Episode 431 – Gabe Messercola

Gabe is an Asset Manager & Expeditionary Mountaineer

Gabe Messercola, Asset Manager of EDF Renewables, talks about his passion for expeditionary mountaineering, how it has helped improve his leadership skills in the office, and much more!

Episode Highlights

• What expedition mountaineering is
• How mountaineering improved his leadership skills
• Returning to the office after the pandemic
• How an organization can have an impact on company culture


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    Welcome to Episode 431 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 in another way, it’s encouraging people to find their “and”, the things above and beyond your technical skills, the things that actually differentiate you when you’re at work.

    If you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. If you want me to read the book to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audio books. The book goes more in depth with the research behind why these outside-of-work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it. If you have, please leave a review on Amazon. Even if you didn’t buy it there, it’s still really helpful.

    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, Gabe Messercola. He’s an asset manager at EDF Renewables North America, out of San Diego, and now he’s with me here today. Gabe, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Gabe: Yeah, thanks for having me, John.

    John: Yeah, this is going to be so much fun. Before I get into it, it’s get to know Gabe on a new level here with some rapid-fire questions, so, buckle up, man.

    Gabe: All right. All right. I’m ready for them.

    John: All right, I’ll start you out with a pretty easy one. Favorite color.

    Gabe: I’m going to go with green. I have the green shirt on too.

    John: Nice.

    Gabe: It’s that lively, lush grass field color that I really like.

    John: Yeah. It’s nature, and it’s outside. That dovetails perfectly with everything we’re going to talk about.

    Gabe: It’s a little cliché, and the color of money, which, never heard.

    John: Right. There you go. There you go. How about a least favorite color?

    Gabe: Bright yellow is a little obtrusive to me, in ways. It throws me off. They’re like a hazard color. When I see people wearing on their clothing, it’s like a caution sign.

    John: Right. That’s funny. How about more cats or dogs?

    Gabe: Oh, man, this is a tough one. I lived with a dog for the first time, over the last few months, a big Siberian husky, and it was a blast. I love both. I grew up with cats.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Gabe: I have more experience with cats. I’m going to say cats for now, but I love both equally.

    John: Sure.

    Gabe: Yeah, just because I’ve actually owned cats, and I haven’t owned a dog yet. I, one day, want to.

    John: One day. All right. All right. How about a favorite actor or actress?

    Gabe: My mind goes to Leonardo DiCaprio just because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad movie that he’s in, so I always enjoy watching his movies.

    John: Yeah. There was one. I think it was called The Beach or something like that, where it was this remote island off of Thailand or something.

    Gabe: Oh, yes. Yep, yep, yep. I haven’t seen that one in a while.

    John: That one was a little bit sketchy, but other than that, you’re right. There’s a lot of really good one.

    Gabe: Yeah. I would say, nine times out of ten, it’s going to be a solid movie.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Totally. He’s like a Tom Hanks kind of guy.

    Gabe: Yeah, exactly.

    John: They’re all just good. They’re all just good. How about, this is a fun one someone asked me. I like to flip it around. Socks or shoes.

    Gabe: I’m going to go shoes. I think either shoes or barefoot.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Gabe: Yeah.

    John: Just no socks, regardless.

    Gabe: Just no socks.

    John: All right. How about a favorite day of the week?

    Gabe: I do like Thursdays because I think Thursday is the first appropriate day to drink during the workweek.

    John: There you go.

    Gabe: it’s a little too early in the week. Of course, Friday is fine because once you’re out, you’re out, and you’re in the weekend. Thursday is like that. It’s a fun day because you’re still in your workweek, but it’s like, we’re almost there.

    John: Yeah, we’re coming in for a landing.

    Gabe: Thirsty Thursday, yeah.

    John: There you go. I like that. Okay. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Gabe: I’m going to go with Star Wars, yeah.

    John: Yeah, me too.

    Gabe: There’s The Mandalorian.

    John: Right? Yeah.

    Gabe: Awesome show.

    John: Yeah, really good.

    Gabe: I like it.

    John: How about your computer, a PC or a Mac?

    Gabe: PC.

    John: PC.

    Gabe: Yeah. I’ve just always been on the Windows ecosystem. Well, I have an iPhone, and I hate that they don’t talk to each other. I’m just very stubborn with it, and I refuse to get a Mac. I’m going to stick with the PC headaches, but they’ve gotten so much better the past few years. The old days of just constantly getting viruses seem like it’s over, which is nice.

