Episode 589 – Meredith Monday Schwartz

Meredith is a CEO & Podcaster

Meredith Monday Schwartz, CEO of Here Comes the Guide, and co-host of the Currently Reading Podcast, talks about how her passion for reading led her to start a podcast about it, how her podcasting skills have applied to her career as a CEO, supporting employees’ hobbies in the office, and much more!

Episode Highlights

· Getting into podcasting
· Managing expectations
· Providing support for hobbies and side hustles
· The culture at Here Comes the Guide
· How her podcasting helped with her career

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Podcast Transcript

Welcome to episode 589 Kind of what’s your and. This is John Garrett. And each Wednesday, I interview a professional who, just like me, is known for a hobby or a passion or an interest outside of work. And to put it another way, it’s encouraging people to find their and, those things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work. It’s the answer to the question of who else are you beyond the job title. And did you know that pictures of dogs foster social connections amongst people and promote trusting relationships in business settings, I had Michael Puck on. His end was dog photography, and he’s teamed up with others to create global dog art .com. So, check out the website.

John Garrett [00:00:56]:

All the proceeds go to save 1,000,000 dogs by 2030. So check out global dog art.com. And don’t forget to check out the website, what’s your and.com. Links to the award winning book are there and also to all the guest episodes. And please don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future stories. I love sharing them each and every week, and this week is no different with my guest, Meredith Monday Schwartz. She’s the CEO of Here Comes the Guide and the host of the Currently Reading podcast, and now she’s with me here today. Meredith, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your End?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:01:30]:

Oh, John, I am ridiculously excited to talk about these topics with you.

John Garrett [00:01:34]:

That’s awesome. Me too. So, like, let’s do we’ll jump in. But first, we have, rapid fire questions, get to know Meredith out of the gate here. And maybe an easy one. I don’t know. We’ll see a favorite Disney character.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:01:46]:

Oh, definitely Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Oh, okay. She is like me, a reader at heart, and I I love Belle.

John Garrett [00:01:54]:

Yeah. No. Solid answer. Solid answer. How about when it comes to puzzles? Sudoku, crossword, jigsaw puzzle, I guess Wordle? I’ll take that.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:02:02]:

I love jigsaw puzzles because I can listen to an audiobook while I do. Oh, okay. There you go. There you go. I like it. Okay. How about a favorite color? Oh, peacock

John Garrett [00:02:11]:

blue. Oh, solid answer.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:02:14]:

Yeah. That’s my signature color.

John Garrett [00:02:16]:

Yes. Yeah. I like that. That’s a good color. How about a least favorite color?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:02:21]:

Oh, like a baby vomit green. There you go. Alright.

John Garrett [00:02:28]:

That’s it’s hard to argue that. Like, when vomit’s in the name,

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:02:30]:

it’s like, it’s not gonna

John Garrett [00:02:32]:

be good. Itself. Right. It’s not gonna be good. Not gonna be good. Oh, here’s a fun one. How about your first concert?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:02:39]:

Fine young cannibals. Oh my goodness. Yes. I’d so dated myself. Right

John Garrett [00:02:45]:

No. That’s awesome. Very good. You were 5. Your parents brought you. Who knows? Like, you

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:02:50]:

told me. In a stroller.

John Garrett [00:02:52]:

Right? That’s incredible. Wow. Okay. How about a favorite actor or an actress?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:02:58]:

You know, I love Octavia Spencer. I’ve been watching her latest, truth be told on Apple TV, and it is a fantastic, like, true crime drama. It’s about a podcaster. Oh, yeah. It’s really, really good, and I just love Octavia

John Garrett [00:03:13]:

Spencer. Very good. Very good. I love it. How about, this one’s an important one, toilet paper roll over or under?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:03:20]:

Okay, I’m gonna shock everybody out there, and I’m gonna say under. My baby’s always wanted to, like, grab it and pull, and when it’s coming from over, it’s so easy to make a mess.

John Garrett [00:03:30]:

It never stops.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:03:31]:

Yeah. Exactly. So under for me.

John Garrett [00:03:34]:

Okay. Okay. Well, at least there’s some logic there.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:03:36]:

Yes.

John Garrett [00:03:37]:

How about, Star Wars or Star Trek?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:03:40]:

Star Trek Next Generation all the way.

