ABOUT BRUCE SALLAN
Happy and Proud Dad who learns everyday | Writer of the book “A Dad’s Point of View” | Blogger | Radio Show Host | Former Award Winning Television Executive; Former Producer of 30 Television, Movies, Pilots and Series; Former Vice President at ABC. For a detailed bio on Bruce, check this link . You can also refer Bruce’s Media Kit
Nischala: Bruce.. Good Evening! Thank You so much for your time. It’s indeed a pleasure and honor to talk to you…
Bruce: Hi Nischala. Thank You for talking to me all the way from India.
Nischala: Firstly, congratulations on all your success in the Social media space and on being a speaker at the DatSummit2.0. That’s awesome! My first question to you really is about your career transition from the show business to an advocate of parenting. It’s quite a transformation. How did that happen?
Bruce: To be honest, I’ve had a wonderful first career in the show business and was blessed that I made a lot of money and that gave me significant financial freedom. I’ve worked with some of the best and most talented people in the industry; and have completely enjoyed this stint. And then I experienced first-hand the hardships of a divorce, the loss of my parents and the reality of being a single dad. And I learnt from these experiences and grew as a parent, individual and human being. After a point, I felt that I want to share this message to the world to make it a better place. And thus my second career evolved. I say evolved because I did not plan doing all that I am doing today. I was open to try, to learn and more importantly, to share. What I try to write and blog about is what I call the layman’s “Point of View” on parenting based on my own experiences. I write and share about my journey as a parent – Both the failures and successes. I write about what I did wrong with the intent that other parents across the globe can learn from it. And I do hope that my writing touches people as I write from my heart and it is the truth. What’s most important is to realize that every kid is unique and hence each parent needs to understand this and deal with their children accordingly.
Nischala: That’s wonderful Bruce. And such a noble thought. So what are your guiding principles that make you keep going..
Bruce: This career is not about money.
I have just 3 guiding principles:
1) To make a DIFFERENCE in the WORLD
2) To Have fun
3) To Demonstrate to my kids that it’s possible to be a successful working Dad – Essentially to do complete justice to your responsibilities as a parent and successful professional
Nischala: So can you elaborate a little bit about this? Specially about making a DIFFERENCE in the WORLD
Bruce: Looking back, I think I am blessed that I had an opportunity to meet and interact with diverse people and impact their lives. Even as a part of the show business, I only did work in which I believed I had something positive to say. So I believe if your primary intent is POSITIVE and aimed at DOING GOOD, you will find ways and means to do it! And I believe every individual can make a DIFFERENCE in the WORLD – It can be in your family, friends or a larger scale of impact. But what’s important is to understand that even one simple word, act or deed has the potential to create a transformational change.
And I do want to leave a legacy in the world that I’m proud of…Like I support a girl’s school which is impoverished in Ghana – I personally send books, toys, etc. and request people in my network to do the same. I also request the listeners of my radio shows to help and support in whatever way the can. Now guess what I get in return? A photo of these kids holding the books / other supplies that we shipped them. And the joy and satisfaction of that one image is priceless. I would not trade it for anything else in the world, and mind you – Money cannot buy this! I honestly believe that everyone should give back to others – those you know, those you don’t know, to the world at large
Nischala: That’s very kind of you Bruce. So wonderful that you are supporting such causes – Very noble! My next question is really on how did you this crystal clear clarity on your 3 point agenda for life? Like many of us have good intentions and want to do good, but somehow lack the precision in clarity. And hence somewhere the efforts are not so focused / get diluted in actions.
Bruce: To be honest, there have been a few strong influences in my life; which influenced my thinking and life.
First is Dennis Prager. He is a very WISE MAN. He runs a popular radio chat show. And he mostly writes and speaks about politics, but he also speaks about life. He wrote a book “Happiness is a Serious Problem”. And since I also personally know him and have interacted with him, he’s been a very STRONG influence in my life. So his book + listening to his radio show + my interactions with him have a definite impact on my life.
