but there is our own internal video that’s going on that has us relating to that situation. “Oh, that’s just the way my wife and I kid around,” or, “Oh, that’s the kind of car I always wanted to get.” So, you’re constantly inserting yourself in the story.

So, there’s your story and there’s the story that the filmmakers made.

What we’re trying to do is create shared perception. So, it’s a bit easy to understand that in terms of feature films because it’s a horror film, you want everybody to jump out of their seats at the same moment or it’s a romantic comedy, you want the two characters to get together. But in corporate video, it’s harder to acknowledge what people are suppose to do. So, it’s important in terms of storytelling that you are clear who the audience is, it’s clear where the audience is coming from and the context of the video is and it’s clear if there’s any sort of elephants in the room because they need to be addressed immediately or people won’t listen to a word you’re saying until you actually acknowledge, “Hey, everyone’s heard that we may be shutting down the factory over here.” If you don’t tell people that, they’re listening and listening till you say something about it.

Pete Mockaitis: Okay. So, give us some extra examples of that there in which you’re saying, you’re speaking to the elephant in the room.

Vern Oakley: Yes. So, when you understand deeply who the audience is that you’re communicating with, if they believe there’s something that needs to be mentioned. There’s an apology that needs to be made. You know, your drug has hurt some people or the deliver that was supposed to happen didn’t come, you have to acknowledge that first or no communication can happen.

Pete Mockaitis: Perfect.

VO: People are sitting there with their arms crossed in a way waiting for you to let them know that you’re a human because you’ve made a mistake.

Pete Mockaitis: Okay, got it. Well, so now I want to hear a little bit about when it comes to the self management piece. You mentioned breathing is key. Do you have any additional strategies to help folks just relax and do their best, whether they are doing a video or in front of a camera or whether they are in a live audience environment?

Vern Oakley: Sure, I think that people understand that these are skills that you actually learn over time. Not many people I know started their speaking career don’t want a little bit of help. I do know a lot of people who started their video career who don’t seek any help because they think, “Oh. It’s just I’ve been on video. My kids shot me at the birthday party.” So, there’s a little bit of false equivalency in that, “Hey, I’ve been on camera before in a casual situation,” versus I’m going to be on camera in an important situation where I have to be succinct, where I have to deliver a message where the message that I might have said in a speech is 30 minutes. I have to deliver the essence of it in two minutes. So, it takes a little bit of thought.

One of the things that I find is a common mistake and I know no one would do this. I’ve never done it. You’ve probably never done it. Is think, “Oh. Well, I have to show up at the room at 2 O’ clock to be in the video.” That’s not the right mindset. I have to be there at 2 O’ clock to communicate with the 10,000 employees and it’s gonna be captured on a video. So, I want to be thinking about those 10,000 employees or those 200 Kickstarter people or the leadership council that is going to be seeing this. So, you really need to be thinking about the audience, not the technology that’s putting you there in terms of communication. That’s a huge mind shift that I think many of us have to make.

Pete Mockaitis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay. So, think about the people, not the technology or maybe also just not yourself or how you’re dressed or whether that slide six has that perfect content for slide six, but who the people are there, where they’re coming from, what you want them to do, and then rolling with that. I also want to hear a little bit about, sometimes when it’s kind of captured forever or immortalized on video or audio or some sort of recorded medium, people get worked up about wanting to just be perfect because everyone’s gonna see this forever. It’s gotta be perfect. How do address that mindset piece?

Vern Oakley: Well, you know, [inaudible 00:14:23] Brown has done a lot of great research on this and frankly, nobody wants perfect. It’s just not that interesting. The reason that we pay 10 bucks to see a movie is we want to see somebody who is imperfect and that good stories are always about change. I started out as an alcoholic and I got my act together and now I am happily married and have two kids. You want to see that change and that applies in the business world too. One of the things that business leaders need to be cognizant of is that it takes courage to tell your story.

