Chris is an Investigative Accountant & Podcaster
Chris Ekimoff returns to the podcast from episode #83 to talk about his new hobbies with running and starting his new podcast, inSecurities. He also talks about what he does around the workplace as a director to encourage an open workplace!
• Moving away from competitive swimming
• Taking up running marathons
• Starting his podcast
• Typical first-time interactions with clients and co-workers
• How Chris sets an example at the office for an open workplace
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Welcome to Episode 292 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-Up Friday Edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday, I follow up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear what’s new with their passions outside of work and also hear how this message might have impacted them since we last talked.
I’m so excited to let everyone know that my book is being published in September, yes, this September, and will be available on Amazon, Indigo and a few other websites. Check out whatsyourand.com for all the details or sign up for my exclusive list. You’ll be the first to know when it comes out.
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 Follow-Up Friday is no different with my guest, Chris Ekimoff. He’s a director with RSM and the Southeast Region Leader for Financial Investigations and Dispute Services and on the side, he’s the co-host of inSECURITIES podcast with the Practicing Law Institute, and now he’s with me here today. Chris, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Chris: Glad to be here, John. So great to chat with you again.
John: Of course, man. You’re a busy, busy dude. That’s why I appreciate squeezing into the schedule. You know the drill, rapid fire questions. These are ones I probably should have asked you a couple of years ago on Episode 83. My God, bless you, man. That was long ago.
Chris: Yeah, we’re dating ourselves. Everybody knows that we’re the old guys on the podcast right now.
John: Exactly. It’s one of those things. I’ve been doing this for X — that means you’re old.
Chris: That’s right.
John: That’s what that means. I am ancient. All right, here we go. First one, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones.
Chris: Game of Thrones definitely.
John: Okay, okay. How about a favorite cereal even when you were a kid?
Chris: Captain Crunch will be well-known, but we had this baseball slam bootleg cereal that everything was shaped like baseball bats and baseballs. I don’t know if that was something that you got from the corner store or — I’d have to do some research, and if that was a real cereal, but made me fall in love with baseball as a kid too.
John: Yeah. That’s incredible, man. How about brownie or ice cream? Ice cream, okay. How about a favorite Disney character?
Chris: Aladdin has always been my number one, the music, the atmosphere. I’m also a big fan of vests, so I think that’s a good — it’s the reason I lean towards Aladdin.
John: That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Okay, cats or dogs.
Chris: 100% dog.
John: There you go. Yeah, me too, me too. Two more. How about a favorite adult beverage?
Chris: I usually go for a Hoppy IPA, but from a cocktail perspective, I usually lean more on an old-fashion, something bourbon-based.
John: Oh, okay.
Chris: I like to mix it up. I used to love to go to bars. Now we’re in this quarantine area where it’s just — whatever is in the fridge maybe is the best answer for you, John, in terms of adult beverage now.
John: The last one, toilet paper roll, over or under.
Chris: Over. That’s a deal-breaker.
John: That is a deal-breaker.
Chris: You got it. No, that’s great.
John: I had somebody on once say, “If it wasn’t over then this conversation is over.”
Chris: I agree with that person, 100%.
John: That’s awesome. So, yeah, Episode 83, we talked swimming back from your college days.
Chris: That’s right.
John: I love that example of when you started at a huge Big Four firm and the Olympics was just happening where everyone was breaking all the records. All of a sudden, everyone knew you were the swimming guy, so they were talking to you about that. I thought that was really cool.
Chris: Yeah. That suit technology part of the interesting window in the swimming history world is there were two or three years where times are dropping like crazy because people were wearing basically wet suits that helped them float. I was the only guy in the office who had at least a little bit of understanding of why that was happening.
When it’s being covered on Good Morning America, in the Nightly News, everyone wants to talk about it at the water cooler the next day, so I was more popular than I should have been but thankfully for a good reason, to stand out with some of my peers as well, so it was excellent.
John: No, no, l think it’s cool. So is swimming still a passion of yours or has it transitioned to something else?
Chris: Yes. Again, quarantine limiting, pools aren’t really open to go do some laps. I’ve actually moved away from competitive swimming as an adult and jumped into the running bug. I’ve done a handful of marathons in the past ten or 12 years.
John: Oh, wow.
Chris: I always try to stay current. I’ve got a couple of friends who do Masters swimming, so I’m checking in on their times to maybe let them know they’re not as fast as they used to be. A bunch of my college friends and I got together last weekend at a lake up in Kennedy and we swam the lake together, much slower than we did back in college but always laughing and looking back at those elements too. So, not spending as much time in the pool anymore but still definitely a passion of mine.
John: It’s still part of your life.
Chris: Yeah, definitely.
John: And what have you. I think that’s fantastic, and marathons, those are not easy.
Chris: That’s what I tell people, especially with the swimming discussion, is I used to spend two hours at practice, staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool. Now I get to run for an hour and see all these things and breathe whenever I want to and maybe slow down and walk instead of having to do a flip turn and turn around. It transitioned well, but definitely different medium.
John: That is funny. Yeah, I never even thought about that. Yeah, I guess you’re not really looking at anything.
Chris: I tell people, you play soccer. You play football. You don’t play swimming. It’s not a game. It’s not fun. Just back and forth, over and over again.
John: You’re exactly right. You don’t play.
Chris: You don’t play running. You run. You just swim. All that happens.
John: Yeah. I also don’t run because there’s no play involved. There’s no joy in this. That’s awesome, man. Why do you hate yourself so much? What’s going on? Just teasing, man.
Chris: It balances out the adult beverages on the other side. If I go for a good run, then that old-fashioned is a little bit sweeter at the end of the day.
John: That’s very true. That’s very true. The podcast, which is great by the way, how did you get into that?
Chris: It’s one of those weird stories. My co-host, Kurt Wolfe is an attorney at the law firm, Troutman Sanders, and I had actually met each other by tweeting at a Securities Enforcement Conference using the conference hash tag, four or five years ago.
At the networking event after the conference, I was talking to some of my colleagues. They were like, “Hey, Chris, saw you on Twitter. Ha-ha, you loser.” Kurt was on the other end of the table, and he’s like, “Hey, yeah, we were tweeting each other back and forth.” The partner that Kurt worked for and the partner that I worked for looked at each other, oh, maybe that was a valuable use of their attention and time today. It’s always about collecting business cards.
So, Kurt and I have had, for the past couple of years, this relationship where we’re discussing securities, law and regulatory enforcement issues over Twitter, sharing articles with each other and giving each other a good ribbing and speaking with the Practicing Law Institute which is a global provider of continuing legal education services, who had asked if we’d be interested in doing that as a podcast. Instead of just bantering on Twitter, why not get you two guys in front of a microphone and talk through some of the issues you’re already sharing in the social media world.
