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Be The Change Transcript – David Marquis


David Marquis

Be The Change – David Marquis

[00:00:00] Before we start, I want to put a couple caveats into this episode. This was a tremendous opportunity to have a conversation with someone who is not your typical business person, but is more of an activist. It was a great conversation and I think there are plenty of things for people to learn who have their own entrepreneurial pursuits.

Later in the episode, we talked about some issues of racial injustice and if this is going to put Your mental It’ll health at risk please Skip this episode. And listen to other Leave better episodes there are plenty of other opportunities to not have your mental health distressed

[00:00:44] The River Always Wins

Einstein taught that matter cannot be destroyed. It can change shape and be transformed, but not destroyed. Gandhi taught that one of the central tenets of nonviolence is not merely to defeat one’s adversary, [00:01:00] but to transform them.

As the water in a riverbed, ripples passed and washes over the underlying stones, a long process of transformation takes place.

A particle of rock sloughs off gives way, and in so doing it becomes a part of the river.

It joins with the river.

It is a transformation of quiet unceasing movement towards something greater than the self- transformation into a new form.

Its matter does not disappear. It is transformed. Wherever water flows over rock, the two live on.

In this way, the way of water transforming stone, we change, we change ourselves, and we change our cultures.

Hey friends, what you have been hearing is my friend David Marquis. He wrote The River Always Wins and I just [00:02:00] got shivers as you read that.

David, thank you so much. I had the pleasure of meeting you across the street in my neighbor’s backyard. They were hosting under twinkly lights, you doing a reading, to benefit the Stokes Nature Center in our area.

And what a delightful moment to hear you reading from your book and then the conversation that ensued.

And after that, I ran right up to you and said, oh, please come be on my podcast, because I knew we could have an incredible conversation.

[00:02:32] Introducing David

So you are in Dallas, Texas and you have had this passion for water and water conservation.

I have a passion for helping our planet and for seeing people transform.

And when I read your book, I was just so impressed with the weaving that you did of this literal, physical, what happens to the water, and then the metaphorical space of what happens in our lives, [00:03:00] both socially and politically and personally.

So welcome, and can we just have an amazing conversation today?

David: Oh, thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here.

I’ve performed in all kinds of places, played at the Kennedy Center, and I’ve toured 41 of the 50 states, played every kind of venue you can imagine, but to do a show for a group of people really devoted to this planet, and to conservation and to do that on evening, a beautiful evening in the fall in Utah. It was a great experience.

So I’m really glad to be here and I appreciate the opportunity.

Miriam: Excellent, excellent. For those of you who are going, wait a minute, I thought this was a podcast about business and life- it is. And the reason that I asked, David to come and have this conversation is that my goal is that as your businesses succeed and as you become more successful in life, you take some of that bounty and you pour it over into helping spaces that need help.

So, David, I [00:04:00] loved hearing in that venue some of your history. I’m hoping you’ll share a little bit of that history and why this topic of water is so important to you.


David: Water, of course, is what we’re made of. We are mostly water walking around inside our skins. So we also need to always keep in mind that where we grow up, Can be a powerful influence.

I grew up in the West Texas in a place called Lubbock, and I grew up there during the 1950s, which was the second greatest drought in the history of our country, the first being the dust bowl of the thirties. And my parents, grandparents and uncle, they all grew up during the Dust Bowl. So they came from a dry place in a very dry time.

And I come from a dry place in a dry time. I remember to this day sitting around the dinner table with the adults when I was very small and listening them to talk about where are we going to get our water?

I grew up in a place where we [00:05:00] used to have to walk home from school backwards, bent over because of the sandstorms.

Miriam: Literally, you’re not making fun. You’re not being like a person who says uphill both ways.

David: Nope, nope. It was in the sand both ways. It was blowing down your throat at 50 miles an hour, man. So that’s where I grew up and how I grew up. So to me, a glass of water is a big deal, and the reason I do this work is because of my grandchildren.

I want my grandchildren to have the chance to live a life that enjoys, the blessings that we’ve, had bestowed upon us.

[00:05:34] Your Why

David: You talk about business. I often speak to business groups, and one of the things that I do is I begin with asking people why they’re there that day.

So I will ask people to center in on why they’re there that day, their job. Well, that’s legitimate reason, but why are you really there? What really powers you? What motivates you? What causes you to respond and become engaged?

[00:06:00] And then I tell ’em, I’m gonna count to three and ask everyone in the room to say or to whisper why they’re there that day.

And when I do this, you can hear people. Whether it’s hundreds of people in the ballroom or a few people in a seminar and everybody gets clear, everybody gets focused.

Because when you know why you do what you do, you do it better. And I really deeply believe that. So it’s one of the things that I do is get people to be clear on why they do what they do.

And for me, I work along the water issues these days because of where I grew up and when I grew up.

Miriam: Yeah, I, that’s so profound. When you know why you are there, you do your things better.

Build Something Better

Miriam: Let me read a tiny, section here from your book, one of the things that I was struck by when I listened to you in my neighbor’s yard is that you are passionate.

You [00:07:00] introduced yourself as an activist, but you don’t present like an activist.

You present as a kind and gentle non militants – there were no fists. Waving that night, and yet I could tell that you are really powerful in the way you spoke about the work you were doing for water.

In your book you say,

we will not change hearts through argument or angry rhetoric. Name calling and vitriol will not heal wounds of terror and mass shootings, nor will time simply miraculously heal all wounds. Time is an element in the healing process, but it is not the process itself. So is talking and listening and the transcendent power of love and forgiveness, the fluidity that rolls over us and bathes us like water of the womb, such stem from our humanity.

I would really like you to speak about how to be an activist and be respectful of humans at the same time.

Be “For” Something

David: Mm, thank you. That’s a great question. [00:08:00] We tend to think of activists as being against something, but let’s go back to the root word protest. Pro, of course, means for. Test comes from testare a Latin verb, which means to proclaim or speak forth.

So actually to protest says not to be against something. It’s to be for something. It’s not enough to be against war. We must be in favor of peace. Not enough to be against injustice. We must be for justice and to build systems and businesses and ways of life that are just for all. So when you begin to look at it from that point of view, you immediately have to see that you have to be for something, that you have to be positive.

You have to think about how we build something better than we have now.

And I get this from my mother. Now, my mother would never have called herself an activist, but if you wanted to get something done in Lubbock, Texas, you call Lucille Marquis and then you got outta the way [00:09:00] because she would do good things, but she would never make a big deal of it.

[00:09:06] What is an Activist?

David: When I was very small, we were driving through downtown on a Sunday afternoon. It was after church. We were all the way to a restaurant. And in Lubbock in the fall when I was a child, thousands of Mexican nationals, Mexican citizens had come north to pick the cotton in the old Bracero program where people would come north legally to, harvest crops all the way up to Canada.

And so as I was looking at all the people on the sidewalks, I, you know, I was very small little boy and, uh, I’m looking at, I turn to mom and, say, who are all these people? Why are they. And she explained to me if they came here to pick the cotton, and I said, well, who takes care of their children if they’re out in the fields all day?

And she said, I don’t know, but that’s a good question. So my mother and another woman went out and organized a a well- baby clinic to [00:10:00] take care of the medical needs of the migrant workers’ children. Decades later, that was still in place in Lubbock, Texas.

Be Real

She taught me what I said during college, you know, back during the days of the movements.

And I said, I wanna be an activist. She said, okay. But you have to make it real. You have to make it real. It has to count for something that lasts.

So to me, an activist is not someone who just carries a sign in the street, it’s someone who does the hard work afterwards. To organize new structures, new systems, more just ways of doing business, of carrying out our government.

And that’s really important to me.

You protest, you speak in favor of, you act in favor of, to me, if you want to come and be a part of this, then come and be a part of it in a constructive way.

Create the changes that really make a difference in people’s lives.

[00:10:51] Action is Key

Miriam: Yeah. Boy, I appreciate that. I just have to camp on your mom for a second. How cool is it that she didn’t say to [00:11:00] you I, you know, I don’t know what she called you when you were little? I don’t know Davy, but I, I’ve got stuff to do. Don’t bother me with all these questions.

You know, she, she took you as a very young child, seriously, and she said, your question has merit. And it troubled her, and she didn’t let it just trouble her and keep her up at night. That translated into action that then stayed for decades later. How cool is that?

David: My mom and dad, bill Lucille marquis were really special people.

In fact, go back to my grandmother, Hazel, whose earliest memories were of marching and suffragette parade holding a mother’s hand.

She was born in 1887, so she couldn’t vote until she was 33 years old. Wow. And Hazel was a really brilliant woman, but to think she couldn’t vote till she was 33. And yet her earliest memory was, I’m marching in a suffragette parade when she was a little.

Be Positive

Yeah. Now mom and dad, um, my father once fired an employee for [00:12:00] using a racial slur in the office and never said anything about it. He didn’t make a big deal of it. He just was, you don’t use language like that around here. So it’s really kinda in my blood.

And my mom was really great at dealing with young people all the time.

I’d come home from a date in high school and all my friends would be in the living room discussing politics around my mother . So, They were remarkable people. Yeah. And neither one of them would ever have said, I’m an activist. So when I wanted to be an activist, they said, okay, but you’ve gotta make it real, make it positive.

And I really learned that lesson from them. But, you know, they were, they were special.

[00:12:38] Do What You Can

David: I’ll tell you another story about Lucille Marquis this is a great story. So I believe that you have to do what you can, where you can, when you can, as part of my mantra, being an activist, uh, back in those days. You know, I’m 71 now, so this is 60 years ago, 65 years ago, everybody in Lubbock, you know, had a [00:13:00] maid.

You know, people from the, east side of Lubbock, African American women would come over to, uh, the rest of Lubbock and they would be maids. And there was a certain code of the way that you treated them, that you made sure they had food to eat, that you took them home within the day. There was a relationship there.

Now, am I saying that was a, a healthy time in terms of our race relations? No, but there was a certain way that she treated people with dignity. And my mother got word from our maid, Willie, that, um, a woman in Lubbock was not allowing her maid to eat in the kitchen for lunch, would not allow her to eat in the house at all.

And to my mother, that was just wrong. You don’t treat people that way. So, she and her buddy, Kelly, great friends, cooked up a plan and they went to see this woman and they said, we understand you don’t allow your maid to eat in the kitchen for [00:14:00] lunch. And the woman’s like, oh, no, we don’t allow her to eat in the house.

Do Something

And they said, look, here’s what’s gonna happen now. Either she’s gonna begin to eat lunch in your house today, or you will never be invited to the Garden Club or the church social or the Bridge Club ever again. You’ll be ostracized in this town. Now, was that the March on Washington? No. Was that the Civil Rights Bill?

No. Voting Rights Act. No.

But they did where they could. What they could. When they could.

And that’s a central part of what we need to do now to take care of our planet and take care of our culture. Take care of ourselves, is do what you can, where you can when you can.

Miriam: That’s pretty powerful. I always ask when I have someone on the podcast talking about various issues and things, please help us understand what we can do.

You know, because we feel so small in a, a. Juggernaut of machinery and the [00:15:00] issues that you read on in the news are not necessarily the issues that are in your area.

And it’s fascinating how much energy can be spent railing on something that isn’t actually relevant to what is happening where you live.

Do something. There for good. What you can, where you can, when you can. Thank you for sharing that story.


Think Globally, Act Locally

David: Yeah, that’s exactly right. It’s it is so easy for us to get caught up now and things, in other places cuz of social media and because of the 24 hour news cycle, we lose sight of what’s happening right next door to us.

Mm-hmm. . And I think it’s really important that we keep in mind, you know, the, the old adage, you know, think globally and act locally.. But if you do it on a daily basis, remember Gandhi, Gandhi would go out and carry out these enormous, you know, actions to free India from England, and then he’d go home and he’d take care of the goats and play with the children and, you know, live that life on a daily [00:16:00] basis.

So we need to keep that in mind that there’s that big life that we live to go out where we take on big problems, but there’s also the life that’s close to us. That we still need to be human beings with those around us.

Miriam: I think sometimes people want to get involved in something out there maybe because it seems bigger, but also there isn’t the emotional weirdness that comes with doing something in, in your locale, like when you share that story about your mom.

It’s great that she had a friend to go with her and that the two of them could pressure the other one into better behavior. Sometimes people feel like they’re the only person.

[00:16:39] Use Your Voice

Miriam: As, I mean, sometimes I wonder if my neighbor absolutely hates me. I manage to get her cell phone number and she allows people to keep horses in her back.

Space. She’s older and isn’t able to get back there very often. Mm-hmm. , and pretty much every year I’m saying, I mean, it’s different horses, it’s different people. I’m saying, Hey, did you know that this [00:17:00] animal has a really swollen leg? Hey, did you notice that this animal is bullying the other one and the other one isn’t getting any food?

And there’s always this moment of trepidation when I reach out to a neighbor and say, Hey, do you realize that your dog doesn’t have adequate shelter or that it’s incredibly lonely, or that you have a donkey who is isolated in a neighborhood with no shelter and no friends. Mm-hmm. , you know, there’s always this moment inside me where I’m like, oh my gosh, Miriam here we go again.

Speak for the Planet

But I have to speak for, for animals, for entities that can’t speak for themselves. Yes, because. I think that that’s part of the reason why I’m on the planet- I have a voice and I need to use it -in as polite and respectful, but also determined manner as I can. Mm-hmm. . And, um, in, in your book, in between the section I read and the section I’m gonna ask you to read in a minute, [00:18:00] you’re talking about erosion and one of my favorite quotes I saw like, I don’t know.

It was some old something. It was a meme. It was a meme before there were memes. But it said in the contest between the rock and the water, the water always wins. But this idea that if you relentlessly push on something, Eventually you’re gonna get somewhere with it.

And I wanted to just talk about maybe how cultures shift and change or how people grow and they see I used to be this way and now my thoughts have shifted to this.


David: The title of the book, by the way, comes from a. An experience on a bridge outside TAs, New Mexico where standing on this bridge and there were some, a couple of people about 20 yards away.

Now I’m looking down into the ravine where the real Grandie river is at the bottom of the ravine. And these two people looked down and one of ’em said, oh look, [00:19:00] there’s a river down there. And I thought, of course there’s a river down there. It worked its way down down their over a millenia. So it’s that daily movement of water, the daily work that the water does.

And I think that sense of, um, of the daily work is extremely important. Because so often the issues that we take on are big issues, even if they’re close at hand, there’s still issues that require, a constant daily, vigilance to continue to speak up in a way that’s respectful, but determined. So, for me, that sense of perseverance, of continuing that flow of acting in a way that, you know, will maybe not take full effect today, but over a long period of time will work.

I mean, let’s look at a particular movement. The anti-smoking movement in America. You know, it used to be [00:20:00] two-thirds of the American public. And then some folks began to say, you know, I’m not comfortable here bad, my lungs. And people began to say, we need to do something about this. Remember it used to be people smoked on airplanes.

The River

I mean, it was everywhere. Yeah. Well, and now we know it’s not everywhere and fewer and for people are smoking. And that was the result of some people being relentless, but doing it a way that refused to give. And yet did it in such a way that it was about the health of all people and was something’s been very positive for all of us for that to take place.

That we moved away from a place where non-smokers just had to put up with it to a place now where we are healthier people, healthier as a nation. And um, that was the result of that constant flow of energy- just does the water contingent flow with the rock and [00:21:00] you know, go to TAs, New Mexico, go to any gorge, look down.

You see a river down there. That river worked its way down there. It didn’t start down there. It started on the top.

Yeah, it worked its way down Every single day it wore that rockaway and created that river bed for.

Miriam: Yeah. You know, I, I appreciate your long view of time and your patience to say that these things will right themselves.

When enough good people just push and push and push, we will have increasing legislation to solve some of the ills, I think sometimes. I panic because I see forests disappearing quicker than they can grow and some of those other things.

[00:21:44] Water Issues

Miriam: I wondered if you could just take a couple minutes and talk about the real issues that we have with water, and are on our planet today.

I remember when you spoke, you said, um, there will never be a, a new drop of water created. And I had, I mean, I intellectually [00:22:00] knew that whole cycle of evaporation and transpiration. I mean, I think you have to learn it in third or fourth grade, but I don’t think anybody ever said, you know, there’s never a new drop of water created.

So talk a little bit about the problems we have in our country and in our world with water.

David: Thank you for that question. And yes, these are often long cycles of movements of, uh, working for justice, for protecting our planet, but at the same time, there’s some real urgency too.

You know, when I was born, there are about two and a half billion people on the planet. 1951.

Now we’re 8 billion, so we’ve more than tripled our human population, but we have no more new land. We don’t have any new water. There is no new water. There’s not a shipment arriving from Mars. There is no new water. And as a result, we’ve got three times as many people all drawing on the same fresh water.

Understand the Urgency

So these are really serious issues. And there are serious [00:23:00] issues also that do require urgency and that ask a question of, if social change takes a long time, then how do we move quickly when we have to? Climate’s a good example of that. And of course, climate and water issues are very tied together, so we have to ask ourselves then what is the best way to go about creating change more quickly?

And if you look at a big bell curve, There’s always 5% of the people really pushing toward the future and another 5% pulling, trying to go backwards and trying to move the middle is where we really create change and create it quickly when you can move the middle one direction or the other.

So one of the things we have to do with water, Is get people to understand the urgency because for most people, when they turn the tap and clean water comes out- that’s the issue to them. as long as they have clean water, they’re fine.

Well, there are some places now and uh, where, you know, water supplies and real [00:24:00] jeopardy. There are places in South Africa went through this a few years ago. They nearly ran outta water in places where you turn the tap on and nothing would come out.

[00:24:08] Crisis Brings Change

David: So as a result, crisis brings change is a good way to look at that.

And in order for us to use crisis brings change, we have to look at what is the crisis and define it well so people understand it. Then have a particular, uh, prescription for what types of change need to be accomplished in order to attain the goal we want to.

And when we have to, we can do that. We’re capable as human beings of doing that. And of course we see existentially that threat now with climate and when sit with water in places, you know, as you know, the Great Salt Lake in Utah once, it’s a real challenge.

I talked to a naturalist there in Utah when I was there a few months ago. She said she walked from the edge of where the lake used to be, to where it is now is a [00:25:00] mile a mile.


So, and you know, the droughts I grew up in, in, in West Texas, it took a long time for that land to recover. So one of the things that I think we have to do is bring to light, those issues that are immediate, those that are short term, those that are more long term, and get people clear on-

Here’s an issue that we can demonstrate as a clear need.

Friendship is Important

And this is one of our great concerns these days, Miriam, is that cause we are so divided now, that getting people to understand the realities of what we’re facing and to acknowledge those- is challenging.

It’s one of the reasons that I always try to maintain a positive spirit and a very straightforward point of view and a straightforward voice is because as soon as you raise your voice, Well, you give the other person permission to raise theirs, and [00:26:00] social media has made it very easy for us to take shots at each other verbally.

But when we sit down with each other and agree that we have a problem needs to be solved, then we can have a discussion that actually leads to solving problems. This is one of the things that I think we have to do as a culture is get back to a few things I believe in, which one is that

“friendship’s more important than politics”

yeah. I’ve been involved in politics all my life. I understand the importance of it. I also understand, you know, how it works and I’ve got old friends from West Texas who are extremely conservative. I’m not, but I’m not gonna turn my back on them. Try to have some kind of dialogue we can find something to talk about.

Finding your Purpose

David: That’s right. That’s right. David, can I ask you to go to page 83 in your book and, and read that section?

the river always wins. Our culture has become a hard pan, hard baked place in desperate [00:27:00] need of rain. A slow soul -soaking of human kindness. And when that water does come down from the sky, it runs toward the sea. The river always eventually runs toward it, never away. So too does human progress, moving always toward the greater water, the drops have purpose.

