Toolbox for the Trades
Toolbox for the Trades

Episode · 5 months ago

Episode 44: Leadership Skills More Imperative to Success Than Tech Training w/ Keith Mercurio

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

If you want loyal customers, you need to influence them.

But how do you do that without feeling shady?

In the latest episode, Keith Mercurio, Sr. Director of Executive Success at ServiceTitan and Founder and CEO of Ethical Influence Institute, shares the secrets of ethical influence and how they can elevate your leadership.

We discuss:

- The power of ethical influence

- How poor messaging shrinks your talent pool

- How to inspire people

- The value of powerful thinking

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- The Four Agreements

- The Allegory of the Cave

- Tim Ferriss

- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

If you want to hear more stories from the trades, subscribe to Toolbox for the Trades on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Toolbox for the Trades in your favorite podcast player.
 

Yes there is a lack of available talentand part of that is because people who are truly talented in their leadershipare creating an absolute siphon of that talent where they're running downhillinto their businesses. Mm mm. Yeah. You're listening to toolbox of thetrades brought to you by service titan. A podcast for top service professionalswhere we interview leaders for their best tips and tricks of the trades,learn how industry Trailblazer stay ahead of the competition and how youtoo can be at the forefront of an industry. Let's jump in. Hellocontractors and welcome to the toolbox for the trades. Today I'm joined bykeith Mercurio's the founder and ceo of ethical influence institute,professional trainer and consultant and senior director of executive success atservice. Titan keith is a master of coaching business owners and leaders onhow to unlock exceptional growth through personal development like Sarahand brad case. Pier owners of radiant plumbing in Austin texas who grew from20 million to 38 million in 2020. While working with keith, we talked aboutidentity mindset, powerful thinking and so much more. I totally geeked out onthis conversation and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did keithMercuria welcome to the toolbox for the trades. Pleasure to be here Jackie,thank you for inviting me. I am so excited to talk to you. You have such aunique career and experience in this industry just to give a little bit of abio. So folks know who you are, if they haven't heard of you already, you arethe founder and Ceo of Ethical influence Institute, you are a licensedplumber, a professional trainer and consultant and most recently you arethe Senior director of executive success at service titan. Now those area lot of words, a lot of ways to describe what you do so before we evenget into that, I want to start today's conversation the way we start everyconversation with. How did you get into the trades? Yeah, I was going to saythat's a carefully curated list of things that I can write proudly becauseI think college college dropout, recovering party animal would all belike parts of that same journey that ended up there. I was in school, goingto this division two school, ST Michael's college shout out to myPurple Knights uh for a few years before both college and I decided wewere not for each other and I dropped out of school and went to work for timFlynn and jean Cataldo tim was my next door neighbor and he was running at thetime of small plumbing and heating company out of Belmont massachusettsand then eventually Cambridge. And he and Gino, we're like trade schoolbuddies and they like perfect boston duo, you know that they used to callthem the irish in a town called Gaelic and garlic. It was like the joke abouttheir team teammate ship and so I ended up going to work for him. Tim wasalways somebody that I really admired as a young man and so he brought me inand I was an apprentice for him and eventually became a plumber for him.Kind of a whole bunch of series of jobs there and really got attached to thebusiness side of what we were up to and along the way we joined next are andthat's where my journey eventually would go with next door. But that's notthe question you asked us, how do they get into the trade? So that's how I gotinto the trades. I was really drawn to what tim the lifetime and Gino, we'recreating for themselves. And they were like these young professionals but theywere blue collar and they could fix things. And so they kind of just meldedthis really interesting path to me that look different than what I had seen orknown and with that part of my love for it was I loved actually fixing stuff.There was an incredible sense of satisfaction that was not there. When Iwas in college, when I handed in a...

...paper and had somebody, if I did everhand in the paper and had somebody subjectively tell me what my worth was.It was like when I fixed something, it worked, it was objective, whether itworked was subjective about how beautiful it was, but there was an artand a certainty to it. So that's part of what I really love about being aplumber. That's awesome. I love that you were able to hit the nail on thehead with that in terms of traditional academia versus trade work and I thinka lot of people can relate to, I love fixing things, certainly most of thetechnicians I speak to say man it just feels so good when you go in there andyou fix a problem. So that is awesome. There are a few highlights that standup it like any technician I think can agree solving a problem that otherpeople couldn't. You know that that's complex is animmense, immensely satisfying experience stepping back and looking atyour work, like testing it when you pull the plug and you see everythingdrain and nothing leaks and and just that whole experience, especially themore you know back then we do, we used to get the sauder joints and pour leadand oak. Um and I mean real, real plumber stuff, I still have a problemwith you know using these crimping devices and everything else, although Iappreciate them but they're not exploit as artful as what we were up to. Butyou know, stepping back and looking at your work at the end of the day andthen there was another part of it that I love which was going home and liketaking that hot shower after like a long day, often very cold days whenwe're working in the heating industry and you know, just like knowing yourday was over and you'd really done something. So there was some, somestuff that I really still pretty nostalgic about. Yeah, I will say thatwhen I used to work in the restaurant, the service industry before I graduatedcollege, I also really enjoyed the end of the day hot shower. There'ssomething when you do a lot of physical manual labor, the end of the day hotshower that is just so satisfying. You mentioned that you really kind ofbetween Gaelic and garlic, you've saw them both as mentors and you've learneda lot about the business side of plumbing, you really fell into it. Iwant to talk about how we got to next start, but before we do I would love tohear a little bit more about what your preconceived notion of the trades wasand how you got that ah ha moment of oh wow, there's more to this than Ithought fair and it's funny because I was like the reverse american story,you know, like I came from a highly educated family and was the first kidto not make it through college and go into the trade. So it's like you alwayshear that american dream story and I was, I was the opposite and uh, but Ireally respect how support of my dad was, of me figuring out my own pathbecause this is a man that was an educator for a living and we heldacademics and high esteem, but I just was not wired for it. And so in myearly years, because I had that thought that I was supposed to be highachieving academic, that I was supposed to go into some sort of grad program orbecome a lawyer or something that my mom could brag about. Like I really hadthis sense that the trades were for kids that weren't smart enough to dowhat I was going to get to do. And you know, and look, there's in some regards,there's, I think some some a modicum of truth in that sentiment, meaning thatas far as how we traditionally measured smart in an academic sense, very oftenthe mind set, the intelligence that's necessary for the trades doesn't fitwell within that traditional classroom environment. So there was some sort ofdisconnect there, but I kept trying longer than probably, and it was givenmore chances. I think that a lot of other kids probably were to stay inschool and try to, you know, dragged out that academic career as long as Icould. Baseball helped a lot. Like I...

