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Beyond Material Success: Finding Purpose, Authenticity, and Empathy in Leadership with Chris Meroff

In a world filled with wealth and accomplishments, Chris Meroff seemed to have it all. But behind the facade of success, he battled with depression and thoughts of suicide, feeling trapped in a dark and lonely place. Little did he know that his journey would take an unexpected turn, leading him to a profound realization - the true key to fulfillment and success lies in cultivating empathy and connection with others. Join us as we delve into Chris's story, a tale of transformation and the power of empathy in leadership. Discover how embracing empathy can rewrite your own identity and help you build strong, cohesive teams.

"I realized that I was in a prison of my own making. Because I had not been vulnerable with one human being, nobody actually knew me and I didn't know me." - Chris Meroff

Access all show and episode resources HERE

About Our Guest:

Chris Meroff is a CEO, founder, serial entrepreneur, and bestselling author. With over 25 years of experience in various industries, including hospitality, farming, medical, and community development, Chris has a wealth of knowledge and expertise. What sets Chris apart is his commitment to redefining leadership paradigms and fostering authentic community and deeper relationships among business leaders. Through his venture, DCX Community, and his podcast, The Table Network, Chris is on a mission to inspire empathy and create a more connected and engaged workforce. His book, The Empathy Revolution, delves deep into the importance of empathy in leadership roles. With his unique perspective and passion for building strong and cohesive teams, Chris brings a fresh approach to the table.

Reasons to Listen:

  • Develop strong leadership skills by cultivating empathy and understanding.
  • Foster authentic connections and build a supportive community in both professional and personal settings.
  • Combat loneliness and isolation by practicing empathy and creating meaningful relationships.
  • Find the balance between vulnerability and the desire for control to create a harmonious and trusting environment.
  • Discover the power of vulnerability for personal and professional growth.

Episode Resources & Action Steps:

  • Visit Chris Meroff's website to learn more about his mission of fostering authentic community and deeper relationships for business leaders.
  • Check out the podcast, The Table Network, to listen to discussions on the importance of community and identity in business and leadership.
  • Order Chris Meroff's book, The Empathy Revolution, to dive deeper into his philosophy on authentic community and understanding the truth of who we are.
  • Join the Seek, Go, Create community to connect with like-minded individuals and gain support in your journey towards leading with purpose.

Resources for Leaders from Tim Winders & SGC:

🔹 Unlock Your Potential Today!

  • 🎙 Coaching with Tim: Elevate your leadership and align your work with your faith. Learn More
  • 📚 "Coach: A Story of Success Redefined": A transformative read that will challenge your views on success. Grab Your Copy
  • 📝 Faith Driven Leader Quiz: Discover how well you're aligning faith and work with our quick quiz. Take the Quiz

Key Lessons:

1. Vulnerability and expressing fears: The speaker emphasizes the importance of sharing our fears and allowing others to speak truth into our lives. By being vulnerable, we can overcome self-doubt and avoid feeling isolated and consumed by loneliness.

2. The power of community: The speaker recognizes the vital role that loved ones and a supportive community play in our lives. They rely on the support of others to remind them of their strengths, their ability to speak passionately, and the impact they can make, regardless of imperfections.

3. Authentic leadership: The speaker challenges traditional views of leadership, emphasizing the importance of empathy, kindness, and serving others. They believe in creating authentic communities where individuals can recognize and celebrate their own greatness, rather than comparing themselves to others.

4. Balancing present challenges and future vision: The speaker acknowledges the need to address present challenges while keeping sight of their grander vision for the future. They strive to maintain a growth mindset while learning from previous experiences to shape their direction moving forward.

5. Self-reflection and growth: The speaker reflects on their past behaviors and the importance of emotional intelligence and understanding emotional language. They are on a journey to develop empathy and catalog emotions to better connect with others.

6. The impact of connection on loneliness: Despite the greater access to connection in today's world, the speaker highlights the paradoxical increase in loneliness. They urge listeners to challenge the lies of comparison, jealousy, and envy that drive feelings of inadequacy and focus on what they don't have.

7. Leadership beyond skills: The speaker emphasizes the value of soft or human skills, which they refer to as "God skills," in leadership. These skills, such as kindness, empathy, and serving others, are often overlooked but can have a profound impact on guiding and supporting others.

8. Believing in oneself and others: The speaker encourages individuals to believe in their own greatness and to help others recognize and believe in their own as well. By focusing on who they are made to be, rather than what they are made to do, individuals can unleash their full potential and find fulfillment in their work and relationships.

9. The power of love in leadership: The speaker challenges the notion that leadership is solely about strength and confidence. They believe that leadership rooted in agape love, charity, and self-sacrifice can create a transformative impact on individuals, communities, and organizations.

10. The value of authenticity: The speaker highlights the importance of being transparent and real in conversations. They strive to move beyond generic answers and be faithful to the truth, fostering genuine connections with others.

Episode Highlights:

00:14:37 - The Challenges of Family Business,

The guest discusses the misconception of perfection in family businesses and shares his personal experience of working with his parents in a family business. He highlights the complexity and conflicts that can arise within a family business and the impact it had on his own identity and sense of value.

00:19:17 - Struggles and Conflict within the Family Business,

The guest explains how a change in regulations led to conflicts within the family business and the difficulties of working with his parents and siblings. He reflects on the differences between his parents' behavior at home and in the workplace, and how it affected his perception of value and fulfillment.

00:21:46 - The Importance of Empathy in Family Business,

The guest acknowledges that he lacked empathy during his time in the family business and realizes the importance of understanding his parents' fears and perspectives. He emphasizes the need for humility and intentionality in understanding others and discusses his shift towards empathy in his own leadership style.

00:23:12 - The Desire to Prove Himself,

The guest admits that when he left the family business, he believed that they would not succeed without him. However, he soon realized that they were able to thrive without him, leading to a reevaluation of his own approach to leadership and success.

00:24:36 - Lessons Learned from Success and Soul-Selling,

The guest reflects on his personal success in building a successful company but also realizes that he had to compromise his values and lose a sense of purpose.

00:29:19 - The Importance of Empathy in Faith,

This chapter explores the connection between empathy and faith. The guest explains that empathy requires vulnerability and expressing emotions, which allows for authentic community and the pursuit of truth. He believes that poor mental health stems from lies and that vulnerability helps expose those lies and invites others to influence and speak truth into our lives.

00:31:39 - The Journey to Emotional Intelligence,

The guest shares his personal journey of learning emotional intelligence and the language of emotion. He explains that he had to go back and relive past moments where he suppressed emotions and converted them into anger. By understanding how past experiences made him feel, he can now empathize with others and have a catalog of emotions to draw from.

00:35:49 - Control and Vulnerability,

The guest discusses how control and vulnerability can be difficult to reconcile, especially for those who are wired to be in control. He shares that he struggles with control and not wanting to be controlled, but recognizes that control leads to loneliness. He emphasizes the importance of running towards authentic community and truth in order to combat loneliness and live a fulfilling life.

00:38:24 - Finding Authentic Community,

The guest suggests that authentic community can be found within our current sphere of influence. He believes that every human being has greatness inside of them because they are created in the image of God's character. He shares his past belief of viewing others as less than, but now understands the value and potential in every person.

00:44:15 - The Importance of Authenticity and Empathy,

The guest discusses the importance of being authentic and empathetic as a leader. He emphasizes the need to create an authentic community where people feel known, heard, and valued. He also highlights the power of recognizing and celebrating the greatness in others.

00:45:20 - Discovering the Greatness in People,

The guest shares his experience of helping employees recognize their own greatness, even in skills that are often undervalued, such as kindness. He encourages leaders to acknowledge and celebrate these qualities in their team members, creating a positive and empowering work environment.

00:48:56 - Loneliness in the Digital Age,

Despite the increased connectivity in the digital age, people are experiencing greater loneliness. The guest attributes this to the negative effects of comparison and the lack of authentic connection. He emphasizes the importance of vulnerability and seeking empathy from others to combat this loneliness.

00:51:28 - Overcoming the Lies of Comparison,

The guest discusses the harmful impact of comparing oneself to others and the lies it can create. He shares his personal struggle with comparison and the importance of seeking empathy through vulnerability. By expressing fears and insecurities, individuals can receive support and truth from those who know and care about them.

00:52:55 - Cultivating Authentic Community,

The guest suggests that cultivating authentic community requires transparency and a willingness to express struggles and emotions. He encourages individuals to be open about their challenges and seek support from others.

00:58:17 - The Struggle for Self-Worth,

Chris discusses his struggle with feeling lovable and worthy based on what he does for others, particularly his children. This belief has been ingrained since childhood and has affected his ability to ask for help.

00:59:09 - Chris' Ventures,

Chris owns a venture capital firm called Dirigo Capital, focused on creating commerce for the sake of the kingdom. He aims to provide fulfilling employment and reverse the high rate of job dissatisfaction. He also works with a poor town in Maine to create more jobs and increase median income.

01:00:26 - DCX Community,

Chris now spends his time in the DCX community, a parachurch organization in Austin. They teach leadership, provide community, and empower leaders in employee-centric companies. They host a podcast, networking lunches, and an upcoming conference.

01:01:38 - Book Release and Contact,

Chris' book, "The Empathy Revolution," is released on October 17, with the audiobook version following shortly after. To connect with Chris or find his book, visit chrismeroff.com.

01:02:33 - Seek, Go, Create,

When asked which of the three words (seek, go, create) means more to him currently, Chris chooses "go." He enjoys being actively involved and getting his hands dirty in the present moment. Tim expresses his appreciation for the conversation and encourages listeners to continue being true to their created selves.

Thank you for listening to Seek Go Create!

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Be all that you were created to be!


Transcript
Chris Meroff:

We rarely see ourselves the way God sees us or other people.

Chris Meroff:

And control, lies, they all move me away from people.

Chris Meroff:

And when I was in that lonely place, man, thoughts in my head of depression

Chris Meroff:

and suicide and all these other things that they filled my head.

Chris Meroff:

This life isn't worth living.

Chris Meroff:

If I have no one I can go share.

Chris Meroff:

My deepest fears or hurts or hopes with, then why am I here?

