Angie Morgan Wrote a New York Times Best Seller, But That Wasn’t The End | PoP 327

Angie Morgan Wrote a New York Times Best Seller, But That Wasn't The End

Have you ever thought about writing a book but not sure where to start? Do you feel that managing is the same as leading but are having trouble gaining respect from your peers? Can you lead through influence and can this approach benefit your business?

In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks with Angie Morgan about the journey that brought her to the point of writing a New York Times Best Seller and how she is helping professionals understand how to achieve greater success by implementing leadership practices into their work routines.

Podcast Sponsor

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The Gottman Institute is dedicated to combining wisdom from research and practice to support and strengthen marriages, families, and relationships. It brings the knowledge of research to therapists — and the insight of therapists to researchers. This link between research and practice reflects the collaboration of John and Julie Gottman, whose combined research and clinical experience is extensive, and incomparable.

To save $50 on the level 1 training click here!

Meet Angie Morgan

Angie is the founding partner of Lead Star and the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Spark: How To Lead Yourself and Others To Greater Success and Leading From The Front.

She has written numerous articles on leadership and organizational excellence appearing in a wide variety of publications including Forbes, Fast Company, and SUCCESS. Angie’s been a dynamic guest on CNBC, FOX News, and CNN and helps professionals understand how they can achieve greater success by implementing leadership practices into their work routines.

You can find out more about Angie here:

LinkedIn

Twitter

Instagram

Angie Morgan’s Story

Angie’s leadership expertise formed after she graduated from the University of Michigan and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. She also holds an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Shortly after launching her professional career, Angie saw a need in the workplace: professionals consistently showed the capacity to be leaders, but no one was actively helping them get there.

In This Podcast

Summary

In this episode Joe Sanok speaks with Angie Morgan about how professionals can understand how to achieve greater success by implementing leadership practices into their work routines.

Leading Through Influence

Trust is the currency of leadership. If people don’t trust you, you’re never going to lead them.

You manage things and you lead people. To lead people is about influence and inspiration.

Mission and Purpose

We as human beings desire to achieve our potential and sometimes you can’t quantify that.

When Angie left active duty she was a pharmaceutical sales rep, she was making good money but felt something was missing. She left this company and joined another 2 companies but still felt the same. Angie realized that she had more enjoyment serving in the marines and not earning as much as her pharmaceutical jobs because mission and purpose is very important to her.

Marine Life vs Corporate

What you do individually does not matter, it will not get the job done, it is about the team. Everything you do is about team success, not individual success.

Most people don’t think like this, organizations are designed for individual performance to shine through.

Implementing Big Ideas And Writing A Book

If you really want to write a book, start by writing an outline then transition to writing your introduction chapter. If you can write an introduction chapter you’ve got the foundation built.

Angie and her partner Courtney used the first book they wrote as a marketing hook. This opened a lot of doors for them and from this they could build a workshop.

Things to think about when writing a book:

  • Be clear about why you are doing it
  • Do research on self publishing vs using a publishing house
  • Most publishers also want to know how you are going to market your book
  • Think about the platform you can deliver and market to

Self Publishing vs Publishing House

If you don’t think you can sell between 2000 – 3000 books, don’t self publish.

If you decide to use a traditional publisher you will need a literary agent. You can always also write a book and share it electronically.

When working with publishers:

  • You will need a proposal
  • An introduction/marketing section that will hook them – 20 page document that will intrigue and excite them

Lessons Learnt And Finding Balance

The person standing by you is more important than you give them credit for.

Angie sets clear priorities and values professional fulfillment and happiness.

To get access to Angie’s book click here and claim 3 free copies.

Angie’s husband Matt is running for congress and you can learn more about that here.

Useful Links:

Meet Joe Sanok

private practice consultant

Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.

 

 

 

 

Thanks For Listening!

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Podcast Transcription

ANGIE MORGAN WROTE A NYT BEST SELLER BUT THAT WASN’T THE END
PRACTICE OF THE PRACTICE
POP 327

[The Gottman Institute has delivered over four decades of research, training, workshops, and thought leadership. I personally love their approach in my own marriage, and with the couples that I worked with. Now, for the first time, you can train with them online. Their new online courses include everything you need to adopt the Gottman method to your practice. Earn CE hours, improve outcomes, build expertise, and grow your practice from anywhere on any device. To get started today, save $50 on the level one training online course when you visit Gottman.com/joe.] This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, Session number 327.

