Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders

Long-Term Business Development Success – Mark Bober

February 02, 2021 Connection Builders Episode 30
Branch Out - A Podcast from Connection Builders
Long-Term Business Development Success – Mark Bober
Show Notes Transcript

In today's business world, it's all about quick wins and immediate gratification. But this isn't what it should be about. If you want to create an impactful business that will generate consistent revenue and success, you need to go focus on relationships. In today's show, we talk with Bober Markey Fedorovich ("BMF") partner Mark Bober, who has 35-plus years in transactions, mergers, acquisitions, and litigation serving as a state witness. We open the episode by hearing Mark's thoughts on what business growth is and how to create it. After discussing his ethos on achieving long-term growth, Mark shares valuable insight into how you can create business opportunities by treating conversations, Zoom calls, and meetings as research. We then move onto the backbone of business growth — trust. In the latter half of the show, Mark talks to us about the key to his success and touches on how offering top-notch client service has been the main driver behind it. We also hear about why it's important to work well with partners and not just clients and learn that referrals often come from positive experiences of collaboration. 

 
Key Points From This Episode:

  • Hear about what business development means to Mark.
  • Explore opportunity-generating events that promote business growth.
  • Mark's take on networking and expanding your knowledge base.
  • Why trust is such an essential factor to Mark and his firm. 
  • How your effort today can pay dividends in the future.
  • The key to Mark's success in business.
  • Marks talks about why client service is a cornerstone of business growth.
  • Why it is important to work well with partnering companies and not just your clients.
  • Find out about a customer's lifelong value and why you should strive to earn it.
  • Mark's most significant challenges in business and career development.
  • Discussion about the business impact of being introverted or extraverted.
  • Why time is such an important factor in business growth.

Mark Bober
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[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Branch Out, a Connection Builders Podcast; helping middle-market professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers. Through a series of conversations with leading professionals, we share stories and insights to take your career to the next level. A successful career begins with meaningful connections.

[00:00:21] AD: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Branch Out Podcast. I’m your host, Alex Drost. I hope you’ve enjoyed our last few episodes, focused on investing in your professional growth. We are now going to shift gears and spend the next handful of episodes discussing business development.

Now, if you're a middle-market professional service provider, you know that business development is a core aspect to your career. What exactly is business development and what steps can you take to improve this critical skill set? That's exactly what we're going to be exploring over the coming episodes.

Now, for today's guest, we have Mark Bober, a partner with BMF, an Ohio-based full-service CPA and advisory firm. Mark shares his thoughts and insights on what has driven his 35-plus years of career success. I hope you all enjoy.

[00:01:09] ANNOUNCER: Connect and grow your network. We are on LinkedIn. Search for Connection Builders.

[INTERVIEW]

[00:01:16] AD: Mark, welcome to the Branch Out Podcast. Looking forward to our conversation today on defining business development. Excited to have you here.

[00:01:24] MB: Glad to be here. Thanks for having me, Alex.

[00:01:27] AD: Mark, I think the first question I want to tee up to you is, what does business development mean to you?

[00:01:33] MB: Yeah. I guess, if I just look at the definition of it, it means generating business. Where at least I get caught up in and people that I work with is well, does that mean immediate result, immediate gratification? If you go out and do a business development activity today, what's the expectation in terms of what the outcome is? That's where, at least with people that I work with, people go out on meetings, or calls and then come back and say, “Well, what was supposed to happen? I mean, am I doing what I’m supposed to do?” I always say, it's more like a marathon, not a sprint. It can take time to see what the fruits are of the efforts that you're putting in.

[00:02:27] AD: I think you're spot on in that. Let's peel that back a little bit. We talk about if business development, by definition, is generating some opportunity, some growth for the firm, I think for me and I’d love your thoughts on this Mark, one, I don't necessarily believe that is solely in the form of revenue generation. It's not just about the client conversion, but opportunities in general. Where are their growth opportunities, whether that's uncovering a new service line that you can turn into offering to your clients that will generate revenue down the road, or is that becoming aware of a potential acquisition that your firm can make, or a way that you can bring in new talent into your business that offers a new service? All of those, eventually drive towards revenue. To me, all of those are opportunity-generating events that do help with the growth of the business. What's your take around that?

