Living with a Bias Toward Action with Nick Smarrelli

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REID: Okay Joe, so the next guest coming on the show, and Nick Elli is someone who, Is relatively close to our, sphere, right? As somebody that, Tiffany and others in the organization have known for a long time and so we have a bit more context to the different jumps that he’s made from a business standpoint, but.

Is an interesting individual in that he’s gone through this inflection point recently and what that world looks like, how that mix comes together. So I’m curious about like where your head’s at in terms of what you want to explore with Nick, knowing what you already do, having the context that we already do and, knowing about the decisions that he’s made recently.

JOE: Yeah. I think if I’m thinking back to some of our recent conversations, asked Jeb about the like transition moment between a business that you’ve been leading and then recognizing you’re not the leader for it anymore and moving out of it and what that process is like.

think continuing that conversation and getting Nick’s perspective on it would be interesting. also my take with Nick and my experience with Nick, while the organization, many people inside of it have met him and had various conversations. We’ve met once before. so my take on him is that he’s got a really good level of. Belief system and ability to articulate that well. And what I mean by that is he’s not gonna like fumble around with a take.

 I know that he will have an opinion on it. I know he’ll be very willing to share it in like a, this is my experience, this is how I see it. and so I’m looking forward to getting his unpacking of this experience. And also we had a really interesting conversation and one of the pieces we landed on was talking about the idea of like talent versus hard work. And then, Very serendipitously. I’ve stumbled upon a book about that topic. Like the next week. And so I sent it to him, and he was getting on a plane to another part of the world.

And so, I wanna talk to him about what his thoughts were, cuz we had, I would say, fairly differing opinions on that question. And in the book that we both read the answers, neither of the ones that we had given. So in the spirit of Nick also being one who, is discerning in what he. believes and what he buys into. I want to hear what his take is on it. So that’s like a side conversation that’ll also be really interesting, I think, to have with him.

REID: interesting.

and when we talk about how work, we’re talking about a guy who does ultra marathons, right? Like a very, Hardworking individual. I actually see parallels to our conversation with Paul Ashley in that, Nick is somebody who really leans into the hobbies in his life in addition to the work endeavors, right?

Like the commitment and the sort of infrastructure you have to build in your life to be a high level working professional and take on something like high level endurance. Athletics is no small feat. 

JOE: he finished Leadville. Yeah, that’s a

REID: that’s a big deal. it is cool to understand that part of him too. Cause I, I think. We’ll take some of Tiffany’s language here, but a lot of times people think they can’t do the and Yep. And he led, grew, sold a very successful business. he also was a regional level CrossFitter. I did not know that.

JOE: neither did I. But very cool. He was a like an og CrossFitter and made regionals in 11 or 12, I think, which is really hard to do.

REID: There’s a lot of places we could go in this

JOE: yeah, it’s gonna be a really fun one. I’m looking forward to it. There’s some like specific topics I have and. also just want his take on some of the things that we’ve been exploring with others.

REID: All right, well, let’s go see how it goes. Cool.

JOE: I’m gonna wrangle us in for one quick second. So as you maybe have heard, Reid hopped on the mic as well because there’s too much overlap with Nick’s passion for running and your passion for running to keep you out of the in moment conversation. So if you’re listening, you get another read episode, which means it’ll be our, one of our better ones. Apologies. No, no, no. One of 

NICK: Welcome. This is great.

JOE: so Nick, thanks for popping by, man. I had some stuff on my list, I want to give you a quick opportunity to say, for a long time your professional identity was CEO of GOODAL net. 

NICK: Yes. 

JOE: When people ask you like, oh, what are you up to? What are you doing? what are you saying now? Cause I think you have a few different hats that you’re wearing at this point. what’s your response to that?

NICK: It is amazing how many times a week somebody asks you what you do. And I didn’t notice it before cuz the answer was so canned and then all of a sudden I realized my wife and I and the family moved to a new neighborhood. And so everyone’s introducing yourself. and so every time I’d introduce myself, the answer would be

JOE: And frankly, 

NICK: I think the answer is different now. I lead usually oftentimes with saying I’m a professor at Butler University. So I start there that, that feels, I would say to the American mind very normal. then the rest of the time I spend my time doing consulting and coaching then people usually get pretty bored and they move on.

JOE: So this is actually a perfect spot. And we were talking about Mark a second ago. I asked Mark the question of like, introduce yourself and what do you do? And he was like, oh, it’s so American. He’s like, I’m not critiquing you. It’s just, it’s a thing that Americans ask. And he was like, a lot of other cultures do just don’t care.

so I’m gonna, ask cuz you just brought up the same thing, which is like, the most normal thing to an American mind is I’m a Butler professor. have you experienced that same thing Mark’s mentioning where it’s like, we wanna go somewhere else, people don’t really ask me that, or it’s not as important or there’s a different value set around role.

NICK: so one of the coolest things, I took a trip with a few friends, four or five weeks ago. And we were in Flagstaff, Arizona, and we were coming across a bridge and this couple was coming the other way. And they said, Hey guys. And we started talking and one of the first questions that they ask is they said, what do you like to do? And then we said that that was the most interesting question that you could possibly ask. And they’re like, around here we care more about the hobbies that you do than what you for me, it represented the type of place I’ve always wanted to live. Which is Tell us a little bit more about what you like to do and if that happened to be work. Fantastic. the next day we were doing a rim to rim to rim experience through the Grand Canyon. We talked about that and that, that met us where we wanted to be. And I thought it was so much more fun than what do you do?

JOE: Yeah. this is not where I was gonna start, but I think it’s correlated with, one of the things I was curious about, we’ve been having this conversation back and forth for, it feels like months now about like, the role of passion in career.

And I’m curious about your perspective. I’m gonna paint two ends of a spectrum. Okay. And then I want you to fill in all the nuance that this misses. On one end you have, figure out what you love and then make it your career. So an example of this is like seven and a half years ago, I started a CrossFit gym. Cause I love fitness and I love sport. So I started a CrossFit, like, I’ll make it, I’ll make it my life. Nah. And then on the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got. just find like, just do nothing related to your passion. Doesn’t matter. You don’t need to find passion inside of your work. This is about economics.

REID: Frequently the work is the thing that allows you to pursue passion because work is not it.

JOE: Yeah. Cuz work is not meant to be passion. So that’s like the two ends of the spectrum. It, that I feel exist. And I’m curious about where you think like career fulfillment, what you sh maybe should or shouldn’t pursue. Is it like better to go after your passion to make it your career? Should it stay separate? I’m curious about your, I don’t think there’s one answer, but I want your opinion.

NICK: Yeah. And I think again, there’s kind of a, I would say a very classic response is you spend so much time at work. So I really hope that you could figure out a way to, I’ll say happiness, but maybe it’s passion, maybe it’s joy out of what you do at work. I will live somewhere in between maybe cuz it’s easier. But to me, I feel like work in some capacity has to have some of the most fundamental elements of just general happiness, which is I see a purpose, I have a purpose, I enjoy what I do in a, like in a community of people that I reasonably enjoy being with.

And. In some capacity I’m growing or learning or evolving because I think that’s what humanity is usually is seeking out to do. I ran an IT company, I was, I’m not passionate about it. I started to like it more. I liked what it was capable of doing For me, what brought me purpose and enjoyment and joy was the opportunity to challenge myself, see others grow, see myself grow, try new things, work with a whole bunch of new people. That’s what brought me passion and joy. The actual output of what we did had nothing to do with, which was subsequently passionate for me. It never was. I was always passionate about other things outside of technology, but I knew that I could kind of parlay that, those two things together.

REID: together. I think there’s something interesting there cuz you said you came to like it more we’ve talked about this idea of. People oftentimes shut themselves off to opportunity to have a really successful career or just a job that they’re happy in because they don’t, on the surface, like the subject matter when they go into it. So again, like even coming out with a marketing degree, I wouldn’t say like I was jazzed about marketing, but now I’m in the career and I have found this passion for this thing.