Chris Meroff:

Like I had the things that the world told me I should have.

Chris Meroff:

I had wealth.

Chris Meroff:

I had a business that I had built.

Chris Meroff:

I had all these successes that the world calls successes and yet utterly alone,

Chris Meroff:

and isolated and it was the worst.

Chris Meroff:

And so I have to fight toward that.

Chris Meroff:

And that means I have to give up control.

Tim Winders:

Welcome back to seek, go create.

Tim Winders:

I've got a question for you.

Tim Winders:

Are you struggling with finding purpose in your work or building a business

Tim Winders:

that truly impacts your community?

Tim Winders:

If so, today's Seek Go Create episode is definitely for you.

Tim Winders:

I'm excited to introduce a man who has been there, done that, and

Tim Winders:

he's written about it, literally.

Tim Winders:

Meet Chris Meroff, a CEO, founder, serial entrepreneur, and a USA Today and

Tim Winders:

Wall Street Journal bestselling author.

Tim Winders:

With a career spanning over 25 years, Chris has his fingers in numerous

Tim Winders:

pies, from hospitality and farming to medical and community development.

Tim Winders:

What makes Chris stand out is his devotion to shattering the old paradigms

Tim Winders:

of leadership that often breed a culture of isolation and disengagement.

Tim Winders:

Through his venture, DCX Community, and his own podcast, The Table Network, Chris

Tim Winders:

fosters authentic community and deeper relationships for business leaders.

Tim Winders:

His upcoming book, The Empathy Revolution, we'll be talking about that,

Tim Winders:

dives deep into this very philosophy.

Tim Winders:

I love that his mission aligns so well with what we aim to

Tim Winders:

do here at Seek, Go, Create.

Tim Winders:

We're both out to redefine success and help others lead with purpose.

Tim Winders:

Chris, welcome to Seek, Go, Create.

Chris Meroff:

Thanks for having me.

Tim Winders:

I am glad to have you here too.

Tim Winders:

And you're coming to us from Austin.

Tim Winders:

You said you bounced

Chris Meroff:

Austin, Texas.

Chris Meroff:

Austin, Texas.

Chris Meroff:

That's right.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

Awesome.

Tim Winders:

it's great to have you here.

Tim Winders:

Let me fire away.

Tim Winders:

My first question, we just bumped into each other.

Tim Winders:

We meet somewhere.

Tim Winders:

I don't know where, and we just give our names or whatever.

Tim Winders:

And I say, Chris, what do you do?

Tim Winders:

What's your answer?

Tim Winders:

When somebody asked you that?

Chris Meroff:

All right.

Chris Meroff:

So first of all, it's probably my least favorite question, that I get.

Chris Meroff:

but it's the most often asked question, I get.

Chris Meroff:

and man, I've done like a mental gymnastics to try to figure out

Chris Meroff:

how to answer this question.

Chris Meroff:

in a way that's meaningful to who I am and really what God's called

Chris Meroff:

me, to do and more importantly be so answer your question.

Chris Meroff:

do a lot of different things, like you said, and, but my focus has been over

Chris Meroff:

the last two years to really love people.

Chris Meroff:

and so I know that's a weird answer, but, God has blessed

Chris Meroff:

me in so many ways financially.

Chris Meroff:

with family, church, and other aspects of life.

Chris Meroff:

And, I'm a recovering addict, as it relates to running business.

Chris Meroff:

And he keeps calling me away from that, and toward people.

Chris Meroff:

And so what I get to do now is write and speak, on this idea of community,

Chris Meroff:

this idea of authentic community, and understanding the truth of who

Chris Meroff:

we are, really diving into identity.

Chris Meroff:

which again goes back to the question, what do you do?

Chris Meroff:

A lot of us derive our identity from what we do.

Chris Meroff:

I know I did for most of my life and still struggle with it.

Chris Meroff:

so now what I do is I really try to rewrite that identity

Chris Meroff:

in the hearts and minds of the people that join our community.

Tim Winders:

The reason, and I like your answer at the beginning there, I agree.

Tim Winders:

It's a fairly superficial, repeated question that doesn't mean a lot.

Tim Winders:

And most people, and I think I did that for years too, would answer it with

Tim Winders:

a job title or, something like that.

Tim Winders:

So I appreciate that you don't like the question.

Tim Winders:

I really do, because I've probably asked that 200 plus times on this

Tim Winders:

podcast, and I'm getting to where I don't like it, but I like the responses

Tim Winders:

I get from people that think deeper.

Tim Winders:

because really, it's, the better question, I think, would be what's

Tim Winders:

your assignment or your purpose, but I don't know if I want to dive

Tim Winders:

into that deep end immediately

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Chris Meroff:

Don't bail them out.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

But let me do that in the second question.

Tim Winders:

So what is your assignment in God's kingdom?

Tim Winders:

No, you already said that you help people with, identity and things like that, but

Tim Winders:

I do, there, there's something that you mentioned that I will, we'll go ahead and

Tim Winders:

maybe dive in the deep end right here.

Tim Winders:

You mentioned that you had, I think you called it an addiction

Tim Winders:

and it was an addiction.

Tim Winders:

I think in your bio, it says something about a serial entrepreneur.

Tim Winders:

And with my background being very similar, I usually.

Tim Winders:

I think the same thing when I see that I go, okay, this is someone who is

Tim Winders:

just either searching or looking for something or they're addicted to more,

Tim Winders:

which sometimes that might be what it is.

Tim Winders:

Tell me more about that addiction and how you broke it because I think you're

Tim Winders:

not the only one that has had that.

Chris Meroff:

absolutely.

Chris Meroff:

So my addiction, if I were to really boil it down, to its base form is

Chris Meroff:

that I am addicted to tomorrow.

Chris Meroff:

and so my problem is, being solely focused on the future, that I really had a hard

Chris Meroff:

time understanding how to be present.

Chris Meroff:

And so that's really the root of my addiction.

Chris Meroff:

And that just played out in work because that's something I could, again, in

Chris Meroff:

air quotes, control, was a company that I would start a product that I

Chris Meroff:

could make a service I could offer.

Chris Meroff:

And it was always the next client, always the next conversation.

Chris Meroff:

and my employees were invisible in the process, unless they really.

Chris Meroff:

performed unless they did their job.

Chris Meroff:

and so that's really, I think the root of my addiction is

Chris Meroff:

again being addicted to tomorrow.

Tim Winders:

Interesting because I've always said with myself, I was addicted

Tim Winders:

to the future, but that's very similar to being addicted to tomorrow and had a

Tim Winders:

great conversation sometime back on the podcast with someone who had served time

Tim Winders:

in prison and they were very wealthy and they had, anyway, insider training,

Tim Winders:

some stuff like that, but during the conversation, we both came to the

Tim Winders:

realization that we were addicted to more.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah,

Tim Winders:

Which is related, it may be slightly different,

Chris Meroff:

Yeah, thankfully, the more for me was a bigger,

Chris Meroff:

grander vision of the future.

Chris Meroff:

And so it took shape in different ways.

Chris Meroff:

And thankfully, again, God doesn't, or I haven't, got the, call to, to

Chris Meroff:

get, bigger homes and more cars and those kinds of more, but a bigger,

Chris Meroff:

grander vision that I want to live in.

Chris Meroff:

And so having a real growth mindset, and having this idea.

Chris Meroff:

Of what could be, it really drove a lot of and it continues to drive.

Chris Meroff:

It's not like I've fully recovered here.

Chris Meroff:

I'm continuing to struggle with that because tomorrow is so much

Chris Meroff:

more appealing to me, than what I'm having to deal with today.

Chris Meroff:

and that, you asked, the second half of the question on the last

Chris Meroff:

question was, how did I get out of it?

Chris Meroff:

I'm so thankful, that I had, a real crisis of identity and that's how I

Chris Meroff:

was able to recognize my addiction.

Chris Meroff:

and I moved to Austin in 2011, grew up in New England, and, had been in my family's

Chris Meroff:

business for 15 years and went through a painful, separation or divorce from the

Chris Meroff:

family business, basically asked to leave.

Chris Meroff:

and at the end of the day, my future thinking and my parents,

Chris Meroff:

retirement thinking were not aligning.

Chris Meroff:

And basically, hey, Chris, here's some contracts that we have in Texas.

Chris Meroff:

We know you love that market.

Chris Meroff:

It's a big growth potential.

Chris Meroff:

Can you please?

Chris Meroff:

leave and go do that and leave and let us just retire.

Chris Meroff:

cause you're driving us nuts with all this, risk and growth.

Chris Meroff:

And moved here in 2011 to build a business.

Chris Meroff:

And, you got recruited three people that are close to me.

Chris Meroff:

and.

Chris Meroff:

said, Hey, we're gonna, we're gonna crush this thing.

Chris Meroff:

Four years in we had, I'd grown from three employees, that I felt like I hoodwinked

Chris Meroff:

to get here, to now 70 employees.

Chris Meroff:

And, we went and had our Christmas party.

Chris Meroff:

A company Christmas party and between the 70 employees and all their

Chris Meroff:

significant others, there's well over 100 people, at this Christmas party.

Chris Meroff:

And I remember saying to one of the guys who helped me start the

Chris Meroff:

business, four years earlier, I'm like, look at what we've done.

Chris Meroff:

In fact, I called him on the way home that night and was like, dude, look

Chris Meroff:

at what we've been able to pull off.

Chris Meroff:

this was a special night.

Chris Meroff:

The very next morning, that same guy, Jason, put in his two week.

Chris Meroff:

notice.

Chris Meroff:

And, I had recruited him out of the ministry, to help me start this company.

Chris Meroff:

And I knew at some point he'd go back into the ministry.

Chris Meroff:

he's just a pastor at heart.

Chris Meroff:

And so he was called, to be a pastor up in Colorado Springs and had been

Chris Meroff:

on that journey for nine months, but didn't tell me anything about it.

Chris Meroff:

and so I go where I normally go, which is, I only feel happy, sad, mad, and

Chris Meroff:

I try not to feel any of those things.

Chris Meroff:

And so what I do is I convert all of those three things right into anger.

Chris Meroff:

and anger is my comfort space.