Each one, be ready for your purpose. Prepare to move to the sea.

Miriam: Thank you. Could you talk a little bit about finding your purpose?

The drops have a purpose. We as human beings have various purposes. How do we find them?

David: Miriam? I think that people today have more opportunities to

find purpose because people talk about it. People’s opportunities used to be pretty limited. They were born, lived, and died within very small areas until number of people they. The total [00:28:00] amount amount. They knew about the world was pretty limited. Now we wanna make sure that more and more people have those opportunities.

People of all kinds, whatever your faith is, whatever your color is, whatever your background is, everyone ought to have those opportunities.

River of Goodness

One of the things that I was very lucky to find in my life was a great high school speech teacher. Someone, who taught me that I have something to say and that she would help me learn how to say it. And teach me how to write and perform. Her name was Maime Porter and she was a great teacher.

So I think that’s one of the things we have to do as people, is find that sense of purpose in, in my next book we call the River of Goodness,

and I talk about bring your shovel, whatever your shovel is. Your nurse, shovel your teacher, shovel your banker, shovel your software developer, shovel, whatever your shovel might be. Everybody has a shovel. You have to use that shovel to do your daily work. And all of us are involved in that daily work. [00:29:00] Now they, nowadays people have the opportunity to have a dozen different jobs in their lifetime.

A lot of people do, but what I find is that people, when they find their purpose in life, they become clear on it, that that’s what drives them, that’s what motivates them. It might be their job or it might not be. I know some people who make a lot of money doing something else, and they use that as a way to, to provide for them and their family so they can go do what they think their real purpose is.

Others have the opportunity to have a purpose that pays their living, Also.

You are the Artist

David: What I encourage people to do is have that clarity to know if what you’re doing is not deeply satisfying you in some way to know there’s a bigger world out there that needs you somewhere and you need to find what the world needs of you and respond to that so that your response to that helps you attain that purpose in your life.[00:30:00]

You have to look at the watershed of your life and just as the water in its flowing creates its riverbed, the course of your life is your river bed.

You are the artist with the chisel and the hammer, creating your own river bed, chipping away at the rock.

You’re going on to the greater water, something greater than yourself.

And that to me is the ultimate test is -are you doing something that in the end is greater than yourself? Why are you here? Why are you on the planet? Why are you doing this work today? If you ask yourselves those questions, you get some clarity on, oh, I understand today why I’m here.

Our Journey’s End

Miriam: Yeah, and that makes sometimes going to work, whatever that means.

Unbearable then, and those people change jobs. Sometimes it means going to work becomes bearable because now you know why you’re doing it. Mm-hmm. , and I appreciate you asking the questions. [00:31:00]

We are getting close to the end of where we need to be, and I’m sad because this has been so delightful. Toward the end of your book, you have a statement, if the ocean dies, we die. Our journey ends.

Can you read that next little section? On page 1 0 5?

David: Yes, I can. And thank you for asking me to.

If the ocean dies, we die. Our journey ends. For now, we. Under toes and rip tides and jet streams move drops in ways never imagined while in the river. Peaceful, restful. Now the greater water is dynamic and powerful and it moves. And what do the drops learn from this ride on the tide?

That the destination is not what they expected and the journey gets even better.

The drops free now have moved on to a place unique to itself, but part of [00:32:00] something greater than itself.

[00:32:04] Where to Find David

Miriam: Thank you so much. How can people find you? How can they purchase your book? If they’re interested in it?

David: If they wanna purchase the book, you can, of course can order it from big services like Amazon. Also, you can find lots of, uh, bookstores, especially the independent bookstores that we like to support.

You also can go to theriveralwayswins.com

David: it’s a website devoted to the book, beautiful website. We give a shout out to Vicki Gouge from Oak Cliff, Texas, right here in Dallas who did a beautiful job. If you love pictures of water and rushing water, go to the website. It’s really beautiful, and you can order from there.

And then, David.Marquis@SBCglobal.net, m a r q U I. Sbc, SB as in boy SBC global.net, so I’m happy to put that out if someone like to be in touch.

Miriam: Very good. I’ll have all of that in the show notes and as we were talking [00:33:00] beforehand, , my listeners know I like to support a charity in your name to say thank you and you chose the Shedrick Wildlife Trust, one of my favorite organizations.

We will be adopting a tiny elephant in your name and you’ll get monthly updates, and know that you are doing something to help together.

We’re doing something to help, you know, animals in a far distant land.

Thank you so much for just the pleasure of this interview and, for just investing your life in something so meaningful.


Miriam, thank you so much. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be with you. Thank you for all that you do.

End Credits

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Full audio episode found here.

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Music by Tom Sherlock.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

Align Your Purpose – Dr. Kimbi Marenakos


Kimbi Marenakos

Align Your Purpose – Dr. Kimbi Marenakos

Dr. Kimbi Marenakos


[00:00:29] Kimbi: Meaning I can see anyone from child to geriatric. And so, but functional actually is appropriate too, cuz that’s the approach integrative and functional is sort of my approach to wellbeing.

[00:00:41] Miriam: If you don’t mind just telling me a little bit about what got you interested in medicine and kind of your path to getting to where you are, and then we’ll go from there.

[00:00:52] Interest in Medicine

[00:00:52] Kimbi: Sure. I’m one of four children. And my father was a family psychologist and an author, and my mother was a nurse midwife and I was one of four who said she didn’t wanna be anything like her parents.

[00:01:05] I started college as a vocal performance major and, and was living in New York and performing musical theater and traveled to a lot of different places doing that.

[00:01:15] But somewhere a few years into that, into my twenties, I experienced my own deep depression and that was the first time that I experienced therapy and went to therapy myself. I fell so in love with the process. That I couldn’t get enough of it.

[00:01:32] I fell completely in love with the process of, of self-discovery and so I decided, well, if you’re gonna be studying this around the clock, You might as well get a degree for it.

[00:01:43] And then I started practicing, got my licensure and started practicing psychotherapy for, and I did that for about 14 years alongside primary care and family medicine doctors here in Charleston. And I had one particular doctor.

[00:01:59] Who, who reached out and just said, I keep hearing your name. Come talk to me about what you do. And I went and I spoke with him and he said, I’m, I’m a concierge medicine doc and I love a person, I love someone to refer my patients to, or someone to, to collaborate with me to create more holistic treatment plans.

[00:02:19] Behavioral Health

[00:02:19] Kimbi: For my patients. And I said, I’d love to do that. Sure. I said, I’m a mom first and then I’m a therapist and yes, I’d be happy to and we did that and it was fantastic.

[00:02:29] What did not resonate for me though, was the, the duality of it. The, he was the body and I was the mind. And I, I, on many occasions I just, I was frustrated cuz I wanted to take care of whole people.

[00:02:42] So I decided, well, you know what? I’m gonna go back to school. In my research, what I found was that the medical model of care really teaches and helps one, understand pathologies and how to treat them.

[00:02:58] Whereas the nursing model of care teaches you how to nurse people, nurse patients, take care of patients. And so that resonated. I applied, and did the accelerated program, and then went straight into the doctoral program, chose the family track because I already had 14 years of psych behind me, and I thought, this will broaden the scope of my care.

[00:03:19] And while I was there, I was recruited to teach psychiatric and mental health nursing. And then beyond that, I was recruited to teach students from all of the colleges.

Interprofessional Education

[00:03:29] On campus and it was an interprofessional education series of discussions between students from all colleges. So that was a wonderful experience too. Getting all of these different perspectives from healthcare, working together, we would. We would provide a case for them, and each of these perspectives got to weigh in and help develop the treatment plan and, and decide how to, what direction to go for each patient.

[00:03:56] And we could talk about current events, we could talk about issues in healthcare and policy and practice management and, you know, hospital systems. We could talk a little bit about everything. And I loved collaborating.

[00:04:11] Clinical Rotations

[00:04:11] Kimbi: I also then, as I was teaching, Started a psychiatric and mental health clinical rotation where students could come through the clinic, rotate through the homeless shelter clinic here in town under me, providing integrative care and such a vulnerable population. We were able to provide both primary and behavioral healthcare to this to the residents there. And that was also very fulfilling. All of this was integrating all of my background in behavioral health with now my new clinical skills in family medicine. And I loved it. I really loved it, but I knew I didn’t go back to school to teach.

[00:04:57] I went back to school so I could care more for my patients. And so I finished my doctorate and left academia, jumped into urgent care so I could get the most diverse experience. And I spent five years in urgent care and the last two of them, as we all know, was a little thing called Covid 19 and a, a pandemic.

[00:05:23] So, It was truly and it’s, it’s terrible to say, but it was a really ungratifying experience of healthcare over the past two years. You go in to help people and what we ended up doing was disconnecting from the work because of the volume. There were days when I saw 130 patients by myself in an urgent setting.

Pandemic Patients

[00:05:47] Oh my goodness. And at that point, you’ve got minutes with a patient and you, you know, there’s so many considerations and patients are coming in, I like to say sufficiently terrorized by the media about what’s going on. They’re, as far as behavioral health concerns, they’ve been. They’ve been disconnected from social supports.

[00:06:10] Adolescents have been dismissed from school settings. So the acuity of patients was through the roof and the volume too was over the top. And so what this did, what it ultimately did to survive that kind of volume, you do disconnect. Mm-hmm. . And that right there was. It was an autopilot that I didn’t even know had set in.

[00:06:36] But again, it’s, it’s a, it’s a survival mechanism. And so I, I then had my own experience. I had my own wake up call in the 12th hour of a shift, and the patient came through that was not there for covid testing.

[00:06:52] She was grieving the loss of her father, and she needed a, she needed a doctor, She needed someone there in a real, vulnerable human way. And at that time, that day. There was nothing left of me and it was really incredibly devastating to me because everything I had done was to be able to do this.

[00:07:20] Burnout

[00:07:20] Kimbi: This was exactly why I went back to school, remember, was to to be able to provide behavioral health in a primary setting and to treat a whole person and acknowledge the body, the mind, and the spirit in caring for someone. All in one caring approach. And so here I was in exactly the patient encounter that I was born to have and there was nothing left of me.

[00:07:44] I was so physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted, and I drove home that night and I just cried my whole way home and I just was so disappointed and I felt ashamed, and I knew, I mean, it was such a wake up call. It was like blinders were lifted and I just, I was devastated and I thought, how far off the rails have I gone?

[00:08:11] How far off my path have I strayed and. I had to take a step back, a real step back, and I thought, My goodness. You know, when I was teaching at the ME, I was considered the expert on burnout and compassion fatigue, and here I was even, I had blind spots, even I was vulnerable and. I thought, what must other people be going through?

Dive Right In

[00:08:36] And so I poured myself in. I knew the, you know, didactic, I was an expert on it, didactically and academically, but now it got really, really personal. And so I made it my mission just like. Just like in my twenties when I made it my mission to understand psychotherapy and I dove in head first, I did the same thing with burnout and I started really, really exploring the three dimensions of burnout, and I wanted to find the antidotes to each of those dimensions, and then I wanted to find an insulation.

[00:09:12] A way to insulate against it. And then I wanted to share it with the world and get it out there, and I was so just charged and inspired and alive with all of this, that it just created a whole new mission for me and a commitment, a, a new purpose alignment as far as making a. An affirmation and a commitment to working in alignment with my life’s purpose and knowing my values and letting my values be the guiding principles of my every action, and no longer just being a part of a system that’s broken.

[00:09:51] And so often people think the system’s broken. How can I make a difference? Well, the system is broken. But you aren’t, and the individual can make a huge impact. Change has to start at the individual level and it will ripple out. And so that’s been the journey that I’ve been on and, and where it’s brought me now, as of just a month ago, I left the machine completely and I’ve in essence hung a shingle for myself and started my private practice, and I’ve been building it and I’m overwhelmed.

Hope for Success

[00:10:24] With the response and with the, the reception I’ve had and just the outpouring of support that’s been there. So I’m learning so much and I have so much to still learn. But the support that you leap and. You hope the net is there, , but to leap and to find that the net is, is just, it’s, it’s a, it’s just a fabric of arms of people supporting you and wanting, and hoping, and willing your success just as much as you are.

[00:11:00] It’s pretty powerful.

[00:11:01] Miriam: Sure. Oh my goodness. Thank you so much for telling us that story. It’s, it’s moving to hear just your level of compassion for people and your desire to help and to heal. There, I I wanna go quite a few different directions here. I’m trying to decide which one to go with first.

[00:11:21] How did you make the decision to leave? The machine and how would you describe the machine beyond what you’ve already said?

[00:11:32] Take Your Time

[00:11:32] Kimbi: Mm-hmm. I, how did I decide to leave it? That was another very, Powerful patient encounter. And as I said, the patient has been central for me. And, and that’s been what’s driven me every step of the way is caring for human beings.

[00:11:50] And I, I sat with a young girl And this, this young girl was suicidal and she didn’t want to live another week, and I, I acknowledged what I saw. She wasn’t even the acknow, the patient that day, but I, I, I, you know, I saw her and I. I acknowledged her pain and I asked her for a chance to help her, and we started working together and got her medications changed, and then a few months later, she’s there for a follow up visit and Here’s this young girl that I had met that really didn’t wanna live another week, and then at that follow up, she sat down and shared with me her five year plan.

[00:12:37] Whoa. Yeah. Well done. Well done. Yeah, that was really incredible. That was incredible to me. And, but the whole time I was there sitting with her, People were coming to the door, they were knocking on the door, they were looking through the window. I could hear the other rooms filling up. And someone came to knock on the door and I put my hand up and I stayed.

Hold the Space

[00:13:01] And I stayed present with her. I held the space. I did not allow anything to push me. And when we wrapped up our. I walked out, I went and saw eight more patients in eight more rooms. And then I reached out to my employer and I said I don’t wanna do, when it comes to caring for a human being, I don’t wanna do anything urgently anymore.

[00:13:28] Mm-hmm. . And he said, Well, I wanna do everything urgently. And I said, Well then that’s where our paths diverge. And I have loved my time here. Now I need to go. And I said September 1st. And, and really that moment was that moment was a little scary. Cause you know, you can over, you could plan a new business venture to death and, you know, normally you would give some notice and just say, Okay, I’m gonna do this January 1st.

[00:13:58] Well, I didn’t, I gave about two weeks notice and I said, September one, I’d like to be off the schedule. Yeah. So again, that was the. And you hope the net’s there, and then sure enough, it is if you have the faith and you’ll make the, you’ll make that leap. It’s, it’s a big leap. And it is so worth it because the machine that I leap from, Has become so impersonal and so disconnected from the patient.

Overwhelming Healthcare

[00:14:27] It is a business more than it is an endeavor of, of care or compassion. There are providers, there are wonderful doctors out there, and wonderful, very compassionate caregivers. And sadly the business of healthcare has really overwhelmed us. And I think the pandemic, what we’re seeing since the pandemic is that the highest rate of, of suicide and suicidal ideation is among healthcare providers.

[00:14:56] And that is frightening to me. And it truly, it’s a shame when you see a community that’s willing. Sacrifice their caregivers. I feel like the caregivers are the, the canaries in the coal mine. And it’s sad to me that that’s, that we would send, that’s who we would sacrifice. So it’s a machine that is impersonal and detached and stoic and very much, very much a business.

[00:15:24] And I can appreciate the need for, for a business mindset, but I don’t know any healthcare providers that that really, it, it is such a grueling, grueling and rigorous training to get there that you have to love, you have to want it beyond a business, you know? I know, I know plumbers that do better than a lot of healthcares healthcare providers.

Bigger than Business

[00:15:52] I really do. And it’s like you, you are. To healthcare, you are called to education. You are called to these service industries, and that’s something much bigger than economics. That’s bigger than business. And so it’s disappointing that we have these people called to serve and then exploited the way that the way that they are.

[00:16:17] So it’s a machine that once you see it for what it is, it’s really hard to participate. Any, any.

[00:16:23] Miriam: Yeah, that makes so much sense to me. And I, I actually deeply worry about our country, as you know, this moves forward because you are not the first person I’ve spoken to who has spoken like this. And the other day I was talking to someone who was a teacher, and I bet a good teacher actually, and he said, I, I can’t, I can’t do this anymore.

[00:16:46] Shortage of Service Providers

[00:16:46] Miriam: And. The machine is grinding up our service providers and we’re not gonna get too far down the road and there aren’t going to be any, I mean, already that’s in many, many cities. You, you have a two month wait for a veterinarian and a six month wait for a physician and a as like, I don’t even understand how, what has happened.

[00:17:11] It used to not be like that.

[00:17:13] Kimbi: Yeah. I mean, we have a, we, I have a nurse, a young nurse that I used to teach. She was one of my students that came through. She came by this weekend, last weekend. She wanted to talk. She’s really struggling. And the the nurse patient ratio. On the unit where she’s working, which is a critical care unit, is five to one.

[00:17:33] And it should not be that high when these are critically ill patients. And so it’s, it’s frightening to her and she feels she, her anxiety as you can imagine, has, has been off the charts because of the responsibility they feel for not just one critically ill patient, but five really fragile. Yeah. And it, there’s no support to be had.

[00:17:58] There’s, there’s, there are no more hands to put on deck. So it’s a very scary situation. And we do see nurses leaving the profession left and right, and that was, we were already in a critical nursing shortage before the pandemic. Right. So,

[00:18:15] Miriam: Yeah. I wonder at what point do some of these mega corporations who are taking home mega, you know, bottom lines get removed from that space and where these providers are paid, what they’re due?

Be Kind to Yourself

[00:18:29] It’s, it’s a shame that providers have to jump out from underneath. That umbrella and what it ends up doing almost all the time, and I don’t know what your situation is, but almost all the time they say, I’m not working with insurance. I’m going to just charge a flat fee. And that flat fee unfortunately marginalizes out a certain portion of the population and that flat fee is even making, you know it.

[00:18:55] Potentially less lucrative for that healthcare provider by doing it that way, but they get to choose their own hours and they get to not fry themselves to a crisp.

[00:19:06] Kimbi: You know it’s, That’s right. And they get to decide how to treat their patient. Mm-hmm. , they don’t have a middle man saying, No, you need to go back and try this drug first , and try that drug first and then get to the one that we know will work for this patient.


[00:19:21] You know, and it’s, it’s really, it’s the middle men and there’s a really good Post the other day by Dr. Pearl on a, a, a page called Fixing Healthcare, but it’s about the middlemen and it’s, that’s what’s really, really creating, I think, a big Stick in the spokes. A monkey wrench for us cuz they, and the way I, the way that I see it may be controversial, but really

[00:19:46] really the ones who benefit in this system are the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies. The patient, the community is lost. The doctors, the healthcare providers are lost. Yeah. You know, those are the ones that are sacrificed. But it’s I think something has to give and I think it needs to become a priority, and at the very least, it needs to become a discussion.

[00:20:09] So thank you for what you’re doing.

[00:20:11] Learning about Burnout

[00:20:11] Miriam: Yeah. Yeah. You’re welcome. Can we talk about kind of some of the things you discovered about burnout?

[00:20:20] Kimbi: Absolutely. Burnout. The World Health Organization characterizes burnout as three different dimensions, and the first is exhaustion, and that is physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion.

[00:20:37] The second is Depersonalization, and that’s a disconnect from the work and the, the purpose behind the work. The calling. And then the third is a diminished sense of accomplishment or self-efficacy.

[00:20:51] And so I set out to fully, fully understand each of those dimensions and find the antidote and the antidote.

[00:21:02] To exhaustion? Nope, it’s not downward dogs or low disposition or headstands. Although I’m a big fan of restorative sleep and a, and a healthy diet and some exercise, but that’s just part of it. Exhaustion. We need to find what it, Ultimately, what you ultimately need to do is some habit tracking and identify the activities in your day to day life.