...had, you know, sports that I was kindof falling back on and gaining scholarship for. So a lot of differentthings that probably kept me in the system longer than I should have been,but I had, you know, when tim moved in next door and I saw like this, you know,this young guy who was successful and a nice family and he didn't look like aplumber and geno didn't look like a plumber. And these guys were, you know,they were handsome, they added together and I was like, this is interesting,this is a very different look than what I expected. And honestly, Jackie,that's why I, a big part of what I get frustrated about with when we'rerecruiting people into the trades is that we don't spend enough time talkingabout all of the, like there is the period of time where you're actuallygonna swing wrenches and you're going to be a plumber and you're going to bean HTC Tech or an electrician. But we don't spend enough time talking abouthow that's just part of the Germany and that I I feel like when we're trying torecruit people into the trades were always, it's like you're going to be aplumber the rest of your life and it doesn't have to look like that and thebusiness opportunity is what's so immense and get so overlooked and sorarely discussed and that's what they showed me was like a very differentside of what being in the trades could mean I'm so happy you got thateducation right away. I mean, I talk about this myself, my dad's a carpenter,he was in the trades. I'm a woman obviously. So there's some of thatgender stuff that's going in that I don't have the smarts to go into inthis moment. But yeah, it was always expected go to college, go to collegeand since starting at service titan and really getting exposure to folks in thetrades, I'm like, holy crap, these plumbers and HVAC technicians make moremoney than people I know who went to ivy League schools and are still payingdown $200,000 debt. I had no idea that the entrepreneurial path was availablewithin this industry. And then on the second hand, you know, lawyer, maybenot so much lawyers, but say doctors really get glorified for helping peopleplumbers literally keep people alive. H fact, companies literally keep peoplewarm and cold climates and cool in hot climates like you were providing anessential service and I agree with you. There has to be some rebranding doneand how we recruit folks and that's fair. Although I will, I'll push back alittle as somebody who spent years glorifying the life saving effects ofthe trades and so on. There's a little part of me now that I look at it and Isaid, I don't, I want to be cautious that we don't overly glorify it eitherbecause what you'll notice is that a lot of tradesmen aren't activelyrecruiting their own Children into the trades and this has a lot to do withthe lack of great businesses in the trades. And so for so many people, acareer in the trades does mean signing up to swing wrenches for the rest ofyour life and because they don't have businesses that are growing, providingopportunity, providing leadership and personal development and growth. And soit's like, I want to be careful to invite people into the trades, it'slike if we're going to do it, we have to be providing extraordinarybusinesses that the trades, whatever the trade is, happens to be thecommodity in which we're working. But we have got to start looking at thisfrom the standpoint of really developing extraordinary smallbusinesses and the entrepreneurial side of what is here and what's socompelling and appealing and then the beauty of it is that we have thisindustry that is so bulletproof recession proof and even as we learnedpandemic proof that you can take business mastery into this field andnot be as vulnerable as you would be and many others, yep, and I'm veryhappy that you made that point, I sometimes have to remind myself thatbeing at service titan gives me access to folks that are doing it really,really well and there are still, there's different levels when you thinkabout the trades and I think this is...

...actually a great transition into yourrole at Next Star. So you went from being a professional plumber todirector of Training at Next Star, and it sounds like that plumbing companythat you had joined, that you had worked with, they became Next ourmembers, and that's how you got exposed to the next star world and all of that.So just tell me about how did that journey take place? How did you go fromworking with those two guys to become a director of Training that next Star? SoI was working for winters and nice career going, started to get my feetunder me a little bit and then we joined Next Star and that was my firstexposure to the world of. I've seen some great trainers, there's somepeople to mention, like matt smith who is out there in the world, he was anoriginal mentor to me and kind of even opened up the fact that there was thisworld of training, you know, these skills, soft skills as their kind of,known inside the trades and sales and stuff like that. I was like, that'sintriguing, but when I saw Next Star and New, I said within five minutes,I'm like that's what I want to do, that right there is what I want to do withmy life. And I mean it was truly my dream job and when I left winters itwas just time for me to go. I was just out of place in my career in my life, Iwanted to move, I wanted to try something new and I honestly wasn'teven sure I was going to stay in the trades and it was at that point that uhSherry Benefield and Jack Tester at NExstar reached out to me and said, hey,we'd be interested in bringing you in to be our first full time trainer, andthat was something that hadn't existed inside the Next our world. One thingthat's unique about them is that they hire member trainers. People who areowners and GMS of their businesses actually get trained to be trainers, sothey're actually out there doing the work in the business every day, andthen there are also training you. So these weren't just professionaltrainers who were being taught to discipline. They were actuallyprofessionals in the discipline, being taught to train. And so I jumped atthat opportunity, moved from boston to Minnesota and spent eight years inMinnesota working for the next star and along the way, you know, we really, Imean, we had an amazing team and we really grew next start training quitequite exponentially. So by the time I was done with my time when we had astaff, I think we had five full time trainers on on board or six, and andalmost a dozen member trainers and we're running you know, 20 plusprograms, training 13,000 people per year as an organization. I mean it wasawesome and a beautiful experience and I mean, I can go on quite a bit aboutall the, all the wonderful things over there. I still have tremendous affinityfor that organization. That's awesome. And we've had quite a few next ourmembers who say just wonderful things about the about the organization onthis podcast too, from the member side. So it's it's fine. You can you can vampa bit it, they deserve it. I mean, they deserve it. And it was part of thefounding mission of frank lau and the fact that unlike, and I can't say it'severy organization, but any other that I know of, they made a decision thatthey were never going to be, that they were going to remain member owned. Andso you talk about creating a North Star, the success of the members, it is notjust a tagline, I mean, it is literally there, their mode of existence. Ifmembers aren't succeeding, those member companies aren't succeeding, then theydon't get to, you know, they don't get the opportunity to continue to exist.And so it's a pretty special organization, may be really hard for aCeo who had, you know, a board who was getting rich off of the organization'ssuccess to be able to have that much of a alignment from all of the teammembers. You know, that what we're really doing makes a difference. I mean,so, you remember Jack used to speak about that consistently, how hard itwould be to do this if we didn't have the structure that we had. So it wasjust set up for success, it was set up so that no one person would ever, webecome wealthy off of it and that instead it would be about making, youknow, our members truly successful and...

