people, listening, helping, business, fun, awesome, great, mel, hear, damon, day, fact, podcast, iowa, grow, thought, today, live, project management, amazing
Damon Pistulka, Jill Valdez, Melissa Worrel, Grant Mathis, Jacob Warren, Ajay, Allison DeFord, Michael Gidlewski, Pete Alexander, Stewart Gerber
Damon Pistulka 00:00
here shortly, I’m going to make sure that I’ve got to get Mel on. And I have to get. Yes. And then I’m going to get syntegon. Yes. That’s a little bug I was talking about guys. So we got that. Alright, right. So cineca should be there. Awesome. Look at this. It’s working like it’s supposed to. We’re gonna go live on LinkedIn now. Drop your if you haven’t already, drop your LinkedIn in the chat. LinkedIn. LinkedIn link in the chat, can speak. But I’m going to get us live on LinkedIn here.
And then we are going to roll. So all right. All right. Hello, everyone. Welcome once again to the Exit Your Way round table. I’m happy to be here today. I’m one of your hosts Damon Pistulka. Andrew Cross is not with us today. He is actually traveling, he is getting on a plane and coming to Seattle today. So we’re pretty excited about that. I’m going to get to see him again. You know, the COVID has been very infrequent. So weather is is fun for us. But I am so excited today because we’re going to talk about how you can have a better more productive work day.
I’m very excited because we’ve got Melissa, our guest host today. And she’s probably your speaker Seneca and now chill introduce Seneca later, I’m very excited about this. I think we’re gonna have a lot of fun with that and learn a lot which like we would want to do. So let’s get started with our with our normal routine. I’m going to be bringing people up to date. We’re going to do your introductions. And today, Melissa has a question of the day, don’t you, Melissa?
Melissa Worrel 01:52
I do. So I’ve been pondering this. And I’m super happy to be the guest host. And thanks Damon for asking and just full of joy that Sinikka was able to join us. So I was thinking about a fun fact. And ultimately, for Question of the day, what is something we don’t know about you or your business that you want to share with the group something fun, you can pick anything that you want? And maybe some will surprise us and some will not. So what is the fun fact about you or your business?
Damon Pistulka 02:19
Alright, AJ, so AJ, first of all, tell us a little bit about yourself. And then you can answer the question that Melissa posed.
Hey, this is AJ, I’m from India. So I am into the staffing industry. I work in business development manager, recruiter for the IT staffing firms, like a way I help my clients to fulfill their hiring requirements mostly into the IT sector like developers, that means it’s first QA, the ups and all this kind of stuff. So that’s all about me.
Damon Pistulka 02:54
Yeah. So Melissa, can you explain that given the question again, so you can answer the question of the day? Sure. Yeah.
Melissa Worrel 03:01
So what is a fun fact about you or something we wouldn’t know about you or something interesting or fun about your business what you do.
So I bought
my business I bought my work thing is is most people will be trying to apply the job portals, like it just dialectical to the job portals, that usually doesn’t work out when you just apply into the job portals because most of the 80 to 90% will be going to the applicant tracking system where you will be getting rejected in all this kind of stuff. So but when you just get applying for a job trying to get email off to the recruiter and directly apply to the recruiter, so there are high chances of getting viewed by the recruiter when you’re applying in the job portals. Ah,
Damon Pistulka 03:43
that’s great to know. Great to know. Thanks so much, AJ, and glad to have you here today. awesome to see you again. All right. So Andrew, how are you today?
I’m well, how are you?
Damon Pistulka 03:57
I you know, good. Good. So tell us a little bit about your business. Andrew, how are you helping people?
We’re a strategy first marketing and sales consultancy that works here in the US and with affiliations in about 120 countries to help you grow your business here or abroad. And we help our clients convert every touch into voracious advocates for their brand.
Damon Pistulka 04:20
Nice, nice. And, and yeah, yeah, I guess I just can’t say enough about how you’re helping people, man. So cool. Oh, cool. So Melissa, let’s, let’s give him the question of the day so we can have him answered. It’s gonna be good.
Melissa Worrel 04:37
All right, Andrew, fun fact, something we don’t know about you. We’ve seen all your characters that you bring up on that fangled tech so I’m very curious what this fun fact is going to be.
Fun fact I forget to mute my phone before I go into a meeting. Yeah,
I think what most people don’t know about me is the what I do. do when I’m not working? So as a woodworker and glass artist and many other creative pursuits, no, I knit my own sweaters and scarves and
build my own furniture and cabinetry and all of the glass fixtures in my house I made myself.
Damon Pistulka 05:20
Yeah, that’s amazing. That’s so cool, man. So cool, because I knew I know about Andrews hobbies and other He’s talented in many different ways when it comes to these kinds of things. So it’s awesome, man. Thanks for being here today.
Damon Pistulka 05:35
All right, Grant, how are you today?
I am well, thank you. Awesome,
Damon Pistulka 05:43
awesome. Well, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you’re helping people what you’re doing? Well,
Grant Mathis 05:49
I feel a bit like a broken record, because I repeat myself each week. But the the, the, the, what concerns us, my wife and I with this startup is the contaminants that go into people’s bodies. Some of them we can help. And that’s the daily skincare. I’ve learned that men have skin too. So it should apply there. And my personal mission is to try and make it easier for men to kind of digest that that classically feminine pursuit of, you know, taking care of themselves, at least where other people can see where they’re taking care of themselves. And then we’re working on better plastics, better packaging, so that we’re not clogging the landfills and Pacific Garbage Patch.
Damon Pistulka 06:36
Yeah, yeah. And I really like your focus grant on your products. First of all, you’re you’re developing clean skincare products that are not full of chemicals. And then combining that with the the plastics that break down normally in the in the landfills rather than stay there for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years is really cool, man.
Damon Pistulka 06:58
That’s really cool. All right, Grant. Thanks so much for being here. Glad to see you. Jacob Warren, my friend. How are you today?
I hate Amen.
Oh, we’ve got Sorry.
