Episode 543- Mary McDonald

Mary is an Accountant & Macro Photographer

Mary McDonald talks about her hobby of macro-outdoor photography, how it is a conversation starter in the office, how it has improved her relationships both in and out of the office, and much more!

Episode Highlights
• What macro photography is
• Getting into macro-outdoor photography
• Why she struggles with calling herself a photographer
• How her photography has helped her career




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Mary’s Photos

Mushroom on sphagnum moss

A rose

Round-leaf Sundew blossom

Round-leaf Sundew blossom scale

Spotted Coralroot

Mary’s Links


  • Read Full TranscriptOpen or Close

    Welcome to Episode 543 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 at work. And who else are you is basically the question that it’s asking.

    And if you like what the show is about, be sure to check out the award-winning book. It’s on Amazon, Indigo, Barnes & Noble, Bookshop, a few other websites. All the links are at whatsyourand.com. The book goes more in depth with the research behind why these outside 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 cultures where they work because of it. 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.

    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 weekend. This week is no different with my guest, Mary McDonald. She’s a principal at Hansen House Company in Duluth, Minnesota. And now, she’s with me here today. Mary, thanks so much for taking time to be with me on What’s Your “And”?

    Mary: John, thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.

    John: This is gonna be a blast. We’ve been following each other on Twitter. I’ve been laughing at your tweets and I’m like we gotta get Mary on here. And there’s something more to her besides tax.

    Mary: Absolutely. Yes.

    John: Right? There we go. So we got 17 rapid fire questions. Get to know Mary out of the gate here in case we go do photography together. I need to make sure that we can hang out and it won’t get weird. So we’ll start with maybe— This is one of my favorite ones. Favorite Disney character.

    Mary: Oh, my gosh. I’m gonna have to go with Aurora. She was the first one that I ever saw on a movie screen. That was my first movie.

    John: Nice. Yeah. Very cool. All right. How about a puzzle? Sudoku, crossword, or a Jigsaw puzzle?

    Mary: Crosswords all the way. I’m a words girl.

    John: Okay. Okay. How about a favorite color?

    Mary: All of them.

    John: There you go. Just in case they’re listening. Just in case they’re listening. Like we don’t want any—

    Mary: I’m a tax person, John. It depends, right? What’s my mood, what’s the weather like, what are we wearing, what do we need.

    John: Right. Or am I looking at it? Am I wearing it right?

    Mary: Right. Exactly. Is somebody else wearing it? Am I judging it?

    John: Right. Well, I’m judging it either way, but—

    Mary: Right. Right. Yeah.

    John: So I feel like I know the answer to this one, but I’m still gonna ask. Least favorite color.

    Mary: No. I love all my children. Right?

    John: All right. I was gonna try and trick you ’cause you were gonna be like brown. And I’ll be like “Ah! Ha! There it is.” But all right. Fair enough. Are you more talk or text?

    Mary: Text, I think. My mother even will text me to call her, so yeah.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Mary: She’s figured it out.

    John: That works. How about a favorite actor or an actress?

    Mary: Oh, you know, I think I’m gonna have to go Sean Connery.

    John: Oh, nice. Classic. He’s in some good stuff. That’s for sure. Oh, this an important one. Toilet paper roll. Is it over or under?

    Mary: Over. There’s no question.

    John: All right. All right. Fair. That’s typically the second half of that answer.

    Mary: There’s one right answer.

    John: Right? Normally, I’d say there’s no wrong answers in this, but there are on some of them. Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Mary: All right. I’m sorry to do it ’cause I’m a tax person again. Right? It depends. Which Star Trek are we talking?

    John: Oh, okay.

    Mary: So, you know, I’m a next generation girl, so I love my Picard. But Star Wars is classic, so I don’t know if you can go wrong.

    John: So, both. I’ll take it. That’s all right. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Mary: Early bird.

    John: Early bird.

