The Innovative Mindset
Transformational and Business Coach Star Hayward

Transformational and Business Coach Star Hayward

August 2, 2021

Business Coach and Entrepreneur Star Hayward on How Women Can Reclaim Their Unique Gifts and Succeed

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Star_Hayward9jxjs.jpgStar Hayward is a Business Coach, Spiritual Mentor, and Transformation leader with over 20 years of combined experience. Her mission is to empower women-entrepreneurs to own their worth and their voice so they can achieve the freedom and fulfillment they desire in their business as confident, feminine leaders, through self-love mastery and heart-centered business strategies.

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Episode Transcript

Star Hayward 2

[00:00:00] Star Hayward: [00:00:00] When you feel that calling inside of you, it does not go away.

[00:00:10] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:00:10] Hello. Welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host Izolda Trakhtenberg on the show. I interview peak performing innovators in the creative social impact and earth conservation spaces or working to change the world. This episode is brought to you by brain FM brain FM combines the best of music and neuroscience to help you.

[00:00:28] Focus meditate and even sleep. I love it and have been using it to write, create and do some of my deepest work because you're a listener of the show. You can get a free trial head over to mindset. To check it out. If you decide to subscribe, you can get 20% off with the coupon code, innovative mindset, all one word.

[00:00:48] And now let's get to the show.

[00:00:54] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg I'm your [00:01:00] host, and I am super thrilled that you're here. I'm also really honored and thrilled to have this week's guest on the show star Hayward. And first of all, I love that. Star Hayward is a business coach, spiritual mentor and transformation leader with over 20 years of combined experience is to empower women entrepreneurs to own their worth and voice so they can achieve the freedom and fulfillment.

[00:01:22] They desire in their business as confident feminine leaders through self love mastery, and heart-centered business strategies. You all know how close that is to my heart. So I'm thrilled to welcome star. Thank you so much for being here star. I'm so glad to be speaking with.

[00:01:37] Star Hayward: [00:01:37] Thank you so much as all that it is truly a pleasure to be here with you today.

[00:01:42] I've so look forward to this conversation. As I know it's going to be on a very high level and we're going to have a lot of fun and so welcome to all of the audience for being here and stick around. This is going to be great.

[00:01:56] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:01:56] I, I believe so, too. Thanks so much. Let's [00:02:00] let's get down to brass tacks. Okay.

[00:02:01] We were just chatting before we started recording about your philosophy. And I love this philosophy that you are working with something, all the divine feminine and the divine masculine to help specifically, it looks like women entrepreneurs own their leadership skills and really move into their strength and power.

[00:02:23] What can you talk about as far as what divine masculine and divine feminine mean? When. We're in we're we're both. We come from both man and woman as babies. Right. That's how babies are made. We all know that. So that means both man and woman is inside us. How does that relate to what you do and what is the divine feminine?

[00:02:43] Didn't divine, masculine. And how can you apply that to your leadership?

[00:02:49] Star Hayward: [00:02:49] Well, so this is such a powerful question and, and I believe that it will be best answered if I lay a little bit of context [00:03:00] behind divine, feminine and divine masculine, you see these together combine what we know as divine power and empowerment is.

[00:03:10] Very alive these days, does it? Not everyone talks about wanting to come into their power. And when we are talking about coming into our power, what this really means is that we are identifying. Action between our external, our, which is defined as our ego power and our internal power, which is our inner power, that inner strength that we are looking for to build from within.

[00:03:41] So when we are looking at what that power really means, and, and how do we harness that the distinction of the divine feminine and the divine masculine, which are both branches of defense. Divine power in and of itself. If you were to combine the two, you, [00:04:00] you are in your divine power. So again, as we look at what does inner power really mean?

[00:04:09] I am very impassioned by the, the learnings and the perspectives of how the feminine and masculine channels of energy run through us as human beings. And I'll explain more about that and what I mean. So as you, as you noted, we are both masculine and feminine, right? We are a combination. We have these qualities that run in and throughout us, because it's a part of the dual reality that we came in here as human beings to experience in, in the third dimension, as we are on planet earth.

[00:04:48] This is a very unique experience in that. Here we have duality. We have right and left. We have up and down. We have black and white. We have love and hate. [00:05:00] So as human beings, we define our experience. By way of this polarity seeing the polarity, right? So, so th it's this polarity that we have running through us that is expressing itself as the feminine and the masculine energies and how these show up are through our personality, our qualities, our behaviors, and really how it is that we navigate making choices and taking action in our lives.

[00:05:35] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:05:35] Wow. Okay. So there's so much to what you just said. We have, we have, uh, we have, we have these already, as you said, inside us. And then we have to develop them from within and yet we get a lot of messages. As far as what are stereotypically feminine traits, stereotypically masculine traits, the messages are there in all, in all marketing commercials, [00:06:00] advertising, you know, I remember those, those commercials from the seventies, you know, I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan and she's a woman because I'm a woman.

[00:06:09] Right. So, so, so those are, that was a really bizarre, I think for me as a child to see, because I just felt like a person, I didn't feel like I was. Bound by a specific set of behaviors. So when you work with your clients, how do you work around some of their preconceived notions about some of these stereotypically masculine or stereotypically feminine traits?

[00:06:34] Star Hayward: [00:06:34] Yes, absolutely. So as women and what you were just speaking to, we know that we have been conditioned and curated to. Climb the ladder of success in society by, by very masculine parameters. And in order to meet these masculine parameters, often a woman finds [00:07:00] herself disconnected from her natural innate feminine qualities.

[00:07:07] And I'll explain a little bit more about what I mean by that. So if a woman is in the masculine. Uh, energy of, of creation and innovation and going after, you know, making things happen in her life. The, the masculine is a very motivated energy. It's very deriving energy. It's a generative, generative quality is a difficult word to say sometimes.

[00:07:35] Um, and, and the masculine energy is very much about acquiring, right? So for example, Men tend to be very good at sales because they, they have no fear behind asking for the sale because they're their eyes on the prize and that they will often, you know, a man in balance with his divine [00:08:00] masculine will.

[00:08:01] We'll close a sale by way of a respectful, you know, honorable in Integris conversation and, uh, collaboration, right? A math, a male that is out of balance in his divine masculine will use fear based tactics and even shame. To close a sale with a client or a customer. So this is a perfect example of where if a woman steps into that and she is taking on these masculine qualities that again, have her, uh, sacrificing or abandoning her emotional, intuitive sensitivity.

[00:08:46] Sensitivities in a very positive light, right? This is another conversation we could go into about emotional sensitivity for women. It's actually a very [00:09:00] natural, natural, innate quality that women have. That's very much needed in our world, but it has been asked to be set aside so that in our. Masculine and patriarchal dominant society.

[00:09:17] Um, for in, in order for women to really become successful and become visible, acknowledged, and even valued on the level that they, they know that they're worth and that they desire. It's, there's so much shrinking to fit. And again, I'm really sacrificing and compromising her emotional, um, and. Intuitive sensitivities in order to get there.

[00:09:44] What happens is, is this woman becomes very good at the masculine behaviors and in doing so, she often feels disconnected from her work. From her vision. She [00:10:00] feels burnt out. She will feel overwhelmed. She will feel inauthentic and. The result is losing luster and losing passion for what her vision is as a business owner in the first place.

[00:10:15] So, and then there is also, um, you know, again, going after building a business with that inaction motivated energy. Day after day after day after day, we'll burn really anyone out. So this is great for men and women to pay attention to that, to see where you can bring the feminine qualities. Magnetism attraction, ease, flow, intuition, abundance, connection, service, and tribe.

[00:10:49] When we really start to pay attention to how important those are, and then also. The ways in which we can bring those into [00:11:00] the fold, into business as you're bit you're, you're building a business and becoming a leader within yourself, then you're starting to leverage the masculine and the feminine in a way where it's coming into balance and you can see where, okay, I'm going to use, you know, my motivation here and I'm use my intuition here.

[00:11:27] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:11:27] That's fascinating. And it brings up a question for me that, uh, that might be a whole nother podcast episode. The thing that, that I'm con sort of curious about, and a little actually also concerned about is that what room is there for there to be a strong. Feminine, an active dynamic, motivated feminine.

[00:11:53] Is there such a room in the paradigm that you work in or is it just that, those, [00:12:00] those more active. Qualities are assigned masculine, uh, traits or, or assigned as masculine traits and the qualities of more sort of soft emotional intelligence, intuition, emotion, all of that are assigned more feminine, uh, delineation, I guess.

[00:12:19] What is, what is the role of a woman who goes, no, I don't believe this is masculine. It's more me being a strong, confident woman. And those are very feminine traits because I am a strong, confident woman. How does that align or reconcile with the way that you have broken things?

[00:12:40] Star Hayward: [00:12:40] That is such a great question.

[00:12:42] I love this. Um, yes. So I will start by explaining that each person has both the masculine and feminine energy channels running through them. I call them your inner king and your inner queen. Hmm. And so these channels run through each of us. [00:13:00] However, we each have our natural masculine, feminine ratio and there is no right or wrong whatsoever, but there could be a woman who feels very dominant in her masculine aspects and, um, and her feminine aspects, you know?

[00:13:18] Taking the backseat. Whereas another woman could feel very dominant in her feminine qualities and her masculine is really taking a back seat. Now, there again, there is no right or wrong either way. Uh, Where are your ratio falls? Like for example, you may be 70% feminine and 30% masculine, or you might be 60% feminine and 40% masculine as an example.

[00:13:46] Um, it really doesn't matter what your ratio turns out to be. I personally, actually, my ratio is 50 50, uh, remarkably enough. And there are many people who do have this, this balance of [00:14:00] the ratio. However, It goes deeper than that. And this is going to answer your question, I believe. So how will, you know, you are imbalance and either is really by being aware of and examining your behavior and your reaction or triggers to certain circumstances.

[00:14:23] In addition to how it is that you are. And what it is you're creating in your life. So if there are things that you are creating experiences that you're finding yourself in circumstances that are occurring, that feel out of alignment with you, that something is off something isn't fitting, right. It's not feeling right, and it's not truly what you want.

[00:14:50] This is a very good indication that something is out of place. And usually it's something that's out of balance within ourselves, [00:15:00] because everything we experience in life is truly an attraction and a creation from what we are broadcasting from within. So, yes, you're the answer to your question is yes, there is room for a very strong, powerful female to do, be large and in charge in her business.

[00:15:21] Yes. Absolutely. And there is room for that soft, empathetic, nurturing, feminine, uh, business owner to also be empowered. And large and in charge in their business in a different way, right. There's room for all of it. My work that I do is to help my clients identify what is standing out of balance. What is out of alignment and what is showing up.

[00:15:50] That's giving us information to bring that into balance. And often it has a lot to do. With healing that is, um, that [00:16:00] is needed from deep seated, you know, childhood wounds, where, where there, the individual has come out of childhood. Um, You know, not having all of their needs met, um, on a fundamental level in terms of being unconditionally loved by their mother and unconditionally championed by their father.

[00:16:26] I wrote an article about this recently, and I go into more specifics about that. Um, but yeah. Truly the imbalances of our inner king and our inner queen. You could call it our inner child, our inner girl, our inner boy really do root for him. The experiences we have when we are young and impressionable and we're, you know, we're learning from the environment that we're in.

[00:16:53] So it really depends on what we were given, what we weren't given. And as we come into adulthood, [00:17:00] This is where we start to see. And, you know, as we come into adulthood as business owners, as innovators, as creators, and we have these visions and we have these passions and we want to go after, you know, what it is that we want to create and the, you know, connecting with your purpose and, um, You know, being driven by a ripple effect, being driven by, you know, wanting to create change in the world, um, in a positive way, whatever that may be often.

[00:17:30] As a business owner, it's very common to come, you know, very up close and personal with your limitations, your limiting beliefs, um, your, whatever it is. That's holding you back as self minimizing self-sabotaging behaviors, um, and patterns that all root from those formidable years. So I'm really passionate about.

[00:17:58] Lifting up and [00:18:00] inspiring and, and giving women the tools to overcome and break through so that they can be that leader so that they can fulfill their vision. Because so often I find women pack it up and pack it in when the going gets tough because they don't have the support and they don't understand what's going on there.

[00:18:23] They're motivated and inspired and they're taking action to a certain point. And then it's like the brakes come on. And they're like, wait a second. I don't know if I can go any further. I think I'm going to go back to the job back to the nine to five and then their vision. To the wayside and it's, it's heartbreaking because we need leaders and we need change makers and we need positive change and humanity as a whole is ready, is ready to rise is ready to ascend.

[00:18:57] And it's time. This is the era for the [00:19:00] divine feminine for the feminine leader to step up and step in and really take this. You know, be the beacon and take the torch and, and like the way so that we can bring as a whole, our experienced from a very patriarchal society, not swinging the pendulum over into a matriarchal society, but so that we can come into balance.

[00:19:26] And even if the pendulum rocks and wobbles here and there, that ultimately we're living in a much more harmonious exists.

[00:19:37] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:19:37] That's so fascinating. And it's interesting that you mentioned the pendulum. If, if we look at a pendulum swing and we go from patriarchy, we can't immediately go to balance. That's not how a pendulum would work.

[00:19:49] Right. It would be the physics would necessitate that it would go pass that balance point over into say matriarchy in order to eventually even out into some sort of [00:20:00] balance. So with, within that, how do we. Uh, as, as people, as women, uh, who are interested in coming into balance, how do we navigate that? How do we navigate the setbacks?

[00:20:16] How do we navigate that pendulum swing in a way that we, it will eventually balance, even if it's not going to balance right away, or even if it, as you said, will

[00:20:24] Star Hayward: [00:20:24] wobble. Yes, absolutely. So it all starts with them. Right. So just like I was mentioning before, everything that we're experiencing outside of ourselves is a reflection of what we're creating inside of ourselves.

[00:20:41] So when we want to come into balance, when we want to yeah. Spotlight and lift women up so that they can take the stage and, you know, carve out space or for us to shine and for our qualities and our gifts and our value to really come [00:21:00] through so that we can bring balance into the world so that we can, um, Lean more into oneness and wholeness, um, together that all starts from within.

[00:21:15] And so I would say to that, uh, Zelda, that it begins with a desire, a burning desire for that woman to overcome whatever it is that's holding her back and then finding support. With that desire, opening up to receiving support, opening up to receiving the right information at the right time that she needs for the next step and, and a deep commitment.

[00:21:42] It really requires a commitment to what it is that she knows she wants and that she knows she deserves. And, and really holding, you know, holding the belief around that conviction. [00:22:00] Um, and then again, opening up and trusting and finding her way into, uh, calling in all of the support she needs. Because like I said, this is a, it's a transformational experience when we're talking about.

[00:22:18] You know, basically walking through the fire, you know, is, is how I call it walking through the fire and burning these aspects of the self down so that you can rise as a Phoenix once again. And you know, we've all been, if you've lived long enough, chances are you've walked through the fire a few times and you're going to walk through the fire again, it's an ongoing process, but there is a time.

[00:22:46] And, and a place where, where a person has, has, um, held back and played small enough and they're done. And that, that moment in time is, [00:23:00] is so crux. That moment in time is crucial. And it's at that moment, that that person, that woman has every reason to open up, to receive everything she needs to help her.

[00:23:15] You know, see her through to the other side so that she can become who she needs to be to be that empowered leader, um, and fulfill her soul's purpose.

[00:23:28] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:23:28] I'm taking it all in for a second. That was, uh, that was a lot of really fascinating information. And it feels to me a little bit like, like there's a leapfrog effect here.

[00:23:42] Like we. We have to get to that point. As someone who's decided to make these changes, you have to get to the point where you're, you know, you make the decision and then you're ready to, but for a long time, especially a woman who. As you said, if you live long enough, [00:24:00] you've probably gone through the fire, but you've also probably, you know, been passed over for promotions.

[00:24:06] You've also probably had sexism directed at you. You've all seen, you know, things have happened to just about all women in, in that way. So how do, how do we get to that point? Do you have any suggestions? And if you do, what are they. To building that awareness that you might want to change before we even get to the point where we're, I'm going to call star and get business coaching.

[00:24:28] How do you get to the point where you build the awareness that it might even be something you need?

[00:24:33] Star Hayward: [00:24:33] It begins by understanding that in our life, you know, back to this polarity, this dual reality that we're living in. We, we are being shown what it is that we want and what we don't want on a daily basis by way of our emotional, mental, um, and nervous system, you know, [00:25:00] our by way of our physiology, you know what?

[00:25:03] We like lights us up and it feels good. What we don't like. Doesn't feel good. Right. So, so it's understanding. Okay. That felt good. That didn't feel good. I want to feel good. I w because that is my natural, you know, birthright is to feel good and understanding. Okay. What, what is happening here and what it, what is what life is showing me on a daily basis is an opportunity.

[00:25:32] It's an opportunity for me to curate what my personal preferences are. And as I identify what my personal preferences are, then I can lean more into those. And it's like, It's like following the crumbs on the trail. Right. And I would say in addition to that, um, you know, increasing your awareness for everyone, who's listening to this, um, is too.

[00:26:00] [00:25:59] Open up and find your way into surrounding yourself in the environment of people who lift you up, surround yourself around people who make you feel good, who are inspiring to you. You know, I would say if you're the smartest person in the room you're in the wrong, right? Sure. For sure. Yes. And so it's with that desire.

[00:26:27] Behind the desire. There, there is, there is a commitment there, right? There's a desire. But that, that, that, um, I believe that everyone has the ability to commit to their dreams. Everyone has the ability, but then to overcome the hurdles of where the fear set. That is really the work that each of us has to do in order to create and to cultivate anything that we've never done before.

[00:26:57] Anything that you've never done before [00:27:00] requires you to stretch outside of your comfort zone, because that's where change occurs. That's where change occurs. So, um, to answer your question, I would say two. You know, keep paying attention, keep paying attention. And if you are in experiences that are, you know, feeling, um, oppressive to you and violating to you, then this is information.

[00:27:30] This is information. You are out of alignment with what it is that you truly desire and you're the true essence of your being quite honestly. And so then with that information, one can take that in and say, okay, What kind of change do I need to make, and then finding the courage to make that change. And that's why a supportive community is so important because when you surround yourself around the [00:28:00] people who are making those changes or who have made those changes, you need that inspiration and it's it's reinforcement, right?

[00:28:09] It's we learn by repetition. So we want to put ourselves into the environment where. Our bodies and our minds and our spirits and our souls, our hearts are being filled with what it is that we want. I call it, you know, healthy body nutrition, healthy mind nutrition. So, um, so again, if anyone is finding themselves in a position in their lives, uh, where they don't feel respected on the level that they want to be, it is time to start respecting yourself.

[00:28:45] And time to get fierce about that time to get, uh, radical about accepting yourself first and starting to learn how it is that you can love yourself more and more day [00:29:00] by day. And I promise you, you know, what? We focus on grows, what we focus on grows and. So everything that we create in our lives has everything to do what we're focusing on.

[00:29:12] So if you want change for the better, then you start focusing on what it is that you want to change. And I always say the best place to start, and this is what I do for myself every single day is I make feeling good. The most important thing am I life? Feeling good. So when I catch myself thinking a thought that doesn't feel good, I stop.

[00:29:32] And I replace it with one that does, when I find myself taking an action that doesn't feel good. I stopped with my awareness and I replace it with something that feels good. If I'm thinking about contemplating, maybe spending time with somebody that I actually don't really want to spend time with. I stop and I draw my boundary for myself.

[00:29:55] And then communicate respectfully that this is not what I desire [00:30:00] at this time in my life. Right? So you, you have, you have got to start valuing yourself more and, you know, back to the external power, you know, when, when we reach outside of ourselves for love, when we reach outside of ourselves to feel empowered, right.

[00:30:18] That that's not, that's not authentic. It's not going to be authentic because the only person that is going to care more about you, how you feel and your dreams is you. And so you have every reason to be the become that person that believes in yourself. And that cares about how you feel and cares about your dreams more than anyone else.

[00:30:45] More than anyone else. And this is this enters into radical self-responsibility. Which I, which is a part of, you know, what I fold into my transformative process is teaching [00:31:00] women how to become radically responsible for the life that they're creating by way of who they are being, who they are choosing to be in their life, the identity that they are choosing to body embody.

[00:31:12] So are, are they choosing to embody scarcity or are they choosing to embody abundance? And, um, and it's pretty, um, clear which one it is. And when we identify that, then we go to work. When we start, um, making the changes and setting the tools and practices into place in order to transition from the scarcity identity, into the abundant identity.

[00:31:41] And that is where you. Cultivate that internal power, that inner power, that divine power from within,

[00:31:55] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:31:55] sorry, I'm sorry. I'm processing.

[00:31:57] Star Hayward: [00:31:57] I know this is very, very [00:32:00] deep. It's

[00:32:00] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:32:00] very deep. And, and, and yet on some level it's. It's funny because there's a part of me that's going well, of course. Right. And yet it's not something we, we think about. It's not something we, we give ourselves the opportunity to spend a lot of time on because people have to pay the bills and make sure there's food on the table and clean, you know, clean the kitchen sink or whatever.

[00:32:29] So, so this seems like it's almost a part of, this has to be. Integrated, if you will, into, as you said, your day-to-day life, but something you said very early on that I think sort of ties into this beautifully is you set the words, purpose led, and I, I wonder how does a purpose led life or a purpose led business?

[00:33:01] [00:33:00] Combined with, or integrate with this, this feeling of internal power. How, where do those meet and how can a woman use that fire in order to start or grow a business? That's going to have that purpose behind it.

[00:33:20] Star Hayward: [00:33:20] Another amazing, powerful question. I love this conversation. Yes. Um, so. When, when you feel that calling inside of you, it does not go away.

[00:33:35] Do you know what I mean? I know, you know what I mean? Because you are living your purpose led life. And, and there's a moment when, when that light bulb goes off, there's a moment for everyone when that voice speaks up inside of you. Now, when you answer the call is up to you. And [00:34:00] sometimes it takes a long time for people to answer that call because they have created their life to fit within a set of expectations that they have upon themselves that other people have put upon themselves, you know, wanting to, um, and feeling the need to fulfill this picture.

[00:34:22] That is what society dictates. Looks like success and achievement, right. And reward. And so often women find themselves feeling very empty and men too. But we're speaking about women here, um, find themselves very empty because they went after. All of these things and setting all of the, you know, the career success, becoming the mother, doing, you know, being, get their health and fitness and all of these things.

[00:34:53] And I work with women like this. So I'm speaking from my own professional experience [00:35:00] where they've climbed the ladder. They've achieved amazing success in their careers, and they feel absolutely empty inside. And they start to question why I don't get it. I is it that I feel so empty. I have all of this I've achieved so much and I have all of this.

[00:35:19] And yet I feel like I'm just a shell of a person and I don't feel connected within myself. And it's in that moment, often, it, you know, it's different for everybody, but it often takes coming to a place of, again, being in the experience of a profound experience of what you don't want. To wake up to what it is that you do want, and when you're ready, that voice will speak up.

[00:35:49] And when that voice speaks up inside of you and it says, allow your purpose is calling again. It just won't ever [00:36:00] go away. It. I know this, I know this. And, um, and so then it's, that is the opportunity. That's the invitation. The invitation to say, okay, okay. I get it. I'm here for a reason. I'm supposed to be doing something else now, crap.

[00:36:18] I've got to figure out what that is like. Oh no. Now I have a really big problem on my hands because not only, you know, is it a deep discovery and self exploration for, for many people? Some people comes very easily. It's like, oh yeah, that was right before me all, all along like, oh, let's do this. And then for others, it's like, oh no, I got to figure this out.

[00:36:42] I've got to find out. And no matter what the process is of becoming connected to your purposes, something that I actually help women do is to really excavate and find out what that soul expertise really is. And then we layer on all of the. Um, [00:37:00] the skills and training and, um, skillsets and knowledge and attributes that they've acquired along the way.

[00:37:08] But, um, no matter what the process is or how long it takes for you to get there, the invitation to step into a purpose led life truly is. An invitation to enroll in Ascension school. Like I, you know, and I, and I think, you know what I mean, too, because in order to really truly fulfill your purpose, again, it will, it will bring you face to face with your, all of your fears, all of your doubts, your limiting beliefs, and all of the layers that you adopted that had you creating your life.

[00:37:50] Well filling the expectations of others, or maybe it was your own that didn't, didn't really match. And wasn't really in alignment with you. You have to [00:38:00] then figure out how to peel all those layers and start to find a new perspective and a way to put a new meaning on things so that you can start the shift and let go of.

[00:38:15] Um, the perspectives and, you know, maybe some of the values that don't serve you and where it is that you want to go. And that is all part of the becoming who you need to be in order to tap into that inner power to find that inner strength to step into your purpose level. Um, so yeah, answering the call of your purpose, um, The byproduct of that in order to truly answer that call and fulfill that vision, uh, the by-product is that Ascension school, which will take you through a, quite a transformative journey [00:39:00] and into your, into your path.

[00:39:03] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:39:03] Wow. That was amazing. So I could keep you here for the next six hours and we can chat, but I know, I know you have a day to get to, and I, and I want to thank you so much for being here. I have just a couple more. Questions, if you don't mind. And I have one last one that is, uh, that is a question I ask everybody who comes on the show, but we'll get to that in a second.

[00:39:28] You said something that I, that I think is really interesting. You said that that self-love and, and being heart-centered being centered on your own heart can lead to that purpose led business. And I'm wondering how, how does someone who. Hasn't gotten to that point or maybe has gotten to that point, how do they take the next step?

[00:39:55] What is the step that will allow them to innovate? What is the step that will allow them to [00:40:00] make those, those changes? Maybe even on a global scale, what does someone like that need to do?

[00:40:06] Star Hayward: [00:40:06] Great question. Um, yes. So as you were pointing to, there are some people who wake up to what their calling is, and then they.

[00:40:17] You know, they embrace the path to get there and then others. Are you, it's almost like a reverse engineer. They need to embrace the path and then they fail. They get to their calling, but then there's probably going to be more or work on the other side. So is Y you know, with, with my, with my, um, business, it's called ascending the heart academy.

[00:40:41] And, um, and what I have created and ascending heart academy is the. Inner and the outer, uh, transformative journey so that, um, I meet each and every person where they are at along the way. So if we need to start with [00:41:00] heart work, if we need to start with the self love. And getting deeply connected and the, you know, deep, you know, exploration of the self that's, where we began.

[00:41:12] If I'm working with someone, who's like, I already have a business, I'm thriving in my business. It's going great. I'm ready to go to the next level. Um, but I, um, you know, shaking in my boots. I don't know how I'm going to do it. I don't know how I'm going to manage a team. I don't know how I'm going to be the leader.

[00:41:29] Then we go to. Um, starting there as well. So it's a very customized, very exclusive, um, wa very customized and exclusive program that I offer. Um, so I hope that answers your question that, yeah, it's, it's essentially, um, it doesn't really matter where you are. It just matters where, you know, you want to go and it begins with just asking the question, who

[00:41:59] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:41:59] am [00:42:00] I Pema Chodron?

[00:42:02] Who's a Tibetan Buddhist nun wrote a book called start where you are. And I, it sounds like you are thinking along the same lines as, as she is. Uh, so I, first of all, star, I want to thank you so much for being on the show. As I said, For another six hours, but I, but I realized that that I need to curtail my curiosity a little bit.

[00:42:23] Uh, and, and perhaps sometime you'll come back and we'll, we'll delve even deeper, deeper, deeper, see, I thought star and then the big dipper. And then I was, and then I, and then I was off to the races. So, uh, so would you mind if somebody says, I need to know more about star Hayward, how would somebody.

[00:42:42] Finding you, where, where can you be found online your website? If you could just say them, I'll put them in the show notes, but I'd love it. If you'd say them because people learn.

[00:42:51] Star Hayward: [00:42:51] Sure. Absolutely. So my website is ascending heart My email address is [00:43:00] You're welcome to follow me or DM me on Facebook, uh, which I am star Hayward on Facebook and on Instagram at star Hayward coaching.

[00:43:13] I'm also out spar Hayward on club. And I co host rooms weekly, multiple rooms throughout the week. Um, you can also find me as an, uh, an executive contributor to brains magazine. In addition to this, as at global network. Um, yeah, I think that pretty much covers it.

[00:43:35] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:43:35] All right. Cool. Thank you that way. If somebody wants to find you, they have adequate ways of doing so.

[00:43:42] So here's my last question. And as I said, it's one, I ask everyone that comes on the show. It's a little silly, but I find that it yields some poignant answers. And here it is, if you had an airplane that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say?

[00:44:05] [00:44:00] Star Hayward: [00:44:05] You are pure love.

[00:44:09] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:44:09] I love that. That's wonder what a, what a delight. Thank you so much for that. It's always interesting to me to see how people answer it and almost always it's, it's just poignant. It's so it's powerful and deep, even though the question itself is rather silly star, once again. Thank you so much for being here.

[00:44:26] I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the innovative mindset podcast.

[00:44:30] Star Hayward: [00:44:30] It was a pleasure and an honor as all that. Thank you so much. I look forward to future conversations together. Me too. Maybe

[00:44:37] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:44:37] we'll meet up on clubhouse.

[00:44:39] Star Hayward: [00:44:39] Uh,

[00:44:41] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:44:41] that'd be great. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg. I am here to remind you to.

[00:44:47] Right. And review the show. If you're liking what you're hearing, let me know what you're thinking and also to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot. See you next time.

[00:45:00] [00:45:00] Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people know. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you. On mindset.

[00:45:18] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg and his copyright 2021 as always, please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mindset.

*Thanks for supporting the podcast. If you purchase through the link above, please note, I will receive some compensation.

Business Advisor, Entrepreneur, Chris Niemeyer

Business Advisor, Entrepreneur, Chris Niemeyer

July 26, 2021

Business Advisor, Crypto Aficionado, Husband, and Father, Chris Niemeyer On How to Forge Your Business Life So You Can Prioritize Your Goals

Chris_Niemeyer_headshot_400x4008kj3r.pngChris Niemeyer helps business owners design a business lifestyle they love by working smarter, not harder. As a business advisor and consultant, Chris’ FREEDOM Business System™ helps you work in your sweet spot so you work less, make more - and spend more time with your loved ones.

For years Chris ran his first multi-million dollar company mostly alone. When he became a father, he systematized, hired, and raised up a team to run his business so he could be more engaged at home and travel with his family. Nowadays you’ll find him coaching and consulting other entrepreneurs on how to work smarter, not harder by systematizing your business. He’s a family man to the core and is likely with his wife and 4 young kids at a beach in Florida or coaching their sports activities when not traveling the world together.

I believe we were all created for a purpose and need to get realigned to that. I help people overcome the obstacles that get them stuck so they can work in their sweet spot and live an extraordinary lifestyle.

This show is about talking with purpose-driven people.

Connect with Chris






Episode Transcript

Chris Niemeyer

[00:00:00] Chris Niemeyer: [00:00:00] One thing that I I'll even tell clients or friends that asked me a similar question about this is, you know, they say, boy, it's just seems so risky to go on your own to, to be an entrepreneur. And, you know, there's so much risk involved and that could be true on one hand, but I still, you know what, it's also kind of risky to stay in a job that maybe you don't love and really at the end of the day, Your employer calls the shots.

[00:00:30] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:00:30] Hi, welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host Izolda Trakhtenberg on the show. You get my conversations with peak performing thought leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We explore how you can innovate through creativity, compassion, and collaboration. I believe that innovation combined with compassion and creative thinking can save the world and I aim to bring you ways.

[00:00:52] You can do it too. If you're enjoying the show, I'd be super grateful. If you could support it by buying me a cup of coffee, you can buy [00:01:00] me a cup slash Izolda tea. And now let's get on with the show.

[00:01:15] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host. Izolda Trakhtenberg. I am so happy that you're here and I'm really honored and happy to have this gentleman here on the show today. And there are myriad reasons. One of which is we've both been students in the same. Classes. So you're going to hear us probably giggle about certain things.

[00:01:34] Might Kim Lauren Davis, if you're listening, you know, we're talking about you, Chris Niemeyer helps business owners design a business lifestyle. They love by working smarter, not harder as a business advisor and consultant Chris Chris's freedom business system. You know, I love that already helps you work in your sweet spot.

[00:01:53] So you work less, make more and spend more time with your lover. For years, Chris ran his multi [00:02:00] check this out. His first multimillion dollar company, mostly alone. When he became a father, he systematized hired and raised up a team to run his business. So he could be more engaged at home and travel with his family.

[00:02:12] Nowadays, you're going to find him coaching and consulting other entrepreneurs, how to work smarter, not harder by systematizing your brain. I need all the help I can get with that. So I'm really excited to talk to Chris about it. Chris is a family man to the core and is likely with his wife and four young kids at a beach in Florida or coaching their sports activities when not traveling the world together.

[00:02:32] Wow. Chris, thank you so much for being here.

[00:02:34]Chris Niemeyer: [00:02:34] . Izolda thank you. It is a pleasure. You have some amazing guests and I have listened. You have. A great communicator and interviewer. So I'm just excited to be here. Thank you again for the opportunity. Oh, it's

[00:02:46] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:02:46] my pleasure. My pleasure. I appreciate your kind words.

[00:02:49] That's very sweet. I, I wanna just, I want to jump into something that you said. And I adore it. You said that you believe that we were [00:03:00] all created for a purpose and we need to get realigned to that. I would love to hear from you what you mean. First of all, we were all created for a purpose. And what purpose would that be?

[00:03:10] Is it individual or is it something that's, that's bigger than one individual person and how do we get realigned to our purpose? What's the process someone would go through to, to be able to do that.

[00:03:24] Chris Niemeyer: [00:03:24] Yeah, great question. Well, and, and I, I, I'm going to speak through and kind of talk through, I guess my, uh, my, my lens of faith.

[00:03:30] So I just believe that there's a greater purpose that we all have. And, um, and so I think that regardless of your, your belief system or whatever, we're here for a reason, and there's those kind of three existential questions that I'd like to talk about. Who am I, why am I here? And where am I going? And I think sitting with those questions actually frequently, you know, whether that's on a, an annual basis, if you're kind of a planner and it's like, okay, turn of the turn of the calendar year is about to happen.

[00:03:58] What did I learn this year? You know, what, what am I [00:04:00] good at? What am I interested in it? And how can I apply that toward a purpose here on this earth to serve others. So I've, I've just been able to. Take action on that over the years. And, and let me tell you, and then we can talk about a story about this, but it's not always been pretty and I've.

[00:04:17] Misaligned in seasons two and had to kind of get back into that. So, uh, I'm, I'm a huge fan of just finding your purpose and, and living that out.

[00:04:29] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:04:29] I'm taking all that in for a second. It's so interesting to hear you say that you're a fan of finding your purpose and living it out because I know that there are a lot of people out there who, uh, sort of, they, they, they, they live their lives to do their work.

[00:04:45] And they perhaps watch jeopardy and this is not insulting jeopardy. Right? I love jeopardy. But, but the point is that it sounds to me like you're talking something that, that is a calling that's bigger than the day-to-day stuff of life. And I'm wondering [00:05:00] what the process is. What is, what is that, that you go.

[00:05:04] Uh, is it a dissatisfaction like, oh, I, I, I don't want to watch jeopardy tonight instead. I want to go out and change the world or whatever. What happens to someone when they get to that place of either doing that assessment like you do, or finding that they're perhaps dissatisfied with their status quo and want to change it?

[00:05:22] What would you expect someone to be going through at that moment?

[00:05:27] Chris Niemeyer: [00:05:27] Well, I guess if I may then let me just share it a personal experience. Probably your listeners here and others that have these kinds of stories. And sometimes frankly, we don't want to talk about them, but, um, I've just. Okay, to be more open about it.

[00:05:41] So my first career back in my early twenties of, of all things was in the political world, which is frankly, in our political climate, embarrassing to say, but, but you know, at an early age I got, I got thrown into, uh, leading, uh, the largest political action committee in Southern California. [00:06:00] And so I was around all these, you know, movers and shakers and big business people and had access to, you know, congressmen and all this stuff.

[00:06:07] As an, as an early 20 something, it was a fascinating experience. And I learned a little bit about that whole world for a few years there, but it was also never ending. It was one of those. Do you remember the Blackberry w seven connected to the Blackberry? Oh, yes. There'll be iPhone today, but, uh, uh, yeah, these are early years, so.

[00:06:29] It, it was just this kind of frenetic pace. You know, we, we were identifying candidates to run for office fundraising for them doing some lobbying. It was a never ending cycle. And I just remember this, this particular evening. And it's just one that you'll never forget, right. Is I'm just considering just the pace of life, by the way.

[00:06:48] My, we had gotten married early on as a couple. And so my wife had gone back to school and we were just living this fast paced life and. There was this particular evening where I'm just [00:07:00] driving home. This is from downtown San Diego. You know, city skyline is in the background, uh, in my rear view mirror.

[00:07:07] And I'm driving up, uh, north, north San Diego, right near the Miramar air force base. There's these fighter jets only as, you know, brave pilots going by is where they filmed part of top gun. Right. And I'm just thinking about man, what it must be like to be one of them. And they're just, they're they're bravery and, and no limits and all this stuff.

[00:07:25] And I'm reflecting on just I'm feeling kind of boxed in and, and running ragged, you know, and, and just am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing? And a song comes on the radio. I'm listening to the radio song comes on the radio and it's by a band called Switchfoot and it's. It's lyrics starts singing out over the radio, says, this is your life.

[00:07:46] Are you who you want to be? This is your life. Is it everything you dreamed it would be? And, uh, you know, I, I don't know how God speaks to people, but sometimes maybe it's in different ways. He's spoken through donkeys before. To me, it was, he was [00:08:00] speaking through the radio that day. And, and I think, I just remember pondering those words and then starting to just literally cry out.

[00:08:09] This is not the life I meant to live. This, this is not in alignment with who I am and my values. Um, I found myself, you know, compromised in certain situations in that political world. And I literally had to pull over to the side of the road because I had to wipe the tears from my eyes. Cause I couldn't see.

[00:08:26] And it was that evening when I waited for my wife to get home. That I said, you know, honey things have got to change. We've got to get back to, we have misaligned. I have misaligned my life and let's get back to what we're supposed to do and who we are. And literally that night as all of this is when we started this kind of process on a back of a napkin, we started listing out the things, what are we interested in?

[00:08:51] You know, what do we start. What, what do we, you know, decent good at? Where do we want to go? What, what, what, what just motivates us and fuels us. And that was the [00:09:00] start of my first kind of entrepreneurial journey, again, just realigning. So I think there's people that have those stories where they either hit rock bottom, or they realize that.

[00:09:09] I watched too many Jeopardy's in your example, I need to get off the couch and do something.

[00:09:15] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:09:15] Yeah. It, it is interesting that what you just said, that you, that you went okay, what, what, what am I good at? What do I, what do I love? What, what are the things that bring me joy? And it took a huge amount of self-awareness I think, to be able to do that, that you went, that you'd realize something had to change, but then you had the.

[00:09:36] Okay, let me step back and figure out what that is. And so when you did that, when you were in that space and you and your wife, and, and it's wonderful that she was there with you, you know, that she, that she supported these, these changes that you wanted to make. What was the next step? How did you go from, I work in politics and I'm not happy to the Chris I'm [00:10:00] talking to today who is, seems to be super happy.

[00:10:03] And, and, and you're doing your own entrepreneurial journey all the way to today. How did that happen?

[00:10:12] Chris Niemeyer: [00:10:12] Yeah. So literally taking that first list that we created, uh, along alongside that list, we had a values list and kind of what we anticipated for the next five years of our life as well. So really kind of vision casting too, and going from a, you know, a young, young, married couple to, Hey, we want to have kids.

[00:10:29] And if we're one of kids and raise these kids intentionally and well, What's that going to look like and what is our, our time availability with them. So we, we outlined, I want to have a, a business that if she chooses to, she can stay home and raise the kids. And, and so I, I began literally that next week approaching some of my mentors and saying, Hey, I'm making a pretty big decision here, but I'm gonna leave this political world.

[00:10:54] And, and what are your thoughts? And a few of them in the same week gave various [00:11:00] similar recommendations. And they said, Chris, you know, you, you're the kind of guy that you need to own and operate your own company. You need to find out what it is. You're passionate about. What is you're good at? So taking that list that we did and, and something bubbled to the top at that point in our lives.

[00:11:17] This was back in 2006. And, uh, my wife had worked for travel companies in the past. So she was engaged with that. We love to travel. We also had background in, in missions and kind of giving back to the community and the world. And so missions and travel. We were married together and took my business experience and kind of her marketing and that awareness of that area.

[00:11:37] And that was our first business. It was mission travel. We still own it to this day. Um, just the travel coordination, all that comes with these amazing trips that people take around the world to make the world a better place to, to give back. And so that was the foundation of our journey and it was one where, Hey, it's a home-based business.

[00:11:55] I'm working from my laptop. I can choose, you know, when I want to take it. [00:12:00] Break to play with the kids or, or not. And, and, and so that was for us kind of how we started that next step.

[00:12:07] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:12:07] I love that you're location independent. That's really cool. And it's, I feel like I'm dancing around a question that I want to ask, and I'm not quite sure how to ask it.

[00:12:18] You went from, you went from being someone who had a job who was working for others too. Too, you know, you shifted to having your own business. What, what, what was that like? What was the, what was, you know, this is the innovative mindset. How did you innovate? What did you do after the, the business that you've the first business that you started to get you okay with it?

[00:12:43] Because the thing that concerned. Honestly is that there are a lot of people who think that they could be entrepreneurs, but actually they might not be well suited for it. Or there are a lot of people who are well-suited to be entrepreneurs, but they are staying sort of stuck in [00:13:00] a job because they might be nervous or scared.

[00:13:03] How do you tell what is the, the best way for your mindset to shift in order to be able to do what you've done?

[00:13:15] Chris Niemeyer: [00:13:15] Yeah. Great, great question. And some complexities there too, but, um, you know, one thing that I I'll even tell, tell clients or friends that asked me similar question about this is, you know, they say it's point it's just seems so risky to go on your own, to, to be an entrepreneur.

