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Shifting Mindset and Embracing Discomfort with Marko Schmitt KDS:122
Episode 12228th November 2023 • The Kim Doyal Show • Kim Doyal
00:00:00 00:51:12

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Kim [00:01:22]:

Welcome to another episode of The Kim Doyal Show. I always say I'm very excited about my interviews, and it's true because I only talk to people I know, admire, and respect, and this is actually our 2nd time talking. But The 1st conversation I had with my guest, Marco Schmidt, which I'll do an official introduction in a minute, it was like I felt like we could have talked for hours. I'm like, we need to do a podcast episode. So here we are. So, first of all, welcome my guest, Marco Schmidt.

Kim [00:02:05]:

Marco, thank you for being here today.

Marko [00:02:08]:

Oh my god. Kim, it's Such a pleasure to be here, and it's really true. I mean, every time we connect, I just feel like, oh, wow, sister. You know? We're doing crazy cool stuff together. Even though we're operating in different places, we're still, like, in the same universe.

Kim [00:02:22]:

Totally. Totally. And we connected just through Twitter and then saw each other in a Kavon co cohort.

Marko [00:02:30]:

Right. Yeah. Yeah. We both love Kavon Chung. He's He's such a super cool guy in terms of bringing community together. And so and then, yeah, we've, like, had, you know, tons of, like, back and forth on Twitter and stuff like that, and I just love what I do. And so yeah. Super happy to be here.

Marko [00:02:45]:


Kim [00:02:47]:

Thank you. So I love hearing the backstory. So for the audience's audiences, I've got plurals now. But for the audience, can you share your backstory and what brought you to where you are today? And then we'll get into your business and what you're doing today.

Marko [00:03:01]:

For sure. I'm happy to talk to all of your audiences.

Kim [00:03:07]:

You know what?

Marko [00:03:07]:

Hey. Look.

Kim [00:03:08]:

Swear to god. Yeah. I sometimes my my mouth cannot keep up with my brain, but go ahead.

Marko [00:03:14]:

And vice versa. Right? I mean, sometimes I find my mouth saying something that my brain is going, no. No. No. Anyways, my backstory, probably it Started in some ways with dropping out of high school to join the circus. And, you know, it's like one of those things. I was one of those accelerated kids I was, like, always in the smart classes and got to do, like, the crazy fun things, you know, like going to the factory and seeing how they printed newspapers or, You know, bringing odd guests in and stuff like that. And by the time I got to high school, I had really thought high school is gonna be super fun, like college, like, really exciting, and it was Boring.

Marko [00:03:51]:

It was super boring. I lasted for almost 2 whole years, and then I dropped out to start doing circus work and play in a rock and roll band. And, I actually moved out of my parents' house and, you know, it's like the great thing is is that I already had skills. I already knew how to, like, you know, hustle and sell things, and, I learned how to paint houses. I I did a bunch of things. So I was Financially self sufficient when I moved out, and it always gave me this sort of independent attitude that I don't have to work for the man. And I have to say, here it is, you know, all these years later. Part of what I do as a coach is, like, working with people who are super skilled at what they do, You know, who are experts and seasoned, but they're afraid to let go of the weekly paycheck or or their corporate affiliation.

Marko [00:04:37]:

They they know they're not getting paid what they're worth. They know they're being lighted. But they don't have that background that I have of, like, being able to go and dance on your feet, make shit happen, and, like, Deliver like a great life for yourself. So I would say that's really where I started. And from there, you know, I did circus work off and on for 6 years, got to, like, Work in Europe and different parts of the United States and for small circuses and as a solo person. And all the time, I'm learning about life. I'm learning about, like, how do things really happen, You know, and it's all about people. And this is another, you know, lifelong lesson.

Marko [00:05:13]:

Business is all about people. Relationships, It's all about people. You take care of your people, you connect with people, and it will all come back to you. Right?

Kim [00:05:22]:

Always. Yeah.

Marko [00:05:23]:

So, fast forward, I was working with the Flying Karamazov brothers who at the time were like this crack juggling team that even performed at Carnegie Hall and other things. And I was on a tour with them one time, and, like, we were having a great time doing these crazy shows and Doing all this cool stuff, juggling with fire and magic and stuff like that, and I learned that they'd all gone to college. And I was like, Holy simoleons. Here, I've, like, acted in Shakespeare plays, but I've never actually read a Shakespeare play. I've never, like, really gotten an education. I decided, I'm going to college. And I had 2 literary heroes at the time, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. And I was actually friends with Allen Ginsberg at the time, and So he hit on me a couple of times at Poetryland.

Marko [00:06:05]:

I don't know if that made us friends or not, but I knew he went to Columbia University. And I said, if I'm gonna go to college, I wanna go to a college in New York City. And if there's 1 college I really wanna get into, it's Columbia University. Now I was dating this girl who is an American Ballet Theatre at the time, and she said, hey. I'm going back to New York. You could stay in my apartment and, you know, we'll see what happens. That relationship, like, didn't really last a long time, but we, you know, part of good friends. But I did get me to New York, And so I showed up at Columbia University on the very 1st day of classes.