[00:21:26] That energized you versus deplete. And when we can because you’ve done it. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Where we find ourselves, where the time just flies. You are having so much fun. You are so engaged in what you’re doing. You are alive and there’s a tailwind, and you could do it all day. Without tiring.

[00:21:47] That’s a good indication that, that that you’re working in alignment with your purpose. So those activities, and you’ll find those activities in your day if you do some habit tracking and then incorporating more of those habits. More of those activities into your day to day life. Schedule them. So it’s intentional.

Be Intentional

[00:22:05] Don’t let it be accidental or incidental that you did something you loved. And so that’s the antidote to exhaustion. The antidote to a diminished sense of accomplishment is reclaiming your sense of power, your personal power and your pride and your profession, all that you did to get to this place, all that training you did, all the experience you bring to the table.

[00:22:27] And it can be a little intimidating for, you know, HR departments to hear me say this, but really what I encourage people to do is, Update your cv, update your resume, look back over it, you know, fill in what you’ve left out from the past couple years and really, really look at where you’ve been, the journey and where it’s taken you and what you’ve learned.

[00:22:51] Or the other thing, the other exercise that helps is if you write a job description for your position, and it has to include everything that you bring to the. And just look it, it, it really can, You’ll be proud of yourself if you stop and look at everything that you bring to your position. You then can reclaim your sense of power and your sense of pride in what you do, because we lose that when we’re just going on autopilot and we forget how capable we are.

[00:23:19] I remember a moment in at the height of the pandemic, I remember thinking, I should have just kept pounding pavement in New York and kept singing and acting and, and it it, it caught me off guard and it really, really surprised me to even think those thoughts because I love my work. I love helping people.

Align Your Personal Purpose

[00:23:42] And so to hear myself say that it was, that was a, a. Red flag, just one, but it was a red flag. And, and the antidote to the, the third dimension is the the antidote to depersonalization is realignment with your personal purpose.

[00:24:00] And that to me is the most powerful one. And I, that’s why I saved it for last there, because it’s the disconnect from the work that I think poses the biggest threat to all of us and the depersonalization and that sadly, when I was exploring the models of care and the programs of academic study, What I’ve found was an article called The Devil is in the Third Year, and it’s all about the dramatic, dramatic dip in or decline in empathy in third year med students and in the third years when they start rounding on patients and putting hands on people and really being a part of the care team.

[00:24:46] For that to be, when we see the empathy disappear, that’s frightening to me. And I, I, again, I did a lot of research on shift work disorder and that compassion fatigue and healthcare provider moral distress. But what I learned and what I continued to hear is that it’s built into the training. It is in that third year, you see the decline.

Reach Your Full Potential

[00:25:09] But it’s also part of the training. It’s not just a response to the training, It’s part of the training is to keep a, a a wall between you and your patient, remain somewhat stoic. You know, maintain a boundary, a, a distance from your. Patients, and I understand the survival mechanism there. I understand the motivation is to, you know, you’re going to deliver some difficult diagnoses and prognoses, so you know you have to survive that.

[00:25:40] You have to get through some really difficult, difficult encounters, but to disconnect from the patient to depersonalize an endeavor that. Innately, in essence, it is as personal as it gets. This is someone’s health, it’s their life. That is problematic to me and depersonalization. As I said is, is the biggest threat, and then what would be the antidote?

[00:26:08] The realignment with your personal purpose and what I see as our purpose is what we are uniquely gifted with, what we can do uniquely in this life. That is our responsibility is to actualize and to reach our full potential. I think every one of us will, will be and is accountable for how we used our gifts, how we used those very, very, whether whatever it might be, and if it’s, if it’s being present and, and patient and compassionate and hold the space for a young girl who is, is finding a five year plan.

Your True Design

[00:26:46] Then I’m accountable for how I use that. Did I squander it? Did I depersonalize and cut myself off from the work? Or did I allow myself to feel the full breadth and depth of that encounter with another human being? So that aligning with your purpose, I think is really, it’s something that drives my every single day now.

[00:27:09] Miriam: Yeah, that is a space that jumps into the mystical, almost the mystical, magical, where you get to live out who you are designed to be. And I think sometimes people are struggling to find out that who are they designed to be? But I also think many people have forgotten that space because they’ve gotten pulled into the grind or

[00:27:33] just chewed up by the machine and you know, I can tell you, having reconnected with that space has brought you so much life. It’s, it’s interesting to listen to the cadence of your voice and the tone and to hear how much life there is in this new space you found? Mm-hmm. .

[00:27:53] So let, let me transition and ask one more question before we have to end.

[00:27:57] On your website you have a little blurb or it’s like a thing that goes across your picture that says, “Be well.” And I thought that’s such a nice Thought, command, exertion. And I have a feeling it underpins your entire philosophy about how you do medicine. Now, can you talk a little bit about be Well,

[00:28:20] Be Well

[00:28:20] Kimbi: I would love to because that.

[00:28:23] That became a part of my branding so organically. It’s, it’s what I say. And actually my medical scribe that’s been with me for a few years in different, different clinics, she’s, she’s wonderful. And if I tell her she’s. She stuck with me cuz I’ll, I’ll keep her wherever I’d go. And she’s she’s just amazing.

[00:28:43] But she’s, you know, she was one who pointed out that I say be well. Every time I leave a room, every time I leave a patient encounter, she hears me leave the room and say, Be well. And so it, and it wasn’t really on a conscious level, but that was my, my wish, my wish, my command, my hope, my everything for the patient until we meet again, be well.

[00:29:07] And so it, it just. We arrived at that little tagline on the logo so organically it just, it, it was there. It was like, let’s just use it. So yeah. It’s you. It’s you, it’s me. Oh, so nice.

[00:29:23] Miriam: Can we thank you for this time? Can you just tell our listeners how they can reach you if that is something you would like them to?

[00:29:31] Kimbi: Oh, please, of course. Whether you’re thinking of whether you’re chewing on the idea of jumping from the machine or a patient who might wanna consult on something, I would love nothing more. Connection is, is where I thrive. And they can reach me@drkimbe.com and that’s D R K I m I dot. Very good.

[00:29:54] Miriam: Thank you so much for your time, and I’ll say to you and to our audience, be well.

End Credits

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As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

Make the Most of Business Opportunities transcript – Rob Jacomen


Rob Jacomen

Make the Most of Opportunities – Rob Jacomen

Rob Jacomen

[00:00:00] Miriam: All right. I am so happy guys to have with me my friend Rob Jacomen. We met just really relatively recently. We were both doing and are both doing an online course and, generally I find in those things, I don’t have opportunity to create relationships. And Rob has been so great with just offering help and you just have been a bright spot in the class, and I thought it would be fun to profile your company and just have a good conversation about helping people overcome their self-sabotage and reaching their next level.

[00:00:32] So welcome.

[00:00:33] Rob: Miriam, thank you so much. It’s an honor and a pleasure to be on your show.

[00:00:37] Miriam: So Rob, why don’t we start by you giving us just a teeny profile of your company, who you are, what you do, and then we’ll get a little history of how you got from A to B.

[00:00:47] HPX Agency

[00:00:47] Rob: I have an agency called hpx Agency. We are, basically a high performance working with high performance producers in the insurance industry.

[00:00:55] We work with agencies, producers, brokers, we work, our focus is really to transform the. And transform the way things are done in the industry to help people achieve a higher level of growth, personal development, helping them to build multimillion dollar books of business. And so that basically became my passion.

[00:01:17] I spent over 18 years of my career in the industry and, was very successful. And now just want to share my wisdom and how I built my book of business and share it with others and help others succeed. Really what I love more than anything is helping to, make a difference in someone’s life and, and really to help them transform not only their business, but also see them grow. And, and that’s such a cool thing in, in our industry.

Helping Someone Grow

[00:01:42] Miriam: Yeah, well you’re, you’re preaching to the choir here because I believe exactly the same thing.

[00:01:48] There is nothing as much fun as helping someone reach that next level of growth or insight, revenue, what, you know, whatever.

[00:01:57] When you and I were talking the other day, somehow we got off a little bit onto things like sustainability and we both love trees. And you mentioned that you were raised on an organic farm.

[00:02:08] You are the first person I have met who has been, has any experience with organic farming. So we’re gonna go way, way back and talk to me a little bit about your organic farming experience. So then we’re gonna go from there to your. Yeah, it’s such a great thing. I grew up on, I basically, I grew up on a farm, um, for most of my life.

[00:02:29] Organic Farming

[00:02:29] Rob: And, and I grew up in an area of Pennsylvania, which had, you know, Amish and, and, um, Mennonites and my uncle was a farmer, so really was in my, in my family and my blood. And I just, I just loved, you know, there’s something really cool about just being out in nature and going out in the fields and really what that experience did for me is have a true appreciation for, for nature and animals and protecting the earth.

[00:02:57] Incidentally, I ended up, you know, going to school to become a nerdy engineer, specifically an environmental engineer of all things because of my passion for nature and, uh, preserving the environment and just being a good steward, steward of the environment. And, then ended up going to graduate school, at the Uni uva University of Virginia, and had an opportunity to take some classes in the School of Architecture.

[00:03:23] And at that, Sustainability was becoming such a huge thing.

[00:03:28] I mean, we’re talking years ago.

[00:03:30] But really that was at the beginning of that, really that new awareness of sustainability and sustainable communi. And I just became fascinated with how we could integrate livable communities inside of nature.

[00:03:45] And it doesn’t have to compete with each other. It can be a symbiotic thing where there’s a respect for nature and, um, you know, and, and people were surrounded by green spaces and, you know, those things I think are just so important for, for, uh, people’s health and wellbeing. So I then ended up, you know, getting into that profession.

Protect the Earth

[00:04:05] Absolutely loving it because I could make a difference. Obviously I transitioned to something else, but I always that was always inside of my heart. My heart always was, Hey, I love the environment.

[00:04:18] I love protecting our earth. I still read and stay on top of, of new developments and green buildings, how green buildings are built and how companies can, uh, use waste minimization and recycling and all these different, technologies. You know, we’ve come a long way. So that was something that’s always interested me and I, I still keep it with me to this.

[00:04:41] Miriam: Do you have any suggestions for the listeners? I, I think it’s easy to get kind of discouraged. All of the news talks about, you know, how everything’s being destroyed and just. We’re not even, I mean, the latest thing I read was that all the plastic the United States is creating or consuming is not even being recycled anymore.

[00:05:03] And I, I think that for someone who cares about it as much as you do, as much as I do, I know this isn’t the main topic of our podcast, that I want us to talk about it because we’re integrated human beings. And it’s not all just about if you’re having success in one area but not in another, then you’re still not succeeding.

[00:05:23] Sustainability for the Planet

[00:05:23] Miriam: So what are some ways that we as individuals can make a difference in the sustainability of our planet?

[00:05:31] Rob: You know, I think, I think what I see right now going on is there’s so many different groups or different different groups who have specific interests. You know, you have the, the people over here protecting, you know, water and clean, clean water, and you have clean air.

[00:05:49] You have sustainability and sustainable communities. You have all these different groups doing. Who are all passionate about their, their certain area. But really I think what we all need to do a better job of is all coming together. And really what it boils down to, in my opinion, is education and technology.

[00:06:09] Like there are some advantages to some of the innovation that has occurred in, in the sustainability community and in terms of, of green buildings. Like we’ve come a long. But economics does not always have to compete with protecting the environment. And I think it’s not a zero sum game. It’s not like, Oh, we’re gonna sacrifice one for the other, or, you know, we don’t As, as somebody who’s concerned about the environment, I also don’t wanna put companies outta business.

[00:06:37] I want there to, to be more, Let’s all get on the same page and have a certain level of respect and stewardship for the environment. And I don’t believe that one side versus the other, like one side doesn’t wanna destroy the environment. The other side, you know, is, is only concerned about the the environment.

Don’t Become Extreme

[00:06:54] I think there’s a, I think there’s a healthy middle ground that we all can, can live and we can use innovation and use technology to our advantage. I think we can all come together as, Hey, we all have common interests and I think we all agree on the same end, and that is we want to protect the earth and we want to protect our children’s future.

[00:07:17] Not be selfish, but think about the consequences of the decisions that we make today for, for the future. And I, I think there’s a real opportunity for us to do that without getting extreme. You know, I think there’s a healthy middle ground that, that everybody can agree to. We wanna be on this planet as long as we possibly can.

[00:07:35] I think we can all agree to that.

[00:07:38] Miriam: Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate what you’re saying about not becoming extreme and also the technology technological spaces. I have a friend who is building a, new home and she’s requesting the carbon capture concrete, I guess it’s a special, unique thing and she’s having a hard time getting her developer to sign off on it, and she just keeps after ’em and keeps after ’em and says, No, this is what I want.

Have Converstations

[00:08:04] The research says it’s equally sound and I know it’s a little bit more expensive and it’s what I want.

[00:08:10] And I was showing another person who is into building houses, this glass that has this special, um, I wanna say there’s an iridescence to it that allows birds to see it so they don’t just crash into it and kill themselves on it.

[00:08:25] So I think there are ways to do it and, I appreciate what you say about coming together and having conversations.

[00:08:32] So, okay. You, you went from the farm, then you went to school, you became an engineer, and then you went into this architecture space. How did you get from there to where you are now?

[00:08:45] Take Opportunities

[00:08:45] Rob: So, so I really became, I, I’ve really been that guy who, number one, I hated working for somebody else and it just used to drive me crazy. So I always knew I had that entrepreneurial blood inside of me

[00:08:57] I encourage a young generation to do this as well. Start to experiment and get into as many different things as you can.

[00:09:04] You don’t always have to like, do something you don’t like or, or like be stuck doing one thing forever. Like I really believe that the beauty of life and the beauty of being in business is try a few different things and see what really resonates with you. See like what makes your heart sing and, and like, When you, when you can honestly say to yourself, Wow, I could, I feel like I can do this and make a difference in someone’s life.

[00:09:29] Like even as strange as this sounds, even if I didn’t like necessarily what I was doing or selling at the time, I try to say to myself, How can I make this an opportunity, right? To make a difference. Impact somebody or give, it helps somebody achieve a transformation. So that’s why even over the course of my career, I went from engineer to business owner to getting in the health and wellness industry.

Health and Wellness

[00:09:59] That was just a fascinating world. For several years I owned my own, um, health and wellness centers, so, Had two health and wellness centers that I was involved in helping to, you know, when people were at the end of the road with, uh, the allopathic model, you know, and, and really wanted it, they were just tired of the, the, the runaround with medications and being sick and, and just wanted to find some way to

[00:10:23] be healthy and and to truly heal. So we found a lot of those people, um, were attracted to our model and so we focused on custom attrition and putting people on a, what we called the healing diet and really started to see people’s lives transform. So that was a period in my life, which it was fascinating and I loved it because it was really making a difference in people’s lives.

[00:10:47] And then I migrated to getting into the insurance industry and using my science and engineering background to really get into safety and risk management and, um, helping businesses become more conscious about safety and how to better manage risk inside of their business. Not only to protect their, their employees, but also just to be more proactive about, you know, managing how they’re managing their business.

Make an Impact

[00:11:13] So that’s where I am right now. That’s where I. Where I am right now is I was very successful as a producer, so I I, I was working in the, in the insurance agency side, then decided, Hey, you know what? I don’t want to just do this for myself. I want to help other agents and producers be successful and help them grow their businesses and help them grow a multimillion dollar book of business.

[00:11:40] And that’s where I am today and the impact that I’m able to make and, and the difference I’m able to make in people’s lives today. Is again, I go back to the same theme anywhere you go or anywhere I’ve been. I’ve always thought of ways that I could really make an impact and, and change people’s lives for the better.

[00:11:59] And uh, that’s always been a common theme throughout my entire career.

[00:12:04] Miriam: I love that you’re saying that because I was just about, in my mind, I was thinking, okay, we each have these themes that run through our lives, and anybody who had had was older than two decades has a little bit of data behind them.

[00:12:19] You start seeing these commonalities, at least in the jobs that you have loved

[00:12:24] you know, I was talking to someone the other day and I said, I’ve always been a coach.

[00:12:28] First. I did it when I was in high school listening to all my friends and their boyfriend problems and their girlfriend problems, and it’s always been, Let me listen to you.


[00:12:37] I’ll find out where you’re stuck. I’ll help you get to that next, whatever that next level.

[00:12:43] When I was in, After I graduated from college, I spent 25 years in a mentoring program with students doing the same thing. Where are you stuck? How can I help you? And then, you know, I became a therapist. Same thing.

[00:12:58] Where are you stuck? How can I help you? And then I moved into this coaching space with businesses and it’s, it’s fascinating to see this golden thread that runs through all of it.

[00:13:09] At my core, that’s who I am. And at your core, what I heard you saying, You like to help people’s lives change and transform, but it’s a little bit different than the way I do it.

[00:13:18] I think. I love this notion of, of you like kind of pushing and excelling people forward – whenever you talk about your business, like when we’re in that, group class, You always have a lot of energy, positive energy where you’re like clearly enthused about what you’re doing.

[00:13:37] How do you help yourself or others when they get discouraged?

[00:13:42] You strike me as someone who is fundamentally optimistic, but I don’t know. Speak to that.

[00:13:46] Find What Works For You

[00:13:46] Rob: Yes, very much so. It’s actually, it’s, it’s funny because even. People who know me very well, know me as like the, uh, I’m the guy that bounces outta bed in the morning, like, Right, what are we doing? Let’s do this. You know, like, let’s go, let’s, let’s make some stuff happen.

[00:14:03] Right? It also, Reflects in the things I feed myself, feed my brain, feed my spirit.

[00:14:10] I read a phenomenal book, by hell Elrod, which, you know, he talks about the miracle mourning, you know, And I started to incorporate that into my life several years ago and, and really made a huge, huge impact on how I started my day.

[00:14:27] And, you know, the question I get a lot is, And there’s so much out there online about, Hey, what’s your routine? How do you get excited for the day? How do you start your morning? Do you do meditation? Do you do this? You know, and it’s funny because I do what works for me and everybody can develop their own routine that works for them.

[00:14:47] Some people like to work out in the morning. Some people like to work out at nighttime. It all depends how you, how your body responds to things or how you function the the point. As long as you do, are doing those things that are good for your heart, good for your spirit, um, good for your overall wellness and your wellbeing to get you started, to get you motivated, to get you excited, to inspire you to, and maybe it’s tapping into other people when you’re not feeling great.

Tough Love

[00:15:18] You’re like, Hey, I’m gonna call my friend Miriam, and she’s, she’s gonna lift me up, right? Anyone who knows me, Knows that they can reach out to me anytime and if there’s something I can do to pick you up or inspire you, or you know, maybe even hold you, hold you, hold you to the fire and say, Listen, you know, you’re giving me a bunch of excuses right now.

[00:15:39] There’s a little bit of tough love there too, and, and accountability. I’m, I also love doing that because I really feel like sometimes people need that as well. I’m not gonna let you play the victim and, you know, woe is me. It’s, Hey, what do we need to do to think differently about the situation? What do we need to do differently to turn this around?

[00:15:59] How, if, if things were perfect, what would that look like? And start to talk through some of those things. And I do that for, for myself too. It’s like that self talk. I wasn’t always like that necessarily, but I always had, I’ve grown over the years, but I’ve always had that level of faith, belief, high energy.

[00:16:21] And now over time, as I got older, It just changed and, and got better. So I started reading more. Um, you know, there’s so many phenomenal books out there that just help contribute to how can I make myself better every single day? Like Atomic Habits, for example. How can you just improve 1% every day and, and focus on that?

Opportunity to Help Others

[00:16:45] That’s a positive thing, you know? And, and we went through a really tough time the last few years. It had been really tough for a lot of people, but at the end of the. We’re still here, we’re still, we still have a phenomenal opportunity to help somebody else, to make a difference in someone else’s life.

