Welcome to the Join Up business coaching podcast interview with Mr Rick Kantor
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Introducing Rick Kantor
Todays guest, joining us on the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview is Rick Kantor.
For sure he is not a normal type of guy.
Rick Kantor does things his way, even to at the age of 61 going back to graduate school and getting a Masters in Creativity and Innovation, when to be honest the majority of us are glad that education finished in our teens.
What makes this even more unusual is that this is a guy who has started and run several successful companies, ranging from a novelty manufacturing company, to Terrasanti a natural wall product made from American Clay, which has won many awards over the last few years
He classes himself as a life term entrepreneur, but its the fascination for continued education that is so inspiring, as 10 years ago when he sold his novelty manufacturing company moved to a new town in California and spent the next 3 years getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and mixed media from Sonoma State.
How The Dots Joined Up For Rick
So, after a career of artistic business, creative enterprises and entrepreneurial ventures, he decided to delve into where creativity comes from, how to make innovation happen in organizations, and how anyone can tap into creativity, the number one quality that CEO’s now look for in new hires.
With a world changing this fast, business knows they must build a culture to sustain creativity and innovation to change… or die.
So where does our guest find his continued passion for new experiences?
And where does he get his ideas for the new and exciting from?
Well let’s bring onto the show to start joining up dots, as we discuss the words of Steve Jobs in todays Free podcast, with the one and only Mr Rick Kantor.
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Rick Kantor, such as:
How the best way to look at risk in our life is to strategically reduce it until the risk is one we are willing to take.
Why the state of flow is the state that we should aim for in life. It is when our passions and intentions are being fully met!
Why it is so important for all of us to spend fifteen minutes a day reflecting on what we need to do in life. Allow quietness to enter our busy world!
The story of a stolen bicycle that led to the realisation of what he should be in life….true to himself!
How we should all say to ourselves everyday “If you can see it, you can do it, you can be it” and what a different life we would have!
How To Connect With Rick Kantor
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Audio Transcription Of Rick Kantor Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK, David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:26]
Yes, hello there. Good morning, everybody. How are we is a big thank you really, I should have said this a little while ago. But just a few days ago, the show since we launched the past a million listens. So I just want to say thank you to so many people who have been downloading and sharing and telling your friends and telling your dogs to listen to the show on a daily basis, because it really has become a bit of a rocket ship. And I’m clinging to it. But as exciting as that is I’ve got a little bit of a favour and I don’t normally do this, you hear this a lot on other people shows. But if any of you could pop over to iTunes and leave a rating and review and subscribe, then that really is the rocket fuel to the ship that we’re on at the moment. And it will send it flying into the top ranks of all podcast. And then subsequently, things will get better and better for us as I continue to develop the programme. So thank you so much for that, and it’s a bit of a well is a million million listens. Well, today’s guest is a bit of a well as well, because he’s an he’s not a normal, normal type of guy. He does things his way, even at the age of 61. And going back to graduate school, and getting a master’s in creativity and innovation. When To be honest, the majority of us are glad that education finished in our teens. And what makes it even more unusual is about this is a guy who has started and runs several successful companies ranging from a novelty manufacturing company to tell us Santi I hope I said that and natural wall product made from American Klay, which has won many awards over the last few years. He causes himself as a lifetime entrepreneur, but it’s the fascination but continued education that is so inspiring. As 10 years ago, when he sold his novelty manufacturing company, he moved to a new town in California and then spent the next three years getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and mixed media. So after a career of artistic business, creative enterprises and entrepreneurial ventures, he decided to delve into where creativity comes from, how to make innovation happen in organisations, and how anyone can tap into creativity. But number one quality that CEOs now look for in new hires. Now with a world changing this fast business knows that they must build a culture to sustain creativity and innovation to change or die. Simple as that. But the questions I want to ask is where does our guest find his continued passion for new experiences and education? And where does it get these ideas but a new and exciting from? Well, let’s be down, as we bring on to the show to start Join Up Dots bo one and only Mr. Rick Cantor? How are you, Rick?
Rick Kantor [3:08]
I’m better than I’ve ever been with that introduction, David, thank you so much. That was really, that was really inspiring to listen to your own life that way. That was great.
David Ralph [3:17]
And it was that a good some summary of your life? Because as we were talking about, just just before we press recording, there’s not much about you online, you’re a bit of a mystery man on you.
Rick Kantor [3:32]
From the online point of view, yes, I’m a bit of a mystery man. I’m under the radar. But regarding the introduction, was that accurate? It is. And I’m reminded of somebody telling me that really what a resume or curriculum is, is a justification for the life that you’ve LED. It’s kind of making sense of everything you’ve done and positioning it in a way that you go, Wow, I guess that was a good choice. So here, my life written down in that way, was was very interesting to me. Because of course, our own experiences of things are often very different from the way they sound. So for instance, the way you portray it, it certainly has been a very diverse, interesting, learning filled existence for me. But when you don’t choose to have a single career, a single job a day by day kind of existence, there is a level of anxiety that you buy into because life becomes uncertain. And that’s both where the vitality comes from. And you have to be willing to put up what in the creativity field we called a tolerance for ambiguity and a resistance to premature closure. In other words, stay open, be present, be willing to accept that there are times you just don’t know where you’re going.
David Ralph [4:54]
So So Have you always been entrepreneurial, you’ve never actually been an employee never had a job?
Rick Kantor [5:02]
No, I’ve actually probably been an employee of over 100 and some odd companies in the course of my life, mostly at a at a younger age. And what I learned from those experiences is that most employers treat their employees terribly, they treat them as the job or task that they’re tasked to do, and not as the people that they are. So for instance, if you if you have a waiter at a table, who is actually a law student, or a pre med person who’s just trying to make make money for to support their actual profession, they’re going into the employer will treat them as a waiter, not as a doctor to be. And so I was in that position a number of times while I was supporting myself, and I thought there is no reason that I should be being treated, or anybody else here in this kind of way, because I’m very good solitary. And we all are, share the same DNA were the same people were the same human humans going through this experience, and we’re at different places. But everybody deserves respect. Everybody deserves empathy. Everybody deserves kindness. And that has always been my guiding principle, both through my life, and certainly through all the employees that have worked for me in a very big way. So I guess you could say, I learned from the page that says, Don’t let this happen to you.
