Friend of the show and incredibly impactful person, April Shprintz and I catch up on her career and her exciting and impactful new book, Magic Blue Rocks, link here (https://amzn.to/3wDT3tc). We discussed a variety of topics related to mindset, specifically a growth or fixed mindset. Mark this as a must watch/listen on living a generous and impactful life. Catch the FIRST chat I had with April here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWJMjpWxX0M Here’s the link to my interview with Bob Burg as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxSAUyi9iiY Another great read that has inspired both April and I, The Go-Giver, by Bob Burg. The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea (https://amzn.to/3mrf09W)
#108: Living a generous and impactful life with April Shprintz
April 7, 2021 • 55:35
Aaron Spatz, Host, America’s Entrepreneur
April Shprintz, Business Accelerator & Founder, Driven Outcomes
You’re listening to America’s Entrepreneur, the podcast designed to educate, entertain, and inspire you in your personal and professional journey. I’m your host, Aaron Spatz. And on the podcast, I interview entrepreneurs, industry experts and other high-achievers that detailed their personal and professional journeys in business. My goal is to glean their experiences into actionable insights that you can apply to your own journey. If you’re new to the show, we’ve spoken with successful entrepreneurs, Grammy Award-winning artists, bestselling authors, chief executives, and other fascinating minds with unique experiences. We’ve covered topics such as how to achieve breakthrough in business, growing startups, effective leadership techniques, and much more. If you strive for continual self-improvement and enjoy fascinating and insightful conversation, hit the subscribe button. You’ll love it here at America’s Entrepreneur.
Super excited. Because today’s guest, I had her back on the show back when we were doing audio-only interviews. So Season 1 back in the day was completely audio, no video, whatsoever. And so I’m really excited to welcome April Shprintz to the show.
So April comes to us from an Air Force background. She’s a pro at all the stuff that I’m doing right now. She’s a quite a bit of experience, but she’s more recently has had a ton more of experience as it relates to sales. Driven Outcomes is her company and really helping companies scale and grow and really helping unlock the very best in people. And so she’s also the author of a recently released book, Magic Blue Rocks: The Secret to Doing Anything. And so April, I just want to welcome you to the show. Thank you so much for being here yet again.
Aaron, thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.
Yeah. It’s awesome. So, I mean, again, for those that that are interested, you can go back and listen/watch. There’s nothing to watch. But Season 1, Episode 14. I do have it on YouTube, but it’s just…
Right. It’s just the sound. But you can catch it on Spotify or Apple. And so here we are a year later, and you’ve been doing a ton of different things. And I know you moved Florida not too terribly long ago.
About a year ago actually. Right as the pandemic started
So that had to have been fun, right? We’ll just start right there. So what was it like moving in a pandemic?
Well, so it was interesting. I was supposed to be in Atlanta through the end of April. And really, when things started happening and they started talking about – it was before they’ve talked about locking everyone down, but people were really starting to worry. This was right in the midst of there’s no hand sanitizer, there’s no toilet paper. And I was in Midtown Atlanta. And because that is such a population dense area, what I found was people were freaking out, which happens, right? I mean, you know, people react the way they react, but it felt much more dramatic because everyone was such close quarters. I was in a high-rise condo in Midtown and all of the events that I had planned, speaking and things like that had all been canceled within a couple of days. And knowing I had planned to go to South Florida anyway, things just got so crazy. I was like, you know, I think I’m going to go somewhere where people a little more spread out and they might handle this a little differently because of that. And it was a wonderful choice because I really do think that the experience here was dramatically different from folks who were in much closer quarters, especially once we found out that social distancing was very important and being outside was okay in some areas. This was a great place to be.
Yeah, for sure. And I’ll avoid the temptation to dive into deep political discussions about that because Florida was one of the states that really was leading the way and in a bunch of different ways is making headlines for various reasons. But at least in my estimation outside looking in, it seems like people have fared pretty well through all that. And so the state has done just fine. But all right. So let’s rewind the clock a little bit. I love to share with everybody kind of your story, your journey. And so I’d love to start it off with what were you like growing up? What motivated you and inspired you to join the military? And we’ll just kind of go from there.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s funny. Cause you mentioned my book when we first came on and everything about who I was and what I was like growing up is in the stories in the book. And one of them actually talks about how I ended up going into the service. And really, it was because I made a couple of very strategic errors as a young teenager about what I was going to do for my college education and found myself having turned down some scholarships and made some choices that probably weren’t ideal at the time, but actually ended up being a huge blessing and met someone else who’d been in the service when I was paying to go to one of those colleges that had offered me a full scholarship and I turned it down and learned about the military and all of the benefits of being there and that I could have the career that I really wanted at the time, which was being television news anchor.
So I kind of happened upon it as an opportunity. And I go into it in greater detail because it wasn’t as simple or as easy or without folly. Cause I still made more mistakes after to get into the Air Force, but ended up having an amazing seven-year career and getting to do what I think was the best job in the service, which was highlighting all of the real heroes in the military, the men and women who are keeping folks safe and doing the really important work and sharing that not only with the military community and their families, but also the local communities overseas as well as on cable in the US. So this was before – now I’m going to tell you my age here. This is before Netflix. This is before streaming. And so we were the only show in town.
