YOP019: Misti Burmeister – Provoking Your Greatness

Bio: Ten years of professional speaking and coaching CEOs and other leaders have proven Misti Burmeister’s approach works. A Peter Drucker Essay finalist and included on the Washington Post’s best seller list, she is a force of nature, single-handedly shaking the noise out of leadership, amplifying authenticity and value. A serial innovator, she was an early subject matter expert on generational leadership prior to her groundbreaking work on “measurable greatness.” Follow her blog at www.measurablegreatness.com/blog and her podcast, “Provoking Your Greatness” on iTunes.

Show Notes:

Measurable Greatness

Imago Therapy

Provoking Greatness Podcast

SHIFT Book

Transcript:

Show +

Zephan: Hey, everyone. Zephan Blaxberg here from the Year of Purpose podcast, and today I have an amazing friend of mine, Misti Burmeister. Now, Misti is a speaker and author, also a blogger, an amazing friend and mentor to me as well, and I’m so excited to have her here today. Misti, thanks for spending some time with me!

Misti: Oh, I’m excited. Let’s get this on the—let’s get this going, man!

Zephan: Awesome, let’s go! So, let’s tell everyone listening and watching just a little bit background on you. Because I know that you worked in the corporate world for some time and now you do work for yourself and you do some amazing consulting and coaching. So tell me a little bit about how you got to where you are now and where you were maybe five or six years ago.

Misti: That’s funny. I had a very short stint, Zephan, in the corporate world. It lasted about four months. That’s the length of my stay in corporate America. I am—and actually it’s what…a year and a half. I was working for the National Institute of Health for a year as a fellow, then I worked for a government contractor for four months and that experience is what lead me to go explore and figure out what wasn’t working there for me, and basically discovered the ‘what’ I was saying wasn’t coming across right to the older folks and more seasoned folks inside the organization. And what they were saying to me, I was misinterpreting, so, thus generational conflict kind of became my topic of interest and then led to my topic of solving problems inside of organizations about maybe a year after I quit. I landed in that arena and started a company called Inspirion, which is now—kinda let the company name go by the wayside so that my own name can come forward. So ten years ago.

Zephan: Ten years ago. Very nice. So you have definitely come a very far way since then. I’ve been fortunate enough to hear you speak a couple times and to read your blog and check out a lot of the stuff that you’ve done. It seems like feedback now is something that’s a big important thing to you and giving good feedback, which probably of course leads to better communication in the workplace and better functioning overall. How did you fall upon feedback as being one of the sources or key things that needs to be worked on inside of a business?

Misti: I think one of the greatest challenges in leadership, Zephan, is understanding, number one, how to receive feedback, because if you know how to receive it, you know what your team is telling you about how you’re doing as a leader. And if you know how to give it in such a way that people want to and they’re inspired to grow and develop, then you’ve got the most important fundamental key to being effective in your ability to provoke greatness or to lead.

Zephan: So, you know, you’ve addressed a really great topic here, feedback, but—I’m sure you might have seen this coming—how can we, a, give better feedback, and b, what should we try to not do in order to give better feedback?

Misti: Well, let me answer a little more of your first question which is how did I come upon this topic and I think—just like7 most people like you, like most people, I’ve struggled with receiving feedback. That felt like a knife in the chest and like turning it back and forth and my—a wise person once told me “Misti, it’s like giftwrapped in crap. It smells bad, but if you can just get beyond the layers and get to the gift inside, you’ll be in good shape.” And so I’ve always sort of seen feedback that way, and I’ve seen so many people struggle with when somebody tells them what they’re doing isn’t working or, you know, “how do I take that feedback and make it useful to myself?” so I’ve been asked that question so many times. That’s what prompted me to start writing about it. What is your—what was your second question there?

Zephan: More of just going into how to give better feedback. The dos and don’ts, what we should or shouldn’t do when we’re talking to others and giving feedback, because a lot of people ask our opinion all the time, as business owners and as creatives and people are doing these things. You had just asked my opinion on something the other day, and obviously I want to make sure that I give you what you’re looking for, but I want to be nice about it. I don’t want to do that whole knife into the heart sort of deal, so what could someone like myself, if someone were coming to me for feedback, what should I do and what should I try not to do?

