Scott is an Executive & Photographer & Musician & Meditator
Scott Shute talks about his lifelong passions for music & photography and how these skills applied to his corporate careers. He also talks about creating his own job of Mindfulness and Compassion programs at LinkedIn and why it is a great example of both the organization and the individual playing a role in corporate culture!
• Growing up in a musical family
• Learning how to play an instrument before YouTube existed
• Writing his own songs
• Getting into photography
• How his skills in music & photography translate to his career
• How he brought mindfulness and compassion into his office
• Why it is both on the organization and the individual to create an open workplace culture
• Be the first mover
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Welcome to Episode 383 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. To put it in 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.
If you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the book on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop and a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. If you want me to read the book to you, look for it on What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audio books.
The book goes into more in-depth of the research behind why these outside-of-work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture, and I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and writing such great reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.
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, Scott Shute. He’s the Head of Mindfulness and Compassion Programs at LinkedIn and the author of The Full Body YES: Change Your Work and Your World from the Inside Out. It just came out yesterday. Now he’s with me here today. Scott, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Scott: All right. Thanks, John. Thanks for having me.
John: Oh, absolutely, man. The book is awesome. I’m so excited for it to be out and excited for you to be on this journey as well. Congratulations on that.
Scott: Thanks very much. I appreciate it.
John: That’s no easy feat. That’s for sure. We’re going to get into some rapid-fire questions here, get to know Scott on a new level right out of the gate here. I’ll start you out with an easy one, a pretty easy one, I think.
Scott: We’ll see. We’ll see.
John: Yeah, we’ll see. Actually, we will see. Talk or text.
John: Talk. Yeah. All right. How about puzzles, Sudoku or crossword?
Scott: Oh, Sudoku.
John: Yeah. Nice.
Scott: I love numbers.
John: It’s more fun to say too, right?
Scott: Sou desu.
John: Right? There you go. How about a favorite color?
Scott: Oh, blue, all the time, every day.
John: Yeah, mine too, hands down.
Scott: Dark blue like indigo, that type of blue, really specific, right in between day and night blue.
John: Ooh, that is good. I like that one. How about a least favorite color?
John: Oh, yeah.
Scott: Dirty like when you spilled paint and it all meshes together.
John: Oh, it’s just —
Scott: It’s not really a color. It’s a color, but it’s not a color.
John: It’s like a brown purple. It’s like, how is this possible?
Scott: It’s the color that, in the crayon box, you just, you don’t use that one.
John: No, no. It’s always nicely pointed.
John: I thought that was just me that had those. That’s hilarious. How about a favorite actor or an actress?
Scott: Oh, wow. Matt Damon. If the story of my life is ever told on screen, Matt Damon should be the one. So, Matt, if you’re out there, let’s chat.
John: He’s out there. He’s out there.
Scott: He’s out there.
John: Is he listening? That’s the question.
Scott: Somebody pass this on to Matt, say this is perfect opportunity.
John: Right. Give him a call. Have his people call Scott’s people. How about are you more of an early bird or a night owl?
John: Early. Okay.
Scott: Yeah, always get the worm.
John: Yeah, that’s very mindfulness of you. Yeah, it’s hard to be mindful at night, I feel.
John: Yeah, yeah. How about a favorite Disney character?
Scott: Oh, Pumba.
Scott: Is that Disney? I think that’s Disney.
Scott: Right? Lion King?
John: Anything animated, I count.
Scott: Yeah. Okay.
John: I think so.
Scott: I’m going with that then, Pumba.
John: Pumba. Solid answer, solid answer. I love it. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?
Scott: Both, man. I mean, I’d go Star Trek just because you have to wait longer in-between the movies.
John: And there’s a billion episodes of Star Trek, I feel like.
Scott: Yeah, that’s true. That’s true, but the movies, I’m going to go with the movies from Star Trek.
John: Oh, the movies, yeah, yeah. The Star Trek movies, yeah, yeah. No, there we go. How about your computer, more of a PC or a Mac?
Scott: PC just because that’s what we always use at work. I just got in that groove.
John: Yeah, yeah, me too. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?
Scott: Wow. Chocolate filled with chocolate covered with chocolate.
Scott: Deep chocolate infused.
John: With brownies and all the chunks.
John: How can I maximize the calories in this spoon that I’m shoving in my face?
John: I love it, man. That’s awesome. How about favorite season, spring, summer, fall or winter?
Scott: Wow. I think spring because there’s this time when the new buds come out. It’s like, oh, here we go. Right about when we’re recording this, the time is about to change. That’s my favorite time when you — all of a sudden it’s an hour later of light.
John: Right? Just out of nowhere. What? It’s like, just two days ago, it was still dark right now. Now I’m not falling asleep. That’s neat. That’s awesome. Very cool. How about a favorite day of the week?
Scott: Ooh, I think Saturday because you don’t have to go to the work the next day. You wake up, and you’ve got 48 hours or whatever ahead of you. It’s like, oh, this is mine. I get to do it.
John: Yeah. No, I love it. I love it. It’s also when college football happens, so that’s good.
Scott: That’s true. That’s true.
John: Everything good happens on Saturday. How about, oh, here we go, toilet paper roll, over or under?
Scott: Oh, got to be over.
John: Over. Yeah. It’s how the patent is. I think that’s how it goes.
Scott: Oh, and while we’re on it, the best thing that has happened during the quarantine is the Tushy.
John: Oh, right. That’s maybe the answer, no toilet paper. Tushy.
Scott: Yeah, Tushy, you’ve got to get a Tushy. Seriously, the absolute best thing that happened during quarantine is the Tushy.
John: It should be, if you buy Scott’s book, The Full Body YES, you get the full body Tushy.
Scott: As long as the owners of Tushy are willing to give one with every book.
John: Right. Exactly. Matt Damon, if you’re listening out there, hook us — no.
John: He’s the spokesperson now. How about, oh, mindfulness, here we go, yoga or meditation? Or are they the same? I’m not even sure.
Scott: I like them both.
John: Oh, they are different. Okay, good.
Scott: They’re different. Well, for me, yoga is about moving. I like them both, but I really like yoga to move my body and stretch because it just feels good.
John: Cool. I was worried that you were going to be like, actually, John, you can meditate while doing yoga. I was like, is that sleeping?
Scott: Well, that’s a technicality.
John: Right, right. Well, thank you, man. I appreciate you adhering to my silly rules. How about — three more — do you have a favorite number?
John: Seven. Yeah, mine too. Is there a reason?
Scott: I’ve always liked it. It’s lucky. Also my Enneagram number is seven.
John: Oh, there you go. Okay. Yeah, mine was probably mostly sports.
Scott: Yeah, mine, too, started that way.
John: Yeah, and then you justify it. How about books, real book, Kindle or audio version?
Scott: Real. I don’t like reading electronically. It just didn’t do it for me.
John: I’m the same. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Scott: Oh, I have a Martin D-35 guitar actually.
Scott: It’s the very first thing I bought when I graduated from college. Before I bought furniture for my apartment, I bought this guitar, and I had literally a box that I would sit on and play this guitar.
John: That’s incredible. I love that so much. That’s so awesome, and you still have it.
Scott: I do.
John: That’s so great. That’s super awesome, man. Did you know how to play guitar before that, or was it —
Scott: Yes. Yes, I did. I had my brother’s hand-me-down guitar that I played for a few years, which was a nice guitar, but I wanted my own, man. So, I got a Martin.
John: Exactly. That’s so great, and then you sit on a box while you play it.
Scott: Yeah, a milk crate.
John: Right. Yeah, totally. Absolutely. That’s incredible. That’s awesome, man. I love it. I love it so much, which dovetails perfectly into your “ands”, two of them, musician and photographer. Let’s do music first since we’re on the subject. Did you grow up playing music?
Scott: I grew up in a super musical family.
John: Oh, okay.
Scott: I’m the youngest of five kids. This goes back to my great grandfather who lived to be 100. He was a bandleader, like the John Philip Sousa type of band leader, back in the 1910s. In fact, John Philip Sousa barnstormed through my grandfather’s little town of 1,000 people, and they actually got to play together. He played trombone. My grandmother, his daughter, was the pianist at church for 85 years. She was the pianist at church, maybe 80 years. My mom was the choir director at church, and all of us grew up in the church, played music, sang my first solo at age five. I played trombone in school.
In college, I wanted to join my buddy’s band. They were full. They’re like, oh, we already have a singer. What do you play? I’m like, well, I sing. They’re like, no, we already have a singer. I’m like, well, F you guys, man. I’m going to build my own band.
John: This was before ska. You can bring your trombone to the ska band.
Scott: Totally. So I taught myself to play acoustic guitar, and I’ve been writing music and singing and playing ever since college.
John: That’s very cool, man. I played the trombone in college myself.
John: Yeah, total goofball instrument.
Scott: Oh, total you have to be a goofball. There are no normal people. I’m air quoting normal. We’re all goofballs.
John: Exactly. That’s awesome, man. That’s so cool, another trombone player. It’s like, you never meet them. They’re all hiding.
Scott: Oh, yeah. They won’t admit it, but we’re out.
John: Right, right.
John: I still have mine in the — I can go get it. No one wants to hear that on the podcast.
Scott: No, later. There’ll be a special edition.
John: A guitar is much better. People want to hear that. They recognize the song. It’s not a bunch of whole notes that no one hears the song. That’s cool. You taught yourself how to play. Did you perform or were you…
Scott: A little bit and mostly just for myself, and I taught myself to play before YouTube. Oh, my God, it is so much easier now.
