Episode 483 – Rick Maurer

Rick is a Consultant & Jazz Trombonist

Rick Maurer, of Maurer & Associates, talks about his passion for playing jazz music, how it ties into his career, why it has been important to keep it in his life, and much more!

Episode Highlights
• Getting into jazz music
• Writing a book with Karl Burger
• How his music translates into his career
• Quitting and resuming playing music
• Becoming selective of contracts he works on



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Rick’s Pictures

Rick at a jam session in Woodstock, NY

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    Welcome to Episode 483 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. The book goes 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 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, Rick Maurer. He’s a speaker and adviser on change management and the author of seizing moments of possibility. And now, he’s with me here today. Rick, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Rick: Thanks, John. It’s good to be here.

    John: Yeah. This is gonna be so much fun. Fellow trombone player. This is gonna be so awesome, but I do have some rapid-fire questions I have to ask before we get started. So, here we go. Maybe Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Rick: Star Wars.

    John: Star Wars. Yeah. Me too. Same. How about your computer, more of a PC or a Mac?

    Rick: Oh, PC.

    John: Yeah. I’m the same too. All right. You might be just my ghost or Christmas future. It is what it is. We’re twins. Like this is.

    Rick: Yeah.

    John: How about when it comes to seasons? Summer, winter, spring, or fall?

    Rick: Fall.

    John: Yes. 3 for 3. This is amazing.

    Rick: Oh, man.

    John: All right. How about a favorite ice cream flavor?

    Rick: Haagen-Dazs vanilla Swiss almond fudge.

    John: Oh, wow. Okay. All right.

    Rick: It’s amazing. Yeah.

    John: Yeah. That does sound good. I haven’t had that yet. So, we’ll still count it. It’s an ice cream flavor, so that counts.

    Rick: There you go.

    John: How about a favorite day of the week?

    Rick: Saturday.

    John: Yeah. Totally. You just like veg out. Right?

    Rick: Yeah.

    John: Yeah. It’s not work where you don’t—

    Rick: Well, I veg out every day, but yeah. But I don’t feel as guilty on Saturday.

    John: There you go. I love it, man. That’s awesome. That’s so good. Since you are the trombone player, favorite position on the slide.

    Rick: I don’t play a slide trombone. I play a valve trombone.

    John: Oh! So then none of them. All right.

    Rick: None of them.

    John: In the first position. Like it’s your first position.

    Rick: There you go. Yeah.

    John: All right. So, you do the valve. Okay.

    Rick: I do. Yeah.

    John: All right. Is it still just 3 valves?

    Rick: Yeah. It’s like the trumpet. I used to be a trumpet player.

    John: Okay. Oh, there you go. All right. All right. That answers that one. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Rick: I wanna be a night owl. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. So, I have to be an early bird. For instance, I did a call yesterday running a class for the Royal Danish Military Academy at 6 a.m. my time.

    John: Oh, my goodness.

    Rick: I know. But it’s really fun. So, I love doing these things. A lot of things in Europe, but it’s just these ungodly time.

    John: Right. Right. Yeah. For me, it sounds ungodly. But yeah, for you, you’re like I’m ready to roll. Let’s do this.

    Rick: Well, the miracle of caffeine helps a lot.

    John: Right. Right. Yeah. I guess that’s true. I guess that’s true. How about a favorite number?

    Rick: Wow. 7.

    John: Yeah. Me too. Is there a reason? Like mine’s sports related for sure. I mean, you know, all the quarterbacks and all that whatever.

    Rick: Oh, yeah. I have no idea why.

    John: Yeah. No. That’s a good number. That’s a good number. How about books, audio version, e-Book, or real book?

    Rick: I prefer real books. I tend not to use them as much, but I like having a book in my hand.

    John: Yeah. Right. Okay. Okay. And you wrote a book, and the paperback and the audio version are on Amazon, but your e-Book is on your website, which is super cool. And what’s the website?

    Rick: It’s rickmaurer.com.

    John: Yeah. The e-Book is there if you wanna buy it and help them. The paperback and audio is there too, but the e-Book… So, that’s awesome, man. I just wanna plug it really fast.

    Rick: Thank you.

    John: All right. We got some more here. Cats or dogs?

    Rick: Dogs.

    John: Yeah. Me too. Same. I mean, yeah, cats are all right I guess, but I’m just afraid they’re gonna like swipe me, you know.