And then of course there’s all this other pieces to the puzzle, but balancing like how do you not shut yourself off to the opportunity of maybe becoming some like passionate about a field that you perhaps on the surface would not sign yourself up for

NICK: I think it, that plays into career. I think it plays into at like a smaller level. Like oftentimes I think people always think, I’m not going to do this because I don’t feel like it, or I’m not motivated to it because I don’t like it yet. sometimes behavior creates happiness or behavior creates joy. I think sometimes just getting into the field or just. Diving in creates the opportunity for you to start to appreciate it and start to like it.

I think sometimes people are just waiting for the passion, so I got to be passionate about it before I do it. I’m like, sometimes you can do it, flip it around, and then become passionate about it. I think people are far too reticent to just be biased to action and just try it out. oftentimes you may surprise yourself or you may be spot on, but humans are really bad at predicting the future. And so I think you don’t know, again, I’m gonna do CrossFit, I’m gonna run this CrossFit gym cuz I love CrossFit. I’m being CrossFit all day. And again, that wasn’t your, your

JOE: the perfect fit for me. No, it was always felt hard. I think like for me, the reason I’ve found like, okay, this shouldn’t be a thing I continue to spend a lot of my life in, is that it, regardless of circumstances, felt very hard. I didn’t hit like flow state inside of that work. And so it was like eventually having tried many other different things to. Keep it going and feel that, fulfillment from it. That wasn’t just like constantly pushing the boulder uphill. I was like, oh, maybe there, there’s like a disconnect between the function of owning this thing and what will fulfill me. And that’s getting this is, this doesn’t make sense to continue doing. You said something interesting a second ago, like the bias to action. This goes back to I had never been a distance runner at all. Any kind of distance runner, I’d never run a half. And Reid encouraged me and, Scott Willock encouraged me to jump into the Mindie Mini this year.

things happened. I got a lot more respect for distance running. And I determined this is not for me, but I got close to it and I got to feel it. And I got to understand, is it that I’m scared of it? Is that what’s keeping me from being interested in distance running or is it that I really don’t like it?

And I think your point around, we look for passion as like the starting point. Yeah. I’m passionate about, oh, I, I love bubbly water. There’s a Perrier bottle sitting on our desk right here. I love bubbly water, so I should go work for LaCroix or another company like that. Cause that’s not what I’m passionate about it. Versus being biased to trying a new thing that you might not already have. a predisposed like interest in. And seeing what happens.

NICK: I think the bias to action is a good phrasing for it, but it’s just a general curiosity level. Because you tried something, you decided you didn’t like it. But if I flip this podcast around and spent the next 20 minutes digesting and unpacking what you learned through that experience, I’m sure there will be tangible life differences or like opportunities for you to find passion and joy because of what you learned in the experience of training for.

a distance race. And so I think people are too off to, again, not to try something or be curious about something or say, this is the type of stuff I don’t like, so I choose to block it off versus saying like, I don’t think I like it, but maybe I’ll try. And I think there’s so much learning that comes from that and there’s been so many surprises in my life of things that I didn’t like. Cuz if you asked me 15 years ago, running is awful. it’s a terrible sport. I never, I mean it was, I wasn’t predisposed to love running or all the other stupid things that I’ve managed to get myself into, but I tried it by virtue of extraneous circumstances, often a person or an experience that force me into it.

JOE: And there’s a lot of things I chose not to do anymore, not to continue. And there’s certain ones that have been now fundamental to my identity and I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity just to try something. I wanna rewind back to something you said at the beginning, when talking about Goodell net and you’re like, it is not the thing I’m really passionate about.

Wasn’t the thing I’m really passionate about. But you mentioned that what gave you fulfillment inside of the work was like your opportunity to grow. one of the things that would maybe strike me is that Okay. I think about growth inside of a career path, it can be growth inside of a skillset related to the job. It can be growth in knowing more about the industry. It can be, almost an innumerable list of things. But I’m curious, while you were working inside of a, particular industry that again wasn’t like, man, I just want to read and consume it all day. What areas did you find yourself growing and that were fulfilling to you?

NICK: Yeah, I think for me,and that was the best part about it, is I had, and by virtue of the people that we hired, they were passionate about t So for me, I’ll start that with, the biggest growth opportunity for me is just recognizing. The things that a, I was not passionate about or b not good at, and then finding people to augment me as a leader.

And I got better about that over the course of the 12 years of, helping lead the organization itself. So for me, where I found myself reading was kind of leadership and development. I loved the idea of being world class at creating growth opportunities and training opportunities and, whether or not you absolutely loved working for the company, you always learned something and you were in the company of other people that loved to learn. And that was always, you know, the spirit of I’ve been that way since I was a kid. So for me, the opportunity to, how do I take things that are important to me and make them real? Cause at the end of the day, like that is the greatest part about being a business leader is translating ideas into reality.

And so I think for me it’s how did I take these fundamental core values and themes and make them real? To the company and to others and to prospective, employees, that for me was the opportunity to learn and grow. And that’s the stuff that I spent the podcast listening to and staying up all night reading books about, how to motivate and inspire others. How to create really positive mindsets, how to use business for, as a force for good. I spent my time there. I rarely spent my time in the technology aspects because I had really smart people that were capable of doing that. And so for me, once I figured out that gap, I could spend my time doing the stuff that I thought was fascinating and interesting, how to grow a company, well, those are all things that I’m still in the process of learning. but really from a, a magnitude and an intensity was pretty high in the course of, running that company

REID: so thinking about what. the opportunity that company allowed for you to explore all of those things, get these new skill sets and have all that practice. What played into the decision for shifting to what you’re focused on now? Like how did that evolution occur?

NICK: Yeah, I think for me it happens kind of in a confluence of a lot of things coming together all at the same time. for me, as part of this process of getting to know myself, where I was good, where I could contribute, where I again, found passion and joy. I loved growing a company. I loved growing a company where, it was intense. We were growing fast, we were pivoting a lot, and we grew to a place where it was linear. the exponential days were unsustainable, at the pace we’re at. And I loved the exponential growth like that was a part that brought me more joy than I thought. Combine that with, we’re coming off of two years of the intensity of covid where. We obviously, as an organization, our team was working from home. I realized a lot of the joy that I got was live interaction with human beings on a regular basis.

And because of the circumstances of Covid that weighed on me in a bigger way. We had an executive team that was really excited to lead and had the potential to lead. And because of the fact that I was in that role indefinitely, kind of, I would say, hardened the opportunity for them to move into bigger roles.

So they were ready. I realized that I was in a good place that I needed to move on. there were a lot of other really cool things that I wanted to do at the state of life that I was in. My kids were at a phase where I wanted to commit more time to being with them. there was an opportunity to teach, at Butler, which again, going back to like, what do I lead with that I knew I could miss out on if I didn’t make drastic change, And to me, I realized I wasn’t, frankly, I wasn’t happy anymore. didn’t love doing what I was doing. And that’s unfair for the people that, had signed up to the vision that, again, our team had created. And so for me, it was an incredibly difficult decision. It was a long decision. It probably took me about 12 to 18 months to make the call. But, it was a decision in recognizing that others were ready to take the stage.

I was ready to not be on one, and pursue things that were more monumental to me from a passion perspective, the idea of giving back and teaching. my parents were teachers. I always knew that was gonna be a big part of my life. and I had this great opportunity to do that. I love this idea of helping others grow their businesses and being a part of their journey. I wanted. To build more consistency in my life where I was operating at a state of intensity for such a long time that my body knew I needed to slow down in some way, and I couldn’t take moderate steps back to me. I knew I needed a hard reset. and that involved kind of the more, I would say drastic change of exiting the organization and putting somebody else in that CEO seat. So a lot of, again, it’s kind of a long answer, but there was a confluence of a lot of things coming together all at once that really made it decision that I knew I had to, make

JOE: you said something interesting about I needed to make a drastic decision or a drastic change. the outside it would strike me. That you tend to make more, I would say on the end of like drastic versus smaller. Like dives into things in, general, for example. So, I know you’re a CrossFit regional athlete, that is not like I’m meddling around in CrossFit. Like I’m, you’re very committed to that, to make that happen. You run ultra marathons, not Hals. Yes. you do rim to rim experiences, not I’m gonna go hike. Like I see a pattern of if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it. Is that, like, has that been consistent throughout your life? Is that how you’ve always been?

