Overcoming Perfectionism with Courtney Bills

1,000 Stories


Joe Mills: What are the unique experiences that drive business leaders to keep growing, and how can the lessons learned from those stories enable others to do the same? I’m Joe Mills, and I’m Reid Morris, and together we’re investigating who it takes and the tools to use to build companies and culture. Then we’re sharing those stories with you. This is 1000 Stories, an original show from Element three.

Reid Morris: Okay, Joe, so Courtney, bills next guest coming on the podcast.

Really excited for, another interesting conversation, another person from a different industry that we’ve spoken to before, but could you set the stage, provide a little bit of context as to how you came across Courtney and any background you can provide.

Joe Mills: Yeah, we just got connected through the Indianapolis market. I had made a post a while back about the podcast and somebody that reached out and said, Hey, I think Courtney could be a great person to connect with.

So they connected us and we chatted. And her story’s really interesting and I think she has a unique perspective we haven’t had on yet.

Reid Morris: Yeah. Talk to me a little bit more through that.

 what are you specifically thinking? what thread are you trying to pull? Knowing as much as you do about her at this stage?

Joe Mills: So she’s the second era of leadership in their company, not family. So she’s not gonna be second generation or third generation of a business that somebody’s mom or dad or grandfather or grandmother started. She’s going to be, the owners and founders handed off the reins to me to run their company as ceo.

I’m not related to them. I’m not the same as them. These are, Kind of classically, like little bit older white guys who said, Hey, to this woman, would you please run our business? And so I’m, really interested in what that transition period was

Reid Morris: Mm-hmm.

Joe Mills: And I mean, when you start a company like it’s your baby and it’s a thing you care about and you live and breathe in and it’s so intertwined with your life.

Like, what was that like to receive somebody else’s baby and need to steward into the next. Like generation and next, rotation of its growth. So I’m looking forward to hearing about what that’s been like.

Reid Morris: Yeah, it’s interesting, just thinking retrospectively now, a lot of the conversations that we’ve had with leaders of businesses in that C-suite have been people who founded that organization. Now there have been some where they inherited leadership, but it has largely been people who had to build a culture for the first time.

Yep. And so, you know, we experience a lot in Element three that. When you’re managing leadership transition and leadership change, it’s part of what happens is culture starts at the top, right? So somebody else coming into that seat has to set the tone of, well, what does culture look like? What does leadership style look like to them?

That’s then going to inevitably trickle down and impact the whole organization. So yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how she’s planning to approach that or how she is actively really approaching that, rather.

Joe Mills: yeah, and one of my friends said something to me last year, we were talking about.

I think that had just changed over time and sort of doing the classic, like lamenting what was, and he like stopped us both and he was like, eh, you know, things should evolve.

Reid Morris: Mm-hmm.

Joe Mills: And there’s an element of the culture’s so good, don’t mess with it. Or, Hey, the business has been so good, don’t mess with it.

But for her as a new leader and needing to direct the company into the future, it’s going to naturally evolve. So how do we do that with intentionality? How do we do it? 

And like continuing the best of it and evolving areas that are important to evolve both in the way you service your customers, maybe the way you attract employees, the way you retain talent.

All those things need to continually develop. So it’ll be really interesting to hear her just experience with that and how all of it’s been.

Reid Morris: Yeah. And even honestly, pay dividends for these people that we’ve spoken to who have built it from the ground up. Inevitably they will transition out of leadership. Yeah. So how do they make sure that they set up that next person to do that? Well, totally. That’ll be great.

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm.


Joe Mills: Courtney, thanks for coming to a thousand Stories. We’re excited to have you in.

Courtney Bills: Happy to be here. Thank you.

Joe Mills: those listening, Courtney is the CEO of tiv you’ve been in that seat for how long now?

Yeah. So pretty fresh. But you have your start from a, financial background, right? You were a bank first.

Courtney Bills: I started a bank, yeah. Yep. Oh.

Joe Mills: so maybe just walk through as a starting point. How’d you end up at tact? And let’s just use that as the broad starting point.

Courtney Bills: yeah. Yeah. You want ready for my story then?

Yeah, please. All right. So, I got my degree in finance from the Kelly School of Business and figured that I really liked business and I really liked numbers, so let’s put ’em together and that equals finance. I spent a year outside of college in a management training program for a bank. It was a great program.

I learned a lot, but I realized that I wanted a little bit more, ability to grow and interaction with people, to where I could use my skills a little bit more.

Joe Mills: What do you feel like, actually, you know, I’m gonna wind back one second. You started college group at Butler, correct? I did. Okay.

What led to the change to Kelly School?

Courtney Bills: after my freshman year, which was a fantastic year, I just had some interpersonal struggles at that point. Butler was fantastic and they provided great education. But I needed to step back and take a look at myself and decide what was the best route for me. So my parents said, well, if you’re gonna take a step back, then you’re going somewhere to school.

I don’t care where it is, but you are not pulling outta school. So they told me to go ahead and enroll somewhere while I figured out that next step, and I enrolled at I U P U I. and I felt in love with it. I loved the school. I loved the students. I loved the, fact that there were adults in the classroom with real life experience that could come in and, give us their interpretation as to what their business life is like, and then balancing a family.

 And so I applied to get into the Kelly School there and thought, Hey, I love this commute and live in a city and. Go to college and learn business and, it was a really great fit for me. So I, finished my education off there.

Joe Mills: Did that, feel like a difference from what you had experienced prior in terms of you highlighted adults in the classroom talking about their real business life and balancing their families and, all this thing, did that feel like different than what you had experienced before

Courtney Bills: It definitely did. At the same time, I was only taking my initial classes when I was at Butler. Right. So at that point you have a lot of 18 year olds, in your class. Now, once I had gotten up to their business school classes, it might have been a different experience. I never got that far too really, understand if it would or not.

But, once I got to I U P O I, it was totally different from the lower, inter or pre-graduate, like level

Joe Mills: Sure. For the pre-reqs

Courtney Bills: pre-reqs, thank you. Yes, that’s the word.

Joe Mills: was it different right from the start? It sounds like, Hey, I started at I E P U I and for whatever reason, just like clicked with me in a way that it hadn’t before.

Was that like right away?

Courtney Bills: probably second semester. Okay. In,

Joe Mills: So as you’ve really finished those pre-reqs 

Courtney Bills: Yep. 

Joe Mills: Cause if I’m remembering correctly, that is kind of the moment in college where you get out of pre-reqs is


Courtney Bills: year. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Okay.

Joe Mills: and you mentioned your parents were like, regardless of what self-discovery you need to go through, you’re going to school.

Courtney Bills: Yeah.

Joe Mills: Some people can rebel against that. Yeah. And like, I’ll go to school but watch how I’m gonna do it. What was your reaction to the like forcing of that?