Chris Meroff:

It's the, my, I call it my, my, my safety shelter.

Chris Meroff:

and if I'm angry and loud and, in control again.

Chris Meroff:

In control of the situation.

Chris Meroff:

It's when I turned to anger.

Chris Meroff:

and I just really struggled, with why he would betray me like that.

Chris Meroff:

And that's probably my deepest fear in life is that somebody would betray me.

Chris Meroff:

And so I convert every behavior that everybody does that I don't

Chris Meroff:

like into some kind of, betrayal.

Chris Meroff:

I had been on this journey with, a discipleship pastor

Chris Meroff:

from my church of empathy.

Chris Meroff:

I did not grow up in a home where empathy was modeled for me.

Chris Meroff:

And so empathy just really represented kind of weakness or, hey, if

Chris Meroff:

you're in leadership, you need to show up strong and confident and

Chris Meroff:

you need to be a problem solver.

Chris Meroff:

You need to be absolutely amazing in managing crisis.

Chris Meroff:

and so this idea of empathy, I would tolerate maybe those conversations

Chris Meroff:

at church, that's one thing, at work, absolutely not, with my

Chris Meroff:

kids, no way, and with my wife, no.

Chris Meroff:

there was this side of me that was, opposed to empathy.

Chris Meroff:

And so I remember, this discipleship pastor, for years leading up to this,

Chris Meroff:

he kept saying, mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice.

Chris Meroff:

And, I would say that I started to develop a muscle that I could, be

Chris Meroff:

empathetic so somebody could come to me and my first response wasn't

Chris Meroff:

my natural response, which was, Hey, here's how you fix it and don't have to

Chris Meroff:

feel the way that you feel currently.

Chris Meroff:

that never worked, of course, with my wife or anybody else.

Chris Meroff:

they just wanted to not feel alone.

Chris Meroff:

And all I wanted to do.

Chris Meroff:

Again, was run away from all emotion, and so I started to get a muscle.

Chris Meroff:

But, what I realized was that I am not going to ask for empathy at all, ever.

Chris Meroff:

that's not what I'm called to do.

Chris Meroff:

I'm called to be strong and confident for the people that I love and care about.

Chris Meroff:

And so right after Jason left.

Chris Meroff:

I met with the same discipleship pastor and he started the meeting

Chris Meroff:

like he did every meeting, which is Chris, how you feeling?

Chris Meroff:

And I reverted right back to fine, good and OK those are fantastic words.

Chris Meroff:

If you don't understand empathy or emotion, those are my favorite

Chris Meroff:

words to say, fine, good or okay.

Chris Meroff:

Well, he knew I wasn't fine, good or okay.

Chris Meroff:

Kept probing.

Chris Meroff:

And by the end of the conversation, he finally looked at me and he gives Chris,

Chris Meroff:

who on this planet would you share?

Chris Meroff:

Or do you have anybody that you would share your deepest fears or hurts with?

Chris Meroff:

And of course I lied and said, yes, I got my wife.

Chris Meroff:

I've got friends.

Chris Meroff:

I would share that with, and on the way home that day, I'm in the car and

Chris Meroff:

I again, and raging mad at Donnie, my discipleship pastor for asking

Chris Meroff:

me that question for probing and poking, mad at Jason for leaving.

Chris Meroff:

for betraying me.

Chris Meroff:

Mad at God.

Chris Meroff:

I've been a good boy.

Chris Meroff:

I've been trying to do things the way that you wanted me to do.

Chris Meroff:

Why are you doing this?

Chris Meroff:

And I just remember getting angry at traffic and angry at

Chris Meroff:

everybody as I'm driving home.

Chris Meroff:

And I realized that I was in a prison of my own making.

Chris Meroff:

That because I had not been vulnerable with one human being

Chris Meroff:

that nobody actually knew me.

Chris Meroff:

And I didn't know me.

Chris Meroff:

And for the first time as an adult at 42 years old, I wept and I'll be

Chris Meroff:

honest, it's been now eight years and it feels like I haven't stopped weeping

Chris Meroff:

for the pain that gets caused when you bottle up the gift of emotion, that

Chris Meroff:

he's given us, which is really a way that we can, as human beings connect.

Chris Meroff:

and so that was my crisis and it took me another 12 months to figure out.

Chris Meroff:

What this was going to look like, I'd say for nine of those months, God, and I

Chris Meroff:

agreed to disagree about the next steps.

Chris Meroff:

but that was, that's how this whole thing came to life for me.

Tim Winders:

I appreciate you sharing that because it gives me about 12

Tim Winders:

different places to go from here, which I love, by the way, but, because there's

Tim Winders:

some words that keep jumping out.

Tim Winders:

You mentioned at the beginning, some alignment that you had with

Tim Winders:

your family, which I think is a book you wrote shortly after that.

Tim Winders:

and then that led to Empathy, which is the book we're going to

Tim Winders:

discuss here, as we move forward.

Tim Winders:

So we have Alignment and Empathy, but there's a few things that I've really

Tim Winders:

got to address with this situation before, before we get to that.

Tim Winders:

we'll, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I want to talk about the book and things like

Tim Winders:

that, but this process is something that keeps coming up over and over.

Tim Winders:

And over again chris, especially with what we're doing here at seat

Tim Winders:

go create because we press in We don't we're not like hustle culture.

Tim Winders:

Everything's great success equals, whatever however you define success,

Tim Winders:

usually it's You know the I joke sometimes about the ballers on youtube with their

Tim Winders:

cars and houses and all that I live in it.

Tim Winders:

I live in an rv.

Tim Winders:

Okay, it's like Things are a little bit different here, so there's a few

Tim Winders:

things that I want to ask about that, that I think are important to this.

Tim Winders:

And the first one is the issue with the family and the family business.

Tim Winders:

A lot of people, even people with some spiritual foundation, They think that

Tim Winders:

there should be perfection and holding hands singing kumbaya within a family.

Tim Winders:

Obviously they've never read the Bible.

Tim Winders:

They don't understand, they don't understand family in the

Tim Winders:

Bible, but we won't go down that.

Tim Winders:

We'll just talk about air quotes here, family values.

Tim Winders:

Tell me about that because most of the time, and we've interviewed a lot of

Tim Winders:

people that have been in family business.

Tim Winders:

We interviewed people that have consulted family businesses.

Tim Winders:

I was in one up to 08 that was all real estate.

Tim Winders:

And we're patching a lot of things together with all that happened

Tim Winders:

after that, but tell me a little bit more about that, because I think

Tim Winders:

that was probably the beginning.

Tim Winders:

You thought things were going awesome.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

You were up in Maine, up there in beautiful country.

Tim Winders:

And then somewhere along the way, there was this conversation from mom

Tim Winders:

and dad who were supposed to love us.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

They said, Leave.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

Tell me more.

Chris Meroff:

So I, we started in 96.

Chris Meroff:

I was 22 years old, directionless, and not really aware of what career

Chris Meroff:

meant or what it would look like.

Chris Meroff:

They gave me a shot, to come in and help them build this business, from scratch.

Chris Meroff:

So my mom, in education, her whole life, principal.

Chris Meroff:

my dad in technology worked for Digital Equipment Corporation.

Chris Meroff:

and they wanted to start a business together.

Chris Meroff:

So we started a business in 96.

Chris Meroff:

and we built that business, over, the stretch of several years, got into

Chris Meroff:

multiple states, either, and with direct, to the consumer or in a consulting

Chris Meroff:

role, and it had taken me all over.

Chris Meroff:

the U.

Chris Meroff:

S.

Chris Meroff:

So I'd done this in about 17 states by this point.

Chris Meroff:

but in 2009, the state of Maine, which was our base of operations,

Chris Meroff:

they made a change to the regulations, that really harmed our business.

Chris Meroff:

And so my parents had stepped away and I was a CEO at that point.

Chris Meroff:

and, but when that crisis happened, they stepped right back in.

Chris Meroff:

And I had already been like, in a phase of CEO and for anybody who's gone from,

Chris Meroff:

a producer to a leader or a manager, you go through this phase of CEO where

Chris Meroff:

you're like sitting in your office going, I'm not sure what I'm supposed

Chris Meroff:

to be doing, this idea of leading, it was already a complex, elusive idea.

Chris Meroff:

then my parents come back in and it is chaos.

Chris Meroff:

There are three CEOs now.

Chris Meroff:

And there's this dance that was happening.

Chris Meroff:

and I love my parents.

Chris Meroff:

I claim parent privilege.

Chris Meroff:

there are realities about who they were, and their faith, and

Chris Meroff:

how they chose to raise me, that I am eternally grateful for.

Chris Meroff:

I'm so thankful that I was raised in a home where I was taught

Chris Meroff:

that I had intrinsic value.

Chris Meroff:

And it didn't matter what sports I played, what grades I got.

Chris Meroff:

all those other trappings of, identity, my parents did not prescribe to that.

Chris Meroff:

when I got to the workplace though, workplace, mom and dad are very

Chris Meroff:

different than mom and dad at home.

Chris Meroff:

And all of a sudden I get a contract, with a school district and I'm

Chris Meroff:

the greatest person on the planet.

Chris Meroff:

things go wrong in the business and all of a sudden my value is gone.

Chris Meroff:

And I'm like, what is happening?

Chris Meroff:

Like, how is this possible?

Chris Meroff:

But over time, I just figured it was my problem.

Chris Meroff:

I figured it was my fault and value as an employee was very elusive.

Chris Meroff:

This idea of fulfillment became about production.

Chris Meroff:

And it really taught me that I, if I want to find fulfillment

Chris Meroff:

at work, I've got to produce.

Chris Meroff:

fast forward to now.

Chris Meroff:

The state of Maine changes the regulations.

Chris Meroff:

They step back in.

Chris Meroff:

Basically, I'm being told I have no value in my mind.

Chris Meroff:

Again, a lie.

Chris Meroff:

But the reality of I've got no.

Chris Meroff:

So what do I do?

Chris Meroff:

I don't, prayerfully consider how I'm going to show up really well.

Chris Meroff:

No.

Chris Meroff:

What do I do?

Chris Meroff:

I fight for value.

Chris Meroff:

And the way that I fight for value is through conflict.

