Elandas is a Business Analyst & Sports Organizer
Elandas Miller, Scrum Master at Cognizant Softvision, talks about his passion and side hustle, Kicking It Sports, which hosts field day type of events within his local community. He also talks about how his skills in organizing sports events applies to his career, why being open about your outside of work passions is beneficial, and much more!
• Getting into organizing sports events
• Skills from organizing sports events that apply to his career
• The more you share, the more the universe opens for you
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Welcome to episode 525 of What’s Your “And”? this is John Garrett. And each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby, or a passion, or an interest outside of work. And to put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work.
And if you like what the show’s about, be sure to check out the award-winning book on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. It’s so kind of the Independent Press Awards to name it a distinguished favorite a couple of months ago. And the book goes more in depth into the research behind why these outside work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it. And thanks for writing such nice reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.
If you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audio books. And please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week.
And this week is no different with my guest, Elandas Miller. He’s a senior business analyst and Scrum master at Cognizant Softvision in Atlanta, Georgia. And now he’s with me here today. Elandas, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Elandas: Thanks, John. I’m super happy to be here. Thanks for taking the time on this Thursday afternoon to talk to me about what I like to do when I’m not doing my business analyst and Scrum master work ’cause I love talking about stuff outside of the regular 9 to 5.
John:: No, that’s awesome. And you’re the first Scrum master I’ve had on the show, so what is that?
Elandas: Yeah. Scrum is like a methodology or framework where you’re using like the software development lifecycle. So it’s like a whole bunch of like manifestos and all type of things you should do and not do and just a little interesting.
John:: That’s a cool label, man. I love it. I might just add that to mine just for kick.
Elandas: Sounds fancy.
John:: It is fancy, but I have some rapid fire questions to get to know you a little bit better. And we’re not gonna count the Scrum question as one of them. So here we go. So here we go. Favorite color?
John:: Blue. Solid. Mine too. How about a least favorite color?
John:: Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s a pretty good one too. Yeah. And pretty popular least favorite if that makes sense.
Elandas: It’s weird color.
John:: It is. Yeah. Yeah. ‘Cause it can get bright in a hurry. And then how about do you prefer talk or text?
Elandas: I’m definitely more of a texter.
John:: Oh, okay. All right. That works. How about a favorite actor or an actress?
Elandas: Favorite actor is— I have like two of them— Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio. And my favorite actress I think is Angelina Jolie.
John:: Okay, yeah, there you go. I thought you were gonna say Will Smith and Chris Rock, and I would’ve been like “What?!” Like that’s amazing.
Elandas: Yeah. I don’t know.
John:: That was wild. That was wild. Oh, here’s one. Cats or dogs?
Elandas: Definitely dogs.
John:: Definitely dogs. Me too, man.
John:: Absolutely. How about a favorite movie of all time?
Elandas: Man, I’m a moviegoer, so it’s hard for me to pick one.
John:: Oh, so more than one. Go nuts.
Elandas: I like Transformers, The Bad Boys movies, Harry Potter movies.
John:: Oh, you’re all over the board on that. Okay.
Elandas: Yeah. Toy Story.
John:: Yeah. That’s a great movie, man.
John:: That’s such a great movie. Very good. Okay. All right. How about when it comes to puzzles? Sudoku, crossword, or jigsaw puzzle?
Elandas: Oh, man, all three of those give me headaches. I like Sudokus.
John:: Oh, okay. All right. All right. I was gonna say none of them counts too, man. That’s all good. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?
Elandas: Star Wars for sure. I’m a ’90s baby, so I think I grew up on Star Wars mostly.
John:: How about your computer? More of a PC or a Mac?
Elandas: I think more of a Mac now.
John:: Oh, really? Okay. All right. That’s awesome. And I am not cool enough to even go into a Mac store I don’t think. They’re like “Sir, we’re gonna have to ask you to leave.” It’s like “What?”
Elandas: I have a Mac computer, but I have an Android phone, so I get a lot of pushback on that.
John:: That’s normally the opposite.
John:: That’s amazing. All right. Good for you. How about toilet paper roll over or under?
Elandas: I don’t pay too much attention to it to be honest.
John:: Yeah. As long as it’s there.
John:: Like as long as it’s there. All right. There we go. How about ice cream in a cup or in a cone?
