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The Edge Of Excellence Podcast

Author: Matthew Stewart

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The Edge Of Excellence Podcast is about exploring how young aspiring leaders can create a personal impact today, tomorrow, and create their dream future now. The goal is to deconstruct and synthesize successful archetypes and proven principles from high-profile entrepreneurs, systems, and resources that work, successful peers, mentors, and creators.

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132 Episodes
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On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Sishir Reddy, CEO and co-founder of Episource, as he shares his entrepreneurial journey, detailing the challenges and pivotal moments that shaped his career. Initially inspired by his father's suggestion to explore medical billing, Sishir set out to establish a medical billing outsourcing business in India. With his father's practice as his first client, he learned the intricacies of the industry and gradually built a team, starting with his first employee, Gopi. The business slowly expanded as Sishir leveraged his network of doctors in Southern California, a strategy that eventually led to a significant turning point when he was introduced to a larger managed care organization. This connection allowed him to pivot from medical billing to risk adjustment coding services, recognizing a niche market with greater growth potential.Sishir's journey underscores the importance of adaptability and seizing opportunities. After realizing the complexities and limitations of managing a medical billing business, he and his partners decided to focus entirely on the burgeoning field of risk adjustment coding for health plans. This strategic pivot paid off, leading to rapid growth and the eventual shutdown of their initial business model. By 2008, the company was thriving, and by maintaining a disciplined, bootstrapped approach, they reached significant revenue milestones without outside capital. Sishir also navigated complex partnership dynamics, bringing on his partner's son-in-law, whose finance and operational expertise complemented his strengths in sales and strategy. This collaboration proved crucial in scaling the business to new heights.Ultimately, Sishir's decision to sell the business to UnitedHealth Group marked the culmination of his entrepreneurial efforts. Post-exit, he faced a period of adjustment, grappling with a sense of loss and seeking new directions. This introspective phase led him to prioritize family time and philanthropic endeavors, focusing on education and healthcare within his community. Embracing a mentor and advisor role, Sishir aims to leverage his extensive experience to support emerging businesses and make a positive impact. His story is a testament to the power of resilience, strategic pivots, and the ability to adapt and thrive in the face of changing circumstances.Join Matt and Sishir for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How Sishir recognized the opportunity to pivot from medical billing to risk adjustment coding services for health plans.The importance of identifying and adapting to new market opportunities.The advantages of maintaining a bootstrapped mentality, generating positive cash flow and reinvesting in the business to drive growth without relying on outside capital.The value of leveraging complementary skills in business partnerships.The challenges and strategies for managing fast-paced growth in a business.The risks and rewards of involving family members in business, and how Sishir balanced family ties with professional responsibilities.The considerations and strategic thinking involved in deciding to sell a business.The emotional challenges that can follow after exiting a business and strategies for finding new purpose and direction.How Sishir transitioned from business to philanthropic efforts, giving back to the community and supporting local initiatives in education and healthcare.And so much more...Resources:EpisourceSishir's...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Jeff Gunhus, a seasoned entrepreneur, to discuss the concept of excellence and business leadership. Jeff defines excellence as a deliberate choice to pursue the best version of oneself across all life's endeavors, stressing the importance of being both content and driven. Throughout their conversation, Jeff shares insights from his journey of building a successful business empire, emphasizing the pivotal role of making strategic choices, even when they entail personal sacrifices, such as missing out on leisure activities to focus on career growth.The discussion then pivots to Jeff's entrepreneurial experiences, where he elaborates on transitioning his business model in response to unforeseen challenges, such as regulatory changes and market dynamics. This shift notably involved downsizing from $6 million to $1.6 million in revenue, which set the stage for a remarkable recovery and growth trajectory, demonstrating resilience and adaptability. Jeff highlights the critical role of team building and maintaining a brand that genuinely resonates with both employees and customers, fostering a culture of high performance and mutual respect.Towards the end of the episode, Jeff and Matt explore the importance of aligning personal values with professional endeavors, which ensures sustained passion and commitment. Jeff shares personal anecdotes, including his family's involvement in community service, illustrating how personal values deeply influence professional actions and company culture. The episode concludes with Jeff reflecting on the sacrifices made during his career, reinforcing that short-term trade-offs can lead to long-term rewards, encapsulating the podcast's theme of striving towards excellence through thoughtful decision-making and persistent effort.Join Matt and Jeff for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How excellence is not about being the best in the field but striving to be the best version of oneself.How to transition from small-scale successes to major brand building, and the importance of vision in scaling businesses effectively.How effective partnerships are crucial and how mutual understanding and shared goals strengthen business relationships.Jeff's experiences of balancing career ambitions with personal life, providing a blueprint for managing professional growth without compromising personal relationships.The long-term impacts of early career choices and the importance of international exposure and adapting to various cultural environments.The resilience businesses require to adapt to external changes, like regulatory shifts, and how these can be opportunities for significant growth.How a company's values and culture contribute to its success, and how to integrate personal values into your business practices for holistic success.Insights into taking full ownership of one’s actions and decisions in business, promoting a leadership style that fosters accountability and growth.The significance of finding joy in one’s professional journey, regardless of the challenges faced, which can lead to a more fulfilling career and life.And so much more...Resources:Home Genius Exteriors