Chris Meroff:

Let me challenge everything you're saying so that we can hopefully find the best

Chris Meroff:

idea and then hit one out of the park.

Chris Meroff:

But that's not how the other four took it.

Chris Meroff:

So it was my mom and dad and then my two brothers.

Chris Meroff:

I'm the middle child.

Chris Meroff:

And so my older and my younger, who are, have no risk tolerance, they

Chris Meroff:

have no risk tolerance whatsoever.

Chris Meroff:

My parents getting towards retirement, freaking out about this regulation.

Chris Meroff:

And so every single board meeting is four on one.

Chris Meroff:

I'm sitting here thinking about where we're going to go, how we're going

Chris Meroff:

to get there and they're like, Nope.

Chris Meroff:

And that's really what led to a trip that I took to Arizona to help consult.

Chris Meroff:

And I get a call from my dad and he's like, Hey, when you get

Chris Meroff:

back, I'd like to go to breakfast.

Chris Meroff:

Now, at this point I am, let's see, I'm 36 years old and I have never

Chris Meroff:

gone to breakfast with my dad.

Chris Meroff:

And I'm like, what is happening?

Chris Meroff:

So it took, even though it was miserable, it took me by

Chris Meroff:

surprise that they had enough.

Chris Meroff:

And I went to breakfast and he's like, okay, Chris, here's the deal.

Chris Meroff:

I know you're loving Texas.

Chris Meroff:

You love that market.

Chris Meroff:

Why don't we sell you the two contracts that we have and let you just go, you can

Chris Meroff:

just go down there and do your own thing.

Chris Meroff:

And that way, like you're not worried about what we're doing here in

Chris Meroff:

New England, but you're freed up.

Chris Meroff:

And so I walked away going, this is awesome.

Chris Meroff:

I can't wait to do that.

Chris Meroff:

And then it dawned on me.

Chris Meroff:

They're just kicking.

Chris Meroff:

They just don't want me in the family business anymore because I am constantly

Chris Meroff:

bucking everything they're saying.

Chris Meroff:

So that's how that came about.

Tim Winders:

all right, a couple things related to that.

Tim Winders:

Family business is always interesting and fun and weird at the same time.

Tim Winders:

Sound like there was a foundation of faith within the family.

Tim Winders:

Is that correct?

Tim Winders:

y'all were followers of Christ and all that good.

Tim Winders:

Good.

Tim Winders:

Okay.

Tim Winders:

But you said that later you went through identity crisis, it sounds

Tim Winders:

to me, and I'm going to say a couple things and you just respond.

Tim Winders:

Sounds to me like one of the things you did when you went to Austin, you may

Tim Winders:

have said to yourself, I'll show them.

Tim Winders:

And so part of what was driving you was, I'll show them, dang it, they're going

Tim Winders:

to and they listened to me.

Tim Winders:

However, it seemed like you hit some walls or the Lord put some walls in front of

Tim Winders:

you or something happened and it started leading you down this path Because this is

Tim Winders:

what tell me if i'm right or wrong here.

Tim Winders:

There was the alignment Theme early on when you came, we need to

Tim Winders:

be aligned, which is code word at times for, I really do wish people

Tim Winders:

would do what I tell them to do.

Tim Winders:

You could argue with that in just a second, but now it's more empathy.

Tim Winders:

So I say all that, this is the question, but you could respond to whatever I

Tim Winders:

just said in whatever way you want.

Tim Winders:

What if you had the empathy you have now in 2009?

Tim Winders:

What would that look like?

Tim Winders:

So just respond to whatever you want to there.

Tim Winders:

I just was having fun with all that you just said.

Chris Meroff:

no, I love it.

Chris Meroff:

And the empathy part of it with my parents would have been to truly understand,

Chris Meroff:

understand their fears, understand, what conflict, how they feel about conflict.

Chris Meroff:

this is part of this idea that, it's my job, to make sure that

Chris Meroff:

the people who interact with me feel known, heard, and valued.

Chris Meroff:

And this idea of being known, and we dive deep into concepts, that,

Chris Meroff:

talk about personality and, whatever personality test you're comfortable with.

Chris Meroff:

the goal being, I'm going to leverage that to understand you better.

Chris Meroff:

And so that I don't just judge your behavior, but I understand

Chris Meroff:

what's driving the behavior.

Chris Meroff:

and it takes a lot of intentionality and humility that I wish I had applied

Chris Meroff:

back in, in 2009 so that I could have shown up in a way that would have

Chris Meroff:

made it easier for them to step into conflict or step into risk or step

Chris Meroff:

into trust, as opposed to just looking at their behavior and thinking, no.

Chris Meroff:

No, I don't deserve this.

Chris Meroff:

this isn't right.

Chris Meroff:

Or, why am I having to pay for, the fact that they're nervous, like

Chris Meroff:

all these different me statements, as opposed to empathy, which is

Chris Meroff:

about trying to be a humble learner about the person in front of me.

Chris Meroff:

And so when I moved to Austin, I was really focused on, okay, well, I'm

Chris Meroff:

not going to do that to my employees.

Chris Meroff:

no.

Chris Meroff:

Number one, they are going to regret, letting me go.

Tim Winders:

second.

Tim Winders:

let me ask one question related to that.

Tim Winders:

I'll just blurt it out and you could share it.

Tim Winders:

Did you think that they would continue succeeding after you left?

Tim Winders:

Or in your mind, did you have this thought of, they're not

Tim Winders:

going to make it without me?

Chris Meroff:

Exactly.

Chris Meroff:

No, they had no

Tim Winders:

That was me.

Tim Winders:

when we

Chris Meroff:

Oh,

Tim Winders:

stuff, I went, man, not only am I going to go show them, which

Tim Winders:

I didn't, by the way, it was, it got ugly in some ways for me personally.

Tim Winders:

and they just kept clicking right along and you know what

Tim Winders:

they did fine without me.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Chris Meroff:

What?

Chris Meroff:

yeah, that was my thought is like, you guys are screwed without me.

Chris Meroff:

I'm the driver of this whole thing.

Chris Meroff:

You have the over importance.

Chris Meroff:

and that really, and I'll play up that concept here in a minute

Chris Meroff:

when I talk about, the empathy revolution, but the reality of coming

Chris Meroff:

to Austin was to prove two things.

Chris Meroff:

Number one, You should have stuck with, you should have stuck with me.

Chris Meroff:

Number two, I'm never going to run an organization by which people had

Chris Meroff:

to question what their value was.

Chris Meroff:

Like I'm going to show up in a way, that we give everyone a clear

Chris Meroff:

direction on where we're going.

Chris Meroff:

And those were the early days of alignment, in the first book that I wrote.

Chris Meroff:

However, it didn't really come to fruition.

Chris Meroff:

And there's a component of this, that I'll lead into.

Chris Meroff:

when I moved here, I was extremely client centric and I thought that's what really

Chris Meroff:

the hallmark of a great company would be.

Chris Meroff:

And when I had my moment of crisis.

Chris Meroff:

I realized, that I had created a lot of success.

Chris Meroff:

And so four years in, I go from losing $200,000 and having to scramble around

Chris Meroff:

to pay bills in my first year to now bringing in well over $6 million a year.

Chris Meroff:

70 employees from the world's perspective, even from my metrics, crushed it.

Chris Meroff:

this, my parents' company never made more than $4 million a year.

Chris Meroff:

Up in New England, even in all the states we were in.

Chris Meroff:

And so my metric was crushed it, proved it.

Chris Meroff:

And yet I found myself in that car at the loneliest, most desperate moment in life.

Chris Meroff:

And so this idea of success of where we are in relation to the world, it

Chris Meroff:

taught me a valuable lesson that I had to sell my soul to get to that point.

Chris Meroff:

and the soul being, the people that I ignored along the way.

Chris Meroff:

And so this idea of alignment really came to fruition, really, during

Chris Meroff:

those 9 to 12 months of wrestling.

Chris Meroff:

And it was like, okay, this isn't alignment for client's sake, this has

Chris Meroff:

got to be alignment for employee's sake.

Chris Meroff:

And so I shifted away from client centric and into employee centric.

Chris Meroff:

And that's where...

Chris Meroff:

The business took off.

Chris Meroff:

And we were doing in around, 7 million a year and by 2015, 2018,

Chris Meroff:

three years later, 21 million a year.

Chris Meroff:

Okay, so the alignment component and God was like, okay, here's the deal.

Chris Meroff:

You give me your soul in this process and I will take this to heights that you've

Chris Meroff:

never, you would have never, ever thought.

Chris Meroff:

And so he helped me engage with people through vulnerability, through alignment.

Chris Meroff:

In a way I'd never connected before and that's when he was able to say, okay,

Chris Meroff:

you do your part and I will do mine.

Chris Meroff:

And I had people showing up in ways they, they had never shown up before.

Chris Meroff:

And the trade off had to come down to this.

Chris Meroff:

Is Chris, are you willing to trade your power for their greatness?

Chris Meroff:

Are you willing to work toward unnecessary every single day?

Chris Meroff:

Or are you gonna keep proving that you have value to your parents?

Chris Meroff:

10, 12 years later.

Tim Winders:

I don't know why, but as you were talking, going back to the

Tim Winders:

early part of the story, I kept thinking about the story of Joseph, where he

Tim Winders:

goes to his dad and his brothers, and we know how the story turns out, but

Tim Winders:

he says, y'all will all bow to me.

Tim Winders:

And I'm not.

Tim Winders:

I'm not sure about the people skills of that or anything like that.

Tim Winders:

But we also know that he went through some very challenging times to get to

Tim Winders:

something later that was beneficial.

Tim Winders:

I think he probably learned empathy along the way, don't you think?

Tim Winders:

We don't have that in scripture, but I believe that he probably

Tim Winders:

did based on the way he responded later when he saw his brothers.

Tim Winders:

But is that a journey that we have to go on, Chris?

Tim Winders:

I've been on a similar journey, you've been on a similar journey, and I think

Tim Winders:

the answer is, we'll talk about this a little while, is get the book so you

Tim Winders:

don't have to go through this stuff, maybe, but is part of the process

Tim Winders:

going through that, refining, that redefining that we talk about here

Tim Winders:

is, I'll ask it this way, are you thankful that you went through all that?