INTRODUCTION

[JOE] I have to tell you I’m very happy right now. Last night, we went out for dinner and to this burger placed called Bubba’s and they have Bubba Time where you get I think 25% off. And they have delicious tater tots. And you know, I usually try to eat pretty healthy, but I got this olive burger with bacon and I only ate half of it because it was really big. But, I saved it and I just took a bite into and it is so delicious. And like the next day, and you know, it’s always a wild card when you eat leftovers for lunch. But, I actually read a while back.
I don’t remember the study. The people who pack their lunch. I’m not talking about leftovers like hamburgers, but people who pack their lunch. I forgot what the percentage was. But, there were a certain percentage like weight wise skinnier than people who eat out like three or four days a week, which makes sense because you know, usually, restaurants want to make things delicious, so they add a lot of bad things to it. Well, that has absolutely nothing to do with the Practice of the Practice podcast, except a little glimpse into my personal life and Traverse City. And I’m really excited about the awesome guests that I have today, Angie Morgan.
I’ve actually met her in person several times. We’ve hung out. She is an amazing person that lives in Traverse City and she is a New York Times bestseller and I’ll be reading her whole bio in a little bit. But, super excited for you to meet her, hear her story, and just have some huge takeaways. So, without any further ado, I give you, Angie Morgan. Well, today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Angie Morgan. Angie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Great Success and Leading from the Front.
She’s written numerous articles on leadership and organizational excellence appearing in a wide variety of publications including Forbes, Fast Company, and Success. She’s been a guest on CNBC, Fox News, and CNN. Angie’s leadership experience formed after she graduated from University of Michigan and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. Angie, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[ANGIE] I am really happy to be here. Thank you so much, Joe.

[JOE] Yeah, it’s really weird to be talking to you over Skype when we’re like five miles away from each other.

[ANGIE] I know.

[JOE] I just stole your joke because you said that to me when we were talking a few minutes ago.

[ANGIE] But, it bears repeating. Yes, it is. I’m really happy to be here. So, thank you for having me.

[JOE] Well, let’s start with your time in serving in the military. You’ve used that time to really learn and talk about leadership, apply that to the business world. Take us through some of the stories, of kind of that time of service.

[ANGIE] Well, I think it’s really, I think, when I talk about my time in uniform, I think what’s really interesting is where I grew up. And I grew up in a small town in Northern Michigan Kalkaska. And this was pre-internet. So, really no connection to the outside world. But, I knew growing up in a small town that I wanted to see what the world offered. So, I went to a large university, University of Michigan. And through my dad’s encouragement, I would say it was more than a gentle nudge.
It was a, “You really need to look at this program.” I enrolled in Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. And just that experience alone, going, you know, in Ann Arbor was exciting because I got to meet, you know, people with different and diverse backgrounds than mine. But then, going into ROTC and preparation to be a marine, I was suddenly surrounded by people who I think had thought a little bit more about what military service was going to mean to them.
They were a little bit more prepared for the experience. But, what it helped me focus on was just what is next and how I can serve my country. And the other experience alone, I also learned a lot about leadership. I thought it was interesting as a student at the University of Michigan. In our fight song, we always say, you know, “We’re leaders and best.” But, I didn’t learn leadership in college. I learned it in the Marines, which is a really unique way of learning leadership because most of your practice of developing your leadership skills is developed when you’re leading your peers, which is your hardest peer group to lead– is the hardest group to lead because with your peers, you can’t pull rank you know.
You can’t say do this because I said so. You have to learn to lead through influence. And that might sound really resonate with your audience, right? I mean, think about, you know, those who are part of you know, your organization, you’re working with people who are essentially your customers. You can’t boss them. You have to lead through influence, which is really actually hard to do. It takes a lot of focus and mental energy. So, I learned leadership that way. And through the process, I, you know, developed this really great skill set that had application far beyond the Marine Corps. And it also allowed me to really just constantly be examined.
What I think my opportunities are, what possibilities are, and really what– you know, what it is I’m capable of achieving. That was a long answer.

[JOE] No. That’s awesome. I love it. And I love that idea of leading through influence because so many people that own private practices. They may have W-2s or 1099s. But, we’re often– we view our colleagues as colleagues, not as people that we kind of lead and kind of push in a certain direction. I think that the idea of leading through influence for me, like, that’s what I naturally want to do more than to do it from a kind of top-down approach. And so, to lead your peers and to have that be kind of where you start, I think it just kind of sets the tone that, yeah, we have to lead through influence.
What are some of things that– maybe some bullet points under leading through influence that people can do or consider as they look at their own leadership.

