Season 1
44 Minutes

Ep. 20 | Meredith Bell | When We Serve And Love Profoundly

Interview with Meredith Bell When We Serve and love profoundly
Meredith Bell, 69, is a beloved leader in the Personal Development field. Her firm, Strong for Performance, which she has helmed with 2 other colleagues for over 30 years, helps companies develop the people side of their business. Meredith is also an author and just recently released the 100th episode of her own marvelous podcast, aptly named Strong for Performance Podcast. Each conversation is illuminated by Meredith’s richly caring and purpose-driven soul.

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Meredith Bell  00:00

I have affirmations that I say every day. Some people call them I am statements. Yeah. And I think one of the most relevant ones because my very first one I say every day is I am loving kindness everywhere with everyone nice because that prevents me from categorizing and qualifying someone it’s looking at. How can I be this way? And that just sets the tone.

Achim Nowak  00:35

Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the my fourth act podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your Fourth Act? I have conversations with exceptional humans, who have created bold and unexpected fourth acts, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you’re listening on. Let’s get started. I am just delighted to welcome Meredith bell to the My fourth act podcast. Meredith is a seasoned and beloved leader in the personal development field. Her firm strong for performance, which she co leads with two other colleagues, helps companies develop the people side of their business. Meredith is also an author, and just recently released the 100th episode of her very own podcast, aptly named strong foot performance. Most importantly, perhaps Meredith is a deeply caring, and purpose driven soul. And I am just thrilled to have you as a guest. Hi, Meredith.

Meredith Bell  01:50

Thank you so much. I came for that wonderful introduction. And I am thrilled to be with you because we were kindred spirits from the first moment we spoke. So I,

Achim Nowak  01:59

I would say that is true. This is about the fourth Act, which is Meredith and I are going to talk about what’s emerging, evolving in the current stage of her life, and also what’s staying the same and deepening. But before we go there, I like to start with, like going back to young Meredith, when you were a young girl, a teenager? Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up? Was that something that was in your consciousness?

Meredith Bell  02:27

Oh, yes, it was even before I was a teenager, okay, I can’t remember exactly at what age probably 10 or 11, that I loved teaching. I loved playing school and gathering some kids. And I was the teacher and I would organize lessons. And I just remember loving that. And starting about sixth grade. Every year in school, I thought, Oh, this is the grade I’ll teach. And so I carried that with me through high school and then into college. And originally, I had thought I would teach high school. But a couple of things change that one, I actually went back to my high school, my alma mater, two or three years into college, and I was looking at the kids and I thought, I don’t want to have to deal with teenagers. It just hit me, this is not where I want to teach. And then I took one of those aptitude tests. And it also pointed to working with younger children as a career. So I decided to focus on elementary education. So yes, I went into that. Interestingly, I didn’t end up staying there forever. Even though I saw myself doing that.

Achim Nowak  03:40

What strikes me is you were very clear from a very young age on and then you went ahead and did it. Mm hmm. And part of the fourth compensation is once we get there, being honest about whether we want to stay or not, or whether there’s another place to go. So that that shift is really interesting. I had to chuckle as you were talking, because I come out of theater originally. And actors always say, Well, when I was a kid, I was play acting, I was pretending I was getting my Oscar. But I had never heard of child play acting, being a teacher that is powerful. And you manifested that and you were a elementary school teacher for a while. I want to do something very unfair and think of like 30 or 40 years of your career and sort of laser in on it because you started doing some other training and consulting work on your own. But at some point, you connected with two other people I believe, and you started a company called strong foot performance. And you have been together since 1990. That is remarkable. And since you and I are in the same space, professional space. I’m so aware of how many joys there are in the work, but also sometimes challenges. So to give our listeners a sense of and I asked this in this spirit of this is why I’ve been doing this work like this, what keeps me going, if you think of a moment or two, that sort of is emblematic of why you’ve done this work. But also, because we don’t want to look at life with rosy colored glasses, what might be a moment where you went? Gosh, do I really want to keep going?

