Mental health is not so common a topic inside the workplace. However, recent events hit all of us too hard that the call for a more mindful work environment is more than necessary.
In this week’s episode, we are joined by Donovan Dreyer. Donovan is a coach and speaker in Get Ready Coaching. He was initially aspiring to be a pilot but realized that it isn’t what he is passionate about. The tragedy of the Columbine shooting showed him his purpose. He wanted to deep dive and understand why teens think the way they do. Studies show that a lot of teens are suicidal and that many parents need professional help in dealing with them.
Donovan’s website: https://www.getreadycoaching.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hi friends I’m Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs, realtors and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. I am so excited to have today’s guest, Donovan Dreier, he is going to really help all of us here in the Denver business space, share his story, because it’s pretty unique. And Donovan and I have had the opportunity to meet where else but on clubhouse I feel like that’s where I’m finding a lot of my connections these days. And it’s always exciting to find someone else that’s here in the Colorado area. So Donovan, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Donovan Dreyer 0:52
Hey, thank you for having me, Katie, it’s an honor.
Katie Brinkley 0:55
Well, for those of you who are listening, I’m going to go ahead and introduce Donovan, he helps future leaders with lofty life goals, who need more support, in preparation to realize their full potential in the game of life. And I feel like that is something that we all can really use right now. Because I feel like the pandemic came, it happened and everyone is ready to go out there with all cylinders firing. And I’m so glad that you’re our guest today to kind of help us teach us all the different steps that you can use to live your life’s potential to live the best life you can. And like I said before, you and I had the opportunity to meet on clubhouse of all places, but you’re here in Colorado, too. So I would love it. If you introduced yourself a little bit for the audience. Tell us a little bit more about what you do, where you’re located and and how you got into this space.
Donovan Dreyer 1:47
Okay, yeah, so thank you again. And I am you know, basically I provide Lyft. So we’ll circle back to that. But, you know, speaking of Lyft, let’s go back to my story, I guess as being an aspiring pilot. And for me, it’s in the late 80s. And I’m trying to figure out what to do. And I’m totally confused. And I do an interest in inventory. And I’m more confused. But one of the things that was listed as pilot and I was like that seems pretty cool. The other things were like chef, accountant, police officer a bunch of random things that made me more confused. And so I did that I went all the way through it took me four, not four years, but five, to add on all the certificates and everything else and be ready to go. But then I did an informational interview with a pilot. So now it’s 1993 I’m sending Zingerman’s deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and we’re talking and he is just rabidly passionate about flying. I mean, he just loves the whole idea of it and did some wild and crazy, pretty risky things to get make sure he gets his hours, like not getting enough sleep and flying anyway. So all of that kind of just drew drew me in as like how excited he was about what he was doing. But it was totally at the same time helping me see Oh, my gosh, this is not it for me. And wondering in that very moment, what is this thing for me that would be just as exciting for me as flying is for him. And I must find out. So I pretty much instantly pivoted, I had the good fortune of having already worked in my dad’s business family business a little bit. So I decided to keep doing that, and do my soul searching. And now we fast forward ahead to the late 90s when it dawned on both my wife and I that I needed to be helping people and working with people. And then I was trying to figure out exactly what I did a number of different informational interviews before spending more money on education this time. And I and the Columbine shooting happened. And when that happened, I was still in Michigan. And it really felt like a game changer in the game of life. As we’re talking about the game of life already. You mentioned earlier and it was a game changer that I felt this is my mission. This is the thing that I’m really feeling the kind of passion I felt coming from that pilot in 1993. And I’m all in on this one and I decided to do school counseling. And Fast Forward 20 years on that I did a lot of school counseling and I’ve been you know there for the innermost thoughts of teens, what they’re going through, the feelings are going through the emotions are going through, and I pretty much wanted to go into it to figure out well why did that happen? Why for the sake of fame, or for the sake of like, you know, sticking it back to bullies or