Michelle is a Sales Strategist & Fitness Guru
Michelle Weinstein, The Pitch Queen and host of the Abundant Accountant podcast, talks about her passion for fitness and how it improves her life both personally and professionally. She also talks about finding control in your life and how your passion is a big part of that!
• Getting into fitness
• Some things in life you can’t control, but you can control your passion
• Closing her business and recovering
• When you let yourself go, you let your clients go
• Why a culture influence should come from the top
• Your story is what shapes you
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Welcome to Episode 299 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it in another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “And,” the things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s being published in September. It’ll be available on Amazon, Indigo, and Bookshop, and a few other websites. Check out what’s your and.com for all the details. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s listening to the show and changing the cultures where they work because of it and the book will really help to spread this message.
Please don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes of the podcast. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different, with my guest, Michelle Weinstein. She’s a sales coach with The Abundant Accountant and a host of the podcast with the same name. She’s known as the pitch queen. Now, she’s with me here today. Michelle, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Michelle: Thank you so much for having me. I think this is the most important topic to talk about is what we do when we’re not working. I’m a fan.
John: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. I mean, this is going to be really, really fun. But I do have my rapid fire questions. Get to know Michelle right out of the gate. Here we go. This is going to be good. We’ll start you easy. Favorite color?
John: Pink, solid. All right. How about a least favorite color?
John: Oh, yeah. That’s a very popular least favorite right there. How about a TV show that you binge watch?
John: Ozark? Yeah, that’s a great answer. Actually, man, that Season 3 was nuts, right? I was like, holy cow.
Michelle: Oh, I’ve watched Season 1 to whatever all within a couple of weeks.
John: Oh, my gosh. Your blood pressure must have been through the roof.
Michelle: It literally was. It was to the point where I believe sleep is one of the most important things that we can control it, and Ozark, I had to watch prior to about 6:00 p.m. Then after, I had to watch a funny YouTube video prior to going to sleep because there were about two or three nights I couldn’t even sleep. I’m like, why can’t I sleep?
John: It’s because you’re dreaming about drug lords chasing you down in the middle of the night. Yeah, totally, totally. How about — this is an easy one. Favorite comedian?
Michelle: My favorite comedian. Leo Flowers.
John: There you go. I knew that would be an easy one. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?
Michelle: I’m an early bird. I can barely stay up past 9:00.
John: Oh my goodness. Okay, how about more pens or pencils?
Michelle: Pens. I don’t even have a pencil sharpener or an electronic pencil.
John: Yeah, that’s the hard part with pencils is you got to get the sharpener with it. It’s like we left those in 1989. How about puzzles? Sudoku or crossword?
Michelle: Crosswords all the way. I love crosswords.
John: Nice. Okay. All right. How about a favorite adult beverage?
Michelle: Arnold Palmer.
John: Oh, that’s a great answer. That’s a really good answer right there. How about more oceans or mountains?
Michelle: Oceans, 1,000,000%.
John: Okay, all right. How about a favorite number?
Michelle: The number 10.
John: Is there a reason?
Michelle: I like to say it in Spanish. Diez.
John: That’s maybe the best answer I’ve ever had. It’s like, why? Because in another language, it’s super fun to say. Oh, that’s great. How about cats or dogs?
Michelle: Dogs. French Bulldogs.
John: Okay. Very specific, very specific. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?
John: Neither. That was an easy one. How about for your computer? More of a PC or a Mac?
Michelle: Mac, Mac, Mac.
John: Mac. Oh, wow. I didn’t even get to finish.
Michelle: I didn’t even need to hear it. I already knew it was coming.
John: There you go. There you go. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?
Michelle: Mocha chocolate chip.
John: Oh, goodness. That sounds fancy.
John: Yeah, right. There you go. There you go. Three more, three more. A favorite movie of all time.
Michelle: Mary Poppins.
John: Oh, okay. That’s a great answer. Yeah, there you go. Balance sheet or income statement?
Michelle: Income statement, because the top line number on your income statement or P&L is sales or revenue. If you don’t really get great at that department, then what’s the expense department all about if you can’t fund the expenses because you don’t have any revenue?
John: There you go. Then last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Michelle: A Tesla.
John: Oh, nice.
Michelle: Yeah, it’s my dream car. I got every bell and whistle that Elon would put on it. I love it.
John: I feel like they come with all the bells and whistles already.
Michelle: Pretty much. You don’t have many choices, but it was like, I always wanted the car and I can almost go round trip back to LA from San Diego and I don’t have to stop and I never have to go to a gas station. I just get to go to all these charging stations. I mean, the car has a fireplace in it. If you’re feeling like you want to chill at night, you just turn your fireplace on, and the heat starts blaring. I was like, why is it getting so hot in the car?
John: That’s hilarious, because the fireplace is on.
Michelle: Yeah, the car drive itself 90% of the time. It’s great.