Misti: What an awesome question, and I’m gonna answer it in two different ways. So the question is “How do you get better at giving feedback?” and I think Rich Fairbanks, CEO and founder of Capital One said it best when he said the folds—there’s almost a direct correlation, he said, between the folks who rise in his organization and the folks who actively seek out feedback. So that’s part of my answer in that you’re asking how do you get better at giving feedback, you get better at giving feedback by going out and asking for feedback. Because the more you ask for feedback and the more that you challenge your own heart and challenge yourself to adjust and to hear the negativity or what feels like criticism, and shift based on what you’re hearing, you know what that feels like. And as a result of knowing what it feels like, you’re naturally gonna adjust the way that you say things to others so that you don’t upset—not that we have any control over that, honestly. But if you’re the person out these seeking feedback constantly and willing to hear the hard things, people are gonna know that about you and they’re gonna be more apt to receive feedback from you.

Zephan: You know, a lot of us, when we receive feedback—at least when we’re not used to asking for it all the time—probably close off a little bit and get a little bit defensive, especially if we’re asking for feedback on something that’s really important to us. You know, something that we’ve slaved over and put all this effort into. So I’d imagine it’s pretty hard at first to get used to this, having other people tell you what they thing and being able to absorb it without trying to fight back right away.

Misti: That’s number one reason right there that people don’t give feedback. Is because of the defensiveness, and then you have to feel bad because you hurt their feelings and…yeah.

Zephan: Do you think that we should also make sure when we’re giving feedback that the person asked our permission? A lot of people are just quick to criticize, right. As humans, it’s kind of in our nature to have opinions and looks at other things people are doing. What’s a good way to go about saying “Hey, can I tell you what I think about this?” You know, in a polite way. And maybe they don’t want to hear anything right now and it’s just not a good time for them. How should we approach giving it to them?

Misti: Well I like that—I like what you just said there, which is basically to ask permission to give somebody feedback. And in the case, when you really don’t have a very strong, trusting relationship with somebody, absolutely ask “Is it okay to share with you my thoughts?” and sometimes people will say no. in fact, I was with my dad this weekend. Zephan, I gotta tell you real quick, and I—my parents are moving back to Colorado, and I’m helping to pack up, and my dad likes to buy stuff and my dad likes to keep stuff. That’s how it goes, and so they have a lot of stuff. And I asked my dad, because they’re were having a little bit—you know parents. They have a little bit of a tiff about what gets kept. And my mom’s trying to get him to get rid of stuff, you know how that goes.

And so my dad and I are by ourselves, and I go “So, dad, I’m just wondering, can I ask you this question?” and I asked him the question “Have you guys created any rules around what you’re gonna keep and what you’re gonna discard?” He goes “Nope, you can’t ask me that question.” I was like “Fair enough!” You know, fair enough. “You wanna keep arguing back and forth, that’s cool.” So people will give you—they’ll tell you whether or not they want your feedback.

And, you know, I think a better—another question, a good question that I get a lot is how do you keep the feedback coming in? Especially when that feedback feels so difficult on us. Like we’re gonna explode and punch them in the face, right.

Zephan: Right, right.

Misti: Well, any time that’s the case, any time we’re defending against something somebody else is saying, there’s some truth to it. Because if there wasn’t, then we’d have no reason to defend. So the more you open yourself up to, like just “Huh” without self-judgment. With judgment that we’re bad or wrong or we s——you know? Go ahead.

Zephan: You cut out there for the last second, just what you said on that last sentence there about bad or wrong.

Misti: Yeah, it’s not—we’re not—the feedback doesn’t mean anything about us. Really what it means about—what the criticism means, or the feedback means is how we’re coming across in somebody else’s world. So if we care about how we’re coming across in another person’s world, which probably other people similar to that person giving you feedback, if you care about it, then listen. But it’s hard to listen when you’re reacting inside, right? So there’s this little thing in the base of our brain—you might know about this, I don’t know if your listeners do or not—but it’s called the amygdala. The base of our brain, and it’s sort of the “flight, fight, or freeze,” and when we’re reacting because there’s danger, that’s a really valuable thing to have——get into movement or something like this to save our lives.

But when it comes to feedback, we also get triggered, and the amygdala goes haywire. And the best thing to do in that situation is to breathe. Because what happens is, literally, the blood cannot get beyond the base of the brain to the frontal lobe. And the frontal lobe is where reasoning happens. Alright, so if you can’t get to reasoning, then you’re only gonna say something that’s reactive, that’s defensive, that’s gonna cause a problem.

