Showcasing: Becoming Socially Conscious – ep.141

Commemorating Juneteenth – ep.140
June 20, 2024

In this week’s episode, I wanted to highlight a previous episode featuring Steve Napolitan as we discuss the practice of mindset shifts and its effects on our personal growth and social consciousness.

Producing award-winning content, Steven Napolitan has been recognized by national media as a pioneer in the new media market. His executive coaching and training has publicly served over 35,000 professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs on their businesses and taught them how to increase marketing/sales, while systemizing business to minimize their effort and maximize their revenue. Steve helps his clients have the lifestyles they deserve. Ultimately, Steve is about people, relationships, and the convergence of vision, focus and teamwork that allows true freedom in life.

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.

Steve Napolitan has been recognized by national media as a pioneer in the new media market. He has a background in film creating, directing and producing award-winning content. He’s been known for design campaigns that generate massive amounts of leads that turn into revenue. His executive coaching and training has publicly served more than 35,000 professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs on their business, and taught them how to increase marketing sales while systematizing business to minimize their effort and maximize their revenue. Steve helps his clients have the lifestyles they deserve. Ultimately, Steve is about people, relationships and the convergence of vision. His core purpose is to help as many people have the freedom they desire. He literally spends his time focused on CEOs and entrepreneurs who have found success but don’t have the life they want. He is one of my mentors, a friend, and he has personally helped me transition my own life into a life of purpose. And yes, that’s one of my kwana principles to intention and vision. It’s truly my pleasure to have him join me on the Jali Podcast. All right. 

Well I’m excited because I get to talk to my friend Steve Ton, and as an award-winning marketer, bestselling author, coach, dad, CEO, speaker and consultant. I figured what would be interesting is to really talk to you about, I know you’re typically talking to socially conscious entrepreneurs, and maybe you can talk a little bit about what that means for you, first of all, in terms of being a socially conscious entrepreneur, especially when we think about diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Steve Napolitan:  Absolutely. Well, first I have to thank you so much for having me on your show. I’ve been waiting for this moment to be on the Jolly Podcast, which is socially conscious in its way because it’s the speaker of the people, so I love the name. Kudos on that, and so happy that you’re doing what you do. And socially conscious to me are folks that are thinking beyond making money. It is never been okay for me when someone says, oh, it’s just business, they tend to mean like, oh, it’s okay if I do something on the edge or I’m mistreating people because it’s just business. I’m going to be a little harder on this thing or that thing when the reality is everything affects people and our planet. And so socially conscious to me means that you’re thinking of all those things that for me, it has to be okay for everyone involved.

Otherwise, I’m not going to do it. I’m going to focus on if it’s a win for me, if it’s a win for the client, if it’s a win for the community, if it’s a win for the planet, then it’s a go. If any one of those gets hurt along the way, then we have to stop and say, whoa, what happened? It’s like if you’re driving your car and you hit someone, oh, oops, okay, just keep going. No, you don’t just stop. Oh my gosh, what happened? I didn’t mean to do that. That’s the kind of care to me is socially conscious that we’re not just driving our businesses and we knock people over and be like, oops, that’s just business. No, that’s not the way we should live our life. So hopefully that helps shed the socially conscious. And then for me, there are some businesses that want to change and maybe they have had some things where they’re hurting feel, okay, well, good thing that you’re noticing and you want to change, and I will help you. If you’re okay with hurting people on the planet, then it’s hard for me to work with you. So if someone is going to stay in that realm, then it’s just not okay. I won’t do business with those folks until they start to make that shift.

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, and I think there’s so many people in the world, especially when your business gets to a certain level, you’re constantly looking at how do I increase my dividend or get to the next level or the next product or whatever. And a lot of times you do lose sight of what’s important in terms of why did you start the business in the first place? Or what are you doing to actually leave this planet better than when you inherited it?