[00:13:31] And you know, that there's so much risk involved. And that could be true on one hand. Um, but I say, you know what, it's also kind of risky to stay in a job that maybe you don't love. Really at the end of the day, your employer calls the shots, your employer or your market, or your industry is the one that is deciding, well, you have a job or not, to me, that's risky because you don't have control.

[00:13:58] You don't have the power to [00:14:00] make and pivot when, uh, an industry shifts or something happens as an entrepreneur. We have that ability and that maneuverability to. Tick and tack and Zig and zag. Right. And so I think there's, there's that awareness that it's like, well, I feel comfortable and, and safe in this job, but am I really, and I think that's a big step to just have some people understand is entrepreneurship while it might sound risky.

[00:14:29] For me, it's pretty exhilarating because you have, you have quite a bit of control over how things go and, and, um, I think that's a big mindset shift mindset shift that people, uh, need need to do.

[00:14:41] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:14:41] Hmm, there's something in. So, so fascinating about that. I don't know if you know who Tom Peters is. He's he's, uh, an author he wrote in, in search of excellence.

[00:14:53] He's sort of a leadership guru. One of the things that he says is that the leader's job is [00:15:00] to support the people they're leading so that they can shine. And so if you're an entrepreneur and you are. And you're the business, the owner of the business. How do you reconcile this notion that you just, that you just stated about, about, you know, you, you have a lot of control too, I guess, hiring or developing the team that will help the business, but also that you can support so that they shine.

[00:15:36] Does that. Th I, I hope that that question makes any sort of sense because it's a complicated one.

[00:15:43] Chris Niemeyer: [00:15:43] Yeah, no, it is. And there's, there's a lot to unpack there. I think, um, you know, predominantly. In our culture, you know, perhaps, and maybe worldwide, there are just a lot of unsatisfied employees because they don't have the right kind of leaders, whether that's the [00:16:00] manager or the CEO or the C-suite folks, a lot of people are, they're just punching a clock.

[00:16:04] And so they're not in satisfaction or alignment with their job, but there are those great exceptions of leaders who say, let's, let's make sure that everyone here feels they've got a purpose. They've got a role, you know, Starting as an entrepreneur, especially as, as a, as a solo preneur to, to start with like a lot of us, we're the ones wearing all those hats, right?

[00:16:26] We're we're the salesperson, we're the founder. We're the chief marketing officer. We're the finance bookkeeper. We're, you know, janitor, whatever it is. And as I explained to my coach in class, A lot of those hats are uncomfortable. A lot of those hats, frankly, don't fit because you're supposed to be wearing maybe one, maybe two hats roles in general.

[00:16:47] And there's other great people that fit those other roles with their own abilities and skillsets. And so it's your job as, as the leader, as the entrepreneur to bring in those right people. And I got [00:17:00] to that point, you know, years after mission travel, when I was still a preneur who was busy doing that at all, and then realized like, you know what, in order to.

[00:17:09] Scale this and keep, I keep my sanity, frankly. Um, I needed to hire the right people who are gifted, talented, and motivated in those areas. Does that help answer that question? It

[00:17:22] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:17:22] does. It's just, you know, like I follow Gary Vaynerchuk, I follow Tim Ferris and the things that they say are very similar to what you just said, that you have to hire the right people.

[00:17:35] And Gary Vaynerchuk goes, go so far as to say, you know, hire. And fire fast. Right? So, so that if it's not the right person, uh, then, then no harm, no foul. You've had your 90 days you're out. And that sounds kind of harsh, but that's kind of, it looks like what he does or what he used to do. I don't know if that's what he does still with VaynerMedia.

[00:17:56] So, so what is your thought on that, on that [00:18:00] notion? How do you find. The right people so that you can eventually sort of delegate and systematize your business so that you can play to your strengths.

[00:18:11] Chris Niemeyer: [00:18:11] Yeah. I mean, there's a lot of common, common answers there in terms of making sure that there's an alignment with various tests or assessments or programs that, you know, to kind of screen and vet employees.

[00:18:22] And I think that those are good. And I use, I use a lot of those, you know, everything from. Myers-Briggs and disks and all those kinds of assessments that we probably hear about in the work workforce. Um, but then, you know, I have a lot of things just in the interview process too, where it's like, tell me what you would do in this situation, you know, and just give them a lot of like this open-ended questions to really kind of understand their mindset, who they're, who they are, who they're coming from.

[00:18:47] Um, you know, they're, they're joining you in, in a different culture too. And so you need to make sure that the culture is a good fit. You know, with my travel company, that's all worked from home. I [00:19:00] have employees that are scattered across the country. So I need to make sure that if you're coming from a, a regular brick and mortar retail store down the street, that you're going to be comfortable working really kind of isolated.

[00:19:13] Um, you know, we've got. Chat features and video and all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, you're, you're kind of isolated and how are you with your time? And so just asking some of those questions about some of those things, to ensure that it is a good fit, um, you know, resumes, assessments that all helps, but sometimes just those really qualified open-ended questions can spur some dialogue and, and maybe raise some flags as well.

[00:19:39] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:19:39] Yeah, I can, I can, I can imagine that notion of. Sort of disseminating, figuring out who, who is right for a role and who might not be right. Would be, would be, you know, it is important. And it's also, it seems to me that your. Uh, sort of [00:20:00] perspective and correct me if I'm wrong, because I'm just sort of putting words in your mouth, but your, your perspective seems to be that you can't do it all and you shouldn't do it all right.

[00:20:08] In, in, in, in, in building or, or running your business. So if that's the case, If you can't do it all, how do you get to that mindset shift? We're going to be talking about shifts a lot, I guess. How do you get to that mindset shift that makes you go okay. I, for me personally, I I'm just accounting, accounting.

[00:20:29] I, I want to run away screaming every time I have to do it. So, so if that's the case, how do I, as, as the, as the, um, I'll be the test subject here. How do I do that? How do I let go of the, of the need to do it all? A and how do I, uh, how do I assess someone in something I'm not good at? Like, if I were to hire an accountant and I'm not good at it, how, how do you know as a leader?

[00:20:58] How do you know if you're not good at the [00:21:00] thing that you're trying to hire for? What do you need to do in order to make sure that you will find the right people.

[00:21:08] Chris Niemeyer: [00:21:08] Yeah. Great. Great question. Um, so from a mindset perspective, I think it's just understanding too, that again, back to that hat analogy of all that you're having to do and all the hats you're wearing your business, understanding, recognizing I don't have to wear them all.

[00:21:24] In fact, I shouldn't wear them all. If my business is going to grow and scale to where I want it to be. And for me to just work in my sweet spot, I've got to delegate. I've got to let other people. Do that. And that's, that's one thing. I mean, just taking a look at your business and go, if you have to show up every day, day in, day out, you know, hour by hour doing the routine maintenance tasks that you're doing in your business.

[00:21:48] I hate to tell you, but you don't really have a business. You have a job and you've got multiple jobs. All

[00:21:54] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:21:54] right. Many, many

[00:21:55] Chris Niemeyer: [00:21:55] hats, right. Hats. Yes. And so you've got to understand that. [00:22:00] If I want to make this a business, things need to change. And, um, gosh, if we have time in another story that was really foundational for my business to, to pivot and to shift in a big way, was that realization, um, cause I mentioned, you know, we start our business without kids and, and then now we have.

[00:22:18] Well, I remember when we got pregnant, right. My wife and I was, we were still in the business and she was like, okay, I'm pregnant. I'm having, I'm having this baby. This business is your baby. Now I'm running it. You know? And I just remember being so excited to be a dad for the first time. You know, we'd waited several years to have kids and, and just eager to, to meet him, to bond with him.

[00:22:40] And so when that first baby came, I mean, I was pretty, pretty darn involved. I mean, really to like the point. You know, I roll here because it was like, you know, the, the baby would get up in the middle of night and cry and need to be fed. And I'm like, you know, flipping the light on honey. I'll, I'll get him from the crib and I'll bring him to you and I'll rub your back and we'll fight over who gets to do the diapers and all that [00:23:00] stuff.

[00:23:00] And, and I really felt a close bond, you know, with him at that time. Well, fast forward a couple of years later, okay. Our business had grown substantially. We had, we had scaled a bit more, but I was still. Really wearing too many hats. I was doing too many of those roles, bookkeeping, like you just said, I was still doing bookkeeping at the time and just kind of going, oh my gosh, if I'm not at my desk or on the phone, like business, isn't getting done.

[00:23:28] Well, sun number two comes around and, and I'm just busy and I, I, I need the sleep. And so, you know, maybe I was, I was maybe useful the first few nights or a week, but it quickly turned into. You know, eyes are closed the middle of night, honey, the baby's crying. Can you go get 'em I'm going, gonna, I'm going to roll over and go back to bed.

[00:23:53] Well, something happens and it was, it was it's rocked us to the right. Uh, two months [00:24:00] into, into his birth and I'm not feeling the bond with them because I'm not around them and doing all this stuff. Uh, my brother and sister-in-law were coming down to, to spend the weekend and get to meet Noah for the first time.

[00:24:12] And we're waiting up by the fire forum and they call in and say, Hey, you know what, we're going to be late. Just go to bed. And we'll, we'll catch up with the guys in the morning when we get there. And so we threw a few extra logs on the fire head upstairs, put Mila down in his crib. Well in the middle of the night, about one o'clock in the morning, we get this loud knock on our bedroom door and seconds later, my brother bursts in the door and says, Chris, your house is on fire.

[00:24:36] Get out. And you know, we're just bewildered. I'm not sure what's going on. And, and my sister-in-law comes in. Grabs no out of his crib meeting him for the first time. And we throw on some blankets and jackets and rushed out of the house and sure enough, our, our roof was on fire. And, you know, we call the call, the fire department.

[00:24:57] They were able to come pretty quickly and extinguish the [00:25:00] fire. Well, the next morning when we, I go back to the house to meet the fire chief and our insurance adjuster. And, and as he brings us in the house and starts assessing the damage and talking about what they've discovered, we begin walking upstairs and, uh, I'm getting goosebumps now, but just, I'll never forget that that feeling of when he flung the door open.

[00:25:24] And he's talking and we look up and there's a big gaping hole in the ceiling and you can see right to the sky. And as he's talking, I looked down and right down there is our son's crib that was crushed and with charcoal and he is describing that this is the first place that the structure fell. Wow. And I just remember being cut to the core.

[00:25:54] And going, I almost lost my son, who I didn't even feel a great bond with at that [00:26:00] time. And I remember driving back to the hotel where we're staying and just processing all that and realizing Chris, some things have to change in your business. You just have a job and multiple jobs. And so you've got to get the right people.

[00:26:17] To come in and help you out. And that was a really pivotal time for us to make some big adjustments, make some big hires. And I remember going into that hotel room and my wife didn't know any of this, the time I had to tell her a lot about that, that circumstance later. But I just remember grabbing no in my arms.

[00:26:36] It's two months old now just kissing his little bald head and going things are going to be right. Um, and, and that was just the start of a new chapter in our business, a new chapter in our life where, you know, I wanted to be a super present father. I didn't care what the business was going to do or how it was going to scale.

[00:26:55] I just wanted to be engaged and active as a, as a daddy. That was my biggest [00:27:00] role in the, in the most comfortable hat that I wanted to wear and knew that everything else would, would work itself out. So for me, that's just one of those examples stories of going. You have to get to a point where you realize those roles.

[00:27:15] Aren't going to work and you've got to find the right people to getting engaged with them. So for what it's worth, I don't know if that answers fully your question, but, uh, but that was a foundational time to have that shift in the business mindset.

[00:27:30] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:27:30] Oh, well you answered a thousand questions there. I don't think it was just one.

[00:27:35] Thank you so much for sharing that. And I'm so glad that that Noah and all of you were w w you know, that you were all okay. Wow. Uh, Let, I just want to honor that for a second. I'm just so glad that you ha uh, wow. I it's, you know, and it's funny because the, the notion of being purpose driven or [00:28:00] purpose led, uh, yeah.

[00:28:03] It's it's very clear to me that you, that you have that, that you are purpose-driven and, and, and work from that truth, obviously, obviously. And so, so to, to bring it back to application, to, to, to sort of being practical, how. When you had that realization, when you realize that being a daddy was the most important thing, being a dad, a husband, a family member, uh, how did you take that into your business and systematize it and make it so that you could focus the bulk of your energy on your family?

[00:28:45] Chris Niemeyer: [00:28:45] Yeah. Yeah. And I use this in, in how I lead coaching clients now, too, that are, that are entrepreneurs that want to get out of their grind. Like I was. Um, and I give this analogy that, you know, you need to take a look [00:29:00] at your business as a big skyscraper. So just pick a skyscraper from your, you know, nearest downtown and look at that building and go that building represents my business and every floor on that build.

[00:29:13] Represents a department, a function of your business. So on one level, you've got your sales and one level you've got customer service one, then we've got finance or HR or whatever it is for your business. Where do you want your suite to be? Which level, which floor, where do you want your sweet spot to be?

[00:29:31] And to understand you need to work in that, in that room. And you can take the proverbial elevator and, and, you know, go back and forth every once in a while and check in on the sales team or the marketing team or whatever, but you need to be in your sweet spot. And so just identifying that to take a look at your business from a 30,000 foot view and go, what are the key components of my business?

[00:29:53] And then practically speaking, it's looking at okay. Is still inside my head, which [00:30:00] is, is usually the case for founders and CEOs. There's so much in your head that you've never documented that you've never systematized or put a standard operating procedure in place. And so I remember literally after that whole fire experience going okay, I need to do a really much better job of documenting everything that I do in my day.

[00:30:23] And what are the. Top 10 procedures or SOP is I need to put in place. So literally that's what I did. I mean, for those next few weeks, I'm logging time I'm taking on calls or emails or bookkeeping. Getting back to that, all those things where I'm like, you know what, I need to start training people. And, and considering if I want to get a higher director of operations, if I want to hire a director of sales, what is it that I'm doing now that I can.

[00:30:52] Document and explain to them, and then they can add even more from there. So that's just a very practical thing that anyone [00:31:00] can do is in terms of document in their time and how they're spending it and then getting the systems in play.

[00:31:06] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:31:06] Mm. Yeah, I, I use something called toggle track, which allows me to.

[00:31:12] Document exactly what I'm working on because otherwise I personally, my brain, the way it works, I wouldn't know. I wouldn't remember. So I have to, I've just spent 45 minutes on X and that's that's because otherwise I, I, you know, the way, the way my brain works. So, so how do we do that? If, if, if I'm an entrepreneur and if I want to do this system systematization, wow.

[00:31:35] That's a long word. If I want to systematize again, I, and I'm not. I'm not good at it. My brain doesn't work that way or whatever it is. Do you have any, any guidance, any materials, any, anything that you would be willing to share? Uh, that, that someone would go, oh yeah. I need to know X in order to be able to do [00:32:00] Y is there anything that you can recommend, any books that you've read, anything like that, that you would be willing to share?

[00:32:07] Chris Niemeyer: [00:32:07] Yeah, let me, let me think about the book's perspective, but you know, one of the things that we, instead of just logging undocumented stuff too, is really understanding what, what are the resources that you need in terms of software or hardware, if it, whatever your business might look like, um, you know, what, what checklists do you need in your business too?

[00:32:29] To show someone and document kind of the process and procedures that you, that you go through. Um, you know, like I had to, I had to develop call scripts. I had a very certain way of doing things with certain perspective clients or, or in the process right. Of a sale. And so just what are some of the scripts or the, uh, email templates?

[00:32:48] Right. We, we developed a whole library of email templates because we realized if you're sending the same kind of email more than twice. Just put it as a template or as a canned response. Right. So things like [00:33:00] that process flows are, are good. Um, I use a lot of tools like, like loom is an example of a video recording and messaging where you can document what you're doing in terms of ScreenFlow.

[00:33:13] So if I'm trying to just describe to an employee, Hey here, here's how I do this. Or even to a VA, I use this a lot now with, with virtual assistance. If I'm going to give a project, I'll start that out and just hit record on my screen, talk into the mic process, what I'm doing in my own mind, out loud to them, and then take it from there.

[00:33:34] So those are just little tips and tricks to use.

[00:33:38] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:33:38] I love that. I love that notion of here's here's exactly what you would do and, and it would be okay. It would be something that relates to other types of, of professional services and businesses and nonprofits and all of that. It sounds like these are universally applicable.

[00:33:56] Is that the case, do you think, or do you think that there are some things in the [00:34:00] sort of more for-profit realm that would not relate well to the nonprofit.

[00:34:06] Chris Niemeyer: [00:34:06] No, I think they would. I mean, any, any business profit or nonprofit has certain functions, right? They have certain processes a way of doing things.

[00:34:14] Um, I think really, if you, if you peel back the onion, a system or a systemization or whatever that mouthful is, it's really just a way of doing things and, and anyone. You know, uh, a child, a parent, a CEO, you have a way of doing things, so that can apply to just about anything.

[00:34:36] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:34:36] Yeah. I wonder about that. I mean, I work a lot in, in the space of people who are doing, uh, as I said, social impact and environmental impact.

[00:34:44] I was, I worked at NASA for over 20 years. What can I say? It, it, it doesn't go away. And so, so if that's the case, like someone like me or someone who's, you know, working for an animal shelter and all. Are there ways do you think for them to systematize as [00:35:00] well to make it so that for example, they could do more rescues or things like that, or again, do you think that, that something that's very, non-profit, that's very, almost volunteer driven would be able to do that.

[00:35:14] And how do you handle if you're working on this, how do you handle people who are VAs? How do you handle people who are volunteers? How does that work?

[00:35:24] Chris Niemeyer: [00:35:24] Yeah, no, I think you do. I mean, whether you're a, again, whether you're NASA or whomever you're working for, right. Um, there's a way of doing things. And so let's just say you're a volunteer and you're working for rescues.

[00:35:36] You have a way of doing something when you get that call or that lead, that there's an opportunity. What do you do next? You know, who do you call? How do you vet, if that's an actual, real live opportunity, what, what are the metrics or whatever that might look like in terms of the industry language that's in place for you to say, I've got to make [00:36:00] this call or do this, or do that.

[00:36:02] It's kind of like that if, then, then this scenario, which there's, you know, technology for now, but, but how, how would you do that? Or taking it to an extreme. You know, a pilot has something like 130 point checklist that he's got to tick off before he even turns on the propellers. And so that's just a huge, you know, huge safety precautionary type of checklist, but I think anyone profit or nonprofit has that ability.

[00:36:29] And then the second part of your question about, uh, you know, training a VA or checking in or whatever, I'm just a big fan of, of checking in with people routinely. Um, so whether it's a VA or, you know, I do a lot of real estate deals these days on the side. Um, if I've got a contract to work on a project, You know, four months or six months project in our contract, we actually have something in play.

[00:36:52] It's where it says, Hey, every two weeks, we're just gonna have a five minute call. I just want to check in how's it going? Give me some updates. You know, I do a lot of [00:37:00] stuff out of state, so I'm not even near where these projects are going on, but just to hear here's how things are going or snap, a couple pictures the same.

[00:37:08] Are you done with a VA or an employee? Whether they're working, you know, the next desk over or. Countries away. Um, those kinds of things can be done.

[00:37:19] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:37:19] That's that gives me such hope for myself. I certainly hope so. Yeah, I, that it I'm at that point, you know, where this podcast requires more help, more work than I can do in, in, in.

[00:37:35] You know, in 1 24 hour, 7, 24 hour periods. So you mentioned something about real estate deals. And we talked a little bit about this before we started recording this chat that you have gotten into both real estate and cryptocurrency. Can you talk a little bit about that? What does, first of all, cryptocurrency is one of those things that I've read about, and I don't, I honestly have no real.

[00:37:58] Fundamental [00:38:00] idea of what cryptocurrency is. So could you take a second and describe what it is and also what you're doing with it?

[00:38:08] Chris Niemeyer: [00:38:08] Sure. Yeah. This is something I've just been talking a lot more openly about here in the past several months, especially on social media, but. Uh, and unless the first part of the question after by cryptocurrency really is, is a digital currency.

[00:38:22] And so, you know, we're all now used to having it in our hands and our, our phones. We can do just about anything. Digitally, right. Whether you want to or not, you have the capability to load your credit cards and check out at the grocery store or, you know, Nordstrom and, and it's all done digitally. So we're used to that now.

[00:38:43] And so cryptocurrency and Bitcoin's kind of the gold standard in that that people might hear about on in headlines. Is built on a technology called the blockchain. And, and again, this, this could be a whole nother episode, but, but the technicality of the blockchain [00:39:00] is just, it's an open, open sourced ledger of transactions.

[00:39:07] And so. Let's go back to like bookkeeping as an example, coming up on this episode, for whatever reason, buy a bookkeeper,

[00:39:17] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:39:17] because I'm so terrible at it. I keep gnawing away at it. That's that's what it is.

[00:39:21] Chris Niemeyer: [00:39:21] Right. Right. So let me give this example. Right? So in the old days we had a file cabinet, right. And the file was in our, in our own office and we kept the ledger.

[00:39:33] We can. The books, so to speak, but only we had access to that. Right. And the blockchain and technology, it's all open source out there in the, in the network. We can see exactly what's there. And so I give this example in, in, uh, The previous decade, there was this massive accounting scandal that was by Wells Fargo.

[00:39:58] Wells Fargo created three and a half [00:40:00] million fake accounts, fake credit card accounts, fake checking accounts, savings accounts, all this stuff. They created that internally in people's names so they can get bonuses and kickbacks and commissions on this stuff. It was exposed. Wow. If that were on the blockchain, that couldn't happen, but because it was in house.

[00:40:19] They had full control. They had secrecy on it. Blockchain provides the transparency. And so, again, there's a lot of complexities to cryptocurrency, but it's just a medium of exchange that can be bought or sold, transferred over, uh, if you own it and you can, you can start using it. People literally now. Buy a Tesla with Bitcoin, they can transfer funds into their Starbucks app and buy a coffee with it.

[00:40:43] So it's it's usage is, is exponentially being, uh, being utilized in new ways these days.

[00:40:51] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:40:51] Okay. That's very cool. And also immediately I go, what are the governments of different countries [00:41:00] going to say about something that does not seem to require their oversight? How does that work?

[00:41:06] Chris Niemeyer: [00:41:06] Yeah. And that's a great question because I think you're gonna see a lot more.

[00:41:11] Scrutiny and, and regulation about this. Um, you know, right now, even just here in this country, whether it's the sec or the IRS, they're looking at different ways as cryptocurrency currency, is it an asset there's, there's ramifications for how they classify that? Um, in India, there's a bill going through parliament right now to ban cryptocurrency.

[00:41:34] And so how could that happen? You know, frankly, there's a lot of people in speculation saying they can't really do that because it's not something that's like a physical, you know, thing you can combine. And so there's a whole discussion about what will happen with that. Um, you know, I, I just got involved because I'm curious and, um, you know, back to my mentors, 16 years ago, [00:42:00] they, they outlined said, Chris, there's kind of three areas of.

[00:42:04] A great way to, to make a living, make a life, you know, perhaps generational wealth for yourself. And that is number one was entrepreneurship, you know, owning and operating a company. Number two was, uh, real estate and various aspects of that development or construction business or top realtor. And number three was financial markets, you know, be a hedge fund, be a trader or whatever they said.

[00:42:28] And these guys were respected greatly and they were very successful, uh, financially. Anyway, um, they said the secret though is if you're going to go that first route as a business owner, an entrepreneur is to take your profits and dump them in those two other classes as quickly as possible to really kind of grow the three-legged stool of, of financial wealth and independence.

[00:42:49] And so I've just followed that advice over the years and become more focused on that recent. In terms of just building up a real estate portfolio of rental properties and [00:43:00] then crypto, I just sort of dabble in and have fun with and trade and, and investor speculate in because I, I like, uh, I like the technology behind it.

[00:43:09] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:43:09] It's so fascinating that, that, that, that the three legged stool to me, what. What that does. What, what made me go, Ooh, sit up and take notice is the notion that if you want to have, like you said, independence for you, it, it seems to be time with your family and, and being, uh, being the best dad you can be.

[00:43:31] And that's fabulous. And for someone who. For example like me, we have a nonprofit that, that works to stop poachers in Africa. Uh, then, then those kinds of investments, those kinds of activities would, would go well to free up the time, you know, so that I could focus on those things. So, so talk to me a little bit about that.

[00:43:52] If you would, the allocation. You know, the way, the way I live is you've got one life, make it count. So, [00:44:00] so for me, I want to see what are the possibilities, right? And so it sounds to me like you are sort of the poster boy for, for this kind of, sort of triple threat, if you will, what are your thoughts on that?

[00:44:14] As far as allocating that purpose driven life, maybe it's. For business, maybe it is for you, you, you set it up so that you can have your business, have your real estate or cryptocurrency or whatever those things are for each individual person so that you can then be free to do what else you want to do.

[00:44:38] How do you feel about that?

[00:44:40] Chris Niemeyer: [00:44:40] Yeah, it's a great question. I mean, it gets back to again, purpose and values too. And so like you described each person needs to understand clearly what, what it is they're focused on. What makes an ideal lifestyle for you? You know, is it involved in some nonprofit activities or.

[00:45:00] [00:44:59] Things halfway around the world or across the street. That's gonna fill you up and fill up your purpose cup. So to speak. Uh, again, for me, it's, it's all about family, you know, and being the best husband and father I can be and raising these kids in a way that gives them. Um, opportunity and purpose within themselves.

[00:45:18] And I'm involved in other, other things as well. And, and non-profits and such, but for me, that's, that's my biggest focus in this season of life. Um, you know, my youngest is five, so I've got what maybe 13, 14 years of. I've heard, possibly being under the roof. You know, I don't know how that's going to boomerang effect thing works, but we'll see, we've got four kids.

[00:45:39] I'm pretty sure we'll have some kids around for awhile. Uh, but I think that that is my focus. Right. And so if that is the focus and I've been blessed to have some of these business ventures and, and, and just taking some of those profits to reinvest. The allocation question then becomes, you know, [00:46:00] what's, what's your risk tolerance, what's your, um, you know, asymmetric risk.

[00:46:05] So for me, and this gets a little more into the weeds too, but cryptocurrency for example, is very volatile. And so the risk reward can be pretty high, but there's a major price fluctuations and swings. And so you're not going to bet the farm. You're not going to put your entire investment portfolio into something like that.

[00:46:26] But if you. 2%, 5%, 10%, let's say. And that has the potential to go. 10 X or 50 X or these crazy values that some people have realized the last couple of years, um, that can do something pretty substantial for your own portfolio and net worth. And so, so you have to kind of look at that and evaluate that from a real estate perspective.

[00:46:49] There's multiple, multiple ways to be involved in that. Whether you want to be a bit more active like men and finding deals and vetting them and putting offers in or buying cash or [00:47:00] whatever. Uh, but there's also. You know, REITs real estate investment trusts that you can buy, uh, from the stock market. And so that's just a question of your own allocation and risk tolerance, I think is, is, uh, the best answer there.

[00:47:14] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:47:14] It's a, it's a, it's a, it's a valuable answer because a lot of people think they should be involved in things like this, but maybe they're not well suited for it. You know, that they're, that's not their temperament there to me. But that this whole notion of cryptocurrency and, and, and, and, you know, they say playing the stock market, it's not playing it's, it can be actually quite intense.

[00:47:36] And yet, and yet the way for example, I live with all of this is don't invest anything you can't afford to lose a hundred percent. Right. So, so that seems to be, I am very low I'm risk averse, I guess. And, and yet the thing is that within that, when we're talking about this notion of it comes back, I guess, to self-awareness when we're talking about, you know, what [00:48:00] are you prepared to lose and how much are you prepared to risk?

[00:48:04] And it sounds to me like that goes for everybody, whether or not you're working a job or whether or not you're an entrepreneur or business owner, et cetera, you have to know that about yourself. You have to know what are you prepared to lose and what are you prepared to risk? And so what do you think, how would, how would someone, how would someone figure that out?

[00:48:24] What they're prepared to lose?

[00:48:28] Chris Niemeyer: [00:48:28] Boy, that's a, that's a complex problem. Situation, uh, for most people, but I guess it boils down to, like you said, do you feel like you can just lose it all and be comfortable with that? Or do you feel like, yeah, cause there's extremes, right? There's people that would bet the farm and be like, okay, well I'll go save it again and make it up.

[00:48:49] And, and that's fine. There's also those that are like, I'm going to stick this under my mattress. Cause I don't want to lose it. You know? So somewhere on the spectrum, we all lie. And so I think [00:49:00] just understanding. That and taking a look at, let's just say, you know, the whole wall street experiment, so to speak because really frankly, it's only been less than a hundred years that a normal individual can go and buy a stock.

[00:49:15] So that whole financial services industry is, is relatively new. And, and that's what we get pushed. All the time, it's a massive, massive industry. And so, you know, are you, are you comfortable with seven, 8% and, and taking that slow growth approach of it's going to take 40 or 50 years of working or whatever to get to that retirement point, or are you comfortable maybe taking five or 10 or 20% or whatever that might be into these, you know, quote unquote riskier, uh, play.

[00:49:47] Again, that's a personal decision you've got to just set with and go, how, how would I feel if this dropped 50% or whatever, do you need more money in the mattress or money over [00:50:00] here? Right.

[00:50:00] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:50:00] And it's absolutely. And, and it's interesting. I mean, we're not giving financial advice here and I have to say that because no, no, no.

[00:50:08] I am not qualified. I am the least qualified person to give financial advice for sure. And yet, this is something that I think it behooves us to think about because everybody is looking and assessing, especially this year of COVID, you know, where they are and, and how they're going to. Proceed, you know, I know a lot of people, a lot of my guests actually have, have made significant changes because of the time in, you know, in the pandemic and sort of really think being, being alone with your thoughts, like you said, being kind of isolated and being alone with your thoughts.

[00:50:43] So I I'm wondering what were the realizations, if you had any that you had during that time, when you were sort of sequestered, if you will.

[00:50:53] Chris Niemeyer: [00:50:53] Yeah. I, I think, uh, that whole, that whole year for a lot of us, right. [00:51:00] Probably brought on some awareness of, um, you know, am I financially secure or safe or whatever. I mean, everyone, everyone was losing their job or their, their company was, uh, you know, frozen for awhile or whatever that might be.

[00:51:15] We, we all had a lot of fear grip us and. And I remember just having to sit with that and go, okay, where were we? Let's just throw everything out there on the table and take a look at that picture. So that's something that we can all do and go, okay, what are there changes that need to be made? You know, the savings rate went through the roof there for awhile because we were also.

[00:51:40] Scared and scattered, oh my gosh. Um, I've been living paycheck to paycheck and you know, now I need to save up three to six months like Dave Ramsey says, or whatever the case may be, um, which is not bad advice, frankly. Right. Uh, to I'm looking outside and I'm looking at squirrels right now. I mean, they, they sock away their, their stuff for the winter [00:52:00] because they know that you need to do that.

[00:52:02] And so I think there's a bit of that personal introspection to go, you know, where are we. Data in front of you doesn't lie, you know, w whether it's your paycheck or your business, or your bank accounts or whatever, and, and what are you more comfortable with? That's that's always a good place to start.

[00:52:22] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:52:22] Yeah. Again, what, what are you willing to risk and what are you not willing to risk? Absolutely. Chris, I am so grateful that you took the time to chat with me today. This is I could keep you for another four hours and we could, you know, cause I have many more questions, but uh, but I know you've got, oh, thank you so much.

[00:52:40] Yeah. You, I know you've got, you've got kids to get back to, so I, and, and, and I want to respect your time and. So I would love it. Actually, if you wouldn't mind, uh, I have just a couple more questions, but the big one is, would you mind sharing? How is someone goes that Chris guy, he knows what he's talking about.

[00:52:59] I want to, I [00:53:00] want to go find him on social. Would you mind sharing where someone could find you if they were interested in learning more about what you're doing and how you're doing it?

[00:53:09] Chris Niemeyer: [00:53:09] Yeah, absolutely. Well, and thank you again. This is really a pleasure. You're a masterful, uh, Conversation starter. So interviewer, so I really appreciate the time, but yeah, you can find me on Instagram at Chris Niemeyer.

[00:53:24] Uh, maybe put that in, in the links there Niemeyers in I E um, and Facebook saying. And LinkedIn as well. So I'm pretty active on Instagram and Facebook. And then my website is Chris

[00:53:37] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:53:37] Perfect. And actually I will put all of this in the show notes, but just so you know, the LinkedIn is actually Niemeyer Chris.

[00:53:45] And so is Facebook. It's Chris Niemeyer on Instagram and LinkedIn. It's Niemeyer, Chris, N I E M E Y E R. Chris. And if you don't know how to spell Chris, I'm sorry.

[00:54:01] [00:54:00] Yeah, that one, that one. Hopefully won't be, I mean, my name is older and I recently got a piece of a piece of snail mail address to  and I have no idea how they got from Izolda to a Zimbra, but I thought that was really amusing anyway. So. Yeah, it was, it was very strange. So I, again, I want to thank you. And I have just one more question.

[00:54:23] It's a question. I ask everybody who comes on the show and it's a silly question, but I find that it yields some poignant answers. And the question is this. If you had an airplane that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say.

[00:54:40] Chris Niemeyer: [00:54:40] Um, mine would be live on purpose, live on purpose.

[00:54:46] And I think that would help people understand or at least to ask themselves what does that mean? And am I. That's

[00:54:54] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:54:54] fabulous. I love it. That's so succinct. I love it. Love it. Love it. Thank you, Chris. Once again for being [00:55:00] here, I really appreciate it. I I'm so grateful. I learned so much just talking with you and I'm sure if you're listening, you learned a lot from this as well, and you need to go find Chris Niemeyer on.

[00:55:13] Instagram, LinkedIn Facebook and on his website. See what he's up to because obviously he's doing some really cool stuff. This is his older Trakhtenberg for the innovative mindset podcast. If you're liking what you hear, do me a favor. Go to. Apple podcast rate and review. Tell me what you're thinking. I'd love to hear about it until next time.

[00:55:31] Once again, this is his older. Trakhtenberg reminding you to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot.

[00:55:43] Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on [00:56:00] mindset.

[00:56:00] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg and his copyright 2020. As always, please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative minds.


The Surprising Truths I’ve Learned After 400 Podcast Episodes - an IzoldaT solo episode

The Surprising Truths I’ve Learned After 400 Podcast Episodes - an IzoldaT solo episode

July 19, 2021

400 Episodes!!

I can't believe I'm at this milestone. How exciting. In celebration, I've decided to explore the biggest lessons I've learned from doing hundreds of interviews and making 400 episodes of the show.

And, of course, I couldn't just chat. I also have fabulous prizes!

Listen to the episode to find out how to enter or see the transcript below for the explanation.

Here are the prizes.

You could get this super fun sticker of the show (just follow the podcast's IG page and DM me that you've done it).


You win a copy of any of my books.

Or, you could win copies of all of them (with a pdf of the one that will come out later this autumn).

Subscribe to the show or listen on any podcast platform.

Connect with me.

Episode transcript

400th episode

[00:00:00] We're better when we're together and we're better when we're contributing. So don't wait, start, try, do, and grow. And you are going to be amazed at the things that you will uncover and achieve. If you just start where you are, but start that thing. You want to try to start it. It is crucial and key for all of us.

[00:00:20] If you bring your particular creative genius out into the world.

[00:00:29] Hi, and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host,  izolda Trakhtenberg. On the show, you get my conversations with peak performing thought leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We explore how you can innovate through creativity, compassion, and collaboration. I believe that innovation combined with compassion and creative thinking can save the world and I aim to bring you ways you can do it.

[00:00:53] If you're enjoying the show, I'd be super grateful. If you could support it by buying me a cup of coffee, you can buy me a cup [00:01:00] at And now let's get on with the show.

[00:01:14] Hello, and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg I'm your host and I am thrilled and honored that you have chosen to listen to the show today and spend a little time with me because I am celebrating today. This episode marks 400 episodes of this podcast. I can't believe it.

[00:01:35] I'm super excited. And as promised, if you listen all the way through to the end, We're going to have fabulous prizes. I'm super excited. So here's the thing I have to say that I am. I just I'm privileged. I'm privileged to be able to interview peak performing creatives and Changemakers. These are people who are working in the social impact, creative, environmental, and [00:02:00] animal rights space.

[00:02:01] To change the world. That is their mission. That's what they're trying to do. And I'm honored to bring their ideas, their thought processes, the way they do things and how they achieve what they achieve to you. It's incredible. And I'm thrilled that I've gotten a chance to be part of their lives and their process, even though it's a tiny, tiny bit.

[00:02:22] But I'm so glad that they have enriched my life, my world. And of course, this podcast, when I first started the podcast, I had no thought in my head, it was going to be like this. At first, it was five minutes a day. And I'm just going to talk about creativity. And as it evolved, I realized I'm not the only one who should be talking.

[00:02:40] You know what I mean? I wanted to be, I wanted to bring you information from people who are change-makers, who are peak performing innovators. Many fields and the ones that are closest to my heart are of course, creativity, art, and music, and social impact. How are they [00:03:00] making the world a better place? And of course, animal rights and environmental activism.

[00:03:05] So there's, so there's such a wealth of knowledge and, and the people who I interview are incredibly gracious with their wisdom. So I'm really grateful for that. I decided that the way to celebrate these 400 episodes is actually to sort of detail out what I've learned across these 400 episodes. And so I'm going to talk to you a little bit about that.

[00:03:31] And if you have questions, if you have thoughts and ideas, I'd love to hear about them. If you have any realizations about what I'm talking about while I'm talking about it. I'd love to hear about that too. And as I said, if you stay to the end fabulous prizes and fabulous, of course, is in quotes I've actually discovered and coined a new word recently.

[00:03:51] I'm calling things, fabtastic, so fabulous and fantastic together, fabtastic. So you'll probably start hearing me say that a lot more [00:04:00] because that's really the glee and the joy that I feel whenever I get a chance to talk to some of these incredible change-makers. So. In order, no, that's not true.

[00:04:11] Maybe in order, maybe not in order, but these are the things that I've learned after 400 episodes of the podcast. One, people are generous with their time and wisdom. They'll come on the show and let me ask them hard questions and they go deep to bring what they really believe and how they really behave.

[00:04:31] They bring such a wealth of knowledge, such wisdom, and they do it incredibly generously. Number two, the causes you believe in are the ones to dedicate your life to. I believe in art and music, and I believe in saving the planet and the animals. And the more I talk about these things, the more doors open for me to do more and serve better.

[00:04:54] So dedicating yourself to what you believe in. [00:05:00] We'll help you find others who believe what you believe or who at least are interested in supporting you on your journey as you support them on their. Number three, don't be afraid to innovate. Don't be afraid to solve problems in weird ways and try new stuff.

[00:05:19] I've recorded this show on my phone. I've recorded while my guests dog threw up in the corner. I've recorded in busy conference rooms. I've recorded while walking my dog in the rain. We're better when we're together. Right. And we're better when we're contributing. So don't wait, start, try. Do. And grow, and you are going to be amazed at the things that you will uncover and achieve.

[00:05:46] If you just start where you are, but start that, then you want to try start. It. It, it is, it is crucial and key for all of us. If you bring [00:06:00] your particular creative genius out into the. Number four. This is something I've known about myself for a long time, but it came home yet again, doing this podcast. I'm nosy.

[00:06:14] I love learning about people. I love hearing what makes them tick. I love hearing what their processes are. I love helping in any way I can to get their message out. And sometimes it's really cool is that they, while. Really deep in these conversations, they'll have realizations John Kao, who was recently on the show.

[00:06:32] I asked him a question about his six intelligences and how they relate to music and live on the show he went through and related them all. And he'd never done that before. So it was so amazing to be. Even a little part of his process as he realized those things and that whole idea of being nosy. I don't know if I've talked to you.

[00:06:52] I think I've talked to you about this before the overheard project that I have been [00:07:00] doing for a while. And that is that I'm a shameless eavesdropper, and I happen to have a terrific memory. So I'm able to keep entire conversations in my head. And I have been overhearing shamelessly eavesdropping on people's conversations.

[00:07:13] For years and I've notated them all down. And the book overheard life lessons through eavesdropping is going to be dropping sometime this autumn probably in time for the holidays. It's going to be some sort of an art book and I'm excited about it because it's again, bringing that little bit of slice of life, about how we do things about the things we care about, about the things we love with love and sex and family and friendship and work.

[00:07:38] All of these things we talk about. And we, we all say such wisdom. We don't pay attention to it though. It's almost like I wish I could find all of those people who have given me gifted me with such wisdom as they just go on about their lives. And I shamelessly eavesdrop because I love to give them credit, but you know, maybe then maybe they'll [00:08:00] maybe they'll buy the book and they'll realize, oh, that was me.

[00:08:04] I don't know if that'll ever happen, but it would be really amazing and hilarious. Number five. The podcasting industry has exploded where they used to be a few hundred thousand. There are now millions of podcasts. So if you've got something to say and you want to start one, don't wait until you have just the right equipment.

[00:08:26] Don't wait until your studio is perfect. There will always be another super cool microphone and more soundproofing and better gear. You'll have gear envy like crazy, but what's more important is to get your words out there. Do you remember the movie pump up the volume? Talk hard. My favorite moment in the whole movie is the credits.

[00:08:46] When you start hearing all the people who grabbed the courage with both hands and started talking into a microphone, so start and build your gear and your show along the way. There are people out there who are building their businesses, teaching other people how [00:09:00] to start their shows. You can also find everything you need.

[00:09:03] On YouTube. I promise you can totally do that. If you've got the resources and you can also bootstrap and start talking about your topic on your phone, number six, your topic can evolve. You can start out like I did and talk about storytelling and then move to creativity only. But then I moved to innovation because I've always loved creativity.

[00:09:24] With a purpose. That to me is the most important part is a creative on a mission. That's what an innovator really is. As someone who's a creative, who thinks laterally, who thinks from, from different angles to solve problems, to come up with new ideas and new ways of doing things, that person is a creative on a mission.

[00:09:44] And that's what an innovator is. That's what. Do. And it's really exciting to me to get a chance to talk to so many different innovators from so many different possible arenas. You know, I never in my life, what I have [00:10:00] imagined, some of the people who were willing to come on the show and talk to me about how they innovate.

