If you want to see what it really looks like to show up without pretense and be completely authentic, then you’ll want to meet Ben Albert. Ben is the owner of Balbert Marketing LLC. He is also the curator of The “Real Business Connections Network,” where he hosts five podcasts. Once an underdog, now a successful entrepreneur, Ben shares why he’s so passionate about helping other underdogs achieve their dreams, and he gets candid about how he shows up to build relationships and connections with others around him.
IN THIS EPISODE:
- How Ben went from being a shy and bullied child to a successful marketing firm owner and podcaster
- How he overcomes his struggles with small talk and finds a way to reveal his true self
- Why it’s important to give permission to people to share their own stories (and how to not project your own stories on to others)
- Spinning too many plates, impressing others, burnout and confusion
- The mirror test as a wake-up call to take action
- How to move forward imperfectly and learn from your mistakes
- Why Ben’s hard story has played such a large role in his obsession with connection
- The pay-off of prioritizing passion projects over ROI-driven strategies
- Why Ben prioritizes self-education and mentorship over expensive courses, and how he is is open to challenging his worldview
- Why traditional mentorship roles may not be the only way to learn from others
- Why authenticity doesn’t mean perfection or goodness, and how to use misalignment as a catalyst for growth
CONNECT WITH BEN:
- About Ben + Press Appearances: https://realbusinessconnections.com
- Business Connections Podcast: https://realbusinessconnections.com/
- Email: email@example.com
- Free Consultation/ Meet and Greet: https://calendly.com/balbertmarketing/zoom30
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/balbertmarketing/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/realbusinessconnections
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/realbenalbert/
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCatiqMEYvn1CO_isUcb6pAQ/videos
- Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/real-business-connections-network/id1537115928
- Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6GIUXbsHXx0OSgPFED1sg8?si=5294f3445d964e25
[00:00:00] Lindsay: I’m Lindsay Hotmire and welcome to Storyhouse. This is a podcast about growing your business, but it’s also about slowing down the noise so you can give the world the best parts of who you are. So if you’ve struggled with all the buzz around storytelling only to feel like you don’t have a story worth sharing, or if you’re tired of being forced on the wheel of marketing, it doesn’t feel right.
But also feels impossible to ignore. And be sure to meet me here every week to hear from real business owners. As we dismantle all the should do’s and must do’s of business here, how they’ve wrestled through their own struggles and walk away with strategies that help you authentically and sustainably grow, scale, or pivot.
The business you’ve built.
Ben Albert is the owner of Balbert Marketing. He’s also the curator of the Real Business Connections Network, where he hosts five podcasts. [00:01:00] Once an underdog, now a successful entrepreneur, Ben is passionate about helping other under dogs achieve their dreams. Ben is on a mission to actually move the needle on 1 million lives.
One conversation at a time. Well, Ben, thank you so much for agreeing to come on to story house to chatting with us to making faces across the zoom screen to me. You know, if you hear us laughing listeners, that’s probably cause Ben sticking his tongue out at me or so. Thank you so much. I’m so excited to
[00:01:29] Ben Albert: chat with you.
Yeah. Lindsay, I am excited to be here. It’s an honor to be on your podcast. This is going to be fun. It
[00:01:37] Lindsay: is. It is going to be a fun conversation. Ben is somebody who he’s one of the rare gems that you don’t talk to Ben without going deep. And so. I’m a deep person, and so when I saw Ben and talked with him, we’ve talked a couple of times.
Like, there’s no hiding from you, Ben. There’s no hiding. Like, you just like, peer through the zoom screen to see into the soul. And I [00:02:00] love that about you. And I think that that is probably such a key piece of how you’ve been able to kind of this. Growth that you’ve experienced over the last few years. And so if you don’t mind just sharing a little bit, I don’t always do this, but I think for you, it’s important to us to just kind of dig in like Ben pre pandemic.
And Ben, post pandemic, because so much of that space of your life determines where you’re at now. So could you just kind of give us a little bit of that story?
[00:02:31] Ben Albert: Yeah, um, I’ll go to you pre pre to give a little, little, just a little bit extra context. I can’t believe I’m a podcaster. Like, I run a marketing firm.
There was no Brene Brown or Elon Musk on my wall. If anything, I had a life size Michael Jordan that it’s funny, sometimes the neighbor would, this happened twice, I’m getting dropped off at home, and the neighbor says, I didn’t know your dad was black, and I’m like, it’s [00:03:00] just a life size Michael Jordan, but, so I wanted to be a basketball player, I wasn’t a chatterbox, but I was the shortest boy in school, so I got picked on, kind of bullied, never ended up being a basketball player, ended up being 5’7 The reason I start there is coming from that place of what felt like insignificance, I felt small, I’d make myself smaller, still at like a big networking event, if I can’t go deep, I’m very shallow and I just want to leave, like I either go deep, like, right, it’s like I, I, I hide, I hid From the eyeballs I hid from the bullies and I never thought I’d podcast or market or do any of this kind of stuff so I got into the reading some of the personal growth trying to really figure myself out like I went to school for psychology why do you think I went to school for psychology because I was trying to figure myself out let’s be real and.
End up in a sales role, apparently do a good [00:04:00] job at it. Roll wake, work my way up as a sales executive, start building a book of business, feel like, okay, this is where this is the wave I’m going to ride to the sunset. Like I’m, I’m loving this. And that’s where enter COVID it’s going to be cliche soon. Like it’s going to be so cliche.
