Keeping your shit together as a founder

Usually, I have entrepreneurs on to talk about how they built their businesses. Today’s guest is not going to be doing that.

Sherry Walling is the founder of ZenFounder, which helps founders handle the mental side of their work. Her new book is The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Shit Together: How to Run Your Business Without Letting It Run You.

Sherry Walling

Sherry Walling

Zen Founder

Sherry Walling is the founder of ZenFounder, which helps founders handle the mental side of their work.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: Hey there, Freedom Fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I don’t know exactly how to introduce this interview. Usually, I have entrepreneurs on to talk about, as I said, how they built their businesses. And today’s guest is not going to be doing that.

She’s Dr. Sherry Walling. She’s someone who interviewed me for her podcast a while back, and I was so . . . I thought about it a lot since the interview, because she got me to touch on a lot of the things that I live by, that I wasn’t aware of and maybe at times stand up for in the interview, but also the times after the interview question like, I told her in the interview that at the end of the day if I can do anything, it’s well, hang out with my wife, it’s beyond the exercise bike in the backyard watching a TV show, because I can’t just sit and watch a TV show. I’m not the kind of person who could sit down and do it.

I thought about that. I said, “Why can’t I?” Is that really a thing that I want to do? I’ve had other conversations since then like with Dmitry, the founder of Chatfuel, where he asked me, “So what do you want out of life?” And I said, “More.” And he said, “More what?” and goes, “More of everything.” I said. And he said, “What about happiness?” And I said, “No, I don’t want happiness.” Happiness is a nice byproduct, but I don’t want happiness. We’re a little too slavishly obsessive in this culture with achieving happiness, it’s not me. And I thought about it, I said, “Is that really true for me anymore?” Or is that who I was as a kid? I wanted more, and I didn’t give a rat’s ass about happiness.

And so, when Sherry Walling who is the founder of ZenFounder, they do more than just a podcast. They help founders handle the mental side of their work. When she published a book and asked me if I wanted to have her on, I said, “Yes.” And in the back of my head I kind of knew we wouldn’t be talking about the book. We’d be talking more about me. Selfishly I’m . . .

Sherry: Let’s talk about you. Let’s talk about you, Andrew.

Andrew: I should introduce your book. It’s “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Shit Together: How to Run Your Business Without Letting It Run You.” It’s smart to actually use the word shit in the title, because curse words in titles have been doing really well. I think the Wall Street Journal had an article about that. I was . . .

Sherry: That’s what I hear.

Andrew: It is. Did that go into your thought process about the title of the book?

Sherry: You know, I wish it did, because that would be really clever and data-driven. But, actually, my 11-year-old suggested the title, and I thought it was clever, and that’s what we decided on.

Andrew: You were all okay with that?

Sherry: Well, you know what? He knows the word. We can pretend he doesn’t, we could be shocked, but it’s a clever title, so we’ll go with it.

Andrew: Yeah, my three-year-old sometimes says things like, “What the hell.” He doesn’t know what he’s saying, he just kind of repeating and he’s checking us out to see if he’s getting it right. He says something like “What the . . .” He doesn’t exactly pick up on the full word. They pick up on these words fast though. All right.

This interview is sponsored by two great companies. The first will let you buy Facebook ads. It’s a roboagency. They’ll do it for you. It’s called Needls. I don’t love that they don’t have a third e in their title. it’s N-E-E-D-L-S, but they’re fantastic at their job. And the second will help you hire your next great developers called TopTal. I’ll tell you about those later.

Sherry, welcome.

Sherry: Thank you.

Andrew: I have a feeling that I’m going to take my stand-up, sit down desk down in this interview, so I could sit down here.

Sherry: Yeah, relax. Take a load off. Do you have a couch you can just lay down?

Andrew: I don’t.

Sherry: We could go classic like Freudian style. You could tell me about your dreams.

Andrew: Do you do that with founders?

Sherry: Sometimes.

Andrew: You know what? I told you last time when we talked that I was very moved by our conversation, but I got the sense that you were not. You were very like professional about it. I thought, “I’m giving you good shit. We’re getting open here. Why aren’t you amazed that I could get open on camera?”

Sherry: Is that what you wanted me to do?

Andrew: I think in general I do want everyone to be amazed by me. I feel like my wife is not amazed enough by me, and there are times when we’re in a heated argument and I say, “Why aren’t you more amazed?” Why are you . . . yeah, so yes.

Sherry: Yeah, and in some ways that’s the psychologist in me that is not detached, but like observing. And sometimes I think when you give people what they want too quickly, then they just fill out the script that they are used to, sort of, repeating. So, if I’ve been like amazed, and, “Oh, my God, Andrew, you’re so insightful and you’re so smart. You’ve accomplished so much,” I think I would have gotten a different interview from you. But I didn’t sort of gave you exactly what you expected, which is what you do to other people, by the way.

Andrew: I do, do that, yes. I was going to say. So, I even recorded myself talking to guests before the interview started where I pull out a story from them, and I wanted to show our producer, here’s how I get to pull out a story, and I wanted her to pay attention to the words I used. But I realized, when I watched the recording, I didn’t just use words.

When they told me a story I liked I was like, “Ah,” And this is a genuine, wow, shock about it and excitement about it, but it’s also intentionally . . . well, not intentionally. It’s at this point it’s automatic. It’s communicated to them say, “This is what I want. I’m showering you with affection so that you know this is what is going to get more of this affection from me.” And I definitely do that. How did you know?

Sherry: Because it’s reinforcement. It’s like, classically, you’re training people to say what you want them to say, and you’re helping them be interesting by responding to them when, you know, they give you what you want essentially.

Andrew: I do. And I actually am now, there’s a guest who told me that he’s very upset with what he said in an interview, and he’s open with me. He said, “Look, I wanted to impress you.” And I know that part of it comes from the aura of the podcast that’s established before he ever comes on, but the other part is things like that that come on within the interview. I do that naturally. I do it at dinner conversations.

Sherry: Yeah. Do you feel like people treat you the way that you want them to? Like, generally people are amazed by you, it sounds like, and that’s what you’re going for, that’s what you’re seeking in life?

Andrew: I do think that I want that. I think at my best, yes. I’m thinking, when, you asked that, I was thinking about this office here. I rent an office from Regis, and there are lots of different businesses, and I’m so like, “Boom, boom.” I know that when I come out of that bathroom, I swear to God, almost every time people are like this, on the side, because they know I’m battling through. I don’t freaking have time.

I will open the door so fast that your arm will rip off, unless you walk out of the way. And they’re not intentionally doing it. I know that they’re, “Here comes Andrew, we got to get out of his way.” That’s not the way I want people to perceive me. I want them to know that I care about them and know their names. But I’m so tense, so jamming everything in that I don’t have time to be who I want with them, and then to get the response that I’m looking for from them, and that’s a big disappointment for me.