David Ralph [6:30]
Well, I think that’s absolutely true. And I think we all agree with that. But I suppose the question that was going through my head, as you were saying that you’ve worked for about 100 companies. Now, does that mean that it’s more you than them? Are you somebody that is just naturally not made to be an employee? Because 100 companies, they can all be bad treating you badly? Can I
Rick Kantor [6:54]
know, they didn’t all treat me badly. Many of them did.
David Ralph [6:59]
How badly Rick because we won’t go into jobs. And we had good days. And we have bad days. And we had managers that turn up that are great. And we have managers that turn up that are absolute peaks. And what what was the thing that really turned you off from those jobs?
Rick Kantor [7:15]
Well, what example would be a summer resort job where I was fed spaghetti for breakfast because they wanted to keep the meal costs as low as possible. The housing I was in caught fire. And various diabolical storeys like that it goes on and on, but some really, almost Dickens like storeys up. 1800s bad employment, certainly not all of them were like that. And I’ve had some some very nice employers as well along the way. But when I say I’ve had hundreds of jobs, I’ve done everything from managing ice cream stores, making signs for department stores, working as a gigolo on a cruise ship teaching art classes. I mean, the The list goes on cleaning houses, I don’t I don’t care what I do. It’s all the same to me. It’s all an experience. And it’s all the attitude you bring to it anyway. So for me, it was all just fun, and learning and trying to figure out what this world was about and what my place in it was.
David Ralph [8:16]
GG no, Rick, I absolutely blanked out once I heard gigolo on a cruise ship. Everything else is what was bad about a storey that will be keen to hear
Rick Kantor [8:30]
it sure I don’t have children. So I won’t have grandchildren. But anybody else is welcome to hear it. It’s actually you know, the point behind the storey that’s really great is one of my Cardinal principles, which is, if you can see it, you can be it you can do it. And if you have the vision and and decide you’re going someplace, watch it watch it materialised, because it will so at the time, I was pursuing a dance career on Broadway. And I was in a dance class and one of the regular students came in and it was February, it was cold, it was miserable. And he had this glorious golden suntan. And I looked at him and I went, have you been on vacation? You look great. And he said, No, I was working on the cruise ship. And I went, What do you mean? He said, Well, we just came back from the Caribbean. And I said, Where do you go next? He said, Egypt. I said, I want to be on that ship. And so I talked my way to the director’s office and talk my way into the job teaching art class because they’re always looking for things for people to do on a big cross Atlantic trip. And the other responsibility was I had to be at every cocktail hour and every dance class, every every everything to dance with the ladies as a socialised with them.
It was pretty funny.
David Ralph [9:51]
And I bet you look back and go. When was a last time I had spaghetti for breakfast? This is utopia.
Rick Kantor [9:59]
Yeah, this is utopia. It’s true. So So I did keep I did keep a very accurate and lengthy journal during the six weeks on the cruise ship to record all the storeys and at one point was writing it into a musical and I’m sure we’ll do something with it at some point, but the storeys are pretty hysterical.
David Ralph [10:18]
50 Shades of Grey, the musical I bet it’s going to be like that. Is it?
Rick Kantor [10:23]
Sort of like that. Yes.
David Ralph [10:26]
Fantastic stuff. So you really are somebody you know, I did research on you like I’ve never done research on anyone just to try to get that introduction together. And then you drop a Whammy that you are studying downs on Broadway. So if we took you right back to coming out of school when you was a teenager, was that a plan? Or was it just to enjoy yourself?
Rick Kantor [10:52]
No, you know, I would say probably one of what we call crystallising moments, you know those moments you look back on and you go, Wow, when that happened, it’s stuck in my mind, I can still see it today as clearly as the day it happened. And it was probably the day that I was a senior in high school and I was receiving my acceptances from colleges. And I was at the very top of my public school class, graduating class of 800 students and I was somewhere around number 20. So I was, you know, very bright and was applying to good schools and was my my dream was to go to Brown University. And on the day, all my acceptances came in to simultaneously things happened. And let me say that I was playing all the games to be able to get accepted, you know, became the editor of The Year book, though I had no interest in doing that. But it was one of those prescriptive things. So colleges will think they that you’re really somebody. So So I got simultaneously whitelisted to brown. And my brand new bicycle that I had saved up for from my money managing and ice cream store was stolen. So I ended up having to walk home to get to my mailbox to get rejected. And it was like this wake up call that said, You know what, you’re just playing other people’s games, when are you going to live your own life. And it really woke me up to the idea that if you’re a college admissions officer, you can see right through people, if you’re just being a yearbook editor, to get the accolade, they’re going to know that whereas if you’re the kid who’s just passionate about playing guitar, or passionate about helping seniors and senior facilities, that really registers they get that you’re on to who you are. At that point in time, I was not up to who I who I was, I was playing an upper middle class suburban game as I was supposed to do. And I knew all I wanted to do at that point was get away and start figuring out who I was.
David Ralph [12:56]
But that’s quite young to have that kind of realisation that you were playing a game. Because in these conversations time and time again, we discuss how people go on paths and journeys and careers that are expected of them. There are things that people say are a good move, or they just look at it and go are there’s going to be a load of cute Australia. I was speaking to a chap this morning, who wanted to be a lawyer. And he just wanted to argue with people. And when he actually became a lawyer, he just realised it was so much paperwork it drew you know, it was boredom. It was just total boredom. Absolutely. So for you to be Matt young, would you say that moment was as we said on the show one of your big dots in your Join Up Dots timeline, would you say that walking home to get that rejection was actually one of the dots that started to make Rick Cantor?