LEADING THROUGH INFLUENCE

[ANGIE] Well, the first most important thing that we talk about in our work is just really understanding what leadership is. In our society, we’re socialized to think that it is about a managerial title, or a place on an organizational chart. That’s not true. I mean, the greatest phrase I can think of is that you manage things. You lead people. Management is important but it’s inter– you know, it’s not personal. It’s budgets. It’s spreadsheets. It’s staffing.
It’s all those things that you can do on a computer. People are different, you know. And to lead people, it’s about influence and inspiration. Those two things, if can influence others, and you can inspire others, you can lead anyone. So, you can be a manager without being a leader. But, the reverse is also true. You can be a leader without being a manager, and I think of all the leadership roles in my life, you know, being a parent. That’s a tremendous leadership role. Being a volunteer, I do a lot of work with this organization or community called Battle in the Books.
A Battle in the Books, I mean we rely upon volunteers. So, that’s a leadership opportunity for me to influence. As you know, my husband’s running for office and you know, that opportunity working on his campaign and supporting his campaign is also a lot. You know, people just don’t show up and give you their discretionary time because you make them. You have to lead them. You have to build those relationships. And one of the most important things that we always teach people is understanding that trust is the currency of leadership.
If people don’t trust you, you’re never going to lead them. They may comply especially if you know, you’re paying them, and you have that type of power over them that monetary power. But, without trust, there’s just no relationship.

[JOE] Yes. So, then, how did that transition after being in the marines because that was you know, quite a career for you, and then, you transitioned more into business. Tell us that story.

[ANGIE] I didn’t realize in the marines how important mission and purpose were to me as a human being because when I left active duty. I found a really great job opportunity. I was a pharmaceutical sales rep and I think it was really great. I mean the job itself wasn’t that great, but the paycheck was, and the easiest job in the world. I was working for Pfizer selling Viagra in Beverly Hills.

[JOE] Oh my god. That might be the title of this podcast.

[ANGIE] Exactly. So, I was making good money. I had a company. But, something just wasn’t right for me. And so, I quit that job and went to another pharmaceutical company. But, still same problem. Then, I quit that company went to another pharma company. So, this is a three-year period where I work for three different pharma companies and just realized that it’s not money that makes me fulfilled. It’s mission and purpose. I had more time– more enjoyment in my life, serving in the Marines, working with Marines, getting paid crap, sleeping little, having terrible food, than I did making money, and you know, trying to sell random products that the company was pushing on our clients. So, that to me reminded me that mission and purpose are very, very important. And that’s inspired me to start a company with a woman I served with in the Marine Corps, Courtney Lynch. And we created Lead Start about 15 years ago. So, today, we write on leadership and we work with businesses, and inspire greater leadership, which is funny because I think a lot of the work that I did, Joe, is very similar to work that you and your colleagues do.
I mean, we help people realize that better versions of themselves and help them remove some of those mental roadblocks that they have when it comes to them and helping them reach their potential.

[JOE] I love that you kind of contrasted your time in the military with that time when you were making money. There as a research study that recently that I was looking at, where they looked at how people kind of work with profit and purpose. And they looked at well, of course, if someone feels like they have purpose and they’re making good money, those are the most motivated employees. And those that feel like they don’t make any money and they have no purpose, those are the least motivated. But, they were looking at the people in the middle that they’re making money and they don’t feel like they have purpose, or people that have purpose and aren’t making great money. And they kind of contrasted those two groups. And they found that the people that felt like they had purposed, that they would go so much farther above and beyond in their jobs because they felt they were part of this larger duty or this larger impact rather than the motivation just from the money.
I think we intuitively know that stuff butt it’s nice when researcher’s kind of back up what we intuitively know.

[ANGIE] Yeah, absolutely. I feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to build this career and you know have multiple buckets in my life filled. But, I’ve been on the other side to where, you know, just my wallet was happy. And that isn’t a good place to feel. Like, I think, we as human beings desire to, you know, achieve our potential, and sometimes, you can’t quantify that.

[JOE] So, what helped you realize that when you were selling Viagra in Beverly Hills? Like, was there like a moment that you sound like what am I doing here? I’d rather be in a tent in Iraq or Afghanistan. Was there a moment that it just really stood out to you that you needed to shift?

FROM SELLING VIAGRA

[ANGIE] Well, you know, it wasn’t within the work. It was a personal thing that happened about 10, 12 plus years ago. My brother took his own life and that a massive turning point in my life because his death to me represented not just a tragic loss. But, it helped me realize that this is the gift that I’ve been given. I’ve been given this life. I can either suffer through the, you know, this existence that I’m experiencing, that isn’t fulfilling, or I could do something more meaningful. And if I want to do something more meaningful, what is the risk of failure? And so, that helps.
I think for me, just put that in perspective. If I fail trying to do something meaningful, I’m still going to be alive. I’m still going to have my family. I’m still going to have so many things. So, the risk wasn’t as dire. I think, as so, again, He’s lost helped me put my life in perspective.