But if you can breathe and process what the person said, maybe even journal about it, then you can start to see maybe some truth in it, or at least truth for them, and then you can ask them—well, first of all, thank them. So you breathe first, and then you say—when you figure out how to do that—you say “Thank you for giving me this feedback, because without it then I can’t grow, I can’t learn.” And then you repeat back to them, make sure that you understood what it is that you heard them say. Because sometimes we mix up the feedback. What you’re hearing them say might not be what they meant.

Zephan: Yeah, and you have a—

Misti: And so you can—go ahead.

Zephan: Yeah, and you have a really good system of doing that. Is was something along the lines of “Is this it? Did I get it?”—tell me more about that?

Misti: Yeah, I actually learned that originally—I was taught it many different ways, but I learned it originally in Imago therapy—I-M-A-G-O—Imago therapy. It’s couple’s therapy, and basically it’s image therapy, so you’re doing therapy on—you’re understanding your own patterns that were created from a very young age. So Imago—in Imago therapy they teach you, in order to better understand people, the listening part of it is “So what I’m hearing you say is…” and then you fill in—which is enormously difficult if you’re not actually paying attention—but often times what I see people do is just parrot… Which, you’re not actually listening if you’re just parroting. You’ve got to synthesize what somebody said and share with them what you heard, right. “So what I’m hearing you say is this… Did I get it?” and if the answer is yes, then “Is there more?” And if the answer is no, then you let them go again, and then you repeat that. Any time you ever meet someone that repeats themselves a thousand times, it’s because they don’t——

So try this one. “What I’m hear you say is this. Did I get it? Is there more?” until there’s no more. And for the people that there really is never an end, then you just, uhm…you just kick them in the shins.

Zephan: [chuckles] Sounds like a good solution to me. So it looks like step one is really to be asking for more feedback from others. Step two is asking permission to be able to give feedback to others, so it’s kind of a two way street. And then the third one is really just working on your reaction and your response to it. So going back to that breathing concept of making sure we can handle that knife stab to the heart and that we can kind of take it and run with it and learn from it.

Misti: You’re very good at that. You’ve gotten much, much, much better yourself. Every day and every week, we keep learning and growing, don’t we?

Zephan: Yeah. So did I get it?

Misti: You did!

Zephan: Is there more??

Misti: That’s it for now, babe!

Zephan: Cool. So let’s just into another topic here, because you have some really exciting stuff that has happened, both in the past and new stuff coming up. Tell me a little bit about your book that—your ebook that you have just released to the public. It’s called Shift: Turning Fecal Matter into Feedback that Matters, because I know that you brought up that idea of turning crap into gold. So we just chatted a little bit about that back there, but tell me a little bit about just the motivation behind this ebook and what is actually in it, what people learn from it?

Misti: Well, you know, it’s interesting. The world tells me what to write about, and I just don’t always know what I’m writing about. And about a year ago, one of my editors just went through all of my blogs over the past two years or so, and she said “Misti, you have so much here on feedback and how to receive feedback.” Because I had already written a book—an ebook on how to give feedback, that’s already up on the website…and I can’t believe I’m forgetting the name of my own ebook. Uhm, let’s see… It’s come back to me in a second.

Zephan: Cool, we’ll come back to it.

Misti: What’s that?

Zephan: We’ll come back to it.

Misti: We’ll come back to it. Anyway, it’s about giving difficult feedback. This one is about how to receive it. And because a lot of people—just like you asked—they want to walk away from…you know, they want to have—they want to hear what their boss has to say, they want to hear what their colleagues or even their friends have to say and not be so reactive, but they don’t know how to feel empowered by feedback that hurts. And I didn’t either. And I think it’s a lifelong process. And so, I wrote this ebook, and there’s a ton of great stories in there with very specific action items on what to do when you’re in a variety of different situations. The intention, of course, of which, to help them understand—them mostly CEOs, most leaders that want to get better and better at leading—help them to get the most out of understanding the feedback that they’re currently getting.

So if you look at your—the whole mirroring concept, right Zephan—if we assume that the folks that are out here are just a reflection of what’s going on in here, then we can start to make a difference on what’s going on out here by shifting what’s going on inside of here. And that’s really what Shift is all about. How do you do that? How do you shift the outside based on shifting the world on the inside?

