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How Positive Psychology Can Change The Course Of Your Life With Jeff Barnard

Posted on March 31, 2021

MSP 44 | Positive Psychology


Never underestimate the power of having positive psychology in life. It enriches creativity, increases productivity, and delivers the right flow for your skills. But in today’s fast-paced world, many people don’t even consider putting energy into achieving this state. Samuel Gbadebo sits down with positive psychology expert Jeff Barnard to discuss how you can bring yourself closer to your goals, connect with others on a deeper level, and find true purpose in life by embracing your strengths and finding the good in everything. He also shares his professional journey that led him to become the US Area Vice President at LiDCO Group PLC, the secrets of his morning routine, and his goal-setting strategies on a daily basis.

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How Positive Psychology Can Change The Course Of Your Life With Jeff Barnard

We have with us another fascinating guest. This is a leader in the medical sales space but what makes his career track interesting is the focus he decided to take on when he went to get his Master’s. We have with us in this episode, Jeff Barnard. He’s the US Area Vice President for the LiDCO Group. They specialize in hemodynamic monitoring equipment. He had a long career in medical sales. His focus and specialty is positive psychology. He studied it as an advanced degree and he’s a positive psychology coach. I’m a big fan of professional development. I’m an even bigger fan of personal development so I think understanding something like positive psychology can be useful and beneficial to anyone. We’re going to get into it with Jeff and talk about how he’s utilized it in his career as a leader and even in his personal life. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy this interview.

We have with us Jeff Barnard. He is coming from the LiDCO Group. He is the US Area Vice President. Before I do any butchering, let me let you go ahead and introduce yourself. Tell everybody who you are and what you do.

My name is Jeff. I’ve been in the medical device industry for years. I started in early 2000. When I originally got into it, I was focused on areas of the human body and the lungs and respiratory. I moved into the OR and became focused on the brain. I then moved down to the heart. I’m with a small company. We’re hemodynamic monitoring out on the West Coast. I’m trying to take market share from the market leaders.

One of the reasons why I had you on the show is because Jeff has a level of training that I’m a big fan of in the personal development space. It’s enhanced the way he’s been able to not only develop his career but lead others. I’m not going to go on and on about that. Jeff, tell us a little bit about that part of your training and then take us back to what got you into the industry.

I became interested in the psychology of how people accomplish goals. How they relate to each other and how they communicate. I wanted to know more about it. I went back to school. I’m going part-time. I selected a university that had a unique combination of two ideas, there’s positive psychology and then there’s coaching psychology. Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes people flourish and prosper. It’s scientifically based. It’s a double-blind study. One of the methods that facilitate this is called Positive Psychology Interventions, the PPI. Some of the ubiquitous ones that as you probably know of are exercise and mindfulness meditation.

Coaching psychology is the way that you communicate and facilitate a conversation to help somebody accomplish their goals. It’s a goal-directed conversation. The university I’m going to, the University of East London, was the first in the world to combine these two, positive psychology and the vehicle of delivering that is coaching psychology. They’re coming a way to merge these two ideas. There are a couple of concepts that I can get into if you wanted me to.

How does that play into what you do as a leader? We understand that coaching is coaching someone towards accomplishing their goals but how does that look any different than coming up with a business plan and going after your goals on it every day?

The absence of anxiety or stress makes life worth living. Click To Tweet

It would be a humanistic or holistic perspective when you’re working with people. One of the theories I’ll point out is the PERMA Model by Martin Seligman in 1998. Positive psychology has only been around for a few years. The PERMA Model is a humanistic focus perspective to help somebody achieve their goals, have more well-being. PERMA is an acronym, P stands for Positive emotions, E stands for Engagement, R stands for Relationships, M stands for Meaning and A stands for Accomplishment.

Let’s take positive emotions. Anybody that’s been in medical device sales knows it’s a roller coaster ride. Especially if you’re selling an enterprise product, you’re touching many different areas in the hospital. You have one conversation with the doc and he loves your technology and you walk away and you’re feeling all these positive emotions. You can have another discussion with some lady on the value analysis committee that could care less and has a tight relationship with your competitor. As far as she’s concerned, she’s like, “You could walk outside the hospital.” This rollercoaster ride is important to stabilize that and you can help your team.

One PPI that I would mention in regards to this and is pretty well-researched is called the Three Good Things. At the end of the day, you write down three good things that happen and you write down why they were good. Not only has that shown to increase positive effect that day and the next day and this is only a seven-day. They do it for one week. It’s been shown to elevate your positive aspect several months later. That’s one idea on how PPI could fit into maybe the PERMA Model. As I mentioned those, I’m sure that any sales leader would think, “Relationships are important.”