Steve Napolitan:  If you look at Patagonia, a billion dollar private company, their founder is giving it to the world. Instead of selling the company, getting to the age where it’s time to move on, he made a nonprofit and a group of people to oversee the company. And the company’s sole purpose is to make the world a better place. And yes, they sell. Apparel is the main driver of their business. They also sell foods and other things, but it’s all in sustainability. It’s all making the world better, and they reach the billion dollars. And a lot of other companies felt that they had to go public and do all these things. The reality is they put the world first and they actually are financially doing better than a lot of other companies. And I’ve seen other restaurant chains and they started off doing all the right thing, and then in order to grow, they canceled those things like you’re saying, but then to a negative effect, they lost their luster.

They lost why they were there. So I think there’s built to Last, which was written by Jim Collins and his writing partner, I forget his name right now. They prove that when you hold the why and you care, those are the companies that last and the ones that just care about dollars, they’re the ones that are forgotten. And there’s so many, there’s millions of businesses that none of us remember because they’ve come and gone. They didn’t have a purpose beyond making a buck, and that’s just, it never was. Okay. And it’s really not okay now.

Melyssa Barrett:  I mean, it’s like the further we go, the more we need to go back to really the basics and the fundamentals of increasing our consciousness. So speaking of consciousness, I want to talk to you about mindset because I know you are so heavily into mindset and maybe you can share some nuggets about your own personal experience when it comes to mindset.

Steve Napolitan:  It’s such a broad thing. So there’s so many ways we can go, but when you said that question right now, what comes to mind? I will say, I’m going to tie it into personal growth if I may. When I first started with personal growth, I thought I was working to make myself better, and overall, I’m enjoying my life a lot more as I’ve worked on myself. But the reality I’ve found is it’s actually not making myself better. It’s actually shedding all the things I thought it was supposed to be by my upbringing, by community, by church, by so many things. And I’m not saying those things are bad. Please understand that they all have a lot of ’em. They have good intention. Most of the time they’re good intentions, but they push a certain thing onto a subject like that old thought of, I want my kids to be doctors and lawyers.

And that kind of thinking, it puts people in a box that their heart might not be there, and this happens a lot. Either way it happens. So what I found is through this quest for personal development, I found that I needed to shed all those things like an onion, like peel it all back like armor. There was a lot of some wounding and my broken heart and stuff from a young age and not really knowing who I was as a young man, and I held my armor. I didn’t want anyone to see me, and I wanted to protect myself so I don’t get hurt again. And this is all mindset too. So what I’ve actually realized is I’ve had to shed all that armor, let my true heart come out. The more that I love, the more people that love me. I can have more love and more neighbors, friends, loved ones in my life.

And so the mindset that I would say in short, so many layers, like I said, but it’s really first finding yourself. And so even in deep meditation, that’s one of the first things you want to do is connect with yourself. So I think the first thing, if people aren’t ready to meditate or they’re restless, the thing to think about is slow down. So often in modern society we’re like, go, go, go. And I was there, I was building businesses, and I was running the rat race, and I was working really hard. And in that you have no time to find self. You have no time to work on that mindset. It’s just like go or no go, and that just doesn’t work. So I was working to not work hard. That is my thing. I’m going to work really hard right now so I don’t work later, and then that doesn’t work.

It was all a mindset and another mindset. It was no pain, no gain. If I don’t drive forward and hurt myself, then I’m not going to gain. And those are things I bought. Those are armor, that’s like another armor sleeve that I put on, and another one. And then I was Steve Robot, and I’m doing all the things I was told to do when in fact I was hurting myself. And so another part of mindset to me, and then I’ll try to wrap this up here, is that it was feelings. We also are told not to feel, just don’t feel that pain. You’ve got to be stronger than the pain when the reality is the pain was there for a reason. It’s like if you put your hand on a hot grill and hopefully your body reacts and you pull back before you even touch the hot grill or the coals or by a fire, and hopefully you pull back and go, oh, whoa, there’s something hot there.