    Rick: I’ll tell you. I was working in India and Kathy called me, my wife. And she said, “Hey, a friend of ours found these 2 kittens in a drain pipe outside.” Nothing about them seems like they’re feral. We’ve had them 3 years. They run to the door when we come home.

    John: Oh. So, they’re like dogs.

    Rick: They’re like low maintenance dogs.

    John: Yeah.

    Rick: Yeah, it’s really great. I like—

    John: That’s great. You don’t have to let them out.

    Rick: No, that’s right.

    John: That’s right. That’s awesome. The low maintenance dogs. I love that. That’s so good. How about a puzzle? Sudoku, crossword, or jigsaw puzzles?

    Rick: The only ones I would ever even try is crosswords.

    John: Okay. Yeah. That works. How about a favorite color?

    Rick: Puce.

    John: Oh, okay. All right. All right. Okay.

    Rick: There you go.

    John: That’s a first. Right? How about a least favorite color? Also puce. No, I’m just kidding.

    Rick: Puce light I think.

    John: Puce light. Pastel puce light

    Rick: Yeah, that’s right.

    John: That’s awesome. That’s hilarious. How about a favorite toppings on a pizza if you can load it up?

    Rick: Oh, cheese. Just more cheese.

    John: Oh, just more cheese. Okay.

    Rick: Oh, yeah.

    John: All right. Like a 4-cheese kinda. All right. I like that. All right. Three more. More shower or bath?

    Rick: Shower.

    John: Shower. There you go. How about a favorite actor or actress?

    Rick: Well, Mark Rylance. A British guy. The fact that he was just in the movie, Don’t Look Up. He plays this kind of brilliant guy who owns the world.

    John: Yes.

    Rick: I’ve seen him live a few times. He’s marvelous.

    John: Yeah. Yeah. That was a great movie.

    Rick: Yeah.

    John: How about a last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing you own?

    Rick: Favorite thing I have. On my wall here in my office, I have an album cover that Louis Armstrong signed for me.

    John: Oh, what!

    Rick: Yes.

    John: That’s so cool, man. That’s great.

    Rick: I went to a concert. My hometown in Ohio, it didn’t have a record store. The auto parts store sold records honest to God. And so, I knew I was gonna go see him. I wanted to get his autograph. And so, I had to drive over to the next town. And there was a candy store that sold records and they had one Louis Armstrong album. Not even a really good one, but I bought it. And at intermission, I went up and said “Mr. Armstrong, could I get your autograph?” And he said “Sure.” I wish I could do his voice because he was great. But he said “You don’t want just mine. Wouldn’t you like the bands’?” And I said “Yeah.” And he said “Well, come on backstage with me.”

    John: That’s fantastic.

    Rick: Yeah. So, he takes me back into the green room and all the guys are sitting there smoking. He said “Guys, this is Rick. Give him your autograph.” And one of the guys, the trombonist, heard the name wrong. And so, on the back of the record, it says “To Brick, have a great time.”

    John: That’s awesome. Man, what a great story though. Like what a great experience and also too that he was like “Hey, I don’t do this without the whole band. Like do you want their autograph too?”

    Rick: I was amazed. I mean, just to be in the presence. I’m not a star struck kind of guy, but man— I mean, he’s influenced me how I think about music, how I think about life in a lot of ways. To meet the guy was just like wow.

    John: That’s awesome, man. I love it. That’s so cool and what a great memento and a cool thing to have on your office wall. That’s super cool, man. I love it. That’s great. So, let’s talk music and jazz. I mean, that leads right into it, which is perfect. I mean, did you grow up playing instruments?

    Rick: I did. When the music teacher came around and said “so, who wants to play a musical instrument” and I did. So, there were some options, and I was watching— There was a show called Rin Tin Tin when I was a kid. And there was the bugler that would go out on these things with the cowboy. And I thought when we play cowboys, I wanan be the bugler. So, I got a trumpet and then I realized you could play other things other than that. I love classical and I love some country and all that, but I loved the whole idea of jazz. And we had a jazz big band in our school. And I couldn’t get enough. And some of my buddies and I formed a band. And it just stayed with me. I was a music major in college. Music was my life for a number of years.

    John: That’s awesome, man. It’s so cool to hear. So then, it was trumpet and then valve trombone. Are there other instruments as well?

    Rick: No. Actually, what had happened, I was playing in the concert band where I went to college. And I was sitting. There probably 12 trumpet players. And I was sort of in the middle of the section. And I realized by my sophomore year I was never gonna sit on that first stand. And I was talking to my teacher and I can’t remember if he said it or I said it. He said “Why don’t we try a bigger mouthpiece, which would be a trombone or euphonium?”