Meredith Bell  05:20

Well, just to give you a quick acceleration from the teacher to the entrepreneur, Yes, please. Because that was a leap also. And I think this would be encouraging to listeners of all ages. Because I found after a few years of teaching, that I actually didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, because of the repetitious repetitive nature of teaching these lesson plans. So I got my master’s and moved into the next level, which was in the school board Office Administration, supervising programs. And after three different school systems, I realized, oh, my goodness, I don’t do politics very well at all. And I don’t do bureaucracy well, either. And so with all of the physical and emotional difficulties, I was having it, plus I was put in positions that were not a fit for me where I was set up for failure, because I was given responsibility and not authority. And I just finally said, that’s it. So I left. And this is the thing I came, I had zero background in business, I had never taken a business course, in college, I had never read a business book, I just knew I was miserable where I was, and decided my passion as a headache, you know, gone through the years up to that point was really, this whole interpersonal communication, how to, you know, get along. And so I just decided, I’m going to figure out how to do this work on my own in other kinds of organizations. And so I just, you know, learned along the way, so in terms of negatives, man, I had so many, you know, mistakes that I made early on in these years of how to go about marketing myself and doing what I was doing. And fortunately, I met Danny coats. After a few years of being we were both solo consultants, decided to put our businesses together after a while and figured it made sense, because we had shared values and interests. And we brought in a third partner at the same time. So as you mentioned, we’ve worked together now for 30 years, it’s as good or better than ever. It’s like a good marriage. You can say after all these years together, it’s great. Did we have issues? Absolutely. Any business is going to have issues, not necessarily with each other. But I distinctly remember, I’ll tell you the downside. First, we decided when we evolved from being consultants to a software company that we were going to work with resellers. Yeah. And one of the resellers that we worked with, ended up being very unscrupulous. And he cheated us out of money, he lied about us to other clients. And it was probably the darkest moment I’ve ever had in terms of doing business because I tend to be a trusting person. And we even had to go to court over it, which was, you know, a new and, and horrible experience. But we got through that. And one of the key things I ended up doing, because when we go through something that for me at that time, and this has been 20 years ago was traumatic, I went to see a counselor, because in my mind, I had just recently read Scott pecks book, people have the lie. And this guy to me was a liar, right? He was an evil person. And this counselor helped me realize it wasn’t serving me to label him as evil. And so in the consequential years after that, I’ve labeled him my teacher, because I learned.

Achim Nowak  08:58

I love that clarification and reframing. I’ve had my own experience with an agent who screwed me I’m not going to tell the story. If I can take it back to you, no matter how much I intellectually understood what happened. And I learned some things about how I engage with the individual. There definitely was a wound inside. And part of me was becoming less trusting of others. How, besides working with a counselor, like has your relationship to trust and how you trust people, change to your trust as quickly as you did, because these are profound experiences.

Meredith Bell  09:40

They are and I am happy to say it. I guess I viewed it more as an anomaly. Because up to that point, and since we’ve never had an experience like that, I had all these other people that I had great relationships with that, you know, follow through where people have integrity and honesty. And so that one individual, I didn’t allow to poison my view of people in general. And, you know, my desire to build strong positive relationship. No, it didn’t. I don’t think it really had a just in that one scenario was I wounded and she said, That’s such a good word. And, and I think we need to recognize that. And that’s why I sought help. Because I was just playing this out in my mind too much, and realized, I need to move on from this, this does not need to define my life.

Achim Nowak  10:37

And I, I love that you sought help, because you and I are both in the helping profession, which means we are helpers to others. And I like to joke that in my life, I have helped for absolutely everything. And I avail myself of it. And it’s a sign of strength and not weakness, it allows me to be better at everything. Yes, yeah. Because so much of your work is around aspects of better communication, one on one with teams, can you give us just a snapshot of if you just say this is a story from strong performance? Where, gosh, we were so proud of the work we did. And this is how we change something in a in a group of people or a company. This is why we do this?