    Mary: Yeah. I think the older I get, the earlier I—

    John: Right? It’s weird like that. It’s like “Oh, man, I just wanna sleep in.” It’s like “Nope, not happening.” Your computer, more PC or a Mac?

    Mary: So, for work, it’s PC at home. And personally, it’s Mac.

    John: Oh, look at you, ambidextrous.

    Mary: I am.

    John: All right. I’m impressed. All right. Ice cream. I’m a huge ice cream eater. You do it a cup or in a cone?

    Mary: In a cup. Unless you’ve got the waffle cones with like the malted milk balls in the bottom. I don’t like the drippy part.

    John: Oh, malted. Okay. I like that. Them melted in the bottom. So then it keeps it from dripping out.

    Mary: Exactly. And then you’ve got the melted milk ball at the bottom.

    John: Yeah, there’s a prize at the end. I like that. That’s next level right there. I’m impressed. All right. All right.

    Mary: That’s right. Stick with me, kid.

    John: Right? If you take anything away from this podcast, you can hit stop now, everybody. And we’ve already learned something.

    Mary: That’s right. You know how to eat ice cream cones.

    John: Right? We’ve all got diabetes. But either way, it’s all good.

    Mary: It’s all right.

    John: It’s all good. Like it tastes yummy. Prefer more hot or cold?

    Mary: Hot. I live in Duluth, Minnesota where it gets cold a lot, but I definitely prefer hot.

    John: But it’s like so cold. It’s hot there.

    Mary: It burns, right? Your face burns when you go outside.

    John: I’ve been where in the morning, like the night before, it’s like frozen over the lake. And then all of a sudden, like the next morning, you’re like “Oh, there’s water there. Okay, good to know. There’s boats.”

    Mary: Nice. Okay. Sweet.

    John: Well, the icebreaker coming through. It’s like “What?”

    Mary: That’s like the best time of year when the icebreaker comes through. Yeah.

    John: That’s some next level stuff. All right. Balance sheet or income statement?

    Mary: I know that you’re supposed to say balance sheet ’cause that’s where everything’s kept track of, but I think in terms of usefulness to clients and just in general, profit and loss

    John: No, I agree. I don’t think there is a right answer to be honest. And I think it’s funny how people justify the difference. You get the full trial balance people. You get everybody that wants everything and it’s like “Mmm…”

    Mary: Right. Yeah.

    John: Slow down there. You’re not looking at everything. You’re just asking for that to be a pain to the client.

    Mary: Sure.

    John: All right, we got four more. Do you have a favorite number?

    Mary: 2.

    John: And the reason?

    Mary: It’s the first even number.

    John: Ah, nice. All right, there we go. There’s a reason. Books, audio version, e-Book, or real book?

    Mary: So, ideally, real book. I love the feel of ’em. I read too much and too fast, so I have all of them on e-Books. Plus, there’s the instant gratification of, you know, you’re in the middle of a series and you just want the next one. Amazon is brilliant. Okay, just gimme the next seven.

    John: Right? Right? They hook you like that. They really do.

    Mary: Oh, seriously. They take way too much of my money.

    John: Right? That’s awesome. Two more. A favorite band or musician.

    Mary: All right. This one is trickier for me. I’m not a huge auditory person. And so, I don’t necessarily know. Can I go with like a genre?

    John: Yeah, totally.

    Mary: So like ’80s. ’80s music.

    John: So Madonna, some Cyndi Lauper, some— All right.

    Mary: Exactly. You know, little Whitesnake.

    John: Oh, okay.

    Mary: Some AC/DC. Let’s get across the board here, but yeah.

    John: Okay. All right. I like it. And the last one, the favorite thing you have or the favorite thing.

    Mary: My relationships.

    John: Ah, nice. That’s good. That’s rich. I like that. So let’s talk outdoor macro photography. I know what outdoor is. What is macro?

    Mary: It’s the opposite of economics, right? So macro photography is when I can get right down into the depth and I’m taking pictures of really tiny things.

    John: Ah, really up close.