John Garrett [00:03:43]:

Oh, okay. Very specific even. Yeah. Alright. There you go. I do find that, like yeah. People that say Star Wars, it’s just Star Wars in general, but Star Trek, they wanna narrow down, like, which specific Series or movie or whatever.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:03:57]:

Yeah. Witch captain, and I’m Jean Luc. Yes.

John Garrett [00:04:00]:

There you go. How about your computer? More of a PC or a Mac?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:04:04]:

Only Max, Max all the

John Garrett [00:04:05]:

time. Okay. Alright. How about pens or pencils? Pens. Yeah? Yeah. You don’t make a mistake, so I like it. That’s good.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:04:14]:

I like a a really specific pen. I only use 1 particular pen, and so yeah. That’s why I stumbled because I was like, well, but there’s only 1 pen, so it’s okay.

John Garrett [00:04:26]:

So pen or pencils? I actually been the question. Right. There you go. Alright. Alright. I love ice cream. Do you have any favorite ice cream flavor?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:04:33]:

Ben and Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

John Garrett [00:04:36]:

Yes. I I’m a huge fan of the chunks Yes. And ice cream. It’s it just it’s more efficient in getting more calories into my face.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:04:43]:

The more the more texture, the

John Garrett [00:04:46]:

better. Yes. Absolutely. I’m a 100% with this. How about a favorite day of the week?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:04:51]:

Well, I have to go with Monday. I am a Monday. Monday is my maiden

John Garrett [00:04:54]:

name. That is. Oh, there you go.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:04:56]:

Alright. Alright. That that works.

John Garrett [00:04:58]:

How about oceans or mountains? Mountains. Mountains. Okay. Yeah. I mean, I’m just kinda spoiled in Colorado, so they’re just right outside.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:05:07]:

Right and I grew up in California. So Oh. Which year we have beautiful oceans and mountains, but late the Lake Tahoe area is my favorite area. Yeah.

John Garrett [00:05:17]:

So beautiful. Yeah. That’s amazing. Yeah. Tahoe is nice. Really nice. How about a favorite number? 7. 7.

John Garrett [00:05:23]:

A reason?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:05:25]:

Just always been a good luck number for

John Garrett [00:05:27]:

me. Yeah. It’s a good number. Absolutely. 2 more or 3 more rather. Books, audio version, ebook, or real book?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:05:34]:

Yeah. This is a very difficult rapid fire

John Garrett [00:05:37]:

question for me because No. No. For sure.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:05:38]:

Could go

John Garrett [00:05:39]:

do that.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:05:40]:

All of them. But on my actual spreadsheet, I will tell you right now, I’m at 65% of my reading this year is on Kindle Oasis.

John Garrett [00:05:49]:

Oh, wow. Okay. Yeah. Alright. That’s more than I

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:05:52]:

anticipated. Yes. And it’s grown a lot since I got the oasis in

John Garrett [00:05:56]:

particular. Oh, okay. Alright. Alright. How about, favorite toppings on a pizza? You can load it up.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:06:03]:

Pepperoni and

John Garrett [00:06:04]:

pineapple. Oh, and but I never done the, 2 piece together. I like that.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:06:08]:

That is the best.

John Garrett [00:06:10]:

Interesting because it’s always ham and

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:06:11]:

pineapple. No. You gotta go with pepperoni and pineapple.

John Garrett [00:06:14]:

Yeah. Okay. Alright. And the last The favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:06:19]:

have? You know, my most prized possession is my wedding ring, which is funny because it’s just my husband and I wear matching pants. They were $40 each. They’re worth nothing financially. Sure. But that is the thing that I would be the most, like, outsizably upset if I were to lose it unexpectedly.

John Garrett [00:06:37]:

Yeah. No. I just totally understand. But the great thing is you can just grab his, and then he thinks he lost

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:06:41]:

his. No.

John Garrett [00:06:41]:

And then you’re like

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:06:44]:

right, you just share 1 back and forth. Right? Right. Right. No.