    John: Needing to update every five minutes or whatever.

    Gabe: Yeah, exactly.

    John: Yeah. What’s a typical breakfast?

    Gabe: I go pretty light in the mornings. I don’t have a huge appetite, so I usually am just, I like to hold off on the coffee for the first hour I’m awake. I’m usually glass of water, granola bar, banana, yogurt, that kind of thing.

    John: Oh, yeah.

    Gabe: A light continental kind of breakfast and then I eat a pretty good-sized lunch in the afternoon.

    John: Right. Yeah, yeah. That makes sense. How about a favorite ice cream flavor? I’m a huge ice cream junkie.

    Gabe: Coffee ice cream.

    John: Oh, really? Okay.

    Gabe: Yeah. It just never goes wrong.

    John: Right. There you go. How about more talk or text?

    Gabe: I go talk.

    John: Yeah?

    Gabe: Yeah. Well, texting is so normal now, but it’s just always so much easier to talk to someone on the phone. It’s funny because a lot of people now like, of all ages, gets weirded out, startled when you call them, like something bad has happened. There’s a horrible accident. You’re like, no, I was just wondering if you want milk from the grocery store or something. Yeah, usually I’ll call someone, and if they refuse to answer it, I’ll get into a text conversation. If it’s more than a few words I need to say, I try to just talk to them.

    John: Yeah, it could take 30 seconds to go back and forth, and we’ve got an answer, as opposed to texting 47 times.

    Gabe: Oh, yeah.

    John: Ay-ay-ay, just call me.

    Gabe: Especially at work, everyone’s Slacking and using Teams now. They’re great, but sometimes there’s like a 30-minute back and forth that could have been a five-minute phone call, and it’s just easier.

    John: Yeah, totally. How about oceans or mountains?

    Gabe: Mountains all the way, which is, I live in San Diego, so I’m conflicted. Yeah, I definitely gravitate towards the mountains. I have an irrational fear of sharks. I know it’s irrational.

    John: Okay, and they are not in the mountains.

    Gabe: Not in the mountains. If I get attacked by an animal, I want it to be on land, breathing air. I don’t want to die like a fish. It’s not the way I like to go. I’ve been getting into surfing, and I do enjoy it. It’s just I feel much more in my element in the mountains, with height and exposure and that whole process.

    John: Until the bear sharks come out.

    Gabe: Yeah, exactly.

    John: Then it’s like, wait, what?

    Gabe: Bear shark, NATO, it’s on land now.

    John: How about, we’ve got four more, your first concert?

    Gabe: Rush. I went to Rush. I was probably six or so. Just, I remember it was both the first band I saw and the first time I smelled marijuana. It was a big combination of stimulus for a seven-year-old. It was like psychedelic rock and the smell seemed to go hand in hand with each other.

    John: Right. That’s funny. That is funny. How about a favorite number?

    Gabe: 47.

    John: Yeah. Is there a reason?

    Gabe: It’s just been a reoccurring number in my life. 47 Luther Road was where I originally grew up. Yeah, it’s popped up all throughout my life and all of these really interesting places that were memorable and drew your attention to it. It’s always a poker hand I’ll play. Even though it’s an atrocious hand, I’ll always go and see the flop. I’ve never made money on it, but I’m like, it’s my lucky number.

    John: One of these times.

    Gabe: One of these times.

    John: One of these times.

    Gabe: Somebody would be like, why’d you play that? When I do win it, it’s going to be great, but.

    John: Right. Hopefully, it’s on TV. It’ll be awesome. Yeah, when it comes to books, audio version, e-book or real book.

    Gabe: E-book, yeah. I was very much so a real book person. I have a whole bookshelf behind me, full. There is definitely something convenient about just carrying one device that has like 800 books on it. I did get a Kindle a long time ago. I wasn’t using it a ton, and it’s resurfaced in the last few months. I’ve started using it a lot again.

    John: Nice. Yeah, that works. The last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.

    Gabe: I’m going to say my motorcycle.

    John: Oh, okay. Yeah.

    Gabe: I bought a bike right in the midst of the COVID lockdown, and that was my outlet. Southern California was insanely restrictive, almost too much so, where parks and outdoor spaces where you usually could go spread out from people, all were shut down. Everyone’s walking around the neighborhood, shoulder to shoulder with each other.

    John: Right, which defeats the purpose.