That was like the pivotal moment where I just. Nosebleed, fell on my face, didn’t know what to do, got let go, hit a really dark place that we can get into if you want to, but we don’t have to, but never just snapped my fingers and figured it out. Like went to a really dark place and leaned on, you know, what I knew.
And I had hosted a podcast, a music show from 2016. I had built shops in, you know, the marketing world as a sales executive and. I knew what it felt like to feel small. I knew what it felt like to not feel connected. So I wanted to [00:05:00] connect. I wanted to help elevate people. I wanted to grow myself. So I started a rinky dink Rochester, New York based podcast in my hometown.
Rochester, New York. Called it Rochester Business Connections because at the core that’s what I wanted. I wanted business connections, started an LLC, didn’t know I didn’t need to, to freelance, but wanted to make it official and somehow stumbled my way to replacing that sales executive income. So that’s what kind of brings us to today.
By now it’s like 2020, it’s like forever ago. And now I’m just so humbled to have met people like yourself, made even just a little ripple of impact. I guess we’re just getting started. Right? Transcribed Yeah.
[00:05:45] Lindsay: Yeah. Okay. So you said so much that I don’t even know where to start. First of all. Yeah. It’s like 2020.
It was just yesterday for all of us who, you know, moved through it. Yeah. It’s a long time ago now. And so we’re moving past that. [00:06:00] So it’s like part of the shadow of, of where we are today. But one of the things that you said is. And I’m paraphrasing, so this might not be word for word, but you said, if I can’t go deep, I hide.
And that’s so resonates with me because I’m the same way. Like, if I’m just going to be forced to talk about the weather with you. And when you ask about me, you’re really just looking for a quick. I’m fine. I shut down. I hide. It’s just easier and it’s more comfortable and that’s often felt really frustrating, really frustrating part about who I am for me.
Like, I can’t just push past that. Like, why can’t you be 1 of those people that just make the most ridiculous small talk at the table and can talk about anything for hours on end? No, I want to go into the, let me get into the deep, dark layers of who I am and who you are. And, you know, let’s, let’s solve the problems of the world together type of person.
And so. Hello. Flush that out a little bit with me as far as [00:07:00] if I can’t go deep, I hide and all the work that you’ve done through 2020 on how does that still shake out for you? Because I think that when you’re wired like that, you’re wired like that. And that might be your default period. And so, you know, it’s there.
So you work past it. But how does that still show up? And how have you engineered a world? To allow you to go deep,
[00:07:24] Ben Albert: you know, it’s interesting and it’s a constant evolution. I don’t have this figured out. If someone’s listening and they do, please join the conversation. I know just this, you know, the year we’re recording this just now went to new Orleans less than 30 days ago.
And to be quite honest, I miss my girlfriend. I started a Miss Home, I traveled alone, binge listened to podcasts, which was so fun, but I traveled from New York to New Orleans and back alone, and music festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival, all the music and the [00:08:00] hedonistic pleasures you could ever ask for, and I actually felt really lonely a lot of the time.
And still to this day, with the success and the networking success that I’ve really just starting to build, like, I’ve done a couple things, but, like, When I’m in a huge area and I don’t know anybody, I’m at the chatterbox. And I’m like Ben Splaining right now because I don’t have a solution to all this.
But there’s something really brilliant about that intimate one to one. There’s something really brilliant that when COVID hit and everything went virtual, like, it was kind of a blessing for me because I was able to go one to one without, like, a lot of external distraction. There’s no clanking of, you know, cups at breakfast.
There’s no distractions. Like, people just, like, one to one, boom. Like, Full attention and I did well with that and I [00:09:00] did well starting my podcast because I’m able to focus on like a one to one Conversation, but when it’s like something in my neurology if there’s too much stimuli, I’m just all over the place So still to this day now that you know, things are opened up I’d rather do ten to ten, you know, one to one coffee meetings than one large event any day I’m still that shy guy That struggles chatting with some stranger in a new city.
It’s maybe that’s even a limiting belief that might be a limiting belief, Lindsay, but that’s still how I feel sometimes. But when I have the ability and capacity to have a conversation that’s heart centered with someone, that’s when I thrive. So I guess the real insight there is know thyself and put yourself in situations where you can thrive.
And I know personally, I’m like hearing my own self talk and limiting beliefs. Maybe I’m [00:10:00] not the shy guy. Maybe I just, maybe I just define myself as that person. But practically, when it comes to one to one Zoom podcasting, any time where we can have a fruitful conversation, that’s just what like, that’s lights me up.
Like that’s what I love to do.
[00:10:18] Lindsay: Yeah, I’ve often thought through that myself, like being an introvert, and I talk a lot about concepts like authenticity in my work, you know, with story and sometimes really struggle with that because that when it comes to swallowing your own medicine that you preach, it can be really hard.
People assume because I talk about authenticity that I’m I’m not. I’m really good at vulnerability and I’m not like, I’m very protected. I’m very guarded and I think it’s because it doesn’t always feel safe to be vulnerable with people. Like, not everybody is looking for vulnerability. The guy at the conference might not want Ben to walk up and, you know, just like be [00:11:00] super vulnerable.
That’s and so it feels easier and safer. I think to be shy to be introverted. Because that’s the safety mechanism kicking in because not everybody can handle it. Not everybody is looking for that level of authenticity or vulnerability from you. And so it’s really learning how to discern how vulnerable can I be in this moment?
[00:11:22] Ben Albert: A hundred percent. And you know, we live, I feel like we’re always projection. We’re projecting our own stories upon other people. And sometimes I have good friends that are just like this. You show up maybe in a case, you crack a beer. You talk about the game that was on last night, you ask about the kids, and 90 minutes later, you start to really bond and, you know, bond the way I like to bond, kind of get deep.