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by guest Kory Finley, as they focus on Kory's journey to personal and professional excellence. The discussion opens with Kory sharing his definition of excellence as the consistent effort to perform at one's best every day, regardless of the circumstances. Kory narrates his life story, from being a multi-sport athlete in high school to entering the challenging world of business and cattle ranching. He emphasizes the importance of taking personal responsibility and learning from setbacks to propel oneself towards success.During the discussion, Kory discusses his time in college and his early career, particularly his involvement with College Works, where he excelled as a freshman intern. His success was partly due to his competitive nature and the desire to be recognized as the best. Kory reflects on the moments that shaped his career, including significant sales achievements and the strategic decisions he made, like turning down financial support from his parents to foster independence and avoid any potential for guilt-driven influence.Kory's philosophy revolves around ownership and responsibility, believing that these are critical to achieving excellence. He shares how confronting and overcoming challenges, like dealing with customer complaints and leading teams, were invaluable learning experiences. Throughout the episode, Kory and Matt highlight the importance of making deliberate choices about how to spend one's time and the value of investing in meaningful activities and relationships that promote personal growth and success.Join Matt and Kory for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:Kory's definition of excellence as the persistent effort to perform at your best daily, regardless of external conditions.The importance of taking ownership of problems and failures as a key strategy for personal and professional growth.How early job experiences, such as working in concrete construction and cattle ranching, shaped Kory’s work ethic and success.Why Kory attributes his success to a competitive disposition, striving to be the best in his endeavors.His experience of setting a high sales record as a goal, illustrating the power of high aspirations.Turning setbacks into learning opportunities, and how to convert failures into stepping stones toward success.The importance of financial independence from family to avoid guilt-driven decisions.The importance of investing time wisely and making choices that align with long-term goals.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Sean Phelps, as they explore the concept of entrepreneurship, emphasizing the importance of gaining practical experiences outside traditional educational pathways. Sean reflects on his journey, highlighting his involvement with College Works, where he developed essential business skills by managing teams and projects while still in college. He shares insights about the value of real-world applications of business concepts, advising aspiring entrepreneurs to focus on technical skills in college and seek out entrepreneurial experiences in the broader world, using resources like the Kauffman Foundation and Y Combinator.During the discussion, Sean elaborates on his career trajectory, including the tough decisions he faced when offered a full-time position that conflicted with his existing commitments. He shares a critical turning point where he chose to prioritize his role at College Works, attributing his professional skills and opportunities to the experiences he gained there. This choice led to him eventually being fired from the FinTech company he was involved with, underscoring the challenges and sacrifices inherent in balancing multiple career paths and the unpredictable nature of startup environments.Matt and Sean also explore the personal aspects of entrepreneurship, discussing the integration of work, family, and personal life. Sean credits his entrepreneurial flexibility with allowing him to commit time to family and personal interests, advocating for a balanced life where work does not overshadow other responsibilities. They conclude by stressing the importance of building a solid reputation through hard work and reliability, which in turn fosters professional relationships and opens up opportunities for future ventures and collaborations.Join Matt and Sean for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How hands-on experience in the field can surpass traditional education paths for aspiring entrepreneurs.Why challenging economic times, such as the 2008 financial crisis, can serve as the best periods to hone entrepreneurial skills and lead businesses.How adapting to circumstances by working smarter and harder can set a foundation for success.Strategies for managing a successful career while maintaining strong family ties and personal wellbeing.How entrepreneurship offers the flexibility to prioritize life events without sacrificing professional growth.How past failures and humility in leadership can enhance team performance and drive better results.The importance of empowering team members by recognizing their potential to surpass your achievements.How strategic time investment in work, relationships, and hobbies can lead to a more fulfilled and balanced life.The concept of 'investing time' vs. 'spending time,' and how this perspective can lead to more effective personal and professional life management.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by entrepreneur Steve Kearley, from Benson Kearley Insurance as they discuss the elements of success, the entrepreneurial mindset, and personal growth through business endeavors. Steve shares his journey from selling designer jeans out of his high school locker to becoming a prominent figure in the insurance industry. He emphasizes the significance of self-measurement and personal growth over comparing oneself to others, highlighting how his definition of excellence has evolved over the years. Steve's narrative is peppered with insights on overcoming societal expectations and focusing on one's strengths and unique abilities.Throughout the discussion, Steve stresses the importance of networking, not in the traditional sense of merely exchanging business cards, but in building meaningful, reciprocal relationships without immediate expectations. This approach to networking, according to Steve, involves connecting people, helping others without a direct benefit to oneself, and ultimately, building a network based on trust and mutual respect. Both Steve and Matt reflect on their experiences within the Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO), underscoring how such networks have facilitated their business growth and personal development.The conversation also delves into Steve's strategic approach to his insurance business, where he shifted focus from traditional metrics to providing real value to customers through educational seminars and resources that go beyond insurance. This value-driven approach helped differentiate his company in a competitive market. Steve's commitment to his team and ethical business practices, even post-business sale, reflects his dedication to ensuring the welfare of his employees and maintaining a legacy of integrity and trust. This episode not only explores the nuances of entrepreneurial success but also provides practical advice for personal and professional growth.Join Matt and Steve for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How excellence isn't about surpassing others but measuring personal growth over time, understanding and leveraging your unique abilitiesThe true value of networking: building authentic relationships and helping others without expecting something in return, rather than merely exchanging contacts for personal gain.Embracing failures as learning opportunities, fostering resilience, and continuous personal development.The characteristics that often define entrepreneurs, such as a dislike for being employed, the necessity for freedom, and the ability to see and seize opportunities for innovation and leadership.How to differentiate your business in a competitive market by providing additional value beyond the core services, using Steve’s approach in the insurance industry as a model.How setting and adhering to clear company values can simplify decision-making processes and contribute to long-term business success.Advice for young entrepreneurs on setting and sharing goals, the importance of mentorship, and why it's vital to understand and align with your core values.And so much more...Resources:Benson Kearley IFGSteve's LinkedIn