Meredith Bell  11:26

Yes, I actually have to, I’ll make them both short. So we can fit them both in? Well, for an individual that had an impact on the whole organization. The other was more the whole organization because of a group of people. So in the first one, because we have two tools, one is a 360 degree and survey software, it gets people feedback, so they find out where am I strong? Where do I need to make improvements. So we had a one of our consultants who uses the software did a survey for the manager at this hotel. And he had wanted to get the survey done about his management and about the hotel, it really was sort of a climate survey, because he was seeing a lot of absenteeism and a desync it I don’t even think the word disengagement was used at that time, but that’s what he was seeing, right. And so this consultant did the survey, she brought him the results. And he was dumbfounded. He was shocked. Because everything pointed to him. And what he was doing that was causing problems and causing people to not want to come to work. Yeah. And a lot of it had to do with micromanaging, you know, correcting criticizing, just not being a pleasant boss for people to report to. And so he took that to heart, I really admire the fact that he was open to to asking for the feedback. But then when he received it, he was committed to making changes. And so working with this coach, and He even told people, that was a significant thing he announced to them, here’s the results. Here’s what I learned, here’s what I’m going to be working on. And he committed himself to really changing how he interacted with people. And it made a huge difference. The coach worked with him remotely. And so the next time it was some months later that she came in, she just immediately noticed a different feel in the atmosphere. And then she had people that came up to her and said, Thank you, thank you are working with him. It’s just a whole different world here. And she said that he also told her, it had made a huge difference with his family. So not only had he made changes to impact, everyone who was in that hotel, he made changes that impacted his family. So when you think of the ripple effect that we’ve indirectly had on the lives of so many people that excites me, the other one was with a credit union, where they used this program, we have cut strong for performance, where even though it was only like four locations, everything was separated, you know, these individual smokes, were not smokestacks. Anyway, everybody was working on their own. And there was not very good communication. And so they hired this guy who came in and with the input from the executive team identified 12 communication, skills and trouble we called core strengths, like perseverance and courage to work with them. So they had this rhythm of every two weeks they were focusing on a skill and looking for ways to use it. And then at the two week mark, they came back and reported on instances where they applied it. And this was one of those situations where it was about a dozen managers from across the organization. I won’t say they went kicking and screaming, but they weren’t raising their hand saying Pick me, they were not thrilled to be there, because it was very low trust. But what happened over time as they started sharing how they were applying these skills is they really built a support system for each other, and were much more open and trusting. And that had a ripple effect on others. And so the CEO told this consultant, hey, we need to start planning this is about month 10 into a one year program, he says we need to get the second group going, this has transformed our whole credit union, where people weren’t sharing, they weren’t talking. Now, the whole place feels different. And it was because of this one core group getting started with each other and then modeling that for other people. And so here we have this entire organization where people actually changed. And so for the second group, they did have people raising their hands, because they saw how beneficial had been for the first group.

Achim Nowak  16:04

A word from your sponsor, that’s me, I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast, fourth, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own forex, please check it out. And now back to the conversation.  Our listeners who are not in the personal development field are just getting a glimpse of what those of us who are including us have get excited about, which is in a you know, they’re the two words I keep hearing is more trust and better communication, as the entry points to changing a work culture but changing all of our relationships, right. And, and what I also heard is, if we have tools to do that, you know, then there is a systematic way of helping people do that, which is what you do. So thank you for those details. You shared with me an article that you wrote for me for a book, it’s a chapter in a book, and and you shared a personal mission statement in it that was very beautiful, and powerful. And to me to answer the question, like why does Meredith show up the way she does? And probably why does she keep going? Would you mind? Just letting our listeners know what, what your personal mission statement?

Meredith Bell  17:49

Absolutely, yes, because it took me a while to develop it. But it’s it’s very profound. It’s my purpose is to serve and love profoundly. So others appreciate their own value, and maximize it.