...that was kind of a beautiful thing.That's awesome. I actually didn't know that about their structure. I'm happyyou shared that. So being the Director of training for seven years, eightyears, you said in Minnesota is quite a big stretch of time. This is a verybroad question I'm about to ask, I'm just letting you know, it's gonnabe broad, but what are some of the most common hurdles you found owners had toovercome in order to grow their business or create the business theywanted? So I'll start with a very generic answer to your broad question,but one worth really exploring and it's, I mean the number one hurdle and ownerneeds to overcome as themselves and that is as you know, I mean, that canhave as little or as much meaning as you want. But the reality is that whatI've witnessed inside of of most leadership anywhere, regardless of theindustry is that people are consistently wanting to, you know, theysay like my team doesn't get it and I can't find good people and they'reconstantly looking externally at the factors that are limiting their growth.You know, in our industry, it's very clear that people will say the numberone constraint to growth is talent. Everybody kind of just generally agreeson this. And yet I just finished my you know year in my role consulting withthe leadership team at radiant plumbing and brad and sarah Kay spear down inaustin texas. Well brad and sarah case, we're just went from 20 million inrevenue in 2019 to 38 million in 2020 during a pandemic hired 100 people. Soyes, there is a lack of available talent and part of that is becausepeople who are truly talented in their leadership are creating an absolutesiphon of that talent where they're running downhill into their businessesand that's why they're expanding the way that they are so brad and Sarah KaySpear are two people who their journey had an exponential, you know,trajectory when they decided they were going to invest in themselves in theirown personal growth and development. And these are people that I meanabsolutely made a commitment to their own growth and then in turn invested inthe growth of their leadership team and that's in large apartment. They've gota lot of great things going for him there in a good market they're in, youknow, they've got a great brand that they've built in a lot of great stuffbut there's no question. You look at their history and their trajectory does.It's like a hockey stick type of a, you know, a curve when they got seriousabout investing in themselves as human beings, Owners are the number oneconstraint of their own success. And people who are consistently, ifsomebody thinks it's somebody else but them, then that's the sure sign it isthem. I mean, I'm very happy I asked that question because this really goesinto your methodology as a trainer and as a consultant and under the umbrellaof the ethical influence institute, from what I understand of you in mytime, knowing you you are very hyper focused on developing owners, gettingthem into the right mindset, changing, I changed, not changing identity, butgetting clear on identity. And so I would love to just kind of startdigging into that. And I pulled this quote off your website, achievesustainable growth by changing people's identity. Can you explain it? And ifI'm going if I'm kind of jumping around and you want to start with mindset,feel free? No, it's it's perfect. And but the only adjustment there I wouldmake and that would be, you know, hypocritical to not say this is that myfirst obsession is in my own growth and development. I'm not obsessed withchanging other people's, I'm obsessed...

...with with working on mine first andforemost. And the reason is that what I've discovered, and this goes rightback to why owners are the lid on their organization is that people reallyenjoy learning alongside a fellow student. I continue to find that theyenjoy less and less learning from a teacher. So my discovery in this is that themore that I am actively in my own ongoing development, the more materialcurriculum and real life active struggle, I have to share with theseowners and leaders that I'm working with and the more that we can go onthat journey together. And I don't know if it's just because it's, you know, itsoftens it or it's more relatable or whatever it is, but you know, I had heard john Maxwell talkabout the law of the lid a few years ago and that, you know, your team willonly grow to the height that you grow too. But I don't believe that I believethat your team will only grow at the trajectory at which you grow. And youknow, we've all heard that saying that, I shouldn't say, we've all heard it,but you know, we've heard many have heard that saying that your life is theaverage of the five people you spend the most time with and when you thinkabout that, if you want a team that's actively growing and achieving more andlooking outside themselves to build other leaders and you know, reallytaking on responsibility and commitment, you have to be creating that and thenthat becomes the average of the organization. And so now personaldevelopment becomes expected and willingness to look at your ownidentity and make transformations becomes expected, constant coaching andfeedback becomes what's expected. Never settling for yesterday's performancebeing enough is what becomes expected. But what I watch people do, I watchowners get into a position where, yeah, they've taken the risk and yeah,they've they've worked all these years and now they're trying to tell otherpeople how to get to where they've gotten to. And that's a very, thatworks at like a really subservient level. But if you really want toinspire people, it's your own work ongoing work that will inspire them,not your damn story that you can sit back and rest on that frankly mostpeople are pretty tired of and don't really even care that much about likeuntil you reach legendary status like john Maxwell or you know, like a patlynch peony who's written however many best sellers, like I don't just becauseyou built this business and worked really hard to do it, you're not goingto inspire a whole bunch of people who are going to follow you just on yourold story. It's going to be on what they see you do every day. And sothat's the part that I mean, I think in a way it really does answer yourquestion, but I know that I need to focus on my growth, my coaching, mycounseling, my ongoing personal development, and every day that Iinvest in that I've got new material, new curriculum that I'm developing thatI now get to share and bring people on a journey along with me. And that'swhat seems to be so compelling about these, you know why these leadershipteams want to do the work, but they have to be willing to do the work.That's really interesting. Everything that you just said makes perfect senseto me and I can see a fake owner will think imaginative owner who is restingon their story like they said, or is hemming and hawing not to disparagebecause that has been said on this podcast before. So hard to find people,I can't find the right people to work for my business when you're put infront of someone like that, what's one of the first things that you say tothem? So you know that's an interesting question because there was somethingthat was able to something that really changed in my career and I would Idon't know if I have that answer right...