Rick Kantor [13:48]
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, the other big dot and and what separates somebody like me in that search for who you are at an early age is I do very young that I was gay. So if you’re a gay man growing up in a suburban homophobic culture, and school, you know that you’ve got to get out, you’ve got to find someplace else you don’t know back in those times, there was no internet or anything like that, because we’re talking 19, late 1960s. So the United States was at war in Vietnam. I’m protesting that I’m protesting. Richard Nixon as President, there wasn’t very much that was an alignment with my values. And and I was suppressing who I needed to be until I could go someplace to find out what that was. So as difficult and painful and arduous a task as it is for somebody to come out in whatever they need to come out of. It really does forge the iron, and makes you have to grapple with questions that were I not dealing with that. Yeah, I probably would have been scripted into becoming a lawyer. That was kind of the path that was laid out for me either a lawyer, a doctor, and I didn’t want to be a doctor. And yeah, potentially get married, have kids. And by the time you do that, the cement strike.
David Ralph [15:11]
Yeah, no, I can say that. So So what was that one of the reasons that you went over to New York was was the sort of the gay scene in New York more prevalent than where you were growing up?
Rick Kantor [15:22]
Well, I grew up on Long Island, which is about an hour’s drive from New York City. So I knew New York City I knew a little bit about was what was going on there. And it was always my dream to live there. Because like London, it’s an image of freedom and being whoever you want to be, and kind of being in the centre of culture and what was happening. But I left Long Island, I ended up going out to Chicago to go to school at Northwestern for my first year. And then I knew that that wasn’t the school. For me. It’s what we call a big 10 School, a big rah rah college fraternity sorority place. And I didn’t find it intellectually challenging. So I knew and this was the next big dot, that I needed to transfer and go to a small intense liberal arts college. And I chose chose Oberlin College in Ohio, which is the most socially progressive liberal, intellectual school, probably in the country, in a par with Reed College, where Steve Jobs went to school. Wesleyan, a lot of great small schools, and there, you can hide in the crowd, everybody makes a difference. And overland was, was famous for being the first college to admit blacks, the first admit women, the first to have coed dorms, the first to outlaw fraternities and sororities, the first to have a gay caucus, all these kinds of things. And it was at Oberlin, which also has a fabulous Conservatory of Music that’s world renowned, that I really got in touch with eccentricity. And when I say eccentricities, it’s really breaking the bounds and discovering the parts of life that are considered more on the periphery, whether it’s because you’re an artist, or because you’re going against the standard political structure, but it’s critical thinking at its best, and you’re defining for yourself, what the world should be, what the world looks like for you, and where you want your place in it to be,
David Ralph [17:22]
I can see that being on the edge, for me has always been the interesting part, I find so much in life, and you see it in the online world, but so many people are very much vanilla, but they don’t really want to put themselves too much out there because they want to create an audience that is well dominating. But the interesting people for me are the ones that are on the edge, and they’re doing their own thing. And they’re being themselves. And they become memorable personalities, because they literally can fall off unless they carry on doing what is right for them. And didn’t did you feel about was there ever a time that you were so close to the edge of what your values stood for? That you could have become a different person? Or were you putting nailed on that?
Rick Kantor [18:10]
You know, I’ve never figured out who I am.
I just kind of plotted along step by step and stood in the now and said, Okay, what comes next? So when there was an opportunity to move to Amsterdam and live in Europe for a while, the answer was okay, you’re young, drop everything and go see what happens. But that doesn’t might say it’s me.
David Ralph [18:33]
Because you say, you know, you see it, you can do it, you can be it that is so aware. But why do you not know who you are?
Rick Kantor [18:46]
Well, because some people know for instance, that they were born to be a singer, there’s nothing they care about more than singing, that that’s life for them. Some people know that being a foreign journalist in spite of the the risks and the danger. That’s what they have to be doing. They’re not going to be content doing that I because I’m what they call a polymath. I have interests and skills and aptitudes in a lot of different areas, which is is sort of difficult to handle. So I had teachers who said, You’re an incredible writer, and I am. But that doesn’t mean that that means I’m a writer, because I also love to paint and draw and make art. And I fell in love with dance when that happened. So having that many interest means that if you choose one direction, you’re closing off a lot of other experiences. And I wasn’t willing to do that at two young age, I thought I needed to continue exploring and, and everything I explored and stepped into I stayed with it because it was you know, very much like you use you left your scripted path. And you found something that gives you energy and excitement you look forward to every day to doing and congratulations on the million listener. That’s, that’s really astounding. And a huge affirmation that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing is, you know, when when life rewards you that way, it’s a good indication you’re, you’re on track, at least in the moment.
David Ralph [20:18]
Well, that’s a key point to all the shows. And so I’m fascinated that you brought that up, because one of the things that we talk about all the time, but life shouldn’t be hard. And we were all taught that life is hard, and you have to go and do a hard day’s work. And there’s effort involved. But I’m now seeing that when you find your thing that you are naturally talented quote unquote, with that life becomes in many ways a lot easier, but the value you managed to provide to the world becomes that much greater. And so the rewards you get back are that much greater as well is a totally different mind shift. But you seem to have almost have had that from the word go you realise that? Is your ability to be creative in many different areas that will provide the greatest value and subsequently the most rewards for you. Do you feel that life should be easy?
Rick Kantor [21:12]
No, I don’t.
Unknown Speaker [21:14]
I feel that life
Rick Kantor [21:17]
should be said be said be hard work. And, you know, there’s the great creativity theorists who can invented the theory of flow. Do you know the concept of flow flow is, is when you’re doing something you love and time disappears? And you have no idea what day it is or if you’ve eaten or anything else? Because you are so in the moment? Well, well, his name is Mihai chick sent the high. And one of the things he distinguishes is the difference between enjoyment and pleasure. And he distinguishes it as enjoyment is an asset account. When you’re enjoying yourself doing what you love, you’re painting you’re building your you’re talking to people in a podcast show, it’s an asset, you’re getting better you’re building quality, you’re you’re making something when you’re doing pleasure, which is like sitting on a chaise lounge with a funny umbrella drink in the tropics. You’re having pleasure, but it’s a deficit account, you are deducting from your assets. And his point is if you really want to maximise your life, be enjoying it. Don’t be seeking easy pleasure. And and I am in my own way of kind of workaholic. Because I love work. I love what it teaches me I’m a maker, I love to make things. I love to learn things. And so all of that takes a certain amount of effort. It’s not easy pleasure. And I think it’s a brilliant distinction.
