Become a Better Leader: Insights on Agency, Accountability and Resilience with Nick Berry

Episode Overview

Leadership today is about more than just making decisions and managing teams. It's about aligning opportunities with intentions, continuously developing oneself, and seeking challenges that prepare us for any circumstance. This is the unique approach to leadership that my guest, Nick Berry, has honed over years of experience. Today, I'll be sharing insights from our conversation about his journey and how he has become the remarkable leader he is.

The Journey Begins

Nick’s leadership journey began on a dairy farm, where hard work and resilience were daily staples. These early lessons laid the foundation for his entrepreneurial spirit and his relentless pursuit of growth. After a brief stint as a personal trainer, Nick realized he wasn't cut out to be an employee and decided to carve his own path. Starting with small businesses, he eventually ventured into consulting and information products, leading to significant success.

Developing as a Leader

Leadership, as Nick sees it, is a constantly evolving practice. Initially, he viewed leadership through the lens of actions—what he did daily to lead his team. However, over time, he realized that leadership is more about thought and perspective, setting an aspirational vision for oneself and continuously working towards it.

Setting Intentions and Seizing Opportunities

A key part of Nick’s leadership development involves a practice he calls "opportunities and intentions." Each week, he forecasts upcoming opportunities to demonstrate leadership and sets clear intentions on how he wants to show up in those moments. Whether it's a staff meeting, a one-on-one with a struggling employee, or a client presentation, preparing mentally for these interactions ensures he approaches them with the right mindset.

Trusting the Process

Consistently applying this practice has transformed how Nick handles daily challenges and long-term goals. It has empowered him to manage himself better and respond more effectively to various situations, leading to quicker and more meaningful growth.

The Importance of Agency

A significant aspect of Nick’s leadership philosophy is fostering a sense of agency—believing you have control over your circumstances. This mindset is crucial for both personal and professional growth. Leaders with high agency are resilient, resourceful, and reliable. They don't wait for circumstances to change; they actively seek ways to improve their situations.

Cultivating a High-Agency Environment

In his businesses, Nick has always prioritized creating an environment where team members feel empowered to take control of their roles. This approach not only drives individual growth but also enhances overall team performance. By focusing on agency and accountability, he ensures that his team is composed of proactive problem-solvers who are aligned with organizational goals.

Embracing Challenges

One of Nick's core beliefs is the importance of tackling hard things to build mental and emotional resilience. Over the years, he has engaged in various challenging activities, such as memorizing a deck of cards, learning Spanish on Duolingo for two years, and playing chess daily. These activities strengthen his resolve and prepare him to face the unpredictable nature of leadership.

These challenges are not just about acquiring new skills but about practicing discipline and perseverance. They teach Nick to stick with difficult tasks until they are mastered, which translates to a stronger, more resilient leadership style. This practice helps him stay prepared and focused, even when faced with the toughest business decisions.

Optimizing Time and Eliminating Friction

Time is our most valuable asset, and how we choose to spend it defines our effectiveness as leaders. Nick approaches time management by eliminating points of friction in his daily life. This includes automating mundane tasks, optimizing workflows, and creating systems that allow him to focus on high-value activities.

For instance, small changes like eliminating a troublesome rug that constantly needs adjusting or organizing kitchen tasks to minimize unnecessary steps save mental energy and time. These simplifications might seem minor, but they accumulate, freeing up significant amounts of time and mental bandwidth for more important tasks.

Living as a Leader

Leading with intent means continuously developing yourself, aligning your opportunities with your intentions, and embracing challenges to prepare for any circumstance. This approach has not only shaped Nick's journey but also helped him build resilient, high-performing teams. By fostering a sense of agency and optimizing how we spend our time, we can achieve greater alignment and effectiveness in our leadership roles.

More about Nick Berry:

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Episode Transcript of Become a Better Leader: Insights on Agency, Accountability and Resilience with Nick Berry

Kelly Berry (00:00): Hello friends and welcome to Life Intended. I'm your host, Kelly Berry. Life Intended is a podcast that explores what it means to be true to yourself and live an authentic and purposeful life. Each episode explores my guest's version of personal growth, self-discovery, and the pursuit of becoming the best version of themselves. Today's guest is someone I've probably learned more about how to live an authentic and purposeful life than I have from anyone else. Yes, I'm talking about my husband, Nick Berry. This episode is going to be a good one. Nick's an entrepreneur, CEO, and author. He's also a mentor and coach to other entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking for a trusted and proven advisor. And he is currently preparing for the release of his upcoming podcast series, The Business Owner's Journey. You can find the extended version of his story at, but here's the gist. Nick has two decades of experience as a business owner and a great deal of that experience has been working with business owners and equipping them with the skills to handle the challenges and uncertainty they face along their journey. He's got experience with a variety of businesses and business partners, and hundreds of employees. He's had several successful exits and a few that never took off. He is recurring revenue's number one fan, and his companies have been recognized for growth, culture, and client satisfaction. And it's all been 100% intentional. If you're a business owner and your goal is to level up, he's somebody that you want in your corner. And as someone who's had a front row seat to that journey, I can say it's as impressive as it sounds. I'm talking to Nick today because he is by far the most unique and thoughtful thinker I know, and how he goes about developing himself as a leader is something I would just love to share with you all. So welcome Nick to the podcast.

Nick (01:50): Thank you.

Kelly Berry (01:51): You're welcome. That was an exciting introduction. Well, can't wait for us to dive in. This feels like it's going to be kind of like a conversation that you and I have all the time except recorded and we're putting it out into the world. So that'll be fun.

Nick (01:55): It was, I know, appreciate it.

Kelly Berry (02:15): Just tell us a little bit more about your journey, how you started and what that has looked like to get you where you are today.

