Episode 479 – Mike Maksymiw

Mike is an Accountant & Baseball Player

Mike Maksymiw, an executive director at Aprio, talks about his passion for baseball, developing deeper relationships through baseball, why it is important to engage and be authentic in the workplace, and much more!

Episode Highlights

• Getting into baseball
• Favorite memory of playing baseball
• Learning from mistakes
• Talking about baseball in the office
• Developing deeper relationships through baseball
• Why creating an open workplace culture starts with the individual



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Mike’s Pictures

Sofia and Julia cheering Dad on batting

Mike’s family at Citi Field

Mike’s family at Black Sand Beach on the Road to Hana on Maui

Action shot of Mike pitching


Mike’s Links


  • Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close

    Welcome to Episode 479 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 in 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.

    If you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. And if you want me to read it to you, that’s right, this voice reading the book, look for What’s Your “And”? on Audible or wherever you get your audiobooks. Both versions go into more in depth with the research behind why these outside-of-work passions are so crucial to your corporate culture. And I can’t say how much it means that everyone’s reading it, and now listening to it, and writing such nice reviews on Amazon and, more importantly, changing the workplace cultures where they are because of it.

    And 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, Mike Maksymiw. He’s the executive director of the firm foundation at Aprio. And now, he’s with me here today. Mike, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Mike: Oh, you’re welcome, John. Very glad to be here.

    John: This is gonna be so much fun. I can’t wait, but I have 17 rapid-fire questions. Get to know Mike Maks a little bit better here right out of the gate.

    Mike: All right. Go.

    John: All right. Here we go. This is the easy one maybe. Favorite color.

    Mike: Blue.

    John: Blue. Solid. Mine too. There you go. We’re already 1 for 1. All right. How about a least favorite color?

    Mike: Yellow.

    John: Yellow. Ooh, that’s a good pick. Yellow. Too bright.

    Mike: John, I’m blonde and pale. So, I just blend in.

    John: Right. There you go. There you go. How about a favorite adult beverage?

    Mike: I got to go with a dubious local brewery here.

    John: Nice. Very cool. In Connecticut, yeah?

    Mike: Yeah.

    John: Yeah. Very cool. How about a favorite actor or actress?

    Mike: Tom Hanks. He’s good in everything.

    John: Yeah, he is. He really is good in everything. Are you more suit and tie or jeans and a T-shirt?

    Mike: Oh, definitely jeans and a T-shirt. What I wear doesn’t make me any smarter or dumber.

    John: Right. There you go. There you go. Ooh, this is a good one in the northeast. Rain or snow?

    Mike: Definitely snow. Rain is just gross.

    John: Yeah. Right? It ruins everything. It really does.

    Mike: It’s supposed to be fun.

    John: Yeah. Right? I mean, like rain at night and water the plants and all that stuff. And then during the day, we can like be out and about and do our things and not be just drenched. How about puzzles? Sudoku, crossword, or jigsaw puzzles?

    Mike: Sudoku out of those three.

    John: Okay. All right. Interesting. How about Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Mike: I go with neither really. But if I had to pick, I’d go with Star Wars.

    John: Yeah. Especially if people are like neither. They just Star Wars. Yeah. Me too. How about your computer, more of a PC or a Mac?

    Mike: PC.

    John: Yeah. I’m the same. Like I don’t even know how Macs work. I’m not sure I’m allowed in the store.

    Mike: Like gave you those problems when we’re trying to use software in the accounting world.

    John: Oh, yeah. That’s true. That’s very true. They were more like the creatives and stuff. Yeah. Totally. How about when it comes to books, audio version, e-Book, or real book?

    Mike: e-Book. This way, I have it with me all the time.

    John: Ah, there you go. Yeah. Especially with the phones now. How about a favorite number?

    Mike: 32.

    John: Yeah. Is there a reason?

    Mike: Koufax.

    Interviewer: Oh. Yeah! Going way back. Sandy Koufax. There you go. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Mike: Early bird. I could do either one. But yeah, we wake up early and go to the gym, my wife and I, and then start our day that way.

    John: Nice. There you go. Being productive. I’m still sleeping. So, you have the accounting background. I gotta ask balance sheet or income statement?

    Mike: Balance sheet. You know when you’re done.

