Striking the Balance: Purpose, Profit, and the Path Forward w/ Author Minter Dial

Striking the Balance: Purpose, Profit, and the Path Forward w/ Author Minter Dial

Brett Trainor (00:02.22)
Welcome back to Hardwired for Growth 2.0, the only podcast dedicated to helping GenX business owners, 10X their businesses and their lives. I'm your host, Brett Traynor. Today I'm excited to welcome Minter Dial back to the podcast. It's hard to believe Minter that it's been over two years since you were here last and we'll get into that in a second. But as a refresher, I know we've got some long time listeners that will probably will remember the interview. But if not, you know, Minter is a professional speaker.

author and elevator, specialized in leadership, branding, and transformation, an agent of change, a three-time entrepreneur, author of the award-winning World War II story, The Last Ring Home, which I'm a huge fan of, as well as three prize-winning books, business books, Future Proof, You Lead, How Being Yourself Makes You a Better Leader, and Heart Official Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence, which is kind of the core of what we're talking about today.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (00:42.487)
Thank you.

Brett Trainor (00:57.452)
But if that's not enough, he's also a little passionate about the Grateful Dead, which we had never talked about, paddle tennis, which we have talked about, and languages. So the bottom line, Minter, is I think you may have replaced the Dos Equis guy as the world's most interesting man. But with all that, welcome back to the podcast. And did I miss anything?

Minter Dial, author, speaker (01:02.242)
Hmm. Yay.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (01:15.954)
No, I also like my scotch.

Brett Trainor (01:19.46)
There you go. I will add that to the next time you come on the program. So welcome back. It's hard to believe it's been two years.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (01:24.631)
I'm drink.

It's been great. And it was lovely to see you in London, too.

Brett Trainor (01:31.864)
Yeah, that was fantastic. I saw another colleague of mine that we've been, we've known each other probably for four years. He's was Australia based, but he did a world tour here about four or five weeks ago. So we met in person for the first time. It's kind of crazy. It's so nice that we're able to do that again, but yeah, it was really cool to see you in your backyard versus here in the States.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (01:54.358)
when URL meets IRL.

Brett Trainor (02:00.393)
Exactly. It's a good, I mean, you know, we forget about it, right? I got so comfortable and used to the virtual and it's good. There's a ton of advantages, but there is something to be said for getting back and having conversations in person and seeing the emotion, which, which actually may.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (02:13.258)
hallelujah and shaking hands and hugging.

Brett Trainor (02:18.872)
Yes, the crowd noise, everything else, it just adds a whole new flavor to it. Which maybe is a good transition into empathy or, I'm going to kick it back to you because, like I said, I really enjoy your writings and your work. It was a great read on the empathy, and I'm a big fan of it. I know you threw some questions in there that says, hey, can we train AI to do empathy? But I don't want to...

fast forward too far. So why don't we start with one, why did you write the book? Two, your definition of empathy and you can take it in either or you want and we'll kick it off from there.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (02:59.298)
All right, so the reality about heart official empathy is I wrote first edition in 2018 and the first edition was pre-pandemic, it was in a different context and the real reason, Brett, that I wrote it was that I just lost my best friend. And in his disappearance from life, I realized that I could be more empathic as an individual. I spent six weeks.

with him before he died. And it became a therapeutic exercise as much as anything else. But I also thought it was a genuinely interesting thing to explore the idea of the humanization of artificial intelligence. Why would we want to imbue AI or a machine with our humanity?

And at a philosophical level, I'm thinking, well, is it because we are no longer human enough?

Why do we want to delegate our humanity to a machine? And that's sort of a deeper level, but at a more prosaic level, we need to deal with scale. We need to figure out how to improve and progress and machines and artificial intelligence in particular can be great ways to help large organizations specifically, but even smaller ones as we'll get into. And then...

So then 2018 was really interesting to be involved in very beginnings of this idea of empathy and AI. Five years later, pandemic has hit us, economics have become crazy, and AI has taken on a new shift with things like the large learning models. And I was like, oh my gosh, maybe empathy in AI is a bigger,

Brett Trainor (04:59.344)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (05:03.87)
more realistic idea. And so with that, I rewrote the book. It's basically 50% longer, 70% different from the first one. Such was the nature of all the changes that have happened. And there was a last piece that really made me think heavily about empathy in AI, which is the huge spike in mental health disorders.

Part of that comes from a larger DSM, a larger awareness of mental health, and that's great. But also, why have we all, so many of us, issues of anxiety, depression, and the suicidal numbers are horribly high? What's going on in society? And subsequent to that, I looked at...

well, how are we doing with therapy? And it turns out that pretty much in every Western country or Western quote unquote, such as Australia, France, England, Canada, United States, there are not enough therapists to deal with the demand.