Nick (02:25): Okay. So I spent the first 17 years of my life. I grew up on a dairy farm in Indiana, went to a small college in Kentucky, made it through all of that academically at least. I barely got through, got out of school in 2001, and got a job. I was a personal trainer for maybe six months, which I always say this kind of as a joke, but it's not a joke. Six months was five months too long. I was not very good at my job, and I was really not cut out to be an employee. So that's where everything took a turn. I knew I was going to have to find a way to go into business on my own. I had to figure something out. I hadn't really thought about it. Definitely hadn't planned it very well or at all up till that point. But that's when I kind of got into, I'm gonna make my own path here. So the first few businesses that I had, the Smoothie Bar and Pro Shops, they kind of floundered around. By the time that I got into the personal training and gym businesses, we figured out a few of the levers to pull to start to make some money and started to share some of those practices with other people who did similar things to what we were trying to build. Similar businesses got some notoriety for that. All of a sudden people are coming in and saying, "Hey, I'll pay you to teach me how to do that." So then I became a consultant and things kind of took off from there. And then it was starting to create information product-based businesses, consulting, kind of built out this portfolio of businesses and grew that up. I think the most that we ever had at one time was six operating businesses. I think our staff, we got up to maybe 45 at that time. We started to get more recognized, made the Inc. 5000 several years. We were on the Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 list for several years. Won best places to work awards. And I mentioned that the award stuff is neat, but we were being recognized for growth, for client satisfaction, and culture at the same time. And I think that's unusual. So, you know, to me, that was kind of a signal that we're doing something different here. Like this is special.

Kelly Berry (05:08): Mm-hmm.

Nick (05:12): This is a neat into franchising. We had two franchise systems at one time. And at a certain point, after a few years, switched that over into licensing, which is technically what we still do with our business coaching programs.

Kelly Berry (05:34): I think what you said about doing those three things had kind of a set of principles that you were running the businesses by. You wanted to be the best place to do business with. You wanted to be the best place for people to work and you wanted...

Nick (06:06): Yeah, we had the three wins. Remember? So instead of it being like win-win for us and clients, it was always three wins. It would be us and a client and either like their client or another partner or affiliate of ours. There's always somebody involved where we just try to make sure that we have the whole is always going to be greater than the sum of the parts. If you think about it that way and approach it with that intent.

Kelly Berry (06:37): So, you know, intention is the theme of the podcast. I think it's something that you do really well. So if we can just kind of from here, let's go back a little bit and talk about, you know, you mentioned straight out of college and you were young when you started businesses and then you built this organization. And I think by the time you were on, you know, Inc 5000 lists, you were in your late 20s, early 30s. So talk about how you were able to go from this person who decided they weren't a good employee to this, you know, business owner that was doing big things.

Nick (07:17): Yeah. In hindsight, it looks like a total mess. You know, maybe it feels like, you know, you don't know what you don't know. And I was kind of aware of that, I didn't really recognize the magnitude of what I didn't know. Like we didn't know shit, sorry. And, but, and we kind of knew that, but it...

Kelly Berry (07:38): Thank you.

Nick (07:41): It was like ignorance is bliss. But what we did know is how to create this result for this client and how to sell them into that idea. That's all it took to get started. And then the rest was, okay, we're going to figure it out from there. And something that I feel like I was, I've always been fortunate with like some of the people that I've been able to meet and have been like had chapters in my story or whatever from like, you know, being as a child, I'm one of those few people who actually had a lot more good coaches than bad coaches growing up. Like, you know, I don't know many people who can say that, but I did. And so there are a few people that I mean, you being one of them played a role. In my trajectory, you know, it's like, we didn't know much, but the things we did know we could produce with. And that's what it took to get started. So we just went after it. And when you're, you know, in your mid and late twenties, you probably have less to lose, or at least you think that. And so we just, we found problems that we could solve and we'd solve them for people and we charge them money for it.

Kelly Berry (08:45): Mm-hmm.

Nick (09:03): And then as that started to pick up momentum, it's like, okay, well, now we need more people on our team. So how do you do that? So we'd have to go and learn. How do I actually hire somebody? How do I handle payroll? How do the grownups do this when they're trying to build a business? So things like that, we figured out as we went.

Kelly Berry (09:35): So, two things there I'd like to dig into a little bit. You've always just really had this, we'll say value, something in you that finds a part of a team really, really valuable to the degree that, you know, you've invested a lot of what you've done over the years has been geared towards building a team and. And getting that team to produce results. So where does that come from? And why do you think that's so important?

Nick (10:06): Well, so why I think it's important is the saying, if you want to go, what is it? If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. And I like, there are a lot of like cliche and things that you can say, but like, I truly believe you can just do a lot more if you've got more of the right kind of minds together. So I know, Whenever I've been at my best, it's been because I was surrounded by the right kind of, the right minds, the right people. Yeah, it just works for me. And I think that it can work, would work that way for just about anybody if they truly believed that and committed themselves to making it that way. Why I'm that way? I'm not sure. I don't know for sure, but the majority of my life growing up, I was in like, it was basically two environments where it was pretty important that you were able to work together with people. And the more you're able to make the whole greater than the sum of the parts, the higher the likelihood of success, whatever that looked like growing up on the farm and playing sports, baseball. And I can look back and I can come up with a lot of it. I mean, all day with farming, it's just full of examples of why teamwork is important. I don't know if I was aware of those things at the time and I don't know if that's why these things like continue to be so important to me. It has been ingrained in me. So, I mean, I'm sure that has had something to do with it.

Kelly Berry (11:50): Mm-hmm.

Nick (11:51): I don't remember anybody ever setting me down when I was young and saying like, "Hey, we're going to all work together. And if you'll do that for the rest of your life, like you'll get further with people." And as an adult, I've had a lot more evidence where that did not go that way than it did growing up. Right. I don't really know.

Kelly Berry (11:59): Mm-hmm.

Nick (12:15): I don't know why it's so deeply ingrained, but it is and I like it. I believe in it.