    John: All right. ‘Cause it evens out? Right? I love it. That’s awesome. There you go. How about a favorite day of the week?

    Mike: Thursday.

    John: Okay. That’s not a common one, but yeah.

    Mike: You’re almost done. There’s usually something going on, so you can hang out do something social. And Friday is a lighter workday usually.

    John: Yeah. It’s kind of just getting that momentum started into the weekend. There you go. All right. Three more. Your first concert.

    Mike: It was Elton John with my dad.

    John: Wow! That’s a classic, man. That’s awesome.

    Mike: Yeah, I was like 7 years old. He started singing The Bitch is Back. And I was like “Dad, is this allowed?”

    John: Right. I’m telling— Right. That’s awesome. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?

    Mike: It’s got to be a really good toasted almonds.

    John: Oh, wow. Okay. That’s fancy.

    Mike: Yeah. I got a lot of ice cream places up here in New England.

    Yukon is famous for their dairy bar. So, we get a lot of quality ice cream up here.

    John: There you go. Nice, man. Nice. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own.

    Mike: Probably my baseball glove. I’ve had it for 25 years. Maybe 30.

    John: Wow. Okay. That’s awesome, man. When did you get it?

    Mike: I got it for Christmas. I must have been 13 or 14, and my dad was selling with the Tigers at that time. And she brought it down to spring training and Alan Trammell broke it in.

    John: Oh, nice. Yeah! That’s not every day you can just say that. Right? That’s cool.

    Mike: Can’t say every day that a hall of famer broke in the glove and it still works.

    John: That’s super cool. And that leads perfectly right into your hand of baseball. And I mean, I’m guessing you started playing T-ball as a little kid?

    Mike: I started when I was 10. I wanted to play earlier, but we played soccer in the fall. I don’t know why we did that instead. I was like “Mom, I wanna play baseball.” She was like “Oh, we’re playing soccer.” And then I was 10 and I would go “We’re playing baseball now.”

    John: Right. You used a deeper voice like, oh, he means it?

    Mike: It’s that one time that year it didn’t crack.

    John: Right. Right. Okay. That was a coach pitch level or what was that like?

    Mike: I would say we called it minor league. So, the kids pitched, but there was like some barrier rules like you can only bat 9 guys in an inning. Like you couldn’t go and pass balls because the kids are still learning how to play. I see the kid. I was the kid.

    John: Yeah. Yeah. But then you figure out how to play with the rules, right? So, if you were the last batter up, you just kept running. You didn’t care if you got out because no one can duck in.

    Mike: Right.

    John: That’s awesome. You know what? I would go to way more baseball games if those were the rules like in the major leagues. I’ll be like “Yes! Like this is incredible.”

    Mike: Yeah.

    John: Way more rundowns.

    Mike: Right.

    John: Right? Oh, my gosh, if there were pickles every inning, like that would be incredible. Oh, that would be so good, so yeah. So then, you played all through high school and kept playing?

    Mike: Yup. Played through high school. I played in college at Bryant in Rhode Island. I played there 4 years. I had one really good year and then find an adult rec league. Played there for, I don’t know, another 10-12 years. Made some really good friends. We’re still friends like 3 to 4 of us. So, that’s probably the best part of it, is when you’re playing at an adult rec league, like no one’s going to the hall of fame because you played well on a Sunday doubleheader. You wanted like who you’re playing with. That would be pretty competitive. And have fun and drink a couple beers in the parking lot afterwards.

    John: Right. Or before. Either way. Both. Or during. That’s awesome, man. That’s super cool. I mean, playing in college had to be pretty intense at times.

    Mike: Yes. It’s like a full-time job. In the fall, it’s like a part-time job. You know, 20-25 hours of practice on top of all your classes. But in the spring, we had to be done by noon with classes, and we got home at 7, 8, 9 o’clock. It was like having a full-time job with no income.

    John: Right. Right.

    Mike: No like this stuff back then.

    John: Right. No. NIDLs or anything like that. Yeah. That’s exactly it. Yeah. And it’s cool that you’re able to keep it going after graduating college as well. That you didn’t have to hang up the spikes and the glove. And you were able to keep playing.

    Mike: Yeah. It was nice to hear that I decided to stop playing ‘cause I got to put the nail in the wall and hang the cleats up on it and not someone telling me “Hey, you’re just not good enough to play at any level anymore. Go away.”