But they like the small talk. Just because I don’t like the small talk doesn’t mean there isn’t value in it. Right. I can’t just project, Ben wants to open the conversation. I don’t want to hear what you do, I [00:12:00] want to hear why you do it, I want to hear what you’re doing, what’s exciting you, what story you’re writing right now.
But you need to give people permission to tell that story and some people don’t want to just dive right in on a networking meeting or at a large event and honestly, I don’t blame them.
[00:12:17] Lindsay: Right. It is sort of earning that, that right in that space. To actually go there. So how do you do that? You went from zero connections at the start of the pandemic.
He said, you know, to launching this entire network where what you’re hosting five or six programs. And so when I look at you, I’m just like blown away. I’m like, there must be some magic behind that beard that he wears because I don’t know how he does all of this. And so. How have you don’t step in with that small talk, you know, you are stepping in in that vulnerable deep way.
And so clearly it’s working with whoever it is that you that you’re touching. And so how do you navigate those [00:13:00] relationships? How are you fostering those? Those deep relationships with all sorts of people, CEOs, everybody, how do you, how do you do it?
[00:13:08] Ben Albert: How is a tough question because something’s wired differently in me.
I am an obsessive person. I have like drug addict habits, like if it’s anything from something bad for me, like eating way too much sugar. To binging Netflix to back when I was younger, like I was studying the psychology of dating and I wanted to be like cool and meet women like I, I’m an obsessive person and I’ve redirected to that, that energy into something that’s making me a better person because all those things I just mentioned made me a bitter person.
So I’m redirecting that energy. So, I started the podcast and really just started connecting with people and, you know, if we were to go back, went to high school, then went to college, had college and a full time job, then actually went to three schools in [00:14:00] four years, so craziness, I’m all over the place, graduate, then I have two full time jobs.
Then eventually I have one full time job, but it sucks all my energy, and to be honest with you, like, I was taking a Xanax every Monday morning because I was so stressed and miserable, but I thought that’s what I was meant to do. So, I was always putting so much energy into different things. And a lot of times there are things that people told me I should put my energy into, rather than the things that I was choosing myself.
I was always trying to impress somebody or move up the corporate ladder. And the short answer, and I know it’s kind of nuanced, is I just redirected all that energy into building a personal brand, building a network, building a podcast, and building a community. And it pays, it’s, it just pays in dividends because helping someone just feels good.
Meeting someone feels good. Making an introduction feels good. And when I can go on just loving on people, having [00:15:00] conversations, and then somehow it leads to business. That’s kick butt. I use the word somehow, but it’s like, you’re building human relationships, which, you know, you connect people and then suddenly business comes your way.
I was doing this like aggressive sales approach most my career, where I was just like hunting, hunting, hunting, go, go, go. Having the capacity to sit back and just connect has been kick butt. And I’m just an obsessive person, so the real answer is I put in probably twice as much time as most people do. I do twice as many things as I probably should do in some scenarios, but I don’t know what’s gonna work.
I don’t know what’s gonna fit until I try it on. So I’ve tried on a lot of things, and now my question for the future, Lindsay, is what plates that I’ve been spinning. Let’s say I’m spinning six plates at a time. What plates can I put down? Because I think the real beauty is going to be focusing on one to two plates and building a [00:16:00] specific legacy.
But I wasn’t able to find those plates without spinning them all and figuring out what I wanted to do. Does that make sense? I’m throwing in way too many symbols today, but
[00:16:09] Lindsay: I live in the metaphor. So I get it. Our listeners might be confused, but I
[00:16:13] Ben Albert: confused myself. You
[00:16:15] Lindsay: know, you talk about this and what hits me is that.
You know, you talk, I was taking a Xanax every Monday morning, just throwing so much energy, trying to impress somebody. All of that could stopped because you were forced to stop. The universe stepped in and said, you’re done. You know, the pandemic happened. It forced you to shift.
[00:16:37] Ben Albert: I was going to kill myself.
Well, that’s what
[00:16:39] Lindsay: I was going to ask. Where was your end? Had that not happened? Had that, you know, seemingly. Like worst thing of your life, you know, you losing your job at, at no cause of your own. It’s terrible thing happens, but what would the end have been? Had you not had this giant slap in the face from the
[00:16:57] Ben Albert: universe?
Oh, it’s, it’s [00:17:00] amazing. And I wish I had heard this or knew this now, but I heard it recently and I know it now is literally like the. The scariest thing, the most traumatic thing I can think of, is meeting the man I could have been. Meeting the person that I was capable of becoming, but never became them because of X, Y, and Z.
And… I was going down a bad path, like I literally didn’t even have my own, I don’t know, I just, I was, I was doing exactly what the company wanted me to do, even though it didn’t feel right. And I was sedating it with things like Xanax and drinking alcohol just because I knew I was in misalignment, but I was still walking in that direction.
And if I continued walking in that direction and ran into future me, future me would like pity who I had become. So, I’m really happy I got that [00:18:00] smack in the face. And the person I am today is a little bit better, but I’m very confident that the person that I meet in my 70s and 80s is going to be really proud because of that slight change that put me on a different path.
[00:18:15] Lindsay: I love that thought of, is, is the Lindsay in 10 years going to look back at Lindsay at almost 46 years old and say, man, You were kicking it then you did a great job like you did everything you could like maybe not perfectly, but you were moving forward the Ben now looking back at past Ben. What would have been some of those warning signs beyond the Xanax every Monday?