Courtney Bills: I always have felt my parents had my best interest at heart and to me it was win cause I didn’t have to move back home. I could stay, in Indianapolis and I could, work and I could go to school and everyone was happy.

 And I knew in the end that they have always put my best interest forward. And so they were doing, they were making a decision for me at that point in time that I wasn’t able to make for myself. So they said, here, we’re gonna make this little bit of a baby step. We’ll give in, but we’re only gonna, give in so much, and we’ll continue to support you, but here’s what we need.

It’s a give and take, like any relationship. And I said, all right, I’ll do what you want me to do. And it ended up being the right step.

Joe Mills: the way you had experienced sort of growing up as well when you,

were your parents good at giving, here’s how much space we’ll give, and they’re like, clear on the parameters of that and then giving you the sort of freedom to like, explore and develop inside of that safer space perhaps? 

Courtney Bills: Yeah. I would say that they also had, strong expectations when I was growing up. I really wasn’t bad though, so I didn’t do anything, to where I wasn’t drinking in high school or doing any of that kind of stuff.

So if I asked for something, it, wasn’t out of the realm of possibility because I didn’t really ask for much and I stayed in my lane as a kid and I studied hard and played sports and, did all those things as a teenager. That’s in a, most non rebellious way you possibly 

Joe Mills: Yeah. Yeah.

I have an interestingly similar, I, think background in that I’m the youngest of four. My parents had really high expectations for us but I didn’t really notice that until I left home. It was just like normal.

Courtney Bills: Yeah. Oh yeah. Is

Joe Mills: that how you

Courtney Bills: Oh yeah, yeah. This is just how it is and the whole world lives like

Joe Mills: And do, do you have siblings?

Courtney Bills: I had a, a brother that passed away.

Joe Mills: I’m sorry to hear that. Yeah. Was that when you were a kid or was that later? That

Courtney Bills: in high school. He was a aviation student at Purdue and they had a plane crash. So, once he. Had passed on, then it was like tunnel vision onto,

Joe Mills: Mm.

Courtney Bills: myself as the only child at that point in time. And I think we all get caught up sometimes wanting to live up to our parents’ expectations.

And for me, at that point, I was trying to live for two kids and I was trying to give them everything that they could ever want out of a child, which leads people into a professional attitude that we all learn isn’t necessarily, attainable long 

Joe Mills: Yeah.

 I’d like to ask a little bit about what that was 

Courtney Bills: Yeah. Yeah. 

Joe Mills: I lost my mom in college. And yeah, loss was always an interesting thing and I have a really good friend who lost his sister, around the same time period that you lost your brother.

And it’s interesting to talk to him about the sort of like losing a sibling and how that impacts you. And it’s definitely different than like the parent side. Mm-hmm. And I’m just like curious when that happened. And you mentioned I kinda had to live for like two kids at that point. Do you recall how that showed up in, the actions you took or the way you approached your day, that sort of pressure, was it like pressure you felt, or what was the feeling in that?

Trying to live for two people?

Courtney Bills: it was definitely pressure that I felt. But I wouldn’t say that my parents put it on me. Yeah. I think it was my reaction. Yeah. Yeah. It was my reaction to grief. It was the way that I dealt with it.

And at the time, when the accident had happened, my parents were so understandably upset and I stepped into this mode of was like, well, you don’t worry about me. I’ll take care of everything.

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm.

Courtney Bills: I won’t be a hindrance. I’ll get good grades. What school you want me to go to? All right. I’ve got these two options.

It was Notre Dame re Butler I said, whatever you want me to do, I’ll do it. That’s fine. And, that’s what I did. And then eventually, when I got to Butler, it led to trying to live a perfectionist life that, I thought I needed to be versus who I really was. And like I said, they were, it was an amazing institution, great experience.

 I had just gone through something interpersonal that I didn’t work through probably in a proper manner when I should have. And so it kind of came to head while I was there and I kind of had to step back and do a little self-reflection and say, all right, we got some grieving to do and we’ve got some work to do on ourselves, to figure out who we really are and not who we think we should be for everybody else.

Joe Mills: Yeah. That speaks to me a lot because, I used to own a CrossFit gym in Indie and, in hindsight on reflecting and doing a lot of. Self work actually working with, Kevin Bailey and the team at Dream Fuel, I dunno if you’re familiar with them at all. They do performance coaching and a lot of the work I did there was like the first time ever slowing down and asking like, why did I do that?

What was the motivation? Mm-hmm. And I came to a head that I was like, oh, like what I was trying to do was not actually start this business. That was something completely different. But I’m curious what your path toward realization that and what I realized was I was living perceived expectations that I had written in other people’s heads.

Very confusing. Basically was like projecting expectations that other people were projecting on me. But they weren’t real.

Courtney Bills: Right, exactly. 

Joe Mills: did you go about realizing that? Because I honestly, at like 19, that’s very mature to have that moment of I’m not living for what I want.

I’m living for what other people want. And to recognize that can be a bad idea.

Courtney Bills: Mm-hmm.

Joe Mills: Cause I think most people probably just go, this is what I’m supposed to do and I keep doing it. How did you. Go about figuring that out, or how did it come to a head the way you’ve realized it?

Courtney Bills: Well, it’s interesting because your body and your nervous system reacts to stress in certain ways.

And, at that point in time, my body was showing the effects of the perfectionism I was trying to look perfect, act perfect. And it couldn’t keep up. I, wish I could say I had this amazing intuition in my mind and to where I was like, oh, I really need to come out of this and go to do some therapy.

 But it wasn’t, it was a physical,

Joe Mills: yeah.

Courtney Bills: My body had changed so much physically and it couldn’t keep up with it, that I had to pull back and, really get to the root of it. And once I got to the root of it, Mentally the physical caught right back up.

Joe Mills: Mm. It’s actually awesome. We’ve talked to a lot of people on the show who have mentioned gut intuition.

Sort of like finding themselves, which a lot of times like introspection and whether that’s meditation or journaling or whatever therapy, working with a counselor, whoever it is that allows ’em to do that. But you’re the first person who’s brought up a physical, reaction to the physical change.

And I think it’s a good message for people. If you look at yourself and you’re like, I don’t recognize who that is. Mm-hmm. There’s probably something else going 

Courtney Bills: Exactly. 

Joe Mills: That’s really messing you up. Yep. And I had not thought about that

Courtney Bills: Yep. You look in the mirror and think that you don’t recognize a person standing in front of you anymore. And others start to not recognize you either. And they start to see that you find yourself in a more superficial manner. And that ends up hurting relationships.

It. And it hurts yourself physically. So if you don’t take care of yourself, mentally, eventually it can probably will take the toll on your body physically, especially what it does to your nervous system alone.

Joe Mills: It’s interesting too, it sounds like your physical has responded to your mental, and I’ve heard of people who go the other way. It’s like, I use physical activity to fix or to support my mental health uhhuh. Which is probably me.