Sherry: Is that why we started late today?

Andrew: Yes. I have been just overbooked and just too much. I had no time for lunch, no time to go to the bathroom, and then I scheduled interviews, a lot of them. So because I believe in this work, I want to publish it, and then I had a friend of mine, Ethan Sigmon telling me about how he’s about to launch something. I said, “Ethan, you should do an interview with me.” And I thought, “When would be good for Ethan?”

Not when would be good for Andrew, when would be good for Ethan is this week before I take time off of interviewing to go do these other conferences. This week is the only time. So I said, “Ethan, how about if I jam you in between these two other interviews and forget about my lunch. I’ll figure it out. I’ll be okay.” Then I got a little sick, just a tiny cold, but I know that it’s because I’m rundown, and that’s why we started late, yes.

Sherry: You sound like you’re kind of tired, Andrew.

Andrew: I am. I am. I’m very exhausted. I’m impressed that you could sense it, because I’m pretty high energy right now.

Sherry: What is your low energy look like? For you?

Andrew: My low energy has completely turned off, but I really, you know what? I was going to say I love you, and it felt a little inappropriate, but I’m going to say it. There’s something about talking to you that just makes me feel so good, like so aware of myself. I don’t know what it is.

Sherry: I mean, I think that like that’s the deal of talking to a psychologist in a way. And I’m not doing my therapy tricks.

Andrew: No. Psychologists have not been good for me.

Sherry: No?

Andrew: No.

Sherry: You’re always talking to psychologists?

Andrew: No. I think it’s been an awful situation, because you can’t find the right one. You can’t find someone who jives with you, who gets you. It’s hard.

Sherry: And that’s the most important deal. You have to have somebody who gets you.

Andrew: Yeah. And so what you’re stuck with is a recommendation from a friend of a friend, and then the . . . I wouldn’t take movie recommendations from friends or friend of a friend, let alone something this personal, you know.

Sherry: Right. Somebody who’s going to like to look inside of your psyche. That’s like definitely a pretty intense relationship. Do you think you’re pushing yourself too hard?

Andrew: No, I think I’m pushing myself too stupid.

Sherry: Okay. What’s the difference?

Andrew: I can go all out hard, and I’m good with that. I like it. We’re going to take . . . my friend Brandon Watson takes a week away from his wife each year, and she does the same with him. And his week away is to go bike ride somewhere like an African bike journey that he’ll prep for all year. I want to do that. I’m going to do the same kind of thing.

I think it’s going to be a long bike ride or a long run where there is no time for a break, except at the end of it when I drink scotch, and then fall asleep or push myself hard somehow, maybe go out and then go and ride. I love that. Stupid is, saying to Ethan, “When is good for you?” Or imagining what is good for Ethan, instead of saying, “Hey, you know what, Ethan? It’s easier for me if we do it in a month. Does that actually make sense for you? Can we do that?”

And taking a moment to see maybe actually Ethan doesn’t really need it today. Why I’m I assuming he needs it right now? Stupid is me saying yes to everything that people ask for.

Sherry: Stupid is you believing that you’re a super hero.

Andrew: Yeah, I do. You know what? Actually, I want to say yes because I don’t want to be disagreeable. At my best, I do feel I’m a superhero and it comes across in a positive way, and it really . . . I was thinking about the difference between having my first son and my second. My first son, I would work really hard, come home, and my wife at the time was working at Yahoo in Sunnyvale, so she wouldn’t get home until 7:30.

I would come home, and I would see him, and I’d say, “What do you feel like doing?” And I would get a sense of it, and we’d go like, because he got excited about buses, take him on a bus ride to nowhere, and then go play with him all out, and then come back, and hang out with my wife. And then maybe go out with some friends, and then the next day feel super-powered and still be up at 6:00.
I do when I’m like, “On, I’m on.” When I’m doing stupid stuff like, this guy SEMrush. I liked it. I’m so grateful to him for asking me to be on whatever it is that he’s going to do. I don’t even know what it is. He wants me to do a 15-minute session where we test our equipment. And stupid is I wanted to just go around his schedule. Whatever your schedule is, I want to say fine. I finally couldn’t accommodate his schedule. He kept asking for times that were just unreasonable for me, and I finally said, “Hey, look at me. I’m going to say, “No I can’t do it.”

Sherry: Woo hoo. And that felt fine? You did okay? Nothing broke, the world didn’t end?

Andrew: No. I feel very guilty about it.

Sherry: It’s okay to say no.

Andrew: No, it’s not good. It’s not good because I don’t know SEMrush that well, but I know it enough to respect it. I feel really bad because, how many times do I tell people to do extra stuff for me for Mixergy so that they sound good, right? Test the equipment is not the biggest thing in the world and he says, I hate when people say this because it’s so insensitive to me, but they’re totally fine to say it. The said. “Andrew, it’s only 15 minutes.” It’s never only 15 minutes, because it’s tons of 15 minutes. Do you come across other entrepreneurs like this?

Sherry: Yeah. And I think the question I want to ask you is, like, is the guilt helpful? Because in a way, it seems like the guilt helps you guide your values. You really care about showing up for people and doing a good job and being both accommodating to other people, but also representing yourself well. So it sounds like in some ways the guilt helps you make good choices except that the guilt also makes you kind of miserable. So is there another way to guide your decisions around how you show up for other people without you getting burnt out, or feeling really guilty?

Andrew: I think it’s reduction in work, because the more I do the more stressed out my reactions are.

Sherry: Are you doing a lot of things that you don’t love?

Andrew: No, I’m doing a lot of things I do love. Yes and no. You know what? there a lot of just nonsense calls that I wish I wasn’t involved with. I’m doing a good job this year of scaling that back. I brought someone on to take on more of my responsibilities of managing the team, that’s been helpful. It’s not enough. I need to do more paring down, more bringing people in.

Sherry: Do you feel like you’re trying to . . . is there something you’re trying to prove?

Andrew: Is there something what?

Sherry: That you’re trying to prove?

Andrew: You know, I think I’ve lost sight of what I’m trying to accomplish. I think there’s something I’m trying to accomplish and I’ve kind of lost sight of it. What is that vision? Where am I going with it? I’m very much on autopilot right now. The sense that, hey, I work every minute of the day, because I’m someone who works hard, and what else is there to do? At the end of my life I’m not going to look back and say, “Wow, I’m so glad that I took that lunch.” I’m going to say, “I’m so glad that I got a little closer to Ethan. I’m so glad that I got to talk to Sherry Walling, Dr. Sherry Walling. If we were friends I would only call you Dr. Sherry Walling.