What would have been some of those? Signals that you, you could point out to pass Ben to say, you know, to anybody else on that similar path, any other entrepreneur kind of just chugging away day to day, knowing something’s not right, what are some of the things that they can tune into to maybe give them the [00:19:00] courage to say, okay, I’ve got to make a
[00:19:02] Ben Albert: shift.
Yeah. It’s literally thinking of Michael Jackson right now, but man in the mirror, woman in the leader of the mirror, the human in the mirror. I was, I was, I was doing affirmations. I was like a flower child, hippie. And I believed in meditation and affirmations. And every morning I’d look in the mirror and say, you’re good enough now.
And only getting better. You’re an open channel for creative ideas. You act as if you already have what you want, but the man in the mirror was bloodshot and depressed. I didn’t believe myself. So you’re subconsciously affirming something because you want to become someone different, but you’re not actually taking the actions required to be that person.
It’s the mirror test. When you look at yourself in the mirror and think about who you deserve to become, who do you see? And if you see someone who’s sad, depressed, that’s okay. We need to figure out what actions we can take to actually become that person because we can [00:20:00] wish the world to us. No one’s coming to save us.
People want to help you. People love helping you if they love your vision. Like, people want to help you, but they’re not always coming to save you. So if you look in the mirror and do that mirror test and you don’t like what you see, you’ve got to change that. I had to change that. It’s still working on it, Lindsay, but at least I can smile at myself and not look at myself and be like, Oh, you’re a piece of crap.
So that’s a start.
[00:20:28] Lindsay: Well, and that you said the word vision, and I don’t know that based on what you described, you know, when you lost your job with the pandemic, you didn’t necessarily have a vision for how to move forward. You just took the toolbox that you had the skill set and said, how can I. How can I do something with this?
This is what I enjoy doing. So let’s just put one foot in front of the other and see where it lands. Is that correct?
[00:20:55] Ben Albert: I don’t even know if I had a why, but I had a, I didn’t have a how, but I had a [00:21:00] who. I had a who I wanted to be. I didn’t even understand why other than the fact that I knew that I was not becoming who I wanted to be.
So I didn’t have a why. I definitely didn’t have a how, but since I had a who, I leaned on my life experiences, podcasting, marketing, social media, ended up landing a gig teaching podcasting to high school students over Zoom, um, for a charter school. They loved it, so I ended up with a second teaching gig.
My first client was a charter school that found me on Google. I did not have a how. But I understand who I wanted to become was different than who I was at the time and the how and the why kind of defined itself over time. And I think
[00:21:48] Lindsay: that’s so true. You know, the emphasis on find, find your why, what is your why?
And that can be really hard, really hard for us to do. And I think that is partly probably why so much of my [00:22:00] work at the story level focuses in on the who, like, let’s understand. Who, who am I, who do I want to be like, what, what is all of this experience that I’ve lived so far? How does that inform my present day right now?
And if we, it feels like we should know that because like, we’ve lived in this set of flesh and bone for however many years, you know, 30, 40, 50, however many years. And so it can be really easy to beat ourselves up, like, Oh, gosh, Ben, I, I should already know who I am. Like, why are you struggling with that and give ourselves permission to step back and really do that work?
Because the truth is very few of us do that deep level work to really understand who am I? Who have I been? Who am I? Who am I becoming? Who do I want to become? And then you can start to put those other pieces in place and that why at that point can really start to come into focus. But it’s hard to find that accurately.
Without that true knowledge of
[00:22:59] Ben Albert: self. [00:23:00] And I think even when you have knowledge of self, it’s not perfect. There’s no, there’s no perfect explanation. There’s no perfect answer. Your why is going to pivot based on circumstance. I’m sure that a grandmother’s why is far different than a student’s why. But if we can focus on who we want to become, even like why it just seems like lip service sometimes, it’s like you’re, you’re taking what society wants you to say, you’re putting it into a why statement, be perceived as like connected to them, but really like.
It’s lip service half the time. If we focus on who we want to become, none of that other stuff really matters all that much. I want to be a compassionate person. I always want to get better every single day. I want to be a helper. I want to be a lover, not a fighter. Why I want to do that is almost insignificant.
Does that make sense? You’ve got me kind of introspective today.
[00:23:58] Lindsay: Yeah, no, I think that [00:24:00] that’s interesting. I think that we could probably go down a rabbit hole. And maybe lead it all back to, but, but still at the end of the day, that filters back into the why, like I would ask you, I would again, like, yeah, but why do you want to be compassionate?
Why do you want to be a helper? Like, what is it about who you are? The story, you know, I know you’ve come, you’ve come from a tough story. And so does that feed into the why, because you, you know, and you understand that’s what allows me to feel seen and known. And that’s what allows me to make others feel seen and known.
And so when I show up. You know, I believe people should be seen and should feel, feel known. And so I think we could probably. That’s the why. Yeah. We could tunnel it back to that. Why?
[00:24:45] Ben Albert: Well, you just nailed it. Lindsay. Like people want to be seen, known, understood, loved, and validated. That’s almost every humans.
[00:24:53] Lindsay: Yeah. And you, you personally know, I think when you come from a hard story. Gosh, you, you know, the [00:25:00] catastrophic impact of the lack of that versus those of us who have had hard knocks in life, but not, not, not a traumatic story, you know, it’s, it’s on a different level of knowing. And so that fuels your obsession that fuels your passion because it’s like a life and death situation for you.
