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Work-Life Balance and 


Cary Prejean

 Work-life balance with Cary Prejean

[00:00:00] Miriam: I am so happy to introduce you to Cary Prejean. He is a CPA and also a coaching consultant with business systems. And I’m gonna let you explain more of what you do, and then we’re gonna get into some of the nuts and bolts of this.


[00:00:15] Cary: What do I do? I help business owners out of what I call managing the minutia. A lot of business owners, entrepreneurs, they’ve got the fingers in everything and it’s really not their best. It’s not their strong suit. That strong suit is being visionaries.

[00:00:29] Now all of a sudden you begin to empower your business

[00:00:32] When I come into a business, the owner hadn’t taken a vacation in a few years, They’re scared to, because they’re scared the business gonna fall, fall apart with them gone.

[00:00:39] And they kind of at some level kind of dread coming to work, but it’s, you know, what’s gonna be dumped into my lap today. What fires are gonna have to put out. It’s not fun anymore.

Scan the Horizons for Opportunities

[00:00:49] Cary: One of the really important jobs that a business owner is supposed to do is to constantly be scanning the horizon, looking for opportunities they can take advantage of as well as risk with perils that are coming at them, [00:01:00] that they’re gonna have to, to mitigate, navigate around, eliminate do something about if you’re not scanning for what’s coming at you, you will get blindsided.

[00:01:07] It all goes back to a, a, a question a mentor asked me about 30 years ago.

[00:01:12] He goes getting exactly what you want being totally satisfied said, man, that’s great. He goes, you know how you get that? And I went, no, he goes knowing exactly what you want. And that takes time. That takes practice. That takes reflection. It’s a process.

[00:01:28] It starts with you. You are, you are the culture, you are the mood that sets the tone for everything.

[00:01:35] Let me talk to some of your employees.

 A Bad Manager

[00:01:37] And two things that are pretty common that come back is they’re a bad manager. They’re always micromanaging everything. They don’t get that. You care about them. All you care about is your business, your profits, your wealth, your lifestyles are the rich and shameless. If that’s all, if that’s what’s driving you, I, you know, you don’t care about me. I’m just a cog in your machine..

[00:01:57] But if you’re asking them, what do you need [00:02:00] to do your job? Is there anything missing? Is there anything I can get for you? You need some training. How about your career? Is there anything we can do to help you further your career? How’s your family doing? How about good morning. just start with, Hey, good morning. Good to see you.

[00:02:12] That’s my perspective, I know you do coaching as well. What’s, what’s some of the things you do for coaching.

Create a Positive Business Environment

[00:02:19] Miriam: I I think probably what makes me the most unique of the various coaches that I’ve seen in the business realm is that I’m also a therapist and that I am very convinced that many of the problems that you see in businesses are less about the business and more about whatever’s happening within the owner.

[00:02:37] And I agree with you entirely that what that leader is bringing to the table is what creates the atmosphere and charts the course for the organization. And if they’re bringing selfishness and uni- focus, then their employees are also going to be selfish and uni- focused.

[00:02:59] And I [00:03:00] was thinking when you were sharing earlier that everything you’re saying could also apply to a manager, they have to have vision for where their department is going to go. It also applies to a parent. They have to have vision and take into account that their children have feelings and it’s not, “My way or the highway.”


[00:03:19] All of these things are interrelated. So the space that I bring to the CEO or the owner, or the founder is this broader perspective of our human-ness. Our humanity is woven all through this and it isn’t just spreadsheets and bottom lines, although spreadsheets and bottom lines are important, right? The other stuff is important too.

[00:03:43] You have to be able to hold it in both hands, right?

[00:03:46] Cary: Yeah. Their human beings, you know,

[00:03:47] we have our own narratives that drive us or have our own preferences. And we have our own concerns, you know, if you come to work and it’s just, work and nothing else, there’s not much room for, for humanity in there. Why, [00:04:00] why would you want to come to, to a place where you’re just part of the machinery?

[00:04:04] Miriam: Exactly. And what I have found with employees is that if you offer them a large salary, they will take it and appreciate it for a very limited amount of time.

[00:04:16] And then it’s not enough.

