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.