David Ralph [22:48]
Well, I think you’re right, but I also think you’re wrong as well as I’m going to bat it back at you. Because I think Yeah, please, I think so many people go to work, and they never get in flow. They never get into the zone, where you lose two or three hours. It’s just been a slog through looking at the clock waiting until lunchtime. So I think if you can find something that puts you in that position, whether you’re in deficit, or credit, or the two different accounts, you You must be having an easier life than the majority of folks out there that are just trying to get through a day surely.
Rick Kantor [23:24]
Yeah, I agree. If I had to put up with those kinds of work situations, eight or 10 hours a day of doing something that is meaningless to me, I would be miserable. And the phrase, I don’t know if you use this phrase in in England, but the phrase that I cannot tolerate and is used all the time is when you ask somebody how they are and they answer, same old, same old. Yes, you know, that, to me, is the most depressing phrase I’ve ever you know how terrible to look at your life, good day, to look at every everything that’s possible with that attitude. It’s a clear sign that you are depressed, and you need to get out of what you’re doing, and find something that’s going to spur your interest and get you
David Ralph [24:10]
going. Well, let’s play the first of our motivational speeches because you’ve lined it up perfectly, because you’re a pro at this. And this is Jim Carrey, and this is what he says on this subject.
Jim Carrey [24:21]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [24:47]
So is that kind of what we’re saying in this conversation?
Rick Kantor [24:51]
Oh, sure. Yeah, I love I love that speech. I think it’s, it’s, it’s right on the money. And we all I can think of all the reasons not to do that the easiest of witches. Yeah, but I have a family to feed. I have kids to feed. I have a mortgage, I have this I have that. I’m afraid. All of that is certainly true. But are you going to make that the bigger truth? And Jim Carrey’s point is? Well, first, you’ll never know unless you take the gamble and do it. And and secondly, why do you want to fail at something you didn’t care about in the first place?
David Ralph [25:28]
Yeah, when I left my nine to five job, oh, there’s a dog, you okay? You’re not being it. There’s
Rick Kantor [25:33]
a lab, there’s a well, this is the love of my life. I’ve been allergic to dogs my entire life. I’ve never been able to sleep over friend’s house, touch a dog do any of that. And when I turned 50, I discovered a new breed of dog called a Labradoodle, which is hypoallergenic. And so I quested after it. and ended up true it’s not allergic. And so I’m actually able to have a dog, which is the one of the great healings of my life life,
David Ralph [26:00]
say your life is getting better every time, Rick. So um, it is I’ve lost my train of thought now. What was I talking about? Oh, yes, we
Unknown Speaker [26:10]
go Go for it.
Rick Kantor [26:10]
Yeah, yeah, I was gonna say backtracking a little bit when you asked me about people when people are doing what they’re supposed to be doing or what they’re good at. There’s a, one of my very favourite creativity theorists and psychologists, is a gentleman named Howard Gardner. And Howard Gardner came up with the theory of multiple intelligences. And he defined and figured out that there are actually only eight, multiple, eight intelligences, and every one of us has one of them, or a combination of a couple of them. And when you find out what your your intelligence is, that’s what’s going to be the easiest, most pleasurable path for you. So for instance, one of the intelligences is numerical. So if I try to do a job that’s basically numeric, because that is not my intelligence, it’s going to be difficult, arduous, I won’t have a sense of flow, I’m just, you know, walking uphill, backwards in winter time. So I want to look at what the other eight intelligences are, and see, see what align. So for instance, one of the intelligence is, is nature, the natural world. And if you look back to when you were a kid, and remember the kids that had rock collections, or were collecting shells, and all of that, those are people that was their natural intelligence, they were drawn to do that. So if they were looking at what they might want to do with their life geologists or something around the natural world, even being a forest ranger would be a great choice for them. They’ll be in their element for somebody. There’s a great TED Talk with Sir Ken Robinson, where he talks about meeting, Jillian Lynn, the choreographer for cats and Phantom. And at the age of eight, her mother thought she was problem because she wasn’t doing well in school. And fortunately, a very wise doctor said that left the room leaving Jillian alone with the radio on and Jillian started to dance, they looked through a two way mirror, and the doctor turned to her and said, Mrs. Gillian, there’s nothing wrong with your daughter, she’s a dancer, take her to a dance studio. And it’s a perfect parable for what this multiple intelligence is, is find where you align. And when the piece fits, in your words, follow that dot because that’s probably where you want to be be spending your time.
David Ralph [28:35]
Because we talk a lot about connecting our pasts to build our future. And looking back at that, exactly, she was saying, the youth in you the video, the youngster who would run home from school to do something, just because I love doing it. And where we lose that is when responsibilities and adulthood comes along. And we just build it, we have to be on a path. And then suddenly, you’ve got two kids, you got a wife, and you all most feel like you can’t can’t take that risk anymore. But what I’ve realised now and it was what I was going to say but my train of thought when was what Jim Carrey was saying is you’ve got to take a risk for the thing that you love. When I did this, it wasn’t really a risk as such, I had transitioned and I made sure that I could pay my bills at a minimum. But now I’m doing it. If I look back at it now I would go Yes, I would risk everything. Now. Now I’m actually doing this, I would risk that my family don’t have a roof over their head. But my kids haven’t got X y&z that we don’t have a holiday each year that we can’t pay the bills, because now I’m doing it. I’m absolutely convinced that this is what I should be doing. And I would I would go for it. And I wish people could see that in their own lives. But I totally understand why so many people. And so many of my listeners say to me, I’d like to do this but up and this and bad, and all those kind of things, because I haven’t quite them the thing, but they will actually throw themselves out and take that risk.
Rick Kantor [30:08]
Right. Well, that brings up to two things for me. One is the difference between risk and strategy. And I don’t think they’re antithetical I think the best way actually to take a risk is to strategically look at what you want to be doing, figure out how you can buttress the risk and make it as livable as possible. Because I don’t I don’t think risk is jumping off a tree, having no idea what’s underneath it. If I really want the experience of jumping off a tree, that I’m going to get some firemen there with net. So I know that I won’t get hurt. I don’t think that in any way lessens the risk or lessons that experience it just means I’m being smart. Well, so I think that’s an important.