[00:03:21] MB: I think you're absolutely spot on. I mean, you look at if you're going out networking, or meeting up with somebody, or having a conversation on the phone, or on Zoom, to a certain extent, it's a research call, because whoever you're talking to, whether they're a business owner and they are in a specific industry, or whether they're what we call a center of influence, or a referral source, you can learn a lot.

We're all trying to expand our knowledge base to make us more relevant. In terms of what you're just describing, Alex, is yeah, when you go out talking to somebody – I’m looking at it also as a research column, looking to expand my knowledge base and to be able to take away from that conversation, things that can help me in working with my clients, customers, people internally. I never really thought of it that way, but I absolutely agree with what you're saying.

[00:04:21] AD: Well, I like too, you said the — expand your knowledge base. Fundamentally, as a service provider, you are being paid by your client to solve some form of a problem. There may be some deliverable underlying it. There may be some analysis, or you may be signing off in an audit. You may be filing a tax report. There's so many things that might have a tangible result. Fundamentally, you're helping bring knowledge and expertise in some specific domain to help your clients solve a problem. If you don't have the knowledge base to begin with, how can you do that?

Business development and networking and relationship building is such a great way to be out there, uncovering that and expanding that knowledge base and tying those dots together that really open up the opportunities, right?

[00:05:04] MB: Yes. I would agree with that. I know you mentioned some practice areas. In the areas where I lead our efforts is in transactions, which is merger and acquisitions and also, in litigation serving as an expert witness. If you've got a seller that's selling their business, it's their potentially the biggest event in their career. I mean, they've built up, they're an entrepreneur, they've built their business from scratch, they're going to sell it. It's the biggest event in their – from an economic standpoint. They need to have somebody that if they're going to be hiring somebody as an advisor, they need somebody that they can trust, is going to deliver important advice.

Or if you're an expert witness for somebody that is either suing somebody or on the defense side, they want an expert witness that is in a position to basically, work on their behalf and their expectation is that they're going to be looking for who's the best person that they think would help them in their situation. The relationship is important, but it's the area of expertise in a lot of these areas.

Even if it's just pure compliance services, like tax, advice. Nobody wants to pay more tax than they have to. Yeah, they want to work with somebody that they like, but they want to make sure that they've got the expertise to be able to advise them properly.

[00:06:40] AD: I couldn't agree more. You said trust there. Someone you trust. Something that I go back to a lot, when it really comes down to business development, I believe it comes down to the know, like and trust factor. They have to know who you are, they have to like you and they have to trust you. In knowing who you are and liking you, comes down to being out, building relationships, getting to know people. Trust as well plays into building that relationship, but also the expertise.

To your exact point, you can't – it's not just about being a pure technical expert. It's also not about just being nothing more than a relationship person. It's about melding those two together and building that genuine relationship with someone, but also, knowing that you have the knowledge, the expertise and the skill set to whether it's you yourself that's doing it, or you know the right places to bring in that expertise, to make sure that that trust continues to build. That's ultimately how someone decides to do business with you and says, “Okay. I trust you, or I know you. I like you and I trust you. Let's work together. I have a problem I need solved. You can help me with it.”

[00:07:44] MB: Yeah. That's exactly the case. At least from our perspective and my perspective, it's not a transactional activity. It's not a situation where somebody's going in, or at least from the way I look at it is, I’m not looking to make a quick payday on a specific project. I mean, I’m looking for – in our firm, we're looking for long-term relationships and something that's going to be mutually beneficial from the client's perspective and also from our perspective, but not looking at it as a one-and-done type situation.