NICK: Yeah, I would say that’s been a really big part of, I would say just my general personality. and the stage where you’re catching me in this interview is figuring out to what extent is that real and or to what extent is that this momentum that I’ve created where that has now been a part of my identity To the extent that I can’t back away from that because I’m no longer special perhaps that, for me, one of the challenges I had with leaving is you lose that interesting conversation. I’m a ceo, and you get that look of you must be, doing really these really interesting things. And it’s, no, I’m an individual contributor, and that changes, or I’m gonna go run a five or 10 K instead of the ultra marathon. Yeah.

JOE: Yeah. 

NICK: I’m wrestling with at the moment is being okay with being okay. and so I’m still trying to figure that one out. But I knew in the business, I’ve seen other leaders just take a step back. they bring out a president and they’re gonna be involved in the business for 10 or 20 hours a week. And for me, I knew that I don’t just dabble.

I take it very personally. I don’t like not giving my all to what I happen to be doing at the moment. and so to me, I knew I couldn’t take a step back or reframe. I needed that really hard. Stop to say it’s okay to move on. And I’ve known that forever. and I had to process that with friends and with community leaders and the other executives in the organization to say, can I do this? Like, what possibilities are out there? Because the executive went through the same feelings as I did in the process of saying, Hey, is there something that we’ve done wrong or is there a way to make this work? And we talked through it and the realization was, I don’t just dabble and I know

JOE: And I myself well

NICK: enough. And frankly, they didn’t deserve that either. they needed a chance to say, let’s do this organization without Nick. And frankly, speaking again, I have the opportunity for hindsight. They’re doing just fine. 

there’s moments when it’s hard, when it’s, wow. I guess I wasn’t as important as I thought I was. then there’s moments of pure pride. Like I was instrumental in how we hire, I was instrumental, my executive team worked together for eight years straight. Like, that’s not normal. and we all work together. I hired them, each of them as an individual contributor. And again, I’ve told this in the past, our ceo, I met with him, I met with him at a Panera and I said, there’s a really good chance I was trying to convince him to come on board away from a job that would pay him way more, and have way more of an obvious career path.

And I said, I could see you being c e of this organization at some point. And he is now. that’s pretty neat. there’s moments of pride for that. But yeah, again, you leave and there’s, the really small and petty part of you that wishes the whole thing would just collapse cuz it was just like, this was

JOE: I was the linchpin holding it together. Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

NICK: But no, again, I think there’s a lot of. I would say remnants of my vision that still lives there. the company hasn’t fundamentally flip flopped. the values that were, our thing, our culture are very similar. The team still does so much around giving back and taking care of each other, and we still prioritize training and development.

Like all the things that I valued, they’re still there. And it’s different than it was with me. And, and again, it’s more thoughtful. again, our current CEO is much more detail oriented than I ever wanted to be. and so there’s a lot of things that are better. But I would say the fundamental parts that, again, going back to like you asked the question of what was most important to me, those still most live there. And that’s pretty neat. when I’m feeling more mature are the moments that I reflect upon. And I say, this is great. I’m still a part equity owner. I still talk to our CEO three or four times a week. Like, I still know what’s going on.

JOE: Do you not consider that dabbling?

NICK: Ooh. No, I don’t think that’s dabbling. I think that’s curiosity. more than anything else. And again, they don’t need me. 

JOE: Right. And you’re not in the

NICK: Certainly

JOE: not. And you’re not affecting day to day

NICK: I am. I am not. I am not. And, they’re making the decisions. But I knew one of the hardest part about being a leader is it is so isolating in some ways. And so for me, I never wanted, our current CEO or others to feel isolated. And so for me, if I could be the source of, I get it, not only do I get it cuz I’m a leader, I’m part of other, like, leaders communities. And those have been just fundamentally life changing for me as a, leader or a friend. But like, I get it. Cause I was in that business and I know this type of problem where I know when this customer is doing these type of things and I could, empathize in a real way. And so I want to continue to serve that function because I don’t know. when 

I’ll stop caring. That caring has not gone away. I thought it may. a year later, but it hasn’t, I still care how people are doing and how things are going. Again, I got, they were all out at a happy hour last night. I got pictures. They were all in St. Louis and got pictures of the happy hour. And there’s, still that, that joy that came from these people would never know each other if it wasn’t for the vision that we said that we’re gonna grow this company.

Right. And there’s friendships made and there’s people that are now about to get married like that met at the company. Like those are the cool things. Like, certainly like awards or like that were fine. but those are the cool things and those are the things that like now bring me joy in a way that it was hard to see when I was in the business.

JOE: So when, we talk a lot about the impacts of like leadership transition and the impacts from a cultural standpoint. When somebody comes in and there is new vision and what are the things they need to revisit and. You speak to how the culture is still the same, the values are still the same, and that it’s great to see that.

REID: what was the intentionality like to make sure that those values remained the same as you transitioned outta the organization? Or did that just happen naturally because of how ingrained it was

NICK: Yeah. I would say a combination of both. instilling a CEO that was part of the organization for as long as most people in the organization can remember. and again, it wasn’t, for me, I get a lot of credit as c e o for coming up with all these things. But the reality, it was, an aggregate of the feedback that we got from our team. All of the people on my executive team who contributed to the values and who we were as a culture like that was already there. So the only thing that was exited is just one 

JOE: Yeah. If it was just you, it wouldn’t have stuck probably.

NICK: Yes. Yeah. Correct. And so at the end of the day, like we didn’t bring an outside ceo. we didn’t bring in all these other factors, like, like the company just kind of kept on rolling. And, so there was some just ingrained nature of it. But I think we were very purposeful as far as even how we structured. Again, we have, we have outside investors now, and like how we structured that to make sure that we knew that they weren’t gonna be touching the things that were so core to who we were, and they haven’t, and that’s been really nice to see too.

So it’s been, I would say, a lot of intentionality of making sure that the people that we brought on, or the investors that we brought on or anything like that were all aligned to who we were trying to be. But again, and I wouldn’t say it’s fair to say the culture’s exactly the same, I’m sure it’s adjusted, I say the fundamental truths of what we try to live are still very prevalent in the organization.

REID: prevalent. 

JOE: sort of strikes me as the similarity that’s popping into my head is when, now I don’t have kids, so maybe this is me speaking out of turn, but I sort of imagining the time where the kid goes off to college and they’ve grown up with the values of the household, whether that’s instilled by the parents, one parent, whatever. and they have this set of values. They go off to school and now they’re not inside of that same environment. The environment’s changed, but it doesn’t mean that all of their values change, but you’re gonna see them like evolve over the next four years, and then they’re gonna be their own adult and they’re gonna evolve again into their lifetime. And I think about that with like the organization when the leader steps away Yep. Where it’s like the organization has lived, it was already a living, breathing organism with shifted values from person to person versus just the ceo or the founder or the leader. But they’ve all worked in this tandem for what’s called a decade, but then the CEO leaves and the environment’s gonna change.

those values are not going to be, they shouldn’t, I imagine in a good organization, just like, oh, they’re different now, but there’s gonna be like nuance that evolves and four years from now they’ll look different than they do now in practice. The reason that I find business fun is that it’s, it’s just a bunch of people trying to make something happen. And so it’s a living, breathing mechanism that changes all the time. That’s actually like fulfilling, otherwise it would be boring.

