Welcome to the Join Up Dots Podcast with Jason Kotecki
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Introducing Jason Kotecki
Todays guest taps into something on a daily basis that we also talk about on a daily basis.
The connection between being an adult and the child we once were.
You see, as we discuss on Join Up Dots there was once a time in our life, when we free and able to dream big.
We could sleep well at night, and wake up rested, ready for another day of big dreams, fantasy lives, and well being a kid.
And our guest came to the same realisation although from a slightly different route.
You see our guest left college and along with his wife entered the “real world” and quickly noticed a few things.
Like the fact that a shocking number of grown-ups are inflicted with Adultitis.
How The Dots Joined Up For Jason
They looked around and thought, “Hey, kids don’t ever seem to be very stressed out – what do they know that we don’t?”
As they say ” The “Adulthood” we encourage people to escape from is the one they create for themselves when they assume childhood is nothing more than a stage of life, a hermetically-sealed portion of their past.
It is the Adulthood with all the stupid rules, the one that demands we always do the safe and prudent thing, that we earn play through hard work, and that we must always, without exception, take ourselves way too seriously.
Yeah, that’s the Adulthood that sucks.
This desire for escape is not new. But too often our attempts are limited to cheap thrills, strong drinks, or mindless entertainment.
We believe there’s a better way.”
Well lets find out what that better way is, because I feel they have already got believer in me.
So its with delight that we get to bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Jason Kotecki
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Jason Kotecki such as:
How he loves to be able to choose his time and his work schedule, to get the perfect work life balance in his life.
How he does not really know where his life is leading to, but he knows that the mission they are on will get them to the perfect place.
How he had so many people tell him when he started corporate speaking, that he had to wear a suit, which totally went against the branding that he was building. They totally missed the point!
Listen as he tells an amazing story of how he joined up his dots, to achieve a dream of publishing his first book. Dots that took fifteen years to join up.
How he recalls getting his first booking to speak for a company in Seattle, and barely broke even financially, but still was excited at the opportunity
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You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Jason Kotecki Interview
David Ralph [0:00]
Today’s show is brought to you by podcast is mastery.com. The premier online community teaching you to podcast like a pro check us out now. podcasters mastery.com
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 [0:37]
Yes, hello there Episode 352 of Join Up Dots. This is David Ralph. I’ve just recorded the year anniversary episode. So Episode 367 it’s gonna be bad. It’s gonna be a big one is going to be an unusual one. So hopefully you’re tuning into that. But if you don’t, don’t worry, just listen to this show because it’s going to be a good one today because today These guests taps into something on a daily basis. But we also talk about on a daily basis on Join Up Dots the connection between being an adult and a child we once were, you say, as we discussed on Join Up Dots it was once a time in our life. When we were free and able to dream a big we could sleep well at night, wake up, rested, ready for another day of big dreams, fantasy lives and well being a kid. And our guest came to the same realisation although from a slightly different route. You see our guest left college and along with his wife into the real world and quickly noticed a few things like the fact that a shocking number of grown ups were afflicted with adult lighters, I think upset that right. They looked around and four kids don’t ever seem to be very stressed out. What do they know that we don’t, as they say, the adulthood we encourage people to escape from is the one they create for themselves when they assume childhood is nothing more than a stage of life. hermetically sealed portion of their past is the adulthood we’ve all the stupid rules, the ones that demand we always do the safe and prudent thing that we earned through hard work, and we only get paid for that hard work and that we must always without exception, take ourselves way too seriously. Yeah, that’s the adulthood that sucks. Now this desire for Escape is not new, but too often now attempts are limited to Cheap Thrills, strong drinks, or mindless entertainment doesn’t sound bad, to be honest, I must admit, we believe Oh, there’s a better way. So we’re going to find out the better way today. Let’s find out what the better way is. Because I feel I’ve already got a believer in me. So as we’ve done light that we get to bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Jason Kotecki. How are you Jason?
Jason Kotecki [2:36]
I am excellent. David, how are you?
David Ralph [2:38]
I’m excellent. I got so excited. In that introduction. I’m thinking to myself, what do I want to do to want to act like a kid or do I want to go out and get cheap thrills and strong drinks or mindless entertainment? I couldn’t decide at that moment. What what appealed most, so um, did you struggle with that as well? Do you do look at that and go Well, yeah, that’s good. That’s good. But there is more to it than that.
Jason Kotecki [3:00]
Yeah, no i i think there’s nothing wrong with going out and having having some drinks and having some fun by any means. I think the problem is is the is the people at you know what it comes down to is that TGF. Thank God, it’s Friday. Yeah, I think that’s the that’s the problem is when you’re living your entire week, for the weekend. That’s the best indicator something’s going wrong because that there’s five days they’re out of seven that do not need to be a drudgery
David Ralph [3:27]
I have od is, Oh, damn, it’s Saturday. And I, I find I’m so focused on everything during the week that when Saturday comes, I feel like there’s a void in my life somehow, you know, going to the shops with the kids and stuff. It’s all right. But it’s a bit humdrum compared to the, to the midweek. What’s your life like? So on a weekly basis, you seem to be and I was amazed actually, when I started researching on you, you have got a tonne of books out you’ve really been bashing away at the keyboard big time. So is there a sort of element of that every week does that come every now and again. What Week Look,
Jason Kotecki [4:01]
I’m my week well, I have three young children six and under. So that means that every every day is a little bit different as you might imagine, so, but I’m the type of person I really hate routine, and then I kind of like it, but I get really bored of it. So, being a speaker means I’m on the road a lot. But then when I’m home, I like being home and I’m, yeah, I’m always I do have little routines. I’m always sketching in my sketchbook, I’m always jotting down writing things I’m writing on my blog every week and a lot of that is where ideas for books come from and for elements of my speech, so those are kind of the foundational sorts of things and then it’s just you know, every day is just a little bit different. I have kind of a normal work hours that I that I tend to work but one of the things my wife Kim and I love is the freedom of being an entrepreneur. So there’ll be times where if I have a speech on a on a Saturday, you know, we might take off Monday, and that will be our Saturday or a Wednesday. If it’s a beautiful day. We’re like, we’re just gonna go to the zoo today. So it just kind of, it kind of just all balances out. But yeah, there’s there’s kind of fundamental little routines that I had I try to keep alive.