Everybody's suffering and yet we're living in freaking 2023 where there's so much science and so many technologies to help us to live our life and we're not basically, unless you're in Ukraine, at war. Why are we having so much anxiety? And so I wanted to explore that question and also look at the opportunity for artificial intelligence to provide therapy. Is it possible?

that AI could provide or supplement the issue of supply with an enough therapist to meet the demand of people who have the anxiety or the depression and all the mental health orders. So that is a long answer to the explanation of why I wrote the book.

Brett Trainor (07:11.788)
Yeah, I mean, it's absolutely fascinating and so many directions we can go with that because you're right. It is kind of crazy. When you think about the rise and the anxiety is it just more people are aware and it's actually a thing. You know, and when we were younger, it was, you know, rub dirt on it. And unless you have to go to the hospital, right, you figure it out.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (07:31.503)
Get over it!

Brett Trainor (07:34.612)
Yeah, exactly. So part of me sometimes wonders if we've gone too far, right, with, I don't want to say it's soft, that's not the right word, but are we over, you know, I don't know if it's fear that's causing the anxiety. You're right, but it is at a different level than when, you know, 20 years ago, even more than 10 years ago. And I think part to your point, it's part awareness, but then also we seem to be swaying further that way. So what did...

What did the research, I'm just curious what the research told you, what are you taking away from that? Is it all the above? Where are we heading?

Minter Dial, author, speaker (08:11.686)
Well, I suppose it's going to be about storytelling because you can take any research or numbers and tell and weave any story you wish. My observation is that we have created a culture of precaution. The notion of risk is highly tempered. I like to say that

Brett Trainor (08:21.421)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (08:37.802)
Adventure without risk is not an adventure.

and a life without adventure is not our life. And underneath this, I think of how we prefer to protect and avoid risk and issue and danger and ill health and pain and death. And we've put these other horrible ideas away. We've...

Brett Trainor (08:46.215)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (09:13.17)
sort of we put them in some sort of bunker. We don't want them. At least we like, is there a pharmaceutical answer they can help me with them? So I take the blue pill and get rid of the pain. I can put on a helmet to get rid of the risk of issues and don't put your children in the streets. And so I think maybe the issue is that we're no longer even allowed to say we're soft. But that actually is what's happening here. We've developed a society that's soft. We never

Brett Trainor (09:24.112)

Brett Trainor (09:38.224)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (09:42.466)
really had true hardship. And I live in London, as you know, and I have many friends who are Russian and I speak a good level of Russian and I hang out with people who are Ukrainians and Russians. And it's a good reminder of what is hardship for having spent time with people who were in one friend, Andri, who was a...

Brett Trainor (10:07.632)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (10:11.758)
prisoner of the Russians for a month. That is a wholly different gig than the kind of, oh, I had a fender bender or, oh, I got a bill that's too big for me or, oh, I have a headache or I'm worried about my identity. So I'm certainly not option to be political, Brad, but I think that we have created a society that doesn't know how to deal with hardship or the realities of life.

Brett Trainor (10:19.65)

Brett Trainor (10:23.12)

Brett Trainor (10:33.121)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (10:40.798)
And as a result, we're very anxious. We're very disappointed in ourselves. We've created that image, we have to be perfect. And so this definitely underpins my philosophy and will be the subject of my new book, which looks at the ideas of how can we, without the need to denigrate the progress we've made in terms of learning about how we should

be more aware, we should be more diverse. And there are lots of beautiful things underneath that. Yet, do I believe that we've forgotten some of the primal, more hardcore realities of our life.

Brett Trainor (11:28.909)
Yeah, no, I mean, it's really an interesting topic because I actually wrote on something not too long ago where it started this kind of tongue in cheek, right? It said Gen X, right? Why this is the right generation to lead the solo business model, right? And you go back and it's overgeneralized, but we bridged the gap. We didn't have technology, but we grew up where technology was starting to come in. So we've rode those waves of transformation. But when we were...

fourth grade, both my parents worked, I went home to an empty house, figure out what you're going to have for dinner, get your stuff done. Summers were that, just be home by dark, don't go to the hospital, you're going to be in big trouble, those type of things. Then over time the majority of us went into corporate America where we had the ability to explore and do different things. All of a sudden we got into a box, right? In 10 years went by and in 20 years and the box is this big.