[00:17:01] And sometimes when you do something for others and you give and you serve and you have that servant mentality, sometimes that turns around your own mind trap that’s going on and can help you flip that switch. And, and that for me has always worked really well.

[00:17:18] Miriam: Yeah. Wow.

[00:17:19] Well spoken. I don’t know that there’s a whole lot that can be said after that. That’s like, okay, and now we’re gonna take a commercial break. Just kidding, .

[00:17:28] Rob: But the thing is, everybody, everybody can do that. You have Yeah. Have that power inside of you. That, that, So, so, so you’re feeling things aren’t going your way.

[00:17:40] Right? So things aren’t necessarily going your way. Okay. If you have an acknowledgement that. I’m not where I want to be, but I know where I want to go. Okay. What are the, what’s the next right step? What’s the next thing you should you, you and you in your heart or in your mind, you know, that you need to start doing that.

Opportunity Mindset

[00:18:01] I always say this, it’s, it’s funny when I talk to sales people because you know, I’m like totally into sales, totally into marketing. Totally love that whole world. And sometimes in sales you experience a lot of rejection, right? So I’m like, Listen, what’s the next thing you can do to build some momentum?

[00:18:21] And the the, the fastest and easiest solution when you’re in the dumps, especially if you’re in sales, is activity because activity breeds results eventually. Right? So you might experience a lot of rejection, a lot of rejection, a lot of rejection. You’re like, Oh man, this is so hard. Yeah, of course it’s hard, right?

[00:18:42] But if you keep on going and you keep on going, eventually you’re gonna get to the end of where you want to go. Or all the sudden these amazing things are gonna happen, especially if you have a good mindset about.

[00:18:54] I’m a big believer in the law of attraction. I, I, I really believe that there is a whole mindset, and that’s why I’m big believer in meditation.

[00:19:04] It really calms that brain and calms that mind down. When I’m experiencing stress, I sometimes will take a step back and say, You know what, I’m just gonna sit quiet for 10 minutes. And just breathe and just kind of meditate and just let all that chatter just kind of settle down and, and like relax. And that has always been a great solution to, uh, to those stressful situations in life that we all experience.

[00:19:30] So, Hopefully that might help somebody.

Stick to It

[00:19:32] Miriam: Yeah, . Yeah. I hope so too. I absolutely hope so too. And I agree with you. Do you have any stories about having to stick to something even though it was hard?

[00:19:43] Rob: You know, where I draw the most? I’ve been an athlete my entire life and I think what I’ve drawn so much from being an athlete and the lessons that I learned from setting goals to persevering through tough times to, you know what? I can do an extra rep, I can, I can run an extra mile.

[00:20:04] You know, when I wanted to quit. You know, sometimes you don’t always like to do this stuff. It’s like, do I want to get up in the morning to work out? Do I want to go for that 10 mile run? Or, you know, I’m training for a marathon. So I’ve done marathons, I’ve done Ironman races, Um, I did all those things that I call that like, BC before children

[00:20:25] So it’s like before children when I had the time it like, and now my kids are starting to get older. So it’s kind of cool to watch them grow as adults and, and, uh, like my son is now a professional, uh, he’s a professional soccer player, so, um, you know, To see him now grow and develop into that man and, and into that professional, like he’s living a dream that I always dreamed of myself when I was younger.

Sports and Business

[00:20:49] You know, I think as young men, we, we sometimes think of like if you’re an athlete, you’re always dreaming of, well maybe there’s another level there. Maybe I can be a pro or be a professional someday. And uh, now he’s living that and I’m tru, I’m so excited for him. But I think sport, the sports and athletics, Really taught me a lot about business and life and about setting goals and about just like getting through some hard times just by being, you know, persevering and through hard work.

[00:21:20] If you surround yourself with the right people and, and you work smart and you focus on the things that you are really gifted at and let other people like bring in other people to help you get to where you want to go, that maybe fill in the gaps where you’re not as strong, I think is really the secret.

[00:21:39] That’s one of the things that really learned over the years and, and grew. I went from like this workaholic. You know, grind mentality to like, wait a minute, that doesn’t make sense. I, I need to work smarter and surround myself with people who are smarter than me. And, um, I think that’s been like one of the areas where I’ve evolved.

[00:21:56] And eventually over, over time as I got smarter, I’m like, I don’t have to work so hard. I just have to be smart about it. And.

Internalized Discipline

[00:22:03] Miriam: Yeah. I wonder if sometimes that happens because as we age we get tireder and so it’s like, awesome. I gotta learn how to do me smarter about this because I don’t have the same kind of energy I had when I was in my twenties.

[00:22:16] So the question I’m curious about, I have watched an entire generation of athletes grow up being in soccer or. Little peewee football or whatever it is from the time they’re, I mean, they’re starting at like age three or four now, and I have watched generations of kids come up and what I’ve seen is that they’re incredibly, um, disciplined.

[00:22:43] When they have their coach telling them what to do, but once they graduate out of that space, like maybe they finish high school and they move into the college space, or if they’re a collegiate athlete and then they grow past that. I’ve seen an awful lot of people be kind of like a kite whose string was cut.

[00:23:02] You know how when there’s that tension in a kite and then you cut the string and the kite just kind of flails all over the place because that discipline wasn’t internalized. It was like, Yeah, I can do it because you’re telling me to do it. But it didn’t move into the center of themselves. And I was gonna ask you clearly you have an internal locus of control.

[00:23:25] What did you do that helped you know that you are the captain of your ship and the master of your fate? Obviously, you know, within reason.

[00:23:36] Take Control

[00:23:36] Rob: You bring up some really interesting questions about how, you know, I also think as generations, we, we grew up in a, in a certain generation, um, that was a little bit, I, I feel like it was a little more gritty and a little bit more like, Hey, you gotta.

[00:23:50] You gotta take the bull by the horns. And like, if you wanna make things happen, it’s up to you. Like you’ve gotta put in the hard work. You’ve gotta, if, if that’s a goal of yours, figure out how, how you need to get there. And I also think some of the new generation. And I noticed this since in, in youth sports is just a different mentality about how to interact and engage with the, the youth.

[00:24:17] Um, I personally believe like the old school approach of, of discipline and regimen, uh, is very valuable and beneficial because I really think that some of the youth, they, they need that direction. They need some guidance. So I think as we get older, as adults, We start to lose that a little bit of, of like, it’s kind of like that lifeline and it’s why I’m involved with, like, I think we all need to practice what we preach, and that is if the only way to get to where you want to go, I believe is not only surrounding yourself with the right people, but also having the right coaches, the right mentors, the people that you can latch onto in, in your life, especially early on in your career where you can say, Hey, John.


[00:25:03] Like I remember my mentors in, in the industry that, that I started in and I’m like, I really relied on them to, Hey, I’m so determined. I wanna be successful in this business. I wanna learn it. I’m gonna approach someone who’s already been where I want to go, who’s already successful, and, and. And model their success and, and talked with them and picked their brain and say, Hey, will you mentor me?

[00:25:28] Will you, will you share with me some of the things that worked for you? And then also, like today, I, I believe that there is a reason why professional athletes have coaches. Tiger Woods has his own swing coach. My son has a goalkeeper coach that he works with, uh, who’s on the coaching staff, and they.

[00:25:51] Team meetings and they, they meet separately to talk about strategy and hey, how do, and, and also, role playing and game planning and debriefing. Like, Hey, what did I do well, What did I didn’t do? What didn’t I do well? How, how can I prove here?

[00:26:06] And I think as professionals, we all need a coach, somebody who can help guide us in the right direction and give us that.

[00:26:15] Spark of inspiration and, and, and guidance and direction and, and somebody who, who, who can help give us, Hey, let’s game plan through this. How can we get to where, where you are now? You told me, Rob, your, your goal is x. All right, let’s work together. How do we get there? And then map out a plan to get there.

Give Others Opportunities

[00:26:36] And that’s where you and I met you and I met through, through a, I think, is a phenomenal program and, and I feel extremely blessed to have met you. One of the things I’d like to do in, in our mastermind groups is I like to share my experience and also contribute because if I can help somebody else, I’ve offered to every single person.

[00:26:55] That I’ve interacted with, Hey, I’m a resource for you. Use me. I want to, I want to give back to you. I want to help you in some way. And I, I just offer it to everyone as, as like freely, There’s no strings attached. There’s no, I have no ulterior motive. I have no, like, I’m not looking for them to do business with me.

[00:27:14] My goal is to help you become successful and maybe think about things a different way that you may not have thought about yourself. And, and, and that’s really become now my mission is just to help as many people as I can openly and freely and just give and, and just serve. You know? And I think if we just focus, if we all focused on that a little bit more, I, I, I think you’d get a lot farther away, farther along in life in a business.

[00:27:39] Miriam: Yeah, I agree with you. I have watched you help different people in that group, and your face lights up, like you end up. It gives you joy. It’s not something that takes energy from you. It’s something that gives energy to you. And I have experienced the same thing with the various, um, business owners that I coach.

Business Insights

[00:27:58] I’m never tired when I come back from that space. It’s just a privilege to be invited into someone’s life and to be invited into a contribu. Space.

[00:28:08] So it’s also really fun when you ask the question that stops them in their tracks. I asked a young entrepreneur a question, This was about two weeks ago, and his eyes dilated.

[00:28:22] He got this look shocked look on his face, and then he and I said, What’s going on inside you? And he. Uh, Freak. I know you’re right, . And it was, it was an awesome moment because, um, it was a question I asked. I didn’t state make a statement. I asked a question and he knew inside the direction that, um, we were going.

[00:28:47] He was like, Oh my gosh. In the end it saved him about $90,000. So I felt good about that. That’s, you know, that’s a win. It’s a win, right? It’s a win. It’s a win. So, um, let’s see.

[00:29:01] What kind of insight or business process has been, you know, really impactful or insightful to you in the last, I don’t know, couple months?

[00:29:11] Rob: One of the areas that I, I found that has really brought me the most, has been the most insightful to me, and also I’m able to now help others do this, is create systems and processes inside of your business so that it creates, a systematic way of performing things over and over and over, which can produce a very specific result or outcome.

Learn Something New

[00:29:40] Right. So rather than having this hodgepodge, haphazard way of, of operating, whether it be marketing or business development, sales, um, operations, creating those systems and procedures so that everybody on the team knows exactly what their, what their role is, what their contribution needs to be, um, you have systems in place, automations, like, one thing I’ve really learned is you.

[00:30:07] I don’t need to be an expert in technology. I wanna know enough to be dangerous. So what I did is I learned how to use Premier Pro to edit videos. I learned how to use Zapier to create automations in workflows. I learned it by, you know, it’s amazing youTube is an amazing resource. , so is Google. If you ever wanna learn something, listen, all you need to do is type it in there and say, I wanna learn how to do.

[00:30:35] Well, I’ll tell you what happened as a result of doing that, rather than just delegating it to somebody else, I actually learned it myself so I could understand the process and the system and the way things worked so that I could share it with somebody else. Or if I hire somebody to help me perform that particular function or activity or, or processes in inside my company, I then have a frame of reference for how it should be done and also the time it takes to do something or a task

Take a Step Back

[00:31:10] the results and the outcome on the other side is once you set that thing up the first time on the front end, and then let it work and let it, and then maybe tweak and test results and maybe do some AB testing, but setting up the systems so that it operates for you.

[00:31:29] And that’s one of the things I learned in, in our, um, in our program that, that we’re, that we are in, is setting up those systems so that you don’t have to operate, be the operator all the time in your business, that you actually can take a step back and work on the business and not always be in the business and working on fulfillment.

[00:31:50] And, and that’s one of the takeaways I think I could share with you and, and hopefully that answers your question.

[00:31:55] The biggest thing, the biggest takeaway, what I encourage everybody is develop the processes, a unique process, and the systems inside your. business Which not only can make it function better and be more efficient, but also deliver the value to your customer, deliver a consistent result time in time, again, over and over and over, so that you’re delivering the most value that you possibly can for, for your customers.

[00:32:22] Miriam: And the only thing I would add is that I think that entrepreneurs also need to do that in their life because sometimes their businesses hum right along and they can’t ever find their keys, or they’re just, So disorganized in their actual life. And it’s like you have to have both.

[00:32:39] You have to have systems and processes for your life, and you have to have systems and processes for your business.

[00:32:46] Goal-Setting

[00:32:46] Miriam: So Rob, we’re just about to the end here. This is kind of a question out of left field, but I thought I’d ask it and just see what comes of it, uh, in the last six months, what is a hundred dollars or less purchase you’ve made that you’re like, Man, I’m so glad I did.

[00:33:03] Rob: You know, one thing does come to mind. So, So I have a very good friend, and it’s actually somebody who, I used to work with and then he, you know, I, I kind of focused on a whole different niche in the marketplace.

[00:33:17] He’s a friend who, runs a company called Three by Five Life, and they’re these, it’s actually really cool. They’re these, there are these simple note cards, right, which there’s different themes and there’s goal setting, and then, , but there’s something on here that’s really, really important that, that I’ve incorporated into my life that has been so impactful.

[00:33:41] And that is every day I pull out this card and I write down three things that I’m grateful for, and, and then I can carry this card with me and fold it up really nicely and carry it with me in my pocket. And every once in a while. I can reach out, reach into my pocket and say, You know what, what are three things I’m grateful for?

Emotional Growth

[00:34:02] And usually those things that are on there usually have to do with my family, my kids, my relationships, my, you know, my relationships with my fellow colleagues that I’m so grateful that I have. And so this, this has been one of those purchases that I made that’s been like, it’s the simplest, you know, it’s the most simple little thing, but from a mental.

[00:34:26] Emotional and just a growth standpoint. This has been the most impactful for me. I’ve been, I’ve been using these for a while now, and it’s just, it’s become a habit. Every single morning I wake up and I’m like, Okay, what am I grateful for? What are the, what are the three top tasks on my list that I, and I, I write the tasks on here, and then I write a theme.

Daily Theme

[00:34:46] What’s my theme today? Today’s theme was about courage. Because I was on my run this morning and I thought to myself, What’s my theme today? And, and I thought about it. I’m like, You know what, what came to my mind was courage. Having the courage to do things that I maybe normally would overthink or maybe not do because I, I’m held back by something, by fear or by something.

[00:35:09] But what if I was just a little bit more courageous today? What if I just had a little more courage to do something? Maybe made me feel uncomfortable. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone. So then I wrote that down like, this is what I, This is the courage I want to have today, and this is, this is the action I want to take to push me outside of my comfort zone.

[00:35:29] And sometimes it, for me, that brings me joy because I can then at the end of the day, look at this card and go, Hey, you know what? That was a win. And then there’s a column here for putting your wins, right? That was a little win. Chalk up those little wins because they add up to a lot. And even if it’s like creating micro goals, little things that you know you can accomplish throughout the day helps you build momentum, helps, helps to fuel that, that inspiration and, and to keep you moving forward.

[00:35:57] Miriam: That is great. Thank you so much for just like taking the time to share that. We’ll put that, that resource in the show notes.

[00:36:04] We’ve come to the end of our time.

[00:36:06] Find Rob

[00:36:06] Miriam: Would you just share how people can reach you if they would like to ask more questions about who you are and what you do?

[00:36:12] Rob: Yeah, the best place, honestly, I am on LinkedIn, um, and Rob Jacomen, reach out to me on LinkedIn, send me a message. You know, and by the way, I’m a big fan of personal video, so if you wanna send me a personalized video and introduce yourself, I’d love it.

[00:36:29] I’d be really impressed because it’s something that we do. Video has become such a important part of our business model because we really believe that it personalizes that connection and that relationship with somebody.

[00:36:41] Shoot me an email, shoot me a text. I respond to everything.

[00:36:45] Miriam: Very good. Okay. Well I mentioned before we started that as a thank you. We are doing a gift in a donation in your name to the Nature Conservancy. We started out talking about sustainability. We’ll end talking about sustainability.

[00:37:00] Rob, thank you so much. Just appreciate you.

[00:37:03] Rob: I’m so grateful to have met you and, and, again, it’s been an honor.

End Credits

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

Full audio episode found here.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.

Music by Tom Sherlock.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

Define Your Own Success transcript – Jesse Biondi and Melissa LeEllen


jesse and melissa

Define Your Own Success with Jesse Biondi and Melissa LeEllen

Melissa & Jesse

[00:00:00] Miriam: Hey guys, today it is super fun because it is my first time interviewing two people at once. I have Melissa and Jessie here today, and they are the owners and creators of Creative Global Entertainment. And there’s so much more beyond that. They also have a podcast reimagine success. We’re gonna get into the weeds with all of this, but Melissa, you’re an actress, you’re a marketing director, a producer, a comic book creator, writer, motivational speaker, podcast host.

[00:00:33] That’s a lot of hats to wear. And then Jessie, you’re a musician of all instruments, but cello guitar. . Also a podcast host, producer, teacher, motivational speakers. You guys like are the whole package . So I’m really happy to have you here. I can’t wait to see where our conversation goes.

[00:00:53] Melissa: Thank you so

[00:00:54] Jessie & Melissa: much

[00:00:54] Jesse: for that.

[00:00:54] We’re so happy to be here.

[00:00:56] Melissa: This is so much fun. We love we love what you’re doing by the way. We love everything about your podcast and we are so excited to be a part of it. Yeah.

[00:01:05] Jesse: Our goal in life is just to make the world a better place and what better place to do that than the Leave Better podcast.

[00:01:11] So thank you for having us.

[00:01:13] Defining Success

[00:01:13] Miriam: Awesome. All right. Well, I think where I’m gonna start is your podcast is called Reimagine Success, and something in some of the materials I was reading that I really appreciated is that you said success comes in many forms. Everyone wants to keep up with the Joneses, but it isn’t always what you think it is.

[00:01:33] Yeah. So if we can start there and talk about maybe some of the things you’ve seen and heard. Where people got to success, whatever that means, and it wasn’t what they thought it was gonna be. Mm-hmm. .

[00:01:45] Jesse: Yeah, absolutely. So we live our lives with that as our mentality. You know, everybody wants more money, everybody wants the bigger house, the cars and all that stuff, but honestly, that’s not how we’ve ever defined success.

[00:01:59] We. You know, both of us have strived our whole lives to live a full life. One that we are fulfilled every single day at the end of the day.

[00:02:07] And on our podcast, we’ve got the privilege of just interviewing so many people that have just outstanding stories.

[00:02:14] And what’s cool about every one of these people, Is that all of their stories are so vastly different and you never know where life is taking these people. Like it’s, it’s the chances and the risks that people take. That pay off. And when they say, You know what? I’ve had enough with this mediocre, mundane life that I’m living and I’m ready to live life fully and just with my whole heart. And that’s when we start seeing people just finding actual success.

[00:02:43] Freedom of Choice

[00:02:43] Miriam: Yeah, that makes sense to me. I think I’ve, I have had this challenge of defining success. What is a successful day? Because you’re right, so many people initially think it’s about money. And to be honest, I think it’s about something different. And one of the ideas or concepts I’m playing with is this notion of freedom that you have.

[00:03:03] You have the freedom to make decisions that are. In the best interests of your mental health or your children’s health or like for, I was working on kind of some fi like regular goals and I was thinking, well, what would it mean success to be successful financially? And I thought, Really, it comes down to never having to make a financial decision because I have too little money.

[00:03:30] It comes down to what is the right financial decision. Yes. Like for example, with a pet, you know, I’m a big animal lover and we have a bunch of rescues. I never wanna put down an animal because I don’t have the resources to take care of them. Mm-hmm. , I wanna do that decision because that’s the right decision for them.