[00:10:04] And that brings me to number seven, communication is the vehicle and connection as the result. Really honestly, I had no thought in my head that someone like Tom Peters, who is a communication guru, he is arguably the greatest leadership expert in our generation. And certainly for the last few generations, not only has he been willing to come on the show once, but twice to talk about his ideas about.

[00:10:30] What he calls extreme humanism. And that is that we should be leading thinking about the people first and not the bottom line. He believes we should always promote from within that women should be on the boards and leading businesses because women are so much better at investing at communication at looking at and dealing with people and figuring out how to grow businesses and companies and organizations.

[00:10:55] Long-term. I had no thought in my head that we would connect and communicate [00:11:00] and, and have such substantive discussions. Another person who's just thrilled me that he was just on the, he just recorded his episode, his episodes actually going to come out sometime in August or September. Peter Shankman was willing to come on the show and talk about how.

[00:11:16] His ADHD, his attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder is actually his super power to innovate and to be a creative thinker who thinks laterally and who helps companies and businesses all over the world and organizations and people all over the world innovate and make incredible inroads. Yeah. The way the world will be formed and move moving forward.

[00:11:42] How can, how can you possibly, I can't even get over it because I'm just. I'm just lucky. That's I'm lucky. That's not true. I okay. I'm not going to be falsely modest. I worked my patootie off. That's true, but I don't do it alone. And that brings me to number eight, [00:12:00] calling your friends. They will be there and they'll help you along the way.

[00:12:03] Like Al Pettaway, Grammy award, winning guitarist and musician and Andrew Lippa, Tony nominated and also Grammy award winning and Emmy nominated. He just got nominated for an Emmy Andrew lipo, who is. An amazing composer and lyricist, and who wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway sensation, the Adams, family, and other shows and T Morris, who is an incredible author and entertainer and the author of books like podcasting for dummies.

[00:12:33] They have all been on the show and have been very gracious with their wisdom. And I'm very glad because. They they were willing to give me their, their wisdom and their knowledge and be part of the process as this show has evolved. And you know what it's about time to get them all back and see where they are now because ti was last on the show.

[00:12:54] Last autumn, Andrew was last summer and Al Pettaway was left, was not this [00:13:00] past spring, but the previous spring and why not see where they are so I can get even more information and get even more wisdom from these wonderful men. Privileged to call my friends, but then that brings me to number nine. And number nine is actually about solo episodes.

[00:13:18] One of the things that has been such a revelation to me is that when I first started out, I did only solo episodes. And please, in case, because it won't know how should I put this really? Mainly because I was, I was a little trepidatious. I was a little afraid. What would I ask for people to join me to talk about?

[00:13:37] And would anybody ever come on the show and. Certainly they have and they continue to, and I do incredible I get incredible information and interviews with such gracious wisdom from all of the people who come on the show. But then there are some times when I have things that I would like to ruminate on discuss and explore, and those are the solo episodes.

[00:13:59] And one of the [00:14:00] things that I've learned is that there is a time and place for both. You can indeed do. Both solo episodes and interview episodes. If you want on this kind of a podcast, you know, when, when T Morris was gracious enough to put the innovative mindset podcast into podcasting for dummies, he and his co author placed it in the slice of life section of the, of podcasts that they recommend.

[00:14:25] And I thought that was really interesting because. It's not, this show is not so much business, not so much entrepreneurship, not so much slice of life, but yet it's an amalgam of all of them as we explore what it means to change the world for the better, ultimately through different and various forms, whether it's creativity, social impact, environmentalist, or animal rights, the show aims to explore how we all can make a difference and make a change and make the world a better place.

[00:14:55] So sometimes. Privileged, as I said to have [00:15:00] interviews, to have people come on the show and give their wisdom. And sometimes these solo episodes are an opportunity for me to give you substantive ideas on how you yourself can take some of the principles that the people who've been on the show have talked about and make them your own and become your own change maker.

[00:15:17] If that is what you want to do. Number 10. Yeah, I think I've just talked about this, but here we go. Interviews, as you start out, people come on, your show are doing you a favor they're giving of their time and resources to help you yet. At the same time, if you have even one listener, you'll helping your guests reach someone who didn't know about them before.

[00:15:41] Be generous with your time, wisdom and resources. The host guest relationship is important and you can build lifelong friendships and relationships. If you treat your guests with courtesy and respect. And I'm so, as I said, honored and privileged to have these incredible people on the show. [00:16:00] And I'm so grateful that they're willing to do this to be on the show and to give of their time and their knowledge.

[00:16:08] It's it's incredible. Number 11 ask. Good questions. Be different, figure out what your podcast point of view is. And then use that as the lens through which you take your listener on a journey. And that's kind of what I do I think. Or at least that's what I try to do. This podcast is a little different because these conversations go really deep.

[00:16:31] And one of the things that a lot of my guests say is, you know, No one's ever asked me that question before or, wow. That's a great quote. I need to think about that for a minute. And that's one of the things that I aim to do is to ask questions that give people, pause that make them, give them the opportunity to go deeper into what they've been talking about.

[00:16:54] And I said this recently to a guest of mine mayor Meredith Gren dye, she and I were talking [00:17:00] about. This notion of asking deep questions. And one of the reasons that I said to her, one of the reasons that I, that I like asking deep questions is because frankly, if you're a podcast guest, for example, and your audience listens to you, they probably listen to you talk about a lot of the same things a lot, but what if someone asks a question.

[00:17:24] That you've never answered before. Wow. The mysteries you could be solving. Right. So that's one of the things that I aim to do with asking deep, good questions. And I, and I plumbed the depths as much as I can. I'm patting myself on the back here a little bit, but I really do try. And the reason for that is because.

[00:17:43] My guests to feel like they have benefited in some small way from being on the show, as much as the amazing ways I've benefited from having them on the show. Number 12, a podcast is a [00:18:00] sacred trust, like the Y storytellers in many of our myths. As a podcaster I've taken on the task of telling stories or inviting other people to share their stories only instead of sitting around the bonfire under the cover of darkness, I'm sitting at a mic and telling stories, or I'm inviting the person I'm interviewing.

[00:18:22] To sit behind their mic and tell you their story. And there's something so powerful about that hearing stories. We we've been doing it as long as we've been verbal. Someone has asked why or what or how, and someone else has answered. Or they've explored together. And that's one of the things that I aim to do with this show is to give us all an opportunity to explore together what it means to be an innovator, a creative thinker, and someone who wants to change the world for the better.

[00:18:55] My guests are going to be. They're, they're all [00:19:00] amazing. They're going to floor you over the next 400 episodes because I'm not going anywhere. This, this show is going to be around. As long as I'm around, I'm going to, I'm going to be 98 years old and barely able to talk. But by gum, I'm going to be out here somehow trying to do this.

[00:19:19] Because I think the notion of innovation and how we can be creatives on a mission to make the world a better place. I think it could potentially save all of us. And I would be remiss if I did not, I would be shirking my responsibilities if I did not make that a priority in my life because we have.

[00:19:44] Such an incredible responsibility at this tipping point in our species, survival and this at this time of great climate change and habitat destruction, and so many other things, being challenging, that innovation, I [00:20:00] think being creative on a mission will allow us the opportunity to change the world and make it a better place.

[00:20:11] So, those are the things that I've learned from doing this podcast. And I am thrilled and honored that you have been listening and being on the show and being on the show. My brain, see, my brain is fried. I've had, I did three interviews today. It was a busy day. So my brain's a little fried, but I, but I do, I do feel like you're on the show with me because I feel like I'm talking to you when.

[00:20:39] When I'm doing the show and I feel like we're all sitting around in the end. It's funny. Whenever I'm welcoming a guest to the show, I always say, imagine we're sitting in a cafe and having a cup of coffee together or to two or whatever, it's just a chat. And yet, sometimes. Somebody makes small talk and, oh, hi, how are you?

[00:20:57] How's the weather. And sometimes all of [00:21:00] a sudden the conversation goes intense and deep, and you're really thinking, and you're really innovating. And you're really coming up with ideas that you're articulating that you may never have articulated before. And you're doing it for thousands of people who are listening.

[00:21:14] It is such an honor and so incredible. And I'm super grateful that you're part of this journey. So here we go. I promised you fabulous prizes in the show notes. If you look on the website, you'll see that there's this really cool. It almost looks like dichroic, but it's not. It's like a reflective, really cool rainbow sticker.

[00:21:38] Of the innovative mindset podcast. And I have recently started an actual innovative mindset podcast, Instagram. And so here's how the fabulous prizes are going to go. The first 20 people who follow the Instagram account for the innovative mindset podcast, which is just at innovative mindset podcast, [00:22:00] all one word.

[00:22:01] And DM me that you to let me know that you did it because you listened to this episode, we'll get a sticker of the first 20 people. One person is going to get all six books and a PDF of the next one that will come out. This autumn of my stuff, and three people. We'll get, can you tell I'm making some of this up because I can't read the words that I wrote. You'll get a book of your choice for my catalog. So if you go to his old, a and you go to about, and then books, you'll be able to see the six books.

[00:22:45] And if you. If you're there and you're in the top 20 and you've DMD me, I'm going to choose someone at random from all the people who follow. And it, you don't have to be in the top 20 to win the, the second prize or the first prize, [00:23:00] but the first top 20 who follow and tell me that they followed will absolutely get a sticker that you can put on your computer or on your coffee cup or wherever, because they're waterproof and you can put them in the dishwasher.

[00:23:10] It's really cool. And. Of all the people who follow in DME that they've, that they have followed the Instagram account. You'll get, I'm going to choose three people who get one book out of the catalog and you can choose your book. When I let you know you've won. And in one person I'm going to choose is going to get all six plus the PDF of the new one.

[00:23:32] When it comes out in. Hopefully around the holiday season in December. Okay. That was a long and involved way of saying, I didn't quite think this through as well as I could have. Huh. All right. Cool. So here we are. We are at the end of the 400th episode last week was Mike cam. Who's a personal branding expert.

[00:23:53] He joined me on the show and next week is Chris Niemeyer who. He's an interesting [00:24:00] man who is taking, he's decided that his goal in his life is to spend more time with his family. So he's developed some strategies and ideas on how to make income so that he has time to spend time with his family. That is his goal.

[00:24:15] And one of the things that's really cool is that that applies equally. Well, if you want to be an activist, if you want to be an artist, if you want to do all of these things, however you want to do it, the ideas that he talks about. We'll work. If you want to spend time with your family, if you want to make great art, if you want to be an activist with the SPCA or the sea shepherd conservation society or wherever it is, you want to put your energies.

[00:24:40] If what you want to do is make money in one way and do work of your heart in another, or maybe you just love making money. I don't know. Chris will be there to talk you through. How to do it. It's a really cool episode. It made me think in some really interesting ways. And August has incredible guests as well.

[00:25:00] [00:25:00] Evan stern is going to be joining me. Meredith granddad is going to be joining me. Angela angle is going to be joining me, star Hayward. It's going to be amazing and I'm going to be doing just so you know, every month, one episode a month is going to be a solo show. It's going to be me talking to you about how to be.

[00:25:17] Innovator about how to be a creative on a mission so that you can do the things that you want to do in the, in a different and amazing and exciting and inspiring. All righty. I hope you've enjoyed this episode and all of the things that I've learned after 400 episodes of the innovative mindset podcast.

[00:25:37] I am Izolda Trakhtenberg. If you're liking the show, please leave a review. I'd love to hear from you until next time I send you all of my love and I remind you to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot. And as often as possible, be a creative on a mission.

[00:26:01] [00:26:00] Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on mindset.

[00:26:18] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg in his copyright 2021 as always, please remember. For educational and entertainment purposes, only past performance does not guarantee future results. Although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mindset.



Mike Kim, Personal Branding Expert On How To Build Yours So You Can Change The World

Mike Kim, Personal Branding Expert On How To Build Yours So You Can Change The World

July 12, 2021

Personal Branding Expert, Mike Kim, Discusses His Bestselling Book, You Are The Brand

mk.jpgMike Kim is a brand strategist for business thought leaders, coaches, and authors who want to create impact with their ideas and get their message heard.

Mike’s refreshing approach has made him a sought-after speaker, online educator, and consultant for top thought leaders. Mike’s clients include New York Times bestselling authors and other experts featured on PBS, TED, CNN, and Fox. Mike has been featured in and written for Inc., Entrepreneur, and The Huffington Post.

Mike is the author of the best-selling book, You Are the Brand: The 8-Step Blueprint to Showcase Your Unique Expertise and Build a Highly Profitable, Personally Fulfilling Business.

He is also the host of the top-rated and ranked podcast, The Brand You Podcast. He has spoken at industry-leading events including Social Media Marketing World, Tribe Conference, and Podcast Movement. He has been a guest on leading podcasts like Smart Passive Income, Marketing Made Simple, and Read to Lead. He lives in Alexandria, VA.

Get the Bestselling You Are The Brand Book (no affiliate on this. I just love the book.)

Connect with Mike

Episode Transcript

7-12-21 Mike Kim

[00:00:00] Mike Kim: [00:00:00] This may sound super obvious, but no one really says this is that you can't just go out on eBay or Craigslist and buy a personal brand. You can't buy a Bernay Brown's influence. You can't buy Tony Robbins influence. Even if you were to acquire the rights to their intellectual property and their customer databases, their social media.

[00:00:20] You can't buy it. It, when it comes to this, this, this thing called a personal brand, everyone starts from zero.

[00:00:32] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:00:32] Hi and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host. Izolda Trakhtenberg. On the show. You get my conversations with peak performing thought leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We explore how you can innovate through creativity, compassion, and collaboration. I believe that innovation combined with compassion and creative thinking can save the world and I aim to bring you ways.

[00:00:55] You can do it too. If you're enjoying the show, I'd be super grateful. If you could support it by [00:01:00] buying me a cup of coffee, you can buy me a cup slash Izolda tea. And now let's get on with the show.

[00:01:17] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg. I am thrilled that you're here and I'm so happy and thrilled and honored. To bring you this week's guest. Mike Kim is a speaker and marketing strategist, and that is putting it lightly, who specializes in brand strategy and copywriting.

[00:01:34] He's been hired by some of today's most influential thought leaders, brands, including John Maxwell, Donald Miller, Suzanne Evans, and capital. For years, he was the chief marketing officer of a successful multi-million dollar company near New York city. Nowadays, you're going to find him speaking at conferences, looking for the next great place to scuba dive, which I love or sipping a glass of Macallan 15, which I also love all while teaching everything.

[00:01:59] He knows [00:02:00] about branding, entrepreneurship, and life through his hit podcast brand. You Mike, I'm so thrilled that you're here. Thank you so much for being here. Well,

[00:02:08] Mike Kim: [00:02:08] There's is all of the thank you for having me. Uh, it is a pleasure to be here. I hope to add some value to you today and to all of our listeners.

[00:02:15] And I knew you were a good woman of taste Macallan 15 is the way to go. Nothing.

[00:02:22] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:02:22] Yeah, absolutely. It's so smooth. Okay. We could, we could talk a whiskey till the cows come home, but let's not do that. Uh, so talk to me about what's going on with you. You have a brand new book you're first coming out.

[00:02:36] Tomorrow. Talk to me about you are the brand, which I love as the title. What prompted you to write the book?

[00:02:45] Mike Kim: [00:02:45] Well, it's funny. And thank you for allowing me to share a little bit about this. Um, it's funny. Cause I signed a book deal about five years ago. I was supposed to write this book five years ago. My publisher assigned me five years ago and then my, my personal life went sideways, [00:03:00] um, a little bit and I just had no creative energy to write the book.

[00:03:03] And, um, every ear that passed since then, you know, I was kind of getting my bearings in life and in business and all that sort of thing. Um, last year happens, right? The quarantines, the lockdowns and everything, you know, I travel a lot. Um, and of course that came, you know, much to a halt and I thought about it.

[00:03:27] What am I going to do this year? And I had a friend tell me, because I had done a lot of little things. I've built a lot of programs and stuff like that, but I found myself getting a little frustrated cause I was felt like I was a hamster on the, on the wheel running around and he said to me, Hey, um, you do a lot of things.

[00:03:44] You're, you're very busy. You're always kind of moving on the move, but you know, it's really fun to build things, to build things that last a long time. And he's a multiple time bestselling author. And he shared that with me and [00:04:00] said, you know, maybe this is the time you build a book. I mean, you don't have to do it this year, but you know, it's fun to build things, build things that will take in last years.

[00:04:10] And I really took that advice to heart. Hunkered down, call my publisher back, hired a book, coach hired several coaches and just started writing. And I was like, if there's anything I walk out of from this year of being locked down because of the current virus and all that, it's going to be a book. And that's, that is the hard and fast truth of it.

[00:04:32] I mean, I think there are a lot of books that never make it to the light of day because their authors, uh, decide to give up. Um, and I did that for a while, but, um, I was like, this will be the year that I really, really, you know, put this into play and I'm really glad I did. So that's why I wrote it.

[00:04:50] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:04:50] Oh, that's fantastic.

[00:04:51] I love it. And here, here, there so much of what you just said made me go high. I have to ask all these questions in here. The, the, the [00:05:00] one that sticks in my head though, is. There is this, this notion that we can, that we can do something, but then there's the imposter that goes, you really can't do this. You, you know, the little voice inside your head, that's tap, dancing and telling you not to.

[00:05:17] And it sounds like you had some strategies that allowed you to go, you know what? No, I I've gone through all sorts of infernos and now I'm coming out the other side and I'm going to do that. Did you have a voice inside your head? And if so, what did that voice.

[00:05:32] Mike Kim: [00:05:32] The voice. So the biggest, I, you know, there's a lot there.

[00:05:37] Um, I would say after I finished the book, uh, but I don't think it was a joke. I was like, this is like the third hardest thing I've ever done in my life. And partially it was because I was writing about a time in my life that was really difficult to revisit. Um, my life turned out very different than I thought it would all those years ago when I first signed this book.

[00:05:59] Um, [00:06:00] secondly, my writing style changed over the years because I had been a blogger. I had written stories and you know, a lot of that stuff, but the last five, six years I've really spent more as a copywriter in the marketing space, which is to make sales. And when I sat down to write this book, It was a completely different discipline of writing.

[00:06:24] Actually, one of my friends, Karen Anderson, who was, who served as a book coach for me through the process. She's like, she's known me for a long time. She said, Hey, your book has no heart in it. She's like, it's got great facts. The frameworks. It's got great information, but I need some more of your personality in this, right?

[00:06:44] The warmth that is, you know, who you are. I need the humor. I need a little bit more story, you know, to contextualize it. In the, in the entire book really is about that journey. From how I reinvented myself, I had walked away from a [00:07:00] pretty established career, stepped into a new career, got a job as the chief marketing officer, as you mentioned for that company.

[00:07:06] And then within two years, I left to start my own business. So really that three to four year period of my life was very turbulent. I look back on it now and just like, I don't know how I survived that or what I did. When I look back on what I intuitively did. The good things that I did. That's what made it into the book.

[00:07:26] And all these years, since I've tested these frameworks, tested how to coach people in building a personal brand. And I'm actually really glad that the book is coming out now because it is, you know, two grades better than what it would have been five years ago. Um, and you can't mess with the timing. I mean, just in the last year and a half, we've all experienced this locked down and shut down and.

[00:07:50] People are really rethinking work. They're working from home a lot more, and it is the perfect time for this book to come out. So I'm very, very grateful [00:08:00] for all those things. But yeah, there were definitely voices that were like, this is a pain. I hate this. This is like slogging through mud. And I just kept on putting one foot in front of the other and doing it.

[00:08:09] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:08:09] And you know, it's funny that you say that, that the voices were saying, this is a pain you're going through molasses when you're in the stew, when you're in it. And you're, and you're just like, I just have to put one foot in front of the other. Do you have any practices, anything that you do that goes, okay, I'm going to get my head back in the game.

[00:08:28] I'm going to get myself right to do this, or is it just survive at all costs for

[00:08:32] Mike Kim: [00:08:32] you? Hmm. Well, one of the things that I really did was, um, stop trying to do it the right way because. When I have all these friends who are authors and they're like, oh yeah, I use this Scrivener program. It's like some software program that people write books in.

[00:08:50] Right. And I'm like, okay, fine. I'll use that. Oh yeah. It makes it so easy. And I'm like sitting there on my computer is old and I'm like, I don't know how to use this program. I've never used this before. My job is [00:09:00] not to learn how to use using your program is to write a book. Right. So I stopped doing that.

[00:09:04] Then I was like, okay, well I just got to tough it out, but in seat, that's what I heard all the time. BIS, but in C. Get just start writing and then I'd sit down at my computer and I wouldn't write. And I realized it's because I was on my computer all day because the zoom calls. So I hated sitting. On like sitting at my computer, it just, it just drove me crazy.

[00:09:26] Right. So then I try to write in, in bed with my laptop and that wasn't good either. Cause I was like, okay, this time. So this is, this is crazy. What I actually did was I took everything out of these, you know, godforsaken programs. Everyone was telling me, you use dumped everything into Google docs and just started writing the book on my phone.

[00:09:45] And I would chip away at it. I, I, once I live in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC right now, and as soon as a couple of places opened back up, you know, bars, restaurants, whatnot, I would go out, I would call an [00:10:00] Uber. I would clack away on my phone and in Google docs in the 20, 30 minutes in the Uber sit down at the bar.

[00:10:09] And just collect oil on my phone. And I just chipped away at this thing over the course of like probably nine or 10 months and just kept refining, kept refining, getting, setting it into the editor, getting feedback, you know, refining, refining, refining. And that was really the first and most important thing I had to find out what worked for me and be okay with that.

[00:10:33] The second thing I think I really had to do, um, to, to push through that was to, um, create deadlines that I definitely had to stick with. Like I told the publisher, here's the release date I want. I went ahead and had the meeting with the publishers and the, okay. We've all decided it's going to come out July 13th.

[00:10:52] Right. I'm like, sure. And I mean, every step of the way, they're like, we cannot print your book. If you don't get this in, by this day. [00:11:00] And those self-imposed deadlines are actually how I work whenever. And this is just how I've worked in business. Anytime that I've really needed to get something done, I've made promises to other people that have it'll be done.

[00:11:13] And that has forced me. To take action. Those deadlines have driven action. Um, I'm very grateful to my publisher Morgan James fellowship. They were very patient with me, you know, um, in a lot of ways, uh, I was picky about the artwork. I was picky about the typeface in the book and all that, but all this is.

[00:11:35] It's a journey as a creative, it's a journey as a leader, it's a journey as a journey in self-expression, um, to really understand yourself more. I feel so much better equipped if I ever write another book again, which I probably will, but I've learned a lot about myself through this process.

[00:11:54] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:11:54] I'm taking all that in for a second, because there was so much in what you just said.

[00:11:58] It's so [00:12:00] I love, love, love, love, love that you said that how much you learned about yourself as part of writing the book and, and it, and it's funny to me that you said that it took patients on the part of your publisher because you were picky about things and I'm like, well, I've written six books. By gum, you better be picky.

[00:12:17] It's your baby, you know, and believe me when you hold it for the first time, it's going to be amazing. I wrote this, but, but yet this, this notion of learning a lot about myself, I CA I keep, you know, this is the innovative mindset podcast. So I keep coming back to that. What, what did you learn? What was the thing that changed from, from before you wrote the book to when.

[00:12:41] Gave it to the publisher and said it's finished. What was, what was the transformation inside you?

[00:12:47] Mike Kim: [00:12:47] I think the biggest thing for me with that was, um, understanding this is a little bit more out there. Um, When quarantines [00:13:00] first happened, bend, it really slowed my life down. Like it did for a lot of other people.

[00:13:05] And I thought I had this dream one day, or like, I don't know, just, just one of these meditative experiences about what I really wanted to do with my life. And I realized, I was like, I don't know that I'm doing it yet. Or maybe that changes who knows. Right. And I said to myself, what do. Will really live on after I'm gone.

[00:13:29] And again, this is framed by what my friend Jeff told me, you know, it's fun to build things, build things that lasts. And as I was writing this book, I realized, you know what, my nephews are going to read this. They're going to read this if they want to, it'll be there. You know, even after I'm long gone, you know, they're five years old and three years old right now.

[00:13:48] And, uh, When I had that kind of experience that this little dream thing, you know, one of those in between waking and sleeping moments, I was like, I just want to write stories. I [00:14:00] just want to tell stories. Stories are what live on. We live. We read stories from hundreds of years ago that were written thousands of years ago.

[00:14:06] These stories have been written and we still repurpose and reinterpret and re-express them today. So while I love marketing and I love business coaching, I, I felt very strongly what I really wanted to do later on tap back into telling stories in writing. The book has opened up or reignited part of my creative muscle to, to write, to just write for the sake of, uh, sharing my thoughts, sharing my, um, feeling feelings, but also holding space and creating space for other people.

[00:14:43] So, right. Um, not too long ago, um, back in March, when, you know, there were a lot of crazy events going on in the county. And there was a shooting in Atlanta of many Korean women. Um, working out this massage probably really impacted [00:15:00] me because I was like these women, like my mom's age, you know, there's a lot of anti-Asian hate going on.

[00:15:05] And I wrote an article it's old, it's just on my blog and it went viral thousands and thousands, and thousands of people read this. And, um, the feedback I got was just as, if not more fulfilling, Than the feedback I got from my clients. Hey, thanks for helping me discover my voice or giving me clarity on my marketing strategy.

[00:15:29] But I realized with just a few strokes on the keyboard, I could really create space and hold space for people. Or for the world at large. And I, I don't know what that looks like yet. Right. I've just published the book comes out tomorrow. Right. But, um, and I'm not in a rush to leave the business and marketing space, but I'm starting to get an inkling of what I might want to do in the next phase of my life.

[00:15:53] And that's been really funny. I don't think it would have happened. Had it not been for writing this [00:16:00] book.

[00:16:03] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:16:03] I, I love the notion that it's opening, opening that part of you almost up again. You're such a creative person in all ways that I've seen, you know, you're one of my teachers I've learned so much from you and, and yet, uh, and not yet, but, and also. Having having, uh, learning something like marketing and business from someone who is a creative, like you is so fulfilling and inspiring.

[00:16:31] And at the same time, this is a strange question because we who are in sort of the entrepreneur space, forget that most people aren't in it. Right. But if you want to further a cause or a business, it seems. It's a great idea to, to, to build that brand. And so I guess the question is how much do you think your personal brand, you might, Kim, your personal brand will, uh, help your [00:17:00] efforts in that next phase?

[00:17:01] Whenever that comes you, you may not be in a hurry to leave the personal brand business, but when that next phase comes, how much of what you've built already? We'll help you move forward.

[00:17:13] Mike Kim: [00:17:13] Okay. I think it helps a lot. And this is one of the concepts that I cover in the book. Um, the path of the personal brand, right.

[00:17:21] And, um, one of the most unique and challenging things about building a business around my self. You know, w which I've done and you've done. Um, certainly as well. Uh, we hear this phrase personal brand thrown out around a lot. And, um, my best attempt to define what a personal brand is, is basically a public identity you've crafted for an express purpose.

[00:17:43] Right. Um, and it's a confluence of your ideas, your expertise, your reputation, and your personality. That's, that's an identity, all those things in one. And the funny thing that I've seen in this space, And this may sound super obvious, but no one really says this is that you can't just go out [00:18:00] on eBay or Craigslist and buy.

[00:18:02] A personal brand, you can't buy a Bernay Brown's influence. You can't buy Tony Robbins influence. Even if you were to acquire the rights to their intellectual property and their customer databases, their social media accounts, you can't buy it when it comes to this, this, this thing called a personal brand.

[00:18:23] Everyone starts from zero. So. Um, when people talk about starting a brand or they, they ask me, you know, how should I start, um, building a brand, um, I asked a lot of them, well, what do you want it to do for you? And they, they often say, this is all they said, well, I want to do whatever I want. And they want to like live in this magical place, which I've since dubbed the land of whatever I want.

[00:18:49] And they'll say things like, oh, look at the rock, Dwayne Johnson, you or Oprah, or Carrie Vaynerchuk or Joe Rogan. They can make money doing anything they want. And [00:19:00] what most people don't understand is that there is a path to a place of that kind of influence. That these folks have reached, but it requires that you walk through this really lonely place that I call the valley of focus.

[00:19:13] So I can, I can jump into this if that's cool, because I think this will be fun for us to talk about. So, um, you know, let's say you start your journey, you write blog posts, you share some inspirational quotes on social media. You start a new podcast. And unfortunately it doesn't really feel like anyone's listening and this is totally.

[00:19:30] Right. Your friends, your family, your colleagues. They're a bit confused by what you're doing in some even stuff following you online, because they're like, what is Mike doing? What is this all to doing? And you feel more alone than ever. And, uh, great news. You're now in the valley of focus and in this valley of focus, you whittle down all of your random ideas.

[00:19:51] To focus on one topic, one idea or one market, and you decide, you know, whether you're going to specialize in, you know, helping [00:20:00] people get healthy or you'll make more money or build better relationships. You narrow your focus even further to, to determine what you're going to do in that particular market marketing is a big market, right?

[00:20:10] So I had to like narrow that down and say, I'm going to help people with personal branding and copywriting writing their words. And you start to slowly understand much like a nightclub or dance club. You can't play five different types of music and expect like everyone to come to your place. Right. They just don't mix.

[00:20:29] You have to have clarity. So I experienced this when I started in business and marketing, probably 90% of the people who follow me just start. Right. A few of them followed me. Um, as I stepped out into this venture, um, but what happens is when you stay focused and you get more narrowed down, um, you become known for a few things and then just eventually, you know, one or two things, but strangely enough, this attracts other influential [00:21:00] people to you who have followings of their own.

[00:21:03] And because of that clarity, they may hire you. They may give you a platform. They meet you. Opportunity to speak to their audience about your area of expertise and lo and behold, a bunch of their followers just start following you. Right? And then some other influential person who sees that influential person.

[00:21:19] Number one, connected with you, asks you to speak to their audience and boom, the phenomenon happens all over again, and you're starting to gain an audience, build an audience or gain followers rapidly, much more. And your, your story of becoming this rising star and over time. And this is where I feel like I'm starting to step into over time.

[00:21:41] Over many years, your audience keeps following you. Not just because of what you know, but because you have who you are, you're not just building a brand, you're becoming your brand. That's the message of the book. You are the brand, right? Because of all this focus, your work [00:22:00] improves, your expertise becomes established and some of your biggest fans become super fans.

[00:22:05] If you will, who will gladly follow you into any of your future pursuits? And if you have enough of these people, they will help you reach the land of whatever I want and stay there. Now I've seen this play out. In front of my very eyes with the rock, Dwayne Johnson. When I was in college, I loved this guy.

[00:22:26] He was a wrestler, right? Does that today? Everyone knows him as one of the world's biggest action stars are used to all these movies, but yeah, professional wrestling for like 15 years was his valley of focus. And he didn't even really want to become a wrestler. He played college football and wanted to make the NFL and he didn't make.

[00:22:45] Right. So this dude pivots into wrestling stays the course. Most people don't realize this either. They don't know this fans hated the rock. When he was first a wrestler, they boot him out of the building. They hated him, right. [00:23:00] They just thought he was so cheesy. He thought their character, the character was stupid and he just kept with it.

[00:23:06] And the WWE, you know, his company started reform as I did. And just starting to get really popular. And at the height of his popularity, when I was in college, I remember this, um, he started to make some movies and he was just so good. He was so charismatic. He was so entertaining. He started to leave, uh, wrestling at times to go shoot these movies.

[00:23:28] And what happened is the wrestling fans felt like he sold out. And not all of them were thrilled. He was acting so they just stopped following him. They started booing him when he'd come back to wrestling, even though he's one of the most popular people in the company. And yet enough people, enough people like me watched his movies.

[00:23:49] I was a fan of him as a wrestler enough people like me watch this movie. And now I still follow him on social media. I probably have bought [00:24:00] under armor, you know, workout gear because he endorses it. Right. And he can do whatever he wants, the workout gear, the athletic apparel, Lisa, oddly enough, he sells tequila that doesn't really seem on brand for a guy who, you know, works out all the time.

[00:24:16] You're drinking tequila, you know, but he could do whatever he wants, but people don't realize. Oh, my gosh, the guy labored for 15, 20 years as a wrestler, he had to deal with the heartache of not making the NFL. This is not somebody who just said, I'm going to just talk about everything and whatever I want and people are going to follow me.

[00:24:36] So all, all of this, just kind of tying a bow on this. Do I feel like my personal brand will help me in future endeavors? Absolutely. I'm not as popular as a rock, but I do believe that there are some people who have said, Mike, we just like you, we just like what you do. We'd like what you stand for. And I'm curious to see where you're going to go and I'm going to follow.

[00:24:58] And because of [00:25:00] that, um, I feel this amount of freedom, I feel a certain amount of freedom and Liberty to go explore these new things.

[00:25:10] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:25:10] First of all. I'm so glad that you talked about the rock because it's a lot of what you said. It really resonates with me because what I, I, I follow him also. And it's not just because he's charismatic.

[00:25:20] It's because he's welcoming. If you see what I mean, like he's doing his thing and I know there are millions of fans and it's not like, I feel like he is. Talking directly to me, except for, I kind of do. And, you know, and, and I think for him, it's probably on, on many levels, it's authentic, but also it's very practical, right?

[00:25:41] It's a very practical, this is who I am, and this is what I stand for. And he kind of. Set all the dominoes up and knocked all the dominoes down. And that's one of the things I really respect about you is that you are, in addition to being creative, you're very practical. You break things down [00:26:00] in, in the work that I followed with you in the classes I've taken with you in, in a very, um, and I hate the word actionable because it's a weird word, but it's really true.

[00:26:09] If I take action on the things that you recommend, things open up. Right? So, so. What, if you can talk about that a little bit, how do you reconcile or combined the very creative parts of who you are with that very practical part of you?

[00:26:27] Mike Kim: [00:26:27] Yeah, I think it, you know, it, that's a great question. I think I have always felt more of a bias towards action.

[00:26:36] Um, when I've taken various self-assessment, you know, tests and stuff like that, uh, StrengthsFinders was one of them. Uh, I dunno, how many of you listening may have heard of strength finders? Um, but with StrengthsFinder number one was maximizer. Um, which means that I don't like to start things completely from scratch.

[00:26:56] I like to take good things and make them. [00:27:00] And I'm like, oh, no wonder I'm a consultant. Right. And then number two was, um, implement. Which means I just go do things. I, I overthink every other area of my life except for creativity and business. I mean, I'm like, I'm like, I want it done yesterday. I just go do it.

[00:27:20] Um, it's probably why I work really long hours and get stressed out and stuff because I have more ideas than I can ever execute on. Right. And I have realized that I don't know if I came up with this phrase or I heard it somewhere, but I like it. Um, we are idea rich and execution. Poor. And this world of social media has made that even more of an anathema, if you will.

[00:27:43] I mean, it is a sickness it's easy to post other people's ideas. It's really hard to go do them. Sure. So, um, when I see other people take a long time to execute on things, I'm just, it just drives me nuts. Right. And I'm like, okay, that's their own pace. That's their own journey. I'm not going to judge them.

[00:27:59] But for [00:28:00] me, um, I, some, sometimes I can't sleep on this. I get it. So I'm like, okay. Uh, I I'm, I'm biased that way, you know, bias towards action. Um, and then the third strength on strength finder was just, it was just a strategic oversight. Like I just see the big picture. I'm always a big picture person. So I'm very bad with little details.

[00:28:22] Um, it's why I have an assistant that handles these things, right. I'm just like, I have this idea. I want to see this happen. Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom. And sometimes I, I am my own worst enemy because I know how to do too many things. And so I execute very quickly or I can't wait to get things executed, which makes me a very poor delegate.

[00:28:41] Hmm. So I've learned all these things about my workflow in my work life and how I made, and I've realized that that has had to force me as a leader to grow in other areas. I have to become a better leader. I have to become a more patient person. I have to become [00:29:00] more of a visionary and less of a hands-on person.

[00:29:02] These are all really big areas I have to grow in. You know, we're here, we're talking about the innovative mindset, right? I have to innovate those parts of my life. Otherwise I will relegate myself to living like this until I'm dead. Um, so it's either changed. And grow and, and, and work with people and work with teams or do this for the rest of my life.

[00:29:25] And it is what it is. And there's no wrong answer. That's the other thing, um, that I've really realized there's no wrong answer. I know a lot of people who are like me, and this is what they want. That is how they want to live. They don't want a big team. They don't want an administrator. They don't want people on payroll.

[00:29:44] They're okay with doing that. Right. And then there are other people who, who have made that shift and both are valuable. Both are building their business and their life around the kind of life and business they want. Um, so really I'm at that [00:30:00] crossroads where it's like, I'm a creative, but I'm also like very, very wired to take action.

[00:30:05] And the more and more self-aware I become, I see options laid out on the table for me. It's like, okay, which path am I going to go down? I have to decide. And that's really, that's really how I see it.

[00:30:19] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:30:19] And it's lovely that it's about self-awareness, you know, so much of this. Is knowing who you are and knowing what you can offer.

[00:30:28] And I, and I, I I'm, I'm grateful that you, that you talked about that because I think that's what the book is going to do on a much larger scale for you is it's going to take that particular message and, and amplify it. Uh, and so I'm, I'm really grateful. I want to say that. Because it comes out tomorrow and you should all go get it.

[00:30:48] It's you are the brand, the eighth step blueprint to showcase your unique expertise and build a highly profitable business. So if you are interested in learning how to do that, you need to go get this book. [00:31:00] That's just how it is Mike. I'm. I, I could keep you for the next six hours, but I know you have a life to get back to.

[00:31:06] So I will ask you the one question you might remember this, you might not that I ask everybody who comes on the show. And before I do that, I will, I will say thank you again for joining me. This was so fabulous and wonderful to get to talk to you about your book and about where you are and where you're going.

[00:31:24] The question is this. If you had an airplane that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say?

[00:31:32] Mike Kim: [00:31:32] Oh, yeah, I remember this question. Okay. Um, you know what I've got to say, you are the brand. Um, and, and it's not just because of the book, but it's really the charge that I want to lay out, you know, to my readers, to my friends, to my colleagues, um, there we all, we all have a brand.

[00:31:54] Um, we all have a reputation, you know, personal branding. This phrases become, you know, this. [00:32:00] Popular term now. Um, but it's just, it's just your reputation. It's just what people think of you. It's just the identity that you hold in in the, in the minds and hearts of people who know you. And, um, I think one of the things I've learned about life through my work is that entrepreneurship thinking outside the box, it has a way of bringing out the best parts.

[00:32:26] And also revealing some of your roughest edges and in a world of image and social media followers. My message really is, you know, be someone worth following, be that truly be who you're trying to sell to people, whether it's, you know, through an Instagram account for fun or trying to land a new job or, or trying to start your business, like you are the brand, don't just build a brand.

[00:32:53] Be the brand you that that's who you are. And it's a call for us to, to grow and mature and to be the [00:33:00] best version of ourselves. So that's what I would write across the sky. And it's not just because the book's out tomorrow.

[00:33:06] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:33:06] No, but I w you know what? I think that's great. And it's a call to be. Your authentic self, which is, which is the best way to be, because there's so much that we have to fair it through that isn't authentic and real, and you're calling for us to be real.

[00:33:22] And I think that's great, Mike, thank you again so much for being here and being so generous with your wisdom and your knowledge. I appreciate it very much.

[00:33:31] Mike Kim: [00:33:31] It was a pleasure to be here. And thank you for, uh, sharing me with, with everybody here today and sharing your platform and salt. I've really, really appreciate it.

[00:33:38] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:33:38] My absolute pleasure. This is Izolda Trakhtenberg for the innovative mindset podcast. If you want to find Mike Kim, you can go to Mike You can learn all about him. You can learn all about the book. You can get the book, you should get the book because obviously he knows. Stuff until next time. This is Izolda Trakhtenberg for the innovative mindset [00:34:00] podcast, reminding you to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot.

[00:34:10] Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people know. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you. On mindset.

[00:34:28] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg in his copyright 2021 as always. Please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mindset.


Biblical Scholar, Adam Stokes, on How Ancient Stories Can Help Us Navigate Today

Biblical Scholar, Adam Stokes, on How Ancient Stories Can Help Us Navigate Today

July 5, 2021

Adam Stokes Discusses Lessons We Can Take From Ancient Myths and Stories

AdamStokes.pngAdam Oliver Stokes holds degrees in religion from Duke University and Yale Divinity School. He has published on a variety of topics including biblical studies, Mormon studies, Classical studies, and ancient American history. He is the author of three books- From Egypt to Ohio: A Semitic Origin for the Giants of North America, Perspectives on the Old Testament, and The Latin Scrolls: Selections from the Five Megilloth taken from the Latin Vulgate. He currently teaches Latin at Penns Grove High School in New Jersey and lives in Edgewater Park, New Jersey with his wife and two sons.

Connect with Adam



Episode Transcript

7-5-21 Adam Stokes

[00:00:00] Adam Stokes: [00:00:00] I think that that is amazing. Lesson four for today, as we look at the state of the world and we're always wanting to, you know, get more power, get, get more attention, get more fame, but look at what that cost and look how it hurts the people around you. And I think that goes back to looking at, you know, how the, the women in these, in these plays are portray criminal Astra and yeah.

[00:00:25] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:00:25] Hi, and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host. Izolda Trakhtenberg. On the show. You get my conversations with peak performing thought leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We explore how you can innovate through creativity, compassion, and collaboration. I believe that innovation combined with compassion and creative thinking can save the world and I aim to bring you ways.

[00:00:48] You can do it too. If you're enjoying the show, I'd be super grateful. If you could support it by buying me a cup of coffee, you can buy me a slash Izolda tea. And now [00:01:00] let's get on with the show.

[00:01:09] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host. Izolda Trakhtenberg, I'm super happy that you're here and I'm really honored and happy to have today's guest on the show. Check this out. And you will know that that my inner Greek mythology nerd is going to be so super happy to talk to this.

[00:01:26] Gentlemen, Adam Oliver Stokes holds degrees in religion from duke university and Yale divinity school. He has published on a variety of topics, including biblical studies, Mormon studies, classical studies and ancient American history. He's the author of three books from Egypt to Ohio, a submitted origin for the giants of north America.

