Info

Paper Napkin Wisdom - Podcast and Blog for Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Difference-Makers

I've asked 1000s of the worlds top Entrepreneurs, Leaders, and Difference-Makers to share with me their most important pearl of wisdom on a simple paper napkin. Then I ask them to have a conversation about why they shared that Paper Napkin Wisdom with me and what it meant to them and for them in their life. Visit http://www.papernapkinwisdom.com for full show notes and archives. Learn their exceptional Stories of Drive, Impact, Balance and Leadership shared by CEOs, founders, authors, speakers, mentors, and teachers. They share successes and failures alike, paying forward their learning experiences to all of us.
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
2017
September
August
July
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
May
April
March
February


2015
October
August
July
June
May
March
January


2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2013
December
November
October


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: April, 2016
Apr 26, 2016

The African Proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”, speaks on the value of having support from your tribe. In this podcast, Bill Dost – entrepreneur and friend to the show – discusses why family is so important and how he began to incorporate them into his entrepreneurial journey.

His napkin wisdom which reads, “Give me my family and I can do anything”, stems from his belief that you can do anything if your family is backing you. “But without that strength, what good is it to win anything?” mused Mr. Dost. It is important to note that “family” could be substituted for friends, a tribe or any group that supports and motivates you.

He learned this the hard way when he and his wife of twelve years, Maggie, began drifting apart a few years ago. “When my business was in a good place, I focused on the growth of “me” and not the growth of “us”,” Bill says. This led the couple to drifting apart. Because she wasn’t being kept in the loop, Maggie didn’t feel any sense of connection to Bill’s entrepreneurial journey – and even worse, she was beginning to feel the same sentiment towards Bill.

“I was a jerk,” Bill admits. During the 2008 recession, Bill took a step back and realized that he had neglected to grow with his wife during the entrepreneurial process. “I was investing in myself but not my significant other. This led to my family becoming a “single person household”,” says Bill.

However, he knew things needed to change. He apologized to his wife and began to include her in more – they began reading the same books, attending conferences together and more. And, slowly but surely, the relationship improved. He had learned a very important lesson that had almost cost him his marriage: “We need to provide the room for our spouses to have the same journey.

For so long it was all about me, and my growth. I would rather personally growth slower as a partner, than to grow faster and alone,” says Bill. Check out the podcast by clicking the link below and tweet us with ways you keep your tribe in the loop on your journey.

Apr 23, 2016

Each week I’ll post a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, just talking about how to apply the Paper Napkin Wisdom 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success in an everyday kind of way.

 

Had a fun, wine-filled conversation this week with someone about unlikely sources of cinematic inspiration. I've almost always gone back to this handful of movies when I feel like my belief in myself is shaken and I need a source of inspiration. 

What movies do you watch for inspiration? My top few are in the podcast ... but there are so many more (including my holiday favorite) It's a Wonderful Life, and Scrooged, that could have made the cut.

Make it a great week!

Apr 21, 2016

Over the past decade or so, the phrase “company culture” has become embedded in our vocabularies and used as an HR tool to attract the best and the brightest. It’s indisputable that today’s employees want to love the companies they work for.  But let’s go beyond the buzzwords and get to the heart of what company culture really means and why it’s important. Tristan White, described by Smart Company as “one of Australia's next generation of business leaders” and founder of The Physio Co., breaks down four key building blocks. 

“Company culture is not just about the good times and the parties. A strong culture helps you and your team get through tough times in business,” says Tristan. And he would know: The Physio Co, a patient care facility that focuses on elderly care, has been listed as one of “Australia’s Best Places to Work” for the past seven of the twelve years they’ve been in business.

His emphasis on company culture dates back to the start of his business. After five years of successfully running his company, he realized that he didn’t particularly enjoy going into the office anymore. “I had twenty team members, business had grown but there was no culture or vision for the company.”

In 2009, he and his wife took a trip to North America. There, they researched similar businesses and decided to take a values based approach to running their company back home. “Culture is built with vision, purpose, repetition and love. It’s a really big word that has so many layers, but at the end of the day, culture boils down to alignment,” he says.