[00:08:22] AD: Well, not transactional, I think, is key. You mentioned this earlier and you said it there again. Let's dive into the idea that business development takes time. Ultimately, we want to go out there and we want to say, “Okay. I went to this meeting. I gave them this pitch. I had this conversation. I converted this business. I can see the linear connection between step one, step two, step three. I see those actions immediately and know what I’m doing is working.”

That's not really the case in business development. There's a lot of all over the place and I plant something here and six months later, I get a phone call and someone says, “Hey, you mentioned you do this, right?” All of a sudden, something comes out of it. How have you over your career balance that, just knowing that you don't necessarily see your direct efforts the second you do them?

[00:09:10] MB: Yeah. I mean, there's two different situations. Sometimes there's an immediate need, where somebody has a situation and they need to find somebody that has the specialized expertise that can support them in whatever situation they're in the middle of, either a crisis situation in their company, where they need somebody to come in and get an opinion or help them through an issue. Generally speaking, that pain isn't necessarily there at that particular time.

That's where if you're in a professional service environment, that's the struggle that people have, because a lot of organizations, compensation, incentive compensation is based on what results are you generating? In today's world, it's like immediate gratification. You expect to get something immediately, and a lot of just compensation arrangements and organizations are set up that way. It's really planting those seeds. Hopefully, every year there's going to be some of them that are actually going to sprout and you're going to see tangible results, that if you're in an organization that's getting compensated based upon generating new revenue that there's going to be certain of these activities that are going to generate revenue in a certain year. If you expect it's all going to happen now and get frustrated, that's just – I think that's a little just short-sighted.

[00:10:52] AD: I couldn't agree more. It's definitely a long game.

[00:10:56] MB: Yeah, it definitely is a long game.

[00:10:58] AD: Mark, let me ask you, you've had a successful career and have built a successful practice today. Looking back, what do you think is the key to that success? What has helped you in your business development efforts and along the way?

[00:11:12] MB: Yeah, that's a great question. Since I’m further along in my career, I mean, it's getting me to look back on this. I mean, I think there's a couple things. I mean, one, just relationships going all the way back to when you started in the business world that you never would have thought that they may – somebody you worked with 10, 20, 30 years ago that is ultimately, could become a source of business in the future. At the time, you never think of that stuff. Now when I’m looking back, I see that some of those relationships where people that I work with now are in executive, whether it's CFO, or CEO situations that in businesses that could use our services and where it's happened. That's one sense.

That's been a really a good feeder of ultimately, business. For me personally, I’ve always focused on the technical expertise, the service delivery, the industry knowledge and things like that that I’ve spent a lot of time just making sure that I’m at the top of my game there. I focus more on the client service side and execution on projects that is not the outward-facing business development but under this whole long game approach.

When I look back, that's what's really been the created opportunities for me to be able to build my practice, to grow my practice. The results of that work and having really satisfied clients that are going to be recurring clients and refer my name and our firm name into other situations. I mean, I know this is a service, as opposed to a product. When you look at, I don't know if you're familiar with net promoter scores.

You look at companies like Apple and Tesla and Peloton, those companies have – when I follow net promoter scores, they've got net promoter scores in the high 90s. Some of those are product companies. If you look at Apple, it's the lifetime customer, because they're selling additional products. It's not just selling one product. It's what's the lifetime value of a customer or relationship? A company like that is finding that it's a big ecosystem. It's not just a one-and-done sale. It's being able to deliver on your promises.

A company like Peloton, I mean, there's a monthly subscription and they're looking at that as a long-term play. It's no different in professional services. That's where when I look back, I’ve really focused on servicing clients and making them meeting, or exceeding their highest expectations and treating them the way I’d like to be treated and really caring about their business. Like I said earlier, not looking at it as a transactional situation, but looking at it as caring about their business.

I think, I told you at one point about the quote that I think it's from Theodore Roosevelt, that said – and this is back in the last century, saying that, “I don't care how much you know, until I know how much you care.” I heard somebody say that to me, maybe 20 years ago. They resonated with me, because that's always the way that I’ve gone about looking at client relationships and it just gets at what we're just talking about here.