Wow. Wow. So I mean, really, really, really important that the work you’re doing, right? And there’s like a lot of purpose behind what you’re doing and you’re helping connect people to all the different things that are going on. And I remember one of the stories – we won’t talk about it here, I’ll tease that. So people can go check out the episode that we did last year, but I remember the story that you shared when you’re traveling and just trying to try and make things work. You’re going overseas and I think you were going to ride a plane back to the States and things changed kind of last minute. And so you still rolled with it. It seems to be one of the hallmarks or your career. One of your big traits is you’re a very adaptive person, very driven and you continuously seek opportunities to make the most of any situation. That just kind of seems to be a bit of who you are.
I think that’s a mindset thing, Aaron. Okay. So this has happened. How do we make this work for us instead of happening to us? And so I think from a very early age, I looked at things that way and I feel very grateful that I did. I think now people talk about it in terms of do you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? Are you okay with getting some bumps and bruises and learning? Or do you think either I’m good at it and I know how to handle it or I’m just going to quit? And I’m very grateful that I had the mindset of I’ll take the bumps and bruises and try and figure it out or I think I’d probably be in a corner somewhere crying.
Right, right. No, but I mean, so mindset. And we can sit here and talk about this for a little bit. So I mean, having that growth mindset, again, I’m going to shoot from the hip, and I’ll let you correct me or take it a different direction, right? But having the growth mindset is the only way you’re going to realize opportunities and it’s the only way that you’re going to get from where you are now to anywhere else. And so if we’re so afraid of scuffing our knee or of screwing it up or making a big blunder of something, well, you know, if the answer was already no to start with, right? So that was status quo, right? So let’s do something about it.
You know, I actually have a story about that that involves you, Aaron.
Oh, my gosh, here we go.
I was talking with you on our first episode about the generosity culture and about the power of pouring into and giving to people, whether it be your employees, your clients, or your community. And what I did, and you were one of the – I think you were the fifth person who said, “Oh, this sounds like The Go-Giver. You should read The Go-Giver. And it was one of those things where, when people told me, I’d be like, “Oh, yeah, I need to do that.” And then when you said it, finally, I was like, you know what? This keeps entering my sphere for a reason. I’m going to listen to this book tomorrow or this weekend. Cause I think I talked to you on a Friday. I listened to it on a Sunday. And if you’re worried about what would happen and bumps and bruises, you would have never done what I did.
That book was so life-changing. It’s The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. And was so, oh, my gosh, these are my people. Where have you been all my life? That I reached out to Bob and to John and I was like, we should be friends. We’re the same kind people. You’ve changed my life. This is amazing. Oh, my goodness. And most people would be like, you can’t reach out to people who’ve sold a million books and they’re not going to talk to you. And my thought was, I just want them to know how special it was. And imagine my surprise when they both within like an hour on a Sunday responded and were so happy that that book was impactful. And the response that I got, you would’ve thought I was the first person that said that to them, when I was probably, you know, like the 1.5 millionth, right?
What was so amazing about that was it happened right before the pandemic. And I happened to notice that Bob lived 15 minutes from where I used to live. I was like, hey. This was, again, before we knew everything was kind of shut down. Can I take you to lunch? And it was such an amazing thing that happened because even with the pandemic, even though the majority of our friendship was built over these kinds of mediums, Zoom calls and virtual coffee, Bob has become one of my closest friends. Because of you and what you said and because of that mindset of why not me? I might be the exception. They might answer me. Or if they don’t, at least they get to hear how impactful it was. And I think that having that mindset allows people to create opportunities, even when they weren’t there in the first place.
Yeah. No, I mean, you summed that up so well, and I know that’s been just a part of your generosity culture, right? You’ve carried that through into everything that you’ve been doing. And so it really is. It is a mindset, right? And you can see it from somebody. I can see it on people sometimes from a mile away. Like it was just like the withdrawn, I hope nothing happens to me, you know, I just want to survive kind of attitude versus like, you know what, I’m going to go swing the bat. And if I strike out, I strike out, but guess what? If I don’t do anything, there’s a good chance I’m going to get struck out if I don’t swing the bat. So I may as well give it a shot. And so having the mindset of just like, hey, you know, I want to challenge myself. And I think another thing that you may have mentioned is being a perennial student. And I think that’s one of the common traits of that growth mindset is you’re constantly wanting to learn. The learning never stops. You’re always trying to stretch yourself and grow yourself and discover different things and continue to learn, right?
Absolutely. I call it being brave enough to suck at something new. Because it can be very daunting too. And I’ll tell on myself for years and years and years, Aaron, if I wasn’t naturally good at something, I didn’t want any part of it cause I didn’t want to look stupid. And I think a lot of us suffer from that fear of looking dumb or being judged or what have you. And I’ve come so full circle – not full circle but the 180 of that. Recently I was inspired by Netflix’s Cobra Kai because, oh, my gosh, karate is amazing. And I had a black belt when I was very young, when I was 17, 18 years old. And then for 25 years, didn’t study at all. Again, because of ego. Because when I was in the service in Korea, they were like, well, we don’t recognize that black belt. You’d have to start over. And I was like, I’m going to be a white belt again. I put so much work into it.