Chris Meroff:

incredibly thankful.

Chris Meroff:

I would not trade any of those hardships or hurts.

Chris Meroff:

because where I am now is I get to like really investigate people, in

Chris Meroff:

a way that gives life deep meaning.

Chris Meroff:

emotions are again, something I ran from for most of my life.

Chris Meroff:

And now I crave them because it means I'm alive and in feeling and sharing those

Chris Meroff:

feelings, articulating those feelings in a way that's incredibly uncomfortable,

Chris Meroff:

it really reassures me that I'm loved.

Chris Meroff:

and when I share my weakness, when I tell somebody, hey, I have no idea what we're

Chris Meroff:

doing, or when I say, I need your help, and they respond really well, to support

Chris Meroff:

me, to care for me, to, empathize with me, it, it creates such, camaraderie.

Chris Meroff:

It creates such a community, authentic community.

Chris Meroff:

And in that, it empowers me to be who I'm called to be.

Tim Winders:

link that to faith?

Tim Winders:

Because listen, we could pluck scriptures and we could preach and teach on, we

Tim Winders:

can do it about on just about anything.

Tim Winders:

we could even pluck a scripture and justify, the hard charging, get the job

Tim Winders:

done like we were doing back, before, before we all went through crisis,

Tim Winders:

but tie this together with faith.

Tim Winders:

How does.

Tim Winders:

Empathy, the empathy revolution, how does it tie in with faith and why

Tim Winders:

is it so critical that we get this?

Chris Meroff:

absolutely.

Chris Meroff:

That is an awesome question because it really helps understand for me,

Chris Meroff:

how I'm going to have these kind of conversations going forward.

Chris Meroff:

So an example of that would be, this idea of empathy.

Chris Meroff:

so first of all, understanding that empathy requires vulnerability.

Chris Meroff:

And so without vulnerability, without knowing how you feel,

Chris Meroff:

I can't empathize with you.

Chris Meroff:

And so it requires you to express a feeling of emotion.

Chris Meroff:

And so there's a bravery there that I just ran away from for most of my life.

Chris Meroff:

And so now that I'm in this, kind of idea of vulnerability, guess what also happens?

Chris Meroff:

I get to share with my wife, with my kids, with my friends, with my coworkers, fears

Chris Meroff:

that I have and for them to not, to, to.

Chris Meroff:

practice empathy with me, and then be able to speak truth to me.

Chris Meroff:

Without vulnerability, the truth stays hidden.

Chris Meroff:

And so my faith, I boil it down to this, mental health, when you think

Chris Meroff:

about that topic in this day and age, poor mental health, I'll say, always

Chris Meroff:

stems from lies inside our head.

Chris Meroff:

My bad behavior, I can tie it back to a lie.

Chris Meroff:

I believe in that moment.

Chris Meroff:

and so vulnerability exposes those lies to those people in my life,

Chris Meroff:

and then they get to be with me.

Chris Meroff:

They don't fix it, but they're with me in it.

Chris Meroff:

And then I invite them to influence me.

Chris Meroff:

I invite their influence to say, okay, this is my fear.

Chris Meroff:

Let me get that out there.

Chris Meroff:

Let me trust you with this.

Chris Meroff:

Now I need the truth instead of these lies.

Chris Meroff:

Cause in our own heads, we are the loudest liars ever to ourselves

Chris Meroff:

and we live in an echo chamber.

Chris Meroff:

And so I don't want friends that aren't going to tell me the

Chris Meroff:

truth of who I am or who God is.

Chris Meroff:

That's what always results in me missing the mark with my God.

Chris Meroff:

Is that there hasn't been a sin I've committed that was

Chris Meroff:

born out of a truthful thought.

Chris Meroff:

It's always out of a lie.

Chris Meroff:

And so I need to have community around me in a way that I can feel comfortable

Chris Meroff:

exposing those lies through vulnerability.

Chris Meroff:

So that I can pursue the truth of who I am.

Tim Winders:

So what are, and I was going to ask what all did your wife and

Tim Winders:

kids, what did they see differently?

Tim Winders:

But let me ask it this way.

Tim Winders:

What are some tangible things that you could point to that.

Tim Winders:

Chris version 2.

Tim Winders:

0 now does versus if you and I had talked in 2009, and you may not even

Tim Winders:

want to have the empathy conversation.

Tim Winders:

I bet you wouldn't even, you and I probably in 2009, empathy would have

Tim Winders:

never even entered in the conversation.

Tim Winders:

So just something tangible, a situation or something like that, that just looks

Tim Winders:

different or you responded differently.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah, I would say that, it was, and it's still a challenge.

Chris Meroff:

Like it's still something that

Tim Winders:

So you're not perfect.

Tim Winders:

You haven't perfected this.

Tim Winders:

Is that what you're saying?

Chris Meroff:

No, when that book's done, I will write that one.

Chris Meroff:

That's for sure.

Chris Meroff:

but yeah, there's a constant level of fear and, and trust issues that I grapple with.

Chris Meroff:

And so for me, in order to feel more comfortable, I had to

Chris Meroff:

learn the language of emotion.

Chris Meroff:

And so again, happy, sad, mad.

Chris Meroff:

Alright, so then, what does it feel like to feel discouraged instead of sad?

Chris Meroff:

What's the difference?

Chris Meroff:

I had zero emotional intelligence.

Chris Meroff:

And so I would say, if you ask my family, what is an indicator,

Chris Meroff:

I think they would say, he uses more words than happy, sad, mad.

Chris Meroff:

I had to learn the language of emotion.

Chris Meroff:

And I learned it not just so that I could express vulnerability,

Chris Meroff:

but so that I could empathize.

Chris Meroff:

So one of the things I had to do in life, and as I even say it to you, it always

Chris Meroff:

horrifies or terrifies me to think about the precipice where I found myself, which

Chris Meroff:

was if I truly want to empathize with you, that means that as you express an

Chris Meroff:

emotion, my job is to mirror that emotion.

Chris Meroff:

if I have no emotional intelligence, no emotional language, I

Chris Meroff:

don't know what that means.

Chris Meroff:

I remember my wife, using a word one time to describe her emotions and looking

Chris Meroff:

at her and going in my head going, I have no idea what that, I couldn't

Chris Meroff:

empathize with you if I wanted to.

Chris Meroff:

I have no idea what that would feel like.

Chris Meroff:

So God called me to go back and catalog my life.

Chris Meroff:

And so I, and I'm still on this journey where I've had to go back in time and

Chris Meroff:

I've had to relive These moments where emotion existed, but that I shoved down

Chris Meroff:

because I converted it to anger, and then I have to relive that moment again.

Chris Meroff:

And in order to find this emotional language so that I could actually

Chris Meroff:

empathize with another human, that was the journey that I had to embark on,

Chris Meroff:

and I'm still on today, and I don't go back and point to childhood trauma

Chris Meroff:

as the excuse for my bad behavior.

Chris Meroff:

But I do need to understand what happened.

Chris Meroff:

How did that make me feel so that I can have a catalog.

Chris Meroff:

I can go back into my filing drawer.

Chris Meroff:

If you use an empath, a word of emotion, I can go find a scenario by which I felt

Chris Meroff:

that and just relive it and feel it again.

Chris Meroff:

Not understand, not sympathize, but relive it.

Tim Winders:

you mentioned earlier that you were high on the control.

Tim Winders:

you like to control things and people that function the way you talked

Tim Winders:

about, that we have this high view of ourselves and all control is

Tim Winders:

very important for the way we are.

Tim Winders:

And I think in some ways it allows us to be successful to a point.

Chris Meroff:

That's right.

Tim Winders:

And we're not sure where that point is going to be

Tim Winders:

that we either go off a cliff or we lose control or whatever that we

Tim Winders:

could, we don't want to unpack that.

Tim Winders:

But to me, the words control and vulnerability, it's very difficult

Tim Winders:

for those to live in the same body.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

And so people that are wired.

Tim Winders:

That way when all of a sudden we're hearing now in today's culture where 15

Tim Winders:

years ago, you didn't really hear the word vulnerability or if it was out there.

Tim Winders:

I never heard it.

Tim Winders:

Let me just say it that way

Chris Meroff:

and I may, I probably would have made fun of it.

Tim Winders:

Yeah, you and I would have mocked us and i've got no need for that

Tim Winders:

So so how then are you reconciling?

Tim Winders:

Especially in your business and all the projects you've got I don't know if we'll

Tim Winders:

have time to get into a lot of things you've got going on But all the things you

Tim Winders:

have going on, how are you reconciling?

Tim Winders:

This vulnerability that, obviously leads to empathy and all.

Tim Winders:

And I am sure there's still that little bit, if not a little bit, a

Tim Winders:

lot of need to control situations, things that are going on.

Tim Winders:

Maybe family, your kids that are probably close to grown now.

Tim Winders:

How do you reconcile that?

Tim Winders:

give us some wisdom there.

Chris Meroff:

So yeah, the control is never gone and it's my control, but

Chris Meroff:

it's also I don't want to be controlled.

Chris Meroff:

So I struggle, I'm a rule breaker by nature.

Chris Meroff:

I don't want people to tell me what I can and can't do.

Chris Meroff:

but I recognize now.

Chris Meroff:

and this is again in that nine to 12 months of crisis.

Chris Meroff:

I recognize that control, always equals loneliness.

Chris Meroff:

And so the loneliness is something that I run away from every day and

Chris Meroff:

I run toward authentic community.

Chris Meroff:

I run toward truth is really what I'm running towards, because I know, God

Chris Meroff:

says to think on things that are true.

Chris Meroff:

And so I, it is, he didn't say that, hoping we memorize scripture necessarily.

Chris Meroff:

I think he said it because he knows that our minds are bent towards lies.

Chris Meroff:

we tend to believe the worst in everyone else.

Chris Meroff:

We tend to think either of ourselves too highly or too lowly.

Chris Meroff:

We rarely see ourselves the way God sees us or other people.

Chris Meroff:

And control, lies they all move me away from people.

Chris Meroff:

And when I was in that lonely place, man, thoughts in my head of depression

Chris Meroff:

and suicide and all these other things that they filled my head.