...away, so I'm going to share thisthought and maybe that answer will panic come to me because I mean thefirst kind of rule of this work is you don't tell someone they're wrong andexpect them to be very interested in exploring that. So I would ask them awhole bunch of questions about what that means and where they're at. Youknow, I would kind of go through a emotional interviewing process aboutwhat they're up to and so on, so I don't really have like a directresponse because that's not how I work, Oh wait I'm sorry keith, are youtelling me that you don't antagonize people well you know, it's just like Imean if I could say like the first thought that comes to mind, if I hearsomebody say I can't find the right people, my the question I guess I wouldreally ask, are you sure you're the right person to lead this business, youknow? I mean that's that would be that sort of antagonistic version of thequestion, but like once the relationship is real enough, that's thetype of the conversations that we have, you know, like well what what makes youbelieve that you're the right person to run this business, if you can't findthe right people, you know? And I mean I think that's a really worthwhilepursuit, but what I would really want to look at is why that's theircomplaint and this is gets into the heart of the work that I do like. Thereason we have complaints in life as human beings. The reason we complain ifyou've got a consistent and ongoing complaint, it's because it's giving yousomething, it's giving you some sort of payoff, some sort of juice. And so Ican't find good people is the all time, it's a bigger problem than me, whichjust offloaded any responsibility that you could have ever had. And so thatthing makes you look right and you get to sit there and you get to complainand you go and you check with other people say, hey, do you have troublefinding good people to Okay, so now I know I'm right and I mean this is thethis is the nature of mankind, as far as our tendency to want to create thisbig complaint in this big story so that we can just continue doing what we'vebeen doing and say, well there's just nothing else that could have been doneanyway. So yeah, I mean there's a lot behind that answer, but but I you know,that's where I really want to explore with people because what are you goingto do to change that, Right? And so the the easiest way to answer that question.So now I've got like five different answers to the question that you asked,Jack, it would be like, so what? So I guess there's nothing you can do then,you know, and that's and that's like a technique and emotional interview. Andwhen you just tell somebody yeah, it sounds like you're right. You know,everything you're saying that's in your way is true and I guess this is it forthe rest of your life, this is the business you're going to run, and thenlet them fight their way out of that position that they've just you know,argued their way into interesting. That's a very defeatist way of lookingat it. Kind of being that not you being defeatist, their attitude of beingdefeatist and you being that mirror that reflection that's hitting it backto them and then yeah, so sorry I'm interrupting because like my thought isa little bit clearer now, but the reason that the first thing is anantagonistic is that people are going to argue with you. So if I say you'rewrong, they're going to argue why they're right. So if I agree with them,they're going to now argue why I'm wrong. So if you really want to helpsomebody coach their own way out of their position, right? What I'll oftendo is agree if I see that they're really stuck in their position, I'mjust going to agree with them and I guess you're right. I guess there'snothing you can do. I guess you're never going to grow. I guess you'renever going to find good people and now they're either going to agree with thatin which case good for you. I mean, I guess that's your lot in life orthey're going to do what they always do, which they're going to argue their wayout of that position. So I'd rather have them arguing with me about whythey could in fact find good people and grow their business than arguing withme about why they can't. Are you sure you didn't graduate college with adegree in psychology? I'm positive, I'm...

...positive. The last thing that Igraduated was high school and barely by a lot of, a lot of nefarious efforts, Iwas able to get through high school, but I did get my plumbing license and Idid not cheat on that exam, so I'm proud to say that that's the last thingI actually graduated. Very, very good. I won't share this interview with yourhigh school, so I think you're there, but they know they know there's nobodythat was a part of this program that didn't know it was up to something toget by. I think it's part of, I think it's part of why I have insight onpeople's intentions, you know? Yeah, I would definitely say that I have somany places I want to ask you or I want to go, but I'm also really fascinatedin your personal growth and development. So I love that you said, I amconstantly working on myself because I want to model that for the folks I workwith for my clients. What kind of work are you doing for yourself right now? Imean you're obviously very self aware on this journey for a while, what areyou trying to learn more about right now? So I used to really love answeringthis question because I would say I would talk about all the selfdevelopment programs I would attend and every year I would put myself throughsome, you know, week long or two week long like boot camp style mindset reset,cult like you know, deal whether it was, I did landmark forum was my first forayinto it and I did a whole bunch of landmark programs and they're amazingand super culti and then I went to Tony Robbins and that's super culti andworld legacy and all of these, but they were like really um I don't know, therewas something really powerful and I loved it, it was exactly what I neededat that stage of my life. Now I'm straight, like I'm working on thecounseling side of life, I've shoutout to Ives Wittmann, my my counselor, mytherapist in and out of Minnesota who like is really, really doing a deeperlevel of work just about like who I'm showing up as a man as a husband and asa leader in the world at just a very like emotional level different than thework that I had done before. This is ongoing And deep week in and week outevery Friday morning at 7:30 pm, like that's how we do it and that has been awhole new layer and new level for me and you know, I mean comes off the yearwhen I mean I had I had some some really serious depression over the lastyear, anxiety and not just not just because of 2020 a lot of just internaland personal things and I mean, you know, I feel compelled to even, youknow, share, but I mean, dark dark spaces all the way to suicidal ideationand stuff like that, and that's it's a heavy place to be and having peoplelike this who have walked that journey before you and leaning into them andreaching out really powerful stuff. So obviously, you know, just emotionalabout the role that people like that have played, but that's the work thatI'm up to right now in my own life. And again, it's, you know, it's like somedays it's like who might have been counseling or coaching anybody on thesedevelopments when I know I'm in those own battles myself, but at the sametime, who better right than somebody who's walking that walking out Marchwith you. So, and, you know, I just say that to also uh in the ongoing quest touh give space for people to be able to talk about this stuff, because it'sgetting worse than ever with everything that has happened and the result ofsocial distancing, which has really led to isolation and everything else. It'sit's pretty rampant. So I certainly hope, you know, there's a couple ofpeople out there that here, this and say, hey, it's time for me to go gethealthier too, Thank you so much for sharing. I willdo you one better and say your journey in 2020 sounds a lot like my personaljourney in 2019, so I fully support everything you just said, mental healthis a priority. And I hope that anyone...