Well, now, that is exactly what I am. I am a white belt taking Taekwondo. I’m at my third week, and oh, my gosh, it is fun to learn it again. Cause it’s changed and I’ve changed. I’ve forgotten some things. And parts of me aren’t as flexible as they used to be. I’m hoping that comes back. But just being willing to go into the class and be like, hey, you’re going to be the worst one there and that’s great. Because what are you going to learn? What are you going to experience? And I can’t tell you, I actually appreciate it more and I’m having more fun learning it now than I did when I was a kid. And I was always putting so much pressure on myself.
Yeah. Well, you know, that’s such a great point. And I think this is a great opportunity to kind of shift. Still on the same topic, but maybe put a little more focus on the business side of things. So many of us and I’m making broad generalizations and it’s dangerous to do so, but we as people can tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. For me, personally, I put a ton of pressure and expectation on myself. I’m probably the hardest person on myself that there is, right? And there’s a lot of people that are like that, right? So you’re making that point of, you know, I’m learning this again, it’s fun and I’m not putting that pressure on myself. It’s enabling you to really enjoy it. And you’re almost kind of rediscovering it. And so I guess with the question/point I’m trying to make here is, so in business then, when you’re trying to grow or you’re trying to move from point A to wherever you’re trying to go, how do you do so in a way where like, hey, we have very real, tangible business needs that we need to meet, but how do you do so without putting yourself under like that crazy level of expectation? Or do you never really get quite away from it?
So a couple of things. One, I’ll say that I don’t always have it right and I feel like it is very important to share that with people, that when I say I’m going to learn this and not put pressure on myself, that is me on my best day. We all still have those days where we are in the fetal position, beating up on ourselves about how we could be better. And I feel like it is vitally important that people who appear to have it together say, hey, I still have those days where I don’t have it together at all.
Then from a business front, here’s the interesting thing about business. And I’m talking about your small mom and pop business all the way up to the Fortune 100. And I’ve worked with folks all through those realms, right? Everybody looks better from the outside than they really are operating inside. And I do not mean this in a negative way at all. But in business, we all want to push ourselves to be the absolute best. Yet a lot of times the bar’s pretty low and the business that sucks less wins. That’s the second time I’ve used that word. I probably need to find another word, but it’s true.
So let’s think about this. Let’s think about the cable company, cell phone provider, right? Contractors. You’re hiring the person that’s the least bad. I tell you that because there are all these areas where there aren’t that high of standards and business keeps moving forward and they keep making money and they keep doing well. Which means for those people who care, for those people who are showing up and doing their best, you are so far outperforming the rest of the world, that you can ease off a little.
And the best way I can describe this for people who are really hard on themselves is when you go to college, the way that they track grades changes. It’s no longer the way that they track a high school GPA, which is you made a 94 or you made a 100. You just make an A, B, C or D, right? Or you fail. So there’s no difference to anyone else between whether you made a 100 or a 90. Still an A, right? People are really pushing themselves. And I’m working with CEOs and leaders who just, man, they just keep grinding. I’m like it’s an A either way. What could you do with that other 10%? Could you be a little easier on yourself? You’re still going to be out there best of the best.
Right. I mean, that’s a solid, solid point. And I can just feel people cringing right now hearing some of this. Because it’s like, wait, but that means I have to like lower my standards. And I’m like, no, it doesn’t.
It doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. I’ll let you jump in on that.
Yeah, no, sorry.
It doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards. It means you are recognizing that you are already performing at such a great level. I think most of us are negatively motivated whether we realize it or not. And what I mean is this. It is easier to prove somebody wrong – yes, I can do this – than to do it for the joy of it. So our self-talk becomes: It’s not good enough. Try harder. It’s not good enough. Try harder. But where the magic happens is when you’re saying, man, that was amazing. I bet I could do better tomorrow. There’s a different feeling of being pulled towards it instead of pushing to meet some impossible standard.
I mean, I love, love the way you said that. And I don’t know how to rewind it because the way you said it was so brilliant. Instead of being so negatively focused about not meeting that and then doing better tomorrow, your emphasis was like, man, that was awesome. Let’s see if we can do – you said a better. I’m not going to try to re redo it, but just the way you set it though, it has a totally different feel to it. There’s a totally different attitude. There’s a totally different demeanor behind it. There’s a totally different power behind that. And so it gives you a little bit of freedom to relax a little bit. And then there’s all these other points too that we could make as it relates to like, okay, well, you know, law of diminishing returns, right? How much more value you’re going to extract out of this orange? I mean, you’ve like squeezed it to a pulp. If you squeeze a hundred times harder, how much more are you going to get out of it?
More. You know, a lot of times in the work that I do with companies, something that gives them this space, and it’s this space not to grind, to do it from this fun, exciting place comes from this: Identifying and helping them understand the things that they really grind on that their client doesn’t value. And it’s not that the clients don’t appreciate them, they aren’t grateful. It’s that somewhere along the way in the growth, they just keep doing the thing that they always did without understanding that on the other side of it, the client doesn’t value that, doesn’t need that, doesn’t even want that, but they’re really spinning all these cycles on it.
So in helping them identify that, which an outsider tends to be the best to do, right? It doesn’t have to be me. It could be hiring people who haven’t always worked at your company who now look at your process, right? When you identify those things, the time that you free up. So you can creatively create and make processes that are valued, or maybe give your employees back some time where they can create and make suggestions of things you can do better. It is unbelievably impactful, not just to the culture of the company, but to the bottom line.