    John: Right. Right.

    Mike: I was like my daughter has got soccer all weekend and I’m sitting here at my baseball game going I’d rather be watching her on the sidelines like I don’t know how long she’s gonna play. Like I’ve done this for a while. So, I was like “Hey guys, I’m all set now.” And that was it. Like it was a very easy decision at that time. Way easier than I thought it was gonna be.

    John: That’s cool, man. Yeah. And then you can come to peace with it. Yeah. When it’s your decision, then that matters. But I mean, baseball is also a thing that you can watch all the time. You can go to games. It never leaves you. You know, it’s always still a part of you.

    Mike: Yeah. That’s 100% true and I love watching October baseball on TV. It’s like watching the NHL playoffs too. It’s so intense. Every pitch matters because it could be a homerun or it could be like a wicked slider.

    John: Yeah, I know. I mean, like the craziest game I ever went to was the Cardinals were playing in the Astros in an NLCS. So, this was way back in like the early 2000s when the Astros were still in the NL. And yeah, it was extra innings. And Jim Edmonds had a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 14th or something. And that’s the craziest sporting thing ever because you don’t even know what’s coming, you know. It’s not like a field goal where the clock’s ticking down. You’re either gonna make it or you’ll miss it and the game’s over. This is like you’re just sitting there watching and crack. “Wow! Like what? The game just ended? Holy crap! This is crazy.” You know? And like that’s the beauty of baseball and especially October baseball where you get in the playoffs and, man, everything matters, you know. And you go on a run and who knows what happens.

    Mike: Yeah. That’s really why I like it, is there’s no clock. It ends when everybody’s had their fair share and that’s it.

    John: Yeah, that’s true. Everyone has had their fair share. Right? So, do you have like a favorite memory from playing?

    Mike: There was a game that we played in— I’m not sure why, but the baseball that day looked like a beach ball. And I batted 5 times. I went 3 for 3 with 2 triples, the game winning single, and they walked me twice after I hit 2 triples.

    John: Right.

    Mike: I’m standing on the on-deck circle in the bottom of the 7th inning, and I look behind me, and I’m like “You’re the third out. And they could walk me and get you to be the third out, but I don’t think they’re that smart. We have a guy on second. And I walk to the plate. I’m like I think they drive the right center field and then we’ll win.” And I got the second pitch. I was like “Oh, that’s the one.” Knocked it right where I wanted to.

    John: Nice.

    Mike: Walk off it. I was like “All right. That was awesome.” That’s like the one time in my whole career batting where like that happened. You know, that good of a game.

    John: Yeah. I mean, I’ve seen some like old videos of like Will Clark from way back where he’s just like “Okay, I’m gonna hit the ball here.” And then he just does, you know. Not during a game, but like during batting practice or whatever. And you’re like “Wow.” To be able to hit the ball exactly where you want it to land and go, like that’s amazing, you know. And to be able to have that kind of day is super cool, man. That’s awesome. And so, do you feel like any other baseball gives you like a skillset that translates to work?

    Mike: We get really good at being okay with failure.

    John: Right. That’s true. If you’re 3 out of 10, that’s amazing. You’re 300. Like that’s really good.

    Mike: Right. So, baseball is built for “All right, you failed. What did you learn? What do you do different next time?” Or sometimes “Man, I hit a rocket.” And the shortstop jumps up in the air and snagged it like “All right, I did everything perfect and still out.” Okay.

    John: Right. Right.

    Mike: In work, it just gives you the sense of “Hey, let’s try it.” “Well, what if it fails?” “Well, what if it doesn’t? What’s the worst thing that happens? Like we try again.”

    John: That’s true. Yeah. I mean, these aren’t life and death situations. I mean, you file a tax return wrong, you can do an extension. You can refile. You know, you can whatever. I mean, these are a lot of things that are bad. I mean, you obviously try your best and do your best work. But you know, at the end of the day especially when it comes to innovation and things like that, give it a go. Like you said, what if it does work? Then awesomeness, you know. Then you’re hitting 2 triples.

    Mike: Yup. Or the way that you failed gives you a different approach. Right? That you didn’t think of when you came up with your first idea. So, you try and then this thing on the left field comes in and it’s like “Oh, I missed that one completely. We got to address that one now. But here’s how and it’s gonna fix this other problem we have too.”