Or if you do touch it, it’s only for a second and your body is going to react without you even knowing it’s going to pull back. And that is our body’s mechanism for safety. Well, guess what? When you’re at work and something doesn’t feel right or you’re having a bad day or you’re like, you know what? I don’t think this client is for our company. I think that’s not a good client. I have a feeling about that you should be listening. That is our intuition telling us, don’t go that way. You’re going to burn yourself. Those are just touching the surface level, Melissa, that it could be letting ourselves be our true self. That’s one mindset. The other one is that we can quiet our mind so we can actually hear our intuition and know ourself. Then the third is knowing our feelings so that we can be aware of what’s going wrong, like a thermometer of our intuition in a way. Each of those I could probably speak a whole podcast on, but that’s just the loose level to think about where to start. Are you slowing down enough, just even five minutes of journaling? Just think about where you are in the world and what do you really want, and are you just accepting a recipe that was handed down to you by your community or your peers, or are you actually doing what you love?

Melyssa Barrett:  When you take all the money in the world, all the time in the world and you go, if you had it all, what do you want? Sometimes people go, wait. I mean, I know in many cases in our coaching sessions even you would say, what do you want? Let me give you permission to dream even. And it’s like, I don’t even know. It was a transformation. That’s pretty awesome.

Steve Napolitan:  Well, yeah, sometimes you need the space even for that, you’ve gone so many years not at that level of dreaming that it takes a minute to catch up with all and to allow yourself to dream almost like a child sometimes we have all these dreams as a child and we’re like, oh, the real world. You notice it when you speak to children and they’re like, I want to be the president. I want to do this, or I want to be an astronaut. We’re like, yay. Then you turn 18 or you’re in your twenties and you say that, and they’re like, yeah, right, your friends, and you think, good luck now. Welcome to the real world. Pay your bills better, get a job. A lot of people do this, and then we wonder why we all stifle our dreams. So yes, I’m an advocate of dreaming. I think that your reality of what you want and what you’re meant to do in this body, in this life is right there if you would allow it. And so I think that’s the reason I ask those questions, because I believe you can have it. And I believe when you do the thing you know you’re supposed to do, going back to the mindset, you’ll also be abundantly rewarded.

Melyssa Barrett:  Well, and what’s interesting to me is you’re so focused on gratitude, and I love when you say choose gratitude, create freedom. So what does that mean to you?

Steve Napolitan:  Thank you for bringing it up. It is one of my core values in a very deep way, and I’ve been using choose gratitude, create freedom. It is one of our trademarks, and it is something that has been in my life for a long time, more than a decade, and I know that it’s becoming more popular, and I’m glad that people are talking about gratitude more. And you’re right, some mood is surface level, and the reason that it goes deeper for me is that what I define gratitude as is appreciating all results. And I emphasize all that means. Everything in my life, the thing I didn’t want, I’m grateful for 17 months ago, from the time we’re recording this, I was paralyzed my whole vital arms, legs, and my face. It’s called Guion bere syndrome that came into my life. You could say, well, how could you be grateful for that?

Well, I can tell you right now, and we can back up a couple steps in a minute here. I’m sitting here right now with you, and if I could go back in time and I could take it away, I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. And I’m being completely honest right now, I wouldn’t do it because I love who I am right now, and I wouldn’t be this man before you if I didn’t go through that. So sometimes in life, and I think this stifles us, so this is really important to me. We get upset at ourselves, and I did this once I’ve gotten into deep depression, felt like a loser. Nothing’s going right. And this is when I was coming out of my twenties, coming into my thirties, and I grew up in Silicon Valley in California, and other peers of mine were skyrocketing startups and all these things, and I had made millions and lost millions by the time I was 31 years old, and I felt like a loser.

And then I met my mentor and he said, well, how many people do at 31 that have already lost over $4 million? And I go, not that many. None that I could think of in their twenties. And then he said, yeah, exactly. So you’ve lost 4 million. He said, would you do it the same way if you went back? I said, absolutely not. I learned so many things. I’m going to do it different. He’s like, exactly. So all those things happen so you can be this 31-year-old guy sitting here before me right now, and you can actually make new decisions because of all the things you learned. And he flipped the whole thing on me and realize how grateful I was for all those experiences. And then it did. I took all those lessons and then made a way better business in my thirties, moving into my forties, had abundant opportunities with my life and my three children, and we’ve been able to travel around the world and all these things.

