Episode 88 – Paul Meissner

Paul curls his way to better client connections


Paul Meissner has always had a thing for winter sports. After competing in downhill skiing in University, his attention turned to curling, a sport he especially likes because he gets to yell a lot. Some of his curling career highlights include a game against the gold medal-winning Canadian Paralympic Team and another time playing a pickup game against Greg McAulay, a Canadian world champion curler.

In this episode, Paul and I talk about how curling is a great metaphor for an office, where the team is made up of different skills and it takes all four working in tandem to get it right. By playing regularly, he’s learned to communicate more effectively and to change plans quickly. Client faces light up when they find out he does curling, so he often takes colleagues and clients to play. He really enjoys that because everyone is out of their comfort zone and there’s a level playing field so everyone can play equally.

Paul Meissner is a Director with 5ways Group Chartered Accountants in Melbourne, Australia.

He graduated from La Trobe University with a degree in Commerce, followed by a Graduate Diploma in accounting. He’s also a Qualified Cloud Accountant in Accounting and Computer Science, as designated by the International Association of Qualified Cloud Accountants.

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    Welcome to Episode 88 of the Green Apple Podcast where each Wednesday, I interview a professional known for a hobby or a passion. Making them standout like a green apple in a red apple world and to put it another way, it’s like helping people find their “and” as in my guest Paul Meissner is an accountant and plays curling.

    And as you’ll hear that curling has generated a lot of interest from clients and there’s a lot of science behind why this is because there’s chemicals in your brain that are released when you meet interesting people that do curling. Things like norepinephrine which creates engagement and another one called oxytocin which creates trust and bonding and both of this are really, really crucial to the developing up a positive corporate culture and in Paul’s case, some really strong client relationships.

    And before we get to this week’s guest, just a quick favor to ask of you. If you like the show and are listening on iTunes or your favorite android app it would be really, really cool if you could just leave a five-star rating and maybe a comment because people have been telling me how they really like how unique the Green Apple Podcast is, and it’s because the least business-y show out there and telling people stories as opposed to just regurgitating a lot of business stuff. So you doing this will be a huge help for others to learn about the show. Thank you so, so much.

    And now it’s time to introduce you to this week’s guest, Paul Meissner. He’s a director at 5Ways Group Chartered Accountants in Melbourne, Australia and a co-host to the podcast From the Trenches and I’m so jacked up to have you on the show, Paul. Thank you so much for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast.

    Paul: You’re welcome. I’m really punked to be here. Looking forward to it.

    John: Yeah. Absolutely, man. Well, you’ve got your podcast From the Trenches, right?

    Paul: From the Trenches, yes, an industry perspective of accountants in their practice. Yeah, we’re really enjoying it.

    John: Yeah, yeah and you guys as rocking and rolling and I was like, “I got to get these guys on the show.” I appreciate you taking time from signing all your autographs to come over and have a chat with me. I appreciate it.

    Paul: No problems at all.

    John: Yeah, yeah. I gave everybody a little bit of an introduction but maybe, in your own words, what you’re up to now in the accounting world?

    Paul: I run an accounting firm, just a small practice, 100% cloud-based 5Ways Group. Also, started a software conversion business over the journey that was a couple of years ago, I built a travel app that never really went much anywhere. I’ve also thought of starting to get into online training for accountants, freedom accounting system. Yeah, and I got two wonderful kids, married, and still sort of finding some time for a bit of sport with the curling which we’ll talk about, a bit of umpiring and some other things. I keep myself busy. I also am on a few boards and committees especially with our accounting buddies out here, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand so keep myself busy.

    John: Yeah, man. That’s awesome. How’d you come up with 5Ways Group? How’d you come up with that name?

    Paul: It’s an old slide I saw and it stood for five different things. Grow, create, manage, protect, plan, according to the marketers. But for me, it stood for being more than just filling in a form. We were about the whole client. We were their friend in a way, you know professional sounding board, we were there to talk to them about — because as accountants, we don’t necessarily meet up to sell extra services like cash flows or other things but you know, I find that we really build a relationship with our clients and sometimes if cash flow’s bad or you know, mental health’s a big thing, likely, you’ve really got to speak to some clients in some unfortunately dark times and you really become a shoulder for them in a sense, so the 5Ways just stood for I guess a little bit more holistic.

    John: I love that, man.

    Paul: Yeah. It was good. It resonated with me so it was good.