    Gabe: There’s no escape from it. The motorcycle was great because I like felt like I was outside. It felt normal, seeing everything, off the bike. That was a lot of fun learning over the last year and getting into.

    John: Yeah, that’s awesome, man. Very cool. Let’s talk expeditionary mountaineering.

    Gabe: All right.

    John: Clearly there’s a mountain involved, but what is that? That’s next level. That sounds like there’s some training. You can’t just say that on a whim.

    Gabe: Yeah, it’s expeditionary side of it is really we just like to suffer on these climbing trips.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Gabe: I think the difference between just saying a normal mountaineering trip and an expeditionary mountaineering trip is a normal trip, typically, is on an established route. You know what you’re getting yourself into. There’s been plenty before you. You can find a wealth of information online and through various government agencies usually. You’re not going into it blind. You go here. You put this item of gear here. It’s all mapped out for you. Still awesome, just always a fun time to be in the mountains.

    The expeditionary side of it is introducing the unknown, where, okay, there’s not that much information. Not a lot of people have been here. We don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like. We have this grainy picture from a plane in the 1950s, and that’s what we’re going off of. It adds this self-sufficiency aspect to the sport that really complements it because it is such a demanding, personal thing to be out there. Adding that element of isolation and uncertainty just really fills in that experience to be pretty profound when you’re doing a longer trip.

    John: That’s awesome, man. You’re like the Lewis and Clark type. It’s like, we’re just going and see what happens.

    Gabe: I think what’s so cool about it is it’s easy to assume the world has been fully explored. When I was a kid, and you’re learning about exploration, you just think everything has been done, and every mountain has been climbed. They haven’t. Come to find out, it’s 2021, and there are hundreds of thousands of mountains on this planet that have never seen a human being, and some of them in major parks like in Denali. There are plenty of mountains there that literally, still, like our pilot last year did a first ascent on a peak pretty much right in the heart of the park where everyone goes. It just was a little bit too out there for the average person to get to. He’s a pilot, and him and his buddies just flew over and did it. There’s a bunch. They’re still everywhere. That’s what’s exciting is there’s plenty of exploring left to be done on this planet. It’s far from over.

    John: Part of me was like, maybe no one’s been because you’re not supposed to go, Gabe. Well, we’ll find out. No, but I love it. I love it. That’s awesome.

    Gabe: You get that feeling of a real explorer, real exploration.

    John: That’s cool. I like it.

    Gabe: Yeah.

    John: That’s awesome. Do you have a favorite trip that you’ve been on? I know you’ve been on so many. Is there one? There’s probably a variety of them. It’s like, I guess, picking your favorite pet. It’s like, well, all of them are cool.

    Gabe: I think every trip has its own impact and gives you something. In 2015, the trip we did, our first time going to Alaska, we successfully completed a chain of five mountains, including a first ascent up one of those mountains, up one of those routes on the mountain that had never been climbed before. No one had ever done all five in one go, and no one had ever done the particular side of the mountain we took to link all five together.

    John: Yeah.

    Gabe: That was our most successful and most sketchy experience.

    John: Right, right.

    Gabe: Came back from that trip completely different person, which is wild that in three weeks, you can just forever change how you think and your whole experience with the earth. Yeah, it was awesome.

    John: Yeah. You mentioned pilot. These are places, it’s not like you park your car and then just go hiking. It’s, no no, we got to fly in. Are you landing on a real strip, or is it just a field?

    Gabe: Usually right on the snow. In 2015, that area of the park, they didn’t allow plane landing. We had to walk in, on that trip, and that was the grueling part of that trip is it was a very long walk with a lot of gear just to get to the snow.

    John: Yeah. Wow.

    Gabe: The trip we just got back from, this year, actually attempting this out buttress on Denali itself, we were able to fly in, which is awesome because you land right on the glacier. The plane has skis on it.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Gabe: Often, you’re on the snow with your gear, backpack sled tied up behind you, pulling the rest of your weight. It’s much easier than the grueling big backpack trip to get equipment into a remote glacier somewhere. I don’t know how many more of those long approach trips we’re going to do because the plane was excellent. It was very nice, just to be right there.

    John: It’s like, once you fly business class.

    Gabe: Exactly.

    John: It’s like, nope, I’m never going back like this.

    Gabe: Yeah.

    John: That’s cool, man. That’s so awesome. Do you feel like any of those skills from mountaineering translate to work at all?