[00:15:04] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, a Connection Builders podcast.

[00:15:14] AD: Mark, you hit on some really good points there. Whether it's the no one cares how much you know, till they know how much you care, or treating people the way that you would want to be treated, in this concept of taking client service to the level of it's about making sure that the client is happy and taken care of and feels respected, feels like they have had a good relationship with you. It's not just about the conversion. That's something, I think, for our listeners, if you are someone who is in a business development role, recognize that the client service is as it's more important frankly, than that initial component of generating the client. Make sure they’re serviced well.

For those of you that are not necessarily in a business development role, but in a client service role, remember that that is in effect, a form of business development. I talk to people all the time. Well, I’m a manager at an accounting firm, or I’m an associate in a law firm. I don't generate business. I just work with clients. Well, you have the best opportunity to demonstrate to that client the knowledge, the expertise and the quality of customer care that you and your firm provide. When you do that, that builds that client relationship. Whether it's reoccurring, repeat business from that same client, or the referral that the introductions that that might provide, or even just having a client reference to use, all of that is business development. All of that drives the future growth and opportunity. I think all too often, it's forgotten about as being a very key element. I’m very happy you brought that up there.

[00:16:55] MB: Well, I guess, the other thing about that is, so you could be working on a project with a client and whether it's the CFO, the CEO, or the owners of the company. Depending on the nature of the project, you're going to be working with other service providers, whether it's investment bankers, attorneys, other service providers. While you're not knowingly looking at them as a potential client, or referral source, but if you do what we're talking about, like put your head down and do an outstanding job on these projects, they're going to notice it.

That's been another area, where for me and for our firm, by focusing on execution of the projects, it's not going unnoticed by the other members of the service team that like I said, either attorneys, bankers, investment bankers, other consultants that are in the process. Ultimately, unbeknownst where there's no real intent, I mean, those can be turned into great referral sources, where you don't even realize it until you get that phone call saying, “Hey, I don't know if you remember me, but I was working on this transaction and I was impressed with what you did. Would you be interested in doing work for us?”

Luckily, we've been fortunate to have a lot of those calls, which are they're gratifying because you're not expecting it. It gets back to focusing on execution of the work. As compared to somebody that they're just looking to get the next project. They might get work, but then they're not actually fully engaged in the project because they're too focused on going out and looking for something else. As a result, the project that they brought in, it may not get the results and the satisfaction from the client that they're hoping for and maybe they need to focus on just completely new leads, because they're not going to get the referral, or the ongoing work from the existing client. That's just not the way. We look at it the opposite, that focus on the project and that's going to create opportunities in itself, if you exceed their expectations.

[00:19:30] AD: Could not agree with you more. I want to hit on this point, the service provider ecosystem. Knowing our listener base, middle-market professionals, people that are providing a professional service, typically, there is overlap in service providers, whether in the deal world, that's very common. In general, there's usually some level of overlap. The accountants might have to talk to the lawyers, or the private equity buyer is talking to the accountants who are also talking to the investment bankers. There's this ecosystem that exists.

In your point that you made around getting a referral that was – or a potential for a new business that was completely unexpected, because you did a good job, because you showed up and you worked with those other providers, it is such a – it's a gratifying situation. It's a good situation to find yourself in.

I also want to point out, the inverse can very easily happen. In my previous life in investment banking, I absolutely worked with service providers that were, for a lack of a better way to say it, they were assholes. It wasn't fun working with them. The work product was okay, but they weren't fun to work with. They weren't good to be on the other side of the table from. When that happens and whether that you burn that trust and that relationship through poor behavior, through poor work product, I didn't necessarily walk around bashing them, but if anyone ever asked me, “Hey, what do you think about firm XYZ?” My answer would have been, “Nah. You should stay away from them. Let me give you someone else instead.”