Kelly Berry (12:21): Mm-hmm. So I guess to add a little bit to the story and so everybody listening, Nick and I have been married. We just celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. So we've been together a little bit more than 18 years. So of his two decades of experience, I have been in the picture for most of that. And then 11 years ago, I started working with Nick. So. I've had, when I said it, I've had a front row seat, I really have. So I've been part of this team and been a part of the culture and the business for a long time. And the thing I want to talk about next is like the leader that Nick is, because I think in order to have a good team, you have to have a good leader. You have to have a good coach. You have to have somebody who can put all the right pieces in place. And they're also like looking forward to see what's coming and I've really never been around anybody who I think can do that like Nick can do it. So Nick, I would like for you to talk a little bit about like how you have approached your development as a leader. And I know that's a very broad question. I guess just talk about what being a leader means to you. And then we can talk about some of the ways that you go about developing who sees leadership as like this ongoing thing that you're always developing.

Nick (13:48): Well, at this point in my life, I think I look at leadership, you know, it's kind of, it's my role in the room, whatever that might be. A lot of times in the business context, I'm the decision maker. So I want to be good at that. That's a hard thing. I don't think you can just wake up, fall out of bed, accidentally be a good decision maker as a business owner. I think it's a thing that needs to be worked on. And when you think about...That if you haven't been taught that or mentored or coached on it, then it's a unique angle to look at it, I think. So now, leadership to me is more about the thought process and perspective. Ten years ago, I probably would have described it more in terms of the actions. Ten years before that, I don't have any idea how I would have described it. I think there are probably some things that I've done intuitively. I feel like they're intuitive as an adult that I owe to seeing leadership firsthand as I was growing up. I think my parents demonstrated some good leadership characteristics that have stuck with me. And then I mentioned the coaches that I had that I just got to see firsthand. Like, this is how you can be like this, or you can be like a lot of other ways. You have a choice to make. Which one do you want to aspire to be? Right? So I had some good examples around me that I could choose from to kind of like create my aspirational vision for myself.

Kelly Berry (15:38): Okay, so I'd like to talk then about like the more recent and how your thought process as a leader, because I think that's where there's just like a lot of things to share that people can take and become aware of how they approach things and maybe even use some of the exercises that you've created just actual things that you do to kind of improve how they lead or even approach leadership. There's a few things that I know that you do and then you can add any of the others. One thing is like, you're always thinking about like your opportunities and intentions you talk about that a lot. So can you explain what that is and how you do it?

Nick (16:26): So opportunities and intentions. Something my dad taught me that and I'm not even sure if he meant to teach it to me the way that I use it, but the way that I've learned to like coach other people. So opportunities and intentions is. Like as a leader, so, and primarily I'm talking, I usually am talking to people in the context of like they're running a business. And so like, well, what kind of leader do you want to be? You know, we've talked about that. And then like, how are we going to bring that to on a bigger scale, but then also like on a day-to-day basis. And so opportunities and intentions is more of like the smaller scale type of exercise. You know, you start your week out, kind of forecast, look at like what's ahead of it doesn't have to be a week, but that's an easy place to start. And like, you know, what are the, what opportunities are you going to have in the, in this short period of time to demonstrate or behave as a leader that you want to be? And how are you going to like, what are your intentions in that period or in that opportunity? So you can start to prepare yourself for it. So you can think about it in advance. And because I think there's a lot of power in being aware of like, well, this is what I, this is how I want to be. And so with opportunities and intentions, let's say that you're, maybe you have a staff coming up this week. You have a one-on-one with a staff member who maybe has been like struggling with a challenge or you've been struggling with them. Maybe you have a client or a prospect meeting, but it could be anything. It could be a presentation. It could be just networking. It really doesn't matter what it is. The point is you identify like, well, what am I seeing as an opportunity here? And how do I want to show up as a leader and start to prepare yourself for that? So if I'm thinking about doing a presentation at one of our conferences, then I know I need to think about being a certain way. That's pretty different from if I know I'm going to have a conversation with a staff member who has really been struggling or I've been struggling with. So I've got to get mentally prepared for either of those scenarios. And it doesn't take near as much work when you're in the moment, if you've thought about it in advance. And it doesn't mean you're gonna be perfect. It just means you're able to go into that and be more deliberate. I didn't feel this way before I started using this. Now if I don't use the tool, I can tend to feel aimless or like accidental, like I'm just rolling the dice, right? And so it's, it's kind of empowered me to be able to like manage myself better and prepare for those situations. And I think I probably handle situations well most of the time, even if I'm not perfectly prepared. But this has let me grow from one situation to the next much faster than I ever would have before.

Kelly Berry (19:32): Mm-hmm. Yeah. So how do you think when you coach a business owner on this, what parts of this do you think that they struggle the most?

Nick (20:01): Probably the hardest part for them at first is seeing this as their job. Most of the time, particularly in smaller businesses, they, you know, production work is the job, you know, when we've talked a lot, you and I, about them feeling like they can't do their job because they have to manage people when managing people really is the job. So it's getting a business owner bought into the idea that like, being a leader is your job. And the way that you think about leading is one of the most important elements of your job. It's, if they're kind of predisposed to it, it's not that hard to get them to turn their attention to it. But if it doesn't click pretty quick, it's very hard. Very hard. It's like they weren't, it's a foreign concept.

Kelly Berry (20:55): Yeah. I know I'll just like speak to this personally because I know I've struggled with this and you and I have had conversations about this. You know, it feels like a whole other thing and it feels like it takes up a lot of space and you struggle to feel like you have enough bandwidth to like add this to your plate. You know, it's like I'm thinking about so many things. Like I don't have time to think about or add this other thing that takes, you know, like

Nick (21:38): It's complex, right? There's a lot.