    John: Baritone. Yeah. Yeah.

    Rick: Yes, a baritone. And what was amazing is I was in the trumpet section and was just kind of in the pack. And when I switched instruments, I became section leader of the euphonium baritone section within a month. I was playing stuff I couldn’t even touch on trumpet. And so, I played that and then I went in the army as a musician on euphonium.

    John: That’s incredible, man. That’s so awesome. Yeah. I mean, I started saxophone and then the re-vibration was weird on my teeth so that I went to trumpet because everyone you think plays trumpet.

    Rick: That’s right.

    John: But the mouthpiece was like too small for the way my mouth is and so yes. And then I went to trombone and I was like “Man, this is awesome.”

    Like it’s great. Like it’s just perfect and a super fun instrument to play. And every once in a while, you get a little bit of a lead. But for the most part, you’re behind the scenes. But yeah, it’s funny when people are like “Oh, can you play this song?” And I’m like “I hope you like whole notes because it’s waaa… waaa…” Like I totally get to 1812 Overture, then let it rip, buddy. That’s where we come out like here it is. That’s so great to hear. You created a band like with your buddies and all that. Like that’s fun because it’s like you can’t get enough of it type of a thing. So, do you have like a favorite concert, or a rewarding story, or something that comes to mind over your playing days or even now?

    Rick: Yup. 10 years ago, I got to know a guy named Carl Berger up in Woodstock, New York. And he was a pioneer in avant-garde jazz and free jazz. And what he got really good at is teaching people to play more spontaneously. So, even if they were playing written music, how do you plant— Like if you go to hear a tribute band or some of them they’re asleep at the wheel— I don’t mean the group asleep in the wheel.

    John: Right.

    Rick: And others who are going “Wow.” And so, he teaches you how to do that. So, he wanted to write a book. He’s German. And he said, “I speak English okay.” But he said, “I really like you to help me write it because you have written a lot of books, and I like what you’re doing with my stuff.” So, we wrote the book. It came out a couple of years ago. And 2 months ago, a buddy of mine, Mike Gaston, and I, went up to Woodstock. We live in the Washington, DC area. And we spent a day in a recording studio with Carl and Ken Filiano who is a very adventurous bass player. I had no desire for this to turn into something that I’m going to inflict on friends and relatives. What I wanted to do was the discipline of being in the studio, no music in front of me, a mic right there. And the way it was setup is so we can all see each other. We didn’t have baffles and all that stuff and just spending a day there and just trying stuff out. Carl said “All right. So, how about this?” He said “I’ll start something. Mike, you start something. Ken, you start something. Rick, you start something and then you just start improvising whatever you wanna do.” And it was a highlight.

    John: It’s a magical moment, man. That’s super cool ‘cause, I mean, that’s the thing. I mean, I’m good at reading music, you know, playing the piano as well. But yeah, for jazz, I was good at the music side of it, but then it’s like “Okay. Now, it’s time for a trombone solo.” And I’m like “Ahhhh… Can you write it out for me?” I guess it just wasn’t as confident. You know what I mean? Especially when you’re in high school. You’re just sort of like, yeah, just not as confident in going off script. Like with the music in front of me, I’m great. Like I can totally read this and nail it, and give 2 times through and we’re good, but yeah. So, that’s an awesome experience and something where— because I mean that’s the weird thing, is life isn’t scripted. You know, this conversation is definitely not scripted. And so, you know, we do it every day and yet you put an instrument in my hand and I’m like “Ahhhh..” It’s like “Who cares? Like it doesn’t matter.” What is it supposed to be? And it’s like whatever you want it to be, man. Just let it go.

    Rick: What you just said is certainly important in my life. I mean, the whole notion of starting with the structure, the tune, and then being able to improvise is exactly how I treat my work. I mean, if I had to do something day after day… “Hi! Today, we’re going to talk about… Oh, I have a story for you.” If I had to do the same stuff every day, I don’t know what I would do.

    John: You would quit. Right? Right?

    Rick: Yeah. So not only do I get to think about stuff, I get to keep trying stuff out. Everything always feels like a work progress and that works for me. I mean, it’s sloppier than the people who everything is scripted and now they cry on cue.

    John: Right. Oh. Yeah.

    Rick: I know. Yeah. That’s not me for better for worse. That’s what keeps my work refreshing at least for me.

