Giving Ourselves Permission – Ep.93

Making Yourself a Priority – Ep.92
June 7, 2023
Women in the Military – Ep.94
June 21, 2023

In this week’s podcast, I wanted to share a fantastic episode from The More Business More Life Podcast with Steve Napolitan, Jovanni Godina, Stephanie Vedder and myself, Melyssa Barrett, centered around permitting ourselves to choose our own experiences.

Melyssa Barrett: Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week, I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share, or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started.

I know many of you are used to hearing the Jali podcast, but today, I thought I would share the More Business More Life podcast with the Jali listeners. I wanted to share this episode of the More Business More Life podcast, where we explore the powerful concept of giving yourself permission to create a life of abundance and fulfillment. The co-hosts include Steve Napolitan, Jovanni Godina, Stephanie Vedder, and myself, Melyssa Barrett. Together, the team embarks on a journey to uncover the secrets behind aligning your business endeavors with your personal aspirations, ultimately fostering a life that’s not just about work, but about experiencing true joy and purpose.

In a world that often glorifies the hustle culture, and prioritizes constant busyness, we challenge the status quo, and ask the important question, “What if there was a better way?” The More Business More Life podcast is dedicated to dismantling the myth that success in business must come at the expense of personal wellbeing and quality of life. We believe that you can have both, a thriving business and a deeply fulfilling life. Through engaging conversations, we’ll delve into values, topics like productivity, mindset, self-care, and even unconventional strategies for achieving sustainable success. We’ll share our stories of how we embrace the power of giving ourselves permission to live life on our own terms and how we’re creating more business and more life without sacrifice.

Whether you’re a business owner, an aspiring entrepreneur, or simply seeking inspiration to lead a more balanced life, this podcast is your invitation to challenge the conventional notions of success, and explore new possibilities. We’ll provide practical insights, actionable strategies, and a supportive community to help you unleash your potential, and redefine what it means to thrive in both business and life. So if you’re ready to break free from the societal expectations, and embrace a holistic approach to success, join us on the More Business More Life podcast. It’s time to give yourself permission to create a life of abundance, purpose, and limitless potential.

Let’s embark on this transformative journey together. If you like this episode, feel free to like and subscribe to the More Business More Life podcast too.

Steve Napolitan: Welcome to the More Business More Life podcast. This show is for socially conscious CEO, founders, entrepreneurs that have found success, but maybe you don’t have the life that you want right now. Maybe you’re working too many hours, and rightfully so because you’re so passionate about what you’re doing. But here on this show, we believe there are other things in life, maybe your family, travel to that you want to be a part of. So, More Business More Life, what we’re bringing is systems and procedures so that we can have super hyper-efficient effectiveness in our business so that we can get more done. We can increase revenue by millions of dollars while working less than 40 hours a week.

That’s what we call more business and more life. This is a weekly show, and you can expect to have all kinds of tips and skills around business so that you can start achieving more with less time. That’s what we’re all about here so that we can have more of the life that we want. Guess what? Season two, here we are. I’m inviting more of the team on this show here. So, I am one of your co-hosts, Steve Napolitan. Let me introduce the rest of the team here.

Stephanie Vedder: Hi, I’m Stephanie Vedder.

Jovanni Godina: Jovanni Godina.

Melyssa Barrett: Melyssa Barrett.

Steve Napolitan: Melyssa, Stephanie, Jovanni are here joining me. They’re going to be co-hosting season two with me, and I’m so grateful to be here. The highlights of today’s episode is we’re going to talk about more business and more life and what it means to us, and then more importantly, why is it important, and then how can we all have it? How can we have that, and what are the first steps that we can take so that we can start having the life we want, and the abundance at the same time? It’s not an or. It’s an and. Without further ado, let’s get into this episode.

Welcome to the first episode of our season two. This is actually our 55th episode, double five. Hey, I like doubles, and we are going to take the time to really talk about the More Business More Life philosophy today, and why it’s important. Our core purpose for our company and our podcast is to help as many people find the freedom that they desire, achieve that freedom. So as you get to know more than just me, Steve Napolitan here as a co-host, bringing on our other team members, we want to use this episode to get to know each of us a little bit more, and I think more importantly, beyond getting to know us, really understand why it’s so important for us to live a more business, more life style, because we believe it’s no longer okay to work really, really hard to some old age, and then try to live.

It’s not appropriate. We’re made as humans to live each decade of our life, and to have more than one thing. We’re not one thing, none of us. If you look in the mirror, how could you define yourself as one thing? None of us are one thing. We like different things. You might be working on an amazing thing that’s going to change the world. We hope you are. At the same time, you’re a family person. You might be a mother or father, or maybe you want to travel. Maybe you want to play music. It’s only later in life that I started playing music, and that’s because I finally gave myself permission, because I too was a complete workaholic, so passionate about what I was doing, working so many hours.

I won’t get into the whole story right now, but I transformed and changed my life. I really do feel like I’m living another life. I actually feel like I’ve had multiple lifetimes in one life and one body. I want to share, and I know my co-hosts want to share with you our stories and our learnings so that you can make a difference in your life. I don’t know who wants to jump in here, but maybe just share why. Remind everyone your name, and then share why more business and more life is so important to you.