...who listens, who's thinking about it,here's what you just had to say and starts considering it, and thank youfor being so open and honest about it. Yeah. And I think you'll probably agreewith this. Like we don't need to hear any like, hey, hang in there. Like anylike add elation about this is not what this is for. Please, like respectfullykeep that to yourself just but if you do want to share about your own journeyin this that like, thank you, you know, like it's, does that make sense? Do youagree with that? Like, I think part of this, one of them sympathizes like, ohmy God, please don't. That is the last thing I want to hear right now. LikeI'm good, this is for you. You take this and do what you need to with it.It wasn't for me. So it's very much hello, I'm a person, you know, in reallife and I want you to know that I'm going through this journey so you cannormalize it and potentially see it for your journey or someone close to you. Ithink for it's really interesting how the stigma of mental health is solelygetting is shedding away, I think layer by layer, as we go year and two yearand two year, I mean most podcasts I listen to right now or have ads forvirtual therapy, we don't have ads here. Yeah, it's awesome. And I'll say, Imean the reason I started this question, but like you asked me, you know, whatam I working on now? I didn't come into this podcast expected to talk aboutthis, but you asked a question and it triggered with me how I am. Like, I'mstill embarrassed to be like, oh therapy is my big, that's how I'mworking on myself thing right now and then I have to take a moment, like takea deep breath and go keith, would you toughen up and just tell people whatyou're actually up to and not, you know, feel any sort of way about it, so thatwas all, you know, that's like part of the mindset of having a process throughthat before answering that question, you know, kind of honestly, very honestand continuing to be honest, which I very much appreciate and this is why Iknow this is why we get along keefe, you and I've known for anyone whohasn't caught on yet, this is not mining keith's first conversation andagain, just another reason why I like you as a person and not just as acolleague, which we'll get to shortly before we even have a problem before weeven get to that I really want to talk on mindset because I feel like the last30 minutes we've really been chatting about some pretty big concepts and Ithink they all boil down into mindset. So talk to me about what is mindset andhow can people start identifying what their current mindset is and whether ornot they need to change it? Nice. What is mindset? Nobody's ever asked me thatbefore. I suppose it would just be whatever, whatever. Yeah, I mean it'slike I guess I took it for granted that mindset is just what our current ourcurrent framework, our current emotional mental physiological statebecomes our mindset, so it's our perspective on the world. So, you know,I mean I think the most basic way that I kind of look at this and this iswhere I get, I don't know, I guess a little philosophical or whatever else,but you know, I'm looking out the window here and what's out the windowjust is it just is what happens in my life? It just does. My mindset is myinterpretation of those experiences and through all, like, some people like tothink that they've got more of a handle on the truth than others, or on the waythings are on the facts than others, and I do like to remind people that atleast my current opinion of it, and that's all any of this ever is, or mybelief around it is that everybody's experiencing the world through theirown lens in perspective, but nobody is any closer to the truth about it. oneof my favorite quotes in this regard is it was Voltaire cherish those who seekthe truth, Beware of those who claim they found it. And, you know, this ideaof just being a kind of that internal, like eternal quest for knowing oneselfmore, knowing the world more knowing...

...others more is a big part of what Ilook at from a mindset perspective. So places to be where anybody who's overlycertain that they know more than everybody else. I think that's a greatspot to stop and check yourself and you know, take a few steps back and thereare a lot of listeners who in my mind need to hear that right now if I'm ifI'm following some of your facebook posts and everything else I'm tellingyou be seeking truth is I think really good advice from what I've heard. So,you know in the mindset I remember hearing well then long speak last yearat the service titan Sale's kickoff and Welding Long is a great speaker and hasa great story inside of our industry. Have you had him as a guest? Yeah. Good,good. Yeah, he's a great, great man and you know he just says think about whatyou think about and that to me is a beautiful way toconsider checking your mindset because every day I mean I think the if Iremember the numbers correctly there's new york times study that By the way,just like I just said New York Times study and some of those very peoplejust, they stopped listening just now, they're like well that can't be justfake news. Like there was a study in the New York Times a couple of yearsback that said that like the average person has 60-80,000 thoughts per day.Of those, 98 are identical to yesterday and of those 80 are negative and youknow if you really start paying attention, what tends to happen atleast in my experience and what seems to resonate with others is that we havethese stop patterns that are looping and looping and looping, but we don'tever stop to think about what we're thinking about, We just think about it and then we start to relate to that asthough that's real, and we don't stop to think about what's the context thatcreated that belief for me? What's the background that created this identityfor me? What piece of my upbringing just got triggered right now whensomebody, you know, just challenged an idea at work and I just took itpersonally and I felt it in my body, like what part of my background justcause that. And so this is what, like mindfulness, you know, as I understandmindfulness really brings into the world of looking at mindset, which isto just be willing to take that step back and say what I thought was thathave the thought about the thought where you start to ask questions about,you know, is that really true? Is that absolutely true? And there's a greatbook who it's eluding me at the moment, but it's going to come to me lovingwhat is and the author, you know, ask the question like, is that true? Andthen ask the question, you know, who would I be without that thought? Andit's just a way to explore, like, you know, from a mindset perspective, wedon't have to just describe to what's going on in our minds. We can actuallystart to dialogue differently with our thoughts and, you know, ultimately,like my final kind of critical message with the ethical ethical influenceconcept is does that thought honor and serve me and others? And if it doesn't,you know, maybe I should reconsider continuing to live into that thought. Ilove that explanation. I've been personally toying with mindset andreally bringing my attention to mindfulness myself through my ownpersonal journey. And it's incredible how mean we are ourselves, incredible.If you think about it, we start and end life with just one person and it's us,why are we so mean to ourselves? And if I had, I was actually had this reallyprofound experience recently. I went through some old journals I had when Iwas a teenager and actually as a preteen, and I'm just reading thesejournals and I'm like, why was I so...