[JOE] Yeah, I am so sorry to hear that. I’ve had friends who have lost two siblings and that’s just– it’s just so rough. When you came back from the military, I think about how often we hear about, you know, veterans having a tough time transitioning back. But, it sounds like you’re really landed on your feet. What do you think either what’s the difference, or what do you think should happen to help when people leave the military to transition into civilian life. What are some of the key things that either helped you with that can transition or that you think would help other people with that transition?

TRANSITIONING TO CIVILIAN LIFE

[ANGIE] Yeah, well, I feel very fortunate in the sense that I left active duty 10 days after 9/11. So, I don’t have more stories to really share. I mean, to be completely honest, I spent most of my time in Hawaii. Yeah, I mean I moved to LA after that. It was weird like I missed the beautiful beaches of Hawaii because I was stuck in LA. But, you know, it’s funny though even with that lifestyle. It was a difficult transition because the camaraderie that exists in the military is so strong, and you just miss those people.
Of course, I’ve seen my husband’s transition not just, you know, from a war zone, but, even leaving the military. And it’s amazing how much, you know, identity you have wrapped up with being in the Marine Corps. The more I’ll say this, like, the Marines are really good. And I don’t– we talk about brainwashing. But, you certainly do drink the Kool Aid, I mean the organization– there’s that you know, we say that there’s no such thing as an ex-marine or former Marine.
Once a Marine, always a Marine. And to cultivate that type of culture, you start from day one when you realize. And you’re thought and training like boot camp or school that what you do individually does not matter. It will not get the job done. It is about the team. And everything you do is about team’s success over individual success. I had Iraq mate in training who was just number one. Like, I could tell she had the most knowledge of the military.
She was always top of her class whenever we were racing around in the morning to get our racks made and clean, you know, our boots and get our rifles ready. She was always the first one done. But, she got kicked out of training because she could not work with a group. And so, I think that if she just couldn’t function, like, she couldn’t subordinate her ego and her need to be number one, to be a part of a team. And that to me was, you know, hard process, right, to think about “we” before you think about “me”. But, when you grow up in that culture and spend so much time there, it’s really hard once you leave because it’s not the rest of the world.
Most people don’t think like that especially when you work in corporate environments. Most people don’t try to focus on the collaborative. I mean organizations are designed for individual performance to shine through and so it’s just a different type of structure.

[JOE] Yeah, so, when you were kind of launching this business consulting, how did that transition happen?

[ANGIE] Well, it was an interesting time. We were moving to– we were living in North Carolina at the time and then we’re moving to Quantico, Virginia. And I’m really fortunate to have a business partner. I don’t think I could do this without Courtney. I’ve known her longer than my spouse. She’s my office spouse. And you know, she’s more than a friend and she’s, you know, my business partner, my confidant. And she’s always the one though that has these crazy harebrained ideas. And I’m always the one who figures out how we’re going to them. So, I think she was actually the one to say, “Let’s quite our jobs and start this company and write the book.”
I’m like, “Well, if we’re going to do that this is what needs to happen.” So, I really followed her lead.

[JOE] It’s nice to have those people in your life and it’s nice to have people that can kind of help put together those crazy ideas. I think that’s an awesome synergy you guys have.

[ANGIE] We do. It worked out so far. We’ll see how much we can go with it.

[JOE] So, what was the order that you did things. I think a lot of people listening, they have these big ideas that they go beyond their practice and they’d love to do consulting in a variety of forms and they have the skillset to do it. Did you guys first start blogging? Or did you write the book first? Take us through kind of the order that you did things to be successful?

[ANGIE] I think that there’s a lot of just similarities between, you know, starting your own consulting practice or you know, counseling practice, as we did start our own consulting practice. I think some of the key things that we picked up early on is that we needed to have a marketing hook and our first book leading from the front was that. So, we started writing that, which opened the door for a lot of client opportunities because we were able to say, you know, “We’re soon to be authors.”
Even though we know in our minds that this book was like two years down the road, who was going to publish it? But, it was that confidence, right? It will happen. You will do it and then we started, just you know, cold calling into businesses. And at the time, leadership development wasn’t what it is today. It wasn’t such a, you know, robust industry with a lot of competition. So, it was really the book. Then, we built our workshop. Then, we sold our workshop and what evolved over 14 years was you know, consulting practice where we’re not just you know, a book in a speech anymore.
It’s more about helping businesses design systems and programs to grow and develop their employees.

[JOE] So, for someone that’s thinking about, “I would love do that.” The book writing process, that was kind of the first thing that opened the doors. What quick tips do you have around that process for people?