That happens on both ends of the spectrum there. Really, at the end of the day as you said and it's frankly very simple, provide good service, execute well, focus on the client, make sure you're doing a good job, and just be nice to people. It really is a simple concept. Now, at times, I understand work and stress and everything else can make things hard and there's a lot more to it, but at the end of the day, that's really what you have to do to successfully develop those relationships.

[00:21:24] MB: Yeah, exactly. It gets back to how do you want? If you were the client, how would you want to be treated? When you don't get responses to e-mails and when things – you never hit the timelines and the work product is not what you're expected, I mean, those are the things that are frustrating. When you're doing project work, whether it's working on a transaction for a private equity firm, or a company that has other work that they are going to need done, I mean, if they're not satisfied with what you did on the prior project, most likely, you're not going to get a call.

That gets back to when I just described an analogy to Apple, where what's the lifetime value `of the relationship. I mean, for Apple, it's buy more products and getting the next iPhone, as opposed to going somewhere else. For service providers, it's getting the next – if somebody has another opportunity to do similar work on another situation, they're probably going to remember when they felt like they weren't getting served properly.

[00:22:43] AD: Well, I like the term ‘the lifetime value of the relationship, lifetime value of the customer’. You keep saying Apple. To our listeners, you can't see this, but I showed Mark when he said it earlier, I have my iPhone and my AirPods here. My iPad is sitting over there and my Apple pencil is connected to it. I’m an Apple fanatic. I live by their products. If when the new version comes out, I want to go get it. If I were to break my phone today, I would go get another iPhone tomorrow. That's the customer loyalty that you've just described. Let's talk about that in the service provider world.

Again, we know that that happens and there can be a very long-term relationship in these when you build it and you do that and they can produce a long-term and a very high lifetime value of that customer and of that relationship. It goes back to exactly we talked down a little bit in the beginning. This is a long-term game. This can't have a short-term mindset. If your mindset is about how big is the client today, how much can I build from them in the immediate term and how quickly can I convert them? None of that plays well to building that real, long-term, big lifetime value of a customer relationship, right?

[00:23:52] MB: Right. In our firm and in probably most businesses, you got to continue to grow to be relevant. For us, it's we spend a lot of time and energy attracting talent to work for us. If we can't create opportunities for them to continue to advance within our organization, we're going to lose them. We need to be able to continue to grow, to create more opportunities, so that we can elevate people internally to assume more responsibility and to become leaders in our firm. That's why when you talk about business development, it is the lifeblood of the survival and the prospering of companies, if you want to be more than a sole practitioner type situation.

[00:24:46] AD: Could not agree more. It's grow or die. I know that statement gets thrown around sometimes in business. I don't necessarily know it's a 100% true, but I think there's a lot of validity behind it. You will get passed by. Something will happen. Something will change, if you don't continue to grow. Again, unless you want to be a sole practitioner. I think, for most of our listeners, we're talking to people that are in a practice that is mid-size and growth becomes a requirement to continue that. Business development drives that and doing business development well, building the right relationships is really how you get there.

Mark, let me ask you a last question here around business development. When you look back and you've talked about some of your success, the long-term thinking, good client service, really treating them the way that you want to be treated and looking to build relationships with other service providers, what challenges have you faced and where maybe some of the places where like, “Wow, that was really hard.” Maybe share a little bit about what that challenge was and then ultimately, how you've overcome that during your career in business development.

[00:25:48] MB: Yeah, good question, Alex. This does really give me an opportunity to look back on my career. I’ve been grateful that I’ve been able to build what I consider to be a significant practice and to have great clients. My personality is not the stereotypical business developer, an extrovert. I’m more of an introverted type of person. We're in an accounting organization, so we have other people like that here and a lot of people are scared to do. They just don't want to get outside of their comfort zone.

I’ve been willing to get outside of my comfort zone, but it's not like I’m trying to be an extroverted person. I mean, I’m trying to be authentic in who I am and not trying to emulate somebody else. I’ve been able to be successful by doing some of the things that we talked about earlier, focusing on the quality of the work, execution, meeting or exceeding expectations, being responsive. Basically, integrity and doing what I say I’m going to do for somebody.

