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Welcome to episode #32 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Kleinrock. He is the Chief Operating Officer for Rockway Exhibits and Events. When he’s not running his business, he loves playing golf and reading.

Top Talking Points

  • How waking up early and working out immediately is helpful to your health.
  • It’s easy to lead when things are easy, but when things get hard, that’s when you’re really tested.
  • Happiness can be temporary but what people really want is fulfillment.

Resources & Links

Connect With Matt at Rockway Exhibits and Events and via email: matt@rockwayexhibits.com

Share link for this episode

Find The Books Mentioned on Kindle or Audible

Winning with Accountability by Henry Evans

The Breakout Blueprint by Doug Foley

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Thank you for listening to this episode of the podcast with Matt. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast, so you never miss another episode. Also if you enjoyed, please leave a review, as it greatly helps.

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 to upgrade your life and business. You can get full details on both products over at morningupgrade.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, everyone, this is Ryan Cote with the morning upgrade podcast. And today I’m super excited to be speaking with Matt Kleinrock. Hey, Matt. 

Matt

Hey, Ryan, how are you doing, man? 

Ryan

Doing good. Looking forward to our conversation here. So why don’t we start off by you telling everyone what you do? And then what your interests are.

Matt  

First, I want to say I didn’t know your last name was pronounced like that. So you said it. I’m glad I know that now. Yeah, I wasn’t sure. But it’s good to know. So I am the Chief Operating Officer of Rockway exhibits and events and we’re a trade show exhibit design company in Orlando, Florida.

Ryan  

What are your interests? I know before we started recording that you play golf and professionally at one point, but what are your interests?

Matt  

Interests? Yeah, man. Certainly golf, that’s for sure. I mean, that’s like always to get away from me, I love to play. And outside of that, I mean, really, obviously, you know, the family, the kids all good stuff like that. And I do like to read a good bit, I’m big into personal development, leadership, things of that nature. But not too much. Not like a boat or a fish or anything like that. Fishermen or anything like that. Golf pretty much with work and family, that’s all I can squeak out.

Ryan

So I find that like a lot of entrepreneurs, they don’t really have hobbies, you know, it’s their, their work, you know, is all-encompassing, and so, at least you have golf, I’m relying on myself, I need to get more hobbies. And I’ve got reading as you said, and stuff like that. But definitely, golf must be a nice outlet from the normal day-to-day.

Matt  

I think it’s like the one thing that I time sometimes I feel like selfishly, I feel like I sacrifice other things for it. There’s only so much you can squeeze in your day. But I don’t know, I feel like I don’t know where I would be if, for the last 10 years, I didn’t play any golf at all, and dedicate no time to it, you know, cuz I travel, I play some tournaments, like some amateur things, but I love it. It’s kind of like a part of my identity. So, you know, I feel like I’d be unhappy without it.

Ryan  

Can we talk about a little bit with golf in terms of mindset? This is a personal development podcast. And mindset is a big part of that. You said you played professionally for a little bit. A lot of tournaments and all that competition. I know for me, I golf a little bit like I’m not good at all. But I have played a bunch. And to me that is my amateur view of it, it’s very much of a mindset thing, especially after you hit a couple of bad shots. Now you’re in your head, how did you combat that? How did you deal with the mindset side of golf?

Matt 

So I think golf is relevant mindset-wise in terms of business or just life in general. Right. So I would say when I was younger, I did not have a great mindset at all, you know, and I think a big thing is expectations. So like younger, I go out there big expectations. Before I even tee off. I’m thinking like, I’m gonna play well, I have to play well, but it’s, and then when you don’t, and things start happening. You know, you hit one out of bounds that goes here you do that, you know, you don’t do what you expect. Your brain goes negative. And what I learned longer was that kind of it is one shot at a time. It is okay if you hit a bad shot and like teeing up on the first tee and just knowing like, I’m going to hit a bad golf shot today, it’s just a matter of when not trying to but it’s going to happen. It’s okay. And the only thing I can do is focus on what’s next. Seemingly just like in business when something goes wrong, things are gonna go wrong. It’s just okay, don’t it’s over. You can dwell on it. But the only thing you control is doing something next to react to it. Yeah, golf the same way.

Ryan  

Yeah, it reminds me of a book I’ve read recently called the Untethered Soul. It was mostly about the voice in your head, and how you have to separate yourself from it. Like it’s you. Your mind like you’re playing golf, and you’re, you’re physically there playing and you got the voice in your head talking, looking at, you know, talking about the bad shot, you just hit. And you have to kind of separate yourself. It’s like two different things.

Matt  

That’s kind of what I got from it. Yeah, I mean, I’ve read a lot about the idea like with meditation, the idea of like, okay, you get bad thoughts, like, you know, they come in your head naturally, and everybody has them. You can’t just ignore them. Because then you think about them more almost. You have to recognize like, Okay, I’m having this thought it’s a negative thought, and just kind of shuffle it along and just move it through. And, you know, people use positive self-talk and all that stuff, too. You know, to an extent that is so true. Like you If you’re negative, self-talking yourself, you know, how can you ever think that you won’t? So you have to take that negative thought like, if you have a four-foot putt and you’re like, I missed this Oh God, Alan as well. Okay, you have to move that along and think like, I’m gonna make this What’s My Line? What do you have to think of the positive things and replace your mindset? And I think that’s true with golf and anything else.