For sure, for sure. And you know, there’s another thing that you said. And well, I like to go back real quick too because there’s another really, really big point that you made that I think was really big, which was understanding that people are always gonna put the polish and the veneer on what you see on the outside. And so the point you were making a few minutes ago was kind of had to deal with everybody – there’s broken processes and systems and people are people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a mom and pop or a Fortune 100 company, there are massive opportunities for improvement. And so I think it’s important to realize that too because so many people will see, you know, the spit and polish of a really well-established company and think, man, they’ve got their crap together. They’re a monster. And we’re kind of sitting here talking about this as like, no, but there’s always an opportunity. And sometimes it does take that outside perspective or different angle on something to change it or to understand it fully.
So it was just an observation I made because it is important. And I think it was great how you clarified that early on. It was like, hey, look, I’m trying to figure this out too. I don’t always have the best of days. Sometimes I have really bad days too. Just like everybody else, right? So it’s not always going to be a 100%. And you remind me of one of my roommates in college. He was the guy that he get an A-minus and it was a problem, right? It’s like a 93. I should have had a 100 or a 99. I was like, okay.
But it’s not sustainable. And that kind of mentality, and I had that mentality, Aaron, for years. I mean, when I talk about this so passionately, it’s because I’ve been on both sides. I’ve been that person that’s like, if it’s not a 100, why did I even do it, right? And then I’ve gotten to this place where there is so much more fun. There’s more that you can do. And it is literally the difference between grinding it out so that someday you can relax and enjoy your life or just enjoying your life and the journey and what you’re doing to the point that you’re not waiting for it to end. You’re not waiting for the weekend. You’re not waiting for vacation. You’re not waiting for retirement. You’re living in the now because it’s all fun and it’s all exciting. And a lot of that is mindset and giving yourself a little slack.
Is there anything else that people should be doing or thinking? Because we were talking about this and making it sound so easy, right? It’s like, man, all you gotta do is just relax. But is it really that easy? Are there any other things about that? Because I hate when I hear people talking about like, man, you know, it runs through the song, working for the weekend, right? You’re trying to get to Friday afternoon. And I was like, that’s a miserable, man. My heart goes out to people that feel that way. I’m just like, man, your life shouldn’t be that. So for that person, how do you adjust that? And what other things should we be considering?
Sure. So you asked the question, is it that easy? Is it that simple? No and yes. No, it is not easy. Yes, it is so simple. Because it is very much a mindset. It is very much something you can get to. And it’s as simple as practicing it. And I will give you an exercise you could do for 30 days and it will change everything. You have to just do it consistently for 30 days. It takes 30 seconds a day. So if you can invest that time, the way you feel about your job, about your life, about everything will be different. And it is literally waking up in the morning and spending those first 30 seconds – before you grabbed the phone or you brush your teeth, before you think about what is happening in your day – in appreciating the things that you love about your surroundings, your life.
And it can be as broad as I am so grateful for my family. I’m so grateful for my health. It can be as simple as, man, I love this bed. This is the most comfy mattress ever. But starting yourself on that momentum. That will make a tremendous impact in your entire life. Then when you think about your job and it’s tricky and it sounds counterintuitive, but I promise you, it works. If you were in a job, a JOB, I don’t like it. I want it to be Friday afternoon. I can’t wait for vacation. Find the few things – no matter how few and how small – that you do appreciate about that job. And they could be as simple as I appreciate that this job helps me take care of myself and my family. It could be I really love that one other employee who gets my sense of humor. I love that I’m no longer doing X other job. Even though I’m not a big fan of this job, it’s better than that job and I appreciate that.
If you focus on those little things about your job that you do like, I’m going to tell you right now that either your job will start to transform and more things that you like will start to happen or other jobs will come your way. Because once you start focusing on the things that you enjoy, you will notice them more in the world and the opportunities will come to you. Some people call this Law of Attraction. Some people go into the Baader-Meinhof principle, which is the science behind it, which is you get what you focus on. Your subconscious mind is constantly pointing things out to you. So the more you focus on it, the more it’s going to show it to you. And if you’re like, “Ah, April, it’s BS. I don’t believe you.” Think about the last time you bought a car. And the moment you did, you realize everybody else had one and you thought it was kind of special. It was kind of a different vehicle. And now do you see them everywhere? Well, they were there before, but you hadn’t told your subconscious mind to look for them. But the moment you had it, you focused on it, it became important. And then they were pointed out to you over and over again,
1000%. I mean, I could not agree with all of that. I could not agree with that any more than what I do. Because the mindset of having that gratitude. I mean, you find what you’re looking for, even when you don’t realize you’re looking for it. Another silly example is if you’re learning how to ride a bike and you’re trying to avoid running into a tree and you’re like, oh, I don’t wanna hit the tree. Don’t hit tree. You’re guaranteed to hit the tree every freaking time. It’s going to happen. And so, yeah, I mean, that’s a great example too. You’d never noticed that specific vehicle before, but now that you have it, you see them everywhere. They’re everywhere. And so, again, I know it sounds – if you’re listening, watching this, you’re like, man, April and Aaron are losing their minds. I promise you. We’re not actually. This is very, very powerful, very, very powerful stuff.