Zephan: so you brought up a really good point there too, and this is something that, you know, I’ve learned from you in the past, about mirroring, but you know, I think back to…there was a time where I told you I was upset about something that somebody did. And, you know, you kind of said “Hmm, well I wonder what that says about what’s going on with you, not necessarily them.” Could you maybe just expand on that concept a little bit of how maybe the things that are angering or upsetting us inside can actually be a reflection of, not what somebody else did, but maybe something going on internally?

Misti: Yeah, it’s really good to—I’ll start with a very specific example that is very corporate related, and what I ask it that come up with another one that might be geared a little bit more toward your audience and I’ll—we’ll do a coaching session right here on the fly! But I remember, I was in California—it’s been years about now—but this COO of a major hotel management company—I think you’ve heard this story—came up to me after a presentation, and she said—you know, she shared quite a little bit about her team and basically——“…understand. I came into this team five years ago, and the folks were fired up, they were engaged, they were enthusiastic, and here we are nine years later and they’re complacent!” and I said “Alight, cool, so what’s your vision?” and she, you know, she said some things about bottom line numbers and stuff like that, and I said “No, no, no. what’s your vision? What’s the higher purpose of what it is”—purpose project, right?—“What’s the higher purpose of what you’re striving to go after as a team?”

And you know, she mumbled some more things about shareholder value, and I stopped her again and I said “No… What is it that the folks on your team are gonna care about that’s more than just money?” She goes “Oh, yeah, yeah! We did that exercise about nine years ago!” You see, so they had become complacent because she had become complacent. If the folks on your team don’t listen to you, it’s because you don’t listen to them.

I have so many stories about how “Why do they understand my vision??” Well they don’t understand you vision because you don’t communicate it! It’s all about taking 100% percent responsibility. The only place of power is in 100% responsibility. They have any responsibility for the results you get, you have no power. So keep they power, take responsibility and go “Who am I being so that x, y, and z?” and the more that you ask the question, the deeper you dive and the better results you’ll get.

Zephan: I really like that, because I’m a huge fan of asking better questions. You might not have seen it, but there’s this movie, I Robot, with Will Smith, and essentially, the creator of these robots that are—you know, have AI, like they understand the world around them, they’re trying to find out why or how one of the robots might have actually killed the creator of these robots. But the creator left behind this hologram that you can talk to and interact with. So they’re trying to figure out how he died. And the hologram pops up and Will Smith, he’s the police officer investigating, is like “How did you die, what happened?” and he goes “That’s not the question to ask” or something along those lines of “I can’t answer that right now” or something like that.

And I think it’s really important to just kind of take that lesson from that of maybe we’re just not asking stuff in the right way or we’re not asking the right question, you know, of ourselves or even of others. And so, to get a better answer or to get to the answer that we really want to get to, you know, we need to kind of reevaluate and look back at what we’re doing ourselves or what we’re asking to make sure that it’s gonna get us what we really want to find out.

Misti: Absolutely. Agreed.

Zephan: So you’ve affected a lot of business owners. You’ve gone into a lot of really big organizations. I won’t release any of their names here but there’s some pretty big ones out there. And you’ve done some pretty amazing stuff. What do you think is the favorite part of your business? What really gets you going and gets you fired up about what you’re doing for people?

Misti: My—the reason that I get out of bed every morning, Zephan, is I love watching people come to life. And what I mean by that specifically is when people understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and they understand who they really are beyond the layers of all the different ego parts that show up that I just point right past—in the work that I do, I just see right past that stuff and help them to zero in on what it is they’re really trying to do and why are they trying to do that—the lights go on and their whole life changes. Not just their life but, you can imagine, because it’s typically executives that I’m working with, their entire teams shift. And it’s sort of like, if you were to think of a bunch of—well, there’s a football game coming up on Sunday. It’s the Super Bowl, right?

Zephan: Yep, yep.

Misti: And imagine those two teams coming onto the field on Sunday and—ready to play, they’ve been working their butts off to get there, and they get on the field and there’s no end zone. Would they play hard? Absolutely not. For what?

Zephan: Cause they don’t know where to get to.