John Garrett [00:06:47]:

No. That’s awesome answer though because it’s so sentimental and and means so much. So That’s that’s awesome. Well, let’s jump into podcasting and, I mean, just, you know, of course, being the host of the Currently Reading podcast. So I’m sure it’s, you know, obviously about books that you’re reading because it’s right there on the name. So but but how did you get into the podcasting side of it?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:07:09]:

Reading’s been my main hobby since I could read. I was one of those kids who was always under the covers with a flashlight reading or under the dining room table, you know, trying to read and get everyone not to bother me, that’s always been kind of my identity. And then as, you know, social media came about, all of a sudden, there was a way for those of us who love to read more than anything, to find each other, which is absolutely fantastic. So I got involved in a book group and got to be really good friends with the woman who’s now my podcast partner, Katie Cobb, and we just had never met in real life. I had never even heard her voice. But we got to talking one day and I was like, I have this idea for a podcast. It’s 2 people talking about literally the 3 books they read most currently whether they like them or not. And this was the thing that I really wanted to do because nobody else was doing it in the book space.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:08:01]:

Nobody was actually talking about a book if it didn’t work for them. And so I wanted to talk about books. I wanted to see who wanted to listen to us talk about books. So in 2018, we got started and we just ended our 5th

John Garrett [00:08:14]:

season. Oh, congratulations. That’s incredible.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:08:17]:

I know. And we we have so much fun. We have a really formatted show. We keep it really tight. We don’t go down, like, discussive rabbit holes. We keep it really tight. It’s really about the books. And yeah.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:08:28]:

We just have had so much fun. It’s something I always look forward to. It’s a lot of work, but it has brought so much joy to my life as well as bringing a lot to my day job at Here Comes the Guide too.

John Garrett [00:08:41]:

Oh, that’s incredible. That’s awesome. Yeah. Because, I mean, That’s not the reason you did it, obviously, was what else will make me better at my career. It was more of, like, I am crazy about books And I found someone else also equally crazy about books and reads more than 3 because you obviously have to have the last 3 that you read. You can’t talk about Same 3 every offer for a year.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:09:01]:

Exactly. So we had to right. We read a lot. And so one of the things that we said at the very beginning was because we didn’t set the podcast up to be any sort of business. We weren’t gonna have a Patreon. We weren’t gonna do anything. We said, if we can just get 10 people who regularly want to listen, then that’ll be enough because all we wanna do is talk about books. And I actually think that’s the single best decision that we made was to not make it about any sort of result or metric.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:09:32]:

Trick, and in my day job, everything is about profit and all the different KPIs. Right? We love a metric. Yep. Currently Reading was a pure passion play, and that enabled us to make a lot of decisions where we didn’t have to think about some of the things you think about when money is at issue, and I think that made us

John Garrett [00:09:52]:

better. Yeah. It’s just it’s liberating because you’re you’re not playing it so safe. The the guardrails aren’t up because it doesn’t matter. Right. I mean, you know, you’re not Oprah where A 1000000000 people are listening, and, you know, at the beginning. So it’s like, well, let’s just swing for the fences every time. Why not? You know? And then and then it just You’re freer and that comes out.

John Garrett [00:10:12]:

Like, people can hear it, and and I love that. You know? It created that space for you to be able to be That. You know, take the guardrails off and and just be you instead of, you know, in the executive space where, well, you know, a little bit of guardrail helps Bad times.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:10:28]:

Right. And I tend toward not I tend toward. I’m I’m a perfectionist. I’m very I am such a perfectionist. And currently reading gave me the ability just like you said to be like, you know what? Let’s just try it and see what happens, or let me just, on the mic, be exactly who I am. And if people don’t all love who I am on the mic, that’s okay. Yeah. And that has been really helpful to me in kind of pushing out some of those walls around my comfort zone.

John Garrett [00:11:02]:

Yeah. And and that’s such a great point too of of how, you know, the the fear of being who we are at work. You know, we we Leave so many pieces of us outside the office because, well, we this has nothing to do with my job or people aren’t gonna care or what it’s like, no. No. You’re you. The leadership hired you as a human, and there’s other dimensions to you besides the technical skills part, And it’s important for that. And and so as a as a leader of an organization, how much does it matter to you that people have ands, that they you even learn what they are or that they explore them.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:11:39]:

Right. And this is something I think surprises people when they start to work for us. This is something that we definitely want to amplify in all of our employees. This is something like, if we wanna know what people do what they love doing, what lights them up. And if they have something that they wanna take from a hobby to a side hustle, we actually have I actually work with my employees, if that’s something that they wanna do, we encourage hobbies just for the sake of hobbies. But if they want to or what they love outside of work and kind of grow something into a side hustle, I actually work with them 1 on 1. We have a 4 day work week at Here Comes the Guide, so we only work Monday through Thursday? Yeah. And so on Fridays, I oftentimes will be meeting with 1 or the other member of my staff to really talk through how to grow A Side Hustle from Start to Profit.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:12:30]:

Right? And so they’re always surprised that it’s something not only that we’re okay with, but it’s something that we really love because time and time again, you know better than anyone, the people who have hobbies that they really love or things that they’re doing that Sharpen Their Saw, it makes them fresher, more creative, and better at their work for Here Comes the Guide. So I’m all about it with my employees.

John Garrett [00:12:55]:

Yeah. I love that. That’s so awesome. And so do you just ask them, or is it part of the onboarding process or the interviewing process or because, I mean, it is that simple if you just ask, but I know a lot of people listening and they’re like, well, how do you find out?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:13:10]:

Right. Well, there’s 42 of us. It’s 42 women and we have a super flat management structure, so my COO and I actually know every one of our employees really, really well. We spend a lot of time getting to know them and as individuals within our group and within their skill sets within our group, but also, you know, we shoot the s h a lot. Like, we we we really, like I mean, this is something that we take really seriously is the whole ethos around Here Comes the Guide is about being the best version of yourself inside and outside of work. So there’s no, like, work version of Meredith and home version of Meredith. It’s all 1 person and so we think about that. I think about that with everyone who works for me.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:13:55]:

So we get to know each other really well. I have you know, when people find out that I have a book podcast, I will often have people come into my virtual office. We’re fully remote, so we’re we’re all virtual, but they’ll knock on my virtual door and be like, I don’t know what book I should read next, and we’ll spend 30 minutes talking about books. And so I have multiple staffers who have incredible hobbies or side hustles outside of work and we love to talk about it. The other thing is when we have retreats, oftentimes, I like to mix up what we’re working on. I don’t wanna work on here comes the guide work at a retreat because that’s what we do all the time. So sometimes we’ll take some of the side hustle stuff, use it as a creative exercise, and kind of brainstorm together all 42 of us to talk about 1 person’s side hustle and how they can amplify it, and that’s something that we love to do together too.

John Garrett [00:14:46]:

Yeah. And that oh, man. These are such great examples of caring about the person that works for Here Comes the Guide. You know, you hired a person, not an analyst or a marketer or whatever their role is. You hired a human. And, you know, what’s the difference between sending them to technical skills training and the difference to, you know, having a retreat where we pour All of our knowledge into your hobby or, you know, side hustle. We’re making you a better person, and you’re you’re living your best life. You’re gonna do your best work, And you guys are such the example of that.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:15:21]:

Working together in different ways, which is what I’m trying to do in a retreat. Right? I’m trying to shake us up. I’m trying to clear our chakras. I’m trying to get us to work together maybe in different groups outside of our normal work groups that we’re in all the time. It’s just a great exercise. I mean, I’m I’m so much more interested in managing a group of people that I wanna hang out with than I am managing a group of people that are just automatons who come into work, clock in for 8 hours and clock

John Garrett [00:15:47]:

out. No. I love it. And they wanna work for someone that cares about them as a person because it’s like, oh, you know, I know you love going to concerts. You went to that concert over the weekend. How was it? You know, show me some pictures. Let’s see the videos, whatever. Because then it’s like, wow.

John Garrett [00:16:00]:

She knows me and not just job title me. That’s incredible. It matters so much.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:16:05]:

I was texting the other day with one of my newer employees, and I was asked it had just occurred to me the last time we talked, she loves plants. And the last time we talked, she had bought a brand new monstera, which are can be really fussy plants. Right? And so I just, out of the blue, texted her. I was like, by the way, what happened with the monstera? And she was telling me, but then she was like, it’s so surreal to get a text from my CEO about my plants in the middle of the day, and I’m like, but I’m so interested in your plant. Like Yeah.