Damon Pistulka 07:09
Sorry. Oh, yeah. I did again, I get so excited talking to people, I just lose it. Sorry. Grant, sorry about that. Man. I didn’t. didn’t give you time to answer. The I didn’t give you time to answer the question. Grant. Sorry.
Grant Mathis 07:28
I was kind of hoping you hadn’t. The fun fact about me is adaptability. I feel like this, this COVID thing has helped. I mean, it’s challenging, but it’s helped sharpen a lot of, of my focus and and, and limit constrain where, where I need things to be.
Damon Pistulka 07:50
Yeah. That’s cool. That’s cool. Because it has and it’s in the open other opportunities, too. I know for a lot of people so awesome. Awesome. Sorry about that. But love to have you. All right. Jacob. Warren, the man with the beard. Are you today, my friend?
I am Great.
Damon Pistulka 08:09
You’re not frozen?
Jacob Warren 08:22
Yeah, I’m in one of those type of moods today. It’s everybody. Watch out today.
No, yeah, dude, great, dude. Great.
Damon Pistulka 08:31
All right. So tell us how you’re helping people. Man.
Jacob Warren 08:34
I help people. If I can actually pronounce something correctly, right now, I honestly, I haven’t had enough coffee. But I help people with technology. Simply put, I help your business be more effective with it utilizing technology to achieve your goals. And so whether that’s cloud, whether that’s existing stuff that you’re working with, whatever I help you make it a bit more secure, and a bit more effective for your business.
Damon Pistulka 09:02
Awesome, man. Awesome. Good stuff. So now you’re up for the question of the day. Yes. So
Jacob Warren 09:09
how do we want to approach this? So something interesting? Or like, Is it like something that might not? that people may not know about me is that I have this secret aspiration. And watch out? No. It is actually believer in that. I’ve always had a secret desire that I would like to be a actor of some sort. A lot of people don’t know that about me. But I’ve always had a fascination. I mean, it’s something that whether it’s just a local film, whatever. I think it would be fun to be an actor because if you can’t tell, there’s times I can get really animated, and I enjoy it. And tell you buddy
Damon Pistulka 10:04
well, you know what’s funny about this is I know Jacob for well over a decade almost going on, you know, into the second one a long ways. And I didn’t know this, so that’s cool. Yeah, I was when it was dark hair, no gray.
Jacob Warren 10:17
Gray started coming out. It’s like, Okay, if you knew that developing on me then yeah, no, that’s the secret aspiration that I’ve only told. Actually, I’ve only told about four people. So the fact that I’m telling you guys is it truly is something that not very many people know about. That’s awesome, dude. Thanks so much. In life, so
you’ve told a lot more people today? Oh, crap. Hey,
Jacob Warren 10:43
what is it? Paramount Pictures. Yeah, available for scheduling. I don’t even have an agent. So we’re
Damon Pistulka 10:49
getting straight to the source. Right. Awesome, man. Good to see.
Melissa Worrel 10:54
And Jacob look in the chat screen. Just put some feelers out there for you if it really is a strong desire.
Let’s do it.
Let’s do it. Ready? never
Damon Pistulka 11:04
know. You never know. Have a great day, every day. All right, Jill, how are you today?
Jill Valdez 11:12
I’m so good. It’s a beautiful day here in the Pacific Northwest. So yeah, sunny days. Always a good day.
Damon Pistulka 11:19
Yes. So tell us how you’re helping people. And then you can get an answer the question of the day. Yeah,
Jill Valdez 11:26
thank you, I so I support small business service providers, I support them in feeling certain about the future. So that six months from now, there’s going to be improved staff performance, there’s going to be increased focus on business growth solutions. I’m going to I’m going to be focusing on getting the people right in the organization so that the owner and the business leader has time to focus on growing their business.
Damon Pistulka 11:52
Great, great. That’s awesome. That’s awesome. And and, and those kinds of businesses, it is the people and in all businesses really, but But yeah, good stuff. Good stuff. So the question of the day,
Jill Valdez 12:11
facts about me. Most, a lot of people don’t know that. I, they know that I came from a background of being a full time pastor. But I actually am still an ordained minister. And even though I’m on a volunteer basis, I’m still in active minister. Awesome.
That is awesome.
Damon Pistulka 12:36
Yeah, that’s good. Good, good. And I feel glad because that’s something I actually knew already. I like to know people I like to know people I like about them. I always do. It’s, it’s been, it’s been something that fits in my head does it and I love that if there’s one thing I love that, that I can remember, facts about people. So awesome. stuff came
Jill Valdez 13:01
and I was I was going through and I actually started purging my connection list on LinkedIn. Yeah. Because I want to be intentional about my connections. I’m not one of those ones that wants to have 30,000 followers. Um, and so you and I have been connected for over a year.
Damon Pistulka 13:21
Yes. Yeah. Awesome.
Jill Valdez 13:24
Yeah, you were you were one of my first intentional connections when I really started building my audience and building LinkedIn. Wow. Wow. Thanks.
Damon Pistulka 13:34
Thank you so much. That’s cool. That’s cool. I was reading a wonderful getting to know you. Yeah. Great. Well, thanks for being here today. Jill. Love it. Love it. Love seeing ya. Have an awesome rest of your day. So we’re gonna move on to Michael. Michael, how are you today?
Michael Gidlewski 13:50
Man, I’m fantastic. Every day above ground is a good day for me. I am alive and rocking and rolling here. You know, there’s
Damon Pistulka 14:01
there’s something about that though. I honestly I told someone that and I tell people that a lot is when I wake up. The very first thing I tell myself is thank you for I’m here today I can I got something I can do today. I can do something with this day, I have this opportunity. And that changes your whole day when you do that. And I love to hear you’re saying so. Yeah, you bet. Michael, tell us all you’re helping people man.
Michael Gidlewski 14:32
So I help people by helping them grow their people and develop their people so they can grow their company and typically work with business owners who are frustrated from moving from the duer the make it happen guy into growing and developing his leadership team. So we do that with all kinds of leadership programs management program. assessments, strategy, the whole enchilada for a small business owner to grow. And, you know, get to that place he wants to be.
