Episode 337 – Martin Bissett

Martin is a Consultant & Saint Nicholas Researcher

Martin Bissett, founder of The Bissett Group, talks about his hobby in researching the real St. Nicholas in who he was, his history, and how his story has been embellished over time. He also talks about the spirit of giving and how he applies it towards his work as a consultant!

Episode Highlights

• Researching St. Nicholas
• Some of St. Nick’s history
• Origins of the name “Santa Claus”
• How his research is applied to his consulting work
• The best lesson he learned on budgeting
• Changing your perspective on how you offer services


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A view from Myra St. Nicholas Church in Antalya, Turkey (Photo by Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

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    Welcome to Episode 337 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. 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.

    I’m so excited to let everyone know my book is out. Check it out at whatsyourand.com for all the details. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Book Depository, barnesandnoble.com, a few other websites. All the links are on the page. It makes a perfect Christmas gift as we’re talking to Martin about St. Nicholas. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s getting the book and leaving such nice reviews on all those sites and changing their cultures at work because of it.

    Please don’t forget to hit subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss any of the future episodes. I love sharing such interesting stories each and every week, and this week is no different with my guest, Martin Bissett. He’s the founder of The Bisset Group in the UK, and now he’s with me here today. Martin, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Martin: John, thank you very much for having me. Congratulations on the book launch, by the way.

    John: Oh, thanks so much, man. I really appreciate it. Yes, it’s been a little overwhelming, but it’s cool to just see people are reading it, which is awesome, which is the whole reason you write it.

    Martin: I can’t believe it. I wrote a book, and people started reading it. It’s just fantastic.

    John: It’s crazy. I know you’ve written several books yourself, so maybe it’ll be a package deal. It’ll be a buy-one-get-seven-of-Martin’s or whatever.

    Martin: They’ve read yours. That’s the difference.

    John: Well, we’ll see. We’ll see. I don’t know. They’re all good book stops and backdrops on Zoom calls, as well, so there you go. I have 17-rapid fire questions, get to know Martin on a new level here. Here we go. I’ll start you with an easy, one favorite color.

    Martin: Oh, black. I know it’s an absence of color but black.

    John: No, that counts, man. Interesting. All right, how about a least favorite color?

    Martin: Oh, maroon. I don’t want maroon at all.

    John: Okay, all right, all right. How about a favorite breakfast?

    Martin: Oh, I’m very, very boring. Cheerios for me.

    John: Cheerios. Okay, all right. There you go. It’s healthy, or they say so. I don’t know. How about a favorite actor or actress?

    Martin: Well, I don’t know how many listeners will remember this, but there was a very famous British actor called Dirk Bogarde, not to be confused with Humphrey Bogart, who used to be known as the idol of the Odeons, meaning the main guy in the cinema, as it were, in the movies. He was my hero for a long time.

    John: That’s awesome. Very cool. All right. How about, are you more suit and tie, or jeans and a T-shirt?

    Martin: Oh, well, it depends what we’re talking about. Again, if I’m professional, if I’m in work duty then I’m definitely suit and tie. Off duty, yeah, I don’t wear too many suits and ties to dinner.

    John: Right.

    Martin: Yeah, it could be a new thing.

    John: Yeah, exactly. Turn a new page.

    Martin: You don’t dress well enough, come back later.

    John: Right. Your wife sends you away.

    Martin: Refuse table service, yeah.

    John: Exactly, in your own home. That’s awesome.

    Martin: Go back upstairs, try harder.

    John: Exactly. It’s just another Tuesday. How about puzzles, more Sudoku or crossword? Okay, there we go.

    Martin: Not a big one for puzzles. I have a hard enough time remembering my own name.

    John: Right, right. How about, are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Martin: Through circumstance these days, an early bird, but if I was my bachelor self, it would be a night owl definitely.

    John: Okay, okay. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Martin: Again, sci-fi, so you can rule me out completely.

    John: Okay, all right, there we go. It was such an intense answer. You were going to go — you were like, nope.

    Martin: Neither.

    John: Right, exactly. How about your computer, PC or Mac?

    Martin: Oh, well, I would love to be with the artisans and say Mac. I do own a Mac, but I’m PC for functionality all the way.

    John: Yeah, I’m PC as well. I’m not cool enough to even go into a Mac store.

    Martin: Me neither.

    John: So then for your mouse, are you right click or left click?