Marko [00:06:42]:

So I walked into the admissions office and I said, I'd really like to go to school here. And they said, do you have an appointment? I said, no. But, I mean, who do I need to talk to? Well, that would be the director of admissions. Fair enough. Do you

Kim [00:06:54]:

have your high school transcripts? Marco. I love it. Go ahead.

Marko [00:06:57]:

No. I don't have my high school transcripts because I didn't exactly finish high school. How about your SAT scores? Nope. Didn't take those either. I could see the no sale thing happening in people's eyes. But because of my background on the circus, I knew that This is just the beginning of a beautiful relationship. How do I make friends with these people? Well, so what I did was made an appointment With Dean Banfield, who was the director of admissions at that time, and on the way out, I saw a stack of course catalogs. Well, those course catalogs gave me, like, the courses and the room numbers and the times that these courses were happening.

Marko [00:07:33]:

I was thinking, You know, showing up is 90% of success. Right? So I started taking classes before I was actually admitted. And there was a couple of other lucky breaks that were on my way that year because that was the year that Columbia was changing from a paper based, registration system to a computer based registration system. And I also made friends with all of the teachers that I was taking classes, and there's people who are already having problems with registration. Anyways, long story short, eventually, Julie, I was able to talk my way in and get a fabulous education at Columbia University. And I graduated with a Bachelor's in theater and writing, and then I taught for a little bit. I had so much fun that I went back and got my master's degree too. So, this you know, the the moral of that story is that, you know, there's more than one way in.

Marko [00:08:25]:

And once again, it was all about people. So fast forward, I, taught for a few years. I got really interested in educational software. I got a chance to bid on a great project at AT and T Bell Labs. I started a sophomore company. I moved out to Palo Alto, got to bid on a great job with Apple and, Stanford Research Institute raised some money, built a little company, made some money, sold it, had a successful Exit. Yay. Raise money for our next company, and it tanked.

Marko [00:08:58]:

So I got to feel both, like, you know, the ups and downs of being in Silicon Valley and raising money and, you know, the whole venture capital world out on Sand Hill Road. Over the years, I've done tons of boutique software development. I've worked with some really incredible people, both as individuals as well as, in companies, I've had 3 funded, software companies, 2 of which which did do didn't do so well, but one which was a success. And about 10 years ago, I started coaching entrepreneurs, and I found, like, passion. This is, like, where I get to take everything that I knew about business, About, you know, tap dancing, about meeting people, about working together, and all that stuff, and I started coaching entrepreneurs and helping people start and grow businesses. And so today, I have a company called Guiderly, and we help people basically make the transition from corporate or whatever else is holding them back Into starting and growing their own businesses. And then I also work with Miracy, which is a fantastic education and, A business development company based in Montreal where I also help hundreds of people start and grow businesses. Is that a pretty good backstory? And I was like, woah.

Marko [00:10:09]:

How fast can I tell this story?

Kim [00:10:11]:

No. You did fantastically well. And you know what it was? I was thinking about your, How do I get into Columbia? Totally reminded me of Rudy Rudy Rudiger who wanted to get into Notre Dame, and I'm like, this feel that sounds like this sounds like a movie, and it totally is. And something that I gleaned really early on in your story too is when you were talking about being financially self sufficient at such a young age and moving out of your parents' house, which clearly set you up for a belief about earning money and and making your way in life where my guess is, like, with people that you're coaching and working with today. You know, it's not easy to leave the life you've known. I mean, My life was sort of turned upside down, then I was like, that's it. I have to make this happen. And so when you have those monumental moments, but the further along the path you get, The harder it is to leave.

Kim [00:11:02]:

Right? And then and I don't know if this is, you know, with the last 10 years of your coaching and whatnot, if you've seen a difference because the world is so different today than it was 10 years ago, and I think so many people are yeah. And I think so many people are probably thinking, what am I doing this for at a certain point. You know? There's there's so many beliefs and institutions and structures that are shifting and crumbling or changing in front of our eyes that I I think I don't know. And my guess is, you know, I know up for at this stage in my life, you start going, there's probably left life in front of me than behind me, and I'm gonna make it count now. And so, you know, I

Marko [00:11:41]:

love you.

Kim [00:11:42]:

Well, thank you. I mean, it's all you know, it's especially when you're probably the odd man out with a lot of people. You know? Nobody in my personal life, my real life, you know, my dad, 15 and a half years later, still doesn't understand what I do.

Marko [00:11:58]:

But that's a good thing because you're not trying to change your dad's life. You know? You're really trying to be a beacon, an example for people who really are changing their lives. And what you're saying is absolutely true, Kim. We're in time of, You know, economic, political, social what what part of life is not in turbulence right now? However, there's still this belief That true security is found by working for the man. Wrong. You know, one of the things that I have heard over and over With my clients and my own personal short experience of working for other people because I haven't really done it that much because I really don't like it. But, you know, the truth of the matter is when you work for someone else, you can get fired anytime for any reason. Somebody could just, like, have a bad day on their way into the office and go, you know what? I'm tired of working for with that guy anymore.