Yeah. Okay. Maybe let’s, let’s, let’s, let’s talk about. You staying focused, keeping the ball rolling because you do have your fingers in so many different areas. And so how do you spin all of those plates and continue to do it? Well, I think that’s the true mark of an entrepreneur. Like that’s what an entrepreneur is having your hands in so many things and, you know, somehow magically doing all of it.
Well, so how do you stay focused and how do you keep the ball rolling on all these different endeavors?
[00:25:55] Ben Albert: Yeah. Well, it brings me a ton of joy and to be transparent with [00:26:00] you, I don’t even know if I want to keep the ball rolling on all of them. It’s really interesting. Like, so a lot of what I do doesn’t bring the like highest overnight ROI, like hosting podcasts, putting on free networking events with zero calls to action and posting on social media without, you know, jumping in the DMS and trying to sell someone.
These aren’t the best ROI business strategies. I just freaking love hosting networking events, hosting a podcast, learning from, like, it fills me up like crazy. The question I have to ask myself as a business professional is what is. The focus of my time, what lights me up the most, it’s, I love outsourcing, I’m not gonna outsource my podcast to somebody, that’s like the best part, but, I have a graphic designer, he’s literally the world to me, we’re like brothers now, and he’ll do anything for me and I’ll do anything for him, like, I’m buying him wedding gifts, [00:27:00] his family wedding gifts, and the whole shebam, we, he’s a freelancer, we met online, And now we’re like brothers, and I have a show notes writer, and I have Mr.
Chat GPT, which helps me when I can’t think of ideas. It’ll give me outlines and topics, and then I can dive into those. I’ve got a video content repurposer. What I do is, there’s lots of freelance websites. I’ll hire five to ten people to do the exact same job. I’ll pay attention to how they work, how they communicate.
and the quality of the work, and then obviously the investment to work with them. And then when I find gold, I find ways to invest in that person, give them buy in, raise the salary from what they expected, and hire them on. Because I like podcasting, I love meeting people, I love sales, I love marketing strategy, still work very much in my business, like I do a ton of stuff in my business.
But for [00:28:00] scalability, It’s surrounding yourself with the right kind of team to take those things that don’t bring the highest amount of joy, take it off your plate. I’ll give you a really simple example. When sho I still do this to this day. When show notes are ready, I, myself, Proofread all of it, usually rewrite it, and then I upload individually to YouTube, Facebook, the podcast platform, write social media posts.
A lot of that’s just copy paste. Copy paste here, copy paste here, copy paste here. It’s data entry, but it’s time consumptive, and I make the excuse, well, I’ll just put on a podcast or Netflix on the background, so it’s not really taking too much of my time. But as… I find myself sitting in bed with my girlfriend watching Netflix on the laptop.
I’m starting to realize that I possibly need to outsource that as well. Even if it’s simple data entry that I enjoy doing again, it’s finding the right people in your circle and I don’t [00:29:00] have it all figured out because I spent a lot of time in. Activities that aren’t income producing, but they bring me joy.
And that’s the dichotomy. It brings me joy, but it doesn’t produce income or produces income, but doesn’t bring me joy. I mean, we want to find a blend of the two, but I feel like you can’t find that blend without trying new things and figuring out what works.
[00:29:23] Lindsay: Yeah, and that seems to be such a strength of yours of let’s just try this, you know, earlier before we hit record, you talked about, you know, I’m just experimenting with new things and what’s going to work, you know, as far as structuring this podcast, I don’t know.
I don’t know until I try. So when you do that, are you trying new things based on observing others, just based on whatever is inside Ben’s head? You know, where do, where do those ideas come from? And how do you filter through like, this is worth the risk. This is worth trying, because I think that is the mark of good [00:30:00] entrepreneurs that they, they aren’t afraid of risk, but they’re also smart enough to figure out which risks are worth taking.
And so, How do you do that? How do you think through it?
[00:30:11] Ben Albert: Yeah, I don’t know if I’m born to be an entrepreneur. I’m very risk adverse. But I ask myself the question, what’s the worst that could happen? And a lot of times when it’s not a high monetary, you know, it’s not a monetary risk. My time is valuable. I get that.
People preach all day that your time is more valuable than money. It goes away quickly. I totally agree. But I’m willing to invest time on something that feels right. And then leave if it’s not money is where I’m risk adverse. I’m not going to drop, you know, a hundred K on a program, never done it before, but I will drop 40 hours of my time into learning a new skill.
Even if there’s no guarantee that that new skill or that new advertising campaign or [00:31:00] that new project is going to pay financial dividends, I get off on the learning process. So, yeah, I don’t know if I, I answered your question or not, but it’s really like, it’s just, I have an idea, let’s go implement it.
And maybe I’m a little ADHD, but like, if I get bored with the idea, I just scratch it. What’s the worst that could happen? The worst that could happen is I’m back where I started. And usually the worst that happens is I’m back where I’m started with a new sense of curiosity and a possible new skill. So I just like trying stuff.
[00:31:32] Lindsay: Yeah. It sounds to me like. You are so open to pursuing things that are going to grow you and we all know that we’re going to make investments in time and sometimes money and things that we think are going to grow us, but don’t quite pan out. And that’s fine. Like, we still learn something. So you will never turn down an offer to grow and expand who you are.
You may turn down something that that promises. A fast track to success via [00:32:00] invest 100 K in this program and I’ll, I’ll show you how to do X, Y, and Z. That’s when you’re going to pause and say, can I grow my way through this instead of. Invest my way through it. Is that
[00:32:13] Ben Albert: accurate? Yeah. And I don’t know if it’s a fallacy, but I’m not always entirely confident that I’ll get a monetary ROI on it.