I’m amazed and, John, I know you’ll feel the same way, we had that initial conversation in the fall of 2018 and then our first episode didn’t launch until January of this year. The amount of practice and planning and effort that goes into it was a huge lift, and it’s really become not only a hobby, but a complement to some of the professional stuff that Kurt and I do as well. It’s been a heck of a lot of work but a heck of a good time too, when you get to speak with interesting folks on topics that touch all of our lives from a professional perspective.
John: It’s a lot of work to do a podcast well. It’s the same as writing a book. You could just slap some words together and hit print on Amazon, CreateSpace or whatever and there you go, you’ve got a book, put your picture on the cover, but there are typos. It’s not good. It’s not well thought out. Same with a podcast. So, kudos to you. At some point you do have to just jump. Hey, it’s go time. Here we go.
Chris: I listen to a lot of podcast out there too, and hearing some of the well-known and storied folks like yourself. Going back and listening to the first five or six episodes that I ever did and just cringing at how little we all knew of what we were doing and how it went. I’m hopeful someday that I’ll look back and say, yeah, we were at stage one, and now we’re at stage two or three, and it’s going much better.
John: Yeah, because it is hard. It’s the same with any creative outlet. You never see Steven Spielberg’s student film. You only see the masterpieces and the Picassos and the whatevers. It’s hard to just get out there and do it.
Chris: Or hacking the system too. Kurt and I are — there’s a full production team at PLI that is supporting us. We’re sourcing the content. We’re talking about these issues. We’re following the news. We’re getting the gas, but we’re just hitting record, talking for 90 minutes and then signing it over. Our guys are editing and reviewing that from a content perspective, as well as a sound quality and improvement perspective. So I’m thankful to the guys at PLI every day for taking the conversations that we have that are kind of muffled and getting them into a little bit brighter and more interesting medium there.
John: Yeah, yeah. So cool. It’s so cool. Just to hear, it’s swimming, you’re running marathons, it’s doing the podcasts, so many different dimensions to you which is awesome. When you think about it, you’re not just the forensics accounting.
Chris: Yeah, and, John, that’s something that I’ve always loved about the work that you do, is I always laugh when I first went to college and I said, “I want to get into accounting.” My parents we’re like, “What? Chris, we can’t keep you sitting still. How are you going to count beans all day?”
John: That’s right.
Chris: Think, over however many, 200-plus episodes that you’ve done, every single one of those episodes shows that it’s not just making sure the Excel spreadsheet is formatted right. We’ve all got these sides to us that make for a very interesting profession and takes away from the suspenders and the green visor and moves us to a more dynamic spot. It’s a testament to you, John, all the work that you’ve done, as well as any folks who gravitate to this type of work, both from the technical side as well as from the personality side.
John: I really appreciate that, man. That means a lot. I mean they’re out there. It’s not like I created this. All I did was give permission and let’s kick the door in. Because in my research, 92% of us has a hobby or passion outside of work that we do regularly. That’s not even close to 50 — how is the stereotype, this narrative, sits in the corner all the time and does work and goes home to do more work. That’s not who we are. It’s not even close. Yet we’re all acting that way. It was just enough is enough type of a thing.
Chris: Kicking in the doors is a good way to say it. Really changing that paradigm is great.
John: A little bit. Do you feel like people are sharing hobbies and passions more now? Maybe social media is helping with that?
Chris: When I first interact with either a staff person new to the team or we’re doing recruiting or interact with an attorney team that we’re doing work with and getting past that professional phase, first question is like, what do you do when you’re not here? How do I build a mental heuristic about John or about Steve or about Stacey, based on what they do?
It’s, I’m a runner, or I’m a piano player, or I do a pop-up restaurant. I like to cook and help support my sister’s catering business. All of those things is just, they layer into a better conversation you can have with the people you’re talking with. Yeah, listen, we’ll get to the billable hours. We’ll do the legal research. We’ll do the damages model. It sounds bad. I care less about that than hearing more about what you’re making tonight for dinner because that’s —
Chris: — that’s interesting to me. Maybe it’s because we’re taping this around lunchtime, but that’s where my focus is right now.
John: No, you’re exactly right. There are follow-up questions to that side. There are really not many follow-up questions to the what do you do for a day job? Oh, okay, got it, whatever.
Chris: I went to an American Bar Association Conference in Atlanta last year for white collar litigators. Hey, I’m Chris. I’m with RSM. I do forensics accounting and work on legal cases and testify and all that. What type of law do you practice? They say, “White collar.” I’m like, guys, we’ve moved beyond the general. Talk to me about the caseload you have. Talk to me about who you’re interacting with. Is it financial services? Is it — all those kinds of things. After two or three conversations, it was like, yeah, we should stop saying white collar. I was like, yes, let’s get to that next level of detail. Same side of that, on the personal side is let’s move past the regular assumptions and talk to me about what really matters to you.
John: Absolutely. That’s what I love about what you’re doing and that mentality. That’s fantastic. Hopefully, one day, you could just go to a conference and say to people, “What’s your ‘And’”? Then they’ll just say swimming or running or food trucks or whatever. Awesome. Because that’s where we can now have a conversation. The other ones are dead ends after dead ends after dead ends.
Is there something that you do to set an example? Now you’re at a director level, it’s the flip of that story when you started at Big Four. You’re the guy that sees people, and it’s cool that they know you as Chris and not the director. Is there something that you do that maybe people listening can put in their back pocket?
Chris: Yeah. I think now is a great time to stop being the utilization czar or the chargeable time reviewer and start to be a little bit more human, obviously for everything going on in the world. I laugh — I work closely with five or six people on the East Coast with our practice and got a message from one of my colleague, saying, “Hey, just so you know, I want to take a couple of hours on Monday afternoon because it’s the first time the hair salon I go to has been opened in three months, and the next appointment they have is in August.” I said, “Honestly, I’m a little bit upset that you would ask because I completely understand.” Just, if you get your work done on time and you’re not missing anything substantial, walking up the street to get your hair done isn’t an issue for somebody who has been locked in their apartment in New York City for three months.
It’s those kinds of extensions where, when I interact with people on my team or with people on the client service side, external RSM, it’s, how is your weekend? It’s not really just, hey, how was your weekend? This is the first phrase I’m going to say to you before I then talk about work. It’s, “Yeah, I remember you said your dog was at the vet last week. How is your dog doing?” Or you went up to visit your grandmother in New Hampshire. What’s the weather like up there? Just building out a more full picture of who you’re dealing with and doing it from a sincere level. I don’t have an agenda to understand what the weather is in New Hampshire. It’s just I get a better understanding of the person I’m talking to and being able to connect those dots.
It’s about opening up and, like I said, now more than ever, I think it’s important to understand the situations people are dealing with, outside of, if the analysis is QC’d appropriately or if the report is properly formatted. It’s more of, how are you doing? What’s going on outside of your office or outside of the home office, I guess, now for a lot of us. To know what’s really coloring people’s day and how they’re feeling and being conscious of that is a good way to check in with the people you work with, to take a pause, take a breath. We’re all trying to get through this together, specifically, but also just to be a good co-worker, colleague and human is really to look at those other points for those folks as well.