Besides your frontline manager and the relationships you have externally, is there anyone else in the company concerned with your progress, your accomplishment and your goal. Do you have a mentor besides your frontline manager? When you’re in the field and you’re somewhat on an Island a lot of times. Do you have somebody you can call and maybe they answer and get some feedback or say, “I’m thinking of this approach. I’m thinking of this next meeting that I have. This is a situation that I’m going to go through.” Do you have anybody outside of your frontline manager that you can talk to and have a relationship with? All of these things are important not only for your well-being but for the accomplishment, exceeding your goals.

One theory I’ve heard a lot about is operating from this excited space. You’re going to be so much more productive, more effective and feel better doing it if you’re operating from an excited space. This excited space keeps you creative and flowing. It’s almost like you’re in the flow. Would you say that positive psychology plays into doing everything and utilizing every tool available to keep you in this excited space or is that something else?

You nailed a couple of things. Fredrickson came up with a theory called broaden-and-build. If you’re feeling positive emotions, you’re more creative. The more positive emotions you have, you can gain another level of a state in positive emotions. It builds on itself. That’s one. Another one you mentioned is interesting. There’s another theory called Flow. Specifically, in athletics, you’re in the zone. Time slows down. Everything changes. You feel like you’re outside of body experience. There’s research done on that as well. Only about 10% to 15% of us in America, during our work life, happened to get into a flow state, which is small.

Flow happens when your skills and the challenge are balanced. Your skills are enough for the challenge. If the challenge isn’t challenging enough, boredom sets in. If your skills aren’t up to the level of what the challenge is, then you’re overwhelmed. That’s a coaching opportunity right there. If your employee is telling you, “I feel overwhelmed.” You start to know what’s going on. If they’re not engaged, which flow is one of the keys to engagement, maybe they’re not challenged enough. Maybe they need more challenges.

Have you felt ever in flow working as a medical device sales professional?

MSP 44 | Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology: If you have positive emotions, it creates an area where you’re more creative.


There are times. This was before I knew what the concept was and how to align things. For example, if you’re cold calling and you’re on the phone, if you can organize it where you get in a rhythm instead of having everything splattered, you’d be more organized. You can get into more of a rhythm.

Let’s describe that a little bit more. A lot of medical sales reps have been athletes across the medical sales space. If you’re an athlete and your skills have met the challenge, you feel that flow. You’re the point and you’re a scorer but in this game, you can’t miss. You feel it. Everything you’ve been practicing all the way to the ball leaving your fingertips, you know it’s going in. Things are happening. You’re in flow. As a professional in the field, how would you describe what that feels like?

To your first point, unfortunately, we can’t get into flow anytime we want to. You’re chasing it. There are some things that we can do to try to make that happen more often than not. What flow feels like to me in sales is they are authentic conversations and presentations. I experienced that a lot during presentations where you get up there and things are going well. You feel like you’re saying the right thing. Your customers are listening to you. They’re asking the right questions and you’re giving the right answers. Everything’s going smoothly. You walked out of the meeting and it wasn’t that long of a meeting yet it was. You want every single meeting and presentation to be like that.

Another way you could leverage that too is with our strengths. If you’ve been fortunate enough or lucky enough to be in a company that has made you take a strengths assessment, I would pay attention. You want to know what your strengths are. Unfortunately, strengths are blinded to us. When we judge other people and we say, “They shouldn’t be doing it like that.” That’s somewhat of an indication that might be one of your strengths because that’s the way that you view it through the world. You view other people that they should have those strengths.

A strength is a strength. It’s not a talent yet unless you develop it. For example, if you took a basketball and you’re good at shooting the ball, maybe you could be a good three-point shooter. It’s up to your coach to put you in those positions. If you’re a good three-point shooter, you don’t want to waste your time or spend time trying to dribble drive or post-op. You want to maximize your strengths. The more that you utilize your strengths during the day, the better you feel, the more engaged you feel, the better chance you have of getting into flow.

We all have parts of our job that we don’t like or maybe it’s the least amount that we like. That’s another opportunity to use your strength. For example, let’s say you didn’t like doing paperwork. One of your strengths is your love of learning. How can you utilize that strength while you’re doing your paperwork? That’s going to make you more engaged while you’re doing that and it’s going to fly by faster. You’re going to get closer to a state where you’re like, “This is not bad because I’m using my strength.”