So here’s what’s interesting. I think sometimes people, especially if you’re not a positive, happy-go-lucky person, right? You’re like, man, I’m a pessimist. This won’t work for me. Guess what? Mindset doesn’t mean positive. It doesn’t mean happy. It means thinking about things that work for you instead of against you. And if you’re like, look, that thinking about those gratitude things isn’t going to work, I’m not going to get more of them. Really? Well, I’m gonna tell you right now that it works in the opposite too. So if you think about how much everything sucks, you can make more of that happen too.
Just think about in your life on the days where someone said something to you like bad things happen in threes. And wow. You made sure that you noticed three bad things that happened, right?
Right. And you know, you could change that number and you’re like bad things happen in sevens. And you had make sure that that happened for sure.
Yeah. I can do it either way. And I told you, I have good days and bad days. And on bad days, I’ll be like, I need to take a nap or do something to clear my mindset. Because right now I’m so focused on bad things. That is all I’m going to encounter.
Right. Yeah. Well, what you’re hitting on here too is, and I think it’s important for people to note again and I think it’s important to say this again, is you’re not always going to have a 10 out of 10 day. You’re not always going to hit the home run and that’s okay, right? But it’s important to remember this part of the conversation too because it is what you focus on, what you look for is exactly what you’re going to find. If that’s what you’re looking for, you’re going to find it. And so I couldn’t agree with that anymore. And I think it’s funny too how you were saying it. Yeah, it is very simple, but it is not that easy. But with a little bit of practice, you certainly can get there. I think it’s a great habit. That’s a great habit to enact into your life. And again, then taking that into the business world. Instead of being like, man, I’m not going to make my quota, if I’m a sales guy or, you know, hey, we just started Q2 and we’re already behind. Okay, well, let’s acknowledge that. We don’t have to be delusional about this either, but let’s focus on, okay, well, where can we find it? How can we make this happen? How can we move the needle in this business situation, right?
Well, and I even take that a step further. And my mindset about this is a little different, but I’ll qualify that by saying I was the top salesperson for different companies and in high-dollar multimillion-dollar sales. So this is backed by proof, right? That I actually did sell and do quite well doing it. I never focused on my quota, Aaron. I focused on who can I help today? And what is funny is when you focus on that, it’s why The Go-Giver resonated so much with me. It is the premise for the generosity culture. When you pour into people, man, there is nothing better you can do for quotas, finances and all of those things. Because if you are looking to help people, the financial side of it, the quota side of it takes care of itself.
100%. I mean, you’re focused on where it matters. And so, I mean, it’s just like when you’re focused on doing something that you really enjoy doing, and again, you’re able to find a path for that to help pay your bills and then to do all those other things, but trusting that it will continue to grow as you continue to help others, right? Great.
Going back to the book again. Let’s jump forward into kind of your present day, right? So you’ve been leading Driven Outcomes now for a few years. You had the book come out. You’ve been doing a lot of other things. I know we may have already talked about it actually just with the kind of fun discussion we’ve had. But what have you seen have been some of the most common themes that hold businesses back from making it to the proverbial next level? What is constantly holding people back from getting to where they need to go?
So in a lot of cases, it is the simple fact that often what got them to that place is not the same skill set that is needed to get them to that next level. And you’re not always going to find that talking to the same people you’ve always talked to. So this doesn’t mean you have to hire someone. You don’t have to bring in an outsider, but you do need to expand your scope of information that you’re taking in. You need to broaden your horizons and you need to not be afraid to fail. I think the biggest thing that keeps a lot of companies from scaling is being so afraid to get something wrong. And the thing is, is that the most successful companies that have grown the most, that have done the most remarkable, just explosion of growth, have failed at a lot of things, right? We may talk about the things that have happened wonderfully for Tesla, but we also know that there are things that didn’t go well too, right? But not being afraid to experience those. Same thing with Apple, same thing with Amazon. Any of these companies, they’re not afraid to fail. They’re going to go out there and do it.
The other thing is really, and this is more for your small to medium-sized businesses who’ve maybe been in business less than 10 years, is realizing that true growth does happen over time. It can happen quickly. But if you were to ask me, and if you asked me this 10 years ago, my answer would have been different. But if you were to ask me, April, do you want massive action? Or do you want slow, steady action over time? I’m going to take slow, steady action over time, hands down. Because it is so incredibly impactful. And so when businesses can embrace that and embrace empowering their employees to make those slow, steady actions without the fear of failure, that’s when they’re super successful.
That’s really awesome. And I’m going to dive that a little bit further with you too. Because let’s make it practical, right? So I’m thinking of the CEO who’s listening to this right now and is like, again, Aaron, April, that sounds great. But I don’t feel like that’s incredibly practical. Let’s drill down into that a little bit here. All right. So not being afraid to fail would then imply like, okay, then we’ve got discretionary budget. We have funding set aside that, hey, if we were to lose this, it’s not going to be the end of the world. I’m trying to try to put this into terms where people are like, okay, I can fully get my head around that. Are you following where I’m going?