And if I’m unconfident, I’d rather bootstrap. I’d rather there’s a lot of skills that people charge a lot for are actually pretty easy to learn if you just educate yourself, put some time into it, find a mentor, find a group, learn on the side, you can earn super high income skills. Without buying a super expensive course, that’s why I started a podcast so I could learn high income skills from brilliant people without investing in their courses.
I could meet people, elevate them, better myself. But yeah, it’s, I actually have never thought [00:33:00] about this. I think that when you pay, you pay attention. I think people need to, I still invest thousands. I’m over the 10, 000 mark, but I invest thousands a year. And just training, but I don’t spend hundreds of thousands a year.
And I don’t think there’s just like some one size fits all solution that everyone needs. I’m more curious and adventurous. And instead of putting all my money in one bucket, I put it in lots of different buckets. And I’m actually open to being challenged because that actually could be.
[00:33:40] Lindsay: for people who are going to challenge your view of the world. Like that’s, that’s what I love. And I might not agree, I might not like it. I might at the end of the end of the day, walk away thinking, well, okay. You know, but. It sits with me and it forces me to rethink my own [00:34:00] frameworks, my own paradigms that I built and I think that that is a powerful thing that we don’t often do so easy for us to put ourselves in that echo chamber, you know, in the world that we live in.
You have had hundreds of conversations with really successful business leaders over the last few years. So curious to know, you know, as you talk about surrounding yourself with mentors and learning from those experts, what would you say are a few, maybe two or three takeaways from those conversations that have really shifted your own paradigm that have really changed the way you’ve stepped into your own world?
[00:34:37] Ben Albert: Yeah, this is you, you had mentioned this. I was like brainstorming thoughts on this kind of topic because it’s mind blowing. It’s really hard to just come up with the five keys. I don’t know if you’ve heard me say it before, but I always joke that there’s no key to success. It’s a combination lock, and each and every one of us holds a [00:35:00] unique padlock combination.
My goal is to go and extract wisdom from as many people as possible, promote them, highlight them, make introductions, and then take all that information and figure out how it works for my life. Similar to how we all have our unique fingerprint. You know, we all have a unique fingerprint because… We’re made unique.
We are made special. We are made different. There is no specific key. It’s a combination. So really what I’ve learned from so many different people is everyone I’ve met that successful had a mentor. Everyone who I’m literally people that are creating new models. Learn someone else’s model first, they extracted wisdom, they surrounded themselves with the right people, whether it was one mentor, three, five, 10, 20, they had at least one, everyone I’ve talked to.
And another thing that really stood out to me, kind of thinking about this podcast and thinking about some of the incredible people I’ve got to, to meet. And [00:36:00] sometimes the most crazy, like jaw dropping stories are the one that. That catches your attention, like a great mentor of mine, Nick San Anastasio is no legs, no arm.
And then one arm with a stub. So no legs, no arm, one arm with like a stub, like a point. And he’s like 20, he just turned 27. He’s touring with Tony Robbins. He’s helping hundreds of thousands of people. He says, if I can do it, you can too. And there’s people like Amberly Lago that was like, she was a fitness model, and she was in like MC Hammer music videos, and when you bought cosmetic products, she was the picture on that cosmetic product, and then she got in a motorcycle accident, they said she was never gonna walk again, and she had like a 99 percent chance she was never gonna walk again.
Don’t you think she ended up running? She’s incredible. She’s an inspiration and these stories are very fantastical and [00:37:00] most of us don’t go through it. But what I’ve learned from all these people is we all have a unique story, fantastical or not. And if we can extract the wisdom from those stories, we don’t have to go through those moments to get the lesson.
So it’s been so humbling to learn from so many people, learn their story. extract the wisdom, because I feel like, you know, strategy, tactics, ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s all been done before. But when you see someone who’s been through trauma, hardship, and struggle, and they implemented a few things, and it got them to where they are right now, I start to listen.
And my story’s interesting, but kind of boring. Drank too much. Dad drank himself to death. Was picked on as a kid. It’s relatable. It’s not fantastical, but it doesn’t have to be. None of our stories have to, we don’t have to lose an arm to see that what we have is [00:38:00] more than enough. And if we just implement the things we were learning, we can accomplish anything we imagined in this world.
That’s just my belief. That’s what I’ve learned from these genius people.
[00:38:11] Lindsay: So how does somebody go about finding a mentor in a world that feels pretty insular? Easy to connect, but hard to really connect. So how do you go about actually finding somebody to step up and mentor you? I remember even just reading an article recently, and I think it was titled, where have all the mentors gone?
Like, it’s almost like we’re stepping into an era where it’s maybe not that they don’t, that mentors aren’t available. It may be that there’s fewer people actually wanting to seek out the wisdom of a mentor. How do we make those connections with people who are truly willing to invest?
[00:38:46] Ben Albert: It’s really interesting you brought it up.
I haven’t thought about this. Deeply or like went into the data, but now that with social media, if you’re kick butt and you care about impact, you’re [00:39:00] probably mentoring, but you’re doing it at a larger scale. So when you think where did all the mentors gone, they’re still there, but a lot of them aren’t always just putting their chips on the person down the street, they’re putting their chips on anyone in the world, or they’re building communities and groups.
So that’s one thought. Join a group. You might not always be able to get one to one attention from somebody, but you can surround yourself with peers that are also learning the same kind of, uh, skills and, and part, join a group where, where people can help you. So the mentor might be right there. Here’s another thing though.
