Keep Leading!® Podcast Episode 047: Recalculating as a Leader

Keep Leading!® Podcast Episode 047: Recalculating as a Leader

Karen Jacobsen
The GPS Girl: Recalculate Your Way To Your Destination
Recalculating as a Leader

Episode Summary
Karen Jacobsen, is The GPS Girl® and the most downloaded voice in the world! She is the Australian Voice of Siri and GPS systems on over 1 Billion devices around the globe including elevators, cruise ships, and other software applications. Karen and I discussed how leaders can recalculate when they find ourselves veering off course.

Check out this 60 Second preview of the episode!


Bio
In Mackay, Australia, seven year old Karen Jacobsen dreamed of becoming a professional singer and songwriter, and moving to America. Realizing her heart’s desire and now New York based, Karen’s melodic, piano pop songs and powerful vocals have taken her to stages and screens across the world, solo at the grand piano, with her band, on 9 albums and as anthem singer in multiple major sports stadiums. Artist in Residence at High Point University, Karen’s songwriting is across genres including pop, adult contemporary, jazz and singer/songwriter. Unexpectedly, it is her speaking voice that has garnered global attention, ending up in over a billion GPS, smartphones, elevators, cruise ships and software applications worldwide and as the original Australian voice of “Siri”. This led to wide media coverage – including being a clue in The New York Times crossword puzzle and Harry Connick Jr calling her “hypnotic” on his talk show – and the creation of her empowerment brand The GPS Girl®. Author of two books, she speaks professionally at national and international events to motivate and breathe life into audiences Currently serving on the Board of the National Speakers Association, Karen shares how to Recalculate when navigating change to reach your dream destination.

Website
https://thegpsgirl.com/

LinkedIn
https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenjacobsen/

Twitter
https://twitter.com/realkarenj

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/realkarenjacobsen

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/realkarenj/

Get Your Copy of Karen’s Book!
https://thegpsgirl.com/storefront/

Leadership Quote
“It’s not happening TO you, it’s happening FOR you.” – Tim Durkin

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Recalculate: Directions for Driving Performance Success

Transcript

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This podcast is part of the C Suite Radio Network, turning the volume up on business.

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Welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast, the podcast dedicated to promoting leadership development and sharing leadership insights. Here’s your host, The Leadership Excelerator®, Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
Hello, everyone! Welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast, the podcast dedicated to leadership development and insights. I’m your host, Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®. I work with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact through the power of facilitation, coaching, and professional speaking.

I’m madly in love with my amazing wife but there’s another woman in my life. There’s a woman who’s always with me no matter where I go. She gives me good directions. She answers all my questions. She’s always there for me and doesn’t yell at me, though I must confess I’ve yelled at her a time or two. Sorry.

Long before I met her in person. She was the voice setting for my GPS in my car, on my iPhone, and all my other Apple devices. My guest today is the voice behind all that. My friend Karen Jacobsen is the GPS girl and the most downloaded voice in the world. She is the Australian voice of Siri and GPS systems on over one billion devices around the globe, including elevators, cruise ships, and other software applications. I’m excited to have Karen Jacobsen, the GPS girl, here to talk about how we as leaders can recalculate when we find ourselves veering off course.

Karen, welcome to the Keep Leading!® Podcast.

