Perception vs. Reality with Gary Mottershead: Season 0, Episode 3

Clarity Generates Confidence podcast with Gary Mottershead - Season 0, Episode 3

Perception vs. Reality with Gary Mottershead: Season 0, Episode 3

In today’s episode of Clarity Generates Confidence, Gary Mottershead speaks to the concept of perception and how what you perceive is not necessarily always the reality of a situation.


In many cases when your worldview is narrowing and you can only see one path forward it is especially important to expand your perspective.

Further discussion hinges on the idea that your mindset and your perception have a significant impact on your outlook and how you go choose to move forward.

Podcast Transcript Below:

This is Gary Mottershead, President of GCP Industrial Products and welcome to another episode of Clarity Generates Confidence, this time I’m on my own for the first time in our series and I wanted to talk for a short time today about that the power we have on our own perception.

I’m taken back to when I was (as simple as all things) putting out the garbage, as I do in the middle of the week when it’s our day for garbage, and as I was putting the garbage down and I stopped, and I started to smile.

Now given that this was the day after we had an announcement of a 10% Duty now on one hundred percent of our products, with the expectation it could be 25% as of January 1st I really didn’t think I had much of a reason to smile. In fact, I was sort of saying, “Does it end here, now I have spent 40 years in business and is this the way it ends?” And what made me smile was, well it was a very nice day where we live and the sun was out, and I thought to myself well, the sun came out today – no matter what happened yesterday or last week, the sun came up as it would every day.

So from that perspective, that part was good, but what was actually different, the only thing that was different was how I looked at it.

I was in a real funk the day before, and I thought to myself, “how do we deal with all of this, how do we plan for this when we only have six days to mitigate what would be a couple hundred thousand dollars of cost to us a company” and potentially looking at what the end would look like for GCP as a company and I thought to myself no, no, it doesn’t end here.

As I drove down the street I went slowly, which also is not in my nature, and I ran into my neighbor Pat, who has been our neighbor for more than 20 years, and she was walking her dog. For some reason I stopped and said hello after not speaking all summer and catching up on our kids, and what is going on.

And I thought you know, “Gary, most times you drive right by and wave without conversation” and in fact Pat was surprised I did stop, but we had a nice conversation. At that point even though we both had so many things to do, the time did not matter, those few minutes did not make any difference.

On my way into work on my 15 minute drive I got a chance to think about it and my thought process was, “what was different, what was different from what I felt like yesterday, or what I went to bed the night before, to when I left the house that morning and got into work?” and the only thing that was different was how I looked at it, what my mindset was, and what my perception was. It wasn’t bad, it could have been and a lot of people that I’ve talked to since then have literally gone into a shell and being really worried about it.

Well I can’t say I wasn’t worried, but I also said, “the power is in is in my hands whether to look at it as positive or negative.”

I resolved at that point and said you know this is really very important to think about, this is very important to really control what our mind is, even though emotions take over and that’s the challenge. We are emotional beings as humans are and I’ve always said the human being has two parts: the human part comes first, and the being come second. Therefore, the human or emotional part is what’s going to drive us which is great I love that part, however; sometimes it can be overpowering and can put us into a state that isn’t really very healthy and doesn’t allow us to see things clearly.

Now the way I look at the situation may be very different than how someone else views it, there are 12 other people in my office the way they look at it, all our customers and all our suppliers and the whole network out there, we’ll look at it a little bit differently. What’s the right answer? It’s right the way you see it, it’s right the way I see it for me, but if I want people to change how they perceive it and how they see it as I see, because now perception is reality so as I see the reality which is my perception, it’s my job to find a way to convince them and let them see the way I see it. But to just pound and say you know this is the way it is isn’t really going to work.

I think it’s really a big part of the situation that we find ourselves in, in this particular case with respect to duties, and discussions of NAFTA which looks like it’s going to come to a conclusion positively for everybody – but it didn’t look like it would happen that way.

Coming back to us and coming back to you, what’s important? Well, any time you can take a moment to step back from the intensity of the emotion or the situation that you are in, gives you a chance to pause, gives you a chance to look at it possibly in another way.

I believe in Canada here we are quite fortunate, even though this message will go out to a lot of places I believe we’re quite fortunate in that we have bias media, we get a chance to be able to think about our world as a whole and in a not-so-intense environment as happens with our friends in United States.

So, part of our job is to bring that picture as we see it to them, and we will do the same in China with our suppliers. George, Vice President of China Operations and I will be in China and will do the same thing there. We will be bringing to them the perception that we have because I know everything in China is filtered through the Chinese media, things in the US are filtered through the US media and it’s very important in Canada that we have a lot of influences. Not only from Europe, Asia and the US and our own internally, we get a chance to see things a little bit more broadly and we need to, we’re a small country with a large trading economy so it’s important for us.

So for you listening to this, what do you do? Well we aren’t going to stop being really emotional about what our own world is; however, can you take a moment to pause while you’re reacting? Take a deep breath, or two or three, count to 10 even – whatever it is look at your world and say is there another way to see this from where I am seeing it right now?

Many of us and I’m certainly the same way are very defensive at the beginning. I want to defend, and I want to protect my own position – I want to protect my company, our income, our customers, our suppliers whatever it might be; however, that may not be in your best interest at the moment.

The protectionism may lead yourself to exclusion, leaving yourself out from what a potential opportunity might be. So, this morning a while back allowed me to see the world a little bit differently, allowed me to see it in a new light, and as I said the sun came up and will continue to come up for the rest of our lives. So let’s take advantage of that, let’s take advantage of our ability to see, and know you have a new day, have a new light, and it’s going to be different than it was yesterday, but to really respect where you are today and respect it with your own intelligence and your own capability how you can look at your world in different ways.

In one of the previous podcasts, when Tracy was on she talked about getting help and talking to other people. Well I’m very fortunate I have a great group of people around me and I can we can talk it out, we can talk about things and we can get a different perspective. Clearly with those who are, you know, considerably younger than I am they have a different perspective and that has always been very healthy and very invigorating for me to really challenge my own thinking. So take the opportunity when you feel like your role is closing in a little bit and the world is against you, step back from where you’re at and get an opinion from other people. Most importantly listen, not so that you can respond, but to collect and gather information and to me that is really valuable.

So as I look at our situation today, if you can see any humor in what you have, if you can laugh a little bit at ourselves, and allow your mind to work in ways you had not imagined. By committing yourself to resolving the issues in a way that will help everyone will leave you with greater opportunities than you would have seen before. We are much better when we are positive and projecting forward than we are when we are defensive and looking backwards.

So for me the reason for this little message was I was very fortunate to have that moment a while back where I could sit and look at my world in a different way, take the perception and as it turned out within a week we were able to counteract all of the negative financial impact of the duties, be able to turn it around and give certainty and clarity to our customers, our suppliers and to ourselves.

Not that we can solve or guess what any one person including President Trump might do, at least we know what our situation is right now going forward and that gives us a lot of certainty and clarity and I can feel the positive momentum in the confidence that everybody goes forward with including our customers and our suppliers.

So for me today I think really key is that your mindset and your perception have a significant impact on your outlook and how you go forward. To me, failure has never been an option therefore what do I have to do and how do I have to think about a situation to move forward positively?

The next time you’re faced with that, take a moment, have a few deep breaths, get some other input and really consider the strengths you have and how you can utilize those strengths to overcome your own mindset, your perception of your world (and the reality) and deal with it in a positive way that will bring a benefit to everyone around you.

Until next time,

Gary Mottershead

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