John: Yeah. I love that. It’s asking specific questions that show that you paid attention to the last conversation, and you remembered, and you care about them genuinely.
John: That’s such a great takeaway, Chris. That’s so awesome.
Chris: It’s how you build friendships. It’s not just colleagues. Maybe I never get hired by that firm again or that case goes away. I’ll always remember that Brian is the guy who loves National Bohemian Beer from Baltimore because that’s where his wife’s family is from. The next time I have one, I send him a text with a photo of it. We all laugh about it and have a good memory and a good chuckle with it.
John: Or he just really loves the letter B.
Chris: That’s right. Brian in Baltimore with Natty Boh, that’s right.
John: Right? That’s a lot. Yeah. This has been great, Chris. Before I wrap it up, sometimes people like to rapid fire question me. So I can hand the podcast over to you. You’re now the host if you want to fire away. You’re used to being in the host chair, give it back at the end but, yeah, anything you’ve got for me?
Chris: All right, I’m going to hit you with three of them.
Chris: East Coast or West Coast.
John: Oh, East Coast.
Chris: 100%. You’re a high energy type guy. I don’t see you surfing out.
John: I mean I will go surfing, but just cut to the chase. Tell me you like me or you don’t. Just I don’t need to guess. When I was doing comedy, we’ll get back to you tomorrow. Three months later, you’re still following up. It’s like, get out of here.
Chris: That’s good. All right, number two, a piece of advice you got early in your career that you think has helped develop who you are today.
John: Oh, okay. I started at PwC and they had a phrase. It was — and I made fun of it, to be honest, because it rhymed, but I remember it so I guess it worked. If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me. I thought that that was a good phrase because you can’t rely on outside forces to determine what you actually want to go get. Go get it. Go do it. It’s also, no one else can do it for you.
I wrote my book. Sure, I had several editors and people that helped me and coached me along the way, but I wrote every word. You can’t just tell someone, “Go write a book for me,” and then write. You have to go do the work. I think that applies to all professions. You have to do it. You can’t just sit there and complain. Why don’t you just turn that energy around and put it towards what you actually want to have happen as the outcome.
Chris: I’m with you, and definitely good tenet. I hadn’t rhymed it before but I’m going to take that with me. Finally, John, if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now and money and all that was not an issue, what would you be doing all day?
John: I would be on a Tesla rocket to the outer space. I don’t know. I always wanted to do that when I was a kid.
Chris: That’s awesome, kind of space game writ large for you. That’s awesome.
John: I don’t know. Maybe it was the space ice cream I got at the Air and Space Museum in DC but I just always love that stuff.
Chris: That’s awesome. I don’t know. I just thought of that.
John: It will be cool. I don’t know if I want to do all the training that’s involved.
Chris: I hear it’s not just like in an Uber. You don’t take Uber to the moon. It’s a little bit more involved with that.
John: I’m probably going to throw up, but I made it. That’s great, Chris. Well thank so much you for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”? This was fun.
Chris: Always a pleasure, sir.
John: Awesome. Everyone, if you want to see some pictures of Chris in action or get a link to his podcast or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there, and while you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.
Seth is an Accountant & Video Editor
Seth David is the Chief Nerd and President of Nerd Enterprises Inc., a company that provides consulting and training services in accounting and software. Consulting services range from basic bookkeeping to CFO services such as financial modeling.
Seth returns from episode 51, to talk about his shifted interest from hiking to video editing for his consulting courses. He breaks down how he although enjoys his work as a consultant, his true passion in his work is currently more towards the video editing aspects of it! Seth also talks about how he found relief in diving into this passion during a time of loss in his life.
• Shifting focus towards creating new courses
• Learning by accident
• Editing videos for his courses
• Losing his dogs
• The trick to teaching something effectively
Please take 2 minutes
to do John’s anonymous survey
about Corporate Culture!
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Welcome to Episode 242 of What’s Your “And”? Follow-up Friday edition. This is John Garrett. Each Friday, I follow-up with a guest who had been on the show a few years ago to hear 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 is coming out so 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 and you’ll be the first to know when it’s coming out. 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 Wednesday and Friday. And this Follow-up Friday is going to be no different with my guest, Seth David. He’s the Head Nerd at Nerd Enterprises in California. And now, he’s with me here today. Seth, thank you so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Seth: Thank you so much for letting me in the door.
John: Absolutely, man. I mean you’d knocked for days. I was like, “Finally, I guess I’ll let this guy in.” But no, this is going to be so fun, man. It was so fun chatting with you before and just catching up. But I’d do my rapid fire questions up front now. Hopefully, you’re ready for this.
Seth: All right. Let’s do it. Look, good thing, I just released my bulletproof bookkeeping course. I’ve got my bulletproof vest on, so hit me with the rapid fire.
John: Here we go. Here we go. It’s a Nerf gun though, so it’s all safe. No Seth Davids were injured in this podcast. First one, if you had to choose, Harry Potter or Game of Thrones?
Seth: Game of Thrones, hands down.
John: Okay. What’s a typical breakfast?
Seth: A smoked salmon with cream cheese on a flatbread.
John: Nice man. That’s fancy. I like that. Being in Southern California, do you have a favorite Disney character?
Seth: I guess Mickey Mouse. I know that’s like the most boring answer ever. But that’s the first character that comes to mind.
John: That’s good. When you’re reading, Kindle or real books?
Seth: Nook, I read the nook.
John: Nook. Okay. Okay.
Seth: I’m a Barnes and Noble guy.
John: There you go sponsored by ding. Brownie or ice cream?
Seth: Can I have both?
John: Yeah, you can.
Seth: I’d get them on the brownie.
John: That was a trick question. You can have both. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Seth: All right. Perfect. Done.
John: Yeah. More suit and tie or jeans and a T-shirt?
Seth: Oh, definitely jeans and a T-shirt.
John: Yeah. For sure. The last one, this is maybe the most important one I’ve ever asked. Toilet paper roll, over or under?
Seth: I’m going with over on that.
John: Going with over? Absolutely. It’s how the patent is drawn, right? So the last time we talked on Episode 51, what so many years ago, it was hiking and you were the only one who’s ever done their passion while recording the podcast, which I thought was awesome. You were actually doing the hike when we chatted. Is that still a thing that you’re doing?
Seth: In a way, I was getting high during the podcast, right? I mean in the most literal sense. Let’s not spread any rumors here. I’m not talking about mind-altering substances. I’m talking elevation, right?
John: Yes, absolutely.
Seth: Griffith Park, my Nirvana, in all honesty, at this point, it’s faded out a bit. I haven’t been hiking lately. But it is in the plans to get that started back up again. As a matter of fact, as of this recording, it’ll be long passed by the time people hear this. But we’re going to be meeting at the Huntington Library — a group of us professionally actually — which is a beautiful place to come to if you’re ever in the area where I am in Southern California. Some are going to bring their laptops and get some work done and the most beautiful environment you could ask for to be working in. And others are just going to go around and enjoy the Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden.