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Brett Apel as he shares his journey from a college student to becoming an entrepreneur and business executive. Bret emphasizes the importance of hard work, continuous learning, and pushing boundaries to achieve success. He discusses his initial uncertainty about his career path and how his experience with College Works Painting opened the door to entrepreneurship, teaching him valuable business and life skills. Bret's story is a testament to the idea that with the right mindset and work ethic, one can turn challenges into opportunities and achieve remarkable success at a young age.The conversation explores the concept of excellence, exploring how Bret's definition of excellence as a constant pursuit of self-improvement and challenging oneself has propelled him forward. They highlight the importance of resilience, open-mindedness, and taking ownership of one's actions to overcome obstacles and seize opportunities. Bret stresses the significance of not resting on past laurels but instead, using previous successes as a foundation for future achievements.The episode touches on the sacrifices required for success, with Bret recounting the social pressures and the need for balance between work, personal growth, and social life he faced during college. He emphasizes the value of making tough choices early in life to set oneself up for long-term success, framing his sacrifices as a means to gain a head start in life. Bret's journey underscores the message that embracing challenges, maintaining a positive and resilient attitude, and continuously striving for excellence can lead to fulfilling and successful outcomes.Join Matt and Brett for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:Brett's decision to pursue entrepreneurship, emphasizing hard work, the desire to learn, and the ambition to succeed without constraints.His personal definition of excellence as the continuous pursuit of challenging oneself to be the best version possible.The significance of resilience and keeping an open mind to overcome obstacles and find one's path.The role of effort and time in developing strong relationships, whether with friends, coworkers, or family.Brett's approach to learning from both successes and failures, without dwelling on the past.The importance of balance and prioritizing long-term goals over short-term pleasures.Brett's belief in embracing challenges as opportunities for growth.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by John Bruckner, a consultant and advisor with a unique blend of legal and financial expertise. John shares his journey from being a finance major to becoming an influential figure in the legal consulting world, emphasizing the importance of being open to opportunities and seeking mentorship. He recounts his decision to pursue law school while working, which ultimately led him to meet Byron McFarland, who played a pivotal role as his mentor. John's story highlights the value of curiosity, perseverance, and the willingness to seek and listen to advice from those more experienced.Throughout the discussion, John stresses the critical skills needed for success in his field, including active listening, follow-through, expertise, and perseverance. He suggests that aspiring professionals should immerse themselves in learning opportunities and build relationships with mentors to navigate their careers effectively. John's approach to becoming a successful consultant involves a mix of continuous learning, understanding the importance of client relationships, and the ability to provide expert advice while admitting when further research is needed. His insights into building a career path that blends law and finance shed light on the non-linear nature of professional growth and the benefits of cross-disciplinary knowledge.The conversation also explores the concept of work-life integration, where John advocates for a mindset of always being "on" but in a way that allows for flexibility and geographical freedom. This approach, he argues, is made possible by a career that aligns closely with one's interests and unique abilities, thus blurring the lines between work and personal life. By accepting the opportunity costs associated with prioritizing work, John suggests that professionals can achieve a form of freedom that allows for significant personal and professional satisfaction. The episode wraps up with a reflection on the journey to finding one's niche in the professional world, emphasizing that success comes from aligning one's work with their passions and strengths, leading to a fulfilling career.Join Matt and John for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How actively listening to clients and seeking mentorship can lay the foundation for a successful career in law or any professional field. How John's background in finance and his decision to pursue law school led him to a unique niche in legal consulting for businesses. The core skills essential for success in legal consulting, including writing, case law analysis, and the application of law.The business side of law, including the job market dynamics and the financial implications of pursuing a career in law.Strategies for setting oneself apart in the legal field, such as embracing curiosity, networking, and leveraging unique skill sets. The concept of work-life integration as opposed to strict work-life balance.The sacrifices required for professional growth and how understanding opportunity cost can guide career decisions.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt encourages listeners to engage in the process of brainstorming goals, emphasizing the importance of setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely) goals as a fundamental approach to achieving personal aspirations. He illustrates how such goals can transform everyday objectives into actionable plans, offering the example of a fitness goal to lose 30 pounds within a year by going to the gym five days a week and burning a specific number of calories. Matt's method underlines the necessity of defining goals that are not only ambitious but also grounded in reality, highlighting the principle that what gets measured, gets done.Matt extends the discussion to include a wider array of goals, touching on life planning and the significance of considering one's legacy. He encourages listeners to think about their goals in a holistic manner, covering aspects of life such as relationships, career, personal development, and even one's impact on the world. The episode explores the importance of writing down goals to increase the likelihood of achievement and advocates for a dynamic goal-setting process that is adaptable and regularly reviewed. This process is illustrated through the introduction of concepts like BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) and SMART goals, stressing the power of written and flexible goals that are regularly evaluated.The episode wraps up with a comprehensive overview of goal setting across different life stages and areas, from immediate, everyday objectives to long-term aspirations. Matt's advice encompasses setting goals with a clear, sound mind and body, the value of brainstorming in both personal and group settings, and the structured approach to translating these goals into actionable plans. He emphasizes the role of goal setting in fostering a purposeful life and achieving personal and professional growth, and invites listeners to consider their legacies beyond mere accomplishments. The episode serves as a motivational guide for listeners of all ages, particularly those in their twenties, to start setting and pursuing their goals with intention and discipline.Join Matt for this fascinating episode. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How to establish Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals to transform everyday aspirations into actionable plans.The significance of writing down your goals to significantly increase your chances of success. The comprehensive nature of goal setting, covering aspects such as time management, stress management, relationship management, and more.Why being flexible and adaptable with your goals is crucial, especially in the face of unforeseen circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic.The importance of considering a broad range of life aspects when setting goals, including personal relationships, financial stability, physical health, and spiritual wellness, among others.The often-overlooked aspect of celebrating achievements, big or small.Setting visionary goals that challenge and inspire you or your organization to stretch beyond current capacities.Setting goals appropriate to different life stages and time frames, from immediate daily goals to long-term aspirations, and how to align them with your ultimate life vision.The necessity of a regular review process for your goals, allowing for necessary adjustments and ensuring alignment with changing circumstances or priorities.Goal setting as a dynamic, ongoing process essential for both personal development and professional advancement.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by entrepreneur Gavin Lantzy, CEO of SaaviHome, a company specializing in home technology installation and now venturing into franchising. Gavin discusses the importance of accountability and discipline in achieving business goals, emphasizing a culture of determination where goals are pursued ‘hell or high water.’ He shares his journey from an executive in home entertainment to taking over the family business from his father, transforming it into a leader in its industry. This transformation was fueled by his belief in continuous improvement and his passion, not just for the business itself, but for the process of learning and growth.Gavin's story also explores personal challenges and pivotal moments, including a serious injury that shifted his path from aspiring professional skier to entrepreneur. This adversity led him to embrace new opportunities, including starting his own business through the entrepreneurial training program College Works Painting. He credits his early start and the mentors who guided him for his success, highlighting the sacrifice and time investment required to achieve long-term goals. Gavin's approach to balancing life and work emphasizes the necessity of occasional imbalance to ensure overall life balance and success.The conversation transitions into Gavin's current challenges and aspirations as he leads Savvy Homes into the franchising world. He discusses the need to develop new skill sets, such as strategic vision, execution framework, and financial management, crucial for navigating the complexities of a growing business. The loss of his father in a tragic accident emerges as a profound moment, inspiring Gavin to honor his father's legacy through his work. This personal loss transformed into a driving force for Gavin, underscoring the episode's theme of finding opportunity in adversity and the continuous journey towards excellence.Join Matt and Lisa for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:The necessity of creating a culture where goals are pursued with utmost dedication.Gavin's transition from a potential skiing career to entrepreneurship after a significant injury.His evolution from working in home entertainment to taking over and expanding the family business into a leading brand.Gavin's personal definition of excellence as a continuous process of improvement, rather than a final destination.The nuances of transitioning leadership within a family business, including setting up a formal buyout and aligning on a shared vision.The new skills and mindset required as SaaviHome shifts towards franchising, from strategic vision to financial management.How the tragic loss of Gavin's father became a driving force, the power of legacy and the motivational aspect of personal connections in business.Gavin's choice to prioritize his career in his youth, setting a foundation for future freedom and success.And so much more...Resources:SaaviHome
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt shares insightful strategies for navigating the college job search, emphasizing the importance of preparation and strategic application. He begins by advising against starting with the most anticipated interviews, suggesting instead to conduct several "burner interviews" for practice. He underscores the hard work required in job hunting, highlighting the culmination of 18 years of education and the need to put in additional effort to stand out.Matt then introduces his "hack" for the job search process, which includes "wormholing" through the internet to explore industries, companies, and career paths. He stresses the significance of bundling applications to ensure that interviews, offers, and decisions coincide, making the process more manageable. Matt encourages listeners to exploit every resource available, from career centers and job fairs to alumni networks and personal connections, to secure interviews and gather information.The episode concludes with Matt offering practical tips for preparing for interviews, including practicing answering common questions and researching companies thoroughly. He emphasizes the final push in the job search journey, where the last 10% of effort differentiates the exceptional from the average. Matt's message is clear: with diligent preparation, strategic application, and a bit of hard work, finding a fulfilling career is within reach.Join Matt for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:The importance of sequencing interviews for optimal performance and confidence building.The concept of "bundling" applications and interviews to manage job offers and decisions efficiently.The significance of research in understanding a company's mission, vision, values, and news to tailor applications and interviews.The importance of practicing interview questions, focusing on what you can contribute to the company rather than what the company can offer you.Why the job search should be seen a marathon, not a sprint, requiring sustained effort and strategic planning.The role of personal and professional networks in uncovering job opportunities.The importance of exploring various industries and roles to find a good fit for your career aspirations.Tips on making informed decisions based on comprehensive research and self-reflection.