Achim Nowak  18:07

Say it one more time, because there’s, there’s a lot of carefully crafted language. And then I want to make sure that, yeah, yes. So round each one more time,

Meredith Bell  18:16

Each word was really carefully chosen. Because it’s, you know, a purpose statement is really for yourself, to help you stay clear on where you want to go. And so I tweaked this a number of times, but I love what I ended up with my purpose is to serve and love profoundly. So others appreciate their own value, and maximize it.

Achim Nowak  18:41

Yeah. It’s a beautiful statement. And I like to relate in the moment to so what keeps you doing what you’re doing? And, you know, will you retire? Will you not or all those questions that you’re 69 years old this year, so people contemplate all those things, and yet you have this powerful mission statement? Maybe to just deconstructed some more if you had to pick two or three words in it that that unexplained This is why I chose this word. This is why I chose this word, rather than another word, to help us to even better understand your relationship to this.

Meredith Bell  19:23

Oh, great. Okay. So serve is such a core word for me, because it is looking for how can I be of help to this person, and it prevents me from getting centered trying to be center stage. So it’s that focus on uplifting another person. So when I have a conversation with someone, it really is with questions to learn more about them and how not How can I sell my products or my books, but how can I provide an insight or resource that will be useful for them in their own journey. The word profound was important to me, I thought of powerfully, but profoundly just touched my spirit more, you know, because that is one of those words that that is a serious impact. It’s not trivial, it’s meaningful, and therefore, it has lasting impact. And I think that’s really critical. And the other word is appreciate. And I learned this in a different level from Dan Sullivan, of Strategic Coach, I heard him talking about it. We talked about, you know, stocks and land appreciating in value, but we don’t apply it to people that often. And this idea of how can I help someone else appreciate, in their own minds, their value? I need to appreciate them for the human being they are, but also how can I help them appreciate themselves more? And so that, to me, was a core word that has multiple meanings.

Achim Nowak  21:08

So how, how do you help people appreciate themselves more,

Meredith Bell  21:13

Wel one is simply acknowledging their strengths, when I’m listening to someone, or if they’ve posted something, you know, I might write back specifically on social media, you know, something I really liked. In a conversation, I will point out, if they’re really, you know, making an important point, or they, you know, made an observation, just listening for things that someone says that they may not fully appreciate, or I’ve seen them do something, you know, it’s simple things even like checking out at the cash register at the grocery store. If somebody has been really fast and, you know, friendly or efficient out, say, Hey, I really appreciate how efficient you are. And usually they give me the surprise look, and they, of course, with masks on, you can see their eyes twinkle if you can’t see them smile, but so few people take time to say something positive to others. So it’s raising my awareness, to be more observant and noticing and pointing out.

Achim Nowak  22:27

Those are such great examples. I was thinking about this where I came to mind windows, it’s really about, first of all, noticing the full of humanity that’s in front of us. And having the courage to explicitly celebrate that. Instead of taking it for granted, or just keeping the thoughts to ourselves. And we we uplift each other by doing it, don’t we?

Meredith Bell  22:54

Yes. And you know, I came this, one of the things that I think happens to people is we sometimes withhold compliments. Yeah, because sometimes somehow we think that’s going to take away from us. I don’t know the logic there. But it’s it’s one of those insights I’ve gotten. It’s a question I’ve asked, why do we withhold positive feedback from others, and part of it is we may not notice, but part of it is that our egos can somehow get involved with thinking we’re somehow less if we give more to someone else. And that’s all crazy thinking. But it’s the kind of thoughts that can mess us up in terms of really connecting with someone.

Achim Nowak  23:42

Yeah, I wrote I’ll tell us 32nd story. I remember an executive I was coaching and visiting him in his corporate headquarters, great guy, and one of his coaching goals was to just be more complimentary. And he had he had a heat so he said goals are going to pay two five compliments this week. And, and this was great. But I remember be sitting with him in his in the conference room, and his executive assistant assistant, came in and asked if we wanted some coffee or tea, she got me some coffee. And I I asked him, Do you think she did a nice job delivering the coffee? Yeah. She said she’s great. Would you consider paying her a compliment? And his insight was, in my mind compliments are only for exceptional things. And not for ordinary things, or anything. She’s just doing her job. And in my experience, what she’s doing it nicely, I felt really cared for, you know, so we all have these little stories around. What do we give feedback about? What’s the value of it the purpose, right?