John Garrett [00:16:34]:

Yes. I mean, genuinely. Like, because when she talks about her plant, she’s on I mean, she lights up her eyes and the tone of her voice. Everything’s awesome. And so the more that you’re talking about whatever lights you up, then that energy is gonna come out in your work. Yes. And so why this philosophy at Here Comes the Guide? Did you have a manager before you that was like this or maybe the opposite And you swore to never be like that, or how did this come out?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:17:00]:

You know, I think because for me before I did currently reading, I did in 2008, like, back in the hot and heavy days of blogging. I did a website called Penelope Loves Lists, and it was a blog all about people who were super type a like I am and, like, the type a lifestyle. Right? Uh-huh. And so it it never really went much of anywhere, but what it did do is it gave me a creative outlet that was all mine. Yeah. And so I was so enriched by that experience that I then started talking a lot about this with my colleagues. And, you know, they were seeing me do it, they were cheering me on, and then started doing some of their own things, and it kind of just came from that. And I think it was I think it was really wanting something that was purely creative and very low stakes.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:17:57]:

And then Penelope ended up becoming a lot of what I learned that helped me launch currently

John Garrett [00:18:02]:

reading.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:18:03]:

Yeah. Right, and so then I knew a lot more and I did a lot better the 2nd time, and then currently reading has now grown well beyond what I ever could have expected, but still the core of it is that creativity and doing something really fun, and I take that straight back to Here Comes the Guide. There also is something that more directly, more traditionally has benefited Here Comes the Guide in that in 2020 when we were in the middle because Here Comes the Guide is a website that helps people find their wedding venue. Right? So

John Garrett [00:18:33]:

Yeah.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:18:34]:

We have 65 100 wedding venue clients all over the domestic United States, and then we match couples with those wedding venues. In March of 2020, I don’t know if you heard, but there was a little pandemic get started.

John Garrett [00:18:46]:

Must have just been in Texas. That’s

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:18:48]:

Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. Obviously, the hospitality industry, the wedding industry ground to a halt for a while, right

John Garrett [00:18:56]:

Speaking hammered. Absolutely. To 0. It was amazing.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:19:00]:

This was super scary. Yes. To everybody. Right? And so what I said was, you know what? What we are going to do is, first of all, we’re gonna take care of our venue clients. We’re gonna take care of our couples. That’s the most important thing. But now also what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna find a way to use this time because we never would have had this kind of lull

John Garrett [00:19:22]:

before. Sure.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:19:23]:

Yeah. So we came up with a brand new podcast series, a 10 episode podcast series that was made for our venue clients about helping them use this time to work on their business while they couldn’t work in their business Yeah. And we used all the skills that I had learned from producing a podcast for Currently Reading, and we did it for Here Comes the Guide and packaged it up and gave it to our clients, and it was a huge part of how we were able to love on our venue clients during that time and give them something that was really, really useful. And so that was really impactful to our business, and it came directly because I had the comfort with saying, let’s produce a podcast, and we’ll do 10 episodes, and here’s how we do it, and here’s how we build the website associated with it and here’s how we, you know, RSS out all of that, I could do that because I’d done it with currently reading.

John Garrett [00:20:15]:

Yeah. Because you you exercise that muscle outside of work so many times that then when it’s time to use it at work, it’s like, yeah, let’s just do podcast. And then people are like, wait. You what? And it’s like, yeah. With your 1 arm tied behind your back, you could do it. Exactly. And that’s incredible. That’s awesome.

John Garrett [00:20:30]:

And then too, I mean, you find out, You know, all your people’s ands and and what their some of them wanna make it into a side hustle, which is great. You’re able to help there and the the rest of the team to help with that, and And you ask. I mean, you you just you remember, that’s the plant lady. I wanna ask her about her plant or this is whatever, you know. Like, it’s it’s really that simple, But it just takes, you know, 40 seconds to just be like, hey. Send a quick text. And and the impact on that is is so huge That’s you know, for someone to come back with that’s surreal is it’s like in a good way, which is sad on the state of management in general that this is surreal that someone just asks you about you being human. Right.

John Garrett [00:21:12]:

You know?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:21:12]:

Well, and our hobbies are exactly as you’ve said a 1000000 times, they’re what make us individuals. Right? They’re what make us the individual humans, and there’s nothing that humans want more than to be seen. So what a perfect vehicle to be able to really establish relationship with your employees than to see them in that particular way.