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is by Lisa Merage, the newly named Governor of Portland Thorns FC as she discusses her journey and the underlying beliefs that have guided her career path. She emphasizes the concept of stewardship rather than ownership, reflecting on how her past experiences in various fields have culminated in her current position, where she aims to make a significant impact on women in sports and business. Lisa's story underscores a life dedicated to finding purpose through giving back to society, leveraging her roles across different industries to foster positive change.Lisa's transition from the fashion industry to sports underscores a strategic shift towards areas with significant social impact. Her work in the family business and later in sports investment illustrates a keen sense of initiative and a drive to push boundaries, particularly in promoting women's sports. The development and planned improvements for the Portland Thorns, including a world-class practice facility, are a testament to her commitment to providing the best for female athletes. This endeavor is part of a broader strategy to elevate women's soccer on a global scale, highlighting the potential of the NWSL as the leading women's soccer league worldwide.The episode also explores Lisa's personal philosophy, emphasizing the importance of leading by example and the notion that everyone's purpose is to contribute positively to society. Her decision to work a full-time job during her senior year of college, sacrificing social engagements for career advancement, exemplifies the hard work and dedication that have characterized her professional journey. Lisa's story is a compelling narrative of resilience, strategic foresight, and a deep-rooted commitment to making a lasting impact on the world around her, particularly in the realm of women's sports and empowerment.Join Matt and Lisa for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:Lisa's view of leadership roles as stewardship, particularly in the context of her position with the Portland Thorns.Her journey from fashion to sports, and how varied career experiences can converge to fulfill a broader purpose.The significance of taking initiative, being a self-starter, and the ability to see and act beyond one's immediate job description as key to professional growth and impact.How humility and a strong work ethic are foundational to successful careers and businesses.How businesses can contribute positively to society beyond traditional philanthropy.The potential of women's sports and the role of leadership in promoting gender equality and opportunities within and beyond the sports industry.Overcoming prejudice and the power of leading by example in personal and professional spheres.How foregoing short-term pleasures for long-term career opportunities can lead to significant professional advancements.And so much more...Resources:Lisa's LinkedIn
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Andrew Dickinson, as he shares the captivating journey of his life, marked by a blend of failures and triumphs that have shaped his unique perspective on success and personal growth. Emphasizing the importance of embracing failure as a stepping stone to success, Andrew recounts his experiences of financial ups and downs, underscoring that each setback brought him closer to his goals. His story unfolds from early ambitions of being the first man on Mars to becoming a millionaire by his late 20s, demonstrating a relentless pursuit of designing a life governed by his own standards of excellence.Andrew's professional path is characterized by bold transitions, including his departure from a promising career as a General Manager of a multimillion-dollar car dealership to embark on various entrepreneurial ventures. This leap of faith into the uncertain world of startups and consulting, along with his decision to prioritize travel and life experiences over a traditional career trajectory, illustrates his commitment to living a life defined by passion and purpose. His journey is a testament to the power of saying "yes" to opportunities, learning from every experience, and the importance of goal setting in achieving personal and professional fulfillment.The podcast also delves into Andrew's extraordinary year-long travel adventure, covering over 80 countries, which he embarked on with his wife, Samantha. This adventure was not just about escaping the routine but an intentional choice to explore the world and immerse themselves in diverse cultures, further enriching their lives. Through this experience, Andrew highlights the significance of balance, the value of experiences over material possessions, and the profound impact of intentional living. His story is a compelling reminder that success is not just measured by financial achievements, but by the richness of one's experiences and the courage to live life on one's own terms.Join Matt and Andrew for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How Andrew views failure as an essential part of his journey, teaching that each setback is a step closer to achieving your goals.Andrew's definition of excellence as designing a life by your own standards and being the best at whatever you choose to do.How his early exposure to goal setting, influenced by speakers like Jack Daly, laid the foundation for his success.Andrew's bold career moves, from leaving a high-paying GM position to exploring startups and other ventures.How saying "yes" and helping others without expecting anything in return can open unexpected doors.How Andrew and his wife embarked on a year-long journey visiting over 80 countries, the significance of balancing work with life's adventures and the enriching experiences that travel brings.The sacrifices Andrew made in his 20s, including living below his means and making strategic decisions that enabled his later successes and adventures.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Genevieve Elefante-Sigmund, president of Platinum Storage, as she shares her journey and insights into the real estate industry, emphasizing the importance of personal growth and resilience. Genevieve's philosophy revolves around the joy of the journey rather than the pursuit of material success. She candidly discusses the challenges she faced, including overcoming anxiety and self-doubt, and how these struggles led her to value self-improvement and perseverance above all. Her story is a testament to the belief that continuous effort and a positive mindset can lead to fulfilling achievements, both personally and professionally.Throughout the podcast, Genevieve provides an in-depth look into the self-storage sector, highlighting how she and her family navigated the complexities of the industry to build a successful business. From site selection to raising capital and dealing with competitive markets, she elucidates the strategic and operational challenges involved. Her role in transforming the family business into a significant player in the self-storage market illustrates her expertise and dedication to innovation. Genevieve's approach to business, focusing on smart growth and leveraging opportunities for value addition, serves as a valuable lesson for entrepreneurs seeking to carve out their niches in competitive landscapes.Moreover, Genevieve touches on the importance of diversity and inclusion within professional spaces, sharing her experiences as a woman in a predominantly male-dominated industry. She discusses her efforts to promote gender equality and the positive impact of having diverse perspectives in business. Her leadership in fostering an inclusive environment, coupled with her advocacy for women's representation in the real estate sector, underscores the broader significance of her work beyond financial success. Genevieve's story is not just one of business acumen but also of breaking barriers and inspiring change, making her insights especially relevant for aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs.Join Matt and Genevieve for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:Genevieve's perspective on how personal growth and the experiences gained throughout one's career are more valuable than monetary success.Her experiences with anxiety, self-doubt, and identity crisis and the importance of self-care and perseverance.A deep dive into the self-storage sector, such as site selection and the evolution of storage facilities. The process of raising capital through friends, family, and institutional investors, as well as the importance of building and maintaining trustworthy relationships in business.The challenges and benefits of being a woman in a male-dominated industry.The importance of setting realistic goals and not being overly attached to specific outcomes.Genevieve's experience in voicing her opinions and standing up for her values in a professional setting showcases the importance of authenticity.And so much more...Resources:Genevieve's LinkedInPlatinum Storage