What he says is that Gratitude is the Number 1 ingredient for a happy life. During a vulnerable moment in life, I once questioned him about the belief in god. My heart wanted to believe, but there was a resistance from my mind. And Dennis is Jewish. So am I. Here’s what he said – “If you observe Shabbat for 52 weeks in a row, you will believe it and it will become a part of your life” – And that’s a very powerful message that I learnt.
So my point is this –
If you are happy, then great – Do show it
If you are not happy, then act as if you are – Fake it until you make it
If nothing else, your show of happiness will probably make others happy – And you’ll end up happy as well
Second, be open to experiment and to new life experiences. I retired from my first career in the show business at the age of 45. For the next 8 – 10 years, I explored and considered several alternative careers – from being an elementary school teacher, to several franchisees like restaurants, etc. before I settled down to being an advocate of parenting
Nischala: Hmmm… So it takes time…
Bruce: Absolutely. It takes time. But make an effort.. And the best way to start is to write it down. You may start with 20 things on that list. And over a period of time, the list will get refined based on your own experiences and growth. Like, over years of trial and error – I’ve come so far. I was open to try, open to learn. When I started, I never thought of doing a radio show, or a tweet chat (#dadchat), or my own comic strip, or being a conference speaker (Like I’m just back from Texas where I was a speaker at the first Dad2.0 Summit. To give you a very specific example – Before, I had no clue what FaceBook was? And more importantly, I had No interest in learning it either. But once I realized the power of Social Media and how it can help in my work – I made the effort to learn. For a year, I had a Social Media tutor. I’d go to her house 2 days a week for an hour & she taught me all about Social Media and how to use it. Learning is important in life. It activates your brain and that’s sometimes even more important as a parent.
Nischala: That’s really commendable Bruce. So what are the most powerful Social media tools that you have found to be most effective?
Bruce: There are 4 really and each serves a different function. In no particular order,
1) Twitter & Tweetchats – I host the #DadChat (6 and 7 PM PST) every Thu. It is a live chat and is open to people all over the world. I usually bring in a special guest and the topic is usually what I have written about on my blog for that week. It’s been an amazing experience and personally, I have been introduced to so many wonderful people across the globe. I’ve also had charity auctions as a part of these chats.
2) My own website / blog
3) Facebook – And this has 2 elements
a. My own Personal profile
b. My FB page of Dad’s Point of View .To be honest, I spend more time on this FB page than to the one dedicated to my work
4) Triberr – Which is really a social advocate site in which you form tribes. Each tribe is owned by a chief and is focused on specific topics of common interest. And this exposes you to the work of other people on that topic and you also get to share each other posts. I’m a member of 7 tribes with a total of 175 tribe members and a reach of 3 million people. So if all 175 were to tweet 1 of my blogs, it has the potential to reach 3 million people. And being a part of these tribes has personally been very rewarding because it has connected me to some awesome writers and thinkers. And most importantly, this is the most critical element of social media – The potential REACH. I spend a significant portion of my time on social media by commenting on other’s posts – Every day, I comment on 15 – 20 posts that I read – And that has been a definitely positive channel to enhance my social media connections, relationships and networks. A lot of artists or bloggers or creative people want to focus only on the creative aspect of their work, and want others to take care of the Marketing, PR, etc. In my view, that is nonsense. Part of your job if you really want to have an impact is to promote yourself (and this needs learning too) and to learn how to reach, connect and engage with your audience / readers. Only then can you make a difference. If that means, you got to dedicate some time for this as a part of your schedule, then so be it. Like for e.g.: Certain portion of my time is devoted to the marketing and promotional activities of my work. I’ve learnt how to use social media and utilize several channels to broaden the audience reach. The more people you reach, the greater you’re potential to create an impact
Nischala: So can you elaborate a little on Tweetchats in terms of how they are moderated and the audience reach?