NICK: oh, so well said. I think the metaphor actually, I tried to like shoot it down because as a parent I’m like, what do you know? But no, actually, it’s actually really, really pretty spot on. And I do think there’s probably an element too of like when you go to college and then you become older and then you judge your parents for the

JOE: Yeah.

NICK: So I’m sure there’s probably some judgments of like, well, Nick didn’t do this, or whatever. And I’m, that’s part of the storyline I suppose. But, yeah, I think there is something to that it lives on, but it does create its own nuance. but even when I was leading it, it had nuance every year. Again, it would change because you add. Again, at some points it’s a hundred percent new employees. cuz we were doubling in size every year or even 20 or 30%. That’s gonna change the dynamic. Or you throw people remote versus on site or you throw a pandemic in the mix. Or you bring on a new office that has West Coast values versus Midwest values. Like,

JOE: you talked about earlier, like let’s say you guys would’ve opened up a office in Flagstaff. Yeah. And the people in Flagstaff care more about your hobbies than what you do. Correct. Very different than the Midwest, which is like, it’s cold and flat, so you better like your job

NICK: Yeah. Cause it’s, cause it’s gonna be gray for seven

JOE: be gray for seven

REID: Uhhuh,

JOE: I wanna go back for a second. You mentioned, a couple times in different language, like just unpacking, who am I? And you strike me as somebody who would dive into that pretty deep and have a practice for it. so I’m curious what it is, like, how do you go about figuring out, now you have this space and you’ve obviously made decisions on what you’re leaning into right now, teaching at Butler, but you had years of input into here’s what I’m passionate about, here’s what I care about. But you don’t just like wake up one morning and be like, oh, there it is. So I’m curious about what you’re like, what you do to be reflective, what you do to check in on yourself. Even like tactically down to the practice itself.

NICK: Yeah, great question. And I do think, again, I have had the opportunity to think about it, but I also didn’t, and I see this a lot in peers. There’s just a, I’ll call it a momentum that happens kind of from a leadership perspective is it becomes such a big part of your identity and then you just get swept away and just, this is what I am, this is what I do, and you in some capacity no longer recognize, that was 2022 was me figuring out, I think 2021, the later stage of that was, my body going from, something may need to change. And I’m purposely whispering right now to, it screamed to me like it was something is amis

JOE: you mean like you felt it, physically yeah. I 

NICK: I didn’t sleep. I essentially stopped sleeping. I’ve always been an anxious person. I think that Sully comes alongside, I’m gonna blame it on just being an achiever there’s an anxiety of always wanting to perform. but there’s a memory that. I think about, and it happened six months before, I would say the fever pitch of me kind of realizing that something perhaps needed to change is we were on this like weird 45 day streak of like winning every single award humanly possible. I had won 40 under 40 won like me’s best place to work. We had won Indianapolis Space or Indiana’s best place, like it was like six awards in a row. And I didn’t post anything on LinkedIn about it. I didn’t talk about it cuz it felt so overwhelming that I was this person that was as good as they said that, like, as these little silly awards said they were, and this organization that I knew was flawed, but yet, okay, were the best place to work.

But I’m like, well there’s some people that are really unhappy and we had, and I’m like, okay, so that’s not true. I don’t believe I’m the, you know, the top 40 individual in the state or whatever that award is. And it just felt disingenuous. And I realized just I’d been caught up in this like, I don’t know, like I had to live up to these expectations from others and I wasn’t actually being true to myself. and I didn’t notice it then as something that was strange that I didn’t do anything about it. And frankly, again, this is kind of a weird story, but, I posted on social media a week ago for the first time in almost like two years. it was part of this journey of like, who am I? And like, what is that relevance that I have in order to be a public profile? And I didn’t feel like I earned any of those words, and I didn’t feel like that was good. And I was just swept up into this is, what I’m supposed to be doing. And Without ever like stepping back and saying, who am I? And does this align, does Nick Selli of 2022 align with Nick’s job of 2022 and how I’m choosing to use the 24 hours a day that I was given?

And I don’t know. How I had the chance to reframe it per se, but I think my body was the one that said like, stop and figure this out. And that was the latter half of 2021. And then obviously the eight month cycle of like really like kind of recognizing that to making it a public announcement that I was making this change. So it was kind of a long-winded way to answer. I didn’t know. And I think having to do the hard reset forced me to really look at facets of my life. And I’ve gone through this exercise, I do it every quarter now, but it comes back to a lot of what I’m trying to do on a daily basis is kind of understanding the various parts of my identity, right? You’ve got kind of that work part of your identity. You’ve got me as like a learner and this is just kind of like interest in learning. You have a spiritual part of myself, you’ve got my responsibility as a husband and a father. you’ve got my responsibility within the community and really figuring out. Like what my purpose and mantra and value is of each of those. And then figuring out can I use my 24 hour day to align with each of 

JOE: those? Mm.

NICK: and is there anything that’s can cross pollinate? So one of the themes I have of 2023 is I’ve processed this a lot more, is this idea of investing in others. That’s my, like my mantra for the year. it is the lens by which I look through everything. is if I spend time with this individual that’s investing in them, yes, great. I’m gonna say yes to it. If it’s not that, then I’m not saying yes to it. And there’s a capitalistic approach. Like, I like investing in businesses that hopefully will pay me back.

So I’m not, it’s not all completely altruistic, but it is this like tying theme between the spiritual family business part of me that this idea of I want to translate everything good, bad, and otherwise from that first 20 years of my life and use that as a force for good for the next 20. And so every decision I make is seeking out that. And going back to that definition of like happiness that I see is that purpose is I have my purpose and then all of a sudden the things that look like work to other people is actually enjoyable to me. Cuz I’m learning any of the learning stuff that I do is immediately translated in this idea of investing every set of like nine one-on-ones that I have on a Tuesday, which is exhausting from a coaching 

JOE: That’s a lot. 

NICK: is it’s way too much, uh, is, is nine opportunities to invest in others. so now my problem is like, am I overextending and figuring out that balance. But really long answer to hopefully where you’re heading with 

JOE: that question. No, it’s especially at the end you had something

REID: Well, yeah, actually, I wanna stay on that because you’re talking about how you’re at risk. You have all these meetings and earlier you said when you made the transition away from being the head of the organization to these other endeavors that you wanted to, it felt like you wanted to get some time back. and yet it sounds like your behavior of going all in on these things is at risk of making those like lesser endeavors, for lack of better words, get to the same extent of being a, like time suck, all-encompassing aspect of what you’re putting your energy into. Do you see that as a risk?

NICK: Absolutely. If there’s one thing that, again, going through the journey, people like to insert their opinions into everything that you’re, every decision you’re making, and everyone, not everyone, the majority of people, were you need to take more time away. You need to not work, and you need to give yourself more time to think through things. And I will tell you again, if you look at any, like, any happiness thing, going back to the, in the company of others is such a big part of me. None of my friends are off, you know, my wife is working, my kids are at school. Like, I’m not gonna sit at home, pondering the meaning of my life. going back to this bias to action. So I’m just trying things and seeing what sticks.

JOE: I dabbled in teaching one class at Butler first, and I realized I wanted to go on, so I committed to being a full-time professor at Butler.

NICK: So took the dabble to a full-time. I was doing travel and consulting work where I would go and I would lead these huge onsite meetings. I felt powerful. I felt imp like impressive. I was helping lots of people and I didn’t like it. It took me away from my family. Going back to the identity as a family person, it decreased that bar, increased the work bar too much, and that disparity was stressful. So I, I removed that from my, cycle and almost everything that I do is, remote work or within the Indianapolis community, so I can always be home for my kids. so yes, I am always at risk and it’s the thing that I try to, understand about myself. I’m always at risk of overdoing it. I don’t dabble, I don’t lightly do things. I will always over commit.

JOE: a hundred miles baby. Correct. 