Karen Jacobsen:
Hello, Eddie. Thank you for having me.
Eddie Turner:
I can’t help as well when I hear your voice.
Karen Jacobsen:
That’s awesome.
Eddie Turner:
Tell my listeners what else I missed.
Karen Jacobsen:
Well, that’s interesting. I am originally from Australia. I moved to New York City in the year 2000 and realized my childhood dream. I’m from a town called Mackay near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. And I was tremendously influenced and impacted by Olivia Newton John when I was small and I saw her on television when I was seven years old and I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I had direction. I knew I wanted to be a professional singer and move to New York. And I have been a songwriter and singer and performer for many years before that fateful voiceover job where I recorded for 50 hours and my voice ended up in a billion devices and that led to creating an empowerment brand and a professional speaking career and led me to you today.
Eddie Turner:
Well, how about that? And just tell us a little bit because you truly have a remarkable career and that brand that you’ve built. I wasn’t calling you girl. That literally is your brand – the GPS Girl.
Karen Jacobsen:
That’s right. The GPS Girl is a state of mind. It’s a way of life to be able to navigate yourself, to be able to navigate change, and to be able to recalculate in life and business just like we do when we’re driving a car.
Eddie Turner:
Excellent. Excellent. And what a powerful brand that is. And you talked a little bit also about pursuing your dream as a young lady and you have sung all over the globe. You’ve sung all over the globe and you’ve sung at some of the biggest stadiums in the world. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Karen Jacobsen:
Yeah. Well, I have performed my original songs in concert in venues. I have recorded nine albums on my own record label and I had my songs in different shows and on screen. And, along the way, I have a real love for singing the national anthem both in the United States and in Australia and was booked to sing the national anthem at a stadium for the first time for a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park for the 34,000 people. and subsequently, I have ended up singing the national anthem at multiple major sporting events, at Madison Square Garden a couple of times for the Knicks game, for the Liberty game, at the Oakland A’s. Gosh! I think the biggest one was for the Jets, a giant stadium for 80,000 people.
Eddie Turner:
Oh my! Just amazing. Yes. So, these are no small accomplishments. And so, I want my listeners to know that you’re kind of a big deal, Ms. Karen.
Karen Jacobsen:
Well, I have been in many high-stake situations, that’s for sure, and I’ve had to figure out how to recalculate my way through them emotionally and otherwise.
Eddie Turner:
So, tell us a little bit about that. You have referred to that account a couple of times now. What is recalculating?
Karen Jacobsen:
Recalculating is the ability to let go of what did or did not happen on a daily basis. Now, in life, we think we have it figured out, we think we have a plan but pretty much every day multiple times a day we are having to course correct, having to make changes, having to deal with rapid change. And this might be in a small way – a meeting may be postponed or cancelled, we might have a travel delay, a project could get shelved that we’ve been working on for months. There are many ways an individual or a leader can find themselves needing to take stock, have a look at where things are, and deal with consequences that they didn’t not necessarily expect. And I find to be able to stay emotionally even through those kinds of experiences is something that can really set a leader apart.
Eddie Turner:
Wonderful. Now, you referred to also what literally happens, quite frankly, when we are driving. And I always say I’m the reason GPS was invented. I’m horrible at directions. I get lost anywhere I go. My wife still teases me about the idea that I’ve been in Houston now six years and I should not need to turn the GPS on to get to simple destinations but I still do. So, oftentimes, without a GPS, before that, I would end up lost, as many people, I’m sure, would attest to themselves, and not know it until you just looking around and you’re like “Okay, I’m completely out of sorts here. Where am I?” And that is what happens to us as leaders at times. We are going about our affairs thinking we know what we’re doing. We’ve got it all figured out. We don’t need any direction. And then we look up and we’ve veered off course. We’re nowhere where we desire to be or want to be. How can we figure it out sooner?
Karen Jacobsen:
Well, what is important is to be able to identify that we’re off track because the moment that we’ve noticed that we are off track is the moment we can start to do something about it. And I think that this is a really powerful point because so often we will be in some state of denial or really not wanting to acknowledge reality that things have not been going the way we want them to go and our results, the way we had intended them to be, but once we acknowledge it, we notice it, we acknowledge it, we are willing to say “Okay, I’m off track and I am now going to recalculate.” That sets in motion a different energy and the ability to reset ourselves to head toward where we really do want to be going.
Eddie Turner:
So, we must become more intentional is what you’re saying.
Karen Jacobsen:
Well, I think we want to be honest with ourselves is what I’m saying and intentional, yes, straight after that but it can come as a surprise to us when things aren’t going the way we want them to go because so often we have good intentions and we have a plan and we’re working that plan but the circumstances are not aligned with what we are wanting our outcome to be. And when that happens, it can take us longer than we would like to recognize it. So, when we can shorten that timeframe and be able to identify it, the more quickly we can then recalculate, we can have a look at what is working and what is not working, we can be willing to change direction or take the different actions, we can clarify our destination, we can look to what where we thought we were headed and make a decision “Are we still headed there or has this new information that’s come to light, does that mean we are now shifting our destination?”

So, I teach a five-step recalculating process and they are the first few of those steps. Very important to be able to build our ability to work through that process quickly and, as I said, in an emotionally even way because our emotions are what will take us out, Eddie, every time. We get caught up in the drama. It is such a human condition. And if we are able to notice that that’s what starting to happen, a powerful leader sets the tone for their team and their organization. And when there is a lot of activity, a lot of uncertainty in a space, when the leader is able to provide that stability, it’s a tremendous marker for those around that leader to remain calm and be able to quickly move through to the new plan, whatever that plan might be.