What kind of self-talk has to go on to step into, “I hate this assignment? I don’t want to do this but I’m now going to use my strength of the love of learning to knock it out.”

It starts with awareness. You already have to do it as part of your job but if you know what you’re good at, then you can leverage what you’re good at and reframe it in a way where you’re like, “Now I’m going to do what I’ve been doing. It’s part of my job but now I’m going to utilize my strengths while I’m doing this.” You’re going to be more engaged. It’s going to be easier to do it. It’s an interesting PPI. It’s called using your strengths in new ways.

If you have passion for your work from the get-go, it will be easy for you to be more engaged, successful, and prosperous. Click To Tweet

Is this what you would say positive psychology helps you build the tools to get to this flow as often as you can?

There are many different PPIs and that’s just the mode of delivery but the whole purpose is trying to flourish. It’s not necessarily the absence of anxiety or stress that makes life worth living. It’s what’s beyond that and maximizing what you have, accomplishing your goals, being productive, having more experience with positive emotions and having better relationships. Leaders, from time to time need to realize that we get stuck in the minutia of the day-to-day activity and we lose sight of the overall meaning. If you’re selling a product that’s helping, it’s helping somebody. It’s helping the doctor perform the surgery. It’s helping the patient improve outcomes. If you’re still focused on trying to hit a number and get some sales, maybe take a step back and saying, “What are we doing? Look at how many people that we’re helping. Look at how many patients that were helping.” Provide some meaning from time to time.

I’m sure everybody wants to know a little bit more about how you got to where you are, Jeff. In a nutshell, what got you into medical sales? Why did you even get into medical sales out of college?

I realized in the later part of my undergrad degree that I was a people person. I like talking to people. I like getting to know people. I was aware that sales is one way that you can do that and you could make some pretty darn good money. After messing around with B2B sales for a while, one of my good college buddies said, “Medical sales is where you need to be.” I did a shadow. I ride along with him. He brought me into an OR and there was a heart surgery. I could smell burnt hair and I was hooked from the beginning. I’m like, “This is awesome. This is where I want to be.”

You had a pretty long career with Medtronic for a little while as a capital account executive. Tell us a little bit about that experience. What was that like for you?

I started out working for that large company. They’re always trying to optimize and maximize. They’re changing their go-to-market model. My story would be more one of survive and advance. When I was with Medtronic, I was there for about fourteen years. I had seven different managers. It seemed like every two years we were making a change, adding new products and more acquisitions. We’re always streamlining and adjusting that. It was an awesome opportunity. If you’re in a dynamic situation, it’s ever-changing. You’re getting new products to sell. You’re selling to new customers or you’re selling to new call points. It’s on and on.

Fourteen years is a pretty short time, at least it felt like it’s a short time but I got a chance to call on almost every type of position in the hospital and every type of different call point from ED to ICU to OR to pulmonologist, intensivist, anesthesiologists and going through the process of committee meetings and presentations. The products that I have sold to date don’t hinge on one person. There’s a collective of everyone that has to decide whether they want to bring it in. There could be one doctor that wants it but he’s got to prove it through an entire facility to get it in.

You spent a lot of time not talking to the doctor but talking to everyone else.

MSP 44 | Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology: If the challenge isn’t good enough and your skills aren’t up to the level of that difficulty, then you’re overwhelmed.


Talking to the doctor and then making sure that the doctor helped you out in the process. There’s a group of people behind a door that’s going to make the decision. How many people can I learn that’s behind that door and then how many people can I get in front of? When they do have that meeting about my product, I’ve touched most of those people. Most of those people have competence and trust that then when they communicate, there’s no outlier in the room that I didn’t talk to and that might have a negative toward the product to prevent it from going forward.

From Medtronic, you went into LiDCO. What prompted that move?

What’s interesting is LiDCO was a part of Medtronic at one point in time. Before I became a capital account executive, I was selling that product for maybe about a year. They divested that product so LiDCO became its own small company again. It was one of the favorite products that I’ve ever sold. Not only is it important to build relationships but you have to maintain relationships. You’ll never know when they’ll come in handy to help you with your growth, your goals and aspirations. I had the opportunity to go to LiDCO. I started a business pretty much from scratch on the West Coast and start to develop my own team and build that. We’ve been successful in a short time. We were acquired.

Why was it your favorite product?