Kelly Berry (21:52): all the bazillion things we have going on at work. But when I'm not thinking about those, I'm trying to think about all the bazillion things I have going on at home and all that stuff. But the thing that I have learned over the years is when you do this and when you're consistent and as you develop and get better at it, like it frees up more space because you have less of the other stuff that just fills your mind and your thoughts that are just so much more reactionary. Yeah.

Nick (22:18): Right. And you get faster with it. It takes less energy to come up with, to set your intentions. It's habitual. And I think, you know, so it's hard at first. It's a hard, it's a challenging thing to get your head around because of the complexity, but with good coaching, like that should make it much easier. And, you know, so you laid out, I think like a pretty good thought process there. It's like, okay, I've got to think about who is in this scenario.

Kelly Berry (22:26): Mm-hmm.

Nick (22:48): What's the impression that I'm trying to make? How am I going to go about doing that? And that can seem like a lot of things, but really, if we go all the way through that thought process at the end of it, we're not really trying to script out something, right? We're really trying to get you to where you can say, okay, Kelly, you're just going to go in there, be more relaxed, make sure you're present, communicate well. Like, you know the most important thing for this person is they want to be heard. Make sure that you go in there and you're listening. And that's not all that complex, right? You know how to do that. It's just the process that we walk through to get there, to make sure that you are intentional in the right way is it takes a little bit of learning, but like anything. You can overthink it if you choose to, but if you can kind of like drop the rigor and think we don't have to script out every moment, every breath. We're just trying to go in there with a strategy and it can be a pretty simple strategy.

Kelly Berry (23:54): Yeah, yeah, it can. For all of us that are overthinkers, sometimes it just takes a lot of reps to get there. But at the end of the day, you know, I use this all the time now. And, you know, I think about, I have a networking coffee. How do I want to be, how do I want to be seen? And it's just so much more like natural. Like how do I want people to feel when they come? How do I want people to reflect upon their experience? You know, what do I want this thing to be and then, you know, I'm like, I can think through it on the drive there and I get there.

Nick (24:28): And it probably, and you don't even, it doesn't cross your mind in that way during the event, right? It's like, you've gone into the mode now, you know how to be that way. And I think that's just a really powerful. So we talked about it in this like smaller term, like lower altitude context, but that's a really powerful thing for your development overall. Like, I think, you know, you need to be thinking about how you want to be in the future. Like what's the you in the future gonna say, what would they say to the you right now? Are they gonna be happy with you about something? Are they gonna thank you for something? Like that's one of the filters that I think is really good to run things through when you're making decisions or, you know, just planning out your direction. What am I trying to become? How do I wanna...

Kelly Berry (25:03): Mm-hmm. So this seems like a good place to transition and talk about something else that you introduced me to in a deeper way than I was aware of it before, but the concept of agency and how important that is to you and how important that really is. As people have big goals and big dreams and want to do big things. So talk about your perspective on agency and how that applies to your life and the lives of business owners.

Nick (26:05): So a sense of agency is somebody's belief that they have control over their circumstances that they can, you can take action and it will, and affect the situation you're in. Or you can wait for things to happen to you. And so, I've really made this such a focal point in my, in the, working on myself, but also talking to other leaders and business owners about growth is the amount of energy that can be drained from you. If you're depending on people with a low sense of agency. Maybe a better way to say it even is like, if you're not calibrated well with the other people who you're involved with, maybe if you're a dictator, you may be just fine with a room full of low agency people. But that doesn't make a team for me, right? So if I have a team of people who are essentially victims of circumstance. Like, that's not a very good team for me. That's, it's draining. And so, it goes really hand in hand with the growth mindset. It's like that. I know it's important for me to create a support system around me, like the right kind of support system that will elevate and help me reach my potential rather than like having a low agency mindset. Those are the ingredients that create that type of environment for me. Because I do believe that you have control over your situation. I believe you're responsible for your situation. I remember when I was really young, you don't have to sit there and wait for somebody to come and make it different for you. If you don't like your work environment, change it. I did not always like to hear that. And probably still there are times where I don't really want to be told that, but I think it's good for me to have to look in the mirror and like, that's kind of my standard. Being accountable, right? Like I'm the one who's responsible. I'm responsible. You know, even if it's not my fault, it's my problem. So I've got to, if I don't like it, I've got to make it different.

Kelly Berry (28:33): Yeah. I think, you know, when I've been talking about this podcast and the reason I want to do it, you know, this concept right here is something that is the driver for it. I think it's so important for people to like stop and recognize, like, are they sitting around a victim to their circumstances or are they trying to figure out how to change their situation? And I think until you stop and reflect on that, you may not even realize which of those camps that you're in. You may have come from a family or circumstances where, you know, like everything just happens to you. Like you always have bad luck, you know, just one thing after another, or you could have come from a family who just teaches you that kind of like what you're saying, like you don't like it. You're totally in control of making your situation different. And until you stop, think about, and realize what that means to you to have that personal agency or to have that empowerment, you kind of can feel really stuck or just really like, just unable to get out of your situation or unable to really live a different life than maybe the one that you're currently living in. The reality is that's just not true.

Nick (29:52): Mm-hmm. Yeah. And if you think about, so when we talk about your control of a situation versus being a victim, you know, this is, I don't look at this, it's not like a Tony Robbins, like you can, you can do it kind of thing. If you, I think what are the three Rs of high agency? It's like the characteristics of someone who's high agency, it's resilience and resourcefulness, is it reliability, something like that. But like, think about are characteristics of people you just like to be around. They're just good to be around. So, you know, it's not, and that's not a Tony Robbins, or a cheerleader, or like this overly trying to convince yourself that everything's happy. It's not that at all. It's like, you have control and you're resilient.

Kelly Berry (30:25): Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

Nick (30:46): When you're resourceful, when you like look around and okay, well, if this door, so another one of the characteristics of agency now that we're talking about it is when you are told something can't be done, is that a dead end or is that more of a challenge? Like, really? Like how, well then what can I do?

