Carl Dierschow is a small business coach located in northern Colorado, USA. As part of Small Fish Business Coaching, he specializes in leaders of for-profits and non-profits which are dedicated to improving society and the planet. It’s about focus, impact, values, and financial health.
“Don’t beat yourself up too much. It’s ok to be human.”
“Sometimes you have to be honest with yourself in order to do the important things.”
“Trust is very, very hard to build but super easy to destroy.”
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/carl.dierschow
Chris Ippolito 00:31
Carl Dierschow 00:32
Hey, good morning. How you doing, Chris?
Chris Ippolito 00:35
Great. How are you?
Carl Dierschow 00:36
Fabulous, it’s a wonderful Saturday and life is good.
Chris Ippolito 00:40
It is. Welcome to the “Get Coached Podcast.” I wanted to chat with you about purpose, and in a broad sense really how does someone work in that purpose. They may have a personal purpose and mission in life and they’ve maybe not been able to work that into their business or, vice versa, they’d envisioned this purpose for their business, but maybe in life they’re not living true to it. And one of the things that you help your clients with is really getting those two things together and in alignment so that their personal and their business purposes start aligning. I was hoping you could share a little bit about your mindset around that and the importance of that alignment.
Carl Dierschow 01:31
Yeah. And it’s something that I always use as the starting point for my coaching engagements. And I’ve got a new group that I’ve started up and this is the starting point, is first clarify what is my business mission or values or purpose, different people talk about it different ways. And then the business, as well. And just by writing it down, I find that people get a lot of clarity from that. Because we all have, “Oh, I wish that this would go better in my life. I’m not happy with how that has happened and my career has gone a little bit different and I don’t know if I’m happy.” Right? You have all of this stuff, but it’s really hard to articulate. And that’s one of the reasons people work with somebody like a coach, is that that gives you somebody to bounce off of, but it’s also helpful to write it down.
On the personal side you have things like, “What would I want people to say at my funeral? How do I want to be remembered on my tombstone?” And that’s all very depressing and everything.
Chris Ippolito 02:51
It’s a little dark, yeah.
Carl Dierschow 02:53
Yeah. Well, it can be. But once you get into it, you find out that it’s maybe not as depressing because you realize that, “I’m actually a person with value and purpose in this world,” right? And that’s the purpose of the exercise. But things like if you’ve got, say, a religious basis to your life, then, “Has my maker given me a purpose? Or do I play a role in society?” Maybe it’s about the skills and the abilities that I bring to this world, “I’m going to be the best at this kind of thing because apparently I have skill at it and I have interest, as well. How cool would it be if that became a core part of who I am?” Right? That’s on the personal side. Okay?
Now on the business side when you’re forming a business, it’s similar, but we use a little bit different language. Like, “What do I want the role of this company to be to others and to me as founder or me as leader and to us as a group of people?” Even if I’m a one-person business today, I think about it as I could be a group of people in the future. Okay? “And if we together have a purpose, how would I explain that to other people?” Okay? Is it about bringing out new technologies to solve problems that have troubled humanity forever? Okay, that’s cool. I’ve worked with people who articulate this as, “My purpose is to give wonderful jobs in a respectful environment for my employees and the people that I work with.” It’s inward-centric, but how cool is that? Or it could be outward, “My job is save the whales,” or we’re going to do something like that.
Chris Ippolito 05:07
Or somebody like Elon Musk, who says his mission is, I think not in these words, but to save humanity. And when you look at each of his individual companies, SpaceX, Tesla, oh jeez, I’m drawing a blank on the other ones. Anyways, they have a purpose of solving a big problem at a global scale, which ultimately is to save the human race and human species, yeah.
Carl Dierschow 05:37
Yeah. And what was the energy that’s brought out from you and me in an example like that? Whether or not you like Elon Musk doesn’t matter. It’s like, “Man, I can see that there’s some inspiration in there.” Okay? I could see why people that are along for the journey love being a part of that story. I could see why it would attract customers to say, “The Tesla car isn’t just about having an electric car. I mean it’s cool and all that, and I’ve been doing investigations on my own. But it’s really about changing the way we think about transportation and energy usage and stuff like that.” It’s like, “Wow, that’s deep stuff.”