    John: No, I love it, man. And it’s just how much that music translates into your career. No one told you to play jazz and be a great musician and all this because it will make you better at your career, better consultant, but it clearly does. It clearly does. You know, our “and” give us the skillset that other people don’t have that maybe have the same degree or the same job title, but we have a different skillset.

    Rick: Yeah. And you know, when I got out of college and then got out of the army, I enlisted in the army band. I was in for 3 years. I did not make it a career, although the band’s a really good band. I’m not a big fan of concert band music. I mean, it was fine when I played it, but I didn’t want that to be my career. And I also played a Herald trumpet, a bass Herald trumpet. And there are 16 of us and we would just follow the president around playing the chief.

    John: Right. Yeah.

    Rick: That was actually fun as a young guy, but I didn’t wanna make that a career. And so, and I quit playing. I basically quit playing for a lot of years.

    John: Oh, wow.

    Rick: But I’d go hear concerts. I would go to jazz clubs. I would be in my mind singing souls. And so, finally, I thought enough of this and I went on e-Bay, bought a trombone, got a teacher. And I said “Look, I wanna learn to play jazz.” That was, I don’t know, 15-16 years ago. Something like that. I had three really big consulting contracts. I mean, if you had looked at them, you would have gone “Woah, this is great.” And they were very lucrative. I mean, everything about it was really good except I hated all three of them. And I didn’t know that going in. And I mean, two of them, the clients just were acting in bad faith with each other. I mean, they just wanted to say “No. Well, we hired this guy. He wrote a book. And it didn’t make a difference.” But the third one, I said yes to something that didn’t excite me anymore. As a younger man, I would have gone “Wow, it’s a lot to learn in this.” And I didn’t realize I was phoning it in, and I didn’t like that about myself. And I didn’t realize it until way too late at any rate. So, I say to my wife “I am not good at this anymore.” And she said, “You know, I don’t think you’ve lost all your skills in the last 6 months. Maybe you were never any good.”

    John: There you go. There you go.

    Rick: You gotta see people. When I tell that story, people “Oh, you poor baby.”

    John: No, no, that’s awesome. That’s so awesome.

    Rick: She said “You know, you could be retired if you wanted. But if you wanna work, why don’t you back off a little bit and play more music?” And it took me a while to come around to that. And it’s funny. I was talking to a woman who had been a student of mine. And it’s funny. I was talking to a woman who had been a student of mine at the Gestalt Institute of Cleveland. And I was telling her the story. And she said “So, did you listen to your wife?” And I said “Well, not yet.” And she said “Why?” And I said “Well, you know, I don’t wanna retire. The concept just doesn’t fit for me.” But I said “I wanna know that I have the money there that in case I had to retire or something.” And she said “Well, how much more money do you need?” I said “I don’t know.” And she said “That will keep you working.”

    John: Yeah.

    Rick: So, the combination of Kathy making the joke and then Kim saying you gotta know what you need, I started thinking what if I only take on contracts that I think is gonna give me as much pleasure as music.

    John: Oh, wow.

    Rick: And so, it’s not like just taking time to make music, which I do. I mean, even right before our call, my horn is sitting arm’s length right here. I will play it later today. But how do I say yes to things that are going to enliven me just like practicing? And that’s made a huge difference. I might not have listened to someone giving me that advice when I first started because I was too hungry and I was trying to make a mark or something. But man, it’s made a huge difference in the quality of the work for me as well as I think for some of my clients.

    John: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. I mean, you can tell. Like you said, you know, phoning it in and just kind of just going through the motions and whatever. And it’s so interesting to hear how you had put music aside for a long time because you thought “well, you know, that’s not what pays the bills or that’s not what’s important or whatever” and come to find out like that’s the foundation. That’s your joy and where you get the magic. If you don’t go to that well often enough, then you’re not as good of a person, let alone consultant, that you could be. So, it’s just cool to hear the difference between the non-music playing Rick and the now back to music playing Rick.

    Rick: It’s a huge difference. Yeah.

    John: Yeah. It’s just more alive I guess. It’s that source of life I guess. There’s depth to our “and” in these passions that we have outside of work. There’s real depth there. And I feel like it’s so easier for us to just put it on the backburner because that’s the first thing that’s “Well, it doesn’t matter, whatever.” But then it’s 10 years later and you’re like “What the hell? I haven’t done this in forever.”