Kelly Berry (31:04): Mm-hmm. I love that. And I love, I know you've written a blog post on it that's really good too. And it has an image that I think is really powerful that you used with that. And I think it's probably a popular image that people have seen, but it's somebody stuck on a desert island and there's a palm tree and in one of the images, the person uses the parts that are on the beach or whatever to spell out help. And the other one, he uses all those same parts to like build a boat so he can save himself. And I think that that's just such a good illustration of what it means to be low agency and waiting on somebody to come and save you versus high agency and realizing that you're the one that's going to do it. So yeah. I think, says a lot about you and how you've gotten to where you are, because I think, you know, you've always, even before you connected all the dots, just always been really high agency and never responded well to like the victim mentality that some have or, you know, come across like a lot of excuses and, you know, it's just really shaped. When you're talking about this team, like who you want and have put around you to make sure that you and the organization are making things happen.

Nick (32:30): I definitely have to work on how I respond to being around those things. There have been times where I've not put much effort into that, but it's just not for me. I have a hard time being very tolerant, just like being around it. Some of that's probably just me trying to protect. Something that I think is a strength of mine. I think the way that I treat my own accountability is a big part of who I am and what helps me be the version of myself that I wanna be. And I wanna protect that. I don't wanna lose that edge. I don't want to start to be okay not being accountable. And I think I'm pretty disciplined. I think there's a difference in my mind in being, I can hold myself accountable and still be compassionate, right? I think, and I think that that gets blurred a lot. I can say things to myself that I'm just like, okay, I came up short on something, I mean, I'm not happy about it, but I see it as, okay, that one's in the books. You know, now I've got to figure out how to do better with the next one. I don't need it sugarcoated. I don't think that makes it mean where I'm not being compassionate enough to myself. Right. But I think that there are a lot of people who have a hard time just the delivery of those messages, either internally by themselves or from an outside party.

Kelly Berry (34:03): Mm-hmm.

Nick (34:06): Yeah, that's, I don't relate very well to that. That's a hard thing for me to relate to. Right? I don't, same to that degree, I don't think.

Kelly Berry (34:12): Mm-hmm. Yeah. So a little bit more about accountability and like how that plays a role in your, like what you do personally for your development.

Nick (34:28): Well, so for somebody who's growth self-improvement is important to them. How you treat accountability, like those are the rungs on the ladder. And, you know, I want to get the most out of each step that I can. And so if I'm accountable to what I've committed to doing and the direction that I'm supposed to be heading in, those rungs are a little further apart and I can push off of that. Like I can take bigger steps from them, right? It gives me a better foundation to take the next step. But if I'm not accountable, it's kind of like, I can't really think of a substance that the rungs would be made of, but they would not, you can push off. They wouldn't be a very good foundation to take a step from. And to me that just undermines the goal of reaching your potential if you're not using points of accountability as stepping stones for growth.

Kelly Berry (35:35): Mm-hmm. So do you see a pretty big difference in the business owners that you've worked with over the years in how they view accountability and the progress they make?

Nick (35:48): I think what you're asking is, do I see that manifest in different ways in them? Yes. But it's probably exactly what you'd expect. There are people who get it and they're probably further on the spectrum that I am. And then there are people who, you know, you can say that they're not wired for it or they're not cut out to be business owners, but it's an accountability thing. They don't see that they should be taking responsibility for the situation. And I mean, it's, yeah, it's like kind of sucks the life out of me to see people putting more effort into an excuse than resolving the situation.

Kelly Berry (36:24): Mm-hmm. I know that there are a number of other things that you do to work on yourself as a leader and how you think. And one of those things is you intentionally seek out challenging or hard things to do. So tell us a little bit about what that looks like.

Nick (36:59): I mean, I'm not like an adventure junkie. It's not that kind. I'm not like skydiving and stuff, but yeah, I just.

Kelly Berry (37:06): Mm-hmm.

Nick (37:08): I think that it's healthy. I think that's a good thing for me to do. And it's a good way for me to be. I like to do things that challenge me. And what that looks like has changed a lot over time. But yeah, I think it helps me strengthen what I look at as my leadership muscles, right? Discipline and accountability and...

Kelly Berry (37:28): Mm-hmm.

Nick (37:31): I have to, I need to be that way in all facets of my life for it to really work. And if I don't, then like, I can't expect to be that way in one area, but then be a bum in other areas. Right. So if it's, you know, I like, I think you're talking about doing things like playing chess or memorizing cards or Rubik's Cube, stuff like that. And I mean, I think they're good for your mind, for one. I do a lot of things to try to optimize for using my mind. And so doing challenging things like that, I think is an element, but also just the discipline of, this is going to take a long time and it's not going to bear fruit for a while. And it's going to be frustrating before it's rewarding. And there's a pretty good chance nobody's going to know about it. And I don't care. That's a pretty pure exercise for me. So, you know, I don't remember how long it took me to do some of those things, to like learn how to do those things. But I know it was very good for me to have to stick with the process of learning it for the time that it took. And I think it made, you know, some of those things I know were during times where, you know, the rest of my day, it was very long and stressful and like maybe a not very great season in for like business and to add on something have made a commitment to myself that I'm going to learn this thing. And it's going to take, I'm going to do this activity every day until it's learned and to have to stay disciplined and do it, it was good for me. And I think it gave me energy at times where I probably needed it instead of doing the opposite because I think it, you know, it fills voids in time that I would, there are other things that I could do that would be easier, but I just don't think I'm going to get anything out of like watching television. You know? those things, I mean, I like, we've talked about this. I like to do hard things maybe to a fault, you know, with work.

Kelly Berry (39:46): Yeah.

Nick (39:59): Like I like to do the hard things I sometimes I'm only doing hard things. They may look, and I hope that some of them look easy and I hope I do them really well, but that doesn't mean that they're not hard, right? And so I think it's being able to practice that in different areas helps me apply it in all areas.