Like I use movement as medicine for a lot of things. Some things that need to not be medicine with movement, but, overdoing it. Is that right? Is that the right perception that like where your brain goes is how your body responds and you’ve sort of learned that about yourself over the years.

Courtney Bills: Yeah. And so I was the same as you. I did use exercise, food, health, nutrition as a hyper focus for. The image of perfection. 

Joe Mills: Mm.

Courtney Bills: And so the, extreme exercising and some of that is physically what changed I was an athlete, and if you work hard at practice or if you’re working out as you’re, letting off that energy and the stress levels just, they feel so, so great.

But then you can get addicted to it

Joe Mills: Oh, completely Yeah. Yeah. A hundred percent. You can,

Courtney Bills: and you’re start watching every calorie you put in your mouth and how long you’ve exercised each day. If you focus on that, then you don’t have to focus on the hard stuff.

Joe Mills: It’s controllable, right?

Courtney Bills: Absolutely. And you see measurable effects from it. 

Joe Mills: I had, an experience like that. So I played soccer in college and, I’m actually significantly leaner than I was when I was a D one athlete, which is weird. But that was a, real point of insecurity for me. Mm-hmm. And I became completely and totally obsessive about what I ate when I ate.

Try this diet, do this thing. I’m curious, did you have a similar situation where it was like, everything I ate, I labeled as either good or bad and

Courtney Bills: Oh yeah.

Joe Mills: yeah, like if I was eating bad stuff, I was bad. Like,

Courtney Bills: And, then it was going to reflect on me by the way that I looked and people were gonna know Yeah. By looking at me 

I feel this.

Yeah. Yeah. I

Joe Mills: feel it’s such a, it’s such a hard place to be

Courtney Bills: and it’s a hard thing to talk about and there’s a lot of people that keep it’s a secret. Those emotions and those feelings are secrets down inside that, you don’t wanna wish share with anybody cuz it’s, yours but then eventually if you get to the point where

Your body’s like screaming for help from the inside saying, Hey, you gotta get me some help or else we’re not gonna make it through this much longer.

That’s when you have to physically stop and, get the hard work done, which is the internal mental

Joe Mills: did you find people to talk about with that?

Because my perception of it was like, this is a weird thing that only I’m experiencing, and so I ended up going through it myself to sort of fix it all. And I never hit the breaking point. Which I’m very fortunate for. Did you find people or how did

Courtney Bills: did I did, yeah. I found people, but it started with a book, from the library that I read. 

Joe Mills: what was it, do you remember?

Courtney Bills: don’t remember. But in it, I could relate to this person and what they were saying and I was thinking to myself, she’s going through that too.

Mm-hmm. She feels that too. She, this isn’t just some strange thing that’s only living inside of me. Yeah. And then once you seek out,

You find that there are others out there, like you

Joe Mills: it’s like representation.

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Courtney Bills: Yeah. That they want to help you. They genuinely want to help you.

They’ve built their career and their lives around, social work, you know, mental stability, therapists, all that. That’s what they want to do. Yeah. From a human to human nature. And you latch onto the right group or the right person, and they can really change things.

Joe Mills: So when you were going through that and then you transitioned to I e p Y, my . Imagination and leads, my experience is not that, that just like, woo. And I’m, and I’m like different.

Like it’s, it’s a journey that

Courtney Bills: it’s a journey. Keeps going. Mm-hmm.

Joe Mills: but as you found like a, school in an environment that was really fulfilling you, did you find it easier in, that journey as well?

Courtney Bills: Definitely. Okay. And some of the other friends that I made once I went to school there and I was in this business fraternity that, there’s boys and girls in that one. That’s fun.

Joe Mills: Yeah.

Courtney Bills: And they had, not the same story, but similar stories. Oh, interesting. Well, I went to Bloomington first, and when I was down there, everybody loved it. And I just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel right for me. So they maybe came and found themselves in a different situation or, I went to Purdue first.

Yeah. And I spent two years there and Whew, that was, fun. But I, needed to reign it in a little bit. You know, everybody had some kind of a story or a journey that they were on, and I don’t know if it’s like a group of misfit toys or something. We had something that we could relate on rather than trying to make ourselves look like we needed to fit into, an image or a persona that.

Everybody we went to high school with was living.

Joe Mills: Yeah. It’s really, really interesting, what I’ve heard from a few people who have gone to I E P Y and didn’t love it was their, they complained about the environment, the lack of what we’ll call a traditional campus culture, which is definitely existed at Bloomington and Lafayette. Mm-hmm.

Did you actually like really appreciate the lack of campus culture or did you find that like people, the environment being so different, was that like a real positive to you in your group?

Courtney Bills: Well, you have to seek it out. It’s there, you have to find it. At that point in time, there was not the on-campus housing, like there is Right. You know, now, and we’re talking like 2000. So 

Joe Mills: well my sister, my sister went and she would’ve graduated in, I dunno, 11, so a little later than you, but yeah. Remember they didn’t really have, even at that point real traditional campus housing.

Yeah. They were in like Canal Street, I think is where she lived. Yeah.

Courtney Bills: Yep. But there is the, guess it would’ve been through University college and the, liberal arts portion of it. They did have clubs and

Joe Mills: organizations

Courtney Bills: for us, the business school had a, fraternity like I said, females and males and, similar interests.

And it was fantastic. I loved it. We, went to school together. We went out together at night, we studied together. And it was a really great group of probably 40, 45 people. That were in my core. Now. I just didn’t have to go home and share a house with them, you know,

Joe Mills: yeah, yeah. You got your, like, good space.

Yeah, exactly. it’s interesting because one of the things I’ve come to realize in my,] postgraduate career is playing sports at school was awesome for the fact of playing the sport, but it was mostly awesome because I was given an immediate community that like, you can’t get away from, and you couldn’t just choose not to engage, like you were getting paid to engage.

Right. Whether you wanna call it pay or not. We were on scholarship. It was, in my opinion, it was payment. And so it was like, oh, you have a community. Yep. And then you have a broader community of everybody who’s carrying around the athletic backpack. It’s like, oh, you’re an athlete too. And like you have this sense of togetherness that is just given to you.

That I think is much harder for most, non-athlete students to engage with.

Courtney Bills: For sure. Absolutely. My son, we did a school transfer for him when he was in sixth grade and when he transferred into the school that he didn’t know anybody.


He’s an athlete, but he wasn’t a, fall athlete at the time. 

Joe Mills: Okay. 

That first semester. That

Courtney Bills: first semester, and he, came home one day and it’s, hard, sixth grade kid and rough time.

Yeah. And he came and he goes, mom, they asked me to join the cross country team.

 I think I might do it. And I said, that sounds great. And immediately he had a group. Now we’re multiple years later, but that’s what clicked him into the spot was these, somebody asked him, you wanna come be on my team? And he went and they accepted him and, he ran with them. Now he doesn’t run with them anymore.