    John: No, I love it. I love it, man. That’s so cool because, I mean, obviously no one told you when you were at Bryant to play baseball because it will make you a better accountant or business person, you know. Like no one ever told you that as a kid or growing up and yet it clearly does, you know, which is kind of cool.

    Mike: Yeah. It’s wicked cool how your hobbies can really impact how well you can do in your profession and not because you studied, or got good grades, or took a particular leadership course. It’s just I’ve been failing at baseball for 30 years, you know. I’m not worried that this work paper is a little bit messed up.

    John: That’s awesome, man. That’s such a great thing because then it just sort of takes the weight off your shoulders of saying I’m a baseball player, you know, because I find a lot of people from interviewing hundreds. It’s just that they’re afraid to call themselves something because they’re not a professional, they’re not a world record holder, they’re whatever. And it’s “well, I enjoy playing baseball” if you wanna rephrase it. But either way, even in the major leagues, you’re failing at baseball. So, even when you’re getting paid millions, you’re still failing. I love that frame of mind. That’s so great, man. It’s awesome. So, is baseball something you talk about it at work through your career?

    Mike: Yeah. There is usually someone in the office that played baseball too. So, it’s easy to start up a conversation with them and so many people like love watching the game, not every day because it can get a little bit hot.

    John: There’s a lot of games. There’s a lot of games.

    Mike: Yeah. There’s a lot of games. It’s always on. The whole summer, there’s a game on.

    John: Right.

    Mike: There’s one day without baseball game. It’s the day after the all-star game. And sitting here in Connecticut, half the state’s is Yankee fans, half the state is Red Sox fans. Do you wanna start a conversation? Just walk up and be like Yankee is Red Sox. Oh, man. Especially a group of people.

    John: Yeah. Right. That’s awesome, man. So, do you feel like the conversations with people that did play baseball or that are really into baseball, that those relationships at work are different than other people that you also work around?

    Mike: They get deeper faster. So, when you’re trying to create deeper relationships with people at work so that you get who they are as humans, it definitely helps to get deeper faster and then you can parlay that into “All right, so who’s your friends at the office?” And now, “Oh, you introduced me to this person that I don’t know all that well. But because I got to her through you, now like we start at Level 2.” So now, I can get a deeper relationship with her faster.

    So, I’m not starting at square one with everybody because you can kind of parlay those relationships around and not use them in like I’m purposely using them, but just that’s how human interactions work. I like to have something in common with you so that when we’re talking, especially getting to know each other, we’re okay. We’re not defensive. We’re being our authentic selves.

    John: No, I love that, man. Even if it’s not the same thing, you know, like “Oh, you didn’t play baseball in college. Well, but what lights you up?” You see someone light up as much as you light up talking about baseball, man, that’s awesome. I’ll listen to you all day because you’re excited. Now, I’m excited that you’re excited. Like tell me about ballet. I have no idea anything about it or whatever it is. And so, even if it’s not the same thing, it’s still cool. It’s not junior high school where we made fun of the person that doesn’t do the thing that everyone else does. Now, it’s the opposite. Now, I wanna know about that type of thing.

    Mike: Especially when you’re in the office or when we were in the office and overhear someone or you’re in that group of 6-staff people kind of sharing a bigger space and someone walks in, you start talking baseball and it comes up that you played in college, he goes “Oh, yeah, I wrestled in college” or “I played field hockey.” And you’re like “You did field hockey? I ran lines for that game. Didn’t even know how it was played and I learned from all the girls playing. Like they we’re so cool. Like tell me about you playing field hockey.”

    John: No, that’s exactly it. And I love how you said you get deeper faster and it’s not talking about the work. That isn’t getting deeper faster. Getting deeper faster is talking about your “and” or your outside of work interests. I love how you said that because we don’t get deeper faster talking about the latest tax code. How do you do this macro in Excel or whatever? Like that’s very surface level type of thing. So, that’s interesting.

    Mike: Yeah. What really comes and helps too is when you need to have one of those difficult conversations, you know, when your friend struggled with something or you got to give them some feedback. “Yeah, I like you as a human. And they know I like you as a human. So, I’m gonna start the conversation off with I like you as a human. I gotta give you this feedback though. It’s to make you better.” And you’ve developed that deeper relationship on baseball, or field hockey, or art, or ballet. And they trust you when you say “I want you to get better and this is why I am giving you this.” And they walk away better instead of no relationship and it’s “John, you mangled that macro. You put a comma where there should have been a decimal point and we were off $4 million.” And you’re like “Oh, crud.”