    Gabe: Yeah, so many of them. There’s an awesome impact on leadership, I think, that being outside and having some responsibility in a group and for your friends, really instills on you. Through the outdoors club in college and through my life, just bringing people who have never really done hiking or climbing before out, it’s really shaped my core leadership skills. I think most of my leadership skills that I pull on are from climbing and hiking and backpacking.

    John: Yeah, and I would imagine just communication, it’s got to be crystal clear. When you’re on some sketchy slopes or who knows what, and especially with new people, it’s like, yeah, we can’t beat around the bush. It’s got to be super clear communication, which, as a leader, obviously, is super helpful as well. Yeah, I imagine at no point in college did someone tell you, go do mountaineering because it will make you a better leader and better at business.

    Gabe: Exactly, and it has that, safety first is always the priority. Even at work, every decision we make is safety-oriented, at the highest level. That is something that I think is hard to instill as a leader unless you gain your leadership skills in a more stressful way. That pressure from being outside with people who you’re responsible for, and being a 20-year-old college student who drinks a bit too much, you need to suddenly be serious because you have 14 people, some international students who have never hiked before. You’re up on Mount Washington and storm is rolling in. There’s a level of seriousness and somberness that comes from that. You quickly realize that getting your communication right isn’t just a nice thing. It is a critical thing for everyone’s safety. Hand in hand with the communication is the planning, going through.

    John: Oh, that’s a good point, too. Yeah.

    Gabe: The scenarios, make sure everyone knows really everything, and you can quiz people. There are ways to make sure that the plan is instilled, and you’re not just the only one who knows what’s going on. Those two things, yeah, it’s really shaped them, and being a trip leader, eventually being the president of that club, and then looking at the inclusiveness of the outdoors and the patience it takes to plan some of these trips to get to everything right and detailed. Sometimes the fact you’ll get set back, and being able to have alternate plans and still have a bunch of fun with people who paid to go do a good hike or backpacking trip somewhere.

    John: Yeah, yeah. Because success could be reaching the top but success is also, maybe we didn’t, but we learned something, we had fun, it was still an adventure and what have you. There are still good things that come out of it, man, so many things.

    Gabe: Being outside safely always feels like a success because it’s very easy to get in, over your head.

    John: We all came back.

    Gabe: Yeah, that was always a victory. It really was.

    John: Yeah, man, I could totally see that. Is this something that you share at work that coworkers know about? Or is it something that you just keep on the down low?

    Gabe: I don’t really talk about it a ton. Some people have found out and will talk to me about it, and I’m happy to talk about it. A fair amount of people, on this last trip, found out because I think my boss sent a mass email out, so I have people asking me about it now. I’m showing photos and stuff from this last trip up Denali. I’m not going to bring up proactively, but if someone is asking me about it, I love talking about it.

    John: Well, I’m just curious to just hear, what’s the difference between before or earlier this year when they didn’t know versus now when people are asking you? Is there a different energy?

    Gabe: A little bit.

    John: Do you prefer to be anonymous?

    Gabe: Sort of.

    John: I would imagine it’s kind of cool.

    Gabe: Yeah, it is cool. I think, for so many people, their risk tolerance is very different. Especially with the hair, because I didn’t have long hair, pre-COVID, when I was in the office. Now, I’m back in the office. Tuesday through Thursday, I’m working in there; and Monday, Fridays, I’m working remote. It’s been funny because the hair is shocking to people because I was in rural Colorado, and this is the look out there. I didn’t want to bother with a haircut through COVID, so I just let it go. They’re doing double takes at me, with the hair. Also they found out about the trip. They’re like, are you okay? As if I just was like, I’m going to go climb this mountain. I have no experience.

    John: Yeah, just out of nowhere. I watched the movie, and I’m going to go.

    Gabe: Yeah, it seems cool. I think that’s most people’s impression. They don’t know my full background of climbing. They’re like, like I have crazy eyes or something, they’re like, you seem unhinged, something seems different.

    John: Right.

    Gabe: A few of my friends have called me a wild man and all this stuff. I’m like, oh, Jeez. It’s not a bad reputation to have, but I don’t know if it’s necessarily good. Yeah, Gabe, he’s crazy. He’s a crazy person.

    John: Yeah, I call it being alive. That’s pretty awesome.

    Gabe: Exactly.

    John: Yeah, but I think it’s neat that people didn’t just brush it off and be like, well, why did his boss email me? This is annoying. Instead, it’s opposite, where now, everyone’s asking, and they’re interested.