...mean to myself? And um what yourdescription just brought up to me is a tim Ferriss quote. I don't know ifyou're familiar with tim's work, but he has a quote that says, don't believeeverything you think. So, if you're saying to yourself, I can't do this,bringing it back to the trades, I can't run this business, I don't know whatthe hell I'm doing, How am I going to get all these people? Those are alllimiting beliefs and I think there's a fine line between being mindful ofthose beliefs, but then also kind of being toxic lee positive, which thisisn't a mental health podcast, we won't go into that too much, but I would loveto add something because you just triggered one of the things that reallystands out to me, I get borderline offended, but at the very leastoffensive when people hear my work or listen to a keynote of mine and they'relike, oh man, I'm a big believer in positive thinking. I'm like, whoa, timeout, Time out, this is not positive thinking, and I'm not even necessarilya fan of positive thinking, I am a fan of powerful thinking. What I'm talkingabout is is how we look at creating neural pathways in the brain. Likeunderstanding the science, understanding the emotion and thenunderstanding the subsequent effect of the thoughts that we think. And so thatdoesn't mean positivity, that doesn't mean false reality, That doesn't meanPolyana. This is about like if I am relating to something like we'll goback to our original thought of, well, I just can't find good people. What weneed to understand is that the moment that you speak that out loud and thinkthat thought to yourself, you are creating a neural pathway in your brain.And the more often you create that neural pathway, the more mile in themore protein starts to cover that neural pathway and the more accessiblethat thought and belief becomes. And as a result, this is where we're tappinginto the reality of how the brain works. So your non conscious mind isRegistering processing somewhere around between 11 and 40 billion bits of dataper second. The conscious mind where we think like where what we actuallyrelate with, where the words come into the form of thoughts, a conscious mindis handling somewhat at best at best 50 bits of data per second, So 50 bitsversus 40 billion bits. Right? So what happens is when I allow myself to think,I just can't find good people. That's my way of charging my non conscious theparticular activating system to go find evidence to support that belief. And sonow I'm charging my 40 billion bits of per second of data processing powerwith finding evidence to support that I can't find good people. And so what I'mtelling you is it's not about positive thinking, it's about powerful thinking.And so just being able to transform that thought with one simple word,which is I can't find good people yet completely re wires what's going oninside your neural pathways to say, oh wait a minute, did we just suggestthere could be a possibility of this changing? And now it's my job to startlooking for, wait, what would that look like? And so even the simplicity ofjust adding a singular word to a previous statement, because again, I'mnot trying to just like it's not a matter of just believing that suddenlyI'm going to find, you know, oh no, I can find good people, I find goodpeople all the time. Like it's not that simple, it's not just turning anegative into a positive, it's understanding the effect of thelanguage that we're using in our thinking and what that's doing to ourproblem solving two are opportunistic capabilities to what we're seeing,hearing and experiencing in the world around us. And this is where I watchpeople living in very small bubbles of rightness and all they're doing isconfirming their rightness. But Jackie, if you and I wake up today and find outthat we were right about everything,...

...the reality is that we just had thebest day that we can possibly have inside our current context. But if wewake up today and find out we were wrong about three major things, thenthe opportunity for tomorrow just became a lot bigger. I'm really happyyou plugged on that and really got into that toxic positivity area because Ithink we see it a lot. I think we see a lot in our industry. I think we see itnot in this industry, I think it's it's actually a broader symptom of culture,of, you know, north american culture, specifically american. I like that.Instead of using terms like manifestation, you used tofind evidence to support. If I say if I keep saying this over and over again,I'm going to find evidence to support the truth of this fact versus I ambringing I am some positive thinkers may say, well the more you say thatthought, the more that you're manifesting that thought to be true,it's like, no, I'm finding evidence, right? So I like that distinction youmade there and I really wanted to call it out thank you, I'm right there withyou on that. That's a major, like I really, I'm really sensitive to who Iget aligned with when it comes to this type of work, because I think Jackie abig part of it is it's so many people in our industry, so many highperformers and high achievers. They maybe they're resistant to, like someof these thoughts of positivity and manifestation because they lack realismand application. And so one of my philosophies is always like, they'regoing to those people that are coming in and they're, you know, they're Imean, they just got done reading the secret for the ninth time and they'vegot their, you know, dog eared copy of it in their back pocket. Like they'regoing to have a great time anyway, because that's what they showed up for,because they showed up to find a great time. So they're going to manifest agreat time. I don't have to worry about them. They're coming on this journeywith me. It's the people that absolutely either only work and arerooted in science or rooted in a kind of realism or an ongoing pessimism.These are the people I love to to really dig in with because I want toshow them that at a level what these nutjobs is toxic lee positive people.I've never heard that term. You know what they are saying? There is, thereis a modicum of truth in it. If you actually look at the science and startto understand it, let's really peel back. You know, what's going on for you.That has you kind of stuck where you're stuck in your mindset and one of myfavorite participants and coaching team members that I've ever gotten to workwith, Michael would, would, he's a british guy. So you start there right.And so he's a salesman for, for radiant. He, uh, I think that is At his peakyears was high threes and I hope I'm not, you might have even been fourmillion a year in individual residential sales. And I mean, this guyis smart, he's charming, he's handsome, he's the whole package. But he is acynic. I mean, he is as british as british can get. And like what Iinvited him into in his early early questioning and resistance that hewanted no part of this coaching in the early days of that, he would tell youthat. No problem. But I just invited him to be an open minded cynic and Idon't even know who I borrowed that term from. But like if you're listeningto this and there's this resistance and you're thinking this is Bs and thisisn't, you know, like just just being open minded cynic, that's all we don'tdiscourage cynicism here. I'm a fan of it. Just with an open mind. Exactly.And one more note on toxic positivity and then I really want to get into thework that you're doing with clients and that you've recently done. It's reallywhat I've heard it described as is it's completely neglecting the part ofourselves as humans that will always have negative thought. It's complete,it's trying to completely and therefore, if you buy into toxic positivity,you're always trying to be positive,...