I do still get out of my nerd cave occasionally. But the time that I used to spend doing my hiking was generally on Saturdays. Earlier this year, I got very, very laser focused on developing a series of new courses starting with the flagship cornerstone course of all of it, which I already mentioned. It’s the Bulletproof Bookkeeping with QuickBooks Online. So I’ve laid my hobby has become my work, which I love. I can honestly say I love getting up to do what I do every day. And I know a lot of people will say that. But in most cases, it’s not actually true. In my case, it is.
John: But it’s more than just doing your work. It’s a different thing. I mean when you’re creating a course and teaching people how to do what you do, that’s not doing the work. It’s work-related, but so was hiking was work-related because it was bringing people together that way. So it’s really not that much different to be honest. It’s just maybe a little bit closer.
Seth: John, it’s a craft. It’s so different than doing actual bookkeeping work — creating videos creating content. Anytime the thought ever pops into my head that I think I know everything there is to know about how to record and edit videos, it’s a very quick fleeting thought because I’m constantly learning new things. Just last week, I was editing a video for the next course that I’m working on. I’m not going to bore people with the details. It won’t make sense to anybody. But the bottom line was I learned something new. And I learned it by accident, which is how I learned a lot of things by the way. Almost every Excel tip I could give you, like the really cool ones that not everybody knows, is something I learned by accident because I did something accidentally with my keyboard that I didn’t mean to do. Then I had to try and retrace my steps to figure out how I did it and then after a bit of trial and error, I would figure out that shifting the spacebar highlight the whole row. I’m like, “What? Wait. Then something else in the spacebar is better at highlighting columns?” And sure enough, it was the Control key.
So it’s very similar. Things happen when I’m editing videos. And I just learned a little trick the other day that has to do with when you’re trying to clip a section of the video. That makes it much easier to make sure that you’ve isolated the exact points from both ends that you want to clip the video.
John: That’s awesome, man. I mean because that’s a different skill that you’re exercising, that editing and shooting video. I mean there’s people that you pay to do that. But you’re like, “Nope, I’m learning it and I’m going to do it myself.” And I think that’s fantastic. Yeah. Do people know that you’re the one behind all this? I mean of course you’re the face on the video, but you’re not just the superstar. You’re doing all of it.
Seth: Yeah. I think most people know. It’s funny because a lot of so-called gurus or coaches or whatever they choose to call themselves this week have suggested that I should really outsource the editing part. I’m like, “Are you kidding? That’s my favorite part of all of it because that’s where you truly get to…” I mean, of course, recording this stuff and knowing what you’re doing, that’s obviously part of the parcel. But to me, the most rewarding part of it is knowing that I’m sitting there and creating the experience that someone’s going to have and knowing especially that — and I know this is going to sound dramatic, but it’s not even a question of, “I believe it’s true.” I know it’s true because of what people have reflected back to me. I’m literally creating an experience that’s going to change someone’s life.
John: You totally are. That’s so cool because, yeah, I mean for you to outsource that, you lose the magic. You lose your fingerprint on it, if you will. I think that’s great that it’s like, “No. I’m shooting the video so I can actually edit them. That’s really why I’m doing this.”
Seth: Yeah, because that’s where you really create the experience for someone. It’s in the editing. That’s really the experience that gets created. Shooting the video is the easy part actually.
John: If you shoot enough, you can edit and make it look amazing for sure. That’s really cool, man. That’s really cool. What’s your editing software of choice?
Seth: I wasn’t sure because you made the comment about Barnes and Noble. I was trying to be careful about mentioning brands, but —
John: No, no. You can. I was just teasing, man. Absolutely.
Seth: Okay. Fair enough.
John: No one sponsors the show. Everyone should know that by now.
Seth: Actually, I should also remember that if anything, being that it’s you and me specifically here crossing lines is what it should be all about anyway. Not doing lines — crossing them. Again, I want to be clear. We’re not doing any mind-altering substances here.
John: I think by the fifth reference of this, people are going to start to wonder, “What is going on over there?”
Seth: Well, that’s the point right? We just want to see who has nothing better to do with their time.
John: Exactly. Then start with social media.
Seth: So the software I use, it’s no secret. It’s Camtasia. I absolutely love Camtasia. I cringe because you’ll see a lot of threads in Facebook groups where people are asking about what software to use to create and edit their videos. And if it’s anything to do with something that’s happening on your screen, I don’t know why there’s even a question about it anymore. I know there are other programs out there that you can use and there’s free ones, but I just feel like if you’re going to do it, just do it. Go all in. It’s not that much money. It’s like 300 bucks at the most. That’s if you don’t get a coupon or promotion of some kind. Just use Camtasia. Stop.
John: No. You go nuts, man.
Seth: If you’re going to do it, just do it.
John: Right. There you go. But I mean that applies to everything. And it’s certainly the mentality that you bring to Nerd Enterprises when you’re dealing with clients and everything else. That’s really cool because I mean in the same way that you’re creating these experiences with the videos and changing people’s lives, you do the same thing in your actual bookkeeping business. So when you’re actually dealing with clients, you’re doing that there too.
Seth: Yeah. Although more and more these days, I’m trying really hard not to deal with clients.
John: Right. Yeah. No, that’s the end goal actually. That’s the end goal for everyone.
Seth: I’ll tell you something, John. This is just very honest and all joking of any kind aside. Again, as of this recording, my wife and I recently had to put two of our three dogs to sleep, two of them in the same one-week period.
John: Oh, man.
Seth: So it’s been a very sad time on the one hand. And on the other hand, career wise, it’s a very happy time. So it’s bittersweet because career wise, I’m closer and closer to spending substantially all of my time doing the thing that I really love, which is creating the videos. Luckily — I should say I hate to use that word in this vein, but the timing of when we had to put them to sleep was just before the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah. So I had planned downtime, those two days, which worked out well in that sense that if it was going to have to happen around now, that was the time because it gave me the chance to have a couple of quiet days.
At the same time, while I’m just in such a deep state of grief, I don’t know what to do with myself. So I found myself just — I shut the email off. I didn’t open any social media pages. I just spent the day editing videos for my next course. And it wasn’t like that I was being insensitive about the fact that — it was because of the grief. I needed to do something to get and stay focused on to keep my mind somewhat off of it. I found that once I got into the groove — and this is nothing new for me but it just stood out here because of the circumstances — that I was in such a state of peace during that time because my mind was quiet. I was just focused. I had some very peaceful music playing as I often do when I’m here at my desk. And it was just that. There was no noise in my head. Do you know what I mean?
John: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. The head trash stuff that gets in the way. Yeah. I’m really sorry to hear that because your dogs, those pictures of them wearing the ties coming out of the dog salon and stuff, I mean I know you were really close.