Misti: They don’t know where to get to, but yet most leaders are running their businesses void of any sort of an end zone. Void of specific goals. I mean, other than financial——good at that, right? But when it comes to developing their people, when it comes to identifying the most important critical solutions that they’re providing makes a difference for the customer. They don’t take the time to think about what it is, and why they want to do that. Why is it important to them? And because they don’t identify it, they end up barking orders and getting irritated that other people don’t know what they don’t know! And so when they can get some clarity around that, all the communication issues start to go away.

Like the generational conflict issues are there because the people don’t know how what they do is contributing to something greater and in addition to that, they don’t know how to continue growing themselves. Because there’s other people that are in the way now and so competition starts to form and we think it’s conflict as a result of age, but at the end of the day, every single generation wants the same basic things. They want to feel like what they do matters, opportunities to grow and some form of feedback. Pretty simple. So if, as a leader you can——it just, it changes lives. It changes businesses, it changes teams, it changes families, and that’s what I’m all about, man. Bringing people to life.

Zephan: That’s really awesome. So if you were to look at, you know, a group of people who…maybe they haven’t been brought to life yet, right, if you could only give them one piece of knowledge, what is your one thing that you would want to say to them to just get them pumped up and going, or at least thinking differently?

Misti: So, uhm—this is a group of people that—group of people that want to be doing something that’s meaningful? Give me some more context because there’s two different kinds of people.

Zephan: Yeah, so, let’s assume that these are people who want to make a change. So I’d like to talk to both people who are in the corporate world and perhaps are not having the experience that they hoped for. So them as well as perhaps entrepreneurs or people who are interested in the entrepreneurial pursuit and want to make sure that they get really fired up about it. There’s a want for it, there’s—there’s not necessarily a necessity for it, but there’s an intention to want to be there and to want to be fired up in each of them. If you could just kind of give them one thing to kind of push them over the edge and be like “Alright! Let’s go!” What would that be?

Misti: Gosh, you know what, the number one thing, Zephan, is get rid of—actually, I won’t even say get rid of. The number one thing is get curious. Alright, so, we don’t know—most of us don’t know what it is that’s gonna necessarily fire us up. And we wait and we wait and wait, hoping that somebody’s gonna tell us what we should do, right. Now only what we should do, but what’s gonna make us happy. And we expect, most of us expect, that that leader is gonna put that opportunity right in my hands even though I’ve done nothing necessarily to make the opportunity happen.

At the end of the day, the only person who can help you discover7 what fires you up is you. And the first thing to do, if you’re in a place where you just don’t know, get curious and get into action. Go to a—go to something you’ve never gone to before. Go learn a skill you’ve never learned before. Take a class that you would never think that that would be something—you’re just kind of interested in it. Like I remember when I got stuck—and we all do this, we all get stuck. When I got stuck, it was farming that interested me. And I—I struggled so hard with letting myself be interested in farming, Zephan. Like… “I gotta focus on bigger things like leadership and like helping people grow! What is this farming thing?!” But wouldn’t you know, that not even a year later, I got the chance to learn a lot about how food is grown and yadda, yadda. That was pretty exciting and fun and that’s what turned my lights back on. And then I get this major opportunity with the Environmental Protection Agency, which was an—I mean, just awesome!

So if we can let go trying to force things and trying to be somebody and instead allow ourselves to give and to light our—and to be lit up and to be excited and take responsibility for that, for that sense of excitement in our——man, just one small step at a time can make the biggest difference in the world. But you got to stay curious. You got to stay open. You got to keep learning.

Zephan: Yeah, it’s like—

Misti: You know this better than anybody I know, Zephan!

Zephan: Yeah, it’s like—there’s that old Steve Jobs quote of “stay hungry, stay foolish.” It’s a huge thing in my life, not only because I worked at Apple, but because I just think it makes sense. Right, it just really…I connect with that idea and that concept and I kinda did the same thing that you did with farming—was rowing. Someone had told me—I was going through a really stressful time. I wanted to find a better outlet for that, and someone said “You know, you should try rowing” and first impression, I’m just like “Pfft!” like, I’d never do that, right. Like, you kidding me? I just—I couldn’t see past it because I hadn’t even tried it yet, so I just had this fake opinion of it that wasn’t even based on anything.

Turns out, you know, I took an intro to rowing class, I moved into a more competitive advanced class, and next thing you know, I did a couple races by the end of the first season. And I’m super stoked now to go back once the weather starts to get warmer and do that again—

Misti: What, you don’t want to do it in thirty degree weather? I don’t understand!