I feel like a lot of our mentors and leaders are in high, they’re in hiding. They’re not even in like hiding, like hiding in the corner. It’s just that like, they’re not on social media. Talking about this is the polar opposite. So there’s the people that are online with communities, join a community. It’s really cheap because you get a slice of the pie or there’s the people that aren’t online, but they’ve accomplished what you are seeking to accomplish.
[00:40:00] And unless you’re in a very unique niche, they’re usually in your hometown, reach out to that person and provide value. You don’t reach out and just say, Hey, Lindsay, I like what you do. Can I pick your brain? I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee. There’s nothing like inherently wrong with that, but it’s a metaphor of my brain getting picked just makes me nauseous and my time’s more valuable than a cup of coffee, but if you can come in and say, I’m hosting a charity event because of X, I want you to speak at the event because it’s really important that we X, then they come and speak at the event.
Bring them in and to your world. That’s just an example. You can start a podcast, bring them into the podcast. You can start a blog, feature them on the blog, or you can literally just like create stuff for them, love on them, comment and share their posts in a, let’s say you join a Facebook community or looking at their posts, you can comment and share those posts, add value, [00:41:00] add value into their lives because the end of the day, most people that aren’t a holes.
That have a little bit of cushion, want to put their chips on something that they see will pay like just return dividends and it’s not even like pay me money. It’s like if I help you, I know you’re going to help people in the world’s a better place. There’s billions of those people, maybe not billions, but millions of those people that are in hiding in quotations.
There aren’t a coach, consultant, mentor, but you go, holy crap, you scaled five businesses to 10 million. I’m super impressed. I’d love to kind of feature you on a blog. I’m documenting my journey of entrepreneurship. Will you spend some time with me? And if they say yes, maybe you found your mentor, maybe not.
And if not, ask somebody else. I’ve never thought about any of these things before.
[00:41:59] Lindsay: Well, I [00:42:00] hear you saying, maybe, maybe it’s an issue of where have all the mentors gone gone because we need to shift our understanding of how to find mentors. So, in the, in the pre digital age, where people. Time kind of got used differently and was structured differently.
It might’ve been easier to just approach somebody, Hey, essentially, will you invest in me, but now it’s flipped. And if you want a mentor, it’s about investing in that mentor, going back to your philosophy on showing up as a helper. How can I help this person? How can I create pathways and platforms for them to succeed?
It’s really a servant leadership mindset where you’re coming in. Identifying somebody who you admire, but you really being that servant leader creating opportunities for them. And then that relationship develops from there, which is interesting because I think that our ideas on mentorship is, hey, can we meet for coffee once a [00:43:00] month or once a week?
And I just clean all the wisdom from you. It’s not how it works
[00:43:04] Ben Albert: anymore. And I was 1st off concise and beautifully said. And I was focusing on, like, the traditional mentorship role. You can pick up your phone and there’s millions of mentors. Lindsay might be your mentor if you’re listening to this show and reading her blog.
Like, our mentor, I try to tread lightly because I don’t want to encourage someone to disconnect and not have actual one, like, one to one in person time with other human beings. But the podcasts you listen to, those can be your mentors. If you’re the average of the five or six or however many people you surround yourself with, well, what are the five pieces of podcasts you consume?
What are the five books you’re going to read this month or year? What are the five TV shows you’re going to binge? You’re the average of those as well. So even if you aren’t having, uh, getting mentored in [00:44:00] the traditional sense, or haven’t invested in a coach, which I think most people I would recommend they do, even if you haven’t done that, You still have mentors in your phone.
You still have mentors at Barnes and Noble. And I think that’s often overlooked as well.
[00:44:16] Lindsay: Yeah. It’s that value of the human capital, I guess, that is irreplaceable. We forget that because we have knowledge just so easily accessible that we forget that value of the human experience that wisdom, you know, my son, he was an anthropology major in college talks about it as wisdom capital and really tapping into that.
Yeah. It’s such a fascinating concept to think about, you know, and. Just pursuing that so props to my son Callum. That’s that’s he probably I’m sure he read that in some anthropology book. But if he didn’t smart boy, I love it. Yeah. Yeah. And just really seeking that out and valuing that placing an emphasis on that.
What about [00:45:00] for you? Last question. What’s hard for you? You do so many things. Well, you show up for people. Well, you seem to handle life in such an even keeled way, but I know that’s not true because there’s always hard things for us in the background. And so what’s hard for you? Like, what’s the thing that trips you up, freezes you in the tracks, makes you just want to say, forget this sucks.
I’m done. I’m done today. I don’t ever want to do this again. And how do you keep moving forward in spite of that?
[00:45:30] Ben Albert: A lot of things are hard for me. Okay. It’s funny, I was listening to a podcast, and he was talking about Tony Robbins as an example. Love him or hate him, he’s like, studied, he has studied neuroscience and public speaking and persuasion and everything at such a high level, that when he speaks, there’s certain stories, and there’s certain points and messages.
That I swear he has memorized and he just sort of just [00:46:00] spits it out in the most concise perfect way and it’s compelling and I found myself going in that route in my life where I felt like I was living a scripted life. I was saying what I thought was supposed to be heard rather than what I actually felt and I was silencing myself or editing myself based on what I thought in my head.
It would work the best and what I’ve been struggling with really, really hard recently, and we’ve talked about authenticity and how it’s difficult. I was a traveling. So Rite Aid pharmacy, I was Jewish. So I would work. I was Jewish. I’m Jewish. So I’d work all the, like Christmas, things like that. And I was working Christmas one day and I don’t know where this girl came from.