Seth: Those guys were my life. We still have one left, Hercules. He’s the black one in that picture that you’re talking about. He’s the one with the black coat. Because that can, again, get taken way out of context, I’m not being racist here. His coat is black. You have to be so careful these days about what you say.
So Ralphie, who’s been such a big part of my life, he was the original dog in the original social media picture. We had updated it some years ago with him and Hercules, that’s the other dog on my lap, because we got the ties. So Ralphie and we also had his mother, Xena, who’s not in that photo. They were only a year apart in age. They were getting on. She was almost 17. He would’ve been 16 this coming Halloween 2019. They lived a good long life. But of course, it’s heartbreaking. He was such a big part of me both publicly and also privately in the home. It took such a big piece of my heart away, John. I honestly don’t know if or how I’ll ever truly recover from it. I don’t think you ever do. I think you have to go on in life.
John: Yeah. But you remember all the good times that you had and I mean all those crazy stories and the silly times and the ties and the things like that. I mean it’s a family member. But that’s really cool that, yeah, you were able to find peace and get in that groove and just — you’d be able to make other people’s lives better. So in a way, a little bit of your loss fuels so many people’s gain, which is really powerful.
Seth: Yeah. It really helped me. And I hope that everyone out there who’s listening has their version of something that they truly love to do. Because this is where I decided earlier this year to triple down on just creating courses and videos because I was finding, as often been the case throughout my career since I started my business, which was in 2003 originally, there have been so many times where I have — not I felt. I knew. I’ve known. I was spreading myself way too thin, right? I love the shiny new toy of course. I get ideas and I think, “Oh, this is a great idea. Let’s run with this and let’s run with that.” And next thing I know, it’s like — what I love to say about multitasking is there’s really no such thing as multitasking. What it means is that you’re highly unfocused on a lot of things.
John: And then nothing gets done.
Seth: Exactly. Then I was listening to a Gary Vaynerchuk video. And in that video, he said something. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but it was something like, “A lot of us are good at a lot of things.” But basically, the message was, “If you truly want to succeed, you have to find that one thing that you’re really good at, that you’re better at than any of the other things that you’re really good at. And you triple down on that one thing and you run with it.”
Earlier this year, I was just in that place where I knew I was spread too thin. One thing I was trying to build was frankly not going well. And just looking back, it had been more than a couple of years since I had been trying to put this vertical together. I was like, “No. It’s just not working.” And I heard the Gary Vaynerchuk video. And just to be clear because I know somebody there would go, “Well, what do you mean it’s a video? Were you watching it?” Actually, no, I listen to videos a lot in the background while I’m looking at and working on something.
John: Gary Vee is not a looker. So you can listen to the video just the same.
Seth: Exactly. Yeah, there’s nothing you really need to see. It’s usually just him talking and cursing, which is fine. I love his message. But I don’t need to see him to get the message. I just need to hear it. I really sat down and it wasn’t just one sit down. It was a probably over a series of time where I kept racking my brain thinking, “All right. What’s my answer to that? What’s my version of that?” Then once it hit me, I was like, “I can’t believe this wasn’t that much more obvious the first time I asked myself the question.” There’s no question. The one thing that I love to do more than anything else that I do, the one thing that I’m better at than anything else I do is not bookkeeping. It’s creating videos that teach people bookkeeping. And other things, not just bookkeeping but productivity at large. It’s creating educational videos based on productivity software. And it’s showing people how to be more productive, more efficient, more effective in anything that you’re doing that involves any kind of software.
What really lies underneath that, which is how I was able to get to that core when I really thought about it, was that a lot of people can be very knowledgeable in a subject. That doesn’t mean you can teach it, right? The trick to being able to teach something effectively is understanding it from the other person’s perspective. Probably the most important thing — I was just thinking about this the other day. The most important thing that makes a teacher a good teacher — and this is frankly what I feel is one of my superpowers — is having the ability to see it in a sense through somebody else’s eyes, but most importantly and most specifically, to understand what they’re not seeing. Because if you understand what they’re not seeing, then you know where to shine the light, so to speak. And that’s when you get those aha moments out of your students, out of your audience. And that’s what I love about teaching. Especially when I’m doing it with Zoom, which is what I use to log in remotely with people, and if they’ve got their camera on and I can practically, literally see the light come on in their eyes because they just got something because of that one little tweak I made and how I explained it, that’s the most rewarding thing I ever get to experience in my whole life, John.
John: That’s fantastic, man. That’s really cool. That’s really cool. I’m so glad you found it. Because when we met several years ago, you were mostly doing the bookkeeping. Yeah, you were creating some content, but that wasn’t really where the magic was. And now it is. Bulletproof Bookkeeping for QuickBooks Online. Yeah, man, I think that’s fantastic.
Before I wrap this up, though, it’s only fair that I allow you to ask me two to three rapid-fire questions if you would like since I so rudely started out firing away at you.
Seth: Oh, okay.
John: It’s your turn, man. Ask away anything you want.
Seth: I want to ask you one of the questions that you asked me last time around. Star Trek or Star Wars?
John: Star Wars. Yeah. I never got into Star Trek. Yeah. I just — I don’t know. But only the first three. After that, I haven’t seen any of the other ones. So I don’t want to ruin it.
Seth: All right. Favorite pizza topping?
John: Ah, that’s a good question. Yeah. All the meat and, yeah, pepperoni, sausage, ham. If I have to just choose one, it’d be pepperoni though. I’m just pretty classic.
Seth: Okay. Yeah. I’m totally with you there. There is a place near where I grew up on Long Island in Commack called Branchinelli’s, later changed names to Emilio’s. But they used to have — they called it the special pizza, and it had every possible topping.
John: Oh, wow. Wow. That sounds —
Seth: It was all the meats, all the veggies, everything.
John: All the veggies. Yeah. I mean there can be some veggies on there. That’s for sure. I’m not anti-veggie but usually at three to one ratio, meat to veggie.
Seth: It probably it was something like that because the meat definitely stood out. Their other specialty was white pizza, which is one of my favorites. But it’s very rare. You don’t see that at very many places. And even when you do, it’s often not that good. It seems like it’s hard to get that one —
John: Right. And by white pizza, you don’t mean Caucasian pizza? You mean it’s Alfredo sauce. People know that like —
Seth: Right. Yeah. It’s not racist, okay? Let’s be careful. It’s because it’s got ricotta cheese and mozzarella cheese and it’s white. That’s the color of the pizza. Somebody out there is going, “Why is it got to be white?”
John: It just is.
Seth: I had another question for you, another rapid-fire. Cheeseburger or burger?
John: Oh, cheeseburger. Yeah. Put cheese on that thing. Yeah, for sure. As many calories as I can get into my face is possible.
Seth: Well, you’re very lucky because from what I remember seeing you, you don’t look like somebody who suffers from eating too much. You look pretty thin.
John: No, no. I appreciate that. Yeah. But I certainly do. It’s definitely a good pastime. That might be one of my other passions, I guess. Well, it’s definitely ice cream for sure. But that works, man. This has been great, Seth.