John: That’s really cool, really cool. That’s almost the exact opposite of fitness and exercise, but let’s talk about that. How’d you get into being so into exercise?
Michelle: It’s the one thing that I believe you can control in life. I had this business before, and I’m sure a lot of people listening can relate where you’re working all the time and you’re stressed out and you feel like you’re overworked and underpaid, and you name the situation going on your head, there is always one place that brought me back to normalcy. That was going to the gym or working out now at home for the last three months. It’s like I actually look forward to it.
We can’t control a pandemic, we can’t control losing a client all the time. There’s some things that are just not in our control. You can’t control — if get in a car accident, you can’t control, if your neighbors are loud, but you can control movement. I mean, it could even be meditation if you don’t feel like moving. With exercise, there’s so many physical benefits to not only your longevity, but your productivity on a daily basis. I like to be really productive and really efficient.
In order for me to show up and be my best self to my clients or to do a podcast episode on The Abundant Accountant podcast or whatever it is, I have to have the energy to do that, and you can down as much tea and caffeine and coffees as you want, but exercise for me is the thing that I can actually control. Do I always want to do it? No. But if you set a timer, I guarantee you’ll feel better after an hour because the endorphins and other things that happen internally in your body.
Even if an hour of stretching or if it’s an hour for me, well, I haven’t done aerial yoga like I used to, but aerial yoga was one of my favorites.
John: Oh, wow.
Michelle: Yeah, I mean lately during the quarantine — I have a personal trainer, because I like accountability, and we did a small group training, so there’s like four of us, so she had to change her whole business model. I was stuck in Peru with my boyfriend, all I could think about on our trip home once we finally made it and landed in Miami, and we were on a plane from Miami to LA, was I can’t wait to work out. Just to get back into routine and normalcy.
That’s really how it happened. I’ve been to a lot of accounting conferences and other places and I see what stress can do to you and I can see what too much working can do to somebody. There’s a way to combat that to not only make you feel better, but also for you to provide a better service and increase your revenue. They all go hand in hand. That’s my thing. That and drinking water. That’s another crucial thing.
John: Right. We never drink enough water, that’s for sure.
Michelle: Yeah. I had a nutrition meal food business before. I’ve talked and met so many nutritionists and dieticians, and our body’s made up of water. If you can at least just control — which again, to move and to walk around your house or walk up and down your stairs, or to do some yoga or get on the Peloton app is doing free months, there’s so many resources to have guided movement, but water, you can drink half your body weight in water, that’s also something that you can control on a daily basis. For me, I drink almost a gallon of water a day, which is a little more, but that’s what I’m used to now.
Michelle: Yeah, you just feel better.
John: For sure. Especially first thing in the morning because it’s been a long time since you’ve had anything because you’ve been sleeping. Were you always into fitness from when you were younger?
Michelle: No. I started in college. I lived across the street from the Rec Center, and I discovered the elliptical machine and then I discovered the gym and some weights, and then it started probably my first job out of college was that Moss Adams in Seattle. I met my best friend there. She was the personal trainer at the 24 Hour Fitness. That was the first time I really lifted weight.
I was like, oh, my gosh. You just feel so much better, your posture’s better. When we’re slouched over our computers all day or working on balance sheets and tax returns, or whatever you’re working on, your posture goes so exercise and building muscle actually helps your posture and how you can sit and stand and your mobility, so it really started after college was when the weightlifting started.
John: Right, right. That’s really cool that it’s just sort of you kind of tiptoed into it and then it just became a passion of yours.
Michelle: Yeah, passion, but also a habit. Are there days that I don’t feel like working out? Yeah. But then I think about how I’m going to feel, how I can show up to my clients, how can I be the best version of myself, how can I have a podcast episode that’s going to be fun and exciting to listen to? All of that stems from just me setting aside 45 minutes to an hour of movement, even when you don’t feel like it because it’s something we can control.
John: Yeah, and that’s such a big deal. I mean, because so much is always changing. We hear it in all of the professions of just AI and there’s new technology, there’s new something, there’s always changing and this is one thing that isn’t. Whatever your hobby or passion is, is kind of the eye of the hurricane, if you will, and for you, it’s fitness and it’s so great because you can control that. You can control how much you do of it and how often you do it. I think it’s really important for people to have that anchor point.
Michelle: Yeah, and it can be, for me, that’s just my thing. Also, I guess you could say, I’m also learning Spanish, which is why I said that earlier. I’ve been learning for the last two years, I want to be fluent and actually do an episode with a Spanish speaking account one day. That’s my goal.
But learning a new language and having that habit of doing homework, and setting aside the time, again, it’s something we have control over. One of my clients, Anna Barbara, because I incorporate this in my accountability calls that I have with people, what’s the one thing you can do to take care of yourself today? Some of them, it was just going on a walk for an hour and listening to a non-accounting podcast like this one, or for a lot of people, I had another client, he was really into spirituality and going to church every Sunday and that hasn’t been available for people.