David Ralph [5:18]
Have you always had the entrepreneurial spirit because that is one of the things that I get from my listeners a lot. But they kind of class it as cake and eat it. But you want to earn money but had their own time to do what they want. And I always say to them, no, it’s not taking at you’re not asking for anything, but you shouldn’t get nowadays with the opportunities around you can have that and the older cake you want and then play as well. Have you always seen it that way? Have you always seen that the traditional route into sort of a corporate gig was confining somehow and you need really needed to be happy to do that same thing. Go to the zoo whenever you want.
Jason Kotecki [5:57]
Yeah, you know, I I don’t when I look back at my childhood, I don’t I don’t necessarily see a tonne of entrepreneurial qualities, but I there were some I mean, when I was in when I was in high school my parents kind of it’s kind of weird. They kind of made me take over a concession stand next to the public swimming pool with what you were going to tell
David Ralph [6:19]
them how they made you bear for a moment.
Jason Kotecki [6:23]
No, we I think we can we can figure that I’ve got
David Ralph [6:25]
it down. Pat, may I tell you,
Jason Kotecki [6:27]
but we did. We did a concession stand for summer and I’m I made more money that summer than I did in my entire childhood. So that kind of was a little bit of a bug, I think. But I think I’ve always had a sense that I’m not very good at. I don’t think I’m very employable. To be honest with you. I think that’s the thing. I don’t like people telling me what I have to do. And so I think I’ve I’ve been destined for, for sort of charting my own course and over the years as it’s worked out, I’ve fallen more and more in love with being an entrepreneur and One of the things that Kim and I love doing is talking to entrepreneurs and brainstorming their businesses. And it does it does really get me fired up.
David Ralph [7:09]
So I’m doing these kind of quotes II thing with me fingers. But have you ever had a quote at proper job? Have you ever worked either a corporate gig?
Jason Kotecki [7:18]
Um, I had early on I, after I graduated college, I worked at a newspaper, working, doing ads and graphic layouts and things like that. I did that for about a year. I wouldn’t call it corporate II but it was it was a real job, I guess. So. Yeah, but that was that was about it. And then pretty much within that I actually made this little plan because my wife was still in college. So we had a year we were engaged we had a year before we were going to get married. And I brought this document that I wrote to my parents, basically saying I want to try to Make it as a freelance illustrator and which is what I went to school for. And I had this whole reason of why I was going to make it and what I was going to do and basically what I was asking them for was to stay at home for a year rent free while I worked on the the the freelance side. And then I was still working at the newspaper on the side to kind of bring in money. So yeah, they were very impressed by my my thoughtfulness and that because it was not something that I was known for. So yeah, so that that job was a good one. It was short lived and actually was the see we talked about dots. I, I forgot about this, but I had a guy that I worked with his name was Tim and he actually had a graphic design business. And he worked with his wife. And I remember thinking, Oh my gosh, that would be amazing to work with my wife, which I know is sort of weird, because most people think I would kill my husband or wife if I work with them. But
David Ralph [8:56]
the same thing as well. Yeah,
Jason Kotecki [8:57]
yeah, not surprised, but for us. It was was like this kind of neat thing. Well, Kim was going to be a kindergarten teacher. And so I didn’t want to bring it up because I was I didn’t want to distract her from from her dream and where she was going. But lo and behold, a few years later, we were we were working together.
David Ralph [9:13]
And has it been upon the sheet made in heaven in a sort of professional sense, because as I say, I think I would struggle working with my wife because I want to do certain things my way and she’d want to do certain things. So why does it work well, or are there sort of struggles at time when you get into bed? No, don’t talk to me about that in a way you go.
Jason Kotecki [9:33]
There, it’s not it’s not all you know, rainbows and unicorns by any stretch that you know you it’s easy to get on each other’s nerves and things like that one smile, but I gotta say, I think we’ve kind of felt from the beginning we’re not to sound too dramatic or like we were meant to be together and we were meant to do some some pretty cool things together and it’s worked out really need that our skills are very complimentary to one another. And we’re Both self starters. But we both have strengths. And we both trust each other quite a bit so we don’t have to micromanage each other. And the biggest challenge is trying to figure out how to get a sentence. And when you’ve got three little kids, I mean, it’s, it’s uncanny. It can be silent for 10 minutes, and then Kim starts a sentence and all of a sudden that kid just materialises out of nowhere, like Mama, Mama. And it’s it’s maddening. So that’s our biggest challenge is trying to figure out how to actually talk with one another.
David Ralph [10:30]
So here’s the question. Here’s the question, Jason Kim’s not listening to this. So you can share with me in the micro managing, which one is the manager and which which one manages this partnership?
Jason Kotecki [10:42]
Oh, that’s it. That’s a good question, David.
I would have to say, you know, I think we both are that we both micromanage each other and the parts we’re not very good at. And I think that’s why, why it works. It’s there certain things that I kind of have to remind her about, but you know, I’m I’m the tech guy. So I’m always having to like make sure she’s updating your computer and not having a million windows open and all this kind of stuff. But she’s she keeps me on task with things I’m supposed to remember, like, Oh, you have this gig coming up, and you have to be here and that sort of thing. So it seems to work out pretty good. But she, she may have a different story. I’m not sure.
David Ralph [11:21]
I don’t work with my wife. But I walk back into her house and I’ve got a recording studio away from the house, I disappear and do the work. And when I come back, my wife more often than not, is looking at her laptop saying, why is it doing this to me? Why is it doing something? And I say, well, you must have done something. I haven’t done anything. I haven’t done anything. All I’ve done is turn it on, and it’s done this thing and you look at it, you go well, you must have done that. Oh, yeah, I might have done that. And so yeah, I think I would spend all my time just sort of dealing with laptop issues and stuff. So yeah, you’re brave man. You are a brave man. So well, what are the sort of the drawbacks been to having a partnership because I imagine there’s so many people out there that Listening, that are with partners, and one of them is very entrepreneurial and wants to do this and the other one is slightly reluctant. Do you need to have both entrepreneurial spirit? Or is it sometimes better to have somebody that is the anchor of the relationship and sort of hold you back from making those leaps?
