Uncorking a Story

All the news about the surge in GameStop’s share price got me to thinking just how much money is made when institutional investors bet on companies to lose. To me there’s an amorality there and I just don’t like it. I’d rather bet on someone to win. And that got me to thinking about the importance of betting on yourself.

Over the years, I’ve interviewed many people who bet on themselves and won big. Two who come to mind are Andy Greenfield and Dave Mezzepelle and I’ve got snippets from those interviews on today’s episode of Uncorking a Story.

A few key takeaways you’ll have after listening include:

  1. If you have a dream or desire to create something or do something different, bet on you. You have to be the first investor. Your confidence in placing that bet will gain the confidence of others.
  2. Remember that ideas are cheap but action takes talent. It’s okay to dream, but the rubber has to hit the road at some point, so eventually you are going to have to stop planning and start doing.
  3. Know that your eventual success will not come from where you expect it to. It will be up to you to go out and earn it; it won’t be given to you.
  4. People will challenge your ideas, assumptions and abilities. That’s actually a good thing. But you need to mute those who provide resistance without an offer of support as well as those who offer nothing but praise. Neither of those types of people will help you. Instead, to make your dream a reality, surround yourself with people who will push you while they look for ways to support you in the pursuit of your dream.

As always, thanks for listening to uncorking a story. If you liked what you see or heard here, please subscribe to us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, be sure to tell a friend about Uncorking a Story as we always will welcome new listeners. Have something to say about the show? Please leave a review. Be sure to check out our previous sixty episodes and be on the lookout for another episode early next week.

Direct download: Bet_on_you_mixdown.mp3
Category:Entrepreneurs -- posted at: 2:57pm EDT

I had a conversation with an old friend and prospective client last week about a challenge her business is facing—attracting men to use their service. They have a new spokesperson they’ve tapped to help with that effort, but they have no idea what he should be saying to raise interest from guys.

So, in the spirit of partnership and wanting to land some new business, I held some Curiosity Conversations with men who wanted to lose weight about their approach to doing so. I call them Curiosity Conversations because I didn’t approach these interviews with a formal discussion guide. Rather, I just followed my nose—my curiosity—to learn all I could from guys who wanted to lose weight. What I found were a number of contradictions:

  1. In general, men will first approach weight loss through exercise. They don’t want to talk about diet even though they know it’s a primary component of weight loss. In short, men want to lose weight on their own terms, even if their own terms don’t work effectively.
  2. Guys don’t fully understand the emotional components of behavior and how dealing with them is the first step in a long-term lifestyle change. Dealing with emotions is not one of our strong points because doing so requires vulnerability, and if there’s one thing we’ve been taught since we were young is that men shouldn’t be vulnerable.
  3. Men want to go it alone and feel as if we should have the strength and discipline to not ask for help in this arena. So we eventually get frustrated when we fail, beat ourselves up, and dip back into our bank of bad habits.

The reality is this goes beyond weight loss. The three points above could summarize our approach to everything from career management to personal relationships. We approach them on our own terms, we don’t recognize how our emotions impact our behavior, and we don’t want to ask for help (and in my case directions!). 

Listen in to hear it first hand from some of the guys I met while doing this work. As an added bonus, you’ll hear my own personal struggles with weight and why I could relate to every word these guys spoke to me last week. 

Interestingly, all of the guys I spoke with said they had a newfound energy and confidence just talking with me about the topic. This alone led me to believe that my prospective client has a huge opportunity with this market because their service model is all about accountability and building connections. I believe they already have all the tools at their disposal to set up men for success with lifestyle changes, but like the guys I interviewed, they just need some help in how to use those tools effectively. The good news is that I’m confident that my business can help them succeed with men.

Direct download: Weight_loss_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 8:23am EDT

Olga Grushin was born in Moscow and moved to the United States at eighteen. She is the author of three previous novels, Forty RoomsThe Line and The Dream Life of Sukhanov. Her debut, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, won the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, earned her a place on Granta's once-a-decade Best Young American Novelists list, and was one of The New York Times' Notable Books of the Year. Both it and The Line were among The Washington Post's Ten Best Books of the Year, and Forty Rooms was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction of the Year. Grushin writes in English, and her work has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives outside Washington, DC, with her two children.

Listen in as we talk about her upbringing in Moscow and Prague and how she knew she wanted to be a writer at the tender age of four. To that end, every year on her mother’s birthday she’d present her with a typed, illustrated, and bound original book—hearing this made me feel bad about always giving my mother an ashtray for her birthday (to be fair, though, she was a smoker).

We also talk about her journey to the United States at eighteen to study at Emory as well as her path to publishing. Of course, we discuss her new book The Charmed Wife, which has been characterized by CNN as “A modern take on the story of Cinderella, marriage, divorce and love that’s surprising, darkly comedic and enchanting.”

This was a great conversation and I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed hosting it. Follow Olga on twitter @olgagrushin and purchase The Charmed Wife wherever books are sold.

Direct download: Olga_Grushing_mixdown.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 3:41pm EDT

When I was a kid, we used to take these road trips from Connecticut to Florida to visit my grandparents. I know that may sound like a huge waste of time when you can just fly there in a little over two hours, but the fact is we remember more about the adventures we had on those car trips than we do about the actual vacations themselves. We truly enjoyed the journey.

At some point in time, and I can’t pinpoint when exactly, I started to disregard the journey. My life became a game of what’s next, instead of focusing on what is. When I look back on my kids, I realize that I just couldn’t wait for them to get to the next stage of development from crawling, to walking, to talking, and the next thing I knew I blinked and was dropping them off at college. At some point, I stopped enjoying the journey.