    Martin: That’s a very good question. I am left click.

    John: Okay, making decisions, boom. There it is. How about a favorite TV show of all time?

    Martin: Oh, my goodness. Again, this is actually, it’s a US show, but I don’t know who’ll remember it. There was a show that was called The Equalizer, which turned into two movies that Denzel Washington, I think, starred in. The TV show was significantly better. Everyone should watch every episode.

    John: Okay, there we go. There we go. There’s no science fiction in The Equalizer.

    Martin: None whatsoever.

    John: None at all. There you go. How about, since you have the accounting background, more balance sheet or income statement?

    Martin: Oh, bottom line is all that matters, probably P&L.

    John: P&L, yeah, yeah. How about, more oceans or mountains?

    Martin: Again, we’re choosing something where I want both. If I have to choose ultimately and you force me, I’m going mountains.

    John: Okay. Yeah, well, you could have mountains that go into the ocean.

    Martin: I want mountains that go into the ocean, please. That would be ideal.

    John: There you go. There you go. We’ve got four more. How about a favorite number?

    Martin: Two.

    John: Two. Is there a reason?

    Martin: Yeah, who doesn’t want a good number two?

    John: Oh, my God, that’s maybe the best one I’ve ever heard. That’s awesome because that’s impossible to argue. That’s impossible to argue. Yeah, that’s beautiful. That’s absolutely beautiful. So, with books, we were talking about them earlier, more Kindle or real books?

    Martin: Oh, real books all the way. All the way.

    John: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. We’ve got two more, two more. So, when you are going casual, is it more jeans or khakis?

    Martin: Oh, it’s definitely jeans for me. I’m a very traditional Levi’s guy.

    John: Oh, okay, old school. Nice. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.

    Martin: Probably my health, I would say. Not out here, but I’ve actually seen a lot of people come and go this year. When it happens, even if you’re expecting it, it really makes you appreciate what you’re given that you have very little control over. I currently, as we record this, have my health, and I’m very grateful for it.

    John: I completely hear you on that because it is weird, even friends your age type of a thing, where you’re like, wait, what? That’s crazy. There’s actually, just a month ago, a guy that I used to do comedy with in New York who was probably four or five years younger than me even, just passed away. You’re like, wow, that’s crazy.

    Martin: It messes with your brain. I have, now, four school friends down.

    John: Wow.

    Martin: You think to yourself, if you had known back then that you only had until your early 40s in which to get — to have your friendship, I think you would have made a lot more of our time together. Yeah, it really is sobering when that happens.

    John: Yeah, for sure. Also the fact you had four friends, that’s amazing. That’s four more than me.

    Martin: Five more than I currently have, which is a fact.

    John: Right, right. No, no, I’m kidding, but you’re absolutely right. Talking about your fascination with St. Nicholas, how did this start? Is this something since you were a kid, I’m guessing, but then it continued on?

    Martin: What you’ve got to know here, John, is that my father really, really did Christmas very well, indeed. I know really well. We didn’t go overboard on the decorations, but everything looked really warm and cozy and nice. It was so welcoming, and Christmas really was a very special time of year in our household. It was beyond the norm, but it wasn’t overkill. We didn’t have lights all blinking on the garden or anything like that. It wasn’t anything like that.

    What my dad would do is he would just tell me stories of the North Pole, and I was inquisitive. How does this happen? How does that work? How does he get in if you don’t have a chimney, and all this kind of thing. He just seems to have answers like this. He didn’t even blink, didn’t flinch, and it created a character for me to really buy into. I felt like I knew this guy. Well, I knew him quite well already, but as of course Santa Claus. Or in England, we generally say Father Christmas. So, this became more real than a mythical elf that shows up to give some presents and disappears again with having got diabetes from the cookies.

    John: Right, right.

    Martin: It was something more real to me, more tangible. So, when the time came, when the magic was broken, actually it’s not real; I wasn’t prepared to accept that. It had become far too real for me. I was not prepared to accept this, and as I went studying, I found out that I was right. It was completely real. It’s just been changed over the years. The whole legend of Santa Claus or Saint Nick, when we trace it back to its origin, you see exactly where we’ve got to today.

    What fascinates me is, how does someone who almost nothing was written about, anything that was written about him, was written years after his death, he lived an anonymous life, as far as we can tell; how did this guy end up being one of the greatest symbols of kindness and sharing and giving of all time, the patron saint of children, the patron saint of sailors, believe it or not the patron saint of prostitutes?