I am. And I would tell you that it doesn’t come from that place – what you just described. We have discretionary budget. It’s okay if this doesn’t work. That’s playing not to lose. I want you to win, right? But the thing is, even people who play to win are not afraid to lose or you can’t play all out. Cause if you’re playing not to lose, you’re not on your game the same way. Your heart isn’t in it. You’re not doing it the same way. So what I mean is you get feedback from employees about a new way to do things and it’s different than how you’ve always done it. And you know the way you’ve always done it works, but this could be better. If you’re afraid to fail, you don’t do it, right? If you’re in a culture where no one ever says, “Hey, that wasn’t the right thing. We’re pulling back from that. And we’re going to focus on this and pivot”, the employees probably don’t even feel comfortable coming to you with their new ideas. We only do it the way we always do it because we can’t risk failure, right? It’s those kinds of little nuance things.
So if I was going to give a CEO walking away from this podcast one piece of advice to change the culture of their company so they can be brave enough to suck at something new so that they can have those big wins, start sharing with your employees where you have failed. We all fail every day, right? Little things, big things. One of the stories I love that I’ve heard from Sara Blakely, the multibillion-dollar founder of Spanx, is that her father asked her and her brother who has been exceedingly successful in his own right every week, “What did you fail at this week?” Take the stigma off of it so that they’re trying new things and they’re building things and they’re putting themselves out there. That’s the biggest thing a company can do to start to gear their culture towards success.
That’s so awesome. No, I love that. Because then what you’re doing is you’re creating a culture where people aren’t walking around on pins and needles, walking on eggshells, like a risk is accepted, right? We can entertain different ideas. Granted not every idea is going to get used, but we are going to promote a culture where we’re not afraid to swing the bat, right? Just put it in simplest terms, right? And so I think that’s a huge, huge, huge takeaway for a lot of companies. And I know it sounds so broad brush, but it really can make a huge difference. And again, it goes back to what were we talking about at the very beginning. We’re talking about the growth mindset. Do you have the growth mindset? What was the opposite of the growth mindset?
A fixed mindset.
Fixed mindset. So if you have the fixed mindset or growth mindset, I mean, that is your dividing line right there. And it’s pretty black and white.
Yeah. Well, and I know you said that it was a broad brush and it was oversimplified, but I love simple analogies cause I feel like they work for everyone. So I want you to think of this as a leader for your company. How many babies would walk if they were afraid to fall?
I mean, if they’re afraid versus pushing through the fear, right?
Well, I don’t even think – well, okay. Pushing through the fear is fine, but okay. So how many babies would walk if they were like, we can’t do anything where we might fall.
Right. And I mean, think about that. It’s funny. I talked to people when we talk about mindset, do you think you’re born with a growth or a fixed mindset and everybody has different opinions. And I always think about toddlers walking. I’m like, there’s no way they have a fixed mindset at that point because nothing about walking seems like a good idea. Nothing.
Yeah. And if you’re to watch my kids for 10 minutes, they definitely have a growth mindset cause they will do some crazy stuff. Oh, my gosh.
They don’t focus on the falling. They don’t focus on the what’s dangerous. They focus on I see candy on that table. If I get over there, I can get it before mom and dad notice.
Exactly. I’m gonna try to pole vault to the second floor in this house. Let’s make it happen. That’s amazing. Well, no, I’m tracking right along with you. I’d like to introduce, or I’d like to try to – like what I’m doing, I’m trying to anticipate the questions or the feedback and I’m trying to go ahead and answer that feedback in motion right now. I’m thinking like, what counterpoints can I throw at you, April? So we can hash it out and then see kind of where can go with it, which I think is fun.
Well, and those are my favorite things. The people who say I disagree and here’s why. I love that feedback because either they’re going to teach me something new or maybe I’ll share a way of looking at it that they haven’t considered before, or maybe together we’ll come up with something that’s even better than what we started with.
Right. No, I mean, going back to just the simple idea of growth versus fixed mindset. I think we could probably spend three hours just talking about that by itself, right? Just unpacking all that. So yeah, I like to kind of turn the tables and talk a little bit more about you and kind of what you’ve been up to with Driven Outcomes. I know we talked about your move down to Florida. So I’m glad you went down there nice and safe. But how has COVID impacted, and then like going beyond that, how have you been able to help businesses kind of power through that and leverage it as an opportunity?
Absolutely. So I was one of the fortunate ones where COVID meant more activity for my business. Because whereas before, working on scaling businesses or in some cases turning around businesses that were failing, they had to reach a certain point to want to do that. And then COVID really brought that at the forefront where everyone was looking to be proactive. So what was the most fun for me in the beginning was that instead of thinking about it from a business perspective and ooh, how many clients can I get in this situation, it was how many people can I help? So for the first month or two of COVID, I actually didn’t take on any new paying clients on purpose so that I could help as many people who needed the help as I could. And it was amazing because I got to talk with a software company in South America and how are they going to handle things for their sales force and helping another in-store company that’s in New Zealand and the UK, and then different folks in the US and get exposed to how a dance studio is going to take their class online and can you help with any of that, those sorts of things.
And then from there, as we settled into really what was going to be happening when we were opening things back up or learning how we were going to navigate in slowly opening things back up, then I got the opportunity to help businesses in a new way and look at their offerings in another way. So it’s been really exciting. And then in that time period too, I started a podcast. I started doing some mindset challenges, some 30-day mindset challenges to help folks with that mindset work. And then in addition to clients, I also wrote the book and that came a little bit out of nowhere, but I’m really glad that it happened because –
How did that come out of nowhere? You’ve said that twice now. So what’s the story there?