And it wouldn’t have been that way, Melissa, if I didn’t go through that. So I had already had that happen and that transition, and now through Gire, it’s changed my mindset to where I’m making different decisions. So I believe that life doesn’t happen to us, it happens for us, and that’s part of this gratitude. I can actually proceed in my life. So there’s another part of the belief that all of life is learning, and I believe that’s my growth is part of my core values. All of life is learning, so that everything that happens to me is learning. Carl Buki, another one of my mentors, he always says, there’s no failure. There’s only feedback. So then when something happens that I don’t like, I can be grateful for that feedback, so I never do it again. It’s like, okay, don’t do that because this happens.

And then if I do something that I like, then I can say, okay, do that again. That feedback was good. And so the thing is about choices, gratitude makes my choices more rapid, and if I choose and then it doesn’t work out, then I can take that. And this is another thing I learned from Carl, is that I choose what I want. I take what I get quite literally, and then I choose again. But what helps me in that transition, when I take something I didn’t want taking Gillam bere into my life or taking millions of dollars or having lost people in my life that have passed away or different things, those grief moments, I can find that gratitude and then choose again. And I find that the more rapidly I choose, then I’m learning and I’m choosing. I’m learning, and I’m choosing. I’m learning, I’m choosing.

And then before you know it, you’re like, wow, I’m living the dream. Life changed so much from the hard times, and I’m a man that used just to put the bookend on this, I was a man that thought life just really was not good, and you just had to deal with it. You just had to be tougher than the next person to make it through. I believed that talk about mindset, right, Melissa? That was my mind. And now I’m so grateful for all the things and I’m learning so much faster and I’m choosing new ways to live that now I’m living beyond abundance that I could have ever dreamed of. I never believed that I could have all this, and I do.

Melyssa Barrett:  I love that. Well, and I love the fact that you are bringing in so many different elements when it comes to the way people, not only the way they work, but the way they live, the way they actually engage with their own life. And coming from someone who has been in corporate America for decades, you realize how much you minimize your life to give to a company, and then you realize that life is short. You’ve got to make sure that you’re here doing the work that you were made to do on purpose. So I just love the way that you’re thinking about just how to open people up so that they have the life of their dreams.

Steve Napolitan:  Thank you for that. I think that we under focus on death, and I don’t mean that in a really morbid or depressing way, but I think the reality is we are going to die. And I’ve been able to travel enough now and be with different cultures, and there are many cultures around the world that they actually, there’s some that I’ve met some of the indigenous tribes in South America, they actually have a saying. They say, you can’t live until you die.

And even in some of the Buddhist philosophies, they say that until you recognize the end, meaning your death, you can’t live fully now in that, I think even this being paralyzed, going back to my own story, it wakes you up and you’re saying, okay, what is really important to me? What experiences do I want to have? And I think, again, in modern society, we get through a school or into a career and we say, I’m going to make this amount of money and then I’m going to live my life. And then we become really old and grumpy, and we don’t really, sometimes we never get there. It’s very rare that that happens. My awareness now, and what I can be grateful for again, is that I now choose, and you can choose to define the experiences I want in my life. Then I design the life to include those experiences, and then I build the income around that. Then I can choose my job, then I can choose the business I want to create. What income is going to support that life? So you got to write the script, you got to design it. And it’s rare that people think this way and then they wonder why they wake up at some decade in their life going, what the heck? This is why we have midlife crisis and things like this, because people go, this is not what I wanted.

Melyssa Barrett:  No, that’s so true. Well, and I love the fact that you’re like, and if it’s not what you want, choose again. Just tomorrow is, today is a new day. Just start now.

Steve Napolitan:  When’s a good day to change like now, right? Why wait?