 He is into football now, so a different team. But that was his step in mm-hmm. Was a group coming in and saying, Hey, you wanna be on, our team? Come with us. And that’s how, for me, the business fraternity was, it was a group that said, Hey, we’re gonna have these call outs, who’s interested in joining our, fraternity, our club?

And once I got into it and made that first step, and then I was like, oh, 

Joe Mills: yeah. 

Did, Did, you find your transition out of school and into the management program with the bank to be a similar environment where it was like, when maybe like did you go to a career fair and get like invited into it?

Or how, how did that happen? Did you start to use that same framework of like find your group in making future decisions?

Courtney Bills: definitely cuz going into the management training program, there was I think seven of us and we would go between Indianapolis, Michigan, We were in Detroit, Michigan, and maybe I can’t remember.

But we would have these training programs and we would meet as a group and go to them for weeks at a that was my group. And then when the group was over and I had figure out where my final spot was gonna be, that’s when I decided that maybe I needed a, different direction.

Joe Mills: cuz at this point you had been through some major transition points in your 

Courtney Bills: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Joe Mills: even though it’s grief, your family transitioned hard when you were in high 

Courtney Bills: Correct. 

Joe Mills: I’m just remembering like first holidays and like, things like that that are just like so hard.

Yeah. And then you went through something really hard for you early on in college transitioned and then you’re transitioning out of school and into your professional life. So you’re like, the muscle of transition is real for you. What led you to be like, oh, actually need to transition out of this piece that I just worked for this year? 

And I went through all the training, I did all the stuff. And now when it starts to become time to pay off that training, I know it’s not right for me. What do you think led toward that decision?

Courtney Bills: that’s a great question. So during the training program, you are moved to multiple locations of branches and you have to work in that branch for.

I don’t know, three months at a time, let’s just say. So at one point in time I had gotten moved to a branch that lost its management. So I was working as a management role. We got all of our numbers back up, we got sold those business accounts, did all the things that they want you to do. And when my time came to end, I said, Hey, I would like to go back to this branch and be their branch manager.

I said, oh no, you can’t do that. And I said, well, why not? I just spent three months, we got goals met, I’ve got a team over there. Oh, no, no, no. And I understand it from a corporate standpoint, especially with when there’s, it’s a financial institution. There’s checks and balances. You can grow, but you can grow at this percent, 2% each year.

You can only move positions every six to 12 months. You have to stay. And they hired in somebody with. No experience or degree to take the spot that I had wanted. And I just thought, here I am, I’m, I’ve got a finance degree. I just went through your management program 

you can enter someone in anywhere you want, but once you’re in, you got a, ladder to go by step.

And I, and like I said, I think it’s a checks and balances thing for, financial institutions. So I understand it and I appreciate it cuz it works for them, but it didn’t work for me. 

And I wanted something with a little bit more where I could stretch my arms a little bit and could grow myself personally and professionally at a rate that I felt comfortable with rather than feeling like I was being held back.

Joe Mills: The, picture that’s in my head right now is, like a little bit of like a caged bird.

Yeah. It’s like I just wanna like,

Courtney Bills: yeah, 

Joe Mills: wanna pull my wings, like pull my wings out and flap a little bit, but I have this cage around me and I can fly like maybe a foot off the ground Exactly. But I really wanna like go to the 

Courtney Bills: Yeah.

Yeah. And I mean, I wasn’t trying to be the bank president or anything like that, you know, so it, it wasn’t, I wasn’t trying for that.

But I just thought, ooh, these hindrances aren’t gonna be good for me. There’s other people that we need people that, that can follow those paths and like that direction. Absolutely. Every, institution set up a different way for me that didn’t work. Mm-hmm. But I did get really great training out of it.

Met some really nice folks and, it’s an ex learned a whole lot about the banking industry and the, sales side of banking that I didn’t realize was there. I thought they just took my money and held it and were happy to, oh yeah, sure. We’ll hold it in our little account back here for you. And not realizing the moneymaking model behind a bank.

And that was pretty cool to learn. 

Joe Mills: I sort of forget about that too, cuz in my head’s like, ah, you know, bank’s gonna like take money and Yeah, they’ll invest at places and they make money on and they pay me interest in savings 

Courtney Bills: like, right. Yeah.

Joe Mills: They just manage my assets, as their assets but there is a full on banking, sales culture.

Yeah. And function. So when you’re transitioning outta that and you’re thinking to yourself, I imagine at that point you’re like, I wanna get out of financial cause I want a more malleable environment. Where did you start to look like, how did you find the next thing?

Courtney Bills: So I wasn’t outwardly looking. I had a friend of my parents reach out and said, hey, what’s Courtney doing these days? Because our daughter works for this company and they’re growing and they need help and it’s in, a sales role. And sales support. And our daughter loves it, loves, the people loves her job and they need help.

And I really think that if we got those two girls together, they would really hit it off personally and that would probably make Courtney feel good professionally as well to be with this group. 

Joe Mills: did your family know that you were having some of these professional struggles in terms of

Courtney Bills: Yeah, I, and, and I said, oh, no, no, no, no, no.

I, I’m, I’m good, I’m good. And then it was probably six months later, 

The coworker’s mom once again having a conversation with my parents said, is she sure cuz they’re really needing some help over there. And so I connected with, the owner. And I remember when I sent my resume over, and she called me and I was driving back from Detroit, I believe, and she said, Hey, I just wanted to call you so we can set up a meeting.

I’m watching Desperate Housewives right now, but I didn’t wanna pass up this opportunity, so are you available in like an hour for me to call you back? Yes,

I sure am. You know,

Joe Mills: that she’s like, but wait till my desperate Housewives is over.

Courtney Bills: I will call you back. And I was like, alright, let, sounds good. And then went in and small, promotional products company, at the time.

And I remember I walking into the, to my interview with my suit on, you know, and just like I was told to my black suit and, my briefcase, And, I walked into it and sat down and met the owner and she was in, casual jeans and a nice, normal business wear now.

Yeah. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Um, and. I said, Hey, what do you, what is it that you need here? And, she’s, well, you ever gotten a pen before from someone? And I’m like, well, yeah, of course. I’ve gotten a pen. And she’s like, do you ever wonder how they get the logos on the pens? And I was like, no, not at all.

Joe Mills: about it.

Courtney Bills: like, you might not believe us. There’s a whole market out there for that. And that was my introduction to corporate branding and, promotional products, screenprint, apparel, and that portion of things. So I just said, Hey, this girl, her name was Michelle. I said, Michelle really likes it here.

We met for lunch. We hit it off. Why not? Why not? Let’s just see they’re growing fast. They’re a small enough company to where I can grow with them. Mm-hmm. And, I spent the next 13 years with them.