And now we're no longer pushing the boundaries. We're not asking why not or just doing. And I think part of this, at least part of my rediscovery of three or four years ago is, man, there is risk. There is learning, there is opportunity. And we just kind of forgot about it or we chose not to. And so in an indirect way that what you're talking, I think there is maybe a movement towards.

getting back out there, right? I mean, I had the author of The Comfort Crisis and he said, man, we just, everything is just too comfortable. You don't grow in your company. You never have to leave your house between DoorDash and everything else. You literally could sit on the couch assuming you had some money and never have to do anything. And yeah, I know we're getting off the topic of empathy a little bit, but I think it's fascinating. So I'm gonna be super curious when your next book comes out, you know, where this is heading.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (13:12.502)
Well, the notion of the comfort crisis makes me think of convenience. And I wanted to, I mean, I try to be nuanced in my approach and thinking of the Gen X in particular, which is your topic really, you, because I'm sort of not Gen X, but you're typically in the middle of the storm. The Gen Xers typically have to deal with the old farts like me.

have to deal with the Gen Y and all these other youngsters that come up and say, well, I want to be VP. Well, wait, you've got one year of experience. And they also probably are, you know, without ridiculous generalizations, are possibly parents, new parents, probably moved into a home where they probably have a mortgage.

And so they have all sorts of new responsibilities that you can't just run away and say, well, I want to be whatever I want to be. Nah, you are a parent, you have to be a role model in your society, you're of an age where you're earning enough to be that person, but you don't have the freedom to do whatever the frick you want. And so there's a pressure on the Gen X. They brought up the old farts.

Brett Trainor (14:32.438)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (14:36.942)
got the young people underneath and they're like in the middle where they kind of rolled into technology, but they also have significant responsibilities. And to bring back empathy into the topic, I think it's worthwhile remembering that and being empathic with the challenges that they face because it's somewhat existential, but it's also, you know, you've got to be pragmatic about stuff.

Brett Trainor (15:05.636)
Right. No, I think it's a really, really good point. I mean, just in general, we could be more empathetic as a society, right? It's a me first or, you know, one of the best quotes I've seen was, we live in an instant gratification society, and right, people are always wanting, I want it now, I want it now, and there's just no patience. And that's just not the way most of life works is, right, you're building towards something, but you know, most people don't wanna hear it. If it can't happen today, then, you know, I don't want it. And...

Yeah, and again, I do think to your point, we do overgeneralize, but there is a little bit to truth to the different areas. And right at some point, we have to figure out how to tie this all back together.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (15:49.526)
Well, I'm a fan of having diversity of thinking. And I think that one of the things we've lost in our society is having a proper diversity of thinking. It's like, well, I think differently. Yeah, but you think differently in your little ecosystem and you're not willing to entertain a true diversity of thinking on the outside. So whether you're left or right, democratic or Republican, the diversity of thinking.

We've kind of made it DEI, in diversity, equity and inclusion. That's sort of where that goes. But actually the stronger thought is a diversity of thought. And that's the team you should be for. That's the real juice in any business, having diversity of thought. So when you are an entrepreneur, you're building up a team, make sure you're not just like having like-minded people, but people with different minds.

Brett Trainor (16:32.825)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (16:47.71)
and different cultures. And maybe sometimes that's visibly different, but sometimes it's not. There's a remarkable how lack of diversity can happen in what you think is diverse in terms of look or something, but it's really not diversity of minds.

Brett Trainor (17:09.836)
Yeah, I think that's a good point because the one thing, and it's funny, I have to actually say it in a lot of my conversations, that I'm like, look, if I'm asking for advice or feedback, I'm like, you're not gonna hurt my feelings. Be honest with me. If you don't think this is a good idea, just tell me why. You don't have to say, oh yeah, I think that's really good and move on. It's, part of it is that the ability to ask for the feedback, but then to allow the feedback. And I think that's, you know, you may get lucky without it, but...

the ability to, and again, back to maybe not being so soft. And it's okay if somebody disagrees with you, right? Just take that point of view. And maybe one of the things we should do is have everybody that wants to grow or become a leader is you have to start a podcast and talk to a bunch of different people with a bunch of different ideas. And it just, it opens up a new world of thinking. And just in the last five years, I can't.

I don't know, I can't express how much I've grown or my learning or how much I thought I knew five years ago to what I now know I don't know, just based on talking with folks like you is, it's remarkable, right? The older I get, the less I realize I know.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (18:17.894)
The more you know, the more you don't know. And in this matter, just like on my podcast, I've definitely sought to have different opinions and we can put labels on them. And let's say, but I want to have left and right. I want to have conservative and liberal. I want to have American and Asian. I want to have man and woman.