So really getting into some of those more spiritual type podcasts and walking at the same time, now you’re filling your brain with something you’re passionate about and you’re moving. Because when you change your state and your physical state, you feel better and you can show up better for your clients. Everything I talk about is the piece that you actually have a daily choice to make that you have full control over because there’s so many things out of our control that I try to focus on what are the things you can control?
Anna Barbara was telling me, she’s like, I feel like when I follow my plan that I have control over myself. That is a really good feeling when you do that. For me, it’s been a routine but I know for others where if you haven’t done anything, even if it’s just starting with drinking water and I always say, start small. An hour might be a little much for you but maybe 30 minutes.
John: Yeah, just some exercise for a little bit, and most people are probably like, I drink water. It’s just in coffee. That’s not the thing. It’s not the thing.
Michelle: Right. Well, the coffee dehydrates you. For every cup of coffee you have, you should drink 16 ounces of water.
John: Yeah, but when you have that control that there’s confidence there that you’re able to show up like you were saying, show up better for yourself and for your clients as well, and so I mean, this is clearly something that you talked about with your clients. Is this something that you talked about all along even back in your Moss Adams days?
Michelle: My Moss Adams days, I was trying to get out of the cubicle. That’s just being honest, John. I saw so many unhealthy habits. I did take up being a part-time spin instructor at 24 Hour Fitness during lunches when people go out, and there were four Starbucks in my building, and my boss, he’d want to go get Starbucks in the afternoon and in the morning. I was just like, everyone is just so over caffeinated that at that job, I actually started to personal train after about a year and a half on the side at 24 Hour Fitness, and I was a spin instructor and I really kind of got into the well, I might as well get paid for working out and get to kill two birds with one stone.
But when I had my last company, John, I actually had to close it. It was March 27, 2017, lost a couple million dollars, had a ton of credit card debt. I focused on what could I control, I couldn’t control the market changing. I couldn’t control all these VCs that were funding similar companies that basically were giving away free food.
There were just so many things that were out of my control. But one thing I could control is how quick I could get back up on my feet, get out of debt, and your mindset and how you feel is everything. I paid off hundreds of thousands in credit card debt in about a 14-month period. I just got on it, but I focused on, okay, what is it? It’s staying hydrated and showing up to be my best self every single day.
If you look at a lot of people’s morning routines and other routines, one of my friends who I’ve been helping, he actually just launched a book yesterday called Game Changer. He founded the game you might’ve all played called Pictionary. He’s the inventor of it.
John: Oh, yeah.
Michelle: He’s been retired for 35 years or 30 years, but he’s still so busy and does all these podcast interviews and, I just see it, but one thing he does tell me when we’re on the phone is his morning routine. He goes through sun salutations, he’ll drink coffee, he’ll have his cereal, he’ll drink water, but he’s got a physical routine and any high performer or someone who’s ultra-successful, you can’t let your body go, because the second you let yourself go, you’re about to let all your clients go. It’s just a matter of time.
John: It’s cool when you’re dealing with your clients, you bring this philosophy, if you will, to that, which is really fantastic. I guess, do you feel like some people are reluctant to share that side of themselves? or do you feel those relationships are different than maybe the ones back when you were early on in your career, where maybe you didn’t share as much?
Michelle: Yeah, I would probably say that. I mean, back when I had my food company, it was very different. The kitchen staff was very active. It’s a physical job, but my COO at the time, I tried to inspire him to do stuff, but he was that guy that drank eight, nine cups of coffee a day, never drank any water, never worked out or exercised. It was just a matter of time when your body’s just going to give up.
I can only inspire and help so much. Ultimately, you get to make the choice but what I really want people to leave with and understand is that you get to make choices. There’s some choices we don’t get to make, which for anyone that’s lived in the world during March of 2020, and right now we’re in June, July, you didn’t have a choice about all the stuff that’s going on, on a daily basis.
But you can have a choice to not watch the news. You can have a choice to not go into social media. I have that choice. I choose typically to stay away from it, because it doesn’t do you any good. I haven’t met anyone that — who was I talking to the other day? They’re like, oh, yeah, I’ve been off Instagram for a week. I feel great. I’m like, yeah, probably.
I paid someone to do my Instagram and help me. But again, you have control over that. You have control over what content you want to be taking in and listening in your ears like, listening to this podcast or listening to spiritual podcasts or listening to meditations about compassion and love and unity. You’ll be a different person when you show up for your clients. Obviously, for me, it’s all about that top line revenue for accountants and growing it and not feeling like you’re underpaid and overworked, because that’s a choice.
John: And being able to enjoy it, not working so hard. I guess I’m always curious, because of all the organizations that you’ve worked at or now consult with, how much do you feel it’s on the organization to create that culture where it’s totally cool for people to share whatever their passions are versus how much is it on the individual to maybe just create their little circle themselves and start it from the bottom up?