Elandas: Definitely in a cone.
John:: Yeah. Okay.
Elandas: Messy, but the cone is extra sugary.
John:: Exactly. You get some extra bonus there. There you go. How about a favorite Disney character? There’s like a gazillion of ’em, so really anything animated I’ll take. Like it’s fine.
Elandas: We recently watched a Goofy movie. so I would say Max. He’s goofy’s son, Max.
John:: Oh! Wow! I didn’t even know Goofy had a son. Okay, all right. Yeah, I’m a huge Goofy fan.
Elandas: He doesn’t have a wife, but he has a son. I don’t know how that works.
John:: Right? Right? I don’t either. I mean, half of ’em aren’t wearing pants, so who knows? It just happens. How about, since you have the accounting background here, balance sheet or income statement?
Elandas: Definitely balance sheet.
John:: Okay, there you go. Three more. A typical breakfast.
Elandas: Pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast.
John:: Okay, there you go. All out.
Elandas: Yes. I love breakfast.
John:: No lunch and no dinner. Just all out.
Elandas: The most important meal of the day.
John:: Your own Denny’s Grand Slam right there. That’s great. How about a favorite number?
Elandas: I like 33. I was a 33 growing up playing sports.
John:: Nice. That’s a good number too. Yeah. There you go. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Elandas: Right now, I think the favorite thing that I have is I have a Quest 2 VR set, so I can play like VR games and put it on my headset and stuff. That’s pretty fun.
John:: Yeah. That’s awesome. Okay. Very cool. Very cool. So let’s talk, yeah, I guess just planning sporting events and activities and getting people together. Like how did that start?
Elandas: Yeah. So I always grew up playing sports. I think I started playing baseball like at 4 years old. I played all the way through like elementary, middle school, play a little bit of high school. And then college, I played like IM sports. I went to University of Georgia. Go Dogs!
John:: Yeah, you got the national championship finally. There you go. All right.
Elandas: Shameless plug out there.
John:: Absolutely, man. Absolutely.
Elandas: Like after graduating, I wanted to get more involved into like being active and stuff ’cause I was just working like 9 to 5 and come back home going to sleep, being stuck in traffic, and doing that every day over and over again. So I joined like a sports league, and I noticed there were some like gaps that could be filled. So I came up with the idea of like hosting some sporting events, trying to get people together, and then just kind of like making it a more of a whole entire experience. So we have like all types of stuff going on at one time, and we just do like live music. Some local artists may come out there and perform. We got like kickball going, and dodge ball, and Ultimate Frisbee. So it’s a pretty fun time.
John:: And it’s all happened at the same time or is it like we’re gonna go from dodge ball to Ultimate Frisbee?
Elandas: Yeah, we go from like kickball to dodge ball.
John:: Oh, okay.
Elandas: Frisbee then kickball. It just depends on—
John:: It’s like an all afternoon sort of a thing.
John:: It’s a commitment.
Elandas: It’s like 3 to 4 hours. Yeah.
John:: Good for you, man. And what was the first one?
Elandas: It was back in 2017. I think it’s September 2017. Me and my friends basically got together. We had like some food and then we just got together, played some games, just played some Frisbee and stuff like that. Some little bit of kickball. So it was pretty cool. It was very chill. We didn’t have that many people come out there at that one. But yeah, just having fun. So that’s the most important thing always, just to get people together, laugh a little bit and have fun.
John:: And I love how it’s an experience. I mean, you got the local music going, you know, live music going as well. And there’s food and there’s all kinds of stuff. So it’s not just “Hey, show up, play kickball, and then leave.”
Elandas: Exactly. Yeah.
John:: It’s “No, no, we’re hanging out. We’re gonna get to know each other.” Yeah. That’s awesome, man. I love it so much. And do you have like a more rewarding memory from doing this?
Elandas: Yeah. Well, a lot of my events have a lot of different fun memories from ’em. So I think just the funny moments of like adults trying to kick a ball, girls and guys missing the ball, and people get hit in the head. We don’t condone getting hit in the head, but it’s always pretty funny when someone’s head go “Pook!” You get hit in the head with the ball. But we always try to like aim for the lower part of the body.
John:: I’m also not a good thrower either, so what do you want, you know?