whatever the reason is that a school shooting would happen I needed to figure it out. Personally, that was my mission. I did figure that out. You know, along the way, there’s a lot of kids that were as they’re sharing those deepest thoughts, the the a lot of kids that were suicidal over the years. And so that was something I confronted quite a bit and it’s, you know, it’s unfortunately a super common thing, and only getting more common that kids will have those thoughts. So many, many, many parents really are needing that outside mental health professional and the school counselor just keeps getting utilized more and more and more. And if we fast forward all the way to today. I feel like my focus Now as a coach, helps me help you, as a parent helps me help you as a teenager, to really get that type of support that you need to really go after those lofty life goals and to really buffer the mental health and really strengthen the mental health and even optimize it to be as good as it possibly can be for individuals so that kids can truly take off into life. So my program is called teen takeoff. And that’s my specialty. So I had to wear a lot of hats. I heard kind of everything under the sun that teenagers go through. And there is a couple of underserved populations, there’s kids that are the future leaders that don’t get enough left, they don’t get enough support from in this time of their life to really set up to be future leaders to really set up to go after big life goals. So I like serving that population, I feel like the more I help them, the more that we can spread what I call contagious ease. So that’s just where you know, you do something great in the world with your sense of passion, like that pilot hat, and like I now have, and a sense of purpose, because it’s really needed in the world. And if you take that leadership role, if you take the initiative to solve a big world problem, and to be on the forefront of making change, like I am myself, then we’re gonna have more and more of these leaders really step into their own and solve some of these societal problems that we have, and mental health challenges we have and relationship problems that we have, and we’re gonna have a better place, I believe the next generation could be the greatest generation of all time.
Katie Brinkley 6:30
Oh, Donovan, that was great. And you know, as you’re talking there, there’s a lot of similarities that you and I have, I know that, you know, offline, you and I connected and talked about Michigan, and I’m a big Michigan fan. But I forgot about the pilot aspect of you know, you wanted to be a pilot and I had a short stint as a flight attendant. But that’s another story for another day. But it definitely is, I think that I don’t understand this, then maybe you know, I’m sure that this is something you talked about too at length, I don’t understand why it at 1718 years old, we need to try and figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives. I mean, that’s one of the things where I think a lot of people do end up doing things that they’re kind of like That’s alright, it pays the bills, but it’s not something that they’re truly passionate about. And we end up in these careers that might not necessarily be the right fit for us. And, you know, granted my position my job as a social media strategist, it this job didn’t exist back when I was in high school, or in college for that matter. But I’ve been able to craft my dream job as life has evolved. But I think that a lot of us get stuck into this circle of, well, I need to know what I want to do with the rest of my life. And I have to go to this college because I want to do this or XYZ. And it’s like, well, what if you really don’t? Yeah,
Donovan Dreyer 7:48
I mean, I think that’s, that’s why a lot of people end up in the wrong fit like I did is, you know, a lot, not a lot of people can pivot. I’ve worked with a lot of people, one of the one of the things I’ve been doing in the last couple years is adding on some coaching for people in business, I think it’s really important. You know, for me, what I’ve decided to do is to work for somebody under somebody’s wing to really understand business more and more. And so in doing that, I’ve been serving people with their marketing and with their their business goals. And so in working with these adults, a lot of them have this midlife crisis. And there’s some studies that say over 80% of the people have settled for the wrong fit. And it’s just so hard to change. So once we get kind of stuck in something, it’s really hard to get unstuck and make that commitment to say yes to change. And so people not only end up in the wrong fit end up in the wrong spot, they stay there. And so ending up is sort of like passive. And I think we can be way, way, way, way, way more active and proactive about clarifying what to do first. So I don’t know what anybody is going to be doing 30 years from now with the with the new things that are coming up, you’ve crafted something from out of the blue, and Seth Godin is writing this manifesto called stop stealing dreams.