I want to have young and old. And this is just so exciting for me. And I feel like amongst the other things we've lost is our ability, our wish to really be curious. We have curiosity as long as it satisfied me. Like-minded, that's great. We'll go down rabbit holes as long as it's my fern, my group of, my warren, sorry.

Brett Trainor (19:04.1)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (19:14.562)
not my friend, my Warren of rabbits, and we'll stick with them. And now I'm really curious about the next thing, but if it doesn't agree with me, click move along. And we need to do that with our strangers, with the strangers. We need to do that with the perspectives and what we read, the sources we use. And that is extremely invigorating because it allows us to stay young.

Brett Trainor (19:47.404)
Yeah, no, I 100% agree. And that's one of the other things, chasing the longevity piece of this, right? Again, coming out of corporate where it's just structured and I learned a lot. So it's not all bad, but it just got to the point where, man, there's got to be something better. But then it opened my eyes to the overall balance of life and how much that was kind of missing in the sense of where am I going? What am I trying to do? And it's, again, sounds...

fluffy, but it's not. It was surprisingly, I knew the career wasn't there, but then getting into this business and now figuring out what this one person business looks like and helping other people figure it out. Right. It's just been energizing just to say the least. And like I said, looking to figure out, you know, we talked about pickleball, paddle ball, and you know, these different things of how do we keep staying young. And I think it is that the energy and

the drive towards something. So if you're not driving towards something, it's harder to stay motivated and do those types of things. So I think the more folks we can pull aboard and drive towards this, I think the better, which may be a good question back to you that said, all right, so if the majority, I think the stat, I may be off a little bit of the GenX, there's 15.6 million GenX business owners and of that 85% are solo business owners, meaning don't have employees, obviously.

but you use partners and you're still working with customers. And so as we start to think about, you know, if I'm going solo, I've just gone solo or maybe I am solo and my business isn't where I need it to be. The first thing we tend to do is just look at, you know, the X's and O's and sell more your marketing's off. But the more I get into it, it's more about the relationships and the conversations. And that's why I was interested with the empathy, right. And the curiosity. And I just had the author of the GoGiver on.

earlier this week talking about that approach to it. So I'm going to flip it back to you with all of that context that said, hey, how do we start to think about this as a business owner? And maybe not starting with the, like I said, the X's and O's, but, with empathy and curiosity to build a business off of that, or am I being too wishful that we can do that?

Minter Dial, author, speaker (22:10.154)
All right, so as with much of this, really, we need to bring nuance, but let me just circle back on one thing, which is longevity. And let me be a little bit stark in saying that death is a reality. And pushing it off for why. I roll my eyes when I hear somebody say, oh, I want to live forever.

I want to invest in ways to live forever. And I tend to look back and say, why you?

Minter Dial, author, speaker (22:50.086)
We're creating a society where we want to be godlike.

We've been around as a human species for tens of thousands of years, and you have the merit to live forever? Let's put things back into perspective and the ego, the me piece of that, and think about the fact that we live like spiral dynamics talks about in a bigger community. How can we be of service to something else?

And the issue that I think is something I want to dive into is, all right, well, I get that. Okay, I want to be service and there's a cause and then there are a whole laundry list of causes you can get excited about. And then people say, well, look at me, I'm actually doing this stuff. I'm serving this other cause and I Instagram post and look at me, I'm doing this rally about this particular cause or that particular cause.

Brett Trainor (23:26.701)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (23:53.118)
And look, I'm more than me. I'm with this other we, this other group.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (24:01.842)
And my observation is that the mental health issue is on the rise in relation to this issue. Because what happens is that you get invested existentially in this other cause, but you become disappointed in two things. One is your cause, the big cause you want to do is finish starvation, finish racism.

Brett Trainor (24:19.661)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (24:30.618)
Finish sexism. You've got a long way to go before that happens. And so it's no wonder you get depressed and disappointed that it's not gonna happen. But more saliently, you haven't done the work on who are you.

And if you are running after or promoting some kind of cause, why have you chosen that cause or these causes? And to what extent is that a deep link into who you are? And if we have mental health issues today, I feel that a large part of it is that we're not doing the hard work to understand who we are and accepting our reality, our mortality.

So when you're working in a business, you're a Gen X, you wanna do a business, you want to have the freedom, the liberty to be who you wanna do, if you're not doing it in a way that's congruent with who you really are, you're bound for mishap, if not worse. So think about what you're doing and who you want to be. Kind of, and the word that...

Brett Trainor (25:35.162)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (25:43.922)
is really relevant is what purpose do you serve? And the answer to that, or the way I phrase that, if you wanna be able to answer it is, how would the world be worse off if I did not exist?