Jason Kotecki [12:19]
You know, I think it just depends. I can say that we have a lot of speaker friends who see what Kim and I had because Kim does a lot of the marketing and sales she does all of the communication with clients before I speak, she does a lot of the travel arrangements. And I gotta tell you, a lot of my mom and my friends are like insanely jealous or like I would love to have someone like a cam like I need a cam and there are some people who are trying to bring their wives or their husbands into it to do the same thing and it doesn’t necessarily always work because that person is either not entrepreneurial, or they’re not very detail oriented. I mean, Kim Kim is a former kindergarten teacher. So she is Amazing you wouldn’t think but a kindergarten teacher is a great salesperson because it totally drops the guard like she’s so friendly and bubbly and people do not think that they’re about to be attacked by a sales call. So it works out really good and we have this sort of joint passion for our mission so that makes a big deal to big difference but but I do know other people were there, you know, the one person is the the soul, Heart of things and the other person is kind of a support and that’s what they like to do. And I mean, I will say it I as far as the hours ago, I put in more hours because Kim puts in a little bit more hours on the parenting side of things as a mom so but as far as the the responsibilities were both both pretty similar, but I definitely think it takes a good match. I’ll say and I’m not exactly sure what I did to deserve the match I got but it works for us. The word
David Ralph [13:59]
that jumped To me when you were talking there, Jason, is your mission, your combined mission? Did you feel that? Do you feel about that? Actually, what you’re doing? And obviously, we aren’t going to sort of delve into what you’re doing. But do you feel that it’s actually sort of bigger than the two of you?
Jason Kotecki [14:15]
Yeah, definitely. I think that’s something that we’ve kind of felt intuitively, almost since we met, and we didn’t always know what it meant, or what it was going to lead to. You know, you’re talking about entrepreneurs earlier, I have a friend who’s like, he’s a serial entrepreneur. And I mean, he’s, he runs a web hosting company now, but there was a time where he sold five masters and you know, the Suzanne Somers exercise thing and he’s a kind he doesn’t matter what he’s saying. He just likes the act of being an entrepreneur and for me, I would kill myself if I was not. If the passion and the mission were not the same. So for me, the mission is way bigger. And the entrepreneurial side is trying to figure out has has been trying to figure out And finally we have but it’s how do you make a business out of it? How do you you know, we threw a lot of spaghetti against the wall to try to figure out what the manifestation of this mission could look like in a real money making business sense because when it comes down to it if you don’t have money, you don’t have a business so yeah, but by far the mission is definitely what drives us and everything that we do
David Ralph [15:23]
so so did the mission sort of creep over you was it something that you was working towards before you really nailed it your your branding? Normally unless you’re very Luckily, I’m comes slightly afterwards you start working towards something I mean, I can see what we should be doing and but in a way you go, or were you lucky about the branding came first?
Jason Kotecki [15:43]
No, no, it was, it was definitely a slow process. I mean, we when we when we first got together, we definitely had a shared childlike spirit. That was one thing we had in common, and when I was was dating her, I drew little cartoon characters of what we look like as kids even though we didn’t know each other as kids, I stole a photo when she was about four. And I made these little, heartfelt, cheap, sappy little drawings for and this was actually kind of a risk, David because I did this a lot in high school. And I’ll tell you, it was the one way ticket to being called someone’s brother when I ended up doing that, like the girls would love it. And then a week later be like, Oh, you’re a brother to me. And it was just bad. So a lot of people had drawings that I had put up in their their locker but none of them ended up being girlfriends. So I decided to try it one more time with Kim and it and it kind of worked. And so I would just draw, you know, whenever we’d have an anniversary, you know, when you’re, you know, in high school and early days, you celebrate anniversaries, like weekly or he this is the this is the three week anniversary since we went to Pizza Hut and that kind of stuff. So there’s a lot of lot of things,
David Ralph [16:56]
man, did you
Jason Kotecki [16:57]
Yeah. And so you Draw things for as little gifts and stuff. And eventually it turned into a comic strip. And it was all about seeing life through the eyes of a child. And I was really convinced that that was kind of what I was meant to do was to become a cartoonist. And we tried a lot of different things along that that rope for five years and six years actually, and it just never quite took off to where we could make a living at it. So along the way, you know, like I said, we threw a lot of spaghetti against the wall, tried a lot of different things failed a lot. And finally, have gotten to a place now where you look at things I’m really proud of what we have and what our brand looks like where our website looks like, but it’s it’s literally 15 years of tweaking and listening to the market and listening to our hearts and, and trying to figure out as as we went along.
David Ralph [17:49]
Well, what’s the most important thing to you, Jason? Is it listening to the market or is he listening to your heart because I kind of come when I’m coaching people, I kind of say if you listen to Much to the market, you become a kind of vanilla version of what you should be you’re kind of playing to what’s already out there, then that’s popular. You’ve got to just do your own thing. And more often than not, you will find your tribe somehow.