    John: It doesn’t even balance. Right? No. You’re exactly right. I mean, when I was at PWC, the second project I was on, the manager only talked to me 3 times and all 3 times were to tell me when I did something wrong. And it was like “Guess who’s never gonna be on any of your projects ever again because I don’t wanna work with you because I’m not this bad? Let’s calm down on this.” But if you have 100 conversations and 97 of them are about I like you as a human, tell me about you as a human, and then three of them are about “hey, you kinda messed this up a little bit”, then cool. Like you said, it’s a friend saying “Hey, you can do better. I know you can type of thing. How can I help you? And I like how you see that. That’s super cool, man.” And I guess how much do you feel like it’s on an organization to create that space where you can talk about your “and” at work or how much is it on the individual to just maybe start a little circle amongst their peers?

    Mike: I think it’s got to start with the person because you’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there a bit and start with what’s your “and” when you start those conversation with people that you don’t know all that well. But what the organization could do is allow you, or encourage you, or not slap you on the wrist if you’re walking around and poking around someone else’s cube to say hi for 5 minutes or talk at the water cooler. But you could envision it in your head. You sit in there poking around with your— you know, grabbing a cup of coffee with 2 colleagues. And all of a sudden, a managing partner walks by. What happens? Everybody disperses. It’s like cockroaches and light. But if you were the managing partner, your job there is to stop at the coffee machine whether you drink or not and be like “Hey, you were talking field hockey? My niece plays field hockey at Marist.” And engage them and say you shouldn’t scatter like cockroaches like it’s okay.

    John: Now, that’s exactly it. And by leading by example because, I mean, I feel like so many times we’re so permission-based especially in the corporate world that “Well, they didn’t think we could. Yeah. But they also didn’t say we couldn’t.” You’re waiting for them to tell you here’s all the things you’re allowed to do? Like that’s an exhaustive list that will never be complete. So, how about you just look at the things they said not to do and then don’t do those? But that’s a pretty small list really. And I love that how— you know, lead by example, and stop people, and be human, and be authentic. You know, that just makes you a better leader ‘cause now people actually wanna be around you, and wanna follow, and wanna listen to you as opposed to being scared and like it’s the principal in high school or something that walks by.

    It’s like “Ugh! Run!” We’re not even doing anything wrong.

    Mike: “Authority! No!”

    John: Right? Exactly. Exactly, man. I love that. Yeah. And so, is there anything that you’ve seen in your career whether it’s a place that you’ve worked or a client that does something that maybe someone listening to me like “Oh, we could do that”?

    Mike: Yeah. You know where it happens? When our office was setup, we had like 4 people in an area, but they have their own sections. But I was talking to one, somebody took out their earbuds and was listening, and they just popped their head around the corner, and they’re like “You’re talking about this—” Driving app maybe it was to track mileage because clients don’t track mileage. An they’re like “I use this one because I’m an Uber driver on the weekend.” I was like “Oh, there’s an app for that? Huh. Let me call my client because they love using their smartphone. Like what’s the name of the app?” And he just write it down. “Go talk to your client.” “Wait, you mean to tell me I had a button on my phone and it will do all this for me and then I’ve got the information I need for the IRS?” “Yeah. The information when the IRS asked me for and I don’t have it, they win every time?” “Yeah.” “Where I’ve got a 20,000-dollar tax deduction with 8 grand on the line every year?” “Yeah.” “Okay, yeah. this is worth 9.99 a year.” “Okay.”

    John: Right. Right. Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. But because you have that open relationship with people, then you get to that work level sort of a thing and that’s cool, man. Yeah, that people aren’t afraid to just poke their head around the cubicle side or things like that. That’s cool. That’s awesome. Yeah. ‘Cause, I mean, sometimes it’s this weird balance between should it be like really structured and forced or should it just be like “Well, whatever happens happens”? And I feel like there’s a happy middle ground there. They provide a little bit of structure, but let people kinda play in the sandbox sort of a thing.

