David starts off part two of his podcast with his latest book, “Mouse in the Room: Because the Elephant isn’t Alone”. The book talks about how the elephant isn’t the only animal in the room. David says there are many other more subtle animals to see that not everyone in the room may be aware of. He provides a recent example.
“Like, a couple of nights ago, I was at an acting class, and I suggested to someone something she could’ve done a little differently,” David said. “My story in my head is that ‘That didn’t land well,’ that she kind of felt a little bit insulted, and she did not want that feedback. And so, that’s a mouse.”
“Now, I could just let that mouse hide, or I could identify it and say, ‘Oh, okay,’ and reach out (and I probably will today) and leave a message and say, ‘Hey, I just got the feeling that didn’t land well and that wasn’t what you wanted to hear, and I wanted to apologize.’”
David stresses the importance of identifying the mouse in the room in the first place. That’s part of why he named the book what he did, to center the problem in the room that many people are too scared to confront or name otherwise.
“It’s about authenticity,” David said. “It’s about stopping the act that we’re always presenting to the world, because we don’t want to get in trouble or feel uncomfortable, and finding artful ways to name your mice so that you can be seen for who you are and generate more connection, confidence and be a better leader.”
Naming the mouse in the room also generates more trust, according to David. Being real (or honest) in a situation can get you farther than pretending that the problem doesn’t exist in the room in the first place. It’s also the point of good leadership.
“It works for leadership as well. If you’re not willing to be revealed and give people a sense of who you are and what’s driving you, and why you care about this and actually name what’s happening, who’s going to trust that?” David said. “They’re not going to want to follow you. So, there’s business application. If money’s a driver for you, I think you’ll make more money.”