It's allowed me with being the personality type that I just talked about, to still be a top producer in our firm and I think in our profession in terms of building a practice, a significant practice. You don't have to have, in my view, you don't have to have that extroverted wow, personality. Wow is one of the steps on the strength finders. You don't have to have that as your number one strength in order to be successful. I’ve told that to people here in our firm that you don't have to be scared about this. You can be successful at it.

Just like anything else, it's hard work and it's not just going to happen. When you were talking about planting the seeds, it takes time to see the results. You need to also make sure you're – you only have so many hours in the day and you need to make sure that if you're out doing business development type efforts, make sure that they're really quality efforts. Not every potential person who calls you to meet, given whatever profession you're in and what your niche area is. Sometimes, it's not the best use of your time, because you only have so much time.

Then if you go on the premise of what I talked about that has been successful for me, it's getting the work done too. It's a struggle between how much time can you dedicate to business development efforts, if you're continuing to actually be executing the work and leading the projects and being fully engaged in project work too?

[00:28:55] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, bringing you candid conversations, with leading middle-market professionals.

[00:29:04] AD: Well, Mark. There's a couple really important things I want to pull out there. First off, the introvert-extrovert conversation. We have this conversation in the podcast quite often. Very often, business development is looked at as an extrovert activity. I’m an extrovert. I am the person that loves to run around a big room. I’m dying to get back to live conferences and be around all people again. That's how I get my energy. That does not mean it's the only way to network into business development, to build relationships.

Frankly, it's a lot more of the one-to-one interactions, the client service, the providing good results that really build that long-term, genuine trust, that allows for that long-term customer value, that long-term relationship. For anyone that's listening out there that feels, “Well, I just don't enjoy that,” I would really challenge you to step back and say, I get it, you don't have to do it in the traditional way of going to a large network event. There are so many other ways and we've talked about a lot of them on the show here, to go out there and ultimately, do a business development-like function.

The key that you hit on there is you have to go out of your comfort zone. There's no way around it. That goes for me as much as anybody else. I’m an extrovert that loves going into large rooms. I still go out of my comfort zone, all sorts of stuff to learn and to grow and to become better at what I do. I think that's required of all of us.

Then the second component to that is practice does make perfect. The more you practice anything, the more you do anything, you become better at it. It does come down to it takes reps and you're not just going to – you’re not just going to walk in there and be, “I’m good. I’m all of a sudden great at business development.” You didn't just wake up one day and you're great at it. You practice it again and again and you become better and you perfect things and you reflect on it and say. “Okay. I could have done this better. I could have done that better.”

You use that tool to be able to continue to grow and become better at what you're doing. Ultimately, that's the only way you can drive towards that success and really build that in and build those relationships and become better at the business development function. Again, what we're talking about here is very business development focus, but when it comes to the growth, the getting outside of your comfort zone and using practice, I would argue that applies broadly in life.

Then Mark, the last point I want to hit on there is you mentioned this idea of so many hours in the day. I’m a big believer, we all get 24 hours in the day. I should say I’m a big believer. I always say to myself, we get 24 hours a day, because we all do and that's a simple fact. No one gets more, no one gets less. It doesn't matter. It's how you use those hours. If you want to be good at building relationships, it does take time. That does require you to think of efficiencies that you can build in your life, in ways that you can be as productive as possible in the right setting, to open up the hours to go do it, because no matter what, as we said, practice; it's going to take time. You're right, you have to do the right activities.

You can't do everything. You can't be everything to everyone. You have to be intentional and thoughtful about where you spend your time. You also have to make that time occur, because if alls you do is put your head down and do nothing but work and never think about those activities, you're never going to get to practice, you're never going to grow, you're never going to get there. There's always a balance to play and that's life is a balance. Life is about figuring out that balance between both sides. I think you're very spot on there. You don't chase everything. Don't just look for everything. Make sure you're going out in your comfort zone.