Scott: Back in the old days, you actually had to buy sheet music. You’d find some artist you like. For me, way back when, it was Tracy Chapman or James Taylor or Indigo Girls. You’d have to buy a whole book just to learn one song.
John: Or not even the song, the chorus of the song.
Scott: Right, and then it was probably written for piano. Now, you just go to YouTube, and there are 27 different versions, depending on your vocal range. Now it’s so much easier. Yeah, I taught myself. I mostly did not play out. I played for friends. Now, I’ll play for — every year, we have a block party, and my buddy and I, we play music. I wish I was as good when I was 20 as I am now because I totally would have done more of it. I would have gone out more.
John: That’s an interesting thing that’s come up from all the interviews, is instead of I’m a guitarist, it’s I enjoy playing the guitar.
John: Then it doesn’t matter if you’re good because I enjoy it. I’m not giving myself the label, and it takes a lot of the pressure off and all that. Because I feel like a lot of us, we don’t share it as much because people are going to judge or I’m not very good as the person that’s down the street. That’s like, yeah, but they’re amazing, and you’re also good.
Scott: For me, it’s just about that release. It’s funny. I’m getting asked — okay, so now, more people know me at work. I’m going to air quote, celebrity. I’m not exactly a celebrity, but more people know me at work. I got invited to do this show with this creative group at work. I’m supposed to play this original song. I’m going through my catalogue. I probably have 20 or 25 songs. What I realized — now my title is I’m Head of Mindfulness and Compassion, right? I’m going to play this song for these people. What I realized… You see where this is going?
John: I do. This is awesome. There’s nothing compassion in your songs.
Scott: No, exactly. The music that I’ve been writing has been a release for me. It’s all this angry stuff or whatever it is because I wrote it for me. I didn’t write it to play.
Scott: I was like, I’m going to throw these songs — oh, no. Oh, that’s not going to work. I realized that my music has been cathartic. I’m not writing, generally, I’m not writing these happy meditation songs. I’m raging, or I’m in emotional distress. This is my outlet. So I’m going to have to figure out my whole new genre of how these two things come together.
John: There would totally be an episode at the office where we have a mindfulness guy play a song, just whatever. No, that’s super cool, man. That’s great. I think it’s cool, too, that you’re writing your own music. That takes it to another level of that release and that cathartic nature of it which is pretty awesome.
John: Well, that’s cool. That’ll be fun to see how that goes.
Scott: I’m still working on that. I may have to write a new one actually.
John: Write a new one.
Scott: I’m all self-conscious about it because —
John: Don’t be too happy. It’ll be too much.
Scott: Yeah, nobody will want that either.
John: You just write the melancholy, the down the middle, I’m not too happy, I’m also not angry. I’m right in the middle.
Scott: Or it’s got to be like, it starts with you really angry or melancholy and then ends like you find your true —
John: There you go.
Scott: That’s a hard song to write.
John: That is a hard song to write. I would just learn a new one.
John: I would just… That’s hilarious. Photography, as well, is a big thing. Is that something from when you were younger, or did you get into that later?
Scott: I have always loved photography. I probably got into it, I don’t know, as a teenager, as a young adult, but I really, really got into it, probably four or five years ago. My son had gone to college. We had done everything together. All of a sudden I needed a new outlet. So I bought a new camera, and I taught myself how to use Lightroom and Photoshop and went deep.
Scott: Turned the dial from three to 11 on the… Nine goes to 11 and goes to —
John: Right, right.
Scott: So, have gotten really serious about that. I have a commercial website. I’m selling photography. I used to travel a lot and take my camera with me. Now I travel to use my camera. I’ll go on specific adventures just to do photography. That’s been super cool.
John: That is awesome. Do you feel like either the music or the photography gives you a skill that you’ve brought to your career, or something that accidentally transcends over?
Scott: In different ways, for sure. The music, to be able to stand in front of people on stage and play a song that you wrote, is an incredibly vulnerable thing.
John: Oh, totally.
Scott: Here’s another thing that we didn’t even talk about is I did theater. I was doing electrical engineering as my major, but I wasn’t on fire with it, to be honest with you. It was very practical, and I wanted to get a job after I was done. So, for fun, I took all these theater classes and music classes. I took 40 or 50 hours’ worth of music and theater classes.
John: That’s incredible.
Scott: What I found is, what I’ll tell people today is the most valuable class I took in all of college and all my classes was improv. It was called Creative Dynamics, but it was essentially improv because you were in front of people, and you had to be on. How this skill has translated as an executive or as a leader is, what happens is this one time, my boss calls me. He’s like, “Hey, Shute, what are you doing?” I’m like, “I’m working. What are you doing?” He’s like, “Hey, well, I was just sitting here with the CEO, and we were talking about your new plan. Maybe you should just come over and talk about it.” I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding me.
Scott: This thing I’ve been preparing for months, and I have the pitch for it. Instead of all that, we’re just going to go talk to the CEO about it right now.
John: Back of the napkin, just, yeah, put on your dancing shoes. Let’s see it, Scott. Let’s see it.
Scott: I had 70 seconds in the walk to the CEO’s office to figure that out.
Scott: It all comes back to this. When you’re standing in front of a crowd, you’ve got to take care of all your emotions and your body, and get composed. It’s all the same thing. It’s all this acting. It’s all this music performance and getting ready for it. It’s totally that, for me, has been the most important skill in life, is being able to communicate like that.
John: No, it’s totally right. You’re exercising that muscle through your music. So then when it’s go time at the office, you’re not going from zero to 60. It’s like, well, no, I’ve been doing this regularly. I can actually do this successfully, and there’s expertise that we have outside of our electrical engineering undergrad.
John: Unfortunately, most people see your college degree and then they go, well, that’s your expertise. It’s like, no, no, so much more expertise that people have that we don’t even care to find out about.
Scott: That’s right. I was just thinking about, even on LinkedIn. I work at LinkedIn, right? On your LinkedIn profile, you can put your hobbies, and I encourage people to tell their whole story. How often does a recruiter or a hiring manager go there first and go, “Oh, dude, tell me about when you were on the crew team in college. Or tell me about what does it mean to you to do photography or to do music, and how does that translate?” How much better would every interview be if they started that way?
John: Yeah, and it’d be more fun for the interviewer, the person interviewing the person as well. It’s a much more — you’re going to be around these people more waking hours than your family. What lights them up?
Scott: Really, who cares what grade you got on Electromagnetics Theory 2?
John: Right? Because it was a D, and if it wasn’t, then you were trying too hard.
Scott: No, funny story, actually, I got to a B in that class. It was one of the proudest moments in history because it was a weed-out class. Literally, 60% of the class got D’s or worse, and I got a B. I don’t know how.
John: Wow, good for you, man. That’s top 15%, man. That’s impressive.
Scott: This will probably be the only time that I get to drop my grade that I got in emag, so, thank you, John, for this opportunity.
John: No, you’re welcome. That’s what What’s Your “And”? is all about. One of my rapid-fire questions is typically, what grade did you get on your junior year exam? I was like, he’ll bring it up in conversation. That’s what Scott does.
Scott: Exactly. His ego is so huge he’s got to drop his grade in emag.
John: Scott B. Shute. I love that. I love how that those skills translate over and that you’re aware of it. How does the mindfulness and the compassion work into work? Because I definitely want to get to that as well. You wrote a whole book on it.
John: I think it’s really important and really key because I feel like both of our messages are different, but their puzzle piece together nicely.
Scott: Right. First of all, most of my day job for the last 25 or 30 years, oh, I don’t even want to count, lots of years, has been in customer support leadership. At LinkedIn, I led global customer operations which is essentially all of the customer-facing stuff that’s not sales. As you might imagine, big job, stressful job. Throughout my career, always have customer issues that are happening and big organizations that there’s always some mess going on. So, mindfulness has always been a big part of my life. It’s something that I’ve started practicing when I was 13. I started teaching when I was in college. It’s always been a big part of who I was as a person, but I never really, I’m air quoting, came out as a meditator until a few years ago at LinkedIn.
I realized it was such a cool place that I could bring it to work. I started by leading a meditation class at work. That became a thing. Then I raised my hand to be the executive sponsor for our mindfulness program. We didn’t have one, so we created one, still, while I was in my old job. Then through a series of events, I raised my hand and asked if I could create this role, and so I’ve been in this role —
John: I love it.
Scott: Yeah, as a full time gig for the last two and a half years. I’m Head of Mindfulness and Compassion. For me, it’s about, I call it changing work from the inside out, mainstreaming mindfulness, operationalizing compassion. So, mindfulness is just about the development of ourselves, and trying to make mindfulness or meditation, like mental exercise, just as commonplace as physical exercise. That’s part of my gig. The other part — and, oh, my God, during pandemic, who doesn’t need help with their mental well-being, right?
John: Oh, my goodness, yeah, everyone.
Scott: On the compassion side, it’s about, okay, this is how we work together. How do we sell products? How do we build products? How do we treat each other inside the company? There’s tons of work to do to codify what does it mean to be compassionate to each other so we can be more successful? Not just because it’s some nice woo-woo thing, but, no, so we can be more successful in business.
John: It’s both. Yeah, and it impacts the bottom line. Yeah, yeah. It’s not like coddling the younger generation, which I think a lot of people are like. It’s like, no, no, everybody wants this. This isn’t a younger thing at all. It’s just they’re allowed to speak up about it because there’s the internet, and they can get another job tomorrow.