David Ralph [30:52]
Yeah, we called it now Well, I kind of call it that I had a slide of faith instead of a leap of faith. It doesn’t seem that dramatic. That’s great, because I kind of almost prepared for it. But once I did it sure, the worst case scenario was that I would have gone back and got the job that I was doing. And I could have done with my eyes closed. But it just wasn’t something that I felt that I could do anymore. And it’s it’s such a shame, isn’t it that you you do you go into rooms and you meet people, and they are celebrating or not even celebrating 50 years with the same company. And I remember being up in the City of London, and there was this old chap called Ron. And he used to have to be able to do 40 years in the bank. And Ron had done like 50 years. And it was like beyond anything and you could go up to Ron, and I was like 16 year old and you can ask him anything about the banking system. And he would know because he’d been there so long. And we said to him, you know, did you want to go into banking? And he said, No, No, I didn’t. It was just that my dad did. And we went, but you’ve done 15 years wrong. And he went, yeah, but you know, that’s the way it was in those days. And when he was his little leaving, do, you would have thought that the company would have bought him a gold watch and celebrated. I saw him profound an email saying, I’m leaving, if you’d like to come up and share the sausage roll and stuck with me. And he had to pay for it on himself. And when we went up there he was sitting in the room on his own. And we went in and where is everyone gone? And he went, No one’s turned up. And I just thought it was so sad that he’d given so much of his life to accompany. And at the very end, it just kind of Yeah, it didn’t even acknowledge he’d been there. And I think that was a wake up call. I’ve never told that storey on any show, because he kind of generally makes me feel really sad for him. And I don’t know what’s happened to Ron, if you out there, Ron, Mr. Ron Granger, you’re a young man. But um, well, it’s
Rick Kantor [32:47]
interesting. If you listen back to this talk, and your beginning description of him. You said what he was doing was he did his time? That’s a phrase we use for prisoners is?
David Ralph [32:58]
Yeah, absolutely. He must feel that that’s very
Rick Kantor [33:01]
much what is experienced? Absolutely. And the other thing, and this pertains to my studies and creativity and organisational culture is think how stupid and I’ll use that word, though. It’s strong. The company he worked for was and the message they were sending out to every other employee about their level of empathy, caring or appreciation? How much would it have cost them to throw a beautiful, grateful party for this man, and have everybody there to see how much their company cares for their employees. Instead, they sent a very different message today.
David Ralph [33:38]
Absolutely. And you must see this a lot going into companies as you do. Now you are looking at the creativity that comes from within, do you see the same kind of lack of regard for the employee?
Rick Kantor [33:52]
It’s very common. It’s, and having had my own company, you know, I started a company in a five floor walk up New York City. And by the time we sold it, it was a $6 million company with 70 plus employees. And so it was really kind of what we call the American dream, starting from nothing and, and growing it. And because I had had so many of those bad experiences, my employees were given every kindness, every care, every concern, there was free loans for employees, when they needed help, there was complete medical insurance, there was anything you could think of every every birthday was celebrated individually, and specially there were Christmas trips to Disneyland for their extended families. Because these, these are people I care for and love. And I think if you if that attitude sincerely pervades your your work as a leader in those organisations, you don’t have turnover, people like working there, people have integrity, people will stand up for you. And that energy pervades everything in the building, and also goes into your products and goes out into the world that way. And I very sincerely believe that. And the reason we were a success, from my point of view is yes, we were extremely creative. And that’s what our product was about. But we built a company that was deserve to succeed.
David Ralph [35:22]
And it’s human values, isn’t it? Really it? The bottom line is, is if you provide human values that people respond to, and it sort of goes back to what I was saying before, if you get a boss who’s great, you will do anything for that boss. And if you get one who’s a complete pitch, right? You just won’t and your productivity goes down, goes down. Now there’s a book and I don’t know if you’ve read this read called Strength Finders, 2.0. Have you read this?
Unknown Speaker [35:48]
I haven’t, but I’m writing it down.
David Ralph [35:50]
You write it down, sir, because it’s a fascinating book very small. But there’s a test is the online test that makes this book amazing. And it’s by gentleman Cortana, brave. This guy is a psychologist or psychiatrist or one of those kind of things. And he along with the Gallup organisation, looked at morale in companies and what made people feel inspired to work harder. And pretty much they narrowed it down to the people that were in Jobs, but we’re not aligned to their strengths didn’t work very well. And the people that were aligned to their strengths did. And they were saying there seemed to be a problem in education, and parental support. But when you bring a report home from school, your mom and dad will quickly look down it and almost blank over the stuff you’re naturally good at, because I expect it and they will focus in on the EPS and Okay, are you fighting on French? You know, are we better get you some extra help on that. And what it comes out with, you get a test at the end. And it’s about 178 questions, and you have about 20 seconds each to answer them. And they’re very much I really feel like this, I kind of they would like this, I’m neutral. I don’t feel like this. And I really don’t build our business those kind of five standard questions, and you answer them and you get a sheet at the end, that tells you your five strengths, and is so insightful, I recommend everyone to do it. Because I got this sheet come out. And they tell you not only the streams, but an action plan to develop live streams. Because their argument is if you work in an area of your streams, you can almost forget about your weaknesses, and subsequently, you’re going to enjoy it more. And this report came out and it was five streams. And the first one was, I can’t remember what it was off the top of my head. I’ve got it far away somewhere. And I thought Yes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I thought Yes. I’m always like that. I’m always like, yes, this is going to be possible. Yes, we can do that. And then the second one was, I’m a communicator, and I thought, Yeah, I agree with that. And then it went down to the night, the third and the fourth, and the fifth. And I was thinking, Oh, I’m not too sure about these things. But once you start working on it with the action plan, and you develop them, human eyes, it knows you better than you know yourself. And subsequently, when I look at this job now, it really does play to four of those five strengths. And it’s those natural strengths that I can do with my eyes closed. But now I’m aware of them, I can make them even stronger. Sounds good in them?
Rick Kantor [38:23]
Yeah. And how happy are you in your work? And isn’t it because all of that aligns so well?