NICK: Yeah. Right. to, to everything that I do. And so it’s a huge risk of what I’m doing right now. And so I’m trying to just be aware of it at the moment and knowing that it doesn’t have to be perfect. And there’s gonna be times where I’ve said yes to too many things and there’s gonna be times where I’ve said no to too many things and I’m just gonna be working out that balance. But the cool thing is I’ve got 30 years of this, to expect that I’m gonna be good at it today is silly.

JOE: there’s two things that just popped into my head that I think are important to call out One. I think you have a unique skill. Yeah. I’ll call it a skill to have the bravery to pull back when you recognize it’s too much.

Like I imagine myself in that same seat. And let’s say I had been doing traveling consulting and it was like, oh, well now like, I feel like I owe something to the people who are maybe in my pipeline to do consulting for, well I did it for that business last year and they said it was really helpful so like I should go do it again cause they need it. And like I have a natural people pleasing bone. I’m not sure if you have that same one or not, I’m gonna say but again, like brave enough to say like, no. Tried it wasn’t right. now like somebody’s getting let down by me saying no to this in some capacity. do I care more about letting my kids down cause I missed being home for them?

Or do I care more about letting this business down in some capacity that I’m not gonna go travel back to? It’s like I think most people miss that distinction. and I think it’s something that should like be called up that you’ve done a good job of being able to like do a thing and then pull yourself out of it if it’s not right. Where I think a lot of people get trapped in whatever they’re doing, 

NICK: but that’s only in the wisdom of the last two years. That is not me. And frankly speaking, I still struggle with it. That people pleaser side is a huge part of I think, again, I always, I talk a lot in class, I talked a lot about this in terms of like personality traits that make you so good at something always has the darker side.for me, I’m fairly charismatic. I’ve got great read on people, but I needed. the love of people, people that didn’t even know me it was so incredibly important for them to love me. and that weird on me in a way that I think today I’m willing to tell those people that’s not right for me.

And it’s okay because of the people that, I think I’ve understood and I’m practicing through behavior, the values of understanding, okay, I’m going to let some people down and it’s okay if I’m not that way. to that comment I made around like special versus happy like I wanted to be. And again, there’s a, an author that I read that articulated this better than ever I could, but I really wanted to be special, which I think at the reality if you define it, is I want it to be successful in the eyes of others versus truly just happy for the sake of being happy. if you asked me, I would rather appear successful than actually be 

JOE: successful.

NICK: to me now, I actually want to be successful and everybody else be damned.

JOE: what’s the author?

NICK: Arthur Brooks.

JOE: Oh. which book?

NICK: that’s, I, he kind of correlates it back to strength. To Strength.

JOE: Okay. I haven’t read his stuff, but I remember listening to him on Rich’s podcast where he talked about like the two arches. Oh, I think I’ve listened to it twice. It’s so good.

NICK: I did breakfast with him three weeks ago and it, I think if you would’ve seen me doing like, the opportunity to meet him, it was like, I don’t know, a seven year old meeting Elmo. he was so instrumental in my journey. And for those listening, I’ll give you the 30 seconds of Arthur Brooks and then I will give you a homework assignment, which is just go on Spotify, go on podcast. Just find something that he’s talked about cuz he’s extraordinary. but basic, his basic tenant is right around 35 or 40.he calls it fluid intelligence. But your fluid intelligence goes down. your ability to be hyper innovative, hyper like you’re gonna, you can work the 60 hour weeks goes down and those people that recognize that change and realize that. What you’re actually really good at is teaching and bringing wisdom and seeing patterns, and understanding that the brain evolves and that’s okay to moving to that shift, and aligning your career around what you’re gonna be naturally predisposed being good at based on kind of that brain science is what’s gonna bring you the most joy.

So he just does an extraordinary job of talking about the 60 year old person that continues to like, want to be the same brain as your 30 year old. Like I forget more things now. I don’t process things as fast as I used to. but what I do really well is I see patterns and things really fast, and I think I have a good way of explaining things because I have some degree of wisdom. So he said, instead of being the founder who has investors in you, you become the investor, the one who’s gonna be helping other people grow. And so a lot of the vocabulary that I use is from Arthur Brooks. So

JOE: yeah, you’re the first person who’s brought it up on here, but I couldn’t believe you said it cuz I’ve asked like a million people. Do you know this guy cuz of Rich’s podcast and I’ve never had a yes, which blows my mind cuz it, he’s eloquent in a different level way.

NICK: he’s really smart. he’s a happiness psychologist. and he teaches a happiness class at Harvard. so there’s so much good to that. And, and, and if you’re listening to this and you’re not in that like 35 to 50 age, he gives really good lessons of what to do when you’re younger, what to do when you’re older. Like, there’s just a lot of good learning. So, big fan.

JOE: are you an Enneagram guy? of, kind 

NICK: in the sense that like, I know what I am, but I could not like speak to

REID: because I could feel the Enneagram vibes when we were talking about being special and being successful. Cuz I 

JOE: know Well, yeah, you’ve 

REID: struggling with that same 

JOE: I feel like I’m looking into my future in some capacity. I hope, I hope I’m looking into my

NICK: Oh you know, it’s sc Yeah. But it’s also scary. 

JOE: So, Yeah. no, but I’ve been going through because people experienced me and the way that I think I naturally showed up for a really large chunk of my life would’ve been like classic Enneagram three achiever personality.

NICK: That’s me.

JOE: and in the last six to 12 months, I’ve come to the realization that actually I care a lot more about being unique, special, and different than I do about being successful, which is Enneagram four motivation. and so I was just curious like. If it’s not a framework that you use, great. But if it is one that you use, I’m curious about how you think about that three foreignness. Cause I hear a lot of the same commentary coming from you, like, I wanted to be special. But then you also said, I wanted to appear successful in the eyes of others, and I wanted to be special as a four. I wanted to appear successful. More than even being successful is a three comment, like, through and through. but then your like learning thing is very five very five. or at least it can be very five. So I’m just curious about if you’ve ever used that tool at all to like,

NICK: No, you’re doing it better than I can. I’ve used it enough to the extent that I understand. When you speak to three, four, and five, I am a gigantic advocate for vocabulary and figuring out ways to understand yourself and be and others better. And so I’m an advocate for the tool. but to that end, that’s fascinating that there’s that, like, that three to four concept. That’s one that, that I’ve never heard before. and I may have to look into it.

JOE: what’s like your go-to vocabulary cause you’ve talked a lot about knowing yourself. I’m feeling from you a really high degree of intuition as well, and a really high degree of like, body awareness, intuition. Even as you obviously you talked about, like, my body was telling me stop was whispering and then it was shouting. Like a lot of people would not be able to articulate or feel that. So I’m curious, like, what is the vocabulary, what are the systems you use? Maybe they’re your own, to be in touch with you.

NICK: Yeah, I, one of the, I would say the greatest tool that I use at the moment, and I still stand by it and I’m adding more tools as the days go on and we can speak to how I’m doing that here soon. But, I’m an advocate for journaling. I feel like it’s so cliche, but I can’t articulate it enough in terms of giving myself the space. Again, I use journaling to reflect on gratitude. Very simple. Like just three things I’m grateful for and I move on cause I just don’t have time to, to process things. I use journaling to write a lot of letters to myself and to others that never, ever get sent. I use journaling to process a day that hasn’t happened yet, I rehearse out the day in a way that says like, how am I going to show up in these meetings when I start feeling this? Which is the inevitable, like it’s 30 minutes into a 50 minute coaching session and I wanna go check my email. Cause I just need, I need a rush of some 

JOE: sort. Yeah. You’re just like, need a dopamine

NICK: And what am I gonna do there? I’m gonna acknowledge, I’m gonna go see their emotions. I’m gonna go read their body a little bit more and get joy out of the conversation that I’m providing to them. Great. Okay. So I have these like, if then statements, like, if this happens, then I’m gonna do that. And I journal through that. But again, going back to the jobs thing for me is I use my journal to reflect back and say I was feeling this two years ago, but I never really noticed it. I use my journal to see, I. I have great days when I line up things in this 

JOE: order. Do you go back and read the 

NICK: Always. Oh, Okay. Oh man, I go back all the time. All right. and I put a score at the top of mine. I don’t know if that’s like from a neuroscience perspective as is, but I throw a score of just, and it’s a zero through 10 of like how my day was and it’s sometimes I’m journaling at six 

JOE: 30 in the morning. Is it in there? Is it in your remarkable Yeah,

NICK: do it in the more remarkable now only because it’s easy to carry 

JOE: around I have it in my iPad. 

