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Interview With Dr Larry Little (The Author of Make a Difference)

Interview With Dr Larry Little-Dorks Delivered

Dr Larry Little is an author and entrepreneur who has influenced millions of people through his book Make a Difference. This book pivoted the direction of my life. It’s not just about business. It’s definitely about relationships and the way we talk to people. What are the driving motivators? Why do people act the way they do? It has positively influenced all areas of my life: my communication with family, friends, business associates, anyone and everyone, as well as the way that I present myself on stage because I can more easily gauge the audience’s feedback.

Make a Difference

Make a Difference is about being an incredible leader. People may be brilliant and certainly can do things from a skills and technical standpoint, but entrepreneurs, owners, and leaders would come to say, “You know, Larry, I had this wonderful, for instance, engineer and she was brilliant. So we promoted her and she failed miserably. We promoted her. She had a team of people around her. She had no clue how to lead a team. She frustrated the team. She was frustrated. She ended up leaving. So we lost a great engineer, not to mention we still have a need for this leader in this area.”

Dr Larry Little I saw a gap in how we talk, communicate and engage others so the concept around understanding who you are while understanding others by speaking their language began to emerge. The result is exciting as he started to see personal and professional relationships grow. People begin to understand how to connect, engage and speak the language of those within their circle of influence.


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Servant Leadership

It’s interesting just to understand how people think about you and how you should start thinking about others.  Books like Make a Difference and The Five Languages of Love have one thing in common—they’re about servant leadership. It’s about understanding how to get to where someone else is instead of them to get to where you are.

Business Networking - Dorks DeliveredLittle explains, “You’ve learned to put your sensors in when you’re around lions and not be offended by their direct language. You’ve learned, when you’re presenting, to understand who your audience is and present in that format. Those are concepts, principles that really are undergirded by that servant leadership model.”

Let’s understand and look at leadership from a service mentality instead of a dictatorial, narcissistic mentality.

In Make a Difference, there are two myths that we debunk. Let’s understand and look at leadership from a service mentality instead of a dictatorial, narcissistic mentality. “The first myth is that we believe everybody shares our value view. In other words, we believe that what we think is important, everybody else thinks is important in terms of emotional connection and those kinds of things. That’s not true. Everybody has their own value view. The second myth is that we believe everybody views us the same way we view ourselves. That’s not true. We had this narrative that we tell ourselves, and this is how based on our personality—based on who we are that is the narrative that drives our behaviour many times. But when we become self-aware, it changes the way we connect with others.”

That’s the understanding that drives us to serve others.


What Is Your Purpose as a Leader

Why are you leading? Dr Little shares, “I want to make a difference in the lives of others. The book is a vehicle for that. We’ve been just very excited and very humbled by seeing the difference that it’s made in [personal and professional] relationships.”

Over the 12 years, I’ve been in business, I’ve gone from being the guy in the trenches and talking with customers all the time to being the guy that goes out and builds a team. Now I’ve started influencing and leading other business owners, which is something I’m very passionate about and interested in doing because it’s helping not just grow my business but also grow theirs. Instead of taking 12 years to gain the knowledge that I’ve gained, I can help them get it in a fast-paced way that allows them to apply that to their business and have that maturity hopefully sooner.


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Embracing Your Flaws

AnimalsI also read a book called Flawsome and it’s about embracing your flaws that you might have had because you dropped the ball. Everyone does it, everyone has an off day. And when you dropped the ball, Flawsome is all about making sure that you embrace the flaw and then overcome it. What I love about Make a Difference is it’s about making sure you’re understanding it from the other person’s perspective so that once you aren’t, you have a lot of empathy towards the situation and you’re not going in with the lion mindset or the monkey outset or the camel outset. And I think that’s really important to do.

Dr Little agrees, “You’ve got to be willing to fail. You’ve got to be willing to say that it’s not about getting it right every time. It’s about saying, ‘I’m going to try to get in those other quadrants.’

He explains, “And when I say other quadrants, I’m talking about where the other personalities live. And Make a Difference breaks that down. That takes practice, discipline, rigour and rhythm just like anything else. Sometimes, some of those lions or camels will say, ‘These are soft skills. You’re just teaching soft skills.’ The truth is there’s nothing soft about it. These are hard skills. If they were so often easy, then everybody would be doing it and relationships would be flourishing everywhere and we would never have problems. It is something you can choose to learn and choose to grow in, but it takes practise and being willing to say, ‘I blew that. I’m sorry. Let me back up and try something else.'”