Eddie Turner:
Interesting. So, now I’m intrigued. What are the five directions for your recalculating process that you teach?
Karen Jacobsen:
Well, the first is to notice that you are off route. The second is to be willing to change direction. And being willing is the most challenging step of this process because we don’t generally like to admit that we didn’t do the way it was designed, that things haven’t unfolded the way we wanted them to. We want to hold on, we want to hang in there, but when we’re willing to change direction or to try something new, there’s an incredible humility and power in that step.
Eddie Turner:
So, you said I can’t be stubborn and say “I’ve got it. I’ve got it. I’ve got it.”
Karen Jacobsen:
You can but you’re just maybe sometimes delaying the ability to turn things around.
Eddie Turner:
Okay.
Karen Jacobsen:
The third direction for recalculating is to clarify your destination. The fourth is one you know “Okay, I am on the right track and I’m going to continue to take these steps” or “I need to shift the outcome that I’m after.” The next step is to embrace the steering wheel. And that step’s really about moving from the passenger seat to the driver seat, getting ourselves ready to go for it. It’s almost like having that moment for a mind shift, a powerful shift so we can then say “Okay, I’m ginning myself up and getting ready to go for it.” And the fifth and final direction for recalculating is to accelerate, which is all about taking action.
Eddie Turner:
You can’t see me smiling but I use that illustration all the time in my coaching practice – shifting my clients to get out of the passenger seat or back seat into the driver seat. So, I am just smiling from ear to ear.
Karen Jacobsen:
Very good.
Eddie Turner:
Well, thank you for sharing those five steps with us. So, notice, be willing, clarify your destination, embrace the steering wheel, and accelerate.
Karen Jacobsen:
Accelerate.
Eddie Turner:
Fantastic.

Well, Karen, we’re going to pause briefly for a word from our sponsors but before we do, can you just say for me one time as we go to break what you say when we are off course.

Karen Jacobsen:
Oh, that very special magical word I can – “Recalculating.”
Eddie Turner:
I love it. Thank you. We’ll be back in a moment after a word from our sponsors. We’re talking to Karen Jacobsen, the GPS Girl.

This podcast is sponsored by Eddie Turner LLC. Organizations who need to accelerate the development of their leaders call Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®. Eddie works with leaders to accelerate performance and drive impact. Call Eddie Turner to help your leaders one on one as their coach or to inspire them as a group through the power of facilitation or a keynote address. Visit EddieTurnerLLC.com to learn more.

Hi! This is Dave Sanderson. You may know me from being the last passenger off US Airways Flight 1549, the Miracle on the Hudson and the movie Sully, and you’re listening to the Keep Leading!® Podcast with Eddie Turner.

Eddie Turner:
We’re back, everyone. We’re talking to my friend Karen Jacobsen, the GPS Girl, and that is her brand because she is the voice behind over a billion downloads around the world where her voice is a part of Siri on Apple mobile devices, she’s in elevator, she’s on cruise ships, software applications, you name it. You’ve heard her voice. And so, let’s hear more of her voice and more of her wisdom.

And before the break, Karen, you were telling us about recalculating and your five directions, your process that you have created for us, but there’s something else that you’ve talked about in the past I would love to get more insight on. Can you tell us what you mean when you talk about listening to your inner GPS?