It takes courage to talk about that change that you’re going through because many corporate stories, films, videos, presentation is we’re really good and we’re getting better and that’s moving the story from A to B as opposed to, “Boy, we really had a bad implementation of the new software program and I’m telling you that it shocked me it took so long and now we figured out the problem. We’re six months behind, but if we all work together, we actually meet this new deadline.”

Pete Mockaitis: Okay, I like that. This reminds me a little bit of Warren Buffett and his writing of the annual reports is that there’s usually a negative admission in his letter to folks and people connect. They resonate with it.

Vern Oakley: I’m so glad you talked about Warren Buffett, he’s one of my favorites. I mean, loved it when he had a down year and he said, “Boy, we would have had a much better year if Charlie and I just spent a little more time playing bridge.”

Pete Mockaitis: That’s so good. I’ve long wanted to learn bridge just because Bill Gates and Warren Buffett play it. So, it must be something to it. I’ve never learned.

Vern Oakley: Yeah, that’d be quite a … I’ll tell you what. We’ll learn it and we’ll ask them if they’d like to have a foursome.

Pete Mockaitis: That sounds fantastic. I’m in. I’m in if they’re in. So, we talked about the perfect piece. No one really digs it. It’s kind of boring. They want to see some more change and that makes it dynamic and intriguing. So, any other kind of core elements that make for a strong delivery or just generally that makes things compelling?

Vern Oakley: Well, a couple of tips that I think would be helpful to listeners is that there’s such a tremendous emphasis in the corporate world on words and I understand why that is. You know, you want to say the right thing. You want to have the right words. You want to describe things. There’s legal issues. There’s political issues. All that stuff. So, that’s really important. Statistically, it’s a lot less important than people think, but if you’re gonna be on camera, a couple of things that are more important perhaps are your excitement, your vocal tonality and your body language.

So, if there’s an incongruity in your body language and we’ve all seen that where somebody is saying, “Oh, we just had the best year ever,” and you don’t believe them for a second because they’re eyes are darting back and forth or their arms are crossed in front of them. You need those three things to really communicate and what we’re talking about is communication, making a connection. So, if you got the right words, you got the right vocal intonations, and you have the right body language, those are the moments that really wind up resonating with people. If people, whether it’s a speech or whether it’s a video, only gonna come away with two or three things they really remember.

Pete Mockaitis: I’ve reminded of times that his doesn’t line up and it just cracks me up like if someone says, I’ve seen this many times, “That’s too funny.” I was like, “Was it really too funny? I don’t know if I buy that that was too funny based on how you said it.” Sometimes even at Mass, you know, church stuff, “And in one accord, we join the angels in rejoicing.” It’s like, “Really? That doesn’t sound like we’re rejoicing in the least right now.”
Vern Oakley: I understand. Woody Allen does that really well on Broadway Danny Rose where you have a group of comedians around and they’re telling jokes to each other and the one guy goes, “That was funny.” So, you kind of, it was funny just in saying it. Unless there’s that joy in rejoicing in the angels, that power you feel, you kind of go, “Wow, was that really the way you feel?”

Pete Mockaitis: Understood. Yes, I love it. I heard someone, I think it was Roger Love, sort of break down what makes for great voice dynamics and it’s like you have some variety not only in your pitch, but also in your volume and your pacing and that makes things generally interesting and you’re saying even more so, specifically, you want that to line up and be congruent with the content of what you’re conveying.

Vern Oakley: And, you know, the capper is the body language.

Pete Mockaitis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Well, could you give some examples of good and bad body language. I guess it needs to match, but are there any kind of universal dos and don’ts there?

Vern Oakley: Yes. I think what you’re looking for is you’re looking for an open body language. You know, you can just see your hands reaching out, palms up. When the body … Arms are crossed in front of you, it’s somewhat defensive. One thing that when you meet somebody the first time, I always like if you’re shaking hands, they look you in the eye. If they don’t look you in the eye and they look away, you go like, “Well, are we truly making that connection? Taking that moment there?” That kind of human behavior extends to being on stage and on camera.