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Joe Mills: I wanna say one thing cause it’s hilarious the amount of like parallels I’m feeling here. When I showed up to my first two interviews at Element three, I was in a suit.

Yeah. Charcoal gray suit with a white and red striped shirt,

Courtney Bills: Uhhuh.

Joe Mills: uhhuh. And I was walking in, in my nice shoes in my suit and like, I mean, Kyle’s right outside of the window right now, I can see him and he is in, a quarter zip jeans and a hat and he’s our 

Courtney Bills: president. Uhhuh. 

Joe Mills: it was just so funny to look around the office and Karen Scheta is our VP of Talent first interview.

She’s like, Hey, just so you know, like you don’t need to wear a suit here. Like we’re we’re Jeans people. Yeah. I come back for round two. I’m still in a suit. I thought it was a test.

Courtney Bills: Yeah. With 

Joe Mills: With my little acc leather bound notebook. And I’m like, can you hear? You know, so hilarious. But I’m curious, the phrase that you used, you said they were small enough that I can grow with them.

Yeah. And I sort of nodded like, oh yeah. Cuz it’s sort of thrown around, but what does that, what does that mean to you? Like what about the, size and when you say grow with them, like, yeah, I’ll just leave it open-ended. Like, what did that mean?

Courtney Bills: Well, there were six people that worked there.

Joe Mills: and so what does that give you the opportunity to 

Courtney Bills: do?

And the leader of that, company was very ambitious. And so I knew that as numbers went up and people needed to be hired, I could grow with them. as long as I did the work and, helped put them on a path to success, that I would then also be successful without anybody holding me back and saying, oh, Courtney, you just, sold a million dollars in sales, but 2%, that’s all we can do is, there were no governing bodies behind how to, Compensate or, grow someone’s career because there didn’t need to be, cuz it was still small.

Joe Mills: Right. It’s like a little bit of like, write your own adventure books where it’s like, and now turn to page 43 if you want this one and turn to page 18 if you want this one.

Right. Except like completely open-ended. And it’s, you’re sort of writing the story, you’re building the plane as you’re flying it.

Courtney Bills: Yep. Once again then, and there’s a team, there’s six people.

So I found some people found a group, that company is led by a former D one athlete. So there was, a competitiveness that I enjoyed in her spirit. And I kind of, fit right in. It was like a home away from home.

Joe Mills: So why did you eventually feel a need to move beyond that?

Courtney Bills: One of the great things about TIV at the time it was print resources, tiv is always reinvesting in themselves to pivot with the market and provide to their clients what the next thing is, and I felt in the other company I was in, I was as far as I could go with, as much as they were wanting to invest in the size they wanted to be.

Yeah. At the time, I like to say it was like, I graduated high school at that point and I wanted to learn more. I wanted to learn about printing, I wanted to learn about direct mail. I wanted to learn about kidding and warehousing and fulfillment and all these wonderful things that, print resources at the time has to offer.

And that part was not in the model for that other business at

Joe Mills: Yeah. it’s interesting, right? Because it’s like, this does not make it worse. That makes it different. Mm-hmm. And I, think there’s an element of. More is always better.

And like for you, you needed bigger, you needed more. But it doesn’t mean that the smaller and more simple is wrong. Exactly. It’s just different. And one of the things I’ve seen from your story, just learning about it today and hearing you talk about it is this ability to realize like, oh, this is not the right thing for me.

Even though it’s right for a lot of people. And you mentioned your business fraternity group in college. Oh how everybody else loved Bloomington, but it just wasn’t for me. And two years Purdue was great, but like I had to make a switch and for you it was like Butler’s a great place, but like it just didn’t scratch what I needed.

And it seems like that is coming. It’s like, hey, this is a great management development program. It’s a great institution. It’s working for them, but it’s not for me. This is a great business. I love my team, I love my people. It’s been great. But where I need to go is somewhere different. I think it takes a lot of bravery to get there.

Is that something that you have inherently always had or. Where did that come from? Cause a lot of people will sit in a spot and be like, but everybody thinks it’s good and it is good and I should be thankful for what I already have. It’s great to be grateful for what you have, but trying to balance that with also what you need.

Where does that come from for you?

Courtney Bills: have you noticed in some of the younger, demographic coming outta college, they say that they, their average, place, they’ll stay at a job three to four years?

Joe Mills: Yeah.

Courtney Bills: Right. For me and the way I was raised, you’re all in, you’re not making changes. You’re staying 13 years it took the support of someone else seeing in me, Hey, we think you could come and do this. It wasn’t just me looking for something else,

Joe Mills: else. Mm-hmm.

Courtney Bills: it was a company that came and said, we really like what you do and we really think you could do it great for us as well. And at that point I needed more mental challenge and learning that it only made sense to take another step.

Yeah. I wanted to explore more. So there is that safety net that you have in, hand. It was another company coming and saying, come with We will take care of you. We will teach you the ropes and give you all the tools that you need to succeed. Great. I didn’t just jump off the ledge and be like, done.

Joe Mills: I find my wings on the way down.

Courtney Bills: And that might go back to my, parents in college saying, okay, if you want to make this change, we will support you. However, here’s what you need to do as well for us to make it stay in school part-time. That’s what we need to help you through this. I wouldn’t say that I’m courageous enough like I said, just take the leap.

My husband is, an artist here in Indie, and he took the leap from full-time business, corporate, sales position to full-time, muralist and artist

Joe Mills: Very cool.

Courtney Bills: That’s elite. Other than me standing 

Joe Mills: But you are a little bit of his support network in that

Courtney Bills: Absolutely. Yes. So then I was standing there telling him, it’ll be all right, we got this,

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm.

Courtney Bills: You got six months, let’s see what you can do.

 And he took a giant leap. Yes. And I was the support. So I felt, I do feel like I’ve always had somebody behind me that, whether it’s being through words of encouragement to make me think that it’s okay to do

uhhuh, whether it really is or not, feeling that support is what gets me to make that Does that

Joe Mills: Yeah, no, a hundred percent. And you said something interesting you said, making me feel like it was okay. Mm-hmm. I always talk about when I was looking at starting the gym, I had like this, I got this like permission 

Courtney Bills: mm-hmm. 

Joe Mills: mm-hmm. From my dad who was like, sounds pretty similar to your parents. Like

Courtney Bills: mm-hmm.

Joe Mills: World’s not fair, gotta work hard, you’re gonna hate your first job. And that’s okay. Get on with it sort of a mentality. And we were talking about, I was just unhappy in my first role and we were chatting about what I wanted to do and he was like, the only thing you’re ever excited about is this gym.

Like, why don’t you figure out how to do that? And it was like this moment where it was like, wait, that’s okay.

Courtney Bills: Right.


Joe Mills: that, is that what you mean when you say like, that’s okay? Isn’t it empowering when it’s like somebody who you look up to and they like tell you? Because really, honestly, what I needed in that moment was like, I will not disapprove of you.