Damon Pistulka 15:11
Awesome. Awesome. Yeah. And some of the stuff that you and I have talked about some of your, your results based stuff and getting the right people in the right, you know, seat in the bus and getting the right people on the bus, man, just so so good. And thanks so much you presented a while ago about time management for entrepreneurs. Great stuff. We were looking at that again, I was anyway last week, just to you know, make sure I’m going through the things the right way. So awesome. The question of the day, what’s this Fun fact, Melissa gave us a great question.
Michael Gidlewski 15:46
She did. She did. Thank you, Melissa. That was a good one. I’m like, oh, fun fact. I don’t know. Oh, I got it. I am terrified of heights limit. Set things in perspective here. And what is a fun fact, I love to ride roller coasters. With my grandchildren, we get to the park as early as they open, we go right to the roller coasters. And we we ride them over and over and over. Until we can’t walk.
Yeah. What Disney we’re all wherever. Keys to me, we and we just ride roller coasters until we cannot walk anymore. It is a rush. It is so cool. And the kids are all little they’re like 578 1012. And they love it. Like we’ll start out just going in line right and get wherever the line takes us. And then after one or two rides, one of the grandkids will say can we can we write the first chord? I’m like, yeah, we can.
Damon Pistulka 16:54
I just love it. I love it. I
Damon Pistulka 16:57
yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s so good. Because you know it. You get to spend the time with them. But also you get to y’all experienced the rush of the roller coasters together. So. Right, right.
Melissa Worrel 17:10
Well, and Michael, you can hear the joy. Like when you told us that Fun fact, like the joy that is being emitted from your human is amazing. Like, you can just I can picture you on these roller coasters.
Michael Gidlewski 17:21
Just also, we leave the park probably by noon, because I can’t talk anymore. I can’t I have no voice. The grandkids you just get it. Everybody just with constant rush. Yeah. It’s awesome. Yeah.
Damon Pistulka 17:40
That’s great, Michael. So great. Well, glad to see you. Thanks so much.
Glad to be here.
Damon Pistulka 17:47
Professor Pete, how are you today? My friend?
Pete Alexander 17:51
Damon, I am excited to be here. And it’s very tough to follow Michael there. I’ll tell you. I have to I have to mention what your what you guys talked about right at the beginning was awesome about the you know, waking up in the morning. It’s, it’s I always call that remember the lottery. It’s one of my favorite stress relief tools, because we should be grateful that we’re alive.
Damon Pistulka 18:21
yes. What is that fun fact of how many people are actually in the?
Pete Alexander 18:26
Yeah, so it’s, it’s basically in the entire history of the world, there’s been roughly 115 100 and 16 billion people to have live. And today we have roughly 777 and a half billion. So the reality is, is that 14 out of 15 people who have ever lived on earth are dead. And so the fact that we’re all here together means that we should be realizing that we won the lottery that today.
Pete Alexander 19:03
So I’ll put the link to the to the post there and in the chat for anybody who is more interested in the information. And there’s actually a book about that. So yeah, yeah, so it’s pretty cool.
Damon Pistulka 19:16
So tell us how you’re helping people Pete.
Pete Alexander 19:18
Well, in addition to being the host of the popular winning of business and life podcast, I am the president of office plants by everything grows, which I was trying to put the background that works on zoom but does not want to work here on the remote. And with everything grows, we help companies reduce stress, improve productivity, and receive outstanding ROI through the methodical design and placement of luch living plants in work environments. For sexy,
Damon Pistulka 19:54
plants live plants are really they really put in the right places. Really make difference. It does.
Pete Alexander 20:01
But from us it’s lush, living plants.
Damon Pistulka 20:06
Yeah. Well, I keep them that way. That’s the that’s the important thing was in my room, it was up to me. They are dead.
Pete Alexander 20:17
That is exactly it. Yeah, that’s why they hire us. So
yeah, so um, fun fact, I
Pete Alexander 20:24
love this one as well. I actually had one other one. And then with the conversation from Jacob, he inspired me just to mention this because almost everybody doesn’t know this. But the reason I have so much fun hosting my podcast is because when I first went to college, back in the Stone Age, the I wanted to be in broadcasting.
And after a couple of years, I burned out on it, not because of the the actual work, it was the fact that you have to move, you know, back then, you know, trying to get into a bigger and bigger market, whether you want to be in radio or TV, you have to move every three to six months, and I did tons of moving as a kid. So I didn’t want to do that. So, you know, fast forward 35
You know, I’m
Pete Alexander 21:19
getting closer to 40 years. I now get to tap into my inner child and get to do that broadcasting again. So, so that’s what’s really fun about during the podcast, and that’s why, you know, shoot, I’m I’m I’m in the 260s I’ve published over 250. And I’ve got almost 270 in the in the camp.
Damon Pistulka 21:43
I was gonna say something about that. Because you just said like, 252 or 253 this week that I’ve seen so far. So yeah, yeah. mazing awesome.
Pete Alexander 21:51
Yeah. And Dana Damon was one of the CO are one of my guests, before I hit 10.
Pete Alexander 22:03
That’s how I you know, I you know, Joe was mentioning how long we’ve been connected. And that, you know, that was that was a year and a half ago or so. And yeah, I remember that’s how we were able to first connect and talk.
Damon Pistulka 22:14
Yeah. And then Pete lives like 30 miles for me if I just point this way. Yeah. 40 miles.
ferry right away.
Damon Pistulka 22:22
Yeah, ferry right away. So we’re gonna get together this summer when the weather gets a little nicer and help and have have have a drink or something. Absolutely. Damon before
Melissa Worrel 22:31
you drop. Professor peep off
of the stage, I
Melissa Worrel 22:34
just want to give a shout out to Pete. So I was working with a client and wanted some stress tips. So I asked Pete, if he’d be open to come in and do three different sessions with her. And he did. And after the first session, she literally said, Wow, that was so impactful. I really needed those. That’s not my area of expertise, right. And so that collaboration, and so I just appreciate your professionalism and the tools and techniques that you helped bring to her personal and professional, you know, dealing with those stressors situations. So it was brought,
Pete Alexander 23:05
Mel, thank you so much for those kind words. I greatly appreciate you.