Karen Jacobsen:
I’m so happy you asked. Well, there are a lot of different descriptions for what I like to call my inner GPS. People can sometimes call it their instincts or their intuition or their true-selves or their hearts. I mean, there are a lot of different descriptions but, to me, listening to my inner GPS means I am listening to that very clear knowingness within me. And when I’m speaking to a group at a conference or an event of some kind, I will ask them the times when you want to make a move in your life or in your business and everyone around you has an opinion about that move that you want to make. And sometimes we will listen to the opinions of others and allow that to drown out what we were thinking of doing. And sometimes we believe in go with what the crowd suggests is the way to go. And almost, I mean, across the board, when that happens, we discover in the end that our own idea of what we thought was right for us was actually what would have been right for us. And then there are consequences to that. So, I really encourage people to get quiet with themselves to really get clarity on what the next move is to make, on what the decisions are and the priorities that we have for our own lives and our own businesses because it is very easy to get swept up in the overstimulation of modern life. I mean, I love my cell phone to bits but it takes me out, it takes me out of relating to other people one on one or in person. And it’s just the most fantastic all-encompassing device to lose myself in. And, yes, I’m connecting with lots of people from all over the world through that device but I really have to monitor myself and be able to have enough quiet time away from electronics, away from noise, even from listening to music or walking along the street where I’m seeing billboards and being a part of traffic so that I can truly hear myself think.
Eddie Turner:
It’s very interesting to hear you say this, Karen. I’ve heard you refer to your inner GPS before but I’m glad I asked because I didn’t really understand fully what you meant. And now hearing your definition, wow, you and I have more in common is what I realized because in my work as a coach and, in fact, just yesterday I was working on a module I’m going to be delivering very soon and we go through this idea of when it comes to coaching, what we need to do sometimes in terms of quieting down these other voices and sometimes our own voices inside of our head. So, when you say that you encourage people to get quiet, to turn off some of that overstimulation that’s happening because of our devices, that really resonates with me. And it does lead people to clarity.
Karen Jacobsen:
Yes, we always have the answer for ourselves. Sometimes there’s a lot of noise between us and that answer but that is as a result of that overstimulation. And when you can stop the action and listen, and sometimes they really take something and sometimes it really takes time, but ultimately, we really do have all the answers for ourselves. One of the other ways that they come about is in conversation, in actual conversation, voice-to-voice conversation.
Eddie Turner:
Absolutely. Absolutely. So, I often refer to it as intuition but I love the fact that, as you would, because this is your brand, ‘Listening To Your Inner GPS’. I love it.
Karen Jacobsen:
That’s right.
Eddie Turner:
And it really is a leadership quality. It’s a leadership competency, quite frankly, I’d say, moving it up from quality to an actual competency because, to your point, there are times in every leader’s life, being in a relationship where we knew this wasn’t the right person for us or a particular hire that we made or whatever the case may be but as leaders, sometimes we move with the tide of popular opinion as opposed to what our gut, our intuition or, in your parlance, inner GPS is telling us to do.
Karen Jacobsen:
Absolutely. And it’s a courageous leader who is willing to make change and do so with velocity. And it’s no small task to realize that a team has been working on a project for months and to be able to recalculate midway if the leader has become aware that that project has no relevance. Now, because of changes that have happened in the industry, and I see this happen time and again, and instead of recalculating and making a change or abandoning a project completely if it no longer serves the organization, often it will just continue along and be allowed to finish up for whatever reason, including morale, which is a course very important but it’s a very difficult space to be in to allow a group of individuals to put their efforts day in and day out into something that they know is ultimately not going to make a difference in their organization. I mean, I really speak to the courage of a leader to carve out that quiet time to be able to listen and connect with their inner GPS and then to actually take bold action.
Eddie Turner:
Well, certainly it’s easier said than done.
Karen Jacobsen:
For sure.
Eddie Turner:
You’re absolutely correct because I can’t tell you how many times, and I’m sure you’ve seen it based on what you’ve said here, that, yeah, “We’ve spent a lot of money on this. We spent a lot of time on this. We can’t turn around now.”
Karen Jacobsen:
Right.
Eddie Turner:
“You know how that will look?”
Karen Jacobsen:
Absolutely.
Eddie Turner:
Yes. Well, very good. Tell me a little bit more as well, Karen, if you would about some of the amazing things you’re doing because I see you now in residence at High Point University, you’ve got your book out. Tell us a little bit more about some cool things you’re doing?
Karen Jacobsen:
Well, my partnership with High Point University began several years ago and I am currently the Global Artist in Residence there. And what that means is I make frequent trips to High Point North Carolina and work with the students. And I have given classes and mentoring sessions in the music department and in the entrepreneurship area, in business, with women in business. And it’s just truly heavenly to be there and to be able to just work with young minds and hearts, be able to share my experiences, to hear where they are dealing with challenges, and to offer some of my learnings over the years and share the message of recalculating and to remind them that as wonderful as college is, purportedly it can be, there is a whole world and future out there waiting for them and that at some point they will really be truly able to make their mark. When I’m at High Point, I also have the opportunity to perform at events and meet members of the community and the parent body and it’s just a brilliant environment to be in.
Eddie Turner:
Wonderful. And I know the joy of having someone like you to inspire their young people.
Karen Jacobsen:
Thank you.
Eddie Turner:
So, Karen, how would you summarize our conversation that we’ve had today?
Karen Jacobsen:
If somebody listening to this conversation was going to leave with one thought that they took away with them, I would want them to remember it is never too late to recalculate. No matter how dire the circumstances might seem, whether it be professionally or personally, it is never too late to recalculate. There is always another step to take, another action to take, another possibility. And sometimes it doesn’t seem that way when we’re dealing with major circumstances but it is never too late to recalculate.
Eddie Turner:
It’s never too late to recalculate. Excellent. Thank you.