It was hemodynamics. At the time, hemodynamics was new to me. It was about the heart and how the heart pumps blood. There are many different variables on how that amazing device moves blood around the body to make sure everything’s profused. You’re not supposed to say this. If you have three kids, you love them all the same. I had a favorite. I put my arms around it to dive into the hemodynamics and how it works. When there was an opportunity to focus on growing that market share with that product, I would recommend that to the people that are getting into the industry or if they’d been there for a while. What part of the body interests you the most? What are you most inspired about? If you were sitting around with some friends and having a glass of wine on a Saturday and the topic came up, what interests you? If you have that passion from the get-go, it’s going to be easy for you to be more engaged, successful and prosperous. Pick a body part.

That brings me to my next question. How do you take care of yourself to maintain being able to have the career you have and do everything you do? I’m sure the audience wants to understand what your life dynamics look like, as much as you can share. How do you manage it all and how do you consistently take care of yourself?

I became aware of this probably years ago. One way that you could describe it is self-care. I talk about the importance of developing a morning routine. How do you start your day? You have control over that. Once the day starts, you can get pulled in many different directions. It’s somewhat out of your control. You need to prioritize and execute but you’re getting pulled in many different directions. You can end the day that’s under your control. There are a couple of things that are important to me in how I start my day. I want some silence. I meditate. I want to get centered. I also exercise. I got to knock that out 30 minutes a day. Your energy levels decrease a little bit as the day goes along.

Eating right is important. What you put into your body is what your body uses as fuel. I don’t think we talked about sleep enough as well. Whatever you function well on, it could be eight hours or it could be seven hours. You have a chance to experiment with this every single day. Figure out what your optimum sleep is and then make that a priority. That’s one of the major crutches of well-being. If you’re tired, you can’t think, you run down and you don’t have the energy. Sales and medical device is an energy business. I would highly recommend anyone to look at their environment and anything that is sucking energy away from them, remove it. Whether it’s people, your activities, what you eat, lack of exercise, you name it, you need energy throughout the day. Hold onto that idea and protect it too.

Surround yourself with people that are motivated and bring positive energy. Click To Tweet

That’s interesting. I like when you said you need energy. You also mentioned whether it’s people. What if it’s some of your own personal family dynamics? You got some difficult people in your life that you have to deal with regularly. How do you manage to keep that energy and being able to maintain being effective in light of those relationships that you can’t necessarily run away from?

I was thinking more from a peer example. It’s important to manage your life from the inside out, starting with your thoughts, uncomfortable emotions, learning to be comfortable with uncomfortable emotions, your family dynamics, your relationship with your kids and your wife. You have tons of influence in that arena. If you’re at a national sales meeting and a group of people is complaining about the company or they’re complaining about the product, that’s energy-sucking to me. If I’m around that, that’s bringing me down, that’s demotivating. I don’t want to part of it. You can easily dab your way out of that and say, “I got to do something else. I’m not interested in this discussion.” Surround yourself with people that are motivated, positive and bring energy. That it’s important.

With all that being said, give us your specific morning routine, all the way down to the time you wake up.

I’ve been working on this for a while and it’s pretty detailed. The first thing I do is I’ll take a big glass of water and put a little bit of apple cider vinegar in it. I want to alchemize my body and get that right.

What time are we up?

I’m up at 5:30, sometimes 5:00. I wake up with a big glass of water with a little apple cider vinegar. I sit down and I meditate for about fifteen minutes. I grab a book and I read that book for 30 minutes. I’m a big reader. Let’s say if you take a book that’s about 210, 220 pages and you only read for ten minutes a day, you’d read about 22, 23 books a year. I love reading. I’ll read for a little bit. After that, I’ll write. Sometimes it’s goals and sometimes it’s a stream of conscious writing. I’m just trying to get my thoughts and ideas on paper. After that, I’ll do a 30-minute exercise.

I’ll give a couple of exercise tips. You don’t want to have a routine where you get bored and it becomes monotonous. You end up not doing it and then the next thing you know you’re not exercising. Variety is key. I’ll run about 2 to 3 times a week. I lift weights about two times a week. I’ll fit in one yoga session a week. I then take a day off. I mix that up. Sometimes it might be tennis in the evening with some friends or basketball. I was in a league for a while, pre-COVID.

That sets me up because those things center me. They give me some new knowledge and information. They help me clear my brain and get some ideas out on paper. I get exercise and get my heart rate up. I’ll knock all those things out and it’s not even 7:00 yet. What I needed to do for myself is done and now I can focus on my family in the morning before I take off and then I can go to work and focus on work all day long. I wrap it up by the of the day by family and then maybe journaling a little bit toward the end of the day before I go to bed.