Sherry: We are friends. You can call me that. You and, occasionally my kids call me that, that’s about it.

Andrew: It is impressive. So, yeah, that’s what it is. I just . . .

Sherry: And I think it kind of a dangerous place to be, to be honest. Like the sense of being on autopilot and not being fully awake to your life and to the decisions that you’re making. And it does sound, though, that you have values that are guiding the kinds of decisions that you’re going to make. You’re always going to choose to connect with your kid. You’re always going to choose to connect with a friend. And that’s a value-driven decision. That’s a decision that you’re making because you do know what is important to you and what you’re after.

Andrew: I think that you’ve come up with good examples, because that’s what I’ve shared, but there are bunch of examples of decisions that I’m making that are not very good that way that I have intentionally . . . I live in San Francisco. You pay high rents here, you pay for like $5, $10 coffees here. Because of the people who are here, I intentionally told my wife, “I’m not talking to anybody. I’m now taking complete time off. It’s not worth my time to invest in friendships anymore, because all these people are going to move out of San Francisco anyway, or we’ll move out of San Francisco. Nobody stays here long. I’ll just spend time on my work.”

And so that’s not the person I want to be. I want to spend time with my friends. I’m enriched by the relationship both emotionally and screw emotions, because, you know, I care about them but not that much. I’m enriched by them like professionally. I’m here. I get to learn so much. I get so jazzed when I talk to people.

Sherry: So what? Are you burnt out on relationships?

Andrew: No. I don’t have the time for it, because my day is so over-scheduled. It’s just over-scheduled. That’s enough to just, choke a horse. I’m looking to see if I could come up with examples, but it’s a lot.

Sherry: It doesn’t sound like it’s that fun to you.

Andrew: No, it’s becoming less fun because of that. It’s just too much, too much, too much. I shouldn’t . . .

Sherry: And so . . . go ahead. I was going to say, to what end? Like, again, you’ve established that you know, you like people, you’re doing things for people. I get that, but what’s in it for you?

Andrew: I think I need to get clear about what the purpose is, where am I going with this, so that it all becomes more directed towards that. Yeah, but, I’m looking here at what comes up, what’s there for me tomorrow, for example. I asked ManyChat, I said, “Look, I’m an investor in the company. I like you guys, and I could use your help. Will you let me do a webinar for your audience about chatbots so that I can talk about this stuff?” And they said, “Yeah.” And I basically said, “Pick any topic.” And then they picked a topic . . .

Sherry: Just anything?

Andrew: Anything related to Messenger marketing, to reaching people via chat. And sorry, it just went through my head that I didn’t introduce you well enough to say like, where this woman has the background to have these kinds of conversations.

Sherry: What do you want people to know about why I get to have these kinds of conversations? I’m going to get more light.

Andrew: From what I know about you, I know a lot about you from Rob Walling, your husband, Founder of MicroConf, and the creator Drip. Do you know that the people at Leadpages who acquired Drip, I think they consider Drip to be a better product for their business than Leadpages. Is that me like giving rumors out?

Sherry: I don’t know. I don’t think I can comment on that.

Andrew: Yeah. I don’t think you should comment on it. I don’t think I should comment on it, but my sense is that they feel like, wow, this is actually, in many of the financial analysis of the company say that Drip is a better investment, maybe even than Leadpages.

Sherry: My understanding is it has more growth potential.

Andrew: Yeah. Let’s put it that way, but . . . and so, Rob’s been on a bunch of times talking about how he started these micro businesses, and here’s one that just became this macro giant in the space. And he’s told me a lot when I talk to him about relationships and families, he told me a lot about you and your background. And I know that you’ve been around entrepreneurship because of him. Am I right to say that?

Sherry: Yeah.

Andrew: He was the guy who had this vision for himself and he couldn’t do it for a long time, because you guys, you guys were living here in the Bay Area, so you know it was expensive. I read in your book you said, $1400 a month and how could we be entrepreneurs and have a . . .

Sherry: That was for a trailer, for trailer.

Andrew: Oh, it was a trailer. I said, “Boo hoo, $1400 a month.”

Sherry: That was also like 20 years ago, literally.

Andrew: Yeah, still $1400 is nothing here, yeah. And so, through that, at some point it feels like you decided you wanted to focus on entrepreneurs. At what point did you decide that you were going to be helping entrepreneurs with what’s going on in their heads?

Sherry: It was kind of an emerging journey for me, actually. My background as a psychologist has been traditionally to focus on people who have very highly stressful, high intensity jobs like military officers and ER physicians, people who really experience a lot of stress and sometimes trauma in the context at their jobs. So I’m a trauma psychologist by training.

I started working with entrepreneurs kind of slowly, because I think it was 2012 when Aaron Swartz took his life, and you know this founder of Reddit and a couple of other great things. And he wasn’t somebody that we knew personally, but I think that really rocked Rob, and therefore, it rocked me to see this really brilliant young person who had so much to contribute to the world get to a place where his mental health really got to such a serious state that he lost that battle.

And I think it was like a few months later that I applied to do an attendee talk at MicroConf. And, you know, got voted in and took the stage. And my talk was really impactful to people, not because I’m such an awesome speaker, but because nobody was talking about it at that point, nobody was talking about the loneliness and the depression and anxiety, and the real struggles that founders face, and I think people were like, “Oh, my God. Who is this lady and what is she talking about?” And like, “We need to talk about this in this community.” So that talk really started a series of talks, which led to a podcast, which led to sort of thing after thing.

And it wasn’t until the Drip acquisition that I had a whole other life as a psychologist and as a professor, and I left my teaching job, and left my clinical practice when we moved from California to Minneapolis. And so, that’s when ZenFounder became kind of the center of my work life. But when I slice it, or when I look back at it, I’ve been doing this work for 20 years in different versions.

Andrew: And so, you guys, I told you, I thought I knew what you were doing, then I checked your website. I didn’t check your website before we talked today. I always do that, but I didn’t do because I thought I know . . .

Sherry: You just thought you knew me.

Andrew: And now there’s this ZenTribe at the top, there’s like that whole team thing going on there, so you guys do what? You do team training? You know what? Actually, let’s hold onto the thought for a second, and I got to talk about my first sponsor. My first sponsor is a company called Needls. Do you know Needls?

Sherry: I don’t, but it sounds like I should. [inaudible 00:21:37]

Andrew: You know what? I had all these like . . . sorry?

Sherry: I don’t really know a lot about Facebook ads, so.

Andrew: Oh, great. This is the perfect for you, then. I act a lot of guilty around a lot of things. I got to know the founder of Needls really well. He asked me to invest. He said, “Look, I’m raising money. Would you be interested?” And I said, “No.” And I’m proud that I said no because I don’t want to invest in companies. But I also feel like, “Oh, I know he’s going to do well with this thing, because he’s like a beast of a guy with this thing, and now we’re friends, and I’m not like buddy buddies.”