Pete Mockaitis: Very good. So now I want to touch base on storytelling a bit. Everyone says that’s so important, but what really makes a story kind of engaging, that makes people care to listen and to take it all in?

Vern Oakley: Let’s start with the audience, who the audience is. So, if you have an understanding of who the audience is and where they are in terms of being interested in your story, not interested. Visually, are they there with their arms crossed or are they open to hearing what you say, that helps you to communicate and choose the right kind of story to tell them. I think so much depends upon the message that you’re trying to deliver. The question that we always start with when we’re designing our communications is what do you want the audience to think, do, feel, say, buy, or buy into after seeing your video. Once you answer that, it’s gonna help you determine the story.

Pete Mockaitis: Okay. Very cool. So, now I’m thinking in the nitty gritty. Let’s say that you are a day or an hour away from a video recording or a presentation. What do you think are the must dos in that space of time?

Vern Oakley: Well, it depends upon how you’re being recorded, but let’s say that it’s not a teleprompter. That’s a whole different subject, but it is a conversation with somebody. You want to be aware of sort of the essence. One of the things that frequently happens in video for presenters who are moving from live to video is that they figured out a way to tell their message in 20 or 30 minutes, let’s say. When they come on video, we’re talking about the essence, the essential elements, the two to three minutes of key topics.

I like to say it’s like a good tennis match because you want a director who’s talking to you and who’s actively listening to you. So that you have a sounding board, a visual sounding board, the camera’s just recording that conversation with the two of you and that I think it’s important that people sort of understand something that I call the sacred space is that when you’re being put on video, the space between the director and you is really sort of the only thing that’s important at that moment. It isn’t the catering truck that’s out there. It isn’t the traffic noise in the background. It isn’t the makeup or the crew or the lights. It’s just that space between and the director that’s going to be so essential to making something great on camera.

So, understanding that everything else has to be sort of let go. You can’t be thinking about your kids at camp. You can’t be thinking about forgot to pay the electric bill. You have to be in that moment, focused between two human beings and when that’s recorded and recorded well. It is so fresh and exciting.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, yes. I dig that and that’s one of my favorite things really about speaking is that it’s clear that in that moment there’s nothing else that should be happening, whereas any hour of a typical workday, I’m in the office. I can choose from hundreds of things I might do, but there it’s like, “Okay. We’re all set up. We’ve scheduled this. All the right people are here. I’m in the room. I’m miked up and it’s like I can know with certainty that this is all that matters in that moment.” Maybe that would be a good philosophy or mindset to take into many environments, but yes. It does make a world of difference when you’re so, I guess, present might be the word.

Vern Oakley: Yes. Be here now.

Pete Mockaitis: All right. I’m wondering about some folks if they think, “You know what? I’ve done some videos. I’ve done a number of presentations and I think I’m pretty good.” What are some pro tips for making the jump to upgrade from okay, not bad to wow, that’s mind blowing?

Vern Oakley: Well, in that jump from good to great, it’s like in a lot of other areas. So, you think about sports. The team that played on Sunday goes and watches the game tapes on Monday. So, you do the same thing. You’re gonna look at your performances and you can go, “Hey, I didn’t like this. I felt like I didn’t smile well enough. One of things I realized is the person asked me the question as soon as I answered, I turned away, so they had to cut away too quickly. I’d like a little bit more of a moment at the end of my sentence.” You start to get into the nuance and I think it’s really helpful to have a trusted person, whether that’s a director, a video coach, a communications colleague, a partner to be there with you because if you want to get better it does take constructive analysis of looking what you do well and what you don’t do well.

I think another tip is that you’re looking to partner with people in this journey. What I mean by that is that [inaudible 00:24:58] like a tennis match. You need somebody show can really help you. So, there’s some CEOs that I direct all the time because we’ve developed a rapport. It was apparent to me when talking to one of them they said, “What really works is that you know the subject that you’re talking about and I don’t have to think about that. Your questions, well crafted, make me give better answers.” I think as somebody who’s doing podcast in this kind of thing, you really understand the power of a good question.