    John: Oh, wow. Okay.

    Martin: I won’t even go there, to why that is, but I think you know. If we go to any given, I think we still call them this in the US, pawnbrokers?

    John: Oh, yeah, like pawnshop, yeah, yeah.

    Martin: What do we see? We see the three gold balls outside, right? That’s the symbol of the pawnbroker is the three golden balls that hang in front of the store. That is the three sacks of gold that Saint Nicholas anonymously dipped through a window of a former nobleman for his daughters to have a dowry to stop them from being sold into slavery.

    He had heard – of an orphan child who nevertheless was left a lot of money because he had rich parents. So, became an orphan, he grew up under the tutelage of priests and teachers and so on, and this is a guy who went around, giving anonymous gifts. He heard this story of the guy fallen on hard times. He was a widower, himself. He had three daughters. The daughters, he couldn’t afford for them to have dowries. The only option in those times was slavery of some kind or other.

    John: Right, right.

    Martin: The worst kind. The story goes that the guy is praying for assistance and support of some kind, and magically, the stockings of the ladies are held up by the fireplace, spot the theme there, and gold gets dropped in via the window into these fireplaces on the edge of the room at 1 at night for three nights. He gets caught on the third night. He turns to the man, and he says, “Tell no one of this whatsoever.” Given that that legend lives on 1700 years later, I guess the guy did blab after all.

    John: Yeah, somebody told somebody, right. No, but that’s so fascinating because I guess I didn’t really know all of that history. I knew some, but that’s pretty awesome.

    Martin: Nobody does, and this guy turns out to be pretty fantastic, in terms of we know about it. It is sure to be said that this guy’s story has been embellished. The story has also been greatly embellished to the point where we have North Pole and flying reindeer now.

    John: Right. Exactly, exactly.

    Martin: All the good stuff, all of the core things that make him appeal to you, the things that you want to see in yourself as the most best of yourself, seems to be, as much as scholars can verify, seems to be authentic, seems to be what this guy was all about.

    John: Which is the thing that Christmas spirit and the giving and the generosity and the —

    Martin: Exactly.

    John: — helping the less fortunate or what have you, is very real.

    Martin: Or just showing people that you love them, whether they’re less fortunate or not, and it’s the one time of the year that it’s not all about you. It will appear in the studies I’ve done, which is fairly substantial now, when you trace it all back, it would appear, as far as we can tell, this was the actual nature and character of the man in question. For me, that’s proof.

    John: That’s very cool, and all the other stuff is just veneers that humans have put on top of that. At the core of it, you can’t argue that that’s not real. That’s very real.

    Martin: Even the evolution of the name is fantastic because it’s St. Nicholas, Nikolaos, as it would have been in the Greek of the time, and that as it got through to Central Europe, as the legend spread to Central Europe, the Dutch have that as Sinterklaas. Today, Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas. Of course, the Dutch New York was New Amsterdam. The Dutch settlers there brought this legend of Sinterklaas, which has gradually evolved over to Sinta Claus, has gradually evolved via linguistic changes into what we now know to be Santa Claus. So, we know that Santa Claus, we trace straight back to St. Nicholas, on that basis.

    I just love that fact that these things are traceable, and we can see the etymology. We can see the origin of the legend that we now know. We know he’s written out in the red suit because Coca-Cola put him in a red suit in the early 1930s, 1940s, whenever it was. That’s why he wears a red suit now, but at the same time, we know that certain other things actually come from the original. Carrying a big sack of stuff around, that was part of the original. This hood ensures his anonymity. That’s original. So, I love that there are still some remnants of the original story in today’s Santa Claus.

    John: No, that’s awesome, man. That’s so cool. How do you feel like that impacts you today, being so into that idea of giving and what have you?

    Martin: As weird as it may sound and as tenuous as it may sound, there are lessons for me in business, through all of this. Let’s take the first one, we’re always talking about, embellishments. Okay?

    John: Oh, yeah.

    Martin: The truth has been made bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger, still true, but as much impact as possible now. St. Nicholas only ever impacted people in his immediate area in Demre, what is now Turkey, but at the time, it was the Land of Myra, I think, at that time, in Asia Minor. That story is now known all around the world.