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Suraj Akotia, who shares his unique journey from aspiring attorney to becoming a multifaceted corporate counsel and Chief Operating Officer. Suraj discusses the importance of maintaining an open mind and the willingness to undertake various roles beyond his legal expertise. His approach to continuous personal and professional growth, coupled with his ability to deliver value across different facets of the business, underscores his philosophy that excellence is about constant improvement and learning.They do a deep dive into Suraj's career trajectory, highlighting the pivotal moments and decisions that shaped his path. Suraj's story is a testament to the power of exploring new opportunities, engaging with challenges head-on, and seeking out mentorship and learning in every situation. From his early days interning at an asset management firm to his strategic move into in-house counsel and operations, Suraj's journey is filled with insights on navigating career transitions, embracing change, and the significance of aligning personal goals with broader organizational objectives.Prepare to be inspired by Suraj's definition of excellence and his approach to career development. His experiences offer valuable lessons on the benefits of stepping outside one's comfort zone, the impact of mentorship, and the importance of contributing to a company's growth beyond conventional role expectations. This episode is a must for anyone interested in law, operations, or anyone seeking motivation to pursue excellence in their careers and personal lives.Join Matt and Suraj for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:The importance of being open to taking on various roles beyond one's job title or expertise area.Suraj's transition from corporate attorney to COO, showcasing the blend of law, operations, and corporate strategy in his career path.Suraj's evolved definition of excellence as a continuous process of learning and growing, rather than just being the best at something.The role of seeking mentorship and building a supportive network in navigating career transitions and opportunities.How in-house counsel roles provide unique opportunities for lawyers to engage deeply with a single client, contributing significantly to business strategy and operations.The importance of exploring different departments, engaging with challenges, and looking for opportunities to implement solutions across the business.Adapting to regulatory changes, insurance issues, and other challenges by being proactive and willing to take on new tasks.How general counsel roles allow lawyers to practice in multiple areas of law, providing a broad perspective and the ability to hire experts as needed.Personal sacrifices Suraj made during his 20s, including financial and time investments in law school, which paved the way for his success.And so much more...Resources:Suraj's LinkedIn
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Joe Clavin, a distinguished financial advisor at Primerica, for an engaging conversation about the intricacies of financial planning and personal growth. Joe opens up about his journey, revealing his initial curiosity about money management and his mission to help people at various stages of financial literacy. From discussing the basics of emergency funds, debt management, and investing, to the nuances of planning for children's education, Joe emphasizes the importance of starting from wherever one is financially. His passion for aiding people in their financial journey, irrespective of their background or starting point, truly shines through.Matt explores the evolution of a financial planner's career, highlighting the skills beyond mere financial acumen that are crucial for success in the industry. Joe reflects on the importance of being a teacher, a strategic thinker, an encourager, and sometimes even a mediator. The conversation sheds light on how the role of a financial planner extends far beyond managing finances - it's about understanding and connecting with people, making informed decisions, and navigating the complexities of human relationships and expectations in the context of financial planning.Joe also shares personal anecdotes and valuable life lessons. He discusses the sacrifices made during his early years in business, the stress of entrepreneurship, and the confidence gained from overcoming these challenges. His advice to his younger self about focusing on character and long-term goals, along with the importance of personal growth and maintaining integrity, provides profound advice.Join Matt and Joe for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:The basics of managing personal finances, including emergency funds, debt management, and investment strategies.The journey from being a financial advisor to a leader in the industry, highlighting necessary skills such as teaching, strategic thinking, and effective communication.The importance of understanding clients' needs and preferences, and how financial planning involves more than just numbers – it’s about connecting with people.How facing and overcoming early career challenges and financial uncertainties can build character and resilience in an entrepreneur.The impact of personal character and integrity on long-term professional success and personal growth.What it takes to lead and grow a team of financial professionals, including the importance of recruitment, training, and motivation.The personal sacrifices made in the pursuit of career growth and how these choices shape future opportunities and personal fulfillment.The role of a financial planner as an educator, helping clients understand complex financial concepts and make informed decisions.Strategies for effectively managing client expectations and relationships in financial planning, acting as a mediator and advisor.Practical tips and advice for those considering a career in financial planning, including the importance of passion for helping others and continuous learning.