Kelly Berry (40:16): Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah, for sure. So I'm gonna talk a little bit more about like what I've seen from my perspective when I watched you do these things and kind of what some of these things look like and, and then I guess the impact that they've had on me. The things that I'm talking about that Nick has done, like he has memorized a deck of cards when he told me he was gonna do that, I had never heard of anybody doing it. I didn't know what it actually meant. You know, and then I'm like seeing him work on it all the time and he's having me like hold the cards and kind of quiz him and do the stuff. It's just like, what? Yeah. Not making a lot of friends sitting there memorizing a deck of cards, but you know, I watched him do it. He decided when he was, he was going to read a hundred books. He, I think he did like Duolingo every day for two years learning Spanish. He's just the other day we were talking about chess. He plays chess.

Nick (41:01): It's a really cool exercise.

Kelly Berry (41:22): He has played a game every day for five years. Like the things that he's talking about doing, like he absolutely makes them a part of what he's done. You know, the Rubik's cube is another one. You know, I can't remember what your goal was, but like solving it in a minute, a little over a minute or something. 88 seconds. There you go. You know, but these are all things that I just had like a front row seat to watch you work on them. And I think the important part of this story is like how it.

Nick (41:39): 88 seconds.

Kelly Berry (41:50): how these mindsets, like my mindset and your mindset, because you and I are very different thinkers and we have a very different approach to a lot of things. And in a lot of ways, that's been very good for us. And in a lot of ways, it's been extremely challenging for us. But one of the things, like to watch somebody this, it helped me see that like when somebody is good at something, it does not mean that it is easy for them. And I mentioned a few podcasts ago, you know, that I had this big shift when I realized that I had a fixed mindset and, you know, started working on having more of a growth mindset. You know, I just thought, like, if something didn't come easy for you, it just must not be something that you're good at or something that you're really meant to be doing. You know, like, I just always thought, well, if they can, if they're really good at that, it must just be really easy for them. And so I just had this giant disconnect and now looking back, it seems almost like laughable because I was an athlete growing up and I've done a lot of things where I've had to put a lot of effort in to get a certain result. But for some reason, I still just had this belief that easy meant you were good at it and hard just meant it wasn't made for you. And so having this front row seat and seeing you do these things has just shown me that like, you can go through and like work on something that is really hard till it gets to the point that it looks really easy. But the work that's been done is like something that you just carry forward with you into everything else that you do. You know, it develops that to your point, like the discipline, the perseverance, all of these things. Yes, yes. And I think that this is just like a really, really good lesson or something like a good takeaway. I would like for listeners to get, just stop and think about, are you doing hard things? Are you putting yourself in situations where you're challenging yourself? Or are you choosing the easy way? And it goes back to that, being comfortable or being uncomfortable, but you're just not gonna grow or change or improve if you're always doing the easy.

Nick (44:07): Yeah, that's right. And that's like the, you know, doing things, working these puzzles or games or whatever. It was even doing them at the end of the day or, you know, whenever, whatever point during the day on the hardest days, right? Like, but sticking to it is, was my way of like strengthening my resolve and resiliency because I was gonna need it somewhere at some point in my life. I'm gonna need it to be that way. And that's why, you've seen that it's old. It's this, the Will Smith down a treadmill video. Yeah, I think I'm cut out for that. Like, I can be here for the long haul. I've, mentally, I've worked on making a commitment like that and holding myself accountable to it.

Kelly Berry (44:43): Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Nick (44:58): I don't plan on it being on a treadmill though, but you know that. But yeah, like when I'm committed, I'm in.

Kelly Berry (45:00): Yeah. And, you know, we, we talk about that, you know, and just teamwork of our, you know, sometimes you'll, you know, I'm made for this. And I think what you're saying is like, this is what I've been training for. This is the type of situation. You know, you've said it a lot, like I'm the person you want on your team when shit hits the fan. You know, I'm the one who can stop and figure things out. And, you know, it's not because that is just easy for you. It's because that's who you have worked to become. Yeah.

Nick (45:37): Mm-hmm. Yeah. And I've thought about it like that for, I mean, for as long as I can remember. Like I was probably young enough that it may have been weird for somebody to be thinking about like, I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to be in all facets of my life, but I want the people around me to know that when the shit hits the fan, they know where I'm at and they know what they'll get. I've always taken that approach. I'm a, and at other times I may be a little much or still have some edges that need to be polished. But yeah, but that's just kind of like a testimony to the kind of a vision for yourself and thinking about how you want to be. And then over time, being able to shape yourself into that.

Kelly Berry (46:21): Mm. Yeah, I love that. I think it's just so important. And, you know, really if you don't have anybody in your life showing you that or demonstrating it, and, you know, it just takes a long time to kind of figure it out on your own. For most people, anyway.

Nick (46:39): Yeah. And I mean, I don't want to make it sound like the work, you know, we'd use the puzzles as an example, because it's a, you know, they're just, I guess, funny things. But like doing the leadership exercises, the stakeholder awareness, I'm sorry, the opportunities and intentions and, you know, recognizing like there's a set of leadership muscles, like, you know, frameworks that I would use to help shape the way that I'm gonna think about things and I practice doing that when I don't have to, that way it's easier for me when I do have to.

Kelly Berry (47:13): Mm-hmm. Yeah, definitely. I've had a lot of conversations with people about that type of thing. You want to be working on these things and practicing these things or exploring these things when you're not under pressure and when it's not a do or die situation. Some situations are do or die. You want to be able to rely on the work that you've done in those situations rather than that be the period of time that you're trying to figure those things out. Yeah.

Nick (47:45): Yeah. So you can trust the training.