[00:01:46] Can't wait to talk about that one perspectives on the old Testament and the Latin scrolls selections from the five Meggie LOTE taken from the Latin Vulgate. He currently teaches Latin at Penns Grove high school in New Jersey and lives in Edgewater park, New Jersey with [00:02:00] his wife and two sons. How exciting is this going to be Adam?

[00:02:03] Thank you so much for being here. Welcome.

[00:02:05] Adam Stokes: [00:02:05] Great to be here as always. Thank you for that. Oh, it's my

[00:02:07] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:02:07] pleasure. I'm I'm so excited to talk to you in part, because just let's just jump on in what got you started. I know what got me started reading both inches mythology when I was nine years old. What got you started?

[00:02:22] What fascinated you about this, these ancient cultures and civilizations that you decided to make it your life's work?

[00:02:30] Adam Stokes: [00:02:30] Yeah, well, I think it goes way back to my seventh grade Latin teacher, Mr. Butoh. My parents, my mom forced me to take Latin. I went in kicking and screaming. My dad thought it was kind of a pointless class to take.

[00:02:43] He thought it was, you know, a dead language. But into about a week or so of the class, this was my goodness is older. This is about almost 30 years ago. Into about a week into the class I was hooked. And the reason I was hooked is that Mr. Butoh was kind [00:03:00] of an unconventional Latin teacher. I'm not saying, I mean, he knew his stuff left and right.

[00:03:05]Definitely one of the finest linguist I've ever I've ever encountered in my life. But he made it interesting for us. There's a way to teach Latin where it can be really boring and just really dry. And he just, how can I say it? He spiced it up. He brought in a lot of Roman history. He brought in a lot of mythology and I think at the time I was in middle school going into high school.

[00:03:29]I was kind of a nerd. I was kind of one of the awkward kids didn't really quite fit in. So the ancient world was kind of my escape and I just, I just fell in love with it. Basically from, from the first time I started. Engage in it. And I knew that in college, I wanted my trajectory to be my trajectory, to be towards looking at our ancient civilizations.

[00:03:54] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:03:54] I love that a teacher inspired you to this because yeah, there are a lot of people who think [00:04:00] Latin is a dead language, but it's the root of so many languages that knowing it can only be of benefit. So let me ask you a question. You're you teach Latin, do you spice it up for your students? And if so, what is it that you do?

[00:04:14] Adam Stokes: [00:04:14] Oh, yes. Oh yes. Well my school, I love, I absolutely love the school that I teach at Pence Grove to give you some of the demographics about that school. About 40% of that school is of the school I teach at is made up of Latino students, let you know, and Latino students. So they come in with Spanish and it's really cool because I can hook them early on and say, you know, Spanish comes to.

[00:04:37]From Latin. So I bring in a lot of, a lot of my focus is looking at the ways that Spanish intersects with Latin. What words are exactly the same as in Spanish, as they are in Latin. So for example to geek out here the second person singular too, is the same in Spanish. As it is in Latin. But I also do a lot of what Mr.

[00:04:58] Beto did as well. We [00:05:00] were always, in fact, sometimes we do more Roman history and Greek mythology than translation of text themselves. So we've looked at basically everything from the Iliad to the Odyssey. We've looked at the various Roman emperors. I really liked the bad emperors, the naughty emperors the ones who, oh, gosh well, there's a bunch of them, but I'll S I'll say we focus a lot on calendula.

[00:05:23] We also focus on narrow. So those were the bad guys, my favorite emperor. He wasn't actually bad, but I always highlight him and we must spend about a month on this guy is the emperor Claudius. And the reason that I do that is because Claudius likely. There was a whole mini series of him with my favorite actor who I would gladly divorce my wife or married their dare Jakoby.

[00:05:48]Sarah  whom I absolutely love. But also we know from sources that Claudia has had some type of disability that he was possibly autistic or [00:06:00] something like that. And so I have some students who are dealing with disabilities themselves. So I always point to him and students always seem to appreciate this.

[00:06:08] And I pointed him and say, you know, this was a guy who inspired his disability rose to be. The emperor, the ruler of the known world at the time. And he's just a fascinating figure, not only for himself, but the way that he intersects with all these different other figures in history curricula Herod Agrippa in in Jewish history Tiberias.

[00:06:30]Augustus he intersects with basically all the grades. So we do a lot of stuff with the emperors. I actually have like an emperor battle that they have to do. They have to argue effectively. So get into little small groups and they have to argue effectively, which emperor was the worst. So there'll be a Nero or Caligula and you have to give the reasons why, or they'll even, this is a project I'm going to have them do in the upcoming months.

[00:06:54]They will choose an emperor and kind of have to do a campaign for that emperor. So if you want to get this emperor [00:07:00] elected, if you want it to get him voted into office which of course didn't happen in the Roman world. The is just where we're chosen to be emperor or from their lineage. But if you were, if it was modern times and you were trying to get, you know, narrow elected what could you do to get him?

[00:07:14]What would you say about him? How would you depict him to get elected? So there's campaign slogans and all that stuff. Now

[00:07:20] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:07:20] is this all.

[00:07:21] Adam Stokes: [00:07:21] So most of it is, yes. So they'll so a lot of their projects still basically write out a slogan in Latin. So or write out a description in Latin.

[00:07:30] So they'll trans don't write out something in English, translate into Latin and then use that as a template.

[00:07:38] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:07:38] That's so incredible. And I love that you do that, that you get them so engaged and involved and not just sitting down, which I think is phenomenal because often just sitting down for a long time, no matter what you're studying is going to be tougher on a student than, than getting up and actually doing and having a campaign.

[00:07:56] So what is the best slogan someone's ever come up with for one of the [00:08:00] emperors?

[00:08:01] Adam Stokes: [00:08:01] I think so I did a similar project at the school I taught at earlier, before I came to Penn strobe and I think the best one was. At least this emperor won't feed you to the lions. So I think it was a tighter surface space Sheehan and comparing him to Nero.

[00:08:18]I think they were, they were the two emperors up for election. And yeah, I think that, that one, I always get a kick out of. So, you know, it can't be as bad as getting fled to the lions.

[00:08:28] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:08:28] That's actually probably true. So let me it's I love, I love what you do as a teacher, but you're also an author and you, you write and you publish works.

[00:08:41] And I know that this is, this is going to sound a little weird, but when, when you're doing this, when you're, when you're writing, you're writing for a modern audience writing for a contemporary 20, 21 audience, and you're writing about these things that happened thousands of years [00:09:00] ago, perhaps even longer, how do you make.

[00:09:07] How do you make it relevant to the audience of 2021? And what lessons can we, as your readers learn to take into our future from, from these ancient civilizations in ancient stories?

[00:09:21] Adam Stokes: [00:09:21] That's, that's a great question. And that's something that is always, like you said, a challenge for anybody trying to, you know, convey ancient history to modern readers.

[00:09:31]I've read so many not to knock other textbooks, but especially within biblical studies and old Testament, there's so many textbooks that just give dry explanations of things. So. You'll read a textbook and they'll say, these are the books of the Hebrew Bible. This is their content, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[00:09:48] But it doesn't really talk about, you know, how this stuff is relevant today. And even though the Bible was written thousands of years ago for one it is, you know, a text that is still accepted as scripture by [00:10:00] large groups of people today, Jews and Christians. And also I think just because it was the primary Western document for so long, it continues to have affects both good and bad for, for our culture and for our society.

[00:10:14]And so one of the challenges and one of the things that I try to do in writing both perspectives of the old Testament and the Latin scrolls was to show the, how the Bible or at least how people, how pop culture is understood. The Bible still has implications for issues that we, that we do.

[00:10:34]Today. So in my perspective, the old Testament book there's an article in there about the treatment of Israelites towards foreigners. And I tied that article directly into the current discussion about immigration and treatment of foreigners here in America. When at a time when there is, there is increased us, you know, phobia My other book, the Latin scrolls actually, and I was advised to do this by [00:11:00] my editor and I think it was a great idea is older.

[00:11:03]I was advised to put a section at the end of each of the megillah each of the scrolls that I translated what is the relevance of this scroll for today? So at the end of each of the translations, there is discussion about, you know, the contemporary relevance of, of the content in each of the scrolls.

[00:11:23]So for example the scroll to the book of Esther I say, well, Esther was this average person who suddenly got skyrocketed, you know, to, to the, the highest. The highest status in society. She selling, we stressed into the court of the most powerful people in the world. What happens when this happens to you?

[00:11:46] And I gave an example from my own life. I actually, when I was at duke just a little known me from, from Baltimore five foot two, actually got in the same class with the prince of Jordan and actually became friends with him. And so [00:12:00] I started that as an example. You know, what do you do when you basically you encounter a situation where you're suddenly thrust amongst very powerful people.

[00:12:11]What ways might you know, you use this, not only to your own benefit, not to sound selfish, but also to the benefit of others as Esther does. So I try to raise questions like that. Song of songs, for example, another one of the Meggie load what does it say about sexuality? You know, we think of, we think of sex and, you know, we think of something, you know, that is, I think he's still in, still in the modern west.

[00:12:35] Due to the influence of, of Christianity for so long, we think of sex as something that you know, is, is taboo. But you know what the song a song say about, you know, sexist is a very healthy sexual relationship. How might this be relevant? How might this differ from, you know, talking to my college students, many of whom come from Catholic strong Catholic backgrounds, how might this differ from what you've heard?

[00:12:57] How might this be a positive way of understanding, [00:13:00] you know, sexuality? So I do bring that stuff in. I, I bring that stuff in, try to bring it in quite often. And it makes the class much more interesting. Some of the reflection papers I get from students, some of the ways that they answer these are really are really, really profound.

[00:13:13] And they, they stick with me just as much as I hope my class sticks with them.

[00:13:19] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:13:19] It's so interesting to me, how often as a teacher, you learn from your students almost as much as they learn

[00:13:25] Adam Stokes: [00:13:25] from you.

[00:13:28] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:13:28] So when you're in that, when you're in that state and you're looking at something, a document like the old Testament, and you see some things that the song of songs is a great example of something that, that we can really learn from.

[00:13:43] And that can be of benefit of increasing kindness and tolerance towards people who are not the same as you especially, and also immigration was xenophobia. And yet there are times when you look at something like the Bible and you go really, you believe that, you know, don't eat crustaceans [00:14:00] or, or don't mix your fabrics or whatever.

[00:14:02] So how do we, as modern people incorporate that into our viewpoint of a document, like the old Testament, because some of it frankly, is, is just so jarring. Like don't, you know, W some of the stuff that's, that's pretty violent. And some of the stuff that, that make doesn't make a lot of sense, like donate crustaceans or whatever, or I'm vegan.

[00:14:26] So it's easy for me not to eat crustaceans and not, and not to pigs, but at the same time, how do we do that? How do we reconcile in our own cells when you, when we see such, such guidance and advice that is so. Dated, I'll say.

[00:14:41] Adam Stokes: [00:14:41] Yeah. Yeah. And I always I do a session on the Abraham tradition in the book of Genesis.

[00:14:47] And I always get to that horrible chapter in Genesis 18 where the angels come to Sodom and Gomorrah and lot basically says, you know to the men of the city, you know, I'll just don't do [00:15:00] anything to these male angels, but I'll throw my daughters out of the door to you. So that you can, you can have your way with them.

[00:15:06]So, and that's one of many jarring many jarring scenes in the old Testament. I think the old Testament Hebrew Bible has to be taken like any other historical texts. Now, granted it's had much more of an influence than some other ancient texts have, but I think as I think Jesus would say, you have to kind of separate the wheat from the shaft recognize.

[00:15:28]That, and I think that biblical scholarship having its basis in the European enlightenment and people likes renos, I think it does as well recognize that this is an ancient text written by human beings, that their morals the morals of their time are much different than the morals of our time.

[00:15:44] But there's still stuff that you can wean from this from certain books, Ecclesiastes de Sala songs et cetera that still have value for today and how we interact and how we treat others. So I think excellent [00:16:00] example. I heard a lecture, I can't remember who gave the lecture but it was a woman who does who's a class assist and I'm blanking on her name right now.

[00:16:08] She did a lecture on the Iliad and basically say, you know This basically the mindset of all these guys in the Elliot, just for, you know, blood bloodshed and plunder that you get with Agamemnon and Achilles. And basically all of them, they're all kind of all kinds of credit in that regard.

[00:16:25]But you can also still take away some moral lessons from, from Homer not just the Elliot, but she was talking about the Odyssey as well. And basically, you know, what does it mean to be a virtuous person ever? She looks different for someone like Achilles or Agamemnon, you know 2,500 years ago.

[00:16:45] But I think we can still ask that question as modern people wasn't mean to be virtuous in our time. What does it mean to be known. In our time. And the, the writings of Homer and the other Creek classics bring these questions to mind. Those questions are timeless. Those questions are eternal [00:17:00] and there'll be around long after we aren't.

[00:17:03] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:17:03] Absolutely. I agree with you, the, those questions are timeless. Some of the answers make me cringe, but the questions themselves, you know, all you have to do is look at something like the Oresteia and, and wow. You know, what, what, what happened there was just, you know, wow. So, so when I look at those, when I look at those ancient texts and I look at, you know, oh, you killed my father.

[00:17:25] So now I'm going to kill you and this and that. And the, you know, because he's, he sacrificed the daughter and all of these different things. I look at that. And I go, okay, if quite a Maestra, let's say she was in that she played, she was the wife in the arse Daya, and she heard her husband, the king sacrificed his daughter, all of these things happen.

[00:17:46] And so she was taking revenge, right. She was taking revenge and she also had a lover and all of the it's a very dramatic and exciting and, and bloody story. Oh yes. So, so, but that's, that's what was, [00:18:00] this is, this is going to be a very feminist question. What was the woman's role here? What kind of power did quite a minister have besides doing what she did in that time?

[00:18:11] And how do we, again, as modern people look at these tails and say, okay, this is maybe what quite a master could do. This is what, the path that was open to her or, or the Medea Medea is another great example. What could we do as women. In those times versus what lessons we can learn in modern times from these ancient tales.

[00:18:36] Adam Stokes: [00:18:36] Yeah. Yeah. And I think, you know, I think that a lot of the Greek tails, especially, I think there's a subliminal message of sympathy for these women, like climb industrial, like Medea in, you know, saying that, you know, they're kind of, they're kind of literally restrained by the culture and the time period that they find themselves in and being married [00:19:00] to these men who have absolute power and are kind of, I think, especially with Agamemnon kind of absolutely narcissists.

[00:19:09] Hmm. You know, what else could they do? So I think this is definitely when you read the, when you read the Greek place, Sophocles Europe, cities, et cetera, there is always an edge of, at least in my, at least how I read them of sympathy for these women. You know, cause I'm an Esther, it's not just this terrible unfaithful, a woman who kills, who kills Agamemnon, who kills her spouse.

[00:19:30] But, you know, look at the context that set this up. And I think a lot of the Greek playwrights are saying, you know, let this be a warning of what absolute power does because Agamemnon he destroyed with, he destroyed a lot of people around him and eventually he destroys himself, his actions destroy himself.

[00:19:47]And every step he takes to try and gain more power, including sacrificing his daughter eventually leads to his downfall. And I think that that is amazing lesson. For, for today, as we look at the state of the [00:20:00] world and we're always, you know, wanting to, you know, get more power, get get more attention, get more fame, but, you know, look at, look at what that cost and look how it hurts the people around you.

[00:20:11] And I think that goes back, you know, to looking at, you know, how the, the women in these, in these plays are portrayed from a Nestra and Medea.

[00:20:20] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:20:20] It's so interesting. It goes right back to what you said earlier about virtue and what does it mean to be a virtuous person? And now I'm getting into the nitty and the gritty of my, my Greek mythology, and

[00:20:34] Adam Stokes: [00:20:34] I can talk to them about this stuff all day.

[00:20:36] I

[00:20:36] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:20:36] love this. Awesome. So, yeah, because as you, as you might be able to tell I'm a nerd for this. So, so, okay. So take something like the story of Antigony when she's in that position, she, she claims power. She goes, and she buries her brother and against the King's wishes. And then she pays obviously a pretty hefty price.

[00:20:57] What again, what do we do? [00:21:00] What do we do now? As far as activism, how do we relate that to people wanting like to, to black lives matter movement? The me too movement, all of those movements are those kinds of protests. And in, in, in the, in the ancient plays, there was death to come. Now we are in a, hopefully much more enlightened place, but still we are faced with the same question.

[00:21:26] What am I risking if I speak up, what am I risking? If I take action? Like Antigony did. Yeah.

[00:21:34] Adam Stokes: [00:21:34] I think that that's a really good point. And I think, you know, yes, we don't risk death per se, you know, hopefully not, but I know that, you know, I have some activist friends. I used to teach at a Unitarian seminary way back in the day.

[00:21:50] And a lot of my a lot of the students I taught went on to, to be activist. I even had some add in at Charleston in 2017. I don't know if you recall [00:22:00] that event with with the of course white supremacist but being an activist from what I've heard of activists, I, I'm not an activist.

[00:22:07]Part of me feels ashamed about that, but I'm not really activist per se. But I admire activist. I greatly admire admire activists. And from what they have told me, it is a, it is a taxing thing. So you don't, you know, it's not necessarily that your life is in danger. Sometimes it is sometimes it is, but that the mental burden of, you know, of seeing all the problems in the world and trying to do something about it and feeling like you're just making, you know, baby steps and, you know, just such small head, you know, Just a little headway.

[00:22:41]It's sometimes, you know really overwhelming. And so I know that, you know, a lot of activist struggle, you know, with issues of issue, issues of mental health. So I think going back to Antigony you know, making, I think that's a great example because at the end it comes down to what type of decision does she make?

[00:22:59] She [00:23:00] can back off and, you know, just have everything go back to normal or she can she can protest and be defined. And what is the cost of that? And I think that's a, that's an extremely relevant question, you know, for for today, you know, even, you know, if, if, like I said, there's no physical harm that comes to you, there is going to be some type of cost when you, when you serve as an activist in the way in, in, in a positive way.

[00:23:26] So there is going to be some mental costs, mental toll that it takes on you. And are you, are you ready? You know, are you ready for that? So if that makes sense. Oh, it

[00:23:37] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:23:37] absolutely does. And, and it, you know, we, we all have to evaluate for ourselves what we're going to do and how we're going to do it for sure.

[00:23:45] And I, I do want to say something Adam, that I, that I want to make, I want to make this point very clear. Consider yourself an activist you have taken on. The extremely important job [00:24:00] of teaching the next generation and the next generation and the next generation. If that's not an activist, I don't know what it is honestly.

[00:24:07] So please do not ever be ashamed of not being perhaps on the frontline at our March. You are an activist every single day. When you walk into the classroom and you help these students, your students discover. And get curious and ask questions and make suppositions and learn that that is if I were, if I were queen honestly or Empress professional basketball players would be making $30,000 a year and teachers were making in the millions.

[00:24:35] So, so I, I wanted to say that that's really important for me that you understand, I hold you in the highest regard because you've taken on what I consider to be a sacred

[00:24:45] Adam Stokes: [00:24:45] task. Thank you. Thank you. I, I, I definitely, I consider it, you know, sacred as sacred as well. I, my mother was a teacher she taught for 40 years.

[00:24:54]And I saw how she influenced people so much even years after. And [00:25:00] literally in the trenches of Baltimore, she literally saved some lives by the direction she was able to put students on. And so I always admired that about her. I mentioned to Mr. Butoh before, so. These are all people that I've looked up to.

[00:25:12] And I, I definitely, I felt that their calling was sacred and I feel like teachers call them sacred now. And at least in America, I don't think teachers get enough praise. Oh, not,

[00:25:21] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:25:21] not, not even a little I've spent, I've spent time working with teachers and I go into schools to teach. And one of my other gigs and teachers are heroes.

[00:25:30] Every single one of you have. You're amazing. I, I want to, if it's okay to switch gears just a little bit and perhaps switch oceans, maybe cross an ocean and let's cross the Atlantic and let's talk about ancient civilizations on the north American continent. Honestly, this is something that I I've done some research before this interview, but I don't really know anything about it.

[00:25:53] And, and yet I've been to snake canyon and I've spent time in the Southwest, but I would love to, to [00:26:00] speak with you a little bit about what, what that's about for you, what sparked your interest in ancient American civilizations and. What are your beliefs about these civilizations? Because there's some, there's plenty of stuff we just don't know.

[00:26:15] So, so what do you, what got you started and, and what is your focus about that?

[00:26:22] Adam Stokes: [00:26:22] Yeah. Happy to talk about that. So what got me started honestly is where was my where my religious views. And I'll say a little bit about that. So I was raised Baptist then For most of my life, then when I got to grad school kind of had a crisis of faith.

[00:26:39] I didn't really have any affiliation for a few years. Then spent some time with the Quakers and then joined one of the latter day, Saint movements, not the main one that you know of in Utah. But I'm an elder in a, what's known as a church of Christ with the Elijah message and all of the latter day, Saint traditions, community of Christ the Utah [00:27:00] church the bicker tonight church we're all kind of how can I say what the.

[00:27:06] Thing that holds us all together is our belief in something called the book of Mormon or the record of the fights as as my denomination calls it. And in that, in the book of Mormon, I'll just use the more common name. There's the idea that there were ancient civilizations that existed in north America and that at some point Jesus came and visit.

[00:27:28] These ancient civilizations. Now that is a faith claim. I'm not going to argue for that one way or another here on this show, but I will say that it got me very interested in trying to see and trying to research what ancient American civilization was like, because I'm sure it's probably the same for you, but when I was growing up basically when you asked about ancient American civilization, you were told the pilgrims and they had a nice Thanksgiving meal with the native Americans.

[00:27:56] And that was it. Now you knew a little bit about south America [00:28:00] with the Mayans and the inkind, but no inkers, but nobody and the Aztecs, but nobody ever really. Nobody ever really talks about north America pre 1492. So really my my interest in, you know, what can we know about ancient civilizations in America?

[00:28:18]Stemming from my kind of religious background made me get into this topic and from my own research, from what I've been able to ascertain in north America had had just as much of a rich elaborate culture with a huge empire seeking of the empires of the Hopewell and the Edina peoples, just as extensive, just as amazing as the empires of south America.

[00:28:45] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:28:45] That's fascinating. If that, if that is true, if we have civilizations in sort of more north of, of where the Mayans and the Aztecs and Incas were okay. [00:29:00] I, I let's see if I can figure out how to ask this question a few years ago, I visited eczema Pueblo in New Mexico, and it's, it's the most, it's the only continuously in existence town or city or community I should say for, since the 11th century.

[00:29:17] Right? So, so they've been around for a while in part, because they're so isolated, they're up on a big rock in the middle of the desert. So, so those folks have been around and we have some sort of continuous records of, of that happening, but, but what are the records that show that, that some of the more in sort of Northern American civilizations were an existence?

[00:29:44] When, and again, I don't, I don't, I'm, I'm asking, I'm not trying to be in pertinent or anything. I don't, I've never heard of primary sources that talk about the existence of these sorts of civilizations and, and peoples, [00:30:00] as you're talking about, please enlighten me.

[00:30:02] Adam Stokes: [00:30:02] Yeah. That's, that's a really good question.

[00:30:04] Most people have it. I mean, I hadn't heard of this until I started doing research for myself. There are not a lot of written records. Now we do have some inscriptions. Some Semitic inscriptions from some of the sites would suggest that some of these early north American campfires came from the near east.

[00:30:23] And there's a lot of debate as to whether these inscriptions are forgeries or if they're legitimate, I tend to have, I tend to side on the view that they're legitimate. When you look at them with my background, I have a background in Semitic languages, Hebrew and Aramaic. So But not just a written records mainly through the archeological record.

[00:30:41] So one of the things that I do as kind of the geek in me I travel around to various native American mounds. I have often taken my kids. I have a seven year old and a four year old. So I take them with me basically all the time. And they could kind of boil it to like, daddy's looking at his clumps of dirt again.

[00:30:59] But [00:31:00] back in the day, thousands of years ago, they weren't actually clumps of dirt. They've been destroyed by by present president habit, the president habitats of, of, of the region. Now. Back in the day these mounds were huge and some of them were as big as the dimensions of the pyramids of Egypt and in the 19th century as people have still found this stuff, some of this stuff today there were excavated in at a lot of these mounds people or excuse me remains skeletal remains of people who seem to have been rulers are decorated with jewelry with all types of fancy items.

[00:31:38]Also seem to have been slightly slightly to somewhat significantly taller than. Then modern human beings presently. So between seven to nine feet. So we know that these people were royalty of some type. They seem to rule the region around them, them. And we have this, not only from what we've been [00:32:00] able to determine from the archeological record, but also from just a tradition of native Americans, native Americans talk about people.

[00:32:06] Well who were there, who were here before and contemporaneous with their ancestors and how these people basically. Yeah, basically we're the rulers of, of these different civilizations that you have in the Midwest and in the great lakes region et cetera. So short answer to your, to your question, to your really good question.

[00:32:28]The archeological evidence and the oral traditions of the native Americans seem to strongly point to a acid empire in north America.

[00:32:42] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:32:42] I grew up in Michigan and lived there until after I graduated from the university of Michigan. And one of the places that we went to was serpent mound. And and so that, and I remember being there and I could feel the energy of the place was different when you were nearby there, it was, [00:33:00] it just felt different than when you were a few miles away.

[00:33:03] And so I, you know, they say that it's, that it was one of them was created by the Edina culture in like 500, 800 BC to somewhere around there. Can you talk about what the significance, because we don't exactly know why that serpent mound is there and I'm going to have to find a picture of it and put it up in the show notes for this, because.

[00:33:27] You know, you, you can see that it's there when you're there, but really it's best seen from above. So, so can you talk about what the significance of the serpent mound is? Well, what is it first of all and what the significance of it is to someone like you, who studies north American ancient

[00:33:44] Adam Stokes: [00:33:44] cultures?

[00:33:45] Certainly, certainly. I have not. Sadly I haven't been to the serpent man. I've been to some others. I've been to the new work earthworks. I've been to the Fort ancient mound. I've been to the Edina mound in Kentucky. But I have not yet gone to the surfer mal, but it's something that I hope to [00:34:00] do.

[00:34:00]Maybe a summer road trip with the kids. I will, I will do it. But yeah, the serpent mound is one of the longest Stretches just by it's by by feet, one of the longest, the mounts that exists in north America. And as you said, it's attributed to the Edina people who live between 500 BCE.

[00:34:20] And I believe a hundred CE depending some people debate that some people say 500 BCE to 400 CE. They're saying two major cultures in that region, your team and the hope. Well, and they seem to have fought with each other. We don't actually know their original names. Hopewell and Edina were much later names given to them named after the people who who basically found found their relics.

[00:34:45]So we don't know what their original names were. But yeah. So this serpent mound yeah. It's, yeah, it's pretty amazing. It's really something that you can only see really well, just like the new work mound from above when you're actually there. [00:35:00] You you can't really see it very well. But we don't know why that that circuit is there.

[00:35:05] There's a, there's a bunch of theories about that that this circuit may represent some form of Gnosticism or Gnostic religion amongst the Edina. The Edina, I should mention along with the hope. Well, a lot of people, including myself, have speculated that their origins come from the near east.

[00:35:23] So this could represent a reference to the biblical serpent tradition. Where you had you have the circuit featuring featuring prominently the beginning of the old Testament in the books of Genesis or it could be the Gnostic serpent who provides who provides wisdom. So in the ancient, near east in ancient, near Eastern context, serpents, as well as women were understood as harbingers of wisdom.

[00:35:48] That's why in the Genesis story, he is talking to the serpent. The serpent's not interested in the guy because a servant doesn't feel like the dude is all that wise, but he is talking to the woman because they're kindred spirits because [00:36:00] they're both seen as harbingers of wisdom. So a lot of scholars Zelda have said, you know, we're not sure what all of these mounds symbolized, but they were possibly used for ceremony or religious purposes and maybe some type of Gnostic ritual, Gnostic, religious purpose.

[00:36:18] Was was evident at the serpent mound. But something, I think this points to basically a large issue, she, that, you know, a lot more work now you have great archeologists in the field of American archeology, gee, but a lot of this stuff has really kind of, kind of been overlooked. And you know, I think when you get to the mountains, a lot of archeologists are content with the, with the explanation that they're just ceremonial and don't really go into more depth with them.

[00:36:46] So I think that a lot of the new researchers out there, including myself are trying to, you know, really get into this and say, you know, yes, we see that there's this funky symbol here, but what can we possibly determine about it? Is it more [00:37:00] than just if it is ceremonial, what is a ceremony per se? Can we reconstruct any idea of what of the religious use of, you know, this particular Mount site or that particular Mount site.

[00:37:14] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:37:14] I'm taking it all in for a second. Cause there's, there's so much to what you just said. So here I am, I am looking at the serpent mound or some of the other bandolier in, in New Mexico. Some of these places where people have left an indelible mark, that they were there, whether or not we know what it meant, somebody went, I'm going to, I'm going to let you know I'm going to have this, you know, for posterity, if you will.

[00:37:41] Not that they necessarily meant to do that, but it was, it was a way of marking what was happening there. And a few years I go to Ireland a lot. And when, when we were traveling, et cetera, et cetera. But yes, I go to Ireland a lot and I've spent time at the hill of Tara and it's and Newgrange. And, [00:38:00] and so Newgrange is 5,000 years old, or even older than that, maybe 7,000 years old.

[00:38:04] I believe it's 5,000 BCE is when it was built over, over time, of course, but Well, again, there are things there that when you, when you're there, there, there are at the, at the winter solstice in Newgrange, for example, you are going to see the sun shine in at the winter solstice. And the two days around that date, the shines in all the way down 90 meters into the central alternatives, the only time of the year, it does that.

[00:38:33] So they knew to build it that way. And the same thing happens on the equinoxes into loom in Mexico, the same kind of somebody went, you know what? We honor this so much that we're going to make this happen and Stonehenge and other such structures, if you will. So do we have any instance of this in.

[00:38:58] This part of Mexico. Yes. [00:39:00] But, but we're talking here specifically about sort of, I think the America's in the north American part of north America. And I hope, I didn't just say something really insulting to anyone who lives in Mexico, but I, I guess what, what would now be considered the United States or Canada?

[00:39:14] Do we have anything like that? Here that we can point to and go, yeah. There, somebody put, thought that sort of thought into this, this the placement of, of these mounds or these or these structures.

[00:39:30] Adam Stokes: [00:39:30] Oh, yes. So there is a researcher Sarah Farmer, and she goes into kind of into much more detail than I can about basically the astrological alignment of many of these mounds.

[00:39:42]And she argues that both with the solar lunar calendar they are aligned so many of these seem to be astronomically aligned. So suggesting that, you know exactly the exact There was an exact specific purpose to building these mounds. Last October I [00:40:00] was for a church conference in Kentucky and I got to see, I mentioned this before the Edina mound there and the Edina Mount in Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky is really interesting because you can't see it any, you can't see this exactly any more because the river is dried up.

[00:40:15] But thousands of years ago, there was a river that ran parallel. To the man. So there's a small mound, there's a river, then there's a small man and then there's a bigger Mount next to it. And this is interesting because we know some people some other scholars have written on this as well.

[00:40:35]Such as Dr. Greg little but the river was seen not just in native American thought, but you get this in the Bible as well as the transition between life and death. So it is believed that the river was either the river of pre mortality where the soul slowly start to make, makes it makes its way into the worlds.

[00:40:58] The so moves from the river to the [00:41:00] small amount. And then the big man which represents human existence, or it could be the opposite way of the so leaving. The physical the physical realm with the big mound Benchley entering the realm of the dead and then crossing over in to the afterlife with the river.

[00:41:17] We're not quite sure either interpretation could could be argued for. But in that instance I think is an excellent example where this Mount is where you have Mount building. That seems to be deliberately planned. They deliberately plan to build this mound near this river to kind of reflect a, a spiritual, a spiritual belief.

[00:41:36] They had

[00:41:37] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:41:37] some sort of a crossing over like the river

[00:41:38] Adam Stokes: [00:41:38] sticks. Yes, exactly. In Greek mythology. That's a really good example.

[00:41:43] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:41:43] So going back to this, this, this notion of the modern lessons that we can learn, I, I was at a conference many years ago with Daniel Hillel. I don't know if you know who he is, biblical scholar and soil scientist.

[00:42:00] [00:41:59] And one of the things that he said. Was that when you look at the old Testament in the Aramaic, that it's not dominion over the earth and the animals that it's more like stewardship or caretaking, and it changes everything. If you, if you start describing that, that, that the notion of being caretakers, rather than having dominion over our environment, over the beans we share the planet with it changes that notion of virtue and that notion of how, how responsible we are not to, but for all of the different, incredible natural resources we have.

[00:42:36] So when you're working and you're an Aramaic scholar and a Hebrew scholar, when you're working on something like that, when you're looking at these old documents, can you talk a little bit about that notion of, am I choosing the right words? What do I have to do to make sure that I bring across the actual meaning.

[00:42:56] Of what is being said when something like dominion versus [00:43:00] stewardship or caretaking has made such a significant difference in how many people view our relationship to the planet we live on.

[00:43:08] Adam Stokes: [00:43:08] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there's a really kind of, I think it's an excellent example of kind of a negative history of interpretation.

[00:43:15]People taking the Hebrew term actually is Michele. So it means like exactly, like you said, nurturing. Tender care for the environment. And you see this elsewhere in the Hebrew Torah in Leviticus, this is something I talk about with my, with my students in my old Testament class, this environmental ethos that Leviticus has that we read Leviticus, we read Leviticus 18 and we're like, oh crap.

[00:43:42] There's a lot of stuff in Leviticus that yeah, that is problematic. But the thing that goes overlooked and I try to emphasize this for my students. I'm like, don't, don't just skip Leviticus because in the video case, yes, you got, you had some bad stuff, but also in Leviticus you have this really strong environmental ethos where the [00:44:00] children of Israel, the  Israel are supposed to take care of nurture the land.

[00:44:07] And if they don't if they don't tend to the land and the land needs. They are punished by God for doing that. So it's a much different view than what has kind of emerged from Western readings of the Bible. We tend to interpret we intend to interpret that language as I think, you know, it's a misreading really that comes from Greek and Latin translations of the Hebrew Bible, reading Michelle reading, excuse me, sorry.

[00:44:34] Reading my law for Michelle. So I'm a lock means to rule. This is where we get the word Malek king from. So to rule over and have dominion that gets translated in the Septuagint. And in the Vulgate as to Lord over. So dominatrix in in Latin. But that is not what you get in the original in the original Hebrew.

[00:44:56]And so I try to, wherever I see [00:45:00] stuff like that, I try to emphasize and highlight that in my discussion with students and also in my book, there's a chapter in perspectives that deals with kind of the environmental ethos of, of the old Testament. And I think there's a way to navigate that if you give to students too much Hebrew, if they didn't go to Hebrew school or something, they're going to get overwhelmed.

[00:45:19] But I think that in instances where, you know, I think this is an excellent example that you brought up where it is definitely relevant and has had, you know, the fairest consequences in the way it's been interpreted. I think you can bring in Hebrew and the, the students are able, are able to understand that and they feel really good because they feel like they know a little bit.

[00:45:36] Yeah.

[00:45:38] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:45:38] And I lived in Israel for seven months when I was a child and, and a Hebrew is not an easy language, so it's really, it's it's wonderful. Now, nowadays I can say  and Ken and lo and that's it. That's all I remember. But, but let's, let's talk a little bit, actually, if you don't mind about some of your [00:46:00] publishing work, when, when you're, when you're doing it I I've written books and I got to tell ya non-academic publishing is very different than academic publishing.

[00:46:09] Can you talk a little bit about, cause I know there's this notion of publisher parish and all of that, but can you talk a little bit about what academic publishing is and what your experience of it has been.

[00:46:22] Adam Stokes: [00:46:22] Yes. Yes. So academic publishing is I would totally agree with you. I'm Izolda is a whole different ball game than non-academic publishing, just because you have, how can I put it, your subject?

[00:46:40] Your, your topic is so limited. So even if you're dealing with the Hebrew Bible or the old Testament, most people who are writing about it are specialized in their particular field. So my work I didn't finish my PhD, but when I was working on my PhD, my subs, my focus was on the book of job.

[00:46:58] Now here's the problem, [00:47:00] which is that everybody who has a specialty in your field is trying to write a book on the book of job, same thing in the classics. So. There's a district joke among class assists that, you know, everything that's been written about Homer has, has already been written. So there's no need to write anything else.

[00:47:17]But there's more stuff published on Homer and on the Iliad and the Odyssey than in any other academic field, including the sciences and cleaning biblical studies et cetera. So you're always trying to your big task is to try and find something creative and new within a field that within a topic that has been written on extensively.

[00:47:39]And a lot of times you're not gonna really be able to find anything super new or super innovative, but what you can find Izolda is that what you can do is bring your own perspective. To it, a perspective that hasn't been brought to brought to the material before I think in the classics that you see a [00:48:00] great example of this in several recent publications, several recent translations of the India and the Odyssey done by women, Emily, Montgomery.

[00:48:08] Yeah, I believe. But just you know, kind of taking, you know, her experiences as a female class assistant, bringing that to her translation of the Greek and you start to see things, you start to at least start to look at the texts in a way that you haven't you haven't ever looked at the text before.

[00:48:27] So that is the main challenge. That is the main challenge. To to writing in academia. The second challenge is that everything in academia for good or bad gets peer reviewed. So I remember the first project I ever worked on was a commentary for same book I'm actually working on.

[00:48:48] Now I'm doing a project on now. I mentioned before for the NRSV but the. There was a commentary that I was writing for a book called the Africana [00:49:00] Bible, which was basically black American perspectives on the old Testament. And I had to write on the additions of Daniel, which is one of the books of the Apocrypha, which is included in the Greek Bible, but it's not part of the original Hebrew text.

[00:49:14] I wrote my contribution. I had worked on it for several months. I wrote it in 2006 and it went through multiple peer reviews to the point that the final work wasn't published till around 2010. So it can take a really long time with all of the reviews and edits to get, to get something published.

[00:49:38]Now the good thing about publishing in academia, I've been working with something a publisher called Nella press for about three or four years now. Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful printing press. They have some great academic stuff. And the great thing about working with an academic publishing is that usually if you have a good publisher, like I have, [00:50:00] they're going to give you access to all types of resources that you wouldn't have even in your own home library.

[00:50:06] So you get to access databases with thousands of thousands of things. And so you have basically a plethora of resources from which to kind of formulate your own work. But it's not an easy process. There's a lot of peer review this, a lot of them saying, you know, this, distincts go back, fix this up, submit it again.

[00:50:29] Over and over and over again. But if you get through it it can be, it can be a very rewarding experience.

[00:50:35] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:50:35] So interesting that you said that I'm glad it's a rewarding experience. It would make me tear my hair out just because what happens when someone says, oh, this part is bad or this part is good or whatever, whatever the corrections or notes that they have, what if you disagree or is it incumbent upon you to change it because they said you had to, or can you sort of stick to your guns and go, no, I really believe this.

[00:50:57] You

[00:50:57] Adam Stokes: [00:50:57] know, that's a, that's a great question. [00:51:00] A lot of times what I have learned sometimes the hard way is to pick and choose your own battles. Sometimes. If I feel very strongly about something. So there was a whole article that I wanted to put into my perspective of the old Testament book on Deborah, who is one of the female judges in the old Testament.

[00:51:21]And there was a little bit of a pushback, you know, why can't we have an article that talks about, you know, the judges in general while I was like, my specific point is to, you know, highlight a female judge. Now we've all heard of Samson. We've heard of Samuel, but we haven't heard of Deborah that much.

[00:51:35] So I pushed back on that and I was able to get it. Into my Valium. Other times I've submitted stuff and I've been, you know, I've been like, you know, this work is, is so important. I at least want to get this subject matter. I just want to get this perspective out that what pops out, what ends up on the printed page looks significantly different than what I first wrote down, but [00:52:00] that I was able to get the general idea out.

[00:52:01] I made some compromises, but I was able to get the general idea. So you gotta, you have to pick and choose your battles. Hmm.

[00:52:08] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:52:08] Yeah, again, that would make me tear my hair out. So this is, this is sort of shifting gears just a little bit if it's okay. Sure. This is a little bit about the tools of your, of your trade.

[00:52:20] So you're, you're a scholar and your teacher and you're an author. And all of that is great. I worked at NASA for many years and one of the things that I remember fascinating me a few years ago, I heard about using satellite data. They were able to due to the amount of phosphorus in soil in a certain spot that wasn't supposed to have any kind of premium.

[00:52:43]Town or village on it, they found an entire village hidden under 30 feet of soil, essentially. So when you're doing that, and to me, that's super exciting because then they were able to find all of these incredible sort of archaeological mysteries solved because of [00:53:00] why, why was there so much phosphorus?

[00:53:01] Oh, that's because there was a human settlement there. So, so what are the tools that you as a scholar use, are you using that kind of, of, you know, LIDAR or some other kind of satellite data to learn about some of these ancient historical places in, in north America? Or are you finding your sources being secondary sources and you go from what some of the other data collectors have

[00:53:27] Adam Stokes: [00:53:27] done Haley secondary sources is ODA, mainly secondary sources.

[00:53:32]LIDAR is amazing, but usually you have to be working within the context of academia. To have resources for that professors tenured professors spend years writing grants just to get access to that stuff. I, I don't have that type of access. I have, I do teach at in an academic institution but I don't have that type of access.

[00:53:54] So a lot of my work comes from what some dude with a light, with a LIDAR ground penetrating [00:54:00] radar has done and written up about his or her research. And so I do that a lot of my stuff is very much old school. I have various Books on the subject by experts, many of those experts in my friends.

[00:54:14] So I will contact them and say, you know, Hey, you wrote this, is this what you meant? Or what can you tell me about this? So I basically have a bunch of, you know, concurrences and in fact, a PDF as an articles basically in my library at home that I use. But I also, I, I do the millennial in me also uses digital sources as well.

[00:54:36]But that's more limited than say if I was a tenured professor, I have access to some of that stuff. But not as much as if I was a tenured professor. And again, the nice thing. Once you start writing for a particular publisher they will give you what would cost you normally hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to have a subscription, to something like J store or something like that [00:55:00] they will give you access to that.