Minter Dial, author, speaker (26:03.198)
And many people might have a purpose or a cause, but, you know, finishing starvation. Okay. Great idea, but probably not realistic.

Brett Trainor (26:06.412)

Brett Trainor (26:16.686)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (26:18.786)
loving everybody everywhere all over the world, lovely in principle, not realistic. So when we create our purpose we need to be at once in line with who we are individually deeply but also understanding the bigger picture.

you've just frozen on me.

Brett Trainor (26:42.757)

Nope, still here. I was just watching. No, I mean, I think it's part of that journey that I went through too, which was the, what do you want? And it answers part of it is who and if one of the things when I work with folks and they're still in corporate and thinking about going through a list of saying, what do you really want out of life? What's next? It's a really hard exercise for a lot of people and it takes a lot of time because we've never really thought about.

you know, what that looks like. Now, it's, you know, part of my smaller mission, right? Cause I think you're right. You have to be part of the journey and the journey's gotta be why you're doing it, not what the outcome is, because more than likely, you know, we won't see the outcome that we're looking for. And it's, you know, maybe the little things, like I said, I was on a, my soap box for a while about corporate America because, you know, four years ago, my wife,

It was after the fact I was still in management consulting. She's like, what the hell is the matter with you? Right? She's like, I'm like, I'm like a different person now than I was four years ago. And if you would have asked me at the time, I would have said everything's fine. Right? The job pays well. It's good. The kids are all doing well and life's, you know, happy, but geez, it was just a different look. And so kind of took it to say, Hey, if there's somebody else in this corporate role that knows there's more, they want to be doing more, they don't want the two hour commute again, oversimplified.

but how do we get more people to find, and maybe it is happiness or aspirational in that sense, but you're right, I haven't thought about the question of why it's been more what, but maybe the why and the what are the two things that we really need to start with, but the folks that I've had this conversation or further along than I am, they are different people, so I know there is hope.

Brett Trainor (28:37.492)
Right? That if you feel like you're stuck in something that there is an opportunity to, to drive that. And again, like I said, I don't plan on retiring. And so what am I going to do the next 20 or 30 years? And if we take the average to your point, we're not going to live forever. So if it's, you know, to 80, 85, and maybe we get a little better with medicine, can we be active? You know, so what am I going to do in the next 30 years? That's going to be.

maybe not legacy. I've actually talked to my wife and kids about this a little bit. She's like, what are you doing now? I'm like, the money's part of it, right? We got to live and pay the bills, but what are people going to say? What were you doing? And it's got to your point, it's got to be for you. You're just not doing this for somebody else. Those are really hard questions. And I still don't think I've a hundred percent figured it out, but I'm kind of.

going with the journey now than where I was saying it's black or white, this is what's happening. And now I'm just kind of accepting it. And to your point doing the, the inner, what do I say? Take a look inside just every now and then to say, hey, are we on the right path? Right, are we doing this the right way? So sorry for that long rambling answer, but you got me thinking.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (29:50.318)
I like it. And I think that it opens the door to a concept of self empathy. So usually we talk about empathy as being a way to understand others. And the issue is if you don't understand yourself, then how do you properly understand anybody else? And maybe like the image of the

airliner that tells you to put the gas, the oxygen mask on yourself. If you don't take care of yourself, you really can't take care of anybody else. And so when you are a service, if you think that purpose is your only thing, you're a service to everybody else, but you haven't done the work on who you are. What ends up happening shortcut is you're bitter at the end of the life because you've done everything for everybody else, but you don't, you're not fulfilled within. So you need to

go at this from a place of personal fulfillment. So it's not about being egotistical, it's about being self-aware. And once you develop that awareness of why this cause or that purpose or that services is actually intrinsic to who you are as an individual, to your upbringing, your circumstances, your experiences, your values, then...

you have to craft that narrative because it's not something that sort of drops out of the sky. You need to lean into it and connect the dots yourself. No one's going to come like Buddha and say, you sir need to think this. Wishful thinking, wishful thinking is idealistic and we must be pragmatic. And I think Gen Xers to think of your audience are generally and genuinely pragmatic.

they are in the mode of having to produce. They have to pay the bills, they have to pay the mortgage, they have to pay the schools and all this other stuff because that's generally the age within which they are. And the risk is that they don't think about who their sales are. So I have many people in my network who are, let's say in the 50s, who are totally burned out and deeply bitter.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (32:12.742)
I did the corporate job. I did everything I was supposed to do. But I deserve more. I have three houses, but I'm not happy.