Seth: Have me back anytime, John. It’s always a blast talking with you.
John: I mean everyone listening, if you want to see some pictures of Seth in action or connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are there. 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.
Seth is an Accountant & Swimmer
Seth is a Tax partner with Carr Riggs & Ingram in Dallas, TX. He has two kids and a wife who teaches yoga and meditation that helps keep his house calm and peaceful. Seth enjoys spending time with his family and exercising.
Seth talks about overcoming shingles at the age of 35 through swimming and how he promotes a culture of sharing experiences in the office as a partner at his firm!
• Getting into swimming
• Skills Seth has learned overcoming shingles
• Working out with co-workers
• Creating a culture of sharing experiences in the office
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Welcome to Episode 229 of What’s Your “And”? This is John Garrett. Each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. To put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their and, you know those things that are above and beyond your technical skills, the things that you really love to do outside of work, and they really differentiate you when you get to the office.
I’m so excited to let everyone know my book is coming out very, very soon. It’ll be available on Amazon and a few other websites. So check out whatsyourand.com for all the details. I can’t say how much it means that everyone is excited for the book and listening to the show and then changing the cultures where they work because of it.
Please don’t forget to hit Subscribe so you don’t miss any of the future episodes because I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week. This week is no different with my guest, Seth Margolies. He’s a partner in the Dallas office of Carr, Riggs & Ingram. Now he’s with me here today.
Seth, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?
Seth: Thanks, John, for having me. Thanks for inviting me. I’m super excited to do this podcast. I listen to several of your podcasts. I just hope to be as great as some of the others, entertaining.
John: Oh, no, man, you’re going to be awesome already from the phone call we had a couple of weeks ago. Yeah, I’m just excited to share your story. But before we get into that, you know the drill, rapid-fire questions right out of the gate.
Seth: I’m ready. Let’s do it.
John: Here we go. Here we go. I’ll start out with a pretty easy one, I think. Favorite color?
John: Nice. Okay, how about a least favorite color?
Seth: Least favorite color, how about brown?
John: Brown. That’s a good answer. That’s a solid answer. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Seth: That’s easy, Star Wars.
John: Oh, there you go. There you go. And your computer, more PC or a Mac?
Seth: Definitely a PC. Walking in the Mac store and I don’t know what to do.
John: No, no, they don’t even let me in. So I’m with you. I’m not cool enough. I’m way not cool enough. So then your mouse, right click or left click?
Seth: Right click.
John: Right click. Okay. That’s where the exciting stuff is. I like it. Okay. Do you have a favorite band or musician?
Seth: You know, I don’t know if I can come up with a favorite band or group. But while I’m working. I love to listen to just kind of classical music.
John: Oh, yeah, there you go.
Seth: It’s a nice distraction. But I won’t lie, every now and then, the hip-hop station comes on and it just depends upon what hour it is. In the morning, it might be classical. If I need something to get me going in the afternoon or later at night, it might be a little hip-hop.
John: There you go. There you go. That works. That works for me. Would you say you’re more balance sheet or income statement?
Seth: Definitely income statement. I think the balance sheet is more for the auditors.
John: Right. That’s true. That is true. Actually, from a tax perspective, they have no clue. Do you have a favorite animal, any animal at all?
Seth: I have two dogs, two foster dog. Sometimes they drive me a little crazy, but I’ll have to go with dogs.
John: Dogs. That’s a good answer, man. That’s a really good answer. How about do you prefer more hot or cold?
Seth: Hot. I’m a big tea drinker, so I’m always drinking tea.
John: There you go. That’s my next question, sweet tea or regular tea?
Seth: Half and half.
John: Half and half. Okay. I see what’s going on there. That’s interesting. All right. Do you have a favorite number?
John: Seven. That’s the most popular answer. Is there a reason?
Seth: I don’t think so. I think just seven just growing up. Again, I feel like everybody’s favorite number is seven.
John: It is, man. It’s It’s by far the most popular answer on here. For me, it’s sports related, but yeah, for sure, for sure. This is an important one, toilet paper, roll over or under?
Seth: You know, John, I never understand why this is a real question. I mean, there’s only one answer. It’s over. I think under is just for like lazy people, like you put it on and it goes on there. You just don’t want to change it.
John: Right, right. You know what’s wrong, but you’re too lazy to change it. That’s awesome. We’ll run out in a week or so, it doesn’t matter. Yeah, right. That’s great. Sudoku or crossword puzzle?
Seth: I’d go with Sudoku. Man, this crossword puzzle, so tough.
John: No, I agree. I agree. And when you fly, more window or aisle seat?
Seth: Definitely an aisle. Claustrophobic.
John: Definitely aisle?
John: Okay, okay. Do you have a favorite actor or actress?
Seth: You know, John, I don’t really have a favorite actor or actress, but I am obsessed with movies. I love to go to movies. I don’t really dislike or love one more than the other. I just love going to the movies.
John: No, that works, man. Movie actors and actresses, that works. Would you say you’re more of an early bird or a night owl?
Seth: I am definitely an early bird.
John: Okay. Okay. And the last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?
Seth: The favorite thing I have is I have to go with a great family, two kids, a wife.
John: That’s a great answer. Plus, she might listen. So good job you, man. Good job you. That was great, man. Really awesome. So let’s transition into the swimming and the exercising and all that. How you get into this? Since you were little or more of a late bloomer on that?
Seth: No, I was probably no more the swimmer than anybody else. Back in the day, I probably –again I’m not a big sports fan. I was never really into sports. I played soccer, just probably no different than most people. But I’ve always worked out and weights, had a trainer. I was always just very active. Again, I was early bird so I was always doing something in the morning. I was always doing boot camps. I’d run to the gym in the morning at like 5:30 and do boot camp outside and loved it. My wife did it too. It was great. And it was about eight years ago that I got shingles.
John: Oh, my goodness.
Seth: You know anybody that’s getting shingles at the age of like 34, 35?
John: No. Yeah, typically, it’s like grandparents’ friends or people like that.
Seth: Yeah, I guess I’m the oldest 35-year-old.
John: Right. You also like to play bingo and watch Wheel of Fortune.
Seth: That’s right. So that was like eight years ago, I got the shingles. It was during tax season too. So it’s absolutely terrible. It’s basically like a kind of a nervous system disease, illness, whatever. It probably didn’t show up till months later, but I got muscle atrophy in my left shoulder. They couldn’t figure out what it was. It turns out it related back to shingles. But long story short, my muscle and my left shoulder just literally disappeared. So I couldn’t really do anything with my left shoulder. I had to drop out of boot camp. I really couldn’t exercise. Yeah, I was doing physical therapy. When I would hold a glass of water with my left hand, it would shake like I couldn’t. I would have to use my right hand.
John: That’s super scary too.