Yeah, that’s such a great example and you see other people that do similar kinds of things. And it doesn’t have to be big and world-changing and audacious, it might be just, “I would like to help homelessness in my community.” Okay? Now I’m producing a marinara sauce. Okay? What does that have to do with homelessness in the community? Right? Well, maybe it’s about the way I partner up with people and nonprofits that have the same kind of thing and we can use the profit from the company that I make into helping to address that need. And we can do things behind the scenes to work with the homeless community.
There are a million kinds of things and that’s the kind of stuff that really turns people on. And when it syncs up with your personal purpose as the founder or as owner or as leader, now all of a sudden when you go to work in the morning, you’re excited and motivated and energized and have lots of ideas. When you’re explaining it to other people, you tend to suck them into your story. Right? And that doesn’t mean that everything that you do in your life is about the business. I have other things in my life, like my family, like my spiritual development, stuff like that. And there’s a little bit of connection with my coaching business, but it’s not the reason why I’m in my coaching business, it’s not that strong. But you want to draw out the points of synergy and the points of conflict.
And I know this is a struggle for a lot of entrepreneurs because when you’re starting out something, it sucks up a lot of time and energy. And I get that, it has for me, as well. And that’s okay. But if part of your personal priorities are that, “I want to have my job, my work, take up no more than 40 hours a week or something,” okay, that’s a work-life balance thing, right? But being an entrepreneur tends to suck up 100 hours a week. And what do I want to do to resolve that tension? Okay? I may say, “Well, I will agree to do the 100 hours a week for the first six months, but then I’ve got to start reining it back because otherwise my family is going to suffer and my inspiration and energy is going to suffer, as well.” Or we could say, “Well, maybe I want to take on a partner so that we can share the load so that it’s not quite as much work for either of us.” Right? There’s ways to resolve that, but actually working on it intentional and saying, “This is what it is, this is what I want to achieve, this is where I’m at and the resources that I have. Okay, now let’s start working on the solutions to that.”
And when I’m working with people who are starting stuff out, creating a new business or going from a start-up level to the next level, those are the kind of things we’ll get into. Because typically people are running into tensions, and that’s fine. It is what it is. Let’s be honest about it, let’s take it head on, and let’s work on it. And guess what? You work on it and you usually make progress.
Chris Ippolito 10:29
Yeah. I’m thinking about it almost in a different way. It sounds like when you’re working with a client and trying to uncover purpose and get alignment, it’s almost going in a different direction of helping them step back a little bit and broaden their view almost so that they aren’t so just laser-focused on that “I need to grow my business, I’m putting in 80 to 100 hours a week,” and just work, work, work. Where it’s like, “Well, hang on, let’s step back a little bit and just make sure that that direction you’re plowing forward in is actually in line with your core values or your purpose.” That’s the sense I get, is you’re almost trying to slow them down a little bit and go, “Hold on, let’s make sure we’re even going in the right direction before you go so far in that direction that you’ve got to 180, go back, and find a different path.”
Carl Dierschow 11:35
Yeah. Or you fly your business into the ground or you get burned out. Right? But you’re exactly right, that’s what it is. And that’s often why people work with a coach, right? Is to help me step back. Because if all it is is about working on the micro issues, “Okay, that employee really made me mad today, they said something that set me off,” and it’s like, “How do I resolve that micro problem?” That’s fine, it’s good to have somebody to bounce ideas off of in a confidential context, and that’s cool. But what you often find out is that it’s actually much bigger than that, much more comprehensive. And let’s spend a few minutes thinking about why is it that I have an environment where things are brittle and people are fighting with each other and we’re at each other’s necks because it’s high stress, and all this kind of stuff. Let’s think about that for a little bit. Is there a way that I can reduce the stress? Maybe it’s about the people that I’m hiring, maybe it’s about the way that I set goals and measure success, I don’t know. But all of these things are interconnected, and that’s one of the things that makes it challenging.