Jovanni Godina: Absolutely. Jovanni Godina here, more business and more life. I am the person that if you listened to the podcast before, you’ve heard this say this before. I’m not a worker. I have never been a hard worker, and I always thought that was bad. When I heard Steve first talk about More Business, More Life, I was just like, “Oh my gosh, yes. That is what it is.” Because for me, life isn’t about working. It’s about living and finding something that you enjoy, and are passionate about and making the we like to call lifework integration so that they’re working together in symbiotic relationship. It’s not the one or the other, because when you used to do the scaling of it’s either work or life, and when you’re on the other side of one, one goes down. One goes up.

We don’t think that’s the right way to think about life. When you integrate things, they’re in balance with each other. You have the business that you’re looking for so that it gives you the freedom to have the life that you want in today’s world. So for me, I was just drawn to it because that’s how I already thought. It was just nice to see and hear somebody else from the rooftops, from the cliff screaming it down to people, “Hey, you guys can do things differently. You don’t have to just grind and grind and grind.” You can have life, and you can have business. You can have your cake, and eat it too. But I firmly believe in today’s world, you can definitely have both, and share that cake with others.

So, I truly believe in more business, more life and our philosophy in general of work-life integration.

Melyssa Barrett: I love that. Yes. I’m Melyssa Barrett. I would just add on to that because I came from a background where my father was absolutely a workaholic, and expected me to be as well. I have been for years just… I mean, I remember from the youngest age him taking me to his office at Xerox, and knowing that if I had 24 hours in a day like everybody else, I had to use mine effectively. So, I think what has been so transformative to me is there are times in your life when you realize that you are working all the time. I mean, you can’t even enjoy life, because you know you’re trying to make an impact in the world.

I think really coming back to that center to really understand that life is about the journey. It’s not just about producing and productivity, but you are leaving this life at some point, and that you want to leave a legacy. So, I think for me, it’s all about really learning how to center your life so that you’re getting what you want out of your life, both in business and in fun, because life is too short. You want to be able to really enjoy it.

Stephanie Vedder: So well said, Melyssa. I agree with you. This is Stephanie Vedder here. Just listening to you talk… Actually, I had this picture of my father, and I’m thinking about my own story and my why and what’s connected me to More Business More Life, and I mean, how much more simple can you put it when somebody says, “It’s more business and more life?” It’s like, “Yes, please, I want that. I want more business, but I also want to have my life.” So, that drew me in instantly, but I’m even thinking about my family and how did that show up for me and the choices that I’ve made. My dad used to work in a muffler shop, so he still has scars up and down his arms now. But he decided at one point, he always tells me I was very young.

He was looking at the bank statements and looking at me, and like, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to provide this life that I want for my family?” So, he made a choice to become an entrepreneur, and had a lot of success, worked really hard, and built this incredible life for our family. We had a lot of blessings. So, when I had my family, it was like, “I want that too,” and I had met Steve shortly after I had my family, and I was having mediocre success, but I knew that I had really big dreams buried deep inside that I really wanted to chase. Really, More Business More Life gave me the permission, for one, and then the tools to do that. So, to be able to actually have my family, have my experiences, like you said, put the fun first, and just simple adjustments, simple adjustments in business, simple adjustments in life that you can make if you really focus on it, and you really put your intention there to have the life that you want.

I mean, it’s empowering. It’s beautiful. We’re connecting with more people who want the same things like us, and we’re helping these socially conscious leaders, people who want to make a positive impact on the world, have more of that for themselves so that they can do more good but have more life too. I mean, it’s a beautiful thing. I’m super, super grateful that Steve was brought into my life five years ago. So, my background is sales and marketing, and I’ve always done the things to have success in that way, but I’ve made the decision not so long ago to keep choosing life in an even greater way. That’s why I’m here.

Steve Napolitan: I appreciate that. I know there’s so much more to learn from each of you on your journeys, and it’s more than one episode. That’s why this podcast exists, because we have so much to learn from and to share. At some point, we’ll bring on some guests, but in the first wave of episodes here, it’s going to be the four of us sharing these transitions, because I think that’s the piece that’s so hard is we’ve been trained to believe that it’s or. It’s either or. Either you’re going to work and be successful, or you can have something else and be poor and not have have money.

You’ve heard of the starving artists, the starving musician or some wants to travel. There’s nothing wrong with that too, going from hostel to hostel. I mean, there’s something amazing. I remember my friends telling me, “Hey, go do this with me, or come to this party or this.” I’m like, “You know what? I’m working right now, and I’ll party in style later,” but I missed a lot. Part of me in my 20s, I wished I grabbed the backpack and went through Europe. I didn’t get to go to Europe until way later in my adult life, and I had kids, and which was beautiful. It was a totally different experience, but I watched some of the younger people around me.

I’m like, “Man, that would’ve been cool to try this out without kids with a backpack.” Those things are gone. Life keeps going. So, I often say life’s not about waiting until you figure it out, and then you get to rewind maybe in another lifetime or some other experience, but the reality is this is our life, and so the more serious we take it. I even go all the way to death. A lot of us don’t want to say that word death or that end of life. I find the people that are most timid or not wanting to talk about that are the ones that are most scared that they’re not living. They’re not truly living. So coming back to this, we want to… What you heard from everyone here and what we’re doing is and.

You can have more business and more life at the same time. Here’s why I believe that so strongly, and we proved it over and over and over and over, dozens and dozens of businesses. Our goal is to reach over 1,000 businesses living this way, where they’re working less than 40 hours a week, having more revenue than ever before, breaking records. We’ve already done this, and now we want to multiply our efforts, and be able to take more vacations because it is now proven. There’s tons of data out there. You can look it up, and we’ll share some of that data throughout the time on this podcast. But the folks that are taking more time off, you actually get smarter, and you’re already smart.