Meredith Bell  24:51

Yeah, I think sometimes we think oh is going to go to their head and the fact is everybody loves to get feedback, even the most successful people in the world need that affirmation.

Achim Nowak  25:08

Now you, you shared your beautiful personal mission statement with us, I have something similar and I don’t need to share mine, it’s this is about you and not about me. What I wouldn’t know about mine is that this is something I came up with in the 90s, that over the years, the words begin to have even deeper meaning and resonate even more deeply, because I have created this for myself, I’m seeking to live this in and then I’m amassing more and more experience that color, the words I’ve chosen. How has your experience as you’re living this mission statement of these words and their meaning for you changed or evolved? Wow.

Meredith Bell  26:01

Each one of them, I think, has gotten a deeper and richer meaning. The word love, for example, which I didn’t talk about earlier, you know, to really love someone to care. So they sense that intense interest in their well being is is something that I it’s not like I’m forcing it, you know, or or acting that way, it’s how can I show up and be that? Yeah. And I think that greater appreciation of being these words, you know, not just, you know, saying them or doing them. And that may seem like a strange distinction to some listeners. But being and doing is huge is a huge distinction for me, because I’ve been a human doing so much, you know, do this stay action oriented. And yet to slow down and just look at how can I show up this way. And this is who Meredith is, in this moment. I think that his deep end for me with those words.

Achim Nowak  27:15

And what strikes me too, is because you’re starting with beautiful words. But as you are being the more you are reaping the rewards of being that person who lives this, which then attracts more of the same and it’s sort of a blossoming of something that’s inside, but created by you with intention, which is playing.

Meredith Bell  27:41

And I have affirmations that I say every day, some people call them I am statements or reinforce this to Yeah. And I think one of the most relevant ones getting to how am I deepening my understanding of these words, my very first one I say every day is I am loving kindness everywhere with everyone nice, because that prevents me from categorizing, and qualifying someone it’s looking at, how can I be this way. And that just sets the tone.

Achim Nowak  28:20

Just to build on that I listen to you, I realize you were aware really made of the same cloth. So when when I when I find myself being energetically depleted or a little tired, but I am in a situation where I need to show up. For others. I say to myself, I am a vibrant vehicle of light and love. And I’ll say three or four times in I sell your only change. And I’m changed by these words. So that’s the beauty of choosing language and not allowing it to change us and turn. Now I feel like I already know what you’re going to say. But I have to ask this question. I’m going to give it some context. You are 69 this year, I have a lot of colleagues in our profession, who are like you really successful. love their work. But the question people have kicking around, do I want to keep doing this in my 70s? How long do I want to keep doing it? Is it time to sell my business? Or do I get with a part of the business and only do the things that I really really love and let go the others. Does Meredith Bell have any of those thoughts at all?

Meredith Bell  29:43

You know, Kim, I in fact, it’s so funny. My mother who is 93 I was she lives close by and when I left the other day after visiting her she said you know a friend of mine was saying Do you think Meredith will ever retire my mother said I don’t think so she seems to really enjoy what she’s doing. Yeah. And that’s really my answer. I feel honestly responsibility, because of what I know, and what we’ve created with our books, and with our products, to continue bringing them out into the world, and even in a bigger way than we have in the past. So I’m more motivated than ever to do what I do. The three of us are still very excited and enthusiastic about what we have and what we’re bringing to the world. And one of the reasons I came is because we see every day, the pain and suffering that people go through at work and at home around miscommunication. And we know there are ways to alleviate that issue. And we want to be part of the solution. So that’s one of the things that drives me every day. Well, we, you know, hope to sell the company at some point, I imagine. So, you know, that is likely in the cards at some point. But I don’t see that today. Because all three of us still are very much committed to and enjoying, and really passionate about what we do. It’s been, it’s fun.