Jason Kotecki [18:14]
You know, that’s a really good question. I’m never I’ve never really thought of that before. But in my case, I think for me, for me, I it helps it helps to listen to the market. But then I have to kind of check it with my heart. Because there’s a lot of things that make perfect business sense that I, I can kind of extrapolate five years down the road and I can tell I’ll be miserable if I follow that that route. You know, I think like a perfect example, I guess is I had a lot of people when I started speaking to me that I needed to dress up that I needed to have like a suit and tie as a speaker and all this sort of thing. And I just I am not a suit and tie kind of guy and I just feel like if I were to just go out on stage like that. It would be obvious that I am uncomfortable. So I wear jeans and a T shirt and a sport coat on stage and I feel hundred percent comfortable and authentic and it works for me. But
David Ralph [19:11]
there’s times when you was already gotten your mission because I can’t understand why anyone, when you’re talking about sort of escaping adulthood would be saying to you get into a suit. That just seems
Jason Kotecki [19:22]
bizarre to me. It does, doesn’t it? And that’s that’s the thing where it’s like, yeah, this is probably the way you’re supposed to do things. But in my case, it’s almost ridiculous if I were to do that, right, and that and not Not everyone gets that. But it’s kind of like if I if I’m wearing a fun t shirt, and I’m on stage, everyone’s like, Oh, well, this makes sense. No one’s thinking well, it didn’t dress up for us today. So that’s where it comes down back to like, only you know, what’s in your heart and your mission. And one of the things that took me a long time to figure out was this concept of figure out what it will look like if you succeed and and I’m not talking about like All the millions of dollars you get, because that’s what we think of we think of an idea. And we think, oh, there’s gonna be all kinds of money that people throw at us, we’ll get a big audience blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, but you don’t stop and think about what will be the day to day What will the day to day look like? And so for example, there was a time where we had a pretty extensive online store, where we sold a lot of third party products that were like, you know, childlike sorts of things like just like fun stuff. And after a while of getting into it, I realised I did I hated managing the inventory. I hated managing all of the, the the manufacturers that went with it, it was just like, looking at it like if we and we weren’t even that successful at that point, but looking head of like, wow, this really takes off. I’m going to be smack dab in the business and a business and I cannot stand so. That was kind of a turning point for me to realise when you when you have that, it’s kind of like when you first fall in love, like you’re like nothing can go wrong. It’s like everything is great. Everything is Awesome. But you have to stop and think like, what does the day to day look like? What are the potential downsides? And is that something you can live with? And that’s not to say that there aren’t any potential downsides for anything there are. It’s just a matter of are there ones that you can you can live with, I
David Ralph [21:16]
guess. And the downsides are what makes the story interesting, doesn’t it? That’s Yeah, you know, that’s the bit that when you look back, and you’re on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, now he does it. And he’s sitting there. He’s not going to ever say to you at all, just let’s talk about the stuff that’s gone really well in your life. It’s the it’s the bad stuff, isn’t it? That’s the juicy stuff. That’s the interesting stuff makes it rounded. So when you sort of look back on it, because I’m fascinated that you kept on throwing the spaghetti at the wall, and you must have had a very messy kitchen body stage after six years of doing this, but you’ve been going for it again. You kept on going for it. What? What was it was it you was it Kim? Was it the two of you? Did you just know that although you hadn’t been Having the right spaghetti there was something in there but kept you going.
Jason Kotecki [22:04]
Yeah, I think it was a little bit of all of it. When I was in high school, I worked at a car, a car dealership, and I wash cars and ran errands and, and it was a very good job for a teenager. But like any teenager, you you kind of have to hate your job. So I hated it. I counted down the hours of when I could leave and I remember noticing the the mechanics who also work there. And they also many of them also seem to hate their job. And I just couldn’t get over that because I’m like, this is your job. This is your like, for me, I’m a teenager, I’m supposed to hate my job. This is not what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. This is what you’re doing for the rest of your life. Why are you here? What are you doing? And I I kind of made a vow to myself right then that I was going to do what ever it took to do what I loved no matter what and I and I look back on that and that was a vow that I never broke. But I will say came close at times and part of what sustained me was Kim, she, you know, there there are times in our relationship where like, Kim believes more than me, and she helps pull me back up and then vice versa. But there were other times, you know, you want to talk about failures. We we at one point, were selling prints of my characters from the comic strip. And I was convinced, David that this was I mean, as soon as we showed this to the public, it was going to be the next peanuts or what is going to be awesome. And so we signed up a couple craft shows in the area that we could drive to, whereas like a two or three day show, where you bring your stuff and people come and and it was like, I think it was $500 which at the time for us was a rent payment. I mean, it was a big deal. And I’m pretty sure we sold for greeting cards. I think we made like $4 and 92 cents the entire weekend. And there we had a booth right next to us that was it was called Pampered Chef which is like one of these places where you can buy kitchen gadgets, and they literally had a cash register stuff set up. And it was it was going to chain all weekend long. And we had nothing. And I mean, we were both, like, we were in tears that night.
David Ralph [24:16]
And you know, the Pampered Chef when you go home
Jason Kotecki [24:20]
in my head, I did, yes. But we were just devastated. But I’ll tell you at those times, it was people like our parents, or we have some really close friends who still believed in us. And so when we didn’t, I trusted them. I’m like, man, they must see something in us that I am not seeing right now. I have to just, I just have to go with that right now. And I had a friend A long time ago, gave me some good advice. He said when you have a terrible, terrible day and you think you just want to give up just give yourself the favour of just going to sleep and trying one more time. And I’ll tell you what, it always works the next day. There’s always just a little glimmer of sunshine. There’s something that like little perspective, and it like makes it okay. But when you have those dark moments, sometimes that’s, that’s the thing that you have to keep in mind is just like just go one more day,
David Ralph [25:12]
I had a bad moment this week, I’ve been really pushing it because I’ve got many sort of avenues going on. And I’m alive today. I feel pretty good today. But during the week, I’ve felt dark, you know, when you got those dark clouds just over you. And one of my friends heard me being interviewed on another show. And he’s not even one of my sort of close friends. And he he made one of those motivational quotes, you know, when you get a nice image with the words and you see him on Google all the time, and he sent it to me, and he knew what I was going through and he sent it to me and it was one of the things that I say on other people’s shows, and I’ve said it on my own, and it is you never open a famous biography and find that it’s all blank pages with this is easy in it, bank. And that’s it and with my name at the bottom, and he sent it to me and he said, I know what you’re going through at the moment. But remember, when your biographies written, this is the best bit, which takes us back to the sort of the Jimmy Fallon thing I was talking about earlier. And you do need somebody you do need that sort of network of support around you because it’s hard, isn’t it? Jason? It is hard. Just keep on self motivating yourself to get going. When sometimes you wake up in the morning and there’s no reason for feeling down. But you just think we’re not getting anywhere. What’s the point?