[00:55:01] So I try to take advantage. Whenever I can.

[00:55:05] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:55:05] Okay. Cause I was just wondering it's it's so I remember doing some of that work when I worked at NASA and seeing some of the results and just, I thought it was so fascinating to watch finding those kinds of, of touchstones. I, I guess I'll say to, to these ancient peoples is incredible.

[00:55:26] Have you found anything that has just proven false? Have you gone? Oh, I had my hopes up and this is just wrong. This is just not supported at all.

[00:55:36] Adam Stokes: [00:55:36] Yes. Yes. So there was we should have been proven wrong before. There was a Finding in the late 18 hundreds known as the Kindle hook plates, which were supposed to be re was supposed to be a written document about the history of ancient America.

[00:55:51] There's a whole story background story with Joseph Smith in the Mormon church with these plates and people over the years, they were proved [00:56:00] to be hoaxes basically in like a year or so after they were supposedly found. But people through the years have tried to argue for them for their authenticity.

[00:56:10]And I really don't see it, which is disappointing because it would be really cool if they were real, because it gives more insight into the history of, of ancient America. But I don't think that they are and you're, and you're gonna, that's going to happen a lot of times. So sometimes just going to find a dead end and the best thing you can do is just turn around and try again.

[00:56:29]But overall, I've been more amazed by what I have been able to find. That's turned out to be legitimate or, you know, have some. Something that can be verified rather than something that proves to be false.

[00:56:48] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:56:48] So what's next for you? I know that you're in the middle of writing a book and you're also teaching w if you could do anything, if, what, what would you be doing right now?

[00:56:57] What, what, what dig would you be on? What [00:57:00] writing would you be doing?

[00:57:01] Adam Stokes: [00:57:01] I would be probably at a, I'd probably be at the serpent mound or one of the mountains, Mississippi. Doing doing research there if I could be anywhere right now. So I would love native American mounts is, is something in the past couple of years that I've kind of become my obsession.

[00:57:18] So I would love to love to be doing that. But yeah, at the present time I am working, like I mentioned the, on the on the project, the commentary on the additions to Daniel for a new project with the NRSV I'm also a monthly contributor to a magazine ancient American magazine.

[00:57:38]So I have an upcoming an upcoming. A segment in there on the low side Luna's stone, which people have argued as a hoax, but there's seems to be a lot of evidence in its favor. And I talk about that. And then I'm always my a latter day Saint faith is very, very important to me. So I'm always kind of writing either reviewing somebody else's book or giving my own [00:58:00] insights into a latter day, Saint history and theology.

[00:58:04] So those are the main things that that I'm working on that I'm working on right now.

[00:58:10] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:58:10] That's lovely. Very cool. Well, I, I know that I, I, you and I could be geeking out about mythology for the next six hours, but I know you have a life and a day to get back to, so, so I would love it. If you would do me a favor and can you give sort of your social media links or where, if somebody wanders to know more about your work or follow you online, would you mind just giving those so that I'll put them in the show notes, but it's always really helpful to have more than one way of finding the information.

[00:58:37] Adam Stokes: [00:58:37] Absolutely. Absolutely. So I have in addition to being a full-time Latin teacher high school, I'm also a Latin tutor and I have a webpage for my business on Facebook. If you go to Facebook and type in lingua, Classica, that's the name of my business. And I put in a lot of my work and just general stuff about Greek roots [00:59:00] and yeah, Greco, Roman mythology on that side.

[00:59:02]So there's a lot of fun stuff on that side. If you're just interested in the Greco-Roman world. I put stuff on there all the time, and then I also have an Instagram account Adam, the giant guy where I put photos of different mounts that I've visited. I put up information about ancient north America and also some fun stuff as well.

[00:59:21] So there's pictures of my kids and stuff on there as well. So those are the two, those are my two main social media.

[00:59:29] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:59:29] Fabulous. That's wonderful. Thank you so much for doing that, Adam. You know, it's interesting. I'm in the middle of revising my next book and it's a mystery novel and Roman mythology plays a role and I had to translate from English into Latin and it's too bad.

[00:59:44] I didn't know you back then because it wouldn't be, my Latin is probably just atrocious. So you might not ever want to read the book, but

[00:59:51] Adam Stokes: [00:59:51] I would love to read the book.

[00:59:54] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:59:54] Yeah. Roman mythology plays a big role in the books, so but but yeah, it was really, [01:00:00] it was fascinating to go. How on earth do I translate something that is very much modern sounding the Lang I was speaking in modern English.

[01:00:08] Yes. And have it sound properly conjugated and the appropriate translation into Latin. And I'm sure that I'm way off. Oh, well,

[01:00:19] Adam Stokes: [01:00:19] well, I was just have to go look at it and I'll criticize you if you are,

[01:00:23] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:00:23] but it won't be, I reviewed because you obviously know so much more about this than I do. You're not like I'm not your peer you're way past your way past what I, what I know how to do.

[01:00:32] Well, Adam, I want to thank you so much for being on the show and for taking the time to talk about this. This is it's so fascinating to see how these ancient peoples and ancient knowledge can be really informative to us today. I'm so grateful that you took the time.

[01:00:48] Adam Stokes: [01:00:48] My pleasure. I love talking about this uptight.

[01:00:50] Thank you so much for having me. It was, oh,

[01:00:53] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:00:53] it was absolutely a delight. I have this one last question that I want to ask. It's a silly little question, but I find [01:01:00] that it, it yields some poignant answers and here's the question. Are

[01:01:03] Adam Stokes: [01:01:03] you ready? Certainly I will go for it. All right.

[01:01:05] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:01:05] So if you had a plane that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say.

[01:01:16] Adam Stokes: [01:01:16] I think, I would say carpet diem in the words of Robin Williams seize the day. And the reason I would say that is because so often we spent so much of our lives, you know, thinking. That things will happen to us. I'm not saying that good things won't happen to us, but a lot of times I've been guilty of this in the past.

[01:01:37]When we take initiative, we will be surprised at how doors opened up for us. So don't be afraid to, you know, get all out of your day.

[01:01:46] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:01:46] Oh, I love that. And I love that you quoted dead poet's society. It's one of my favorite movies. Oh, such a brilliant, brilliant movie. And if you haven't seen it, I'm going to put a link to that in the show notes too, because if you haven't seen it, you need it.

[01:01:59] Adam Stokes: [01:01:59] What are [01:02:00] those films you need to see before you die? Absolutely. Yeah. Oh,

[01:02:02] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:02:02] completely. Really just tremendous. And when I was talking to you about professor Cameron at the university of Michigan, he was that kind of professor, the kind of teacher Robin Williams is in dead poet's society. Cameron was that kind of teacher at the university of Michigan.

[01:02:14] So that's awesome. I highly recommend the movie and also go find the works of Adam Stokes and the works of HD Cameron. And. Read the Odyssey, because it's a great story, regardless of anything else. It's a cool story. All right. This is all the Trakhtenberg for the innovative mindset podcast. I hope that you've enjoyed today's show.

[01:02:35] And if you have, I would love it. If you would rate and review the podcast, let me know what you're thinking. Let me know about episodes that I need to have on the show. As you can tell, I'm willing and ready and hopefully able to geek out about all sorts of topics until next time. Once again, this is Izolda.

[01:02:51] Trakhtenberg reminding you to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot.

[01:03:01] [01:03:00] Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on mindset.

[01:03:19] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg in his copyright 2021 as always, please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative minds.




John Kao Mr. Creativity, Creative and Visionary on Innovation

John Kao Mr. Creativity, Creative and Visionary on Innovation

June 28, 2021

John Kao, Dubbed Mr. Creativity by Forbes on Creative Thinking, Innovation, and Their Crucial Role in Our New Future

john_kao_headshot9yl1t.pngThe Economist tagged John with the nicknames “Mr. Creativity” and “A Serial Innovator.” He is a thought leader, practitioner, and activist, who has played a leading role in the fields of innovation and business creativity for over 30 years.

His knowledge is eclectic and blends the perspectives of former Harvard Business School professor, serial entrepreneur, musician, master facilitator, former CEO, Harvard-trained psychiatrist, best-selling author, and Tony-nominated producer of film and stage. Yamaha Music Corporation named him their first “innovation artist.” He is a trusted advisor to leaders of companies, startups, and nations that are on the hot seat to deliver meaningful innovation strategies and action agendas. 

Connect with John

The Episode's full transcript

John-Kao-on The Innovative Mindset Podcast

[00:00:00] John Kao: [00:00:00] The need for innovation and the need to practice innovation never go away. It's kind of the long March. If you will.

[00:00:13] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:00:13] Hi and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host. Izolda Trakhtenberg on the show. You get my conversations with peak performing thought leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We explore how you can innovate through creativity, compassion, and collaboration. I believe that innovation combined with compassion and creative thinking can save the world and I aim to bring you ways.

[00:00:35] You can do it too. If you're enjoying the show, I'd be super grateful. If you could support it by buying me a cup of coffee, you can buy me a slash Izolda tea. And now let's get on with the show.

[00:00:57] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset [00:01:00] podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg. I'm so happy that you're here and I am ridiculously happy and honored to have today's guest on the show. The man's name is John Kao, and you've got to hear this, the economist tag, John with the nicknames, Mr.

[00:01:15] Creativity, and a serial innovator. So you know how close this is to my heart. He is a thought leader, practitioner and activist who has played a leading role in the fields of innovation and business creativity. For over 30 years, his knowledge is eclectic and blends the perspectives of former Harvard business school professors, serial entrepreneur, musician, master facilitator, former CEO, Harvard trained psychiatrist, bestselling author, and Tony nominated producer of film and stage.

[00:01:45] Wow, Yamaha music corporation named him their first innovation artist. He's a trusted advisor to leaders of companies, startups, and nations that are on the hot seat to deliver meaningful innovation strategies and action agendas. [00:02:00] Wow, John, thank you so much for being on the show. I'm so honored and thrilled and I'm tripping over my words, but I just want to say thank you for being here and welcome.

[00:02:09] John Kao: [00:02:09] Well, the honors online. I'm happy to be here.

[00:02:12] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:02:12] Oh, this is so there are so many things about what you do and have done that every time I read more or learn more, I, I giggle like I'm, I ha I'm a school girl with a crush. I'm going to say that right now, because so much of the work that you're doing is, is it's crucial as we move forward.

[00:02:32] And especially this last year has been so much disruption. And you say, you talk about leading in a time of disruption and that you are looking for new and innovative ways to do that. And I would love it. If you would talk about that a minute, just as we get started, what, what does that mean to you? That we are now in this eight time of disruption and what makes this disruption different than the disruptions we've had in the past?

[00:03:00] [00:03:00] John Kao: [00:03:00] Well, I'm glad you asked that because it's a great way to frame our conversation. And I think we need to be a bit critical not in a negative critical sense, but in a thoughtful sense about the word disruption, because it's kind of a word that carries some assumptions that once disruption has passed, things will return to a steady state or to a normal.

[00:03:20] I actually did a article recently in my column where I compared the word disruption to the word, this continuity. And I actually think discontinuity is almost a better way of describing our situation, which is to say we're like sailors that have set forth like Magellan in the great age of sail with maps that were incomplete because in the middle of the ocean the often the legend would be, you know, beyond here, like lie monsters.

[00:03:47] And Magellan Vasco, da Gama and others set forth on faith that they would find India or they would find spices. And we are, I think, in an era of discontinuity in the sense that our. Existing [00:04:00] maps no longer suffice for helping us to navigate forward. And, and we're not in a way able to fall back on this idea that things will get back to normal or that a disruption will subside like a storm at sea that gradually gives way to calm waters.

[00:04:16] You know, if we think about what we as global civil society are faced with in terms of issues of climate war and peace social inequity et cetera, et cetera, these are mammoth wicked complex problems that can only be resolved by innovation. And that leads to the second point you mentioned in the opening, which is the need for a fresh viewpoint on.

[00:04:42] Innovation, as I like to say, we need to innovate innovation. Because innovation has been out there for a long time. It's like, Haley's comment. It comes and goes Praxis and wanes in terms of popularity and being in Vogue with management pundits and with business leaders. [00:05:00] But and, and the importance of innovation continues to be recognized in the C-suite in the you know, at the high levels of companies, CEOs recently polled said that innovation was one of their top priorities, but I would wager that a large percentage of them Can't even define the word meaningfully, let alone point to the practical expression.

[00:05:22] You know, the innovation as a discipline, as opposed to innovation as a mood or culture building effort, or as my friend, Rita McGrath likes to call it innovation theater, we're going to be very innovative and we're going to let our hair down and come up with wacky ideas and we'll do that for, you know, the duration of a corporate retreat.

[00:05:44] And then we'll go back to business as usual. So I think innovation Marvin Minsky who was one of the fathers of artificial intelligence once said that there were certain words that were like suitcases because you really needed to unpack them to get the full meaning. And innovation is [00:06:00] definitely one of those words.

[00:06:01] And because it's so overused in a way we have this phenomenon, I see a lot of innovation, fatigue, or innovation, cynicism, or innovation complacency where people say, oh yeah, you know, we've done innovation. In fact, one person who is a Washington government official once amazingly told me that in his department they had tried innovation and it didn't work.

[00:06:25] So now they were doing other things. Oh no, not to, not to turn government into any kind of a cliche, but I, I, what I find often is that there's innovation, cynicism. It's kind of like we did it, you know, it kind of worked but. It was, it was time limited, you know, there was a beginning, middle and end to it.

[00:06:43] And in fact, innovation, the need for innovation and the need to practice innovation never go away. It's, it's kind of a, the long March, if you will. So we're in an, a era of discontinuity. We need to, re-imagine what the maps look like. And [00:07:00] innovation is more important than ever, but we need to have a fresh point of view about how to do it, and not just at the level of companies, but at the level of society.

[00:07:10] And also bringing it down to the, you know, the trees versus the forest for each one of us as individuals in our lives and in our work,

[00:07:21] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:07:21] I'm taking all of that in for a second. Wow. Okay. So. I first of all. Yes, absolutely. I agree. You're going to hear me say that a lot during this next few minutes, but, but yes, absolutely.

[00:07:36] The need for reinventing how we innovate and what it actually means to each of us on the individual corporate and even global scale is great. Absolutely. I understand that. And yet, how do we, I mean, I named this podcast, the innovative mindset, how do we as individuals and then companies and organizations and nations [00:08:00] and, and, and the world, how do we get comfortable with innovation?

[00:08:03] And if there's no sense of comfort, you mentioned something that was, that you said innovation as a discipline. What are the steps do you think of becoming disciplined as an innovator? What does that mean? And how do you practice it?

[00:08:19] John Kao: [00:08:19] Well, in order to answer that question, we have to agree on a definition of innovation.

[00:08:25]You know, I, I get into conversations about it often and I always have to start the conversation by saying, what do you mean? What do you mean by the word innovation? Because if we don't have alignment around the definition we really cannot have a conversation. So the dictionary defines innovation as if I amalgamate all the dictionary definitions, it it goes something like this.

[00:08:48] Innovation is creativity applied to some purpose to realize value. So that's important to keep in mind because you know, creativity is the [00:09:00] human ability to generate new ideas, new insights and. It's something that all humans have, you know, it's the way our brains work. We free associate. We daydream, we dream at night.

[00:09:11]We are able to come up with new things, but it doesn't mean that those new things are valuable. Just like playing random notes on the piano is very creative, but it doesn't lead to a marketable CD, you know, or composition. So creativity applied to some purpose. It has to be about something.

[00:09:28] You know, this is a problem I run into all the time in companies where they say, well, you know, our, the goal of our creative efforts is to grow our profits by 5% a year, or it's to accomplish some tactical goal. When in fact innovation always has to be the answer to a a meaningful question because otherwise why bother, you know, it's why get out of bed earlier in the morning to serve that?

[00:09:51]Cause, and then finally it has to be about creating something of value. And I would argue of enduring a value. It has to [00:10:00] change the existing order of things. They, the, the simple example is Edison who, when he created the first light bulb was an inventor, but he really wasn't an innovator until light bulbs became pervasive and elect, you know, our society became electrified.

[00:10:17] So, you know, this whole notion that innovation is a discipline. You know, if you just take that dictionary definition, you have to be good at ideation, whether it's understanding your individual creativity or understanding how ideas emerge in human interaction collaboration, and then how it emerges in organizations in terms of culture and rewards and talent policies and leadership attention.

[00:10:45] And then how it emerges in societies where. Societal goals and purpose and identity and leadership translate either into a environment that encourages creative expression or, or stifles it. [00:11:00] Right. So then we turn our attention to another definition. So I've spent a lot of time trying to think about how to make innovation more tangible for practitioners.

[00:11:11] And you know, to me, innovation is a set of capabilities, capabilities, being things that require practice to acquire, like playing the piano, a set of capabilities that enables the continuous realization of a desired future. So, what that means is that you have to have some sense of almost moral purpose.

[00:11:35] I don't mean moral enough, a religious sense, but moral in the sense of of what is good, what is virtuous? What is true. And it has to be something that you just don't do episodically, but is part of what you do all the time. And that in order to fully realize innovation, you have to have a vision of the future that you want.

[00:11:55] You know, we, we have a vision of the future of our planet as [00:12:00] being in climate equilibrium and at peace. Well, you know, great. So how do we get there? And then the kippah capabilities break down into literally scores is of specific proficiencies that, you know, we, we, if we had 10 hours, we wouldn't be through that.

[00:12:15]But ultimately have to do with how you. Linked the right kind of human talents to the right kind of resources, to the right kind of ideas blended with the right kind of processes to enable innovation, the flywheel of innovation to begin to turn. And this is, you know, my thing is really about how you do innovation.

[00:12:34] You know, there are plenty of people who can tell you what it is and why it's important, but there are relatively few people out there who are focused on the how, and that's, that's part of my mission statement.

[00:12:48] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:12:48] Again, I have to take a couple of seconds and take all of that in it's. It's fascinating to me how this notion of the different areas that [00:13:00] we have to combine the capabilities, the resources, the opportunity for, for innovation. The, the thing that, I'm the thing that I'm struck by though, is something that you said as far as your definition and the, how, I guess the thing that, that makes me go, Hmm.

[00:13:18] I wonder is about creativity. That part of it is so you and I are both creative people and we're both musicians, which I think is fabulous. And one of the things that I do with the clients that I work with when I do speaking engagements, all of that is we talk a lot about thinking creatively, giving yourself permission to do that, to think creatively, because many people are afraid or think that they can't.

[00:13:42] So if I were going to ask you the following, I'm wondering what your answer will be. You might just go, oh, come on is older. But maybe, maybe it won't be, it won't be a silly question to you, but how can we learn from that notion of innovation to think creatively and how can [00:14:00] we think creatively to move forward?

[00:14:04] John Kao: [00:14:04] Well, creativity, as I said earlier, is an attribute of the way humans think and experience their environment. So everybody is creative in the literal sense of being creative, but where I think people get a little confused is equating creativity with talent, you know, so, so Mozart was creative, but he was also a musical genius.

[00:14:26]And all of us, you know, in a sense can learn how to find middle C on a piano or learn to listen to our inner monologue in terms of coming up with new things. But creative is not necessarily to be talented or gifted in that, in that sense. So having said that anybody can learn how to be more attentive to their creative output.

[00:14:49] They can be more attentive to. Understanding the conditions under which creativity flows for them and, and how to increase the odds of [00:15:00] generating creative ideas Twyla Tharp the choreographer wrote a great book called the creative habit where you know, she gets into very practical tips about, you know, how to record your ideas.

[00:15:12]One thing that I, I adopted from her book cause I, I found it highly amusing and ultimately very, very useful was every time she has an idea for a new project, the first thing she does is she she purchases a box and labels it with the name of the project and it might be an empty box for a long time, but it becomes a way of making the idea or the impulse tangible often when I start a project I'll, I'll have a loose-leaf binder.

[00:15:38] With nothing in it. I'll put a very nice cover illustration on it and label it with the project name. It's the same idea. And and then ultimately fill it in. But at the beginning it's creating a they're there for the idea to land and to be able to live. So there are there are mountains of of books and a lot of [00:16:00] knowledge about how to enhance ideation.

[00:16:02] I, you know, I, I even in my own small way contributed to that. I wrote a book called jamming, which was really what can leaders learn from jazz musicians because jazz musicians are paid to generate new musical ideas. That sound good. As a capability, you know, they don't wish to be creative or, you know, prayer, rubber chicken bones together.

[00:16:24] They sit down at the piano and play new notes. That sound great. And it's again, and it's not because they got inspired or, you know, they, they participated in innovation theater it's because they spent decades practicing and studying and learning and immersing themselves in a discipline. So that at the moment of inspiration they could generate something new.

[00:16:45] It's

[00:16:45] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:16:45] interesting that you said that it's. It's having the skill to back up the talent. It feels like to me, talent feels in Nate, it's something that you are perhaps born with and then need to build on or build the [00:17:00] skills, but skills you can learn, you can teach yourself the piano or you can learn from, from an instructor.

[00:17:06] And, and yet there's a lot of failure in music. I mean, I grew up playing the violin for example. And boy, did I fail a lot because if you're not just right, what was that

[00:17:18] John Kao: [00:17:18] takes a while to sound good when you're learning how to play the violin?

[00:17:21] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:17:21] Absolutely. It takes a long while. Yeah. Yeah. And yet there, so just a little bit of a background on me, so, so that you can understand the question about to ask better.

[00:17:32]I went to high school with the likes of Andrew LOPA and Jeffrey seller, and you're, you've, you've done work in, in, on Broadway. So you I'm sure you know who they are. And you could tell that they were different. Even in high school, even when we were doing musical theater together, Jeffrey was always going to be a producer of some sort that was his great passion.

[00:17:51] And then, you know, because of his efforts, we have you know, and of course Lin Manuel Miranda, but we have the likes of Hamilton. We have the likes of rent. [00:18:00] Andrew was always different. Also, there was something about both of them that their talent, you could feel it was innate. And yet they, they both went on and just practiced and practiced and practiced.

[00:18:11] And so I wonder for those people who are not perhaps innately talented, what are your thoughts about building those skills? What are your thoughts about saying, okay, this is a muscle that I can exercise and I can improve. As far as being creative, as far as being an innovator. Can you do it just like Malcolm Gladwell says with 10,000 hours or are you sort of out of luck if you don't have that innate talent to begin with?

[00:18:39] John Kao: [00:18:39] Well, I think I, my belief is that we all have the innate talent to develop new ideas that could be meaningful. But as you said, and I was going to use the word muscle, there, there is a need to practice. And I think that innovation in companies especially is, is this kind of mental gymnastic that [00:19:00] says, well, you know, you read this book or hear this speech or learn this set of rules.

[00:19:05] And then you'll, you'll be more innovative when I think. That's that's like, you know, that's like learning how to play jazz by having somebody show you PowerPoint slides of using you on how to play the diminished scale with the proper fingering. But until you actually sit down at the piano and practice, you're nowhere and practice is really the key to gaining proficiency and gaining skillfulness, so to speak.

[00:19:33] So, so the question that I often ask when I'm working with people, whether they're in government or in business is what is your practice model for innovation? What are the things that you. Feel are most important that contribute to being an innovative organization that you practice on a routine basis.

[00:19:52] So as to, you know, hone that proficiency and usually the answer is you know, we don't really, it's a hard [00:20:00] question to answer. We don't have to really have an answer to that. So training is important. The ability to establish objective processes that can be repeated. And you know, it's like if you facilitate a design thinking session, once you'll be okay at it, if you do it 50 times, you'll feel really, really capable.

[00:20:19] Is the organization able to support that level of practice because, and, and does it have an answer as to why practicing that particular skill is important and how it relates to an overall innovation story for the organization? So it's, you know, once you pull on the thread of innovation, you know, you find that it links to quite a few other considerations, which makes it a complicated affair to manage.

[00:20:48] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:20:48] And yet companies who want to, and people who want to and governments that want to become more innovative. And certainly we're seeing [00:21:00] this with the new administration coming in and all of these different things. As far as the climate different initiatives, how, how do we, as, as innovative thinkers, as innovative people or organizations, what's the messaging behind that?

[00:21:17] How do we get other people on board or other organizations or other governments or other nations on board with the innovations for something like climate, for example, we're one country, won't one country doing something won't necessarily make. The entire planet healthy again, but a lot of countries working together will definitely make an impact.

[00:21:39] What would your thoughts be on that? How do we get people and organizations and governments bought in to this new way of thinking?

[00:21:47] John Kao: [00:21:47] Well, the first point is that issues like climate, the wicked problems that face the world are not American problems or Chinese problems or Indian problems, they're human or global problems.

[00:21:58] And so they have to be looked at as a [00:22:00] global systems kind of a challenge. Cause you know, America could become net zero carbon, but if the rest of the world isn't, you know, we have to breathe there that belongs to everybody. So I think a lot of the challenge for making the shift to an innovation.

[00:22:19]Oriented posture, whether it's in a company that's going through a transformation effort or whether it's galvanizing the world around an agenda like climate is, is creating a sense of urgency. Change doesn't happen in less. There is a reason to change. You know, people are busy enough with their day to day.

[00:22:37] And the idea that you get out of bed earlier in the morning to address a challenge, won't really resonate and less. There's a sense that there are real consequences and th th the problem with something like climate change and the environment as. An example is that, you know, people may intellectually understand that it's a problem, but it doesn't show up in your day to day life.

[00:22:58] You know, it's not like I, it gets darker [00:23:00] or you know, you get a bill for your electricity. That's twice as big. And, you know, there's a disconnect in terms of what you, as an individual would do to contribute to the environment. So, you know, you could recycle and, you know, you could try to be conservative about using your water and things like that, but there's no connection between that personal narrative and the collective narrative.

[00:23:23] So instilling a sense of urgency, number one, and then creating a connection between individual action and the collective wellbeing. So, you know, There are attempts. And I think there's going to be a lot more of this coming down the line that almost creates personal dashboards where your activities around consumption and so forth and so on.

[00:23:44]You know, your, your carbon footprint, et cetera, are reflected in recommendations about shifting your behavior. The, the, the, at the national or supernational level, the question is creating buy-in, you know, like if there were some massive disruption [00:24:00] in the global ecosystem that nobody could ignore, then action would be taken just like, you know, the Penn global pandemic has been for all of its unfortunate consequences are real accelerant of national governments taking a global point of view.

[00:24:16] And I'm sure there's going to be a lot of call in the aftermath or even currently for new mechanisms for. Mitigating, if not preventing the next pandemic and figuring out mechanisms of international cooperation that go beyond the really unseemly kind of, you know people elbowing each other out of the way and finding that they weren't prepared.

[00:24:37] And you know, all of the kinds of shifting things that happened around vaccine allocation globally and so on. So I think it's about it's about leadership and it's about the narrative and it's about creating a sense of of urgency. And once people understand what is needed, then they can fall in.

[00:24:55] I mean, if there's no alignment around what the problem is and how to address it, then of course nothing's [00:25:00] going to happen.

[00:25:01] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:25:01] Oh, you're singing my song. Yeah, absolutely. And it's interesting. And. It's always been fascinating to me as I worked in earth system science at NASA for many years. And this notion of the difference between weather and climate was very it was profound for people because weather is whether or not it's going to rain tomorrow and climate is years and decades.

[00:25:23] And so w the, the issue that we ran into was that people had there's a little bit of a problem. Societaly globally thinking. Long-term that you have to think that, oh, 50 years from now, 40 years from now, the climate will change 20 years from now. The climate will change. And that is important to me now.

[00:25:41] So getting people to address it with that sense of urgency, I agree with you. It's really important that the, the thing that I think a lot of people, certainly a lot of my colleagues at NASA struggle with is how, how to, how to get that sense of urgency in front of people. If, if some people are still, [00:26:00] you know, trumpeting that it doesn't exist, that there is no such thing as human, human caused or human accelerated climate change.

[00:26:07] So do you have thoughts on that? What are your thoughts on. Changing the thinking of people who either deny something like this or, or, or, or refuse to think that it could be important. Now when the consequences might not be felt for decades.

[00:26:27] John Kao: [00:26:27] Well, so this is storytelling. I mean, one of the reasons why I delved into the cultures of Hollywood and Broadway is because I was fascinated by people who made a living, telling stories and selling them to hundreds of millions of people.

[00:26:40] So it's one thing, if you publish a white paper or give a speech, it's another thing. If you create a a movie so one of the reasons why an inconvenient truth for its time was such an influential. A piece of media was because it told the story in visual terms and it made [00:27:00] the issues of climate really quite difficult to ignore.

[00:27:03] I mean, you have to be in denial to watch the movie and not come out of it, feeling like there was a real a real problem and often, you know, a sense of urgency isn't felt it has to be created. I did some work for a guy named Jaan Timur when he had just taken over Phillips the big Dutch technology conglomerate.

[00:27:22] And he in his first management meeting put one item on the agenda for discussion, which was a handout and the handout was a newspaper front page. And the headline story in the upper right-hand corner was Phillips goes bankrupt. And it was a well written story with a lot of analysis set in the future about how this great company, you know, sort of a general electric level company had gone bankrupt.

[00:27:49] And that was the only thing that he discussed with his senior people that day. And so in order to take the long view we have to take the idea of [00:28:00] wellbeing, planetary wellbeing down from the level of abstraction, to the level of personal advocacy. You know, we have to be thinking about how it relates to the world that our children are going to be in.

[00:28:10]It has to do with our sense of, you know, generative responsibility, as you know, the, the generation that right now is in the driver's seat to assure the, you know, the future viability of the planet, which right now is in some doubt, I mean, it's not horrible yet, but it's bad and getting worse by the day.

[00:28:27] So this, this is where, what I call moral intelligence or the ability to craft bridges between innovation and purpose become really, really important. And to create that sense of moral activation. And again, not in the religious sense, but in the values based sense of virtue to to, to frame the right kinds of of activity.

[00:28:50] And, you know, a sense of urgency comes from understanding the problem, you know, and I have this framework called the second, this intelligence is that I've been sharing with people, which is a refresh view of how innovation [00:29:00] needs and leadership. Need to work. And one of the key intelligences is context intelligence, or the ability to deeply understand the truth of what's going on in your environment and not to be constrained by denial or by your biases or by your inability to do good research or your ability to go outside of your institution or your frame of reference.

[00:29:22] And it's only when you have an accurate point of view, uncontaminated by prejudice or bias that you can then say, oh, we really are in serious trouble. And now we have to really think about the scale at which we operate as innovators, both innovators as individual humans, but also innovators as the institutions of society.

[00:29:44] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:29:44] I love that you've mentioned the six intelligences and I love the notion of sort of objective observation instead of, instead of letting your biases. Color what, what you think or what you do. You'll [00:30:00] try to be objective as much as possible. I wonder if you wouldn't mind talking. Cause I, I was, that was actually literally the next question I was going to ask was about the six intelligences.

[00:30:10] What prompted you to develop them? And if you don't mind sharing, what are they

[00:30:16] John Kao: [00:30:16] sure. So, you know, I've been exposed to lots of different leadership frameworks over the years, and I felt during the pandemic that at least for me, it would be important to take a fresh look at what you really needed to be good at in a time of of this continuity and, you know, turbulence that we've experienced.

[00:30:33]And that a lot of the old playbooks around leadership weren't really that valuable in this, in this situation. So I took a leave from the. Notion of multiple intelligences, which is actually an education concept developed by Howard Gardner. Who's a former colleague at he's at the school of education at Harvard.

[00:30:52] And you know, he said, well, there's the kind of analytical intelligence that you have when you take sat [00:31:00] tests or math tests, but really there are other intelligences, like kinesthetic intelligence, if you're a great dancer or a auditory intelligence, if you're a great musician or spatial intelligence, if you're a great architect and that we don't test for these are really.

[00:31:15]Pay attention to them or educate for them in the same way we do for that more narrow kind of rational analytical intelligence. And I thought, oh, well, I have always believed that. So let me think about whether I can come up with a framework of archetypes of intelligence that are relevant for today.

[00:31:33] So the, so there are six and the first is context intelligence and, you know, it's, it's, it's what so bill Bradley was a very famous basketball player in his day. And uh, you know, he was described as always having a sense of where he was, you know, a situational awareness and you know, people like fighter pilots know that they have to be able to not only have 360 degree perspective, but be able to translate that [00:32:00] immediately into A a, a decision and an action taking right.

[00:32:04] In order to prevail in fighter pilot combat and things of this kind. So, so there's a whole bunch of knowledge and recommendations around how to create context intelligence, both for individuals and for organizations, moral intelligence, which we've already spoken about is the second, which is the kind of compass of values that basically shape the, the purposeful intention of an organization or of an individual for that matter.

[00:32:29] And, you know, what are the values that undergird your your activities? Then you have human intelligence, which is basically cultivating the sensitivity to others that enables collaboration that enables the, the ability to read the language of people. So that. Culture building organizational transformation, narrative development, resonate with humans because so often management is this human free exercise of applying analytical power to, you know, your marketing strategy or your finance [00:33:00] strategy.

[00:33:00] But people have a vote and increasingly in this kind of, and post pandemic distributed, you know gig economy world sensitivity and to, especially to talent, you know, and to creative process is really important. And then generative intelligence is basically how you generate ideas and realize value from them which is kind of a repackaging of innovation but and applies to individuals organizations, and even to societies as a whole, as a whole, then we have technological intelligence because.

[00:33:32]I argued that many people in positions of leadership don't have a finger feeling for how the development of technology is accelerating and how technologies are beginning to. Blend and, you know, fit together in different ways. You know, the whole merging of the biological and the digital is both confusing and filled with opportunities.

[00:33:55] And also how technology relates to your organization [00:34:00] and to the team that every organization is going to be influenced by artificial intelligence and digital technology, digital transformation and transformation for innovation are increasingly converging as topics of concern. And then finally transformation intelligence, again, borrows from some of what we've already discussed, which is, you know, what's your theory of change and how do you affect that transformation?

[00:34:26] So whether it's transformation at an individual level or transformation at an enterprise level, you know, what are the levers for accomplishing that? What are the metrics? How do you know that you've been successful? What's the role of narrative, a culture shift, leadership behavior, et cetera. So the feedback that I've gotten and I've turned this into various learning regimes, there's an online course.

[00:34:49] That's going up shortly that I hope will be available to lots and lots of people. The feedback I've gotten is wow. You know, here we are in this era of discontinuity, all of [00:35:00] these matter, these six intelligences they resonate, how do we get more? How do we learn about these? And, you know, I feel like you need all of them at least to a certain extent, cause it's like a wheel, you know, the wheel is missing a segment and it's flat on that segment, the wheels, not going to turn very effectively.

[00:35:19]And it's also a great way of identifying gaps. Both in yourself and also in your organization, because if you have an organization that's not proficient at some of these things it's just, I would argue not going to be as successful in the current environment,

[00:35:36] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:35:36] what a wonderful breakdown. And, and I'm so glad that you have a class that you'll be offering. I hope that you'll let me put that in the show notes so that, so that people can, can find it and perhaps take it. I'm interested in. You mentioned something while you were talking about them, about how often these various intelligences relate to each [00:36:00] other, like you said, well, we talked about that when we talked, you know, this is a callback to innovation, this is a callback to this.

[00:36:06] It seems to me that they it's almost like firing synapses in the brain, that they are going to need to use the, all the different intelligences in order to, to, as you said, prevail. And that brings me right back around to music. I feel like when you're playing a musical instrument, in many ways, you need to access all of those intelligences as well in order to be able to Excel at your chosen instrument.

[00:36:32] If it's your voice, your piano, your violin, whatever, what are your thoughts about that relationship? I know that you've used music in the past and probably still do to, to help others innovate and to help yourself innovate. How do you relate music to these intelligences and to innovation as a whole.

[00:36:50] John Kao: [00:36:50] Well, it's really a great question.

[00:36:52] And I, I think this is probably an opportunity for me to step out and reflect for a moment on exactly that [00:37:00] question. Cause I, I wouldn't say that I've thought about it in exactly that way before, so well, let's see. I mean, I'll relate this, especially to to jazz, right? So in jazz the performer needs to have a multidimensional awareness of what's going on and it's not thinking it's really it's sensory awareness, it's emotional Intel emotional awareness.

[00:37:23] It's it's awareness of the traditions it's awareness of the sweet spot between what's familiar and what is new it's awareness of one's inner emotional state awareness of the performance environment. So there's a number of dimensions of context, intelligence that are required. Then the second moral intelligence well, you know, for, for me and for, I think anyone who.

[00:37:47] You know, it, it takes it seriously. Sitting down at the piano is it's a commitment to purpose and a commitment to authenticity. And, you know, we fall short constantly, or I feel like I fall short constantly, [00:38:00] but the, what matters is picking yourself up and, you know, pursuing the path of virtue to try to create the most beauty and the most authentic way possible.

[00:38:09] So it's purposeful and it's about creating that experience for other other people and then human intelligence. I mean, I, I have found that the most interesting kind of challenges for me have been on the self knowledge and mastery of self side, because you know how willing you are to take risks and how willing you are to be on stage and your anxiety to the extent you have it about performance you know, Kenny Werner, who's a music, music, educator, and jazz performer has this great.

[00:38:40] A book called effortless mastery, which is all about really overcoming the inner voice of doubt and judgment, which is so important in improvisation. And you know, jazz is really a way of learning about yourself. I mean, not that it's about Naval gazing or narcissism, but that to be a good jazz player, you have to be in tune with yourself as well as the music.

[00:39:00] [00:38:59] And then, you know, jazz is inherently about innovation because it's about creating new, new notes that have to sound good and create value. D the technological intelligence, I would say relates in a very literal way to, you know, I, I'm fortunate to have a really good piano and every day I look at it and Marvel at how.

[00:39:20] Humans were able to create something so beautiful and also so functional. So mastering the instrument, but now, you know, we have all of this new technology for music. We have technologies that allow people to jam together at a distance over the internet. We have digital keyboards that include lots of learning, learning software and learning assets.

[00:39:42] We have digital keyboards that can do everything, but stand on their head. There was a lot to know there. And then finally, transformational intelligence. So, you know, this relates partly to the issue of practice. You know, it's partly a division of, you know, what kind of musician are you [00:40:00] heading in the direction of who do you want to be?

[00:40:01]But then also what's the practice model or the steps in the journey that will take you there. What's your theory of change? And, you know, I know for me that you know, my studies of jazz have occurred at two. Times in my life. One of which was when I was a teenager followed by a long hiatus and now I've picked it up again at, with really serious intent.

[00:40:22] And so the issues of how my playing is evolving are very much on my mind. So transformation intelligence is important there as well. So there it works, right?

[00:40:33] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:40:33] I, yeah, I had a feeling it would, because I've thought about this a lot on when, you know, they're the relationships, there are so striking and this notion of transformation, it's not specifically in strictly to the intelligences, but I feel like especially jazz, cause I'm a jazz musician as well.

[00:40:50] Jazz singer. You, you have an opportunity to when you're special, when you're playing with other people too, to be in the pocket to really [00:41:00] make something greater than the sum of its parts. When you are all listening to one another and collaborating, and then your audience gets enriched by that collaboration by that jazz collaboration, or even if it's not jazz for me, traditional music in many ways is similar because there's a lot of improv and a lot of feeling out what the other musicians are doing so that you can again, make something greater than the sum of its parts.

[00:41:25] So what role do you think the relationship with an audience has in the six intelligences and also within jazz?

[00:41:37] John Kao: [00:41:37] Can you rephrase the question again? Yeah.

[00:41:40] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:41:40] I talked so long that you're going, I don't know what's going on anymore. Well, I, the thing that, I'm the thing that I'm asking really is. When you, when you are innovating you're, as you said, it's with a purpose.

[00:41:54] So it's never, well, it's almost been never just for yourself. It's for, for perhaps a greater good or for [00:42:00] bigger group. And the same can be said for when you're playing music, unless you're sitting at home in your bedroom and playing your piano, your guitar, and you never play out there. There is this notion of sharing, sharing the innovation, jazz musicians, who, who will get up in the smallest room and, and play that night, for example.

[00:42:19] So, so how do we relate that? How do we, how do we do that? And what is the relationship there between the innovator, whether it's a musician or somebody in technology or a leader and the audience whose lives and minds and thoughts and hearts that they are, are trying to affect?

[00:42:40] John Kao: [00:42:40] Well, What I'm taking from your question is the need to create a bridge between the person who's, let's say emitting the the new innovative experience or idea or musical expression or whatever.

[00:42:55]And, and the audience. And, you know, it's like a sweet spot in, in [00:43:00] jazz. You know, if, if you are if you're. If you're what you're presenting is to cut and dried or elemental, it's not going to land, but if it's to expeditionary or adventurous, it won't land either. And that sweet spot, which you gauge by audience feedback, nonverbal cues the, the vibe in the room and so forth and so on is a moving target.

[00:43:24] And sometimes it evolves in the course of a single interaction with an audience. I mean, being a public speaker as I am from time to time, you know, that reading the audience continuously is one of the key skills of delivering a great presentation over, over, you know, whatever, a 30 to 60 minute timeframe.

[00:43:42] So having also then. The, the inner integrity of what's being offered, not just as a, you know an exercise in, in corporate entertainment. I mean, so, so much of what is going on out there in terms of keynote speaking is about, you know, can you make the audience laugh and [00:44:00] feel as titillated as possible?

[00:44:02] And like they got a free admission to Ted as opposed to really thinking about the inner authenticity of the of what's being communicated and how it's going to land and how it's going to contribute in their own journey of transformation. So, you know, I think these, these elements that we've been talking about provide a really handy framework to be able to evaluate.

[00:44:24]Your work as an innovator, what you're putting out there, how it lands with an audience, et cetera.

[00:44:31] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:44:31] And, and yet it's interesting what you just said. It's a, it's a constant, almost on a micro level. It's a constant reinvention of the relationship with your audience. And on a macro level, you can iterate based on the feedback you got and, and how things went each time that you're, you're up in front of an audience.

[00:44:50] And, and that brings me to something that I'm, that I would love it. If you would talk about just a little bit, you, you talked some about [00:45:00] intersections and where, where those connections are made, and I know that you, you have a live stream show called intersections, and I would love it. If you would talk a little bit about the show and what your process is, and also what your goal is for keeping this this live stream show going.

