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Welcome to episode #65 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this episode I had a conversation with Ben Winter, the owner of Success Improv. His hobbies are improv and golf.

Top Talking Points

  • When you’re trying to learn something, just jump in and don’t worry about failure.
  • Being able to properly react when things don’t match your expectations.
  • Building rapport with people and networking will bring you business in the future.

Resources & Links

Share Link for this episode.

Connect With Ben at havingexpectations.com

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Episode Transcript

Ryan 

Hey guys, it’s Ryan real quick. So my mission with the Morning Upgrade blog and podcast is to raise the awareness of morning routines and personal development. And I now have two products that are also helped me with this mission. The first product helps you start a 20 minute morning routine. And the second product is a book that outlines how to use personal development, upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morning upgrade.com. Thanks for letting me share. And now on to the show.

Announcer  

Welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast with Ryan Cote where we feature casual conversations with entrepreneurs about personal development and growth.

Ryan  

Hey, Ben, welcome to the Morning Upgrade podcast. How are you?

Ben  

I’m great. Thanks for having me.

Ryan  

Yeah, I’m excited to dive in. So why don’t we start with you telling everyone who you are, what you do for a living, and then maybe one or two of your hobbies?

Ben  

Yeah, so I own a company called Success Improv. And I teach team building using the tools and techniques of improv. And I basically get to play a lot. And it’s a lot of fun. And hobbies. Well, doing improv is also a hobby. So I guess that counts. But golf is kind of getting up there in my world and entertaining my 12-year-old son before he turns into a teenager who doesn’t care that he has parents.

Ryan 

I’ll be there soon. I like to talk about mindset. And so you made me think of a question around improv? Because I couldn’t imagine I’d be very nervous to do that. I’m sure everyone is when they start out. How did you get over it in terms of your mindset? How did you get over those nerves when you were first starting?

Ben 

It was actually very simples. So when I first thought about taking improv classes, I was I went through all the self-doubt of you know, I’m not good enough, smart enough, etc, all the reasons why not. And I finally just went to a class. And you know, the keyword there is it’s a class, you’re there to learn. Like, you may not know anything about improv, but you’re there to learn it. And the teacher said, you know, there are rules to improv. If you learn the rules, you’ll be fine, you’ll be successful, it’ll be great. No worries, if you don’t follow the rules, it’s going to be a disaster, and it’s not going to be fun. And I was like, well, that’s simple. And it really was that simple. You know, he went over the rules, how they applied, demonstrated, you know, the correct way of doing something and the incorrect way of doing something, and it was just so easy. And because of that it was so freeing and ended up being a lot of fun. And I just felt the most at home being up on stage, just following those rules and making some magic happen.

Ryan 

So make sense are basically we were saying there was a framework to follow and as long as you stayed within the framework, it just, it made it a little bit easier, which calm your nerves. Exactly. Makes sense. Alright, let’s talk about how you start your morning off, what is your morning routine looks like.

Ben 

So I am fortunate enough to rarely ever need an alarm to wake up. And I for two reasons. One, I just don’t have a schedule, or I need to get up early. And number two, I’m always up early. So usually, before I want to be up, but I’ve also kind of learned that that’s okay, once my brain is ready to start working, I come up and awake, I will usually just kind of hang out and relax. And I do have the bad tendency of just kind of getting on my phone and checking emails and making sure nothing you know exploded overnight or anything like that. Sometimes I’ll read sometimes I’ll take a shower. I usually go on a walk-through. In the morning. It’s like one of the first things I do is get ready to go on a walk, whether it’s a mile, two miles, three miles just doesn’t matter. It’s just getting out and starting moving. Get the body warmed up. And you know, come back, have some coffee and take a shower. So then I’m up and running, keep the walks going.

Ryan 

You’re in Colorado, correct? Yes, and you can’t go in the winter when it’s cold?

Ben  

The funny thing with Denver is we don’t really get a lot of snow in Denver. And when we do get snow because it’s always sunny and, and bright here. The snow melts pretty quickly, especially on the streets. So it’s a rarity that I ever have to walk in the snow. But you know, that’s why you have layers, you put on layers and you go on a walk and it’s great. So, you know, doesn’t stop me. The walking is nice too because I do it sometimes as well. I like to walk and you can use it in several ways. You can just be by yourself, no phone, no audio sort of like a meditative walk or solitude. Or you can use it to listen to Audible So certainly a self-education walk so versatile. I feel like more people need to use it.

Ryan  

Absolutely. And it’s you know, doctors have said you know, just walking is better than sitting on your butt is some form of exercise so it’s got the blood fun. Just it makes everything easier. Yeah,

Ben

100% Agree. 