Jason Kotecki [26:30]
Yeah, it’s definitely I’ve had I have had many of those days. It just it feels like what am I doing here? Am I am I an idiot? Am I foolish? Am I delusional? That’s that’s a big one for me. Am I delusional? Because you see it in your head so clear what the vision is and then the reality doesn’t always match up and you’re left to believe I must be insane, I guess. But yeah, there’s definitely you know, another thing that that is huge is just little emails from people, right? Like from fans or from for whatever, just you know that a lot of times that’s what kept me going someone would see a comic strip or someone would read a blog post and they just send me an email, say, I just needed to hear this. Thank you for all the work you do. And it’s such a minor thing, but on some days, that’s the lifeline. And I know I’m guilty of it. I have a lot of people I admire and I hardly ever reach out because I’m always saying, Oh, they must get it all the time. They must hear how great they are all the time. And you know, it’s just really helpful sometimes to just get a comment from someone or a simple email. And so, I have I have an email, I have a folder in my email programme that’s got you know, tonnes of them that I save and those I go back through when I’m having those those hard moments to be like, you know what, there’s something here and this is just a bad day and you just need to take it another step and keep going.
David Ralph [27:53]
Makes it sweeter, doesn’t it and believe me, listeners, it doesn’t matter who it is. They have struggled. If you’ve got some You want to go for, go for it, and it’s gonna be hard and it’s gonna be harder than you’ve ever thought. But if you work at it and you find the angle more often than not, it’s not the thing that you started off doing. But you know, you know, when it comes together, you find your lump of spaghetti on the wall, and you realise that that is what you need to go for. And I’m gonna play some words that really emphasise those moments when you at your darkest, but this is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [28:24]
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 to 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 [28:51]
I love that speech. And I do and I play it literally every day in me there will come a time in Join Up Dots. I’ll probably replace that but at the moment every single day. I feel something stolen me when I listened to that. Did you feel the same Jason?
Jason Kotecki [29:04]
Yeah, I love I love that quote, I love that speech. It definitely resonates with me, I think in you know, it’s not uncommon to a lot of people I’m sure who I grew up, it was very much emphasised how important, quote, benefits are, you know, health care plan, dental vision, 401 k, all that kind of stuff. And that was just really drilled into me. And I remember thinking like, what good is that? If I hate getting up every single day, what good is it if I have a dental policy? And I think that’s the thing and the thing that stands out to me about that, as we talked about, you know, the safe. And I think that’s the thing in this in this day and age, that that thing that was perceived as the safe job is, in many ways, the risky job I mean, I feel so much more in control of my destiny then if I had was part of some company that could just Go under at any minute, you know, because a lot of them when they go under, there’s not really a lot of signs, you know, there’s some big scandal or something like that, that just kind of comes out of nowhere. So I can definitely relate to the the safe part. And as far as benefits go, I mean, I actually believe that you should get a job with benefits, they should just be the benefits that you actually want. So, for me, a benefit of having you know, a 10 second commute when I’m home and being able to have most of my meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner with my family and being able to take my kids with me on the road with me when I go to speaking engagements sometimes and there’s like this, there’s an entire litany of benefits that I enjoy with my job that don’t include 401k policy or health care, but that’s okay because it makes up for
David Ralph [30:47]
now you obviously a family man, I’m looking at a picture of you on Skype and it suddenly dawned on me but you’ve got your feet up on the table or whatever in front of me, and I can see you and your wife’s feet which just taken me by surprise and So you’re very relaxed you’re a family man you’ve got your kids around Do you like being bear Do you need to go doing your conference? Speaking Can you not do it on a global where you create videos and send them out to do to do to do for you?
Jason Kotecki [31:13]
Um, I you know, I am one still, maybe I’m too old fashion but I like the interaction of the live audience. I like being on the road. I like the travel. I like meeting people. Before we had kids, Kim, Kim and I, we would we would go on all the all the engagements together. And then my daughter Lucy when she was before she was year old, she was on 34 flights. So if we took her on all of them, as we’ve gotten a larger family, it’s been not as easy to do that. So we kind of limit it but now I’m getting to the point where my daughter is six and Lucy and she’s really she’s pretty mature a little kid and so I’ve been able to take her to San Diego with me and recently we got back from a trip from Nashville where she Tom’s with me on my speaking engagements. And she helps out and we take a day or two after to go to the zoo or, or do something fun. And so now I’m excited about kind of that, that aspect of things. So I do I like the variety. I don’t know that I could just stay home all the time and be doing like webinars or things like that. So I like I said, I do like the variety I love to travel. And that is one of the best ways to travel because my travel expenses get paid. So it worked. I mean, when my wife and I had booked our first programme, it was in Seattle, which was a place we’d always wanted to visit. And literally the travel was more than the fee we quoted them. But we were just so tickled pink that someone who would actually pay for us to go to a city we wanted to go to that we were just delighted so and then later a speaker friends said, Yeah, you need to double your fee. All right, that’s kind of ridiculous. So but yeah, so I like the variety.
David Ralph [32:56]
So So a couple of questions there first, first of all, we’re talking about Lucy now Lucy gets up there with you or probably doesn’t get up on the stage. But she’s around that place your branding again, doesn’t it? Because it’s really blending the fact that you are an adult. Being a child, you’re going to professional work with a child that there’s that synergy again, isn’t it that makes it more powerful having around imagine because all the other corporate speakers I bet they just turn up in their suits with their briefcase, their laptop, the USB stick or whatever, and away they go.
Jason Kotecki [33:27]
Yeah, I think that I think it definitely helps underscore my message, I guess I would say, um, so far, I mean, so far, she’s like I said, She’s only six. So we’ve gone to very friendly audiences that are that are open to it. But I imagine as she gets older, she’ll be able to come to any of them. It’s just, it’s just a matter of, you know, she’s just part of part of the team, you know. But yeah, I will say will say when you have a baby at the back of the room, where you’re selling books, we just we seem that we seem to sell more books when that happens. So that the That’s been kind of a happy accident that we figured out, I guess. So there there’s some definite upsides to that.