Marko [00:12:48]:

He's out of here. And Mhmm. The truth of the matter is There's no real security in any of this because we never know how long we're gonna be here on this precious planet. We don't know how long our life is really going to be here, so why not do work that you love. Why not do what you're called to do, to show up in this life with your gifts and all the things that you're super interested in, all the things you can do for other people? So I love working with people who are good at what they do, but they haven't quite had that experience. They haven't had that, opportunity to develop confidence in what a super cool human being they really are and how they can make it happen on their own for themselves.

Kim [00:13:28]:

Well, let let's talk a little bit about some of your clients or or, you know, how you work with people because

Marko [00:13:33]:


Kim [00:13:33]:

You know, I mean, you've been through Plenty. Right? And I think most people by the time they hit our age, I think it's safe to say, like

Marko [00:13:42]:


Kim [00:13:42]:

You've had loss. You've had tragedy. You've had triumph. We we've had enough experience Netlife. Right? But

Marko [00:13:47]:


Kim [00:13:48]:

The the things that were really important to me 20 years ago, like, I don't care anymore. Like, I just Mhmm. Quality of life. I know what I I know how I wanna feel in my life. So, you know, it it's different when you don't have kids under your roof like my kids are out on their own and you know? But Mhmm. What are some of the challenges that maybe are some commonalities you see with your clients when they've hit this sort of precipice. And they're like, there's gotta be something else I can do with my life, or I it's time for a change. You know? What are some of the roadblocks that you run into with people?

Marko [00:14:19]:

Well, the biggest roadblock is mindset. I mean, if if you don't have any experience of having of stepping over the threshold into the adventure of your own life, Then it's really hard to trust that anybody's gonna catch you, that you're that you're not gonna fall apart, that you're not gonna be able to make your mortgage payment or whatever whatever it is. So, truly, that story that we tell ourselves about how competent and how able we are to Deal with whatever is going to come up. I'd say that's like you know, that's a really, really big challenge For all people who have had the safety and structure of working, you know, in a corporate environment. And it's kinda sad because The truth of the matter, that's just another story that we tell ourselves about what we're capable of. And, you know, we could say, oh, you know, but my daughter's only 14 and, you know, College is coming up and, you know, we have a mortgage and, you know, how we're gonna pay for insurance and all this other stuff. Baloney. The truth of the matter is your life is super precious, and you are called to be here.

Marko [00:15:28]:

And it's whether you enter that call or not Or whether you have you know, you've taken the call, but you put the phone on mute or whatever it is. You know? Mhmm. What I love to do is connect with people's superpowers and figure out how can they turn this into a viable business. And it could be a service business, which, You know, most of my clients are, but I've also worked with people who had ideas for a product. And, you know, some of the ways that we validate Customer need. Work whether it's a service business or a product business is some of the tried and true ways of making sure that you don't screw up your business, you know, apply across the boards. But I would say that mindset piece, if you can't develop the courage and and the enthusiasm for this journey, Then you're you're gonna be, like, sort of holding back and, you know, sort of like being pinchy butt about trying to do something cool. And Yeah.

Marko [00:16:21]:

That never really works.

Kim [00:16:24]:

You know, it's it's funny because I was, I was talking I had another interview this morning, and we were talking about how much of it is belief and mindset, and you hear that. And until you are willing to I I'm a big believer in self responsibility. I fully believe that I'm responsible for everything in my life, And, obviously, external circumstances I can't control, but I can control how I respond. I can control how I take it in and how I let that impact me. You know? And I think with when people are stepping into entrepreneurship, whatever that looks like, you know, there there's something about Adult learners, like, as an example, you think about kids. Like, we give them time to fail and learn and and and get things right, and There's, like, this perception that people are that we don't know how to be comfortable with discomfort. Of course, you're gonna be discomfort when you're learning or when you're stepping into something new. But it's like you know, it's kind of that analogy of, like, when you were going to Columbia, it's like, well, okay.

Kim [00:17:21]:

4 4 years are gonna pass whether I get into this school or not. So what do I need to do to make this happen? You know, so the mindset piece, where do you start that with people? Because, again, like, I'm sort of I don't know if you ever knew this, but my first sight before I was ever the word preshik was the self help chick because Uh-huh. I fell in love with Self help and development and stuff when I was, like, 22. You know, I got my 1st set of Tony Robbins personal

Marko [00:17:43]:

power. Yeah.

Kim [00:17:45]:

Which I can't listen to him anymore. But, anyways, To each their own, you know, whatever.

Marko [00:17:51]:


Kim [00:17:51]:

Like, but the whole point is it's like, I was so blown away that there was another way to think that could change my life. Like, oh, so if I think different things, it'll change my behavior. It blew me away that that was even a possibility. So at 22, I'm a little more malleable than, say, a a a an adult in mid career with the mortgage and the children and stuff. So, you know, what type of a process if you wanna share some of the stuff you do with your clients, and how