Scott: That’s right. Look, if you’re a millennial that got raised by woke parents, parents who told you, you could be anything and do anything and just follow your heart; you don’t want to work for some jerk boss, doing some dumb job that doesn’t mean anything in the world. You want to work for people who care about you and care about their customers and care about the work that we do. The work is changing.
John: Yeah. No, it very much is. That’s awesome, man. That’s what your book is a lot about, which is cool. Yeah, that’s really cool. How much is it on the organization to create that space where mindfulness and compassion is part of just what we do, where sharing your — your story is so incredibly cool, where I meditate and then, hey, I could do a couple of workshops. Now you’re the head of — a job that didn’t even exist for a group that didn’t even exist five years ago. How much is it on the organization to create that space where, whether it’s compassion or mindfulness or sharing your “and”? Or how much is on the individual to raise their hand and be like, hey?
Scott: Well, I think it’s both, but if you don’t have a safe space to share, then we just retreat, right? Here’s what I found. This is how I got there. Our CEO was onstage talking about his own meditation practice using Headspace.
John: Oh, wow.
Scott: That created this umbrella of safety for me to say, okay, well, I guess it’s okay for me to then talk about my thing. I was a VP at the time. That creates an umbrella for everybody in my org and other orgs to also come out and go, well, actually, I do this too, and I’m willing to not talk about it at work. So then all of a sudden, everybody’s talking about what they do, in a way that’s open. This is how it happens.
People will come. If you build it, they will come. If you create this space where they can talk about what they’re passionate about, and they can bring their whole self to work, then you can have really cool conversations about not just meditation or compassion or whatever, but music or creativity. You start putting these creative people together. All of a sudden, they’re like, wow, I get to talk about this at work.
Just think about your own life in times when you felt super lit up about some project that you were doing because something about it sparked inside of you, versus a project where you’re like, oh, wow, well, this kind of sucks, but I’ve got to get it done because I need the pay. Which of these things are you going to get better results from the employee on? It just makes sense.
John: Even if those projects are mundane, which is what happens at work, you can talk about the music or the photography or the outside-of-work thing as part of it. Then you bring that energy to work. You’re around people that they know what you get lit up with and vice versa, and they care about you. It’s like a genuine care. Hey, I’d love to see your pictures, Scott. Or what song have you written lately? What did you bash in the latest song that you were angry about? Totally. I was listening to Rage Against the Machine, and they sound a little too soft for you. That’s cool because then it’s like, wow, they care about me, not just the technical skills me.
Scott: Exactly. Even if we just started every staff meeting, if there are six or eight or 10 of us in a staff meeting, just going around, hey, what’s something cool you did this weekend? Not everybody has to share if they don’t want to, but what this does is it takes our guards down. We’re treating each other as human beings first and building those connections first. It’s from that energy then, okay, well, now let’s go talk about this accounting spreadsheet or this sales presentation or this — I mean, then we’re alive, right? That same aliveness goes into the “mundane,” and the mundane doesn’t have to be mundane.
John: I love it, man. That’s exactly it. That’s super cool, man. Super cool. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that has a hobby that has nothing to do with their job, or they feel like no one’s going to care?
Scott: Talk about it. Whether you’re a meditator or a musician or a hobby or whatever, what we’re saying is about vulnerability. I think of it like an iceberg. All of us are like an iceberg. Most of us just expose that very tip. If we lower the waterline, if we lower the waterline, and we’re like, hey, I want to share this. Look, when we’re met with resistance, we’ll be like, we all just draw the waterline right back up.
Scott: That’s fine.
John: And then some.
Scott: And then some. If you draw the waterline down and you share with people and you’re met with openness, then they want to do the same thing, and the waterline continues to drop. So, what I’d say is, especially if you’re a leader, is be the first mover. Have the courage to be the first mover, and who knows what you’ll find? Maybe you’ll need to draw the waterline back up. Or maybe it will just keep going, and you’ll end up creating something magical. Be the first mover.
John: Or you create a new job for yourself.
John: There’s that. No, I love it, man. That’s such great advice. It’s one of those that’s simple but not easy, but you’ve got to take a step.
Scott: That’s right.
John: I love that, man. This has been awesome. Before I wrap it up, I feel like it was very rude of me to pepper you with questions at the very beginning, so we will turn the tables. Welcome to the first episode of the Scott Shute podcast.
Scott: That’s right. That’s right. It is my turn.
John: Right, it’s on you.
Scott: Here we go, John. All right, John, if you could spend the rest of your life in living just one month, like Groundhog Day, you have to live this one month that you’ve already lived over and over and over for the rest of your life, what month out of your life that you’ve already lived would you choose?
John: A specific month in a year?
Scott: You may not have to remember it, but like, when I was 18, the last month —
John: Oh, in my life.
Scott: Yeah, in your life.
John: Oh, wow. Okay.
Scott: You get to relive it. You can change the outcome every month.
John: Oh, right, because it’s Groundhog Day.
Scott: It’s Groundhog Day.
John: All right. Wow, that is a good one, yeah, because there’s been a lot of cool things that happened. I don’t know. I’ll probably say October of 2016, maybe. That was the first time I was able to go on the sidelines for a Notre Dame football game, from working with them and stuff and then got to go to several games and be on the sidelines for all of them. Yeah, I could do that all the time.
Scott: You could meet lots of interesting people if you had a whole lifetime to spend.
John: Oh, yeah. Jon Bon Jovi’s son was on the team, so he would be on the sidelines at one game. He had gray hair, so he wasn’t touring, Bon Jovi.
Scott: See, by the end of that month, you could cut an album with Bon Jovi.
John: Oh, yeah, because we can just, hey, what are you doing here? I’ve been practicing my guitar while singing on a milk crate, and I’m good now. It’ll be angry Bon Jovi songs with you in on it. Matt Damon will be playing the drums.
Scott: Exactly. Okay, that was the hardest one first. Here are two easy ones. If you could have any superpower, what superpower would you have?
John: Oh, okay. One would be to sing. I’m a terrible singer. I know that’s not a superpower, but I look at it as a superpower because if you’re a good singer, you suck because I can’t. I would love to be able to sing a song while dunking a basketball.
Scott: Ooh, that’s a superpower.
John: I might be the only 6’3” guy that can’t dunk. I don’t know why, but I just… Yeah.
Scot: Those are two superpowers. All right, we’re getting greedy here, but that’s fine. That’s fine.
John: It’s your show. My bad.
Scott: That’s right. If you could have any animal as a pet, and it would be tame and do whatever you wanted it to, what animal would you choose?
John: Dolphin. Hands down, dolphin. Dolphins are the coolest animals ever in the history of ever. They’re super smart. They’re super hilarious.
Scott: What would you do with your dolphin?
John: Save the world? I don’t know, just everything.
Scott: Here’s John and his sidekick, the dolphin. So, you get to travel around with a truck that has a tank in it with your dolphin?
John: I feel like I would be the sidekick. I feel it would be almost like a ventriloquist where the dummy is the one driving the show.
Scott: That is awesome. I imagine you do. I imagined you on a motorcycle with your little goggles and the dolphin with its little goggles in a sidecar that’s filled with water, chirping. Let’s go save the world, John.
John: I just chuck fish overhead. That would be the coolest thing ever. Could you imagine? If that happened in October of 2016, this would all be heaven right now.
Scott: Look at you. That would be amazing.
John: Yeah, that’s a good one. That’s a good one. Well, no, I appreciate it, Scott. This has been so much fun having you be a part of What’s Your “And”? Congrats on the book, and I appreciate it.
Scott: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. It’s been fun.
John: Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Scott or connect with him on social media or get the link to Full Body YES: Change Your Work and Your World from the Inside Out, just came out yesterday, be sure and check it out. All the links at whatsyourand.com. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, 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.
Sara is a Bookkeeper & Artist
Sara Gibb, owner of Flow Works Bookkeeping & Consulting, talks about her passion for art and why she felt it was better suited as a hobby rather than a profession! She also talks about how her art translates into her work as a bookkeeper and how it helps build relationships with clients!
• Getting into art
• Why she left her career in art
• Some of her favorite works as an artist
• How her art translates towards her bookkeeping
• Talking to clients about her art
Please take 2 minutes
to do John’s anonymous survey
about Corporate Culture!
Sara’s Works of Art
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Welcome to Episode 345 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. 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 differentiates you when you’re at work.
If you like the podcast, you can go even deeper into the research with my book. It’s available on Amazon, Indigo, barnesandnoble.com, Bookshop, a few other websites, so check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. Honestly, I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it and then writing such great reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the cultures where they work because of it.
Please don’t forget to 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, Sara Gibb. She’s the owner of Flow Works Bookkeeping and Consulting in Chemainus which is on Vancouver Island, Canada, and now she’s with me here today. Sara, thanks so much for taking time to be on What’s Your “And”?
Sara: Thanks, John. I’m really happy to be here.
John: No, this is going to be great. We’ve met in person when I spoke at some conferences, which was really cool, finally got you on, so I’m excited.
Sara: I really like the song, what is it, the one, life in a cubicle or whatever.
John: Oh, yeah, I Work in a Cubicle.
Sara: I Work in a Cubicle. I just love that song.
John: The One Direction parody. Well, thank you. Yeah, that was super fun to shoot the video for it too. That’s awesome. Well, I have some rapid-fire questions here to get to know Sara on a new level here. Here we go. I’ll ask you, do you have a favorite Disney character?
Sara: Yes, I like the little guinea pig, Norman, off of Secret Life of Pets. I actually, in my office, my husband has bought me little stuffies that stay in my office.
John: That’s awesome. That’s very cool.
Sara: That’s very unique.
John: That is. Yeah, I haven’t had that one yet. That’s a good one, though. How about a favorite color?