    Mary: Yeah.

    John: Okay. All right.

    Mary: Really up close.

    John: And so, what are some of the favorite things that you’ve taken pictures of? I mean, is this like a bigger thing that then you zoom in on like a tree bark, like a little part, or is it like tiny, tiny bugs?

    Mary: I’ve done both.

    John: Okay.

    Mary: Yeah. So we actually have some property north of Duluth if you can imagine going north from here.

    John: Right. Santa lives there.

    Mary: Right. Exactly. Exactly. And the elves are tiny, so I’m just out and about taking pictures.

    John: We’re gonna change this to elf pictures instead of outdoor macro photography.

    Mary: Right. That’s what I do. I take pictures of elves, you know. Santa throws me a candy cane every once in a while.

    John: Right. You’re on the nice list. You’re good.

    Mary: I am. We go way back, me and Santa. So I kind of got into it because on part of this land we’ve got a fen. Technically, it’s what’s called a poor fen because there isn’t any water that directly feeds into it, but it’s all sphagnum moss and peats. And we have a whole bunch of carnivorous plants. So we’ve got pitcher plants and then there’s a plant called the round leaf sundew, which is the biggest leaf that I’ve seen. It’s about the size of like a pencil eraser like at the end of the pencil.

    John: Oh, wow.

    Mary: Yeah. So they’re tiny. They’re tiny, tiny little things. And then they’ve got these even smaller little dewdrops on the ends of the leaves. And so, I started taking pictures of those and then I was looking around, and there’s moss and all these mushrooms. You know, we’ve got cranberries and these tiny little flowers down there. It’s so interesting to see this other world outside of where we’re at. So that’s kind of how I got into it. And then some of it is too just, you know, zooming really close in on something. So it’s being able to look at something a little bit differently.

    John: Ah, yeah, I like that a lot. That’s really good. And stuff that you probably walked by many times before until you actually just go through that lens literally and figuratively to just take the moment to just look at it differently. I like that.

    Mary: Yeah.

    John: That’s really cool. So were you into photography before or was it just something that got ramped up?

    Mary: It’s something that just kind of got ramped up. So we had lived in Duluth before and we moved to the cities for a while. Now, we are back. So it’s really kind of as we’ve been back in Duluth, so since like 2016-17 that I’ve really started to get into it. As a kid, I loved the idea of photography. But growing up in the ’80s without digital photography, (A) there’s no instant gratification. You have no idea if your picture worked out or not until 3 weeks later when you go to the store and you pick it up and then you can’t remember what you were trying to get.

    John: Right.

    Mary: And I was always really frustrated because I can see the colors a certain way, I can see the shapes a certain way, and I couldn’t get the camera to do that work.

    Now, part of that was because I had really basic cameras and I don’t have the background of actual photography. But with the cameras that are out now, with the digital cameras especially that are out and just my phone being able to get out, I can see what I’m doing, and I can see that it’s that image I have in my head. I’m able to get it across.

    John: That’s cool. So do you prefer the phones or an actual like DSLR kind of—

    Mary: I have an actual DSLR and I love taking it out. I find I’m directionally challenged, so you can throw me in the woods and I’m not coming home.

    John: All right.

    Mary: So I always have my phone with me regardless because that’s where the map is that shows me where I started.

    John: There you go.

    Mary: And the little icon with the little thing, the little radar symbol that says you’re facing this way, go this way to get to where you started.

    John: Right.

    Mary: So, you know, I always have my phone with me, and I sometimes find myself in the middle of the woods or an alder swamp or someplace where it’s just too much work to have the camera too. So I tend to use the camera more at home or with flowers around the house, things like that, and my phone out in the woods just because I’m less likely to damage something.

    John: Yeah. Or lose it.

    Mary: Exactly.

    John: Plus, they’re heavy to be hiking around with.