Katie Brinkley 8:59
And I love Satya and he’s so good. He is and
Donovan Dreyer 9:03
we are going to be able to craft our thing like you have we are going to be able to be linchpins instead of cogs. So maybe if it’s 1921, we need to learn how to be a cog in the machine. And we can do that for the next 30 years, whatever we pick and you know, we’ll be fine. But these days, we don’t even know if the whole industry is going to exist 30 years from now or five years from now. So being able to craft it being able to be adaptive and willing to change is super, super important. And if you get in the wrong fit or if you’re not putting enough effort into it, the big X Factor is coaching. So I mean I really found that the grownups who do have the midlife crisis, the coaching does become that game changer. And then I thought well what the heck I’m helping all these leaders who’ve got the midlife crisis reason to make a change. What about the future leaders who are excited, you know, after the Parkland shooting, and I saw some kids just say, you grownups are not doing enough for us and we don’t trust you and we never will. We’re going to do it on our own. But then The next day they’re totally triggered, they’re totally suffering from PTSD. And they basically need that wise elder, that leader, that coach, maybe even outside of their family, because there’s a, you know, a lot of objectivity coming from the inputs of a coach and the support of a coach. So we just need to be more active and more proactive about finding with total clarity, what we’re gonna do first might not be the last thing we do, and we might not do it for 30 years. But let’s really work hard to not just assume it’ll all work out by we just randomly go to college and randomly pick majors and change them, and will magically end up in the right spot. So those are my thoughts there.
Katie Brinkley 10:38
Yeah, and you know, Donovan, I think, too, you know, I, I guessed on a lot of other podcasts. And one of the things I feel like I’m talking about consistently is, I’ve had my dream job three times now. And when you when I say that a lot of people are like, wait, why, but they’ve all been the perfect job for me at that phase of my life. And I think that when you have an open mind, to your career, like that, it doesn’t need to be forever, because, as you just said, Who knows what life is going to be like, in 30 years, 30 years ago, a social media strategists didn’t exist, because social media didn’t exist, what’s yet to come, we can’t plan our entire lives about what we’re going to be. When we’re 1718 years old, I also loved how you shared the a lot of the kids that you work with, and you know how they, okay, well, we don’t trust you anymore, we’re going to craft our own futures. But you know, then there are things that come up. And one of the things in this talk for me, because social media is my job. But I know that with social media, it is 100%, a double edged sword, it can be so helpful and instrumental for you and your business. But when used incorrectly, social media is a very dangerous place. And I love how you, you and I also talked about this offline, but how social media is almost like an online resume now like how you have to make sure you’re pushing out the right information on your social media accounts, to make sure that you are putting the best foot forward for future job opportunities.
Donovan Dreyer 12:11
Yeah, so I mean, I call it resume 2.0. So, you know, there’s one speaker that I saw speaking, I looked on his LinkedIn, he had 47 people, and I knew he was making probably $47,000 for his speech, but I realized, oh, he could have that few on his social media as in terms of a following, because it’s just word of mouth, and he’s well known. But in the future, it’s going to be a requirement that people can get a pre impression of us on our resume. 2.0. So what I mean by that is, nobody needs to ask for our LinkedIn to be turned in like a resume or a job application. Nobody needs to see what’s on our Facebook or Instagram or anywhere else. With our permission, we should actually be proactively putting things out there with intentionality. And with some kind of theme or, or platform and our kids can actually start having those conversations with my three daughters, I have these conversations all the time, about you know, what do you care about what matters to you? What would you want to say, what do you want to do about the world, and so they’re never too young to at least spark these conversations. And, you know, maybe that’s two minutes here and five minutes there. But you know, that really adds up over time to be talking about what to put out there, instead of just always telling them don’t put anything bad out there. So I think I have a very, you know, focusing on the, what we’re going to do proactively, so when we’re proactively with a resume 2.0 we should really think about what we do want to put out there and start to craft that we can pivot and change that to something else, any old time we want, when we’re young. So yeah, there’s definitely dangerous and I think there’s tons of people who teach on that. And I’m always happy to collaborate with people that have something complimentary to what I’m doing, but I really focus in on crafting that resume 2.0 and figuring out what it is you do want to project out there to the world so that when they look you up, they get a pre impression before any kind of interviews or even before any kind of contact with you.