Elandas: Some people kicking in park home run, so they’re just running around the whole base the whole time. People just chasing them, trying to tag them, all kinds of stuff out there.
John:: That’s so great, man. That’s super awesome. I thought you were gonna be like the time OutKast came down and then I was like “What?!”
Elandas: We’re not there yet. That’s the goal. To get some big artists from Atlanta to come out.
John:: Soon enough, man. Soon enough. After we get you on What’s Your “And”?, that’s gonna happen. They listen. I’m pretty sure OutKast listens to this, but that’s so cool to hear, man. And kudos for you for just creating it from scratch and making it happen. And do you feel like any of the skillset, whether it’s from playing the sports or from organizing these events, translates to work?
Elandas: Yeah, definitely. So like as a Scrum Master, you have to like roll with the punches. You have to like be able to lead your team, and get everybody on the same page, and organize people. And I think entrepreneurship has a lot of similar qualities from like how I do my 9 to 5. It’s a lot of overlap of different characteristics and skills that’s needed to be entrepreneurs. So, definitely a lot of translation.
John:: Yeah. And it’s cool how the work makes the entrepreneur side of you stronger, but then probably that muscle group as well then, you know, it’s just an infinite loop going back and forth. And it’s not why you do the sports leagues, but it certainly is a cool added benefit to it as well. And it’s cool to hear that that’s a thing. Plus, I mean, I imagine— I mean, who doesn’t like to just kickball and stuff like that? It’s like be a kid again. You know, like why not? That’s cool, man. I love it. That’s super awesome. And is this something that you talk about with colleagues at work?
Elandas: Yeah, I used to talk about a little bit more, but not recently.
John:: Sure. Well, COVID made everything weird.
Elandas: Yeah. Correct. We don’t have as much like office conversations ’cause most of us still work remote. We go in office like maybe a couple times a month or so. We’re not really talking too much about our entrepreneurial endeavors or side projects.
John:: Right. I mean, whether it makes money or not, it’s still a cool thing on the side.
Elandas: Yeah, it is.
John:: And that’s why the “and” is I’m a Scrum Master and I just love sports. Like I love it so much, I’m organizing it, you know. That’s like I can’t buy the Falcons, but we can play flag football.
John:: You know, like there’s that.
Elandas: Basically, that’s how I came out. Like I wanted to be an owner of a game or sports team one day, so maybe this will lead to it or just kind of like loving the game, being involved. I love playing anything so like you catch me playing volleyball, or tennis, or swimming. Not a great swimmer, but I just like being active.
John:: Yeah. I love how you said that. Like you don’t have to be good at it. I mean, this isn’t the Olympics, so it doesn’t matter. You know, it brings me joy and that’s all that matters. Like that’s the thing I find is so many people wanna be this alpha something or whatever. And it’s like “No, no, I’m doing it for me.” You know, I enjoy swimming. Well, am I good at it? Who cares? I enjoy it. I didn’t ask for your approval like type of thing. So that’s cool, man. And it’s cool that you share it too ’cause sometimes I think we can get our own heads of “Well, people are gonna judge me for playing kickball.” It’s like “Well who plays that after eighth grade?” “I do.”
John:: You know?
Elandas: Play a lot of stuff.
John:: Yeah. Did it ever cross your mind as like when people might something? I don’t know.
Elandas: No, not really. I never really thought about what people would think about me being in sports leagues or hosting events. As long as it makes me happy and I have fun, that’s the most important thing. That’s all I really worry about.
John:: Yeah, maybe the toy story thing, they’re gonna think about—
Elandas: The Toy Story, yeah, they might judge me on Toy Story.
John:: Well, then they’re not your friends anyway, so they they should get out. Get out. Yeah. But that’s cool, man. ‘Cause, I mean, I was the same way. People were like “What’d you do this weekend?” “Well, you know, I did this comedy club.” Like “What?” I was like “Oh, I didn’t know I was supposed to tell you what I actually did.” Yeah. Like I didn’t know. Like are we making stuff up now? Like I didn’t know. So yeah, that’s awesome, man. And do you feel like connections are different from people that you have shared things with or people that are interested in these versus people that don’t know that side of you?