Keeping employees aware and engaged with the BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal) and shorter term goals is a great way to maintain this alignment. Tristan has found success in connecting employee’s day to day responsibilities with the overarching company goals. “When we achieve our goals, we celebrate! However, when these goals aren’t achieved – which is sometimes the case – authenticity and honesty is important. Ask your team for help. Tell them what worked and what hasn’t worked,” remarks Tristan.

While some may think they’re similar, Tristan breaks down the dichotomy between vision and purpose: “Vision is where you’re headed; purpose is why you exist. When you seek to define your purpose, I like to refer people to Simon Sinek’s TED Talk, Start with Why.” When your purpose is made clear, hiring people who share the same values becomes a breeze. The third tenet of a solid culture, repetition, can sound a bit boring, which is why Tristan refers to it as “relentless execution”. While it can bring back memories of a boring summer job as a teenager, age old concepts like having a daily huddle or tracking certain metrics periodically can have a profound impact on culture.

“Use repetition to tie actions back to the purpose,” says Tristan. In addition to the mundane tasks, he also subscribes to a “rhythm of celebrations.” Employees are celebrated once they come onboard as well as when they leave. Consistently implementing these initiatives allows for the company culture to infiltrate every aspect of the business.

The final building block of a solid company culture is love. Showing employees that you care about them for more than their output can make a difference. “Lead with care, lead with love and you’ll get long term loyalty in return,” says Tristan. Using these four metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of your company culture will pay dividends in the short and long term. What are some tactics you use to keep your employees engaged? Tweet them to us after listening to the podcast.

Apr 12, 2016

We see it all of the time – entrepreneurs posting photos from their latest vacation or a conference they’re headlining or another notable event. However, people rarely talk about the guts behind the glory and what it took them to get there. Misty Lown has a different approach. Written on one of the nicest napkins we’ve seen on the show, Misty Lown explains her philosophy behind why rock bottom is a pretty good place for building.

“Everyone has a “ground zero” moment. I like to hear about those moments because they aren’t broadcast often. We do a great disservice to people by only showing the shiny parts of our story,” Misty explains. Currently, Misty owns nine businesses, including “Misty’s Dance Unlimited”, a dance academy Wisconsin where she and her staff inspire over 750 kids to be their best selves through dance and community involvement. Additionally, she operates “More Than Just Great Dancing”, a training school which teaches 145 dance schools worldwide on how to run with the same core values as her main business.  “My dance school is eighteen years old and the other [More Than Just Great Dancing] is four. And let me tell you, their ages and how they operate line up so much with parenthood,” says the mother of five children.

But things weren’t always so rosy. Misty’s beginnings in dance came from an unlikely start. She was born with a club foot (which was later fixed). “I thought that starting a dance school was [one of the last] things I’d be doing with my life,” she remembers. She admits to having been a troubled youth. She refers to those years as her “rock bottom”.

She recalls her days of partying and a devastating eating disorder, “My body was my tool and I was abusing it in every way possible. There’s no elegant way to put it, but it was just a hot mess. I had to do some hard heart work to figure out what I wanted to do with the gift God had given me.” At 18, she was accepted into the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. During the summer before sessions began, she realized her love for instructing – and, instead of taking her talents to the stage, she decided to take them to the dance studio. While she now sees the purpose behind her swift change, at the time, she referred to herself as an “accidental entrepreneur.”

In time, she began to realize that her rocky past wasn’t something to be ashamed of or hidden and made the intentional effort to begin to pay those lessons forward. She often ran into students who were facing similar difficulties and was able to provide them with her story as a source of guidance and inspiration. “Initially, I wanted to keep the shiny parts and remove the bad history. But, the benefits of owning your journey is to be able to tell people that you’re old enough to know better, but young enough to remember. During that rough patch, I wasn’t being buried, I was being built for something greater,” she muses.