Then there’s another voice in my head that goes, “You have to pay to be friends with people.” You can just be friends with them. So on the one hand I think, “I’m glad I didn’t do it, because I’m not an investor.” On the other hand I think, “This thing could be a rocket ship, and it could tie us closer.” Do you go through that with all your decisions?”

Sherry: Maybe not as much as you. It sounds like you really do a lot of like, rumination.

Andrew: A lot of it. I can’t just let things go.

Sherry: Sometimes that helps you make good decisions, but sometimes it just is a lot of suffering.

Andrew: I think that it’s not useful. I think that one person that I could learn a lot from is Noah Kagan. I feel like Noah Kagan finally found himself a few years ago. And for a while there he was coming up with great ideas and then disappearing on them for reasons that just didn’t make sense to me. Like having a job at Facebook. He was one of the first hires at Facebook. Then he had this conference that was doing well. And then he kind of disappeared from the conference. And then he had this other thing.

But what I started to admire about him was when he started to build AppSumo, he would disappear in constructive ways. Like he wouldn’t disappear on AppSumo, the company, he would just go off to Cuba for a week or two. He would . . . and you know, in Cuba, you can’t run your company by running the day to day stuff when you’re in Cuba. He would just take time off from stuff, and go hang out with people, go play ultimate Frisbee. And he’s good at that and I really respect that he would just go and disappear and keep things running.

I always felt that would good discipline for me to force myself to do that, because then it would mean the company should be able to run without me.

Sherry: And I know we need to talk about Needls, but there’s a lot of great science behind what Noah is deciding to do. Those strategic breaks, whether that’s like the capacity for deep work, or allowing yourself to play. There’s all kinds of really great, kind of, neurological processes that happen when you let your brain step out of your patterns and begin to do something else.

Andrew: Yeah, and it’s great for the team, too to know, we have to run this without Noah here. Somebody other than Noah needs to find the writer or create the writing that goes out on the site. All right.
So, here’s the thing with Needls. Facebook ads are really effective, but they cost a lot of money to manage if you hire a big agency, or they take a lot of your time, because you’re basically competing against guys like Noah, who are insanely connected to their ad buys, or at least his team is, And so it’s tough.

But if you don’t take advantage of Facebook ad buys, it’s going to be a wasted opportunity. It’s maybe the most effective ads that you can buy today on Facebook. And fairly reasonably priced if you do it right.

So what Needls decided to do is say, “Hey, look, hiring an agency is going to be too expensive. Doing it yourself is going to be too time consuming, and frankly you’re going to make enough mistakes that it’s going to be too expensive. We’re going to create a roboagency. And the roboagency will automate things intelligently and just keep getting better and better. And that means things like, will create your ads, we’ll actually, based on science, based on our experience, have our software create your ads for you, so the ad design will be done for you. But more than that, we’ll know who to place your ads in front of, by understanding who needs you based on what they’ve said.”

So, for example, imagine you, if you could target people who are on Facebook who are both founders, who identify as founders, but also say things like, “This is overwhelming.” Or, “I can’t keep up.” Or, I’m freaking exhausted.” Or this is a little too on the nose, a little depressed.”

This is what a human being would come up with words like that. Software would be a little more intelligent to say, “What are some of the words that people use if they are founders who need help?” And then their roboagency would place ads in front of those people for your services. That’s what they’re about over at Needls.

Sherry: That sounds super helpful.

Andrew: Really is, right. Ryan is super smart, and the guy’s obsessive. I wonder how he does mentally, because if he has an idea, he will call me. And because, he’s in Toronto and I signed up for like no more international calls on my phone, I FaceTime him. And he’s like sometimes with his daughter in bed, hanging out with her, playing with her, talking to me about this crazy idea that he has, and what he’s about to do. I don’t know how he’s always happy when he does it. I’m always frustrated when I talk to him. And he’s taken a lot.

Never mind all that guys. Let me close out this ad by saying, if you want to sign up for Needls, you can go to their website and pay a reasonable price, really, it’s very inexpensive, or you can go to the special URL, where you’ll get tagged as a friend of mine and a friend of, now Justin, the founder of the company, and get a bigger discount than I think they’re offering anyone else. All you have to do is go to needls.com/mixergy, and here’s the part where I don’t like. Needls is needls.com/mixergy.

And I’m happy to say, by the way, that I don’t like that domain, because I think that if he says, “Andrew, why am I paying you to rip on my domain?” I’m going to explain to him, this, “Because, this is what’s going to get people remember it. My people are going to remember to leave out that last E.” Needls.com/mixergy. You’re going to love the service, and I think their logo makes it really clear that there’s no E at the end there. Never mind all that. Let’s come back to you. You turned this into a business. What’s the business?

Sherry: The business is sort of a consulting practice, really. I mean, it’s me helping people get their brains optimized so that they can do their work well.

Andrew: Is it individuals? Like I would come and sit and talk to and have conversations like this but more in-depth?

Sherry: Yeah. I do some individual consulting for some organizations. I have planned retreats and sort of organized that for their team and showing up and lead sessions and helped the team learn to communicate better, learn to relax better, learn to interact in a way that’s more productive. I also do some group work, where people join a tribe, we call them, so there’s ZenTribes. And it’s a group of like six to eight, sometimes ten entrepreneurs who get together and we talk through, really, the core issues that we see breaking people down over and over.

So we talk about relationships, we talk about physical health, we talk about how to handle anxiety, how to deal with angry customers, the kinds of things that, you know, tend to kind of suck life from most people who are running a business.

Andrew: So I see on the pricing page for ZenTribes. $899 gets me into ZenTribe boot camp. That means I’m going to get in person with 68 founders?

Sherry: We do them over Zoom, so we do them remotely.

Andrew: How often do we meet we meet?

Sherry: We meet once a week for eight weeks.

Andrew: For eight weeks? And we talk about what?

Sherry: Well, we have kind of a set curriculum. So like the first session we talk about the building blocks of sanity, which is sleep, it’s exercise, it’s nutrition, it’s how you fuel your body, so you can fuel your brain. So that’s week one. And then we talk about, sort of, feelings that people are uncomfortable with, like angst, and anxiety, and anger and what to do with those kinds of feelings. We talk about relationships. We talk about meaning. We talk about play, that’s one that like most people have never thought of before, how do founder’s play well, and what’s the value in that.

Andrew: Yeah, look at this. I you saw me lose my attention for a moment, I was paying attention to what you were saying, but I was also noticing, look at Sherry. This whole business is based on your methodology, your process. You are in many ways the celebrity of the business, or the or the therapist that we’re working with, that we’re signing up for. But you have other people there with you, like Cory Miller, Shawn. How do you say his last name?