Chris Meroff:

This life isn't worth living.

Chris Meroff:

If I have no one I can go share.

Chris Meroff:

My deepest fears or hurts or hopes with, then why am I here?

Chris Meroff:

Like I had the things that the world told me I should have.

Chris Meroff:

I had wealth.

Chris Meroff:

I had a business that I had built.

Chris Meroff:

I had all these successes that the world calls successes and yet utterly alone,

Chris Meroff:

and isolated and it was the worst.

Chris Meroff:

And so I have to fight toward that.

Chris Meroff:

And that means I have to give up control.

Tim Winders:

Which is tough.

Tim Winders:

You mentioned authentic community, and it's interesting.

Tim Winders:

I think we're going through some shifts culturally right now.

Tim Winders:

I think there used to be this thought for people of faith that church

Tim Winders:

was where you go get that authentic community, and I want to be careful.

Tim Winders:

Throwing, throwing the quote unquote small c church under the bus here.

Tim Winders:

But I don't think that's been the case for some time.

Tim Winders:

And I think we saw a lot of that when COVID occurred and things like that.

Tim Winders:

but where do people like you and I.

Tim Winders:

Like probably listening in where do we go when we're very control wired when we're

Tim Winders:

achievement oriented when you know, we want to be Driving and we want to make

Tim Winders:

impact and you know All these words we could throw out here and some of them

Tim Winders:

some of those we may need to rethink Also, we may need to soften that, but where do

Tim Winders:

we go to find that authentic community?

Tim Winders:

That is one part of the question.

Tim Winders:

But then secondly, how do we know what it looks like when we're there, which is a

Tim Winders:

little bit more of an opportunity for you to talk about what is authentic community.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah, absolutely.

Chris Meroff:

So I would say that, the people that are in your.

Chris Meroff:

sphere of influence right now are the people that you need to seek authentic

Chris Meroff:

community with and so one of the things that I've had to learn on this journey

Chris Meroff:

is that, there is greatness inside every human being and the reason I know that

Chris Meroff:

is because we were made in his image.

Chris Meroff:

And so let's redefine what that looks like, greatness, are the

Chris Meroff:

character attributes of, my God.

Chris Meroff:

And, when it says that we're created in his image, it wasn't in the image of a

Chris Meroff:

man, it was in the image of his character.

Chris Meroff:

And that exists inside every human being.

Chris Meroff:

And for the longest time, and I'm embarrassed to say it, it's,

Chris Meroff:

it's not the person I want to be.

Chris Meroff:

But man, for the most of my life, I thought most of the people on

Chris Meroff:

this planet are really stupid.

Chris Meroff:

And I literally put a number to it.

Chris Meroff:

I'd be like 85 percent at least are dumb.

Chris Meroff:

In fact, 15 percent of us will always sell the 85 percent something

Chris Meroff:

that was my entrepreneur brain.

Chris Meroff:

Okay.

Chris Meroff:

I'm embarrassed by that, but that's how I thought.

Chris Meroff:

And so I went through most of my life looking at human beings as less than.

Chris Meroff:

Because they didn't have the same ambition, the same drive, the same focus,

Chris Meroff:

the same common crisis, the same critical thinking, the same problem solving.

Chris Meroff:

And so I thought, nah, but now that God's got a hold of my heart, He's

Chris Meroff:

no, my image isn't, it's stamped inside every single human being.

Chris Meroff:

We ask it this way.

Chris Meroff:

If you think of the most productive human being on the planet, a lot of

Chris Meroff:

people would say like Elon Musk and we lean into this idea, okay, fine.

Chris Meroff:

Let's use that.

Chris Meroff:

Okay.

Chris Meroff:

Whatever is inside of Elon that makes him the most productive is inside you.

Chris Meroff:

There is no difference.

Chris Meroff:

And so it's my job as a leader is to find that greatness inside my authentic

Chris Meroff:

community, call it out, celebrate it, and then ask them to join me on this journey.

Chris Meroff:

We're in this process right now of about to roll out a conference,

Chris Meroff:

our big conference here in Austin.

Chris Meroff:

And the whole idea is that we're calling people into the arena.

Chris Meroff:

So Teddy Roosevelt's, speech, The Man in the Arena, and it

Chris Meroff:

talks about daring greatly.

Chris Meroff:

guess what?

Chris Meroff:

Believing the best in my community, in my authentic community, and really calling

Chris Meroff:

out their greatness, trading my power for their greatness, is daring greatly when

Chris Meroff:

you have my mentality, which is, again, I'm the, again, I'm a, I will get it done.

Chris Meroff:

I have the determination, the willpower.

Chris Meroff:

I move at the speed of light.

Chris Meroff:

I have great vision.

Chris Meroff:

I have all these things that I want to celebrate and talk about, and I've got

Chris Meroff:

to let all that go, and I've got to rely on this community, and the only way

Chris Meroff:

I can do that is by recognizing their greatness, trading my power, my ownership,

Chris Meroff:

my authority, so that they can feel like they can be Elon Musk, they can be me.

Chris Meroff:

They can be whoever they idolize.

Chris Meroff:

That's our job as leaders.

Chris Meroff:

and then when we do that, we then call them into conflict.

Chris Meroff:

I love Pat Lencioni and his books.

Chris Meroff:

And in the five dysfunctions of a team, he talks about the first

Chris Meroff:

thing is to establish trust.

Chris Meroff:

that's really leaning into the greatness of others, which then gives

Chris Meroff:

permission for the next dysfunction or the next call out of dysfunction,

Chris Meroff:

which is to now have positive conflict.

Chris Meroff:

And through that is how I've been able to duplicate my efforts.

Chris Meroff:

I realized that I was the glass ceiling in my company because I did it all.

Chris Meroff:

But as soon as I saw the greatness in others, I did as little as I could.

Chris Meroff:

And next thing I know, I've got 30 people, instead of one that

Chris Meroff:

took my company to the next level.

Tim Winders:

So one thing that's interesting for me, I love this

Tim Winders:

conversation because it's, I don't want to say it's like therapy for me

Tim Winders:

because people with our personalities aren't super excited about.

Tim Winders:

therapy, but probably means maybe we need something like that.

Tim Winders:

Usually,

Chris Meroff:

right.

Tim Winders:

for some reason, the Lord has had me recently really

Tim Winders:

meditating on the concept of eternity.

Tim Winders:

And he says, it's really one of the reasons why I struggle with Time and that

Tim Winders:

future in that I, I have this thought that my time here is so limited and that's it.

Tim Winders:

And he says, listen, very few people understand eternity anyway, but

Tim Winders:

that, he's gives me grace there.

Tim Winders:

But Chris, what's fascinating about it is this.

Tim Winders:

I really do believe that he's given me some glimpses into, we'll call it the

Tim Winders:

85 percent that you just brought up.

Tim Winders:

That when we step into this other realm that's outside of this cool world We're

Tim Winders:

in where maybe you're a big shot and maybe i'm a big shot or we're really

Tim Winders:

not i'm just joking You know what?

Tim Winders:

I mean by that some of those 85 We're gonna find out That they're a huge deal

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

and we're gonna go what?

Tim Winders:

And so that has helped me try to be more empathetic to, I, you know what, I think

Tim Winders:

we're doing some things that the world says, yeah, y'all are pretty cool, y'all

Tim Winders:

are on a podcast, and oh look, on YouTube, and Chris has these companies, and you do

Tim Winders:

this Tim, and all that, but it's, I hate to say it's done, I really do hate to

Tim Winders:

go that route, but it may not be as big of a deal eternally as we think it is.

Tim Winders:

What are your thoughts on that?

Chris Meroff:

Y you're absolutely right.

Chris Meroff:

And that's where this idea of really, allowing people that you come in contact

Chris Meroff:

with to feel known, heard, and valued.

Chris Meroff:

the reality is that they get to be known by you.

Chris Meroff:

if our job description as a leader, is to know these people, and we understand

Chris Meroff:

now the greatness that exists inside of them and celebrate that, even more.

Chris Meroff:

Our greatness, it doesn't say that we're not great again.

Chris Meroff:

We still have intrinsic value based on being created in his image as well.

Chris Meroff:

But instead of us calling it out and calling attention to it,

Chris Meroff:

create an authentic community where they're calling it out.

Chris Meroff:

there's nothing greater to me than when 1 of my employees, believes me

Chris Meroff:

for the 1st time believes me that there's greatness inside of them.

Chris Meroff:

And They want to do the comparison game all the time.

Chris Meroff:

They want to compare themselves to, more successful versions of themselves

Chris Meroff:

is really what they're doing.

Chris Meroff:

And it's like, well, wait a minute.

Chris Meroff:

This is you today.

Chris Meroff:

Who knows what you're going to be tomorrow?

Chris Meroff:

I guarantee you though, you're putting a glass ceiling on yourself.

Chris Meroff:

If you don't believe who you really are and who you would

Chris Meroff:

be, who you are made to be.

Chris Meroff:

Instead of what you're made to do.

Chris Meroff:

And so we just try to unlock.

Chris Meroff:

There's a guy that's worked with me for many years.

Chris Meroff:

And, he's always thought of himself as like less than because his greatest

Chris Meroff:

gift in the workplace is kindness.

Chris Meroff:

dude, I would give anything to be thought of, off the top as being a kind person.

Chris Meroff:

I would give anything for that and you can ask anybody to do anything and they

Chris Meroff:

automatically give you a pass because they think they know you're kind.

Chris Meroff:

Man, if you took those words that we in the workplace kind

Chris Meroff:

of think of less than and we put that in front of the word leader.

Chris Meroff:

Okay, Kyle, you're a kind leader.

Chris Meroff:

That doesn't seem like that sucks.

Chris Meroff:

you're a compassionate leader.

Chris Meroff:

You're a patient leader.

Chris Meroff:

Like all these things that I just thought had no value to me because I was so

Chris Meroff:

like, okay, this future is coming where I'm going to make it happen that I lost

Chris Meroff:

track of what it was going to be like for the people to be on the journey with me.