MSP 44 | Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology: Knowing your goals early can help avoid your daily life being out of your control.


That’s excellent. You know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Is that something that often comes up in your training with positive psychology?

It has come up a couple of times.

Is it self-actualization?

Yes. I almost think that it’s not about the self when you get to that point. That’s almost how I feel where I am in my days, not only in my life but in my career. Maybe self-actualization comes by helping other people, helping other people get into the medical device industry, or once they’re there, becoming successful or being a good leader. Focusing your efforts and concentration on helping others maybe provide that self-actualization that you need. Self isn’t the right word for it.

Reaching self-actualization is when you get to this level where you’re not even thinking about yourself often and your existence is based on what you’re doing for other people.

Maybe self-actualization is a byproduct of helping others.

Focus on helping others and you’ll climb right up that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

When you help others, relationships come easily. The more that you’re in a situation in a medical device industry and the more people that you know, you’ll come to a place that you’ll always have somebody to call. You always have a potential job opportunity. People will always be reaching out to you. It’ll be easier to climb the corporate ladder. It’ll be easier to live your medical sales life the right way.

Self-actualization is a byproduct of helping others. Click To Tweet

Jeff, on that note, thank you so much for spending time with us. It was great to hear from you. We look forward to hearing more about your future and everything that brings with everything you’re learning and the leadership you continue to exhibit. Thanks again for being on the show.

It’s my pleasure, Samuel. I truly enjoyed this. You’re doing a great thing, helping people get into the industry. It’s a wonderful industry. You’re the man. Keep it going.

Self-actualization and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I remember learning about that way back when in college. I’m going to be honest, I don’t think I ever understood what the self-actualization part meant. I get the ladder. I know, of course, your physiological needs, food, water, warmth, and then your safety needs. Security and safety, that feeling, not just physically but with your circles of influence as well, the people around you. Belongingness and your love needs, your intimate relationships and your friends, and the people around you. Your esteem needs, prestige, and feeling of accomplishment.

Here’s where a lot of people spend the most time, prestige, and feeling of accomplishment. You’re trying to be the best in your career or in your field or be the number one service in your business. You’re trying to get that level of accomplishment. Achieving one’s full potential, including creative activities, the self-actualization, I’m still not sure if that’s completely up to someone to declare or if there’s something that they demonstrate that allows a positive psychology expert to say, “That person is approaching self-actualization.” Honestly, I don’t know. If anyone out there believes they know and can explain what it is to reach it, please feel free to go to our website and leave us a message and let us know what you think. Send me an email at Samuel@EvolveYourSuccess.com.

One thing that I do know and I’m sure all of you feel and believe is that as long as we’re alive and breathing and well, why not do what we can to get to the next level? Whether it’s in our personal lives or professional lives, why not get to that next level? One thing that we do here is we help professionals get to that next level, whether they want to get into the industry of medical devices or pharmaceutical sales or genetic testing sales or biotech sales, whether they’re trying to advance their career as a sales professional. Whether it be a team we’re working with or an individual that’s trying to get their performance to a higher level.

If you’re interested in any of those programs or you want to see how we do it and how we can help you, then you need to make sure you visit me on LinkedIn at Samuel Adeyinka. Go ahead and send me an email at Samuel@EvolveYourSuccess.com or visit our website, EvolveYourSuccess.com. As always, I’m thankful to all of you readers out there that take the time to read about the value that we provide here on the Medical Sales Podcast. We do everything we can to bring you amazing guests that give you some serious insights into what you can do with your careers and where you can take things. Please be back for another episode of the show. Thank you for reading.

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About Jeff Barnard

MSP 44 | Positive PsychologyA performance-driven business professional with 21 years of successful sales and leadership experience in the scientific and medical industry. A highly accomplished and successful track record for consistently hitting revenue and budget forecasts.

Experienced in leading a team in a complex sales environment by implementing strategic sales strategies to close business. Highly effective communicator and team leader with proven ability to build long-term relationships internally and externally by establishing a high level of confidence and trust.

An energetic, passionate, and ambitious leader with a customer focus who can motivate the team to drive for bottom-line results. Well-rounded with experience in coaching psychology, sales training, and education in marketing (B.B.A.) and an M.B.A. in finance. Expected master’s degree in positive psychology coaching in spring of 2022.


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