That's crazy. I mean, as in, I think that the material benefits are supposed to make me happy, but I've never done any introspection, to use your word. I've never done any of the hard work. And so self-empathy comes into play because it allows for the fact, A, I may not feel well. Feel who you are, understand what you're feeling. Hopefully understand more who you are and accept your imperfections.

Don't just gloss them over. And we're too quick to put up the Instagram post, the Instagrammable me as opposed to the real me. And so in this mask, which is the subject of my new book, which is how we play these masks. And in different cultures, we have different versions of superficiality, but pretending that I'm perfect, pretending that I'm only a do-gooder.

Brett Trainor (33:03.94)
All right.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (33:22.378)
Well, we're forgetting reality, which is that life is about dealing with risk, challenge, hardship, and ultimately without fail, death. And the idea of postponing it cryogenically, whatever pills to avoid pain. These are superficial remedies that pharmaceutical companies and others in Wall Street are only too happy for us to buy into.

Brett Trainor (33:46.734)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (33:52.33)
add in a whole lot of other things, but we need to get back to reality. And once you are understanding of our mortality, here's the beautiful thing, Brett, is you become ever more grateful. Which is why I have been a fan of the Grateful Dead for a long time. I have loved this from the very beginning. Understand that you are mortal and you will be forever more grateful. Don't push it off.

because that's our reality. And in light of, enlightened by the fact that we are mortal, you then end up saying, well, shoot, our time is limited. What am I going to do with this to make something meaningful?

Brett Trainor (34:42.28)
Yeah, no, I mean, I think that's exactly the path I've been on the last few years is trying to figure out, right? Knowing we are, do we do have limited time and grateful is definitely a word I should use more often because I am I just don't, I don't think of it that way. And, and I should write because I think it was Jesse Eitzler or somebody had talked about he's like, I'm 51.

you know, statistics say I'm gonna be here till I'm 78. I don't care what happened in the last 51 years. I've got 29 years to get this much stuff done in this amount of time. And you know, these are the things that are important to me. I'm like, man, that's so good. I wish, you know, I would have had this mentality when I was 30, right? Versus when I'm 55 or 56. But as I keep telling people, man, it's better late than never. You can't change the past. So what are you doing today or tomorrow to go change that? But...

Yeah, I just think you see a different side of people once they come to that realization. And I don't know if it's necessarily at a tipping point or if it just kind of evolves over time, but, or, and it could be that the people I'm surrounding myself more and more and more are these more optimistic type of people that are right seeking these types of things. So.

Again, I don't have nearly all the answers. That's why I like to talk to, I say to folks like you that can help enlighten and share what you've learned and where it's going and how do we be just a little bit better and think things a little bit differently to make that difference.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (36:14.062)
two observations, Brett. The first is that more often than not, the reason that our eyes are opened is usually some big event. And more often than not, my observation is it's like a near death experience. It's like, oh my golly gosh, I could have died. And then all of a sudden you're like, you understand that mortality is real and then you change.

My hope is that you don't need to have an NDE to have this realization enlightenment. And the second thing is, by whom are you surrounded? And think about your network and the people you are with. And so who in your network provides you with genuinely tough love? Who in your network reflects who you are and knows you?

Minter Dial, author, speaker (37:12.666)
And then with this group of people, if you have congruency with them, then you're gonna live out the next 20 odd years in a better way. If you're surrounded by people, you don't really trust them, you don't really know them, you don't particularly like them. Well, you need to shift gears because those people are toxic. Those people are not helping you. They're not, they may be

kowtowing to you because you've been the successful entrepreneur. But I, and I'm thinking particularly about GenXers because you're in, you're in a little bit the, uh, I think it's the Panzer, your pinch where you got your both sides, everybody's trying to get at you and then plus on top of that, you got the older parents, young kids, and you're trying to do everything. You're trying to do good because society's telling you, you have to do good. Well, wait, you have to be better. You have to be perfect. Wow. Shit.

Brett Trainor (38:03.544)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (38:11.446)
And then what happens is you feel insufficient according to these standards. And then you end up saying, oh, I'm not good enough. I'm depressed, I'm anxious. And so this fine friends who are able to be, who are solidly behind you with whom, and hopefully having done the work on who you are that are in tune with this piece of you, you're never gonna have a hundred percent knowledge of yourself, but.

work on yourself. I've talked about this in my book, You Lead. I have a specific exercise that helps you to figure out more about who you are, explore that, be open to the imperfections you have. Without saying I'm a shit and I'm terrible, it's really just about understanding our fuller picture. And you don't need to go out there and then be naked and I don't believe in radical transparency at all.