Damon Pistulka 23:09
Awesome, awesome. So glad to have you here today, my friend.
Awesome. Looking forward to this.
Damon Pistulka 23:15
All right. See in a bit. Stu, great having you here today.
Stewart Gerber 23:20
Thanks for having me, Damon. It’s a absolute pleasure to be with you. Yeah,
Damon Pistulka 23:25
yeah. So tell us how you’re helping people today. Stu. Well, normally,
Stewart Gerber 23:30
I would tell you about my consulting business but today I actually want to tell you about woodworking. I take great pieces of wood and I make them better. And what I love to do is put a smile on people’s face and when I get the opportunity to work with wood, it puts a smile on my own face to start with. And the more time I spend with it, the more it grounds me the more it grounds me the better person I become the better person I become the better the product is. And by doing that I actually have a lot of fun.
Damon Pistulka 24:02
That’s awesome Stu because I was just looking at your your dog kennel and I’m not saying it right furniture piece that you posted about today. It’s incredible dude. Because you know when we and then your your your couch side tables that are folding and some other things that you’ve produced man you do such great work. And I was looking at that dog kennel today and because we are going to be getting getting a dog I think my wife announced to me that we are getting a dog later this year.
So I was looking at it I’m like wow, I could really use that because you know if you have dogs, everybody has the plastic big air travel kind of kennel thing in the house. Yours is actually a piece of furniture that you can have in your house that actually looks decent. Not just a an ugly piece of plastic sitting in your in your room. So awesome stuff, man.
Stewart Gerber 25:00
I have a lot of fun. I really do it. And I mean, I mentioned the grounding, but I don’t think we realize in life, how important it is to be grounded. Because when we’re grounded, it changes who we become as a human and how much we’re actually able to help ourselves first, and then how much we can help others.
Damon Pistulka 25:19
Yeah, yeah. No doubt, no doubt. What else do you get to answer the fun fact of the day now.
Stewart Gerber 25:27
So the fun fact of the day for me, which probably I don’t think anyone here knows, is I’m actually an adopted kid. So I come through the foster system, and got the special ability of getting kicked out twice. But that’s okay. And I was a bitter guy for a number of years. And that’s a side lot of people probably don’t know about me. But I had to figure out how to take that bitterness and make myself better.
And, ironically, life has a way of flipping you on your head. And my sister in law passed this past year, leaving behind an orphan niece, and who also came through the system. And now I get the opportunity to give back. And so now I’m getting an opportunity to help my teenage niece go through those same years that I went through, and helping her on her path. And you know what, that’s pretty awesome.
Damon Pistulka 26:28
Yeah. No doubt. No doubt. Awesome. Awesome. Who have a top that?
I know, right? Wow.
Damon Pistulka 26:39
dude. So glad to have you here. Thanks so much.
Stewart Gerber 26:41
Thanks again, for having me. It’s been awesome.
Damon Pistulka 26:44
You bet. You bet. Well, Alison, Wonder Woman of manufacturing, marketing. How are you today?
Damon Pistulka 26:57
Allison DeFord 27:00
And I don’t know how to follow Steve. So like, wow.
Damon Pistulka 27:03
Yeah. Yeah, it’s a tough one. But it’s a good, good, you know, to see to see he right. He said, bitterness, take the bitterness and make yourself better. I just, I wrote that down. It’s so powerful. So Allison, how are you helping people? Tell us how that works.
Allison DeFord 27:21
Well, people probably tired of hearing me say this. But most manufacturers waste time and money on marketing that doesn’t grow sales. And I get tired of seeing that and seeing them get taken advantage of. And so felt marketing helps retrofit their marketing system, so that they can actually make sales easier and more profitable. So now they’re not just seen and heard. They’re felt they’re making that emotional connection with customers, and meeting them where they are.
And so that is how I give back every day is by serving first and selling second. And, and then I am the overly caffeinated co host of the manufacturing podcast. MFG out loud. Whoo, whoo. And, yeah, I have a couple other irons in the fire to start educating manufacturers, which I’m really excited about. So that will be announced in the next couple of months. on two different platforms. So yeah, and I’m just grateful to be here. I already get this great energy from the two ladies in front of me and always from you, Damon, so I just feel grateful to be able to be invited and learn from from everyone else. Really?
Damon Pistulka 28:50
Awesome. Awesome, Allison. So what is your fun fact about you your business? Um,
Allison DeFord 29:02
I have four tattoos. And I’m definitely going to get more. And that was one of the most freeing things I ever did.
Did you say free? Yep. Okay. Love it. Love it.
Allison DeFord 29:18
Love it. Yeah, because I was always the conservative, oldest child, you know, pretty, pretty straight laced, and, you know, didn’t like to get in trouble or just always kind of colored inside the lines. And the older I get, the more I color outside the lines on purpose, and do shit that scares me. And so, yeah, I got my first tattoo. And I think the guy thought, well, this is a tramp stamp.
And I turned right around and looked at him. I was in Hawaii and I said, this is not a tramp stamp. I have thought long and hard about this. And of course it says imagine, which will not surprise people and then ended up getting Some more on my calf. And they were way bigger than I thought. And I was like, Oh, I’m gonna have that forever. And then afterward I thought, hell yeah,
it was just,
Allison DeFord 30:11
you know, it was me stepping out of my comfort zone.
Melissa Worrel 30:14
I love it. Allison, when I heard you say that you stopped coloring inside the lines. I would say maybe you just created a new picture that you’re coloring in.
Allison DeFord 30:22
You know what, girl? I think you’re right.
I like that better.
Damon Pistulka 30:27
That is awesome. Melissa.
I like me do
Damon Pistulka 30:33
great energy. Yeah. Thanks so much for being here. Awesome. To see you again. Yes. All right. I think that’s that’s everyone. Other than the three of us on the stage, I asked Gail to come up. But I think Gail was doing Gail was actually hosting whatever it was Twitter spaces, too. So she was trying to come in between that. But yeah, another another audio only platform that I’ll get to you. But so I’m very excited here, Melissa. So first of all, I have to have you explain how you’re helping people? And then you have to answer your own question. Again, then I will do it. And then you will take over as the guest hosts introduce cineca. And you guys will take it from there.