[00:45:16] Sure.

[00:45:17] John Kao: [00:45:17] Well, intersections is a livestream show that happens every Thursday, 10 30 Pacific. I do it with a partner named Brian Solis. Who's among other things, the global evangelist for innovation at Salesforce. So we have between us a pretty enormous network of people who are on the edges of their fields.

[00:45:37] And intersections is basically where culture technology and innovation come together with conversations every week with a couple of pioneers. In their field. So it could be a one of the leaders of artificial intelligence research in China, it could be we just had the, the general manager of the San Jose sharks talking about the reinvention of the sports [00:46:00] venue and sports franchise experience and the role of digital in all of that.

[00:46:04]We've had musicians talking about advanced technologies that are going to change the way music learning occurs. We've had military strategists talk about cyber security and the solar winds hack we've had big deal, domain experts in innovation, like read them and the graph. So it, it varies, it partly, it relates to our own interests.

[00:46:26]And, but it, it, it exhibits a principle, which is that combustion in the sense of innovation combustion tends to happen when you bring diverse perspectives together and force them to coexist in a space in this case, say conversational space because it's we we've, we've had 34 shows to date, and each one has been more exciting and more exhilarating than, than the last.

[00:46:50]There's also a website called intersections, where we have the full interviews archive, because they're not. Really time-bound, they're, they're [00:47:00] quite evergreen and we're going to be doing a lot of additional work on the content to make it more available to others. So, you know, it's just another way for me to stay current and have fun talking with interesting people like you.

[00:47:14] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:47:14] I'm so grateful. You said that. Thank you so much. And I'm, I, I have listened to just a couple of the episodes, but I want to make sure that I go and listen to more. I I'm I'm so like, honestly, John, I could keep you here for the next six hours and chat with you, but I know you have a life to get to. So I, I wanted to talk just a little bit if it's okay with you about a couple more things that you and I discussed shortly before we started recording this episode, one of them was John, and the other one is, and this one is so close to my heart.

[00:47:46] About your thoughts on the need, the urgent need to reinvent music education. I was very lucky. I had incredible music education in the public schools, but I know that [00:48:00] the, the emphasis on it has really died down. And I think it's, it's a floundering in many ways. I teach nothing against teachers. Teachers do as much as they can, but I think we're, we're in an age now where we really do need to revitalize it.

[00:48:16] So I would love it. If you wouldn't mind chatting about both John for a second, and also this notion that you have about re-inventing music education. I would really love it because both of those fascinate me. Sure.

[00:48:29] John Kao: [00:48:29] Happy to do that. So, you know, one of the things that's been going on, especially during the pandemic is not only the need, but the ability of people with some, a bit of expertise to be able to reinvent their connection to their audience using social media.

[00:48:45] Using video and using all of the new tools that are coming on stream the applications that enabled people to establish a fairly sophisticated interface with their audience. So I'm not blind to that either, even though I grew up in kind of like the [00:49:00] analog world where, you know, you would teach at a good business school and people would call you up and that would be it, right?

[00:49:06] I mean, now it's far more complex and also the opportunity to have an impact more broadly is enabled by the technology. So John is my recent attempt to put my, some of my learning experiences online. To enable people to subscribe to my ongoing generation of content to be able to access me one-on-one under certain circumstances for consultations.

[00:49:32]And we'll see how it goes. It's just in the process of being launched. I'm really excited about it. I mean, during the pandemic, I think even though it's had its own shortcomings and limitations put, has put limitations, it's also been a great enabler of a different form of social interaction. And so I'm, I'm eager to see how that plays out with John Cale live there's music.

[00:49:55] Education is concerned. I have a real, you know, I tend to organize my work work based [00:50:00] on projects or causes, right. And so I've adopted music education as a cause, because I think it's both extremely important from a societal point of view and also really in need of some radical. Re-invention first of all, just taking a half step back music is to my mind, one of the most important things that humans have.

[00:50:22] And it's one of the most important things that societies have. And, you know, some societies like you know, Finland for instance, has great music education and the highest per capita percentage of trained musicians of any country in the world. You know, China is investing in music education because they believe it contributes to brain development, which is necessary to be competitive in the global economy.

[00:50:45]We in America have been divesting ourselves of music education, cause it's not a high priority relative to other things. And I think that's wrong for a number of reasons. I mean, music humanizes us and develops our brains and [00:51:00] gives us cognitive skills and emotional skills, relational skills that are really, really important.

[00:51:06] But. And, and, you know, we have this social institution of music, educators public school, music teachers music schools, and what's happening. What I see, I recently wrote an article for the national association of teachers of music or music educators called music education in the age of innovation because I became, I gave some talks to music, educator organizations, and did some workshops.

[00:51:32] I I'm, you know, Yamaha made me their first artists and innovation and put me in front of deans of music conservatories and public school music teachers in different ways. And I became aware of the fact that, you know, not to generalize, but that there was a whole world of music. Learning that was growing up around the traditional music institutions that had nothing to do with them.

[00:51:56] You know? So today, if you go to YouTube, YouTube is the new [00:52:00] music conservatory, and there are thousands of citizen teachers out there who are happy to show you how to do, you know, urban, dirty chords, or you know, how to do patterns on you know, modes of the melodic, minor, or what whatnot, or help you learn how to use your, you know, Nord, electric, piano, and that.

[00:52:19] Very often the people who know the most about things that young people are most interested in are not in the academy. You know, they're in this external space, so that music education has turned inside out. And also that there's now technology that enables people to learn without having to have a music teacher in the conventional sense.

[00:52:38] So I believe that, you know, it's the sixth intelligence is music. Education has to know more about what's going on. They have to reaffirm what's important about it. They have to you know, get with the whole technological intelligence piece because there's an ocean of technology out there that most music teachers are, you know, to be Frank, not aware of.

[00:52:59] And [00:53:00] then they have to have a model of how they want to evolve. So they stay relevant and serve these purposes. So it's a, it's a big topic.

[00:53:09] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:53:09] Again, you're singing my song. Yeah, it really is. And it's interesting. I'm one of those people on YouTube. I have videos up on how to learn to sing for example. And so lots of us, I think musicians once you're, once you've, I can't say mastered, I will, I will forever be learning.

[00:53:26] I will never be a master, I don't think. And that's okay. I'm I'm, I'm okay. As a, as a lifetime learner of music. Hm. But yet when we are in the process yes. Of learning, you know, the NIH has done incredible studies on the fact that you use so many parts of your brain when you're learning, when you're playing a musical instrument, but when choir sing together, their heartbeats synchronize.

[00:53:50] I mean, it's, it's just incredible. And yet this, this is something that, like you said, the USA, for example, is divesting itself of music education. When I [00:54:00] think it's one of the most, I agree with you, it's one of the most crucial things. So do we. What do you think is the best way to revitalize it then? Is it to go through the music educators or is it to, like you said, create a sense of urgency in the intended audience, which might not be the music educators themselves, but might instead be the school districts and the governments and the conservatories?

[00:54:26] John Kao: [00:54:26] Well, I think it's both in more, I think that, you know, the the move to music learning outside of the music school system is going to continue. And there are going to be new platforms for linking people who know something to people who want to learn something in music, but, you know, you have these, this massive number of music educators out there and.

[00:54:49] I think they want to do the right thing. And I think that what they need basically is a bit more insight into what's going on and what their situation is and what they can do. And, you know, [00:55:00] it's kind of like the innovator's dilemma. If they, they they're locked into an existing model and they are improving that model, but they're not thinking outside that model as much as I think is necessary.

[00:55:11] So I think to put more music into our world is a multi-pronged effort. And I, I chose music educators because, you know, my experience is they're very receptive to this message and making them more aware of the reality of their situation will produce a lot of benefits. I mean, I, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm all over, what's going on in the world of the app developers and YouTube educators but that, that has a momentum of its own.

[00:55:38]Whereas music, education, I think needs a lot of re-imagining.

[00:55:46] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:55:46] Yeah, yeah. Again, I you're saying things that I have to sort of take a second and, and let it soak in and really and figure out what my, what my thoughts are on it, because, because it's so rich with with [00:56:00] value and, and I really appreciate you being so incredibly thoughtful in, in, in this conversation, I have just a couple more questions.

[00:56:09] First is what are you most curious about right now?

[00:56:17] John Kao: [00:56:17] Well I always have a long list, curiosity, the, you know, kind of theme of my whole life I, you know, I'm, I'm thinking a lot about cryptocurrencies and the whole non fungible token phenomenon. So I'm trying to get my mind more firmly around that because for all kinds of reasons I'm spending a lot of time thinking about the offshore wind industry and the physics of energy generation from from especially all of the huge macro projects that are going on in the ocean.

[00:56:49] And there are a lot of, a lot of reasons for that. And, you know, I'm, I'm curious to know if I'm ever going to master the The the modes of melodic minor to the point where they show up.

[00:57:00] [00:57:00] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:57:00] Yeah. I don't know. I, I just, I just go with it because I there's, no, again, you can, you can know the theory, but on some level for me anyway, it's, I've I have to feel it and then maybe it'll happen.

[00:57:15] And maybe it won't. And so a lot of it for me, depends on who I'm working with and who I'm singing and playing with because we play off each other. So good luck with that. I really, I look forward to hearing your pieces. Will you ever record them, do you think, will you ever share them

[00:57:30] John Kao: [00:57:30] out? Well, I, you know, I, I think I got to spend a lot more time in the woodshed, but I I've had the entertainment fantasy of doing some some live streaming at some point.

[00:57:39] Fabulous. And I'm always looking for a musical collaborators. So maybe we'll find a couple of pieces and we'll use a friend of mine, just invented some software that will enable. People in Brooklyn and people in San Francisco to play in real time or almost real time. Which has never been possible before.

[00:57:55] So maybe we'll be able to jam on some tunes.

[00:57:59] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:57:59] I would love [00:58:00] that. That, that would be my honor. That would be terrific. Yeah. I'll bring my, my fiddle and I'll bring my guitar and my voice and we'll see what we can do. And you know, it is interesting. I lead a holiday Carolyn group and of course I used to be in DC and I moved to New York city and they are still in the DC area.

[00:58:17] So when we, when we have to sing and there were a few live performances this year, there was no way for me to be part of that because I could not, there was no, there was no software. There was no anything that would allow us to sound appropriate if you will, musically appropriate when we were in different, different places.

[00:58:37] It just, so I'm really grateful to your friend for having invented that. That's fabulous. Thank you. Thank your friend for me. And yes, let's jam.

[00:58:46] John Kao: [00:58:46] Okay. Great.

[00:58:47]Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:58:47] And here's the last question, John, and again, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you taking the time. It's a, it's a silly question, but I find that it yields some profound answers.

[00:58:57] And the question is this. If you had an [00:59:00] airplane that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say?

[00:59:05]John Kao: [00:59:05] I would say two words remain optimistic.

[00:59:12] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:59:12] I love that. I love that, especially right now. Thank you so much for sharing that. That's great. Is there anything else that you would like to say before we close out this fabulous conversation?

[00:59:24] John Kao: [00:59:24] No, I think I would just like to thank you for being such a great catalyst and conversational partner and I've enjoyed it.

[00:59:31] It's, you know, it's good to have the opportunity to step back a little bit and review one's thoughts about. Something that you know is almost at the level of an obsession, right? So there's a Parson, there's a tree's level of looking at it. And this got me back to the forest a bit.

[00:59:47] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:59:47] Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for saying that.

[00:59:49] I appreciate it. I had a fabulous time as well, and this has been the amazing John Kao on the innovative mindset podcast. I am your host Izolda [01:00:00] Trakhtenberg. If you've enjoyed the episode. Please. Let me know. I'd love to hear it. Go find John when it airs, go listen to intersections. Obviously, this man is incredible.

[01:00:11] Knows what he's talking about and has ideas. We all need to be paying attention to until next time, this is his old, the Trakhtenberg reminding you to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot.

[01:00:29] so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people know. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on mindset.

[01:00:46] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by Izolda Trakhtenberg and his copyright 2021 as always, please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. [01:01:00] Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mindset.



NEW: Read the full transcript of the episode.

Vikas Garg, Founder and CEO of Social Impact App abillion on How They Are Changing The World

Vikas Garg, Founder and CEO of Social Impact App abillion on How They Are Changing The World

June 21, 2021

Vikas Garg, abillion Founder and CEO on Changing the World One Dish At A Time

vikas_garg9oda8.jpegVikas Garg is the Founder & CEO of abillion, a global community on a mission to help a billion people create world-changing impact. Vikas is a dedicated supporter of education and conservation initiatives around the world. He's received Credit Suisse’s Global Citizenship Award, is a Young Leader of the Milken Institute, and a Charter Member of The IndUS Entrepreneurs. 

A bold idea to change the world brought the abillion team together in the summer of 2017. They wanted to change the world. They started out of Vikas’ apartment in Singapore, complete with a furry friend and a fridge full of kale. We've grown but we still maintain our family values as a small, hardworking team.

Connect with Vikas

The Episode's Full Transcript

Vikas Garg-full 6-21-21

[00:00:00] Vikas Garg: [00:00:00] A big part of what we are is an online experience, but that online experience of course extends into the offline world and often extends into something that we all love, which is the funny thing is this is something that we do three, four times a day, and it plays such a pivotal role in. The global economy and in so many, so many aspects of our lives, but also from a sustainability perspective.

[00:00:29] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:00:29] Hi, and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host Izolda Trakhtenberg on the show. You get my conversations with peak performing thought leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We explore how you can innovate through creativity, compassion, and collaboration. I believe that innovation combined with compassion and creative thinking can save the world and I aim to bring you ways.

[00:00:51] You can do it too. If you're enjoying the show, I'd be super grateful. If you could support it by buying me a cup of coffee, you can buy me a cup [00:01:00] slash IzoldaT. And now let's get on with the show.

[00:01:13] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg. I'm super happy that you're here and listening to this incredible episode. I'm also incredibly happy to introduce you to this week's guest. Vikas Garg is the founder and CEO of a billion, a global community on a mission to help a billion people create world changing impact.

[00:01:34] You know, that's right. What I'm going to love talking about Vikas is a dedicated supporter of education and conservation initiatives around the world. He's received credit Suisse's global citizenship award is a young leader of the Milken Institute and a charter member of the Indus entrepreneurs.

[00:01:53] He's amazing. And he had a bold idea to change the world, and that is exactly what he and his team [00:02:00] are working on. I'm so thrilled to welcome the cost guard. Thank you so much for being here. Hi, how are you? I am fabulous. Thank you so much for asking. I, I wanted, I want, first of all, I want to say that you, I am in New York city and you are in Singapore, so it is in the evening for me.

[00:02:18] And it is the very next day in the morning for you. And that's that, that was a little trippy for me. So I was like, oh yeah, it's tomorrow for you. So, and for you it's today and I'm, I'm here, back here and yesterday. So I yesterday that's right. I am, I am so honored and excited to have you on the show actually, because anybody who knows me for any length of time will hear me talk about being vegan and being plant what I call plant powered.

[00:02:46] And I, I want to sort of lift up this notion that you have of changing the world and that a billion is about something that's really close to my heart. [00:03:00] It's about getting 1 billion people. To commit to being plant-based by the year 2030. And I was wondering what started this for you? What made you decide that this was going to be your mission?

[00:03:15] Vikas Garg: [00:03:15] Oh, great question. And, and thanks. Firstly, thank you for having me on the show. Thank you for having me on the show. My pleasure. And it's always, always nice to, to talk to a fellow new Yorker. I've been living out here in Singapore for the last six years, but grew up in New York city and just immense gratitude for, for having us on the show today.

[00:03:35]Yeah, so, you know, I found. So how has the new Yorker? I originally came to New York when I was four years old from India. And one of the things that my mom and dad did to really in a way to preserve our culture and our heritage there were many things that we did, you know, including just like we used to speak Hindi at home, but we also stayed sort of tried and true to our vegetarianism when I was a kid.

[00:03:58]And so I, from, [00:04:00] from the day that I was born I was raised vegetarian and growing up in New York in the eighties. You know, like being vegetarian meant that like pretty much my entire food pyramid often was like a slice of pizza. It was like the easiest thing to pretty much get everywhere. And like, you kind of, you know, you could sort of, as a kid, know what you were getting, get like a slice of cheese pizza or a bagel with cream cheese.

[00:04:26] And I grew up, so I grew up vegetarian. I grew up never eating meat. And so, and I grew up a big animal lover. Even a bug lover. And it was just something that I got from my mom and dad. It was a really big part of our culture. So, you know, fast forward in my twenties, I decided I wanted to go vegan and that was due to a number of different reasons.

[00:04:46]Both my mom and dad got sick, really, really, really sick. And I started to look at like, why are two very, very seemingly healthy people getting so sick? I getting things like heart disease and cancer. And a [00:05:00] lot of the time I started look at a lot of it just started to point to food. I also just other factors kind of involved in that and, and I.

[00:05:09] I basically, I went vegan. And what, for me, even as a vegetarian felt very hard at the time because it meant that it meant giving up a lot of the things that I had come to love. Right. It meant like giving up on things like cheese and, you know, especially when you're talking about certain kinds of cuisines foods, whether it's Italian food or Indian food, you know, there's, there's butter in everything.

[00:05:34] There's, there's you know, there's eggs and everything there, dairy and everything. There's cheese in nearly everything. Right. And, and it just felt like a huge compromise. And I was already sort of the weird, you know, the, I was already the guy that whenever I went out with all my friends, I've asked like two questions.

[00:05:52] To make something vegetarian. And now I was the guy that had to ask five questions to make something be good for sure. You know, and, and so it was, [00:06:00] it, it really very much, it really, in the beginning felt like a compromise and a sacrifice for me. Fast-forward or I'd say that this idea of me going vegan has probably been one of the defining influences, one of the defining factors in my life.

[00:06:19] And one of the things that's created, immense joy and immense positivity and immense mindfulness, and really given me so much confidence and control over my life. And it's something that has gone from being sacrificial and compromising to something that's just truly an inspired way of living that helps me feel incredibly connected to everything and incredibly connected to the earth and cry more connected to other people.

[00:06:46]You know, very, very, very sort of. I'd say clued into who I am and giving me a sense of purpose and values and that every single day, every single choice I make is, has that [00:07:00] connection as that little connection back to my values, which gives me a lot of confidence in life because I'm leading a life full of purpose and values.

[00:07:09] So that was, you know, w w just going back to your question is to sort of, how did I come about this is I finally had, you know, sort of the opportunity in my life. I finally felt like I had gotten to the stage where I was ready to start a company. And I had a career. I didn't have this, we're effectively, we're a technology company, but I, I didn't have a career in tech.

[00:07:32] I had a career in finance. And I, you know, I just felt like, okay, I I'm going to make this. I made this decision that I'm going to start my own thing. And I just looked around and I just was like, You know, I spent my entire career, my entire life, 15, 16 years working in an industry, but I ha I was gonna sort of do what I was going to do now for them.

[00:07:55] I had the opportunity to do something for the next 30 or 40 years. [00:08:00] And I had an opportunity to really choose what that thing was. Right. So it started to really feel like, wow, I'm still, even though I've been doing something my entire life, I still feel like I'm, I'm, I'm in the early stages of the rest of my life and what do I want to do with it?

[00:08:17] And so, you know, I, at the time, I just felt like it was really an opportunity to improve social media, to improve the whole landscape of e-commerce. To build something that was more inspiring and impactful. You know, and I th I really felt like social media was broken. That social media was this sort of failed experiment.

[00:08:38] It was this great connector of people, but then it, it, you know, these communities around the world had formed and some of them had become extremely toxic. And, you know, you can see what happened, you know, the 2016 election or even in the last election, right. And many, many other events that happen in society every single day that, you know, that, that social media is, is, has sort of [00:09:00] become responsible for it.

[00:09:01] And I just felt like, you know, look, there's, there's an opportunity to create something that actually improve people's lives and improve people's lives and actually stood for something. So that's been the grand experiment for us. I just felt like if we could create something and bring people together in a community, and then we could inspire them and make it easier for people to around the world to live in a more sustainable way.

[00:09:23]And remove sort of the barriers and, you know, part of those barriers are, you know, when you go out to eat, some of them are when you go shopping. Some of them are when you travel. Some of them are just sort of when you're, you know, when you're, when you're out and about your day-to-day lives and said, Hey, and some of them involve just having support in your community, right?

[00:09:43] Because you may not have that support in your community. So we really wanted to create this kind of community, an online community, a community that, you know, people around the world really could join and feel supported in this journey towards a more sustainable world, a more vegan world. And we felt that this idea [00:10:00] of going vegan, whether it's all the time, or even just consciously making an effort to be.

[00:10:07] More vegan some of the time was a huge step in the right direction for the world. And that was something that was worth fighting for it. And then that's sort of how it got started about three and a half years ago.

[00:10:20] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:10:20] Wow. I feel like you should just go and Mike drop and that's it. Yeah. Wow. I'm taking all of that in everything that you said, and there's, so there's so much, there's so much wealth that you've talked about and that isn't necessarily monetary wealth, that feeling of being connected, that feeling of having that confidence.

[00:10:44] I love that what you have chosen is to be purposeful with the work that you're doing, because you could have done another app on time management. You could have done another app on, you know, this is how you buy stocks or whatever, but, but you turned it on its [00:11:00] head and you went, no I'm going to do something that means something and use all my skills to do it.

[00:11:04] And so when you, when you talked about the sort of early days when you were growing up and how you had to, you know, I'll have a slice of cheese pizza, things have evolved, things have changed, and now we can get there. There are so many restaurants that are vegan only for example. So, so within that framework, within that framework of, of things evolving, what role do you see a billion playing as things move forward?

[00:11:31] Cause I know you've got this 20, 30 timeframe, but what role do you see a billion playing in addition to yourself in making that go even further than it otherwise might.

[00:11:42] Vikas Garg: [00:11:42] Yeah, sure. So we start, excuse me. So we start with the idea of consumer advocacy first, right? And how do you take data? How do you take consumer data and really use it to actually improve the world?

[00:11:55] So where obviously a big part of what we are is an online experience, but that [00:12:00] online exterior experience of course extends into the offline world and often extends into something that we all love, which is ticking. Right. And the funny thing is this is something that we do three, four times a day and it plays such a pivotal role in the global economy.

[00:12:17] And. In, in so many, so many aspects of our lives, but also from a sustainability perspective. So for us we started with this idea that, Hey, like people are gonna, you know, people, people get on our app. They, they network with each other. They kind of, you know, they follow each other. They use the app to find great vegan options that can be vegan dishes at any kind of restaurant anywhere in the world.

[00:12:39] And we kind of gamified the whole process. We don't focus just on vegan restaurants or vegetarian restaurants, but he's really said, Hey, like if we're going to actually, if the world is going to become a lot more sustainable through vegan food, what we really need to do is create a, create a business, create a company that helps the world helps all of the world's businesses [00:13:00] create.

[00:13:00] More vegan food and popularize that amongst people. So that's really, that's a big part of what we do is we do a lot of consumer advocacy. So when, for example, if you went to a restaurant today, you took a photo of your vegan dish, right. That review, then just go, then it goes into the app, but it doesn't stop there.

[00:13:20] Our team then goes and figures out. Who's the owner of that business manager of that business, et cetera. And then we get that review back to those business owners. We not only do that, but if we're talking about, let's say it's a Japanese restaurant in Midtown Manhattan, we're then going to send that restaurant.

[00:13:37] All of the best rated vegan, Japanese dishes information, a reviews, op options, information to show them. And for many, many different restaurants around New York city and around the world, we might send them the best rated vegan, Japanese dishes from Tokyo. And the whole reason we do that from a consumer advocacy perspective is we want to show them that there's [00:14:00] this global movement growing.

[00:14:01] We want to show them that there's an, there's an economic opportunity in having great vegan options. And if we can really have that conversation with that business, that, Hey, it makes sense to have three, four, five, six, 10, you know, to have 20, 30% of your, of your menu being plant-based. Then we actually really start to move the needle.

[00:14:22] When you start to think about sustainability, if we could get thousands of restaurants in a, in a, in a geography to actually start thinking this way, And shifting from, you know, let's say one vegan dish, one vegetarian district, you're even lucky to having 10%, 20% than 30% of their menus be plant-based, we'll make a really, really big impact for every body.

[00:14:46] And every thing that's kind of involved in the global food system, including the animals and land the environment and people, of course. So that's really in a way, that's, that's a big part of the role that we want to play, which is consumer advocacy [00:15:00] working on behalf of the consumer to give you a sense of it.

[00:15:02] Last year, we sent more than 5 million emails all around the world with this kind of information and that sort of competitive landscape, really trying to in a way, create a meritocracy for the whole plant-based industry, trying to say, Hey, Hey, steakhouse. Right. Like, there are people who will go to a steak house and eat right.

[00:15:24] If they have a great vegan option and, you know, ironically I, in my career, that's exactly what I used to have to do because I was a banker in New York and, you know, I'd have clients come from other parts of the United States. And I they'd want to go to, you know, some of, one of the famous steakhouses in New York, like Peter Luger and Brooklyn.

[00:15:44] And, you know, I'd be sitting there as the vegetarian and then the vegan, and I'd always have this, you know, I'd have this awkward moment where it was like, okay, I'm getting tomatoes and I'm getting  and I'm getting some broccoli, all things that I really love. Right. Like, cause like [00:16:00] I'm very much like I, more than anything I love, well, I love my pasta, but I like more than anything.

[00:16:06] I love my whole plant-based sort of, you know, foods and. I just would always be having these conversations with restaurant owners, be like, Hey look, like, I wouldn't mind coming back here and bringing my parents and bringing up friends. Right. But like, can you have one or two really great options for me?

[00:16:26] Right. And often that feedback, they would respond to it. Right. And, and, you know, overwhelmingly, we felt like, okay, if we could do this at some scale, then that would be really great. If we could leverage technology to do this instead of door to door activism, if we could leverage technology to do this on a much larger scale, we could really move the needle.

[00:16:47] And so today, if you look at just with restaurants and then there's a whole other side to our platform, which is which is, you know, purely from like a consumer review perspective, it's consumer products. And today we have [00:17:00] 160,000 consumer products across about 40,000 brands on our platform. I get to that later, but like the you know, when you look at just the restaurant side of it today, we have.

[00:17:10] About 50,000 restaurants on our platform globally, about 65% of them receive this kind of information from us. Sometimes, sometimes it's just impossible to find out any information about a business. It's a business is sitting in Vietnam or maybe in Thailand or in, you know, in, in, in, in, in. You know, in, in Argentina for example, right.

[00:17:33] It, it just sometimes it's is a bit difficult, but generally we're able to find that information more than half the time. And we've seen tremendous results when we first started here in Singapore three and a half years ago. And we day one, we started sort of as a global app, but we had zero content.

[00:17:49] We had zero users. We started with zero users, zero content, you know, and, and built it up from there. But when we got first got started in Singapore is probably because [00:18:00] we're here because the company is here and all of our team this year, you know, this is one of our most engaged markets globally. When we first got started here in Singapore, I think in our first year we found that there were like less than a thousand vegan options available on restaurant menus, right.

[00:18:17] Uh, Restaurants on our platform and that number, like we just did our second annual Singapore, top 50 vegan dish awards. Right. And it's funny because like 40 of those restaurants that are on that list for, you know, the 50, and it's not 50, it's not 50 restaurants, it's 50 dishes because we really think that that's what people, you know, people care about what they're eating, what's on their plate more than anything these days, but like of the 50 dishes, I think around 40, at least 40 of those restaurants are not vegan or vegetarian restaurants.

[00:18:50]But they're just, we we've, we just did that. And today, thanks to a lot of the work that we've done. A lot of the work that a lot of other organizations, [00:19:00] companies, et cetera, people have done, we've gone from in the last three, four years. We've gone from a thousand vegan dishes on menus to 16,000. Yes. And you know, so that's pretty awesome.

[00:19:11] Like, and it's a huge honor, of course, where, you know, You pick the top 50 from 16,000 it's it's, it's quite a big honor. Right? So it was seeing restaurants respond to that. And like, you know, people get our frame certificates and very meat, heavy restaurants who would have never thought that they were getting, you know, they were going to get an award from a vegan company, a vegan organization, and they're so delighted, you know, they frame it, they put it right up next to their wine spectator award and, and, you know, and, and what ends up happening is they create more plant-based options and they start talking about them and then those things get started.

[00:19:49] You know, those ordered, they get ordered and that's really ultimately what creates impact, right? Because that larger pool of businesses around the world that, [00:20:00] you know, we know are never going to, they're likely not going to become vegan businesses. But there's a real opportunity that if we can get them to sort of shift to 20, 30, 40% vegan, that's going to make a massive impact for everything that we care about.

[00:20:16] So that's a big role that we play. Obviously we need to grow. Like we want to grow our user base. We want to grow our membership around the world. Our community is really strong right now, and it's in a hundred plus countries. And we just want to grow that and continue building. And as the community gets stronger and the use case gets stronger and the, the, the, the, our sort of product, which is our app gets better and better and better that impact that we make sort of on people in terms of being able to sort of guide people and show them.

[00:20:51] And, you know, you mentioned like, You're getting, like, I think that, you know, I've liked a couple of your posts and stuff like that. And it's, I was talking to one of our members in Vancouver [00:21:00] two, three weeks back, and she was telling me how, like she became vegan a year ago. There's a farm animal sanctuary I'm on Vancouver island that we support it's called Rosta.

[00:21:12] And she got a flyer about the sanctuary from a friend of hers. And she said, you know, I'm like, this is interesting. You know, I, maybe I should cut down my meat consumption and share that the, the, the sanctuary talks about us as, you know, a great tool for that. And so she started using our app about a year ago and now she and her entire family had become a hundred percent vegan.

[00:21:33]And, you know, not only are they become vegan, but they're trying out foods from around the planet. So because they're able to see like people in Singapore or other parts of Asia or parts of Europe and south America are eating, there's a feed. And she, her whole family has gotten an inspiration for cooking and trying new things.

[00:21:55] And, you know, and it's, it's, she's felt that it's a very, very [00:22:00] supportive, positive community that really backs her up, that when she posts something, right. Whether she makes something at home using, you know, a plant-based meat product and she takes a photo of it when she posts something, she sees all these comments and she sees all of this engagement and she's built this community and it really feels very supportive and it's really helped her continue on her journey and path to being vegan.

[00:22:27] And we love that. Like, I love that, that, that is in a way that is the biggest thing that we can do from an impact perspective is how do we help people and support people on this journey? We know it's hard, right? We know it's not perfect. It's not about perfection, but it's about how do you provide a really supportive community that just rallies behind everybody and supports each other.

[00:22:51] And that's really the big shift that we see that we want to see happening in social media as well. So super, super excited about that. And [00:23:00] and you know, really just trying to, trying to build that up and trying to really help people sort of create impact and feel good about creating impact. We have a lot of sort of work around that, that we're doing, but we, I think we do a pretty good job of it today and it's been amazing to, to kind of, to, to kind of see it grow and where it's going to go in the next eight, nine, 10 years.

[00:23:20] I can't, you know, I, I can't tell you, but we're, we're all working hard towards that goal. Have a billion

[00:23:25] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:23:25] people. I love that goal. I'm, I'm 110% behind you, a billion percent, if you will. You know, w what's interesting about what you said, and there's so much, there's, you know, you're talking and I'm going, yes, this, I need to ask about this and I need to ask about this.

[00:23:40] And, and the thing that, that struck me so hard as you were talking, I've, I've had that happen. The, I go to a restaurant and I have to pick the vegetables that I'm going to ask you to put together. And I go, you know, can you put this together in a salad? Or can you saute these for me in some oil and some garlic, blah, blah, blah.

[00:23:58] What's often happened [00:24:00] is. That the chef and I've had this happen several times. The chef comes out and goes, you know, I've never thought of putting these together like that. Do you mind if this is tomorrow is special? No, I do not mind if this is tomorrow special and I've actually had dishes that I've sort of put together, like that end up on the permanent menu of restaurants and amazing.

[00:24:20] Yeah, it's really, it's, it's very, it was one of them was called the Isolde salad, which I thought was just hilarious. But, but but the reason I'm bringing this up is because it was a, it was a perception shift, I guess, for the chef. So that notion of we can change, not just the consumers, percept perceptions, but the people who are actually running the restaurants are making the food, their perception that it's possible to make vegan food.

[00:24:48] That is good for you and all of that, but also that is scrumptious. That is really

[00:24:52] Vikas Garg: [00:24:52] delicious that people want that people

[00:24:53] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:24:53] want. Right. So, so, so how. How do we do that [00:25:00] on a, on a, and maybe this isn't part of a billion's mission, but how do we do that on a bigger scale? Because yes, I've, I've had the, as oldest salad become part of, of this Italian restaurants, permanent menu, but, but what do, what can we do as, as people who might be on a billion or people who might not yet know about it, but now of course you do.

[00:25:20] So go and get the app, but how, what can we do to change the perception of the people in the industry? Like I see that you're doing the mailings to the restaurants. Is there anything else that we can be doing? And if so, what do you think that is?

[00:25:34] Vikas Garg: [00:25:34] Yeah, look, I think that we all think that we all can be really great advocates, right?

[00:25:39] So anybody who's listening in on this, on this podcast You know, it can be a voice. Right. And I think that that's one of the most powerful things that you can do is communicate with people. Often, like, I mean, I, in, in Asia specifically when I got here six years ago, one of the things that I saw was, you know, people, a lot of people, when you go to a place, just kind of [00:26:00] accept the status quo for what it is.

[00:26:03] Right. And, and so you just ended up, you either, you use a search and you try to find places that have things that you want or things that you can have and you set things as a way. It is a little bit more and we just really wanted to change that. Right. But at the same time, like you get in a place like New York, right.

[00:26:20] Where I'd say that, you know, at a place like America, where businesses are much more likely to adapt and try to do anything, they can. To, you know, to, to please a customer and ensure that person's happy. You know, we ha we all have a voice. And so the best thing that anyone can do is, you know, is, Hey, like, you know, be a voice, be a voice for the movement.

[00:26:46] Right. Always ask the question and try to have that conversation when you can and try to be really positive about it. Right. So I think that sometimes what happens and, you know, it's always hard to generalize. I don't like generalizing, but I think that sometimes what [00:27:00] happens is some of the, some of the ways that we sort of go about having a voice sometimes are not sometimes can be a bit, bit more argumentative than they are helpful.

[00:27:11] And I think it's just a matter of sort of, you know, tone and it's matter of of, of, of, of casting sort of what we're doing, what we want in a very positive way. And reinforce it very positively. I know that the challenges with social issues, right. Is there so much on the line, right. And it's so personal.

[00:27:35]And I, you know, so, so for me, like I grew up as an activist since the time that I was a kid in New York and I went to my first peanut rally when I was just seven or eight years old, you know, and, and I kind of always been clued in to sanctuaries and, you know, and, and, and I, and so I, I, I grew up in sort of around this and I was also like, I was a constant debater and I was on the debate team and, you know, and I just, what I [00:28:00] have found is that debate for the sake of debate and you know, or, or, or this like that, you need to be right.

[00:28:06] Sort of mentality often. Ends up putting you in a box and I, and, and what you want. And sometimes we forget about, well, what is it that we want? And what's maybe the most effective way to get what we want. And often I would just say that at least what I've learned, and I just turned 40 is can just have it.

[00:28:26] You can have a pleasant conversation with somebody that usually does that. I can usually do the trick or at least plant a seed. So yeah, I think that's something that all we all can do. And of course, like, you know plea, like, of course, you know, folks can get on the, get on the app. Like we're really building the social community around this sort of positive messaging and consumer advocacy.

[00:28:45]And, you know, give it a shot, try it out. Because not only will whatever work or whatever time you invest in this. Help you and it'll be fun cause it's fun. Just, you know, social [00:29:00] media has to be fun and it's meant to be enjoyable for whatever amount of time you spend on it every day. But then not only that, but it also creates a lot of impact in the world and a lot of positive social change.

[00:29:12] And that's really why we designed it is really to give everybody, even people who are not necessarily comfortable, you know, going around and sort of speaking and doing that. Or maybe you're just too busy, an opportunity to just do something fun and gamify that. Do something fun and still make a lot of positive change in society.

[00:29:34] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:29:34] I like that you combine both of them. That's that's wonderful. And it's interesting what you were talking about being positive. The app definitely feels, it feels very upbeat. It feels very positive. It feels like I'm contributing to something. When I, when I leave a review and I, and I love that. And, and yet I was telling somebody about it who is not vegan.

[00:29:55] And the response I got was, Ugh, another vegan thing, you know? [00:30:00] And that's that, I'm not always positive when I talk about it, because I get, I get into that whole billions of animals are slaughtered every year mindset very quickly. So it's hard for me to stay positive when that is in the forefront. And yet.

[00:30:13]When I'm talking about the app to people who are already either vegan, friendly or vegan themselves, it's a really positive experience and I'm getting people to sign up and go, oh, this is cool. When I talk about it to non vegans, there's a, there's an eye roll. And so what is your, what is your thought?

[00:30:30] How, how is it best to talk about these subjects? And you said positive and that's great. And yet if they're, if you immediately meet sort of a wall of resistance, is it just a, okay. You're not a person I can talk about this with, or do you have any strategies to talk to people?

[00:30:45] Vikas Garg: [00:30:45] Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and you just, you know, just to clarify, like when I say positive, I, you know, I can imagine some of my friends were very passionate activists, their eyes rolling, because it's like, [00:31:00] it's what I want.

[00:31:02] I don't mean, you know, like what I don't mean, like, you know, it, it wouldn't be cool for, like, we all know can like racism. Right. Let's just take racism for example, right. There's no, like, we're all like trying to like, from, from like a, a vegan activist perspective. Right. If I was to where my, my sort of, you know, my, my, my activism hat for a second, right.

[00:31:24] I would, it's not, I would say that it's not cool. It's not cool to kill a little less. Right. Like, I would say something like that, like you know, and, and we would, I'd say that most people, if you ask them, is it okay to be a little racist? They'd be like, no, what are you talking about? Like, that's not, that's not cool.

[00:31:44] Like, you can't be a little racist. And so it's like, you know, I would make the arguments as well. So you're saying, is it it's okay to kill a little, right. Cause like, they'd be like, no, it's not okay to kill a little bit. That's what you do every single day when you, you know, [00:32:00] you eat animals and things like that.

[00:32:01] So like that sort of positive, I guess that's the, that idea of sort of positive messaging just for it. What I mean by that is you, to you, what I have found that works the best is sort of being able to relate to people. Right. And we can talk about all of the animal lives. And when you start talking about things like in the billions, often people kind of zone out cause it's, it just, it takes somebody out of their immediate sort of day-to-day life.

[00:32:35] But when you can talk to somebody in a way that really connects with them on a personal basis, and the best way to do that is to tell your own personal story. And really like, why are you doing this? And how does it impact you? And really I'd say that that's probably the thing that I have found, you know, it doesn't always work, but that's what I, at least when I come at it [00:33:00] from a very, very personal way, and I talk about my own health and I talk about my mom and dad, and I talk about, you know, I talk about my dog for instance and I talk about the changes that I felt and the struggles that I had you know, that then becomes a very personal story.

[00:33:23] And while somebody may not agree with it there, I'll probably a lot more willing to just kind of accept it or recognize that. Okay, cool. I get what this person is about and that's. Like that's their journey. And I respect that. Right. So then like, you know, at least you stroke, I think you establish a foundation which you can then build on from there because the person at least appreciates where you're coming from, some people will, of course never be receptive or be open-minded.

[00:33:57] And, and, you know, unfortunately, you know, [00:34:00] like we, we, we live in a world where there's a lot of, you know, human beings are very complex and intellectually, emotionally, mentally, physically, we're also a very, very diverse, you're not going to convince everybody. And that's, you know, th th I, I don't know if there's, you know, it's really about that.

[00:34:20] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:34:20] Well, it's it's for you. It's about a billion, which I think is good and, and more than a billion would be even better. I, I that's for sure. It's, what's interesting. That feeling of connection that you talked about earlier is similar to what I heard you say just now that, that it is it's meeting people where, where they are with where you are and I, and I totally respect that.

[00:34:45] And yet when I, when I think about it, I'm going okay. So there are all these benefits that you, that you have sort of rot, if you will, you've brought all these benefits from being vegan. And [00:35:00] yet, I don't know. Do you sometimes feel like you're tilting at windmills or do you see enough potential that it, that it's worth it to keep going?

[00:35:14] Vikas Garg: [00:35:14] Oh, definitely. I mean, I definitely see a lot of potential. And you know, we do a lot of things. Sometimes things work, sometimes they don't work. Sometimes they don't work in the short term and often there is sort of this sense. It's very easy when you've got a whole room full of people to like constantly be pivoting or changing their mind.

[00:35:35] And often the hardest thing to do is to stay on tack a hard. One of the artist's things to do is, is really believe in what you're doing and believe in something that maybe not a lot of other people really see as as valuable. And, you know, look, you've got to take it in and you've got to, like, you've got to really analyze it.

[00:35:54] You've got to do your work. But you've also got to have conviction and things in life and, [00:36:00] and that's sort of the hardest, I'd say that's one of the hardest things. Sometimes because you could talk to five different people and get five different opinions. Sometimes it's just the way that you ask a question you know, where, you know, you're, you're almost setting yourself up to, to get a certain kind of response.

[00:36:16] So it's really, it's it's, I think it's about, I think it's about having, I think a lot of it it's about having conviction and then really thinking, at least for us, like thinking about like, okay, well, how do we build a business and how do we, and some to some degree stay grounded in the way that business works.

[00:36:33]And you know, and, and, you know, you're trying to create a new kind of business in an industry that, you know, is evolving, but not a lot of people are sort of accepted yet. But you think it's the future. And so it's, it's hard. It's really, really, really hard. But, but it's also really fun and it's rewarding and.

[00:36:55] You know, it's it's when, when you do have your wins, it feels really, really great.

[00:37:01] [00:37:00] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:37:01] I'm sure it does. Absolutely. And you know, it's funny. I, there are people who've known me forever in a day. And one of the first things that they ask me when they see me again, after not having seen me for a while or so you eat meat yet.

