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Welcome to episode #28 of the Morning Upgrade Podcast. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Tom Schwab, the Chief Evangelist Officer for Interview Valet. He is an avid traveler and enjoys visiting different places around the country.

Top Talking Points

  • How waking up early in the morning can help you throughout your day.
  • Building a business that runs on a system so that you don’t have to micromanage.
  • The importance of listening to people with different opinions from our own, to overcome our cognitive dissonance.

Resources & Links

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Connect With Tom at Interview Valet

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Episode Transcript


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 Thanks for letting me share and now on to the show.


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


Hey, everyone, this is Ryan cote with the morning upgrade podcast and today I’m super excited to be speaking with Tom Schwab. Hey, Tom. Hey, Ryan, thank you for having me. 


Yeah, absolutely. I’m excited to talk to you. The morning upgrade podcast is about personal development. So I’ve got some questions for you. But why don’t we start off by you telling everyone what you do and then what your interests are. Yet to me, I connect people. So I’m the chief evangelist officer for a company called interview valet. We help thought leaders get on podcast to share their story. But you know, more than anything, it’s I just love introducing people that connections that come with that, you know, our mission is to firstly introduce inspiring thought leaders, to millions of people, they could serve for the benefit of all, and I remember my mom asked one time, what’s that got to do with podcasts? I’m like, that’s just the vehicle. To me. What I love doing is introducing people introducing friends that should know each other. Great. And I will say that I am a client of yours. So for Ballantine, you, you help me get on podcasts? And have you ever thought about the ripple effect of of what you do. Because if you think about it, you’ve got me as a client. But you’ve got obviously a lot of other clients and you’re helping them get on podcasts and providing value to the listeners of that podcast. So if you think about the ripple effect that you’re creating, just to tie it back to personal development stuff, if you think about the ripple effect that your business provides, it’s pretty cool. When you think about it. It is and that’s what gives me chills sometime I’ll be listening to a podcast and I’ll hear somebody say, you know, my friend, this person I can think of gentlemen, I think both we both know, Morgan, right. He’s a Fox News contributor, introduced him to a podcaster. They hit it off, they became friends, they introduced some other people to it. And I remember listening to a podcast one time and Christopher Lochhead was talking about it. And he started to tie back how he met the peoples from monarchos, the actual people that were involved in that. And, to me, that introduction is just amazing, because that’s the, that’s the one thing that you can’t do for yourself, you know, introduce yourself to a new idea or a new person. And ultimately, that can become, you know, invaluable, you know, priceless, I’ll forever be thankful for the guy that introduced me to my bride. It’s all about connections or relationships. That’s what makes the world go around. So what do you do for fun? What are your interests? You know, for me, I love business. It’s my hobby, and I never want to retire. But I also love traveling. And there’s a lot of problems in this world today. But there’s no better time to be alive. We run a digital business, our team is distributed, we have 18 people, but not everybody wants to live in Kalamazoo, Michigan with me. And so with that, my wife and I set the intention of living in one new city for one week out of every month. And we were doing really well with that we’re empty nesters now, and then COVID hit and are able to do it nearly as much. But I love to travel, love to see friends love to see new places. And really that whole idea of cross-pollination, I got to say that every creative idea I ever had never came. While I was sitting at my desk, I always had to get out and in new areas, new people to get some really creative ideas. Yeah, I love that idea. First of all, that you’re busy with your wife in that different city. You said every week, one week, out of every month. So there has to be really easy, right? You’d have a business trip, or you’d be speaking at a conference. And we’d go a few days early or stay a few days late and make a week out of it. And you know, I could work whenever I wanted to. I could see friends and business associates while I was there. And you know Kalamazoo for us, we’ll always be home. This is where family is we’ve got grandchildren that live here. So we’re not looking to move. But the world is a beautiful place a big place. And they actually have planes and cars that can take you places, especially when it gets cold in Michigan. Yeah, I had a thought. For my mastermind. I was in Colorado this past weekend. I had a thought the world is so big and there’s so much to see. It would be really cool to I mean, I’ve got young kids so it’s not really possible. I guess it is I mean do it but just takes a lot more effort. But just travel around the world work. 