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It’s about understanding someone else, understanding how your team works. I’ve done a couple of YouTube videos and one of them is about the Mirror Mindset. It’s about understanding yourself and about also knowing a situation where you need to be present as a different person. Being a leader is about making sure you understand your team.

I was very introverted at school and very introverted for the first part of my life. I was overweight. I was bashed up to a spot where I wasn’t able to walk anymore for a couple of weeks. It was a traumatic experience. When I lost the weight, I lost 38 kilos, I was still the timid person that was still trying to make people feel good, feel happy. I believe the reason I became a monkey was because everyone resonates with the class clown. Everyone resonates with something that can make them laugh. The universal language is smile, and Mr Bean and Charlie Chaplin did it really well without even speaking.

When you read Make a Difference, you’ll understand that when you jump onto the stage, you need to snap out of the mindset that you had and the person that you were, and you then need to become this other person. People such as Jim Carrey are very extroverted, but at heart they are still very introverted people. They’re actors, and they’re acting extroverted. I found is I was able to put on different hats, depending on different situations, and more easily resonate and get my message across. If I’m talking with a lion and I know that the information they want is to be direct. They want information, but they’re not looking for details. They’re wanting to get the information to get everything done. That also goes for me when I’m in a situation where I can’t be a monkey or I shouldn’t be a monkey. I need to be aware of all of those traits. It allows me to be a better person in all situations.

Dr Little says, “I’m really impressed with the fact that you look back at that very difficult, unfair situation that you found yourself in and you chose to look at that and instead of remaining the victim, you chose to learn, grow, and overcome that. Was that fair? No, but neither is life. Life has never been fair. The only thing we really get to choose is how we handle the struggles. We don’t get to choose if we struggle because we all struggle. But we do get to choose how we navigate those. I hate this reality, but the truth is we seem to learn more from the hard experiences in our life. Not that they’re okay, but if we choose, we can really learn and grow from those…instead of becoming bitter, angry, and defeated.”


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And so one of my first jobs was at subway, subway sandwiches, which we’ve got everywhere I guess. And I’m there behind the counter as a sandwich artist as it would be, and one of the bullies came in and my heart dropped. And I went, Oh my goodness. And I started freaking out and I thought to myself, no, because… I thought to myself and thought about it from their perspective, and put why are they bullying? What is going on in their life? And I feel whatever’s happening in my life could only be… I’ve got great parents, and I’ve had a great upbringing. I’m fortunate enough to say that I live in one of the best countries in the world, and we… and I thought what has happened in their life for them to be doing what they’re doing?

And I felt in my mind, it calmed me down. So I thought, okay, they’ve gone in a direction where they’ve had to lash out. And I thought they probably don’t have the best family and upbringing. And I’d thought of this in my head as I’m making their sandwich, and obviously, everyone has this one thing sitting on their shoulder saying, spit in their sandwich.

No one listens to this one, I hope. I hope not. I still go to the subway. Obviously, we’re not talking about it yet. So and he said to me without me saying anything and I was just smiling and being the best person that I could, and making sure that my outlook was not dropped down to any of the previous influence that I’d had from the situation. And he said, ‘Josh, I’m sorry for picking on you.’ And he said, ‘I’m sorry for bullying you at school.’ And he said that without me putting anything up, and nearly made me cry because I thought, wow, he’s also matured in his mindset-

That instantly all like… everyone’s sort of… always having not to miss about it. No, not about that situation, but at school. And when he said that everything sort of just felt like it was just a blanket that disappeared, and it shows the mental games that you make in your mind and how that plays and the impact that has on you, and what someone might say or do to you that changes and pivots the direction of your life. And as I said I’d be lying if I said that…

DirectionI’m pretty sure when you first gave me the book, it was 2013 I think. Might have been 2012 around then. But it was, I can comfortably say that people come into your lives sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. 

And it’s all again up to the mindset. That bully came into my life, and at the time I thought it was bad, but then it allowed me to further understand how people think. So in a way, it was for good. It was a hard lesson to learn. You came into my life for good. And again, that’s a pivot and grown the direction of my life and how I’ve gone to impact things and people and that has been for good. So, it’s all about your mindset, everyone…

And this is again in the YouTube video I made about the mirror mindset. When I started losing weight, I still felt overweight. My eyes saw a fat person in the mirror. And it was only after I then put on a couple more kilos that I then looked at a photo of me when I’d lost as much weight that I look anorexic. And I thought I’d gone in the other direction.

And so it’s about your mindset and making sure that you keep in check and making sure you understand how people are perceiving you, how you’re perceiving people. And know that the way that you’re seeing you do not necessarily reflect the way that other people are seeing you. And we always, we’re our worst critics, I’d agree. We do agree.