Katie Brinkley 14:10
Donovan I love that because as you said it’s naive of us to think that that job recruiters and you know, HR professionals are not looking at your social media accounts and if you are pushing out that good first impression, you know of different things that you resonate with, whether it’s a charity or different things that you believe in like it can be a great way for you to give that love that title or that term of pre impression to a potential job seeker to job hire or HR professional that you might be looking for Sunday so I love that idea because like you said, We hear a lot of what not to post but what should we post them I mean, because it is such a social network. It’s such a social tool now for so many kids today and and adults. I mean you know, we all I don’t know very many people who don’t use some form of social media whether it’s LinkedIn, Instagram, tik tok, or, or Reddit or you know, Pinterest, I mean, there has to be at least some social platform that you’re on in some capacity and being cognizant of what you’re putting out there is essential.
Donovan Dreyer 15:16
Yeah, if it’s 2025, it’s not going to be just something that we all you know, do a little bit here, there, it’s going to be an expectations, you’re not going to be able to have those 47 followers. And then people still believe that, you know, if you’re gonna be doing a talk or some kind of service for them that you’re worth five figures, or six figures or seven figures. So people are definitely going to need to do that with more intentionality. And there is one called z me. So that’s z, two E’s, m two E’s dot com, that’s basically set up for kids to set up for college, or if they’re going to do scholarship applications, or just to kind of track their portfolio, my daughter’s got her own Instagram that’s got quite a few posts on it. Now, she’s 17. And you can see the whole progression of her portfolio. So that’s cool, too. It’s not only what we’re doing as an end result, but you can also see this cool progression on things like z me or if kids do post something of their craft, their art, their gifts that they have on social.
Katie Brinkley 16:18
I love that that’s awesome. Now, you know, kind of going from kids being on social media and posting proactively with that pre impression. You know, I think that that is one of the things too that a lot of, we think, like I was alluding to before, we think that when we’re 18 1920 years old, we need to have it all figured out as to what we want to do for the rest of our lives. What do you kind of how do you help with a lot of your clients and students with figuring out what the right path is for them? Like do you have a like a personality map or like a life map that you help them navigate? which path is the right way for them to go with their career?
Donovan Dreyer 16:54
Yeah, I have visuals for two gigantic life questions. One is how are you? And so we’ll talk about that one in a minute because I think we have that on the docket to talk about and the other one is Who are you and so the Who are you to me answering all those questions back in the 80s made me more confused and I definitely see when I watched kids take the AC t when I’m proctoring you know in the past 2001 to 2018 watching those kids take the AC t a part of the AC t had a personality inventory and it’s like they can’t focus on that they just Christmas tree it even the A plus kid is Christmas dream. And just making a pretty pattern on the on the circles with the interest in betrayal because they can’t put focus on that when they’re being tested for college entrance. So you know, a lot of these things are overly complex. I’ve developed a system that’s just I hate acronyms really when they are like just doled out and gobs and bunches in the schools. But I created one called paid and so paid just distills down to if there’s going to be a career invented in 2030, these four letters will cover it. So these four letters stand for the four main ingredients that any career is made up of. So there are elements of p, which is the people person elements of A, which is active person, elements of I, which is ideas person. So every one of these has a scale, like we can think about a small amount of this ingredient or a ton of this ingredient, depending on the type of person we are. So we’ve got people active ideas, and the last one is a data person. So that’s what all of these interest inventories all kind of boil down to when you think about matching up a personality to a career. So that’s what I help kids do I help them put those four in order. One of my daughters is an iPad, another one’s an epta. Another one’s in a PID. So like fun thing. And vowels is like they spell stuff out too. And it becomes ridiculously easy, not only to figure it out, but then to have fun sharing it with somebody I actually have magnets that I’ve made out of it on the refrigerator. And it’s a way that we can say hey, I do answer that question Who am I as a teen, and I can tell you mom or I can tell you uncle or whoever it is in their lives. They actually have a ridiculously simple system that takes me it is a mini course that I’ve created. That’s like 38 minutes long, and many many, many teens are better able to express who they are than a lot of grown ups. I know.
Katie Brinkley 19:21
Alright, well let’s get in. I love that. But the Who are you now you’ve piqued my interest? What the hell?