    John: Yeah. That works, man. And one question that I love to ask everybody just because everyone’s got a unique story is just how did you get in to accounting?

    Paul: My dad’s an accountant.

    John: There we go.

    Paul: Yeah. He was and my dad was really supportive. He always said, “Go out on your own, do whatever you want.” He gave me endless amounts of sort of work experience while I was going through school in uni whenever I want it but when I got out from uni, he sort of shut the door in a professional sense and said, “No, you can’t come and work for me. Go and find your own feet.” And he helped me get some interviews which ultimately was funny I was talking about this with people last time.

    He got me two interviews from my first grad job and I usually took a third job which I got on my own as a job interview and ended up and that sort of the started my accounting career and I never went back to my dad’s firm. But it taught me a good lesson that you can’t just walk into things, these sort of generational businesses that are really tough, you got to go and find your own experience but he was always there to sort of chat. I think he was more worried when I started my own firm than I was.

    I was going out on my own and I wasn’t going to use my name as the title for the business which he sort of couldn’t get over and I wasn’t going to have an office and I was going to be 100% remote and he just sort of thought, “Oh, this is not how an accounting works you know. It’s not going to work at all.” But that was only because he loved me and he wanted the best but he sort of couldn’t see how this technology was going to work. It was quite funny.

    John: Yeah, and now you’re rocking it and I love that and congrats on all the success so that’s really awesome, really awesome. I know that running your own firm isn’t easy and takes a lot of time but I love how you carved out some time like you mentioned for mostly sport related activities and some hobbies and passions that are kind of unique.

    Paul: It’s funny. People sort of say how do you find the time and I actually thought about it the other day and I don’t spend a lot of time wondering whether something’s worth doing or whether I can do it well or whether — you know I just do it. If you wanted it and so like in a way, keep moving forward, keep trying stuff, and if that’s — in recording the first podcast some people kind of go, “Well, you know we need a website. What are we going to do for the 100th episode and how are we going to –?” No, no, no. Let’s record the first one guys, just do it. Just grab the nearest microphone, just do it. “I don’t know how many blogs I can write.” Well, write the first one. Just keep moving.

    So you kind of a time if you don’t waste time wondering whether you should do something. By the time people have stopped wondering, I’ve done it or I’ve at least attempted it and if it worked, it worked and if it’s not, you stop.

    John: That’s such a great philosophy though. It really is. Because I mean you know, perfectionists get locked up and you just want it to be perfect, you want it to be whatever, and it’s like then just go on and do it. I mean it’s much better. What’s the phrase? “Done is better than perfect.”

    Paul: Exactly. So yeah, just keep trying it.

    John: Oh, that’s great. That’s great.

    Paul: You don’t know until you try.

    John: Yeah. I mean I love the diversity of it but baseball umpiring and curling and some shotgun, clay shooting, you know, that’s quite a trifecta there.

    Paul: It’s very good. Yeah, yeah. Well, I mean it’s you get to an age where you can’t play sport anymore. And so I was a baseballer and there’s a very big shortage of umpires because I keep getting yelled at which I’m sure were covered. But it was just somebody said one day like, “We need an umpire. Who wants to do it?” And I’m like, “All right. I’ll do it” like kind of whatever. And then yeah, I just tried it and just wanted to stop getting yelled at so I decided I’d learn how to do it properly.

    John: Right, yeah. That’s very funny. And then you got married and then it was all over again.

    Paul: Exactly, yeah. But in curling, I mean curling’s an interesting story. So a group of mates and I, we used to race downhill skiing and back at school we raced and at uni, there was a group of us that sort of still raced in the university competitions and we all got too old for that. Some of the groups had blown out knees and all sorts of things but we were looking for the next sort of thing and we always say we were too young at that time to take up golf and we loved doing the sports so we took curling which amazes people. When people hear about it, they all do the brushing motion. I don’t know what it is. Walk up to someone and go, have you ever heard curling? And I will immediately grab a pretend broom.

    John: Right, the broom. I’m doing it right now as we’re talking.

    Paul: It happened last night. Anyway, every time they go, “Oh, quick! Sweep! Sweep!” Anyway, it’s hilarious.

    John: It would be even much more awkward for someone to get down as if they’re throwing the stones though. I mean that would be really weird. I mean at least the broom motion is not as odd as somebody doing nearly the splits down super low eying up the stones. That would be really funny.