Kelly Berry (47:49): Trust the training. Exactly. There are so many more things I want to talk to you about, but we are coming up on time. So I'll pick two more topics. So one I want to talk about, because I think that you have this perspective and maybe like value on time that a lot of people don't think about like you do. And I'd like to introduce some new ways of thinking around this. Tell me how you view time and some of the things that you think are unique about how you look at things like that.

Nick (48:25): Well, so I may need you to explain that because I don't think they're unique. Like, I don't, that's not how I would label them. Like it's your currency or your asset.

Kelly Berry (48:35): Mm-hmm.

Nick (48:36): I just look at it as the thing most important for me to invest. And so I try to approach it with that in mind so I can think about, well, how do I get the most from it? And when I have it, what do I want to do with it? That practice over time has helped me kind of to simplify things down like an equation So for example, I could, so I'm gonna go get Vivienne from school, gonna bring her home. And then I've got choices to make from there. I can spend time with her. I can go sit in front of the computer. I could go walk down the street. I could go somewhere and have a drink. Especially when you throw her in the equation, like it's a lot easier of a decision, but you're making those choices all the time. Like everybody says, well, they want their time to be worth this much. Your time's worth what you spend it on. If you want to, if you're going to spend it on things that can be done for $10 an hour or, you know, $5 a task or whatever it is, like. You're making your time worth that. And like, I don't know, I couldn't put a price on the time that I have with Vivienne. Like, but that's where I would, I want to invest more time when I get it. So if I know like where else I can either buy time by paying somebody to do something or eliminate the need for something that would occupy my time, then I can turn around and I can give that to her regardless of how much I value that. Is that what you're talking about?

Kelly Berry (50:18): Mm-hmm. Yeah, exactly. And I think, you know, what you do more so than I've seen from anybody else is that elimination piece. Like, you know, I think a lot of people understand the concept of like, you know, like, I don't want to be mowing my grass on a Saturday morning, so I'm going to pay somebody to do it. Or I don't want to be cleaning my house instead of going to my daughter's soccer game, so I'm going to pay somebody to do it. But I think what you do is like, the elimination of these points of friction. You know, like just they may only take, you know, like a minute here and a minute there, but those minutes add up and like the mental load of it adds up. So that's kind of...

Nick (50:59): Mm-hmm. Yeah, like, there are things that I'm just like, I'm not gonna live this way. Right? We got this rug that gets rolled up at my feet every time I come in the door. I'm gonna stop once and unroll it twice. If I think this is gonna be a thing, that rug is gone. Because I'm not living like that. But it actually, it goes back to me saying like, I've tried to optimize for being able to use my mind.

Kelly Berry (51:07): Yeah.

Nick (51:30): Right? So, you know, you could do the math on if I stop for 30 seconds, every time I go through that door and I come through that door five times a day and over a year, that's however long, that's one thing. But also like I want to be able to just walk to where I'm walking to and not have to stop what I'm thinking about, which I believe would be, should be more important and think about big step over the rug. I made it. Good job. Because like, I'm choosing where I'm going to spend my mental energy. I can spend it on that rug and that's a pennies activity or a pennies value of thought. Or I can choose to spend it on something that's more important and which should be overall like make it create more value in my life. Now, if I'm choosing like, do I want to think about the next episode of Bluey or step over the rug? Like that's different, but the majority of my time passing through that door with that rug is, like I spent, I want my mind to be able to go where it needs to go when I needed to do that. I don't want a disruption like that. And, you know, it's a little thing, but it applies to bigger things. It's vehicle maintenance. You used lawn care as an example. Yeah, I mean, it's everywhere and like doing dishes or laundry, like. I'm going to find a way that I know those things there are things that have to be done, but I'm not limited to the only two options, me do it or them not being done. And like nobody is. If you say, well, it has to be done. That's not the only way. Like that problem is you're limiting yourself to those options. We can come up with a way to make it so that you don't have to, I don't want to have to spend X amount of minutes of my life doing a chore instead of hanging out with Vivienne.

Kelly Berry (53:32): Yeah. Mm-hmm. I've definitely learned a lot from you in regards to that. And I, you know, it's something I still struggle with because I, you know, I don't know why it is, but it is. But that's then X can equal whatever you want. It's because like, if there's a good, it feels good to like check things off. And when you know that they're, it's simple, like there are scenarios where that's relaxing for somebody, right? It means something different to them than it does to me. But I also think that you, that can go back to beliefs and values and with some intentional work that could be reframed and they could probably find something that fulfills them in the same way that maybe involves their daughter. I keep using that example, but. But yeah, like there are reasons why like you might be drawn to something like that.

Kelly Berry (54:28): Yeah, I just think that's another thing that I wanted to bring some awareness to because those are the things I think people just accept and they don't realize like the mental tax that it is. You know, if it's okay with you, I'm just gonna use some like recent examples of some things that you've done. Like Nick is the king of just, I don't know, like MacGyvering or just doing stuff and it all goes back to this, like he doesn't want to have to do things over and over and over. Like he wants a problem solved one time or this thing bothers him every time it happens. And so, you know, the other night at 11:30, he's like cutting some felt pads because we have some kitchen cabinets that like make loud noises when they close. And he's like, I just, I don't want to listen to this anymore. You know.

Nick (55:17): Or you have to sit there and like slowly let the drawer go in so it doesn't sound like a gunshot going off. Right? Like I don't, I'm not going to live like that.

Kelly Berry (55:19): Yes. You know, it's like we have a system for loading and unloading the dishwasher. Like it's so that like the glasses and the coffee cups and you know, all this, all these things. And it all goes back to being able to, you know, we do have to unload the dishwasher and we do have to load the dishwasher, but can we make those things as simple and as we're not making a bunch of trips across the kitchen or it is. And I just think that's a good thing for people like to stop and think about like, what are these banging cabinets that I'm like living with or the rugs that are curled up or the walking across the kitchen a thousand times. Like what do these things look like in my life? And can I just spend a couple of minutes and come up with a solution and, you know, just check one thing off the list reduce that mental load. So.