Correct. For doing what you want to

Courtney Bills: Correct. Yeah. It is so empowering when somebody stands behind you and genuinely says that they believe in you and that you can make this role succeed or this, career change succeed or this large decision in your 

Joe Mills: mm-hmm. To succeed. 

Courtney Bills: Because all growing up, most of us just lean back on whatever parental figures or teachers that we have, and they’re our cheerleaders the whole way.

Coaches, teachers, parents, and they’re always telling us, we can succeed. You get to adulthood and then who you got,

Joe Mills: You know? Yeah.

Courtney Bills: that point, your next boss or it’s.

Your spouse or your partner, you know, and I and like you said, or your dad. Yeah. For me, even too, it was, I still way back big time on the respect and authority that my dad has in my, 

Joe Mills: life.

Yeah. Yeah.

It’s interesting how that evolves too. Cuz I think as you get older you start to see more chinks in like the perfect armor, but in a sense, it actually makes them more endearing.

Mm-hmm. Like you’re not perfect, which makes you more attainable. Mm-hmm. And also,

I appreciate the way that you have been for me even more. 

Courtney Bills: more.

Correct. Did you mentioned your, dad gave you permission, kind of struck for me. that all growing up were asking for permission.

Joe Mills: Mm.

Courtney Bills: When you get to be an adult, who are you asking for permission?

Yourself. in 

Joe Mills: your role, you’re probably being asked for permission quite a bit

Courtney Bills: by other employees 

 like to think of it more as I’m being asked for direction. Mm-hmm.

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm.

Courtney Bills: at tact, we have this, find a way mantra. it started off as say Yes and find a way, and then we realized the Say Yes part can be, it can scare people cuz it might think that someone’s asking you to do something that’s, outside of your realm and maybe unethical

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm.

Courtney Bills: so.

 we, we dropped the Say Yes, even though it’s still in there, but it’s say yes to somebody that’s coming to you with a project, a question, a concern, anything say, yes, I hear you. Mm-hmm.

And let me help you find a way. And if that’s not something we can do internally, let me refer you to the next person that can Sure.

and that’s how I work with our employees. I hear you. I hear what you’re saying. I might not always just straight up say yes, but I will listen and we will talk through this and then we will find a way.

Joe Mills: Since we’re at Tactic now, I’d love to talk about your experience there, because remind me, just refreshmemory real quick. You came in, what was your title when you came in at Active


So not a thing that’s like. You know, vp, executive vice president, which is typically the role into, CEO or president position.

So can you just take me through how we went from senior account manager mm-hmm. To ceo. Mm-hmm. I’m just really curious about, what was it about this organization that both said to you like, oh, this is where I want to have my impact.

Mm-hmm. At least in this stage of my career and life. And also you were in such a good position that matched you so well that you could actually grow into 

that. Mm-hmm. 

I’m curious about those things. Yeah.

Courtney Bills: Yeah. So when I first came over, To print resources at the time. and I like to say at the time, cuz it’s, that’s what it was for 20 years, right?

 or 19 years. I came over to help lead a team that was, over one of their largest accounts.


we started growing that account grew, the other accounts grew. and the owners said, Hey, we really we’re getting bigger. We need to take a look at ourselves. We have no, organizational chart lined out.

I think there was like 20 some of

Joe Mills: you’re like, I’ve been there.

Courtney Bills: There’s no org chart. there’s no real defining roles other than a project manager or a press operator and like, what does that look like? as we grew, 

They said, we really like what you’re doing here. Good job. You’re good job. You’re, yeah, the team’s doing great. We like your management style. we like the way you are with the customers. We need to figure out what we look like from the outside in as a company and really start building our branches so that we can scale up long term.

Because they had sat at a, level of four to 6 million, I wanna say four years. 

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm.

It was like very much the status 

Courtney Bills: very 

Joe Mills: there. yes. Yep. 

Courtney Bills: and then they jumped. then it turned into like, oh, th this is getting big. Mm-hmm. Buckle up. We need to make some decisions here.

And, they asked me, want to be a, a vp? We didn’t even have any VPs, sales and marketing. So yeah, kinda like that. I’m up, to lead any challenge.


Joe Mills: don’t expect me somebody who’s like, I’m not sure I can 

Courtney Bills: do

  1. Yeah. No. Uhuh. I’m like, yeah, let’s bring it. Let, what do, what does that mean?

What do you want me, what do you want me to 

Joe Mills: And then what 

Courtney Bills: that mean? Yeah. 

Joe Mills: Not rather what does that mean? And then yes, I think there’s a different

mentality there? Yeah, 

Courtney Bills: absolutely. and I did learn, especially in that role, that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay not to have the answers to everything and to hire somebody in to help you with that, or that division.

It doesn’t mean that I have to be the one that’s in charge of every single thing from a marketing strategic standpoint, but I am in charge of finding the right person to lead us down that path. Sure. 

and that’s what I did, I, somebody that was working, that was a previous employee, and then was doing some marketing, I met with her and she said, when I asked her for coffee, she said, I, thought you were gonna tell me you didn’t need my.

services anymore. We were just kind of paying her, once a month kind of on a

retainer. And I was like, oh no. I was like, I want you back full-time, will you? Come on. then the other thing that the owner said was, we really feel pigeonholed by our name. and print resources.

Joe Mills: It does immediately think, 

Courtney Bills: paper. Mm-hmm. That’s it. And we did so much more than paper. And so I said, all right. I don’t know exactly what that name’s gonna be, but I’m gonna find the right people to help us figure that out. Yeah. and we did, and we hired, an agency here in town that, knew nothing about print resources.

And that was important

Joe Mills: But say, actually that’s a good thing, I think for you in this environment.

Do you agree? Yes. Yeah. Yes. 

Courtney Bills: and it came in and gave us a holistic view. From the outside. Speaking with clients. Speaking with employees, and helped us go along this brand strategy change. to become tact. Tact means we’re tactile and we’re active, ’em together.


Joe Mills: this is a very specific and very marketing heavy question, but did you get pushback internally on hiring somebody who had no knowledge of like your company you did not hire an industry expert to do that work?

Was there any pushback internally

Courtney Bills: that? Well, the 

Joe Mills: decision? Well, you could 

Courtney Bills: that we hired, they didn’t know print resources. Yeah. They knew corporate branding.

Joe Mills: Yeah. They’re experts at 

Courtney Bills: corporate, They’re put at that. Yep. And, it’s a partnership team. 

one of them had actually worked in a print  for  a print company.

Joe Mills: Yeah. So they had a little bit of background. Mm-hmm. Not so much that it like,


I think the danger is likely like assumptions is that, yeah, yeah.

Courtney Bills: Yep. I did at first is, who are these people where did you find them? You know?