...you're always trying to get through it,it's fine, we'll do it. You are damaging yourself and others becauseyou're thinking of yourself as superhuman opposed to a human. Yeah, Ilove that. And I think it is good for people to hear, especially some of thebusiness leaders who do really kind of rally their troops around that constantpositivity, you lose credibility at a certain point, and there needs to be awillingness to acknowledge the real struggles, the real frustrations andand still persevere in light of them. And that's different and that'sdifferent than just saying everything is going to work out. So I love yourdistinction. So I'm glad we had that chat. No worries. So you already talkedabout radiant. I mean 20 mil 2 38 mil hired 100 people in 2020 the year ofour pandemic. You've worked with, you're also working with service titanfounders are medicine and vehicle Zion. So I would just love to hear you talkabout the most recent work you've done with radiant. I know you're workingalso with a company called Blanton's you're working with are and a hey, talkto me about how you've approached these clients, the kind of work you're doingand what your goal is as a director of leadership training, as a director ofexecutive success. What does that look like? So I guess the simplest way tolook at this would be where it began. I I trained at next star for eight yearsand was 45 weeks a year on the road. It was concentrating technicians and frontline people in sales people. And you know, what I was seeing was again andagain, I believe like 80-plus of our next our members at the time weresending their frontline and technicians and everything off into training andthey were using our training and only like 30 something percent were engagedin leadership training. And you know, I mean part of that was I just don'tthink we had, you know, the product to offer them. That was that compelling.But what I was watching was over and over these technicians, for example, ina service system program, we're going off and having a truly transformationalexperience and then I'd see them again a year later and we'd have to undo alot of what we'd have to redo a lot of what had originally been done. And youknow, I always look at that and I said, well what is it about my training? Howcan I get better? Right. Those are, you know, parts of the positive, thepowerful thinking to say how can we improve on this? What I started torealize was these managers in these business owners, they weren't doing thework to support the shift in these human beings. And so now you got thistransformed human being going back into their old environment. Well thatenvironment is going to win nine times out of 10. And so I started taking alook at this and I'm going, we need to be working at the highest level ofthese organizations and I say that only in reference to the or chart andnothing else when I say the highest level, but that's where this missionwas born. And that's what I when I left next start was to to go make anabsolute commitment to this and it it was to really help leaders grow. I mean,john Maxwell says leadership has influenced nothing more, nothing less.And my question is, OK, so we get it, the role of the leader is to influencepeople to do something in alignment with the mission of a business. But howdo we do that in a way that Horus and serves the people that we leave? Andevery technique and tactic that we've typically developed as human beingsstops short of really honoring and serving others. Almost all of them aredesigned to get us what we want. And even our most seemingly altruisticefforts are still designed to get us something, even if it's just a feeling.And this idea of leadership and ethical influence is about really exploringwith leaders, what their true intent is, elevating their self awareness,elevating their ability to then influence themselves, elevating theirability to become aware of others and...

...then finally finally their ability toinfluence others. And so this work is about bringing some of these reallyintensive personal development concepts, transformational mindset concepts,looking at what is it in my background, my way of seeing the world that causesme to interact with the world, the way that I do and causes the world to seeme the way that they do, understanding it, uncovering it, doing the deep workto work through it and then showing up on the other side as a transformedleader who by being more is capable of doing more and that's the work that I'mdoing with these leadership teams. But I got to tell you it's the rareleadership team that has the humility and the guts to do this work becauseit's not for the faint of heart. Yeah, no, it's not does take humility. Itdoes take us it takes I think it also takes a baseline level of awareness torecognize that this is something that you need help with two and like anintrinsic drive. I mean you look at guys like you look at our and buffet,they are at the helm of the number well number 10. Now I'm quick to point thatout. It's not number 11 because one of those companies went public but thenumber 10 on the Forbes list, right? The cloud list of free, you know, I. P.O. Tech companies out there, right. Who are these people to say, hey, we wantto get better as leaders, Right? But that's the type of drive mixed withjust enough humility. I won't, I don't think I'll overstate the humilitynecessarily across the board. But just enough to say, hey, we, we know thatwe're capable of more because no matter where you are in your success and inyour life, no matter where any of us is the way that we're currentlyconstituted, we are maxed out in what we're capable of producing right hereright now today, in order for me to have and do more, I must become morefor tomorrow. And so these guys that are taking a look at this type of stuff.These men and women are, these are the highest performers who are stillinterested in finding what that next level looks like. And that's why I loveworking with them because these are people who are freaks. But then thebeauty of it is they're affecting. You know, you look at an organization likeservice type, we've got 1000 employees now And 6000 companies. And of those6000 companies, there's probably what you know, 15 2030 employees on averageto those companies, you start to run that math and you're now talking abouttens and tens of thousands of people, hundreds of thousands of people who areultimately, you know, being affected downstream by the decisions of choosingto seek growing personally as people and as leaders that are of a and theexecutive humid service state is making by investing in this type of work. I'dlike that. You said the downstream effects. And it's when you think aboutthe R and D. Origin story which you can find on our website, if it's, trust me,it's it's there and it's prevalent about two kids who decides started asummer project of just let's make software for our dads And now fastforward to what, 10, 12 years and they're impacting literally hundreds ofthousands of people across across the United States and Canada. We're coming up on an hour and I'mtrying to think of a nice way to button up this really big and powerfulconversation. And I would like to ask you, what would you like to say to anyleaders owners, service managers? GMS who may be listening even, you know,someone who's a service tech and they're hearing what you have to sayand they're like, this is all making sense to me, but this is all big andthis sounds scary. What is the one message you would like to convey tothem if they're showing any inkling of interest in this type of work? That isa beautiful question and I'm just going...