Chris Meroff:

And Yeah, you, people get, I think, especially in the workplace, we get

Chris Meroff:

this off kilter perspective of these soft skills, or human skills, or more

Chris Meroff:

appropriately, God skills, that exist inside of us, that we can give to the

Chris Meroff:

people that we're called to leave.

Chris Meroff:

And so that's the thing I would say has been, and it keeps propelling me forward

Chris Meroff:

to discover the greatness, in people.

Chris Meroff:

We're about to do this afternoon, a Zoom interview with 10, a and m, Texas

Chris Meroff:

a and m college students to be interns.

Chris Meroff:

And I sit there and I watch these faces and I'm thinking to myself, this

Chris Meroff:

is like a kid in a candy store as it relates to like, these are bright-eyed,

Chris Meroff:

human beings that have yet to fully discover the greatness and I hope

Chris Meroff:

I get to be a part of that journey.

Tim Winders:

Very cool.

Tim Winders:

you brought up the word earlier comparison, which

Tim Winders:

triggered something in me.

Tim Winders:

we're social media and everything we do.

Tim Winders:

And I guess the workforce when you work with people causes that.

Tim Winders:

But I like the tagline from the empathy revolution.

Tim Winders:

It's a good segue for us to begin discussing it.

Tim Winders:

Practical wisdom to combat organizational and social loneliness.

Tim Winders:

Now, what's interesting is that we are, air quotes again here, for

Tim Winders:

those that might be listening in, I'm air quoting, we are more connected,

Tim Winders:

I'll call it digitally, to people.

Tim Winders:

we've got 3, 000 friends on LinkedIn or connections and 4,

Tim Winders:

000 on Facebook or whatever.

Tim Winders:

But yet we have, in the study show, we have one of the loneliest groups of

Tim Winders:

people and you even, talked about it back when you went through your crisis.

Tim Winders:

How does that tagline, let's start talking about, I want you to unpack for us some

Tim Winders:

things related to the empathy revolution.

Tim Winders:

Why is that word loneliness in that tagline?

Tim Winders:

Because people shouldn't be lonely, but yet they

Chris Meroff:

that's right.

Chris Meroff:

They have access to greater connection than ever before in, in human history.

Chris Meroff:

And yet, as we have, more connection at the surface level,

Chris Meroff:

it drives us, into more loneliness.

Chris Meroff:

we're made in a way, our, in our humanity where comparison, jealousy,

Chris Meroff:

envy, all these things tend to drive us towards, like understanding what

Chris Meroff:

we don't have or what we're not.

Chris Meroff:

and in that we get into it, like I said before, like an echo

Chris Meroff:

chamber in our own mind around starting to believe those lies.

Chris Meroff:

I'm about to take the stage at this conference and I'm taking,

Chris Meroff:

there are other speakers at this conference who I have, looked up to

Chris Meroff:

and idolized for a long time now.

Chris Meroff:

And I'm battling in my own head this lie of comparison that says, goodness,

Chris Meroff:

you're gonna look like an idiot up there compared to these other people.

Chris Meroff:

And what tends to happen is if I don't express that to anyone, if I don't ask

Chris Meroff:

for empathy through vulnerability, then that lie becomes more and more believable

Chris Meroff:

because the only thing that I hear is that you're not good enough, you doing?

Chris Meroff:

Who do you think you are?

Chris Meroff:

And so if I don't express that and let other people speak truth into

Chris Meroff:

who I am, man, that loneliness just, it's like a virus that takes

Chris Meroff:

over and it controls my actions.

Chris Meroff:

And I was sharing with somebody today.

Chris Meroff:

I'm like, Hey, if I don't have this conversation with you, then the thing

Chris Meroff:

that I fear the most comes to truth.

Chris Meroff:

If I don't overcome that fear through vulnerability.

Chris Meroff:

So I said, the number one way for me to look like an idiot up there is to

Chris Meroff:

think I'm going to be an idiot up there.

Chris Meroff:

And so I've got to speak that out into the universe so that the people who

Chris Meroff:

love me and care about me and know me, they can speak truth into me.

Chris Meroff:

they can remind me that I'm, a guy who speaks his mind,

Chris Meroff:

who speaks out of passion.

Chris Meroff:

And it won't matter if I stumble over words, it won't matter if I deliver

Chris Meroff:

it in a way that's not as polished as these other speakers, it'll

Chris Meroff:

matter to people in that audience because they know you love them.

Chris Meroff:

if I don't hear that, it's gonna be a disaster.

Chris Meroff:

Thank

Tim Winders:

One thing that's interesting, I think I have seen the lineup there,

Tim Winders:

and I might let you mention that here There are probably some very, like you

Tim Winders:

said, well known speakers and all that, but did you ever think, what if they're

Tim Winders:

sitting there thinking the same thing?

Chris Meroff:

Yeah, I know.

Chris Meroff:

No, it wouldn't have crossed my mind.

Chris Meroff:

No, it's like that.

Chris Meroff:

they do a thousand times a year for them.

Chris Meroff:

It's no big deal.

Chris Meroff:

Again.

Chris Meroff:

These are lies that we tell ourselves.

Chris Meroff:

And when we do it in isolation, it creates truth for ourselves.

Chris Meroff:

We literally convert that to being true.

Chris Meroff:

And it's just not.

Tim Winders:

what's interesting is that I am coming more and more to believe that

Tim Winders:

part of our role here on this earth is to prepare our hearts for eternity or,

Tim Winders:

the next realm and to connect with as many people and help them do the same.

Tim Winders:

That looks like a lot of different things for different people.

Tim Winders:

some of us, I think we're in the business arena.

Tim Winders:

Some people might be in, like you mentioned, Jason, I think that went

Tim Winders:

back to being a pastor, some of its church world, some of it might be in

Tim Winders:

some places that boy, the battlefield or something like that, but I think

Tim Winders:

the biggest challenge that we have is being disconnected and isolated.

Tim Winders:

Because I was just thinking, I'll give you this example.

Tim Winders:

Let's just say there's these group of speakers, five or six speakers.

Tim Winders:

And let's just say that they're all going through the same thoughts that you are.

Tim Winders:

And none of you ever say anything to each other about it.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah.

Tim Winders:

How powerful and authentic it would be if, and I know

Tim Winders:

speakers come and go, they're not there at the same time and all that.

Tim Winders:

But if that group could say, Hey, listen, I just want to let y'all know.

Tim Winders:

Pretty intimidated being here.

Tim Winders:

And then they go, you know what I am too, but I think that authentic

Tim Winders:

community, I don't think we give ourselves enough opportunity

Chris Meroff:

No, I agree.

Tim Winders:

connect.

Tim Winders:

so how can we do it?

Tim Winders:

and then we're going to get into, I want you to really do a pitch for the book

Tim Winders:

and all of that, but how can we really get into some authentic community?

Tim Winders:

I really do want to know that.

Chris Meroff:

Yeah, I think that you take opportunities, to be

Chris Meroff:

transparent and real, anytime you can.

Chris Meroff:

And so for me in conversation again, it's the anti fine, good and okay.

Chris Meroff:

I get, I get asked questions all the time about how is this going?

Chris Meroff:

What's this?

Chris Meroff:

What's happening with this?

Chris Meroff:

How are you feeling?

Chris Meroff:

And, really stepping into, Yeah.

Chris Meroff:

being faithful to truth.

Chris Meroff:

And so if I'm not doing well to say I, I'm struggling, and there are

Chris Meroff:

circles and then inner circles and levels of appropriate vulnerability

Chris Meroff:

and all those things that matter.

Chris Meroff:

but I think those might be excuses sometimes to not just, step out, and

Chris Meroff:

say, okay, I'm not doing well, I'm struggling, I'm having a hard day, I'm

Chris Meroff:

feeling, discouraged or I'm feeling sad or depressed, whatever it might

Chris Meroff:

be, but to express those things, in a vulnerable way that allows people

Chris Meroff:

really to step in and offer some truth.

Chris Meroff:

One of the speakers, ironically, On our pre conference call, as we were talking

Chris Meroff:

through, the book and this idea of loneliness, and he leans forward into the

Chris Meroff:

mic, into the computer, he goes, I gotta tell you, public speaking and writing, he

Chris Meroff:

says, this is an extremely lonely place.

Chris Meroff:

So I'm like, let's do something about that.

Chris Meroff:

why don't we create a community of speakers that we can love each other and

Chris Meroff:

care for each other in this whole process?

Chris Meroff:

And so through vulnerability, I just think great things can happen

Chris Meroff:

towards a bond that if you're not really willing to go through this.

Chris Meroff:

This fire, this forge of, trust and vulnerability,

Chris Meroff:

you're just gonna miss out on.

Chris Meroff:

that's not living, to me.

Chris Meroff:

it's risking the emotional well being for truth.

Chris Meroff:

and that really allows, I think, for people to live for the first time.

Tim Winders:

So truthfully, the reason that this podcast exists, Chris, is

Tim Winders:

because of all that I went through.

Tim Winders:

And I realized that I wanted to have conversations.

Tim Winders:

There's a reason this is in a 20 minute podcast.

Tim Winders:

Also, I can't have this depth.

Tim Winders:

And so I get somebody like you here for an hour that we get to go deeper.

Tim Winders:

And that's part of the connection.

Tim Winders:

And then, what I like to do is I'll follow up within a month or so and

Tim Winders:

say, Hey, Chris, how are you doing?

Tim Winders:

What's going on?

Tim Winders:

it's just, I'm trying also.

Tim Winders:

to do that.

Tim Winders:

Tell it, tell us about the empathy revolution, how it came

Tim Winders:

to be and, and all of that.

Tim Winders:

And then, I've got a couple other questions before we wrap up, but go ahead

Tim Winders:

and tell us why that's so important.

Tim Winders:

I'm, this has been like I said, almost a therapy session for me because I feel like

Tim Winders:

I'm looking in the mirror as I'm talking.

Tim Winders:

I'm talking to you.

Tim Winders:

So empathy revolution,

Chris Meroff:

Yeah, the book itself had three different iterations.

Chris Meroff:

I think I started and stopped writing this book three different times.

Chris Meroff:

and, went down several paths, this, where it ended was a memoir or a

Chris Meroff:

journal of my leadership journey.