John: Pink. Okay. How about a least favorite color?
John: That’s a good one too, yeah. How about puzzles, Sudoku or crossword?
Sara: Neither. I like the word find.
John: Oh, word find, that works too. Okay, okay. There you go. Absolutely, that works, absolutely. How about chocolate or vanilla?
Sara: Depends on the mood. Probably I’ll go chocolate, but I like white chocolate.
John: Oh, okay, all right. There you go. How about a favorite actor or actress?
Sara: I don’t say that I really have a favorite actor or actress. I do have a favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally, from the ‘80s.
John: Oh, that’s a great movie, though.
Sara: I love that movie. Watch it over and over all the time.
John: Yeah, absolutely, great movie. Would you say you’re more of an early bird or a night owl?
Sara: Night owl, 100% night owl. I get my best work done between 10 and 2 am.
John: Holy cow, that’s really late. That’s almost back to early bird.
Sara: I know. I know. It’s really, it’s the weirdest thing but, yeah.
John: That’s awesome. Well, at least you know. Because most people are sleeping during that time and not achieving peak performance. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?
Sara: Oh, Star Wars, 100%. I know the whole storyline. I’m a fanatic.
John: Yeah. I haven’t ventured out from the original three just because I’ve heard mixed reviews, and I don’t want to ruin it.
Sara: It’s hit and miss. Some of them are really good, and some of them are just really bad.
John: Yeah, exactly. How about your computer, PC or a Mac?
Sara: It’s PC, but I also have an iPad too, and an iPhone, so I don’t know.
John: Okay, so, a little bit of both.
Sara: A little bit of both.
John: I’m a huge ice cream junkie. Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?
Sara: Moose Tracks. I don’t know if that’s a Canadian thing but —
John: It is definitely not it, and it is so good.
Sara: Rum and raisin is another one.
John: Oh, okay. Yeah, I’m a huge fan of, how many more chunks of things can we get in? I want my bite to have the most calories possible. Yeah, I love it. Oh, here’s one somebody asked me a little bit ago. I thought it was great, so I’m going to ask you. Socks or shoes.
Sara: Both. I wear slippers all day long with socks on them, and I’m terrible for always stealing my husband’s socks in the winter.
John: Oh, yeah.
Sara: Because they’re way more comfy.
John: That’s an argument starter right there. That’s tough. How about, since you have the bookkeeping background, balance sheet or income statement?
Sara: Income statement.
John: Okay. More oceans or mountains.
Sara: I have the best of both worlds, so I say both. I enjoy both, thoroughly. Living on the island, we’re surrounded by an ocean, and we’ve got tons of mountains and hiking around here. It’s beautiful.
John: That’s awesome. Very cool. How about a favorite sports team?
Sara: I’m just going to go with Vancouver Canucks. I don’t watch a whole lot of sports, but I do cheer for them at time.
John: Sure. Yeah, yeah, it’s like a national thing. You have to.
Sara: Yeah, you have to. You have to.
John: Three more. Do you have a favorite number?
John: Yeah, that’s mine, too. Why is yours?
Sara: I don’t know. It’s just always been a lucky number for me.
John: Okay. How about books, Kindle, real books or audio?
Sara: Real books. I’m a huge fan of — my husband hates whenever we go out shopping, and I want to go to Chapters because it always means that I’m going to be in there for an hour, and he’s sitting at Starbucks with his latte waiting for me. Because I like to open the books and read a couple pages. I’ve got a big stack in my arms that I’m packing with me. He’s like, how are you going to read all these books with your little time?
John: From 10 to 2.
Sara: That’s right, yeah.
John: Very cool. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.
Sara: You’re going to laugh at this, but it’s my Instant Pot.
John: No, that sounds — okay, all right. When did you get one?
Sara: I got one — I’ve had it for about two years. I have a couple other accessories like an Instant Pot air fryer and stuff, but I just love my Instant Pot because I can make dinner in like 30 minutes in one pot.
John: Right? Literally in one pot, all of it, just like a stew or —
Sara: Everything in one pot. It’s like the greatest invention ever. I make homemade yogurt. I make homemade broth. You just set it, and you can go work. Leave it and let it do its thing.
John: That’s awesome, very cool. I love it, such a great answer, but we’re going to talk art. How did art start for you? Is it something, as a kid, that you just kept going with or something that you came back to, later in life?
Sara: Well, I’ve always loved art as a child, art, photography, and those kinds of things. My story is a little bit different as, when I graduated from high school, I actually went to do a two-year visual arts degree and then also another degree in photography. It was my goal at the time that I wanted to do something in art and be creative and be a photographer and do all those kinds of things. I went to school, and I got the certificates and the training and all that kind of stuff.
Sara: Then I went out in the real world, and I managed a photography studio, a children’s photography studio, loved kids. When I actually got into doing it as a career, I did find it stressful, and it sucked the creativity out of me. I then ended up falling into bookkeeping, and that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 15 years. I went back to school, got retrained, and doing that, I opened my own business.
Now I find myself, I’m back to painting in the evenings and creating art and doing photography. It’s very much a passion of mine still. I just love that there’s nothing, career-wise, riding on. It’s just something that I can do. At the end of the day, I can open up my painting kit. I can sit in the kitchen. I can paint something, and I can just shut my mind off completely. That’s the one thing that I can do that can shut my mind off completely is painting.
John: It is a huge thing, and why I’m very explicit to people that taking that hobby or passion and trying to make it your job is something that I explicitly say, don’t do, just because it’s so hard to make a living at it. Also, when it becomes your job, a lot of that passion isn’t there all the time, but you have to do it because you have to pay the rent. You have to put food on the table. So, it’s very, very hard to make that leap. It’s cool to hear that you did do it for a while. Now, it’s a hobby, but you’re able to turn to it when you want to, then it lights you up still. I think that’s really, really cool.
Sara: It’s very stress-relieving and relaxing, I should say. It’s something that — my daughter enjoys art and creating as well. It’s something that I can do with her and connect with her too. We both enjoy painting, in that kind of sense, and creating. It’s fun. We’ve done some family projects, like the hands and that kind of thing and that kind of stuff. I’ve done some art where all of us, the family, have participated in and stuff like that. I think that those kind of creations are fun. It’s a piece of each of us.
John: Right, exactly, and at the end of the day, it’s not for someone to buy or for someone to judge. It’s because you enjoy it. That’s what’s so powerful about it, is I don’t care if you think it’s good or not. I like it.
Sara: That’s right.
John: That’s very cool. So, from your art, photography days, over the years, is there something that you’ve created or done that you’re really excited about or proud of, that’s like some of your more favorite pieces?
Sara: Yeah, I’ve created some stuff in college that I really like. I really enjoy charcoal drawing with the live people that come and pose. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It’s very freeing, the charcoal drawing, that kind of thing. I have some of those. A lot of my artwork hangs in my house, to this day, a lot of the stuff. It wasn’t me that — it was my husband who took it and hung it up around the house and felt that it needed to be hung and needed to be seen. I never ever have thought that way. When I create pieces, I always just stuff them in the closet and just leave it. He’s the one that goes around and pulls it out of the closet and hangs it up around the house.
John: That’s cool, though, because why not? Otherwise, you’re going to go buy something from somewhere that’s generic or not as good or whatever. Yeah, that’s awesome. Do you feel like the art, at all, translates over to the bookkeeping?
Sara: I think it does. I think that an artist uses the right side of the brain. Bookkeeping, accounting is more associated with your left side of the brain, which means that I’m constantly always using both sides of my brain. I think that plays a very important role in how I do things and how I deal with them. I’m very meticulous, I guess you could say, with my books, with the things that I work on. There’s nothing better that brings me more joy than a beautiful, balanced statement.
I think it’ll almost look like a work of art, especially when you are doing this huge cleanup job. You pull a balance sheet, and it just looks awful. It’s a mess. There are categories where there shouldn’t be categories. There are things placed where they shouldn’t be placed. The banks are not reconciled. You just take that balance sheet, and you just fix everything. It’s almost like, at the end of the day, it’s like a work of art to you when it’s done. I don’t want nobody else touching it.
John: It’s in the frame, don’t touch it. We put glass on it.
Sara: It’s beautiful. It’s perfect. Don’t touch it.
John: Yeah, get a velvet rope around it, like the Mona Lisa or something.
Sara: That’s right.
John: I can see that for sure. The way that you look at things, that’s the same way. That’s cool to hear. Do clients know about this artistic side of you?
Sara: Yeah, they do. When they come over, they see artwork hanging up. They often ask, “Did you do this? Oh, I didn’t know that you did art.” It brings the funny story and how I did art and how I got into it. Because a lot of people, when they see somebody who does books, they don’t often associate them with someone that would have a creative side also, as well. I think that’s something unique and fun to talk about.
John: Yeah. No, for sure, yeah, because normally, the creative side in accounting is going to get you in trouble, but if you look at it like a work of art, then that’s different. It’s cool to have them ask those questions about that because then you could tell that story. Do you feel like the relationships you have with the clients that ask about the art more are different than maybe clients that don’t ask about the art or don’t know, or before you started sharing that side?
Sara: No, not really. Especially since COVID right now, a lot of my visits with clients are virtual, so it’s really hard to decipher that. It’s a nice icebreaker if you’re meeting a client for the first time. They walk into your office, and they see my artwork. Sometimes they comment on it . Or they see a piece that me and my daughter have done together, a piece of art hanging, and that opens the conversation. That also gives them a little piece of my life, say, hey, I’m not just a bookkeeper. I actually have a life after. I have a daughter. I have hobbies. I’m not a round-the-clock bookkeeper.