Often when I’m having a session with somebody, we may start off with that micro issue, and then quite often we’ll end up backing up and saying, “Is there a pattern here, is there some kind of driver that we should pay attention to? And what does it say about the larger aspect of what’s going on in me and in my business?” Maybe the core issue comes down to the fact that because I’m working 100 hours a week I am brittle and I overreact when somebody comes to me with a problem and I verbally punch them in the face as a result of that.
Chris Ippolito 13:47
Right. They just blow up because they’re exhausted.
Carl Dierschow 13:49
Right, we do this. Guys, we’re human, this is part of the human journey. And yeah, part of my role is to help people to step back to think a little bit more calmly, more holistically, move away from just action into a little bit more of the planning part of it. But it’s very individualistic, I don’t have a formula for it.
Chris Ippolito 14:19
Yeah, obviously. Because every person is unique, their situation is unique and whatnot. I’m just wondering though, let’s paint a picture here as far the audience is that type of entrepreneur who has been doing what they’re doing for a little while and they’re the ones that have been plowing just forward and putting in those crazy hours growing their business and they’re having success, and maybe they’re even building a bit of a team. But now all of a sudden, like you said, there’s all these little micro things that are popping up, like fires actually, let’s use that analogy.
Carl Dierschow 14:52
Chris Ippolito 14:53
There’s a bunch of fires coming up and they feel like, “Oh, all I’m doing is putting out these fires.” And then maybe, whether it’s with a coach or on their own, they step back and they look and they go, “I’m starting to see a bit of a pattern,” and maybe they even self-identify it. But how do they go about correcting, course correcting almost? If they’re maybe five years into the business, they’ve built this small team, but there’s this bit of negative culture happening, how do they root out that problem? Obviously you can’t just yank it out because, first off, we don’t even know what it is, maybe it’s an individual, maybe it’s a process, maybe it’s a corporate mindset that’s been built up over those years. What would be that first step they would want to take to help get the company back on course to what they had originally envisioned and getting it more in line with that original purpose that they have?
Carl Dierschow 15:56
Yeah, I mean it’s such a fabulous question because this is very, very common, a lot of people run into it, and it’s very natural. The first thing is don’t beat yourself up too much, it’s okay to be human. But the exercise of stepping back, I often find, you said original purpose that they had, or mission or whatever, that people never really articulated it that much. Okay? That it was in verbal space between people to say, “Oh, we should do this. Yeah, we should do this. We think there’s opportunity, there’s a need for this,” right? But it’s really, really useful to say, “What would happen if we actually just wrote that down?”
And right now we’re just going to show it to ourselves, we’re not going to make it marketing pretty to show to the outside world, this is just for us, or for me. And, “Okay, what is it that I wanted originally? Now what do I want now?” It’s five years later, or one year or whatever. Time has lapsed, we’ve discovered a number of things. I’ve got some new skills that I’ve developed, we’ve discovered that the market has moved on. We hired employees, and of course employees are never what we had originally envisioned because people are people. “What is it that we would like now?” Right?
And you see that I’m using gentle language around this. I’m not saying, “What do you want now?!” Okay? It’s like, “No, let’s open it up. A lot of things are possible. What is it that we want now? Where are the points of synergy and tension with personal goals?” Okay? If you’ve got a small employee team, it could be good to have a discussion at some point about, “Are we all having some kind of balance between our role in the business and our personal goals?” A very good discussion to have. But first, as a leader, you would want to do that for yourself so that you can say, “All right, am I taking my life where I want to take it?,” however specific or vague that is. “Am I getting burned out? Am I making the contribution that I think I want to make?”
And that’s the kind of thing why it’s useful to talk it over with a coach. Or if not a coach, then what you want to look for is somebody who will listen honestly, echo back a little bit, and be supportive. Okay? If you have a confidential friend that can play that role, a lot of people don’t, this is why people don’t like to have this discussion with their spouse. Because when you open up that kind of stuff to your spouse, then they start worrying about, “Oh my god, are you telling me that the business is going down the tubes and we’re going to lose our house and we’re going to be homeless?” Right? I mean it sets off a whole lot of stuff. Besides, you love and care for your spouse and you don’t want to worry them about things that really aren’t their problem, you’re thinking of it as “my problem.”