Zephan: Nooo. Need to row in water, not in ice!

Misti: [laughs]

Zephan: That would not be very fun.

Misti: No.

Zephan: So I—you’ve been through, obviously, way more than I have. There’s a bit of an age difference here so I know that there’s a lot of things for you to teach people. A lot of things that you’ve experienced and you’ve learned over time. If you could just go back and look at your life as a whole, what there any one decision that you made that you look at it as being “This is the best decision I ever made because it was crucial to getting me to where I am right now”?

Misti: You know, Zephan, I’m not THAT far in front of you, and—more the age that number thing. Anyway, I’ll stay focused on your question, which is no. no, there’s not one, but I can tell you there are many——many that I can name easily right now. Several dozen small decisions that happened over time. I think it was Zig Ziglar that said “While the hurricanes and the tornadoes get all the publicity, did you know it’s the termites that do the most damage? They take these little itty-bitty bites and over time destroy building and displace people.”

Well, the same thing is true on the opposite side of that. The things that change our lives, it’s never—it’s sort of like, do you eat a Hershey bar—like Jim Rohn used to talk about this before he passed. Amazing guy. Jim Rohn, check him out. Do you eat a Hershey bar or do you eat an apple a day? It’s that simple of a choice. Do you exercise or do you eat the Doritos? You know, do you sit on the couch? Do you watch TV or do you read something that’s educational every day? You know, these small little decisions every day added up. Obviously these things are called habits and I did not start with the best of habits. So speaking of Doritos, I literally—your listeners should really know this, Zephan—I could eat an entire bag of giant, extended, King Size Dorito bag of chips, almost a whole bag, and whatever was left, I’d lick the cheese off the chips and put them back in the bag. [laughing] Yeah. I did that.

Zephan: So that was obviously not the greatest of decisions, but it’s great that you’ve been able to reinforce new habits to take over those old habits. So it sounds like, you know, there’s a lot of small, tiny decisions, like you said with that quote about the termites, that ultimately get you to where you are. So, you know, transformation can obviously happen through big decisions, right, like people decide to have a child or to get married. Like a lot of transformation happens there, but ultimately, transformation as a whole, in our life as a whole, happens out of these smaller moments that really come in bite sized pieces rather than eating, as7 you say, the whole Hersey bar or the whole Doritos bag.

Misti: Right, right.

Zephan: So, is there anything that, as far as mentors and books go, you recommended a couple speakers and authors to listen to—are there any one or two right now that you’re really big on that you might recommend to everybody listening in?

Misti: Yeah, so Byron Katie, Brené Brown, Seth Godin…uhm…Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. Uhm…let me give you some specific books. So Loving What Is, A Thousand Names for Joy—those are both by the first author that I mentioned.

Zephan: Yeah, we can look that up and we’ll put that in the show notes for everyone.

Misti: Cool. Yeah, Bryon Katie, she’s amazing. You know, and I’m always—Zig Ziglar, I mentioned him. There are so many——most of those books that I—and leaders that I just identified… Sure, they’re really great in their craft, which isn’t necessarily spirituality, but yet, almost their entire work has to do with getting closer to your authentic core. And I think the more that we understand ourselves and the more we trust ourselves, the stronger our foundation is. The more that we’ll be able to do the things that we really love to do in this world. I think purpose really comes from knowing yourself. If there is a purpose in life, the purpose is to get to know who you really are. If there is a purpose, purpose is in every moment and not necessarily in an entire life. But if it were, I would say the purpose of life is.

Zephan: That is amazing. I’m really glad that you have, you know, your own definition of purpose and that you shared that with us. So that you for doing that. I know that some people are currently looking for what is purpose. You know, it’s kind of one of those questions that we ask and probably asking the wrong way a lot of the times, so we’re not really finding an answer. So thank you, again, for sharing that. Just to wrap all of this up into a great package, because I know that you talk a lot about gifts that are wrapped in crap, so to speak, in your recent book. This is kind of a question I’ve been asking to some people here and there and I’m really just curious to see where you go with it. You know, a lot of us, no matter where we are in life, know that there is someone else out there who has less money than us, has less opportunity than us. You know, has to walk ten miles just to find water, right. So this is—I’m curious to see where you go with this:

You find yourself at the supermarket and you just left. You’re leaving, doing your food shopping, and you get to the car and next to you, there’s a hundred dollar bill on the ground. No one around. You can’t look up and say “Oh, did you drop this?” and obviously, if you bring it back into the supermarket, they’re gonna say “Who dropped a hundred dollars?” and twenty people are gonna pop up. So let’s just say you decide to do something with it to give it back to the world, whether that’s developing yourself, developing others—maybe there’s a homeless guy on the corner. What would you want to do with it to make the biggest impact? Because I think that people in these third world countries, to them, getting a dollar bill alone is, for some people, food for the next week, right. So what do you think that you could do if you were to find that hundred dollar bill and give that back into the world?