    Gabe: Yeah, people seem to be excited.

    John: That’s a cool thing.

    Gabe: Exactly.

    John: As opposed to, yeah, if they found out and then they just brush it off. They’re like, so what, whatever. Instead, they’re interested, which is nice to know that at least people care and have a genuine interest.

    Gabe: Yeah. I think people are living vicariously through it a little bit because a lot of people still haven’t had that moment of normalcy back in their lives. A lot of people still aren’t traveling. It’s been a cool story for people who have been locked up, especially locked up in Southern California for the last year and a half, have families and are still being insanely COVID-safe. I’ve been getting to show off the photos and tell the story.

    John: Yeah. The mountains are still there, everybody. It’s still happening.

    Gabe: Yeah, exactly.

    John: That’s awesome. I think it’s so cool to hear that your manager sent that email out. How much is it on an organization to create that environment where, hey, people have outside interests, and let’s share it; versus, how much is it on the individual to maybe just create that little small circle amongst their peers type of thing?

    Gabe: Yeah, well, it does feel a little, I don’t know what the perfect word is. I am very honored that they highlight me. I think it makes some people feel a little self-conscious when that happens. Personally, I was fine with it. I agree that people’s personal achievements or interest should be celebrated. The taboo of discussing non-work related things at work should be broken. Yeah, it was great of them to do that and to highlight my out-of-work life a little bit for people who might have not known.

    John: Yeah, yours is pretty extreme, but anybody listening, well, highlight bake a cake.

    Gabe: Yeah, exactly.

    John: Awesome. That’s just as cool.

    Gabe: Yeah. Have any photos? We’ll put a blog on that stuff.

    John: Right.

    Gabe: Exactly.

    John: Yeah, exactly. It doesn’t have to be something that’s life-threatening or something that no one else is doing. As a matter of fact, I found, because I was doing comedy when I worked at PwC, and people remembered that. I never met anyone else doing comedy. Yet, people remembered that. Where if it’s, well, I play golf; it’s like, well, so does 40,000 other people in the office. Even if it’s something unique, that’s, well, no one else does it. Well, actually, that’s going to be even more unique. People are going to be drawn to it even more.

    Gabe: Yeah, it’s always those unique facts that help you remember people too. There are a lot of people out here who go to the beach, into the ocean and even surf. I do usually remember people that surf because it kind of sticks out, but the fact that in Southern California that you’ll introduce your main out-of-work activity is going to the beach, I’m sure there’s something deeper there. It’s just the default out there. I spend my weekends at the beach and weeks in the office. It kind of blurs people together. Someone recently talked to me about trout fishing, and they’re like, I love trout fishing. I love fly fishing. That’s my thing. It wasn’t recent. I think they told me this two years ago. Whenever I see them, I’m like, have you gone recently? Because it just sticks out and I remember them super well. Yeah, it makes a big difference, for sure.

    John: Yeah. What’s their job? I don’t even remember. It doesn’t matter.

    Gabe: Yeah, but it’s because they expose that passion. You can see it in their eyes. You see that they’re all nerdy about their gear. It’s a big thing for them. They allowed themselves to be vulnerable and share that and, yeah, it made a lasting impression.

    John: Yeah. Sometimes we’re nerdy about our work, but sometimes we’re not. It’s work, but every time we’re nerdy about our “and”, every time.

    Gabe: Yeah.

    John: I love that, man. That’s so great. Do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that might have a hobby or a passion that they feel like no one cares about, or it doesn’t matter?

    Gabe: Sure. Yeah. Like I said, there’s plenty of things left to explore. That applies to physical spaces, but it also applies to whatever interest you have. There’s always an avenue for you to do something different. There’s always an avenue for you to be unique. Nothing has been fully worked through in any hobby. It’s like, innovation is everywhere, and that’s exciting.

    John: Yeah, and to be a successful professional, it doesn’t have to be one thing. You can be good at your job and have a variety of different hobbies, and all those people are successful. You don’t have to just be all this all the time. You’re proof of that, so that’s super cool, man. Well, I feel like it’s only fair, before I wrap this up, that I turn the tables and make this the first episode of the Gabe Messercola podcast. Thanks for having me on, man.

    Gabe: Of course.

    John: I’m all yours. Whatever you’ve got, you can ask away.