Pete Mockaitis: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Vern Oakley: And a lot of the questions that we see sent over that we might … That we kind of helpfully people, we write a … Tell us about your strategy. Well, that’s pretty vague. How about tell us what all the employees can do in the next 30 or 60, 90 days to make sure the company reaches its goal.

Pete Mockaitis: All right. That’s good. Well, could you maybe tie all this together for us, Vern, in terms of a nice example of going from sort of ho hum, okay, this will be all right to a transformation that made a world of impact.

Vern Oakley: You know, one of the things that we enjoy most is working with companies that want to make a difference in the world. I think that when you look at the research, people tend to spend a large portion of life at work. One of the things that human beings, I’ve observed over time is they want to do something that’s meaningful. So, if you want to do something that’s meaningful, you’re going to be working for a company that wants to create change in the world in a positive way, not just the product that they’re doing, but they way they interact with the communities, the way they treat the employees.So, we’ve had the good fortune of being involved with a number of companies who give back, who treat employees well, and who are frequently on best employers lists. So, it’s being part of helping them to build these high performance cultures that I really, really like. That extends across doing brand videos letting everybody know the mission, vision, and values. That extends across doing the right kind of recruiting that gets the right people in the door and sort of puts up a mental barrier to the people who wouldn’t really succeed there. That includes helping people raise money or helping to acknowledge the kind of contribution they’re making to society and their social responsibility programs. So, being part of a company and really being their communication partner and video is just so rewarding.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, very good. So, could you maybe give us an example of here’s sort of a dull, not so resonance and inspiring and authentic piece of messaging that transformed into wow, that does something for me.

Vern Oakley: We do a lot of employee profiles and a lot of videos around values. So, there’s an energy company we’re working with and we were trying to illustrate their value of social responsibility. They had … one of the things we do because we put a lot of real people on camera is re-researching these stories alongside our clients to figure out what would be a powerful story. We had three stories that we were considering and the most powerful story was about this company Hess that was removing the oil wells that they’d put in the North Sea.

So, 20 years ago, they had drilled in the North Sea to get oil and now they had to remove the oil rigs. They had worked overtime with the Scottish Fishermen Association to be a good partner so the fishermen can still do their fishing, but Hess could still get the oil. Our partner, over a period of time said, “Listen, the problem with this story internally right now is that we’re not making any money on this.” We said, “That’s the point. That’s why it’s such a great story because when you do this story, we understand that you have to make money, but one of the things about being socially responsible is you put other things, the health of the planet above that.”

So, working with them over three rounds of things, we got them to do that story and it became one of the most popular stories on their website and one of the most watched by all of their employees and one of the most shared because people were so proud to work for a company that had that kind of commitment to the environment, especially and energy company because a lot of energy companies don’t have that strong of commitment and haven’t had good track records.

Pete Mockaitis: Perfect. Thank you. Well, Vern tell me. Is there anything else you want to make sure to mention before we shift gears and hear about some of your favorite things?

Vern Oakley: I think the thing that I’ve discovered and listen. I don’t think I’m that great on camera. I’m learning. So, writing helped me to learn even more, but the thing that was most valuable to me was as I’m learning to be more authentic on camera, I’m also learning to be more authentic in my life and that journey towards authenticity is so rewarding and it’s both an emotional and a spiritual experience and it’s improving my relationships with my colleagues and my family and my wife because you’re either growing or dying and I hope I am growing.

Pete Mockaitis: Awesome. Thank you. Well, now could you share with us a favorite quote, something you find inspiring?

Vern Oakley: Well, in terms of the film world, there’s an artist I really like named Banksy and he talks about, “Film is an incredibly democratic and it’s accessible. It’s probably the best option if you actually want to change the world.” I think about the artist who I admire who working in film, whether it’s Coppola or Ridley Scott and I think about the documentarians who I admire and I think about the work that we’re doing at corporate and I feel like we’re part of this new group of business artists that are trying to change the business world to the stories that we’re telling.

Pete Mockaitis: That’s awesome. Thank you. How about a favorite book?