Seth: Oh, it’s absolutely terrible. You can’t really do anything. When you’re used to being so active and then you can’t hold a glass of water, it’s terrible. So I did the physical therapy. It didn’t really work. I just kind of threw in the towel. I’d say my body just kind of went mush a little bit. I’ve always been like kind of the same weigh. I was pretty light. Never been heavy. When I tell people my weight, they’re like, “I was that weight in seventh grade.”
Seth: So years later, well, I’d go to the gym every now and then but nothing really because I was just getting neck pain and shoulder pain. It was just terrible.
John: Oh, man!
Seth: So years later, I was like, let me try swimming. So I called up and got a swim coach. I know how to swim, but when I would try and swim on my own, my neck would kill. So I was like, let me get a swim coach. Funny story actually. So they have a big pool there and then they have a small kid pool. He gets into the kid pool and I’m like, “What are we doing?” He’s like, “Well, before we go into the big pool, I need to make sure that you’re safe in the small pool.” I think back in that story and I’m like, oh, my God. So I literally had to get into the small pool, and I had to go on my back and he had to make sure I wasn’t going to drown. “Listen, we’re good. I’ll sign some papers.”
So I had that swim coach for like a year and it was great. It was kind of like, I have to say, like water aerobics, but it was swimming laps and just kind of doing that stuff that you did as a kid, just teaching the breathing techniques and the pedals and the fins and this and that. I don’t remember what happened but that coach left or whatever. So I called up and said, “Hey, I need a new coach.” And they said, “Great. Show up at noon.” I got another coach and I showed up, and I saw this guy and I was like, “Oh, my God.” I know who that guy is. He’s basically just like an insane athlete. He trains swimmers all across the country. I’m like, “Hey, I just want to just have a little fun. Just get my shoulder back.” And my shoulder was feeling much better. Well, a perfectionist again teaching all these crazy athletes.
I did that for like a year and then I would go like three times a week. I would see like this master’s class. It’s like 40 and up and they do all this stuff and he does the class. It’s like just insane swimmers. I remember thinking to myself like looking over those lanes like after I would swim, man, would be really neat to do. I just, at some point, maybe it was the year later, I was like, I think I’m ready to throw in the towel on these lessons and go right in to the master’s.
So I did that. I did like two to three days a week. I would try and swim in between. My shoulder was much better and it was great and I loved it. It was awesome. I mean, that’s really how I got into swimming. I love it.
John: Yeah. When I was a kid, I was a part of a swim team for like, third, fourth, fifth, sixth grade. In the summer, I was super, super brown and my hair would turn almost white from the sun and the bleach and you’d wear that awkward Speedo. But it is such a great workout, total body and you’re breathing deeply. It’s a really, really great workout. They say it doesn’t cost as much impact, right?
Seth: Yeah, that’s the reason I did it. So you sound excited about it. I think you’re going to go swimming out tonight.
John: Right. You know what, I think I’m not ready for that coach yet because he’ll just get angry at me.
Seth: He’s going for perfection. I’m like, “Can we just get to like 85? Let’s just do 85%.
John: Yeah, right. Exactly. That’s my motto in pretty much everything. I’m not going to lie.
Seth: I just need that 75.
John: Tut that’s cool. So you were doing like races or…?
Seth: No, I wasn’t doing races, but they have a bunch of drills and say there’s eight lanes, the slower lane will go to the right, and the fast line will be number eight. So I started off in lane one, and then you can move yourself to two, three, four. It was great. It was just a lot of fun. I just love swimming. You know you said like the breathing thing, like my wife teaches meditation. It’s really like when you’re swimming and it really is like meditating, just finding that breath and just being consistent and flowing through the water. It’s really a great form of meditation and exercise or rehabilitation. It’s great, overall great exercise. I love it. I just did all that, and I haven’t swum in a while.
Back in January this year, I was swimming and again doing the master’s class. And there was just one day where I was swimming and we had the pins on. I was going back and forth. I looked over at the coach, and everyone else looks like they’re passing me that I’m just exhausted. I looked over the coach and I said, “Should this be that hard?” And he said, “Well, this is the only thing you’re doing. Yes, of course.” I think at that point, I realized that I needed to do something else, like the swimming was great for my shoulders and back. But I’m a fast swimmer, but I felt kind of like I was a weak link when it came to the other things, the fins and the pat and this and that.
I just realized, what am I going to do now? I went from not being able to hold a glass of water to be able to swim with a bunch of crazy athletes. My shoulder wasn’t like 100% perfect, but it was pretty darn good. And so I just kind of just went on like a little journey to figure out what can I do to gain some weight and build some muscle mass and get stronger and kind of get back to where I was like eight years ago. So boot camp and this crazy stuff and pushing trucks and flipping tires and all that fun stuff at 6:00 a.m.
So my wife, she was on — do you know what ClassPass is?
John: Oh, yeah, yeah, because you can go to different gyms, whatever gym you want.
Seth: They have all these different gyms and take this class. She got me on that and it kind of helped me figure out what I want to do. Do I enjoy this type of class, like all this extra cardio? Maybe that’s not what I need. I need to build some muscle. I don’t want to burn too many calories. So you just kind of find that perfect fit. I ended up getting a trainer who again just kind of got my shoulder a little bit better, and I was able to get a lot stronger. And now I just kind of have my favorite things and just kind of a little bit more in tune to what my body needs. It’s great. I just love it. I just love waking up 5:30, 5:45 and going to do something, or maybe it’s during lunch, I’m going with a coworker to the gym, to ClassPass or going downstairs or whatever it is. So this is great. I just feel back to where I was eight years ago, much stronger, faster, just able to kind of overcome all that. I just keep my fingers crossed
John: Yeah, man. I mean, that’s so scary but so encouraging to hear how you fought through that and got back. Now you feel like you’re really close to where you were eight years ago, which is great. Clearly, something you talk about at work, the exercising and swimming and going to the gym. You said you sometimes go with coworkers. Yeah, it’s not something that you feel like you need to hide or not share.
Seth: Yeah, it’s fun when you go with a coworker. Sometimes you talk a little bit about work but not necessarily, about just sweating or running laps or whatever you’re doing, running up stairs and it’s just a great bonding activity actually.
John: Totally. And especially when it’s out of the office, I think people tend to let their guard down a little bit more.
Seth: Yeah. We talk a little bit about family or wherever it is. I agree.
John: Yeah, just life in general and create like those meaningful relationships as opposed to those superficial ones that exist in a lot of the business world. Just out of curiosity, would you say that any of this gives you a skill or a mentality that you feel like you’re able to bring to the office?
Seth: Yeah, I’ve heard some of the other podcasts you’ve had and be like, wow, those are great people with these awesome skills. What has the skill, what has this ability to overcome this illness been able to do for me? I feel like I can just relate it back to many other things whether it’s again like passing the CPA exam, that thing is hard as you know. I remember way back when like I had such a tough time. I was at E&Y working all those hours. It was tough adventure, eventually kind of hit rock bottom and from start to finish was about five months before passing the exam. But even back here overcoming those obstacles and whether it’s an employee leaves and you need to figure out how we’re going to get that done, hire new employees and post, yeah, and all that, or just driving through a big tax deadline, how am I going to get it done and the planning, just the overcoming and just overcoming obstacles. But also just feel so much better as well.