John Garrett [00:21:31]:

And especially because you are fully remote and fully virtual that, you know, then then it’s you have extra intention behind it to make sure that that we’re seeing you because I can’t physically see you on a regular basis.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:21:45]:

One of the fun things that we’ve done at Here Comes the Guide to go back to a question that you asked earlier is that we periodically have all staff get togethers virtually. Right? So we’re on Google Meet, but we’ll have a group of 3 or 4 of us get together and organize whatever we’re gonna do during that time, and what they always do is they’ll pull from what their hobbies are. Right? What they love to do. So we have had, like, group Pilates workouts. We’ve had group HIIT workouts. We’ve had plant tutorial. We’ve had conversations about Bravo TV, various Bravo TV shows. We’ve had so it’s so much fun for the individual staffers to be able to bring that and then have everyone participate in different ways, if we give them a budget to spend on everyone so everyone can participate, it’s so much fun and then we feel as a group like we know that staff are so much better because now we’ve seen them lead a Pilates class or a barre class.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:22:39]:

Now we know intellectually that they do that on their own time, but now we got to see them actually and we’re like, wow. You’re really good. Like, you’re legit with you know? Right? Right? No.

John Garrett [00:22:50]:

It’s it’s for sure. And and even if someone’s not, like, full on legit, they’re alive. Like, they’re they’re super excited about this. And the fact that, like, the people that I work with care enough to ask me to do like, when I did comedy and, you know, doing open mics and stuff, and People that I worked with or around would hear and they would come to the shows, and you’re like, holy cow. This is crazy. Like, this is your free time. Like, you came to this. Like, An open mic comedy is brutal.

John Garrett [00:23:17]:

And so, like, you actually sat through all of this to hear my 5 men. I could’ve done this at the office, you know, but they They came anyway to support and and whatever, and and that means so much, that people

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:23:29]:

care. Did it make you more nervous if people from work were there?

John Garrett [00:23:33]:

Honestly, no. Only because I just felt bad for them because if if some of the other ones, like, that were also at the open mic, I was like, oh, man. This is terrible. Like, I wanna go. Like Great. But now I have to stay because they came. Like, otherwise, I would just Irish exit and just, like, I’m out. Like, I’m just gonna go have a hamburger Or something, Milkshake.

John Garrett [00:23:52]:

But I I was definitely I was just excited that they were there because then it was, like, people that could actually ask for honest feedback where I don’t know anyone else in the audience. But it was more cool. It made me focus more and wanna bring it on a different level than before. But I you know, when you’re doing comedy, I don’t think anything makes you nervous because You’re already doing the hardest thing on the planet. So

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:24:13]:

I was gonna say it’s so brave. It’s so brave.

John Garrett [00:24:16]:

Well, no. I appreciate it. But but I I just love these examples of Of how you you’re running the team and and everyone can do this. It’s not, you know, super hard or complicated or expensive. It just takes a little bit of time and intention and care.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:24:32]:

Well, and people will often say, like, well, doesn’t taking the time to have all 42 of you guys on a Google Meet to do a Pilates class to like, shouldn’t that entire period of time be used for work? And what I always tell them is every single time we grow together as a group, we are more productive and more profitable. So I would put our bottom line up against anybody’s Yeah. Yeah. For pure productivity. And so I just think caring about your employees and seeing them as humans wins the balance sheet every time.

John Garrett [00:25:06]:

I love that so much, and I would 100% agree with you, especially the cost of turnover. That’s stupid expensive. Yes. And people are your greatest asset and the one that people don’t usually invest in at all, And so you’re doing it right. And I and I love to hear that, you know, the bottom line impact is there. So it’s not a make believe Harvard case study kind of thing. It’s legit. Yeah.

John Garrett [00:25:30]:

Yeah. It’s right there. I love that. That’s so awesome. Well, before I wrap this up though, I feel like it’s only fair that we turn the tables And maybe make it since I asked you so many questions at the beginning, we’ll make it the Meredith Monday Schwartz podcast because, obviously, it’s not currently reading. But maybe it will become that. Who knows? You’re the host, so you can ask me whatever you want. I’m in the hot seat.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:25:52]:

Okay. Alright. So just a couple rapid fire ones for you, so Wordle, daily or never?