John: Which is good for two things, mostly, I’m not going to answer the phone at 10 pm just for no reason, type of thing.
Sara: I may be at my computer working. I’m not going to answer it.
John: At 2 pm, I’m not going to answer, my bad. No, but that’s just so cool, though, that you’re willing to share that side of you. Because a lot of us, for whatever reason, just a thought crosses our mind of, we shouldn’t share that, or they’re not going to care. Did that ever cross your mind at all? Or was it like, take it or leave it?
Sara: No, it never crossed my mind. I think when you share things like that with your clients, you’re opening yourself up to them to let them know that there’s more to me than just a bookkeeper. I’m a mother, and I’m a wife. I’m an artist. I do all these other things. I don’t think there’s no harm in our clients knowing you have this side of your life, outside of bookkeeping.
John: For sure. I agree totally. It’s just a lot of people that I talk to and a lot of the research that I’ve done, there is a part of them that just, oh, I don’t know. No, it’s totally cool. It’s not illegal or super taboo or whatever, for society. No, I like to paint. What do you want from me? There you go. Don’t overthink it, everybody, that’s for sure. Do you have any words of encouragement to people that are listening that might be like, I don’t think anybody cares, or it has nothing to do with what my job is?
Sara: I think it has a lot to do with your personality and your comfort level. The more comfortable you are with your client, the more open you’re going to be. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with showing your clients that you’re human. You’re not just this machine, robot doing books and answering questions. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with your clients knowing at the end of the day that you are human, and you have this life outside of — because maybe they have a hobby and passion that they will want to share with you. Oh, you like painting. I love painting too. Here’s a great art show to go to, that kind of thing. There’s nothing wrong with having those conversations.
John: Especially in the bookkeeping space, in accounting, a lot of professional services even, it’s a bit of a commodity. What makes you sticky to those clients is not necessarily, hey, I’m really good at bookkeeping, because so is a lot of people are really good at bookkeeping; but I’m really good at bookkeeping, and I love painting. They get to see that human side, and I’m a mom, and I’m a wife, and these other dimensions to who you are. That’s where those connections are made, above and beyond just the work. Because I’m assuming that you’re good at bookkeeping. I didn’t need to ask. It’s your job. It’s okay. I think that’s so cool that it’s really something that everyone could start tomorrow. Well, I guess it is New Year’s Eve, so maybe not tomorrow, but next week, after you recover from New Year’s Eve.
Sara: A good New Year’s resolution.
John: Oh, there you go.
Sara: If you believe in those. Some people don’t.
John: Well, start believing now and just do it. Come on, everybody, just do it. That’s awesome. Well, Sara, this has been so great and so many great ideas and takeaways for people to just look at things differently.
I feel it’s only fair, since I rudely questioned you right out of the beginning with my rapid-fire questions, I’m going to turn the tables and welcome everyone to the first episode of The Sara Gibb Podcast, Flow Works Bookkeeping and Consulting podcast. I don’t know what we’re going to call it, but I’m the first guest. Thanks for having me on. Whatever questions you have, fire away.
Sara: Dog or cat.
John: Dog, hands down.
Sara: Yeah, me too. Favorite color.
John: Blue. Yeah, I’ve always, always liked blue and really all shades of blue. It’s not even a specific — because I love a dark navy. I love royal. I love a teal even, just all the blues.
Sara: Favorite binge show on Netflix.
John: Oh, wow. Okay.
Sara: We all have one. Mine’s Friends.
John: Oh, Friends. Yeah, well, there’s a lot of those, that’s for sure. Shows that I’ve binged in the past, Breaking Bad, Homeland and, well, there’s one. It’s called Yellowstone. It’s got Kevin Costner in it. That’s a pretty good one, too. Most recently though is Queen’s Gambit.
John: That one was really good. I also enjoy playing chess, so I get that, but even my wife doesn’t play chess, and she still — it’s a cool, interesting story of, actually, it’s a woman who broke a lot of barriers in gender for chess, but also as an American beating Russians and stuff. Yeah, it’s cool. It takes place in the mid to late ’60s, so it’s kind of a cool time anyway, with the fashion and all that stuff too. Yeah, Queen’s Gambit, it was pretty good. You’ve got one more, or is that it?
Sara: Favorite season.
John: Favorite season is fall. It’s perfect temperature. There’s colors. College football is happening, all the good things. Thanksgiving is in Fall. You can just eat and eat and eat and eat and not have to worry about the pressure of presents. The Fall is, by far, the best for me, yeah, hands down.
That’s cool. Well, thank you so much, Sara, for taking time to be on What’s Your “And”? This was super, super fun.
Sara: Yeah, this is great. I enjoyed chatting with you.
John: Awesome, and everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Sara’s work or outside-of-work pictures or connect with her on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. Everything’s there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget to check out the book.
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.
Jason is an Accountant & Photographer
Jason Kalies, Director of Accounting Policy for United Health Group, returns from episode 9 to talk about his new passion for photography and how it challenges him to think differently and look at things in a different perspective!
• Why he got away from gardening
• Getting into photography
• How photography challenges him to think differently
• Avoid comparing your work to others
• Do something outside of your comfort zone
• How photography has given him a different perspective
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 252 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-up Friday edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday, I’m following up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear maybe what’s new with their passions outside of work and also to hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book’s being published very soon. It’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details or sign up for my exclusive list. You’ll be the first to know when it’s coming out. And please don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every Wednesday and Follow-up Fridays. And this Follow-up Friday is going to be no different with my guest and friend, Jason Kalies. He’s a Director of Accounting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Now, he’s with me here today. Jason, thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Jason: Hey, John, thanks for having me back.
John: Absolutely. Episode Nine, are you joking? Single digits? That’s incredible. Oh man, it was so long ago.
Jason: I remember talking with you when you were planning this whole podcast series and coming up with ideas. I went back and listened to our recording. It was funny. But yeah, it’s been several years. I’m glad to see you having success with it.
John: No. I appreciate it, man. Absolutely. And we worked together back in the PwC days in Milwaukee. Man, it’s just crazy.
Jason: Yeah. We’re starting to count the years and decades now.
John: Right. It’s embarrassing, right? I mean gosh. But now, I do the rapid-fire questions up front. So these are things that I didn’t ask the first time and just see if we can have some fun and find out more about Jason below the surface level. So if you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Jason: I would say Harry Potter because I pride myself in never watching Game of Thrones.
John: Okay. I’ve never seen it either because that involves HBO and HBO costs money.
John: There you go. More cats or dogs?
John: Okay. How about a favorite place you’ve been on vacation?
Jason: Estes Park, Colorado.
John: Oh, nice. How about — this is a tough one — hamburger or pizza?
John: Okay. All right. How about a favorite color?
Jason: Probably green.
John: Green. Nice. Okay. More suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt?
Jason: Jeans and a t-shirt.
John: Yeah. The last one, maybe the most important one of all time, toilet paper roll, over or under?
Jason: That’s got to be over. And I would hope some of these survey questions are in your upcoming book. I’m looking forward to it.
John: Right. The whole book is just statistics based on the survey questions and answers. But that’d be hilarious. Yeah. But when we talked on Episode Nine, which is insane, we talked about your gardening and baking and whiskey. Are these still passions of yours?
Jason: They are. What I’ve done is I’ve consolidated so now I only bake with whiskey.
John: Oh, nice.
Jason: I’m just joking there. They are still passions. I was thinking back when we did the podcast. I mean since then, my wife and I have moved. We live in a townhouse now. We don’t have a yard, so I don’t do as much gardening. But I still do a lot of baking, cooking. I still have a pretty crazy whiskey collection. I still love doing that.
And thinking back, the things we talked about, about sharing your ideas and your passions with coworkers or friends or neighbors, when I was getting ready for this podcast, I was reflecting back on a previous job I had. One of the projects was to develop a podcast series. And the podcast series was about accounting topics, so it’s not as exciting as your series. But when we were planning that with my coworkers, I raised my hand. I said, “Well, actually, I’ve been on a podcast before.” They all asked me questions. They say, “Oh, can we listen to it?” I sent the link to my team. They listened to it. Then they came back and said, “We had no idea that you like to bake and things like that.” It turned into a situation where they wanted me to bring some of my homemade jam and things like that. It was just one of those things, like you talking about the past. Mentioning or opening yourself up to sharing what your interests are just leads to discussion, leads to team event. They brought in bagels. I brought some homemade jams. It was one of those things that connect dots.
Yeah. Certainly, I’m still doing that. But one of my new passions recently that, really, I’ve had a passion for for a while but I’ve explored a little more is photography. I’ve always loved taking pictures and stuff, but it was always one of those situations where I’d have handheld cannons, snapshot or PowerShot I think they were called. My pictures were limited. And a couple years ago, my wife surprised me for my birthday and got me a pretty nice camera and a real nice lens and some good equipment, a very nice present. So that reignited my interest in photography. That’s really what I’ve been doing as a hobby these last couple years.
It’s crazy. When you’re in the accounting world or the accounting world, finance world, you’re used to using your brain in a certain way. When I work on photography or I think about taking pictures, it’s using your brain in a different way. You’re thinking about things artistically. And I’m not very good at that. I mean that’s not my expertise. That’s why I went into gardening. I’m very, “Debits on the left, credits on the right,” very black and white. So it really challenges me to think differently and look at things differently from an artistic standpoint. Then when you get into just how to operate a camera — I don’t know how many times I’ve been somewhere. I’m taking a picture of a sunset or something or at an event and somebody says to me, “That looks like a really fancy camera. You must take really good pictures.” And I say, “I don’t know what I’m doing,” right? Because it’s the concept. You can take Picasso’s paint brushes, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to produce a Picasso painting, right?