Vern Oakley: I think one of my favorite books is Leadership BS by Jeff Pfeffer.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, yes. Pfeffer, very good. What do you like about it?

Vern Oakley: Well, I like being sort of the contrarian because there’s too much stuff that’s all saying the same thing and when you start to scratch a little deeper, you start to realize that some of the common perceptions are just wrong and that I like the fact that he started me to think in a new way and anybody who does that with a book or a piece of music or a movie, I love that you can change someone’s thinking and introduce them to a new world or a new worldview.

Pete Mockaitis: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And how about a favorite tool?

Vern Oakley: I think my favorite tool is my iPhone. I use it for both business and artistry. I love being on Instagram and going out and playing with the visuals that are just so beautiful and abundant around us.

Pete Mockaitis: All right. Thank you. How about a favorite habit?

Vern Oakley: I think my favorite habit is one that I learned from Julie Cameron in the Artist’s Way is that when I wake up, I try to write three pages of stream of consciousness in the morning and I try to do that as early as I wake up before I had too much coffee. I call it skimming off the pond scum. I write whatever comes into my mind no matter how beautiful or horrific or painful or objectionable. That if I can get all those things out of the shadow side and all those things that are just random,

I feel I can start the day pretty fresh.

Pete Mockaitis: Oh, thank you. Is there a particular nugget or piece that share that really seems to resonate with folks? They nod their heads. They’re taking notes at a Vern original?

Vern Oakley: This is getting pretty deep, but I kind of believe that we’re on this journey to learn what love is.

Pete Mockaitis: All right.

Vern Oakley: Once we … That’s our journey and that’s our mission and the more we’re open to it, the more authentic we become and it’s not easy. Stub my toes a lot along the way, but bringing love into your life and your work life and to your family and to your business is something and that’s something I see a lot of people nod their head to when we get to this level of intimacy and discussion that we’re having right now.

Pete Mockaitis: Awesome. Thank you. Agreed. If folks want to learn more about you or your business where would you point them?

Vern Oakley: Well, our business is A website with a lot of different videos and our philosophy there. My personal website is and there’s information about our book on that and the kinds of speaking engagements that I have coming up.

Pete Mockaitis: Okay. Do you have a final challenge or call to action for those seeking to be awesome at their jobs?

Vern Oakley: Bring love to work.

Pete Mockaitis: All right. I’m sold. Well, Vern this has been so much fun. Thank you for sharing your time and your wisdom here. This has been a lot of fun for me and hopefully the listeners as well. I hope that you keep on making great film and rack up all the more awards and make the meaningful love impact in your work.

Vern Oakley: Thank you, Pete. Been great talking with you.

Pete Mockaitis: I think that’s a real nice turn of a phrase Vern had there. “Fear is excitement without the breath.” Kind of piggybacking on some of the themes from Dan [inaudible 00:35:13] in terms of being psyched up and how that unfolds and how breath is a huge part of that and really does make a world of a difference. I find if sometimes when I’m anxious or fearful, it’s like, “Oh, I haven’t breathed in a little bit. Let’s do that.” So, very handy. Again if you want to check out the show notes or the transcript or the links to items referenced here, it’s on at I hope you’ll push subscribe.

You’ll hear from our next guest. It is Tom Bilyeu. Tom founded a billion dollar company, Quest Nutrition. That’s pretty impressive. But what’s really cool is he’s talking about mindsets in terms of the beliefs you hold, the decisions you take. If you’re familiar with any of the [inaudible 00:35:56] work, hopefully, we’ll get her on the show one of these days, Tom is living it and has a whole lot of applied knowledge in that. So, it’s engaging. It’s powerful. It gets you thinking about the core of what you believe and operate. So, it’s a great one and I hope you’re there. Peace.

Thanks for joining us for today’s episode. To get the most out of this conversation, visit to find today’s show notes, transcript, and infographic summary cheat sheet. For more entertaining professional skill sharpening be sure to subscribe to catch the next episode of How to be Awesome at Your Job.

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“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


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