More Than Just a Paycheck

[00:04:18] I’ve coached quite a few people who are trying to figure out, you know, where is their next move? Because the big paycheck is awesome, except that they want more out of their life. And it seems to me that most people want to be developed on the employee side and most people on the employer side, the business owner side would like their people to be less yes- men and more self-directed

[00:04:47] One thing I was thinking of that you mentioned initially you ran through a list of reasons why these owners were doing the minutia. Sometimes I think that it’s habit, they have been in [00:05:00] control for so long, especially if they started as a solopreneur they had to do everything .

[00:05:05] And it was, ” I would love to hire someone, but I don’t have the money.” And then they have the money to hire someone and they don’t know how to delegate. That is a learned skill.


[00:05:16] Cary: Well, yes, they, they don’t know how to delegate. That’s very true. And they’re used to seeing it done their way.

[00:05:23]  Really what you should task your employees with, “these are results I want in this timeframe.”

[00:05:28] But if you tell ’em you have to do it the way I would do it, they’re not gonna do it the way you cause they’re not you.

[00:05:33] Miriam:  I have found in my own situation, as I have hired people that I’ve struggled with. Exactly. Some of the things you’re talking about and I’ve had to take a step back and say, “well, Miriam, are you God, do you know the best way to do this thing?”

We All Can Win

[00:05:48]  I try really “hard to be collaborative and to say, ” this is my idea, but if you have a better idea, I’m all for it because I’m looking for everyone to win. [00:06:00] I’m looking for me to win and for you to win and for the customer to win. I want us all to win.”

[00:06:05] Cary: I’ve had employees in the past. I mean, at one time I had 16 employees and I was making tremendous money, but I was working 80-100 hours a week. I was that, that typical business owner driven, killing himself ,you know, and totally impatient with employees.

[00:06:23] Totally wondering why they didn’t see what I saw. At some point I went through somewhat of a, revelation of this is not fun. . The money’s great. But look at the rest of your life.

Work-Life Balance

[00:06:32] Miriam: Was there a moment, like a situation where something happened that was the slap upside, the face and you went, oh my word.

[00:06:44] Cary: I was in my office on a Sunday evening and I was missing out on one of my kids’ birthday parties. Cause I had to get something done for Monday. Yeah. And it just kind of hit me, you know, what am I doing? Yeah. What am I doing?

[00:06:58] Miriam: If your business is a [00:07:00] success, a raging success and your life is in the toilet, you have lost.

[00:07:05] One of my principles is I wanna help you win in business and in life. Right. And if you’re winning in one and not the other, you aren’t winning

Connections of Humanity

[00:07:15] Cary: well, if, you’re losing in family.

[00:07:17] You’re losing in social, you’re losing in body, you’re losing in spirituality. I mean, there’s all these other dimensions of humanity

[00:07:24] This is come from ontological design, there’s 13 primary domains of human concern. And, you know, work finance is just a. Blend of two.

[00:07:35] But there’s so many more that don’t get addressed or get swept aside and suddenly you wake up – like they say, I’ve never heard anybody in a death bed wishing they had put more hours in at the office.

Ontological Design

[00:07:45] Miriam: Yeah. Isn’t that something? Love the term. Ontological design is probably probably one that most people are not familiar with.

[00:07:52] Why don’t you explain that a little bit and some of the other categories.

[00:07:57] Cary: Language actually generates your reality. [00:08:00] In fact, the, the, now that you and I are in, we coordinated in the past through language, even though it was written, I mean, it’s still language, right?

[00:08:09] . We coordinated this present in the past. Yeah. Animals don’t do that. Now wolves will coordinate in a hunt in the present, but they don’t say, Hey guys, let’s go hunting next Tuesday, night, nine o’clock.

[00:08:20] They don’t do that. We as humans have that capacity to design the future. Right? So not only can you generate a future through language, your present, your perspective generates your experience of reality.

[00:08:34] We’re we’re pattern seeking and our narrative is always trying to make sense of what patterns we’re seeing.

Benefit of the Doubt

[00:08:40] Miriam: , an example, if you are in a car and someone cuts you off and you think, oh, that person’s so rude. They cut me off. Now you’re gonna get mad .