Ryan

So let’s talk about I usually like to ask about tips like the number one personal development tip but I want to gear it towards your excellence. TC, because you’ve got a book that you wrote on expectations and how not how to stop being upset, instead of mindset and all that. So can you just give a one of your key tips on how to stop being upset?

Ben  

Yeah. So in my book, I kind of talked about what expectations are, where they come from, and how to kind of resolve those moments in time when we get upset. My number one tip really is to first, first and foremost, become aware that when you’re upset, there’s something on the other side of the equation that you’re missing. And that’s usually the understanding of the expectation you had, why you have it. And if you’ve shared it with the right person, or people or yourself, thus, that you know, and understand and have buy-in for that expectation. And one of the things that I’ve realized is, most of the time, people don’t understand that they had the expectation in the first place until it’s being unmet. And that often is enough right there. Just to stop being upset at the moment. I really feel like it starts with the awareness of, hey, I’m upset, I could do something about it. And if that’s all you pick up here, then that’s enough. Because every time you get upset, you’d be like, oh, yeah, I can make a choice. I can choose differently now. So that’s the number one tip,

Ryan 

is it okay, in your opinion, to have expectations for how you want things to go?

Ben 

It’s a common misconception that we can choose not to have expectations. You know, when somebody says, I choose not to have expectations, and I just say, Well, that’s an expectation in and of itself. So sorry, you have expectations, it’s just what is it is impossible not to have expectations, you know, you wake up in the morning, you expect the refrigerator to be running and having your food be cold, you expect the electricity to be working, you have expectations all the time, you expect to be able to use the English language that you learned. First thing, when you wake up, you don’t expect your mouth to not work, you don’t expect to hear. There are so many simple expectations we have about the world that we live in, that we don’t even realize our expectations until there’s an issue with them. And that’s kind of the key there is, is you’re gonna have them. So you may as well use them to your advantage.

Ryan 

Yeah, it makes me think about talking about happiness, too. And it’s like expectations, like you said, it feeds into not being upset and happy. What is your approach to happiness as you go through your day? How do you approach it?

Ben  

Well, I think the first thing to realize is that you’re not always going to be happy 100% of the time, I feel like if you are then you become numb to what happiness really is. And I think that’s why we have those moments in time where, you know, we’re given a slap on the face. So we recognize, oh, yeah, that’s the opposite of happy, I don’t like that. For me, it’s finding those opportunities when I’m upset to make a change. You know, I always tell people, traffic is my big kind of Achilles tendon. I hate traffic. And I get upset with traffic all the time. But instead of being upset the entire trip that I’m taking, I’m now upset for maybe five or 10 seconds. So just from that alone, I’m able to be happy more often, because I’m not upset as often as I was in the past. If that makes sense.

Ryan  

You’re making me think of this weekend, I was driving home and with my family, and I had two weeks ago. And I chose the way that the GPS was telling me to go even though I knew that road usually gets busy. And then it got busy. I was like, What was I thinking I should have done? I was like, this is not really something to be upset about. Like what so I’m delayed an extra five minutes. And so we asked what all this personal growth and development stuff is about, you know, just eventually thinking of different ways to think and react in situations, you know, exactly. Let’s talk about your bet your business, Ben, what have you had the most success with in terms of growing it?

Ben  

It’s just getting out and meeting people. And because the one thing with business is, you may not get direct business from the person you’re talking to, but they know 250 people, and those 250 people, no 250 people. So if you’re out there just trying to make a sale to the person standing across from you, it’s just not going to work. If you create a relationship with the person across from you and show that you’re interested in helping them they’re going to find people that want to use your service. And that’s just what’s called networking. It’s getting out there and meeting people. The more people you meet, the more people that you show that you care, the more people you help get what they want. It’s just going to reciprocate. And you’re going to get phone calls out of the blue that says, Hey, Jenny, gave me your number so that you’d be a great fit here. Like, let’s talk.

Ryan 

What is your go-to use for networking? What do you do?

Ben  

So, Meetup is obviously a great place for networking. You can certainly find groups that align with what you’re looking to do. And hobbies are another great way if there are people around. Do you have an opportunity to network? I was at my son’s lacrosse practice and I’m talking to another parent and she’s like, oh, did you meet this other parent here that also does like some leadership coaching and training, and you guys would be great to connect with and etc, etc, right? I had no intention of being at my son’s lacrosse game to find business. And yet here I am talking to somebody we’re connecting with, and they’re introducing this other parent and it could lead to a bunch of business, it might not. But now there are two more people that know what I do. And they’re connected in ways I can’t comprehend at the moment. So it just doesn’t matter. Do the things that you love, and the people will be there. And that’s just an opportunity for networking.