    Rick: I, I guess last year, started reading Harpo Marx’s autobiography. Your listeners might not know Harpo Marx, but you know his brothers.

    John: Yeah. The Marx brothers.

    Rick: Yes. He’s great at comedy.

    John: And genius like wicked smart, people.

    Rick: There you go.

    John: Yeah.

    Rick: I’m gonna paraphrase what the first paragraph was. But basically, he said “You know, I don’t know if in my life I’ve been a success or a failure.” And he said “But not knowing and actually not caring has allowed me to try out things I might never have tried out.” And I thought that could have been my mantra. Of course, I wanna be successful or I wanna do things well, but I’ve tried all kinds of things. Playwriting, a bunch of things. I didn’t make some national mark, but it was so much fun to do and to try out stuff.

    So, to wait and say “okay, next year, I’m gonna do it” seemed—

    John: That’s such a great quote. Plus too, like as people move up the corporate ladder, it’s like “well, now I’m the CFO” or “now, I’m the whatever C suite title, or even a manager title, or whatever.” And it’s like “Well, I can’t go and do that. It will look dumb if I’m not successful at it.” It’s like “No, it won’t.” It doesn’t matter. I mean, we’re all going through life. You know, I just love that where it’s give it a go. Who cares? You know, unless you’re Oprah— Like if you go by one name, then, all right, people are gonna— But even then, she’s so big that she doesn’t care. She’ll try things. Like it doesn’t matter. The lies we tell ourselves are so brutal and so limiting really. I mean, I’m as guilty of this as anybody. And so, it’s just cool to hear your experience through that and how important it is because there’s someone listening now that I’m sure had an “and” at one point and let it go. And it’s like “Get it back. Like what are you doing?” Right?

    Rick: Yeah. I just thought of another story. My dad always kind of thought that these choices I was making were kind of really whackadoodle. Like what is he doing this time? And so, when I started writing plays, I was studying. And so, Kathy and I went home to my home for Thanksgiving. And my mom and Kathy had gone up to bed. And my dad and I are sitting there having a beer. And I never asked my dad for advice ever. Just wasn’t what I did because I never wanted to hear it.

    John: Right.

    Rick: But honest to God and I said—

    John: No. No. It’s true. Yeah.

    Rick: Yeah. And so, I said “I can use your advice.” I said “You know, I’ve been studying playwriting and have done some workshop things.” I said “I’m working on this play that I think could really actually be something good, but I need to take time to do it, which means I need to back off. Do you have any advice for me?” And he said “Yeah.” He started a furniture store in my hometown. And he said, “You know, I was working for a furniture store. It was really well-established.” And he said “I couldn’t get a loan from a bank.” And he said “I remember going into one bank and they said, well, Eddie, you have the most secure job in town. It’s been there for a century.” And my dad said “Oh, no, no. I have a job even more secure than that.” And they said “Really? What?” he said “I was in the army. They even gave me my underwear.” So, we both are laughing. And he said “You don’t wanna get to be 60 and go I wonder. I wonder if.” And he suddenly became my biggest supporter for that. He and my mom would come out and see when I had plays produced. I mean, it was really neat.

    John: Yeah. What a powerful moment where you think “Well, he doesn’t get me. He doesn’t understand.” And he gets it 100% type of thing. Yeah. I’ve spoken at some like executive retreats or like partner retreats for professional services firms. And one in particular was a pretty huge— There were probably 120 partners for this accounting firm. And three of them were retiring. And it was an hour of stories about them. And there wasn’t a single mention of the amount of revenue they brought into the firm, or the number of clients, or number of hours they worked, or anything. They were just stories about life and who they were as people and things that we did outside of work and just all that. And I’m like “If you’re at the top, then, man, this is what really matters, you know.” So, everyone all along should also know that this is what matters or these stories. That’s so powerful, man. So powerful. And I love it so much. And I imagine too that the jazz plays into the change management that you do the consulting with because, like you said, I mean it’s unscripted and here we go. And you know, how do we work this out sort of thing.

    Rick: Yeah. I mean, one of the things— It’s funny. In the book, I’m really talking about how do you blend support into what you’re already doing rather than change management sometimes is “Okay, when we have time, we’ll bring in the change management stuff.” And what I’m saying is “no, it needs to be blended in”, which means in some way or another you’re improvising. You’re trying something out like “Okay, if I did this presentation without slides, what might happen?” So, you’re just doing these tweaks here and there, but it’s a great way to learn. It’s also I think more fun.