Melyssa Barrett:  And most folks that have been listening to the podcast know that I lost my husband several years ago. We had a great partnership, but him dying at such a young age and me being a widow at 49, it was like, what am I doing with my life? Hopefully it doesn’t take something like that to happen or illa bere for people to go, oh, maybe I should do something differently. It’s so freeing. And so when you talk about creating freedom, it creates the freedom that you want for your life because your mindset is so different. So

Steve Napolitan:  I was friends with your husband as well, and it was very sad to lose him at a young age. And then there’s so many things we can be grateful for the time that we had with him, like you said, the meaning of life to really realize how important it is. So all those things of gratitude can then prepare for freedom, because sometimes something really bad could happen in our life, and then we can choose to allow that to suffocate us, to put us in a really dark place. So by us choosing gratitude, we can pull ourselves out of that and create our freedom. And only you can do that. No one can just grant you freedom. Even people that they’re sometimes free, they lock themselves up by their choices. So I don’t think Melissa and I are intending to brush over the grief, but it’s there and it’s real. But yet also then it’s your choice. Are you going to live because this is your opportunity.

Melyssa Barrett:  If this was your last year, how do you think you would make this your best year?

Steve Napolitan:  Wow. I’m having a moment with that question because you made me realize I’m already doing it.

Melyssa Barrett:  Alright.

Steve Napolitan:  The plans that I have would not change because I can tell you I’ve designed my life so that I’m giving ample time to my wife, to my children. And often I’ve thought about this, sometimes as a parent, we think I’m going to stop doing everything and I’m just going to devote every hour to our kids. But that is not in service either. I’ve been in deep meditation and the words have come to me because I used to think, oh, once they’re 18, then I can work more. And then I realized, you know what? Being a father or being a mother doesn’t stop when they turn 18. You are a mother or a father the rest of your life. And the second thing that came to me was I need to show them how to lead and how to make the world a better place. And if I sit at home with them, yes, it’s lovely to be with them every waking moment, but then I’m not showing them how they can lead and how they can make a difference in the world.

So the business and the things that I do with my work hours are showing them what can be done in the world and that we can make it a better place by our efforts. And then I do also make sure that I’m not working too much so that I can have that one-to-one time with them. And I schedule times that we have that time. So I’m scheduling time with each of my children, one-to-one, I’m scheduling date nights with my wife, creating time for myself to meditate, to move my body. I say movement instead of exercise, but ultimately it’s in that realm to read to journals. I’m scheduling time with my team so I can teach them what I do. So ultimately, if something does happen to me again or I leave this planet, then the good work I’m doing moves on and then I give another chunk of time to my clients to help them and to have better life.

And then anytime that’s left is with friends and other loved ones, which is also planned for that free time. So I guess ultimately I can say, and summing this up is I’ve literally took pen to paper. I literally printed off a calendar for the year and for a week, and I drew out how I want my year to look. I drew out however I want my week to look. Then I share that with my family, see if everyone matches up. Then I share that with my team, make sure that it matches up. It’s by design and so that I can live my life, that I could be happy and say if I were to die tomorrow, that I did everything I could to be the best that I could be.

Melyssa Barrett:  Awesome. That’s awesome. What a way to close out the podcast. I think we’ll have to have you back.

Steve Napolitan:  Well, I’d be happy to, and I appreciate the question because literally, I knew I was doing all this, but until you asked me that question right now, it fully dawned on me that I’m doing what I would want. I would’ve said, oh, well, I wish I was doing this and that, and so thank you for that. I’m grateful for this podcast because sometimes when you’re getting interviewed, you fully realize things that you’re doing that you didn’t notice. So I so appreciate you. I appreciate what you do with your podcast, the jolly podcast. I believe in what you’re doing and grateful to be a part of this, and happy to come back anytime you ask.

Melyssa Barrett:  Thank you so much, Steve. It’s always such a pleasure having known you now for I think maybe almost 20 or 30 years now. I don’t know. I’m sure it’s over 20.

Steve Napolitan:  Yeah, it has to be because I met you, so it has to be around that realm. My gosh,

Melyssa Barrett:  I’m kicking myself.

Steve Napolitan:  I don’t regret anything. I’m grateful for it all, and I’m grateful that we’ve had all these great years together, and I look forward to many more.

Melyssa Barrett:  Absolutely. Thank you so much for joining me.

Steve Napolitan:  It’s my pleasure, Melyssa.

Melyssa Barrett:  Take care.

Steve Napolitan: You too.

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