Dr Larry Little: Yeah. There’s no doubt. Well, unless we’re narcissistic and then we’re delusional. Right?

Josh: Yes!


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Dr Larry Little: But I think a lot of times that’s very true of leaders and people that we are our worst critics. But perception is reality. And so you have to make sure that your perception is rational and it is real. And you had to check that even when the bully was apologising to you. You could have perceived that for him just to try to make up to you or that he had an ulterior motive, or that he wanted to get something for it. But you didn’t. You took that at face value. You allowed it to be a source of healing for you. When people come into your life when we introduced you to the concept that you have a choice to make. You could have perceived that as these are just soft skills and maybe it’s good for somebody else, but you don’t know what I’ve been through. You don’t know what I’ve suffered. You don’t know…

But you didn’t do that. You said, ‘I’m going to take those, I’m going to perceive that as something good and I’m going to use it and I’m going to apply it.’ And you did that Josh. And your choice, and we can never underestimate the power of choice in our life. We all have choices to make every single day. And you chose to take those concepts, you chose to use those concepts, you chose to apply those concepts. And you know as well as I do if you were honest that took work. I mean, you’ve been doing this now since 2013 and you’re still applying it and still using it. It’s not a one-time done. It’s you’ve made that a part of your life and that took a lot of hard work.

Right. And it’s hard work. Nothing comes easy and a few things my father has taught me, are nothing comes easy and to trust everyone until they prove themselves untrustworthy. So, walk up to someone with open arms, not, not closed, and feel comfortable with the person that you’re approaching until they show themselves to be, not the person that they first appeared to be. And that’s a… Another person that’s influenced my life. 

Dr Larry Little: That’s right.

How to manifest self-awareness? 

Dr Larry Little: Love that. You know, it’s so true. And the whole centrepiece around the Make a Difference is that. And that’s why we entitled it Make a Difference because it’s outward-focused. It’s about becoming self-aware, yes. But becoming self-aware so that we can give to others. Becoming self-aware so that we can make a difference in the lives of others. And so you have done that, you’ve taken that and that’s our goal in teaching these concepts. Josh, the truth is there are a lot of personality profiles out there. There are a lot of psychological assessments and they’re all good. But seriously, there are a lot of very good psychological assessments that you can take.

The problem comes when you take those tools and you get this plethora of data, you get all this stuff right? And they set it, and you try… First, you don’t have time to go through it all. Second, you’re not really sure what it means. And third, and most importantly, you don’t know how the heck you’re going to apply that quickly. So, the concepts we developed, the secret is not in a little assessment tool, that’s not the secret. The secret is well, I’ll show you. So the secret is this, the secret is a white picket fence. White picket fence. So right now, Josh, even if you wanted to or not, it doesn’t matter. Who you are, you’re thinking of a white picket fence. You could say, I’m not thinking of one, but you are. And so that’s the secret of what we do because neurologically our brains are hardwired to download word pictures very quickly and to process them very quickly. So, we use silly animal names, much love monkey, leading lion, competent camel, a tranquil turtle, so that our leaders are… And by the way, when I say leaders, I’m talking about all of us because we all are leaders. We all lead-


Dr Larry Little: At least one person and that’s ourselves. We only get to choose if we lead ourselves poorly or wisely. So, we wanted something that leaders could take and download quickly and apply quickly. So, the secret is in making it simple so that it can be practically applied so that then you can begin speaking that lion language to the lions in your life. You can speak the turtle language to the turtles in your life, and learn how in the world you speak camel language and you speak that into the lives of camels. But the secret to the success of this, I truly believe is as simple as a white picket fence. It’s a practical application. It’s the word pictures that we created because of colours and numbers, our brain can’t process that quickly enough to really use it at the moment.

Having full letters that come back on a piece of paper without talking about the other tests. Obviously, you can’t really describe that or relate that to someone. But when you ask a five-year-old, ‘What does a monkey do, and how does a monkey look? How does a monkey react to a situation? And how does a lion look and what does a lion do and how does a lion react to a situation?’ And anything that’s worth teaching and worth learning should be able to be understood by a 12-year-old. And I could comfortably say that being that we’re related to animals, everyone knows animals, and everyone loves animals. Everyone can see and see how they work together and how they can work better together. So, it’s very, very smart the way that you did it.

And as you said, situationally you can look and go, ‘Okay fine. They’re that sort of person, they’re that sort of person.’ And we’ve got a job network in Australia called Seek, which is you put an ad up on there to find a new employee. And we were using the make-a-difference test to sort of work out how they would fit into our organisation and how that would fit with us and the rest of our team.