NICK: Oh. And I never thought I’d like, I’m a old school, like I 

JOE: like Yeah. The feel is 

REID: yeah.

NICK: like going to, like, if I was gonna hang out with you guys, I’d bring you books cuz I’m an 80 year old man. Like, I like,

REID: I resonate with that very 

JOE: thing? After we had lunch, the very first thing I did was like, I found this book. You should get

NICK: I immediately bought the book. and actually

JOE: did you read 

NICK: it? I did.

JOE: Oh, good. We can talk about

NICK: a little bit, but Yeah. Not, but not much. Kindle, like, I just moved to a Kindle and I feel like I’m finally into 2023. So,

JOE: I’m still a physical book guy. I just can’t do it.

NICK: all right, so going back to, to like, to the journaling. So I think for me it’s allowed me to have to put words to things. I’m a big advocate for describing emotions and feelings. Again, that’s a big part of my personality in general, but using that as a framework for what I talk about in, in these journal entries. So I’ve loved the journal because it has been the greatest tool because the only person that sees it is And it’s the one of the very few places where, again, I’m not being watched by somebody. My kids watch the way I behave at work. I had to, even if my kids were sick, my wife was busy with stuff, I had to show up and be in a good mood and focused and positive and focused on the vision and all these other things.

And then I’d come home and then my kids would be there and then I had friends or whatever. And it’s like the one time in my life that I could be. As true and honest as I can possibly be. And going back to perhaps the Enneagram three, like I didn’t have to prove that I was successful. I had my stuff together. It is the one place that I could be totally real. and so it is the greatest place for me to find reality a clutter of, is this real? Am I doing this because it’s actually providing me joy? Or is am I doing this because I’m getting joy out of getting a nod from the two of you guys? And that’s what’s bringing me the joy. And so it’s this, I dunno, this kind of the repetition of seeing a reality is unscathed by others. And because I focus so often on others, it is a great place to kind of have my moment.

JOE: This brings back one thing you said earlier where you mentioned, in my past I had this people pleasing arm. This people urge to do things while I was, and now I’m like, God, it’s be successful for me. Yeah. Do you think that if you had adopted that belief earlier that you would’ve found success that you found? Or do you think that the people pleasing part was like an important thing in your success journey?

NICK: Oh man. That’s, like I said, it goes back to like the best parts of me are also the worst. that’s why I thought about it. I don’t know. I don’t know. it’s such a good question. Like I think about, again, I look at the early stages of the company where I had to get people on board to join a company that was three people that barely made any money, that didn’t have a really a, product or a service yet. And I had to get ’em on board and I had to get customers to pretend to come on board with a company that really had no proven track record, right? And so I’m like, okay, thank God I had those characteristics. I think for me, like all things, it’s, there’s a time and a place for everything. There’s a time and a place for intensity, and there’s time and a place for kind of mellow. There’s a time and a place to be a people pleaser and there’s time and a place for you to honor who you are. And one of the things that I think I’m getting maturity about is when to turn it on and when and how to turn it off 

So long story short, I think I’m thankful I had that because I wouldn’t be here sitting and talking about my story. Like I look at all the mistakes that I made and the things that didn’t go well, and the things that, are buffered by the ignorance of just history, of just in the sense that like, well, I kind of forgot how bad it was, and it just 

JOE: kind of yeah,

NICK: fine. Yeah, that wasn’t that bad of a series of a season of my life, but when I was in it, it was the hardest thing ever. and so, for me, I’m glad I had those moments, I’m hopeful and optimistic as I continue to have more of this kind of growth mindset about who I am. I’ll know when to use those skills appropriately and then when to moderate it back and say, this is not, who is this serving and how is this serving other people?

JOE: so yes, I’m thankful I had it at the time because it put me in a place that allowed me to reflect upon it. and I think it set the business up for success where it was and when we needed it, but, it’s unsustainable a hundred percent of the time. Like all things, like, you just have to, you have to learn when to turn it on and when to turn it off, and that’s the skillset.

REID: I was actually curious going to a slightly different place in terms of, as you’re talking about these like tools of self-reflection and we know that the relationship you have with these feats, these physical endeavors, athletics, all these things. Yeah. Do you use those activities as a tool for self-reflection or are they purely separate as a, like a passion and that you don’t necessarily use them as a way to a time to digest or to reflect or anything along those lines?

NICK: I have worked in a meditation practice because of one of the jobs that I’m currently, supporting. And for me, running has always served in that meditative capacity. it is, Can I look at like, selfish time, like going back to my journaling, that’s my time to be true to myself in a safe space. That’s what journaling serves as For me. The, what I love about running is the simplicity of, the only thing you have to do is put one foot in front of the other. Like there is no, there’s no nuance, there’s no nothing else besides left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. And because that becomes so autonomic like I can now take the time to process things. And like many other people, I would love to just do, like, have a book only for my own reading of all the emails I’ve written myself, like, I would love to just go back to all like to, to my work email and just see the thousands of notes that I wrote to myself of ideas or thoughts or mantras or motivations, or I wanna show up this way tomorrow. while I’m running, write myself a quick note. I’d love to, to kind of reflect upon that. So yeah, I use that definitely as an opportunity to slow down. But for me, I think the sport itself serves a bigger function to me it’s voluntary pain, if that makes any sense.

And so when the world throws you involuntary pain, I already have some degree of confidence that I can do it. because the world is not going to be kind at all times. I’ve been very lucky. The world has been mostly kind to me. but I know that shifts and so much, like, again, people that meditate or I talked about this idea of rehearsal, journaling, when you kind of practice, you write out as if the good thing happened. My body’s gotten used to, okay, when bad things happen, you know how to get through it. and good will happen later and good will happen later that this isn’t permanent. because I’ve seen how my brain, how like deep my brain can go, in terms of this belief and the permanence of a negative situation. And I know that’s possible and I was able to get through it, I think in part because of the mindset I developed through running. But man, if I had to live there longer,that’s hard. And I like the idea of practicing going through hard situations ahead of when that’s actually 

JOE: needed in like such safe spaces. Yeah. that’s one of the things that I love about, you mentioned the meditation that happens out of running. My personal experience with the longer distance stuff was I never got there cuz I never hurt enough to get there. But you give me seven minutes into a 20 minute amra and I’m there and there is no,

NICK: I can’t even hear it without kidding. Like

JOE: I know

NICK: miserable

JOE: there, it’s like, there’s such a like level of discomfort that you’re in that I think it’s the only time my brain shuts up. Like really well. I’ve just started to realize lately that like, oh, this is what I can do when I meditate well, is I can practice shutting up, practice the pause, give you the buffer between impact and action. The space between there to take a breath and observe. But like, when you’re in the middle of really deep pain, physical activity, you stop thinking. Yep. And you get this like download moment. And I think your point is really well taken. I hadn’t really thought about that before, but like, on the other side of it, there is like bliss. Yeah. Like the moment the clock goes, you’re like, yes. The moment you pass the a hundred mile mark and you’re done, you’re like, yes. It’s like, oh, it’s, I did it. Yeah. And I’m done. And now I have a moment to relax and breathe. And I, and then you sit there in that moment and you’re like, there’s like clarity. Yep. And I never had thought about the fact that’s training you to expect good after bad. Which is a really powerful thing. I’d never thought about that before.