[00:37:15] And it's it's as if they think it's a temporary thing. And I'm like, it's been over 30 years, I think. I think I'm done. But the interesting thing here is that thing that you said about confidence, there is, there is a, there is a power in my mind to. Standing in your truth. You know, my truth for me, I'm never, I'm never eating animals or any animal products.

[00:37:38] Again, I don't use animal products. So that's my truth. And you said earlier that you feel a greater sense of confidence since you have gone vegan. And I would love it. If you could talk a little bit about what the flavor of that is, what is the root of that and, and how do you see it playing out in the way you've [00:38:00] innovated this entire social media space?

[00:38:02] He does.

[00:38:08] Vikas Garg: [00:38:08] Sorry. Could you repeat that question?

[00:38:12] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:38:12] I got the room. Yeah,

[00:38:14] Vikas Garg: [00:38:14] I got the, I got the, I guess, sorry she knocked on the door and knocked on the door. I heard, I heard the, I heard the first part of it, but then I wasn't, I'm not, I wasn't clear. No

[00:38:25] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:38:25] worries. No worries. I love it. Well, the question. No, no, no, no, no, no.

[00:38:29] That's great. You know, it's it, this is about it's funny. I the podcast got into the fourth edition of podcasting for dummies. It actually was, was featured in the book and it was featured in the slice of life podcast area. So that's because that's what this is. Things happen. This is a slice of life.

[00:38:47] So the question was actually about how your level of confidence has suffused your ability to innovate in, in the social media space, which has innovation, things like, you know, Tik TOK or [00:39:00] whatever. But this is, this is innovation with a purpose. And I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about how your level of confidence relates your ability to go to, I don't know if you have sponsors or if you have investors, but your ability to go to people who don't know anything about this, who don't know anything about veganism and be confident enough to go.

[00:39:18] This is a really cool thing, and this is why you want to be part of it.

[00:39:23] Vikas Garg: [00:39:23] Yeah, look, you know, you have to turn over a lot of stones. It's very competitive. And depending on who you talk to one person's sort of one person's gauge of success looks very different than another person's gauge of success.

[00:39:39]And you know the, the, the thing about, you know, the thing about the space is there's there's, you just, you have to, you have to find, you have to, you know, you have to do the work and you have to, you have to find the people who are going to support you, whether it's financially, and we're very much a venture backed [00:40:00] company at this stage you know, and, and our revenues.

[00:40:03]You know, if, if, if tomorrow our funding just completely dried up our revenues definitely wouldn't support what we're, what we're doing and building, we're not a very cap. We're not a very capital intensive business at this stage. We will become a more capital intensive business at this stage. And so it's really, again, it's setting yourself up for thinking, okay, like, well, what does this business really look like over the next three, four, five years?

[00:40:25] What are we building? And and really being able to communicate that effectively and meet the folks and build relationships with people and, and, and yeah, and convey, convey that sense of confidence. But behind that sense of confidence, it can't just be back, you know, behind that sense of confidence.

[00:40:48] There also has to be work and a plan and a, and being able to sort of describe and show and build. All the things that we need to do [00:41:00] in order to make our business, you know, fundamentally sound and sustainable. So we can be in business in the next 20, 30, and 50 years and get level over the next two.

[00:41:11] Yeah, let alone the next sort of two. Right, right. You know, which it really is. It's like, it's like, you want to build yourself for longterm success, but you've got to really think about like, well, okay, how are you going to survive in the next one year, in the next two years? Especially, I'd say that until you get to the stage where you have a hit product, right.

[00:41:30] And that takes time, you know, with some of the biggest companies in the food space that that's, you know, that's taken them before, before everybody, you know, in America had heard about the beyond burger. You know, it was even well before it was even the beyond burger was called something else that company had been around for, for almost a decade, by the time, you know, people really started to kind of, it started to go mainstream.

[00:41:57] And so while, [00:42:00] you know, while folks like Ethan and the people around him had that vision, they also were very smart about executing and building. And I'm sure that, you know, while they were thinking about what 10 years ahead were those probably very early on in the business, they were probably just thinking about what the next six months looks like.

[00:42:17] So there is always that sort of, you know, there's always that sort of, and I don't think that it's a, I don't think that it's an inherent conflict. I just think that it's a responsibility to be thinking about, well, you know, what do you need to do short term? What do you need the next three, six months and nine months and 12 months to look like, right.

[00:42:38] What do you need to build? How do you get the, you know, how do you, how do you build something. You know, short-term get that to scale and, you know, what's the long-term vision of this and are the things that you're doing right now matching up with the long-term vision for the car.

[00:43:00] [00:42:59] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:42:59] It's a lot, it's a huge balancing act, I imagine. And also just a lot, a lot of balls in the air. So you're, you're a juggler on a, on a unicycle. It sounds like and my husband is a clown. He was a clown in the circus. So I know of what I what's, I'm curious about the, how do I put this? You're it's it feels, it really does feel to me like you have a foot in several worlds, like you have the foot in the activist world, but you also have to have a foot in the sort of bottom line, financial interests world.

[00:43:29] And. What, where, what is the line there? What, what, when you have to make a decision based on what's best for the company, what's best for the bill for a billion what's best for, you know, the, in your mind, what's best for the planet, the animals, et cetera. Where do you fall? How do you navigate that when you have to make those decisions?

[00:43:52] Vikas Garg: [00:43:52] Well, I think that we have a very strong sort of core set of values. Right. And I think it all [00:44:00] starts there. So one of the great things about running a company that's built around values and purpose is it's pretty, it's, it's pretty clear to everybody what you stand for. Right. And you know, it's pretty clear where you stand on a number of different things you know, in terms of right versus wrong in terms of.

[00:44:24] You know, do we do the right thing by people? Or do we take like a more sneaky approach? You know, like just generally it does clear up, it clears up a lot of confusion. It clears up, I'd say clears up a lot of stuff that other companies, you know, would have a problem with because at the end of the day, running a company that's based on values and purpose is an extraordinary filtering mechanism for who even comes into the door right now.

[00:44:52] Like, you know, and, and that, that also, I mean, I'm not gonna kid you, like, I sit here and lie to you. Like that's not a perfect thing either. [00:45:00] Sometimes you want to have the sort of the very opposite views. You want to have the conflict you want to have as sophisticated people. You want to have, you know, the most successful, but you want to have the best people who are going to help build your growth, you know, your, your growth engine.

[00:45:19] You want to have the most successful people, the most experienced people on product. You want to have the most successful people on biz dev. And so sometimes those sort of, as a company that is built around a mission and a company that's built around values, right. As opposed to, Hey, we're just going to build this really fun sort of video sharing app.

[00:45:39] Right. And let's just go out and we don't care what kind of content people are posting. We just want to make sure it goes viral and we want to build that. And, you know, and that's it. We want to create this highly addictive app. Well, you can then welcome just about anybody on the planet, into, you know, into that, except for maybe people who are really [00:46:00] values based.

[00:46:01] And so the difference is, is we're quite the opposite of that, right? And so I'd say that one of the biggest challenges that we faced in the flat in the first three years is actually scaling our team. So like, we're finally, you know, we finally have gotten to the stage like three years in where, and especially during last year, like we started last year, With eight, seven or eight people on the team full time.

[00:46:25] And today we're at 32. Wow. So like it finally, like last year in spite of COVID in spite of everything last year was really the year where we started to grow, where the team started to grow, where, you know, the, the, the, the number of years of experience and the depth of that experience in terms of colleagues, new colleagues signing up joining was, was, just, was, was, was really sort of got, got a big upgrade.

[00:46:52]And it's really nice because like, we have a very highly motivated team and a lot of the, a lot of the [00:47:00] folks who may not have as much experience what they lack and experience they make up for in motivation and initiative. But the reality of that is that. What ends up happening is you end up having a lot of debt.

[00:47:13] You ended up having a lot of technical debt on your engineering team. You end up building things on a weak foundation. You end up constantly wanting to iterate, but not necessarily having great plans around it. And so we're finally, you know, or you build something wanting to get to a next stage and maybe you get there, but then you're like, what's next?

[00:47:36] And you kind of forgot that like, okay, you might get to the next step, but have you thought five steps forward from there? And so like, we're finally getting better at a lot of those things. And you know, that, so being sort of a values-based organization, being an organization that has a very purposeful mission is now actually I'd say in a [00:48:00] way, a breath of fresh air for a lot of people that are kind of coming into the organization and that's something that's been missing in their lives.

[00:48:06] Working at other companies,

[00:48:09] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:48:09] you're singing my song. I love

[00:48:11] Vikas Garg: [00:48:11] it. I'm going to, I'm going

[00:48:12] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:48:12] to apply. That's it. I'm going to do it. Okay. So to be, to be perfectly Frank you know, I don't, I I'm, I feel a little bit like I'm like, yes, everything you just said and, and it feels, it feels just a little disingenuous, even though it's not disingenuous, I really wholeheartedly support your mission because it does feel like it's not a, if you're not being vegan, you're, you're directly responsible for killing animals perspective.

[00:48:39] It's more like a, Hey, this is something you can think about. And this is something you can dip your toe in if you will. And yet you y'all are activists all over the place. Right? So one of the things that I love, and this is a, I think maybe a gamified thing that you did is that for every 10 reviews you leave.

[00:49:00] [00:49:00] The company will make a donation. And I thought that was so I thought it was cool. I thought it was super cool that I got to choose a sanctuary to get my little $10 donation from having given 10 reviews of, of dishes or whatever it was I did first. So what, what it, what role does that sense of play play in the app?

[00:49:25] Vikas Garg: [00:49:25] Yeah, so we started with this whole idea that look, you know, we, we want to create an impact. And we think that there's an opportunity here to build a really great company. And we're a really great technology company, a really great platform. And we, I just felt like, you know, people are signing up, they're going to be contributing information.

[00:49:47] That information is valuable. They're going to be spending time in their lives and how do we. How do we enrich that experience and how do we help people kind of connect back this idea, this small idea. [00:50:00] So we'll give you a sense of it. Like 65% of our users today are B eaters. 35% of our users are, are, are, are vegans and vegetarians.

[00:50:08] So for the 65% of people, right, I really felt like, what are, what can we do to help kind of. Create that connection. So they've gone and they've eaten something vegan or they've bought something that's environmentally friendly and cruelty-free, it might be, let's say it could be, you know, a vegan beauty product, or it could be you know, like the, a, a bag or, you know, a pair of shoes.

[00:50:33]That's, that's made without any animals harmed. And so, you know, they share that experience. They share whatever they purchase on the, on the platform to helping build our community. How do we keep them motivated and how do we gamify it a little bit? And how do we help them see that connection all the way through, with what they're buying with the life that that's impacting.

[00:50:55] And so that's how we started was if we could just reinforce this [00:51:00] and really create a daily sort of habit around them, choosing this lifestyle on a more regular basis. And we could game-ify that. And we could do that by connecting them. With really impactful causes around the world. And I know that you had captain Paul Watson on your show recently.

[00:51:20]But see shepherd is, is one of the organizations that we support that we are, we are, we are very, very, very honored to be partnered with them. But so for us it was, it really it's been, this is the sense of, okay, how do you help organizations around the world that are creating world-changing life-changing impact?

[00:51:38] How do you inspire people and how do you motivate people? You know, to basically keep going to, to keep, to, to, to, to keep trying to live this lifestyle and more regular basis by kind of gamifying it. And at the same time, reinforcing it with, Hey, look, this is the impact that's being created. So, you know, at the time the simplest thing that I could kind of come up with was, Hey, let's [00:52:00] put a little sort of award in people's pockets when they choose vegan.

[00:52:03]And we chose that to be a dollar. It's just really simple, right? It's a dollar. And what you can do with this on a dollar that you get, like in an Amazon gift card, or that you could go and spend on something, but it's a dollar that we donate to one of our partner organizations and we have about 65 partners around the world from, you know, ranging from farm animal sanctuaries and places like Argentina, to organizations like sea shepherd, which are really focused on Marine life to, you know, to organizations around the world, activist organizations.

[00:52:34]We, for instance, we support all three of the farm animal sanctuary is located in South Africa, do a lot of work in South Africa. And it's really just a global movement. Of course we do a lot of, you know, we have a lot of partners in the U S are closest to you as Woodstock in upstate New York in new Paltz.

[00:52:52] And Woodstock's been mowed. Woodstock was one of our earliest partners. So yeah, we've just been, you know, I've just been really focused on, on growing [00:53:00] that way and growing responsibly that way. And it's been amazing. I mean, we've donated over half a million dollars since we first got started to amazing organizations around the world.

[00:53:10] We're now supporting children's literacy programs in the developing world. So for a dollar, you can put a girl in school for a day for a dollar. You can buy a local language children's book for, for a kid you know, in, in, in a poor country for a dollar you can plant a tree as part of reforestation projects, In parts of all of pine parts around the world for a dollar, actually, not even for a dollar, but for 80 cents, you go through the United nations world food program and something called share the meal for 80 cents.

[00:53:43] You can feed a hungry child, three nutritious meals in a day 80 cents. Wow. Right. So like, we don't even think about 80 cents, right. That doesn't even buy you a pack of gum, but like 80 cents can feed a kid for a whole day. Right. It's an amazing program. [00:54:00] And the funny thing about it, most of the meals are plant-based.

[00:54:02] Most of the meals are a hundred percent plant-based right. Whenever possible. So, so this, these are the kinds of organizations that we think are making a real impact in the world. They're nonprofits. We want to support them. And a big part of what we do is really connect that our user journey back with that impact that they can create.

[00:54:20] And I'd say that's one of our most unique selling points for the platform is, Hey you know, we're creating impact in this way and we're just always working on how do we make this part of sort of the, the platform better. So you mentioned when you get to 10 posts, you get $10, you get $10 every time we get 10 posts, we're actually just, we just remove that barrier.

[00:54:40] So in the latest, in the latest version yeah, because we just felt like, Hey, you know, the reason we did it when we first started this two years ago, it was purely administrative was, you know, I'm literally sitting there and manually making these donations. Right. So is that okay? Well, like [00:55:00] let's, you know, and at the time time, in a given week, we were, we might've made a couple of a hundred dollars, a couple of hundred dollars donations.

[00:55:07] Now that number has grown. Now we're doing, you know, we're doing, we're doing like 40, $50,000 a month that we're donating to organizations around the world sometimes more. And It, you know, it was just purely administrative is how do I manage all of this stuff? Manage all these donations and things like that.

[00:55:25] As, especially as we scale the number of partners, now we have more than 60. Wow. And so we've gotten better at what we do. We've gotten better at sort of, you know in terms of just building the platform. So this stuff can to some of it's, to some degree, some of it can be more automated and more responsive to the user.

[00:55:44]So yeah, we just went live with we just went live with that feature. So it's, you know, for the folks that are listening to the podcast, download the app, take a photo. The next time you go to a restaurant, if you eat something vegan, take a photo of it. It's just like creating an Instagram [00:56:00] post. It takes 30 or 40 seconds.

[00:56:02] And pu you know, we'll put a dollar in your account that you can use to create impact. Or if you've got something at home, if you've just opened your fridge. Whether it's a bunch of kale or it's a pack of beyond sausages, or it's your favorite vegan butter from Yoko's or any other brand, take a photo of it and share it.

[00:56:23] You're going to help the company because, you know, ultimately that review helps the company. It goes online, it helps get them more customers in a way you're going to help that company. Even if the feedback is bad, you're still gonna help the company. You're gonna help that restaurant. You're gonna help other people discover that option and make the world a little bit more vegan every single time.

[00:56:48] And you're going to create impact for a life besides your own. And it's just fun. It's a fun thing to do, taking a photo posting it, you know, and really in a way, [00:57:00] creating impact and logging that on a day-to-day basis. So you have this beautiful sort of. View of all of the wonderful vegan, you know, your whole sort of journey around all of this and whether you're vegan already.

[00:57:12] And you're just, you know, using it to record sort of, you know, your, your day-to-day habits and create this kind of impact or, Hey, you know, you want to see and socialize and be part of this community and, and, you know, which is really, really supportive. And we backed that up with this amazing little thing that we do which we think is really awesome.

[00:57:31] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:57:31] I think it's really awesome too. And there's another benefit that you haven't talked about, which is close to my heart because I'm a writer and that is. That you get to put your writing hat on when you create a review, when you write about it, and you say that something was scrumptious, or you say that it was malicious or that it needed this, or it needed that, or, or this is what you liked about it.

[00:57:52] That those review, you know, you say something like, I don't remember if it's 50 words or 50 characters per review on the, on the app. But the point [00:58:00] is that one of the things I love to do is give my I'm a know it all. I admit that. And, but I love giving my opinion. I love giving my review. I review everything I do.

[00:58:09] If I go traveling, I review the place, I do a travel guide. If I go to a new restaurant, I take pictures of the food and I review it and I love talking about it. And so one of the things that the app does is give you the opportunity to have your say, to say it in a way that's really fun and creative, but still to give your opinion on, on what you've experienced.

[00:58:30] And I think that's a really big positive in what you're

[00:58:33] Vikas Garg: [00:58:33] doing. Oh, thank you. I really appreciate you saying that.

[00:58:38] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:58:38] I mean, it's ju it's the truth and take it from me. As I said, I'm a know it all. So I admit that feely there's anybody who's ever met me will go. Yes, she's a know it all. It's okay. So, so I, I am thrilled and I could, I could keep you talking for the next six hours, but I know you have a life to get back to, and you have a daughter who's been knocking on the door and wanting your [00:59:00] attention.

[00:59:00] So I, I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing how people can find you on social, how people can find the app, and we're going to put it all in the show notes, but I kind of like having it said as well, just because people learn in different ways.

[00:59:18] Vikas Garg: [00:59:18] Yeah. Sure. Well, thank you. So the app, it's just called a billion, a B I L L I O N.

[00:59:24] And that's exactly who we are. We're trying to build a social movement for a billion people that makes the world a lot more sustainable that, you know, helps animals that helps people around the world that helps people live in a more healthier and more sustainable way in a happier way, in a more mindful way.

[00:59:39] So you can download the, a billion app in either app store and Google play, or if you have an iPhone in, in the iPhone and the apple app store it's completely free. And it's completely free to use. And and we do some really fun things in there. There's vouchers from restaurants every now and then there's lots of stuff going around.

[00:59:58] You can engage with businesses. [01:00:00] You know, you'll find that a lot of businesses will respond to feedback. A lot of companies are starting to jump on board. We've gotten a few thousand companies to sort of. To jump on board as well. And it just, it's just a great way to sort of record your daily impact and really find a supportive community around that.

[01:00:16] So it's called a billion, that's all one word. And we're of course you can also go to our website. It's a billion where you'll find all of the information there, if you don't like to use apps. And and that's it. And then as far as find finding me, we're also obviously on all socials.

[01:00:32] So on Instagram, we're a billion and on Twitter where a billion app I'm on LinkedIn. I think we're just a billion, but yeah, you can find us on LinkedIn. You can find me on LinkedIn. I don't really hang out on platforms like Facebook. I don't have a personal sort of account on, on social media, a billions the only social media app that I actually use besides LinkedIn.

[01:00:52] So you can find me on LinkedIn as well and Picasso Garg. V I K S G a R G. And I'm based in [01:01:00] Singapore. So yeah, look out for me. And if you hear the podcast, please connect with me and let me know. I'd love to get your feedback, love to get your thoughts and love to get to know you better.

[01:01:09] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:01:09] Ah, that's awesome.

[01:01:10] And you know, we didn't really talk about that mindfulness aspect and now I'm sorry, we didn't, you're going to have to come back again and we're going to have to get into the nitty and the gritty of that, because there's something very powerful about the mindfulness aspect of feeling like you're in balance.

[01:01:26] And in fact, if you wouldn't mind talking about that for a second, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what mindfulness is and how it relates to what your, what your mission is. If you don't mind.

[01:01:38] Vikas Garg: [01:01:38] Yeah, no, it's fine. You know, I think that living a life full of values and purpose is is, is something that really can drive mindfulness.

[01:01:46] I guess if the question is what is mindfulness is it's, it's having. Sort of God, I it's like, I'm like, don't use it. I'm using another word to define and define a word, but I'd say it's [01:02:00] consciousness, you know, it's, it's having something that grounds you and helps you feel connected and helps you sort of navigate is maybe the best way that I can describe it.

[01:02:12] And I'm sure that there's other sort of much better people who can define much better way, but to me, that's kind of what it is. Right. And I'd say the great thing about being vegan is that literally every single decision and choice you make, and there was a Cornell university study, 15, 20 years back that talked about how often.

[01:02:36] We make food decisions every single day. And I still to this day, like, don't understand this number, but like the study said that we make like 200 or 250 food decisions every day. Yeah. Every one of us. Right. And I guess I, I, the way that I think about it and maybe it's like, I have, you know, I've got a bottle of water here.

[01:02:56] It's like every time I decide to take a sip of that water, that probably counts as a [01:03:00] food decision. But the point is that like, you know, as a vegan food is, or somebody who's looking for vegan food or wants to eat vegan food, food is constantly on my mind. Right? What am I going to eat? Where am I going to go?

[01:03:12] You know, all of this stuff. And I don't think it's too dissimilar for others, but the difference is if, when you're vegan and you're looking for vegan food, that's like, you're voting. With your values every single time. Right. And it, it, that's in a way that creates a tremendous amount of mindfulness. Right.

[01:03:34]The other thing that I do is, is you've, I I've found a practice that works for me that creates a lot of mindfulness and a lot of people have a practice or something that they do. And so, you know, like for me, it's, it's trying to smile more a thing that I do that the Dalai Lama does, which has been transformational for me in my life, you know?

[01:03:56] And, and I don't think that you need to believe in [01:04:00] God for anyone who's listening and is not religious. I don't think it's so much about believing in God as much as like, just sort of blessing somebody or taking a time to sort of. Acknowledge somebody's presence when you walk into a room or if you're out for a run in the morning or you're just walking around and you see somebody smile at them, or if that feels weird, because I so probably feels weird to a lot of people to smile at a stranger, right.

[01:04:29] Smile inside. Or what I do is I take the opportunity to just inside say something as small as God bless you. Right. Or just bless you. And that little acknowledgement of that person in a positive way, for me, not only makes me feel connected right. But also creates a lot of positivity and mindfulness. So that's what mindfulness is to me.

[01:04:54] And I'd say my biggest daily practice around mindfulness is just, that is acknowledging [01:05:00] people is just constantly acknowledging people. And I find that sometimes when I deviate away from that, that's when I go to my unhappy place. So yeah, so that's that in a way is sort of what mindfulness means to me.

[01:05:10]As far as, you know, the platform, it is again it's how do we plant the seeds and create a very positive encouraging environment, you know, for sure and change social media. So we actually can find opportunities to acknowledge each other, to be mindful of each other, to be respectful, to, to like, you know, to, to, to, to, to really reinforce our daily habits and create better daily habits.

[01:05:36] And that's mindfulness to us.

[01:05:41] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:05:41] I love that. It's so my, my practice is not to acknowledge them internally. I do this interesting thing where I, if I'm out and about, I find someone. Who I pass in the street at usually almost always a woman to be, to be honest. And I compliment her. I will tell her something that [01:06:00] I, that I think is beautiful about her.

[01:06:02] And then I walk on, it's not like a, it's not like I'm stopping to talk with her or anything. It's just a, your eyes are beautiful. And then I move on and I've had women start crying because they weren't feeling beautiful or they weren't feeling happy. And that. That sort of pushed them into this place of being joyful and this compliment out of the blue.

[01:06:25] So that's my practice. And I think I love that you have a practice that that is, that is less intrusive. I feel like I'm probably pretty intrusive when I stopped them in the middle of walking down the street to tell them that I like that I like their eyes. So, so I have this question that I ask everybody who comes on the show.

[01:06:43] And it's a silly question. It's the last question. And I find that even though it's a silly question that it gives poignant answers. And so here's the question. If you had an airplane that could sky write anything for the whole world to [01:07:00] see, what would you say?

[01:07:06] Vikas Garg: [01:07:06] Oh, wow. Interesting question. Oh man. That's a, that's a, that's a very, very good question. Thank you. I would say, be kind,

[01:07:20] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:07:20] I love that. I love, love, love that. Yeah. And you might be surprised how many people who I really respect who've been on the show. Cause I don't have anybody on the show. I don't respect whose answer is behind it's it is, it is so many people like you who are living their values, treat kindness as something that's.

[01:07:43] So that's critical. That's crucial in, in the world. So I thank you for that. I really appreciate you saying that because it just reinforces that notion that the people out there like you, who are living in that values driven space. Have kindness at the forefront [01:08:00] because I'm really grateful that you've taken the time to be here on the show.

[01:08:04] Thank you so much for being

[01:08:05] Vikas Garg: [01:08:05] here. How has my pleasure is a little bit and thank you for reaching out. And it was an absolute pleasure getting to know you today and thank you for all of the questions and just delighted to, to be on the show. Hopefully get a chance to see you in back in New York.

[01:08:19]At some point well, and who knows. Right.

[01:08:24] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:08:24] And, and I might, I might look you up when I go to Singapore, cause it's on my bucket list for traveling. So absolutely wonderful. Awesome. Oh, you have just been listening to the cost guard, talking about a billion. The app that is starting has started a movement and will hopefully change the world with at least a billion people who are committed to a plant-based lifestyle by 2030, this has been the innovative mindset podcast I have been and will continue to be as old attract Nunberg.

[01:08:53] I thank you for listening until next time. This is as older reminding you to listen, learn, laugh, and love. [01:09:00] A whole lot.

[01:09:06] thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here. Please subscribe to the podcast if you're new and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people know. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on mindset.

[01:09:23] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters there today's episode was produced by us old attract and Bergen is copyright 2021 as always. Please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mindset.



NEW: Read the full transcript of the episode.

Jeanine Boubli, Founder of the Ethical, Animal-Focused Clothing Brand Red Tale Moon On How to Grow Your Business From the Heart

Jeanine Boubli, Founder of the Ethical, Animal-Focused Clothing Brand Red Tale Moon On How to Grow Your Business From the Heart

June 14, 2021

Ethical Fashion with Red Tale Moon Clothing Line Founder, CEO, and Artist, Jeanine Boubli

Screen_Shot_2021-06-08_at_91722_AM9jf5i.pngJeanine Boubli is a mixed media artist and creator of the ethical and environmentally conscious lifestyle apparel brand Red Tale Moon.

She strives to create awareness and respect for all animals, Mother Nature, and soulful connection through her creative work.

Red Tale Moon's designs' are inspired by animals she know well as a volunteer animal caregiver at a local sanctuary.

She loves spending time outdoors, taking long walks by the water, and writing poetry.

Connect with Jeanine





The Episode's Transcript

Jeanine Boubli-FULL-1

[00:00:00] Jeanine Boubli: [00:00:00] I will say though, that there, now that you're here talking about being scared, there is really nothing scary about following your heart. There is something very scary about not following your heart.

[00:00:17] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:00:17] Hi, and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. I'm your host Izolda Trakhtenberg. On the show, you get my conversations with peak performing thought leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs. We explore how you can innovate through creativity, compassion, and collaboration. I believe that innovation combined with compassion and creative thinking can save the world and I aim to bring you ways.

[00:00:40] You can do it too. If you're enjoying the show, I'd be super grateful. If you could support it by buying me a cup of coffee, you can buy me a cuppa at And now let's get on with the show.

[00:01:01] [00:01:00] Hey there and welcome to the innovative mindset podcast. My name is Izolda Trakhtenberg. I'm so happy that you're here and I'm honored and happy to have this week's guests. She's amazing. You're going to love her.  Jeanine Boubli is a mixed media artist and creator of the ethical and environmentally conscious lifestyle apparel, brand Red Tale Moon.

[00:01:21] So, you know, I love her and you know, you're going to love her too. She strives to create awareness and respect for all animals, mother nature, and soulful connection through her creative work. Red Tale moon's designs are inspired by animals. She knows as well. Well, she's she's a volunteer animal caregiver at a local sanctuary, but she also uses her heart and her imagination to create these incredible designs.

[00:01:45] She loves spending time outdoors, taking long walks by the water and writing poetry. Jeanine, I am so glad that you're here. I'm honored and thrilled to talk to you about your ethical stance on what you do and the artistic drive that [00:02:00] helps you help the animals of the world. Welcome to the show.

[00:02:03] Jeanine Boubli: [00:02:03] Oh, thank you so much.

[00:02:04] I'm so happy for this opportunity to share. Thank you so much. I'm

[00:02:09] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:02:09] so excited. So I. The thing, look, anybody who knows me for any length of time goes, yes, she's, she's an outspoken vegan she's plant powered, blah, blah, blah. Right. I I'm pretty far out with that. So the question I have for anybody I talk to about, about sort of being ethical, as far as how you interact with the rest of the living world is what, what got you started?

[00:02:36] What, what was the turning point where you said I'm going to choose a path like this?

[00:02:44] Jeanine Boubli: [00:02:44] Well, I didn't, I don't know that I consciously chose it. I feel like it chose itself through, you know, my soul, if you will. I started, you know, I was vegetarian for years and I started volunteering as you [00:03:00] know an animal caregiver at a local sanctuary That happened shortly after too challenging, having two challenging years of my life, my father was sick.

[00:03:11] I moved out from the city. I came out to long Island to help him. I didn't realize how much that affected me. Long-term and so after the house was sold and I was like, okay, you know, where am I going to know? Like, I'm not going back to Manhattan right now. And my life was kind of up rooted in a sense my heart was, and yet.

[00:03:33]It provided a, all, it also provided like an open an, Oh, well, an open space, like a big, vast bit of land, you know, and my future, because I didn't really know which way I was going to go with my future. And what happened was a neighbor where I moved to a neighbor said to me, one day she saw how I was, how I was with her dog.

[00:03:53] She said, she need, you love animals so much. You would love this place. And you know, they've got a cow and they've got [00:04:00] goats and sheep and blah, blah, blah. And I said, Oh, well, I grew up here years ago. I never heard of it. And so the next day I was Googling and I've been volunteering there ever since. And so that was, yeah, that, that, that this experience, that's still part of my life and will always be a part of my life because it's my heart.

[00:04:23]Really. Opened up my heart healed my heart, calmed my mind and inspired me to create or to get just being like you just being with the animals and their environment. I did not want to be with people at that time. No, I'm fine now, you know, but I just needed the quiet and just to be in a, in an environment now, all of the animals are loved.

[00:04:45] They're not, you know, they're, they're fortunate, they're loved and they're cared for and to be with them and witness their friendship and their wisdom. And when one of them is sick and how, you know, the other ones are there for [00:05:00] them it's just really, really beautiful. And so that's what started to inspire me to.

[00:05:05] Go ahead and use them as the subject matter for artwork. Because once again, I was kind of reborn, if you will. Instead I, they opened my heart and with my hearts opened, then I wanted to create, again, it could be in creative, it has always been inside me, but there was, I just kind of closed up like a closed fist.

[00:05:24] I, you know, just, but then they, they, they, it was them, it was being with them and their love and their sweetness. That opened that part of me up again.

[00:05:35] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:05:35] Yeah. Wow. I, you know, it's so it's wonderful and it's inspiring. And I know, I know other people who have that sort of connection and realize it's worth.

[00:05:52] And you took it, you took that connection and you decided to work on behalf of them, these [00:06:00] wonderful critters, these wonderful beings we share the planet with when you started, when you started that, that process of like, okay, I'm good. I'm inspired by this and I'm going to do it right. Can you talk a little bit about what happened inside you that first time you sat down or maybe you weren't sitting?

[00:06:20] I don't know what your process is the first time you, you went okay. That's it. I'm going to do this. I'm going to create. Was it a design. Oh, yes. Yeah. So the thing that, and how was your, how was your mind and your heart, where were they when you were doing it? Oh,

[00:06:36] Jeanine Boubli: [00:06:36] well this is a, this is a bit of a story, but I'll tell you.

[00:06:41] So I we had an Adobe user group on long island. I was the co co-manager of the group and the manager, Sharon. She said to me, one day I was at her house and I remember exactly where we are now because he brought me back there and. She said, you know, I would love to get our members more involved. Can you think of [00:07:00] anything?

[00:07:01] And I wasn't thinking I was just responding, you know, when things just come out of your mouth and I said, well, we have so many photographers in this group. Why don't we have them take some pictures? There's pictures of textures, there's textures and everything. I said, why don't we have them take some pictures of textures and then apply those textures to another image and share.

[00:07:26] And she said, great idea. Can you come up with something? I said, sure. So lo and behold the next day I, like, I already knew that I w I wanted to use something that was current. I am a creative person. There's like, there's many things that they can create, but I wanted to create something from something that was current in my life.

[00:07:48] Something that really meant a lot to me. And that's the animals something from my heart. So I said, okay, I'm going to just, I'll go look through some pictures, you know, of the kids. And I took a picture of salt. She is a white [00:08:00] sheep. And then, you know, just like what somebody's cooking and they don't measure, it was kind of like, you know, somebody's painting and they're splattering the paint.

[00:08:08] I was taking some other images, like even a blurred image of an image of some branches, if you will. I did not know what I was going to create. I was just gathering material, whatever felt, something, you know, oh, I'll put this in a layer. Oh, I'll put this in a layer. And then maybe it must've been almost eight or nine hours afterwards, just zoning with Pandora.

[00:08:30]I created this. I an art piece with the salts and I shared it with her. She goes, Oh my God, I love this. This is great. Well, what happened was, you know, we had this I couldn't show the process to the people, the, you know, to our members because it was a creative process. I was zoning, you know, it wasn't just apply a filter and, Oh, it looks like this, or, Oh no, this was, you know, masking and taking out and putting in and just, you know, create, create, create a bliss if you will.

[00:09:00] [00:08:59] And it had, it just, it was like a co-creation and one thing led to another and I was a member of long Island, visual professionals, a lot of creative people and a woman, Linda from like the Huntington arts council came one night and she spoke about having there was an art an art show. They were going to have a juried art show.

[00:09:23] And I had not entered a show in a long time. My creativity, like when my father was sick, I wasn't creative afterwards. I wasn't creative until I was re awakened. If you will, with the animals love and had my groove back. My mother had passed, you know, years before. So there was another time when I kind of closed up in that way.

[00:09:45] And it all, it all goes into the creative, whatever we create though, whatever, even the parts, the times when we close up that's also in there and that's important too, that comes, that comes along. So basically she said we are going to have, you know, we [00:10:00] have this this art show coming up and I wanted to share if anybody's interested, it's about you know, you can have photographs, but they need to be enhanced digitally or any kind of digital art.

[00:10:11] Lola love a lot. And it was like, somebody was tapping me on the thigh. Janine, you've got to do your art. You've gotta do your art. You've got to, you know, you've got to do this now. It was talking straight to my, she was like, I felt like she was talking directly to my ears amplified. And so I said to her afterwards, oh, I would really like to, you know, get some more information I'd like to enter the show.

[00:10:33] And so she said, great, do you have a business card? Well, lo and behold, I had created a square business card with salts picture that fine art piece from the Adobe user group program, you know, from the program from that project. And she looked at Saul's picture and she said, oh my God, I love this. This is great.

[00:10:51] And you should, you should enter this. Well, I entered salt, salt ended up winning first place. And that was the beginning of [00:11:00] okay. Universe is like, go, go, go, go with, you know, and, and so that took, I mean, I don't want to. Take too much time talking about it, because then like, there was a series of different things.

[00:11:12] Like I created a line of no cards and then one day this woman said, Oh, yes, I love these pictures. They're nice. And I thought to myself, none. And then, and then they're no, no, no. These are not pictures. These are living beings. They might be a nice, you know, there might be a nice picture. Okay. Yes. I could say yes to that, but no, there's so much more to them.

[00:11:34] And so one night before I had an opportunity to share a table a local farmer's market if the war just like worse and kept flying out of my fingers, I said, no, no, no, I've got to go ahead and share more. And then I, you know, I cut on, cut up some paper, put them in to sleep so that people would see, okay, this might be a nice picture, you know, and there's a nice animal Lavella, but there's so much more.

[00:11:58] And then they would turn [00:12:00] over the card and read what I had to share. And I saw it right with my eyes. They resonated, some people resonated more with the words than they did with the animal, which was, you know, a personal connection. So however somebody is going to Feel a personal connection, whether it's the words or whether it's the images that's the, that's the whole intention, a personal connection makes things more meaningful to us.

[00:12:24] So therefore we can share in a different way or maybe, excuse me, change certain choices in our life so that we don't cause any harm on really, you know, not unknowingly, but we can change, you know we can change and make our world a more compassionate place for all the baby. And there's one more like I, one more thing along the line of how, you know, there's like, it's almost like a spiderweb a divine a divine weaving of interrelated, [00:13:00] synchronistic happenings, or symbols, or meet somebody.

[00:13:03]I ended up having some. I didn't have red tail moon. At this time, I ended up having some of my prints at a local nature preserve. And now there wasn't a lot of traffic, people were there only on the weekend, sometime a few hours, but it didn't make a difference. I knew that it was up to, it was my cart.

[00:13:24] Like it was up to me to just show up and show, show up and share and however, whatever, if one person sees something and they relate to it and it makes them open up their heart or they enjoy it, or they might see something in a different way, then, then that's okay. If a million people see it, same thing.

[00:13:43] It doesn't, you know, it's, it's about going ahead and put it showing up and putting it out there. And one day the woman said, you know, I need a, I need a bio from you so I can put it with your work. And initially I kind of felt you know, like it's like like a child or a teenager. Oh, I [00:14:00] don't want to fill out that form.

[00:14:01] Right. I felt that that, that, that conditioned response, like, oh God bio. And then I thought for God's six Janine, get over yourself. This is your bio. You can write whatever you want. And so I did, and the word started flying out of my hands. Once I gave myself that freedom and that, you know, permission, yes.

[00:14:24] Permission and the worst flew out of my hands and instinctively, or maybe it wasn't extensively. It was like something that was tapping on my shoulder, but it wasn't a physical tap in my, it intuitively something that peg. Go ahead and put a picture of one of the kids in the bio. So I looked and then I just went ahead and I put, I put on pepper, she's a black sheep.

[00:14:48] She's very beautiful girl. I put her picture into the bio and then I wrote the bio and then I kept hearing the words over and over again. And I will just read [00:15:00] the very last part of the bio. And then we came like, cause I know I'm talking a lot. This is long, this has been quite a journey. So I didn't know I was going to have an apparel line.

[00:15:14] I just, you know, I didn't know any of these things. I just knew that I know, I know what I knew more than anything. I knew who I loved and I love, I love the animals and, you know, love is the strongest. So at the very end of the bio, I wrote, this is my, my Pepper's picture. Be someone who cared. Be someone who shares compassion for all living beings.

[00:15:40] If your heart is not open openness, you may be in for a joyous surprise. I am no different than you. I love my friends. I cherish a safe home, a sound, sleep. The music of the birds look at me and then the equal sign on the upper right of the keyboard. I [00:16:00] swear, I swear. I swear was popping out of the keyboard.

[00:16:03] Look at me, I'm a of wards, a flying out of my hand, look at me, boom, equal sign, see yourself. And that was it. And then I knew, I CA like I knew that was like everything. And in that little bit, and I said, okay, good. Here's her bio. And then I kept hearing those words over and over again, and I was sleep. I'd wake up tossing and turning.

[00:16:28] Look at me, see yourself. And I go ahead, go for a walk. Look at me, see herself in the shower driving. I was like, okay. I go, I have my hands open. You know, like with somebody very expressive with her talking, I'm like, okay, all right, I got it. I'll create a product. And that was, that was the beginning of knowing that I needed something that wasn't just not just, but something additional than a print on a wall that maybe five people will see it, or 50 people were.

[00:16:58] I needed something that [00:17:00] was going to be seen so that they were seeing the way I was fortunate to see them and know them. Yeah.

[00:17:10] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:17:10] I love that so much. And I love that statement. Look at me, see yourself. So the, I guess the question is, do you have clothing lines with pictures of some of these beautiful. And do you have the quote underneath?

[00:17:26] Oh, yes. Yeah. Okay. I need that. I need them

[00:17:31] Jeanine Boubli: [00:17:31] pepper. Pepper was my first, you know, and Pepper's picture. And it says be someone who cares, be someone who shares compassion for all living beings and on the bottom. Look at me, see yourself. And I put my TM symbol there too.

[00:17:47] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:17:47] I love it. I love it. That is.

[00:17:49] So I'm going to max out my credit card. I can tell. So, so here's the thing you, you must. You must have [00:18:00] faced challenges and opposition to doing something like this. Right. And so, so I'm wondering if you can talk a little bit about what those challenges were and how you navigated them, because it's such an important process to go through and your wisdom can really help someone else who's going.

[00:18:19] I want to do this. I want to live a more compassionate life and I want to put my money where my mouth is. Right. But I'm scared. So if you could talk a little bit about the challenges of that and also about your strategy, how you did it. I would love, love, love to hear it.

[00:18:35] Jeanine Boubli: [00:18:35] Sure. I don't know that I had a strategy in my head.

[00:18:38]Like I, you know, I got like an outline. I'll do this and then I'll do this and I'll have a business plan. I wasn't. That's not really my, you know, my strong point. I will say though, that there, now that you're here talking about being scared, there is really nothing scared. Scary about following your heart.

[00:18:56] There is something very scary about not [00:19:00] following your heart. And if I did not follow my heart and say, like, after save, after my father passed, and then I healed and I started volunteering and I work for XYZ company and from, you know, and I was there from seven in the morning, you know, from commuting or whatever, till if I did not go ahead and honor my art and took and took the safer more supposedly like reliable, dependable income coming in path, I would have lost myself.

[00:19:39] Because for years, I've always wanted to do something with my creativity. I was always creative. I always believed in it. And I it has not, you know, I, I know, and like, I love my parents and you know, it has nothing to do with anything they did. It's just I was brought up, you go ahead, get a job. You work up the [00:20:00] corporate, you know, you work up the corporate ladder, you make the money or you make the do whatever.

[00:20:04] And then you do what you love when you have time. Or, you know, it's just they always supported my creativity. They did. It's just that maybe it wasn't as safe, you know, and the parent wants a child to be safe, which means pay your rent. Pay and take care of your responsibilities, right. And go on a certain path.