You’re just worn out. The battery is low, and we’re there. Can you imagine if you had one battery in a drill, and you’re drilling away, and you have to get those 10 last holes, and the battery’s dying and it’s going, “Hurry.” It’s barely getting through the whole. Some of us in that metaphor, we stay at our desk or whatever work we’re doing, and we work, work. Then you spend hours doing what should take seconds, just think about that. We all know that’s true, so then it becomes undeniable that we need rest. Your human body has one battery. It’s the work and life force that you have. So by resting, then we actually can achieve more. We can have our battery fully charged, go in, and get those holes drilled in 10 seconds.

The more that I’ve done this, the quicker I’ve made good decisions and better decisions. I’ve made less mistakes, because I have rest. So, we should be taking rest as serious as we take work, because it is what’s going to give us that life that we so preciously want, because the worst thing, some of my elders have passed away. I’ve lost other cousins, aunts, friends early to life, because they didn’t take care of themselves as well as they could have, or circumstances. I also lost loved ones to car accidents and unexpected things. It’s just every time that happens, it’s telling me how precious life is. So, I just want to start with a story, and then let’s go around with each of us what that turning point was.

For me, I think… I’ll start with, for me, one of the big turning points. I’ve had multiple turning points, and we can dig into them. The most recent one was 18 months ago, I was paralyzed, which that’s not the story I want to start with, but I’ve been recovering due to my mindset and the things that we’re going to teach here, but the biggest turning point was me feeling like a loser actually being in one of the darker times in my life, being angry and disappointed in my outcomes. Because for 12 years, from 19 to 31, I worked like I thought I was supposed to. I was doing all the things. I was living by that mantra that if you’re not working 18 hours, you’re not an entrepreneur.

So I said, “What the hell? I’ll work 20 hours. I’ll sleep three hours,” and I did. I did those crazy things, and then I was losing. I looked back. It’s from exhaustion. I treated people poorly, because I didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to be appropriate, because I was exhausted. I made poor decisions, because I was exhausted. My mental capacity was low, and I was making achievements just because of the sheer velocity that I was going. So yeah, if you run all over the place, you’re going to see a lot of things. I know Melyssa can talk about this. She traveled all around the world for a big corporation, but then it was like, “Get off the plane. Go to the hotel. You, go there.”

You could say I traveled the world, but did you see it? I didn’t see it. My girlfriend at the time that became my wife, she always said, “When are you going to stop, and smell the roses?” I was like, “I don’t have time right now.” I just believed so strongly that I’d had to achieve these things, so that comes to that moment of transition when I had lost over $4 million in the end of my 20s, sitting there at 31 feeling like a loser that I could achieve more. I didn’t do it right. In that moment, that’s where gratitude started to come, because I had met my mentor, and I told him the whole story. Basically for me, it was a big reveal.

I was, for the first time, admitting that I’m a loser. So I was like, “Hey, I’m a loser.” Then he looked at me. He said, “How many 20-year-olds have lost $4 million that you know?” I sat there, and I thought… I was like, “Actually, I don’t know any.” He’s like, “Exactly, it’s rare. Would you do everything the same?” I said, “Absolutely not.” He said, “Then you’ve learned a lot.” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Well, then what a gift your life has given you because you’re only 31 years old, and you’ve achieved lessons that takes usually 50 to 60 years of life, and have finally had gratitude.”

That’s why choose gratitude, create freedom is a huge mantra and trademark for us, because it really has allowed my freedom. So in that moment, I realized that I could think differently, that I didn’t have to do it the way everyone else did. That’s what I learned from other people, and so that’s the biggest thing now is that moment of realization that life doesn’t happen to us. It happens for us. So, I had all that happen to me so that I could be the man that’s here on this podcast with you right now, and it gave me the awareness to learn something new. Then the biggest thing was get mentors.

Anything I wanted to do, I want to follow someone else. That’s what I did with that mentor. I followed what he did, and in eight years time, my life was so different. People looked at me in pictures eight years later, and they thought I was younger than I was in my twenties. I looked younger. I actually… I do believe that’s possible, because when you rest, your body rejuvenates. It regrows its cells, and this naturally happens. But if you don’t rest, you deteriorate. We can watch ourselves. If we work too hard, we start looking very aged. So, there’s so much more. I truncate this story just to spit on one podcast, and leave space for each of you, but I guess like popcorn, if you each want to open up and share what do you think your biggest transitional moment when you could decide to have more business and more life was for you.

Melyssa Barrett: Well, let me jump in here, and talk a little bit about my life, because I think there are probably many CEOs that whether they’re an executive or an entrepreneur, they are putting in the work. If they’re socially conscious, they are putting in the work to make this community and our world a better place. That typically means everything, whether you’re sacrificing your family at home so that you can be in the office or not. I think I was definitely that person working… I mean, if I had to work 18, 20 hours a day, that’s what I would do in order to make sure that we had the life that we wanted. My life actually at that point included typically a three-hour commute each way.

So, I would spend my life on the road getting to work. Then by the time I got home, when I left, I probably didn’t see my kids, and when I got home, they would be either in bed or ready to go. So, I was missing a lot of experiences with my kids. Quite frankly, even if we were on vacation, I would usually be working at some point during the vacation as well, but then we had a significant challenge in our life where my husband ended up with stage four cancer, and I realized just how short life is. He was 51 when he passed away. Everybody in his life lived to be 95 or 100. He had just the longevity in his family.