This is why opening it up to your spouse, some people can do that, I’ve worked with married partners in business that can have that kind of discussion, it can be a little tough sometimes. But often it’s easier to go to somebody else that you would trust, keep it confidential, probe in and have it be honest. Okay? It means asking maybe some tougher questions than you might be willing to ask yourself. And be supportive. Okay? To not say, “No, you’re an idiot, that’s a stupid goal that you have.” Okay? That’s not a useful conversation to have. Because the whole rest of the world is telling you that, they’re telling you you’re an idiot and you’re doing things wrong and creating problems, that’s what the rest of the world does. But you need somebody that can be confidential. Sometimes mastermind groups.
Chris Ippolito 20:47
Yeah, I was going to bring that up.
Carl Dierschow 20:48
Yeah, I’ve seen some awesome groups that people have put together where we have six people who “we have an agreement we’re all going to support and trust each other, whatever we say is not going to go outside this room.” Okay? And that forms ground rules. And then if people do that, it can be fabulous because then you also get some diversity of viewpoints. Which can be helpful at some points if you’re feeling stuck like, “I can’t figure this out, I don’t know what to do.” It’s like, “Give me some ideas.” Well, if you have half a dozen people, maybe you get more ideas, right?
Chris Ippolito 21:31
Yeah, really it’s just making sure you surround yourself with people that you can trust. I always liked the idea of you find a relationship where they themselves are invested in you in a capacity usually financially as well as emotionally. Because if you have just the emotional, that goes to the story, like you were saying, about talking to the spouse who’s not in the business but relies on the success of that business. There is some financial investment there, but there’s almost too much of an emotional investment. Whereas a mastermind group or a coach or a good friend, there’s some emotional investment there. But maybe that’s where a good friend might not be a good fit because they’re almost too emotionally invested.
Carl Dierschow 22:32
Right, it depends on the relationship.
Chris Ippolito 22:34
Yeah. Whereas a coach and a mastermind, I mean I’m sure they like you.
Carl Dierschow 22:39
Well, and another alternative that I’ve seen used very successfully is to have a mentor. A mentor would be similar to the coach relationship, but usually with a mentor they’re giving you advice to say, “Go this direction because when I did it that worked for me.” Right? And sometimes that’s a very applicable thing, especially if you’re looking to follow somebody else’s path. But if you’re looking to create your own path and be much more self-driven, then often that’s what a coach or a small trusting group can do.
Chris Ippolito 23:20
Yeah. It’s really about surrounding yourself with people who want to see you succeed, authentically. Because myself personally, I’ve not seen this or experienced it, but I’ve heard stories of where somebody is working towards a business and they’re building a business and some of the people that are closest to them, friends or family, though they say they’re supporting them, their actions don’t necessarily reflect that. Whereas if you’re surrounding yourself with other entrepreneurs who want to genuinely see you succeed, they’re going to be there and sometimes, like you said, ask those really tough questions that you are not willing to ask yourself so that you can get to that next level and excel.
Carl Dierschow 24:09
Yeah. And often, Chris, the way I say this, because people ask me, “Why should I work with a coach?,” and whatever. And, well, first, you can’t have this kind of discussion with your spouse because you’re worried that he or she will get worried about you and it’s like, “Oh, we’re going to lose our house,” or whatever. Right? You can’t open up that way and you don’t want to burden them. You can’t open up to your employees because you’re supposed to be the one with the answers.
Chris Ippolito 24:40
That’s right, you’re the leader, right?
Carl Dierschow 24:41
Yeah, right? It’s like, “I can’t tell them I don’t know what I’m doing.” You can’t open up to your boss because you’re the boss and your boss is an idiot. Right? And the question is, “Where do you turn?” And honestly we don’t have the depth of relationships, trusting relationships, that maybe we had 50 years ago, where you had that wise old aunt or somebody where you could really expose some of your vulnerability. In the current generation we feel like we have to have this mask on all the time and act like we have it all together and it’s all about image and stuff. And image is great, it’s necessary, I get that, marketing is fine, but the fact is that sometimes you have to be honest with yourself in order to do the important things. Because it’s hard, this is not easy stuff.