TIPS FOR WRITING PROCESS

[ANGIE] It’s got a great quote. But, if you want to write a book, here’s how you do it. “Sit down and start writing.” That’s one of the hardest things because it’s like the iterative process. I mean, you just have to commit the hours. What is important though, I think, going into writing a book is just to be clear on why you’re doing it because it’s– I was the lead author on our last book spark. And it was not– it wasn’t that it was an unenjoyable process. It was just a really grueling process. So, just be clear on why you’re doing it. And also understand if you want to self-publish, or if you want to use a publishing house, and just do some research on the differences.
Also, to know that there’s a whole industry out there that can help you write a book. You know, there’s editors, there’s ghost writers, there’s self-publishing groups. That even if you just need help writing an outline– and that’s where I would start. Like, if you really, really want to write a book, start by writing an outline and then, transition to write your introduction chapter because your introduction chapter will be the basis, you know, for your book. And if you can succinctly write about it in an introduction chapter, you’ve got the foundation built.
Plus, if you want to go through a normal, like, publisher, they really don’t need the whole manuscript in order to invest in your work. Most publishers, like, for us, we had to include a, you know, an introduction, a sample chapter, and a marketing chapter, like, how are we going to sell the book. And that’s a dirty little secret about writing books, right.
For most publishers, you could have the most novel idea but if you don’t know how to market it, then, they don’t care. Yeah, it’s very rare, especially in our genre which would, you know, what I would write and what you would write, Joe would probably be, you know, it’s both going to sit in the self-help section. Like, if you don’t know how to market a book, or you don’t have people who follow you already, it’s just a gamble for them, which is why– and especially in the self-help section.
It’s such a competitive section. So, I think the most important document is the introduction chapter. But then, if you really going to go and try to get into a publisher, spend a lot of time thinking about marketing who knows you, which is great. Like, you know, for you, I would say like you’ve got a podcast. You’ve got followers. You’ve got a natural audience and that’s part of your platform. And so, if that’s something that you want to do, think now too about the platform that you can deliver and market to because that’s going to be helpful.

[JOE] So, like, when should somebody self-publish versus– it seems like getting a publisher to go with you just feels so like winning the lottery, or you know, getting you know, a music deal that it just seems out of reach for most people.

[ANGIE] You don’t need to make it sound…

[JOE] Because I did my own internal like, yeah, I’m not saying you’re saying. I’m just saying that it’s just for most people, it fees like to get a book deal with a publisher, it just seems, “Oh my gosh. How would that ever happen?” Like, how should someone approach that? Do you have to find an agent? And then, on the self-publishing side, like, what would you say would be times that people should consider that?

[ANGIE] So, yeah, you should if you’re going to go to the traditional publishes. You’ll need a literary agent. And that’s you know, it’s not necessarily hard. But, you still have to find somebody who’s interested in your work and they care about the same things the publishers are because they’re trying to sell. You know, they get a percentage of how much of the book sells for. So, that’s something really important to, you know, just keep at the back of you mind. But, if you’re interested in just, you know, getting your book out there, I heard this from a friend of mine who works for a self-publisher company that helps authors get their books on shelves. And what she said was really interesting to me.
If you don’t think you can sell between 2,000 and 3,000 books, don’t self-publish because the time, the energy, and the expense of it– and it doesn’t have to be 2,000 to 3,000 books in six months, I mean, through your lifetime. Then, you know, really just use that as a number because the expense, you know, will barely break even if you don’t think you can sell that many. You could always write a book and share electronically of course. And I think they know that there’s different publishing mechanisms for your manuscript in the works that you do.

[JOE] Don’t create space through Amazon or you know print-on-demand-type things. Yeah, I mean, if you just want to create a book– like, I did write a book that I gave away to– It’s called Mental Wellness Parenting. It’s just a bunch of kind of parenting things. I view that more as a two-dollar business card that I can hand out to people that has a lot of good parenting advice that then helps promote the practice. So, I definitely see, like, I someone wants to do that route, that’s super easy and cheap.
Any tips on finding an agent and working with publishers, or to get in front of them?

TIPS ON GETTING IN FRONT OF PUBLISHERS

[ANGIE] Yeah, you know, I think going back to what do you need to get in front of the. You need, essentially, a proposal. You need an introduction that’s going to hook them, marketing section that’s going to hook them. So, I’d say on a 20-page document, that will, you know, really get them intrigued and excited about your work, your ideas, who you are and how you’re going to help sell books.

[JOE] Awesome. Well, let’s keep moving up. So, then, you guys launch this consulting practice. You get a New York Times Best-Seller. You probably hustled really hard to get that sold and you’re out there. What lessons did you learn as you built this practice?

[ANGIE] Oh, kiddo, it’s probably more on– well, I think the most important thing that I learned is the business partner relationship. You know, it’s not Courtney and I that because we were friends, that, as a lot of our business to be successful. It’s because, again, at that foundation is trust. I was reading– I love to read autobiographies. I’m reading Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography recently. And I loved one of his statements about what kept his band together after all these years.
It was his realization that the person standing next to me is far more important than I give them credit for. And I need them to feel the same way about me. And I think that’s a really good analogy that, you know, again you work with people. You know, even in our relationships, like our spouses, you know, we just have to recognize that people are more– the person next to you standing by you is more important than you often get them credit for.