Melissa Worrel 31:20
Sounds great. Thanks, Damon. Happy to be here. I would say a fun fact for me is not about my energy level, because it’s usually at level 11. Right, which either people love or frankly probably find me a bit annoying, but it
is what it is. So I you know, it is what it is. So
Melissa Worrel 31:35
for me what I do to help people every day is really working with leaders helping elevate leaders to recognize overcome, navigate new challenges or obstacles on how they can be the their best self as they’re working within their organizations. And I think with leaders, we all showed leadership, right? Whether you manage people or you don’t manage people, we have abilities to be leaders show leadership.
And so working with my clients, I just have a blast seeing them making progress and working towards the goals that they have. And it’s fun, right? It’s amazing. And it’s one of the reasons how I met Sinikka and love working with her. So my Fun fact, it’s kind of I have fun. Um, so I’ve lived in seven states and three of them twice. So I moved a ton throughout my career when I was in corporate before I started my business and building my coaching practice.
And now I’m forever probably in Iowa until I retire we get a someplace that’s a bit warmer for the winter. But I always an amazing place. But I never in my wildest dreams would have thought Iowa was where I landed. I grew up in Minnesota. And as Minnesotans we used to say Iowa stood for I auto went around, and now I live there and I love it. So I am an Iowan and I will be here a long time. And so happy to be here. And that’s me for today.
Damon Pistulka 32:55
Awesome, awesome logo real quick before Sinikka, Damon Pistulka eggs in your way. What we do is we help business owners realize their dreams and goals with their business, getting it running right today, increasing it to the value they want it to and if they’re ready to sell when they’re ready to sell, we help them do that. So we have a lot of fun with it. We love what we do.
We love making a lot of difference in the lives of people and seeing them achieve their goals. I mean, there’s there is literally nothing that I enjoy more than if I see a business owner starting to go, Wow, I love this business. Because now I understand that I’m making money. And it’s not i’m not always worried. First of all, you see that transition, and then you see the second transition going, and it’s worth enough money and I will be able to sell it for the money I want to do whatever else after this.
Those two points in a business owners life are significant for them. And I love helping them get there. So that’s what we do. We love it. We get to do it every day. I wake up doing it wakes me up very, very early. And I just love it. So thanks so much for that. The my fun fact is I got a couple but they don’t know what really makes a difference. I used to I used to wakeboard competitively. I did it for and from the time I was about 29 until I was about 37. And an unfortunate back injury stopped me But yeah, I could do the flips and I can do that. You know, I could no more no more.
But but that’s how I used to do I did it all across the country and and I would actually travel and do it in the summertime. It was a lot of fun. It’s amazing. So Jill said pictures I’d love to see some video of you doing you know what the thing is, is that you know you think about how long ago that was in my life. That was the one at the end of the rope and nobody took pictures. I got like one picture and it was before phone videos. I’m like I’m lucky enough that my kids when when when they were around, I was just young enough yet they could still see me do some flips and stuff and watch me in a couple tournaments before I forget that but yeah, that was a really a fun time.
And because it was, I don’t know, for the Star Wars fans, I always thought of myself as like Yoda. There’s the one movie where Yoda walks in on the cane, and then he gets in the fight with a guy and just beats the heck out of them. That’s I use I used to feel like because I hear I was in my early 30s, mid 30s, even as I got older, and I was like the old dude in the boat with the gray hair and everybody would freak out when I’d get behind and start doing that stuff. They’re like, like that. So there’s only one Oh, good stuff there. So Melissa take over is our guest host let’s talk about we’re going to have better and more productive workdays.
Yes, no, I am thrilled to have Sinikka wa join us today. And cynic. I have your I have it printed in front of me. So I didn’t fumble this up. I work with Sinikka and have the pleasure of knowing her personally and love that but I’m going to read her bio and I highlighted the parts that were for me resonated the most so Sinikka is the president and founder of your clear next step. She spends her days helping people have better and more productive work days, which is
Melissa Worrel 36:16
the least thing that I mean, it’s the most important thing, but it’s just who she is. She’s known for consistently helping people improve their emotional intelligence and find innovative ways to solve problems and get things done as her relentless passion for helping others achieve even better, right, whatever that looks like for them even better. And she has her ba from Central College and an MA from the University of Iowa. She’s a certified project management professional through PMI, and she’s married to her husband Spencer.
And they have two amazing teenage daughters and Sinikka was telling us in advance her her one daughter is about two and a half weeks from graduating high school. So lots going on in Sinikkas household. And I don’t want to take up any more of Sinikkas time as we jump over to Sinikka a few things for us to think about is Sinikka. Just what Who are you, right? How did your business get started?
Where did that idea come from? Throwing in your fun facts somewhere along the way of things to know about you. And then I think you wanted to talk about three things today. So I’m going to hand it over to you and can’t wait to hear your hear what you’ve got to tell us today. Thank you, Mel, I appreciate that. And thank you, thank you for the introduction. And thank you for the opportunity to be here at Mel as as well as describing the this group and she said Oh, you’re gonna love it. And she wasn’t kidding about the passion and the energy and the genuine authenticity of this group.
Thank you so much for letting me be a part of that and to to hear your your fun facts today and to visit for a few minutes. Some of you have some similar stories to some things that I might share. I have I moved around a lot as a kid my dad was in the Navy. So by the time I was 12, I’d been in 12 different or by the time I graduated high school, I’d been in 12 different schools. My sister had been 16, it had her a little harder. We moved every nine to 18 months. But then after having lived literally all over the world, I’ve lived in Paris, I’ve lived in Okinawa, Japan, I’ve lived I spent time in extended time in Finland and in Germany.
I’ve lived in Bermuda. I’ve lived all across the US, California, Florida, Texas, Massachusetts, Virginia, Colorado, I mean all of them. And after all of that I picked Iowa. I chose Iowa to live and we were joking about this before not for the weather. I did not pick it for the climate. So if you’ve heard anything about Iowa climate, it’s all true. It’s hot here in the summer, it’s cold in the winter, spring and fall are short. But for the people and for the work ethic and for the the ability to build relationships and get work done here.