Bruce: So, the first Tweet chat that I attended was the #blogchat – which was started by Mark Colliers – He’s again an amazing guy and very gracious. Tweet chats were his idea. And the kind of audience reach and engagement is amazing. So for #blogchat, there are usually around 5000 tweets for every chat. In the case of #Dadchat, which is today globally the most popular parenting Tweet chat, there are usually between 1000 to 1500 tweets. I myself post about 200 tweets during each chat. I use Tweetgrid which allows you to filter for the specific hash tags and you can also adjust the settings of the refresh rates. So you can get the tweets in almost real-time, but more importantly you can simultaneously read and respond. I personally think and write really fast. But at end of the chat, I am tired. It’s like I’ve run a marathon :)
Nischala: Wow! That’s a phenomenal reach.. Amazing to hear this. So moving on…Bruce you touched a little bit about a legacy… Any thoughts on what you believe are important elements of your legacy?
Bruce: To be honest, what I really want to leave as my personal legacy would be
1) Leave behind 2 good men (my kids) in the world. So that’s really that I want to be – A GOOD DAD! And this is what I value the MOST
2) To teach people the value they get from doing good – So that’s really, to do good myself and be a living example for it through my work, words and actions
3) To give back to others – And to make other’s realize how important it is to give back to make the world a better place. And you don’t need to give back in a “financial” sense – But really, to give your time, your thoughts, your ear,… No matter how much / how little you have, you can always give…
And most importantly, to be known as someone who cared about others… As people age, I’ve rarely seen any one wish that they had earned more or had more corporate success (Of course! If you’ve had a very tough life where basic needs like food, etc have been a struggle – Then the case is different)… But otherwise…almost everyone I know really wished that they spent more time with those they loved. And these are the things that matter – The small joys of life – Sharing, Loving, Caring and Giving. The truth is that happiness / ultimate joy comes from what you give to others.
Nischala: That’s a beautiful thought Bruce and I can see that all your work and efforts are directed towards this. My best wishes for continued success. So lastly, what would be your advice to parents.. Rather, what’s the wisdom you’d like to share with parents?
1) There’s no such thing as QUALITY time ; there’s only QUANTITY time
2) If you can afford it, your children will always be better off if ONE parent can be at home during the teenage years of your kid’s life – That should be your first job. If you can’t afford it, then do the best possible in your circumstance. If that means you cut down a few material pleasures, so be it. Like I’ve cut back on my life significantly. I drive a truck which has been with me for the past 7 years. Looking back, when I was in the show business, I used to drive a Porsche, a Mercedes.. So I’ve personally done it and it’s possible. The point is that the teenage years are the potentially most dangerous years of a child’s life – And 1 mistake can change your / your child’s life forever – I always say to parents of teens – “Don’t expect them to listen, Don’t expect respect”. The only job of a parent of a teenager is to “Keep them alive.” And all that you instilled in your children before their teenage years will make a difference now..
Nischala: So, What are the lessons / values that parents should instill in their children?
1) Persistence is important – My observation with the current generation of kids is that they give up way too easily. They take everything too personally and want things to be handed down to them on a platter. As parents, you need to teach them the importance of being PERSISTENT in life. To try and attempt and keep trying till you achieve what you want! When I started writing, I sent 5000 e-mails to publishers / editors. There were 25 acceptances and 4975 rejections. So you have to persist to get a break /opportunity.
2) Be dedicated and sincere in all that you do – There’s no substitute for hard work and no short cuts to long term success and happiness. Dedication, hard-work and sincerity are values your should develop
3) Use every failure as an opportunity to learn and grow – Every failure is really an opportunity to learn. My first book was a commercial failure. I published it 1 year back. It did not sell as much as I expected. After I got over the shock and hurt, I realized the creative mistakes I made in the content. So that has left me wiser and I’ve learnt my lessons. The next book will be better. And this message is not important just for children, but for anyone in life
4) Own your actions – Take responsibility for them and have the courage to say “I messed up” and now what I can do to “change this”. You can’t blame others for your actions.
Nischala: So profound and yet so relevant! Thanks Bruce for sharing your thoughts. This rendezvous has been an absolute pleasure. Any final message you want to share as a part of this Rendezvous?
Bruce: I would invite all parents to #Dadchat… It’s globally the biggest Tweet chats on Parenting. Thank You Nischala.. It’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you…
How did you like this Rendezvous? Leave a comment to let us know….
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