[00:32:27] MB: We all have the same amount of time. Yes, we have challenges, whether it's family, business, other areas. Typically, when at least in my view, when people say, “I don't have time to do it,” they're just telling you, “It's not a priority for me.” It's the same thing with working out. People say, “I don't have time to work out.” If you prioritized it, you would. Saying, “I don't have time,” is also the – I read something, the adult version of as a kid saying, “The dog ate my homework.”

[00:33:00] AD: Oh, that's so spot on there, Mark. What a great way to end down the show. I could not agree more with you on that. Let me give just a quick recap and Mark, add anything here that I missed. Just going from the top-down, we talked about when it comes to business development, it's about looking for opportunity, it's about finding ways to help grow and create opportunities for your firm. In this case, to continue to grow.

Part of that includes gaining an expanded knowledge base, so that you can better provide the expertise and the knowledge that helps build the trust that creates the relationships. We talked a lot about this, the idea that it's not transactional. It's long-term in nature, and that you really never know where some relationships are going to go. When you're out planting seeds, be very conscious of how you treat people today, because you don't know where those relationships are going to end in the future.

Also, talked about your success being driven by being top of your game and having superior client service and really treating the client the way that you would want to be treated. Not just the client, but also other service providers and recognizing that when you're in an ecosystem of other service providers, so much of it comes down to perform that good work and be on good behavior and create good relationships. Those will produce opportunities in the future and that really drives to this idea of lifetime value of the relationship. Recognize again, it's a long-term game. This isn't about just having a one-and-done, or a single sale. This is about the long-term relationship that you can build with the client, that creates the long-term opportunities for you and your firm.

Then lastly, you have to go outside your comfort zone. You have to put practice and you have to look and find that time to make sure that happens. The note that I’ll end us on from a call to action standpoint for this week, you said the don't have time is similar to the adult version of the dog ate my homework. Well, a trick that I have tried for a number of years is if I ever catch myself, and I do this quite a bit, if I catch myself saying, “Well, I don't have time for that,” and we all do. We all find ourselves going through that thought pattern, stop and rephrase the sentence, ‘that's not a priority to me’. Really check what that means. Really check yourself, because sometimes that's very true.

I don't have time to pick up the dry cleaning. Well, it's not a priority. I don't need it. Okay, I can accept that. That may be true. Say that and then when you say, “Well, I don't have time for the gym.” Say, the gym is not a priority for me. I don't have time to go and build a relationship. Well, building relationships aren't a priority for me. That changes that internal dialogue. I challenge all of our listeners to really be conscious of this and the next time you catch yourself saying, “I don't have time,” rephrase it and say, “That's not a priority to me,” and really reflect on that and see if that's true. If it's true, then great. Don't make time for it. If it is a priority for you, figure out how to make time for it your day. Mark, anything to add to that?

[00:35:57] MB: The only thing I would add to that is when you say it's not a priority in my life, I think in a lot of cases with a lot of people, it gets back to this, it's not a priority because I’d be going outside my comfort zone and I’m not comfortable doing that.

[00:36:13] AD: That's deep. Oh, yeah. I think you're spot on in that. To our listeners, if you catch yourself saying, “Well, no. It's not a priority to me.” Really? Ask yourself why. Ask yourself the real why. If it's a comfort zone issue, exactly as we talked about, you have to lean into that. You have to get outside of that comfort zone if you want to really achieve that growth.

Mark, this was great. I really appreciate your thoughts, appreciate your contribution here. For our listeners, how can they get a hold of you?

[00:36:38] MB: Yeah, happy to have you reach out. You can reach out to me either on LinkedIn, or my email, which is [email protected].

[00:36:48] AD: Awesome. Thank you. We'll make sure that's linked in the show notes. Mark, again, thank you for your time here and looking forward to talking again soon.

[00:36:54] MB: Thank you, Alex. Thanks for having me on.

[END OF INTERVIEW]

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