    Mike: Yeah. And as we’ve evolved as a profession to be more output based as we should be because we’re not green bar and paper anymore where your inputs like— You can’t fill out a green bar any faster than I can. So, the time was kind of the equivalent-ish. So, it doesn’t matter how long it took you. Now, we’ve automated so many things. The amount of time I spend on something is almost irrelevant. But if I have 7 things to finish this week and we get all seven done, I don’t care if you spend 50 minutes in the water cooler talking with your friends or 20 minutes talking about whatever TikTok video came out over the weekend. “Did you get all 7 things done on time for the client, and we deliver them all, and they’re happy, and they’re good, and your—” “Yeah.” “All right. Good. We’re golden.”

    John: No. I love it, man. That’s exactly it. It’s managing outcomes, which is harder from a leadership perspective, but it’s much better from attracting, retaining, and engage talent perspective from the human side.

    Mike: Yeah. I actually think that managing outcomes is easier, but tracking metrics is more difficult. We have way too many input metrics that are easy to track after the fact. Kind of like what most of the accounting is. I look back on history and here’s what it told me. But if you wanna get into this where clients want us to be in looking forward in the profession, managing outcomes is looking forward. All right. We’re going to get 7 things done. How are we going to do that? We can estimate how much time it will take to say is it realistic or what resources we need. Clearly, that’s an input we need to know, but it’s like UPS counting how many miles their truck is driving, how it drives revenue. They don’t. How many packages do they deliver? Yes, mileage tracking matters, and they do it, and they want an efficient route. And there’s probably a statistical correlation to revenue that you could draw. Doesn’t mean that it should be your primary driver.

    John: Yeah. I mean, you could drive 100 miles in a tight city and drop off 47 packages or you could drive 100 miles out to the country and drop off 1 package. It’s the same miles. So, the miles isn’t the factor of how hard you worked or how productive, and the bottom line of the day isn’t the miles. Yeah, it’s packages delivered. It’s how we’re gonna do that and then it’s just figuring that out and getting everybody in line and all row in the same direction I guess.

    Mike: Right. John, if you talked to me on Wednesday and say I finished all seven of my projects that you gave me this week, I’m gonna reward you with four more to fill up your week. I’m gonna say “All right. Come here. Can you tell me how you did a week’s worth of work in 3 days?” I would like everybody to be able to do that. Like what is your superpower and could you spend tomorrow like writing it down and like preparing a presentation and we’ll talk about it Friday, and we’ll kill the day next week teaching everybody how to do it? And then they’ll get all their work done in the 4 days that are left in the week.

    John: No, that’s exactly. Instead of just piling on and really breaking someone, it’s like let’s celebrate that and let’s help everyone be as good and productive as you type of a thing. And I love that mentality, man. That’s awesome. That’s super cool. So, do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening who might think “Hey, I’ve got an end, but I don’t think anyone cares because it has nothing to do with my job”?

    Mike: I would say that somebody cares. Like even if I walk in I’m a college athlete, right, I’m a baseball player, I was a partner at the last job I had, I’ve got a lot of things that if you just look on a paper might give you a little bit of hesitation if you’re a 22-year-old staff who took ballet and theater on the side while you were getting your accounting degree.

    John: Yeah.

    Mike: No. I love the theatre. They do stuff I can’t do. Like I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I can’t act. I love watching them do stuff I can’t do. Tell me all about it. I want to learn it. I wanna learn it specifically because I’m a baseball player, because I can’t do those things. Like the fact that it’s the opposite of what I enjoy is why I want to hear about it. So, yes, yeah, we definitely want to hear hobbies, passions, interests. And if I get this weird look on my face because you start talking, I don’t know, Dungeons and Dragons, it’s because I don’t know anything about it. Like I’m a noob. Educate me like I’m a noob.

    John: Wait. There’s a dice that has 47 sides to it? Like what? Or whatever that is.

    Mike: What’s the name of that shape?

    John: Right. Right. Exactly. Can you draw it? Like just bring one in tomorrow. But no, I love it, man, just because you care. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just caring. Having a genuine interest in the people around you. That’s such easy advice. It’s simple, but not easy I guess is the best way to put it.

    Mike: You know what’s cool too? You flip the roles momentarily in that moment. And I’ve given you a super safe space to be the expert, and you don’t quite know it.