John: Right. Yeah. That’s awesome.
Jason: Yeah. There’s so much to learn. It humbles you, at least what I found. You see people that take these gorgeous pictures. Then you try and replicate that and you just failed miserably, right? Because there’s always somebody that knows or can do something much better than you. But you have to take a step back and realize that there’s people that can’t do what you can do, right? You’re somewhere in the middle. So I found that it’s really humbling and challenging at the same time.
John: That’s awesome, man. I mean, really, if you’re honest with yourself, we’re all in the middle. The outliers that are the extremes, you never saw them in the creative process struggle in their learning process. You only see their finished results, the Ansel Adams or the whatever. You only see the finished. You don’t see when he was new and trying to learn how to work a camera or do whatever. So I think that’s great, man. You don’t have to be this expert that’s creating these masterpieces. It’s something that you love to do. I think that’s fantastic. Like you said, you’re using your brain in a different way, which is huge. Because when you look at things, even an accounting situation or something corporate, you still have a different lens that you’re looking at it through than the others. And that comes in handy.
Jason: Exactly. And you hit it on the head. One of the things that I got feedback on from my wife was with Facebook and Instagram and everything, you can follow a lot of people, right? You see those individual’s postings. And I followed one person. He’s a social influencer. I don’t know how many thousands of followers this person has, but he’s a great photographer. He’s like 23 years old. His career, he gets flown out to places to take pictures of a resort or a hotel.
John: It sounds like a real jerk. No, I’m just a kidding.
Jason: Like a hotel property, right?
Jason: And the hotel haven’t posted post that. He’s got so many followers, right? He’ll post a picture every once in a while. It’ll be like, “A bald eagle sitting in a tree, on the ocean with the sunset, behind the eagle with the harvest full moon in the background.” Well, first of all, it’s like, “Is that really all there with Photoshop and things like that?” But my wife made a good point. She said, “That is one picture that that person took probably out of thousands and thousands. You can’t judge yourself or judge your product, your picture, whatever it is, your abilities against what somebody posts online.” That’s helpful to keep it in perspective. There’s always somebody that knows more about something than you do. But there’s probably plenty of people that don’t know as much as you.
John: Right. And do you feel like that translates into work?
Jason: I think so. Where I would compare it is if you have a new role or you’re working in a new company and you’re sitting in a room with people you haven’t met before, you have to try and figure out what they know or what they don’t know. You can’t make assumptions like, “This person has been here ten years. They’re in such and such role, so they should know this.” Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. So you have to quickly adjust and deliver your message to a broad audience. Then once you get some feedback, you narrow it in and fine tune your messaging. It’s that spectrum concept and then fine tuning it as you have the dialogue, have the interaction. Get to know somebody. Work your way through a meeting, for example.
John: It translates, too, to less pressure on yourself to have to know everything and be this accounting wizard that has everything memorized. In the photography, there’s someone else like you said that’s going to be better, going to know more. But there’s things that you know more and different than they do and a different skillset and a different expertise that you’re bringing to the table. So I think it helps take a little bit of pressure off to be like, “Hey, I took some terrible pictures. I’m still alive. I still love photography. Everything’s fine.” Just like in accounting, it’s like, “I did that journal entry backwards. Crap. I’ll fix it. No big deal.” You just go in and flip it. It’s just something like that where I think we put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. And that just sets us up for bigger failure, I think.
Jason: Yeah. I agree. The word when I was thinking about my growth, if you will, in the photography spectrum and how I’m learning things, it’s really humbling. The word that came to mind was humbling because like I said, you can set a camera setting to automatic and take good pictures. But once you fine tune things and you want to take a specific picture with a certain lighting, a certain way, from a different perspective, it’s really humbling to understand all that information. And you have a better appreciation for people that have that skill, that have those abilities.
I find myself walking. Even just in the office here today, I was waiting for the elevator. And outside the elevator doors, there’s three pictures, kind of office pictures. But you look at these pictures and I look at them differently now because I know how difficult it is to take that picture than I ever did before. So it’s that humbling aspect. And I would translate that to your point before about when you’re in a meeting with people, unless you’re the expert, you probably don’t want to come across as you know everything about a topic. You need to have some humbleness. And that, I think, opens up avenues for discussion and dialogue and questions and really engaging with people and partnering on projects and things like that.
So really, it’s cool. As far as suggestions, I would encourage people to do something outside of their comfort zone, to do something that they’re not used to doing or haven’t done before. And photography, I think it’s a great example because I do it in my spare time. I get in phases where I bring my camera places. I primarily like landscape and nature, animals and things like that. I do not like taking pictures of people. That’s a whole another level of uncomfortableness.
John: Because the animals don’t ask to see the picture that you took of them, to be like, “Oh, no, I have three chins now. How did that happen?”
Jason: Yeah. They don’t care. Yeah. They just flap their wings. I find myself taking my camera and getting lost, if you will, and looking at things, not paying attention to sometimes the people I’m with.
The other thing that fascinates me, it never really occurred to me — and maybe some of this is I’m aging and we’re getting up there in age a little bit — but you have a better appreciation for things around you, your environment. And if you’re taking a picture of a bird or a coyote or something, that bird or that animal will never be in that same spot with that same lighting that same environment around it ever again. And when you’re taking a picture, you’re capturing that. Because some people say, “There’s pictures for everything. You can just Google whatever and you get an image.” But what you’re experiencing and witnessing when you’re taking a picture, nobody’s ever experienced or witnessed that in that moment like that before. And thinking about what I do, my day job, it’s just so different from that.
John: Yeah. Because almost in accounting, it’s an experience you have every month.
Jason: Right. And every quarter and every year round. Right.
John: Right. Exactly.
Jason: You just have different perspective on things.
John: Yeah, man. I love that.
Jason: Yeah. I would encourage people to branch out and try different things and get outside of your comfort zone a little bit. That’s what I tell people when they ask me what do I like about photography or what do I like taking pictures of. I go through that train of thought. Sometimes, I get blank stares back at me. So you’re really focused on that one moment in time and you’ll never be in that same exact time continuum again. Yeah, I guess when you put it that way.
John: That’s hilarious. They just got sucked into some matrix vortex where they’re like, “Holy crap, I don’t even know if I’m a real person right now. Is this even real?” that’s awesome, man.
Jason: They jump to reminding them, “Okay. Your debits are on the left. Your credits are on the right.”
John: Exactly. And here’s a really good whiskey to follow that up. That’s such great advice for everyone listening though. That’s really awesome. That’s so cool. Yeah. Wow. I guess before I wrap this up, it’s only fair that I allow you to rapid-fire question me. Although after hearing that, I’m a little bit nervous because these are going to be hard. So here we go.
Jason: All right. Just a couple easy ones here. What is your favorite place to visit for work?
John: I thought you said easy. No, I’m kidding. That’s a tricky question to answer because every city is cool for one or two nights. Everywhere I visited, there’s neat things that are there that you’re not going to see everywhere else or a local restaurant or a local ice cream blaze if you know what I’m saying. But I’m trying to think of fun places that I’ve been for work. Well, I mean Bermuda wasn’t a bad one. That was a pretty fun one.
John: Yeah, a speaking event there. Yeah. The ones with direct flights are especially good.
Jason: That is a legitimate answer.
John: That’s probably direct flights I’m a big fan of. So really, in all of those.
Jason: All right. Well, let’s flip it a little bit. What’s your favorite place to visit for pleasure?
John: Oh, yeah. Well, my wife and I went to Costa Rica earlier this year. And wow, that was fantastic. Yeah. I definitely want to go back there for sure. But also Cape Town, South Africa is probably the coolest city I’ve ever been to. It’s a long flight, but it’s worth it when you get there.
Jason: Nice. Okay, last question. What is your biggest pet peeve when you travel?
John: Oh, yeah, easily, easily, easily. People that have their phones and just watch a video on max volume or FaceTime with somebody on max volume in the airport or wherever. Like I don’t want to listen to this anymore. Yeah. I’ve started collecting the earphones that they hand out. Then I give somebody an early birthday present because no one else wants to listen to that crap. So cut it out. Oh, I have so many. Or the people that are in pre-check but they think that they have to take everything out of their bag and just hold up a line. I will go in front of you because I’m not waiting. I mean I know how things work because I was just here last week. It’s, yeah, those two things for sure.
Jason: I figure that could be the topic of your second book. It’s My Pet Peeves While Traveling. I will co-author that book.
John: Oh, man. Yeah. That’ll be the longest book ever written. It’ll be War and Peace or John and Jason’s Pet Peeves While Traveling. Yeah.
Jason: That’s my plan.
John: I love it. Well, this was so much fun catching up, Jason. Thanks for being a part of What’s Your “And”?
Jason: Thanks for having me, John.
John: Absolutely. Everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Jason in action or some of the pictures Jason has taken 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, 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.
Dave is an Office Managing Partner & Drone Photographer & Scuba Diver
Dave Recchion is a risk management professional for LBA Haynes Strand. His journey in helping companies manage their risks has led him to some more risky passions with Drone Photography and Scuba Diving.
Dave and John talk about the connection of his hobbies and his job as an Office Managing Partner through risk assessment, how the firm encourages their employees to share their passions among one another, and how both an organization and an individual play important roles in encouraging an open work environment!