Chris Meroff:

And it's literally what I didn't want to do, is to, again, be vulnerable

Chris Meroff:

and expose, the hurts and, what really brought about, What A lot of the change,

Chris Meroff:

in who I am and what this means to be a leader, and really redefining leadership.

Chris Meroff:

And so the 1st and foremost, I really wanted to allow people

Chris Meroff:

to understand maybe a different version of leadership than the 1.

Chris Meroff:

I grew up thinking was the only way, which is again, strong, confident

Chris Meroff:

problem solver, amazing in crisis.

Chris Meroff:

and really convert that to, focus on loving and serving

Chris Meroff:

people toward their fulfillment.

Chris Meroff:

Thank And so we break that down in the book, to understand the loving each

Chris Meroff:

other really is about a gap, a love, and this idea of charity and, self

Chris Meroff:

sacrifice and then serving 1 another, really to make sure that the people feel

Chris Meroff:

known, heard and valued, serving them.

Chris Meroff:

Community authentic community, instead of away from it.

Chris Meroff:

and then we really want to wrap it up in the it's toward their fulfillment, which

Chris Meroff:

goes through other aspects of a line.

Chris Meroff:

The 1st book that I wrote, which is a more practical hands on what to do as a leader.

Chris Meroff:

and so it's a combination, plus a little bit of, hey, here, if you're emotionally.

Chris Meroff:

Intelligent like I am or was here are some ways that you can take practical steps.

Chris Meroff:

People have said before.

Chris Meroff:

Oh, you're a thought leader.

Chris Meroff:

And I'm like, absolutely not.

Chris Meroff:

I'm an action leader.

Chris Meroff:

And so in the book, I wanted to have some practical things that people could go do.

Chris Meroff:

And so I touch on some phrases that you can learn as a leader to use and leverage

Chris Meroff:

invulnerability phrases like I'm sorry.

Chris Meroff:

I don't know.

Chris Meroff:

And I need your help.

Chris Meroff:

and we talk a lot about how that plays out in vulnerability, as a

Chris Meroff:

leader so that you again can trade your power for their greatness.

Tim Winders:

the reason that's good, the, I need your help.

Tim Winders:

People like me, and you may, this may resonate with you.

Tim Winders:

I found myself, I still find myself saying quite often, how can I help you?

Chris Meroff:

Absolutely.

Tim Winders:

And my thought is that's me being empathetic.

Tim Winders:

It's probably still me being in charge and control and things like that.

Tim Winders:

I don't go, Hey, Chris, man, I really need your help here.

Tim Winders:

No, I say, Chris, how can I help you?

Tim Winders:

I, that's like something that comes out of my mouth almost involuntarily.

Chris Meroff:

and that's similar to me.

Chris Meroff:

Mine is what can I do for you?

Chris Meroff:

And so for my personality, the reason that comes out is because I believe a lie.

Chris Meroff:

And that lie says that if I don't do something for you, I don't have value.

Chris Meroff:

I'm not lovable.

Chris Meroff:

And so I'm going to do something for you.

Chris Meroff:

And so when I stopped doing things for my kids, as they're adult kids

Chris Meroff:

now, it's Oh, do they love me?

Chris Meroff:

Am I worth loving?

Chris Meroff:

now that I'm not doing things for them on a daily basis.

Chris Meroff:

And that's one of those lies as a kid.

Chris Meroff:

It just keeps re.

Chris Meroff:

Regurgitating itself over and over again, saying, no, dude, you, if

Chris Meroff:

you're not doing something for somebody like you, you're not, you alone,

Chris Meroff:

just on your own are not lovable.

Chris Meroff:

And so you got to do something.

Chris Meroff:

And so it's really hard for me to say, I need your help because I'm not going to do

Chris Meroff:

it, but I need your help to get it done.

Chris Meroff:

And that feels.

Chris Meroff:

Disgusting.

Chris Meroff:

That feels really gross, for me to do, but tell you, it's paid off,

Chris Meroff:

in relationship and community in ways I could never have imagined.

Tim Winders:

Yeah, that's beautiful.

Tim Winders:

I started this off as what you do, but you've got a lot of things going on.

Tim Winders:

Can you just real quickly, we've only got a couple minutes here.

Tim Winders:

Tell me some stuff that you've got happening.

Tim Winders:

you mentioned the conference, I think the DCX conference and some

Tim Winders:

other, I think you've got some faith.

Tim Winders:

based investing, which is fascinating.

Tim Winders:

Just a real quick blurb or two.

Tim Winders:

We may come back and visit again, but real quick blurb or two, and

Tim Winders:

then we'll start wrapping up.

Chris Meroff:

So I own a venture capital firm called Dirigo Capital,

Chris Meroff:

and Dirigo is on the main state flag, and it's Latin for I guide or I lead.

Chris Meroff:

And so what we do, our thesis for the venture capital fund, is to, I

Chris Meroff:

basically say it's commerce for kingdom.

Chris Meroff:

And so what we want to do is we want to create commerce for kingdom sake.

Chris Meroff:

And the way we do that is by, really offering fulfilling employment.

Chris Meroff:

And so 72 percent of the people on the planet hate what they

Chris Meroff:

do or who they do it with.

Chris Meroff:

So our goal is to reverse that number is to provide employment to people in

Chris Meroff:

a way that they can find fulfillment and really think of fulfillment is

Chris Meroff:

the opposite of regret so that they don't regret their time at work at

Chris Meroff:

the end of the day, month or year.

Chris Meroff:

or career, but that they have the mindset of, man, I didn't feel like

Chris Meroff:

I had to work a day in my life.

Chris Meroff:

That's really what we're trying to do through employing the community.

Chris Meroff:

The way we put that to work, or one of the ways we put that to work is we

Chris Meroff:

work with a little town up in Maine.

Chris Meroff:

that is the poorest town in the state.

Chris Meroff:

It is top 20 poorest towns in the United States.

Chris Meroff:

and our goal is to double the full time employment and to raise,

Chris Meroff:

the median income, by about 50 percent over the next 10 years.

Chris Meroff:

We're two years in and we've already added about 8 percent

Chris Meroff:

of the jobs, to that market.

Chris Meroff:

And so that's what the fund is really focused on.

Chris Meroff:

But then the fund gets all into, we've got medical hospitality.

Chris Meroff:

We were in a bunch of different.

Chris Meroff:

of actual businesses, that we're involved with, but I'm semi retired, so

Chris Meroff:

I don't really run that fund anymore.

Chris Meroff:

I really now spend all my time in this thing called DCX

Chris Meroff:

Community, which is really focused as a parachurch organization.

Chris Meroff:

In the city of Austin, where we can, teach what leadership is come alongside leaders.

Chris Meroff:

we're willing to accept the challenge, love them, give them community, in a

Chris Meroff:

way that empowers them to show up really well, in employee centric, companies,

Chris Meroff:

organizations, teams, you name it.

Chris Meroff:

So that's what we get to do now.

Chris Meroff:

We do that through a podcast and a networking, lunch that we

Chris Meroff:

put together all over the city.

Chris Meroff:

and then the conference DCX conference, which is coming up very soon.

Tim Winders:

Very cool.

Tim Winders:

All right.

Tim Winders:

I think at the time of recording, the book has not been released.

Tim Winders:

We're recording this in early October.

Tim Winders:

I don't even know what day it is, but, tell us where and when

Tim Winders:

the book will be available.

Tim Winders:

I think by the time this episode releases, it may have been available.

Tim Winders:

So give us that detail.

Tim Winders:

And then I've got one more question and then we're done.

Chris Meroff:

Absolutely.

Chris Meroff:

book is released as of October 17th, and then the audio book version will

Chris Meroff:

be released, soon thereafter, probably about a month later, and then best way to

Chris Meroff:

connect, to me or the book, is gonna be, of course, Amazon, but then chrismeroff.

Chris Meroff:

com.

Tim Winders:

Okay, very good.

Tim Winders:

Spell that for us so people have that on the audible part of

Chris Meroff:

Absolutely.

Chris Meroff:

It's C H R I S M E R O F F as in frank.

Chris Meroff:

com.

Tim Winders:

Perfect.

Tim Winders:

Thank you.

Tim Winders:

And I'm looking forward to checking that out.

Tim Winders:

And, I think it's something that a lot of us need.

Tim Winders:

We are Seek, Go, Create here, Chris.

Tim Winders:

And I'm gonna let you choose one of those words that means more

Tim Winders:

currently over the other two.

Tim Winders:

Seek, Go, Create.

Tim Winders:

Which one do you choose and why?

Chris Meroff:

Go.

Chris Meroff:

Go.

Chris Meroff:

And again, this goes back to me living in the future, and doing.

Chris Meroff:

I like to get my hands dirty.

Chris Meroff:

I like to go and be a part of what's going on.

Tim Winders:

Chris, thank you, man.

Tim Winders:

I've loved this conversation.

Tim Winders:

Chris Meroff has joined us.

Tim Winders:

Make sure you get the book, the empathy revolution that should be out by the

Tim Winders:

time you're listening to this and check out some of the other things he's doing.

Tim Winders:

I know I'm going to, in fact, I'd love to have about another one hour conversation

Tim Winders:

to talk about some of these other items.

Tim Winders:

I appreciate you listening in here.

Tim Winders:

I appreciate Chris being here.

Tim Winders:

We have new episodes every Monday here at seek, go create until next time continue

Tim Winders:

being all that you were created to be.

About the Podcast

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Seek Go Create
Redefining Success in Leadership, Business & Ministry

About your host

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Tim Winders

Tim Winders is a faith driven executive coach and author with over 40 years of experience in leadership, business, and ministry. Through his personal journey of redefining success, he has gained valuable insights on how to align beliefs with work and lead with purpose. He is committed to helping others do the same, running a coaching business that helps leaders, leadership teams, business owners, and entrepreneurs to align their beliefs with their work and redefine success.

In addition to his coaching business, Tim is also the host of the SeekGoCreate podcast and author of the book Coach: A Story of Success Redefined, which provides guidance for those looking to redefine success and align their beliefs with their work. With his extensive background, unique perspective and strengths in strategic thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving, Tim is well-suited to help clients navigate through difficult times and achieve their goals.