Ryan

It’s true. If you’re not out there, people will know what you do unless they just stumble across your website or, or what have you. But that sort of wet things to chance to leave things to chance. So in-network, it makes sense that I’d imagine. I think like the improv work you’ve done, it’s probably helped, right? Because you’re, you’re probably talking to people and doing presentations, it must just be easy now, because you’re used to being on stage and doing improv.

Ben  

Yes, being on stage is very easy for me now, especially just having that improv background, I’m able to really handle whatever comes my way.

Ryan

Is the book about your business, or is it more of a marketing tool to get on a podcast, or how’s that work for you?

Ben 

You know, the funny thing with marketing in using stuff like this, where it’s kind of subtle, is that it takes a lot of time before you start seeing the results of those marketing efforts. And, you know, a lot of so the book came out right before the pandemic. And I’ve been doing a lot of podcasts during the pandemic, and people are just now starting to get back into the office mode and the like, hey, we need this team to start working. So it’s very possible that doing the podcasts and getting the book out there will yield lots of business. It’s just more I’ve planted the seeds, and I continue to plant the seeds. And we’ll see what happens as the season progresses.

Ryan 

Yeah, that’s a great way to look at it planting seeds. Think of sales in the same way you’re planting seeds, you still know when they’re gonna sprout, and sometimes they sprout in bunches. And sometimes there’s a drought and it takes a little while. So I think planting seeds is a good analogy.

Ben  

Yeah. And, again, you know, if I, if I’m on 50 podcasts, and you know, only 49 of them are only one of the 50 has as an actual following. I still got a lot of experience doing podcast interviews, I got to practice so that when that one does come along, where there’s a following 100,000 People, I’m not going to sound like a guy that sits there and says, and really not understand what they’re talking about. Right? I will actually be able to prove, hey, I know what I’m talking about. I know how to present and so on and so forth. So, you know, even if anybody’s listening and they want to do something, just start, the best way I can put it is, you don’t want to start your business and go on Oprah that same day, like you want to, like, get prepared. Because when you go on Oprah, you want to like sound like you know what you’re doing, you’re not ready, day one to go stand on her show and start talking. You have to actually work your way up there.

Ryan  

Yeah, that’s a great point. Let’s talk about habits. Do you have any habits that you rely on throughout today?

Ben  

I mean, my habits are, are more of the biggest one that I’m practicing right now the biggest habit that I’m practicing is patience. And the reason I say that is that sometimes I like to move too quickly. And I like to get answers too quickly that I force an outcome that doesn’t make sense, rather than being patient so that I have enough information to move forward where it does make sense. And like the book writes what to expect when having expectations when I was writing that it was an effort that I had to be very patient with because I had all these ideas. And I put them all down. And I created little pieces of paper with my different ideas on them. And I was like, I don’t know how this book is going to flow. I didn’t know which concept went into the next concept into the next and so on. And I sat there for a really long time for days and weeks. And finally, I sat I just cleared like a table and I put all the pieces down and I started moving them around and making sure that things that were clustered together make made sense to cluster together. And, you know, I generally found a flow after a while, but I had to be patient with myself because if I had just sat down and forced myself to write it wouldn’t have come out as well. As if I had taken that time to practice patience, and every time that I do practice patience, things just work out better for me. So that is one of my life lessons. And so, therefore, my newest hobby is or habit is practicing patience.

Ryan  

Patience is an amazing virtue. So it’s for anyone to have. So it’s a good habit to try to create. For sure.

Ben 

Yeah, so every day I’m presented with something where it’s like, Could I wait to respond? Could I wait to reply to that text message Could I wait on that email? You know, there are so many greats out there that are like, check your email twice a day. And for me, I just kind of have heart palpitations with that because it’s like always there. But at the same time, every now and then I’ll get a client to ask a question. And then an hour later, they figured it out on their own. Yeah, but because I’m sometimes so quick with my emails, I would respond, and we would go back and forth. And then, you know, we would have spent a lot of time and energy, and they figured it out anyway, and therefore, I didn’t have to spend any time or energy. So the patients would have worked out had I just let it go. And so I get to practice on a regular basis.

Ryan 

Yeah, we all do, especially as parents too, right?

Ben 

Yes, indeed.

Ryan  

So, I got one last question for you, Ben. This was great. The 15 minutes flew by me, I’m just curious as to what website people should go to if they want to learn more by your book, etc.

Ben  

Yeah, so the website is havingexpectations.com. And on there, you can download a free workflow on kind of those points in time when you’re upset and how to kind of work through it. So that you have more opportunities to be happy and less, less time to be upset. And then you can also find links to the books that I’ve written and so on and so forth.

Ryan  

Perfect. We’ll link up in the show notes. Thanks, Ben. Appreciate it.

Ben 

Absolutely. This was great.

Ryan

Thanks for listening to the Morning Upgrade podcast. Please subscribe and review. And don’t forget to visit us at morningupgrade.com for more content.

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