    John: Now, that’s true. That’s really powerful especially from a leadership perspective where you’re willing to relinquish that and be like “All right, you’re the alpha here. You’re the in-charge, the power, the expert like you said. Run with it.

    Mike: 3 years from now when we’re in a pitch meeting with a client and somebody there starts talking about this person’s passion, I could do it again. You need to go talk with John about that because we’ve had conversations. He knows way more than I do. I’m the figurehead. I’m Queen Elizabeth right now. Go talk to John. He knows everything.

    John: Right. That’s the quote of the show right there. “I’m Queen Elizabeth right now.” That’s awesome, man. Well, before we wrap this up though, I feel like it’s only fair that since I peppered you with questions at the beginning that we turn the table and make it the first episode of the Mike Maks podcast. So, what do you got for me?

    Mike: Favorite place you traveled and why.

    John: Okay. Yeah. Well, my wife and I just went to Dubai and then the Maldives. That was pretty awesome. Dubai is very modern, very clean. Everyone speaks English. It’s on all the menus and the signs. It felt very Western as a city and all their skyscrapers are all cool and modern. They’ve all been built in the last 25 years or so, so yeah. So, yeah, Dubai was a really cool city. I would highly recommend it if you’re up for a 14-hour flight.

    Mike: We took the 11-hour flight to Hawaii from Boston. And my wife wasn’t having it again.

    John: Oh, yeah, that’s a long flight.

    Mike: Yeah. All right. What’s an experience or something about you that would be difficult for someone else to believe happened?

    John: Oh, wow. Like all of my comedy like from doing comedy full time. Like all of them. I’m trying to think of like one. I mean, there’s so many. But yeah, I mean, the Borgata and Atlantic City like huge, super fancy like resort casino opening for Louie Anderson in front of 1,000 people. That’s pretty crazy. It’s hard to relate to that. I even look back on it and it’s like “was that even me” type of a thing. There’s an amount of anxiety going into it because it’s like this is crazy and then there is the guts that you have just like performing that like in front of 1,000 people, but then it’s also the really cool factor and the appreciating then and being in the moment sort of thing. And Louie was so gracious, and super cool, and absolutely hilarious. And yes, we did a show Friday night and a show Saturday night. And yeah, that was pretty surreal, but so many stories like that where you’re like “Wait, what?” It’s crazy.

    Mike: That’s wicked cool. Not many times in a half-hour conversation you hear I worked at PWC and I opened at Atlantic City for Louie Anderson.

    John: Right. Right. But I mean, everyone’s got their story that doesn’t have to be mind blowing. It could just be something simple and it’s a cool thing. That’s why I started the podcast. It was because it was like I had someone remember me 12 years after my first PWC office when I was doing comedy and open mics. And then 12 years later, I’m speaking at a conference and he tells the meeting professional “I know John Garrett. That’s the guy who did comedy at night.” And it was a guy I never met. He was in the tax department and I don’t know how taxes work. So, you know, it’s just cool to see how powerful these “ands” are and what you remember about people.

    Mike: Yeah. And that’s what the relationships are. Right? You never know when they’re gonna come back.

    John: Totally. Yeah. Or what people remember about you or if they remember you at all and that’s the thing. If you don’t share your “and” or this human side to you, then odds are they’re not gonna remember you at all, which is sad because you work way too hard and you’re too good at your job to not be remembered. Like that’s frightening to me.

    Mike: Yeah. When you leave a place, you want what you stood for to stay behind with the other people who are still there. Like that’s really the impact and the true legacy. It’s not a name on a front door. It’s not 47 books published or anything. It’s “Hey, when Sally is managing Jimmy and Sally takes the same lesson that you imparted on her and imparts it on Jimmy and now Jimmy has it, it’s like that’s really how you leverage and have an impact.”

    John: And it lives forever.

    Mike: Yeah.

    John: Man, your podcast is so much deeper than mine. This guy is deep in a hurry. That’s awesome, man. Well, no, I appreciate you being a part of What’s Your “And”? And yeah, I just appreciate you taking time to be a part of the show. So, thanks, Mike.

    Mike: You’re welcome, John. Glad to be here. Had a great time.

    John: Yeah. And everybody listening, if you wanna see some pictures of Mike outside of work or on the ball field or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. Everything is there. And 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 the book.

    So, thanks again for subscribing on Apple 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 do.


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