Sherry: Hesketh.

Andrew: Hesketh? In this case and in ZenTribes . . . so you’re good at saying, “This does not have to be the Sherry Walling show. This can be a bigger thing than me.” And right from the start . . . well, not from the start. Right now you’re doing that. And I feel like that’s where I need to be. All right. So in addition to that, you also have, not to make this a commercial for you, but I want to understand where you’re coming from.

Sherry: Hey, why not?

Andrew: Why not make it a commercial?

Sherry: I’m good with it. [inaudible 00:30:23]

Andrew: You also do these like service-based where I could do one on one with you, or I guess your team too, where if I want to do direction seeking, I could pay $1500. And then I do a 90-minute deep dive with you, and then six-hour long follow-up conversations. Is that right? And is that with you?

Sherry: That’s with me.

Andrew: That’s just with you.
Sherry: Although if people have specific needs, I might connect you with someone on my team. So if you’re thinking about mergers and acquisitions, like I can talk to the emotional part of that, but there’s some other people that can be helpful in that conversation too.

Andrew: So how common is what I’m saying to what you’ve seen in your podcast interviews, to what people have said to you one on one?

Sherry: I mean, I think it’s really common, Andrew, like entrepreneurs are people who are really driven, and they believe in their own ability to get shit done and to work really hard and to push the needle forward. I think they also care about other people, you know, they value their relationships. If they’re smart, they value their network. They want to take care of their network.

They also want to be seen as people who are awesome, and they want to be impressive. They want to show up for people in a way that is kind of show stopping. And those are all great skills. That’s what will make you successful, but it also has a downside. Like it takes a ton of energy. And if you aren’t really good at refueling, if you aren’t really good at taking care of yourself, then you can end up burnt out. You can end up very kind of empty.

Andrew: What do you do if . . . I don’t think I’m there. What do you do though, if you’re close to burn out? And the reason I say that is, I don’t think I’ll ever confront it until it’s there. And, you know, we said I was going to put the desk down to sit, I’m going to sit.

Sherry: Okay. Sit. So burn out is actually pretty serious, you know. It can damage your brain. We see these, like, structural changes in the brains of people who are burnt out. They have this like in a larger over active amygdala, which is, of course, the part of the brain that regulates negative emotion. And the connections between the amygdala and the frontal lobe, the frontal lobe is of course the, like, really advanced part of us that helps us talk to ourselves and calm ourselves down and make plans, that connection between our negative emotions and our capacity to calm down, those neurons begin to die. Like our brain begins to die. So it’s . . .

Andrew: So you’re saying that if I’m close to burn out, then a part of my brain had died. It’s too late.

Sherry: Do something about it. No, it’s not too late. It’s not too late, but it is, like, a pretty serious situation if you don’t do something about it. So, honestly, the way that we treat burnout, like true burnout when you’re really fried, you have to take a break, but a break isn’t sufficient in and of itself.

A break is kind of just the opportunity to let your body begin to reset, but for most people, really the only way to come back from burnout is to come back to things that are meaningful to them. And that might mean re-establishing the same work that you were doing, but remembering what brought you to it in the first place, finding it meaningful again. Because burnout is really too much output without enough meaning. It’s driven to the point of exhaustion, but you don’t feel like anything is meaningful or important, or you’re moving the needle forward in your life in a way that is valuable to you.

Andrew: Oh, that makes sense. I feel like then maybe I am there.

Sherry: I mean, you have kind of talked a little bit about feeling like you’re not quite sure why you’re doing all the things that you’re doing, and that’s a little bit of a tell that you might be there or heading in that direction.

Andrew: You know what though? The way that I work is kind of like I’m on a run, where I’m very much a marathon runner, and in a marathon if you stop while you’re in mile 20 and think, “Why am I doing this?” You’re not going to continue to run. You have to just say, “I trust that when I started this marathon my reasons made sense, and if I don’t, I trust that at the end of this marathon I will be able look back and adjust for next time, but I’m not going to think about whether this is the right thing to do or not while I’m running”
And that is the way that I want to live my life, too, that I trust that at the end of this major leap, I will be able look back and think and rethink it. The problem is a marathon at least has an end. This doesn’t have an end. It just keeps continuing. There’s no period where I say, “Hey, stop and evaluate.” I wonder if maybe that’s what I need. Stop and evaluate period.

Sherry: So I was a sprinter, I actually met Rob on the track at UC Davis where we both went to college. And I used to run the 400, which is a beast of a race.

Andrew: What is the 400? What is that in miles or?

Sherry: It’s a quarter of a mile.

Andrew: Quarter mile? Okay. So that means super fast?

Sherry: Yeah. I mean, when I was in high school I ran it in under a minute, which is, you know, it’s pretty fast for a high school girl. And the way that you’re trained for that kind of race is we did a lot of interval training, so you run like a 100, a 200, a 400, a 400, a 200, a 100. But between each of those sprints, you take breaks. So you might run a 100 which is like a quarter of a quarter of a mile. And then a walk the rest of the track. And then you might run a 200, and then a walk the rest of the track. Run a 400 and then walk the lap.

So I think the problem with the marathon analogy, is I feel like it’s in some ways you’re describing living your life like you’re sprinting, like going full capacity, full speed. When you’re running a marathon you save some energy for mile 26, right.

I mean, you’re pacing yourself, and maybe you have a sense of pacing, but at least from what you’re describing, it sounds like, no time for lunch, no time to like great people. Get out of my way when I walk out of the bathroom, because I am in a hurry. Like I am doing things, which sounds a little bit more sprint speed, and the only way that you can succeed as a sprinter is for your body to reset appropriately between sprints.

Andrew: I think I need to be more of a marathoner, because at times my wife will say, “Look, I’ll take the kids for the day on a weekend. Go and do nothing if you want.” And I find that that actually doesn’t help. Even if I don’t know anything . . .

Sherry: [inaudible 00:36:44] recharges you.

Andrew: It doesn’t recharge me to do nothing, number one, and number two, even if it does, it’s for the day. If the next day I’m up at 6:00 because the kids are yelling, and I take care of the kids, and I go and I work, and I deal with the fires at work . . . we don’t have fires. I deal with the issues at work, back to back, to back, and I come home and I race home to be on time to pick up the kids at 6:00, and I just . . . that invalidates the whole previous day. It undoes it.
It’s not like I could have way too fast and then nothing. It needs to be more marathon pace, actually, where it’s, be aware that today isn’t the last day that I do interviews. Ethan could wait a couple of weeks and understand that that’s fine. I think that might be the answer for me.

Sherry: And marathoners, like, refuel properly. Like they take lunch. They drink the water.