I found myself getting distracted by work. I was buried answering emails on my phone when I should have been enjoying whatever movie was on. In short, I didn’t live in the moment. Here’s the thing, as efficient as I was living my life, I was blind to what I was missing out on.

This all reminded me of a conversation I had with Shihan Manny Esmeraldo, the senior instructor at the Karate studio my kids and I used to train at. Listen in as I recap what he has to say about the importance of enjoying the journey. At the end, I share four tips for how we can do a better job at living in the moment including:

  1. Awareness. Be aware of what your actions are suggesting to others. It isn’t just you who you are shortchanging by not enjoying the journey, it’s other people in your life. When you are with others and are not embracing the moment because you are distracted by your phone, your thoughts on work, etc. know that your behavior might suggest to them that you do not value the time they are spending with you. If you are aware of your own behavior and what it suggests to others, you will be more likely to keep it in check.
  2. Remind.  Remember that the journey is part of the fun. Think about it as you would reading a good book. When you are so engrossed in a story, you don’t want it to end. You don’t just rush to the last page to see the conclusion. You want to stay on the journey! Conversely, how many times have you been let down by a story that ends abruptly? So, enjoy the story you are writing with your life. Don’t rush to the end.
  3. Enjoy. Find a way to simply enjoy being where you are. On those long car trips, my brother and I would record silly fake radio programs on a boom box. We’d make up stories about people we saw driving. Find the joy of any situation and you will be more likely to stay present in it.
  4. Avoid Temptation. If you are so distracted by things like your phone, and I know just how easy it is to be distracted by what I call my “work thingy,” maybe lock it up when you don’t need it. Kind of like how you can’t eat that bag of chips if it never makes its way into your shopping cart. So if the phone is your Achilles heel, leave it in another room when it's time to watch tv. Or if you go to a party or sporting event, leave it in the car. Someone else will take pictures. 

Thanks for listening to another episode of uncorking a story. If you like what you hear please subscribe on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Also, we appreciate you telling a friend about the podcast as that helps us spread the uncorking a story message to more people.

We will be back with another episode on Monday. And next Thursday, wow do I have a treat for you. But I’ll tell you more about that on Monday.

Thanks for listening!

Direct download: Enjoying_the_Journey_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 10:52am EDT

I heard Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt yesterday and it got me thinking about how important it is to reinvent oneself periodically. 

We live on a planet that does not stay still. It spins on its axis causing day and night. It circles around a star, moving through time and space, and as it does, seasons change. And that’s not all; fashions change, art changes, culture changes, all because we change. 

Whether in business, or in personal relationships, at some point we will find that we have to reinvent ourselves in order to stay relevant with the changing times. All of these thoughts came to me on my morning run and I felt compelled to share them in this episode on reinvention. If you don’t have the time to listen, here are some Cliff’s notes:

  1. Reinvention is in our nature. Our world is built around it and reinvention is necessary to stay relevant in our careers and strong in our relationships.
  2. You can’t reinvent yourself if you adopt a victim’s mentality. It is a self-limiting belief that will sabotage anything you try to do to move forward. If you find yourself with a victim’s mentality, spend some time reflecting on how your actions got you into a certain situation, take responsibility for them, and do what you need to do to turn the ship around.
  3. It’s never too late to reinvent oneself. Johnny Cash was able to do it, I was able to do it, and you are able to do it. 

Listen in to find out more! 

Direct download: Reinvention_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 10:39am EDT

I was introduced to the work of Viktor Frankl as an undergraduate student studying psychology. His book, Man’s Search for Meaning, is divided into two parts; the first is a memoir of his experiences living in a concentration camp during World War II and the second details his theory of Logotherapy, which involves identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about and then immersively imagining that outcome.

He’s also adamant that, in order to lead a fulfilling life, we must find meaning in three areas: work, love, and in finding courage in the face of danger.

In this episode, I uncork stories from three people who have done just that.

  • Fr. Dave Dwyer left a promising career in the entertainment industry behind to become a priest.
  • Author, psychologist, and speaker Gay Hendricks reflects on how he met the love of his life.
  • Emmy award winning filmmaker Jess Stainbrook recounts the time when he exhibited courage in the face of danger after being detained by the KGB.

Throughout the episode, I recount my own struggles in these areas and challenge you to reflect on how you might be able to find meaning in work, love, and courage.


Busted Halo https://bustedhalo.com/

Gay Hendricks https://hendricks.com/

The Invisible Disabilities Association https://invisibledisabilities.org/

Thanks for listening.

Direct download: Meaning_mixdown.mp3
Category:Inspiring Stories -- posted at: 12:25pm EDT

While running this morning, I heard the actor Mandy Patinkin being interviewed by Marc Maron on his WTF Podcast. In the conversation, he divulges that one of the ways he prays is by saying, “Help me help you in any way I can, in any way imaginable.”

This reminded me of a conversation I had with author Kevin Knight almost two years ago who talked about how running is a spiritual form of exercise for him and how running barefoot makes him feel more connected to the world as well as other people. 

Oftentimes, when he runs, Kevin is stopped by neighbors and people passing by because, let’s face it, it’s pretty unique to see someone running on the road barefoot. While this would annoy me to no end, he looks at it as an opportunity to change a moment for that other person in a positive way and I think that is a great sentiment to start the first episode of 2021 on.

Let’s all look for ways to positively impact other people this year. An investment in kindness costs nothing and it will pay dividends almost immediately.

Thanks for listening and Happy New Year! 

Direct download: Born_to_Run_mixdown.mp3
Category:Authors -- posted at: 12:11pm EDT