Now, on the Keep Leading!® Podcast, we like to give leaders motivation for how they can continue to keep leading. So, is there a quote or a great piece of advice that you received that helps you to keep leading that you can share with our leaders?

Karen Jacobsen:
Oh, Eddie, of course. As somebody who’s so enamored with professional development, there are just so many incredible thinkers and leaders and quotes but the one that comes to mind is from a colleague, a great speaker and thinker, and that is Tim Durkin. And I had had a huge disappointment, one of the biggest disappointments of my career, and Tim just quietly said to me “I just want you to know that this is not happening to you. It is actually happening for you.” And I listened and I heard what he had to say but those words have really stayed with me for quite a period of time later to realize that even though I couldn’t see that opportunity not turning out the way I wanted it to, it was going to be the right thing for me. It really was. And the space was available for so many other things to happen. So, that one I found to be just so impactful that “It’s not happening to you. It’s actually happening for you.”
Eddie Turner:
Well, I certainly appreciate that. I love Tim Durkin. In fact, I love him so much that, I hadn’t heard him say that, I have three of his quotes in the book that I wrote.
Karen Jacobsen:
Really?
Eddie Turner:
Yes, I’m a huge Tim Durkin fan. He’s the man, for sure. So, thank you for sharing that with our leaders.
Karen Jacobsen:
You got it.
Eddie Turner:
Now, Karen, when we arrive at our destination after you’ve guided us so successfully, there’s something you always say that I would love for you to say as we conclude our episode.
Karen Jacobsen:
Does this mean you’re going to let me have the last word, Eddie? I just want to thank you so much for having me. This has been just wonderful.
Eddie Turner:
Yes, by the way, before I let you have the last word, I want everybody to reach out and connect with you. How can they do that?
Karen Jacobsen:
Wonderful. Well, they can reach out by going to my website TheGPSGirl.com or on social I can be found with @RealKarenJ or The GPS Girl on Facebook. And I love to connect with people, hear their GPS stories and, of course, you can then find out about my books and my music. I have a new album coming out in a little while.
Eddie Turner:
Can’t wait, okay.
Karen Jacobsen:
Yes. Come visit me on Spotify, Eddie.
Eddie Turner:
I will. I absolutely will.
Karen Jacobsen:
Great. And, again, thanks for having me and you have reached your destination.
Eddie Turner:
I love it. I absolutely love it.

Thank you so much, Karen Jacobsen, the GPS Girl, for being a guest on the Keep Leading!® Podcast.

Karen Jacobsen:
You got it.
Eddie Turner:
And thank you. That concludes this episode, everyone. I’m Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator®, reminding you that leadership is not about our title or our position. Leadership is an activity. Leadership is action. It’s not the case of once a leader, always a leader. It’s not a garment we put on and take off. We must be a leader at our core and allow it to emanate in all we do. So, whatever you’re doing, always keep leading.

Thank you for listening to your host Eddie Turner on the Keep Leading!® Podcast. Please remember to subscribe to the Keep Leading!® Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen. For more information about Eddie Turner’s work please visit EddieTurnerLLC.com.

Thank you for listening to C Suite Radio, turning the volume up on business.

The Keep Leading!® podcast is for people passionate about leadership. It is dedicated to leadership development and insights. Join your host Eddie Turner, The Leadership Excelerator® as he speaks with accomplished leaders and people of influence across the globe as they share their journey to leadership excellence. Listen as they share leadership strategies, techniques and insights. For more information visit eddieturnerllc.com or follow Eddie Turner on Twitter and Instagram at @eddieturnerjr. Like Eddie Turner LLC on Facebook. Connect with Eddie Turner on LinkedIn.