Julie Hyde: Lucy Broadbent is a celebrity journalist and author of What Would Ted Lasso Do? How Ted’s Positive Approach Can Help You. And that’s exactly what we are going to dig into today. So welcome, Lucy.
Lucy Broadbent: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me.
Julie Hyde: Oh, my pleasure. Not only is the Apple TV series Ted Lasso genius, but I think your idea for this book is too. So, what was it about the series that made you write a book about it?
Lucy Broadbent: So I’m in a parking lot and I’m sitting on my phone and some woman crashes into the side of my car. Ordinarily there might’ve been a few expletives, but I’d been watching Ted Lasso the night before, and he came into my head. I found myself thinking ‘Well, how would he react in this situation?’ I knew that he would be kind, which is really the message of the show. So going against all my worst instincts, I got out the car and was fantastically nice about it with the other driver. And as I drove away, I felt really good about myself. I had a scratch on the side of my car, but I was smiling more than when I didn’t have the dent.
And so I found myself thinking, ‘Wow, that’s an effect. What is it that made me think that way?’ So I began researching it. I’m a journalist Research is what I do. I found a whole load of positive psychology used in this TV show and a lot of it, I believe goes back to a particular book written by a psychologist called Viktor Frankl, who wrote a famous book called Man’s Search Meaning, which is all about how you can choose your own reaction to things when they happen to you. Bad things are not going to stop happening to any of us. But how we choose to react in those circumstances will make us feel better or worse.
Julie Hyde: That is such a great story. You’re right, it’s a really good example of exactly what he would do and because you approach that situation, as you say, with kindness, you walk away from it feeling pleased with yourself, feeling proud of how you handled that. And I’m sure that the person who damaged your car was very relieved that you responded in that way too. So that sort of ties into my next question because I’m a big believer that to be a great leader of others, even your children, you need to be able to lead yourself first. And Ted Lasso is a brilliant example of that. But he’s not perfect. How important do you think that is to the believability of his character, but also to leadership today?
Lucy Broadbent: Well, the thing about Ted is that he has his flaws. He is not perfect. And that’s human, isn’t it? Because none of us are perfect. Essentially that’s why Ted is a believable character. I also think that the key to his leadership is that he leads with vulnerability, which these days, is regarded as a kind of secret sauce in leadership, isn’t it? By sharing something of yourself, which he does, you become more relatable. By sharing your flaws, you create trust which is essential in leadership.The reason why Ted Lasso so successful as a leader is because he shares his own vulnerabilities. He is honest with his team. There are very specific moments in the TV show where he says to his team: “I kept something from you and I shouldn’t have done that. I should have been more open with you.” It culminates in the third season in a style of football called Total Football, which is a real-life football strategy invented in the Seventies, which is based entirely on trust. It’s a fabulous metaphor for leadership generally, which can work in all of our lives.
Julie Hyde: And like you say, that trust component is so incredibly important for a team to function and it is quite hard to build. You also touched on another idea which was brought to the fore in the Seventies by John Wooden, who is a very successful coach.
Lucy Broadbent: Yes, and there’s a lot of reverence to John Wooden in the show. His mantra, if you want to call it that, is that it’s not about the wins or losses. It’s about being your best self, which is such a lovely message. John Wooden was a legendary basketball coach. He coached at UCLA for many years. And by using this philosophy, he had record breaking number of wins. I mean, it actually works. It’s not just ‘Let’s be being nice for the sake of it’. But if you are your best self, magic happens and you happen to win anyway, which is just so lovely.
Julie Hyde: Yes. And as you say, the basic philosophy of this show, to be successful in life, you need to be your best self. So it all starts with you. And what I love about your book is that you’ve linked the show to a whole heap of research from psychologists, like Victor Frankl. I think that’s so important because like you say, all the messages are there. Some of them are in your face. But others are quite subtle. And because we can get distracted when we’re watching this series, you might miss some messages as well, which is why I think it’s great that you’ve put it down in writing. It’s a great reminder of all the basic little things that Ted mentions like be a goldfish. It’s just so simple, but so effective. So, I’ve got the first edition of your book and you’ve since added to it. In this one you share 11 of Ted’s lessons in the book. Out of these what is your favourite and why, if you can choose one?
Lucy Broadbent: The overarching message is kindness. Who doesn’t love that? Ted calls it ‘trickle down support which smells like pizza, roses, and I assume Viola Davis’. I mean, it’s just a funny line, but in real life, it’s a lovely idea. And incidentally Jason Sudeikis who wrote the show and lots of the writers and cast were invited to the White House by President Biden because there is such a strong message about mental health in the show as well. There are many messages there, but fundamentally it still comes back to kindness, to yourself or to everyone else. And you see how it filters through. There’s three seasons and it starts off with Ted arriving in a hostile environment. People call him rude names. He has a locker room full of men who are at each other’s throats. Hostility, conflict. This is what our world unfortunately seems to look like. But by being kind, Ted gives us a trickle-down effect – if you are kind to one person, then that is passed on to someone else, like my lady in the car park. You hope that it carries on. You hope the whole thing moves forward. Perhaps it’s a romantic idea, but why not? Because maybe it’s possible.