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Jed Rothstein, an Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker renowned for his skill in transforming real-life stories into compelling narratives that captivate and enlighten audiences worldwide. From his earliest days, Jed's passion for storytelling through film was evident, drawing inspiration from global hotspots, innovative investigative journeys, and novel explorations of the documentary form. His work reflects a deep commitment to not just telling stories, but telling them in ways that resonate deeply with viewers, highlighting his belief in the power of cinema to foster understanding and empathy among people.Jed's conversation with Matt reveals the depth of his experience and his approach to filmmaking, which is rooted in a profound respect for the stories of individuals often overlooked by society. He shares insights into the challenges and triumphs of his career, including his journey from an anthropology student to a documentary filmmaker, his experiences filming in the midst of the Arab Spring, and the personal sacrifices he's made to tell stories that matter. Jed's definition of excellence — as doing everything to the best of one's ability and leaving no stone unturned — shines through as he discusses his projects, including his work with characters from diverse backgrounds and the impact these stories have had on his life and career.This episode is not just a look behind the scenes of Jed's distinguished career but also a masterclass in the art of documentary filmmaking. You'll come away with a deeper understanding of what it takes to pursue a career in this challenging yet rewarding field, as well as the importance of persistence, vision, and, most importantly, a heart for storytelling. Whether you're an aspiring filmmaker, a documentary enthusiast, or someone curious about the power of real-life narratives, Jed's story is a testament to the impact that thoughtful, well-crafted documentaries can have on our world.Join Matt and Jed for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How Jed specializes in turning complex real-life events into compelling cinematic narratives that both entertain and enlighten.Jed's transition from studying anthropology to becoming a documentary filmmaker, and how his academic background enriches his approach to storytelling.Jed's definition of excellence: putting your best effort into everything you do, striving for perfection in every project, and the importance of perseverance and follow-through.The unpredictable nature of documentary filmmaking, including adapting to unforeseen events like the Arab Spring, and the personal and professional growth that comes from navigating such challenges.The role of mentorship in Jed's career, how to seek out and engage with mentors, and the importance of being assertive in pursuing your vision and opportunities.The importance of finding a balance between pursuing creative passions and the practical aspects of filmmaking, including funding and production logistics.The ethical considerations and personal sacrifices involved in telling real and often sensitive stories, highlighting the responsibility filmmakers have to their subjects.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Lydia Hodgson, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, as she shares her powerful story and insights on mental health, excellence, and personal growth. Opening up about her own struggles with eating disorders and mental health in high school, Lydia emphasizes the importance of discussing mental health openly. Her bravery and openness have empowered many, especially young girls who resonated with her experience.Matt explores Lydia's journey from a small town to achieving extraordinary success in college. Lydia, who broke records as a freshman by generating substantial revenue in a competitive internship, discusses her work ethic and the influence of her family. She attributes her success to lessons learned from her father's hard work and her brother's autism, which taught her the importance of organization and resilience.The episode explores Lydia's philosophy of life, where she defines excellence as consistently bringing value and positivity through one's passion. She discusses the concept of "active waiting" – the idea of being proactive and open to growth while pursuing one's goals. Lydia's ambition in the fashion and marketing industry is driven by her desire to make a positive impact. Her story is a testament to the power of hard work, adaptability, and the pursuit of personal excellence.Join Matt and Lydia for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:Lydia's personal journey with mental health challenges and her advocacy for open conversations about mental health.How Lydia's upbringing, her father's dedication to hard work, and her experiences with her brother's autism shaped her values and work ethic.Lydia's definition of excellence as bringing value and positivity through one's passion.The concept of "active waiting," or proactively engaging in growth opportunities even without a clear direction.Lydia's decision-making process and her choice to pursue a career in the fashion industry, despite lucrative offers elsewhere.Lydia's ability to turn personal challenges into strengths and her approach to seeking feedback and support from loved ones.Lydia's mission to make the world a better place through her actions and career choices.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt explores vital life skills and knowledge crucial for people in their twenties. The episode begins with a powerful message about the importance of relationship management, goal setting, and self-awareness, emphasizing that these skills don't come naturally but must be actively developed and practiced. Drawing from his rich experience as an entrepreneur, partner, husband, father, and mentor since 1993, Matt presents a list of the top ten things 20-somethings should know. These include time management, stress management, relationship management, goal setting, life planning, leadership, understanding DISC personality assessment, career hunting, emotional intelligence (EQ), and strategic planning.Matt discusses how successful time management involves daily planning and adjustment, integrating both work and fun. He touches on stress management in the current high-pressure world, highlighting the importance of distinguishing between good and bad stress and developing coping mechanisms. Matt also stresses the significance of relationship management, asserting that one's social circle greatly influences their personal and professional growth.The episode covers goal setting and life planning, where Matt encourages people to declutter their thoughts, set short and long-term goals, and think about the legacy they want to leave. He discusses leadership as a skill that requires continuous learning and practice, emphasizing servant leadership and the need to lead with vision and values. The DISC model is recommended for better understanding of oneself and others, crucial for personal and career development. Additionally, Matt provides guidance on the career hunt process, advocating for a strategic approach to job applications and interviews.Join Matt for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How to develop and practice relationship management skills, as well as the significance of your social circle in shaping your personal and professional growth.How to transform dreams into actionable goals, and why goal setting is a critical skill for effective people, not just dreamers.Strategies for planning your day to ensure restful, worry-free sleep.The difference between good stress and bad stress, as well as coping mechanisms and tools for managing stress in today’s high-pressure environment.Explore methods for living a purpose-driven life and setting long-term goals, as well as the importance of aligning your actions with your values and dreams.The concept of servant leadership and leading with vision, as well as leadership styles and practices for making a meaningful impact.How DISC assessments can aid in career choice and improve interpersonal relationships.Effective techniques for job hunting, including industry research and strategic application processes.Tips on how to efficiently navigate the job market and align career choices with personal strengths.The importance of self-awareness and empathy in personal and professional settings, and how to enhance your EQ for better relationships and career success.The role of strategic planning in achieving long-term success, as well as methods for identifying and leveraging opportunities for growth and advancement.And so much more...