Misty never regrets her decision to choose the classroom over the stage lights and applause. “Being in the classroom provides an ROI for a lifetime, especially when being compared to being on a stage for a few hours. I still talk to students from years ago; I wouldn’t be able to do that with an audience member,” she says.

As someone once said, “Successful entrepreneurs owe it to the next generation to pay forward their failures and just not their successes.” As Misty began to own her story, she began to find value in the creation and the process, not just the outcome. She shares this mindset with her teams and her family. “There’s great value in doing small things well. I didn’t understand this straight out of the gate and I still don’t have it perfect. Entrepreneurship is a muscle that needs to be built and exercised.”

Apr 10, 2016

Each week I’ll post a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, just talking about how to apply the Paper Napkin Wisdom 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success in an everyday kind of way.

 

I was visiting a group of 20-30 entrepreneurs in Washington, DC this week and we were discussing Execution (getting stuff done). There are so many of us that seem to get stuck in urgent tasks, instead of focusing on the important work that will move us forward.  Sometimes we do this because it is more comfortable to play the role of the superhero and the save the day, the way we have always done, rather than do the uncomfortable task of doing something new.

Remember, the new task - the harder one to pick, is supposed to be uncomfortable. We have never done it before. Go for it ... do the thing that you have never done to get the results you have never had.

Apr 6, 2016

Twenty years ago, Steve Sims was bored. “I was automatically depressed before I left the house. I realized that there was no fun, no passion, no excitement. There was nothing beyond getting a paycheck. Eventually I said, f*** no,” he remembers. The East London construction worker and motorcycle enthusiast talked his way into getting a bank job, which transferred him to Hong Kong in 1994. “I came on a Saturday and was fired by Tuesday,” he laughs. Stranded in Hong Kong and straddled with debt, he began working at a night club. After gaining clout within the nightlife community and high rollers, he developed a password in order for people to gain admission into his exclusive parties. The password was Bluefish, which would go on to become the name of his company, a group that creates customized concierge experiences. Around this time, he found his governing principle, “If there’s no passion, there’s no point. I actually have it painted on a wall in my office,” he says.

Fast forward two decades and this principle still guides his life. A large component of this philosophy deals with presenting one’s authentic self at all times. He recalls that he toned himself down for a bit, opted for a Bentley instead of a motorcycle and a suit instead of his normal garb. This ended up negatively impacting his business and no one could understand why. “When I changed back into my normal self, the clients returned. They couldn’t even put their finger on why they had stopped doing business with me,” he remarks, “Being me is so bloody easy, it takes no effort for it to be me.”

An additional component of his philosophy involves keeping the entrepreneurial fire burning by only doing the things he likes. “I do what I like and outsource everything else. I focus on doing just what I’m good at. When I do this, I go from maybe 10% productive to 60 or 80% productive,” he claims. Steve is also very aware of the people he lets into his space, citing that he will only interface with people who are incredibly passionate. He often opts to perform The Chug Test. In short, if a client was across the street, he assesses whether or not he would run across the road to catch up with the client and possibly chug down a coffee or beer, “I have turned away clients if they fail this test. I also ask my team members to put our potential clients up to this test.”

While entrepreneurs may view this as unreasonable or hard to maintain, Steve argues that it’s just like building a habit, like jogging or some other form of exercise. Just like the password became a filter to ensure that only the people who he liked could get into the parties, this test ensures that he only works with people who share his sense of passion and purpose. “This may come off as rude but that’s not my intention. This is my life; I’m going to die one day and I want to enjoy every single minute I’m alive.”

How do you live with passion? Tweet us with your answers @PaperNapkin and click below to listen to this podcast.

Apr 2, 2016

Each week I’ll post a short podcast, usually between 3 to 5 minutes long, just talking about how to apply the Paper Napkin Wisdom 5 Step Plan to Life and Business Success in an everyday kind of way.

 

This week we continued to roll out a new product in one of my companies and the feedback has been great! In fact most of the time people are surprised we haven't been around for years. But there's no secret to how we did this - we practiced and practiced and practiced our pitch, story, and value proposition before taking it to the world.

Listen in and I share how you can do the same in your business.

1