[00:08:49] . And if you think, oh my goodness. I wonder if they just found out someone they love is in the hospital. You feel completely different.

[00:08:57] Cary: As we go through life, you know, [00:09:00] we, we pick up certain beliefs and certain assessments and certain judgements and prejudices. And we forget that they’re just opinions. There’s no truth, you know, the ultimate universal truth about it.

[00:09:12] And at some point it becomes like the truth for you, you know, like that’s just the way it is. That’s life.

[00:09:18] A good ontological coach will have the right questions.

[00:09:20] Not the answers have the right questions for the person to examine their own stuff, their own, their own narrative.

[00:09:27] How is that serving you? Is that empowering you or disempowering you, that belief you have and where did the belief come from?

What is Driving You?

[00:09:34] So you have them examine what is driving them and help them to reinterpret by asking good questions and maybe offering, you know, possible alternative interpretations. And what happens is it’s like a light bulb goes off. .

[00:09:47] A lot of times we make up, what we think the other person is saying, and a negative assessment real or made up is just an invitation to suffer. Mm-hmm you can accept or [00:10:00] decline it.

Teenage vs Adult Discourse

[00:10:00] Cary: Here’s difference- a teenage discourse versus an adult discourse,

[00:10:04] teenagers give everybody in the world authority and permission to, to assess them, categorize them.

[00:10:10] They take it all extremely personal.

[00:10:12] Adults are very careful – they’re specific with who they give the authority to, to assess them. You know, and a lot of times it’s like your spouse or maybe close family members, close friends, but the rest of the world, you know, you kind of take it with a grain, eh,

[00:10:26] Miriam: I’m going to say mature adults.

[00:10:28] Cary: Here’s a distinction this teenage discourse versus adult discourse.

[00:10:32] Ah, I know, I know people in the teenage discourse in their eighties.

[00:10:35] Yes. Okay. I’m on the same page with you now. Yeah, we are in full agreements. Yes. Good.

[00:10:41] This is personal, but it was just, it’s so huge. Looking back. My parents got divorced when I was like 13 and next thing you know, my father’s dating my mother’s best friend . And it got like ugly, crazy scenes on the street and having my youngest siblings hanging out the car screaming blocking ’em in traffic and [00:11:00] making scenes. It was just, it was crazy.

[00:11:01] You look back at it, it’s like,, how mature was that?

Wake-Up Call

[00:11:05] Talk about a wake up call, it was life transforming, you know, because I was, I still pretty much locked in teenage discourse, even though I was in my early thirties when I went through it.

[00:11:13] You know, I was demanding, I was, you know, driven. I was, you know, “do it my way.” the whole bit. .

[00:11:20] The whole thing of the ontological training that generally what triggers us the most is the things we’re most scared that we are.

[00:11:26] Miriam: The things that we are most scared that we are. Triggers that that makes a ton of sense to me as a therapist.

[00:11:34] [00:12:00]

Specifics of Adult Discourse

[00:12:13] Miriam: , what specific behaviors did you see shifting and changing?

[00:12:19] Cary: One of the things that adults do is they begin closing possibilities and doors, you know, of opportunities and what have you, so that they can pursue what they’re really passionate about and actually achieve mastery mastery at something

[00:12:31] Achieving master requires that you, you, you narrow your possibilities for what you’re gonna pursue in life.

[00:12:38] The other big thing is what I had already talked about is that you begin to limit who you give authority to, to assess you.

[00:12:45] One of the things of adulthood is to begin to be able to be an observer because until you can see, oh, that’s just some language. That’s just some opinions I have. That’s just some stuff that I was taught when I was younger. And I took it as to put the truth and it’s not serving me anymore.

[00:12:59] I’m [00:13:00] suffering from it. I think I’m gonna stop suffering

[00:13:02] because back then, before I went through this training and practice for years I was very angry. I was very impatient. I didn’t enjoy being around people and now it’s these, you know, they just have a different perspective.

Manage Your Mood

[00:13:16] There’s a lot more peace in operating in, in adult discourse and you get to manage your mood.