You know, we’re remote now at Ballantine, just travel around the world, meet new people experience new things. Steve got my wheels turning on that front. So let’s talk about your morning routine. Tom, what does that look like? Well, my morning routine is always started similarly. And I think a lot of it came from being a parent. Right, I love getting up early. And before the rest of the world gets up so that I can start it on my terms as opposed to someone else’s terms. So I typically get up, oh, by five o’clock, have a cup of coffee. That’s the most important thing. First thing in the morning. You know, I used to run a lot. Now, my knees aren’t as good as they used to be. But we’ll go for walks and just to either listen to a book, to reflect, to pray a little bit, as I go out there and really start my day, the way I want to, that I can come back, get cleaned up, and then go to work. And I realized, you know, if I’m sitting down at the desk at 630, or seven, I’m still starting my day, a whole lot earlier than most people. But I feel like I’ve already done something for myself in that. And, you know, especially now that, you know, it’s been a long time since I had to drive to an office, I think more and more people are just seeing, they want you to get the work done. They don’t care when it gets done. And I found that I am more productive if I do that maybe 90 minutes of my time. As opposed to just you know, if I woke up at 5 am grabbed a pot of coffee, and hit the desk right away. Obviously, I’m going to say this because I’m that morning a great podcast, but starting your day off on the right foot on your terms, not just hitting the snooze button and rolling out of bed and kind of flustered and trying to do things. It’s just it’s not the way to do it. So anyone listening, if you don’t have a morning routine, just try it for 30 days. Everyone’s morning routine is different. Like Tom, yours is different than mine. So that’s what I love about it, you can really be structured around what works best for you, and kick your day off on a really good note. Just being intentional with the day. Yep, exactly. I have some more personal development questions for you. But I want to talk about your business. I like hearing about this is also an entrepreneurship show as well, with interview valet what has what have you had the most success with in terms of growing the business? Yeah, I think it really comes back to my background. So my first job out of college was running nuclear power plants in the Navy. And a lot of people will say, that’s amazing. I’m like, No, what’s really amazing is that super-smart people built the systems and the processes so that mere mortals could do it. So I often challenge other business owners when they’ve got a complaint about their business. It’s like Stop complaining about the people. It’s the system’s 99% of the world wants to do a good job. So if there’s a problem, look and say is that the system that is the problem is that the training, that’s the problem, maybe it’s just the hiring system, you know that you put the wrong person in the wrong seat. So I really just look at it as having a system that can run and then finding the right people. You know what we’re doing, I can’t find somebody that’s got 20 years’ experience in podcasting. Most people are new to it. And they’re energetic, they want to learn. So we really help them and really try to hire for attitude and character. If I wouldn’t want somebody around my family, I sure as heck don’t want them around my business. And they’re the ones that are the representatives of the business. I can’t be there all the time, especially with a virtual company. And a lot of people talk about, well, you know, you’ve got to manage people. And I just look at it and say if you have to manage or even micromanage people, you’re going to have a hard time doing it today remotely. And you’ve probably got the wrong people like just building the business scaling it. I want to have people that I can lead. Not that I have to manage. Those are really good points. It reminds me of an I was listening to a podcast this morning. And the guy was talking about he was speaking with I think it was the CEO of Marriott. I think I have that right. But he was saying that he stopped at a Marriott and everyone was super friendly. And he asked CEO is like how do you train them to be so friendly? And the CEO was like, we don’t do that. We just hire friendly people. And so it does come down to your right who you hire and because they are representing the business? Definitely. So let’s go back to personal development. I’ve been thinking more and more about happiness. What’s your definition of happiness and what’s your approach to being happier?