    Now talk to me about marketing. So many people, especially in my world, I work with accounting firms, so many people in my world, they have incredible stories of where they helped businesses, literally, saved the mortgage, saved jobs, saved the marriage and, created jobs, create dreams, gave them their time with their family back. CPAs and bookkeepers, they create these things, but the only people who ever know that freaking story is the recipient or the beneficiary and the CPA themselves. I try hard to get the CPAs to tell those stories, far and wide, because that’s what most business owners are looking for. We want support like that. We want help like that. It’s taken other people to tell Saint Nick’s story. He didn’t tell it. It takes marketing departments to tell the story that the professional technicians do.

    John: That’s such a great point, man.

    Martin: I’ve seen marketing. The guy was rich through inheritance in the first place. That’s why he had something to give. That tells me that you have to balance the thing given you. If you become somebody who just gives everything away, you’re broke very quickly. You need a constant stream of income to have income or resource to give. So, you have to take care of your own situation because if you can’t be there for you, you can’t be there for anybody.

    John: I completely agree with that, totally, and I think that’s something that’s lost on people sometimes.

    Martin: Absolutely. There’s another book called The Richest Man in Babylon, which I think is quite well-known. It’s just the best lesson I ever heard on budgeting, where this guy in the story, poor Arkad, is saying, you’ve got 10 eggs. You produce eggs for a living. You’ve got 10 eggs. You can trade for everything you need in your monthly expenses. Everything you need is nine eggs, but you produce 10, so you’ve got one left over. The next month, you produce another 10, but you only spend nine. The next month, you produce another 10, but you only spend nine. What happens to your basket? Well, ultimately, it’s overflowing, spending less than you earn all the time. Not rocket science, but no one can get it right.

    John: Exactly. There needs to be credit eggs.

    Martin: Yeah. These are eggs I could use?

    John: Exactly. Absolutely, because if you don’t earn, then you can’t give, so having a good income or a good job actually sets you up to be able to give more and to provide more and help more.

    Martin: Exactly. So the lesson is making sure your business is profitable. Make your business profitable, pay yourself first. These are lessons I get from a guy who has something to give because he couldn’t give with otherwise. He would have to rely on donations otherwise, which is where I think a lot of charities go wrong. They don’t find ways to generate income. They have to keep going, like, begging ball, and that turns people off. There are so many, John. I can go on with this for a long time.

    Let’s go with one more, the anonymity. I love the idea of anonymity. This is the only podcast I’ve ever done on this subject. It might be the only podcast I ever do on this subject. The anonymity is a big deal for me. It was about the gift in itself, not the giver, not the recognition, not the gratitude. You didn’t need any of that. You weren’t giving to get praises. You gave because you felt you should, and you felt your recipient was in need, and you got out of the way. There was no you in this equation, and that’s what I love. Of course, again, it’s up to us to write about him for us to know he even existed in the first place.

    John: Yeah, and I love that, where it is literally the gift. It’s not about you. It’s not looking for recognition. It’s not — that’s the thing is we don’t do our jobs because we’re looking for that high praise. I do the job because I’m supposed to do the job. This is what I do, but there is a story there to be told, of the impact of doing the job. There’s another level to that.

    Martin: With the current generation I talk to, 25 to 40-year-olds, right now, in my game, the accounting profession is still very young. 25, 40 is still rising star, future leader category. I ask them what they want to be remembered for. I’m going to say, comes a day when the retirement party is going on. It’s all about you. I said, go there. We’re looking back on our career of 30, 35 years. What had to have happened, other than feathering your own nest, what had to have happened? The 25 to 40-year-olds, John, they always say, “I want to be remembered as somebody who was there for people. I want to be remembered as somebody who built this for somebody, who was remembered as a great leader, not as a boss.” I believe these answers are authentic, that are coming from them. I believe that’s genuinely what they want. I see it in their eyes. So, I’m delighted that spirit exists in the current 25 to 40-year-olds right now.

    John: That’s exactly it. That’s super cool to hear. I’ve spoken at some partner retreats type things for firms. There’s always some that are retiring. I’ve never once heard or seen a slide on a spreadsheet of, well, here’s the amount of revenue they brought in for the firm, and here’s the number of clients. No. They’re always stories that are not even work-related at all, and those are the stories that people are telling. I think that’s really, really important that we all remember that. It’s just a nice reminder to be like, well, the work is important and clearly, that person had to do the work to get to where they are, but what is it that people are remembering and talking about? It’s not that side of it. In the same way with Santa Claus or St. Nicholas, it’s not, how did he get his money, or where did he live? It was the spirit of the giving is what we’re talking about. That’s such a great parallel. I never even thought of that. I can’t wait for Christmas to come in a couple of weeks. We’ll be like, that’s just amazing.