Andrew: I feel that lunch is for suckers. I do. I get it, but . . .

Sherry: Where did you get that idea?

Andrew: I grew up watching Wall Street movies. I grew up watching either cowboy movies for a long time, the old Clint Eastwood movies, and then Wall Street movies where it’s things like “Lunch is for suckers” was said on a frequent basis. That’s what . . .

Sherry: Do you think that’s true? Like really in your heart of hearts?

Andrew: I do in my heart of hearts, but I also know I really enjoy having a salad. It’s helpful for me. I could have one yesterday because I was to packed . . . salads take a long time to eat. It really does.

Sherry: It does. It’s a lot of fork movements.

Andrew: Right. versus the pizza. I literally, I’m right on Mission and Beale, one block away is a pizza place. By the time I get back to Mission, I finish my pizza. And it’s unhealthy.

Sherry: Well, I guess, you know, I think a lot of what I think is important, and what I talk with people about, sounds a little bit dissonant with where you are. But the sense in which there’s value in slowing down, like there’s value in having even little spaces in the day where you are breathing well. And you know about breathing. You’re a runner, you cycle, like you know how to regulate your breathing so you don’t start to hyperventilate because you’re going too fast.

Andrew: I think it is a problem for me that I’m not doing that. You know that Apple came out with the breath app on their watch? I thought it was so stupid. And then at one point I decided around the house I’m not going to my iPhone, I’ll just use my watch, because that way if I have something I need to do, I could just set a reminder and do it later, and set the reminder on the watch. I got bored one day and I tried the breathe app. And, man, it was so good. I just did one minute because it was a stupid app. Who cares.
It was such a relief. It was like a luxury in the middle of the day, to take a minute to breathe and the watch was kind of cool about like making you inhale, and the watch would vibrate and then exhale and the watch would do this. I haven’t done it in months. As much as it was helpful, it was like one minute is a little mini vacation, two minutes is a two-minute vacation that I really feel self-indulgent for taking. I haven’t done that even. That is a challenge.

Sherry: I’m surprised about that. Just because you are a trainer, you pay attention to your physical health, you are, you know, in training to do some massive bike ride someday soon. But when you take those slow deep breaths, you’re activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which is the part of your nervous system that calms you down, that sort of says like, “All is well.” And that part of your body has to be strong and functional in order for your body not to live in this kind of fight or flight threat reaction all the time. And maybe you don’t feel this. You don’t sound like you feel anxious. But it does sound like your body is always on full blast.

Andrew: Full blast, and not in a good way. Like tomorrow this ManyChat thing that I said, they said, “Hey, show us how to sell chap bots . . .” They actually didn’t even check in with me, and I don’t want them to. I want to move fast. They sent it out to their audience, they said, “If you’re interested in learning how to create a chatbot and then sell it to clients, Andrew is going to do this training.” It’s the opposite of what we said we’re going to do.

I think I do remember, it was, “Show us how to create this one chatbot.” So I was going to get in that direction. Instead we’re going in this direction. I was up last night, instead of riding my bike, instead of training for like whatever this long bike rides going to be, I was doing tomorrow morning. I don’t even know when I’m going to be able to do it. I have no lunch time before I do it. And sometime today and tomorrow I have to get this . . . all right. Let me take a breath here, and talk about my second sponsor.

My second sponsor is a company called TopTal. I always talk about them for great developers. What did Rob go to find developers? He always found really good people. What is it? Is it network?

Sherry: Fresno.

Andrew: What do you mean? People who actually lived in Fresno? He found developers there?

Sherry: He found some great developers in Fresno. Derek Reimer is from Fresno. He’s the cofounder of Drip.

Andrew: But how would he do it? Did he go to meetups?

Sherry: There was a code contest called 59 Days of Code, and he would just like, hire the winners.

Andrew: Smart. That’s great. All right. So you guys can go to check out 59daysofcode.org and try to hire the winners from there. Or if you need a developer who’s the best of the best, go to TopTal. They screen people. And you know what actually, let me take a moment away from talking about developers from there.

One of the challenges that I’ve had in the past is doing the finances for Mixergy myself. It’s all on me to figure it out because I always think, I should be the head finance person. It’s funny, I think of Leona Helmsley and one book that I read, it just stuck in my head how she would pay all the checks herself. And the truth is that, I don’t know if it’s a lie or not about that. And I also know that Leona Helmsley was pretty freaking nuts. She’s a woman who ended up owning a lot of real estate in Manhattan.

But it’s in my head, and so because of that I said I have to do all my finances. I have to be the person who goes and checks everything out, and I wanted some feedback. So I went to TopTal and I said, “You guys do developers.” They said, “Yeah.” “But you keep telling me that you do MBA guys.” They said, “Yeah.” I said, “Can you find someone who can go over my books with me on a regular basis?” And they said, “Yeah.” They found someone and I’d say more than once a month we sit down, we go over all my finances and he tells me, “Here is where you make a mistake. Here’s what you should be doing.”

He helped me question our credit card processing fees. I never thought to look at that. I called the credit card processing company just to get some feedback from them, and then I thought “I’m going to hand it to Jack, let Jack negotiate with them.” And the guy looked at my numbers and he basically said, “Oh, yeah I could probably . . . if you talk to someone else maybe they’ll cut this in half.” I said, “Really? Would you do that?” And he goes, “Yeah.” So would you do more?” And he goes, “Yeah.” I said, “How about reducing it completely?” He goes, “Well, we could do that.” And I go, “What the hell was I thinking? I never even thought to question and this guy negotiated with himself.”

And the latest thing I’ve had him do is say, create projection for all my revenue and expenses for 2018. Just go through where we were in the past, understand what I’ve said we should be this year, go through it and tell me where we expect to be so that I know how many more people I could hire. I want to hire the max.

Sherry: That’s like a CFO that you just like, have on call. That’s great.

Andrew: Right. With experience working for all these other companies, so he can bring all that experience here. So if you guys want a great developer, you could go to TopTal and hire them. I’ve talked a little bit about how if you needed a designer, you can hire them from TopTal, I have. But what I should be saying more about is, if you need somebody to do the finances, to do the MBA, the business stuff, to help you think it through, you can hire that from TopTal.

This guy used to be a management consultant with, I think, it was Bane or McKinsey. I forget which one now. That got him on like working with me. You don’t have to be at the level of a Fortune 500 to hire that level person anymore. They’re available on TopTal. So if you need someone to help with your finances, go to toptal.com/mixergy. If you need a developer, go to toptal.com/mixergy. And I’ve said this before, I’ll read again, if you go to that page you are going to see first of all, very, very good looking model.

And number two, you’re going to see the Mixergy listeners get 80 hours of TopTal developer credit when they pay for their first 80 hours in addition to a no risk trial period of up to two weeks. All you have to do is go to toptal.com/mixergy. My stomach is growling as I say that.