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And right from the word go we knew how we would be relating to them. And it’s important too, as you pointed out earlier about engineers. And engineers may be being put into a managerial role does not necessarily mean that they should be managers. And it doesn’t necessarily mean like a pay rise and a responsibility rise may not be what they’re looking for.

SittingIt may not be their carrot, and it may not be something they’re looking for in their skill set. But if it is, it’s definitely Make a Difference as a way that they can make it work with that position to make a difference, to be there, present in the moment around that new position.

Dr Larry Little: You’re so right. Hey Josh, so I have a little secret and if you want me to, I’ll let you in on it. You’d asked earlier what you have. What’s next? Do you want me to share it with you? I’m going to tell you just a little snippet about what’s happening next.

Yes, please. That’d be wonderful.

Dr Larry Little: So, we’re very excited that we knew the Make a Difference book, we felt like it had the concepts and we’re so thrilled that it has helped people on an international level. That’s awesome. But I knew there was something else and I knew there was, and the series is wonderful. We’re glad to do that. We’re so glad that, so cool what would people do that? But I knew there was something else.

So, for over a year, I’ve been piloting ideas and thinking about ideas and teaching and doing some work. And just last weekend I finished, I went into an intensive, what I call an intensive, and I wrote a book that I believe is the sequel to the Make a Difference book. The working title of the book is called Lead to Make a Difference Above and Below the Line.

How to gain self-trust? 

Dr Larry Little: It’s a different concept, but here’s a snippet just to kind of give you an idea of where I’m coming from. You have to read the book to find out what above and below the line is all about. But it builds on, if you think about the DNA diagram, in the Make a Difference, it’ll give you a hint. But the concepts are more around this. We talk about teams and that kind of thing and why they underperform or why there’s toxicity in the team or toxicity in a relationship. And the book centres not only on professional, but we talk a lot about personal relationships. And I think there’s a monster. I think the monster attacks our relationships and attacks our teams. This monster is, I believe the reason that companies go under, that companies struggle, and that relationships are destroyed.

And the monster is fear, and the fear of failure, fear of being misrepresented, fear of being misunderstood. We could go on and on and I think the antidote to that fear is trust. But not in the traditional context of trust. We always talk about trust in terms of trust in a team or building trust in your relationship or building trust to be strong… to trust each other too… Here’s the problem with that. There’s a huge disconnect there. Gap, if you will, and this is it. I don’t think we can truly develop trust in someone else until we understand how to develop trust in ourselves. And I think self-trust is something that people don’t want to think about, but how in the world can I ask you to join me in a trusting relationship if I don’t trust myself? How can I build trust in a team if I don’t trust my reaction?


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Dr Larry Little: So the book led to Make a Difference Above and Below the Line talks about how to gain that self-trust. There’s an assessment tool in there about it. So, I’m very excited about it. I think it’s going to… Boy, I hope that it helps a lot of folks. It was difficult to write because it kind of went down a different direction even than when I first started the concepts way back. Because I’ve talked and listened, and learned and I’ve tried to learn from others. But I think the end result is going to be pretty exciting.

I loved your first book and I’m very interested to read the next one. It’s something that I think everyone has… As I said, everyone has this demon inside them. They’re self-doubting, and I know I’m going to say I’m the worst for it. The worst for it, I guess. And I know myself, I have a team that looks up to me. I have staff members that have left. And I’ve continued personal relationships with them. I’m still friends with them. And whenever they come to Queensland, they see me. And I sent out something to one of them recently. And I said, ‘Oh look, I’m looking to go this approach.’ And I said, ‘I’m worried about some of the directions that, some of the parts of the business are going.’

TrustAnd I sort of brought them up to him and he said, ‘I’ve worked for five companies since you. You are the most professional company. You offer the best, most outstanding service verse any of them. You should not be worried about anything.’ And I felt wow, the way he’s told me and how he was able to put that data together nearly made me cry, to be honest. It was wonderful and I thought, everyone’s got this doubt in himself and I can’t do this and I won’t do this. And I relate it back to the girl at school that you had a crush on, or 2009. The person you had at school, you had a crush on I guess. But the girl at school that you had a crush on, looked across you and thought, Oh, I’m going to… At the right moment, I’m going to go there and talk to her and I’m going to… Oh, I’m going to ask if I can say hey or hang out with her at lunch or whatever the case was.