Jason Sudeikis has said that he never expected the show to be as popular as it’s become. But he liked the Boy Scout philosophy, that you leave the campsite cleaner than when you found it. And I think that, in a way, he has left the campsite cleaner than he found it. This show arrived during the pandemic. It was what we all needed at the time but it’s carried on and there’s such a heartfelt message to it. I don’t know any other TV show that is like that. And I sort of feel with my book it’s spreading the message, passing it along.
Julie Hyde: Yeah. It definitely is. Like you say, a lot of people, including myself, because were like, ‘Oh, I’m not really interested in soccer, so I don’t want to watch it’. But it’s so not about soccer. As you say, there are so many lessons in it, including so many leadership lessons in it. So, you’ve now written a new book and I’m very interested in this because there are two awesome female characters, one who I find incredibly inspiring, which is Rebecca, who is the CEO of the soccer club. She’s such a strong woman, but also quite vulnerable at the same time. So tell me about your new book.
Lucy Broadbent: The book comes out in October and it’s called, How to Be a Lioness, Not a Panda. Find Your Roar with the Women of Ted Lasso. You will remember that at the very beginning of the show, Rebecca, who is the owner of the club, is walking down a corridor and Keeley, who is a young girl, is talking to Ted and she’s about to do a modeling shoot. She’s asked Ted, “Which would be better, to be a lion or a panda?” Rebecca overhears her and says, “Don’t be ridiculous, of course you need to be a lion. A lion is the ruler of the jungle.” Later Rebecca offers Keeley a job which becomes a mentorship and it’s this fantastic friendship between two women. The book is from the female perspective.
There is a strong feminist message within the TV show. Hannah Waddingham, who plays Rebecca, and Juno Temple, who plays Keeley, have both spoken about how there is a bunch of feminists in the writer’s room. That comes across. The show strikes a careful balance showing that men are in this world are hurting too, but sets out to bring about an equality. There’s this phenomenal character, as you point out, Rebecca, who is actually modeled on someone. There are not many women who lead soccer clubs. Baroness Karen Brady is a British woman who is one of the directors at West Ham Football Club. She is described as the First Lady of Football because it’s so unusual to have a woman in the leadership role of a male football club. And so, she’s like a big old pioneer, to be honest. And you see Rebecca in that context. And I love that because so often there are not enough women supporting women, particularly in the corporate environment, pulling each other up which is exactly the role that Rebecca plays with Keeley, helping her to be her best, bringing out the best version of who Keeley really is.
Julie Hyde: I think that’s brilliant and I certainly can’t wait to read that. A lot of people who I speak to who love Ted Lasso just love Rebecca and I really love Keely too. Without them in this show it wouldn’t be what it is.
Lucy Broadbent: There’s a lovely little anecdote if you’re not bored yet but the two actors meet in the Ladies’ loos before the first ever read through the script. They know that they’re only the two women in this very male dominated show. So their expectation was that the two women would be pitted against each other because that’s the stereotype. When you see women in film or television, almost always there’s a cat fight. Hollywood loves a cat fight. But the reality is if you’re a woman in a boardroom and there’s another woman there, you are almost immediately friends. It’s like, okay, we’re the only two women in the room here, we have got to be friends and women do like to naturally support each other.
Both actors have talked about how fabulous it was for them to be able to play women supporting other women and to enact, not just a great friendship, but a business mentorship too. They absolutely adored it and both hoped that this would be seen by girls coming up.
Julie Hyde: Yes, definitely. As I say, I can’t wait. When are you releasing that?
Lucy Broadbent: October 29. It’ll be out on Amazon on October 29.
Julie Hyde: Awesome. Oh, it’s been so wonderful talking to you, Lucy. Is there any, like, final notes that you would like to leave our listeners with today?
Lucy Broadbent: If you have not seen the show, I would say watch it. Don’t buy my book before you’ve watched it. You’ve got to watch it first. Then buy my book because it kind of keeps it alive. It’s out on Apple TV Plus. I don’t work for them. I’m not plugging it for any good reason other than the fact that I think it’s a great show.
When it came out in America, it was like a big hurrah. This show has broken records in terms of Emmys that it’s been up for. I think it’s third season is up for something like 21 Emmys. So it’s getting huge recognition here in the States. But I think maybe other countries have been slower to catch on to Apple TV. But I think they’re catching on now and it is worth watching.
Julie Hyde: Yeah, I totally endorse that 100%. Follow the show up with getting your book. tt captures the lessons. It’s easily readable, easily digestible, great size. I think it’s brilliant. I just love the show. So Lucy, thank you for joining me all the way from LA and I can’t wait to get this out to my listeners. And thank you for continuing to spread Ted’s words and to permeate kindness and to be kind as well. So you’re a definite role model for the message.
Lucy Broadbent: Well, thank you for your kindness and having me on your podcast. Thank you very much.