Chris Ippolito 25:47
Yeah. I would agree. I think when somebody finds themselves stuck, hence the reason I’ve started this entire project of the podcast, I think it would be three different options. A coach, you find somebody that you connect with and you pay them. And their responsibility is to help get you through whatever it is you’re struggling with. A mentor, which is similar to a coach, like you said, but it’s an investment of time and there’s an exchange of time versus financial. That’s the way I always looked at it.
Carl Dierschow 26:26
Yeah, that’s good.
Chris Ippolito 26:26
And then or a mastermind group, where now it’s a group of like-minded people. Perhaps the cost is less than a coach, but, like you said, the added benefit there is you get multiple perspectives because there are so many different people and it’s like a support group, a support system to help each entrepreneur excel on it.
Yeah, I think that’s great as far as the solution. What happens though when somebody, they feel… Again, you’ve mentioned this a few times, as humans we all succumb to the same false beliefs, but they’re like, “Yeah, but I’m unique, I’m different, I’ve got to do this all on my own.”
Carl Dierschow 27:11
Well, excellent question. But I’d separate those two things. One is I’m unique and different. Well, and the fact is that that’s true, we’re all unique and different, and our situations are different, and that’s okay. And that’s why having a one-on-one relationship can be so valuable, because then it’s somebody who gets your situation. Mentors, for instance, sometimes, or teachers, would give you an off-the-shelf solution and say, “This is the way to do it.” And that’s often the teacher-student model, right? And it’s not really about what is your situation, it’s about “here’s a generic solution that works for everybody.” But the fact is that we are all unique, that is absolutely right. But that’s different than saying, “Where should I look for help and what kind of help do I need?”
And the thing I focus on is one to one is very powerful, or a few to one. Okay? But sitting in a classroom of 40 people, it’s hard to imagine how that could be individualized, right? But five people, sure. And have it be trusting, having a confidentiality agreement to say, “This is a trusting space and both of us agree to be honest and to protect that.” Because trust is very, very hard to build, but super easy to destroy. All I need to do is mention to somebody the last thing that I talked about with a client in any detail and, boom, trust is gone. And it will be gone forever, and it should be. Right?
And you’ve got to have that kind of agreement. And if you call it “coach” or “mentor” or “group” or whatever, there are lots of different names. Look at the attributes of what you’re doing here. Okay? If it is your wise old aunt, fabulous. Okay? If you don’t want to put the name “mentor” on it because that’s not comfortable for her or it feels unnatural to you, fine, call it whatever you want to, I don’t care.
Chris Ippolito 29:50
“Guide,” “teacher,” “guru.” There are so many different interchangeable terms.
Carl Dierschow 29:55
Go for it, be creative. But is it confidential, is it trusting, is it honest? Okay? And then you can make the progress.
Chris Ippolito 30:06
Right. Okay, I like that. And to try and wrap up the episode, to be honest I think this is the whole message that I’m trying to deliver with the podcast, is really if you’re feeling like you’re stuck or you’re challenged, the one thing that you should probably do is start actively looking for those kinds of relationships where, like you said, there’s trust, it’s a safe place, there’s somebody who wants to see you succeed. It could be an aunt, it could be a relative, a friend, it could be a complete stranger that you eventually build a relationship with. I think coming out of this episode is really just take more of an initiative of going to find at least one person that you can start building that kind of relationship with. Would that make sense probably, would you agree?