[00:03:50] Right. So that kind of freedom. Anyway, What kind of things, as you have interviewed people or you’ve been in the variety of I mean wearing the variety of hats that you wear, what kind of things have you seen of people who they thought this road was gonna take them to success?

Drop Your Ego

[00:04:12] Melissa: We actually had someone on the podcast that was growing their business and he ended up stepping down as CEO and hiring a CEO in his place. So he dropped his ego because it’s really hard for people to do that to, to come on and let someone else take charge of your business. He ended up doing that and.

[00:04:34] A matter of, of just like a year, I believe. Yeah. It was a real short, short amount of time. It was very short. He grew his business 30 million. Wow. And that’s just taking away the ego, stripping away what you feel like you should be doing and, and letting your, your company go where it needs to go. And sometimes it’s, it’s out of the box and, and you think that, that you shouldn’t be doing it that way, but, When you, when you look at the big picture of where you want and where you want your goals to go, then that’s when you can really be clear and you can see what you need as a company and as a whole and as a community.

[00:05:13] We’re an entire community that is lifting each other up, and that is always building and building each other up to be a community.

[00:05:20] To lift each other up. And that’s at the end of the day, you know what a lot of our clients are doing, They’re lifting each other up in ways that’s very unexpected.

[00:05:30] And that’s, that’s all that we’re doing here at Creative Global Entertainment is where a brand elevation marketing company.

[00:05:37] So anything to elevate your brand. That’s, that’s where, that’s where we.

[00:05:42] Elevate Your Brand

[00:05:42] Jesse: And what’s cool too is not only have we seen this in our guest lives, but we’ve seen it in our own lives. Yeah. For me, my whole life before, I’ll say BM before Melissa because we’ve, we’ve been married for a little over a year now and we dated for exactly one year before we got married.

[00:06:01] We were doing some odds and end things, but then I ended up getting another corporate job where I was making more money than I had ever made in my entire life. And I was like, I. This is great. I’m making all this money and everything’s good, except for my soul was dying.

[00:06:15] Yeah. And we are actually both working for this company at the same time. This was right before we really, really launched the new rebranding of Creative Global.

[00:06:24] And by a stroke of luck, as you would have it the company ended up downsizing and cut our entire department. And I say, luck, because most people would look at that and be like, Wow, that’s horrible.

[00:06:39] You both lost your jobs in one fail swoop. And mind you, I was making more money than I’d ever made in my life. She was making more money than me. Melissa was like, All right, we’re gonna the lake, you know, cuz this was last summer.

[00:06:52] Yeah,

Take a Breath

[00:06:52] Melissa: well, I, I had the idea, we need to stop what we’re doing. We need to take a breath, we need to take a pause, and we need to go out and do something that we enjoy, which was the lake. And we got out there and we’re on a raft and we see the mountains in the backdrop. And just the lake is just beautiful and calm.

[00:07:11] Just a calming day. The sun is shining, you know, it’s shining through the trees and it’s just a beautiful day. And we’re relaxed and we’re in a happy place and we just let it go. And then we come back into the office and then that’s when we get busy. You know, you have to take that breath. And that’s what a lot of people forget.

[00:07:31] Jesse: And it’s, it’s crazy though because you know my family. They thought, Oh, you finally got this great job. Everything’s wonderful, You’re on the right path. But that wasn’t the right path for me, the right path for me involved having freedom, having, you know, a life that I’m excited about living and not doing some corporate job that just was literally killing us both and.

Pursue Dreams

[00:07:56] So now we are happier than we’ve ever been. We’re pursuing our dreams, our goals, helping other people in real tangible ways, and it’s just been so fulfilling. And we get to do these little dances all the time because we’re, we’re doing the things that are goals, and we’re reaching those goals and we celebrate all of our victories, big or small.

[00:08:16] Miriam: Wow, so much, first of all, I, I, I just wanna say you guys are clearly newly married, . You guys are super smiley and very happy, which is just fun. It’s fun to see. Secondly unless you come from entrepreneurial parents, they all freak out when you leave the corporate job with the insurance.

[00:08:38] And I mean, parents wanna see their kids do okay, and that feels really safe to them. And entrepreneurism feels not safe at all. Yeah.

[00:08:47] Freedom For Your Soul

[00:08:47] Miriam: What were the clues that th this corporate space was killing your soul?

[00:08:54] Like, h how did it show up and how did you know even before the job disappeared that you needed to like do something? I.

[00:09:04] Melissa: I looked at my life in corporate, and you can take that into any corporate. You know, company that you would like to look at, and the owner is the one who makes the decisions. So, you know, when I was doing my marketing plan, when I was doing my campaigns, you know, I always had to get this approval from the owner and.

[00:09:26] And everything was, was approved. I opened up four businesses from rebranding phase on while I was with them, and it was an amazing learning experience. But what I realized from my soul and what my soul needs is freedom. I need the freedom to express my creativity and the ways that I need to express it.

[00:09:48] So I started my business in 2009 and I said, You know what? I’m gonna do this the way that I wanna do it. And I’ve had a lot of success. Of course, as entrepreneurs, as business owners, there’s rebranding, there’s the economy changes, there’s fluctuations.

[00:10:04] Jesse: You know, for me, I didn’t know about being an entrepreneur. I didn’t know that you could have a life with freedom. And so I took this job and, you know, beyond.

Attitude of Success

[00:10:15] That was really painful to work in that environment. Just the daily nonsense of what we were doing, just. Chipped away a little bit at a time.

[00:10:26] And you know, at first I was like, Oh, well my job’s pretty easy and I can get it done in a short amount of time, and, and that, that ma means that like, I’m getting paid a lot more. But that money didn’t. Make it better that I was doing this garbage work.

[00:10:43] Melissa: Like it doesn’t fulfill you.

[00:10:44] Jesse: Yeah. When, when you’re doing something that you truly, Yeah, just don’t enjoy you, you wake up every day with a sense of dread, like, Oh, I just don’t want to turn on my computer today.

[00:10:55] I don’t wanna put on my dress shirt today. I don’t want to sit behind that desk all day and, and talk to these people all day. And. Wake up with that feeling well the rest of your day is shot. You know, cuz you’re automatically going into something with a bad attitude and a bad mindset. And mindset is the most crucial thing ever.

[00:11:14] If you can’t walk into something with a clear mind and heart and knowing that like you’re doing something that you love, then you’re setting yourself up for failure to begin with.

[00:11:23] It takes a lot of energy and effort to be in a creative space and for us it’s more of a deep rooted passion. Mm-hmm. Without that, our lives are empty and we feel depressed.

Enjoy Your Work

[00:11:37] And so working outside of what it is that you are passionate about is the fastest way to kill yourself, honestly. Mm-hmm. .

[00:11:46] Miriam: Yeah. I forget who said this, but they said, If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

[00:11:52] Jesse: That quote rings true with us every single day because since we left that job and are doing creative global, seriously, it never feels like work.

[00:12:01] Melissa: It’s.

[00:12:02] An amazing feeling to know that you are helping a small business, like really get their voice heard and mm-hmm and to elevate their brand. And not, not only that, but it in turn, it helps us. It, it fulfills our soul and we’re able to be creative every single day by doing it.

[00:12:21] Miriam: It’s a win. It sounds like a win.

[00:12:22] You’re in your sweet spot. Okay, so I’m gonna move away from business for a second.

[00:12:27] Since you are newlyweds- a lot of business, it’s super hard on marriages. A lot of marriages go away. And that isn’t just for business owners, it’s for anybody. Yeah. What have you learned in this process about relating to one another?

[00:12:45] Like what gives some good marriage tips? Yeah.

[00:12:49] Communication in Relationships

[00:12:49] Melissa: First of all, communication. It’s so important. So important, and you have to find. Not everyone is gonna like everything that everybody does. Like, you know, someone could love the ballet. The other person doesn’t necessarily love the ballet, but it’s all about balance in a relationship, and it’s about caring and supporting and honestly being each other’s number one fan, Number one cheerleader.

[00:13:16] Number one supporter. Like Jesse. I go to his concert and I know every word to his songs. I, you know, dance I, I support and I don’t care if no one else is dancing in the room. I am dancing because not only this is my husband, but this is, this is my favorite artist in the entire world. And when you think about that, With your partner.

[00:13:41] This is my favorite person in the world. This is my favorite writer in the world. This is my favorite business coach in the world. This is my favorite. You know, whatever you do in life, this is my favorite. And if you go that that day, every single day, and you just really support each other,

[00:13:59] We’ll always be in the honeymoon phase because we’re each other’s number one supporters and each other’s number one cheerleaders.

[00:14:05] And we always communicate with each other every single day.

[00:14:08] Jesse: Yeah. The communication thing, I don’t want to under stress that, Yeah, we spend. Hours and hours just talking to each other every day. Every day. Mm-hmm. and most relationships, you know, somebody goes or both go to work, they come home, they see each other.

Be Honest

[00:14:26] How was work? It was fine. How was your job? Fine. All right. Let’s have dinner. Oh, should we watch tv? Okay, let’s watch TV and then let’s go to sleep. And we don’t talk to people. Mm-hmm. .

[00:14:37] One of the first things I ever said to Melissa. I’m gonna be 100% honest with you about everything all the time, and she said, I will too.

[00:14:46] And we’ve, we’ve. Focused on that. And that helps us with business, that helps us with our personal relationship, that helps us with our friends relationships. Everything we do, we just approach it from a place of honesty. It’s heart driven and we talk, like I said, about everything. Even if it’s ridiculous, we talk about it.

Regular Communication

[00:15:05] And. We, we find that we hardly ever fight because we’re always communicating. Yeah. We, when it comes to business things, we generally get on the same page really quickly because we’re both discussing the, the steps in real time. You know, we’re not waiting until the end of the day and saying, Okay, so now I need to bring this to you.

[00:15:25] I have a song on my album that just came out that says, I spend every hour of every day with you, and I’d still want more.

[00:15:32] Miriam: Sorry guys. You only get 24 hours a day. I know. Yeah. Okay. So I mean, I appreciate, I’m, I’m also a therapist as well as a coach, and so I appreciate many of the things that you’re talking about.

[00:15:46] What happens when you do disagree when you can’t get on the same page, or if you’re committed to honesty, sometimes you’re gonna say something that hurts the other person’s feelings or, You are two individuals who have different opinions about certain things, even if you’re really similar, tell us how you handle some of those

[00:16:05] Melissa: spaces.

[00:16:06] Understanding Disagreements

[00:16:06] Melissa: There’s, there’s been times where we’re, we agree to disagree. It is the best phrase, you know, but we talk, talk about it. Why do you feel, why do you feel that way about this? Well, Of this way or maybe a some past trauma that you’ve gone through. And we just talk about it, like what is the “why” behind it?

[00:16:26] Jesse: Sorry to interrupt, but, or is it our ego that’s making us disagree or something in us that, that is our pride and we, we want to disagree with this because it’s, it’s a personal issue that we need to deal with, so we’re constantly challenging each other to explore those areas as

[00:16:43] Melissa: well.

[00:16:43] When we talk about something and we’re open and honest and we come from a loving place, we both know that we’re coming from a loving place. Anytime that we talk about any, it could be anything absolutely anything. A graphic Jesse design.

[00:16:56] And I’m like, Well, that’s not so great. Let’s, you know, know, Restart over with that. Okay, no worries. Let’s, let’s do it together. You know, there’s, there’s always places as, as long as you come. And, and love, and you come in love with whatever you do. You can, you can overcome your challenges that you have.

[00:17:16] Jesse: It also helps that we both have thick skin as creatives. You can look at me and I could write a song or something or make a graphic or whatever it is I’m working on. You can look at me like, Yeah, I really hate that. And I’ll be like, Oh. Okay.

It’s Your Vision

[00:17:30] What do you hate

[00:17:30] Melissa: about it? Yeah. Or, or what do you hate about it? What can I change? What can I improve on?

[00:17:35] Jesse: Whereas the majority of people would say, you hate my work. You hate what I created . I spent so much time making this and you hate it.

[00:17:44] creative processes, one of those things where like, If you, if you can’t just throw away something that you worked hours and hours and hours on, then you’re in the wrong field because there’s gonna be times like our, our motto for our company is, it’s your vision. We just bring it to life. There’s, there’s times where we miss the vision, and that’s okay because it’s not our vision.

[00:18:05] We’re working for somebody else’s vision and we have an idea. And sometimes that idea is, Sometimes that idea is trash, and if that idea is trash, throw it away as quickly as possible. Yeah. I’ve got a stack of songs like that huge that I will never see the light of day ever, but I wrote them and they helped me to grow and they made me better.

[00:18:26] Mm-hmm. and Melissa has stories and all this stuff that she’s like themes for deadly cramps in her comic book series that she’s created that will never see the light of day, and that’s ok. And people just need to know that it’s okay to, to put your heart and soul into something. And at the end of the day that it wasn’t right.

[00:18:43] Not that it wasn’t good, but it wasn’t right for what was needed. And if you can approach things with that mentality, then that alone solves a lot of issues.

[00:18:52] Small Things

[00:18:52] Miriam: Sure. So I heard you say so many things. I wanna just recap some of ’em and then you correct me if I misheard you. Mm-hmm. , I heard you say Melissa, that you guys deal with stuff while they’re little. And so if you’re, you know, I don’t know. If you’re driving somewhere and you, you’ve got your MAPS program and it’s telling you to turn right and you turn left, if you reroute within a block, it’s just not that big of a deal.

[00:19:17] Mm-hmm. , if you reroute after 25 miles, It’s a much bigger deal. Yeah. Yes. So I’m hearing you say, deal with things while they’re small. And you didn’t say this, but I’m guessing that if you’re speaking at something from a place of love, that you have some forms of respect within your communication style.

[00:19:38] Like you’re not attacking the person, you’re talking about the idea, and the other person has made a choice to not defensive. The truth or the perspective that’s coming out. Those were some of the things that I heard you say.

[00:19:53] And then Jesse, you, this is something that I think very, very many people do not have is this.

[00:20:01] It’s, I, I don’t know why, but it seems like so many people have this feeling of I should be able to do it right or perfect the first time, and if I can’t do it right or perfect the first time, I’m throwing it out and I’m quitting and I’m not have to be terrible at it. Yeah. And I, I just think that we do.

[00:20:21] Keep Trying

[00:20:21] Miriam: Somehow in our brains, and I don’t know if this has been the culture of giving everybody a little prize at the end of the exercise or recital or soccer game or whatever somewhere along the line we have not been taught. You know, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:20:44] Jesse: And we, unfortunately, we see that with our children too.

[00:20:48] So quick example of that, our daughter wanted to play violin. Mm-hmm. I was a strings teacher, so I was starting to teach her some of the basics. And at first she liked it a lot. She was really interested and then she realized that, Oh, you know, I have to spend time practicing this.

[00:21:02] Yeah. And it, it, it is hard and it’s not just gonna be something that I can just pick up once a month. Than do well. And ultimately she decided she didn’t want to play violin anymore cuz it was for whatever reason, she, in my opinion, it was too much work.

[00:21:18] It was too much work. And for, for that mindset, it’s sad because she could have had something in her life that brought her this unbelievable joy, but instead she chose the easier route of just giving it up.

[00:21:33] And as a parent, you don’t wanna. Push kids too hard into doing things, but at the same time you’re like, Come on, just give it a chance.

[00:21:40] And that’s, that’s what we see with a lot of people in business. It’s like so many people have these dreams and they’re like, I’m gonna go for this dream. And the first second, it doesn’t work out exactly the way they thought.

Try Again

[00:21:50] They just quit. It’s like, but the world needs your dream. The world needs that thing that you were going to do, but because you had a little bit of kickback, you’re just gonna throw your hands up and quit. Like that’s really sad because now the world, the entire world is missing out on what you had to offer.

[00:22:07] And we’re just all about telling people, Don’t quit on your dreams. Don’t, don’t stop because it gets hard. Take a breath and try again.

[00:22:16] Miriam: Yeah. I love that. I love that. Who or where did you learn that it’s okay to fail, that you have to try again, that it’s okay to try again or to iterate, or any of those things somewhere along the line?

[00:22:32] That was to both of you.

[00:22:35] Melissa: Hmm. I’ll give a really good example. With Deadly Crimson, I have been working on Deadly Crimson for many years. And this is your comic book, right? This is my comic book, yes. Okay. So Deadly Crimson started out and it’s gone through so many different. Phases, but I never gave up.

[00:22:55] And I, the very first kind of book that I came out is not out for the public and it’s on my computer and that’s where it’s gonna stay . And but if I would’ve said, I’m not gonna do this. I’m not, because you know, it. It’s not good enough. It’s, it’s not good. It’s, it’s then it would never be at the place where it is now.

Try Something Different

[00:23:17] And now it’s a full comic book. So now, Oh, look at that. I have a full comic book. And it’s, that’s beautiful. Completely finished.

[00:23:26] And we’re doing a 23. City, city tour next year, a comic contour, you know, so it’s, it’s growing and it’s getting bigger, but if I would’ve said, This isn’t good enough, I’m not good enough, and I would’ve gotten to that mindset of, I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough, and I would’ve backed down and not done it, then it would never be at the place that it is now and growing exponentially every single day.

[00:23:55] Yeah.

[00:23:56] Jesse: For me, it. Learning this mindset probably had a lot to do with being a musician. You know, I’ve been in professional bands since I was 16 years old, And you’re working with other people, they tell you real quick when you’re doing something that they don’t like and you, you have a choice to make you,

[00:24:13] you can curl into your little ball and feel bad for yourself that you didn’t do it right, or you can try to do something different.

[00:24:22] I guess I grew up in a house where we just didn’t take things as personally. My dad was kind of critical. At times of a lot of the things I did, and he would just tell me exactly the way it was and whether that hurt my feelings or didn’t.

Deal With Your Difficulties

[00:24:38] And I, I just learned to kind of brush it off, take the, the positive out of it that I could take and then get like not dwell on the negative.

[00:24:49] I found myself in certain areas of my life when I wasn’t as mentally strong, I wasn’t. Strong with my, my self-confidence where I let people say negative things to me and I took it really personally.

[00:25:03] And then I would go and evaluate myself later and be like, Why did I take that so hard? What is it about that person and what they said that made me take it as hard as I did?

[00:25:13] And I would have to like deal with those things. And that’s the other problem is most people don’t deal with the things inside of them.

[00:25:20] They. Oh, I’m sad. Let’s brush this under the rug real quick and forget all about it, and then we’ll come back and hope that it never happens again. You can’t do that. You have to deal with your stuff, or else you’ll go into a cycle of just a downward spiral in your life and you’ll, you’ll never get past it.

[00:25:39] Taking Constructive Criticism

[00:25:39] Miriam: Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. For sure. There was a time years ago where I took a creative writing class and I was one of those like teachers, pet kind of kids who got a’s all the time and this was in college, took this class, loved the class, wrote this. Essay. That was huge. Got it. Back First draft c plus.

[00:26:00] And I was like, What, What? And he said, No, this was a, this is really good writing. Keep, keep at it. It’s gonna be an a paper. But, and I, I was like, you gave me a c plus. I mean, I could not get over the stupid grade. Mm-hmm. . And as I worked on it and. Pointed out all sorts of stuff that could be better. It ended up being so much better.

[00:26:27] Yeah. Yeah. And in the end, I was grateful for the feedback he gave me because it took, if he had said, Hey, this is an a, a good job, first draft, you know, here are a couple little things you can tweak. I would’ve been all like, Oh, look at. I’m a writer. Yeah, .

[00:26:43] Jesse: And you would’ve given mediocre

[00:26:45] Melissa: writing and you wouldn’t know what to improve on and what, And those tips go into the next writing or the next story, and the next newsletter and the next, everything that you’re doing.