However, with yourself, that's a good idea. Be more understanding of yourself. Self empathy is a piece of that. And empathy, to bring back to that bigger topic, is a beautiful thing because if you start understanding how other people are, maybe your life is better than you think, or understanding how other people are, oh wow, I didn't know that was a possibility. Talk to strangers and be genuinely curious about them.

Don't think of them by a label. They're a different looking type of person. They have some sort of visible difference from you. They're human beings, flesh and blood. But I am far from being like a Kumbaya liberal, but I love people's differences. And it's so enlightening when you allow for, yeah, because when you read a book about Madame Bouvary,

Brett Trainor (39:56.288)

Brett Trainor (40:00.752)
So it makes things interesting.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (40:05.986)
Flaubert, you read about a woman, and I go, well, those guys, we're like, we don't know how to shit. And accept that we're different, by the way. And then appreciate our differences.

Brett Trainor (40:17.69)

Brett Trainor (40:23.084)
Yeah, it's funny when you talk, because it really wasn't a life-changing instance. There was a lot of bunch of little things that all stacked on it, right? So the kids were getting up, heading off to college, right? My wife and I were heading back to, heading towards empty nest, right? And it's been, you know, kids first for, you know, 25 years. And all of a sudden we're looking at this and I'm going out solo in my business and...

I didn't really understand, she's not necessarily a business person, it doesn't necessarily want to be a part of the business, but she didn't understand it and that caused a lot of anxiety in this sense. And so one of the things I've become better at is understanding it from her perspective. And one of the things we do now, which I would encourage everybody to do, is we do a quarterly business review, just her and I, right? Even though she's not involved in the business, say, hey, here's everything in the business, you know, what do we want to do in the next 12 months? Are we aligned on these? We haven't done that.

I don't know if we've done that in our lives. And I'm just telling you that the difference it's made in this relationship, which we see each other every day, made a drastic difference with everything else. Cause if her and I, I mean, we disagree obviously, and disagree, but getting her in and on the page and with part of the business, just it was game changer. Cause it wasn't a question every year of the week. Well, how's everything going? What are these things? She knows exactly where we're at, what we're doing.

And I just was trying back to your bigger point of empathy for 30 years, I just never thought of it from her side and how she's viewing everything that's going on. So like I said, I can do much better but slowly working into that. But I gotta tell you, it makes a difference.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (41:58.306)
It certainly does. And I mean, I am far from perfect. My wife will too quickly tell me so. Or actually anybody, I mean, it's so hard to be empathic with everybody. And really the objective shouldn't be to be empathic with everybody, but to be more empathic. And in this case, be aware of where you are. How empathic are you? Cause some people, by the way, are overly empathic, Brett. They are the pathology is called being an empath.

Brett Trainor (42:08.706)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (42:26.058)
and they suffer the consequences of understanding everybody's feelings and thoughts all the time everywhere. But for others who aren't, it's, it's about trying to be more empathic. So how real are you? How good are you at understanding, able to talk to any type of stranger? And by the way, there's the, the interesting combination is, are you able to talk to strangers and are you able to talk to your most close people as if they were strangers? The.

point here is that we have, there's a thing called close communication bias, where we tend to think we know what the other person's thinking, feeling, because, oh, well, duh, I know. And I'm going to cut you off and I'm going to tell you what you, I'm going to finish the sentence you're about to say. And boy, is that a buzzkill. So be aware of the biases that we have with the people with whom we're closest.

be aware of the biases that we have with people we have no idea about because we put a label on them.

Brett Trainor (43:34.336)
Yeah, no, that's a good point. We do take that for granted. I do that as well. Again, everything we're trying to work towards, you're right, it's perfect. And my wife would 100% agree with you that I am nowhere near perfect, but just in general our relationship. But the fact that I'm working at it is a move in the right direction. But I mean, that's kind of the beauty of this. You just accept it and we figure it, we grow. And again, as long as...

Minter Dial, author, speaker (43:37.489)
Oh shit.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (43:43.119)
I'll talk to you next!

Minter Dial, author, speaker (43:54.024)

Brett Trainor (44:03.156)
If somebody had said, as long as you wake up tomorrow morning, take a breath, everything else is not that big of a deal. So you can figure it out. Over simplified, but we worry about some of the really, really... Yeah.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (44:11.778)
But perspective, perspective is useful, right? And I feel, Brett, that's another thing that we need to bring back into society's perspective. I mean, I like to talk about, I don't know if you can see it, but I have a little wobbly pinky here, it's a little broken. And, oh my God, my pinky is broken. But wait a second. Not a big deal, dude. You know, I can still hold my tennis racket, my paddle racket.