NICK: Yeah. becomes part of like, who I am. I am somebody that can do hard things and get through it. To give you the opportunity for good things. And if like you just kind of have that as a mantra as like, I’m somebody that can go get through hard things, like, great, what a cool part of your identity, Which I, I think you can get other places, but what a great, like, safe space as you guys mentioned in terms of learning that skill ahead of before you perhaps need it.

JOE: I’ll ask you in line with one of the hats, you now wear the idea of abundance. I’m very into it. Let me tell you where I fall down and you tell me how to fix this maybe, or gimme some thought, some thoughts on this. I fall down in the, The, like continuation of abundance. So it’s like I expect there to be good and I expect there to be bad. I feel like that’s missing the Mark A. Little bit in terms of like, why do I expect bad? I don’t know how to articulate it very well, but I have this, feeling that like, maybe the best way to say it is when too many things are going right, I subconsciously wait for something to go wrong. And then there’s a part of me that’s like, you create the wrong because you go looking for it subconsciously. Yes. So I’m curious about how does one address this?

NICK: Yeah, great points. So one, again, there’s a sense of bliss and like you’re not alone. So I think most people go through this myself, very much included. I would say two bad things can happen. And I think there is, again, I think people seek happiness through this belief that only positive things will happen. And I do think that there’s an ignorance and you are naive in expecting only good things to happen because when something bad happens, You’re unhappy

JOE: Your expectation is reality mismatch. 

NICK: Great point. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And so I don’t think it is healthy to have a, again, an expectation that everything’s gonna be really bad. And so that your reality is always slightly better than that. Like that’s a, just a really garbage way to live as well. But I also don’t think that your expectation can always be that I will only be happy if good things happen, because that’s also a really terrible place to live because just the world doesn’t operate that way. You’re gonna have bad days, you’re just gonna be days that you’re just don’t feel good. There’s gonna be days where your kids are gonna be sick. There’s gonna be days that you think a client that’s gonna sign with you isn’t gonna, is gonna sign. Like just happens. And so I think you’ve gotta have some tempered expectations.

So I don’t think your thing is completely like off track. to me, I think what we talked about, like this idea of quieting your thoughts, like for me, I think about like, okay, when you’re sitting in your quiet or you’re sitting alone and all of a sudden you’re just kind of thoughts just go nuts. Like. all the things you gotta go buy at the store, you’ve gotta like, here’s all the things that are probably gonna go wrong because it’s been a few days since something else has gone wrong. I wonder if, I don’t know, bees have knees or like your just brain just goes nuts and you’re like, I have no control of my thoughts. And so again, I go back to like this idea of journaling is I like, I often like writing out my days before they happen and talk about all the good things that are happening. Cuz it kind of just primes my brain to see the world positively. So you don’t seek out, you mentioned like this, you don’t seek out the bad.

And so I think helping prime you to at least control perhaps, what you can control, which is this negative bias and or seeking out the bad because you see it as inevitable. I think if you can control that through various ways of like seeing. Your day positively and really practicing more positive thinking, more gratitude thinking, I think sets you up for success for like what you can control.

But I do think a healthy dose of this realism that things are not gonna go well, but you have fundamentally the ability to get through them. you are expecting it to happen. You have the tools and the resources, you’ve got the community. You’ve got the mindset. You’ve got all these other like skills that you’ve developed that you can get through it. I think that’s the only way that you can get through those type of situations. So I don’t think you’re that far 

JOE: off. Okay. That’s helpful. I think I need to bridge the gap in my head around like, the definition of abundance. Yep. And like get a more nuanced perspective on what that means. Yeah. Because I think what I’m aligning that to is everything good all the time. And I don’t think that’s what it means.

NICK: it can’t. Yeah. Because there’s no better way to be disappointed than expecting

JOE: that’s, I think that’s the disconnect. Cause I’m like, that can’t be real. So then I don’t believe in it fully. So there’s, I have homework. I wanna be respectful of how long we go and your time. So I’m gonna transition us to, the question of. we had this conversation about talent and hard work. Yep. And then I literally found the book that talks about talent and hard work. Yep. Now how far into it are you? Okay,

NICK: I bought it and I started

JOE: Then I’m gonna wait. Okay. I’m going to wait on this conversation in particular because I wanna to have, we don’t have to be on mics or not, but an interesting follow up conversation when you finish that. because I would just love your perspective cuz they sort of, he presents a third model. And, it’s certainly a model that I feel very strongly about. I love the book. Okay. The book was actually far better than I expected the book to be. I read what I do with my iPad is I read samples of books. Yep. So like Apple has the free sample, you get 25 pages of it or whatever amount. It kinda depends on how long the book is. And then I decide if it is intriguing to me. And so I read like the 10 pager, whatever I had, and I was like, This is how people do good performance. Like he’s a real researcher. and so it’s, yeah, the book’s good.

REID: Joe, did it change your mindset at all? Cuz even in, we started talking about this subject for like five 

JOE: minutes or 

REID: today, and the amount of passion that was coming out of your body was like,

JOE: you know what? You know what it gave me words to what I like already kind of felt, but couldn’t, like, put my finger on. Like this idea that I think sometimes people think talent and they think nature and they think hard work and they think nurture. And I’m like, they’re just, they’re not independent. I’ve always sort of, not always, but I think I’ve learned that growing up I was inherently taught that hard work would get you whatever you wanted. Yes. And that is not true. And I knew it wasn’t true, but I didn’t know how to describe why I didn’t think it was true. And I also rebel against the idea that like, People are just like divinely chosen to be good at something, which is how we view talent largely. We think like you’ve been gifted with something, you have talent. Steph Curry’s just a great shooter as an example. It’s like, ugh, that’s not true either. So like,

NICK: the, probably the best shooter ever. this book gave a lot of words to things that I had like circled around and not known how to put into words and also didn’t have like, the clarity of how to say it, And like, so this is not me saying like, oh yeah, I thought all this stuff the book wrote not what I’m saying.

JOE: I’m saying that. I’m like, oh, that’s why I feel this is wrong. Oh, that’s where it is. Oh, okay. I get it. Oh, like it was, there were a lot of like Oh, moments. Yeah. and then, 

REID: that, yeah, like as we talk about tools of self-reflection, I actually think that like, content and books can be a tool of self-reflection because they can give you words for things you haven’t been able to articulate before.

JOE: Yeah.

NICK: So there’s, I’m gonna go geek out on like, something really quick on this idea of, there’s a concept that in psychology called Johari’s Window. Have you guys heard of this concept?

JOE: you told me about it when we had lunch, but

NICK: oh, look at that. All

REID: I have not, 

JOE: so, oh,no. It was actually Brian Vicki talks about it. but please.

NICK: Very smart person. 

JOE: person. Yeah,

NICK: I love Brian. so Johari’s window, which is why I like it, is actually the point you just made there, which I think is the most important part, we’ll make it businessy. So we’ll put it into a two by two matrix here. So you’ve got kind of what you know about yourself and then what others know about you. So the easiest boxes. I know I’m tall and Great. So that’s the, this is what others know about you. This is what you know, me. there’s things that you know about me that I don’t yet know, that I say, too many times or something like that where it’s, I don’t know yet. It’s the blind spot where I can learn from you by engaging with you and having conversation with you, and you tell me all the things I’m not doing well or a challenges that I have. Then there’s ones that you don’t know about me, but I know about myself. So like just, I get nervous doing podcasts, like perhaps you don’t know that, but maybe I do.

Or whatever the case may be. And the last one is the coolest opportunity, which is things you don’t know about yourself and things that others don’t know about you. And the only way to garner that is purely, again, going, maybe this is like a great way to tie back to the beginning of this conversation is you’re out reading, you’re out experiencing, you’re out doing, and all of a sudden you didn’t realize that something gave you joy or that you didn’t realize that there was a word that you didn’t know that articulated an emotion that you didn’t know you’re even feeling. And now you know it. And so it’s this idea of chasing that like fourth box of things you didn’t know about yourself and others don’t know yet about you. But that is like the zone of like really cool learning and growth that can only be done through experiences. And that, whether that’s lived experiences or whether that experiences gained by reading or a book or just.