    Paul: Especially without warming up.

    John: Right. That would be funny. I actually did some curling myself when I lived in Wisconsin. I used to live in Milwaukee, and yeah, I did it on one winter. Just like a club thing and that was going to be my ticket to the Olympics because I was like, “Oh, I can make to the Olympics in this, I mean come on.” It’s not really that much and then I sort of doing it. I’m like, “Wow, this is a lot harder than it looks like on TV.” That’s for sure.

    Paul: And that’s what we found. We’ve said the same thing. If you want to be good at something pick something no one else does.

    John: Right, right.

    Paul: And then we got there and went, hang on. It’s a little bit to this. There’s a little bit much to this but we’re still having fun.

    John: Yeah, yeah. It’s like how do they pull my hamstring? That’s weird like you know just —

    Paul: The first time I curled, I actually split my jeans because I didn’t know what to wear. In my first slide, I had had a few — someone else is driving but we headed down the highway and we had a few beers on the way down, not the driver of course, but anyway, we’re in jeans and we’re like, oh, we’re on a road trip and kind of went curling, went curling, I’ve split my jeans having an immense amount of fun and then had to drive back to the highway with sort of a ventilation between my pants but I learned to wear tracksuit pants after that. But that’s a funny story about how you kind of start in a sport and it takes you.

    John: Right, so the big take away from this episode everyone is wear wind pants if you’re going to go curling, that’s it. That’s so great.

    Paul: No jeans.

    John: What were some of the cooler most rewarding things that you got to do from curling?

    Paul: One day, I got the opportunity with my team to play against the gold medal winning Canadian Wheelchair side. And they brought their gold medals actually. We got photos with then after the game and as a young 20 something year old, you grow up with — largely I’ve never met disabled athletes, sort of rightly or wrongly you just don’t know but when you can play a sport with people who are absolutely the top of their game, gold medal Olympic Winter Olympians and you can just have the honor of playing on the same astrodome.

    John: Yeah. They will just whip you.

    Paul: That was the nicest, we had the best fun, we learned so much about the game, we learned so much about ourselves, and just the equality of things and that’s what I’ve always really loved about the sport is men, women, children, big, small, old, young, disabled, abled play on the same ice, drink at the same bar after the game and can share stories about the same sport and that sort of been something big that really stood out for me is probably the best game. And then the day later, someone said, “Oh, look. Do you mind if Greg plays with you?” And we’re like, “Whatever. Who’s Greg?” We didn’t know.

    John: Right. Greg who?

    Paul: This guy walks in and it happens to be Greg McAulay who actually became quite of a good friend of our team and he’s an ex-world champion. So him and his daughters who our team’s also became great friends with, like he walks in and goes, “Oh, guys. Do you want a pickup game?” An ex-world champion. There’s a couple of Aussie amateur, absolute amateurs and says, “Look, guys. Let’s just get into a pickup game and have a bit of fun and shout about the game” and we actually ended up either on that trip or sort of the next trip having a barbeque in his backyard just talking about the sport but it’s such a leveling game, such an equality game which I’ve always loved about it.

    John: Right, right. I mean those stories are amazing and especially to happen in the same week. That’s awesome. That’s really, really cool.

    Paul: It was pretty — but I guess I mean in life, equality is such a big, big part of everything and if you grow up playing sports that are segregated or sports that you know, or not playing sport and you know, you might get to the same-sex school or whatever, don’t often see that or experience those times outside of work. Some of us works the first time that we mix with the other sex or mix with people who are older than us who aren’t otherwise like teachers and stuff but to share the ice with them and play on an absolute equal playing field is amazing.

    John: No. That’s really good. That’s really good. And a lot of people that — I mean I remember when I was working in Big Four myself and you know just people that I talk with they always think that their hobbies or their passions are kind of throwaways and I always like to tell them that no, there’s real tangible takeaways from these hobbies and I have to believe that all of these translates to the office in some way. I’d have to imagine for you.

    Paul: Absolutely. I think, as well, you got to have to release and one of the best parts about curling actually is or the most fun part, apart from sweeping because that’s what everyone knows, and no, it doesn’t translate into sweeping at home. That’s what everyone wants to know. My wife will attest to the fact it doesn’t, it doesn’t translate.