David Ralph [38:28]
Yeah, absolutely. And that’s what I try to get out to the audience. But if you are feeling incredibly tired, when you get home from work, and you’re not enjoying it, and the thought of actually doing something in the evening, additional, which is your true passion, fills you with dread, because you think, Oh, I’d really love to do that. But I’m so tired after day, then a lot of things may mean that you’re in the wrong job, you’re in the wrong position. There’s too much effort being taken just to get through. Because when you find something that naturally aligns with your fame’s, you don’t have to put that much effort in again. And that sort of takes me back to my original sort of theory, that life should be easier because you’re playing to those rights that are inherently you.
Rick Kantor [39:12]
Yes, yes. And and the other thing is, when you’re suffering through that job like that, you need a reward at the end of the day, because you know, your little basic self inside the one that isn’t, isn’t the the educated, conscious mind. But as the emotional self is going, man, I can’t believe you put me through another day like this. I really need to have something nice to do. How about let’s go have a pint? How about let’s lay on the couch and watch TV. And it sees that as the reward or the compensation for the horror of the work. Whereas if you actually don’t do that easy path and that easy reward, but instead, take a class, go to an art studio, do something, take an acrobatic class, go to the gym, do something that might engage you and the parts of you that really enjoy those things, you’ll end up leaving the activity with more more energy than that at the end of your workday. Right. Yeah, no, absolutely get we get energy. Yep. Yeah, absolutely. So part of what happens to people in terms again, of creativity is is people lose their creative selves. And it’s pretty well documented. If you go into any first kindergarten, first grade class and say, who in here is creative? every hand will go up, right? And then you go into the fourth grade classroom? And if you get 5% of the hands answering yes to that question you’d be doing well. It happens that quickly. In in the literature, we call it the fourth grade slump, there’s actually a word for it. And it’s when we’ve started to become socialised. We’re separating out as females and males. And if you think back to your own fourth grade, and I say, who was the best artists in your class? You probably we’ll go Oh, sure. I tell you, it’s Donny so and so. And who was the best athlete? Oh, it’s this one. So we start to say, Oh, that’s the one who’s this? Not me. That’s the one who’s that? Not me. And you keep getting all these not nice. And so you put up walls and say, Well, I don’t do that. I can’t draw a straight line. I’m not an artist, I guess I’ll never do that, again. It’s rubbish. It’s complete rubbish. It’s a way we close down our own creative gifts. And whether you’re doing art, whether you’re singing, you’re taking guitar lessons, you are opening your whole body up to a different way of interacting with the world. So that when you go in, I don’t care if you’re an accountant, when you go into solve an accounting problem, you’re going to look at it from that creative viewpoint, because those muscles have been activated, they’re getting used, and you’ll look at it and go, well wait a second, why don’t we do this, there’s a storey of a part time bookkeeper in the state of Massachusetts, who was able to save the state 1 billion in dollars, a billion dollars from a part time worker simply because her vantage point and her access to creativity and, and kind of creative thinking and having a boss that didn’t shut her down, I might add was such that she’s went Wait a second, if we label this this way, and tag this, this way, will get reimbursed in a particular way. And she saved a billion dollars. So the idea that creativity is the domain of the creative department of marketing of r&d is again is nonsense. creativity can happen from anybody, the person who discovered gore tex, or scotch guard or Teflon, those are all accidents that happened. But they they were taken to market and created billions of dollars, because there was somebody there with a frame of mind, who didn’t just go get the mop and clean it up, but actually looked into it. Gee, that’s funny. Where did those three drops come from? And how come they’re not getting dirty?
David Ralph [43:01]
So so how can I have
Unknown Speaker [43:02]
David Ralph [43:04]
So so how can our listeners find creativity in their life, when they are stifled by tiredness, responsibility, a lack of vision and all those kind of things that make many, many people almost like The Walking Dead by get up when the alarm clock goes off, they go off to work, they get to lunchtime, they come home, and I do it again. How can somebody kickstart that ability to find creativity?
Rick Kantor [43:30]
Yeah, that’s that’s a really great question, I would say the first thing I would recommend is something that’s totally non threatening. If you want to make no greater commitment to yourself than this, it’s a it’s a wonderful way to start. However, you go to work go a different way. Tomorrow, I don’t care if it’s only one street, if you’re driving, that instead of going right you go left and your circle around, I don’t care if you take the bus instead of taking the subway, whatever it is just do something different, something anything different, and keep your eyes open. And then the next day do something different when you go to the supermarket. All those cans and, and boxes of food that you walk by because you label them as not me. Take a look at one of them and and see if there isn’t something there and say I think I’ll try this. Because the message you’re sending to yourself is I’m awake. I’m waking up, and I’m willing to experience my world in a different way. That’s all it takes to start.
David Ralph [44:35]
So are we saying but it’s a simple case of breaking habits. Because quite simply, you’re always going to get what you’ve always got if you always do what you’ve always done.
Rick Kantor [44:46]
Yeah, that’s, that’s certainly one way to express it. Yep. In the literature, we call it fixity. If I x it, why, you know, when your thought gets trapped and stuck and glued together in such a way that you literally don’t see what’s happening.
David Ralph [45:02]
Are you a chatbot? has too many ideas? You seem to be somebody I do. Yeah, you seem to be like that, even from talking to you today.