David Ralph [34:06]
Now, the other thing that jumped out at me was your your friend, your colleague, same double, wF, yet fees. Have you found that a problem like so many entrepreneurs do to actually now your true value?
Jason Kotecki [34:21]
Yes, definitely. I think I have I have the double whammy going on because I have the artist side in me. So you know, that’s, that’s been very challenging. But again, with like my friend, you know, he was a speaker he is he’d been in the business longer than us. And so at that point, we trusted him, because he knew us. He knew what we were about. And so it said, okay, we don’t know if we’re worth this, but he thinks we are and he’s a part of this industry. So let’s just go for it. And then when we quoted that fee, and God it was like, holy crap, you know, and it’s basically been and then what’s cool Once you get that, then there’s like an affirmation that you are indeed worth that because someone actually paid for it. And so that that helps a little bit. But that that bravery it takes to quote a fee and shut up and see if they’ll, they’ll go for it is is a scary scary thing. Fortunately, I have my wife who is actually throwing out the number at times, but it’s usually after we’ve talked about it and said, what are we going to quote this? What what are they asking for? And we we have our moments where one of us is holding strong, and it’s like, okay, we’re going for they’re going to pay it this is this is what we deserve. And the other ones like I don’t know, but it seems it seems to balance out but yeah, it’s it is hard to, to find that value. Especially in an industry like this where there’s such a range and part of it is strategic too because, you know, there’s a lot of speakers I know who get a lot of money who are not necessarily celebrities, but they’ve they they struggle sometimes because they’re almost too expensive for the market is at and so you know, there’s a, there’s a fine line there between being too cheap that you could have gotten more money on the table and being too expensive to price yourself out of it.
David Ralph [36:11]
But but not company paying for you, this is the bizarre thing that I’ve learned from doing this show. But if you’d say, well, I’ll be there for $200 they, they’re not going to put the effort in there, their audience aren’t going to be drilled there so that they’re there on time, so they don’t get the true value of that $200 when you put in a figure of like, 10 grand or something, that’s when they pay all their cards to make sure that they get their money. And you see that when you buy something online. And it’s it’s a 300 video course for $99 you buy it and you don’t use it. But if you pay for it like a 601 Well, you’re gonna make sure that you’re going to get through that because you’re going to get your value again on you.
Jason Kotecki [36:54]
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m really interested in the psychology that stuff and that’s definitely that’s definitely I found that the other one that’s interesting is, you know, in the, in the Bible, there’s this verse about a prophet is not accepted in his hometown. And I think that’s true. Like we might, like I said, my first real paid, speaking engagement was in Seattle, I’m in Wisconsin, that’s like a four hour plane ride. I didn’t start getting booked in my home state. for at least a year, I had a look. But the people in Seattle, they’re like, Oh, we got someone from way out of state and they think it’s a cool thing. And it’s just it’s amazing to me how I see that time and time again, that if you’re in the backyard, and you would think like you’re getting a deal, you don’t have to pay for a plane ticket. You don’t have to, it’s like but there’s just not this. They don’t put the same way down and they think that bringing someone in from you know, the UK is a much bigger deal and it is a much bigger investment. But I see that time and time again, that whole concept of the people in your own backyard don’t always appreciate the value that you bring
David Ralph [37:55]
because East the weakness isn’t it I’ve had I wouldn’t say quite a few offers. But I’ve had Maybe five or six offers to go off to different countries to speak and stuff. And I know that basically, it’s because in the environment that I’m in, I’m a bit of a freak, because there’s not an awful lot of UK based podcast shows out there. A lot of them are sort of American, Australian and Canadian. And so I’ve got that angle. And yes, it would give something different. It would give a different dimension wouldn’t be any better. Probably not. But they’re more likely to pay for me to go all the way across their van. Yeah, somebody’s never doorstep.
Jason Kotecki [38:32]
Yeah, yeah, it’s weird.
David Ralph [38:34]
Well, where are you going to take this pen? Because what we haven’t sort of drilled down on is your actual mission. I know that you want to break down adulthood, but you’re going into corporate events where you come into fame? Well, in my mind, I’m thinking, wouldn’t that be the last place that people would want you to go with corporations? Do they not want those kind of people that are playing the adult game and putting the suit on and not enjoy themselves or playing? Or maybe that’s breaking down in front of you, where are you taking it?
Jason Kotecki [39:05]
Well, it’s interesting, I think some people are, are more productive or more receptive than, than others. I think that like for me, when it comes down to my mission is I want people to live better stories. I think too many people settle. It’s exactly what your show is about, like, people settle for the banking job or for the, the whatever, because of whatever because the benefits are, that’s the safe way or that’s where they went to. They went to school for that. And, and I just think life is cliche, but life is way too short. And, you know, we have so much more potential than we give ourselves credit for. And so I, I call myself a professional reminder, and people laugh at that, but it’s kind of true, because I remind, when I talk, there’s nothing new that people like, Oh my gosh, I’ve never heard this before, but it’s stuff they might not have thought about in a long, long time. And so I don’t I you know, sometimes I think when I go into Speak to accompany, there’s a very good chance that one or two employees might end up leaving. But frankly, that’s probably better for the employees and it’s better for the company to. And I think what I kind of tried to touch on is just how to how to look at your, your whole life and and just make it nice and make your story better. And ultimately, I think organisations need their people to be balanced, healthy and happy. I mean, no one can be very constructive. If they’re disconnected discontent, no one can be focused if they’re juggling too many things. And it’s frankly kind of impossible to be productive if you’re sick or dead. So I’m dealing with these issues of stress and life balance and trying to give people some ideas of how to to incorporate things and into their lives to kind of help with that. And I think ultimately, that’s that’s what’s helping but but it’s still Yeah, there. I mean, there’s sometimes we get turned down for gigs because they’re just not sure how to take me and they think it’s I’m not going to be serious and offer or whatever. But I’ll tell you my my mission I’m as I’m as serious as a heart attack and I I just like to have a little bit of fun with it.