• Getting into drone photography
• How drones change the dynamic of photography
• Connections of risk assessment between his job and his hobbies
• Getting into scuba diving
• Putting up his gun range targets outside of his office
• Favorite places for scuba diving
• Other common discussion topics at work
• It’s the little things that matter
• Importance of governance and risk assessment in work and life
• Organizations set the tone
• How LBA Haynes Strand encourages work/life balance
• You’ll get greater value from your passions by sharing them with others
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Welcome to Episode 227 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, they’re an accountant and something, they’re a lawyer and something, you’re an architect and something. It’s those things that are above and beyond your technical skills that actually differentiate you at work and are probably really your true, true passions.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is being published in just a few weeks. It will 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’s listening to this show and 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, Dave Recchion. He’s a Principal with LBA Haynes Strand in Greensboro, North Carolina, office. Now he’s with me here today.
Dave, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
David: Yeah, John, my pleasure. Thanks so much.
John: I’m excited to have you on, but you know the drill, right out of the gate, 17 rapid-fire questions.
David: Let’s go.
John: All right, you’re ready. Look at you. All right, here we go. We got an easy one, favorite color?
John: Nice. Okay, a least favorite color?
John: Maroon. Interesting. Is there a reason?
David: There’s a football team that I don’t like.
John: There you go. Okay, that makes sense. How about, you fly a lot, airplane seats, window or aisle?
David: Oh, definitely aisle.
John: Definitely aisle. There you go. How about a favorite actor or actress?
David: Favorite actor, Jon Voight.
John: Oh, solid answer. Yeah, really good. Yeah, he hasn’t been in a lot lately.
David: I don’t even know where that came from, but I used to like him.
John: Yeah, yeah, no, he’s really good. Do you prefer more suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt?
David: Definitely jeans and t-shirt.
John: Yeah, there you go. All right. How about pens or pencils?
John: Pens. No mistakes. Look at you, man.
David: That’s what the trash can is for.
John: Right. Perfect. And puzzles, Sudoku or crossword?
David: Definitely Sudoku.
John: Definitely. All right. And then when it comes to trilogy, Star Wars or Star Trek?
David: Star Trek. I know that’s going to kill a lot of people but yeah, I’m older so that’s my group.
John: Yeah, you got to go with it, man. Your computer, PC or Mac?
David: Definitely Mac.
John: Wow. Okay. All right.
David: All in on the Apple products.
John: Yeah, you’re one of the cool kids. I am not. So good for you, man. Favorite ice cream flavor?
David: Definitely going to be — actually, it’s not some ice cream, but it is a gelato.
John: Gelato, okay. And a flavor of gelato?
David: Yeah, I’m going with strawberry gelato.
John: Strawberry gelato. There you go. It’s healthier, right?
David: Yep, exactly.
John: Then you can eat twice as much.
David: I do when I’m in Italy.
John: Yeah, perfect. How about balance sheet or income statement?
David: Income statement.
John: Okay. All right. Do you have a favorite band or musician?
David: Well, I’m going to definitely have to think about that one because I don’t have one that comes off the top of my head. I like a lot of genres of music.
John: Okay. Yeah, no, fair enough. Fair enough. Yeah, you just turned it on and let’s listen.
John: That works for me, man. Prefer more hot or cold?
David: I prefer cold.
John: Prefer cold, okay. How about a favorite adult beverage?
David: I like a good cold beer.
John: There you go. Three more, favorite number?
David: Favorite number? It’s got to be seven.
John: And is there a reason?
David: It’s a perfect number. That’s why.
John: Yes, the most popular answer.
David: Is it really?
John: Yeah, totally, by far. I mean, it’s my favorite number and mostly from my sports days. Toilet paper, roll over or under.
David: Totally over. I trained my wife for a lot of years. It’s got to go over.
John: Right. And the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
David: Ooh, favorite thing I own, I would definitely have to say it’s going to be one of my hobbies which is my drone.
John: Oh, wow, what kind of drone is it?
David: It’s called a Mavic Pro and just an outdoor photography kind of drone.
John: Oh, sweet. Yeah, that sounds big.
David: Yeah, it’s big.
John: That’s awesome, man. Well, we can jump right into that because I know that there’s quite a few passions that you have outside of work, which is awesome. But yeah, drones, how did you get started with that?
David: So it’s kind of cool. It’s a natural transition for me. I used to be really into photography, outdoor, nature photography. I would go for days at a time and go up to the mountains. Living in North Carolina, it’s easy to do. Go for a couple days and just take some outdoor scenic views. And then this whole drone camera technology came into play, and it’s so cool. It’s just a whole different view of photography now that I get to take from 200, 300 feet in the air.
John: And so did you jump in with this Mavic drone, or did you start with smaller ones?
David: I jumped right in. I’m 59 years old, so there’s no question progression at this stage in life. I’m just going in full speed.
John: Right. That’s great. That’s very cool. I mean, up in the mountains, I assume you get some pretty awesome pictures.
David: Yeah. We just recently traveled internationally and I wanted to take it with me, but the international laws are so quirky. It’s just there are so many of them right now that it’s kind of risky to do so I didn’t, but I take it where I know I can up into the mountains in North Carolina.
John: That’s cool. And do you have any cooler pictures that you’ve gotten where you’re like, “Wow, that was totally exactly what I’m doing this for”?
David: Well, I mean, it’s kind of cool. When you get to 100 feet, it’s one view and you get to 200 and then you get up to 400 feet and then it just changes the whole dynamics. And that’s kind of what I love about it is that instead of looking at a tree or an animal or something in the forest, you can see the entire forest and just gives you this 10,000-foot view, which is awesome.
John: That’s really interesting, especially when you’re able to take somewhat of a similar picture from different elevations.
David: Yeah, yeah, exactly.
John: And just to have them side by side and be like, “Oh, wow.” This was all the same time. It’s just from different points of view.
David: You stare at something for long enough, and you’re looking at it from eye level. And you can appreciate the beauty of it, but you don’t realize like there’s this entire different worldview of that same thing. It’s kind of that similarity that I have between that and scuba diving because it’s the same thing. It’s like a different world. You’ve been in the water all your life and beaches and oceans, and you start to dive and you realize, wow, it’s a whole new world down there. And that’s kind of what the drones di for me. It’s just given me this view that there’s a whole different world from up there.
John: Yeah, just going up where the scuba is obviously going down. I’m glad you figured that one out. All the listeners out there, look at me, hold on. I got to renew my Mensa membership right now. No, but it’s such a cool thing that you’re able to understand that and appreciate that as opposed to just taking the pictures and whatever. It’s actually using that perspective and then applying it to, I would imagine, everyday life.
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: Yeah, which I think we’ll get to in just a minute. But the scuba, were you doing that from when you were younger, or did you start that in your mid-50s as well, drone get a scuba mask for free type of thing?
David: As you’ll learn a little bit more, I kind of manage risks for business. So on the business side, I’m always kind of helping companies manage their risks. And on the outside, the things that I love doing, scuba diving, drones and shooting guns, they’re all high risk kind of activities. I started diving when I was 50. I got my license when I turned 50. So everything in my life has progressed from one thing to another, from nature photography to drones, from snorkeling into scuba diving, and from shooting a BB gun or whatever and just shooting real guns. Each of these things kind of I started later in life, and I’m not sure exactly why I never went through a challenge where I felt like I was questioning who I was. I always felt like I was solid and who I was didn’t go through midlife or anything. Just started picking up some really cool things that I became fascinated with, could afford to do it, and really have some fun with it.
John: That is interesting, the parallels between doing risk management for a career basically versus practicing that risk management skill, I guess, exercising that muscle outside of work.
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: That’s really fascinating. So the guns was something that you — shooting range type stuff is something that you got into later in life as well?
David: Yeah, just in the last couple years. I just felt like I wanted to certainly learn to protect myself more but not that I hang out in really bad areas or anything.
John: I would imagine some risk management when you’re out in nature and there’s bears.
David: Yeah, just making some smart business decisions that really kind of can protect you and protect your security and all of those things I think kind of is where I’ve transitioned to.
John: Yeah, yeah. No, I think that’s really interesting. Are these things that you talk about at work at all?
David: Yeah, actually, right outside of my office, I have my first targets that I shot. So people walk down to my office, and they get to see the quality of my clustering of shots.
John: That’s awesome.
David: Yeah, they’re actually very comfortable when they see it realize that I’d never hit right.
John: Right, exactly. It’s a clean piece of paper. That’s funny. The scuba, I imagine, you’ve done that all over the world. Do you have a favorite place that you’ve been or a couple?
David: Yeah, honestly, the Caribbean is just — there’s no place like it. I’ve done that in Hawaii and Florida and other parts of the world, but I’ve not done anything too dramatic to do major diving overseas. But I would say that Caribbean is absolutely the right place to go if you’re interested in scuba diving. It’s safe. The water is amazing. I highly encourage anybody who’s ever tried to snorkel to scuba dive because it’s life changing to be able to see the experience from looking down on it to looking straight at it.
John: Right. Yeah. And I’ve done scuba in Hawaii and Bermuda. I was able to go through a little bit of a shipwreck, and wow, crazy. I mean, just really cool.
David: That’s really cool stuff.
John: Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t deep. It’s Bermuda, so there’s a billion of them. But still, just to have that perspective, and it’s also the currents that are underwater. You wouldn’t really know that. You would think, oh, it’s just you’re hanging out. It’s like, no, you’re swimming. It’s hard. There’s some force going on there.
John: That’s really neat. And so before these activities, did you have something else that you’ve talked about in the office or a way to create connections with people?
David: Yeah. I used to play a good amount of golf. That’s probably been one of my top discussion points through the years.