And I said, listen, this is our budget. This is a fantastic team.

I really think you guys need to meet them. And, they. Came in and knocked it outta the park. And I remember after that very first meeting, walking out with the two of ’em and giving him that thumbs up. I was like, you killed it. You killed it. Great job. You know, I did get some pushback.

how many agencies are we interviewing? Oh, who are these? You know,

Joe Mills: How many did you,

Courtney Bills: how many? it’s like two or three. Yeah.

Joe Mills: it always makes me laugh when I’ll, sometimes get an rfp. Yeah. Don’t respond to ’em. But we talk to the people, but we very, rarely respond to the actual rfp.

Yeah. but it’s like 36 agencies on the list. And I’m like, are you really gonna, how in the world are you even gonna go about getting that down to one? Mm-hmm. You know, 

Courtney Bills: And it was important that we were a small, to mid-size business. And so I wanted a small to mid-size agency that could align with us, that could understand the growing pains, that could understand that we don’t have the deepest of pockets, 

Joe Mills: Yeah. To do. Yeah. It’s almost like you were looking for your people again. Mm-hmm. Like, I wanna find people who are in similar environment to me, who sort of inherently understand the world I’m in.

Mm-hmm. Which has been successful in the past. Yep. So that’s your VP role. Yep. And then what happened to lead to the ceo?

Courtney Bills: once again, massive growth in the company, going fast.

And, the owners they’ve owned the business for 22 years now at this point. And, they’re trying to look long term and they wanted, they said, I think we need to set up a structure so we have board of directors, ceo VPs, directors, is kind of how our chain goes, I guess if you wanna call it a chain.

that’s how our tree is. And. They wanted somebody that was relatable to the employees, hardworking and driven,

sell, would be a successful front for, to active. and was selfless. Now that’s something that people need to understand. When you’re a ceo, you’re not a ceo. Wow, look at me.

A real CEO is serving, they’re serving the employees, they’re serving the betterment of the business. and they wanted somebody that would look at it, that role in that way. And they didn’t say it, but I know they meant it cuz they, that’s how they treat the, the business. and we aligned on that. Mm-hmm.

That front very well. And same thing, they asked, what would you think about being the C E O. 

Joe Mills: You’re like, 

Courtney Bills: sure.

What does that mean?

Joe Mills: Did no pop into your head at all?

Courtney Bills: No, 

never. Yeah,  never. Never in an instance 

Joe Mills: And did it feel right from the start? No.


Courtney Bills: it felt right in terms of, I know that this is what I’m supposed to do, but there’s no book on this.

Joe Mills: give you the, the

Courtney Bills: There was no pamphlet. No. Yeah, there was no pamphlet. and so one of the founders told me was, he said, you need to get into a peer group.

You need to get into a peer group with other females, CEOs where you can be outside of us asking questions.

connecting, relating. And then I started on that and, into like, some leadership training.

Joe Mills: Was that as helpful as he made 

Courtney Bills: sense? Oh 

Joe Mills: it would be? Yeah. Mm-hmm. What, what did you join? What was your peer group?

Did you make one or did you find

one or? No, 

Courtney Bills: I found it’s the Badass Women’s Council, which is, Rebecca Fleetwood Hessian.

Joe Mills: I think Tiffany’s spoken there.

Courtney Bills: You think 

Joe Mills: I

think so. I, I’m not positive, but I think so.

Courtney Bills: I’m now in a series called Rise and Thrive, which is seven months long. seven women, and we meet monthly and you learn about how personal and professional development, and how to just to be a badass leader as a female, and to bring humanity into business.

Because I think we talked last time I told you there a business does not run without its employees. Most

Joe Mills: is just an amalgamation of 

people, really. Right,

Courtney Bills: right. And to keep employees, you have to treat them the way that they deserve to be treated. And, dollar signs, numbers, presses, All of those tactical things, there’s no feelings to that.

but the real driver behind your business are your, people. And we spend a lot of time talking about culture, inclusivity, safety, because when the people are happy, then the business is thriving. 

Joe Mills: When you mean, when you say safety, what do you mean by that?

Courtney Bills: Psychological safety inclusivity. Mm-hmm. coming to work, knowing that upper management has your back.

Joe Mills: this is a place where I can be me,

Courtney Bills: me, I can beat me 

Joe Mills: I can.

grow. Mm-hmm.

 you said it’s a path to learn how to be a badass leader. When you think of you have a vision in your head for becoming a badass leader, what does that mean to you?

Courtney Bills: To me it means confidence, while still being able to exert vulnerability. to always remember that, to listen, let people know that they are being heard and then finding a way, looking at things, we all get stuck in the weeds and that’s just because the weeds are so much easier cuz you can just check those things off the lists. but what’s uncomfortable is stepping out of that and looking at things from a holistic view in stepping into uncharted territories that you’re not used to and not having a safety net. Is this gonna work? Is this the right decision?

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm.

Courtney Bills: and so as a leader, being confident in being able to take those steps as well as remembering the, humanity behind business is so important.

Otherwise you won’t have a 

Joe Mills: Mm-hmm. It’s awesome.

Courtney Bills: Yeah.

Joe Mills: one of the things that when we were prepping for the show we talked about is you are the first CEO who’s not the founder. What’s that been like?

Courtney Bills: I don’t know anything other way. the two founders


really have entrusted me and that’s the safety net.

Joe Mills: Mm. 

Courtney Bills: Remember, like I said, there was no pamphlet for this

Joe Mills: Yeah.

Courtney Bills: They didn’t even talk to about themselves as CEOs in the business. So fact that they have been actively able to coach me, prepare me, give me all those tools they promised they would give me four years ago when I met them at the door, they always went through on their word.

 and now being in the position that I’m in, they are respectful.


confident with me, they feel confident in the decision that they made in me, which makes me feel confident as well. Yeah. And they’re ready to step back a little, not pull out completely by any means, but they’re ready to step back and, they have even recognized and will say, Hey, we’re not the target market for this business anymore, and let’s let this person take the reins and let’s, keep supporting her, keep giving her tools, giving her direction.

And then let’s see how it goes. And it’s


up on the end of year one, and it’s been great. That’s awesome. Yeah.

Joe Mills: Actually think it’s a perfect place to sort of wrap up.

I sometimes ask this question first. Sometimes I ask it last. most of the time I ask it. So I’ll ask you in a year of big growth. The prior year, ending that first year, what are you trying to grow in now? What has you excited about? What’s like pushing the envelope to the next thing?

Where are you focused at? And that can be personal, professional anywhere.

Courtney Bills: So from a professional standpoint, it’s, scalability. It’s lining the company up and looking at its three year strategic plan. We just went through that exercise and making sure that we are going to be around long term and this isn’t just a an up and down.