If I compare this year to last year and this year just feels so much better physically, mentally. I just think that overcoming that challenge has just done physically and mentally just so much better.
John: So you kept this regimen going even through busy season and all that.
Seth: Yeah, even through business season. I think if you take a break, it’s just like so much harder to get back into. A lot of people go for an hour or two, whatever. If you can just get at least 30 minutes in, it makes life so much better.
John: That’s great, man. That’s really cool. Really cool to hear that, yeah, I mean sticking with it and even when there’s a ton of work to be done, still carving out time intentionally. To do this passion of yours made you so much happier than in prior years. So how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create this culture where people are allowed to share or encouraged to share versus how much is it on the individual to just step up and be like, hey, this is what I’d like to do, maybe in a small circle?
Seth: You know, I’m in charge of a human capital in my office, so I interview almost everyone, for Dallas at least, intern program and every single person asked, tell me about your culture. It’s fascinating. So you talk about culture and how important it is. I think that it is important for the office organization to create that culture to allow individuals like myself or the officemate to be able to share those experiences. Again, like you mentioned, just being able to go to the gym with somebody or whatever, just to be able to share that extra conversation, that’s really what helps build that culture.
John: Oh, totally.
Seth: It’s not going over review notes and balance sheets and profit and loss statements. That’s for sure. It’s all that extra stuff. It’s very important for the organization to allow that work environment. Just like your podcast, people just have to share.
John: That’s the thing is when I was with PwC back in the day and it wasn’t necessarily encouraged or modeled, and we’re also going back 20 years, it’s just all of a sudden, you find out that, man, everyone’s doing something and no one’s really talking about it or sharing it. Because of that, you assume, oh, well, I guess no one else does anything. And then you find out later like, no, no, my studies show that 92% of professionals have a hobby or passion they regularly do outside of work. I mean, I’m going to be the auditor here and round up to 100 and say immaterial difference. So everybody does something. So that’s the thing is just finding that out because every accounting firm reviews work papers like you were saying, but not every accounting firm has somebody with your story or other people’s stories that are there with you at Carr, Riggs & Ingram, and it’s getting those stories out there more is really what’s going to make you different than every other firm that’s out there.
Seth: And being able to connect with those stores. Just a few people that employee exercising or swimming, I could go swimming with somebody, but whatever it is, photography or charity or something, somebody else here probably does it or enjoys it or wants to know more about it. If they do it together, that really just helps the culture.
John: Even like me, I’m not a swimmer, but hearing your story and hearing about it, it’s like, wow, that’s freaking really interesting and fantastic. I mean, it’s great.
Seth: Not that you’re going to pull up that Speedo. You’re going to go in the pool.
John: Right. I’m going to scare everyone. My wife’s going to be like, “What is going on?” And I’ll be like, “I talked with Seth Margolies,” and that’s it. It’s over.
Seth: Just take out the floaties.
John: Yeah, right. Exactly. I’ll have the thing that goes around your waist. I’ll go all in, man. Like it doesn’t matter, like snorkel, like what’s up? Should you be wearing a helmet, John? It feels like it. But no, that’s really cool that that’s what’s, you know, and that you’re living it there as a leader of the firm of the office, as a partner, someone that people look up to, that you’re showing it by example, which is really great. Because I find that sometimes people are so driven by the billable hour and charge codes and all this that sometimes leaders forget that there’s people under them, like real humans.
Seth: Yeah. If you don’t have all the bots, you’ve got humans in your office.
John: Right, exactly, exactly. And even when the bots come, the humans still have to do a lot of the work anyway and still create those connections with clients and with each other.
Seth: And it’s important to encourage those to get outside of the office, even if it’s busy season, working. I don’t really like when people work seven days a week. They need to go home, be with their families, go do that, and… Everybody has and if you don’t have that and, you need to take that day off or two days off and go find it.
John: Go borrow somebody else’s and or something like that.
Seth: Yeah. I’ll lend you my floaties.
John: There you go. That’s all in, man. That’s all in. I love it. So do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that maybe has that passion or interest outside of work but thinks that it has nothing to do with their career?
Seth: Yeah, I mean, again, sometimes you see people that you can tell that they just need to get out more. They’re just working seven days a week or whatever. We just kind of need to encourage them to go out and keep that passion going, whatever it is that they enjoy, because again that’s just going to make them happier. It’s going to keep them hopefully at the firm longer, put the best attention in themselves, they’ll be happier. It’s also good just looking forward. They’re fast forwarding to retirement. What do you do when you retire? Hopefully, you still — and your and might change, but that one and might lead to a different and. We got to start somewhere.
John: Yeah, I love that man. I love that. That’s so great. Such great takeaways. So before we wrap this up, though, it’s only fair that I turned the tables, let you question me now since I fired away at you right out of the gate. So I’m ready.
Seth: All right, let’s do it. Favorite type of taco?
John: Oh, wow, that’s a great question in a very, very Texas question. Mild. We’ll get that out of the gate right now, like the mild salsa or whatever. I guess I’d go steak probably.
Seth: Yeah, one of my other questions that I was thinking about asking you, jalapenos on your nachos or on the side, I already know the answer to that.
John: Yeah, on someone else’s nachos.
Seth: Paper towels, the regular size or the kind of the choose your own size?
John: Yeah, the choose your own size for sure.
Seth: Yeah, save the planet.
John: No, I’m just lazy.
Seth: Wait a second, are you under the toilet paper?
John: No, no, I’m definitely an over. I will change that.
Seth: Don’t hold me against it. That’s your question. Room temperature water or ice water?
John: Room temperature. My teeth, for some reason, when I was little, I was in a big wheel accident. It’s a long story, but I broke out some of my teeth. And for some reason, they’re very, very sensitive in the front. So like I see people bite ice cream or drink really ice cold water and I’m like, oh, man, I’m cringing right now thinking about it.
John: Yeah, room temperature, no ice. Yeah.
Seth: And then the last question is when you listen to a podcast, what speed do you listen to the podcast?
John: Oh, double speed, double speed, webinars, YouTube stuff —
Seth: Times two, really?
John: Times two, man. If the person speaks quickly, then I might one and a half, but typically double. And it’s really funny when I see them in person and I’m like, wow, they are so slow in real life.
John: Yeah, I know. Those are really great questions. That’s really great.
Seth: That’s all I got.
John: No, man, that was awesome. Thank you so much for taking time to be with me here on What’s Your “And”?
Seth: Well, perfect. Thanks for having me.
John: Yeah, this was great. Everyone listening, if you like to see some pictures of Seth outside of work or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. While you’re on the page, please click that big button and do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture.
Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you do.