Sherry: You’re hungry.

Andrew: I’m so hungry. All right. Let’s keep going here.

Sherry: What else do we need to talk about?

Andrew: I think we should talk a little bit about the book.

Sherry: Okay.

Andrew: Why didn’t you give me a full copy of the book?

Sherry: I did give you a full copy of the book, Andrew.

Andrew: You did?

Sherry: Twice. I gave it to you one time when I asked you to write.

Andrew: So the one that I have at the end here with gratitude, Sherry and Rob, Sherry and in parentheses, Rob, that is a complete one?

Sherry: Yeah. It’s like 165 pages.

Andrew: All right. So there must be a misunderstanding. So I said to my assistant, “Please, put the full book in.” And she said, “We didn’t get the full book. We only got the first few chapters.” So I said, “All right. Then put that in, and I’ll go through that. But why are we not?” I see. I didn’t realize it. I thought maybe there was more and that you told Andrea that there was more. Okay. So what I have is the actual full book.

Sherry: I gave you the book, dude.

Andrew: Were you pissed that I didn’t write a review or something?

Sherry: No.

Andrew: That’s why you sent it to me. I’m disappointed. I should be on for stuff like that. First, frankly, it’s a good book.

Sherry: You could’ve been here with Seth Godin and Jason Cohen.

Andrew: That’s exactly it. The truth is . . .

Sherry: Your name belongs on the back of this book.

Andrew: Right. It’s great promotion for me. It’s better than a Facebook ad, because it’s branding with these people.

Sherry: But you got other things to do, so it’s cool. I was all right.

Andrew: The other things I shouldn’t be doing. I need to cut back. All right. What have you seen that’s the most common problem going through this? I’ll tell you what stood out for me. Steli Efti is a survivor of some kind. I don’t think you said what he survived in the book. Did you?

Sherry: He’s a survivor of lots of things.

Andrew: Did he get open about it in the book?

Sherry: He got open about it on his interview with me.

Andrew: All right. I got to get the interview. I didn’t know.

Sherry: I gave maybe some examples, yeah. I think he lost his dad, yeah.

Andrew: Okay. He’s the founder of close.io, the CRM for sales people. Okay, wow.

Sherry: He lost his dad when he was young, and then he had to . . . so he’s Greek, but was growing up in Germany in kind of this like German enclave, where he faced a lot of like discrimination, and he was sort of . . .
Andrew: Being Greek?

Sherry: An anti-immigrant time. I mean, there’s always in-group, out-group issues wherever you are. And then, you know, he just, like, didn’t do well in school. He learned about investing by reading one book. It was like the first book he ever read, so he says. And then just like showed up in the U.S. and was like, “Let’s make things happen.” So he really had a lot of, you know, he just didn’t have any pedigree, any training. He didn’t have a lot of support. He was just really doing it all on his own, which is why, yeah, I call him a survivor.

Andrew: So why isn’t he a nut case? Why am I a nut case and not him? He should be mental.

Sherry: Why do you think you are and he’s not? What does that mean, nut case?

Andrew: I actually think I’m not a nutcase. I think that I’m very in touch with what’s going on in my head, and I bring it forward in conversations in these interviews, partially because I want to create space for other people to be this open, and then it becomes less weird when they do it. And partially because I don’t respect people who do podcasts or write books where they are pretending and they’re not in touch with who they really are.

The cliché writing feels so right because it’s connected to something that feels like a universal truth, but you’re not getting at who you are. The only way to get at who you are is to try to expose yourself as much as possible, and then you get that unique thing about you that also is a universal truth for us that helps us see ourselves. That’s what I want, and that’s why I do it.
Sherry: I feel like the universal truth is that we’re all nutcases. Like we all have insecurities, we’ll have issues we’re trying to work out. We all have demons from our past. We all have daddy issues, and mommy issues, and we’ve all been hurt. Which one do you want? Pick a genre.

Andrew: I feel like you’ve gone through a very challenging year here that is exposed that maybe you’ve had more challenges growing up.

Sherry: Yeah.

Andrew: Can we talk about your brother?

Sherry: Sure. We can talk about my brother.

Andrew: What happened to your brother? And did you get his permission to talk about him?

Sherry: He makes an appearance in the book. So we have talked about him before, and yeah, I have his permission.

Andrew: You sat down and said, “I want to talk about you publicly.”

Sherry: I did not say, “May I talk to Andrew on Mixergy about your story?”

Andrew: But did you say, “I’m going to be talking about you in public.” And the reason I ask is because I think that it’s helpful for you to talk about him, and we’ll say what happened, but I also feel like there’s some, “I want to use you for material for my career in that.” And that’s a tough thing to bring up to someone who’s just gone through a big challenge in their life.

Sherry: So, first of all, his story is also my story, because it bumped up against my life. So I think that’s the, you know, it’s not just I’m talking about him to forward my career and say, “Oh, I had a tough upbringing and I come from a tough family, and look at me, I’m such an exemplar.” Like that is not the message here. The message is, like, there are two, and one is about my own survival in the midst of a lot of chaos. And then the other is about his survival.

Andrew: So what happened? Tell the story and then through that let us understand.

Sherry: So we’re recording this on Valentine’s Day. I don’t know when that interview will go live, but February 14th. And on this day one year ago, I was driving home from Mayo Clinic, where I had been with my dad who was just diagnosed with very advanced esophageal cancer. And we were at Mayo Clinic, getting all of these tests, and it was actually today that we learned that the cancer had spread to his lungs. So he has his esophageal cancer and lung cancer and his lymph nodes, and it’s like . . .

Andrew: Today, 2018, we discovered it?

Sherry: [inaudible 00:50:58] 2017, I’m doing a one year retrospective. And I get back to my house, and my mom says, “Your brother is in the hospital in Montana.” And I was just like, “That doesn’t sound right. Give me the doctor’s number. Let me figure this out.” And I call and then I get the ICU, and I just was . . . they’re like, “He’s been brought in. He has multiple organs are failing, and he hit his head, and he, this, and this, and this.” And I’m like trying to digest all of this, because I’ve spent a lot of time in clinics. I’m a psychologist, you know, I know how to talk to physicians. And I was just like, “Are you telling me that he’s going to die?” Like, “You got to break it down.” And the doctor was like, “I’m telling you it’s moment to moment.”

So and those are just words that really like hang on you, you know. So I left my house and went to the airport and got on a plane, went to Montana, and was sitting by my brother as he was trying to figure out if he was going to live or not. And all of this was happening while I am trying to write this book, and take care of my clients, and raise my children.