Make it Yours

[00:26:56] Miriam: Absolutely. It became something I was totally proud of. And I also am a painter, Did this painting not that long ago, Showed it to someone who is close to me and they said, Eh, it’s kind of meh. I don’t know. It needs something here. And I was, and again, I, I was gonna actually put this painting up in my office and have it be for sale.

[00:27:18] I was like, What? Just put it. But I kept thinking about it and thinking about it, and in the end, I made some changes. I like it so much better that I, this other person was like, well, are you gonna sell it? And I was like, No, I like it too much. .

[00:27:36] Melissa: That’s amazing. I love that.

[00:27:38] Jesse: I had a similar experience recently.

[00:27:40] Now I just released my record and the record’s called Power to Change while I was writing the title track for that song. And I had a chorus that I thought was pretty good and I played it for Melissa and she. Yeah, it’s not your best work. And I was. Oh, okay. Okay. So what could be better about it?

The Hard Truth

[00:27:57] She’s like, Well, that course is kind of repetitive. You, it’d be better if you like, came up with some different words for it. And I was like, Oh, cool. So now I changed the words, and again, it’s the title track of the album and I love the song and it’s got this like really cool feel and everything works now, but it would not have worked had I stuck with my original plan and not listened to the voice of reason that I invited into my life.

[00:28:20] And there’s the other thing, you have to. Bring people around you that you can trust. Mm-hmm. , especially if you’re cre a creator, bring people that you can trust that are gonna tell you the hard things and not just be yes men and mm-hmm , just pat you on the head and tell you how good of a job you always do.

[00:28:36] But bring people that will be honest and give you real feedback and that you know that they have your back. And so that way when they do give you a hard thing that you have to swallow. You know that they’re doing it because they actually mean it and they appreciate you and they want to see you do your best.

[00:28:54] Miriam: This is, you know, tremendous information for creatives, but it actually applies to anybody. It applies to a relationship, it applies to parenting, it applies to anything where you are putting out effort. And if you cannot receive feedback and hear, and adjust, then you end up in a silo of yourself, and that’s just never a good space to be.

[00:29:17] How to Find Melissa and Jesse

[00:29:17] Miriam: So Melissa and Jessie, this has been so much fun. I would love to have you guys come back at some point. Definitely. Why don’t we have you tell our audiences how they can find you and of course we’ll put all the information in the show notes.

[00:29:31] Melissa: Of course. So you can find our podcast Reimagine Success at Reimagine Success Pod on any social media platform.

[00:29:40] Jesse: And reimaginesuccesspod.com. Yeah.

[00:29:43] We have a website for our business, Creative Global. If you need any kind of brand elevation or podcast production or any number of things just head over to CreativeGlobalDot.Rocks, and we’ll get you taken care of and see what we can do for you.

[00:29:59] Miriam: Awesome. That’s so great. And as we had mentioned before we started the podcast, my listeners know that we do a donation in your name and you guys chose, chose the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

[00:30:10] Yes. They rescue baby elephants from moms who have been poached. So we’ll get that sent to you right away and we’ll put that in your daughter’s name so she’ll get the updates about the baby elephants. Thank you again. Yeah, she’s gonna love.

[00:30:24] Jesse: Thank you. Thanks so much you, this has been great Miriam, and I really appreciate you having us on.

[00:30:28] Yeah, and for those of you that don’t know, Miriam’s actually gonna be on our podcast in the near future, so be looking out for that as well cuz she’s a great host and we wanna just say how much we appreciate her and everything she’s doing on this podcast to make this world a little bit better of a place.

[00:30:43] Aw, thank you.

End Credits

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Music by Tom Sherlock.

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If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

Building Trust transcript – Will Basta


Will Basta

Building Trust with Will Basta

Will Basta

[00:00:00] Miriam: I am excited to have with me Will Basta and we are gonna be hitting all sorts of conversations. You’re the first person I know who is doing this passive income kind of revenue stream. And it sounds like from reading some of your bios and things that you have just a diverse background.

[00:00:17] So why don’t we start with just a little bit of how did you get where you are today? I mean, you mentioned you’re in Denmark, right?

[00:00:25] Different Paths

[00:00:25] Will: Yeah. , I mean, how I, how I got here is, is, might be a little bit different to the story , but, ok. We , but I can, I can give some cliff notes on all that. First of all, thanks for having me.

[00:00:38] Yeah, I grew up in a small town in upstate New York. So I’m, I’m from the Catskills, from Woodstock. I went to school in Arizona. I actually wanted to be initially clinical in healthcare. Then I realized quickly in college that it’s not what I wanted to do, and then I just went down the path.

[00:00:56] I’ve been traveling my whole life and big on traveling. It’s just sort of in my blood. I went down the path of just learning about, you know, international governments and international studies through college, and then when I got out I wanted to marry what I was good at and then still go back into healthcare, which was communication.

[00:01:13] Working with people knew, you know, you can be in healthcare and not be a doctor. So my goal was to get into that actual industry in general. And so I got a position with DaVita, very large dialysis company. I worked on a, a startup within them, sort of a technology startup that was doing sort of innovative stuff for DaVita as a company.

[00:01:34] And I got to learn about the broken healthcare system that we have, that most people are well aware of, and a lot of things about what we’re lacking. Not just in the arena of nephrology and dialysis, but it opened my eyes to a lot of different things.

Healthcare Industry

[00:01:49] And then from there, I wanted to, you know, I liked the idea of working for startups.

[00:01:52] So for me it was very intriguing to work for companies that were doing innovative things in healthcare, that were at an early stage that I could be an integral part of their growth and make an impact somewhere in our, in our healthcare system. So. Worked for a few different companies, built out their, their, you know, you wear a lot of hats in startups.

[00:02:10] So what was intriguing about that is, which I draw a lot of lines to sort of entrepreneurialism, is you don’t know what’s around the corner. And so I think that sort of led me into to being an entrepreneur, but working in startups now, what’s coming from left field this time? What’s happening today? Your role might be this, but you’re, you’re doing a thousand things and that kept a job exciting.

[00:02:28] And the work exciting. And so, you know, I worked for some companies in mental health, et cetera, and that was actually the last company I worked for was in, in mental health mental health tech. And while I was working for them I was involving myself in different investments when I, where I had the extra money, you know, involving myself in e-commerce, trying to start different brands, having, having a lot of failures here and there, and just really trying to get out, out of the scope of just, oh, this is my one position.

Working Remote

[00:02:55] It was remote, which was great. So I always could travel still. I’ve worked remotely my entire life wasn’t just a pandemic thing. So I’ve had that freedom, which I’m very fortunate of. But during that period of time, I was able to get involved. Sort of the back end of Amazon and, and really just learn a little bit more about the digital space and how to make money online a little bit.

[00:03:16] Started a marketing agency that did okay and that kind of stuff. Digital marketing. And point is, I was just having my hand putting my hands on a lot of different random investments here and there. And that actually led to my business partner and I we actually met, cuz we were invested in a, I guess you can call them the competitor of.

[00:03:37] I wouldn’t really say that. Now, given, I’ll talk more about who we are as a company later, and we’re very different than this company, but on the surface, they run what you call an automation service for clients in e-commerce. So automation as in. Building and operating an Amazon business for people who want to get involved in Amazon and doing it all for them, and then doing a profit split.

[00:03:57] So it sounds beautiful, right? You know, they’re, that company’s incentivized to grow a business for you and you can sit back and just bring in your capital and they can grow an Amazon business for you. We got involved in that and we realized that all of these companies out there, it was really booming at the time.

Business Infrastructure

[00:04:15] Honestly, every single company we came across had so many different inefficiencies. Inefficiencies, and we’re just really not executing properly. A great business model, just poorly. And that really, you know, we just realized, hey, we can do this ourselves better. We can bring ethics into this industry, which we don’t see anywhere.

[00:04:33] We can bring a real infrastructure, which we don’t see anywhere, . Yeah. And we can bring serious experience and a real company. We can build out of this with this business model and improve upon it, refine it, Legitimize the term automation. And try to flip the switch on what people think about it in terms of, you know, what you read online.

[00:04:53] because there’s a lot of horror stories out there from companies just not doing what they say they’re gonna do for clients and just poorly executing a lot of things. I can go on and on about that, but that’s where ascend com sort of spawned, and that was about two and a half years ago. At a small scale.

[00:05:10] Let’s prove out our model first before we go big with this. And we realized we had something special. We had a lot of organic growth. We were, people resonated with the fact that we were transparent in our business practices because we were at a digital age.


[00:05:23] We were bringing a digital product doesn’t mean you need to hide behind a screen the whole time. So there’s always, we’ve always had an open door policy can always come visit us. Still to this day at our warehouse, at our office in Los Angeles. So cut two, you know, I’d say two years and, and eight months later, you know, we’ve got almost 500 clients, two warehouse facilities in Dallas.

[00:05:43] An office in Venice Beach, California and you know, millions of revenue for our clients and a business that is growing pretty rapidly. But we still have head on straight and we have not all lost our mor We have not lost our moral compass, and that’s why we have became a leader in the industry, I believe.

[00:06:04] I’m pretty sure that’s, that’s why not only just the operational aspect and how we produce the business and, and how we do business operations, but really leading with a good, strong, ethical approach. In how we, we do things. And, and that’s where we are today. We build Amazon businesses for investors Walmart businesses as well.

[00:06:20] And we, we turn those into passive income opportunities and appreciate digital assets for people who wanna get involved in the industry.

[00:06:26] And right now I’m in, I’m in Denmark ,

Entrepreneur Lessons

[00:06:29] Miriam: and right now you’re in Denmark. Okay, so let me interrupt for a minute and let’s, let’s take a couple rabbit trails off to the side.

[00:06:35] I mean, you’ve given Yeah, in, in those few minutes, enough fodder that we could talk about this for a couple hours. Yeah. Oh my word. I’m trying to decide where I wanna go with this. , I wanna talk about the ethics piece, but I also wanna talk about the, the piece where you were trying so many different things and maybe they were just barely working or sort of working.

[00:06:58] It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur or not. Everybody deals with this space of, Oh, I tried it. It didn’t go anywhere. And I think the entrepreneur folks do a lot better at saying, Okay, well I, I failed early. Moving on, iterating. I think a lot of the regular folks out there are like, Well, that didn’t work.

[00:07:18] Learning From Failures

[00:07:18] Miriam: I guess I’m a failure. And they, they just stop. So I think my question is how did you work? Space in you that was able to say, Hey, it’s okay. It didn’t work. I’m trying again.

[00:07:31] Will: Yeah. I’d say it’s really looking at it as I, I looked at my failures as education. you know, this is educational. Yeah. I might have invested in this like training program or something here to learn about.

[00:07:43] How to do this here and how to build this here, et cetera. And maybe it wasn’t successful, because maybe I’m not meant to do that. But now I know that system and I can put the pieces together down the line and eventually it turned into me being knowledgeable about the industry as a whole. I’m not the person who actually does the research on our client’s stores, right?

[00:08:02] We have teams that do that, but I still, I learned about it. I wouldn’t say I’d be the best person to build an Amazon store person. , personally but I cuz but I learned, I went through courses on how to do it I didn’t do well myself, but I learned the actual what’s under the hood, which is important, right? You have to look at failures as education.

Learning Moment

[00:08:24] Everything is a learning moment. You gotta take that and use that as building blocks and, and I don’t know if I’d be giving the same why advice four years ago, . It’s easier to say once I’ve gotten to where I am. Right? For sure. There was plenty of times. That mindset cuz I, I never looked at myself as an entrepreneur, ever.

[00:08:41] You know, I, I, now I know I’ve always had it sort of in me, when I look back on my history of doing things, I realized it was actually sort of always there in a little bit and I was showing signs of it throughout the last, you know, couple decades.

[00:08:54] Miriam: Yeah. During that tell tell us what some of the signs were.

[00:08:57] Don’t Give Up

[00:08:57] Miriam: What were some of the signs?

[00:08:59] Will: I think, you know, just, just that in general, you know, not, not giving up on certain things. When I was failing on certain things and also knowing that like, I don’t know, I think I had a lot of positivity in, I always knew that I was getting to a point where I was gonna be working for myself to some extent.

[00:09:18] At some point I was positive about, this is gonna work out, this is gonna work out. It’s not always easy to do it because you go, you get knocked down a bunch of times and, and I think the traveling, I think there’s a lot of parallels. And again, you can run parallels with a lot of different things, but for me, the parallels of entrepreneurial.

[00:09:34] Also run into the travel aspect of my life. Like I ever since the first dollar I made my first job in Woodstock was, I think I was working on the golf course, like raking sand traps, and then I was selling shoes at the local shoe store. All that money I always saved up and I put that towards going away on a trip.

Uncomfortable Situations

[00:09:55] First trip, honestly was 15 years old. And I don’t know how my parents, our parents let us go alone somewhere, but we went to Puerto Rico alone, 15 and 16 year olds. And then I skipped prom when I was in high school, which is a huge thing in the us right? I skipped that and backpacked Central America. Those experiences while I was away.

[00:10:13] Putting myself in extremely uncomfortable situations, whether it’s not knowing the language, whether it’s sleeping in the jungle when I’m 16, with crazy sounds that are so loud you can’t even sleep. Whether it’s just literally going through just, I’m not talking, staying at resorts, I’m talking like really going deep in Guatemala and stuff like that.

[00:10:29] And even if you are going somewhere, it could be domestic too, and it could just be a regular travel, it could be anywhere. Putting yourself in a culture in a situation you’re not used to is uncomfortable. But I always use that uncomfortable like that, that feeling of being uncomfortable as a learning experience.

[00:10:44] Be a Good Listener

[00:10:44] Will: And it became sort of addicting and it, it helped me in my business life to interact with people in a different way. To be able to be a, a listener and not only just projecting what they wanna say while the other person’s talking, just most of the time people are waiting, Okay, when am I gonna be able to say what I, what I’d say?

[00:11:03] I became a really good listener. And I attribute that to, to traveling, because when you’re traveling, you really do have to listen to people because most people aren’t speaking the same language and you don’t know where the hell you are or what you’re doing, and it, it, it trains you to be a good listener.

[00:11:16] And all of these things sort of attribute to, to, I think being in not just business, but also. Running a company, . Yeah. You know, with hundreds of employees and doing it the right way.

[00:11:28] Miriam: Talk a little bit about the uncomfortable space. Most people back away from discomfort and somewhere along the lines you had a choice to push into your discomfort or to back away, and you made the choice to push into it and you learned something about yourself from that.

[00:11:46] Talk a little bit about that.

[00:11:48] Lean into Discomfort

[00:11:48] Will: Yeah. I mean, . There’s, there’s, there’s been a long road to get where I am right now, and there’s a long road ahead still. Right? And so in terms of me putting myself in situations that are uncomfortable in the business sense, you know, there, that’s, that’s a tough question to answer.

[00:12:05] I, I think, I think I’ve evolved, like I said before, I said this five minutes ago in terms of where I, how I would answer these questions five years ago or even a year ago, are so, Right. I’ve matured so much by running a company and not knowing what I’m doing. in the beginning, in hyper growth mode, you know, and trying to figure things out of that go, but also make sure that.

[00:12:26] Don’t Be Blinded by Success

[00:12:26] Will: You know, things are, are, you know, you’re still, you have to make sure that you’re not blinded by the success. Right, right, right. And, and I know I’m sort of going off topic slightly on that question, but it just brings up my thoughts of, of a lot of things that happen to when people are, are an entrepreneur and why I believe that some people do fail or they, they, they go off track.

[00:12:48] They may not fail necessarily, but when you become very successful, when you’re an entrepreneur, When I’m saying an entrepreneur, in terms of having employees below you and, and a lot of clients and all this kinda stuff, people can be blinded by the money that’s coming in. They can be blinded by everything that’s happening.

[00:13:02] And they also could be blinded by thinking that, Oh, it’s their baby. They have to do every single thing.

[00:13:06] Mm-hmm. , and I think both Jeremy and myself have learned a lot in being in, in terms of trusting your employees and hiring people. You’re hiring them for the, for a reason to put ’em in a position cuz you trust them in that position.

[00:13:21] So you should trust. Right, Right. You should micromanage them. You should try to do everyone’s position. I think that’s a huge issue with entrepreneurs is you try to do every single thing at once, right? And then you start busting outta the seams and then the quality control goes down and then that has a negative effect on your, on your employees.

Trust Others

[00:13:41] That trickles down to the clients. And I think overall it starts to stay in the company in general. And we’ve done a very good job at trusting the people that we hire. And when they come across issues, we’re there to support and help, but we don’t step in and take and do the job for them. Yeah. And as difficult as that might be sometimes, but I think that’s a skill that we acquired early as being people who just started a company and it’s a first time running an organization I think pretty prematurely.

[00:14:09] We realized that early on, and I think that’s helped us.

[00:14:13] Miriam: Sure. I appreciate that you say you acquired the skill because a lot of people say, Oh, I have trust issues, I have issues with trust. And it’s like, well, A, it’s a skill. And B, you don’t go into it blind.

[00:14:25] I’m gonna circle back and ask the question again because I think there’s some gold here with Yeah.

Trust Your Gut

[00:14:32] The uncomfortableness, whether it’s in traveling or whether it’s in business, there is a kind of uncomfortable that makes you grow and there’s a kind of uncomfortable that is actually foolish and puts you in harm’s way, and I think part of figuring that. Space out is having a couple trial and errors where you try Oh yeah.

[00:14:51] And you there like people always say trust your gut. And I believe, I mean I have a therapist background, so there is something to that. However, there is garbage in your background that makes your gut ping and the correct action is to move forward. Then there is like the hair on the back of your neck that is telling you you’re in danger.

[00:15:15] And the correct action is to move backwards.

[00:15:18] Wisdom

[00:15:18] Miriam: Yeah. And so where I wanna go with this question is the failure space and the learning space. How did you differentiate between wisdom means going back or wisdom means going forward?

[00:15:32] Will: Yeah, I think if I answer that question in, in terms of our organization in the last couple years, I, I.

[00:15:42] Having Jeremy and I, I think he can say the same for me, given our personalities are very similar but also very, very different. I think we’ve been able to bounce off each other in terms of energy on when, when certain things are a certain way and when to not overstep. Cuz sometimes one of us wants to do something like just like you just mentioned.

[00:16:03] And knowing that balance in between of when is the right time to step back, when is the right time to push forward.

[00:16:08] Sometimes him and I are on completely different push forward and step back. But when we have a conversation about it, I’m not saying there’s a right or wrong, but technically like there sort of is in a way, and the person who who, who sort of is in the wrong sort of realizes it and we have that conversation and then learns from that.

[00:16:26] And then when there’s a similar thing that comes up, I’m not saying it might still be the same result but my point is if I come into a situation. And I’m the one who’s saying push forward and he’s saying step back and we have a conversation about it. I understand why it’s stepped back at that point.

Understand Different Perspectives

[00:16:44] And then I, I take that in, like I said before. I use that for the next time a similar situation comes up and I approach it with that knowledge that I gain from that. And I might still step forward. I’m not saying I’m gonna be perfect moving forward from then, but it adds to my knowledge base based on the experience.

[00:17:03] And I only would’ve done that with. I think there’s a lot of yin yang with him and I, and I think he can say the same on his side. And there are times, and I think, I think that comes up again and, and we both agree on push on, on holding back on the next time around. Sure. Because we’ve learned from how he thinks about the situation because everyone thinks about something a little bit differently.

[00:17:23] They have a different approach and perspective. Yeah.

[00:17:25] But understanding diverse perspectives really widens you. And helps you really have a good balance on when to push forward, when to step back and when, when it’s the right time to do something, when it’s not. And of course, you’re never gonna be perfect in that sense no matter what, but you know, there’s only, I mean, that’s why, that’s why we’re here.

[00:17:42] It’s always to improve upon yourself and what you do and, and, and, and, you know, do a little bit better the next time around. And I think that’s, that attributes a lot to.