    John: That’s a different kind of broom, you only use one kind of broom. I don’t know this —

    Paul: That’s what I tell her. I said if we lived in a nice house with a nice floor I’ll be able to sweep but sadly, we don’t. Part of curling is actually yelling. I don’t know whether — I mean you played but you actually can yell and there is something very therapeutic about heading out to a curling center after a tough day or tough week and being able to just yell with no recriminations or without anyone getting offended. You can just yell and sweep as hard as you can and I think that that’s just great. Everyone wants to go and blow off a bit of steam, and that’s also quite the good break.

    John: Yeah, and it’s not the normal talking about work more, you’re able to escape and get out and all that. I imagined that yeah, the skills, the team-building skills, the dynamics like you said of being with different kinds of people on the team, and yeah, everyone’s got their own role.

    Paul: That’s exactly right. The biggest challenge with the sport is there’s really no individual — you’re only as good as the weakest link, you can’t be — a lot of sports, you can be carried by the best player. The best player dominate and you’ll win just on the back of — when I played junior footy, I played with two guys who’s 18 or something on the field. There was two guys who went on to play top level and we were under 10s, we won the premiership and I don’t think I touched the ball the whole year because these two guys just rammed it in the game and scored all their goals and the rest of us were kids, under 10s, we just ran around. We won the premiership and still one of the greatest teams I’ve been and didn’t touch the ball.

    So largely, it doesn’t matter but the curling, you can’t have that. It really takes all four members to get it right but the real bid is, it only takes one to mess it up. That’s a real metaphor for work I guess is that you’re all part of the team and the communication, you have to work together because of that you all rely on each other not only to do your job but to not mess up anyone else’s job.

    And the communication is often the hardest because even when plans change or you might be — you call a shot and you might think that you’re all doing this but halfway down something happens and you have to change your mind. If you had four people in a room and you quickly had to change your mind while stuff was happening could you efficiently communicate it so that everyone knew that you’ve changed your mind? You didn’t have time to write a report or you don’t have time to make sure everyone’s happy. No, no, no like guys, it’s changed, just yell more. Generally, just yell more.

    And you kind of largely, got to know who’s calling what, who’s yelling what and why and you’ve all got to get on the same page quick. And that’s a real challenge and a real skill. In life, you’ve really got to look for the experiences I think. You’ve got to look for your positives, I’m not particularly introspective or looking for meaning in everything but I want to see where those translatable skills are, why we’re doing something and then certainly like the communication in curling and being able to work together as a team is a really good skill.

    John: Yeah. I mean especially when you have your own business and you have a team underneath you and even talking with clients, that’s huge.

    Paul: Exactly. You’ve got to be able to effectively communicate with anyone. It’s also just fun.

    John: Yeah. Well, that’s the best part about it.

    Paul: I’ve taken clients. I’ve taken work colleagues, I’ve taken clients.

    John: Oh, that’s awesome.

    Paul: Every time people say, “What’s this I hear about curling?” You know, sort of just like, “Just what? Really?”

    John: Yeah, yeah. Do I have to bring my own broom or how does this work?

    Paul: Exactly. Everyone says, “Do wear skates?” You don’t wear them.

    John: Right, just skates, that’ll be terrible.

    Paul: That’s what everyone says. Yeah, I know. It’s crazy. And then also people go, “Oh, you’re the Jamaican bobsleigh team. You’re the real-life bobsleighs.” I’m like no, we’re not. Oh, right, we are, like whatever.

    John: Right, right. That’s super fun.

    Paul: If that helps. And I guess the other thing is coming back to that such a level playing field. As a corporate activity, I’ve taken groups with old, young, men and women, not children obviously, because it’s a work thing but you go off and do that. If you do a golf day then these people would have and played golf. If you do basketball then the stronger, faster —

    John: Taller.

    Paul: Taller, exactly. We’ll exclude the others. It’s great because pretty much 99% guarantee that nobody’s done it before. So you’re all learning, you’re all picking it up, and you’re all out of your — largely, out of your comfort zone. As a teambuilding activity for anyone out there, hit up your local curling club, you always got to support your local curling club. It is a wonderful team building exercise and a bit of fun.

    John: Yeah, just don’t show up everybody in jeans because then you’ll be in trouble, right?

    Paul: No jeans. Someone wore high heels the other night. A corporate. I do not know how she did it. She fell a good couple of times. It was like big platform high heels. I still shake my head. “Be careful! Be careful!”