I used to joke and say that I would be the one to go first, because I knew that his family lived so long. So, it was a shock, I think, for all of us to see that he was in a stage four cancer. There was not a whole lot they could do. I found myself widowed at 49, and just realizing that life is so short that we really need to understand what we want to get out of life and what that means, so me trying to realize as a couple, now single as a mother. I had grown children at the time. I mean, they were mostly grown, but now, grandchildren and experiencing so many things for the first time, but I worked a lot in the community as well.

I think one of the things that I found is when I was working in business, and I went up through the ranks, became a vice president, a payment technology company, working on the product side, which was cradle to grave, whether it included marketing, public relations, legal, all of those things. But one of the things that I found is when George Floyd passed away as well, it was like, “How do I find myself? What am I doing? What do I want this life to be about?” I had known, Steve, I think it was like 25 years prior. One of the things that I really found was he brought meaning back to me to help me understand where I wanted to be, what I wanted to do with my own life, and really essentially gave me permission to plan my fun first, which I had never done.

So, being able to do all that and just really transform my life, I had success in my life as a vice president at a Fortune 500 company, but I didn’t have the life that I wanted. That was where Steve really came in and brought that to me. It transformed my life, and it continues to transform my life. So, I have lots more in the works I know, but it has been just a fabulous journey.

Jovanni Godina: Thanks for sharing, Melyssa. That’s always… When I hear your story, it amazes me, all the stuff that you’ve done and gone through, and how strong of a person you are. So, I’ll always love hearing that. I’ll go. Jovanni here again. As you guys were both saying it, and I’ve said it within our team before, I’m the opposite of the three other amazing people on this podcast here. I’m finally coming to terms that it’s okay, because we all have our own experiences, and I’m here for those people who maybe aren’t the workaholics, but they know there’s another way of doing things. So, my story is funny.

Steve, as you were talking about yours, I was like, “I am the opposite of Steve. Steve’s tall. I’m short. He was a workaholic. I was never a workaholic.” The thing that we’re similar on both hands and men, so we’re good on that. But as you were saying that, when you said you felt like a loser, it was like, “Man, that’s how I used to feel too, because I come from a family of workers that they found a nine to five job, and they did it.” I never saw that as a path for me. When I did have those jobs, I was miserable. I was just like… Because when I was younger, I was just so much more full of life, and like, “There’s got to be a better way of doing this.”

I think I can’t just sit at a desk, or I can’t just be just wasting my life. That’s what I thought. So, I always felt bad. I’m like, “Man, I don’t… I’m lazy. I don’t want to work, all this other stuff.” Fast-forward, I’m to find out. The reason why I was drawn to Steve, and this is our philosophy, and it really is a philosophy of life, I think, the way I think about it. It’s that there is a better way, whether you’re a workaholic or you’re trying to find a better way of doing things so that you don’t have to be a workaholic. That’s where it meets both spectrums. That’s what I was always looking for is like, “okay, I’m not a worker, so I don’t want to be spending…”

Really, I didn’t want to spend eight hours at a place. Compared to the people here, that’s very minimal. They’re like, “That’s a good vacation, Jovanni.” Working eight hours is a vacation, but I didn’t want to do that, and then I definitely didn’t want to do more than any of that stuff. So when I heard Steve, what I was doing… I didn’t want to work for anybody, and so the time that I met Steve, I was actually… I’m a photographer, headshot photographer. I was just starting my business, because I didn’t want to work for somebody else. For me when I started that, I had no clue how to start a business, no clue.

I didn’t even know… This is how a naive… I didn’t know there was a Chamber of a Commerce. I didn’t even know those. I barely learned how to register my business by Googling how to do that. I didn’t even know about networking groups. I didn’t know about any of that stuff. Then I met Steve, and he was telling his story and everything. I was like, “Oh my gosh, yes. Even for a person who doesn’t want to work…” If I’m a person who doesn’t want to work, I’m looking for the easiest and smoothest path available, because I want to go spend my time doing something other than working, and so…

But, the stories you’re telling Steve just now, I was like, “Oh my gosh, yeah, I feel like a loser, because I didn’t fit the mold that everybody else that I knew. I didn’t fit… I wasn’t that puzzle piece that the rest of my family and friends that I knew at that time were fitting into.” I was just like, “Man, what’s wrong with me?” Then I find out there’s nothing wrong with me. There’s nothing wrong with any of you. We are who we are, and just there’s different ways of doing things and getting to the things. Then when you said you just had to tell your wife, Jen had to tell you to stop and smell the roses.

I remember, back in the day, one of my ex-girlfriends, I literally… I was a person like, “Hey, here’s a rose bush. Stop. Smell these bushes. We’re going to see her for just…” Because she was always go, go, go, go, go. I was like, “Hey, let’s calm it down. Let’s bring it down just a little bit, and let’s…” Literally, physically, I made her stop and smell the roses. I’m like, “You need to smell these. They smell amazing,” and so you telling that story, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’ve always been the guy.” Then I started getting into having my own business, and letting society tell me I have to work hard and work long to be successful.

I started letting who I was naturally go, and I started getting all these other preconceived notions of what I should be doing. Then you came into my life, Steve. I was like, “Oh my gosh, I was already thinking that.” It was such validation that you and more and more people now are starting to spout this. You don’t have to work that much. Work smarter, not harder, and efficient. So, it is funny to see that I am the black sheep of our group, which is amazing, because you guys are so amazing at what you did, and you have all those experiences, and I can come from the other aspect of it.