[00:17:51] Communication is Integral

[00:17:51] Miriam: Yeah, so I heard you say a whole bunch of stuff in that I heard you say communication is fundamental. Well, even before communication, humility to say, Hey, I don’t know everything.

[00:18:04] I might not have this entirely right. This is the way I wanna go and this is why. Communication is integral. Then even just having someone to communicate to having a business partner or a mentor or a travel partner, or having other people to get you outside of your head and to be able to process the problem and say, Okay, how do we wanna move forward?

[00:18:26] Or how do I wanna move forward with this information?

[00:18:29] I mean, all of that feels huge.

Step Out of the Box

[00:18:32] Will: Stepping out of the box, right? Yes. It’s huge. I think it’s a huge thing in, in all forms of everything. It’s just everything’s going by so fast. Right, right. You know, life day, daily routine, whatever, whatever it is. Just to be able to, whether it’s some, some people who are meditating in a, at a certain point or could just be, just have a mindset.

[00:18:51] Be like, Hey, once a while, just have a a, an aha moment. Not the day. I’m like, All right, take a deep breath, , and hold onto that for a moment. You know what I mean? You’re going a thousand miles an hour right now. It’s not doing anyone any good. Yeah. So realize what you’re doing.

[00:19:09] Just like my mom was, mother was used to telling me like, Realize you’re eating will.

[00:19:13] Stop eating so fast. Chew your food, , chew your food. Understood. Enjoy. Enjoy your meal. I know you’re really hungry, but enjoy. Realize your, be grateful. That plate in front of you, you know? Yeah. I think that’s Apple do a lot of things. Yeah. Yeah. So what a good mom.

[00:19:33] Ethical Framework

[00:19:33] Miriam: So this is a perfect segue into the ethics space.

[00:19:37] Talk a little bit about maybe your ethical framework, how it was tested in business some of the spaces you struggled, like gimme, gimme some words on ethics.

[00:19:51] Will: Yeah, I mean, I, this is gonna be going on and on about this. I’m gonna start with healthcare. Yeah. The people that I worked with were great and I, I don’t need to name out the specifics of, of, of everything that I saw and, and the inefficiencies that I saw, but as a whole, when I got to learn the healthcare system and the industry in general and.

[00:20:16] Tying that into the food industry and then dialysis and all the stuff that’s sort of happening and, and, and how some physicians not painting a brush to all physicians at all, but how some physicians do their job was very, very difficult for me. When I first started working for DaVita, some of the doctors that I met were so transactional.

[00:20:36] It was just hard. Very, very difficult to like experience and have my hands be sort of tied in the situation. Yeah. Cause they were also getting, I mean, it’s also how our system’s set up- it’s like the pay per stitch model. It’s like the more you see a patient, the more you’re getting paid kind of thing. No quality incentive programs.

Ethics in Healthcare

[00:20:53] And then the doctor just has a mindset of like, that patient has a dollar sign, you know, and if you have kidney disease, there’s no cure. And then there’s the, the end of the road, you have five stages and then it’s E S R D and then unfortunately, like there’s no light at the end tunnel with that. So it’s a very.

[00:21:08] Dark disease, having kidney disease and, and, and having, you know, that that kind of part of healthcare is very tough. And then there’s also the lack of, of mental health support. You know, they have social workers in some of the centers, but they had no real emphasis on having true talk therapy for these, these, you know, these patients who are coming in four days a week.

[00:21:28] You know, three days a week, four hours a day, all that kinda stuff was very difficult to just watch. I’m just watching it happen. You know what I mean? Like it is like no one will listen to me. This is just like the rat race in healthcare and there’s not really healthcare.

[00:21:40] You know what I mean? So that, that was tough and that’s why I like to, that’s why I enjoy going into working for smaller companies. I worked for a company called Blueprint where we, we pretty much took. You know, you know, measuring based care, which has been around for a while, you’re probably familiar with, with your background.

Being Efficient

[00:21:57] You know, those like a p you know, those, essentially those assessments that you give clients when you see them, you know, GAD seven or whatever it may be. And we just digitized it so you can also, a client can do it outside of their session too. It was a very simple technology. put something that really wasn’t leveraged that much.

[00:22:17] But we worked, I worked for a small company, got to really speak to therapists about. What’s inefficient in their office and how we can improve things. And that, that was awesome to see. So the, the, that was tough being, being tied up with DaVita on that. But I found my path in healthcare where I felt like I could make a difference with smaller companies and having a larger impact on that.

[00:22:40] Cuz DaVita’s pretty corporate. So I realized I had to get out of the corporate scene to feel like I was really doing something on that side. Going into where we are in our industry, our company. Our industry is filled with a lot of organizations where people just care about the money aspect on the top.

[00:23:00] They lie, they , they say they’re gonna do this and they don’t do it. The fire happens, you know, and they don’t, they don’t, they run away from it. When it comes down to an issue with a client’s store, and that’s why these companies are falling apart, they’re not lasting.


[00:23:15] Because they don’t, there’s not real partnerships. People invest money and they leave out the truth of what’s allowed on Amazon or not. Whether it’s like a model that is against Amazon terms of service and then their business gets shut down for the client and then they just don’t do anything about it kind of thing.

[00:23:31] Like that kind of stuff is still happening to this day. So the way that we approach, we’re not perfect. Right. When we have issues with clients, we are ex and they’re all start hiding. Like I mentioned before, they’re not transparent, can’t shake anyone’s hand. You don’t know where their office is. It’s almost like everyone’s hiding behind a screen.

[00:23:47] Mm-hmm. and they’re doing shady stuff. And so that really drove us to start our company as well and do it with a full, transparent, open door, ethically sound approach, which is highly respected by all of our. And they can accept where we are, where we do have issues because we’re honest about them. And when we do run into problems with clients’ businesses, which happens here and there, we will, We’ll, you know, we’ll face it head on and we will come to, we’ll rectify the situation, we’ll find a solution.

[00:24:20] And it’s as simple as that. It should be that difficult. Yeah. But , that’s how you should run a business. You shouldn’t beat around the bush and mess with people’s money. Right. And. We’ve ran our company like that since day one. We treat our employees really well, and that also has a trickle down effect of how they interact with their clients.

Positive Energy

[00:24:38] And I think there’s just a positive energy in our company in general. And so my point is, is, is, is we wanted to make sure that, that the stain in this industry know we can, we can do our best to, you know, at least prove that there are good organizations out there that not just are gonna bring success financially to.

[00:24:58] But you’re gonna wanna work with them in a true partnership because you actually trust them. And that’s a huge part of who we are. And that’s, I think that’s why we’ve gotten gotten to where we are too. That’s a huge part of it. Yeah.

[00:25:09] Miriam: How did you come about your ideas about trust? In terms of what, what, What do you mean?

[00:25:15] Like Idea. It’s obviously important to you. You know, it’s a deeply held value that you should be trustworthy, and it sounds like you wanna hang out with people who are also trustworthy. I think so many times, yeah. In business there’s this sense that it’s pretty slimy or that it’s all about the money.

Motivated to Make a Difference

[00:25:35] And I think for a huge percentage of people, that’s true. For some people it’s about the game. For other people, they really are motivat. To help. They wanna make a difference. You’ve used that phrase quite a few times to make a difference. Yeah. And you know, this idea of having impact. Yeah. But this notion of trust, you’ve mentioned quite a few times, so it seems to me that it’s very integral to you.

[00:26:01] And I was curious. How that came about. You know? Was there a space where you were just burned so badly and you’re like, Well, this is not okay? Or were you raised in such a way that, Your word is your word or I, Where did you come by? The ideas about trust.

[00:26:19] Relying on Trust

[00:26:19] Will: I just think it’s so important. I think without trust, whether it’s a relationship, friendship, business, transaction.

[00:26:29] Like even the person who’s bringing you up to, to go bungee jumping and, and, and just tie you in, Like what, whatever it may, may be, it could be anything. It’s, it is such, it’s the foundation of, of, of true human interaction, I think. And so I think it’s extremely important and. It needs to be, you know, put to the top of

[00:26:51] You know, in terms of what people think about when, you know, I, I, it’s something that naturally, I think, I don’t wanna say everyone should just naturally trust everyone. I don’t wanna be too much of like an optimist like that. I just sort of think it’s, I think humans are inherently good and we should trust each other, Right?

[00:27:06] And when you, But the second there’s a hint of no trust, that’s very hard to get back. The second something happens where you don’t trust something or someone. Gaining that trust again, I think is such an uphill battle. And so that’s why I think it’s such an important thing is, is trusting. It’s not just trusting people with your money, but it’s like, yeah, business.

[00:27:28] You’re right. There’s people like obviously we, we all want to make a little like money. It’s good to have money, right? But all that money means nothing if you do it in a distrustful manner. And I, you’re not bringing value to, to people, the world, the people around you. It’s just paper, right?

Putting Trust in Others

[00:27:47] I just think that it’s, it’s worthless. I mean, you think there’s history so much history of rich millionaires who’ve just done slimy things. I just think, yeah, to me it just grosses me out and it’s just not how we do things.

[00:28:00] and, yeah, I don’t even know where it comes from. I, you know, I, my, my mom is a very, very, very good person. She was always like, your word is your bond. Or anything like that. Like that’s never really been the thing that’s just inherently just sort of been part of my familial upbringing. The people that I, I was friends with when I grew up with people I surround myself with.

[00:28:21] And yeah, people, you know, you could be a very trustworthy person. Everyone makes mistakes. I’m not saying that anyone’s perfect, but it’s also a huge thing when it comes down to why people, I’ve heard this so many times, why they invest with us when they’ve been shopping. We trust you guys. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:28:40] Miriam: So I mean, you have the luxury of having been exposed to quite a few different kinds of corporations and quite a few different kinds of people in your travels, all sorts of cultures. What are things, give our listeners like some ideas of hints of that person or that organization shouldn’t be trustworthy beyond, you know, Of course on the internet, you know, can you, is there a real address?

[00:29:09] Looking for Red Flags

[00:29:09] Miriam: Is there a real person or whatever, But like in interactions? Yeah. What is something that tells you, Mm. Take pause. Hang on.

[00:29:19] Will: Yeah. I think, and this is something that probably is pretty obvious for a lot of people when, when companies talk about how much money you can, It’s the biggest red flag ever. And they’re selling, they’re pushing.

[00:29:33] You can make this and you can do that, da, da, da. Like, all this too good to be true. Kind of talk, all this flashy talk. It’s like the simple kind of, I use car salesman, stay away kind of thing. We never talk about unless client asks, we never talk about true. It’s like we’re talking about the partnership and what, what, being involved in e-commerce.

[00:29:55] And why it’s an important asset to add to your portfolio or to start your portfolio with, or the importance of being involved in something that’s a massive growth at it in general and why you wanna partner with a certain company that has this, this, and this. Right. We don’t talk about, Hey, by month three you’re gonna make this da da.

Business Vision

[00:30:13] Like all of that is just fluff . Yeah. Cause everyone knows you can make money online. Right? Right. Now it’s the same thing with healthcare too. Honestly. Like we, when I was working for David, We had a program that we were giving to, to physicians that could help them consolidate, taking digital notes with clients both in the dialysis center and at their private practice in the one, And that was the one benefit we had cuz we were devita, but our program was subpar in general to nephrologists, which are kidney doctors.

[00:30:44] There’s a lot better programs out there. But when I, when I was working for the sales part of that organization, I was never talking about the features of what it was. I was talking. As healthcare revolves down the line, and as your practice grows and as technology advances and as things change, who do you really want to be partnered with?

[00:31:06] Do you wanna be partnered with a company that works with cardiologists and you know, all different kinds of specialties and really doesn’t just focus on kidney care and, and or do you wanna be partnered with a company that is strictly focusing on advancing technology and kidney care down the line?

[00:31:24] Because that’s your specialty. And we work in the niche aspect of that. And I sold the vision. Really it was the vision and who you wanna partner with, not the product. Product they knew was subpar, but that gets outweighed. Down the line if you really think about the future of things and, and who you wanna be working with.

[00:31:42] Inherent Sense of Trust

[00:31:42] Miriam: Yeah. Okay. So talk about the same thing, trust or untrustworthiness, just in relationships in like when you were traveling, just in people in general. What set off your spy sense like, maybe not .

[00:31:59] Will: Oh, I think that’s sort of a tough one because a lot, I’m a good judge of character when I meet someone specifically and, and I see them mm-hmm.

[00:32:06] and so it’s hard to put into words like, Oh, I don’t trust that person. Cause I just feel something. It’s more an inherent feeling that I get when I think some someone’s a little off or something’s a little off about a situation. I think that’s more of a street sense in general. And you’re not always right.

[00:32:26] Right. There’s people I’ve judged early and they end up being like, really great trustworthy people down the line. You know what I mean? And so I don’t know necessarily how to answer that because I think a lot of it for me is just, it’s the energy that I get when I meet someone or when I’m in a certain room or what it is.

Sensing Trust

[00:32:41] It’s more of an energy feeling than like certain of like that sense to me, you know? Then they did this kinda thing. Yeah.

[00:32:47] Miriam: No, that makes sense to me because our. Deep centers in our brain are really programmed to pick up on, am I safe? Am I not safe? Yeah. And it’s a lot of subliminal stuff. It’s behavioral stuff, and most of the time people don’t know why they don’t trust someone.

[00:33:05] They just know that they don’t. Yeah. You know, so that’s, That rings true to me, .

[00:33:11] Will: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You get those feelings, you’re like, Ah, something. This doesn’t feel. That’s simple. Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

[00:33:17] Miriam: Well we’re coming to the end of our time together. This has been great and I would love to pursue you maybe for a second interview down the road.

[00:33:25] Donations

[00:33:25] Miriam: Lots of good, good topics. I had mentioned before we started that we like to gift you with a donation in your name and the, the charity you chose was Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary. Because you said you yourself rescued a dog from the shelter. Tell me about your dog just a little bit.

[00:33:43] Will: Oh, Buster Buster’s the man I, I’ve, I was, there’s a company called Angel City Pit Bulls in Los Angeles.

[00:33:52] Mm-hmm. I was fostering for them. So I had two different foster dogs two weeks at a time. And I went, I go to Europe every summer and I spent, four years ago I went to, had two dogs and then they were great and amazing and then they got adopted and then I went to Europe and I came back and the next dog they gave me was Buster.


[00:34:10] And I was super sad cause after two weeks the volunteer picked them up to bring me to an event. And I called him right after they picked him up. I was like, I made a mistake. They’re like, We. Bring him back. Now, if he’s not adopted by three, we can bring him back, but you’ll have to adopt him. And that’s all she wrote right there.

[00:34:24] So Buster’s a bulldog pit mix and he’s the biggest sweetheart ever. Doesn’t bark. He’s about seven years old. Loves being on the beach. He was found on the streets in like east la biggest sweetheart ever. He is friends with everyone except for squirrels. Yeah. And I miss him. I haven’t seen him in like two and a half months, so I see him Saturday.

[00:34:44] Miriam: I love that. It’s a, he’s a foster fail. Good on you. Yeah, thanks. Thanks for adopting him. I’ve done a lot of fostering too, and it’s always hard when they go away.

[00:34:54] How to Find Will

[00:34:54] Miriam: So why don’t you tell our listeners how they can find you?

[00:34:58] Will: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So our website for our company is www.ascendecom.Com.

[00:35:05] On that you can find about what we do, how we do our businesses, and e-commerce. You can book a call with us, et cetera. And then we have my personal Instagram, which is at wsta Wba S t a and our business Instagram which is at ascent underscore e-com, A S C E N. Underscore E C Om, and we obviously have our YouTube channel and stuff like that, but we, we post regularly about educational stuff, about the industry in general.

[00:35:29] Probably clips of this podcast will be on, on those Instagrams as well. And.

[00:35:34] Miriam: Very good and we’ll, we’ll put, we’ll put all this information in your show notes or in my show notes and this has been really fun. Thank you. Just for your time. Absolutely. Good.

[00:35:45] It’s been awesome. I, I look forward to, to hopefully jumping on with you again in the future.

[00:35:48] We can catch up, but yeah, I appreciate you having me. I’d love to.

End Credits

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

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Music by Tom Sherlock.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

Non-Profit Leadership transcript – Kendra Penry


kendra penry

Non-Profit Leadership with Kendra Penry

[00:00:00] Miriam: Great. Today. I am so happy to have Kendra Penry with me, and I’m gonna let you introduce yourself. You have a really cool job description.

[00:00:11] Stokes Nature Center

[00:00:11] Kendra: Sure. So I, as Miriam said, my name’s Kendra Penry and I am the executive director at. Stokes Nature Center in Logan, Utah.

[00:00:21] Stokes Nature Center exists to make nature education an outdoor exploration possible for all people.

[00:00:27] Because we believe that through education we can all become better stewards of the natural world. My job takes on. Any number of facets depending on the day.

[00:00:39] But for instance, today I’m talking about open access to research with professors at Utah State University. But I also do our finances and our IT department and our benefits and our human resources and everything to keep the organization going.

[00:00:57] We know that nature is essential to our physical and our mental health, and we don’t care for that, which we don’t know. So we’re working to make sure everyone can know nature and therefore care for it better.

[00:01:10] Miriam: Oh, well spoken. So anybody who lives in northern Utah in the Logan area has been to the Stokes Nature Center, I would think.

[00:01:18] And I mean, my kids grew up going there. I loved that it was there. I love what you’re doing. What you were describing, you just described a whole bunch of skill sets and anybody, half of my audience are entrepreneurs and solopreneurs and any of those solopreneurs know exactly what you’re talking about.

[00:01:39] Non-Profits

[00:01:39] Miriam: They wear a bunch of hats. They do a ton of different things. Can you describe for me just a little bit of your history of how you got involved working with non-profits? And we’ll start there and then we’ll go from there.

[00:01:53] Kendra: I started with non-profits when I was a teenager. I have always felt that I wanted my job to be more about.

[00:02:01] Service than about profit. And I, that’s not the same for everyone. I completely understand that. But for me, that’s just where I fit. I attempted to work for the government for a while because I do have a masters in international affairs and that was not a good fit. And I’ve worked in international business for a large corporation and I also did not enjoy it.

[00:02:24] And nonprofits is just where I feel at home where I feel like I can. A difference in my community and that I have value in what I’m doing beyond just bringing home a paycheck. I got there by just piecemealing it together. I’ve slowly in my head, been working backwards, essentially in finding what I’m passionate about.

[00:02:48] I’ve done everything from managing volunteers at a nonprofit to creating programming to prevent human trafficking to fighting for food security. But in reality, I as an individual feel most fulfilled when I am creating solutions, not raising awareness. I get the value in that and I very much respect the people that do it.

[00:03:15] But for me, I need to know that what I’m doing is actually solving the issue.

Putting Skills to Work

[00:03:19] And everything right now in our world on, in our planet is coming back to this issue of climate change. It is driving food insecurity, it is driving immigration, It is driving all sorts of issues. And so if we want to address the bigger ones, we’ve gotta start at the beginning.

[00:03:35] And so that’s how I landed. Stokes Nature Center was that I had these skill sets where I had worked every facet of a non-profit from the ground up. And what they needed was an administrator, executive director. Sounds cool. But I don’t do the programming side, which is the fun side. I do the administrative work, and that is what I know and I’ve done it from every angle.

[00:03:59] And so it was a perfect fit to not only take these skills that I have, but to put it to work at an organization. Works to address the issue that is most at the heart of what I feel is important right now. And it was also a perfect timing fit in that I needed a job and it was available, but I have loved it.

[00:04:20] But it is one of those things where it’s, I know this may not be my final landing place either. It’s. And that’s a beautiful thing in the nonprofit world. You can slowly evolve as you find what you’re good at and what you’re passionate about.