[JOE] Sure. Sure.

[ANGIE] And that keeps your relationship intact. So, that would be one of those things. And I think too, like, I’ll be over, you know, completely honest. I mean we’ve had great successes as a business and we’ve had some unfortunate failures as a business. Just keep going and just keep going. You know, we’ve lost clients. In fact, we’ve lost really great clients. In Spark, my business partner talks about a meeting she blew at Google’s Headquarters and it was just a fumble, right. And it was disappointing, and kind of, you know, professionally embarrassing but you just keep going forward.
You know, I’ve had similar situations where, you know, didn’t perform my best at a workshop, you know, fumbled a client expectation, lost clients. But, you just kind of keep going and use those moments as building blocks as you go forward.

[JOE] How do you and Courtney kind of balance? You know, you have a great family and there’s travel, and speaking, and work. How do you balance all of that so that it doesn’t feel like you’re just working all the time? But, that you also move the business forward. And yeah, like you have to have one or the other. You have to have a successful business, or you can be good to your family. You can’t do both. How have you balanced that?

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

[ANGIE] Yeah, and I think somebody recently was talking about the word “balance”. And I think to me, like, what resonated with him was the word “harmony”. Like, you know, because it’s never going to be balanced or at least weighted evenly. But, how do you find harmony with what it is that you’re doing? And so, I don’t know that I do it that well to be completely honest. I think that there are things that are really clear on my mind when I wake up in the morning. And those are my– what I would call “values.”
Some people would call them “priorities.” But, just trying to set some clear lanes about what’s most important to me, things I’ll say yes to, and things that I’ll say no to. You know, number one most important thing for me is my family and I travel a lot with work so I’m never, you know, evenly time distributed to them. But, I try really hard to make sure that their needs are met. And so, you know, for example, yesterday, just as a matter of fact, we, you know, invited someone to live in our home.
She’s a college student to help us with childcare. It wasn’t necessarily a decision I wanted to make. But, at the same time I knew it was going to help me. It was going to help my husband and it was going to give a little bit more stability in our home. So, just knowing that, you know, family is number one most important thing, it made that decision easier because I knew like, “Okay, it’s going to help us get a little bit stability here.” And then, you know, professional fulfillment and happiness rate up there for me.
Like, those are very important as is my faith. And so, trying to define just, you know, what is important to you and ensure that you make decisions that are aligned with those priorities. We write in Spark a lot about character and values because ultimately, right, your character is the manifestation of your values. But, if you don’t know what your values are, then, you have to question, you know, what type of character are you projecting into this world.
There’s, you know, a lot of research on why good people do bad things. And it’s not necessarily because they started out with malintent or bad people. It’s just because they lost sight of their values.

[JOE] So, I want to fast forward a little bit to November 2016. Some things kind of changed in our world and Trump was elected. That did something kind of to your family. What kind of discussions did you and Matt have after that election?

AFTER 2016 ELECTION

[ANGIE] That’s good question and this is great to tie this to leadership. This is something that’s very important to me. And it wasn’t even the day after the election, it was the months and weeks going, and the day before going into the voting booth. When I went into the voting booth, I felt very let down by both parties because I didn’t feel that the process had allowed– I don’t want to say the cream to rise to the, you know, the top because I don’t think about it that way.
I just don’t think that the person, the many people who are on the ballot were going to be the people who were going to unite our country. You know, had Hillary gotten elected she was not going to be the person to unite the country. Donald Trump, I just didn’t envision that was going to be as bad as I believe it is today, especially, as it comes to leadership or lack thereof. So, we went to bed disappointed not knowing the result. I woke up at 3AM knowing the result and I couldn’t go back to sleep. And I went for a run as soon as the sun rose and came back.
My husband was like, “We need to do something.” And so, doing something meant that I started off thinking, “Well, I’m just going to run for office.” We need to take back the house to put balance and you know, we’re not necessarily a political family but we felt like balance and Congress was going to be critical. But, the further I got down the road, it was just not going to be me because it was a full-time job to run for office. And my work is full-time, and it is pretty steady. And my team depends upon me. And it just wasn’t going to be me. So then, we went to her friend’s house and Matt got talking about– this was February 2017.
He got really passionate talking about the environment and our friend, Jordan, looked at Matt and said, “Why aren’t you running for office?” And it was so funny because I never thought about Matt running for office. I never thought about Matt running for office. So, we sat there for 48 hours. And he threw his hat in the ring. And now he’s running for Congress to be a US House of Representatives for Michigan’s First Congressional District. And we’ve been going at it for 16 months.
It has been– and again, I’m not sure with your work too, you know. At least we call them heat experiences, those crucible experiences that change you. And this has been– I think it’s been infinitely harder than the Marine Corps. It’s a completely different set of skills that Matt’s been developing. So, he’s been at the Marines for 20 years and that’s a hard job. He left for a year when we had our two-year-old. I’ve been in Iraq, you know, he’s had multiple deployments.
Yet, this is just infinitely harder because essentially, what you’re doing is you’re definitely leading through influence. But, you’re trying to build a coalition to support you. And it’s, you know, you have to take feedback perhaps. I mean, you don’t necessarily want feedback from– You know, Matt came to the office the other day and his pants were too tight.