And then you didn’t. And a year goes by, two years go by and this person is saying, still do it. And you go, ‘No, I’m not going to do it.’ And then you… I’m not going to have to hang out with her. She’s too pretty. She’s too beautiful. And then the last day of school happens and then you finish school and you realize, wait, I’m in the same position now as I was before if I hadn’t jumped on that opportunity. And this self-doubt can have you lose opportunities and have you fail at I guess the butterfly effect. If you’ve got a small thing that just saying hello once to someone, reaching out like I did with yourself and saying hey. The smallest thing can build into a big thing for everyone involved if you’ve got the… I guess not the guts, but the power within yourself to override those thoughts, and feelings, and strive forward. So, I guess it’s an important message.

Dr Larry Little: No, it really is. And it’s a revelation when someone realises that she no longer has to allow feelings to drive her behaviour. He no longer has to allow irrational thoughts, right, to define who he is or who he’s not. That there is choice involved and we can learn the discipline of learning to lead through those emotions and making good choices based on that rational thought process. In fact, if you take two leaders and look at two leaders who were put in the exact same scenario of struggle. One may do very poorly that he may become a victim. He may become disassociated, he may become… Another may experience struggle and hardship and pain and so… But in the end, he’s grown stronger. What is the difference? And so the book addresses that head-on. The difference is this person understood how to lead above and below the line, and understood the voices that he or she had before them. And we talk about the importance of having grit, G-R-I-T and leading. And so I don’t want to go into all of that and take out time, But I’m very excited about it. I think it’s good, I really do think it’s a good sequel to the first do a different project.

Cool. And is that going to be available in Australia or online or in audiobooks?

Dr Larry Little: Yes, all of the above. Right now, it’s just brand new and it’s actually at our… we’re in the editing process right now, so look forward to the spring of 2020. And it will be, our goal is to have it hard copy, online obviously you can get it on Amazon, those kinds of things. And then also I’m going to push our team so that we can do an audio version. I want to do it… In fact, I want to do that for both of those books and create that audible experience as well. So it was a great question.


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I think it’s especially I guess for business owners, and I’m going to say I love a physical book. I love feeling a physical book. I love the paper of a physical book and you want to get many technical people saying that. But I’m in front of a computer monitor sometimes eight hours a day, sometimes 18 hours a day. And the thing that I absolutely love is stepping away from that feeling something and you can… I think you can feel more emotion in the book. I don’t know. It’s probably just someone I’m saying.

GrowthI feel that there’s something there that you just can’t get off of a screen. And that’s where I’m looking forward to getting the physical book and I think that’s going to do it for me. But at the same time, business owners are busy people and some people spend half their lives driving around in cars I’d sincerely suggest not reading a physical book while in a car driving. Right.

Yes So, it would be good to see it as an audiobook. Well, I’m really happy to have been able to speak with you and go through and hear about the new exciting projects that you’ve got on offer coming through in the future. And also some of the ones that you’ve got on offer now through the university in bits and pieces, and… or soon to be on offer. Is there anything else that you’d like to ask me will go through?

Dr Larry Little: I’ll tell you, Josh. It’s leaders like you who are truly going to successfully make a difference moving forward because you are, as our friend Brad Scow talks about the entrepreneurial journey. You’re in that leadership journey of now mentoring and coaching and just be encouraged that that is a very, very influential and important place to find yourself. So it is my hope. Who knows, Josh? This is what I might ask of you moving forward. Let’s have a talk. I mean, we’re always looking for coaches, so you never know, and presenters. So we may have to talk offline a bit about what you’re doing.

But seriously our website is and we’d love to talk with whoever is listening or watching and to be able to speak into your life as a leader, to walk with you to journey with you. That’s a call that we have that is bigger than any of us any one person. We have a team of around 60 or so individuals that are all committed to walking with leaders in order to help them to lead differently and help to influence others just like you Josh. And so it’s been just a real honour. Thank you for calling and inviting me to come to hang out with you for a while in the land down under. It’s been a blast.

Any bloody time. All right. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity here as well. And as I said, I’ve looked up to you and your teachings for quite some time and I’ve carried them through to my life and carried them through in all aspects. And also in the lives of the people that I’m influencing. And it’s touching to hear the stories. And I could only imagine the stories that you would have with people that have come to you and how you’ve helped them out. And there are a few written in the book, but the amount you would have had from the book, I could only imagine, would be very impressive and very humbling to have all those.

We will put a link to your website in the description below as everyone does, or it will be in the article on our website or in the podcast, or whatever the method is that you’re listening to. There’ll be some way to jump on the site and check it out. And yeah, I really look forward to speaking with you again and yeah, going from there.

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