Achim Nowak  31:20

I love that you ended with fun. I remember when I turned 60 is, and I just written my third book and I it just came upon me there was no decision I said, I will only do things I absolutely want to do from now on, in and I already had a business I loved but even within that there were moments when you do stuff that you have to do that you’re contractually obligated to do but you that was powerful. Now, are there any any thoughts of undoing this? And, and something else I’d like to do? Is there anything emerging? I’m not suggestion I’m not suggesting there has to be. Because one of the freedoms of having a very successful business, which you and your partners have is, you can almost open the door of I know I’ve done this really well. And we’re doing this really well. What else is there? What else?

Meredith Bell  32:19

Yes? Well, I didn’t mention my podcast, you you in your introduction. And I just released Episode 100. So I’m at my two year mark.

Achim Nowak  32:31

I could make make a plug use that was an episode with a fellow named David Wood. And it was ridiculously good. And, you know, in a podcast, our listeners, you know, there’s always a moment away from checking out and saying, oh, let me do something else. And no, I hung on every word, Episode 100, Meredith Bell, and David would check it out. No, back to you.

Meredith Bell  32:54

Oh, thank you. Yes, the podcast is called strong for performance. And I just love that because that stretches me. And, and really, honestly, I came, I’m open to other things that stretch me, and cause me to say, Oh, I haven’t done that before. You know, initially, I might think, oh, if I can do that, then I think well, of course you can. You’ve done all these other things. Why not? You know, and, and so the podcast has been great. And I’m enjoying being a guest on other podcast too. So I’m always seeking out new things to try typically related to our business. I also love bird watching with my husband, it’s something we’ve been doing together now for 20 years. And so getting out with nature, I do want to carve out more time for that we don’t want to have this, you know, big desire to travel the world and you know, add to a bird list that a lot of people do, you know, it just even short trips, because we live in Virginia, and it’s a beautiful state with all kinds of, you know, mountains, ocean, everything in between. and just getting out and listening. And paying attention has been a great learning for me on how to relax how to be in the moment. In fact, this morning, I took a walk in our neighborhood. And my whole purpose was listen for the birds, because I’ve learned a lot of their songs over the years and just pay attention to what am I hearing. So that I focus on and you say this beautifully in your book about the moment you know, paying attention to the census will today for me it was the hearing part, just enhanced, enhancing all of my senses so that I live life more richly, whatever it is I’m doing.

Achim Nowak  34:42

I I believe for all of us learning to relax more deeply in the moment. Which sounds so simple, but when we’ve been outcome results driven, it’s not easy to do them all. All the wisdom, even reverse is just right in front of us and receive it. And that that’s a wonderful fourth act thing to just have more of that. When, if you were to whispers, some advice we sort of gotten really into, I think the depth of purpose and the depth of being in the compensation right now, if you were to based on what you know, now, whisper some guidance into young Meredith’s ears, many men, Meredith, who was really, really itching to be a school teacher and became one What, what would you say to her based on this vantage point?

Meredith Bell  35:40

Oh, you know, there are a number of things I would say. And one of them relates back to that word fun that I use, yes, because I tend to be a very serious person by nature. I’ve learned that about myself over the years, which means that if something is happening, you know, and somebody tries to interject humor, it’s like, what are you doing, you know, this is serious business here. No time for fun, and I’ve learned lightening up is a really important part of working on something important. Because that’s where the creativity can come in. If I’m so intense and serious about it, I’m shutting out the possibilities, the options, the opportunities, so that is a key piece of guidance I would give to my younger self is just relax, have more fun. Another thing is being more gentle with myself. Because I do have high standards for my performance for you know how I show up my behavior. And when I fall short of that I hate I sometimes I’m, you know, that internal talking critical of myself, sometimes too long, because it gets in the way, then of moving forward. And so just learning to forgive myself faster, for mistakes that I make and realize, hey, it’s, you know, part of the experience of life, I can’t, I don’t want to be perfect. In fact, I heard someone recently say, excellence is a good alternative to shoot for, rather than perfection. And I like that, yes, it’s always looking at what’s the best I can do right now. And, and not being too harsh or critical. So I think that’s another key point. And that goes back to my purpose, serving and loving myself, as well as others, to be kind to myself, so that I then feel free to come up with great ideas and not be judgmental, and more loving and accepting.