Sure. so that excites me to get this business to a point where in 10 years, 15 years, however long it’s gonna be at or better than what it is now, and the employees are gonna have careers there and maybe I’ll be able to pass the 

torch at 

Joe Mills: You’re gonna give them the wings you were looking for back in the day.

Courtney Bills: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. So looking at the company from that holistic scalability view that we are really focused on right now, and that’s, New tech stacks that’s, new machinery that’s hiring of employees. That’s even going back and looking at our client base and making sure we’re servicing them to the best of our ability so that they don’t wanna go anywhere else.

Yeah. putting those steps into place is what gets me excited. Mm-hmm. Right now. And then seeing positive outcome in our, revenue and the, happiness of our employees. Somebody asked me once, how do you know if you’re successful? How do you know if tactic is I said, well,


don’t have the most conventional answer, but what I can tell you is, are we profitable?

And it doesn’t matter if we’re small profit, are we, able to continue doing business in a profitable manner? Check the employees walk in every morning, do they have a smile on their face? Are they happy to be there? Do they feel valued? And you know that feeling? Yeah. You know, when it’s tense in the, office.

that’s a failure to me 

when everybody is, you know, almost in that kumbaya feeling to where they’re happy to be there. They appreciate their jobs, they get along. Nobody’s talking bad about anybody, you know, that’s a success to me. It’s the employee. the employees meshing together in a positive way.

So profitable. Yes. I’m not gonna give you a percentage and say this, we are not successful because we did not do this percent. No. We’re at or above where we were before in a profitable manner. And everybody genuinely likes their job and likes tiv.

Joe Mills: I’m curious about how much that, of people liking their job likes T have high morale leads to that.

Courtney Bills: Oh, it’s hand in hand.

Joe Mills: they’re, they’re so intertwined.

Courtney Bills: It’s hand in hand and it shows through our customers as well. Yeah. Because the customers can feel And when the employees are happy, they’re treating the customers better. Mm-hmm. And the whole experience just moves

Joe Mills: and customers can treat it better. They spend more money because they’re getting better results. And it’s like this flywheel that impact it can’t change.

Courtney Bills: Exactly. 

Joe Mills: That’s awesome. 

Courtney Bills: Yeah. Uh, from a personal standpoint, I have a son that’s 16 and about to get his driver’s license next month, so I’m pretty excited about 

Joe Mills: Yeah. Congratulations.

Courtney Bills: you. and a daughter that is, Nine years old, thriving as well, and, and a husband that is very supportive and has an amazing art career here in Indianapolis.

that’s what excites me right now. Um,


Joe Mills: like seeing them all do their things and like

Courtney Bills: it that we’ll sit down together sometimes my husband and I, and we’ll just, we’re doing it.

Joe Mills: it. Yeah.

Courtney Bills: we just might make this work. I’ll tell him, this art career thing just might work for you. And he’ll go Nice.

Yeah. This whole, promotional products and direct mail job just might work for you, and high five it, that’s the best we can do. That’s


Joe Mills: Well, Courtney, it’s been awesome. Thank you so much for coming on. Appreciate

Courtney Bills: It’s been fun. 

Joe Mills: Okay, Joe, so a really fun and interesting conversation with Courtney. it was really interesting to dive into some of the things that we were talking about, exploring around the different steps in her career. And, we got pretty deep too throughout that conversation.

Reid Morris: knowing all the different places that you went, what were some of your major takeaways from chatting with Courtney? 

Joe Mills: I on a personal level, it was just interesting to me how many things that felt really similar. In our past and the way that we view, like the world in general, felt like really interesting.

she’s a little bit older. She’s a woman. She has a different background than me, like she leads the company. It just was kind of cool to be like, oh, wow, look at all this similarity in things that we’ve experienced. One of the pieces that I thought was cool is, I’ve always viewed the, permission I felt like I needed for the gym in negative light.

Like I, I kind of felt like why wasn’t I brave enough to do it on my own? And I think that there’s, one of the messages we touched on was about getting that permission. Mm-hmm] But I think it was reframed in my head around it’s totally fine to need the permission and you should have a group of people, a community around you who you can turn to for that support in different moments to give you the boost or the push or the like, encouragement.

You need to go do the thing. And that’s okay. It’s not like going back to this idea of like, we are so ingrained, so independent in this country. in our culture of do it yourself, pick yourself up. You are in control. That it was like refreshing to have a reminder of like, just because that’s how it is sort of perceived.

doesn’t necessarily make it right. 

Reid Morris: Yeah, it’s not permission and that you will not do a thing unless somebody tells you can. But sometimes you just need that external perspective. we look back to an episode like Matt Renz, where he has this core group of people that he’s gone and done these endeavors with.


Joe Mills: Yeah. 

Reid Morris: And just one of the things you can get from having a support group like that, or peers or mentors, anything along those lines is. Not, again, the permission of you’re not gonna do this without them, but just having somebody else who you trust saying like, yes, you should go do that thing, can be really empowering.

And I think something else that you touched on that’s really interesting is the different areas that you could empathize with her story, even though you are very different life stages. Cuz at multiple times in the show we looked at each other like, oh that hits. Yeah. 

Joe Mills: Right. 

Reid Morris: And I think that’s, Something to actually really pay attention to of, you might be at a very different stage from people that you’re consuming content from listening to on a podcast, but they had experiences that you are having so that there’s a lot of things you can pay attention to, to connect with those stories.

Joe Mills: Yeah. And even moments to learn from and like they did it before you. Mm-hmm. And so they have two things. They have gone through the experience and they’ve had the space and time to reflect on it. Which is where the learning happens, right? Like when you’re going through something, you’re not really learning.

 it’s really similar to fitness. You’re not actually building muscle while you’re lifting weights. You’re not actually getting faster as a runner while you’re hitting an interval. it is the time after where your body like learns from what it just did and gets stronger, faster, more fit, et cetera. And it’s the same thing with like life and what you’re learning going through it.

You’re in the midst of the pain or the challenge or the moment of change, whatever that thing is. You’re not going to have a chance to learn. So if you’re talking to somebody who’s going through it at the same time as you, it can be Commiserate. Mm-hmm. Which can be helpful and not wrong, but being able to talk to somebody who’s five, 10 years removed from it has the wisdom of like time and space to have looked back, made the connections, had the learnings come out of it, and have perspective that you won’t have.

It can be really powerful. So There were a lot of moments where like I looked at you, like you mentioned, where I was like, oh, like we’ve talked about that and now it’s being brought up with reflection and that was really cool. So I think another, just like learning I’m having real time is like the value of expanding the kind of people that you engage with and learn from beyond the maybe like norm of what you consume or interact with.

Can really provide you. like, like Quick learnings that you otherwise wouldn’t have. 

Reid Morris: Yeah. Have your network not only be your 

Joe Mills: Right. Yeah. Right. yeah, I thought it was great Loved having it around. 

Reid Morris: Yeah, for sure.

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