[00:13:22] If you’re grateful and joyful and ambitious and peaceful all at the same time, and you’re optimistic behind all of that, you see a ton of possibilities. You see a lot of things that are available on the horizon.

[00:13:35] You are able to ask for help.

[00:13:37] Whereas if you’re in a teenager discourse of they’re doing it to me and parents are doing it to me, life’s doing it to me. Other kids are doing it to me and it has nothing I can do about it. So that has you resigned and resentful.

[00:13:50] And you know, so what can you do if there’s nothing you can do about it, except become a, become a victim and develop a really good victim story. And be, be angry at your parents and angry at everybody who’s doing it [00:14:00] to you and you’re miserable. You suffer.

Observe Yourself

[00:14:03] Miriam: I love this new language of adult discourse and teenage discourse. I have talked about it more in a internal or external locus of control and what you’re describing about the victim mindset or the ability, the opposite of that, the ability to stand outside of yourself and observe yourself.

[00:14:24] These, these are concepts that are easy to say and difficult to live, and it takes a while to figure out –

[00:14:33] What is it I’m actually thinking and how is what I’m thinking, influencing what I’m doing. And then everybody else is responding to me in ways that are not necessarily useful to my life or my business.

[00:14:48] I was thinking about some of the teenage discourse spaces and the adult discourse spaces in my own life.

It’s O.K. to Say No

[00:14:54] One thing I had to learn was that “no” was not a four letter word that it’s [00:15:00] okay to say “no.” I think a younger version of me was very invested in people- pleasing and if they had a need, I was invested in helping them accomplish that need maybe to the detriment of myself. And I think as I have matured in some spaces, I’m able to say, you know, that’s actually your story and your job to deal with.

[00:15:24] And this is my story and my job to deal with. And I don’t need to have my fingers in your business. You know, making sure you succeed because whether you succeed or fail is not actually about my story. It’s about your story,

[00:15:37] Or another thing I was thinking about as you were describing this business of accepting suffering or not accepting suffering.


[00:15:46] I have a similar concept, but I was thinking about it in terms of guilt, guilt can cause a lot of suffering. Yeah. I come from a long line of people who are happy, to feel guilty – they should have done this or should have done that.

[00:15:59] [00:16:00] And I remember in my mind seeing like a glove on my hand, like a baseball glove I can reach out the glove and I can catch the guilt or I can hold the glove into my body and let the guilt fly right by.

[00:16:14] And once I learned how to do that, Oh, my life got so much better.

[00:16:19] Cary: You know, I’ve gotten the point where I, if I notice I’m suffering I get out of that. . I don’t have any, I don’t wanna waste any time suffering anymore than I have to.

Give Yourself Permission

[00:16:28] Miriam:  Once you start owning your life in a way that says the decisions I make are mine to make and they impact all the people around me, your life takes on a different perspective and a different freedom.

[00:16:43] You give yourself permission, I guess, more than anything to be yourself. You know, you’re not so worried about what other people are gonna think about you say about you,

[00:16:50] I’m gonna live my life the way I’m gonna live my life. And some people will be drawn to what I do. And some people will be repelled by it. No matter what I do.

Avoid the Financial Pitfalls

[00:16:57] Miriam: Okay. I’m gonna take a little bit of [00:17:00] turn. My podcast talks about not only wisdom, which I think we’ve been talking about but also practicality. Because you have a CPA background, I would love for you to talk a little bit about some of the pitfalls that you see people falling into- business owners, as well as non-business owners with their finances.

[00:17:21] Cary: Right. The, the big part of it, I, I see is not knowing anything about finances. I mean, again, just cause you have a, you started a business successful with the business. Doesn’t mean, you know, anything about money and probably the best example that I know of personally is doctors. Doctors make a lot of money.

[00:17:38] So they think they know a lot about money. But most doctors I know of they’re easy pray for, for you know, slick salesman. They really are. My father was a doctor and he couldn’t read his tax return.

Athletes and Coaches

[00:17:52] Why do successful athletes have coaches?

[00:17:54] Why does anybody who’s successful have coaches? Because you can’t see yourself in [00:18:00] the performance of what you’re doing.