    John: But I love that how you said, it’s out of everyone’s comfort zone for the most part so that means that everyone grabs on to each other subconsciously stronger because it’s like, “Hey, none of us know what we’re doing” and so you build those bonds together that really, when it comes to engagement and the buzzwords like that, that’s a simple thing that’s fun and everyone can do it and yeah, that’s a great idea, man. That’s really cool.

    Paul: It doesn’t matter whether you’re the oldest partner of the business or the boss of the business or the youngest receptionist, you’re all together and you’re all equal, but you know, often bad when you start. But yeah, you have fun. And you can yell at each other in a safe environment. Yelling at your boss is actually a good thing. Try it. You don’t try it at work. Just try it . It’s great.

    John: That’s fantastic. I love that, man. And so have you always shared that in all the jobs that you’ve had that you know, “Hey, I have these other activities?”

    Paul: It’s funny I really think that when I was a grad or early in my career, you don’t by habit, not that you’re necessarily ashamed by it, you just don’t think to share it. I mean sort of 15 years ago, an accounting firm just didn’t really — you sort of said, “Oh, what did you do in the weekend?” and you’d tell people. It wasn’t hidden but it sort of wasn’t put on a CV as much when I was that young. I think certainly that times are changing.

    You sort of see now all people are free to talk about this kind of things but to see people, their faces light up with interest, “You like curling. Oh, my god! Never met a curler like I’ve watched it on TV.” In one of the first couple of times that happens, you think okay well, I can talk about it not that I didn’t deliberately but you just feel like people didn’t want to hear about what you’ve got up to.

    John: Right, yeah. Did you feel like ones you were sharing that yeah, like you said, people’s faces light up and that’s what I find is that I think a lot of that is in our own heads of what we think other people are going to judge us or other people are going to say.

    Paul: It depends what it is. I mean you look at — I mean I love the podcast you did with the engineer who was also a model.

    John: Oh, Amy Hancock, yeah.

    Paul: And she talks about the impact on the role sexism plays in the workplace. Certainly, curling or baseball umpiring, doesn’t have that level so I think it’s different what your hobby is. You mentioned that I’m a shotgun shooter and you don’t necessarily stroll into work and go, “Yeah, you know I went down and shot a couple of hundred rounds.”

    John: Pull a couple of shells out of your pocket and set them on your desk.

    Paul: I did, I had one once. I found it in my pocket I think that wasn’t a good look. I just remember that I was told to get rid of it but it was just in my bag from the weekend, it’s crazy. Certainly, that was something I never shared for fear of the stigma or what it was. It was weird. But I’ve never felt it as safe, it’s weird. You sort of stand in a gun club and you know everyone’s got a gun and police come past and they’ve got guns and they walk up and have a chat and they drive through the car park and they wave to the locals and they’ll come and watch you shoot and have a chat and whatever. I’ve kind of never felt as safe than at a gun club. At least you know where —

    John: That’s ironic. Yeah, yeah. With all the ammunition everywhere.

    Paul: You know everyone’s registered and trained but yeah, it’s hard when you get a young family, you don’t want that but also again, it’s not something you want to tell your boss like yeah, I’ve got three shotguns in my back.

    John: What did you say bad about me again? I was reading my review.

    Paul: It’s funny with the more prevalence of mental issues now, those sort of thing become bigger and we never had that in Australia. I mean with gun violence but largely, sorted that out.

    John: And that one is a unique one where it does have a political flavor to it where most hobbies and passions really don’t. Like you said, the baseball umpiring and curling, those are free to talk about and I guess one thing that I struggle with is just how much do you think it’s on the organization to create a culture? I’m sure you have there at 5Ways Group, where it’s okay for people to share what their hobbies and passions and almost celebrate that versus it’s more on the individual to step up or to share within a small circle even in the most dire situations of where you’re working.

    Paul: I mean culture’s top-down, right? I think in any organization be it an accounting firm, be it a corporate, whatever, it’s got to come from the top. In my first grad job I had a partner or a boss who played IFL Football, played at the top level of football in Australia and you’re getting, trying to talk to him about it. I was a football-mad 20 something year old like, all I wanted to do is hear about the stories in the locker room, just funny stories and it would’ve endeared myself to him and the organization if you could share those stories but he was really closed about it and it was sort of it was like a previous life to him.