    Gabe: Awesome. Yeah, I was wondering, who has been your, I guess, most unique “and”? What was the most unique “and” that you’ve ever come across? One that it was just a surprise.

    John: Just a surprise? Well, I had a lady on who makes kombucha at home. She actually got her SCOBY from a coworker.

    Gabe: Oh, nice.

    John: Because she was just talking about it, and she was like, maybe I’ll make it. I don’t even know how to make it. The coworker overheard and was like, well, I actually have a giant SCOBY, so I’ll give you some, and started just for herself and her family and stuff. That’s kind of a unique one, I think.

    Gabe: Yeah, definitely. Did she show you the SCOBY? Did she bring it on camera?

    John: Actually, it was before I was doing the camera, to be able to talk.

    Gabe: Have you ever seen one? They’re gross.

    John: Like a liver or something.

    Gabe: Yeah, I love kombucha. I love it, but it’s seriously disgusting.

    John: They smell weird.

    Gabe: Yeah.

    John: Totally.

    Gabe: Floating alien blob thing.

    John: Right?

    Gabe: I don’t know.

    John: It’s like alive, kind of.

    Gabe: Yeah, I saw it one time at a friend’s place, and it was just like.

    John: Yeah, I did not need to know how the kombucha was made. I did not need to know. Right?

    Gabe: Yeah.

    John: So that was a good one.

    Gabe: Nice.

    John: Yeah, that was unique. The thing is, all of them are unique because how you do it, how you got into it, why, the things that you’re taking from it; they’re all so different.

    Gabe: Yeah.

    John: That’s what’s cool to me about it.

    Gabe: Yeah, and there’s plenty, even with something like kombucha, to that point, you get to the stage of flavoring it, and it’s infinite. You can take it anywhere you want to go with it.

    John: How long you let it ferment, how alcoholic we’re going on this bad boy.

    Gabe: Yeah, exactly. Hard kombucha is a very popular thing in Southern California. It is all the rage out here, yeah, like 10% kombuchas.

    John: Oh, wow.

    Gabe: It’s very prevalent. Yeah.

    John: That’s packing a punch. That’s awesome.

    Gabe: Yeah, and healthy. It’s fine. It’s probably a good thing.

    John: Exactly. Exactly.

    Gabe: Do you still do comedy?

    John: That’s a good one. I do not do comedy clubs anymore. No, that’s been quite a few years. I made the shift of marrying my corporate John with the comedy John, probably about six or seven years ago now. It’s just hard. I’ve only been to one live comedy show since then. It happened to be, Ryan Hamilton’s a friend of mine, and then Tommy Johnagin was opening for him at a small theater in Portland, which happened to be, I was in town for a conference, speaking at it. I sent him a text. They’re like, yeah, sure, come on. That was really cool. It’s so hard because I know what all the comedians are going through to try and be successful, and sometimes comedy clubs don’t treat you very well.

    Gabe: Yeah, definitely.

    John: It’s just a hard life. Of course, there’s PTSD which is very bad. There’s got to be a light version of that, that you go through. It’s too close, so it’s hard for me to go.

    Gabe: Well, like you said, you still kept it alive by marrying it to all these other things, and that’s great.

    John: When I speak at conferences, I do plenty of comedy. I do the music video parodies. I do funny things on the side.

    Gabe: Oh, that’s awesome. I’ve heard a lot of that in comedy. I know a handful of people in Los Angeles who go to the Laugh Factory and places like that. I’ve heard the struggles. It is daunting. It’s like trying to be an actor, same thing, just as much of a struggle where there’s a lot of people trying to do the same thing. The pressure is, I’m sure is outrageous.

    John: Yeah, and then the step up is actors don’t have to write anything. You have to write your stuff and then go deliver it and get metaphorically punched in the face when nothing’s funny.

    Gabe: Yeah, actually.

    John: Yeah. You get some thick skin quick. I’ll tell you that.

    Gabe: You get is a great skill, learning how to do that and work with a crowd.

    John: I don’t even blink anymore. I’m just like, whatever. I’ve seen some stuff. It’s like, whatever.

    Gabe: Awesome.

    John: Yeah, awesome, man. Well, this has been so much fun, Gabe. Thank you so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”?

    Gabe: Yeah, it’s been awesome being on here, and I’m excited to hear the episode.

    John: Everybody listening, if you want to see some pictures of Gabe from his expeditions 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 to check out my book.

    Thanks again for subscribing on iTunes or whatever app you use for the podcast 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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