Nick (56:15): Yeah. Right. And I'm not OCD either. Right. That's not an OCD behavior. That is a, I'm not going to let these things steal time from me that I could spend on something else that's more rewarding.

Kelly Berry (56:19): Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah, yep. I just think the way that you just like look at every single thing like that I think it's just you know, it's unique and Maybe not maybe unique again is not then the best word but it It is another way that just shows like how intentional and how much work you put into like the way that you are and the way that you want to be and I think that's really

Nick (56:56): Yeah. I mean, I have no problem with being unique and being different. Like I think you know, so we didn't talk about, but like the first principles thinking, you know, it's, I'm not going to do anything. I'm good to be aware of what we've always done or what, how everybody does it, but I'm not going to, that's not going to be my logic, my reasoning for doing anything. and I think being able to separate those things and start to look at things like what's the problem to be solved versus how do I follow this pattern is like very liberating.

Kelly Berry (57:32): Okay, so I don't want to end the podcast without giving you some time to talk about, I mentioned at the very beginning that you are going to start a podcast. So we're going to be podcasting together. I think that's really exciting. So I want you to share a little bit about what you're doing.

Nick (57:50): Okay, well right now I'm waiting on you to get all of yours out and kind of smooth things out so you can tell me how to do it well.

Kelly Berry (57:56): Got it.

Nick (58:02): Yeah, so I'm right now have started recording episodes and what I'm doing is called the Business Owners Journey. And just going to have people who I'll say business owners, entrepreneurs have a story and lessons to share with other business owners and entrepreneurs come on and just like tell their story. And then we'll like extract as much of the knowledge and wisdom from that as we can. And the whole idea is for a listener to be able to like shorten the learning curve. You know, there are people who, and I mean, I think I was one of them, who don't know what they don't know. And it was a lot. And the more that I became aware of that, the more I started to seek input, guidance, wisdom. And so, you know, my idea here is like we can basically take a podcast format and kind of turn it into almost a crowdsourced mentorship. Like we can just like take all of these experiences from these people who've done something that they're willing to share and like throw it into a capsule and give it to people and make it available. I know that's something that like, there are options like that out there. I don't know if they've framed it quite the way that I'm talking about, but you know, you can go and listen to people tell their stories and you can extract learning lessons from it and best practices and whatnot. I think that stuff can be invaluable for an entrepreneur who's trying to grow. It's easy for me to sit here and say, you need to have an aspirational vision of yourself. Then like that's how do you want to be? Well, if you haven't been around it, you don't know what that looks like. You just know it looks like something that you haven't seen. So that's part of the way that you start to figure that out is seeing and hearing like, well, how do other people look at this thing or think in this situation or act in this situation? And then you have to kind of sort that into boxes like, well, I don't want to be like that. I do want to be like this. So that's the idea. And I'm having people from all different types of businesses, all different stages in their journey, all different like lessons and perspectives, just capturing it and gonna share that. And then the other thing that I'm like baking into that is the system that I've built like for our business coaching that's kind of a framework for leadership and strategy and building your support system and like your operating system as a business owner. So I'm sharing those tools and all those resources and making that available too. So that's the idea.

Kelly Berry (1:00:49): Yeah. Crowd-sourced mentorship. I love it. And I think as business owners and as people who have always valued development, you can't get much better than that. Being mentored and crowd-sourced mentorship is amazing. So I think it's going to be really, really valuable. I'm excited for it. Yeah.

Nick (1:01:10): Yeah, thank you.

Kelly Berry (1:01:13): I do have a couple of end of the podcast questions and then we'll wrap it up. I have been asking everybody, all the guests, these two questions. One, what is something personal or professional that you would like to accomplish this year?

Nick (1:01:29): Start a podcast.

Kelly Berry (1:01:32): I'll take that. And how do you recharge?

Nick (1:01:37): I sit on the couch to drink milk and watch Bluey every day. So with people who we have some things in common, so it's not necessarily topics, but maybe perspectives or a mindset. People that you can get into conversations with that give you energy, that's been a big thing for me. I've had more conversations with other business owners who share some of the perspectives that I have lately than I probably had in the previous, I don't know how many years. And it's been great. And so like that's a big thing too.

Kelly Berry (1:02:24): Nice. Yeah. For those of you that don't know, our daughter every night says all in one sentence, like, sit on the couch, drink milk, watch Bluey over and over. Like that's what she wants to do before bed. So yeah. Great. Well, Nick, thank you so much. I know that this, there was just a ton in there that I think people will find some really valuable takeaways. And again, just my goal is, for people just to stop, evaluate what they're doing, take what they can from what you said and maybe not take what they don't need right now. But however they choose to use it, use it to help them live more intentionally with more purpose and achieve the life that they want to live. So I think that was just really awesome. So thank you. Yeah.

Nick (1:03:16): Yeah, well, thank you. I think it's very cool what you're doing, the topics you've had. I've listened to the episodes that you've got out so far and you've had some very good guests.

Kelly Berry (1:03:27): Well, thank you. I love it. And I think you're one of them. And I have a lot of other things in mind that we could talk about. So maybe I'll have to have you back soon. Yeah. Awesome. Well, thank you. And thank you, everybody, for listening. I don't want to forget to mention this. In the show notes, you'll be able to find where you can connect with Nick, follow Nick. You can follow him on social. He is not there a whole lot. But that is where you'll be able to learn about his upcoming podcast.

Nick (1:03:37): Yeah, let's do it.

Kelly Berry (1:03:56): which I'm sure will generate a little more social media presence from him.

Nick (1:04:03): I can find a way around it. Yes.

Kelly Berry (1:04:05): Yeah, but definitely connect with him there and keep up with what he's up to. So thanks, Nick, and we'll talk to everybody next week.

Nick (1:04:17): Thanks.