And I think part of the reason why, I don’t know, like maybe why we’re talking about this is because when you think about superpowers, or when you think about what it means to hustle, is that you figure out how to get stuff done, and to do things that are important to you even in the midst of chaos, or even when things in your life are not always peachy keen.

And my story is not that unique. So many founders that I talk to have a family member who’s very sick, or a child with special needs, or . . .

Andrew: Well, how did he become sick?

Sherry: My brother started drinking very heavily when he was 14 or 15.

Andrew: At 14 or 15, alcohol is very painful. Why do you think he put himself through the pain of drinking at that age?

Sherry: You know, I think that’s for him to speak to, but I think one thing that’s hard about this particular story is our family really didn’t know. I mean, I was out of the house by then. He’s my younger brother, so I wasn’t around very much. And I think we didn’t have a family that was on the lookout for a substance abuse problem, especially in a kid. And we weren’t looking for it or thinking about it, and it just kind of was like, “This is not something that will happen to us.” But it did happen, and it was happening for many, many years before.

Andrew: In retrospect do you think you knew?

Sherry: I do. I think we knew he wasn’t happy, like he wasn’t who he used to be. He was this very outgoing, like life of the party, big, bright, blue-eyes kid. And then he wasn’t. And we didn’t know how much of that was like teen angst, but in retrospect it wasn’t. It was way more than that, way deeper.

Andrew: So hard to see that, right.

Sherry: Sure.

Andrew: So what were you like as a teenager then?

Sherry: I was very motivated to leave my hometown and get out of my situation. So I . . .

Andrew: Why? What was it about the situation you wanted to get away from?

Sherry: I think I grew up in a context where, don’t get me wrong, like I had a lot of love and support. But I also had parents who were not very healthy and were not doing well in their lives, and I grew up in this pretty religious community that was very, very dictatorial about what a woman should be doing and talking about and thinking about, and in retrospect is pretty anti-intellectual and pretty misogynistic. And . . .

Andrew: And your parents bought into it.

Sherry: They did.

Andrew: And did you buy into it?

Sherry: I did at that point, yeah. And there were good things about it. I mean, I think I learned a lot about hard work, and I learned a lot about studying. I don’t know. So it was all negative by any means, but I knew that like it wasn’t for me. Like I had to get out of there.

Andrew: What was it about your parents? You said that they weren’t in a good spot then?

Sherry: Yeah, they had a really hard time, I think in their lives. My mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis about a year after I was born. So she was pretty ill on and off throughout my childhood. And, again, like not totally a negative story, because I learned a lot of strength from her, but I think that’s kind of scary as a young child to see your parent be really ill.

And my dad struggled on and off with various levels of unemployment and difficult issues, and he had a lot of health problems. And then when I was 15 he was incarcerated for a little while. And that was a really big part of my story because, I think, I’ve grown up in this very religious environment where good people do good things and bad people do bad things and so to have my dad who someone who was a good person, who did something bad and got in trouble was, like, “Oh, my God. The world is falling apart.”

Andrew: What did he do?

Sherry: He stole something.

Andrew: What did he steal?

Sherry: I don’t think the details are more important, or are important beyond that.

Andrew: How long was he in jail?

Sherry: He was in jail for about six weeks, and then on home arrest for probably until the end of February, it was probably about six months.

Andrew: I guess I was thinking a big substantial part of your life.

Sherry: Yeah, not prison, not hard time. But I think that happened a couple weeks before my 15th birthday, and so it’s pretty formative for me.

Andrew: Yeah, I feel like not just kids get crazy around their teenage years, but so do parents. By that point, they’ve been running a set of marathons, and I wonder what’s going to happen to me. Because I’m going to be exhausted at that point, and I don’t want to be. I want to make sure that I’m setting myself up right at that point.

The story that sticks with me is Steve Wozniak wrote such a good, touching autobiography. And one of the things that he said was that his dad was always the person who would play with him, and introduce him to new things. So much of who he is today you can see in the stories that he tells about his dad. But then his dad had some financial setbacks, I forget what it was, but I do remember that that’s what changed things and he started drinking a little bit more, being less connected, and he was more, I think, mean, and I think, “This is the danger I got to watch out for.”

Sherry: It’s hard for parents. I mean, when we aren’t well, it’s almost impossible to show up in a meaningful way for our kids.

Andrew: I know. And I’ve got to just make sure that I protect myself for that too. All right. Have we accomplished anything here today? Am I better for this? I’m not cured.

Sherry: I don’t know. Was that the goal?

Andrew: I think the goal was to do some personal self-examination here for me. I think the goal was to introduce your work without having you just talk about your book directly and doing promotion. I think the goal here was . . . I listen to podcasts. There are a lot of people who I don’t get a sense of who they are in the podcast. And as a result, it feels a little too textbook-like. And I don’t want that here. I want people to get a sense of who I am. And I think we’ve done that.

The big question is, what do people think of it? Is this useful? Is it interesting? Is it the kind of thing that people would want more of? I’m not looking for validation here for myself. I’m looking for validation about like what’s the direction for the program. I always want to keep checking in with people.

So, guys, let me know. In fact, you can email me directly if you want, but I’d rather that you also email the team so that it permeates our discussion about the way that we do these episodes. I’m not hiding my email address by telling you use contact@mixergy.com. I’m letting you know that I’d rather that you tell everyone here so that they all pass it on to me, and it becomes part of our culture what your feedback is about this. But, like I said, I’m not hiding my email address. My email address is andrew@mixergy.com. I’d love your feedback though, to the team.

All right. Sherry Walling, your book is available when?

Sherry: It will be out February 21st.

Andrew: Or apparently, it’s also in my . . . it was on my desk the whole time, this whole thing. I thought maybe it was like some kind of work in progress. I should have known that this was it. All right. It is “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Keeping Your Shit Together: How to Run Your Business Without Letting It Run You.” I like the title. I feel like you could have gone very negative in that. Like, “How to stop the demons in your head.'” Or, “How to not be . . . ” Right. There are so many things. “How not be fucked up.”

Sherry: I don’t think my 11 year-old knows that word. Or at least he’s not going to say it to me.

Andrew: All right. Go check out the book, and of course it’s zenfounder.com if you want to check out her site. The two sponsors who I mentioned are my former friend’s company. I’m sure once he hears this he’s going to decide that he’s not interested in being friends with me, which is fine, because as I told my wife, I am cutting back on friends, but I’m not cutting back on good software and good services. And his company is called Needls, it will help you buy Facebook ads right. It’s needls.com/mixergy. Frankly, if you’re really looking to buy Facebook ads, it’s a fanfreakingtastic way to do it.

And number two, if you need to hire a developer or someone to be your part time CFO like I did, go to toptal.com/mixergy. All right. Thanks so much for doing this.

Sherry: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Bye.


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