John Garrett [00:25:59]:

Never. I’ve never done it. I see these things pop up and they got green boxes or I don’t know what. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t even know. So, like, I also don’t have a Mac, so I’m, like, the least cool person on the planet.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:26:10]:

So then my my next question well, I think I’d know the answer. My next question was Garage Band or Audacity?

John Garrett [00:26:15]:

Oh, Yeah. Audacity.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:26:17]:

Right. You have no choice on that.

John Garrett [00:26:20]:

PC all the way. Yeah.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:26:21]:

Exactly. Okay. So when you read, I have to know the answer to the question you asked me. What platform do you read on audiobook, Kindle, print?

John Garrett [00:26:29]:

The traditional book is definitely my favorite. I I’ve grown to appreciate the audiobook now, especially if I’m driving a long distance or on a flight or something like that, but especially the driving or doing a a menial task. Plus, you can, like, 1 and a half speed it on some of the authors, which is great. I would say the the digital book is probably my least one that I that I use. But yeah. I mean, it’s a more traditional book.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:26:58]:

Yeah. I love a print book. Do you know my podcast partner, Katie, who does currently reading with me, she listens to her audiobooks, I’m not kidding you, at 3 times speed.

John Garrett [00:27:08]:

Wow. That’s

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:27:09]:

impressive. Have you ever heard a book at 3 times feed

John Garrett [00:27:12]:

That’s like the micro machines man when I was a kid. Like, that gets my butt. I’m sure, subconsciously, your brain is getting it, but What?

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:27:21]:

Well, she says the trick is to move yourself up slowly. Like, you can’t start out there. You have to move yourself up slowly, but I’m a 1.5 girl, a 100%.

John Garrett [00:27:29]:

Yeah. 1.5, maybe 2. There are some authors, you know, where it’s like, alright. Let’s crank this up. Like, did you fall asleep? Or, like, you know, like, what happened? Like, it’s But that’s awesome. Well, very cool. Well, those were super easy.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:27:40]:

Well, can I ask you one

John Garrett [00:27:41]:

more time? It’s your show. It’s your show. So there you go.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:27:43]:

Excellent. I like it. Okay. So a lot of people don’t like to answer the question their favorite book of all time because it’s difficult. Right? I got one. Okay.

John Garrett [00:27:50]:

Great. Yeah. So, I would say The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Hands down, best book ever. Love it so much. And, yeah, such a great book.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:27:59]:

Yeah. If you wanna get things done in your creative life, no question. Okay. So then the question that people are more comfortable with is what’s the last 5 star book that you read?

John Garrett [00:28:11]:

Oh, easily the last 5 star book that I read was Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth. Really good, deep, spiritual kind of book. As I was reading it or actually, I did the audiobook, and that was one where you have to, like, three x because Eckhart’s a little bit of a slow talker. Okay. But it’s one of those where I was like, how does every high school student not have to read this book? Like, it’s so good. It’s just good, and it makes a lot of things make sense. That’s another book that I’d recommend. It’s almost the opposite of The War of Art where it’s, you know, just an easy read and just, you know, micro chapters and whatever Eckhart, this, you know, a new earth is deep, and you you might have to, like, go back and restart the chapter.

John Garrett [00:28:50]:

I found that happening. I was like, hold on. Wait. Let’s reread that.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:28:54]:

Like Well, some of the best books are the ones that demand the most of your

John Garrett [00:28:58]:

attention. Yes. Very much. Because it makes such a big difference. Yeah. Absolutely. I love it. Very good, Meredith.

John Garrett [00:29:03]:

Well, thank you so much for being a part of What’s Your Ann and for just shattering the stereotype of what it means to be a a CEO. So it’s awesome.

Meredith Monday Schwartz [00:29:10]:

Thank you. I loved

John Garrett [00:29:15]:

it. Very cool. And everybody listening, if you wanna see some pictures of Meredith in action tune on her podcast or some of the books she likes to read or connect with her on social media or better yet, get the link to the currently reading podcast, go to what’s your and dot Calm, everything’s there. And while you’re on the page, please click that big button to the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget to check out the book. So thanks again for subscribing on podcast or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread, that who you are is so much more than what you


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