    Martin: What about this year? Is this commercial this year? I like it.

    John: Exactly, exactly. This has been awesome. Is it something that you talk about in this way with people, clients at work-related settings? Or is it just, you just bring that spirit to things?

    Martin: Well, you’d have to ask the audience for that answer. I could only tell you what I see. No. The answer is no, I don’t talk about it. I feel like that defeats the objective of the anonymity. I would like to believe, and the audience would have to confirm or deny, but I would like to believe that the best possible example you can set is one of behavioral example. It would be interesting and probably dangerous to my reputation, for people to say or for people to be asked, what do you think of Martin? What have you observed of Martin? What do his actions suggest? Does he walk his own talk or not? For me, that’s the ultimate — the thing to strive for. I don’t think you’ll ever get there. I don’t think you’ll achieve perfection. I don’t think we’re a race of perfect people. What I do think, there’s an opportunity for perpetual improvements. There’s an opportunity to do better than you did yesterday and to put right, the things you got wrong yesterday, which is the beauty of the new day. So, for me, no, it’s not something I talk about. I am hoping that, in my behavior that’s observed by others, there are consistencies there.

    John: Yeah, because this is a little bit of a different thing where it’s not like you just go around talking about Santa all the time. It’s Christmas in July, everybody.

    Martin: How do we get some new business? Well, you really think about it from the point of view of Christmas Eve. This is what you do.

    John: Exactly. How many cookies do you have in your budget?

    Martin: How is your cookie pipeline going? We need more cookies in the pipeline. Close your cookies at all times.

    John: Actually, if every time you made a visit to the place and they had cookies and milk for you, that would be great. Let’s do that, everybody.

    Martin: I love one, all of a sudden. So, no, I don’t see the direct application there. What I do see is for me to — a constant reminder for me to up my game. However well I did, it wasn’t good enough. I’m going to have to up my game again. Because from what we can tell, this guy lived his life — well, and I didn’t want to bring religion into this. This guy was following the example of his Savior as he saw it.

    John: Yeah, yeah. No, absolutely.

    Martin: He was the Bishop of Myra. This guy was a religious man. Had we been able to interview Saint Nick, and been able to speak Greek as well, he would have been telling us, what’s the big deal?

    John: Yeah, I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do.

    Martin: I’ve got to do this. So, for me, I look at it from Saint Nick’s point of view. I think, well, this guy’s my hero. This is the guy I want to be able to emulate, not for other people to say, “He was like this,” but for me to say I tried my hardest. I mean, you’ll never get there.

    John: Oh, no, no. Yeah, but you can at least try and be better. I think it’s great because you’re showing up. You’re walking the walk, and that spirit gets through to other people. The intentions and what you’re conveying is what translates.

    Martin: Then we have to make the business application because then when you’re trying to do a deal with clients, whatever it is, and you speak in these terms, they’re making judgment calls about you. Not just what’s coming out of your mouth, but what your eyes look like and where they’re looking at any given time. What’s going on with voices, where your hands are, and that’s triggering your authenticity and your sincerity.

    John: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Martin: If you are at least attempting — again, I want to heavily caveat that I am a safe, comfortable distance away from sainthood here.

    John: Right. I think everyone knew that part, Martin.

    Martin: I think people look for people who strive and say, okay, he had faults, he has shortcomings. She had faults, she has shortcomings, but you know what? The things she does, they come from the heart. We build a lot of goodwill in business that way.

    John: Yeah. No, I love that. I love that so much, and how much it transfers over to the business world. This has been awesome, man. This is so great, and I think something that everyone can really change their thoughts on, pretty easily. It’s just change perspective.

    Martin: Not to have a complete makeover, but how do I improve one tiny thing? I want to improve in that, congratulate myself quietly, and then go and improve the next thing. Just little bite-sized chunks, that’s it.

    John: Yeah. No, no, I love that. I love that. So for people that have hobbies and passions and interests that seemingly are not related to their job, do you have any words of encouragement to them, as far as whether it’s pursuing them or sharing them or even having these hobbies that are seemingly not work-related?