    John: Yeah. I mean, ‘cause the pressure isn’t there because it’s like “Well, it’s probably gonna fail 50% of the time or whatever” or we’ll see what happens. It’s experimental as opposed to this is the only answer type of thing.

    Rick: It’s experimental within a structure. I mean, I’m not a fan of— I mean, some of the places where I studied. We’re all gonna get a room. Let’s see what emerges. I hate that. I just hate that. I’ll start the incense and give me a cab. I’ve gotta get out of here.

    You’re there to do some work. Everybody knows we’re here to do some work, but the how we do it and the way we engage each other, there’s a lot of flexibility there. So, that’s really important to me. And so, that’s what I hope I bring always when I’m doing work.

    John: For sure. Yeah. And I mean, it’s that music side of you that comes out. You know, you can’t hide it. You can’t not have that music brain turn on. And I love it so much, man. That’s awesome. So, Rick, before we kind of wrap up, do you have any words of encouragement to anyone listening that maybe has an “and” that they put on the backburner for a while or they don’t talk about at work because they don’t think it matters?

    Rick: I realize that everyone’s situation can be different and there may be good reasons for saying I’ve got to put all this on the backburner for now.

    John: Sure.

    Rick: I also realized you may be paying the price if you’re doing that. And so, I would say even in a little way, if you can start to bring whatever that passion is into the work, I think it makes a difference in our actual work, but I think it makes our lives— for me at any rate, makes our lives richer.

    John: For sure.

    Rick: You know, more excitement in getting up in the morning.

    John: No. Absolutely, man. I agree totally. So, it’s so cool to have you be a part of this. And I feel like it’s only fair since I peppered you with just questions at the beginning that I turn the table and make this the first episode of the Rick Maurer podcast. Thanks for having me on your show. So, whatever questions you’d like to ask—

    Rick: I’m sorry, Joh, but we’re out of time. Hey, but it was great talking—

    John: Exactly. I actually had a good friend who was booked on Letterman. And the first guest went long. It was like “Well, you got to come back.” And they weren’t able to come back. But yeah, you tell everybody “I’m gonna be on Letterman” and then “Well, no because so and so ran their mouth too long.” That’s hilarious. That’s so funny. Yeah, John, we’re done.

    Rick: Actually, what I am curious about is— I mean, obviously, I agree with you on the “and” stuff, but what prompted you to say “Oh, I wanna go public with that, I wanna have a podcast about that kind of thing”?

    John: That’s a great question. So, yeah. So, I was speaking at a conference, a pretty big conference. And I was backstage getting mic-ed up and the meeting professional comes back and she says “Hey, do you know this guy named Mark?” I’ll leave his last name off just for safety’s sake. And I was like “No, I’ve never heard that name in my life.” And she goes “Well, he knows you. He saw the speakers and right away goes “I know John Garrett. That’s the guy who did comedy at night.” I was like “What? Like who is this rain man? Like do I owe him 50 bucks? Like what’s going on?” So, I speak. I get off stage. I look on my link. He was in my first PWC office 12 years before that, and he was in the tax department, and I was one of those CPAs that doesn’t know how taxes work. So, I never went to that floor. I don’t know what Mark looks like. I never talked to mark. I never anything. And he remembers me for a hobby I did outside of work. And so, I started asking people like “Hey, do you have a hobby outside of work?” And people were kind of like “Keep it on the down low, but I like to…” you know, whatever their “and” was.

    Almost everyone has something. And no one’s talking about it. And so, let’s just blow the doors off and make it a podcast where we all get to share what lights us up and what brings us joy and then other people get to hear it and then realize that they’re the norm. Like the stereotypical professional is somebody that has other dimensions to them besides work. And for too long, the 8% who don’t have a hobby or passion have bullied the 92% of us to believe that we have to act a certain way and you don’t. There’s so many different successful professionals out there that all look and sound totally different than the next. And why are we all trying to be like one thing? And it’s not even a cool thing. It’s super lame. At least be like a cool thing. Bring yourself to work. It’s more than just the authenticness. It’s just what lights you up. Start small. Yeah, that’s how it all started.

    Rick: Oh, that’s great.

    John: No, I appreciate it, Rick. Thank you so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”? and, yeah, also just taking time to be a part of the show. So, thanks, man.

    Rick: Oh, you’re welcome. It’s a pleasure.

    John: Everybody listening, if you wanna see some pictures of Rick playing his trombone or maybe connect with him on social media, be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. 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 read 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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