Those people who feel like they’re too lazy, feel like they don’t know what to do or don’t have that drive or whatnot, I’ll tell you it’s just finding something that you are passionate about, and finding, like Steve says, mentors. Why wouldn’t you find somebody who can help you cut years off of your business or years off of whatever else that’s on your plate that you want to get better at quicker? So, I am here to help all those of you feel that way.

Steve Napolitan: Well, and I know Stephanie, you’re going to jump in, but I just wanted to add one thing.

Stephanie Vedder: It’s okay.

Steve Napolitan: That’s what my mentor told me when I first started in my 30s creating new habits, he said, “People like you, Steve, you’re the hardest ones to coach, because you’re so used to doing everything that it’s hard for you to learn to eliminate and delegate and such.” He said lazy people are the easiest for him to coach, because they already want to do it, like you said, the least amount possible. So, it does work both ways from whichever avenue you’re coming from, and it’s just a matter of living.

So I just wanted to add in some ways it’s easier, because of those blessings that you felt were like loser qualities are actually genius qualities. So, congratulations on having those straight out the gate.

Stephanie Vedder: Success. Well, thank you. Man, I’m just so grateful for all my wow teammates here. I think a big part of success, any of the success that I’ve had is to surround yourself with people who inspire you, whether it’s in a business relationship, at your work, friends, whatever that might be. I just feel so lucky right now to be amongst the folks here, because you all inspire me. I’m feeling compelled for some reason to even tell the story of an adventure that our team had. Just a couple weeks ago, we were traveling to one of our events, and things didn’t go according to plan. Not at all.

Actually, we boarded our plane in SFO, and about an hour later, we deboarded the plane, and we hung out for the day in the airport for about seven hours. You would think that there would be stress, that there would be tension, and it was just fun. We had a great time, and so one of our core values is fun. We try to have fun with our clients and our work and our life. We make that mandatory actually to have fun. I have to say that it was such a great bonding experience. So even though we’ve all been connected to Steve in some meaningful way, and he’s changed our life over the years, our team has really just come together in the last six months, and to all share in this mission to help others have the life that we want.

Then through that, it’s actually helping us create the life that we want. So, our little trip went from a six-hour trip to Oklahoma to a 30-hour trip with no luggage and a series of other things, but it was so good for us to just come together and really get to know each other. I just was so grateful for all of you. My story is somewhere in between, I think, maybe Melyssa and Jovanni. I had invested in myself, and started doing the work with Steve couple years ago. Things were good at the time, but I wanted my life to be better. In a short amount of time, I was able to double my income. I was in business development for a large media company, a billion dollar media company selling advertising.

I had had a lot of success in the company. I actually went to over a million dollars in sales multiple years in a row, so I was getting notice within the company. They promoted me. So I thought I was having success, but my calendar was not my own. I barely had time to eat, use the facilities. I was just on back-to-back meetings all day, and by the end of the day just drained with nothing left to give. I thought that I was having success. I was doing what I was supposed to do. I was moving up the corporate ladder, but it was corporate. So, I was coaching my team to these strategies that I didn’t personally believe in, because I knew there was a better way, because I had done the work with Steve, and I just didn’t know how to get out.

What’s worse was I knew it wasn’t supposed to be like this because I had a coach. Steve had taught me for years. Life is not supposed to be this way. In fact, my daughter had started writing herself into my agenda. I used to keep my calendar, my to-do list on my desk, and I came in one morning after working a late night and missing bedtime, and she was in there. She had written herself like Dani time, because she just wanted me to read to her. So, that really hit me. So, I knew I needed to start finding another way. My job was affecting my relationships. I was sick. I was getting injured at the gym.

I was sad. I was stressed. I was… All the things that you could think of, everything that Steve’s been talking about, what happens when you put work before everything else, but I didn’t know how to quit because that’s not really who I am. I felt so much responsibility to my team. I felt this loyalty to the company who had given me this great opportunity, but I was deep inside asking for an answer. Then the most amazing thing happened. They let me go. They let me go. Sometimes the universe makes choices for you, and I’m super grateful for that. It reaffirmed everything that I knew that this was my chance to make new decisions to really build my career around my life for real, and I’ve done that.

I’ve actually been able to do that over the last six months. It’s been a bit of an unlearning, if you will. It’s taken a while for me to not feel guilt around actually putting myself first, but it’s been amazing. This is really what I want for everyone. This is what I want for everybody, and so that’s what inspires me to get up every day, and join forces with this amazing team. Our job is literally to live out our values, so we have core values and principles. We get to live them every day, and teach others how to live them, and have the life that they desire, so that…

I don’t know, I guess that’s my why and that’s my story. Sounds a pie in the sky, I guess, that you could have both at the same time, but we have lots of case studies and all the people on this podcast are one of them.

Steve Napolitan: It takes time to allow. I think allow is the word, right? It is one of the words or giving ourselves permission. You used the word quit, Stephanie. I think we never really quit. Even, what is failure? One of my mentors, and actually has become a mutual mentor for some of you, Carl Buchheit, he always says there’s no failure. There’s only feedback. So all these things that happen to us is just giving us feedback, and then take that even into the next thing of that word quit. There’s really no quit when you go for your dreams because if you know… So, the only way that you could quit or surrender to failure is just to actually stop. But the reality, most of us are going towards our dream.