Rick Kantor [45:11]
I do I do. It’s it’s a, it’s, it’s not always easy to handle, um, my partner jokes that I come up with at least three new products every day. Some of them I’ve taken to market and some of them not, but it’s just the way my brain works. And what that process really is about is is it’s about synthesis or connexion. So it’s a lot of what creativity is the idea that somebody is creative, because they’re originating somebody out of the something out of the ether that never existed before. is mostly or totally not true. That’s not what happens. Usually, it’s putting two things together, like, oh, a wristwatch and a computer, oh, maybe Apple’s gonna come out with, you know, their new wristwatch, or a Google Glass or any of these kinds of things. You’re taking two ideas and saying, what would happen if we forced them together? What would it look like? If I take the sport of basketball? And I’m a manufacturer of garbage cans? What could I make if I put those very strange disparate ideas together and you go? Well, wouldn’t it be cool if in your office, you had a basketball hoop above the garbage can, and when you sat at your desk, you could throw paper and see if you made a made a score? Well, that’s brilliant, but it’s really nothing more than a forced connexion. So my mind sees that all the time. I see very, I put things together in different ways. So for instance, the company I had that that grew quite large, started because I was noticing at the time, I had a full finishing decorative painting business in New York City. And I was going to paint in a muzzle Liam in New Jersey, and I walked out of the apartment, and I looked down 70 Third Street, and there was a crosswalk. And there were four men in the crosswalk, exactly like the cover of the Abbey Road album. for that. Yeah, I do the Beatles on. So it’s exactly like that. And every one of them was a middle aged man. And every one of them had a baseball hat. And every one of them had a new ponytail that they were growing, pulled through the back of their baseball cap. So I looked at that, and I went, Oh, my God, this is becoming such a cliche was 19 1991 when guys were starting to think, Oh, it’s okay to grow baseball cap, even if your corporate to grow a ponytail, even if you’re corporate. So I looked at it, I went, that’s so funny, I could make that. So I went out that the next day, and I bought a baseball cap and I bought a ponytail. And I sewed them together in any guy could look like they had long hair. But guys in the military loved it when they were unleashed, because nobody knew they were the military. Men, you know, it became the pet rock, it became huge, everybody needed a ponytail. And one thing led to another and the hat company just grew and grew, grew. But it was just seeing the world. If I wasn’t my eyes weren’t open, and I was just going to work, I would have missed something that you know, it was a million dollar idea.
David Ralph [48:12]
Yet now I can see that. But the beauty of your life is in many ways you have put yourself in a position to be able to see those opportunities, because you are true to what you want in life. And that’s that’s the problem that I’m trying to get across to the listeners, a lot of them can’t see the opportunities, they can’t see what they should be doing. They can’t see what they shouldn’t be doing. Just because their life is so fast paced, and they’re constantly going to work coming home they’re dealing with the kids are going to bed, they’re getting up and all that kind of stuff. You need to be able to have those moments of reflection and to be able to sit and look at what you’re doing. It doesn’t surprise me at all. But literally, to a man and a woman successful people say to me, one of the major things I do is have 15 minutes quiet time I just sit back and reflect. And you know, that’s right. If you think of like meditation and stuff, a lot of people will go, Oh, that’s just like floating three feet off the floor in a coma for an hour. Right? But it doesn’t have to be all we’re saying is just for those moments to actually go No. Am I on the right path? Yes, I am. Am I not? Well, I’ve got to do something about it. And I think you you’ve got that ability to be able to have those quiet moments, don’t you?
Rick Kantor [49:26]
Yeah, I think yes, I think you have to make them happen. And and the hardest thing to do is to make that first step as as to your question. Because it’s like, if I want to drive a car, what’s the first thing I have to do, I have to turn on the ignition. So if you’re not doing something you’re loved. And basically your ignition is off, your energy is in flowing. So the first thing you have to do is let’s turn on the car, don’t worry about where you’re taking it, just get the engine, you know warmed up, and then we can worry about where we’re taking it. So the way you warm it up is things like you’re saying, sit down with a piece of paper, take 10 minutes, set the clock, say I’m not putting this off, I just heard the show, I’m going to do it and say, What kinds of things would I like to be doing? Or if I could have any job in the world right now or live anywhere in the world? What would it be making? I wish statement. And those two words are really important. I wish because it it’s not I hope, or I want to because those are all adult words, I wish is a childhood word. I wish they were castles in the sky. So talk to that part of you and say I wish, you know, I wish there was a way my family could live abroad for a month. That’s a great sentence, don’t worry about how you’re going to make it happen. Just get that part of you out to see what is it that really wants to come alive. And don’t even think about how you’re going to make it happen. Just get the engine going.
David Ralph [50:54]
I think that’s quite brilliant. And what I found doing this, and it’s not about me, but how is my show, so I’m going to talk about myself. But when I started it, I really didn’t know how to do it. And then I started to see how to do it. And then I started to see how to do it better. And it’s just those you know, I talk about it all the time is the incremental gains, I was talking to a chap the other day, who has created a book called Thomas Corley. And it’s the 50 rich habits. And he spent five years assessing poor people and rich people to find the habits, but they do on a daily basis. And one of the things that the rich do is they can’t actually say how they became rich, because it’s all the tiny little things that they do on a daily basis, that kind of build up to it. So if you said to them, you know, how did you get successful? Well, not really sure, you know, because there’s so many tiny little things. But what they do do is when the poor people go home and just fall in front of the telly in the evening watching reality TV, they are sending an email to someone or connecting with someone or about self developing or reading something. And it seems to be that extra energy you get because you are successful, but actually helps you move on move in the direction you need to.
Rick Kantor [52:12]
Yeah, and the problem is that all those things you described instead of sitting in front of reality TV, when I listened to those, it sounds like work to me. And I know if I’m in that frame of mind where I’m slightly depressed, I don’t like what I’m doing. And I want to be watching TV, that when you say I’m sending a few emails to a friend, part of me goes, I don’t want to do that. I just want to sit here, right? Yeah, no. Sounds like a kind of work. And so. So you have to find something that won’t feel like work to you. So if I said don’t watch reality TV, if I gave you 15 minutes and said you have to do something else, what would be fun? Do you want to you know, go buy flowers and arrange them? Do you want to sing a song? Do you want to dance? Steve, what a torque in front of the mirror. It just doesn’t matter what it is. Do you want to cuddle with your puppy? It doesn’t matter. But there must be something you’d like doing. And if you’re not sure then look at Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences or, or take the Strength Finders Strength Finders test, or do a Myers Briggs training test, or the anagram is another brilliant thing you can do online, which analyses people by nine different sets of personality traits. And it’s really a revelation, when you find out you’re not quite as unique as you thought that that’s somebody who doesn’t even know you could just read your beads right off and tell you everything about yourself. Because you know, there’s a rationale to our constructions. The things that we put up resistance to, there’s a good reason our conscious does that there’s something it thinks it’s protecting. The trick is to get through and realise, you know, that’s an artificial construct, it doesn’t protecting and all this time, you’ve been protecting it like that man at that bank job. And he was protecting what his security, his safety, whatever he thought needed protecting. And so he just stuck it out. It’s really worth taking a look, as you say, reflecting on some of those things and seeing what’s there.