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt is joined by Francisco Morales, executive chairman and co-founder of 5.11 Tactical. 5.11 Tactical manufactures and retails their clothing brand all over the world. Francisco shares his transformative journey, emphasizing the power of a paradigm shift and the importance of adopting a growth mindset. From grappling with the notion of self-imposed limits to pushing himself academically and professionally, Francisco's story is a testament to the idea that your limits are often where you set them. His commitment to self-improvement and embracing new challenges, like mastering the English language and excelling in his studies, underscores the impact of determination and hard work in shaping one's destiny.Matt and Francisco explore the intricacies of building a brand that resonates with its audience, highlighting Francisco's journey with 5.11 Tactical. Francisco's approach, focusing on understanding customer needs and translating them into innovative, functional products, has been pivotal in the brand's success. The discussion sheds light on the importance of staying true to your core values while adapting to the evolving needs of your customers, a philosophy that has steered 5.11 Tactical to become a leader in its industry.Francisco reflects on his personal growth, the sacrifices that paved the way for his successes, and the significance of maintaining balance in life. His insights on the interplay between professional achievements and personal fulfillment offer valuable lessons on pursuing excellence while staying grounded.Join Matt and Francisco for this fascinating conversation. Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:How changing your mindset can transform your life and professional journey.The importance of pushing beyond self-imposed limits, and how embracing challenges can lead to remarkable achievements.Francisco's approach at 5.11 Tactical, focusing on understanding and responding to customer needs to drive innovation and brand success.The strategies Francisco took in his path from a struggling student to becoming the CEO of a leading brand, emphasizing hard work, dedication, and continual learning.The significance of maintaining a balance between career ambitions and personal life, and how this balance contributes to overall success and fulfillment.Why focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses can be a more effective strategy for personal and professional growth.Francisco's early work experiences and the lessons he learned about the value of hard work and perseverance in achieving one's goals.How staying true to consumer needs and continually adapting to changes can lead to the creation of groundbreaking products.How thinking outside the box and embracing unorthodox solutions can lead to industry-changing innovations in product design.The significance of setting personal goals and regularly revisiting them to stay on track towards achieving your aspirations.And so much more...Resources:Francisco's LinkedIn5.11 Tactical
On today's episode of The Edge of Excellence, Matt talks with Robert Halvorsen, co-founder and CTO of Pacto Medical, a medical device company specializing in pre-filled syringes. Robert shares his journey of pursuing excellence, how he gave up a great job to become an entrepreneur, and offers insights and hacks on how to make it work. He reveals the challenges he faced in middle school, including ADHD, and how he recovered from it. He reflects on his childhood interests and his inclination toward engineering and biology. You will hear about his experience studying biology in Costa Rica as part of a study abroad program. Robert is passionate about education and shares his involvement in the Young African Leadership Initiative. This initiative led to him teaching design thinking in Nigeria and playing a critical role in the creation of an innovation clinic.Together with his co-founders Ryan and Ian, Robert embarked on an entrepreneurial journey driven by their shared passion for innovation. You’ll learn more about their latest entrepreneurial venture, developing pre-filled syringes for medical applications, and how well they complement each other as a team. He explains the benefits of prefilled syringes and the projected growth of this market. You’ll discover the progress they have made in the six months since they started and the next steps they'll take on their entrepreneurial journey. He also discusses their dream of making their technology accessible worldwide, as well as networking and proactive communication to secure opportunities. He concludes by explaining why the fear of missing out becomes less when you are passionate about what you do, and recommends "Designing Your Life" to foster creativity and innovation.Matt announces that this is the last episode of the current season and mentions that they will be taking a break until January.Join Matt and Robert for an insightful conversation on the journey of becoming an entrepreneur, strategic partnerships, and passion for success.Enjoy! What You Will Learn In This Show:The two facets of excellence, external and internal.The importance of biomimicry and learning from nature in developing innovative solutions.How much success is attributed to luck, and how much to hard work.His transition from a corporate job to entrepreneurship.Finding a niche when competing with larger companies.The importance of seeking expertise and having contingency plans.And so much more..Resources:The Edge of ExcellenceRobert HalvorsenAbout Pacto Medical
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