John: And that’s something that’s pretty common, I would imagine.
David: Yeah, it is. Between that and kind of lake living. We have a lake house. Just being on the water and being around the water is what I talked about for years and years before I talked about going into it as far as I do.
John: But there was always something there. Would you say that any of these passions outside of work interests give you a skill that you bring to the office?
David: I would say absolutely. It’s part of my personality, and my learned experiences in business is the structure and the security around everything that I do. It’s just kind of really easy to jump into the water with something that helps you breathe and without the proper controls and processes and tools, you’re taking your life into your hands. I feel the same way about guns candidly and drones. I mean, you could really hurt somebody by flying it to high or into a crowded space or something like that.
John: So it’s almost like one strengthens the other and then vice versa.
David: Very much so. And I’ll tell you, in my experience, the whole idea of helping clients to manage risk, it’s generally not the big picture things that they need to fix. It’s these little things that really can make a big difference. And whether I’m talking about guns or drones or scuba diving, it’s the little things that really make a difference. It’s just making sure that you are taking those key precautions and putting those controls into place so that you can enjoy the experience to the greatest.
John: Yeah, no, I love that because it is. It’s all these little things that add up when you combine them. It’s not the one big thing that’s going to get you usually because that’s something you’ll see pretty easily.
David: And I tell clients all the time as I’m talking to them, I share with them that putting governance and risk management around something is kind of like the dotted lines and the guardrails of a road. Put the dotted lines down the middle so you know which lane to be in. And you put the guardrails so that you can’t go swerve too far off the road. Those things help you to go faster. They help you to improve your efficiency to actually enjoy the experience a lot more. And I feel that same way about scuba and guns and drones. It’s just making sure those controls are around you so that you can really be fulfilled by the experience.
John: No, that’s interesting, because then you’re not really thinking about — when the safety measures are put in place, you’re not thinking about them because you have that guardrails on the lane. You can just let it rip because you know that you’ll just ping off or whatever. You’ll just keep going. More times than not, you might not even come close to them. So how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create this culture where people are sharing their hobbies and passions and hanging up there targets after they go to the range and what have you? And how much is it on the individual to maybe create that small circle for themselves?
David: I think it’s really important that the tone is set from the top. That encourages people, that enables people to share their passions, and then the responsibility is up to the individual to be open enough, be willing enough to kind of share those experiences and those joys and those life experiences with others.
John: You know, I remember when I started back in the day, I was in PwC and Big Four, it wasn’t necessarily encouraged. It wasn’t discouraged, but it just wasn’t a thing. But I find that that it really matters what people’s passions are.
David: It does. I came from E&Y. I was a partner at E&Y before I started my own firm and then sold it to be LBA Haynes Strand. At E&Y, even when I was there, and that was not too long ago, that was in the last seven to 10 years, this was much more important and it was much more important to me and to my group of people that I work with, that they enjoyed and got the greatest joy out of their personal time. And that work-life balance started to become a pretty strong voice in business, and now I think it’s really hit its stride.
John: Right. Yeah, you get that greatest joy out of your personal time. And then if you’re able to talk about that joy when you’re at work, then work just becomes better.
David: It does.
John: And then if you’re able to use a skill maybe that you get from outside of work or a client that does something that is in the industry that you love to do or what have you, then magic happens.
David: No question about it. If anybody has ever talked to a client about something that’s of passion to both of you, it is a relationship key. It becomes a foundation for that business relationship.
John: Which is something that, unfortunately, they don’t always teach us in school or in CPE. It’s all technical skills. Technical skills are important, but computers are doing that too. Kind of like the one thing that computers can’t do is create that connection and that relationship. So that’s cool that you’re doing that. Are there things that you guys do at the firm there that encourage this?
David: Yeah. One of the things that we do is just our policy states that we have unlimited PTO time. So you don’t get two weeks of vacation or one week of vacation. You do your job and if you do it well and you talk to your boss about it and you want to go spend three weeks doing something, there’s a high likelihood that it would be approved to be able to do that regardless of how long you’ve been here. So I think encouraging people to take personal time is something that when you know you have three or four weeks of vacation time, it’s easy to plan around it. You know you’re not going to lose it. You’re going to use it. But that’s one of the challenges for us is that with unlimited PTO time, people don’t know where the wall is. So I encourage our folks all the time, just take the time, go enjoy, and we’ll document it, we’ll manage it the way it needs to be managed. But we definitely want to encourage people to get their balance outside of the office so that they’re much more productive and more valuable when they come back.
John: Right. And plus, you’re setting the tone at the top for the office as well, the partner group. You took five weeks off to travel and take some time away and refresh. You know how important that is for you, and so when they see that it’s like, oh, well, it’d be different if Dave was in the office 24/7 and always working, but you’re setting that example, which is really great.
David: Thank you. It is definitely a fine line. It’s a balance of encouraging and enabling people but also making sure that people aren’t taking advantage and one person is and one person isn’t. So it’s managing that execution of it is ultimately the kind of the challenge of it, but you got to encourage it.
John: Yeah, especially in a lot of the professional services world, a lot of these individuals are permission-based individuals. They’re writing for permission. They are not rule breakers. They’re not going to push the limits. They’re not going to find out where the wall is type of thing. They’re going to wait for you to tell them. So it does make it harder to manage, but I think in the long run, the net positive is much greater.
John: Very cool. So do you have any words of encouragement to people listening that maybe think that their hobby or passion has nothing to do with their career?
David: Yeah. The first thing I would say is if you have a passion, figure out a way to share that passion. And when you do that, you’ll appreciate everything else that you do. I would absolutely encourage people to take hold of something that’s really important to you. Do it and then share it. In sharing it, you’ll get greater value from it.
John: It almost fuels the fire sort of a thing. I think sometimes in our own heads, we think people are going to judge us or they don’t care or whatever, and we’re not in seventh grade anymore. Everyone’s going to think it’s cool no matter what it is.
David: John, that’s what I like about what you do because it’s not about me telling everybody what I do, which is really cool. What’s important as a leader is me asking people what gets I’m excited, what turns them on, what motivates them. So the more I can do what you’re doing and ask those questions, I’ll be a better leader.
John: That’s where it’s at. Maybe for you accounting lights you up, but —
David: It doesn’t.
John: — for a lot of people, it’s not. You just said, it doesn’t. So you know you’re good at it and it’s your job and clearly a very good career out of it, but there’s other things in your life as well. And the people that are working at the firm are the same way. I think that sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that. Get to the charge code and billable hours, billable hours, and it’s like, well, there’s life and what’s the output that I’m giving you?
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: So that’s cool and that relationship and that conversation that goes to that next level, all of a sudden, you’re actually really getting to know people and it’s fun, right?
David: Yeah, exactly.
John: I imagine there’s got to be, you know, sometimes we’re like, “Wait, what? You got to tell me more about that?” because every time I speak, I always have the audience do a little piece of that. There’s always at one table where they’re like, “What?” You can just hear them from the stage. I’m like, wait, I got to go find out. What’s going on? Somebody is a DJ or somebody, whatever, scuba dives and drones or whatever. That’s great, man. That’s really great.
So before we wrap this up, it’s only fair that I allow you to turn the table on me and rapid-fire question me.
David: Nice, nice.
John: So I’m buckled up here. I took all my risk management precautions and I am ready.
David: Okay. So my first most important question, I know you love ice cream, ice cream or gelato?
John: Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s tough. That’s actually a very hard one. I’ll go gelato only because it’s more unique, so you don’t get it as much. They are starting to have it in grocery stores, but it is still more of a unique thing. So I guess I’ll say gelato.
David: Cool. Favorite football team and division? Because I know you’re a big college football guy.
John: If it came to the pros, yeah, I don’t even know anymore. When I was a kid growing up, it was definitely the Dallas Cowboys, Tony Dorsett and Danny White and Roger Staubach before that, and Tom Landry was the coach, those teams. Pre-Jimmy Johnson was definitely my NFL team growing up. I guess now that I’m in Denver, I guess I’ve adopted the Broncos, but I’m not sure if they play sometimes. I guess, yeah, NFC East then, the division.
David: And how about college?
John: College, definitely Notre Dame for sure.
David: Well, sorry to hear that. I’m a pretty boilermaker guy, so I hate that.
John: No, it’s fine. You’ll get football soon, Dave. It’s going to come back. They’re good, man. They won their first game pretty big.
David: Yeah, yeah.
John: Yeah. Purdue is on their way back. They got a really good coach.
David: One last question for you, give me your favorite 30 seconds of sports history.
John: So in 2012, Notre Dame went undefeated, and I was at the game when Notre Dame played Stanford. There was the goal line stand at the end of the game with no time left, and Manti Te’o stuffed the linebacker at like the one-inch line, game over on a goal line stand was insane. Absolute insanity.
John: And I was there too. It was crazy. It was raining, and it was just nuts. And then it was a weird game but so crazy. I mean, just emotionally exhausting because I felt like I had played from cheering and all that for the whole fourth quarter, just it was nuts. What a classic sports game. It was super fun.
No, really good question, though, man. That made me dig deep.
David: Yeah, good.
John: Yeah, that was one — just me being there. I’ll never forget that. My best friend from high school and then after the game, we were able to get down on the field. So cool. Well, thanks, Dave. This was so much fun. Thanks for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
David: My pleasure. Absolutely, John. I appreciate your hosting that. I’m sincere about that. I appreciate what you’re doing is encouraging people to ask and seek out what’s important to other people. That’s a really big deal.
John: Well, thanks, David. That means a lot.
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