What gets confusing is that when we pick a road, so you had your corporate road. Melyssa, you had your road. You, Jovanni, you’re like… You thought it was the lazy road, and you even thought that wasn’t good, right? So, we’re even not happy. That’s where we’re not being grateful for the road we’re on. There might have been wisdom on each of those roads, but we were talking bad about our own road, which is not helpful, but then even think about changing the road. We all know if we want to go anywhere, there typically are many roads to get to where we want to go, and that’s the difference. I think that’s what we should focus on.

The significance is that we’re no longer accepting the road we’re on if it’s hurting us, which also comes back to feelings. We’re also taught to not feel like, “Suck it up. Stop being a little girl or a little boy. Stop doing that. Now, it’s time to put on your big boy pants or your big girl pants, and be an adult.” That means you can’t feel. Well, that’s ridiculous. We all feel, and we are meant to feel. If you put your hand towards fire, hopefully your body feels the heat, and pulls away before you touch it. But if you touch the fire, chances are you’re going to have a knee-jerk reaction, and pull away before you can even realize what you’re doing, because your body has what is called the safety mechanism, nerve endings that communicate to the brain so that it knows how to keep you safe.

Well, why in the world when we think it’s smart to ignore our feelings when it comes to our emotional side? Yes, that’s a physical side, like touching fire, but we also have feelings for the emotional side. I’m just making a point for this, because look at all of our stories. At some point, we decided to listen to that inner voice, and make new decisions. I hope this can empower everyone listening to this, that you have a choice. That’s the first thing. You choose your life. That’s why choose gratitude, create freedom, finding what you’re grateful for, and how Stephanie could be so grateful that her job decided to go away instead of her having to make the decision, which I know for knowing Stephanie, she was thinking about it for so long. So in a way, she manifested this, because she kept actually wanting.

Stephanie Vedder: Yeah, it worked out amazing. It was one of those things where I was meditating on it every day, asking for a sign, asking for what was meant to be to come to me, because I couldn’t see it. In that moment, I couldn’t see how to have what I needed, and it was interesting about that separation. The company was so kind to offer me to stay on board, to be demoted. I was like, “Oh, I could do that. I’ve done that job for years. I could do it, but what would I actually like?” Then they made it possible really for me to do this, to pursue this passion, and it really has become a passion.

I mean, I felt like I was always helping people before. In marketing, I was helping my clients. I was helping their business grow. That was adding value in some way. But in this way, to literally hear people at our events say, “My gosh, this is life changing,” changing perspectives, changing beliefs, it’s special, really cool.

Steve Napolitan: It is. All that makes it by design. So, the essence of all of what we’re talking about… Thank you all so much. I am equally grateful. You all talked about gratitude from being together. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by all of you. I’m so looking forward to all the episodes we’re going to create here of these life-changing moments. Ultimately, we have to go back to choosing the experience that we want to have in our life, and choose it now. Don’t wait because, like all of us said, life’s going to go and some…

There’s going to be things that are going to be sad or tragic when the people we love leave this planet or when we leave, and we don’t know that date unless you’re a super-duper fortuneteller, but most of us don’t know. So, we want to live now. So, my thing to everyone listening and to all of us here is to write down the experiences we want to have in our life, and then literally design them, put them on our calendar. That’s where, I think, Melissa said that was the big thing she was shocked by that I was saying, “Plan your fun first.” Yes, plan what you want to do, and then build your business or your career around that.

You already do it. You already fit in the things that you want on the weekends or the wee hours after you work, so we know as human beings how to fit things in. So now, I’m telling you plan what you want in your life, and then fit the work in. Then fit the part to make money. It’s so backwards right now. Go make money doing something you don’t like for a lot of people. That’s why… Why do you think people say, “Thank God, it’s Friday?” Why do you think TGIF became a thing? Because they’re living someone else’s life, and then waiting for the weekend to live. Then you get one day, because by the second day of the weekend, you’re already thinking, “Oh man, I have to go back to work tomorrow.”

That’s if you got a weekend, and how many executives are working through the weekend too? So, start living. We’re made to live. We’re made to live. So, it’s by design. So if you’re thinking this is ridiculous, or like Stephanie said, “Oh, this is pie in the sky,” well, it’s not if you design it. If you choose this right now to live, then it’s just a matter of fitting it in, and it might take some time. You might have to start step by step. What’s one thing that you really want? Then plan that. I once had a woman in one of our workshops, and she had a twin sister. She started crying, and she said, “I haven’t seen her in two years, and we’re so close. She owned her own business.”

So I asked her knowing that. I said, “Can I ask you a question?” She said, “Sure.” I said, “Who makes your schedule?” She knew right away what I said. She’s like, “Well, of course I do.” I said, “Well then, what can you do about this?” She said that I probably could plan a trip to see my sister. I said, “Yes, you can.” A few minutes after that, we went on break. We came back from break, and she raised her hand. I said, “Yeah.” She said, “I booked a trip.” So on break, she booked a trip to go see her sister, life changing. Who am I to give that permission?

I don’t think it’s necessary, but if I can do that, if we can do that, if we can all give you permission to choose what you want, and start booking the trip to go see your twin sister or whatever that twin sister is to you, whatever that special thing is, that’s what this is about. That’s what More Business More Life is about. You know what’s so crazy? When you start choosing you, you start having more business. I actually thought when I started developing these methods, and learning from others, I thought, “Well, I’m okay making less.” It’s not okay not to be a dad. By this time. I already was a dad. So, I already with my son, my oldest, he didn’t know me at the beginning.