So it was a great place to live in to raise my daughters and to start a business. We’ve been in business for 14 years this summer. You’re clear next step. The name itself tells you a little bit about what we do and why we do it. So the first your it’s about you and your next step. It’s not mine. I’m just here to serve. Clear, we believe in clarity before action. Next, it’s about helping someone take the very next step not necessarily, you know, the lofty what’s 25 years from now, or you know, if you have a five year strategy, that’s great, but what’s the very next thing you need to do to get there.
And then that step really reminds us that it’s action oriented, planning is great, but if you don’t do anything about it, you’re not going to get anywhere. And so I started your clear next step years ago with a passion for training, a passion for coaching. I was I thought I was going to be a college professor. I have a very useful master’s degree in 19th and 20th century French and British poetry. If you have a desire to talk poetry, we can talk Bowdler if you like.
Most, mostly I thought I was going to teach and I knew that that’s what I had been created designed to do. I am created to be a teacher. And as I moved through my professional career, that ability to move and to start new things that I honed as a child field that became really valuable as a professional consultants. So as a project manager and a business analyst, and in that life experience, what happened was, I would I would find myself at new client sites, and they’d say, Oh, thank you for solving that problem, or thank you for, you know, tackling that project for us or getting it done.
Can you teach me how to do that better? Can you help us get better at that? Can you can you help our team get better at that. And it became this really wonderful realization that I could do what I was designed to do, and really put together project management, business analysis, leadership, emotional intelligence, the soft skills related to those technical skills, put those together with my love of teaching, and helping people get even better. And so that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve had as many as when we were really focused on project management, we had as many as 28, consultant, project managers working with us.
And we closed off that line of business and really focused on leadership and have been growing that over the years, and so now we’ve got about, oh, probably 18 to 20, various coaches and trainers working with us with different specializations. And we’ve got this end to end specialization where we can, we can help you, if you’re looking for a job, we’ve got coaches who help with the interview, preparation, and we’ve got coaches who will help you with your first 100 days on the job.
And we’ve got training and coaching in business analysis and project management and individual being an individual contributor and some of those business skills, and how to how to set yourself up for leadership. We’ve got leadership training at three different levels, you know, frontline leaders, and mid level leaders and executive leaders, training and coaching and group training, private training, and coaching available in all of those different forums, which is, is a need to be able to be a one stop shop for someone through their career development.
And we don’t necessarily want to, we don’t need to be a life partner with you, we want to help you grow. And what we want to do is we want to help you get to the next thing. And then if you ever need us again, just call us back. And we’ll help you as you get to whatever that next step is. And that has been a joy and an absolute delight for these last 14 years. So that tells you a little bit about us. I think I woke my fun fact in there. Melissa aside for the three things that we’re going to talk about today did I hit on the kind of the the story that you wanted to share of the the history of your clear next step?
Melissa Worrel 42:15
Will you Will you talk a bit about your like, one of the things that was so impactful for me when I met you as you’re like, Mel, I want to help people have better and more productive work days. So that how that affects their their whole being right. So if you want to touch a little bit on that, I think it’s very powerful. Thank you, thank you. And we do our mission as an organization is to help people have better and more productive work days. So that right why what’s your why that’s why gets me out of bed every single morning. So that they can help co create better communities.
You know, you think about think about the people that you’ve encountered in your work life. And the ones who have had crappy work days, a work day that were the customers were grouchy or their colleagues didn’t do what they said they would do or communication didn’t flow through effectively or the project just fell further and further behind. And what happens right, your your facials dragged and despite the fact that you’re also so peppy and wonderful here in the morning, by the end of the day, if you’ve had a crappy day, right?
You’re your facials, drop, your enthusiasm drops, your shoulders drop, you carry that baggage and, and pre COVID when we went places you would you would drive home with that, right? You would bring that home in your commute. And maybe as you’re driving, you’re not driving particularly safely, because you’re driving defensively. And when you arrive at home, that baggage for so many of those people that baggage comes with them. And then that gets taken out on the the people that are closest to them, the people that they love the most household members, spouses, kids, parents, if you’re if you’re aging parents are living with you.
And that baggage comes out on the ones who are closest. And then what do we do over the weekend, right, we hold up and we dread Monday. And we it just becomes an unpleasant experience. And we don’t do anything to give back or to contribute. Whereas on the flip side, if we have a better and more productive workday, we have the opportunity to to give back right to drive a little safer, and to tip the pizza guy a little more generously. And to give back to volunteer on a kid’s softball team over the weekends, and then go back Monday refreshed and ready to do it again.
Damon Pistulka 44:17
Yeah, yes. Awesome. That’s awesome.
Melissa Worrel 44:21
Yeah. So I’m going to I’m going to do a little disclaimer right here. If you if you notice that I’m in a vehicle, we had a change of plans. I live a busy life. There’s there’s just no other way around that I run a business. And I have two teenage daughters as well said. And one of the things that happened today because I had a daughter who had an appointment and so she is I’m in a parking lot. While she has an appointment. She has just come out of that appointment, and she’s going to knock on my window here in about 10 seconds, and I have to give her a credit card
to go with.
Melissa Worrel 44:50
So Mel say something insightful. Well, I take out a credit card. Well,
I would say go ahead, David.
Damon Pistulka 44:57
Well, you know, I think what you’re saying Sinikka, what you talked about is having having a better day and how that drags on, I think some of the situations that I was in running companies and how, when you know, if that doesn’t, how that happens, and how you really have to make sure to turn that off or understand your new situation, when you get out of that car at home, and, and if you could make that day better, to there, it’d be so much easier because you don’t have to try to just, you know, I’m going to use the worst terms, you can stuff it down inside and not let anyone else know what’s going on.
