page title icon The Morning Upgrade Podcast Featuring Courtney Wright

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Welcome to episode #82 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. In this week’s episode I spoke with Courtney Wright, owner of Gemini Builds It.

Top Talking Points

  • How to use habits to reduce stress and limit surprises.
  • Look for small ways to reduce friction in your habits.
  • A lot of people work hard, but success is about working hard on the right things.

Resources & Links

Connect With Courtney on LinkedIn or GeminiBuildsIt.com

Subscribe to The Morning Upgrade Podcast

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. If you enjoyed my conversation with Courtney, be sure to subscribe to the podcast and please leave a review.

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

Courtney 

Great, Ryan! Terrific. Appreciate being here.

Ryan 

Yeah, I’m excited to talk with you. Let’s introduce you to my audience of morning upgraders. Start off by telling us who you are, and what you do for a living, and then give us a win in your life right now. It can be personal or professional.

Courtney 

Awesome. I’d love to Okay, I am Courtney Wright. And I own a series of companies all under the headline Gemini Builds It and we’re a manufacturer, which we can talk about later manufacturer for a lot of different industries. And we’re here in Chicagoland. One thing that’s going really well as we’ve got a new business, that’s installation and logistics in the art world space right now. And we’re having a lot of fun, being able to do that final mile install for our clients and their clients.

Ryan 

What made you start that other business, new business,

Courtney 

You know, Ryan, like, I like to listen to what our clients are talking about and where their pain points are. And I kept hearing and seeing that people, you know, they could buy art, we could fit art, we could frame art, but if they didn’t arrange the installation piece, and that’s not that easy, because there’s a ton of requirements, the art would sit there on Hong Kong, and like a lot of us can relate to and on the wall, so they couldn’t enjoy it. So as an investment they made that they weren’t even using. So we just kept hearing it over and over because of the labor shortages. Because many suppliers that people had pre-pandemic are gone, we just decided this is the right opportunity. And the right thing for us to add to our basket of services started as a sound division. So somebody here could have a leadership role. And we’re having fun growing up.

Ryan

Right? Sounds like you have something you fit a need. And that’s really exciting. Sounds like it’s an actual extension of your other business. So you kind of have a little bit of a head start, right, or at least momentum in the right direction.

Courtney 

For sure. And we’ve got leads and ways to network and socialize this around pretty easily. Our first month, you know, exceeded our expectations. And I think it’s primarily because, you know, we just got after a really hard we got uniforms and got marketing material and got the website, you know, updated and started really just dripping on every single person that we interacted with to make sure they knew that was an extension. And sure enough, that’s how we really realized that this is a bigger opportunity than probably we thought it even was.

Ryan  

We’ll come back to business. I always like to weave in business questions. But let’s start off by talking about your morning routine. I know you get up early. So walk us through what does that look like?

Courtney 

4:41 That’s my start time. I don’t know how I got that random number, but it works. It’s not 4:45 And not for 4:35. It’s 4:41. I typically wake up without the alarm, although it is set. And probably the first thing I do is you know, definitely a little gratitude prayer on the way down to the kitchen, which is my HQ at that time of day. I am a green juice person I really that’s a recent change. I used to go right to coffee. But I have really enjoyed this flip flop I’ve done where I’m doing this juicing that I’ve gotten kind of obsessed with before I drink my coffee and I think it’s helped my stomach a little bit. I think it gets the cortisol not flaring up so fast. And so that’s been kind of fun. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t know how much you want to hear about this. But that is my very first, probably 10 minutes of the day.

Ryan 

Is it green juice that you make yourself? Are you do you have a brand that you recommend? 

Courtney

Okay, so super easy. I mean, you know, first of all, I think it’s one of the most relaxing little hobbies I’ve taken up in a long time. I make it myself, you know, got a kind of standard recipe but it never tastes the same almost like when you make a salad, you know, every day with different vegetables. They have slightly different tastes, but I do it twice a week. So I make four days in four days. And I try to share it every week so that people can get into it because it’s you know, I think there’s really no better way to start your day with that many minerals and vitamins as dumping this like 10 Vegetables condensed into this eight ounces of drink. You know I kind of feel like Wonder Woman by the time I drink that. I do it myself and we couldn’t buy it but I found that that’s something to me that’s kind of like meal prep is important and one of the habits I have is that kind of helps me just be at my best. So that’s something that I’ve added to my routine recently that I would highly and I really think people would get a lot out of if they explored, you know, how could they put more vegetables into their diet? And I know you talked a lot about that in the book, I really resonated with that in your book.

Ryan  

Yeah, you know, I’ll be honest, I have a salad, I’m going to make a salad when we’re done here. But, you know, the green juicing, I don’t do that in the morning. So that’s something I’m going to have to look into whether I make it myself or I get something like athletic greens or one of those other popular green brands. But I think that’s yeah, that’s, I’m glad you shared that. Because I know, right now, I just have lemon water in the morning. But that’s, you know, there’s no real vegetables in there, obviously. So I’ll look at the recipe.