Misti: So I—I just have to address this first. There’s this idea of comparing ourselves to other people. And I think—that’s where you said there’s always somebody who has it worse off, right. And I think that in that, what you’re really saying, what people really mean when they say that, is to appreciate what you have. And I almost want to encourage people not to compare themselves to other people, but simply to look at the life that they have, and the people—who they are and be grateful for who they are without comparing. Because comparing can wreak so much havoc on us and cause us to try to be like other people and, you know, comparison from the competitive standpoint is just not healthy.

But anyway, so, what would I do with this hundred dollars, honestly? I would give it to Ellen Lorie, my audio engineer, who has done so much—so much—to better herself, to grow, to learn, and that’s where I would send it, Zephan. I mean, this is a woman who’s traveling the world in search of herself. Like we talked about, the purpose of life is to discover who you really are. She’s on that journey, and I’m really proud of her and I think I would just send her the hundred bucks. That’s what I would do at this point.

But if there wasn’t an Ellen, what would I do with it? Right, like that?

Zephan: Yeah, I mean, if I were to find a hundred bucks, I would love to give it to my mom, right, or use it to do something really nice for her, you know. But what if we were trying to give this more to the world and not necessarily someone that we might know, per se?

Misti: I think I might make a little experiment out of it. I might take the hundred dollars and use it to buy sandwiches for people that are standing on the sidewalk, asking for money or asking for a job——maybe even I’d bring them a lot more than a sandwich that we could go do whatever they felt was necessary with the food. I’d probably to something like that.

Zephan: Awesome. I can really appreciate that. There’s a concept that I’m working on right now that hopefully I’ll be able to approach later on this year of essentially building backpacks and stuffing them with stuff and being able to take them to the homeless people out here. Because I do a lot of work between DC and Baltimore, driving back and forth through both cities. And I drive through Baltimore city to get there and see people on the street corners. I get into DC and just getting off the highway, there’s people on the street corners. And then I see it again coming back home at night.

And, you know, last night I was approached by someone. I was at a red light, downtown Baltimore city, ten/eleven o’clock at night, a gentlemen literally walks right in front my car at a light. And he didn’t seem as approachable as many of the other ones so I kind of waved it off a little bit, but I think later down the road, this is a cool project. Is giving back to the homeless. I’d really love to do that, and I definitely would love would keep me accountable. If you want to keep me accountable to that, it’s something that I’d love to do. But the topic of helping the homeless, I think, is really awesome. So thank you for giving that to us.

And thank you so much for giving your gift to the world. You’ve got a ton of books, a ton of videos online. So what is the best place for people, a, to get your ebook, but, b, just to find out more about you?

Misti: measurablegreatness.com. Yep, that’s it. And if you want to message me directly, just mb—for Misti Burmeister--@measurablegreatness.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Zephan: Awesome. So you guys, a, need to check out her podcast because she has a podcast, b, go ahead and check out and download her ebook—

Misti: Wait a minute! That podcast is called Provoking Your Greatness.

Zephan: Awesome, so check out Provoking Your Greatness podcast. Go find her ebook, it’s called Shift. That’s also on your website, right?

Misti: Under Greatness Store.

Zephan: Awesome, and then of course, you should go ahead and contact Misti as well. Misti, thank you so much for being here today. I want you to know that I appreciate you as a friend, as a motivator, as a provoker of greatness, and I’m very grateful that I can call you a friend and a mentor of mine.

Misti: Well, Zephan, right back at you, babe. I feel it too. And you know, the best thing about great mentoring relationships is——the mentor and the mentee become confused as to who is which.

Zephan: Awesome. Thank you so much. We’ll see you next time.

Misti: Alright. Peace out, brother.

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