    I don’t know whether he was sad that it was over or kind of that culture coming from the top that it was sort of you didn’t talk about it despite us knowing that he did or finding out. It’s really funny that changes the narrative so it’s not like I would’ve volunteered anything whereas if he had said, “Oh, yeah, I did it and it was fun. Look, let’s chat about it over lunch or get Friday night drinks or whatever” and then what else do you do? And I think that’s what’s needed in the younger generation certainly want to endear themselves with people.

    When I started accounting, it was very much you just did what you’re told. It was a very top-down authoritarian kind of way. “I’m your boss. I don’t have a life. Neither would you.” And I’ve certainly seen that over the years change as the demographic gets younger. In the same firm though, I mean having said that in the same firm there was one of the partners was mad keen on golf.

    And for sort of 364 days of the year, he was a bit of a stick in the mud and wasn’t really, didn’t really talk about his events for his outside life but once a year, he’d sort of throw it open and say, “Look, I’ll host whoever wants to come play at the golf club, we’ll come and have a golf game.” And even at one day at a year, I know it was something for the sort of five or six years I worked there was a day I look forward to. It was not socializing but mixing it outside work where you can get to know the person more and people do business for people.

    John: Right. I mean, absolutely. And there’s like even brain science behind it that I’ve been reading up on since I’ve started this. There’s oxytocin and norepinephrine and chemicals in your brain where it’s like people that are interested in something are interesting to you. That’s where the bonding comes in and trust and all those things where you feel closer together so then when you’re going through busy season, it’s not so hard and the highs aren’t so high, the lows aren’t so low.

    There’s real brain science to this and it’s just such a cool thing when you’re able to share and I know in the sales where they refer to it kind of as a pattern interrupt where the pattern is you’re an accountant and yeah, like you said, doesn’t enjoy their job, has no life, and no one around them has a life either but then all of a sudden when someone does have a life, it’s like such a huge pattern interrupt that’s like, “Wait, what?” and everybody wants to know and as like you said, people’s eye light up when you tell them curling.

    Paul: It’s funny I have to tell people when people sort of say, “What do you do?” I say, “I’m an accountant. But I get my personality back at 5:00 p.m. when I leave.”

    John: Oh, nice.

    Paul: And they’re kind of just — it’s a pattern interrupt I guess it would be. There’s going to be, “Oh, they weren’t ready for it.” It’s kind of like, “Yeah, you know, I’m boring 9:00 to 5:00 but I can have a life and get out and about” and curling does that but you can’t walk in. If you walk into a job and can’t express yourself or can’t talk about hobbies, you don’t want to do it all day, you know. You don’t want to —

    John: No, no. Clearly not.

    Paul: The water cooler’s there for a reason, right? And just you got to keep stuff engaged and happy and all sorts of things and certainly taking an interest exactly like you said in other people because there are some interesting people out there, right?

    John: There’s some unbelievably cool people. I mean just from doing this podcast, it’s like “What?” like Rebecca Berneck is somebody that I had on the Green Apple Podcast and she was a backup dancer in the Prince Purple Rain music video and we talked the most part about she holds the land speed record for vintage motorcycles. And she’s a business consultant. You know like, “Wait, what?” You can’t just like drop that on accident, I mean that’s crazy. And I guess one thing I love to just ask you is why do you think the stereotype exists still and most importantly, why do accountants still believe it?

    Paul: I think and purely my opinion is that because we hold a position of I guess a professional serious sort of trusted adviser that it almost attaches itself to a level of seriousness that we can’t or some people sort of can’t say, “Well, I have to look serious all the time because I’m doing a serious job.” It’s sort of like people who have this constant desire to feel they’re strong, they never want to look weak.

    I see it as this same thing as like nobody appreciates or they never used to appreciate that you can have a switch, you can go at 5:00 p.m., I can do what I want. It doesn’t change the fact that from 9:00 to 5:00 I’m also an accountant just because I didn’t go out and shoot a shotgun or yell at people on the ice or whatever. But I think that some people do worry about looking like they’re not as serious or professional. I think that came more certainly when people are in a position of authority over people, it’s that top-down approach, they don’t want to — you’re concerned not to be a friend to the people under you in case you need to discipline them.

    John: Right, but it’s quite the opposite, right? I mean because if you’re friends with them then you can be honest then we move on. And they don’t get their feelings hurt so much.