Michelle: I always think that if the organization’s lead with it, then make people comfortable sharing that kind of stuff, that would be good, right? You’re a comedian. If you could do you stand up within an organization because that’s what sparks you and lights you up, then great, or if you’re someone with a passion for yoga and taught yoga to all the team members during lunchtime even if they didn’t really know what they were doing, they put on an app, and the app teacher guide them, imagine what an organization would be like if that were implemented? Everyone got to actually lead with their passions.
If you’re listening and you have an organization, I would try that. My team is virtual, so I don’t have that, but it’s got to come from the top. One of my mentors with my last company, he’s name is Peter. He was a navy SEAL. He was at the top in different food companies like Jack in the Box, in leadership, and Pinkberry, and other places, and he would always lead with his personal story because your story is what shapes you and creates you and his passions, and his passion was the days of the Navy SEALs. But he loved to run. He was a runner and a marathon runner. He would put that in his slides to his team.
John: That’s stuff that you even remember now.
Michelle: Yeah. I remember now and I don’t even really see him or talk to him very often. I don’t know where he is. He went to some pizza organization.
John: That might be my passion – pizza. No, I’m just kidding. It’s ice cream. I was joking. But no, but that is so interesting to me that he shared that as part of a presentation and yet that’s the part you took away. It wasn’t everything else that followed that was probably more work related.
Michelle: You want to know what people remember me of? My half gallon bottle of water, because I always take it everywhere I go, and it’s so big.
John: That’s awesome. It’s partially for your biceps, and it’s also partially for hydration.
Michelle: Yeah. I do my bicep curls and I stay hydrated all at once.
John: That’s so cool. This has been really great, Michelle. Do you have any words of encouragement for anybody listening that maybe has a passion or an interest but feels like it has nothing to do with their job?
Michelle: Yeah, I just would say spend 30 minutes to an hour on that, and you get to make that choice every day. Do an analysis on how you feel today versus a week from now and 14 days, if you can stick to it, and focus on that non-work aspect. I do my Spanish every other day, I’ve got my exercise, that’s every day, I color with my left hand, my non-dominant hand, because it works the different part of your brain. If you paint, paint. Paint every day. Paint once a week, just stay consistent.
John: Binge watch Ozarks, whatever it is.
Michelle: I’m so glad I watched all of it. I mean, I miss it. It was so good.
John: Right? Right. That’s very cool. That’s very cool, Michelle. Well, it’s only fair that since I started out the episode with rapid fire questioning you like crazy that I turned the tables and you’re now the host of the show, which you host your own podcast, so you’re used to this. But now, you can ask me whatever you’d like.
Michelle: All right, John. Favorite sport?
John: Favorite sport? College football.
Michelle: Great. Awesome. What’s the best joke you’ve ever told that got you a standing ovation?
John: Oh, all of them. All of them. No, I’m just kidding. I mean, the quickest joke that I could probably do was I ran a half marathon, and I found out by the time I finished the winner was already back in Kenya. I was like, that is far. I am very slow. I need to — yeah.
Michelle: Clearly, if running is your passion, it’s time to get out there and start training again.
John: I mean, you said do it for an hour. You didn’t say how far I go in the hour.
Michelle: You got to pick up your speed.
John: I do. I definitely do.
Michelle: What’s your favorite vacation destination? The best vacation you ever went on?
John: Two of my favorite places I’ve been. One is Costa Rica. It is amazing. Then the other one Cape Town, South Africa. It is really, really cool and unique. So yeah, those are both to my favorites.
Michelle: Dolphins or horses?
John: Dolphins all day. I don’t care. Everyone makes fun of me. They’re wicked smart and cool as hell. I will fight everyone on it. All of you, including little girls that make fun of me. I don’t care. We’re going to rumble.
Michelle: That’s awesome.
John: There you go, Michelle. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? This was really great.
Michelle: Thank you for having me.
John: Absolutely. Everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Michelle in action or connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there, including to her podcast, The Abundant Accountant.
While you’re on the page, please click that big button and do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture. Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes 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.
Seth is an Accountant & Swimmer
Seth is a Tax partner with Carr Riggs & Ingram in Dallas, TX. He has two kids and a wife who teaches yoga and meditation that helps keep his house calm and peaceful. Seth enjoys spending time with his family and exercising.
Seth talks about overcoming shingles at the age of 35 through swimming and how he promotes a culture of sharing experiences in the office as a partner at his firm!
• Getting into swimming
• Skills Seth has learned overcoming shingles
• Working out with co-workers
• Creating a culture of sharing experiences in the office
Please take 2 minutes
to do John’s anonymous survey
about Corporate Culture!
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- Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close
Welcome to Episode 229 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their and, you know those things that are above and beyond your technical skills, the things that you really love to do outside of work, and they really differentiate you when you get to the office.
I’m so excited to let everyone know my book is coming out very, very soon. It’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. I can’t say how much it means that everyone is excited for the book and listening to the show and then changing the cultures where they work because of it.