[JOE] Is that possible? Alright. I had some pretty skinny jeans on even though I’m going to be aloen in the office doing podcasts.

[ANGIE] Your appearance, to your message, to the way you shake stuff at his hand, I mean it’s just like, you get the firehose. Yeah, you get a lot of the positive stuff too. But, it’s just been an amazing experience.

[JOE] What are the behind the scenes like things? Not that you have to reveal like big things, but I mean just like what are unexpected challenges in running that Matt and you faced?

CHALLENGES

[ANGIE] Oh, gosh. You know, well, this is something that was very surprising to Matt a couple weeks ago. In fact, it happened– he was at the UP Big Boy doing like a town hall-style event. And a gentleman wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat came in. And Matt went to shake his hand. And the gentleman said to him, “I’m not going to shake your hand, you’re a Democrat.” And that was really, I think, hard for Matt because he didn’t know necessarily grew up a Democrat.
He was pretty apolitical for many years. He’s always voted for people over party any given day. So, that was something really just kind of took him back. And Matt was asking him a few questions. And you know, the guy is like, “You’re going to take our guns.” Matt’s like, “I’ve never said anything to that matter.” And the guy told him, “Well, you’re a liar.” Matt’s like, “Sir, I mean, I’m not a liar. I’m looking in your eye and talking.” So, they had this banter, you know, back and forth where this gentleman was just you know, throwing out talking points that were just entirely off-base. And so, at the end of the conversation, Matt went out to shake his hand to say, you know, thank you for just sharing your opinions with me.
The guy still refused. So, Matt stood up and said, “You know, I’m really sad that this the state of our country right now where you will not shake the hand of a 20-year Marine Corps career veteran, somebody who’s spent more than three years overseas in service of this country that you’re going call to me a liar and not believe anything that I’m telling you as I looked you in your eye. And I really want you to think about that on your drive home.” And that was I think a sad moment.
But, it was also, I think, a moment when he was very proud of himself just being able to stand up and say, “Look at this. This is why we’re doing this.” There’s this great divide in our nation and there’s a lot of healing that needs to happen. And it just starts with people, you know, addressing these situations that divide us, not unite us.

[JOE] Yeah, where do you hope the country goes in the coming years?

[ANGIE] I think we need…

[JOE] A big hug for everybody?

[ANGIE] I think we need a grand vision, you know, like we need a grand vision about who we are and where we’re going, and what type of leadership we want to provide for the world. And I feel in many ways that we haven’t had that in decades. In many ways, I feel like we’ve been bailing water out of our boat and sticking our fingers in holes to try to just stay afloat. But, I feel like we just need a grand vision that we can take people in our country that we can all align on because I do believe at the end of the day, we all share the same values. And the noise around us, whether it’s polarizing media, whether it’s disgruntled individuals can really distract us from the things that matter most to us a nation.

[JOE] Yeah. I mean, what gives you hope that we can move towards a kind of better society? Because I think a lot of people right now, they see what’s happening in the world. They’re feeling really hopeless. What gives you hope to move towards something better?

[ANGIE] I feel it’s the people who come together and have never been political before, and who’ve just said, “Enough. I’m sitting– I’m getting off the sidelines. I’m throwing my hat in the ring.” And I was telling this to you earlier. I mean we’ve had multiple diplomats and very senior military officers reach out to our campaign and say, “I’ve never been political before. I’m going to break ranks with diplomatic and military positions, and start being political, and backing your campaign because the lack of leadership in our society could be the thing that kills our democracy.” And so, to hear them talk about it that way, it not only scares me right.
But, these people who have no fear for our democracy, it frightens me too. But, then, I get inspiration because they’re willing to say enough.

[JOE] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, even when you’re just before we started recording, we talked about Elizabeth Warren and other people supporting the campaign. It’s just– it’s amazing to see, you know, when people see someone like Matt and yourself that say, “You know what? Let’s put party aside and just create a better society.” That’s something inspirational that people can get behind. And so often, you know, versions of a grand vision are based on let’s create a new enemy that we can attack together.
Versus, “Okay, what are we actually going to move towards that’s going to be something that’s compelling?”