Ryan 

Yeah, yeah, very true. So why don’t we talk about your morning routine? What does it look like?

Matt  

Okay, morning routine, I have been avid since I was like 21 or 22, where I get up early. And I work out, I just feel like, particularly now with kids. And running a business is if I can work out from five, anywhere from five o’clock, or 530 to 630. In that range, I can work out uninterrupted. There’s, you know, I don’t have anything that’s being emailed or called, or asking to do stuff, the kids are still asleep. So that’s huge. For me, that’s just like starts my day, because health is big for me. So that’s the main aspect of my morning. And then now, I have a 13-month-old. So coming back early, and just getting at least 20-30 minutes with her is important. It’s nice. And then I can sort of when I’m home, I can retreat to my home office. I’m a big, newly into time blocking, I guess, and mapping my days better and using a planner and like really being aggressive on that. So I try to spend time in my morning routine to do that before I even check my email.

Ryan  

Sounds good in terms of like your workout, is it like a home gym, or did you go into a gym before and now you’ve converted it into a home gym? What does that look like?

Matt  

Now I go to a gym, I’ve always had a hard time working out at home. I don’t know why I like to go to a gym. It’s like a process for me. And I guess, the nature like you know, I don’t like to ride the bike or anything like that or do things that some people like to do, I like to work out, I like to lift weights, I like to do a variety of things. So having a full gym is always big to me. So I live in Jacksonville. So when I’m here I go to a gym, and then I’m at my office in Orlando, probably like half of you know, I split my weekend, half, half my weeks in Orlando. So I have a gym there as well that I get up and go to.

Ryan  

Any other health hacks that you’ve I mean, you got to you’ve got a workout, you wake up at 530 workouts, any other big thing for you any other things, any other habits you do that are worth sharing?

Matt 

I drink a ton of water, I should drink more. But it’s like one of the truest things ever to drink a ton of water. And then number two is just dieting man and dieting is all about. I think, from all the research I’ve done is not always so much about like, people think dieting, you have to restrict all these foods, and you can only eat like grilled chicken and broccoli, it’s not true. It’s just about a reduction in calories. Most people eat way too many calories. So it’s like, you know, you can have a piece of pizza like but just don’t have four, you know, and if you’re gonna have four, do it on like a cheat day on a Sunday, like I do that. I mean, for the most part, six days out of the week, you know, just controlling your calories is huge.

Ryan 

So I want to talk about you, you’re in the trade show business and the COVID that’s taking a temporary hit. And I want to talk about I don’t want to talk negatively about business and COVID, I more want to focus on how you guys have pivoted the mindset required for that what you guys have done to get through it, or are still getting through it.

Matt  

Yeah, sure. So this has been, you know, I’ve been pretty much in this business, who’s you know, will say 10 years now. And I’ve learned, I don’t say I’ve learned more in these 10 months. I mean, basically in March, they started pulling exhibits off the show floor. And that’s really when we knew that this was serious, right that they were not going to have trade shows, and we’ve not seen a trade show since you know, we were about 25 or 26 employees then march 15, probably toughest day in my life, I had to let go 20 employees, then afterward, you know, is kind of a weird thing you kind of had the first two months was like this weird, no one knew what was going on. But, you know, smaller crew, we communicated a lot, it kinda was like this, things will be okay, we’re just going through a little thing. And then June, July, was like the dog days, man, people were getting the press, it was just even my brain is it was just hard, you know, because you’re used to moving and shaking and selling, working with customers improving the business meetings, and it’s just nothing. And there wasn’t a clear pivot to me, because the economy came to a bit of a screeching halt in the beginning, particularly with what we do. So I learned a ton, especially about leadership. You know, I think it’s easy to kind of talk the talk when things are good. And it’s easy to walk the walk when things are good. But really, you’re tested when things are bad. That it’s I learned that this year. That was the biggest lesson I think I learned was that you have to be a great leader and you have to if you believe the things that you preach and things that you’re basing your business on, and that’s you have to do it when things are bad. Just like when things are good.

Ryan  

Before we were recording, we were talking about how we both tried to incorporate personal development into our workplace. So I would imagine that helped out a lot with what you guys are going through and what you went through, you know, all the books you’ve read, and just the lessons everyone has learned. Would you say that played a factor in at least, you know, hoping to get everything?