Carl Dierschow 31:08
Yeah. In my mind that’s step one, and then step two is to use that relationship to step back and think through what you’re doing. Okay? That doesn’t mean you need to have a plan for every part of your life. I love spontaneity, that’s fabulous. But to step back and just be a little bit more intentional. Because all of us are struggling with this just absolute inundation with all of this stuff that happens to us, all of the data that’s coming to us, all the issues, all the just tasks. I mean there’s been all this focus on to-do lists and things like that. And that’s fine, but it’s just micro tasks is what that’s capturing. That’s not capturing the step back and saying, “Am I doing the right thing? Am I taking this, my business and my life, where I want to go?” And even if you do develop a plan, by the way, it will never work out exactly the way you plan. You can’t be too married to it. But having the plan helps you to make decisions, it helps you to prioritize, “This is important, that’s not important.” Okay? It helps you to develop new relationships and it helps you to have the impact that you want to have in the world. Which I would hope everybody wants to have some kind of impact for their family, for their employees, for their community, for the world, whatever, but to be noticed that you existed and made a difference in people’s lives.
Chris Ippolito 32:54
Yeah, I agree with that statement a lot because I think the mistake or the false belief that a lot of people have on that subject is that they feel this pressure maybe, “I need to create an impact on a global scale, on a very large scale.” Whereas you don’t need to, making an impact to begin with just on yourself, and that becomes this ripple effect. Because on yourself, then your family, then your friends, then your community. And then it just starts growing, and growing. I think it’s some old monk saying, but it’s really start with yourself, and that can eventually lead to impacting the world. Versus focusing on trying to change the world, you’re never going to be able to do that.
Carl Dierschow 33:47
Well, I mean there’s people like Richard Branson and Mother Teresa and all kinds of people that have big, huge impact on the world. And that’s awesome.
Chris Ippolito 33:59
I would agree, but I would argue that they started small.
Carl Dierschow 34:02
They started with themselves, yeah.
Chris Ippolito 34:04
Themselves, and then a community, and then a country. Yeah, and then eventually they were able to impact change on a global scale. With a lot of people, the way media is nowadays, it’s like, “Oh, look at this person making changes around the world.” Well, they started quite small, right? That’s the pitfall of what we see and that comparison thing, we shouldn’t be doing that.
Carl Dierschow 34:30
Well, and that’s the phenomenon of the overnight superstar, right?
Chris Ippolito 34:34
Carl Dierschow 34:35
Yeah. They became a superstar when they got mentioned at the Grammys and you were so impressed, and never mind that this is year 32 of their career.
Chris Ippolito 34:44
That’s right, yeah. It took them only 32 years to become an overnight success.
Carl Dierschow 34:50
Yeah. Part of this is to also learn to be patient, and forgiving yourself and others. This is a very human experience and we’re all screwing up. We’re all screwed up, too.
Chris Ippolito 35:06
Yeah, agreed. Agreed. Awesome, Carl.
Carl Dierschow 35:09
I mean not you and me, but everybody else.
Chris Ippolito 35:12
I’ll admit it, I’m messed up. I’ve got my issues. Thanks, Carl, this was a great conversation. If anybody, the audience, wants to learn more about you or reach out and get in contact with you, what’s maybe the best place for them to look for you?
Carl Dierschow 35:27
Fabulous. Yeah, a couple of things. My website is smallfish.us. I’m part of a group of coaches called Small Fish Business Coaching. And the smallfish.us site is my particular one because I’m the only one in the United States, I get to basically be the only one there. And then I’ve got a blog that I’m very, very regular on called valuesbased.biz. Okay? And I’m sure you’ll put it in the notes.
Chris Ippolito 36:00
Yeah, I’ll include that in the show notes.
Carl Dierschow 36:01
Valuesbased.biz. And this is the exact area that I’m delving into much more deeply. And whether it’s talking about managing yourself, meeting your goals, working with employees, attracting the right customers, having world impact. I love exploring all of those areas, but it really all starts with the discussion we had today.
Chris Ippolito 36:29
Yeah. Great. I really appreciate that, Carl. Thanks for the conversation and I’m sure we’ll talk again sometime down the road.
Carl Dierschow 36:38
Okay, fabulous. Thanks so much, Chris.
Chris Ippolito 36:40
You’re welcome. Take care
Carl Dierschow 36:41
All right, we’ll see you. Bye-bye.