So it’s a really interesting story. So I was doing speaker videos right before the pandemic hit. So literally having a wonderful production company called Video Narrative put together my footage and my story so that people could see what I speak about. And right before the pandemic, I went and interviewed the woman who had made such an impact in my life when I was nine years old, Sue Harper, and to do kind of the Genesis of the generosity culture. This is where it came from. And I went back to my home when I was six years old and it’s this tiny ramshackle little house. And I just happened to shoot a video.
And it’s where I started my first business, which was the magic blue rocks that I sold at school and that’s where the book got its name. Well, I just took a quick video. It’s like, hey, this is my home. This is where I used to live. This is the gravel that I use to make the magic blue rocks. And I just put it up there on LinkedIn and some other areas to be like, look, you are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities. You can be anything you want to be. And it was just a post. It was just something to put out there for people to encourage them.
And I had a gentleman, who I’ve actually met through Bob Berg, who does huge boxing promotions. So most of the like Fox Sports and HBO and MMA, all of that, those are hits, right? So this amazing gentleman reaches out to me who studied under Don King. And he’s like, “April,” and he’s an older gentleman from Louisiana with the best accent. And he’s like, “You need to get your story out there. People need to hear these stories. You need to put these together and you need to do it quick and you need to get it out there.”
I was like, okay. And for some reason, it really resonated with me. So I cleared off a week and a half and I wrote the first draft and I was terrified that I couldn’t write. So I enlisted a good friend of mine from the service who is a fantastic writer because I’m a broadcast writer, right? I write for TV. It’s a different kind of writing. And she did my first edit, which was great because she was like, “No, it’s pretty good. I cleaned up some stuff, but here you go.” And I worked with a fantastic publisher and went through another couple of edits. For anyone who’s afraid of writing a book, that first draft means nothing. My book got good around it at three. Now I’m really proud of it. I think it’s really powerful and inspiring people that you can do anything. You just have to have that belief. And the book takes them through six stories from my life up until I started my company and shows them the way to cultivate that belief for themselves.
Wow. That’s amazing. Yeah. Cause you mentioned, I’m like, man, I got to hear the story. So it’s cool. It’s cool. And it’s tied back to where it all started for you, right? And that’s really neat. So that’s exciting. And again, I’ll make sure I link to this in the show notes or YouTube, wherever this is going. So if you’re listening to this or watching this right now, you can click the link and go grab April’s book.
That’s awesome. Well, and you know, I’ll give you the link. So if you’re not sure – because you’re like, everybody has a book. What if it isn’t good? The quick listen. It’s less than three hours. It’s not a super long book, around that length of The Go-Giver. It’s probably not by accident. And I was fortunate enough that Bob Burg actually wrote the foreword for it, but I have a download on magicbluerocks.com of the first chapter, whether you want it in audio or PDF. Because don’t take my word for it. I’ll give you the first chapter for free. If it seems like it’s for you, then you can buy it.
Oh, that’s awesome. Okay. Well, good deal. Well, yeah, I’ll have all that linked up.
That’s perfect. Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So we talk about the book. We talked a little bit about COVID and we talked about mindset. And, you know, for you, what’s some of the most exciting work that you’ve been able to do over the last several years as it relates to business? And I think there’s a lot of folks out there that are curious about just the way that a business grows, right? Cause we talked about this earlier as like, you know, do you want slow and steady or do you want fast, like right now? And your advice is to go steady, consistent growth. And so as you’ve either done that for yourself, but then also done that for others, what have been some of the biggest takeaways that you’ve seen in that versus the like, hey, we need to scale yesterday versus, hey, let’s get it right and let’s grow it over time. What have been some observations, I guess, is what I’m trying to ask?
Sure. So I do want to make one correction. It’s not the growth that’s slow and steady; it’s the action. So growth is exponential. I mean, I’ve had folks that have grown by millions and tens of millions of dollars really quickly. But it’s not by just going at it for 90 days and then kind of slacking off because you can’t keep up that kind of action forever. It’s the difference between a sprint and a marathon, right? You can’t run a marathon at your sprint speed. Or you can but you might die like the first guy that ran a marathon. So that’s talking about the action and not the growth.
The biggest takeaway, the most fun thing, I think that was the first question you asked is I’ve had some opportunities where there were companies where they were going to go under, they were going to cease to exist and that owner, that founder was going to go bankrupt. And having that company turn around within six months towards profitable. And then two years later, that owner be approached to sell that company for almost eight figure amount, right? Like amazing things. And it’d be more growth and more great things for the company. It’s helping people do things like that. It’s helping folks scale a company that they didn’t know how to do it, but they knew that they had something special, and being able to be that person who can see it even more than they can and help them get there, that is a special gift for me that is so fun. Because I can look at a business and say, oh, no, it should be way bigger.