    Mary: They really kind of are. Yeah. The phone, you slip in your pocket. You walk along until you find something cool and then you can do it. Yeah. My husband has learned that if we are going walking together, he needs to be very patient because we’re stopping every couple feet ’cause “Oh, did you see this? When I look over there, there’s that.” Now, flip side, I have found a lot of things we can eat in the woods. So I feel like I’m, you know, providing some value to the family when we do it.

    John: Oh, okay. Fancy. I like it. Wow. All right. So you’re like all like outdoorsy now.

    Mary: You know, once you start taking pictures of things, and you look at it, and you’re trying to figure out what it is, then you learn about it. And now, you kind of know all these extra things.

    John: You can go off grid.

    Mary: Oh, let me tell you. Except in the winter because, now, why would I do that? I like my bed. I like my heat. I like my roof. It’s fine.

    John: That would be nuts. That’s for sure. And so, do you have like some favorite pictures or things that have been more of your favorite type of things that you’ve taken or pictures that you’ve taken and you’re like “Wow, that’s really good, I can’t believe I took that”?

    Mary: There have been some. Yeah. Some of the round leaf sundew. I have a tendency to look up too. I actually have them in my office, but I’ve got a picture from the inside of a birch clump. So, when one birch dies, oftentimes you’ll see like a group of 3, or 4, or 6 that grow around where the dead one had been. So there’s a space in the middle. And I was out and stood in the middle of it and then looked up. So I’ve got that picture looking up at the 6 trees around me. So that’s definitely one of my favorites.

    John: Yeah. And I love how you mentioned that you have a print in your office like, so, you brought it in. So it’s a conversation starter I imagine.

    Mary: Oh, absolutely. I actually have four of ’em right now. And we bought a printer so I could just rotate pictures out ’cause, you know what, why keep the same one there all the time?

    John: Yeah. I imagine it brings you joy to see the pictures, to know that you took the pictures and then people are like “Oh, what’s she got in there now? Oh, there’s a new one.”

    Mary: There’s a new one. And where was this one or what is this one?

    John: Right.

    Mary: It’s so hard to tell. You know, you get really enclosed to— I’ve got one up there right now that is the seed pods of moss.

    John: Oh, wow.

    Mary: Yeah. So when you look at the picture, it’s hard to know what it is. And if you’re to look at it from a distance, right, it would just be moss. But once I got down, I was able to kind of zoom in and look at the rest of it. It’s just these really cool pods with these little fluffy things coming out.

    John: That’s very cool.

    Mary: And it’s fun to be able to look at ’em too, right? I get to look and say “Oh, yeah, I remember that day. I remember that day.” Or when clients are really pushing the envelope of what’s appropriate, you could take a minute and look and say “Oh, you know what, that was a really nice day.” Eventually, I will get back to that and be able to be outside and not dealing with this person.

    John: Yeah. No, I love it. That’s exactly it. It’s things that bring you joy and then you’re able to have them in your office and then it’s cool that other people know that about you and that you don’t hide it. Was there a part of you that was like “Oh, I don’t know if I should tell people that I took these ’cause they’re gonna judge me for whatever”?

    Mary: Oh, gosh, absolutely. I still struggle with the idea of calling myself a photographer. You know, I take pictures. I trump in the woods and I take pictures.

    John: That’s great!

    Mary: That’s what I do. Right. And my office manager will say to me “Well, how is that not a photographer?” I’m like it’s for me.

    John: That’s fair.

    Mary: So, yeah. So I struggle with the label of it and then of course kind of saying “Are people gonna like it and all the rest of this?” And then I finally realized that I really don’t care if other people like it or not ’cause I do.

    John: Exactly. It’s your office.

    Mary: It’s my office.

    John: Yeah. It’s not distracting people from getting their work done or anything. It’s not whatever crazy. And I found from interviewing so many people that the label is definitely a thing that you’re not alone about. But if you say I enjoy photography or I take pictures, are they good?

    It doesn’t matter. I enjoy it. I’m doing it for me. I’m not doing it for your approval. And it brings you joy, and that’s great. And so, you’re not alone in that for sure.