    Martin: Oh, absolutely. There’s always a correlation somewhere. Sometimes it’s rather tenuous, and you have to bend it a lot to make it fit, but over time, you find that business is about human behavior. When you’ve been in the game a long time, you see the same patterns. Businesses have got the same concerns that are asking you to fix. You’re giving them the same solutions you gave them six months ago because they didn’t implement it six months ago. We all sign up for gym memberships in January because we’re all fat because we can’t be disciplined over 12 months.

    John: Exactly.

    Martin: It’s always the same stuff. I think, over time, the more passionate you are about something, and the more you can link it to your commercial goal, whatever creates your income in life; it creates that sense of authenticity. One thing that comes to mind as we’re talking here, John, I have a decent record for being asked back as a speaker, not for being asked, but for being asked back second, third, fourth, my record is seven times, seven consecutives. I always ask the question, what was it you loved about last year? What was it I said? What was it I did? What went on the screen behind me that you really got some insight from? Nobody, John, can remember a thing I freaking said. Nobody can. Nobody knew what it was. They can’t even remember my name properly. I said to them, “So why am I back?” They said, “Well you’ve got great feedback.” I said, “You gave me great feedback. Thank you. Why?” They said, “Well, we don’t know. We just liked your energy.” One word shows up over and over and over again. We don’t care what you said. We don’t care what you said about. We don’t really care how you said it either. What we did really care about is we went away feeling energized and invigorated and hopeful. That’s what you translated. That’s what I think anybody who’s got a hobby or passion, when they translate that into the work, all of a sudden people will be magnetized towards them. We don’t understand your hobby, we don’t really care about your hobby either, but we love your energy.

    John: Yeah, because they light up. You could hear it in people’s voices, their eyes. There’s color all of a sudden.

    Martin: Absolutely, and everyone’s going, I’m feeling great, I don’t know why. It’s like, let’s keep the spirit here. So anybody who’s got an unrelated passion or hobby, I would ask them to up their game on it because there’s a direct business correlation, if nothing more than in the energy and passion that you exude.

    John: Right. Yeah, that momentum carries forward, and even just talking about it at work just a little bit, it’s super cool. That’s awesome, man.

    Martin: The more people you invite to tell you about their thing as well, and it’s equal; all good. All good.

    John: That’s awesome, man. That’s so great. Well, before I close this up, it’s only fair that I allow you to question me and turn the tables here, since I started out, peppering you with questions. We’ll make this the Martin Bissett podcast, Episode One. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it. Yeah, so what have you got?

    Martin: So, John, you’re late. Okay, here are my questions for you. You have launched a book. For everybody who launches a book, are 1,000 people who wish they could launch a book. There’s a lot of, what I would call, vanity publishing that goes on these days, one page idea turns into 300 pages of a book with filler, and it’s done for self-gratification, not to share content with people who might need it, and so on and so on and so on and so on and so on. What I noticed most of all, John, is that people don’t realize how hard it is to write an actual coherent, powerful set of words, over a series of chapters. My question to you is this, do you find the writing process particularly easy or difficult or in between, and what are your tips or hacks for breaking the writer’s block and getting that key ideas down on paper?

    John: It’s a journey, for sure. Writing the book, there are a lot of people that do the ghost writers, where they hire someone to write the book for them. I wrote all of my words and then extra that didn’t make it. So, for me, it was very much a momentum thing. It was just write every day. Some days, it’s a little bit. Some days, I hit a groove, and it’s a lot. It’s literally just a momentum thing of just write every day.

    For me, it helps having a content editor where, before I started writing, we mapped out the structure of the book. The bones were there. It was just up to me to just put the meat on it. So, it was just write every day. Don’t edit as you write, just pour it out. Even if you’re like, hey, I think I wrote about this in another section, write it again because you might say it better or at least differently. Just let it out. Don’t edit and edit after you get it all out. It’s really hard to do because I’m a big fan of first draft is the final draft, but when you go through the book process, you realize that your first draft is like, there’s like 30 more drafts. It’s crazy.