Elandas: Not necessarily. I feel like I’m a pretty simple person like what you see is what you get. So sometimes I share people depending on like where I meet ’em or what type of circumstances. And if they ask like what other projects I have going on or something like that, then I share. But if I’m like at a networking event, of course, I’m sharing like what I’m doing like my entrepreneurial endeavors and what projects I’m working on. But definitely, I do share by people who like has interest. Maybe we’re talking about like sports and they say like they hoop or like they play flag football or something. I’m like “Oh, I also host events. You should come out to one of our events or whatever.” But usually, it just depends. I don’t think I have a closer relationship with people who don’t know who do know. But usually, my closer friends do know that I host events cause they’ve been to the actual events.
John:: Yeah. Right? But I mean, it’s like you just have something different to talk about at work besides the work. It’s just a human connection there that’s cool above and beyond the work. And so, that’s great where it’s you have something that you can straight up invite them to. It’s like “Oh, you this. Well, we’re doing it in 2 weeks. Why don’t you come?” And then all of a sudden, they’re like “Well, I used to play. I’m not very good at it.”
Elandas: I’m getting old. My back is going out or my knees.
John:: Right, right, right. Okay. We’ll call you coach.
Elandas: You referee the game for us.
John:: Right, right. Referee. There you go. That’s so cool, man. That’s so cool. And I guess one thing that I’d like to go back and forth on or think about is how much do you feel like it’s on an organization, a company to create space for people to be able to share or to even care that people have an outside of work life? You know, basically, my whole thing is are you live in your best life? Managers should be asking or how much is it on the individual to just, you know what, I’m just gonna start my little circle and get going from there?
Elandas: Yeah. I think management could possibly like make a safer place to share like what people do outside of work. Or as long as it’s like positive, I don’t think any crazy stuff, but—
John:: No, no, no. Then it’s unprofessional.
John:: Like, yeah, I think that’s not good.
Elandas: Keep it professional or whatever.
John:: But just, you know, not illegal. Let’s start there. You know? Or taboo.
John:: Or controversial. Just what lights you up?
Elandas: You just ask like “Hey, how’s your weekend or like what did you do specifically this weekend?” Usually, ours is pretty like top of the layer conversation. So like, yeah, we hang out with friends, or went to the movies, or stuff like that. Yeah.
John:: Yeah. But then I find if you listen and then have one or two follow-up questions, then you get to the cool stuff. “Oh, you went to the movies. What movie did you see?” And then it’s like “Oh, how did you like it” or “Oh, did you see the first one” or whatever type of thing. Now, all of a sudden “bam” like we’re going back and forth or I didn’t know you were Transformers too.
What” Like now, all of a sudden, we’re talking about all that.
John:: Yeah. So that’s awesome. It’s just listening and having a follow-up question or two and then that’s where you can sort of crack it open ’cause you’re right. It’s like “How you doing?” “Fine. Fine.” Well, that’s not being honest.
Elandas: Exactly. It’s kinda going with emotions at that point.
John:: Yeah. And it’s not really creating that true connection for sure. So do you have any words of encouragement for people listening that are like, you know what, I have a hobby but I don’t think anyone’s gonna care ’cause it has nothing to do with my work?
Elandas: Yeah. Definitely. I would say you want to share as much as possible or whoever you’re comfortable with or at least try to get into a community. I think communities, there’s a lot of people that have similar hobbies that we all share. So just being able to get into that community or like I know they have online communities, in-person communities. You have like discordmeetups.com, even Airbnb communities these days. So there’s a lot of different areas or places that you can kind of be comfortable, be yourself, and be able to talk about those things that you might not be comfortable talking with your like other core group of friends or they might not have like the same interest. So just put yourself out there. Look for those communities and those safe places and just have fun and enjoy it.
John:: Yeah, I love it ’cause, I mean, only good comes from that, you know. When it’s one of those things that’s just like I genuinely light up from this and all of a sudden you meet someone else and it’s like “What?” I mean, if you never told anybody you liked like kickball, then you’re just sitting around getting angry that you can’t play kickball. But all of a sudden, you start to share with people “Hey, I like playing kickball?” “You too? All right. Now, we got a team. All right. Now, we get another team. Now, let’s play.” You know?
Elandas: Yeah. It’s like “He told me that he liked it too. Maybe we can get together with him. And she’s told me that she liked it. She played last week, so maybe we all can get together.”