Because that’s what you do. I mean, that’s what you have to do. And because you’re not gonna bring it home because you bring it home, boom, you know what’s gonna happen there. It’s nothing’s gonna go well for anyone and they’re not gonna want to be around you. And if that continues, this doesn’t work. So awesome. Sorry, no, go ahead. No. And
Melissa Worrel 45:54
Sinikka back to you. I think one thing to make sure you call out or mention out today, too, is your podcasts. So, suka does an amazing podcast has different guests and to Sinikka point today talking about three things she really does keep us focused, when we’re on her podcast around, give, you know, let’s talk about five things are for things like have a specific like that, you know, she resonates back to you. So make sure you call that out, too. And I’ll flip it back to you.
Thank you, and
Melissa Worrel 46:20
thanks for your patience. And wow, that was wildly unusual for me. But anyway, so from our podcast, we are not Professor Pete, we’re nowhere at your level yet we’ve been podcasting for I’ve been podcasting for about almost a year and a half, maybe closer to two years, we’ve got 28 I think the 29th episode is on its way out right now. So we released about every three weeks, it’s called the even better podcast. And they’re tips from our guests who have four things that they’ve learned or five things that they can share that might help someone else’s workday go even better.
So um, to to that point, I see we’ve got about 1010 minutes or so and so let me just offer three tips. In terms of Mel’s point, I am super linear that is that is the way I live my life, I organize things into into linear approaches. And so that’s the way the podcast comes out. But there’s so much if you simplify it, if you simplify it by following your process or by following a structure, which is why like project management, you have the ability to focus on things and really just get things done without without extra noise.
So when we talk about three things, here are the three tips that I want to offer you to help make workdays better. So the first tip is the humility alongside confidence. So when we think about what makes a better and more productive workday, communication, wrote flows freely, processes and projects runs smoothly. collaboration and interaction happen naturally. And everyone is working in alignment with what’s best for the organization.
That’s what makes a good workday. Right? Those are the those are the best work days. When communication is flowing. processes are running smoothly, collaboration and influence are happening naturally. And everyone’s working in alignment. That’s what describes a good workday. So how do you get that I’m gonna, I’m gonna argue that there are three things regardless of what role you’re playing in your business. And regardless of what else is going on, whether you are the business owner, or whether you’re trying to coach an employee, or whether you’re a person sitting in a corporate office, these three things really, really matter.
The first one is humility alongside confidence. And so this piece, this, this shows up for us in an organization that shows up in our core values. So the idea of humility alongside competence is very, very simple. It is that confidence to try it the confidence to say, Yes, I know, and I’m willing to try this new thing. And I’m willing to, to, to go out there and to take a risk, and I can get help. But the humility to realize that what got me here is not gonna get me to the next step. Right? It’s the humility to realize I don’t have all the answers. I don’t, I don’t have it all.
So as we think about that humility alongside confidence, whatever role you’re in, how many of us in our confidence, and in our haste, we go barreling through, right, we just go barreling into that moment, like I’m confident I can do this, I got this, but then we step on others, or we bluster through it, or we drill twice, instead of measuring twice, and only drilling once, right in that competent enthusiasm. We make our days longer, and we step on people, which causes cleanup that we have to do. And on the flip side, how many others don’t speak up, they don’t take that risk, they don’t try new things. And they miss out on those opportunities or those chances to shine.
So we really, I believe that one of the things you’re trying to balance and it’s super easy to talk about with others, is that humility, alongside confidence, balance them out, have the confidence, you were hired for a reason right to an employee, something got you here. So tap into that confidence, but have the humility to be willing to grow and to learn and to do new things. So that’s the first one. And the second one that offer is to listen. Then I’m just going to shush for a second because that’s what we need to do. God gave us two ears and one mouth. That is the ratio that we need. To use them, we need to listen.
That is, in your clear next step that shows up as the first step in our proven process as an organization, we listen to our customers. But when I think about listening, it’s something that I honed as a business analyst, as a project leader, as a coach, and now business owner, if I’m not listening to my customers, I’m not gonna make it. If I’m not listening to my employees, or my family, I can’t succeed, I can’t strike that balance. If I’m not listening to my own self, my heart, my drive my gut, my physical wellness, if I’m not listening, I’m not gonna make it. Right, I need all of those, my workday will go down the drain as soon as I stop listening. So how does this help?
Why do the days be better or more productive while you listen, if you listen in a meeting, it makes the meetings go faster, if all of us would just show up at our meetings and listen, instead of trying to multitask, which is a myth, as we know, but if we just listened, we wouldn’t have to have these. These Oh, wait, I wasn’t paying attention. What did you say? Right? If we just listen, in interactions, when you’re listening to the other person, it allows them when they feel listened to they’re going to open up more, and you’re going to get more genuine relationship, you’re going to get depth there, you’re going to get the ability to appreciate and build that appreciation more.
We know that listening is an art, right? Listening is an art, which means that the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you don’t think I’m a good listener, I’m not. And if the person that I’m talking to doesn’t think I’m a good listener that I’m not listening is like any other form of communication, and it is an art form, which means it’s not just a send it is a send and hope that the other person sees it and make sure that they see it, make sure that they hear it and make sure that they connect with it, and that we’re doing it in a way that is beautiful or attractive to them.
So you need for listening, you’ve got to have mindfulness. Just Just yesterday, I was teaching a class on mindfulness and how that ties to employee engagement. And one of the things we talked about was listening in that moment, right listening for the, the the what’s going on in the noise of the environment, what’s going on in my own head, like what noise, what what stories, what baggage am I bringing to this conversation, listening to that my hungry, Good heavens, if I’m hungry, I need to solve that before I try and interact with another human.
Right. So listening to myself and listening to others. If we don’t take the time to listen, we’re just going to step all over people. And then we’re going to have to waste the time and the productivity, cleaning up messes, or missing out on things that could have been so important and then could have been opportunities to succeed. So listening is not easy. There are lots and lots of skills and training on communication. And there’s not as much on listening as I would like to see it’s growing. And people just live. Well. Yeah, I’m a good listener. Are you though? Are you though? And are you a good listener in your eyes? Are you a good listener in the eyes of those who need you to listen to them.