    With What’s Your “And”?, just once I turned the book over to the publisher even, before that were tons of iterations, but even once I turned it over to the publisher and I was like, well, we’re pretty much done; no, three more rounds of copy editing and then three more rounds with a different proofreader. It’s a journey. The cool thing is, is that, what is it, iron sharpens iron, type of thing, so the book’s vision that I had in the beginning, it’s that but actually better, which is cool, because I definitely hold a high standard for what I put out there. Because that is frustrating to me where someone’s like, well, here’s my leadership book. I’m like, well, we’ve already got a billion. How is yours different, like, legitimately, for real different? That’s what I’m proud of with What’s Your “And”? is legit different. It’s a different style and structure to it, but also the message isn’t something that’s out there.

    Martin: Yes.

    John: That’s why I’m excited about it, but, yeah, write every day. That’s it, even if it’s just a little bit.

    Martin: More often is the key.

    John: Exactly, yeah.

    Martin: Fantastic. My second question is a follow-up question to that. I know a lot of would-be authors who end up being — they start to get in the place in their mind where they think that their book, when it’s finally done, is going to be the next Harry Potter, and it’s going to make them a billionaire in 10 years. They don’t realize that it’s really an expensive business card, for many of us. We’re not in the publishing business. I’m not trying to make money out of books because that is not what it’s for. So, I would ask you, obviously, you want the book to have the greatest reach possible, but for you, what is the biggest payoff of actually having a book and indeed a brand that is grown from the book? What’s the biggest payoff for you, and where does the book serve you the best in your business?

    John: Yeah. Well, I think, for me, it’s just putting my stake in the ground of, here’s my philosophy, here’s what I think, here’s my research that I’ve done, here’s it. When people are like, what is it about that you — what do you speak about? Well, hear this. Like you said, it’s a $5 business card or whatever. It’s, well, here, I have a book. I’ve done the research. Here it is. What are you going to come speak on? This. Then after I speak, would it make sense for everyone in the audience to have something that reinforces this, six months later, after they slip and forget? Or when they’re thinking, hey, I can do — actually, I’ve done what I think I’ve done. There’s another level to it. Because there are layers to some of this where, when you hear it the first time, you catch a certain layer, but then if you listen again, later on, you catch that second layer that you completely missed before because you were so far in the weeds. That’s what I think is is great. Plus, then it also gets to people that haven’t seen me speak. They haven’t heard the podcast. It’s people that are advocates of this. Because I look at it as our message, it’s yours and mine, and I just happen to be the mouthpiece of the collective.

    Martin: Yeah.

    John: It’s our message. People are like, hey, other people are on board with this. Let’s share that with them.

    Martin: I love that. Talking about Saint Nick, the book is like the Gospel of John here, that you’ve got here, and those who read it and say, yeah, I go with this. If you read John’s book — I think I saw it, in fact. Was it Angie Grissom?

    John: Yeah, yeah.

    Martin: Wonderful, wonderful lady and great friend of mine, and Adelaide as well, perhaps were —

    John: Yeah, with Rainmaker Companies. Yeah.

    Martin: Check out John’s book. Check out John’s book. It’s wonderful that that’s the thing that works for you. Because I think a lot of authors or would-be authors need to understand first, the blood, sweat and tears go into that 212 pages but also what it can do for them beyond mere book sales alone.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Because the book sales alone aren’t necessarily going to make you make a living off of that, but it’s getting that philosophy out there. The consulting and the speaking that comes from people that are like, oh, we want to have this at our place, we want to create this, is where that helps out.

    Martin: I think, below referrals, which are always the diamond standard of anybody’s credibility, probably the book is the next most critical thing you can do with an expert to establish your position and say, look, publisher thought this was worthy, publisher marketed this, I have written this position. I love what you’ve done to put this message out because I haven’t seen what you’ve done before. I’m not saying other people do that. I love something, not just because it’s new. Oh, what’s this? Okay, I hadn’t thought — this is a new angle. This is a new paradigm.

    John: Yeah. Well, thank you, man.

    Martin: No, you’re very welcome. No problem at all.

    John: Yeah, well, I appreciate it. More importantly, thank you for having me on the Martin Bissett podcast, Episode One, so, thanks.

    John: Right. Exactly, exactly. This has been so much fun, man. I just appreciate you being a part of What’s Your “And”? Thanks.

    Martin: No, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

    John: Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Martin in action or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com All the links are there. While you’re on the page, please click that big button, do the anonymous research survey about corporate culture, and don’t forget, buy the book.

    Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes 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 do.


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