David Ralph [41:12]
Because I think I find the hardest thing is for the individual, not the corporation, but the individual to actually except that they don’t need to ask permission to change. The trouble is but years and years and years corporations have operated in a certain way and you go for the interview and you put your best shirt and tie on and you play the role. And then you get in there and more often but not because I saw that in my corporate life. You played a role it wasn’t actually what you wanted to be doing but you did it because that’s what the corporation seem to want. And certainly up in London when I was up there many years ago, if you left it at your time was nine to five but if you got there at nine till five and did your time and went away vain, you weren’t showing commitment. You had to be there at seven in the morning to eight at night and minute still be people waiting Bear. And the company never told us you had to do that. But there was a kind of, I don’t know, peer pressure that grew up. But you had to play this role where everybody else was playing, even though nobody ever told you to do it. Did you find that is the individual which is the hard one to break?
Jason Kotecki [42:17]
It is you know, it’s it’s, it’s interesting I’ve I have a client that I’ve been working with for the last six years. And it’s a, it’s a engineers. It’s a programme for future leaders. So it’s engineers, civil engineers who have been in their firm for about 10 years. And they’re kind of on the track for upper level leadership. And so they have this year long programme where they give them tools for leadership and I come in and I do like a two day thing on life balance. And one of my favourite parts is that I have there’s this panel that I moderate where they bring in senior executives and partners of firms to kind of I kind of grow them on life balance, and it’s amazing to me How many of them are like, you guys do not need to come in at seven o’clock in the morning. Like, we just we want you to do amazing things while you’re there. And it is very much that disconnect of what everyone thinks needs to be done. And maybe it’s a peer pressure thing, and what the reality is, and it’s it’s definitely a fascinating sort of phenomenon. But I think the the waiting for permission, I mean, I’m all about rules that don’t exist. And one of one of the most classic ones is thou shalt wait for permission. And never before in history, with the internet and with the technology that we have, have, we had more of an opportunity to just go do what you want to do. And, and it doesn’t always necessarily mean that you have to like, quit your job tomorrow and start this whole new thing. I I’m a big fan of what I call tinkering, which is just starting little things experimenting, not exactly sure where they’re going to go. Yeah, you can do that. nights and on weekends while you’re working your corporate job, while you kind of figure things out and do the spaghetti throwing, right, so yeah, but it’s, that’s one of the things that really drives me is that that getting people to just be convinced that they don’t have to wait for permission to make their stories better and to start start moving towards our dreams.
David Ralph [44:20]
We call it on this show a slide of faith. I think that the leap of faith, dramatic, but whether it takes six months, two years or whatever, if you’re bringing income and you’re paying all your bills, but instead of laying on the sofa watching TV at night, you Tinker as you say, you can start to get momentum going until it’s that moment when you just slide and yeah, you’re on to the next part of your life. It takes a while. took me six years really and I didn’t perceive it I was doing that is now I look back on it. But it literally took me six years to the moment I left my corporate gig, doing other things messing around with websites, with coding videos, all that kind of stuff before I stepped away and decided that this was my full time gig. They would have called it a slide of faith. No, I would have called it a waste of time. But now I look back on it. I go, yes, I couldn’t have got to where I was without it. So it wasn’t a waste of time. It was just research. It was six years of research.
Jason Kotecki [45:17]
Yeah, I yeah, that’s, that describes me in a nutshell, I, I get really, I’ve taken looking at looking at past failures. And sometimes I put make too much out of them without realising like what you just said. They’re research. They’re learning. They’re, they’re part of the process.
David Ralph [45:33]
I’ve got a lady coming on this evening. So I’m about half past eight on UK time and cheese in LA. And she’s got a platform called the expectation hangover. And I love this. And she sent me a DVD and there’s about, I don’t know, 80 hours of stuff, and I’ve been listening to it. And basically, her whole thing is but we just beat ourselves up with the expectation. So you decide to go for a job. You don’t get it. Why didn’t I get it? I should have got it and all that comments. And she sort of sets it out. But she was in Hollywood, he was messing around with George Clooney. And life was amazing. But it wasn’t her life. She was playing by somebody else’s rules. And she sort of met somebody. And they said to her, you know, if you if you win the silver medal in the Olympics, it’d be brilliant. Not if you wanting to get the gold, or everybody expected you to get the gold. And I’m going through this programme at the moment, and I’m finding it fascinating that Yeah, we set these expectations or if I do really well, and I really work hard, I’ll be there in six months, six months comes and goes, No, you’re not. Well, I’m a failure. Now you’ve got six months of experience, you’ve built it up, you know, you’re ready for the next stage, look at it and work out where to go before you go. And it is it is that expectation did. Obviously you did have those expectations because you went to lead the Pampered Chef store and you was expecting it to be the next Simpsons and all that kind of stuff. But do you look back on it now and go I wouldn’t have those expectations. I would just see what I could gain from it.