So then the third one, humility alongside confidence is the first listen is the second. And the third, just three tips to help us have better and more productive work days, these are proven, and they work at any level of the organization. The third one is to put people first. Well, first, in our key differentiator, when I talk about it, I’ll use words like I love out loud. And we as an organization, we love out loud, I’m not afraid of that word love. It’s I love my customers, and I love my employees. And I love the opportunity to serve them that you have put people first I’m a project professional project manager, and I’ve been trying since 1996, to get projects to do themselves.
My friends, projects do not do themselves, right, it takes people to do projects, you gotta love them. Whether they’re making it a great day, or a tougher day, you love them. And that helps you get through it. Customers, customers without fail. Customers are not businesses, customers or people. Customers are people. And that’s how we run our sales and our marketing teams. And we love our customers. We need them but more than they need us. And so we got to love on them. And that makes sure that they feel loved. And employees, man, our employees are not.
They’re not numbers. They’re not names. They’re not entities. They’re not resources. They’re people. They’re people, and they have they have a name and a personality and an identity. And they they desire to build a relationship with us. And if we start there, if we love them first, they will they will shine for us. You know, you’ve heard the quotes, it comes in so many different directions, right? People who are appreciated will do more than expected. You’ve heard the quote, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. You’ve heard it people will never remember what you said.
But they’ll never forget how you made them feel. Right? What do all of those quotes have in common? You’ve heard them over and over and over. And what they have in common is it’s putting people first. It’s putting the other person in this conversation ahead of me. I have anything else that’s going on. We do that to the languages of appreciation through servant leadership. There are there are all kinds of skills that we can teach you on that but even if that front person in front of you irritates you, which admittedly does happen, right? that that person has just done a behavior that is irritating.
One of the techniques that we teach there is what we call unconditional positive regard. And that theory unconditional positive regard, just like it sounds is unconditional means no matter what, without condition, positive meaning in a favorable way, in an uplifting way and regard from the Latin root, or the French legality to look upon. It’s no matter what I look at you in a favorable light. And so even if the person in front of you, this is how you make a better and more productive work day, have one of those instances where maybe someone has done something that’s irritating, they did the thing they weren’t supposed to do, or they didn’t do the thing they were supposed to do.
And before you speak before you interact with them, you look at them, and you look at them with unconditional positive regard, no matter what I value you and you’re a human and you have value and you have worth. And that’s what governs my words. That’s what governs my actions. That’s what governs my my facials is that I value you as a person. So put the person first and they will allow you to connect with them. They’ll allow you to coach them, they’ll allow you to help move forward. So that’s it three failsafe ways that I offer to help improve personal productivity and work days for yourself and for others. balance that humility alongside confidence. Listen, and put people first.
Melissa Worrel 56:19
do you make my heart so warm? And I love that you I just said love right? and Allison said she made a comment around that she avoided using love for two decades. But it’s so true if we you know, love in the workplace doesn’t have to be love love right? But you love what you do you love the people you work with. And just the three tips were great right? humility with confidence.
That’s amazing. And so relevant. listening, and you’re right, listening is hard. I think when you said listening as an art form, it surely is like how are you honing that art? You don’t become an amazing painter overnight. You don’t become amazing listener overnight, for sure. And putting people first. And one that you didn’t say that I hear all the time is people leave people. They don’t leave companies. They don’t leave organizations. They leave people. So are you the person that people want to work with? Stay
Melissa Worrel 57:08
Are you the person that people leave so amazing, Damon, I’m gonna throw it over to you for a second. I know we’re close to time and send a guy just appreciate you being here and taking the time and making it work with all the things you have going on on your plates for sure. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. It has been an absolute joy.
Damon Pistulka 57:27
Awesome. That’s all I can say. First of all, cineca great stuff. No, you are right, the three things I won’t go over mme ml. But it was incredible. And they are truly, truly beneficial and will help people have better and more productive work days. Mel, thanks so much for being a guest host having Sinikka come here today and speak. Thanks to both of you. It was so great. And I just appreciate it from my heart.
Everyone that showed up today, your question was awesome. Now it got got some things out from people that we hadn’t heard before. And it really helps us to build relationships and get to know people better. That’s part of what we like to do. And this is really get to know people build those relationships, and learn something. And that’s that’s really what we try to do every day, every time we have this event. So thank you both so much for being here. Thank you. Sorry, sorry. Go ahead. No, thank
Melissa Worrel 58:24
you for having us.
It was it was a pleasure. I’ve
Melissa Worrel 58:26
been looking forward to this for like a
Damon Pistulka 58:27
month and a half. Yeah, so like so much. Well, we’re you know, as Andrew would say, we’re hitting nine o’clock, we gotta shut down. But I’m going to take take us off alive on LinkedIn here shortly. But I just want to announce a couple changes that we’re going to be doing to the, to the weekly event. And it’s not going to start until June. But you’ll see you’ll notice in June and July, we’re going to make some changes that I that I think will benefit the group and benefit more people as we as we change some of the focus and the ways that we do things.
But we’re going to create a small panel of people that are going to help with the direction of the group. I’m just I’m just excited that we’ve been able to I’m really grateful that I’m not excited. But I’m grateful. I’m always excited. But I’m grateful that we’ve been able to do this over a year now and hit pretty much every week. And we get a lot of good speakers and a lot of a lot of attendees. But what we want to do is and not but and we want to take it and keep it relevant and keep it interesting and keep it helping more and more people and helping us grow and everything we do.
So this this panel is going to help us branch out with some some more speakers, some different kinds of speakers, and it’s also going to help us and we’re going to bring some speakers that may have different audiences that will help us grow as that as well. And I’m really excited about this in the in the new direction, not new direction, but just an evolution. We have to evolve. We don’t want to say things and if anybody that knows me knows something is I’m probably going to change what I’m doing tomorrow because I’m tired of it today.
And I think there’s a better way and that’s what we’re gonna do. So looking forward to that looking forward to your feedback. So thanks so much everyone for being here. We’re going to go back to the tables on Remo. We’re going to drop off on on on LinkedIn live now. Thanks so much for listening. They’re all your comments on LinkedIn live. They’re going off. We’re going back to the tables here. We’ll leave the event open so you can network a bed if you want. Love it. Thanks so much everyone. Carry