Donovan Dreyer 19:28
Okay, yeah, but how are you I’ve invented a traffic lights. So we go from state to state to state to state and every intersection is gonna have green, yellow, and red. And whether or not we can speak English. In any state we’re driving through that doesn’t matter. The language is the visual language of the lights at the intersection. So we need to know what those mean, and everybody on the roads needs to know what those mean to keep everybody safe. So I just decided there needs to be a universal language for mental health as well because mindfulness and self awareness like what the heck is that stuff for me, it’s got to be just like Like the intersections, I want to keep kids safe first, and I want them to thrive after that second, and this system really helps with that. So this, you know, to be honest, this was a super tragic story, just like personally, too, as a school counselor, you’re part of a community that you serve. And so when something happens to one of the kids in the community, you’re the helper like everybody’s looking to you as the helper. But the tough thing is, it also impacts you. So this kind of tragedy dominated me for longer than then I realized that there was a time when we had three suicides in a two week span, at the school I was working at, and one of the moms came to me and she said, we had Yellow Ribbon come, and they help us turn in a card, if we’re feeling suicidal, but she said, I wanted to know, first of all, it’s too late. But if I did know, I wouldn’t want my son turning in a card at the last second, is there any way we can get any kind of early warning detection before it’s too late. And I started with a numbering system. But you can imagine if everybody decided whatever number they feel like going on, and all we had at the intersections was lights with numbers, and it was open to interpretation, it wouldn’t work. And the same thing was true with the Likert scale of how you doing on a scale of one to 10. So when I created the traffic light, it really evolved out of a bunch of conversations with kids, that there’s really just three levels, when it comes to all the emojis in the world, all the emotions in the world, all of the stress possibilities, there’s really just three levels. And so this is why I attached each one of them with a color of the light is because if you’re in the green, you know how you’re doing is something you can handle it on your own, it’s self help is going to help how you’re doing with a green level of stress. And if how you are is is worse than that, and your stress is higher, and it’s tougher than you can handle on your own. Well, that’s why you’re actually in the yellow level. But somebody in your everyday life could probably help you out with that stuff. But if it’s beyond you, plus, it’s beyond people in your everyday life, now you need the mental health professional. So that’s the final type of help that matches up with the red zone. So when we see those, quote unquote, red flags in life, now we know exactly what to do, we got to get our kids, even if I’m a dad, Counselor, I would need to get my kids in the hands of a mental health professional because I’m not objective. As the dad, even though I would kind of fit the category, we got to get that mental health professional in the red zone, so that we don’t miss the red flags. And we don’t, you know, end up having to be too late like it was for those three kids. But the early detection is there’s a defined yellow, and there’s a defined green. And it’s also helps with what not to do, we don’t need to hover, if they’re in the green zone. They’re improving their EQ, their emotional intelligence, their coping skills by working it out on their own. And we don’t need to jump in as parents and referee every little thing between siblings in the yellow zone, they’re going to be able to conflict resolve together, like they’re in the everyday life, working those conflict resolution skills in the middle yellow level. So it really helps us not only know exactly what to do, based on what level somebody is that it also helps us figure out what not to do. And yeah, that’s the system I devised in response to moms play.