Achim Nowak  37:55

I’m hearing that you are just more more deeply entrenched in, in the meaning behind the work you do and in, in the service you’re able to do through the work. Our our listeners, this is the my fourth act podcast are people who are might be a little envious of the depth of your purpose, because not everybody has it. But if you think if you were to give people some with some wisdom, or guidance or words of encouragement around, fully living, therefore the acts, stepping into their fourth acts, from your perspective as a, as a business leader, as a coach, as a mentor, as an author, what would you say to them?

Meredith Bell  38:42

I love this question. I would say focus on serving as a way of being and showing up and not as a strategy. Nice, because it’s easy to say, Okay, I’m going to serve this person, and then this is going to happen. And and that loses its power. Because the the spirit behind it is different. And I want to give you a quick example of why this is so powerful. It just happened last week. I had listened to a podcast, I loved what this guest was saying. And this is what I often do. I pay attention to my intuition much more now also. And so I thought this is somebody because of the kinds of points he was making. I thought, Man, we need to connect with him. So we were already connected on LinkedIn. So I just reached out and told him how much I enjoyed listening to his podcast, and I had found out that he had a podcast and I said, I’ve got a great guest suggestion for you and I’d be happy to make the introduction. And and he wrote back and said, Well, yes, that would be great. So I Did it and so that’s the thing when you get that hit Yeah, do something act on it. And then I didn’t have any expectation, you know, there were no strings attached. It was like, these two people should know each other. And so after I did that, and I wrote back and told him, it was done, I had thought of someone else that he ought to know. And I said, Well, do you know this person? And, and he wrote back? And he said, No, and and I’d be happy to have an introduction, because I offered to make the introduction. He says, and, and would you be willing to be a guest on my podcast? And I thought, wow, that that was like three days. Yeah, from me reaching out to him and saying, Here’s somebody I’d like to introduce him inviting me to be on his podcast, and it’s a fabulous podcast, I would love to be, but I never it that the Spirit, the feeling behind how I did that, and getting invited versus me having, say, approached him, to ask about it, a whole different feeling to it. And that’s the thing people sense when you are genuinely wanting to be of service to them without expecting anything in return. And I just kind of trust put good stuff out there. And you know, it’ll come back in some way or another, I’m not measuring when or how or where

Achim Nowak  41:28

I, everything you describe to me in my mind, I call it selfless service. And if we show up in with selfless service, the universe brings us all sorts of other really cool stuff. And, and I think that’s true for any act we’re in in our lives. And one of the gifts of the fourth act can be that we, we have nothing really left to prove to the world. Why just why not just serve selflessly and be surprised by what comes back? Right.

Meredith Bell  42:01

I love what you just said. It’s really true. And that, that, to me is is what’s so cool about taking, you know, myself into this mode of being and serving, because there’s always these wonderful surprises that come out in really different ways.

Achim Nowak  42:23

I have been inspired today again, just listening to you, Meredith. If our listeners want to find out more about you or the work you do, we know the podcasts your business, where where will they find you give us some guidance?

Meredith Bell  42:38

Yeah, we’ve got one website that has it all. It’s called So it has information on the homepage about our two books. And then there’s another page with our products, another page with my podcast and another page that’s got a free ebook, which is basically an excerpt of the listening chapter. Our book and it’s called listen like a pro, because listening to me is the foundation skill of all the other communication skills and we want people to have access to that.

Achim Nowak  43:16

So please, listeners, check out Meredith Bell, I highly recommend her podcast and just thank you for being you. It was such a joy to have this conversation. I loved it. Thank you again for having me. Bye bye. Like what’s your hurt please go to my fourth act COMM And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao


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