Courtney  

And the particular one that I’ve done, I mean, could be something fun you do with your kids, I kind of got my kids and my family doing it with me. Because there’s something about just looking at 20, green vegetables on your counter, it just makes you feel better. And then when it smells good, it’s clean. It’s just really kind of fun. The kids probably get a kick out of it. Even my adult kids, so they don’t drink it as much as I do. But they’re into it. So yeah, it’s very different than the green, the powders, I’ve had all those. If you try it, you’ll see. I think the way you feel you’ll feel it pretty fast. It’s pretty awesome.

Ryan 

Okay, good. You inspire me here. So alright, so you do the green drink, and then what?

Courtney 

I make all the food for the day for my husband and myself and we then shower and we’re out the door by 5:21. So it’s a pretty fast-paced little thing, we jump in the car. So we’re at the office by six. We do that because we work out at night, except for two days a week when I’m talking to workdays to work days, we go biking right away at 5:30 in the morning, but the other day is going to the office, get the plants you know kind of connect with what’s going on orders overnight, took all the websites, start the day and then do that because it’s also quite a time before like everyone we start. The plant starts pretty busily at 7:30 here. So it’s a nice time for me to get through some of the more strategic things and things I need my own quiet time for.

Ryan  

You seem very structured, like other habits that you have besides that, like what about throughout the day or nighttime? Do you have, any other habits that you really rely on?

Courtney  

I am structured because it gives me less anxiety. I just it really works for me some very routine and discipline-focused and I think it takes away as many of the surprises. And you know, when you run a lot of companies, you have surprised all day. Yeah, I mean, I’m a big workout six days a week, I take one day off, I kind of I’m pretty big on the gratitude list first thing in the morning and again, a bedtime and try to new thing I’ve been doing is trying to say really review what are you know, five things I like about myself. And that’s very different than saying what am I grateful for, it’s really a way to work on and always be working on, you know, my own self-esteem, which if it’s in a good place, I’ll be better for all the people that I serve. So I just tried to make that a habit. You know, I’ve read and I think it’s true 60,000 thoughts a day, and so many of them can be negative and things that we aren’t doing well. So I’m really trying to think about and take a nod to things that are going well and things that I do like so I do that. I mean little things, but they are just part of my you know, I always have customers where they come here or I meet them or whatever people I’m a handwritten note person. You know, I’ve done that my whole life and really think and you’re in a digital business. But I’ve done a talk multiple times, for colleges and universities where the headline is how to stand out in a digitally oriented world. And some of these things are just some of the listeners your age and under probably sound very old school. But when you’re trying to stand out in the world, some of the old school things that I grew up on, really are things that make you stand out, and that they take, you know, seconds, not minutes, not days, not weeks, seconds. So I encourage people just to look for things that make their brand unique and stand out and something that sets them apart from the pack because there’s just an absolute barrage of information coming at all of us every day.

Ryan  

I 100% agree with you about a handwritten note. I mean, you had sent me one. And it really took me by surprise because you don’t get a lot of handwritten notes. And what I liked about it was short and sweet. It was I liked the message that you said that you wrote. And the other side was a picture of your team, a Gemini, kind of like a fun, fun picture where you could feel the cultural culture of your business. And so I think you were it was nice. It was a nice experience. The whole thank you card presentation.

Courtney  

Yeah, it doesn’t you know what I do? So everything I tried to do, just set it up with a little hack to make it easier. So you know, back to my morning, so I’m going to right one or two notes in the morning, you know, I have the whole stack of stationery in the kitchen, which is kind of weird. But like I, that’s where I am. And I do a lot of stuff. So I just, you know, have the stash of the thank you cards or sympathy cards or birthday cards, and I just thought to pull them out, fill them out, and then have left it there and got to help at home and they, you know, get them mailed off. But I think there’s always a little way to take away. You know that word I heard recently that I really like when you think about habits is friction. And every time you reduce the friction, it makes the habit easier to stick to. So I try to look for you know, if I want to take a sauna at night well, like, how do I get the towel closer to the sauna? All the little things on the end? Why do I want to go biking in the morning, I set out all the stuff the night before, so I can’t really rethink it in the morning. And just really trying to look for little ways to have lists and things that make everything a little easier. And when you do that. Does nothing feel that overwhelming or that hard?