And another thing that’s been super fun is working with the non-believers. And I’ve had a couple of clients who were like, this sounds crazy. I wanna do it anyway. I don’t believe anything you’re saying. I’m such a naysayer. I was like, it’s fine. We’ll just call it coincidences. It’s a coincidence that these good things keep happening when you’re working on your mindset, that kind of stuff. Watching that exponential success for people, that’s the juice. That’s why I do it. And for companies, for me, the biggest thing, the biggest change, the biggest way they can be successful is using the principles of the generosity culture. You know, pour into your employees, pour into your clients, pour into your community. Yes, it’s the right thing to do. It’s also the one that will lead you to the most growth and financial success and you’re going to have the most fun while you’re doing it.
Absolutely. And so let’s take it a step further then. So for veteran business leaders, veteran executives, so either folks that have exited the service and maybe they’re considering starting a venture or they are early on in their journey, you know, what have you seen – I’m going to try to ask a slightly different question. So how do you see – and there may be no difference at all and that is okay. But do you see any difference in the mindset between military veteran business leaders versus non-military? And is there anything – and again, it’s okay if you disagree or say no. But is there anything that military veterans bring into business opportunities that maybe set them up for success if they choose to implement certain things that they’ve been taught?
Oh, my gosh. Okay. So difference in veteran leaders versus civilian leaders.
100%. And I’ve met some great civilian leaders. So this is not to take away from those folks. But as a whole, the military focuses from the day you walk in the door, so to speak, on grooming you to be a leader and take care of your people. And you can see it in the loyalty and the performance of the people and the fact that that’s what folks are always thinking of. So military leaders are unbelievable. Do I see a difference in military entrepreneurs? I see a difference in the can-do-it-ness. They’re always trying to find a way to make it work, to make the mission happen regardless of what kinds of setbacks happen to them.
I think the challenge that they can often face is that – at least this was true for me when I was coming into the business world after the military. Somehow I had gotten the impression that the business world, that those folks were smarter, more polished, more prepared, more everything than we were. So I think what I see from military business owners is at times they can underestimate how great they really are. And that confidence and knowing that you’re just as good as the next businessperson out there, I think, is important. And I would encourage them to solicit opinions from people that they admire and trust. You know, what do you think about this? What do you think about me doing this?
And lastly, I would tell you that anyone who’s starting a business needs to feel comfortable with sales because that is the lifeblood of your business, right? It’s serving people, serving clients, et cetera. To make that easier, I encourage you to look at sales as offering to help. So if you’re not doing it to someone, you’re doing it for someone, I have this. Would that be valuable to you? Yes? Wonderful. Here’s what it will cost, right? And if they say no, they’re not saying no to you personally, they’re saying no to the help. And okay.
Yeah. That’s brilliant because I think you hit a veteran-specific nerve and I think it’s not talked about enough, which was confidence, right? So we’re in the military. Any branch of service, there’s levels of confidence. And you know, you could be 18 years old or 38 years old and there is a certain level of confidence that military people just exude and even in little subcultures within the military as well. And it’s almost like being born into a whole another world when you leave. And you’re like, holy cow, I could go do anything I want, and that in and of itself is overwhelming. And then you feel intimidated by all these other people who, like you said a minute ago, you feel like everyone’s kinda got their crap together and you’re almost feel like you’re behind.
I think the point that you made there too is really – it was really impactful. It was helping people to understand like that you’re better off than you maybe give yourself credit for. Slow down, relax a little bit and then to embrace sales. And I think that is a huge key as well. Getting comfortable with sales. And then to help lessen the impact of rejection is reframing it in your mind as offering to help somebody because we all love to help.
People love to help; military people love to help. So if someone’s saying no to you, they’re not saying no to you. Like you said, they’re saying no to the help. And I’m like, okay, well, I guess I can’t help that person. I’ll just move right along.
Or not even I guess I can’t help that person. I guess they don’t need the help. Good for them. I’m glad they’re in a good place.
That’s a great rephrasing. Yeah. So it’s like, not that I can’t help, but they’re deciding to make a different choice or however you’d want to phrase it. Yeah, no, that’s solid. And I appreciate you correcting some of these little things, these what I think are little nuances, but they’re impactful. Words have meaning and it’s important to get it right. So I think it’s terrific. So how can people stay in touch with you, April? What’s the best way for people to reach out to you? If they want to learn more about you, learn more about Driven Outcomes, how can people get more information about you?
Absolutely. So you can always go to my website: drivenoutcomes.com. There are links to everything, the podcast, all of that. And I’m very active on LinkedIn and try and put a lot of content out there. And the great thing is I am the only April Shprintz in the United States. So if you can spell my name, you can get in contact with me anywhere. And I’d love to hear from you and I’d love to help.
Fantastic. So drivenoutcomes.com on the screen here. And you’ve seen April Shprintz, her name’s on the screen for the better part of an hour now. So you should definitely be able to find her. But no, April, this has been a true delight. It’s been great to reconnect with you after it’s been almost exactly a year, I think, when we did Season 1. And so it’s so, so good to hear from you. I love seeing your journey and where you’re heading and the impact that you’re making and then just the amazing work that you’re doing. So thank you for spending some time with me. This has been an absolute treat for me.
Oh, it has been my pleasure, Aaron. I appreciate you. You changed my life, my friend. I’ll always have time for you.
Appreciate it. Thanks, April.
Thanks for listening to America’s Entrepreneur. If you enjoyed the show, please leave a review or comment on your preferred social media platform. Share it out with friends, family, coworkers, others in your network. And of course you can write me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s email@example.com. Until next time.