[00:18:01] So your coach can not only see you perform and give you this, you know, little coaching tips on how to improve this and that they can also give you distinctions. That’ll help you up game up your game. Not just a little bit, but by a lot.

[00:18:13]  Money is the domain that most people know very little about.

[00:18:17] so really what you need is a, a coach there and it could be your CPA,

[00:18:20] Another thing I’ve seen business owners get in trouble over is their taxes. And a lot of times they don’t know they’re in trouble until the tax man shows up


[00:18:28] Miriam: I have seen this happen with people.

[00:18:30] Cary: The other thing I’ve seen business owners or people do is they get successful. They start making some money and they come down with the disease. I call “Afluenza” and they start buying resort homes.

[00:18:42] I was representing a client and this guy is gone bankrupt

[00:18:45] he had a 6 million boat and he had a full time employee on the boat keeping up. And by, and by the time he hit bankruptcy, the boat was about worth, about 2 million. He had also bought a horse farm, which was sucking the company dry.

[00:18:58] He also [00:19:00] had about eight family members on the payroll, some of which he did very little for the company. You know, this guy. near 70 and going through chapter seven, bankruptcy, total insolvency.

Be Informed Financially

[00:19:13] Miriam: I hear you saying two things. One that you absolutely have to be informed at a basic level of how money works. and that so many people really do not understand the basics of taxes and of maybe some of the laws or how to find someone to help you.

[00:19:33] And the other thing I hear you saying is spend less than you earn.

[00:19:37] Yeah. If you spend less than you earn, you are never gonna find yourself in trouble.

[00:19:42] Cary: You always want to have some reserves, you know, you you know what I tell some of these people is that the seeds of destruction are planted in times of abundance.

[00:19:51] mm-hmm

[00:19:52] you know, so everything’s great. Now don’t go tie your business down. You start tying your business to that kind of those kind of cash drains and business [00:20:00] takes a downturn.

Risk and Opportunity

[00:20:00] You’re stuck with it. Cause that stuff like a horse farm and a $6 million boat, they lose value immediately. And there will be down times.

[00:20:07] Again, that’s why the owner has to be scanning horizon, looking for what’s coming there gonna be some opportunities you can take advantage of, and there’s gonna be some risk.

[00:20:15] You better be prepared for.

[00:20:16] Miriam: Absolutely. Being an optimist and a realist at the same time is a hard Teeter- totter to ride hard, hard, but that is the job of every business owner and of every parent and of every manager, every human needs to be able to say I’m gonna have a positive outlook and I’m gonna believe the best.

[00:20:40] And also what, what might be coming down the pike and how do I prepare for it?

“Productive Paranoia”

[00:20:45] I’m pretty sure Jim Collins called this concept productive paranoia, where you look, you scan the horizon and you say, what could go wrong and how do I prepare for it? Not. In a like, obsessive way that is [00:21:00] unhealthy, but in a wise way that says I’m gonna make hay while the sun shines and I’m gonna put it in my barn so that when it’s snowing, I have something to feed the things that I care about.

[00:21:10] Cary: You don’t wanna be paranoid, but you do want to be, you know, you wanna be cognizant of, of what’s going around you and what’s happening in your industry and technology and government regulation.

[00:21:20] You know, we’re, we’re hardwired in our limbic system with what’s called the, the herding principle.

[00:21:26] You know, you see Gazelle’s out the herd of gazelle, only one or two have to see the lion coming and they take off the rest of the herd takes off with them. They don’t, they don’t ask where’s the lion.

[00:21:36] You see it in financial markets, you know why everybody’s buy at the top and everybody’s selling at the bottom.

[00:21:42] You have to be careful of that. You don’t get caught up in some, some frenzy, some fad, some unsustainable trend.

The Herd Mentality

[00:21:48] Miriam: How do you help people and yourself? When you can, tell,” oh, I’m getting caught up in the herd mentality.” And how do you talk yourself out of that space?[00:22:00]

[00:22:00] Cary: Well, again, with questions – real thinking happens when you ask questions, right?

[00:22:06] Yes. So it’s like, okay, so what’s appealing about this. Is this similar to other fads that other crazies that I’ve seen that have. Crashed and burned, you know, am I getting in the wrong time? Is there any professional analysis that’s not biased

[00:22:19] A lot of times ask a pessimist. They’ll poke holes in stuff that you didn’t see before valid ones.