Brett Trainor (44:19.319)

Brett Trainor (44:39.728)
I'm sorry.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (44:40.506)
and I can write and it doesn't hurt and get over it back to the softness piece, we need perspective. And to think that my situation is woe is me. And of course, people do have their issues and that's fine. But I feel like we need to bring back this perspective that we are mortal, that life is about dealing with our challenges, not about eliminating them.

Brett Trainor (44:48.877)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (45:09.498)
And it's not what happens to you, it's how you react to what happens. That's interesting. And as a Gen Xer, you're faced with so many different things that are pulling on you. And be empathic about your feelings, understand your feelings, but don't start with the woe is me. Just understand your feelings, feel how you are. So that even if you're a solo, then understand yourself.

Brett Trainor (45:34.51)

Minter Dial, author, speaker (45:37.334)
But if you know in the morning when you wake up, I didn't sleep well, I don't feel well, I'm anxious. Well, think about that before you call your supplier or your creative agency to brief about the website or whatever, as a sole trader, it's still relevant. If you're a boss with a team, it's even more relevant because these people are living with you day in, day out. And if you constantly come in there and say, look, I'm the chef, I know it, I'm always great. Oh, everything's great, how are you doing? Fine, great, you know.

Well, that is not authentic and it's not going to lead to a greater sense of trust. So these are things that I think that Gen X or not, entrepreneur or not, are things that we need to bring into our lives.

Brett Trainor (46:28.588)
Yeah, no, I 100% agree with you. And, you know, it's, yeah, like I said, I definitely mentor could talk to you for another three hours and have these conversations. And, you know, I didn't even get to all the questions I had for you, but do want to be respectful of your time this time, but I do want to ask, we'll bring you back in the not too distant future because I think these are all the things that we're as business owners and, you know, husbands and family, or even if we're single, doesn't matter. These are just, I think,

We've been too quick, at least I have in the past, separate career from life. And guess what? It's just life. Career is a part of it. And how do we deal and adjust? On the flip side, I tell folks there's so many people who are just waiting for things to happen. Right? Oh, I hope this happens and I get this deal or these types of things.

You know, the world's there for the taking. And I don't mean that in the negative sense, but the people that take action, the take initiative that can get beyond that anxiety or that fear of those things that, you know, things are there in your reach for the things that you want. You just have to be one of the folks that goes and gets it. So again, that's probably a whole nother topic that we can go down that rabbit hole. But you know, it's fascinating. Like I said, I'm always fascinated in.

I have more questions probably than answers than after talking with you, but it definitely opens up my mind for sure.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (47:51.858)
I'll finish with one sentence, which is, serving a purpose is a higher cause and a beautiful thing, but without profit, you serve no purpose. So you need to find the balance. And so I'm far from an idealist, yet if you don't have purpose, and if purpose isn't front and center, whatever profit you make will end up being hollow.

So it's about finding that combination because, you know, you need to be pragmatic. You need to pay the rent, you know, and you do what you hustle. You do it either. If you need to lie, you need to may lie. You know, you sometimes have to push the boundaries. However, find your purpose, have some integrity with, with regard to that purpose and, and try to make every, a bit of every day fit that purpose. And the rest of the time.

You go to the pot and you have to take a shower, shave, you do the other things.

Brett Trainor (48:59.2)
Yeah, it's life. Yeah, no, it's so true. I mean, it's crazy that I don't mind, Monday through, there are no Sunday scaries, or I don't mind Monday mornings getting up because I'm attacking something that I like to do. And it balances the keyword, I use that all the time, but it's so true. It's finding that balance. And you're gonna be out of balance sometimes, that's okay, but keep working backwards towards it, or forwards, I guess, not backwards.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (48:59.543)

Brett Trainor (49:31.005)
All right, mentor, as always, I appreciate it. Appreciate the knowledge. And yeah, like I said, I'd love to have you back on a regular basis. You know, like I said, I got to explore the paddle world over here in the States and, you know, see if we can't get on this trend. So as always, I appreciate your time.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (49:48.778)
I say, vamos, and padel, P-A-D-E-L.

Brett Trainor (49:57.408)
I did see that in your battle P-A-D-E-L and I'm like, I'll go with it. I'm flexible. So I'm excited to dive into that as well. So and to appreciate it. All right. Have a great rest. I would say have the great rest of your, but it's evening time actually getting late over there for you. So I appreciate you. You jumping on late and we'll catch up with you in the near future.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (50:05.342)
Much appreciated, Brett. Lovely speaking to you, always fun.

Minter Dial, author, speaker (50:19.394)
with Pleasure Pret.

Brett Trainor (50:24.592)