Please don’t forget to hit Subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different with my guest, Seth Margolies. He’s a partner in the Dallas office of Carr, Riggs & Ingram. Now he’s with me here today.
Seth, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Seth: Thanks, John, for having me. Thanks for inviting me. I’m super excited to do this podcast. I listen to several of your podcasts. I just hope to be as great as some of the others, entertaining.
John: Oh, no, man, you’re going to be awesome already from the phone call we had a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, I’m just excited to share your story. But before we get into that, you know the drill, rapid-fire questions right out of the gate.
Seth: I’m ready. Let’s do it.
John: Here we go. Here we go. I’ll start out with a pretty easy one, I think. Favorite color?
John: Nice. Okay, how about a least favorite color?
Seth: Least favorite color, how about brown?
John: Brown. That’s a good answer. That’s a solid answer. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Seth: That’s easy, Star Wars.
John: Oh, there you go. There you go. And your computer, more PC or a Mac?
Seth: Definitely a PC. Walking in the Mac store and I don’t know what to do.
John: No, no, they don’t even let me in. So I’m with you. I’m not cool enough. I’m way not cool enough. So then your mouse, right click or left click?
Seth: Right click.
John: Right click. Okay. That’s where the exciting stuff is. I like it. Okay. Do you have a favorite band or musician?
Seth: You know, I don’t know if I can come up with a favorite band or group. But while I’m working. I love to listen to just kind of classical music.
John: Oh, yeah, there you go.
Seth: It’s a nice distraction. But I won’t lie, every now and then, the hip-hop station comes on and it just depends upon what hour it is. In the morning, it might be classical. If I need something to get me going in the afternoon or later at night, it might be a little hip-hop.
John: There you go. There you go. That works. That works for me. Would you say you’re more balance sheet or income statement?
Seth: Definitely income statement. I think the balance sheet is more for the auditors.
John: Right. That’s true. That is true. Actually, from a tax perspective, they have no clue. Do you have a favorite animal, any animal at all?
Seth: I have two dogs, two foster dog. Sometimes they drive me a little crazy, but I’ll have to go with dogs.
John: Dogs. That’s a good answer, man. That’s a really good answer. How about do you prefer more hot or cold?
Seth: Hot. I’m a big tea drinker, so I’m always drinking tea.
John: There you go. That’s my next question, sweet tea or regular tea?
Seth: Half and half.
John: Half and half. Okay. I see what’s going on there. That’s interesting. All right. Do you have a favorite number?
John: Seven. That’s the most popular answer. Is there a reason?
Seth: I don’t think so. I think just seven just growing up. Again, I feel like everybody’s favorite number is seven.
John: It is, man. It’s It’s by far the most popular answer on here. For me, it’s sports related, but yeah, for sure, for sure. This is an important one, toilet paper, roll over or under?
Seth: You know, John, I never understand why this is a real question. I mean, there’s only one answer. It’s over. I think under is just for like lazy people, like you put it on and it goes on there. You just don’t want to change it.
John: Right, right. You know what’s wrong, but you’re too lazy to change it. That’s awesome. We’ll run out in a week or so, it doesn’t matter. Yeah, right. That’s great. Sudoku or crossword puzzle?
Seth: I’d go with Sudoku. Man, this crossword puzzle, so tough.
John: No, I agree. I agree. And when you fly, more window or aisle seat?
Seth: Definitely an aisle. Claustrophobic.
John: Definitely aisle?
John: Okay, okay. Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
Seth: You know, John, I don’t really have a favorite actor or actress, but I am obsessed with movies. I love to go to movies. I don’t really dislike or love one more than the other. I just love going to the movies.
John: No, that works, man. Movie actors and actresses, that works. Would you say you’re more of an early bird or a night owl?
Seth: I am definitely an early bird.
John: Okay. Okay. And the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
Seth: The favorite thing I have is I have to go with a great family, two kids, a wife.
John: That’s a great answer. Plus, she might listen. So good job you, man. Good job you. That was great, man. Really awesome. So let’s transition into the swimming and the exercising and all that. How you get into this? Since you were little or more of a late bloomer on that?
Seth: No, I was probably no more the swimmer than anybody else. Back in the day, I probably –again I’m not a big sports fan. I was never really into sports. I played soccer, just probably no different than most people. But I’ve always worked out and weights, had a trainer. I was always just very active. Again, I was early bird so I was always doing something in the morning. I was always doing boot camps. I’d run to the gym in the morning at like 5:30 and do boot camp outside and loved it. My wife did it too. It was great. And it was about eight years ago that I got shingles.
John: Oh, my goodness.
Seth: You know anybody that’s getting shingles at the age of like 34, 35?
John: No. Yeah, typically, it’s like grandparents’ friends or people like that.
Seth: Yeah, I guess I’m the oldest 35-year-old.