[00:22:25] Miriam: All the pessimists in my life say” I’m a realist.”

Accept Other’s Differences

[00:22:28] They all say that. It is a skillset that they have and the holes that they are poking into various things need to be addressed, not just blown over. It really is a good reminder of how much we need each other.

[00:22:42] We need to be able to accept each other’s differences as value- added instead of annoying, you know, to say, okay, they might have a point. Maybe I should at least pause before I move forward with “X”, whatever “X” is in the herd mentality.

[00:22:59] Cary: [00:23:00] The problem I’ve run into with business entrepreneurs is they’re so optimistic. They absolutely do not see risk, period. Yeah. All they see is opportunity if they have somebody who’s a realist or pessimist, but is always talking about risk, they get like, impatient, why are you trying to bring me down?

[00:23:16] Why are you being so negative? You know? Yeah. And I, and I’ve had to caution them. No, you need to embrace that perspective cuz they’re gonna see risks that you absolutely are blind to. You need to take in, you need to reflect on it. Because they’re gonna see, they’re gonna see things. That’ll come back and bite you on the butt.

What Are You Chasing?

[00:23:32] Miriam: This has been so much fun.

[00:23:34] You’ve gone through, you know, the teenage discourse space and more of the adult discourse space. And your business has had quite a few iterations. Your children are grown. So what do you believe you’re chasing at this point in your life?

[00:23:50] Cary: You know, I, I have, whatever years I have left, you know, who knows 20, 30, maybe I maybe I’ll be dead tomorrow. In the meantime, I really enjoy what I do. [00:24:00]

[00:24:00] I enjoy working with business owners. You know, now I don’t enjoy working with sociopaths and narcissists. I, I, I don’t work with them. Because it it’s all about,

[00:24:09] I have nothing to change. You know, I can’t help you,

[00:24:11] but the people that I do work with, I really enjoy watching them.

Stressed to Ambitious

[00:24:16] You know, they, they, they go from being stressed a lot with their business and dissatisfied with some things to, you know, they start to develop more of these moods of ambition and peace and gratitude,

[00:24:27] And because you see the business becoming much more functional and much less dysfunctional the employee morale goes up and you see their businesses thrive

[00:24:36] Miriam: What you’re talking about is a rehab project. I don’t know if you’ve seen this movie the, the Biggest Little Farm. They took this dead piece of land and they brought it back to life and made it incredibly productive.

[00:24:49] I think what you’re talking about is you’re taking something that has some significant challenges and you’re bringing it to life and watching it grow and expand and be [00:25:00] able to serve people in a way that it couldn’t do before, because of these various pitfalls and self sabotaging behaviors that were found within the business or within the owner, et cetera.

[00:25:11] Cary: Thank you. I appreciate that insight.

Book Recommendations

[00:25:13] Miriam: You mentioned earlier when we first started, you had a couple books that you felt like were good recommends.

[00:25:19] Cary: Thin Book of Trust Charles Feltman.

[00:25:21] There’s four basic distinctions of trust. Number one is caring. Do you care? My concerns, your concerns.

[00:25:27] Are you sincere? Is what you’re saying with your mouth match what I think’s going on in your head?

[00:25:32] Are you competent? Can you actually do what you say you can do, you know, can you perform and

[00:25:37] fourth, are you reliable? Do you have a history of keeping promises over time?

[00:25:41] So yeah, those are the four things to trust and, and he does a real good job of breaking them down and easy way to understand it.


[00:25:48] Miriam: Right.

[00:25:48] , this has been. So fun before we go.

[00:25:51] I think my listeners know that I always do a small gift- we talked about four charities earlier today and you chose the Sheldrick [00:26:00] trust, they help orphaned elephants whose moms have been poached. You said you had three rescue dogs and you had a heart for helping in that way.

[00:26:08] Yeah, I appreciate it.

[00:26:09] Thanks having me on the show Miriam.

Full audio episode found here.

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Music by Tom Sherlock

Strategic Business Advisors

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust


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.