    Mary: Good.

    John: And it’s actually 100% okay to be not amazing at something ’cause it’s just a hobby.

    Mary: Well, and that’s just it. It’s a hobby. It’s something that brings me joy that I do outside of the office that allows me space to be myself, to create. Right? I think that people need to have some sort of creation in their lives. And we get caught up in this idea that it has to be perfect and that people will buy it and all of these other things. And that’s not what creation is. You know, creation is creating.

    John: It doesn’t have to be a side hustle. Yeah. ‘Cause, I mean, I’ve had plenty of people “Well, you know, I don’t make any money at it.” Great. You’re not supposed to. It’s not your job.

    Mary: Right?

    John: Like there’s other dimensions to who you are. All those dimensions don’t have to make money. You know, you’re a parent. You’re a spouse. Are you making money that way? And if you are, it’s illegal.

    Mary: If you are, let me know how that’s working out for you. I have questions.

    John: Is that tax deductible?

    Mary: Oh, God. Right? Are we writing this off? If you have to ask, no.

    John: Right. Right. No, exactly. Exactly. But I think it’s great that you overcame that and were like, you know, “Hey, I’m gonna share it.” And nothing bad has happened. If anything, it’s been the opposite where it draws people in closer whether they’re photographers or not.

    Mary: And sometimes, you don’t know what’s happening. It allows people a chance to ask. Right? Because sometimes it’s like trying to get to know somebody, figuring out what’s happening, where they’re at, what’s going on, or maybe they’re stuck on something and they can come in. And it’s like “Oh, well, what is this one?”

    John: Right?

    Mary: Actually, the one that I get a lot, especially with the moss right now, is that hanging the right way?

    John: Well, who knows? It could be—

    Mary: I don’t know.

    John: How do you wanna hang it? Let’s hang it your way. Like I don’t care.

    Mary: It was growing up from the ground. Now, it’s on my wall. So, it’s not how it’s supposed to be anyway.

    John: Right? That’s so great. I mean, cause there’s no right answer, especially on art even. Yeah. It’s like I don’t—

    Mary: Well, that’s just it.

    John: It could be however you want. But that’s cool to hear that like people have come in with a work question, but then they leave with an “and” question, you know, related to you. You’re an accountant and the photography side of you. And so, lead with the photography side ’cause that’s a lot better way to start a conversation.

    Mary: It is. And I’m in a new office now, so I joined Hansen House Company in December of last year. So still just as we’re coming back from COVID and getting to know everybody, it has been really useful to have this because they don’t know what my knowledge is. They don’t know if I’m gonna be able to answer the question or not. And this is one that at least gets us started on something. Right? Accountants hate to be wrong, and we really hate to seem like we don’t know something. So to come into somebody stranger’s office with a question about what it is that we’re supposed to know can be really intimidating. So this way, at least there’s something else to talk about.

    John: That’s so true. Such a great point. And also, too, like your job title, I mean you’re a principal, you know. It’s like yikes. You know? And so, that’s intimidating. The title alone.

    Mary: How hard is she gonna be? You know, what is she expecting? What is she like? I’m scary. I think people should just get used to it. Right?

    John: Right? But then it’s like “No, it’s Mary. Just go talk to her. Ask her about her pictures.”

    Mary: “You could talk to her. It’s fine.”

    John: “It’s all good.”

    Mary: It’s fine

    John: She’s a real person. She’s got other things, you know. And so, you’ll get to the scary side in a minute, but lead with the pictures.

    Mary: Right. Lead with the pictures. She’ll smile at you before she bites your head off.

    John: Right? Not true. I don’t believe that for a second. You’re gonna bite the head off first and then— No. No.

    Mary: Technically.

    John: Yeah. Exactly.

    Mary: Right. Let’s get it out of the way.

    John: Right? But before the photography, which sounds like it’s someone new, were there other sides of you in your career that you would share or was the photography the thing that kind of cracked it open?