I was a workaholic father, which my father did. I was trying to work so hard to not work like my dad. I’ll tell you, working to not work doesn’t work. That does not work. It’s digging a hole to get out of a hole, and we often do that. I’m digging myself out of this hole. No, you’re not. You’re digging deeper. You got to put the shovel down, and get a ladder. So, let’s try new things. Let’s be bold. Let’s be willing to do things totally different, because if we’re not willing to do things different, then we’re going to keep having the same old thing that we no longer want that you probably didn’t want from the beginning.

So, that was it. It started with choice. For me, it really started with gratitude, so don’t beat yourself up about what happened. Be kind to yourself. I could look back and say, “Oh, I did this wrong, and I did that wrong. But you know what, I learned every step of the way.” It just felt so much for my heart as I listened to all your stories, so thanks for letting me share those words. We have about eight or nine minutes left for today’s episode. I’m curious, what might be the thing… I don’t know how to poise this question, but what I’m thinking in my mind is what was the first step for you, or you can… There’s an or on this one.

You could choose what first step would you suggest, or maybe it’s an and. Go ahead with the end. Maybe what was your first step, and what would you suggest knowing now what your first step is? For me, I already said it. Mine is to really… I think gratitude comes first, really just appreciating all that you experienced, and then right after that is choosing what you want, really taking that first step, and then be willing to figure it out. You don’t need to know how. Just first choose it, and then work through it. We all find… If you really want something, think about anything you really wanted in your life. You got it. Most likely, you got it.

I always ask that to people like, “Think of the things you want the most, and then realize you have them.” So if you don’t have something, you probably maybe either really don’t want it, or you believe you can’t have it, which is a whole nother thing. So anyway, just to pass it around, these what would be a first step for someone that wants to start embarking on this More Business More Life?

Stephanie Vedder: I’m trying to think how to break that down to one thing. You’ve said a lot of things that could potentially be a first step. So, I don’t want to step in anybody else’s toes.

Steve Napolitan: Well, what was it for you? Do you remember the first motion to creating your life?

Stephanie Vedder: I think it was just making space to ask myself those questions like, “What would I like? What do I really want my life to be from a career perspective, from a life perspective,” but even breaking it down to the day to day, because all the days add up into this life. So, you have to start there. It was making space, whether it was through meditation, or just taking time to be with myself and journal. I just began asking more questions of myself, and just allowed those things to come, and just asked for even the ability to see it, to notice what the signs were, and to notice what the guidance was that was coming either from the universe, made that sound silly, or from the people in my life. But for me, it was just making space to dream to, I don’t know, ask myself questions.

Steve Napolitan: That was huge. That is the first step, because if you don’t even allow yourself to ask the questions, how are you supposed to find the answer?

Stephanie Vedder: Right. Actually, it started by walking. I would just take really long walks by myself, and I would let all this stuff… Because a lot of times, when we don’t have a podcast in, or we don’t have something else, all the things that are in your mind, all the things you want to do at the same time, like a laptop with 100 browsers open, it all starts downloading at the same time. So, I’ve heard people say, “Well, I’ve tried that, and then I just put a podcast in to quiet the noise.” I’m like, “Well, you got to get through that part, and then start asking those questions of yourself, and then just see what comes.”

It’s amazing. I would just keep my phone and that audio file, and I would just record to myself what was coming to me in that moment. Then I would play it back later, and be like, “Okay, yeah.” It would give myself ideas whether it was like, “What do I want out of this conversation today, or what is my next step in this quest to find me and my purpose or my ideal life, or whatever that was?” Sometimes it had to be a long walk to get there, but it really was finding some way to make that space in your life.

Steve Napolitan: It’s so true, Stephanie, especially when you haven’t done it for so long. You don’t… I think that’s great. Just for everyone listening, give yourself space, and be kind to yourself because this is going to be new. You’ve probably… Maybe you’ve worked for so many years, and then to give yourself that amount of space is amazing. So, thank you for sharing that.

Stephanie Vedder: Sure.

Steve Napolitan: What else does everyone think? What’s a good first step if there’s anything to add? I’m sure there is.

Jovanni Godina: I would say similar to that was for me is allowing yourself to want that, or knowing yourself to know that if that’s available for you, that it’s not just a pie in the sky kind of a thing like Stephanie mentioned before. Along those lines is that’s crazy that we need to get somebody else’s permission for us to dream, or to go after something big that we think is big for us. Just in case you haven’t already gotten permission from listening to this podcast listener, you have permission to dream big and to go after it, and then you can have it.

One thing I remember hearing is… I think Mike maybe used for… You said it, Steve, or you’ve heard from somebody else, but it’s like if somebody’s doing it, that means you can do it. If somebody’s already done it, what you want to do, that means it’s possible. Steve always does the story of… Now, I forget his name, the four-mile run-

Steve Napolitan: Roger Bannister. Jovanni’s the one that told me.

Jovanni Godina: I’m always the guy in the background looking things up, and then I forget things right away. But yeah, it’s like it’s that once you see somebody else doing it, then you know it’s possible. I think more and more, we’re seeing people do amazing things, and even with our own clients, we’re seeing people who are working crazy hours really bring that in, not just for themselves, so not just the founders, the executives, but then they… This is where I think trickle-down effect actually works. Not economic wise, and we won’t get into that, but within the business one, you have a leader who cares about their team and their company and the people that once they start having something, and they’re able to start working less and having more of life, then that trickles down into the people, because then they want their people to have that, right?