Ryan  

Yeah, friction definitely. I think like friction anything is client relationships or like you have habit-forming. It’s never choosing never a good thing. I’m trying to think of a scenario where friction is in a book club we had this morning bound by Tina Ballantine, reading, Who Moved My Cheese. And there was one part where they were talking about the mouse, it was getting very comfortable, and getting lazy and not noticing the things changing around him or her. So in that case, I feel like you get too comfortable. It’s a bad thing. There was a little bit of friction or a slight level of tension which just keeps you more alert. But in general. Yeah, I agree. Friction is usually never a good thing.

Courtney  

Yeah. So I mean, I think we can remove a lot of it pretty easily. When we just pay attention to where it is and then just set ourselves up for a little success.

Ryan  

Yeah, and one thing I want to pull out, Courtney, is that you said that before I forget to because it was a few minutes ago. Where are the five things you write down five things you like about yourself? I think that’s really interesting. I haven’t heard that before. It’s like self-love, self-care, whatever you want to call it, I think that’s really important. So I might steal that. I think that’s really good, especially with the nighttime routine with my girls trying to see if they can give me one thing that they like about themselves. So I appreciate you saying that.

Courtney 

Yeah, that was my dad, the coach who gave me that one. I would definitely say I would love that if somebody had started that with us. I mean, your girls will be better for it. I’m going to do it for my kids, even though they’re in their early 20s. I think it’s something that you’re never too old to start and how lucky if you grow up? You know, just having the whole self-talk? That’s really positive.

Ryan  

Yep, absolutely cannot agree more. So let’s go to business. You have multiple businesses, you’ve done well with them. How have you done it? Obviously, hard work, you and your husband? Is there anything else that pops to the front of your mind as to how you’ve done it besides just a lot, a lot of hard work?

Courtney  

Well, I mean, so a lot of people work hard. Right. So I think I think it’s working hard grinding on the right stuff. So I mean, we all know people that have multiple jobs, you know, and they, they are fine. They live their life. It’s so good, but they haven’t hit it out of the park. And I think I would say it’s my ability to be laser-focused on the end goal. But I’ve also learned to enjoy the process a little bit more as I’ve gotten older, meaning, you know, I started a company that was a real kind of game-changer in my life after a very, very successful selling career. But I started a company because I heard customers saying, Hey, we can’t find pink umbrellas. We can’t find golf balls we can’t find. And this, these were all things that didn’t exist at the time, the way they were looking for them. And this was supporting big brands like Ralph Lauren, Club Monaco, people that were you know, that had a lot of stores, which was really a thing five, five and 10 years ago. Anyway, I listened. I just kept hearing it over and over that they didn’t have a way to get what they needed to decorate and put the right decor in the stores. So I created it. Through that experience. I said to myself and paper, I don’t know why or how it came up with it. But I haven’t I don’t know, Pat, I’m going to start running a business and sell it within 10 years. Throw that thing in the door. And Ryan, do you know that I sold that business in year six to a public company. And then I had a four year or now and literally the day I left it was like 10 years later to the day I started and to me it was just like a lot of power about the subconscious. The subconscious mind has 60,000 thoughts a day minimum they say 60 to 90 thought 1000 thoughts a day. And if you are if you’re aware, but you’re not having to work on something, can you imagine how positive that is and how you can harness that. So I’ve had a lot. Being laser-focused on things I have written goals I have very very solid plans and things that I’m trying to achieve. And they’re in writing, and I review them regularly. And I think that’s been the difference-maker.

Ryan  

I was about to say, I’ve got one last question for you. And it actually ties in to exactly what you just said. So couldn’t have scripted, scripted it better. So I do have one last question for you, coordinator, then we’re going to wrap up with you telling everyone how they can learn more about you or connect with you. So I want to talk about, you know, you get up at 441 You get the businesses, you got all the habits and routines that drive you like, how do you feed that focus? Is it that you are just crystal clear on your purpose? Or is there something else you do that, you know, some takeaways you can give my audience and how you feed that energy, that focus to keep going every day?

Courtney  

That’s a great question. That would be more than a nanosecond, I, you know, I think do what you love, take really great care of yourself and be really clear that of who you’re supporting, and who you’re serving, you know, for me, it’s my team, it’s my customers, my suppliers, all those relationships are also important to me and, and I want to try to be my best so putting them at the front of why I’m you know, doing those things really kind of motivates me to, you know, to achieve to meet my deadlines, meet my word, and all those little things and habits I do everyday sort of roll into, you know, having that long term vision. So, you know, for me, I’ve been lucky to be an ambitious person with a lot of focus. But you know, as long as I take care of myself, I have the energy to keep going.

Ryan  

Great way to end this conversation. Thanks, Courtney. If someone wants to reach out to you, when should we get them?

Courtney  

The company Geminibuildsitplural.com. I’m Courtney@Geminibuildsa.com. And I can also be reached on LinkedIn or Instagram at Courtney. Right. 

Ryan

Perfect. Thanks, Courtney. 

Courtney

Thanks, everyone. Thanks for including me, I appreciate it.

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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