[00:04:33] Values

[00:04:33] Miriam: Sure. So, because you did some work with some governmental agencies and some corporate agencies, and now this sort of space, can you compare and contrast some of the differences?

[00:04:44] Kendra: Sure. So your values are very different at each of them. In corporations, the value is profit, it is your shareholders, and that is the design of them. They are supposed to be doing that. They also tend to focus more on the, a managerial style that is top down, whereas non-profits have to be more collaborative and mainly because everybody’s doing multiple jobs.

[00:05:09] So we all kind of have to work together. And some people fit into one of those better than another. There’s no one right answer there. It’s just a different model of doing business.

[00:05:22] Government on the other hand, In similar ways to nonprofit built around service, it is intended to serve people. But of course there are constraints there that nonprofits don’t necessarily have in terms of your, your political climate changes depending on who’s in charge.

[00:05:39] Whereas a nonprofit has a dedicated mission that this is what we’re always doing no matter what’s happening around us. But for me, I feel like the non-profit is where. Kinda, it’s the boots on the ground of making all of that happen because we we’re still a business. Absolutely. We’re called a nonprofit, but I have to run it the same as any other business.

Finances in Non-Profits

[00:06:02] We still have to have staff and we have to prevent turnover, and we have to deal with. Filing 9 41 s. It’s the same as any other business. It’s just in the end, the money that I make is intended to go back into serving my community as opposed to purchasing stock or paying shareholders. So it’s that end goal is what shifts.

[00:06:24] But in reality we are very similar. But we just do the same thing with a lot less money .

[00:06:31] Miriam: Sure, sure. No, that makes sense. I remember the first time. I understood a little bit about how a nonprofit worked, and I was really surprised because they were making a profit. Yeah. And as you said, the profit is intended to go back into the workings of the organization and furthering the mission.

[00:06:49] It is an interesting perspective and it draws a little bit of a different kind of person. The kind of people who like to work for non-profits are a little bit different in their perspective than the kind of people who like to work for “for profit” type of organizations. Neither right or wrong, both just, you know, utilizing people’s unique gift giftings and skill sets.

[00:07:13] What is something that as you kind of watched yourself progressing from this to that, You had to hit some spaces, whether they, they might have been like something negative happened or something positive happened that sort of shuttled you into the next version of yourself. Can you tell a couple stories about those kind of transitions?

[00:07:37] Leadership Transition

[00:07:37] Kendra: Sure. So one of the primary transitions that stands out for me in the end was very positive, but at the time felt very negative.

[00:07:46] I had a situation at a nonprofit where, Did not have good leadership. And it framed who I am as a leader.

[00:07:55] I think a lot of us look at needing a mentor to shape us positively, but we also lose sight of the fact that negative experiences are equally valuable.

[00:08:03] And this one definitely was because I felt like the person leading the organization was making it more about themselves than about the. And a lot of us doing the actual work, were not getting credit for what we did. And we also didn’t understand things. There was not that sense of transparency within the organization that we needed to know.

[00:08:24] Even just, you know, are our finances okay? We don’t know. Like should I be finding more donors? I don’t know. There was too much of siloing and too much of one person.

[00:08:35] And it shaped me wanting to be a leader so that I could be the opposite. So that I could really help empower staff to do what they do well by making sure they don’t have to worry about things, that they know them, but they don’t have to worry about them.

Serve the Staff

[00:08:51] And also to know that I, as a leader, my first job is to serve my staff. Not the community. My staff’s job is to serve the community, but by supporting my staff, they are better able to do their job. And that is a hard lesson for a lot of leaders to learn, especially in the non-profit world, because we get into it because we’re passionate about it and we want to keep doing that.

[00:09:17] And when you transition into the leadership role, it shifts everything, because your goal is not to create a dynamic program. Your goal is to keep your staff happy, so they create a dynamic program. And that’s what I wanted. That’s what I learned was that there were so many people being lost. There was so much turnover in the nonprofit world, more so than in most other industries.

[00:09:40] And I wanted to do what I could to reduce that. So we stopped losing so much talent and so much passion for our work.

[00:09:49] But I only knew that once I saw the opposite and I actually left that job because of the leadership there. And I didn’t want someone else to, to feel that same way.

[00:10:00] And then at the same time, I’ve had a great experience with the very next job I went to.

Leadership for Staff

[00:10:06] I had so much freedom to do my job. They trusted me that I knew what to do, and I, as long as I did it well, they weren’t gonna micromanage me. And it just, it was a whole new world for me. Being an adult, essentially, but also being in charge of what happened within my territory and feeling like I could create things and be proud of them and help transform the community around me and that the leadership behind me.

[00:10:40] Supported me and they liked what I was doing and trusted me. And that I hope also translates to my staff now. And that I have tried to turn that into a piece of my leadership as well. That I trust them, that I let them know that as long as you’re doing your job and you’re doing it very well, that I trust you and you, if you are not hearing from me, then you are doing a great job

[00:11:06] Internal Motivation

[00:11:06] Miriam: It seems like, and you would have to correct me if I’m wrong Nonprofits need people who are internally motivated and kind of self-directed.

[00:11:17] Is that, is that what you would say?

[00:11:20] Kendra: Absolutely. You have to be internally motivated because nonprofits can’t necessarily give you the external motive motivation that other companies have and. It’s unfortunate that that’s what’s happened in the world, that a lot of people take for granted non-profit work and believe that we shouldn’t be paid well because we love what we do, , and, and it is part of my crusade to make sure that people understand that that is not in fact true, that we do deserve to be paid well.

[00:11:51] We have to run our organization the same as any other business. And to attract talent, I need to be able to pay well and to provide benefits. And we love what we do. It’s not an OR. And hopefully we can start shifting that. But for now, until that does shift, it requires internal motivation to be able to keep going when you see someone with your same degree ma making five times as much money because they win a different route.

[00:12:18] And it seems like their life is easier. Whether or not it really is would be. Story, but it seems that way and it can draw you into a different way of working. If you don’t have that internal motivation to be doing it. It does definitely require a passion for your community and for, for what you do.

Keep the Passion

[00:12:39] Because it’s, it’s hard. It’s really easy to get pessimistic in the nonprofit world because our, what is what we’re doing really making a difference. I, it’s hard to know. And it’s even harder to prove a negative if you’re in a nonprofit world that’s working to prevent something. You can’t prove whether you’re doing it or not, if you’re doing it well,

[00:13:01] Yeah. So you can really easily lose the passion for what you’re doing unless you are, you are internally motivated and also, Keeping yourself mentally and, and physically healthy along the way.

[00:13:14] Miriam: Yeah, I can see how there would be some spaces that were pretty unique to what you do that maybe the rest of the world doesn’t deal with.

[00:13:24] I was talking with someone the other day and we were talking about I, I think we were talking about some charities that are listed on Charity Navigator. We always check out charities just to make sure that, you know, the vast majority of the donation is going to serve the thing, not just going into, you know, whatever, fundraising or whatnot.

Other Salaries

[00:13:44] And in this particular one, this. CEO was making six figures and it started an interesting question of, is that okay or not okay? And the person I was talking with said, Well, I don’t think that’s good stewardship. I don’t think that’s okay. And the, And I was saying, Well, you know, if you look at this person’s salary in reference to anyone else at this level in business, they’re taking a pretty low salary.

[00:14:09] But I understand how the public. I understand where the confusion comes from because when people donate their a hundred dollars or their $200 and then they see someone getting a six figure salary, then they’re like, Ah, is this good use of my money or resources? Anyway? It is until you have walked in those shoes and understood.

[00:14:34] I think it’s easy to judge people for sure.

[00:14:37] Non-Profit Finances

[00:14:37] Kendra: Mm-hmm. , it’s a balance. Mm-hmm. and it is a, a very delicate balance. But we, if we want the programs that we’re offering to be high quality, then we have to have high quality staff and we have to be able to attract them away from so much other competition that pays well.

[00:14:55] And yes, we will always pay. Than a large corporation would. Absolutely. And there is some expectation there to that because we depend on donations and we want the money to go into programs too. Absolutely. But we need to pay our bills . Sure. In order to do the programs, we have to be able to have a place to live.

[00:15:17] So as there is this very fine line there. But I think there is a space for conversation to be sure that people providing services are paid fairly, not exorbitantly, but fairly for the work that they’re doing so that they can keep doing it.

[00:15:34] Miriam: Sure, absolutely. So you mentioned earlier in this list, Of nonprofits that you had spent time in.

[00:15:41] One of them was dealing with human trafficking. Do you mind if I ask a couple questions about that? Sure. Like what what was your role in that organization? What did you find rewarding? What caused you to switch to something else?

[00:15:58] Preventing Human Trafficking

[00:15:58] Kendra: Sure. So the organization works to raise awareness about human trafficking, and my job was as a program manager, and I developed programming that focused on preventing human trafficking among juveniles domestically.

[00:16:13] I also did research on trafficking in the area where I lived and I did a lot of our outreach to Faith Communi. And to schools to make sure people felt equipped to recognize the signs.

[00:16:27] I developed a training for the police department where I lived that was launched within their cadet Academy so that all up and coming police officers would be able to recognize it better and the differences between trafficking.

[00:16:41] Smuggling or trafficking and prostitution and various different things. And I loved the job because it is an issue that I feel we absolutely need to address. But the reason I left is because the driving motiva motivation for human trafficking is primarily poverty. If we are not addressing poverty, what I was doing was never gonna solve the problem.

Non-Profits Addressing Poverty

[00:17:07] I can raise awareness every single day for the next million years, and it doesn’t stop trafficking from happening. It still happens until we take a step back and focus on preventing victims and preventing perpetrators from happening in the first place. And that’s why I left is I wanted to get more onto the primary issue motivating the problem.

[00:17:28] And so I transitioned into an organization that works on addressing hunger and poverty because if we can solve those, we reduce the risk factors for people becoming victims of trafficking. So in many ways, I felt like I was just continuing the work. I was just going a step back to hopefully prevent the trauma from ever having to take place.

[00:17:49] Miriam: Sure makes so much sense. And boy, if you go down some of these rabbit holes, it gets pretty deep because poverty at some level can be caused by climate change and some of these other, I mean, you know, and so then you end up switching into that space. It’s all connected. We’re all part of one world and they, everything touches everything for sure.

[00:18:13] Recognizing Human Trafficking

[00:18:13] Miriam: Do you mind sharing a couple thoughts about How to recognize trafficking. I, I just think as long as we’ve got people listening, we might as well share, right? Yeah, sure.

[00:18:25] Kendra: So first of all, I will say that I will never forget, but the hotline to call if you recognize trafficking, is 8 8 8 37 37 8 8 8 , very easy number.

[00:18:34] But there are two primary types of trafficking. Sex trafficking and labor trafficking and sex trafficking tends to get a lot of attention, but labor trafficking is actually four times more common. And it appears in various ways between domestic servitude to Even magazine salespeople. Door to door was an interesting ar area of research that was happening while I was in the field.

[00:18:58] But then of course, sex trafficking. The primary definition is force fraud or coercion used to make someone work against their will. And signs that you look out for One of the trainings lately has been for flight attendants looking out for people not in possession of their own identification documents.

[00:19:17] That can be a very big sign or signal. The age of the person is very important. When we’re looking at sex trafficking, you’re looking at people under the age of 18. It does not matter what put them there. It doesn’t matter if they say they chose it. If they are under 18, then they are a victim of, of trafficking if they are being used for the purposes of sex or exploitation.

Review Your Purchases

[00:19:41] We also see within businesses here in the US there have been more than one case of large hotel or motel chains. Their cleaning crews are victims of human trafficking because they’re not being paid, and it is very common within our food systems. So migrant labor is very easily exploited in ways that.

[00:20:04] Pretty astounding giving that this is the year 2022.

[00:20:07] But what I like to tell people is what you can do is look at how you purchase things if it is an issue that is really important to you. Knowing how, to, knowing the company that you’re purchasing from and their ethical standards and treating their workers all the way down their supply chain, not just in their office.

[00:20:27] But including that they know who is picking your tomatoes and who is making your shirt, That is what you want to see. The Fair Trade Label, for instance, is certified trafficking and slave labor free. So that’s an easy, well, I won’t say easy, a simple way. To be able to fight trafficking is changing how you purchase, and that’s actually the number one impact that we as Americans can really have is changing how we purchase.

Keep Your Eyes Open

[00:20:54] Because that changes how companies do business. But you can just keep your eyes out when you’re traveling when you are in your own community, when you staying in a hotel, having conversations is one of the biggest things that you can do. Get to know the people that are cleaning your room or are serving you food or just knowing that it can be there, but also not seeing it everywhere.

[00:21:21] But if you do see the signs, then calling the number and reporting it it takes you to Polaris Project, which is a great nonprofit out of DC that runs the National Hotline for trafficking and they can report it to the local authorities to investigate it.

[00:21:35] Miriam: Thank you. I appreciate you talking about that.

[00:21:38] I think that these things go in waves as far as people’s awareness. and a lot of times people are saying, What can I do? This is such a big problem, whether it’s the trafficking thing or climate change, or whatever. The people are always saying, What can I do? So I appreciate that you gave some specific things.

[00:22:00] Effective Management

[00:22:00] Miriam: A couple other quick questions and then we’ll wrap it up. When, when you look at your development within the nonprofit sphere, what are some things you had to grow in, in terms of perspective?

[00:22:17] Kendra: So, well, one that I’ve already talked about is managing people, growing my perspective on what that means, like mm-hmm.

[00:22:24] how you manage people effectively. And in different ways cuz every person is very unique. And that required experiencing it. To be able to become the leader that I wanted to be, but also being li willing to listen when someone tells me something’s not working and not taking it personally. Being willing to change as necessary and really get to know the people I’m leading.

[00:22:54] But the other area I really had to grow in is the absolute basics, the things that I feel like we don’t learn enough of really in school such. QuickBooks, like, how do I manage my accounting books? How do I, you know, set up my webpage? Things that are very simple that I don’t have the money to call someone to come do for me.

[00:23:19] Mm-hmm. , sometimes that’s trial and error. , That is true, but it’s also a matter of my personal motivation to seek out the training and the education that I need to be better at it. Recognizing those things and not pretending like I know them, but being willing to admit that I don’t, and then take the steps to learn them.

Master Naturalist

[00:23:37] For instance, this year I’ve worked diligently to become what’s known as a master naturalist. Because while I don’t develop our programs, just my title in and of itself invites people to ask me questions, and I do not have a background in nature or the environment. And too many times my answer had to be, I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.

[00:23:58] And so that was a piece that I felt was missing, and so I took it upon myself to find the classes that I need to be able to better serve my community. And that it’s a continuous process. Absolutely. I know there’s more that I need to learn and it will both be on the job, but also be a matter of recognizing where I feel inadequate and taking the steps to, to be better at it, and also ask for help as needed.

[00:24:27] Right. Something a lot of leaders don’t like to do, but being willing to do it and it doesn’t show weakness. It actually, in my opinion, is very much a strength to just say, I don’t know how to do this, but someone can teach me.

[00:24:40] Miriam: Yes. I would say right there, that is the basis of the high performing mindset.

[00:24:46] I don’t know, but I can figure it out. I don’t know, but I’m gonna ask someone. So good on you for like internalizing that space and saying, I don’t have to know everything I confident in my ability to learn. That’s what I heard you. Well done.

[00:25:03] Be More Respectful

[00:25:03] Miriam: Yes. What would you say, like if you could change anything about the public so far that from what you know, what , I wish I was the magic genie that could give you the wand, but what would you change?

[00:25:16] Yeah, what would you ask from people? Please do more of this or less of this.

[00:25:23] Kendra: I think I would ask people to please, please be more respectful in general. be, more respectful of, of each other, but also of the environment around us. And not because it’s pretty or we want it, but because it’s absolutely essential to us as human beings.

[00:25:44] Yeah. We need the planet, We need our environment. We are. As reliant on it as any other species on this planet, and respect is where it all comes from, and that also goes for each other and recognizing that. You know when I go off trail because I want a pretty picture, is that really beneficial to anyone or is it potentially causing harm so that the person coming after me doesn’t have the experience that I just had?

[00:26:15] Things like that, that are so simple, but I think we lose track of it because we’ve gotten into a mindset. of Just so much self focus and that is both, It’s a pendulum that has happened that we needed to be taking better care of ourselves. But now we’ve gone a bit too far and seen too much of focus on myself and not enough on other people.

Success for All

[00:26:38] So I think just asking for a bit more respect around us would, and, you know, for non-profits a bit more. Respect for each other that we are all working in this space. It’s not a zero sum game. I can succeed and so can someone else. And the same goes for the business world in respecting the choices that we make and other people around us to make sure that.

[00:27:03] You know, our, our supply chains are clean of, of slave labor. That’s a matter of respect too, of respecting all human beings wherever they find themselves in the world. Yeah, that’s what I would love to see more of. .

[00:27:16] What I would pro probably love to see less, less of is the pessimism that we’re seeing lately.

[00:27:23] A lot of us have gotten to this point. It feels like what I do is so small, so why bother doing it? And that is a really dangerous place to be. And yes, maybe my not watering my yard isn’t gonna save the great Salt Lake, but it doesn’t mean I stop doing it. It does mean that I do it and I do more. I advocate for the larger companies to start making the changes they need to make because that’s where real change happens.

[00:27:52] But it also doesn’t mean that I stop doing what I can.

[00:27:56] We Each Have an Influence

[00:27:56] Miriam: That feels like a mic drop moment. I don’t know that I can add too much more to that other than. Everybody has their pet thing that they feel good about. Like I know certain people are super good at picking up trash every time that they walk, but they have no problem flipping someone off who cuts ’em off at the, at the road, you know?

[00:28:18] Yes. And then you have other persons who would just bend over backwards to just help someone out, and they have no problem. Buying a hundred thousand bottles of bottled water. Like yes, we are these interesting mixes of I’m gonna make a positive difference in my world and I’m woefully unaware of the damage I’m causing in other areas.

[00:28:43] And so I love your focus on could we be a little less negative and also do what you can. And then take it one step further. So yes, go ahead and pick up the trash, and also please write this company and say, Thank you for putting your yogurt and glass jars because they can be recycled. And yes, stop watering your lawn in the middle of the day, in the middle of the summer, and also contact so and so and ask them to, you know, use fair trade with their clothing.

[00:29:15] Like there is more that we as individuals can do, but it takes a little bit of effort. It’s not Herculean, but it does take a little bit of effort


[00:29:25] There was a a time, I don’t know, it was probably in the spring where I was trying to write a company, at least one company each week, either thanking them for something they were doing or asking them to do something different.

[00:29:38] I have no idea if it makes any difference or not. But you get enough people doing that. Yeah, and it does. And somehow or other, we have to hold onto that space in US that says, Our individual effort does matter whether we can see it or not. Yes. That’s hard. I think that’s hard for people at times.

[00:29:59] It’s very hard, but I will also throw out there that one of the biggest things we can do is to vote.

[00:30:04] So it’s the right season right now, but it’s pretty much every year there’s an opportunity to vote on something and we have to keep letting our voice be heard, whether it is writing a letter. Voting for an elected official that believes the way you believe or calling up, you know, a company or, or a nonprofit and finding out how you can get involved.

[00:30:27] There is always something, and I know we all have different levels of time and, and energy to be able to do things but we can all find something that that makes a difference.

[00:30:37] Absolutely. What a great place to end. Kendra, thank you so much for your time today. And you know, I always end my podcast by saying, Now go be intentional.

[00:30:48] And I’m gonna just say it twice. You know, they’ll, it’ll come in the outro, but right now I’m gonna say to our audience, do something to make your world a better place today, intentionally.

End Credits

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Music by Tom Sherlock.

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