    Paul: Yeah, I think there’s a medium. I think you can’t be super chummy because sometimes you got to have to make a call but sharing your hobbies is not being super chummy, right? You’re not having family holidays together. On a Monday morning, you’re just talking about what you do.

    John: Yeah. And then the best part is, is that sharing your hobbies and passions with clients is actually an accelerant, if you will.

    Paul: People will remember it. And it humanizes it. And when accountants are in — we’re in human relationship. We’re a sort of a professional friend especially in the small business space and people forget that that people do business with people that they can relate to. You can’t relate to sort of a purely 100% —

    John: Robot of sorts.

    Paul: Robot, exactly. Yeah, yeah, a text knowledge robot.

    John: Yeah, this has been awesome. Really, really great. Such great examples and such great stories for everyone but before I hop on an airplane and fly, I don’t know, 14 hours or whatever it is to come throw some stones, curling, and more importantly, yelling, I have my 17 rapid fire questions that I like to run you through. Let me fire this machine up here.

    Alright, looks like I’ve having some trouble with it but yeah, we’ll see. Alright, there we go. Now, it’s up and running, here we go. Alright.

    First question, I’ll start you out easy, start you out easy. Are you more oceans or mountains?

    Paul: Mountains.

    John: Mountains, all right.

    Paul: Snow skiing. I’m a big snow skier.

    John: There we go. Should’ve known, should’ve known. Do you have a favorite ice cream flavor?

    Paul: Coconut. I’m a big fan of coconut.

    John: Coconut, wow. That’s an interesting answer. Alright, when it comes to computers are you more PC or Mac?

    Paul: Mac.

    John: Mac.

    Paul: Mac every week.

    John: How about are you more Star Wars or Star Trek?

    Paul: Star Wars.

    John: Star Wars, alright. Yeah, fair enough. How about do you have a favorite color?

    Paul: Purple.

    John: Purple. Interesting. Alright.

    Paul: Just like it.

    John: Yeah, yeah. How about a least favorite color.

    Paul: I don’t really have a least favorite color. It used to be pink in my younger day but as I’ve grown, I’ve embrace to pink now. But I don’t have a least favorite color.

    John: Good for you, man. Good for you. How about more pens or pencils?

    Paul: Pencils.

    John: How about more Sudoku or crossword puzzle.

    Paul: Sudoku.

    John: Sudoku, sure. Are you more of a suit and tie or jeans and a t-shirt?

    Paul: Jeans and a t-shirt.

    John: Alright, alright. Next one, more cats or dogs?

    Paul: Kids.

    John: Kids. Nice. Are you more of an early bird or a night owl?

    Paul: A night owl but the problem is I now have to be both.

    John: Alright. You’re more balance sheet or income statement?

    Paul: Good question. Income statement.

    John: Income statement.

    Paul: Exactly.

    John: Is there a movie that makes you cry?

    Paul: Oh, I think it was Weekend at Morrie’s with Hank Azaria. It still sticks with me as possibly one of the saddest movies I’ve ever watched.

    John: Right. We got four more, four more. Do you have a favorite number?

    Paul: 27.

    John: Oh, why is that?

    Paul: I have no idea.

    John: How about are you more boxers or more briefs?

    Paul: Boxers.

    John: Boxers. Do you have a favorite comedian?

    Paul: Mike McIntyre. I think that’s his name. The guy who does the family comedy?

    John: Yeah, I know. Absolutely, absolutely. The last one, the favorite thing you own or the favorite thing you have?

    Paul: Happy to have a family and healthy and happy kids and a lovely wife.

    John: Yeah, man. That’s awesome, very cool. Well, thank you so much, Paul for being with me today on the Green Apple Podcast. This is really, really fantastic.

    Paul: I’ve really enjoyed it. Thank you very much.

    John: Wow! That was so great. I loved how Paul said that he doesn’t waste time thinking about whether it’s going to be good or not, he just does what he’s passionate about. From all the people I’ve talked with, the greatest fear is that others are going to judge us in what we’re doing but it ends up totally being in our own heads so I just love that Paul’s out there just doing it.

    If you’d like to see some pictures of Paul doing some curling and get a link to From the Trenches Podcast or connect with him on social media, be sure to go to greenapplepodcast.com. And while you’re on that page, please click that big green button and do the anonymous research survey about firm culture.

    And thanks again for the ratings on iTunes or whatever app you use and for sharing this with your friends so they get the message that we’re all trying to spread which is to go out and be a green apple.

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