Again, asking questions and being a part of other people and hearing other people talk and listening to podcasts like this. And that’s the cool growth part. And I think that’s the part that people don’t spend enough time on and I think that’s the greatest opportunity for curiosity and growth.

JOE: Leave it. That’s the perfect spot to end

REID: it. sure is.

NICK: Nerdy. Nerdy Johari’s 

JOE: window. No, it’s perfect. Nick. Thanks for giving us over an hour of your time. I really appreciate it. It was super fun. it did, it felt like 10 minutes, yeah, that was really fast. You kept on looking and I was like, what is he looking at? I was like, we’ll go until four if I leave us alone. Awesome man. Thank you.

NICK: Yeah. Thanks guys. 

REID: Okay. Joe, so had really enjoyable conversation with, uh, Nick Melli. we decided last minute to change up the format a bit. Yeah. jumped on the mic. We, And got going on a little bit of a running tangent there at the beginning, which is close to home for me. So way closer to home for you than me. So it made way more sense to have you pop in. Yeah. so that was a really good time. But as with all of our shows, we went a lot of different places. Super interesting guy who’s made a lot of interesting decisions. So of the different areas that we cover, where’s your head at in terms of the most important things to take away, take forward, think about for other conversations moving into the future.

JOE: I think one of the pieces, I mentioned this in real time in the conversation, but Nick’s ability to, pull himself in and out of things,is a skill set that I think most people, I, maybe I’m applying myself to most people, but I do think that we get into a sequence of just doing what we do. Without the ch the chance to look back and review, are we doing things that we want to be doing?

Are we doing things that are in line with our values and our goals and what we care about? he’s kind of an all in, all out guy like we talked about. and that can be really positive. But if you’re an all in, all out guy and you haven’t given yourself the ability to be out. Well, you’re gonna just be in stuff that you don’t necessarily care about, cuz you will eventually get it wrong. Like you’ll make the wrong bet, you’ll be in the wrong place, you’ll have the wrong career. and so knowing how to extract yourself from situations that are not in line with what you want to be chasing, is a

very uncomfortable practice, I imagine to start getting good at. And then it’s probably exceptionally freeing. So for my own self, because I know that I struggle with that, that was a. A cool moment, like a cool lesson that came outta the conversation that I didn’t see coming.

REID: it’s interesting because like you said, he’s in, I, if I’m doing something, I’m all in, and yet that is balanced with a ton of intentionality in terms of how he first dips his toes in the water, So he talks about how he. Started the professorship and how it was a part-time thing to see if it would work, and then he fully committed to it. And now again, it’s gonna be all in. But the approach to just trying things and testing things, to know where to go all in, there was a ton of intentionality there that I think people can take away as a practice to, to implement themselves.

JOE: Yeah, and I think to make it a little bit bigger in terms of, okay, that’s one person’s experience. is it true? Does it apply? we’ll use our Godfather relevant three, Jim Collins to talk about it. He has a, a framework that he uses called Bullets and Cannons. Or Bullets, not cannons. He’s a researcher and a writer. And what they found in their research is that successful companies will pivot by first, like shooting a bullet, trying a thing. The idea being you can shoot many bullets. Find the right target, the right aim, the right position, and then you can crank it up and put a cannonball at it because you know it’s gonna work or you have at least higher degree of confidence that it’s going to work.

And so Nick’s been doing that, and I’m not sure if he’s a JC fan or not, but he’s been doing that with his own life where it’s like, I’ll try this thing. Oh, I like that. I’ll go. And he does. What he doesn’t necessarily do, which is interesting to me, is he doesn’t go like, Bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, cannon, it’s like bullet. Yep. Good. Boom, go. But then if it’s like, ah, this is no longer for me, he’ll pull himself out. Yeah. So I think it was just an interesting real life application of that concept that we see from a business standpoint and somebody’s own personal life

REID: Yeah. I think there’s also some parallels to, Tiffany and on her show her scared, confident in this idea of a life of, and the nuance that’s required in an additive lifestyle is intentionality. And you can feel that just like with ultra running and all the physical feats that he goes into and all the business endeavors and the coaching and all these things, that there’s a ton of intentionality there. It’s not this spray of. Spreading myself thin across a bunch of different activities that is related to the point that we’ve been discussing, Mm-hmm. not exactly the same thing. That like how there’s so much intentionality in making those decisions and where to go and making sure that it’s in line with your purpose and not just more for the sake of more.

JOE: Yeah, and I, we started the conversation talking about the role of passion in career and I think what I’ve experienced in my life around like paralysis analysis is, oh, I don’t know what, my passion doesn’t know what it’s gonna be. And if there was one overriding message from his, we talked about it over and over again as this bias to action, it’s like it’s very hard to know if you’re going to love the thing before you go and do the thing. And I actually think we are taught unintentionally from a very early age that you have to know what you’re gonna do before you do it. Because it’s like, all right, I’m going to college. Right? All the way through school. You can always be like, what are you gonna study? Or what are you gonna be when you grow up and you’re asking like a six year old, what do they want to be when they grow up? And nobody really takes it seriously, but the six year old does.

Then you’re asked that again as you go through high school, where do you wanna go to school? What are you gonna study? And then you’re telling 18 year olds right now, pick your career path and then pull it back into the degree that lines up with that career path and don’t get it wrong because this is what you’re gonna go do. And so, okay, well I wanna be a doctor, so now I’m gonna go pre-med, so I’m gonna take organic chem and all this stuff. And you might get in there and be like, oh, this is hard and I don’t like it, but I already made this decision. It’s supposed to be hard, so I’ll stick in it. And then you. Go through medical school and you graduate and you’re like, I didn’t like any of that, and, but you’ve been taught your whole life to make a decision and then see it through, which has some real benefits to it. But I think the reality of, we’ll call it like adult life is you are actually for the first time ever able to try something biased to action, remove it. Try something bias action or remove it. Cause you have control over your life. but it’s counterintuitive to what we’ve been taught 

REID: and he even talked about the idea of when that goes poorly. you have to sort of revisit is the thing that I’m doing that I’ve committed to, that I’ve had disciplines around actually what I wanna be doing. Or am I just continuing the expectation that I’ve set for myself and that others now have for me? Yeah, right. In terms of like, when you need to pivot out of a company or a role, and we get so into this just routine and this habit that sometimes that like doing needs to be doing something different revisiting whether the thing that you’re actually putting your energy into is the right thing.

JOE: Yeah. And there’s an element that pops into my head. I won’t keep dragging the on, but there’s an element that pops into my head of like, like, Are you no longer wanting to do it? Or are you in a period of low motivation? And I think that having the self-awareness and the practices, like he talked about journaling. He basically described like active meditation in a lot of different ways. And he has a meditation practice too. But a lot of things he was describing, I would say are like active meditation, running active meditation for him functions that way. but he has like a review process and what kept going through my head in the conversation was, He has this time where his brain gets to shut down from all the outside and just think internally, just go internal on what am I thinking about?

And I think that if you’re somebody who’s, gonna be biased to taking action and going to be biased to, removing things from your life when you feel like they are no longer in line with your purpose or your values or what’s serving you and you serving it where you’re having an impact, making those decisions like willy-nilly is a bad idea. Yeah. And you need to really ask yourself a deep question of like, Am I still intrinsically motivated to do this? Or is there sort of external extrinsic motivation that’s applying me to do it? Is it because of the money? Is it because of the expectations other people have of me? Is it because of it’s just what I’ve been doing? And all those pieces are external and every study in the world has shown that you perform your best, are happiest, et cetera, when you’re intrinsically motivated to do the thing. And so even that as a loop of am I working in line with what I care about? Do you feel your own internal drive to do that thing, or are you simply using external factors as motivation to get you to do it, is a good, like which side are you on a feedback loop for yourself. Yeah. A lot of great lessons in that conversation that we’ll need to continue forward with.

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