John: Right. You also like to play bingo and watch Wheel of Fortune.
Seth: That’s right. So that was like eight years ago, I got the shingles. It was during tax season too. So it’s absolutely terrible. It’s basically like a kind of a nervous system disease, illness, whatever. It probably didn’t show up till months later, but I got muscle atrophy in my left shoulder. They couldn’t figure out what it was. It turns out it related back to shingles. But long story short, my muscle and my left shoulder just literally disappeared. So I couldn’t really do anything with my left shoulder. I had to drop out of boot camp. I really couldn’t exercise. Yeah, I was doing physical therapy. When I would hold a glass of water with my left hand, it would shake like I couldn’t. I would have to use my right hand.
John: That’s super scary too.
Seth: Oh, it’s absolutely terrible. You can’t really do anything. When you’re used to being so active and then you can’t hold a glass of water, it’s terrible. So I did the physical therapy. It didn’t really work. I just kind of threw in the towel. I’d say my body just kind of went mush a little bit. I’ve always been like kind of the same weigh. I was pretty light. Never been heavy. When I tell people my weight, they’re like, “I was that weight in seventh grade.”
Seth: So years later, well, I’d go to the gym every now and then but nothing really because I was just getting neck pain and shoulder pain. It was just terrible.
John: Oh, man!
Seth: So years later, I was like, let me try swimming. So I called up and got a swim coach. I know how to swim, but when I would try and swim on my own, my neck would kill. So I was like, let me get a swim coach. Funny story actually. So they have a big pool there and then they have a small kid pool. He gets into the kid pool and I’m like, “What are we doing?” He’s like, “Well, before we go into the big pool, I need to make sure that you’re safe in the small pool.” I think back in that story and I’m like, oh, my God. So I literally had to get into the small pool, and I had to go on my back and he had to make sure I wasn’t going to drown. “Listen, we’re good. I’ll sign some papers.”
So I had that swim coach for like a year and it was great. It was kind of like, I have to say, like water aerobics, but it was swimming laps and just kind of doing that stuff that you did as a kid, just teaching the breathing techniques and the pedals and the fins and this and that. I don’t remember what happened but that coach left or whatever. So I called up and said, “Hey, I need a new coach.” And they said, “Great. Show up at noon.” I got another coach and I showed up, and I saw this guy and I was like, “Oh, my God.” I know who that guy is. He’s basically just like an insane athlete. He trains swimmers all across the country. I’m like, “Hey, I just want to just have a little fun. Just get my shoulder back.” And my shoulder was feeling much better. Well, a perfectionist again teaching all these crazy athletes.
I did that for like a year and then I would go like three times a week. I would see like this master’s class. It’s like 40 and up and they do all this stuff and he does the class. It’s like just insane swimmers. I remember thinking to myself like looking over those lanes like after I would swim, man, would be really neat to do. I just, at some point, maybe it was the year later, I was like, I think I’m ready to throw in the towel on these lessons and go right in to the master’s.
So I did that. I did like two to three days a week. I would try and swim in between. My shoulder was much better and it was great and I loved it. It was awesome. I mean, that’s really how I got into swimming. I love it.
John: Yeah. When I was a kid, I was a part of a swim team for like, third, fourth, fifth, sixth grade. In the summer, I was super, super brown and my hair would turn almost white from the sun and the bleach and you’d wear that awkward Speedo. But it is such a great workout, total body and you’re breathing deeply. It’s a really, really great workout. They say it doesn’t cost as much impact, right?
Seth: Yeah, that’s the reason I did it. So you sound excited about it. I think you’re going to go swimming out tonight.
John: Right. You know what, I think I’m not ready for that coach yet because he’ll just get angry at me.
Seth: He’s going for perfection. I’m like, “Can we just get to like 85? Let’s just do 85%.
John: Yeah, right. Exactly. That’s my motto in pretty much everything. I’m not going to lie.
Seth: I just need that 75.
John: Tut that’s cool. So you were doing like races or…?
Seth: No, I wasn’t doing races, but they have a bunch of drills and say there’s eight lanes, the slower lane will go to the right, and the fast line will be number eight. So I started off in lane one, and then you can move yourself to two, three, four. It was great. It was just a lot of fun. I just love swimming. You know you said like the breathing thing, like my wife teaches meditation. It’s really like when you’re swimming and it really is like meditating, just finding that breath and just being consistent and flowing through the water. It’s really a great form of meditation and exercise or rehabilitation. It’s great, overall great exercise. I love it. I just did all that, and I haven’t swum in a while.
Back in January this year, I was swimming and again doing the master’s class. And there was just one day where I was swimming and we had the pins on. I was going back and forth. I looked over at the coach, and everyone else looks like they’re passing me that I’m just exhausted. I looked over the coach and I said, “Should this be that hard?” And he said, “Well, this is the only thing you’re doing. Yes, of course.” I think at that point, I realized that I needed to do something else, like the swimming was great for my shoulders and back. But I’m a fast swimmer, but I felt kind of like I was a weak link when it came to the other things, the fins and the pat and this and that.