Because then they see that they’re being more productive with less business time and having more life. Then why wouldn’t they want their people to do it? So, when you start seeing that more and more companies doing that, you can do it. So if you’re the CEO, founder, entrepreneur, whatever it may be, and you’re like, “No, man, I got to grind, grind, grind. No, just take a moment. Reach out to us. We can give you solid examples of people, and show you that has been done, and that you have the permission to dream big. I think that was what getting back into what this question was about is for me, it was getting permission that this is something I could do kind of thing, that you don’t have to have that grind. Visually, you always do, which I thought was good.

I’m not a coffee drinker, but Steve is always the old school coffee grinders manually grinding it. But then these days, you have the automatic ones. You just press the button, and then it grinds it for you kind of a thing. That’s how I would do it if I drink coffee, but I don’t drink coffee, but I love that visualization, right? You can grind, sit there and grind. If it works, it gets done, right? Eventually, you’ll have the coffee, or you can just push the button, and it’ll be done a lot quicker for you, and maybe be even a little better than grinding. So, that’s what I would say for me is allow yourself to dream, and it’s okay to have permission to do it.

Steve Napolitan: Awesome, brother. Thanks for sharing. Melyssa, what’s your one? What was your starting point of transition, or what do you suggest or both?

Melyssa Barrett: I think it’s so interesting because when I think of Jovanni, I do think about pushing a button because he’s all about automation [inaudible 00:56:41] engage, and I love it. But I think when I think of what it was for me in terms of the first thing, I think I brought up earlier the murder of George Floyd. That was not long after my husband had passed away. I think what I learned in that moment was we actually gave space to people to actually feel. I think a lot of times… I’m African American and Latina, but I think a lot of times, people of color, we don’t allow ourselves to feel in that same way, because we know that we have to, in many cases, do things differently.

So I think one of the things for me was not only giving the space, but actually focusing on intention and what my intention for the day or for the meeting, not what’s on the agenda per se, but what is my true intention when I’m connecting with people? What is that intention, and what is it that I want to… What do I intend to actually leave with that person? I think the mindset around intention was significant for me, because it wasn’t that I wasn’t intending to do good, but I don’t think I had an intention to really connect with people. So when I started my own podcast, it was actually really about intending to hear what other people were doing when it came to diversity, equity, and inclusion, so I could hear what else is being done, not only in my company, but how are people even thinking about it?

So for me, it was just really being able to find that connection with others to understand information, but really turn it into knowledge. I think for me, just knowing that it’s okay not to be okay in whatever you’re going through, but at the end of the day, that gratitude, that journaling, the meditation, the discipline of it all actually allows you to integrate and make space for more in your life, because the business is the easy part. You can get the business done, and you’ll achieve whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve. If you want to make $100,000 or a million dollars, you can do it, but what are you giving up in order to do it?

So for me, it was really starting with intention. What is my intention? What is my why? Why do I want to do this? I just learned how much the journey means, all of the… Aside from these wonderful success coaches that you see on right now, and are hearing from, it’s the people that are in my life, and what they mean to me, whether I’ve met them five minutes ago or 50 something years ago. So I think it’s all… For me, it was all about intention, and that was my big turning point was really what do I intend and what do I want my life to be?

Steve Napolitan: That’s so good. Thank you so much for everyone sharing their perspective on this. I think there were… It’s encompassing all this. The intention, the design is in your court. Anyone listening to this, just think about that. If you wanted a house, and you’re like, “Oh, I just filled me a house,” and then you show up, and there’s no bathrooms and no kitchen, and you’re like, “What the heck? How am I just to cook food? I must to go to the restroom.” Well, you didn’t say you wanted that. I know it sounds silly, but that’s how we’re living our life, when you just go with it. You just not choose. So, there is some things about going with the flow, but then there is choice. There is intention.

Melyssa’s just ending with what is the intention that you want? Then start including that in your life and in other people’s lives and in the world. One by one, we can all make a difference by doing that. So, what a way to end this episode, but intention and inclusion. I always add the word attention. What’s our intention and attention? So, we’re intending to do something, and then where do you put your attention? Like Melyssa was saying, on other people and hearing their stories, and so we are going to continue to bring this to you as we close out this first episode of season two. I’m just happy to be here. I’m grateful to be a part of this movement, the More Business More Life movement we can really call it.

So, what you can look forward to in the future episodes is that we’re going to dig deeper. Today, we had a broad stroke, but we had some deep moments, and we’ll continue to go deeper around different things, whether it’s business or how do we incorporate something into our life so that we can have truly have that More Business More Life? That’s what’s to come in our future episodes here. We’ll start inviting some people at some point that we want to include in this to share their stories that go along with this to add to the four of our lives. If you enjoyed this, please let us know. Our podcast reviews are really cool. Let us know what you liked, and stay connected with us. right now is a good email.

We’ll have other things that we’ll post in the notes around the podcast, but you can email us, and we’ll be happy to jump in. If you have things you want to know or questions you want to ask, please do. We’re really active on social media, so jump in the conversation there as well. I so appreciate everyone here. Thank you, Melyssa, Stephanie, and Jovanni for being here with me, and being part of More Business More Life Podcast season two. We look forward to seeing you on the next episode. Remember, choose gratitude, and create freedom. We’ll see you next time, while I hear you listening to you.

Melyssa Barrett: Thanks for joining me on the Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.