    Mary: You know, photography was really kind of the thing that cracked it open. Before that, I read. That was kind of my big thing growing up. My mother would send me outside to play, and I would sit inside right by the screen door and read my book because technically it’s like I’m outside ’cause I’m getting fresh air.

    John: Right. There’s a breeze.

    Mary: There’s a breeze. There’s a breeze. And really, it’s just kind of been this exploration piece that has been new and that’s just kind of been fun. And to have this product, right, that makes me happy, that’s so easy. Before that, you know, I started off in big four and there was that idea that work is all you are and that’s it. You can’t be anything else. And in fact, if you are something else, you’re jeopardizing your relationships with your team. You’re letting them down because you’re not working.

    John: Yeah, exactly.

    Mary: So I think I let that mindset sink in until we came up here and then really had the opportunity to just say “You know what? That’s not who I am. I am more than that. I identify as more than accountant. I identify as a whole person.”

    John: Yeah. Amen. And it’s so important. And do you feel a difference from pre-photography Mary to today?

    Mary: Absolutely. I have better relationships with my clients. I have better relationships with my family. I like myself better because I’m allowing more of myself to be me. I think when we repress that and piece of us, we really missed out on who we are and being able to enjoy ourselves.

    John: So true. And it’s scary how we do that to ourselves. You know? It’s just like I’m my own worst enemy. This is nuts. You know? And what’s even scarier is people that are like “Oh, I’ll get back to it.” It goes dormant and then it goes extinct. And then it’s like I forget what I used to love to do.

    Mary: And then you struggle when somebody asks you “What do you love to do?” And you’re like “Well, I used to… Now, I… Right?” And then you get stuck back in that identity that what you do is who you are and that’s it. So then when you stop doing that, you don’t exist anymore.

    John: Right, exactly. I mean, this is helping you retire. Yeah. But I mean, there’s so much cooler parts to the people around us and just asking about it, and finding out about it, and just caring. Like just have a genuine interest.

    Mary: We get wrapped up in defining success by all of these external things. Right? Where are you at in your job? How much money are you making? All of those pieces. When in fact, we need to figure out what success looks like and then get there on our own. And success is so much more than just what we make, you know. It’s having those times and spending time with people you love and doing the things that you love to do. And when you can do that, even if your client fires you, you can still say that you’re successful because you’ve got all these other pieces.

    John: Exactly. I love that. That’s so great. So great. What a great way to wrap it up. That’s awesome. So for everyone that listened past the melted milk dud in the bottom of the—

    Mary: The malted, right, come on now.

    John: The milk ball. Right. Sorry. Yeah. So there you go, everybody. That’s the candy at the bottom right there. That was so good. So good, Mary. And it was so fun having you be a part of this. But since I so rudely asked you with all those questions at the beginning, I feel like it’s only fair that we turn the tables and make this the first episode of The Mary McDonald podcast.

    Mary: Excellent.

    John: Right? So I’m all yours. Thanks for having me on as a guest.

    Mary: John, thanks for joining me today.

    John: Right?

    Mary: I do have some get to know you questions. Doesn’t matter if I—

    John: Oh, boy, here we go.

    Mary: I know. Be ready. Be ready.

    John: I’ve got seatbelts on. Hold on. Here we go.

    Mary: It should be. All right. Movies. Watching them in the theater or at home?

    John: Ah, wow. Yeah, that’s a good question. I’m gonna say at home. I feel like that now that at home has gotten— screens have gotten bigger and audio’s gotten better, it’s kind of the best without all the people around you talking or whatever they’re doing.

    Mary: You are a previous accountant, aren’t you? “There’s people. Eww. Eww.”

    John: I know the popcorn was made today also when I’m at home so like there’s that. So I guess at home. Plus then, you can hit pause, you can go to the bathroom, you can whatever. Like you get comfortable.

    Mary: Right. You wear your pajamas. I got the dog with me.