Jason Kotecki [47:03]
Um, yeah. And it kind of it kind of is, is, is a lessons it’s been a hard one to learn for me personally because you know, kind of when you have an expectation doesn’t come true then you sort of question everything and that’s a really dangerous place to be because just because that specific timeline or things didn’t go the way you expected and it doesn’t necessarily mean that the the, the premise is wrong and it’s it’s really that’s why I love the concept of joining up dots because it’s it is it’s in retrospect that you see, holy cow, I wouldn’t have done that. That wouldn’t have happened. I mean, like a perfect example of that for me, okay, is when I started to realise I signed this book deal last year to write this book, penguins can’t fly. And I’m super excited. The first major traditional publisher that I’ve signed with everything else has been self published. And basically if you look at the the the the sea How did you get your book agent? How did it happen? It was like, Well, my book agent saw one of my pieces of art on Facebook contacted me, and basically begged to represent me. Now that sounds like holy cow. That’s amazing how, how lucky are you? But then what’s really interesting is when you look back a few dots, okay, back when we first started, Kim was teaching kindergarten and during her her lunch time, she wouldn’t be making cold calls for speaking engagements. Well, she came across a woman who worked at a church, and she had me come in to speak. And she told me her name was Mary Jo, she said, if you can create a programme, that you can hold the attention of kids and adults at the same time, you will be hugely in demand in churches. And so I did that. And I was good at that because I had spent two years doing cartooning workshops in schools teaching kids how to do cartoons, and I had to keep the attention of kindergarteners all the way up to eighth grade. graders. So we put this programme together, we we basically started to be able to make a living, speaking around the nation to churches. Well, at that first programme with Mary Jo, there was a woman who signed up for our email newsletter list and she was on the list for a couple years. Fast forward a few years we started to do, we got our own office space, we started to do cartooning workshops, ourselves, for the kids in the community. The daughter of the one of the women who was on that newsletter list, her daughter came to it, she had a great experience. Fast forward a few years, we get a job for a big tech company and Madison to do a speaking engagement who one of the executives happens to be the mother of the daughter who was at that speaking or was at the cartooning workshop. Since we had that gig. There was someone in that company that was sharing my art on Facebook to help promote the event. And my book agent had a very tenuous relationship as Facebook, you know, sometimes you don’t know how you found about something. happened to see the art and then reached out to us. This is like a 15 year process of little dots. And if you ask me at the time like the cartooning workshops, I mean, like, Oh, that was a total failure wasn’t really what I was supposed to do. We waste a lot of time on that, like all of these little dots at the time seemed to be inconsequential. And they’ve led into what the opportunity we have now, which is amazing.
David Ralph [50:24]
It wasn’t Jason, it was just lucky. That’s what it is. That’s what people will look at one night they go. Yeah, it’s all right for Jason. Oh, he’s breezed it. But yeah, you work it back. And those dots go back a long, long way. I’m going to tell you words now that Steve Jobs said just about that very subject, Mrs. d.
Steve Jobs [50:41]
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 connect in your future. You have 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 leads you off the well worn path, and that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [51:16]
So what do you trust in as Steve is saying you’re going to trust in something?
Jason Kotecki [51:21]
I have a really strong faith in God. I think that Kim and I we both do and I think all along that’s been kind of the core of the messages that I felt. I feel I kind of have this belief that like whatever your dreams that you have, like those core the thing that you feel like you must do, those were planted there in the very beginning. And I think that’s if that quote says anything to me, it’s exactly what I have done as I have trusted that what was inside and and the mission, I guess, even if I didn’t know exactly what the mission was like, I trusted that God put that there for Reason, and I just need to keep going forward. And that’s, you know, if I, if I would have thought at the time about thinking about like that there will be dots that will, that will, you know, join up that might have been more helpful to me to know that not be so freaked out like, like Steve says, when you go off the well worn path, or the path that you expected to go on or, or anticipated would be what you would do that, that wouldn’t throw me as much. If I would have just kept in mind that don’t worry, it’ll all work out. it’ll, it’ll all come together. The Beatles said that
David Ralph [52:35]
they have come together. And, and I do think it’s true, as you say, if you believe in those words, and I totally believe in those now I can just see how my life has led. And I find it hugely exciting when I think to myself, I don’t actually know where I’m going to go, but it doesn’t matter. It’s just going to be step by step by step and I’m going to get somewhere where I always used to have like a two year or five year plan. Now I’ve got a kind of two year feeling, if that makes sense. I’ve got Yeah, I want to be at a certain place, emotionally successfully or whatever. But it doesn’t matter where I’m I am when that comes along. He just what I want to be feeling at that point, if that makes sense.
Jason Kotecki [53:18]
Yeah, totally. That’s a good strategy.
David Ralph [53:21]
Right? Well, this is the end of the show now. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back and speak to the young Jason, what age would you choose and what advice would you give? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the theme tune and when it finds you out, this is for sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [53:46]
We go with the best of the show.
Jason Kotecki [54:04]
Jason, how are you? I want to I want to talk to you, you’re 24 years old, you’re just married. You’ve got some huge dreams, you’ve got amazing talents, you’ve got such a great future ahead of you. I just want to encourage you to keep going that that these dreams that you have, they’re there for a reason. And keep going. But I have to tell you, and this is this is this is a warning you might not want to hear this is going to take you longer than you think. That’s okay. Because it will be worth it. Do not question the dream, do not question yourself. Just keep going. Everything that happens to you, is there for a reason. And there’s a lot of things that you need to learn. There’s a lot of things you need to go through. But it’s going to be okay. Things will not go the way you expect them to go. That’s okay. It’s it’s you’re going And to learn from it and it’s going to leave to even better things. Your Dreams right now are pretty amazing. But what’s in store for you is even better than you could imagine. So don’t be upset when some big thing doesn’t go the way you think because something right around the corner is right there. That’s going to be even better than you could have ever imagined. Do not give up just keep going. Keep going, keep going. And believe that you have what you need within you just follow your heart. Be good. Do the right person and do not give up.
David Ralph [55:36]
Jason How can our audience connect with you sir?
Jason Kotecki [55:40]
The best way they can connect with me is is that escape adulthood calm they can find out all about what we have going on. We have a free newsletter they can learn about penguins can’t fly which is our the book it’s about rules that don’t exist. Anyone that’s listening to the show will will love this book. And we also have a cool thing we’re doing on on Instagram. My Instagram handle is Jay kotaki. And we’re kind of putting up images of hashtag Not A rule. So rules that don’t exist that we’re kind of uncovering and people are sending to us. We’re having a lot of fun with that. So that’s at Jayco tacky. And again, our website is escape adulthood calm.
David Ralph [56:18]
We’ll have over links on the show notes. Jason, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining those dots. And please come back again when you have more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Jason, thank you so much.
Jason Kotecki [56:34]
Thank you, David. It’s been a pleasure and an honour.
David Ralph [56:39]
Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Join Up Dots brought to you exclusively by podcast is mastery.com. The only resource that shows you how to create a show, build an income and still have time for the life that you love. Check out podcast is mastery.com. Now
David doesn’t want you to become a faded of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to Join Up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on Join Up Dots.