[ANGIE] And I was really inspired by a lot of what John McCain said in his, you know, last words about we’re a nation of ideals. And we really are. I mean I listen to the Hamilton soundtrack ridiculously too much. But, it reminds me of what we were fighting for and what we’re still fighting for. And these are the things that we can’t slack off on because these are the things that are most worth fighting for, you know, our freedom, our democracy, and the things that our founding fathers, you know, fighting for.
We need to be caretakers of those ideals.

[JOE] Wow. So, Angie, if every private practice listener and owner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know?

ADVICE TO LISTENERS

[ANGIE] Oh, gosh. I’m trying to think about the smart way to tie everything that we’ve talked about together. So, it’– you know, I think, you know, if I were– I just had this question with a friend of mine. If I were to start this business over, what assumptions would I have, what risks would I take, what would I do differently? I think that you know, I think like building a consulting practice is very different. It’s just very similar to the practices that your listeners build.
I think just sometimes go back and figure out why you’re doing what it is that you’re doing. And being able to share that with a broader audience, to help you, obviously, you need clients. But, being able to share that, like, you’re really positive of your point of view about your work– because I think that it’s like a magnet to folks. And I think, the second thing too is that reset your own expectations for yourself. There’s this really great podcast and that podcast was a TED talk that I was listening to was by Dan Gilbert.
It was about your future self. And it was kind of cool because it made me think about sometimes how low bar we have for ourselves, on our expectations of ourselves. But, you know, he said, like you know, when we’re birth to 18, we can appreciate how much change we go through in our life. But, when we get a little bit older, 30s and 40s, we tend to think that we’re finished products that we don’t have a lot of change. But, the research shows that it very not true.
I mean, yeah, we’re not going to change at the rapid rate that we did with from birth to 18. But, wherever we are in the stage of life, we have a lot more growth and development to do. And so, I think about that, you know, for the work that I do and the work that your listeners do. It’s that there is so much out there and if we just raise the expectations or ourselves, and the things that were capable of, whether it’s work or life, or whatever, you’ll surprise yourself with the result. So, revisit expectations and just match them up a little bit higher.

[JOE] Oh, I love that. So, Angie, if people want to connect with your book, with your business or with the campaign, what’s the best way for them to connect with you in those three areas?

[ANGIE] So, the cool thing for your listeners, if you go to sparkslead.us, you can find a host of content out there. It’s total free, no gated content, videos, powerpoints, stuff, that you can use and explore to learn more about our work, and to reflect upon your own leadership style and skills. But, we also have an offer right now for three complimentary copies of spark there. You can take advantage of that offer there. Like, our big belief is if there are more leaders in this world, our world’s going to be a better place. And so, we want to inspire that by giving you and your friends, colleagues, volunteers, co-workers, whoever, copies of spark. And you can read it together, you can talk about it together.
I mean, we all have to eat so why not discuss Spark versus whatever things at lunch. And yeah, so sparkslead.us is a great way to just learn more about our work. And if you want to learn more about our firm, leadstart.us.

[JOE] Awesome and what’s the website for Matt and your campaign.

[ANGIE] Yes. So, that, if you’re interested at all to learn more. It’s mattmorganformichigan.com.

[JOE] Awesome. Well, Angie, I’m so grateful for just all you’re doing for our community, in our area, and for small businesses, and you’re just an amazing person. Thanks so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.

[ANGIE] Thank you so much, Joe. Good luck.

[JOE] Thank you so much for listening and learning with us today. Angie Morgan is just amazing. Head on over to all those websites she dropped at the end. If you’re interested, we’ll also have those in the show notes for you as always. Hey, we want to just point you over to Gottman.com/joe. So, you can get that $50 off of level one training. I am now level 2 trained with the Gottman’s and I learned so much with that in regard to framing things out, using research to grow in regard to relationship. And I’ve actually applied it in a lot of ways to not even just the couples I work with but in my own life and my own relationships.
There’re so many applications beyond just your therapy practice. So, I would highly recommend going through that level 1 training. Again, that’s Gottman.com/joe. And actually, this week, we have a surprise for you, we’re doing a three-day social media sprint podcast series. And so, actually, tomorrow, the next day, we’re going to eb going through this sprint. And so, the first day, we’re covering Facebook, then, we’re going to be covering Pinterest and LinkedIn, and then, we’re going to be covering Twitter and Instagram. So, make sure you check your podcast app for those new episodes and thanks for letting us into your ears and into your brain.
Have an awesome day.

[Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for the intro music. We really like it. And this podcast is designed by accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It’s given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.]

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