I just realized, what am I going to do now? I went from not being able to hold a glass of water to be able to swim with a bunch of crazy athletes. My shoulder wasn’t like 100% perfect, but it was pretty darn good. And so I just kind of just went on like a little journey to figure out what can I do to gain some weight and build some muscle mass and get stronger and kind of get back to where I was like eight years ago. So boot camp and this crazy stuff and pushing trucks and flipping tires and all that fun stuff at 6:00 a.m.
So my wife, she was on — do you know what ClassPass is?
John: Oh, yeah, yeah, because you can go to different gyms, whatever gym you want.
Seth: They have all these different gyms and take this class. She got me on that and it kind of helped me figure out what I want to do. Do I enjoy this type of class, like all this extra cardio? Maybe that’s not what I need. I need to build some muscle. I don’t want to burn too many calories. So you just kind of find that perfect fit. I ended up getting a trainer who again just kind of got my shoulder a little bit better, and I was able to get a lot stronger. And now I just kind of have my favorite things and just kind of a little bit more in tune to what my body needs. It’s great. I just love it. I just love waking up 5:30, 5:45 and going to do something, or maybe it’s during lunch, I’m going with a coworker to the gym, to ClassPass or going downstairs or whatever it is. So this is great. I just feel back to where I was eight years ago, much stronger, faster, just able to kind of overcome all that. I just keep my fingers crossed
John: Yeah, man. I mean, that’s so scary but so encouraging to hear how you fought through that and got back. Now you feel like you’re really close to where you were eight years ago, which is great. Clearly, something you talk about at work, the exercising and swimming and going to the gym. You said you sometimes go with coworkers. Yeah, it’s not something that you feel like you need to hide or not share.
Seth: Yeah, it’s fun when you go with a coworker. Sometimes you talk a little bit about work but not necessarily, about just sweating or running laps or whatever you’re doing, running up stairs and it’s just a great bonding activity actually.
John: Totally. And especially when it’s out of the office, I think people tend to let their guard down a little bit more.
Seth: Yeah. We talk a little bit about family or wherever it is. I agree.
John: Yeah, just life in general and create like those meaningful relationships as opposed to those superficial ones that exist in a lot of the business world. Just out of curiosity, would you say that any of this gives you a skill or a mentality that you feel like you’re able to bring to the office?
Seth: Yeah, I’ve heard some of the other podcasts you’ve had and be like, wow, those are great people with these awesome skills. What has the skill, what has this ability to overcome this illness been able to do for me? I feel like I can just relate it back to many other things whether it’s again like passing the CPA exam, that thing is hard as you know. I remember way back when like I had such a tough time. I was at E&Y working all those hours. It was tough adventure, eventually kind of hit rock bottom and from start to finish was about five months before passing the exam. But even back here overcoming those obstacles and whether it’s an employee leaves and you need to figure out how we’re going to get that done, hire new employees and post, yeah, and all that, or just driving through a big tax deadline, how am I going to get it done and the planning, just the overcoming and just overcoming obstacles. But also just feel so much better as well.
If I compare this year to last year and this year just feels so much better physically, mentally. I just think that overcoming that challenge has just done physically and mentally just so much better.
John: So you kept this regimen going even through busy season and all that.
Seth: Yeah, even through business season. I think if you take a break, it’s just like so much harder to get back into. A lot of people go for an hour or two, whatever. If you can just get at least 30 minutes in, it makes life so much better.
John: That’s great, man. That’s really cool. Really cool to hear that, yeah, I mean sticking with it and even when there’s a ton of work to be done, still carving out time intentionally. To do this passion of yours made you so much happier than in prior years. So how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create this culture where people are allowed to share or encouraged to share versus how much is it on the individual to just step up and be like, hey, this is what I’d like to do, maybe in a small circle?
Seth: You know, I’m in charge of a human capital in my office, so I interview almost everyone, for Dallas at least, intern program and every single person asked, tell me about your culture. It’s fascinating. So you talk about culture and how important it is. I think that it is important for the office organization to create that culture to allow individuals like myself or the officemate to be able to share those experiences. Again, like you mentioned, just being able to go to the gym with somebody or whatever, just to be able to share that extra conversation, that’s really what helps build that culture.
John: Oh, totally.
Seth: It’s not going over review notes and balance sheets and profit and loss statements. That’s for sure. It’s all that extra stuff. It’s very important for the organization to allow that work environment. Just like your podcast, people just have to share.