[00:20:26] But no, no, no. Sometimes we just all have to follow our own path. And so I would say that the most scary thing is not following something that's deep inside somebody. I that's what, that's, what, like, that's what really is happening. Like that's, that's that it means everything. I will say that you know, resources, obviously finances and things.

[00:20:49] It does cost money. It does take time. There's trial and error. I started off with a print on demand company. And then if the [00:21:00] shirts were not organic cotton and for some reason when somebody said to me, well, if you're, I'm all a bit kind of like an attitude, well, if you're all about the environment, what about organic cotton then in and out?

[00:21:10] And I said, Well, that's what I really wanted. And this woman from like SBA, small business administrative administration, she said, well, then why aren't you doing it? I said, because I can't find it now. Now it's a couple of years later it's more readily available, but still it's not as available. If somebody wants to do print on demand, which I'm not doing, everything's custom right now.

[00:21:32]It is more, it's more expensive. And yeah, so there's like, I, I, I've learned a lot of things. I don't know that I've made it easier for myself with some of my choices. I think some of the, like if I, if I had created if I just went ahead and pick the plain cotton shirt and did it the certain way, and didn't really care about the environment or whatever, or did this or that.

[00:21:57]Because, you know, cotton, it's not that cotton, so [00:22:00] so-so whatever, I'm not saying about cotton, but if I went ahead and maybe did what seemingly was a simpler way, seemingly simpler, I don't know that it would have really been a mirror of my values at the deepest level. And I was like, you know what, I'm not a kid.

[00:22:17] I've got to, not even if I was young though I wanted to stay true to myself and true to the product because it's more than a product. It's a hard, it's hard first, a product second.

[00:22:31] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:22:31] And you know, what's interesting talking to you about what you just said is that it's evident in talking with you for even just a few minutes.

[00:22:39]It's evident, it's evident that you put your heart first into your product. And I think, I think, you know, this is going to sound kind of Calculating. And that's not really what I mean, but I think people resonate with that and the people who need to be your customers will find you because they're looking for the same thing, you know, they're looking for that same [00:23:00] thing.

[00:23:00] And so the question then becomes for me, how do you get the word out? I mean, yes, you're on this podcast and I'm glad to get the word out too, to the people who are listening, but how do you get the word out that you have a heart-centered business that is all about, you know, supporting and being kind and compassionate to the beings who share the planet with, to, to the other animals on the planet?

[00:23:23] What. What do you do? And, and how does it work for you? Well,

[00:23:28] Jeanine Boubli: [00:23:28] I honestly don't know. I need to do more. I do, I do need to do more. We were because it's not a cop out because of COVID, but you know, it was always nice to maybe be involved with pop-ups. We were involved in a couple of pop-ups this way I could speak directly to the people whoever was coming by and share some of the story.

[00:23:50] And or even like, just to witness people's reactions and hear what they had to say and hear their experiences with different either [00:24:00] animals or life or what they resonated with and have them share. I do miss that we were in three fashion shows. We were at a vegan fashion show. And yeah, I can remember driving to Atlantic city and it was like such an exciting thing because it was my first fashion show.

[00:24:20] And I had my flip flops on my hair was like a mess. And, but I had the, I had the products and it ended up, I ended up having no children models, you know, male models and, you know, women models. And it was just such a wonderful opportunity. And I, I remember that at the end of like all the different designers clothing, when they were presenting them, the The founders or whoever created the clothing like me and the other people, the other people in, I, they needed to go, you know, behind the models, you know, and everybody walks down like this little runway and they, they clap their hands and whatever.

[00:24:59] And I [00:25:00] still have my flip flops,

[00:25:06] like five in the morning at four in the morning, but I didn't care because you know, when you're following your heart, it's like, all right, this is an opportunity. All systems go, who chairs, you know, there's no time to care about that. You just want to make sure that, you know, the kids are, are, they, they liked their shirt, like, like it fits right.

[00:25:23] And they understand, they understand who they're representing. It's not just a shirt. It's, it's a, it's a heart and a soul. And they know about the animals beforehand and they understand the words behind them. If they're wearing something with words. So the fashion show, and then so, and then there was one at national geographic, so I'm just.

[00:25:42] In off to the side for a second, because that was a good opportunity to, to get in front of people. It was a sustainable fashion show at national geographic and yeah, in DC, no, no. In Manhattan times square, right in times square, that was a big deal. And very exciting. [00:26:00] And cat who put it together an amazing woman.

[00:26:03] And she actually gave me one child model that I didn't know, I was going to be able to have a child wouldn't, you know, as a universe would have it. I had a perfect shirt, actually. He wore assault shirt the fine art piece of salt in his thighs at home. So I could bring it to the fashion show. Like the next day it was just the way everything worked.

[00:26:22] And that was a wonderful opportunity to get in front of people who might not all be for the, you know, who, who, who. That that might not love animals or might love animals, but not, yeah, I love all animals or maybe they love all animals and they have never known as she personally, or a rooster or a goat, you know?

[00:26:45] And there was this big, huge wall and the pictures of the kids were blown up on this wall. So there was no way that somebody couldn't see them and then, you know, the models, you know, they, they were great. They were amazing. So, so that [00:27:00] was a way of bringing them their message and red tail moon in front of people that might not have been searching for it Googling online.

[00:27:12] You know? So that was a, that was a, that was a great opportunity. And also it was a sustainable fashion show. And what we brought to that I believe is the concept of ethical treatment of all animals into the sustainable conversation. Talk about that after, but that was very, very important because I that's, that's, that's not always the case.

[00:27:33] There's a little bit of a disconnect there or oversight. And I know that well we both know that I've got to now like reach out to press and do those pitches and get it going and get it out there because it's not going to happen if I don't start knocking on more doors, you know, and it's getting, I, you know, getting to that point, I have met people through you know, some great conversations on [00:28:00] clubhouse and connecting with some people that I've wanted to connect with and that well know or now know what I'm about and what red tail moon's about.

[00:28:11] Where if I didn't go ahead and knock on the door, open the door. Or open my ears or speak up in these conversations. They, you know, how are they going to know?

[00:28:23] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:28:23] Sure. And that that's the thing is then you meet people who can elevate what you're saying and get it out to a bigger audience, which

[00:28:33] Jeanine Boubli: [00:28:33] it is, it has for sure.

[00:28:36] Yeah. Aberrations. I would, I there is a woman who's going to write about ethical, I mean, ethical, she's going to write about, she has she creates vegan handbags and Rachel, moon's going to be one of her ethical crushes that she writes about. So yeah. So that's nice and more of that. And I would love to connect collaborate with a large company.

[00:28:59]I believe [00:29:00] what a red tin moon's all about and the quality of the designs and. That everything about it is worthy of that. And I think that a company whose heart isn't in the same place will appreciate that. But I do think it has to be all about heart a connection of heart, because those are the strongest connections.

[00:29:20] No,

[00:29:21] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:29:21] for sure. And you know, I feel like Stella McCartney, if you're listening, you should. Yeah.

[00:29:27] Jeanine Boubli: [00:29:27] Yeah. Call me, here's my number.

[00:29:33] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:29:33] So something about the big disconnect, and this is sort of the sustainable conversation with respect to how we, how we treat the animals we share the planet with I'm. Can you, can you talk a little bit about, more about what that means and, and what the importance of it is as far as bringing ethical treatment of all animals to the discussion.

[00:29:58] Jeanine Boubli: [00:29:58] Right. It's very, very [00:30:00] important. I just recently, you know, Hermes they, they now they just, they started advertising about launching a new line of bags of you know, created from mushrooms. Right. And so this was, I saw, I saw this on LinkedIn. I already heard about it and I had to speak up because, okay, it's great.

[00:30:23] If somebody is trying new things and it's better for the environment, that's great. At the same time. At the same time, there are crocodile farms, thousands and thousands, and thousands of crocodiles being bred. In these swampy looking pools or whatever. The, I, you know, I don't want to be pointing my finger at anybody.

[00:30:44] This is just, this is the truth. This is the truth. I'm not making this up. And nobody brought this up in this one discussion. I said, well, this might be great, but at the same time, what about all of the crocodiles? And then they're going to be like skinned [00:31:00] and to be somebody who's back. So does this mean that this company is going it's cha has a change of heart?

[00:31:07] So which I don't want to speak for somebody because I'm not that company. So, you know people can make their own judgments and I don't want to be judging anybody just, but at the same time, no judgment and speak up for those that can't speak up for themselves. So I needed to speak up for the crocodiles.

[00:31:26] And so the disconnect like, you know, there's. You know, people, not people, but this sustainable conversation, I initially thought, okay, sustainable people care about the environment and they're talking about the ocean, but they're talking and they're talking about, you know, plastic and garbage and wait a minute, wait a minute.

[00:31:49] What about the fish? What about the Marine? You know, the wildlife in the sea. What about what about the sheep and the goats and the hens and [00:32:00] the roosters and you know, like, and the ducks and the pigs, like what, doesn't somebody, you know, like who I know people do care. Why is that not being brought up in the discussion?

[00:32:11] And the thing is what sustainable people are concerned about the environment and global warming. And the truth is animal agriculture is. Horrible for the environment. It's not even a little bit. It is extremely hard. Horrible. There's excessive CO2 production methane. Let's see. Yeah. I have some notes here just to make sure that I pronounce everything correctly.

[00:32:37] Methane nitrous, oxide production. There is top soil, you know, like the soil, they, they feed well, there's also like deforestation there's the water supply. There's the tanneries like if you know, the, the Tanner is once somebody has like weather light, leather cows, [00:33:00] a cow skin there's chemicals in that they, they feed that the innocent animals, they feed them all kinds of chemicals and hormones to fatten them up, to keep them healthy until they.

[00:33:14] They killed them. They kill them so they can become somebodies meal. And then that's, I mean, and that's the end of that. So I don't know if I went off on a tangent. They're like there we've been brought up. I mean, I did not know certain things growing up as a child. I did not know. I mean, I became vegetarian pretty much during college.

[00:33:34] Well, I gave, I gave, I didn't give up. I gave for E a T horrible word. But I'm not, I'm not, I'm not eating, I'm not eating that anymore. I, I wasn't, I wasn't vegan then, but I just, something was wrong. I just like, I didn't want any part of it. And I we've been brought up. We've all been brought up with advertising.

[00:33:57]The, like [00:34:00] the cows. I mean, how many, how many people growing up or kids grow up thinking, oh the cows, the cows milk is for its baby. I don't think a child thinks that. I know, I didn't think that I just thought that ignorance or not knowing as a child, a cow produces milk growing up, you know, the, those parameds you know, make sure you have your milk, make sure you have your protein, the meat, the meat that, this, and the, that I could say, if they knew better, who created that shame on them, shame on them because that pyramid didn't help anybody at all.

[00:34:35] It didn't help the animals. It didn't help the environment and it didn't help people's health, if anything, it harmed every, all of them. So now that we know better, we can make better choices. So with a sustainable conversation whether it was at like the fashion show or a group that I was part of there sometimes there were people that just didn't want to hear it.

[00:34:58] They didn't, or, [00:35:00] or, and some people didn't care and some people here, but they weren't going to change for whatever reason. I'm not here to go ahead and tell somebody you've got to do this, or you got to do that. I'm all about Nope. Live your life. Freedom for everybody. And that includes also freedom for the animals.

[00:35:19] And it means freedom, like cruelty free don't cause any harm to anybody it's like it's, it's causing harm to them. It's actually causing harm back to the people because of you know, the environment and it just, it's not healthy. It's not healthy for them. And yeah, I could go on and on and on. I don't know.

[00:35:39] Did I go off on a tangent?

[00:35:42] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:35:42] I know you didn't go off on a tangent. I think, I think that it's such a huge topic and obviously one that you're so passionate about and one that I'm passionate about too, that, that there's so much to cover in a question like that, that it's not a tangent. It's more like, and then I can plumb a deeper depth and go [00:36:00] even further and talking about this is.

[00:36:03] It sometimes feels to me like, like you're screaming into a void because so many times I've had a similar conversation with someone who tells me, well, we have canine teeth, therefore we must, you know, and I'm like, you know what, quite frankly, those canines, you know, Silverback, gorillas have much bigger canines than be doing that.

[00:36:27] So, no, that's not a valid argument, but, but at the same time, there is, there is this feeling that I get, that there is a machine, a marketing machine. And, and I'm sorry if you're a marketer and you're listening to this, I have nothing against marketers, but I feel like some of the really big companies have marketing machines behind them that make things that they put things out that make you think like doing what they say.

[00:36:56] Yes. The only way, you know, and so, [00:37:00] so that's why, when I'm asking you these questions about Redtail moon, I'm talking about, I'm talking to an entrepreneur, a business owner who has chosen consciously to do something differently. And so then I start to wonder, how do you, how does any small business owner go up against such a, such a, a behemoth of, of marketing as, as something like animal agriculture or, or, you know, and we even saying that, honestly, shouldn't eat like saying animal, the slaughter of animals for human consumption, you know?

[00:37:39] So, so, so, so. So when we look at that, how, you know, how do you do that? What is your process? I'm probably gonna, I have to be very honest. I'm probably gonna lose a ton of listeners with this episode, but I think it's so incredible.

[00:37:52] Jeanine Boubli: [00:37:52] Not, I hope, I hope not. I hope if anything, you get more listeners, because I hope that whoever might not want to hear [00:38:00] what we're sharing right now, maybe just some maybe because it's shared from our hearts and not to go there's no, it's not intentionally pointing fingers at anybody.

[00:38:15] It's an awareness. It's an appreciation. It's coming from a bigger space than you or from me. It's coming from a bigger space is coming from what needs to be said, what needs to be shared. And it's the people that are not aware yet or who don't care yet, which I I'm listening to. I'm hearing myself now, which is like that.

[00:38:42] Perhaps we'll benefit even more from, you know, the, their, their, their lives will expand. Their heart might expand there. They may have more, they'll have better health. I mean, unless they eat all those yummy, delicious vegan treats and that's, you know, cause there's so many options, [00:39:00] but , it's, you know, even on like the energy level, M O God, to think to, to think that I ever wanted.

[00:39:11] It's just like, it's, it's horrifying. If I think that, I mean, as a child and not knowing there was the disconnect and just nothing looks like what it is and the supermarkets, it's all like, It's all like a lie, you know, say it's a cow or say, this is a, you know, just see the eyeballs here are the screams.

[00:39:34] That's every, every single living being you and I, and everybody listening, we all want, it's like this, we all want a safe home. Right. We that's something else. I didn't share this. I don't know why it kind of came up now, but it came up. They all want to say Paul, they're all like, I mean, it's more comfortable to be a peace, right.

[00:39:53] Then, then anxiety around or intense things going on. We all like to be with our friends, you [00:40:00] know, real friends, somebody who gets us at a deeper level to share, or just even like, just, just enjoy a breeze on a warm day. Like I've seen the headlines, you know, their friends and it, little warm Breeza, that's it.

[00:40:11] That's all they need. How beautiful is that? It's they're no different. They are no different than us. They are no different, they look different. I think some of them are probably cuter than us definitely care. And I may, you know, I mean, if I was called a, you know, like I brought this up the other day with somebody, even the English language, like, you know, the, the how, okay.

[00:40:30] So we're talking about the big companies and advertising and things and marketing. So, I mean, maybe it's not just the English language language and the terms use including animals. Oh, it's a pick style or Ooh, you kill, or, you know, don't be chicken, like, excuse me. But I don't really like, because I don't like that C word either.

[00:40:54] I like hens and roosters because I associate C with the store, you know, people eat [00:41:00] back. But the thing is if somebody called me a C, H I C K E N, or a hen or a rooster or a pig, I would be honored. Because there's no more like, genuine than that, you know?

[00:41:13] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:41:13] For sure for sure. I actually have taken, I have a huge list that I've been keeping for years now of animal metaphors that I've turned into vegan metaphors.

[00:41:26] So, so, well, the, the, I don't have a dog in this fight has become, I don't have a pie in this contest. So things like that I've gone through and I've, I've done so many of those. Let's see killing two birds with one stone has become petting two cats with one hand.

[00:41:49] Jeanine Boubli: [00:41:49] So I have this huge list

[00:41:51] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:41:51] because it is, it is about awareness, I think.

[00:41:54] And that's something that I'd love to talk with you about is this notion of increasing awareness, because with [00:42:00] these sayings, you know, when I say, when I say to someone, well, I don't have a chili in this cook-off and I go, wait, what? And I'm like, yeah, I don't like to say, I don't have a horse in this race.

[00:42:09] I say, I don't have a chili in this cook-off or I don't have a PI in this contest. And so people go, that's really odd. Why do you do that? And then I explain and they go, I never. Thought of that. And you know, the horrible one for me is more than one way to skin. A cat has become, there's more than one way to eat a potato.

[00:42:29] And I love the, so that's what I've done. And so the question is for me to you is raising awareness. What do we need to do, do you think, because I do, I'm a, I'm a communicator first. And so for me, it's language in one way or another. And so I decided to do these vegan metaphors instead of using the animal cruelty ones.

[00:42:52] And so, so what is, what do we do? What does someone who is who's a creative in this way that you are, what do [00:43:00] you do? How do you have those conversations? Is it that you let them see the art and then talk about it? Or is it. Is it a push from you? Like, okay. I guess the question I'm asking is, is it more of a push out to people or is it more of a pull in for them to get curious and then come to you?

[00:43:17] How do you do it? How do you have those conversations? I think

[00:43:19] Jeanine Boubli: [00:43:19] it's both because I, sometimes that conversation happens even if say I'm in the grocery store and I'm not wearing a red tail moon shirt, or I'm not at a place speaking it out, red tail moon. Somebody might be at the, you know, they're at the checkout and you know, they're smiling, you know, some people, most people smile at each other.

[00:43:40] Well, now we have, you know, masks on. So you can't tell they're smiling, but you can tell a little bit from somebody's eyes and you know not that I want to have this reaction, but it's very difficult being in supermarket. Sometimes I consciously avoid certain miles should go ahead and, you know, somebody.

[00:43:56]Yeah. You know, like at the checkout somebody said sadness [00:44:00] to some, to me. Oh, I am, you know, I'm smiling under this mask. And I say, Oh yeah, great. You know, hope you're having a nice day. And if I happen to see a piece of my friend's body it's not funny at all. It's kind of horrified in their card automatically.

[00:44:15] And it's unconscious. I'm sure that I've got this, not wanting to offend them, but it offends me, but I don't want somebody else's actions to offend me, but it does. It's, you know, it's like somebody's child, you know, if they, if, if there was somebody's child in there, they would, they would understand. And then they might say, because I wasn't happy.

[00:44:38] And only a couple of times Oh, is there something the matter? And I said, well, I have to him, you know, I happen to love all animals and take this from heart. That's like, That's my, that's my part of my friends, Bobby in there. And so you know, I hope you enjoy your day. I mean, what am I going to say?

[00:44:57] But with the shirts, you know there's a strong [00:45:00] message in there. The reason I did not consciously say, oh, I'm going to, well, pepper was the first, you know, and she had a message of compassion and then I wanted more messages of compassionate. But I also used salts our piece from that was from the beginning, right from, you know, what the adult the Adobe user growth and that it kind of came together.

[00:45:23] It didn't consciously come together. It came together and it's like, it has a life of its own if you will. And I saw that I had messages of compassion and people could connect with the animals by reading a message of compassion. They don't mind the messages, don't say You're a horrible person because you're eating my friend.

[00:45:42] I got not going to do that. Who am I to judge? I I'm in a, who am I? I mean, I'm not missing whatever. I'm human too. And I didn't know any better before. Cause I think if I did, I think I would have changed. I would hope I would have changed, you know, and then fine art pieces, artsy pieces that [00:46:00] somebody might resonate with because it's artistic looking and it's pretty and there's underlying intention of connecting with each animal through an art piece as well.

[00:46:13] And then there's the messages, you know, there's original poetry. And then there's you know, the bold text text is a bold statement, like the ethic L that's also, you know, text as a bold statement. So there's different ways through this. Different designs of connecting with different a different audience, if you will.

[00:46:32] That, that's what I hope. That's what I hope. You know, so yeah, so other ways I know that, but when I'm at, at, when I'm at the forum where I volunteer, which is a sanctuary now it was a dairy barn years ago. When people come and visit sometimes, you know, they, they might see, you know, they might come a few times.

[00:46:53] They might come more than a few times. It might be their first time. So if I'm there and I'm able to, I like to share a little bit [00:47:00] about the animal's personality. Definitely, definitely, definitely get, have them get eye level, like we have this amazing Turkey Liberty while we all the, all of the turkeys are amazing.

[00:47:09] And this little girl was visiting with her parents and I said, oh, come over here. You know, you can, you know, I'll have you meet, you know, Liberty and. So the little girl, like she stabbed me in there, but you know, Liberty of course is a little bit shorter than a little girl. And I said, you know, and I was already crouched down.

[00:47:26] I said, you know what, why don't you all crouch down? So we're all at the same level. And then you can look right into her eyes. And then a little girl started going.

[00:47:40] I said, you love her, don't you? She goes, yeah, I don't know how happy her parents were if they were going to have whatever for dinner or whatever, but you know what she connected. And so, I mean, in other places, you know what I feel like it's, I think like for you too, it's where everywhere we go, you know,

[00:48:00] [00:48:00] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:48:00] it's an opportunity for sure.

[00:48:02] I think, and yet the thing is for me, like I, until I, until I became a vegetarian and I will save that story for another day, I think I've done a podcast episode about it. I. Excuse me. I had a lot of animals. I have to admit that. Yeah. And, and I, and you know what, I can feel bad about it for only so long because I think feeling bad about it for me anyway, is a, it's a waste of energy because I did it, I accept it and now I can do better.

[00:48:34] And I think that's a lot of what this is for me, you know, except that you are capable of what you did resolve to do better and then act on that resolution. So when you do that, when you, when you yourself resolve to do better, whatever that means for you, what forms does it take in your daily life?

[00:48:56] Jeanine Boubli: [00:48:56] When I resolve to do better by me.

[00:48:59] Well, just like [00:49:00] what you said, you know, not to, to not rehash certain things, 'cause it doesn't, it doesn't change anything because our paths, I mean, I eat animals as a child and as a teenager I wish I did it. I really do wish I did it. But I did and I wasn't as conscious of certain things. But then I became, and then I changed.

[00:49:20]The past is really over for, I mean, yesterday and any day before those days are they could be great memories or not great memories and they're not our today except for what we choose to bring with us. So I can catch myself in certain thoughts sometimes. Or, oh, you know, maybe I should've done this or I could've done this.

[00:49:42] Or even with red tail moments, like, oh, I spend most of my resources, like, excuse my language, but. Can we, can I curse on here? I was like, fuck,

[00:49:55] you don't because I've had symbols from the universe, if you will. And I've [00:50:00] had amazing magical things happen in my life. And I've also put myself kind of into a bit of a challenging temporary predicament, if you will, at times too. So what I would say that what do we do? I go back to my reason.

[00:50:24] Why does that, does that make sense?

[00:50:28] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:50:28] Absolutely. I mean, if that's your answer. Yes.

[00:50:32] Jeanine Boubli: [00:50:32] Yeah, yeah. It's

[00:50:33] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:50:33] I think that's a great answer. I think going back to basics, what, why am I doing what I'm doing? What is, what are the reasons I'm doing it? Yeah, that makes so much sense to me on some very deep levels, because I think that's sort of introspection when you face yourself.

[00:50:49] With honesty and heart, you can't lie to yourself, you know, and we're really good at diluting ourselves. So as, as, as a

[00:50:57] Jeanine Boubli: [00:50:57] species, yeah, I

[00:50:58] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:50:58] could be good at that. [00:51:00] Yeah. Everybody can. I don't think there's anybody who has not lied to themselves every once in a while, but in your heart of hearts, you know, the truth.

[00:51:06] So you can lie to yourself only so long before you have to pay the Piper and the Piper's you. So at some point you kind of go, well, I'm going to have to face this, whatever this is, and we all have a different path there to that, to that point. You know? So, so the question that I have, you, you mentioned ethic Al for a little bit ago, and I would love it.

[00:51:27] If you would talk a little bit about that, because the, the photograph that we took together, I take a little screenshots so that people can see what's going to be on the show coming up. So it's going to go up a little bit later today. Yeah. It's so exciting. It's so I love, I love having those little pictures that say, look what is going to be on the show.

[00:51:44] Yay. So talk to me and you're wearing an ethic Al. Shirt and I'd love it. If you could talk a little bit about what that is and, and what, what inspired you, what was the, what was the moment in the creative spark that got you there?

[00:51:58] Jeanine Boubli: [00:51:58] Oh, sure, sure. So I [00:52:00] was sitting in this big chair that I've got and I you know, I've been frustrated or challenged with acceptance with that disconnect of ethical treatment of all animals being included in this, in quotes, sustainable conversation, why it's been either disconnected or overlooked?

[00:52:19] I think like an oversight. I think it might be uncomfortable. People don't want to bring it up. They don't want to stir up whatever it is and yet. It's important for every reason for me animals first. So I was sitting on the chair and I, I happened to, I was just, you know, chilling a bit and I was like ethical, ethical, ethical, ethical ethics.

[00:52:44] Oh, ah, I saw it. I saw it as old as I saw it. I saw design my eyes were closed and I saw it in my eye through my eyes. I saw this design ethic. Oh. So I went straight over [00:53:00] to my computer and open up illustrator and I typed up exactly what I saw with the bold font and the scripty part and the accent mark on the L and the last Ian, I know that's not the correct.

[00:53:17] Accent mark in French. And I'm okay with that. It's artistic license. That's what I saw. That's what came to me. And it was so strong. It was like, look at me, see herself. When I knew there was something there I'm like, that's it that says everything with epic elk came to me. I was like, that's it? And it's something that I know just to be out there more.

[00:53:38] And so it says the design ethic, L a strong and confident woman who is compassionate. Heart includes love. Wait, I'm sorry. Love and respect for all animals and mother nature

[00:53:56] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:53:56] so much. I need that shirt. I'm again, I'm going to max out my [00:54:00] credit card. I think that's so that's right. That's at the heart of what I believe.

[00:54:05] So you're speaking directly to my heart when you, when you read that, you know what I really want to honor for a second here. And I think it's so important to do this is that you listen to your inspirations that you went, oh, I see it. I know it. And you didn't go, ah, Nan, nevermind. Or, oh, it won't be any good or, oh, I'm going to discount it or, oh, I have to go wash the dishes you stopped and you went, let me put this down so that I have it so that I honor that creative spark when it comes.

[00:54:37] And I'm wondering, do you have just do, is it just who you are that that happens or do you have any sort of. PR creative practice or any sort of, I'm going to build an awareness for this so that I can grab it when it comes. What, what is your

[00:54:52] Jeanine Boubli: [00:54:52] process there? I would say that creativity like that comes when it wills, you know?

[00:54:58]But I feel like it's like a [00:55:00] spiritual, spiritual connect. It's like a connection with something much greater than me. And I do have a spiritual practice. I've always been on spiritual in the sense that organized religion was never, never did it for me, but if I was out in nature, That did it for me or being creative that did it for me.

[00:55:19]A universal truth that did it for me, something that was all inclusive. And so I, I, you know, I journal most mornings. I, I journal, I think you mentioned Julia camera and once that the artist's way. So I had many, many books and books and journals and things, and I remember even once moving from New Jersey back into Manhattan and having like all of these journals and my closet, and I said, oh, I looked at them and I said, oh, you know what?

[00:55:48] You need to go because I've lived you and it's okay to release you. So as far as the spiritual practice, I've also recently, this is after all of these [00:56:00] creations, but I have very happily Notice more synchronicity in my life this past month I started meditating again. I love there's a insight timer or an app

[00:56:11] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:56:11] that happens.

[00:56:12] Jeanine Boubli: [00:56:12] I love it. Right. It's great. And they have, you know, you don't, you can pay for it or if there's a million meditations that are, you don't have to pay for. And it's great. There's a great variety. And yeah, so I really love that. So I've been doing that. So I meditate now. I, it doesn't have to be hours and hours and hours a bit in the morning before I get out of bed, I go ahead, make my tea.

[00:56:36] I journal. And the evening before I go to sleep, just recently, like in the last week I started listening, listening to something. Before I go to sleep, I'm always like asleep before it's there. Yeah. And I also have to bet and singing bowls. Are they the best?

[00:56:51] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:56:51] Yes. Yes. I had a whole set at one point. I love them.

[00:56:55] Jeanine Boubli: [00:56:55] Wow. Yes. And the vibrations from the singing bowls is as if [00:57:00] the ocean is, it's like an ocean, like ocean, I, I feel like it's an ocean kind of a roar, but it, doesn't not, it's this bike back and forth and who like, sounds much better than that. And I can tell him, like I know, but sound like, but it's a very, very powerful, energetic vibe that yeah, that, that also that whenever, you know, I bring that into my life that also increased, it increases the creativity things that come to me visually word wise just feel connected and more at keys, if you will not scattered or.

[00:57:41] The locks I feel open. Open. Yeah.

[00:57:45] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [00:57:45] Yeah. I love, I love that notion of being, being mindful and letting the creativity flow from that space. I I've gotten increasingly [00:58:00] fascinated by the space between when an idea strikes and when you put words to it, you know, in that, in that instant, you can discount a completely or you can go, no, no, I'm going to stay open to this and see what happens.

[00:58:12] And it sounds to me like you have, like, you have embraced that aspect of you and I have an entire framework that I talk about with my coaching clients, about how we can be agile, innovative, and mindful. And that is what leads to gratitude. And that is what leads to inspiration. And that is what leads to happiness and increased health, all sorts of things.

[00:58:34] And so, so when you do that, when you're in that, and when you're in that head and heart space, Of creating. This is a strange little question. Do you lose time?

[00:58:43] Jeanine Boubli: [00:58:43] Yes. There's no sense of, there is no sense of time at all. I mean, there's hours can go by. I mean, it can anything, there's only a few times, a few cases when that happens a lot to lose [00:59:00] sense of time.

[00:59:00] It's being with the animals, it's being in a nature and it's when something creative bursts itself through us. Right. It's like it has a life of its own. And also everything's okay. It's everything is okay. It's not, oh, I've got to do this. Or, oh, shoot, how am I going to do that? Or it's like, it's, it's a knowing.

[00:59:28] It's a deep knowing that no matter why everything's okay. Keep on going. It's not about what comes back from the outside. Just keep on going and trust. Because there is a journey that all of us, you know, we all have our own unique journeys. We might all feel love and happiness or sadness and all different things, but we do all have our own unique journey and it's up to us to honor.

[00:59:56] What's deep inside of us, no matter [01:00:00] what everybody has something to share that. It's not only valuable to them, but that can actually also help others,

[01:00:08] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:00:08] you know? Absolutely. And I feel like what you just said, really doves dovetails beautifully into, and there's an animal metaphor. I have to think of a different one now because because every time I noticed myself saying them, I go, Oh, that's another one you have to change.

[01:00:23] So so the, the, the thing about that is that it does, it's it, it's going to coincide some with this notion of allowing yourself to. Be conscious about the contributions that you make. Right? So, so on some level, yes, we all have our own journey, but I think one of the signs of knowing yourself is also knowing, choosing how you will participate in, in this life.

[01:00:56] Yes. So, so there there's something so powerful there to me [01:01:00] with what you just said about that, because, because it really does relate very well to being a conscious participant in your life rather than. Almost in a bystander or, or an observer. Hold on one second. Oh God, I'm gonna have to quiet myself down here.

[01:01:19] Cause I'm coughing maniac here.

[01:01:23] Jeanine Boubli: [01:01:23] Maybe get some water.

[01:01:25] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:01:25] Oh, I'm drinking water. But sometimes when, I don't know if this happens to you, but sometimes when I get really passionate about what I'm saying,

[01:01:34] so, and I'm very, very passionate about this subject. I think, I think the notion of living. It's weird to say cruelty-free because, because we, we don't, I don't think anybody wants to go or, or maybe, maybe there are some people who do, but I think a lot of us, most of us don't want to think of ourselves as being cruel.

[01:01:53] And yet there, there are times that we have to face some pretty hard truths about who we are, and that's [01:02:00] not, again, it's not a judgment. It's more of a fact. Everybody has to face, like you said, we all have contribution we can make, and everybody has to face. Themselves and, and their, their beliefs and their behaviors.

[01:02:12] And no one, no one else can do it for you on some level. So, so I'm so grateful that you have been here willing to share your story and your wisdom. And I'd love to ask, Oh, I love the bird in the background. That was great. Oh

[01:02:30] yeah. I can hear it. That's beautiful. Oh, beautiful. I I'm a huge fan of bird calls, even though I don't, I don't know. I don't know how to differentiate too many of them, but I think they're beautiful.

[01:02:41] Jeanine Boubli: [01:02:41] So happy that you're here and giving. This opportunity to me and to all your listeners. Oh, that's,

[01:02:48] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:02:48] that's very sweet.

[01:02:49] Thank you. My goodness. I love it.

[01:02:54] Well, the birds going, I've got something to say here too. So sorry. So what's next for [01:03:00] you and for red tail moon,

[01:03:02] Jeanine Boubli: [01:03:02] what's next for me is getting off my unit lot and reaching out to no, it's true. It's true. It's been like it, sometimes things sometimes it's easier to walk forward because there's something that, and sometimes it's uncomfortable not to walk forward and I'm at that place where it's uncomfortable not to go ahead and give it everything that it's got because it's every, it does mean everything to me.

[01:03:29] So I'm planning on yes, I will do it. Go ahead and send some pitches out to different media and. See how I can collaborate with Stella. Are you there Stella McCartney? We're

[01:03:45] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:03:45] calling

[01:03:45] Jeanine Boubli: [01:03:45] you yes. Stella or somebody else like that. That might have the wisdom or things that know things that I don't know in maybe the retail industry to get [01:04:00] it to where it really does.

[01:04:04] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:04:04] yeah.

[01:04:05] Jeanine Boubli: [01:04:05] Went into collaborations and anybody, anybody listening to this as any comments or suggestions or conversation? What, well, you know, wants to know why does so and credibly special about it? Spending quiet time with sheep or not quiet time or anything. Yeah, I'm, I'm, I'm really open. I'm an open heart and but right

[01:04:28] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:04:28] now, well, so, so they're, they're, they're, you're, you're, you're leading me beautifully down this particular path.

[01:04:35] How can someone who is interested in finding out more about red tail moon find you?

[01:04:40] Jeanine Boubli: [01:04:40] Oh, sure. So you can go to well, I'm on Instagram. I'm at red tail moon. So red Shalmar is spelled R E D T a L E M O O N T L like the moon. It is an honor of the red tail Hawk. But that's a whole nother story, but red tail moon [01:05:00] on Instagram red tail moon is also on Facebook.

[01:05:03] I do not do a lot of things with Facebook, but I guess I probably, well and also red And my website, which is tail T a L EMR. And then you get to see the different designs that we spoke about and you know, some pictures of the journey so far and clubhouse I'm at Janine bublé.

[01:05:32] So that's at you know, the at symbol, Jenny, J E a N I N E B, like boy, O U B, like boy L I, and there are, there has been some interesting conversations, great conversations on clubhouse. So connect with me anyway. Any, any way anywhere I would love to hear from you.

[01:05:50] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:05:50] And I'm going to have to find you in clubhouse too.

[01:05:52] So because I don't want to connect connected on there yet. Yeah. And, and the thing about this, I'm going to put all of these on the show notes, but I find that it's also [01:06:00] really good if you say it because people learn different in different ways. So you'll be able to find these links on the show notes, and you'll be able to also, if you heard them and you want to write them down, find Janine, obviously she's doing amazing, incredible, inspiring, and gorgeous all at the same time, work on, on behalf of the animals.

[01:06:19] And I I'm so thrilled that you were on the show.

[01:06:24] Jeanine Boubli: [01:06:24] Thank you so much for having me.

[01:06:26] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:06:26] It's my, my absolute honor and pleasure. I have one last question. And if you've listened to the episodes, you know what the question is? So I have one last question that I ask everybody who comes on the show, and it's a silly question, but I find that it yields poignant answers.

[01:06:40] And the question is this. If you had an airplane that could sky write anything for the whole world to see, what would you say.

[01:06:49] Jeanine Boubli: [01:06:49] I would say, live from your heart and share that love with all living beads.

[01:06:57] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:06:57] That's succinct. I love it.

[01:07:01] [01:07:00] Jeanine Boubli: [01:07:01] I love it. It encompasses everything right.

[01:07:04] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:07:04] I think it does. I think it does.

[01:07:06] And, and it's so it's such a, it's again, it's poignant. It's a poignant reminder that we can, that every single one of us can do that at any time. That's one thing. That's one thing that I would love to sort of say right now actually, is that. You can change. You can change your mind. You can change your behavior.

[01:07:27] Believe me, if you knew, how, how much of a hardcore carnivore I was, I wasn't even an omnivore when I was a kid. And now I'm a hardcore vegan, you

[01:07:36] Jeanine Boubli: [01:07:36] know? Yes, yes, yes.

[01:07:38] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:07:38] You know, we can all, and, and this is not about judgment. I'm not going, you must do this, but I, but I am saying that if you decide that you want to look at any, anything in yourself, in your life, in your work and make changes, then the first step is becoming aware that you want to make changes, sort of knowing yourself.

[01:07:59] And, [01:08:00] and for me, that has been the artist's way from, by Julia Cameron writing my little morning pages since 1997 and also a meditation. Like I, I am such an advocate for finding even five minutes a day. Doesn't have to be long to breathe. To, to center yourself and to breathe and to just be with your, with yourself.

[01:08:23] So, and I know I love Janine that you said that you do that because I go, well, of course she does. Yes. That makes total sense. So, so I'm so grateful that you're doing the work you're doing on behalf of the animals. And thank you so much for being on the show. And thank you for last week's episode was captain Paul Watson.

[01:08:41] He would not have been on the show without you tagging me and saying, Oh my story, I have to get in touch with them. So thank you so much for doing that. Of

[01:08:49] Jeanine Boubli: [01:08:49] course you got, you have the same heart. And also I want to thank Liao because if we L did not tag you in a post, she connected you and I.

[01:09:00] [01:09:00] Yes,

[01:09:01] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:09:01] she did.

[01:09:02] That's absolutely right. Yes. Yes. Yes. That's so fantastic. I love it. I love these little relationships that are it's. It's like, it's like a beautiful, it's like a beautiful web. It really is. I love it. Love it. Yeah.

[01:09:12] Jeanine Boubli: [01:09:12] And Gloria started it. So there we go.

[01:09:16] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:09:16] So we're doing all the sh this is the shout-out portion of the show.

[01:09:19] This is a shout out.

[01:09:22] Jeanine Boubli: [01:09:22] You have a shout out to the peeps

[01:09:24] Izolda Trakhtenberg: [01:09:24] that's right, right. Absolutely. Well, thank you again, Janine, this has been the innovative mindset podcast. I am Isolde Trachtenberg. If you're enjoying the show, please do me a favor. Leave a review on the apple podcast website for the show. Let me know what you're thinking.

[01:09:40] I would love to hear from you about what you think, what you want the show to be, because in many ways, it's about, it's driven very much by the people who listen. So until next time I remind you to listen, learn, laugh, and love a whole lot.

[01:10:02] [01:10:00] Thanks so much for joining me today. I really appreciate you being here, subscribe to the podcast, if you're new, and if you like what you're hearing, please review it and rate it and let other people know. And if you'd like to be a sponsor of the show, I'd love to meet you on mindset.

[01:10:20] I also have lots of exclusive goodies to share just with the show supporters. There today's episode was produced by his old attract and Bergen is copyright 2021 as always. Please remember, this is for educational and entertainment purposes. Only past performance does not guarantee future results, although we can always hope until next time, keep living in your innovative mind.



Captain Paul Watson, Conservationist and Environmental Activist

Captain Paul Watson, Conservationist and Environmental Activist

June 7, 2021

Captain Paul Watson on the Crisis We Face and the Innovative and Creative Ways We Can Save the Planet and Also Ourselves

news-160825-1-1-Captain-Paul-Watson-2009-10-A...Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian marine conservation activist, who founded the direct-action group Sea Shepherd in 1977. Watson was one of the founding members and directors of Greenpeace. In 1977, he left Greenpeace and founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. A renowned speaker, accomplished author, master mariner, and lifelong environmentalist, Captain Watson has been awarded many honors for his dedication to the oceans and to the planet. Among many commendations for his work, he received the Genesis Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1998, was named as one of the Top 20 Environmental Heroes of the 20th Century by Time Magazine in 2000, and was inducted into the U.S. Animal Rights Hall of Fame in Washington D.C. in 2002. He was also awarded the Amazon Peace Prize by the president of Ecuador in 2007. In 2012, Captain Watson became only the second person after Captain Jacques Cousteau to be awarded the Jules Verne Award, dedicated to environmentalists and adventurers. In 2019 he was awarded a commendation from Governor Ned Lamont from the State of Connecticut for "50 years as an environmental conservation activist". He has been described as "the world's most aggressive, most determined, most active and most effective defender of wildlife."

Connect with Captain Watson


A note from Izolda. I admit it. I fangirled at the Captain. He stands for my deepest-held beliefs. He has been doing it all his life and has inspired many to take up the call and do what they can do to help. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to speak with him and bring his wisdom and insights to you.

Liel Anisenko, Marketing and PR Pro

Liel Anisenko, Marketing and PR Pro

May 31, 2021

Marketing Expert Liel Anisenko on How To Discover the Next Steps Towards Your Goals

Liel.pngLiel is an experienced full-stack marketing professional passionate about supporting the growth of early-stage start-ups and newly-founded companies by applying field-proven strategies for gaining exposure and traction, growing customer base, and raising capital.

With 15 years of hands-on B2B marketing experience in IoT, Biomed, Telco, Law Enforcement, Construction tech, and retail, she’s worked with various companies from start-ups to Fortune 500 enterprises. Seeing start-ups grow is her ultimate reward.

Liel was raised in Russia and moved to Israel at the age of seventeen alone. She has built a successful career in tech, built her own family, volunteered for various causes and acquired friends for life who became her own family.

Connect with Liel

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