We had only known each other four hours, but she says, Ben act like you’re really authentic and vulnerable. But you’re hiding something, and I don’t know what it is. And I was like, whoa, whoa, this 20 year old’s [00:47:00] smart. I was like, so lost. Because she was right, but I also didn’t know what I was hiding. And I was doing the Tony Robbins thing.
I was living a scripted life. And then you look at Russell Brand, just as an example, if you watch Russell Brand interviews, you never know what’s gonna come out of his mouth until it’s happening. You literally do not know what’s going to happen. He will take the same question and take it eight different ways based on his mood.
And that’s one thing I’ve been struggling and working on. How can I be so unapologetically present that even I’m thinking like my rational brain’s like Dang, I’m all over the place today. I hope Lindsay doesn’t think I’m rambling. I hope I’m bringing some kind of value. But the challenge is, I want to be unapologetically in the moment and say what authentically is coming up because I didn’t do that most my life.
And that’s one thing I’m struggling with and work, uh, working on. So I hope my [00:48:00] thoughts were semi concise and I hope I added a little bit of value, but you got 100 percent in the moment feelings and thoughts based on my life experience right now. And Lindsay, when we talk two years from now, it’s going to be a completely hmm.
[00:48:18] Lindsay: Absolutely. Which because you’re a person committed to growth. I remember a woman who was in her mid to late sixties and she was for a while. She was one of those true mentors in my life. We met through a mutual client. She just is full of such wisdom. And she when she said to me, I’m not the same person I was in my fifties and I hope to God in two years.
I’m not the same person I am now. And I thought she is 68. And instead of just settling into this is who I am, and I’m comfortable with it, like, she’s so committed to growth. And, you know, to your point on authenticity, a couple of years ago, I gave a speech on [00:49:00] authenticity. And 1 of the things I said is, I wish somebody would have warned me before I started exploring this topic.
Like, whoa, Lindsay, as soon as you start delving into this, you’re going to feel. Wildly inauthentic, because once you really start pursuing it and learning about it, you do feel very exposed and very, very, because you are so self, so reflective, it can be easy to like nitpick with all the areas that you’re not perfect yet.
And what I learned in my studies is we associate authenticity with perfection. Like, we look at all the good people in our lives and say, oh, they’re authentic. But the truth of the matter is there can be a huge. Jerk in the world and they’re authentic. If they’re living true to whatever their values are and whatever it is that they believe.
Authent authenticity doesn’t mean perfection. It doesn’t even mean goodness. There were two researchers in the early two thousands. They were really the first to. To put like scientific understanding to this concept of [00:50:00] authenticity, Kernes and Goldman and their work I used to develop this authenticity flywheel.
They said, there’s really four principles behind authenticity. And in the flywheel, I have them as what are my values? What are the actions I’m taking to live those out? How honest am I about my biases and assumptions and what’s the community, the relationships of my developing honest relationships, sincere, truthful, honest relationships.
And what Curtis and Goldman said is that those 4 principles is for ideas. And I can’t remember the words that they use to describe them, but. It’s not like we’re 100 percent perfect in those 4 areas at any given time. The true mark of authenticity is realizing, Oh, I’m out of alignment here with honesty or here with my relationships.
And so I need to do some work to bring that back. Or there may be a situation or an environment where I step in and I’m not really quite able to be 100 percent Lindsay. Because it’s not safe or [00:51:00] it’s just not appropriate. Like maybe somebody can’t handle that part of me. And so they don’t get the true Lindsay, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m inauthentic.
Like the knowledge of, of unalignment doesn’t mean you’re inauthentic. It actually means you’re very authentic and you’re realizing I need to grow. I need to be more in the fullness of who Ben is in this situation. That knowledge that you had in that moment doesn’t mean you’re being inauthentic. It means you are being very real with yourself and acknowledging those areas of where you need that growth anyways,
[00:51:36] Ben Albert: you’re incredible.
I feel like this is a therapy session now,
[00:51:39] Lindsay: well, we’ll end the little spiel there, but. Anything else you want our listeners to know, any place that they should find you. I mean, you’re, you’re all over the place. Where’s the best way for them to connect with you and anything else you want them to know before we, we say goodbye?
[00:51:57] Ben Albert: Well, I want them to know that Lindsay [00:52:00] is incredible. And, you know, this podcast is new. It’s fresh in order to get momentum. She needs subscriptions, reviews, five star reviews, comment. A lot of times, like a lot of platforms, you don’t even need to leave a comment. You just have to click five stars. So do that.
You can find real business connections anywhere you found this. So action item number one is ensure that you’re subscribed and staying in touch with this show. You can find me at Real Business Connections anywhere you found this show. And if you can’t, message Lindsay, figure it out. I’m doing something wrong in my marketing and I need help.
We’ll just leave it at that. Yep.
[00:52:44] Lindsay: And do go check out Ben. Find them, find him on LinkedIn, find him at Real Business Connections. He’s having some awesome conversations. You don’t want to miss. So thanks, Ben. This has been a pleasure.
[00:52:55] Ben Albert: Thanks for having me
[00:52:58] Lindsay: as founder and [00:53:00] CEO at Storyhouse Fifteen. My vision is to build a world of people who have answered the call that’s been uniquely placed upon their lives.
So if you’ve enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe and leave a review. And if you’re ready to grow and pivot with clarity and confidence, be sure to stop by and say hello at storyhousefifteen.com