    John: Yeah. You take your shoes off and put your feet up in the theater, and they’re looking at you weird. It’s like “Wait, what’s wrong?” It’s like you act like you’ve been outside before. All right. All right.

    Mary: All right. Favorite dinosaur.

    John: Oh wow. That’s a great question. Favorite dinosaur. And my nephew Colin is gonna light me up for this ’cause he knows all of them. So I guess I would say probably the Velociraptor is pretty, pretty cool. Made famous by Jurassic Park of course. So that’s probably why. But it just seems like it’s one not to mess with.

    Mary: Absolutely.

    John: Pretty quick. And it’s nimble and I like that. That’s impressive. And it’s not the big T-Rex, like everybody says T-Rex. It’s more the one that brings the heat. It’s like, yeah, everyone’s scared of T-Rex, but you— Yeah, Velociraptor. Better watch out. Plus, it’s fun to say.

    Mary: Right?

    John: It’s just like “All right.” Imagine if you were a Veloci principal. Like how great will that be?

    Mary: Right. I’m gonna have to figure this out. I’m like I have tiaras. Now, I have to figure out how to get like clothes.

    John: Oh, right?

    Mary: That would be good.

    John: Just Veloci anything. Like I’m already in.

    Mary: Veloci anything would be sweet. I know. You could do this.

    John: Right?

    Mary: All right. Ability to fly or be invisible?

    John: Ah, yeah. That’s also a very good one. I guess the ability to be invisible. I’m not gonna be invisible all the time, but the ability to turn invisible when I would like to, like when I’m speaking at a conference and I haven’t spoken yet and everyone wants to meet me and they’re like “Oh, so what are you gonna speak on?” It’s like “I’m just gonna be invisible over here in the corner because I just watch.” Just watch. It will be a couple hours. Just watch. Like it’s just “Why do you need the preview? Just you’re gonna be there.”

    So, yeah, I feel like the invisible ’cause there’s plenty of times where I’m just like “Ah, I just don’t really wanna go today.”

    Mary: I don’t want people today.

    John: Yeah. So I think invisible would be— I mean, flying would be cool, but we’re not gonna get greedy.

    Mary: Right. I know. That’s fair. No, you get one.

    John: Plus, I can fly now on airplanes. I can’t be invisible now.

    Mary: True. Yeah. Technically, yes.

    John: Technically, I like it. So I’m getting both. I’m getting both.

    Mary: Wow. Look at you circumventing the rules. Nicely done.

    John: Yeah. That’s why I was never in tax ’cause I would be in trouble.

    Mary: Oh, Lord. All right. I need your past clients to call us.

    John: I was immaterial difference guy. Immaterial difference.

    Mary: Oh, that’s fine.

    John: Like let’s just go home.

    Mary: We got ‘ya. And then you’re stranded on a desert island. What book do you have with you?

    John: Besides What’s Your “And”? ’cause that’s a pretty good one I heard.

    Mary: Of course.

    John: But no, no, I have two books that I really, really enjoy. One is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. It’s so good. And then the other one that I enjoyed also that I recommend is The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. The Big Leap. That’s also a good one. And then he has a follow-up one called The Genius Zone that I just actually read, so yeah. But The War of Art hands down. I read it every year. I wish I could read it more times a year. But The War of Art is so good. It’s more for creatives, but I feel like it applies to everyone anyway in some way. It’s a good read.

    Mary: Well, we really all are creative. We just don’t allow ourselves to be.

    John: In our own way. Exactly. So good, Mary. Well, thank you so much for being a part of What’s Your “And”? And I look forward to making it to Duluth some time and hanging out.

    Mary: Absolutely. I’ll take you to the breweries around here.

    John: There’s that too. All right. We can get some macro pictures of that stuff. Woo! Everyone listening, if you wanna see some of Mary’s pictures or connect with her on social media, her Twitter handle is Fire. Be sure to go to whatsyourand.com. All the links are 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 read the book. So thanks again for subscribing on Apple Podcasts or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends. 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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