John:: And then you’re like “You know what? I’m just gonna create the whole league. Like how about we just go all out on this?” Like that’s cool, man. That’s awesome and such great advice. You know, find that community so you don’t feel alone ’cause you’re not the only one I promise.
Elandas: Yeah. Exactly.
John:: You’re not the only one. And even if no one does it, they at least are interested in it.
Elandas: Yeah. There’s a lot of people who may not share. Like for example, I’m a pretty big anime fan, but I don’t really share a lot of people that I like anime, but a lot of my friends, we watch it together and talk about it. We share each other passwords for like the animation online Crunchyroll account. So the more you share, the more you know things that come to you, you get more and more great things happen to you that way.
John:: I love that. That’s such great advice right there. The more you share, the more the universe opens up for you. I like that. Yeah. ‘Cause we always feel like, well, I’m the only one that. Nah, you don’t know that. You don’t know that. And I’m gonna challenge you that you’re not. So like unless it’s like sword swallowing, okay, I’ll give you that one. You’re probably the only one on that one.
Elandas: Like spinning fire.
John:: Right. Yeah. You never know. I mean, maybe not. There was somebody on the podcast that’s actually a fire breather.
Elandas: Oh, wow. That’s cool.
John:: Yeah. So it’s like “Well, I know one.” So it’s kind of cool. But yeah, that’s awesome, man. Such great advice and I really appreciate, yeah, you being a part of this. And I feel like since I rudely peppered you with questions at the beginning that we turn the tables and we’ll make this The Elandas Miller Podcast. And so, I’m all yours man. Thanks for booking me on as a guest. I booked myself I’m not gonna lie, but like here we go.
Elandas: I had a question for you, John. You do a lot of different stuff, so I was like reading your bio. So I know you went to school at Notre Dame. You got just like CPA. You did music at one point. You’re like an author. So like how do you find time to like do all these interests, a podcast? Like how do you balance all these things that you love doing?
John:: That’s a great question ’cause, I mean, you know, I encourage people to not just have one “and.” Like you can have more. The title of the book should probably be What’s Your “Ands”?, you know, with an S, but that’s probably not grammatically correct because they have more than one, you know. And you don’t have to do them all every day, you know. You just have to be intentional about making time for them. Yeah. In the fall, every Saturday for 4 hours, I’m watching Notre Dame football. And I’m probably also watching another game or two as well, you know. But you just make time for it. And if it’s important to you, if it brings you joy, then go do it. And that’s on Saturday. So I’m not doing the podcast on Saturdays. I’m not, you know, any other things. And writing a book though, whoo, that is a process. Like you really gotta wanna write the book. Yeah, I’m really proud of how it turned out. So you know, that’s that side of it. But yeah, I mean, I love going to concerts as well, but it doesn’t have to be something that’s every day, or every week, or even every month. It’s like twice a year I like to do a 5K walk for charity. Okay, cool, go do that. You know? Like whatever it is. But be intentional about making time for it even just a little bit so you don’t—
Elandas: Yeah. Be intentional.
John:: Yeah. ‘Cause you just gotta carve it out ’cause it’s like, well, how do you make time to plan this league and plan the game? Well, you just do it ’cause I love it.
It brings me joy, and I’m passionate about it, and it’s important to me. And I feel like for so many people, we let work become the #1 most important ’cause I need money to pay my mortgage. And it’s like, well, yeah, but also there’s other things that are important too. And so, it doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game of it’s only one thing. It’s like “No, no, I’m actually passionate about a couple things and work’s one of ’em, but so is anime, and so is kickball, and so is going to movies.” “All right. Awesome.” And then it creates more connection points to actually relate to you.
Elandas: Yeah. Like everybody has so many different interests. So like I said, sharing ’em, and being a part of the community, and then being intentional to doing what you love is definitely something that makes people happy in the long run for sure.
John:: No, I love it, man. That’s so perfect. Well, thank you so much, Elandas, for being a part of What’s Your “And”? This was super, super fun.
Elandas: Thank you so much.
John:: Yeah. And then you better believe when I’m in Atlanta, I’m coming down and we’re playing something. But everybody, if you wanna see some pictures of Elandas in action or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. And while you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget to read the book. So thanks again for subscribing on Apple Podcasts or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread that who you are is so much more than what you do.
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