Matt  

Yeah, absolutely. And not to the degree like, everything has been perfect, right? It’s like reading books, and the reading and the communicating in a certain manner made everything perfect. But I’ll give you a really good example. I forget the date that it was, maybe it was like May. And I was not going to Orlando every single week you know, there wasn’t much of the need. The five people in the office were going in on some days, some days, not, you know, they base it on their comfortability with the virus and different things like that. But, you know, we were having weekly meetings and talking on Zoom. And we were trying to do things to improve the business, right, a lot of internal things, SOPs, training, hiring processes, like really trying to lock down a lot of stuff that maybe we didn’t have time to, you know, cleaning out the back. But there’s one moment, and I think I mentioned this book to you when we were talking. It’s called Winning With Accountability. And about a year and a half prior, I had read that book with my leadership team. And it was the most surprising shocking little book that affected us for, I think, the long haul, and we were on a zoom call. And I was just not doing a good job of holding the meetings, setting deliverables after the meetings, saying like, Okay, we talked about this and who’s going to execute it, when will it be done? What day what time like all those things? And Liz, my director of account management was just like, tired just called me out, you know? And that goes back to our principles as well, which is, we call radical candor which I stole from Ray Dalio when I read his book, Principles that people need to have radical candor, you need to say things the right way I’m her boss, but she said it the right way. But she also held me accountable. She, she wasn’t going to let me get away with not doing my job. Just because I’m the boss. So twofold. There was huge, and that was just a huge wake-up call for me. And I just like, I realized at the moment, and I apologize, and I was like, Damn, I’m gonna fix this. Do you know what I mean? And I just started to correct the ship.

Ryan  

Yeah, and that’s why I love this stuff. Because it’s, you know, you’re never fully at the destination. This is like an ongoing life journey, everything related to personal development, and leadership and everything under that it’s a, it’s always a work in progress. And I’m gonna check.

Matt  

Amazing. It was just amazing. At that moment that I was, I don’t think I realized how much I was suffering from this all going on. And it was like I said when things are tough, it’s hard to be a great leader, and I wasn’t being the leader. And I think my team recognize it, and they told me the right way. And then I feel like since then, we’ve gotten things back on track, we’ve accomplished a ton, we’re still accomplishing a ton with no business going on and tradeshow space. So I think that stuff is really valuable when you see the applications of it when things happen. In the body, the fact that we read that book that we have certain key principles.

Unknown Speaker  

Yeah, I’m gonna check it out, Winning With Accountability. I’ve never, I have not come across that book. So I’m gonna check it out. So, man, I got one more question for you. And then we’ll wrap up by you telling everyone, what’s the best way they can connect with you? They want to learn more. So I like to talk about happiness on this podcast. It’s just an interesting concept to me. What’s your definition of happiness? What’s your approach to happiness?

Matt  

Okay, so I used to keep approach habits. Like, I used to keep a note in my phone that I took back in like 2010 or 11, I still have it. And I just wrote down happiness. And then I kind of just wrote down all the things that I think make me happy, right. And I’ve evolved it over the years, and it’s just kind of a refocus. Interestingly enough, this year during this pandemic, I have a buddy of mine, his name is Doug Foley. And we went to college together. And he wrote a book, and he wrote a book called The Breakout Blueprint. And before that, he had his podcast called The Happiness of Pursuit. And Doug’s a very smart guy, he owns Fully Media. See, when I was reading his book, he interviewed I always pronounce his last name, last name, Tom, below the guy from Impact Theory, he owns Quest Nutrition. Okay. He interviewed Tom Dillo. And he asks a question at the end of his podcast, seemingly, just like you just asked me, and it was, you know, you know, what, what tidbit? Can you give to our reader, you know, our listeners about how to be happy how to find happy how to this and that, and Tom bill just gave him the funniest answer. He was like, well, chocolate, but if you want temporary happiness, and he goes, what I think you’re asking me, Doug, is how do I find fulfillment? And when I read that this year, it just totally changed the way I looked at happiness, and it’s the first time you dug in heard it, but even I about people using fulfillment and happiness, kindness, and economy made me rethink the question, right? Because happiness really can be temporary. And then there’s a lot of things you could do to be happy. You know, like, I could go play golf, just around the golf, my buddies and have a bunch of beers and I’m happy, right. But I think the film is more what most people are looking for when they use the term happiness. Because fulfillment is like a long-term thing. You are doing things to fulfill yourself and you feel fulfilled. So that’s kind of how I started looking at it after I read that, which is very recent. I think I have a good grip on what those things are for me. Do you want to know or?

Ryan  

No, I think that’s personal to you and everyone, I think. I think it’s a good mindset shift, though. You know, it’s more about fulfillment, and I guess, life satisfaction versus happiness. Those are more than happy.

Matt  

It’s a great thing too. It’s just when I heard how Tom below answered the question, it didn’t. You know, as you said, it was just kind of a mindset shift.

Ryan 

Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Well, this was great. I feel like we can talk for hours on these topics. And I appreciate everything you shared the books that I hadn’t heard of before. Don’t forget to read those and we’ll put the link them up in the show notes. If anyone wants to connect with you, what’s the best, best way for them to do so?

Matt  

Probably email. I’m an avid emailer. I’m on my email all the time. So it’sMatt@rockwayexhibits.com and Rockway is rockwayexhibits.com.

Ryan  

Awesome. Yeah, we will link up that and your Rockway website on the show notes page. So awesome. Yeah. Thank you. Everyone can learn more. Cool. Thanks, Matt. 

Matt

Good talking with you. And you’re welcome. Take care.

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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