To me, happiness is a choice. And one of the great gifts that I got growing up was being in the Navy and going overseas. And we don’t realize how good we have it in this country. If you’re poor in this country, and not downplaying anybody, but if you’re poor in this country, you’re still in the top 10% of the world, and I think too often and third are in the first world here, we think that happiness comes from stuff or status, and to actually go to other countries and see that people are happy. And that then a lot of times, they’re happier than we are here. And I think happiness is a choice. And happiness is deciding every day, that this day is a gift. It’s not a given, it’s a, it’s a blessing from God, that no matter what problems I have today, there’s somebody that’s in a hospital or in a funeral home, that would gladly trade their problems with me. So I think it’s just that idea of deciding to be happy. To me, you know, happiness is a journey, not a destination. So to me, it’s, it’s just a mindset of just saying, Hey, I can’t change the world, this is what it is. But I can change the way I look at the world, I can be happy about it. To me, I think it all starts with that you got some people that are always happy. You know, you look back at one of my favorite books, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, and there’s a guy that, you know, there were people that were happy that we’re in a concentration camp, and they just made that decision to find beauty every day. And I think we forget that sometimes. I like to use it that happiness is a choice because it’s true. I did a blog post on this recently, and, and I said the same thing, that it’s a choice. You can’t rely on happiness from external things. I mean, some things like you get a new car, there’s a little bit of happiness there, of course, in the beginning, but you really have to choose you to have happiness within. And you have to make a decision that you are going to be happy, acknowledging the fact that sometimes life stinks. And you have to deal with typical things. But that’s the way it is, you know, it’s very important to choose happiness. And I’ve been on a kick lately with reading spiritual books, not necessarily religious books, though they’re some of that is intertwined. But I’m reading this book now called Untethered Soul, by Michael Singer. Have you heard of that before? Yes, I have read that one, too. It’s a doozy. I have to I have to read it twice. Because I’m, I’m reading it. I’m like, Whoa, wait, I have to really think about that. And so I’m going to read it twice. I think the first time around was just, there’s too much depth there to really grasp on the first, at least for me, for the first go around. I’ve got one more question for you. 


Know, I usually like to ask about, like, number one personal development tip because of your business, the fact that you, you get people on to other podcasts, I thought this would be a more super relevant question for you. So in terms of podcasts, you can mention one or two. Are there any that you recommend my listeners listen to, besides mourning upgrade for personal growth and personal development? 


And why do you recommend the ones that you’re going to, you’re going to tell us about, there would be two that I would point to, the first one is called Mindfulness mode, by Bruce Langsford. He’s up in Canada. And I think the mindset is the one thing that we all can control. And it’s also the thing that has the biggest impact on our world, be it our home, our family, our business. And I think if you can get your mindset, right, you’re just so much more productive. If you don’t have that, right. I don’t care how many tips and tricks and hacks you have, it’s not gonna work. So that’s the one that I like, for just a mindset podcast. The second one is going to be different for everybody. But I’d encourage you to listen to a podcast that you may not agree with. If you’re on one side of the politics, listen to one on the other side of the politics, if you’re, if you’re pro, one issue, listen to one on an anti or the flip side of that. And it’s tough because we’ve got this thing called cognitive dissidence, where we just want to listen to the things that help us prove that we are right. But that’s not the way we listen. And I think today, one of the blessings of podcasts is that you can listen to anything you want. The problem is, is that’s the curse of podcasting, too, is that you can keep listening to the same things that reinforce to you that you’re right, the rest of the world is wrong, and that everybody believes just like you. And I think that is a very, very dangerous place to be. So I always encourage people to listen to a podcast you don’t agree with not because you have to say they’re right, I’m wrong. But why do they think that? Because what you’ll find is that we’ve got more in common than we do differently. And if I listen to somebody that believes in everything that I do, I’m not going to learn anything new, at least be open to that. And that’s one of the things that I always challenge people to do. At least listen to one of the podcasts you don’t have to subscribe to it, but at least be open to looking at why people believe the way I don’t think we’ve spoken about that before about listening to stuff that’s like against what you normally would believe is your viewpoints. I think that’s so important. I think that’s also why I kind of like traveling because like we went on a road trip, and we saw at different places, different food met different people that have different views. And it’s just really important to have a more, I guess, it just consuming more diverse content, like you said, things that you might not agree with. I think that’s super, super important. I’m really happy. 


You mentioned that. That’s a perfect way to end this. And this conversation, Tom, I hear my kids in the background. So I feel like now’s the time to end this. We got to be like the kids always curious that when we start to know that we know everything, then we’re old and stupid. I’d much rather be young and curious. Yes, always be learning. definitely agree with that. So Tom, I really, really appreciate your time. I really enjoyed this conversation. If people want to learn more about you, or interview valet what’s the best site to bring them to?


Well, Ryan, thank you so much. And thank you for all that you do. You know, I know anybody that says doing a podcast is easy, has never done it or never done it? Well, great ones just make it look easy. I always look at it and say I’d rather be a guest because it’s more return on investment with less work. And if this resonates with you at all, and we’d like to talk we’ve got some free resources. Or you could even just jump on my calendar, we could talk about how we could help you do that. And those are all over at interview Ford slash morning upgrade. And I’ll put all my contact information there. So if you’d like to reach out to me, please do so. custom link. I love it. Very cool. We’ll definitely put that in the show notes. And thanks again, Tom. And thanks to everyone for listening.


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