...to cause me a moment's contemplation. I think it can be as simple as I justwant to encourage them to be curious, genuinely curious. It's been said that the quality of ourrelationships in our lives is in direct proportion to the quality of thequestions that we're asking and that goes for the questions we askourselves and the questions that we ask others. And fundamentally if you wantmore in your life, start asking bigger questions. And the second part of thatis then just be courageous because everybody is always waiting for theconfidence to take their next steps. But confidence comes from having donesomething and therefore knowing that you can do it. I always hear peoplegive advice and sales and training. You just need to be more confident. I laughat that. That's like telling someone to just be taller. Like that's that's nothow this works. You can't just be more confident. But what you can be is youcan be more courageous and courage proceeds confidence and everybody'salways vying for and waiting for the confidence to take their next step orto to really ask a big question and may be willing to listen to discover thatthere's a different answer than the one they believe their whole lives. Butcourage is immediately available to you and courage is where it's at. So yeah,that's that's my answer. That's my best, best effort. I wish I had stoppedtalking instead of this little can you just cut this little less foot? I mean,I felt profound until I like fumbled through the very end of it, so I neverknow when to stop, I can cut it out. But honestly I think you even moregenuine than you already showed yourself to be and trust. If anythingjust know that you just said you just did all that to the queen of givingprofound statements and then backtracking them immediately. I meanthat's if if you want to do it, I don't know, you know what do I know, you doknow, you do know and I am so, so grateful for this conversation keith, Ihave a couple of rapid fire questions, I would love to ask you to wrap up thisepisode. Are you good with that? Yeah, let's do it. I'm already nervous, I'mnot going to get my answers out quick enough, but go ahead. Oh no, it's I sayrapid fire just to make everyone nervous. No, it's just more instantquestions. But any podcast or book recommendations you would like to makesure. So book recommendations. The four agreements would be very high on mylist. I would say the allegory of the cave. If you don't want to read all ofPlato's Republic, the allegory of the cave is a great place to startquestioning what we know. Making sense for podcast. Making sense with SamHarris is a really, he's a fascinating philosopher, does a lot of reallybeautiful work on mindset and I'm a big fan of his. I would include tim Ferrisspodcast in there for just general learning Ted Radio Hours, anotherpodcast that I really enjoy listening to and yeah, that's seven habits ofhighly effective people is always worth revisiting with Stephen Covey back to abook. So there's a few great, we have some podcasts in common. Big fan of theTed Radio Hour myself, love that. And love that show. How do you take yourcoffee black? If you could have dinner with one person that are alive, whowould it be? My dad? What's the number? Oh, we actually kind of already askedthis. I said what's the one thing you're trying to learn more about rightnow? You have given therapy before? But is there anything else that comes from?Uh Yeah, in short fishing. So we just moved to north Carolina and so this isa whole different species down here. Red fish. And I'm working tides and man,we're like learning how to fish tides and how fish moved down here isdifferent than bass fishing. So, I am really enjoying learning about that.That's awesome. If money worn in objects, you had unlimited resources,what would you do? I would Bartending ski bum, I think. Nice. I love it. Ilove it. I love it. I love I love the...

...honest, I love it when I get an honestanswer I got was this episode that was like I'd probably just stop working andI'm like, yeah, thank you. Yeah, no kidding. Well I couldn't, it doesn'tmatter because I couldn't stop doing this if I wanted to. So I'm going toend up, I'm still going to be this guy. I just, I'd like to just be doing it ona chairlift every day. Yeah, you'll be the group of the boom on the skimountain. Have you gone on the black diamond? It was a long beard. He's justgiven some great advice and like coach, it's really easy to impress people whenthey're drunk too. So that's the bartending part. All right. What'sfinal question, what's the number one thing every contractor should do to runa successful business? Oh man. Every contractor should you know what investlike invest in their people. And I mean that like genuinely invest in careerand personal growth paths for their people because you've already got allthe great people that you could want. You just haven't chosen to look at themlike that yet. Thank you and I normally don't do this, but I just rememberedsomething you said earlier that I also just want to highlight which is youwere taking while you were at next start, you were taking these people,you were they were transformed and they were being put in the same stagnantenvironment and I just want to underline that I think that is soimportant and also goes back to what you just said well and that's perfectlyinvest in your people but you have to be investing in yourself alongside him.So all y'all like invest in yourself, invest in your people and go on thatjourney together. Love it, keith mercurio, thanks so much for being aguest on toolbox for the trades. It was truly a polite a privilege. Iappreciate you service titans growth series, the only master class featuringTurkey, advice from industry experts is now available on demand, unlockcritical lessons to accelerate growth, like mastering systems and processeswith al levy leveraging, open book management to motivate your team withEllen roar and getting into the growth mindset with keith mercurio, just go toservice titan dot com slash growth to access the original series for freeagain that service titan dot com slash growth.

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