David Ralph [54:19]
Well, I’ll be honest with you, I’m going to go back to my home tonight, and I’m going to start working in front of the mirror. I can’t believe that. And I don’t believe it, either.
Rick Kantor [54:32]
You know of a woman named Louise Hay, she’s written books on you can heal your life. Oh, yes. Yeah, back in the 80s. Yeah. So she was saying, you know, if you if you have your neck hurts, then who’s a pain in the neck in your life? You know, if your feet hurt, why are you afraid to move forward, you know, the the idea that your body is manifesting something that you need to know about in the area that you you have resistance to. And I took a workshop with her back in the 80s. And she did for people who don’t like meditation don’t think they know what it is don’t believe in it don’t think of visioning or any of those things. She did the most brilliant exercise. And this will take maybe 20 seconds. And I’ll do it with any of your listeners. And they can do it along with me and the exercises. This I want you to imagine right now. And David, you can do this too. I want you to imagine right now that you are inside of a box. Now, I’d like you to get outside of the box, and then open your eyes. So that took probably 12 seconds, something like that. Yep, I bet I can ask you questions like, How big was the box? What shape was the box? Was it dark? Was it light? Were you standing? Where you sitting? How did you get out? Did you have to have a ladder? Did you have to have a fighter plane bomb that open? Did you just push your blow and it went down. And what it teaches me is that there is a whole world inside of us we have access to so much information and thoughts that are uniquely ours. And we go through our lifetimes and many people have never even done those 12 seconds to recognise, wait a second, there’s wisdom inside. It’s the place where our dreams live. And I think it’s really instructive that there are lots of ways that accessing that part of us really can be a powerful source of energy. Absolutely.
David Ralph [56:29]
Well, we’re getting to the end of the show now Rick and one to do I really want to connect up your storey and I want to play the words of Steve Jobs who says it so well. And then I’m going to ask you a few questions about the journey that you’ve been on. So this is Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs [56:42]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connecting your future, you have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [57:18]
So connecting your dots up the fascinating part of this whole conversation and believe me has been fascinating, was almost one of the first things that you said that you realised that by becoming an entrepreneur, you were going to have times when you knew that you weren’t gonna be able to pay your bills, it was going to be difficult for you. But you You must have trusted in something. So in the words of Steve Jobs, what what did you actually trust in that made you think that yes, you could go on a path that is true to yourself?
Rick Kantor [57:48]
The I guess that the alternative was worse. The alternative was worse settling or making an arbitrary choice. And looking back I remember that was another crystallised moment. I think my father was saying, well, you have to choose a career. And I looked at him and said, Really, it’s that arbitrary. You just sit down look at a list and say, Okay, I guess I’ll be an engineer. And and I just thought, No, I can’t do that. If there’s no inner inner voice inside of me saying I want to do that. I can’t make that choice. And I’ll just muddle through. Or I’ll wait until whatever it is does show up and trust that it will, and it has multiple times.
David Ralph [58:33]
And so did you actually believe that those words that the theme of this show? Do you think they are true?
Rick Kantor [58:40]
No, absolutely. Absolutely. You know, there’s a there’s another visual that a movie. I don’t remember the name of it. But there was one scene where Vanessa Redgrave and Meryl Streep, they’re two faces as Vanessa Redgrave is dying. And it’s just there two faces on the entire set screen. And Meryl Streep is a pretty uptight societal woman. And Vanessa Redgrave has led a more Vogue road kind of life. And she looks as she’s dying at Meryl Streep and says, there are no mistakes. There’s nothing you can do wrong. There’s no mistakes. And I thought that was so profound. If you look at your life from the perspective of as you’re dying, and realise nothing you could have done at any point in your life was off course, your life is the course. So just trust, trust in yourself and give yourself the support that probably your family and your bosses haven’t give you. So what what does that come down to love yourself? Love yourself, David enough that you’ll drop what you are doing and take a risk to start a podcast show that helps millions of people’s lives. Easy going to be bad if I love my self too much when I’m working tonight, is it Is that wrong? No, that’s what I’d love to have happen. Well, that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m
David Ralph [1:00:03]
gonna do and one on one I’m
Unknown Speaker [1:00:06]
going to check in and make sure you did,
David Ralph [1:00:08]
I’m gonna think of you while I’m doing it. This is the show. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic. And this is when I send you back in time, like a time traveller to have a one on one with yourself. And if I could send you back, what age Rick, would you want to talk to him? What advice would you give? Well, we’re gonna find out because I’m going to play the tune. And you up. This is the Sermon on the mic.
With the best bit of the show,
Rick Kantor [1:00:55]
you know, little Rick, there’s only one voice you need to listen to. And it’s the one that lives inside of you. And to prove my point, I’m going to tell you something that probably the smartest man in the world ever said and that was Albert Einstein. And he said this, there is genius in everyone. But if you ask a fish to climb a tree, it will grow up believing it’s stupid. Trust yourself, there’s genius inside of you. There’s creativity and there’s love. Your job is to go out and share that.
David Ralph [1:01:36]
I have never heard that fish statement before. But that is kind of mad and profound at the same time, isn’t it?
Rick Kantor [1:01:44]
Isn’t it? Yeah. Yeah. I guess that’s a description of Albert Einstein kind of mad and profound at the same time.
David Ralph [1:01:50]
Yeah, absolutely. So how can our audience connect with you, Rick?
Rick Kantor [1:01:56]
You know, I keep a pretty low foot low profile on social media such I do have a Facebook account I don’t look at and I do have a LinkedIn account. And if you just look at Rick Cantor, r IC k k NT or it’ll get to me, you’re also welcome to email me my email is Ric Ric k at my name, Rick Cantor k n te r.com. Love to hear from any of you. Anything related to creativity being your your best self, innovation, personal cultural, any of that stuff, love to hear from you. And it’s been David, such a real treat to work with you and talk. And I know we could do this for another three hours. And unfortunately, we can’t. But thank you for the privilege of being here.
David Ralph [1:02:44]
It’s an absolute delight to have you on and I’m going to give you a big finish off because you’ve been so fantastic. So thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you have more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining those dots and connecting our past is the very best way to build our futures. Rick Cantor. Thank you so much.
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