Katie Brinkley 23:19
Wow, that is awesome. You have a lot going on. Donovan and I think that that the stoplight is absolutely the one I think is very impactful. And it’s true. I think that the the green, yellow and red I mean, that’s very simple of where are you on your help right now? Like what how are you doing? And I think it is a great three different levels to use. So yeah, kind of kind of left me speechless, because it’s, it’s something that I think it’s you know, I totally appreciate that there’s so much more attention being made to mental health these days. And I think that it’s something that we are starting to talk about more openly, which makes me very appreciative, but I think that it’s it’s still difficult for people to to say I need help and whether they are a high school kid, an elementary school kid or if they’re a grown adult because an entrepreneur or business person that’s just overwhelmed. Do you need to have those different green, yellow, red, where are you how are you with everything and I think that is a great, great system. So
Donovan Dreyer 24:27
a breakthrough for me. I mean, this is you know, for me, I think this is a significant breakthrough for the world of mental health. The proof was I just got this random idea of the day I presented to the American School Counselor Association national conference because there are people like yucking it up a little bit about teenagers not giving you know full answers and one syllable this and once it will have that and I was like I’m going to do a challenge of bringing up five school counselors. They’re all going to make their chart because there’s a time element to this too. How are you now how are you a little bit before that, how are you a little bit before that because that shows the power As their stress getting worse, staying the same or getting better. So I had five counselors come up, they all charted it with a with an erasable marker on my chart. And one of them had rising stress in the middle of July in New Orleans, everybody else was chill and having fun. And I was like, Okay, we got time for one share out because I play to the audience, and everybody points to the one person as a guide, I just want to, you know, help you realize we just triage, mental health that’s totally invisible. And they didn’t use a single word, to tell us how they’re feeling. But we know exactly which person to talk to first. So that’s the power of this, you know, there is a stigma around saying, I need help, there is a stigma around, you know, can we hand in a card, but if I have people just point at three spots, or put a marker on three spots, I know exactly what I need to do or not do based on what’s right there in front of both of our sets of eyes. So it is a pretty significant breakthrough for mental health. And you’re right, this is the one that I really need to keep pushing out there. And finally, there’s a lot of receptivity after the pandemic, because it’s been an uphill push.
Katie Brinkley 26:04
I imagine, I imagine and I think that the conversation definitely, you know, shifted here at the end. But I think that this is, it’s something that’s really important to talk about, and to realize that, you know, the pandemic, a lot of us were alone, a lot of you know, and we missed the the having that outreach, just talking to a stranger, you know, on the street and, and overhearing someone’s conversation at the coffee shop, all that stuff was missed. And now that the world is opening up again, at least the United States is opening up again, it’s a lot of people are might be having a hard time adjusting back to that life. And I think that this is absolutely something that that needs to be shared and embraced. Because it’s, it’s a way for us to really kind of communicate, how are you doing green, yellow, red, so Donovan, this has been an awesome conversation that went by really fast, but I’d love it if people could get in touch with you, what is the best way for people to connect with you that they want to learn more about you. And once you do?
Donovan Dreyer 27:00
Well, just like I preach to the kids, I got pre impressions all over social media. So you can probably pick me up pretty easily there on Instagram or LinkedIn. And then also within just email me, like just reach out through email to Donovan at Get ready. coaching.com probably the place I’ve checked the most. But all the social, I’m pretty active there too. Because I I do believe this is not just the wave of the present, but it is not going away, there’s just going to be more of an expectation to make that pre impression and to have something out there proactively. So certainly reach out to me in any one of those places. I do feel like this is something that, you know, for looking at the Denver business space, people certainly could be having this conversation at the office, you know, at the office to like, how are you doing and actually have a way to learn to gauge that in a way that gives us total clarity like never before.
Katie Brinkley 27:55
Donovan, thank you again, so much for coming on the show today. I really appreciate you and all your time.
Donovan Dreyer 28:01
Well, thank you. I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity, happy to come back any time and dive a little deeper and taken in a similar but maybe slightly different direction if you’re open to that in the future. But it was a total pleasure and an honor to be here today. And thank you for helping me get the word out.
Katie Brinkley 28:19
It was so great having Donovan. Join us today on this episode. You know one of the biggest takeaways that I think we all should keep in mind is paying attention to to our own stoplights. Where are we at with our journey? Because Yeah, I know as an entrepreneur, sometimes it can be stressful, it can seem overwhelming, especially when you’re just getting started and you’re building out your team. I know that there’s been times where I’ve had to step away and I don’t I don’t want to post anything on social media. I don’t want to send out that email. And it can be hard but you have to take a step back look at where you’re at with your mental health and Donovan was such a great guest and with sharing the stoplight analogy you know, green did good you got it on your own yellow, you know, you can use a little bit of help and the red someone needs to step in and intervene. So a big huge thank you to Donovan for joining us today and, you know, take a step back. Think about where you are with with your journey. Where are you on your business journey? Are you a green? And if you’re not, is it time to take a step back and ask friends or family for some help and for some support. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com/ connect with me on LinkedIn or check me out on Instagram. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.