John: That’s the thing is when I was with PwC back in the day and it wasn’t necessarily encouraged or modeled, and we’re also going back 20 years, it’s just all of a sudden, you find out that, man, everyone’s doing something and no one’s really talking about it or sharing it. Because of that, you assume, oh, well, I guess no one else does anything. And then you find out later like, no, no, my studies show that 92% of professionals have a hobby or passion they regularly do outside of work. I mean, I’m going to be the auditor here and round up to 100 and say immaterial difference. So everybody does something. So that’s the thing is just finding that out because every accounting firm reviews work papers like you were saying, but not every accounting firm has somebody with your story or other people’s stories that are there with you at Carr, Riggs & Ingram, and it’s getting those stories out there more is really what’s going to make you different than every other firm that’s out there.
Seth: And being able to connect with those stores. Just a few people that employee exercising or swimming, I could go swimming with somebody, but whatever it is, photography or charity or something, somebody else here probably does it or enjoys it or wants to know more about it. If they do it together, that really just helps the culture.
John: Even like me, I’m not a swimmer, but hearing your story and hearing about it, it’s like, wow, that’s freaking really interesting and fantastic. I mean, it’s great.
Seth: Not that you’re going to pull up that Speedo. You’re going to go in the pool.
John: Right. I’m going to scare everyone. My wife’s going to be like, “What is going on?” And I’ll be like, “I talked with Seth Margolies,” and that’s it. It’s over.
Seth: Just take out the floaties.
John: Yeah, right. Exactly. I’ll have the thing that goes around your waist. I’ll go all in, man. Like it doesn’t matter, like snorkel, like what’s up? Should you be wearing a helmet, John? It feels like it. But no, that’s really cool that that’s what’s, you know, and that you’re living it there as a leader of the firm of the office, as a partner, someone that people look up to, that you’re showing it by example, which is really great. Because I find that sometimes people are so driven by the billable hour and charge codes and all this that sometimes leaders forget that there’s people under them, like real humans.
Seth: Yeah. If you don’t have all the bots, you’ve got humans in your office.
John: Right, exactly, exactly. And even when the bots come, the humans still have to do a lot of the work anyway and still create those connections with clients and with each other.
Seth: And it’s important to encourage those to get outside of the office, even if it’s busy season, working. I don’t really like when people work seven days a week. They need to go home, be with their families, go do that, and… Everybody has and if you don’t have that and, you need to take that day off or two days off and go find it.
John: Go borrow somebody else’s and or something like that.
Seth: Yeah. I’ll lend you my floaties.
John: There you go. That’s all in, man. That’s all in. I love it. So do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that maybe has that passion or interest outside of work but thinks that it has nothing to do with their career?
Seth: Yeah, I mean, again, sometimes you see people that you can tell that they just need to get out more. They’re just working seven days a week or whatever. We just kind of need to encourage them to go out and keep that passion going, whatever it is that they enjoy, because again that’s just going to make them happier. It’s going to keep them hopefully at the firm longer, put the best attention in themselves, they’ll be happier. It’s also good just looking forward. They’re fast forwarding to retirement. What do you do when you retire? Hopefully, you still — and your and might change, but that one and might lead to a different and. We got to start somewhere.
John: Yeah, I love that man. I love that. That’s so great. Such great takeaways. So before we wrap this up, though, it’s only fair that I turned the tables, let you question me now since I fired away at you right out of the gate. So I’m ready.
Seth: All right, let’s do it. Favorite type of taco?
John: Oh, wow, that’s a great question in a very, very Texas question. Mild. We’ll get that out of the gate right now, like the mild salsa or whatever. I guess I’d go steak probably.
Seth: Yeah, one of my other questions that I was thinking about asking you, jalapenos on your nachos or on the side, I already know the answer to that.
John: Yeah, on someone else’s nachos.
Seth: Paper towels, the regular size or the kind of the choose your own size?
John: Yeah, the choose your own size for sure.
Seth: Yeah, save the planet.
John: No, I’m just lazy.
Seth: Wait a second, are you under the toilet paper?
John: No, no, I’m definitely an over. I will change that.
Seth: Don’t hold me against it. That’s your question. Room temperature water or ice water?
John: Room temperature. My teeth, for some reason, when I was little, I was in a big wheel accident. It’s a long story, but I broke out some of my teeth. And for some reason, they’re very, very sensitive in the front. So like I see people bite ice cream or drink really ice cold water and I’m like, oh, man, I’m cringing right now thinking about it.
John: Yeah, room temperature, no ice. Yeah.
Seth: And then the last question is when you listen to a podcast, what speed do you listen to the podcast?
John: Oh, double speed, double speed, webinars, YouTube stuff —
Seth: Times two, really?
John: Times two, man. If the person speaks quickly, then I might one and a half, but typically double. And it’s really funny when I see them in person and I’m like, wow, they are so slow in real life.
John: Yeah, I know. Those are really great questions. That’s really great.
Seth: That’s all I got.
John: No, man, that was awesome. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me here on What’s Your “And”?
Seth: Well, perfect. Thanks for having me.
John: Yeah, this was great. Everyone listening, if you like to see some pictures of Seth outside of work or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. While you’re on the page, please click that big button and do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes 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.