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Exceeding expectations Episode 57 Welcome to another edition of exceeding expectations with me, Tony Winyard. This is the podcast where we try to give you ideas how you can over deliver to your customers because if you exceed their expectations, the benefits to your reputation will far exceed the effort you put in and it can enable you to get much better reviews and more referrals, recommendations and re bookings which ultimately, hopefully means you get more money as well but you also enjoy your work more because you’re you tend to be working with clients who who like you can be more fussy with who you decide to work with. Not everyone is your client after a few like what you’ve heard, why not share the episode with other people? Maybe someone who you feel will get particular benefit from this episode this episode. This episode, we Speak to a lady called Heather Breed ove. She is the author of a book called well a diary journal type thing called shine your bright. She’s also the Chief Financial Officer at Keystone brothers and the co founder of a company called choose goodness. And we’ll be hearing more about Heather. Very soon we have a Facebook group. You can maybe ask if there’s a particular person you would like to hear interviewed, why not? Let us know in the Facebook group which is called exceeded expectations. Maybe make some comments about this episode, or any other episodes that you’ve listened to in the past? And it will be fantastic if you would leave a review for us on iTunes. leave a review for the exceeding expectations. Let us know what you think about the podcast and be completely honest. I’m not asking it to be five star. Just tell tell us what you really think about the podcast. Right now it’s time for this week’s episode. Hope you enjoy
exceeding expectations My guest today in Atlanta, Georgia. Heather Breedlove. How are you?
Heather Breedlove 2:09
I’m good. Tony, how are you doing today?
Tony Winyard 2:12
I’m pretty good. Thank you. And Atlanta is one place I’ve never been is that where do you come from Atlanta
Heather Breedlove 2:18
I, I come from the state of Georgia. I actually grew up in a small town about three and a half hours south of Atlanta. super small. We had four traffic lights, and I would say there was one at every corner of the block. So since then, I’ve worked in buildings with more people.
Tony Winyard 2:40
I guess Atlanta slightly different to what you’ve just described.
Unknown Speaker 2:42
My goodness and very different from London to right but yes, I was ready to hit the road at 18 super excited to move to a bigger city and see what life had to offer.
Tony Winyard 2:55
So for people listening who may be haven’t been to Atlanta or don’t know Anything about Atlanta? What is it? Is it famous for anything? What would you say about Atlanta for people who don’t know?
Unknown Speaker 3:05
Well, Delta Airlines, I think we have one of the biggest airports in the well, we always are right there really in the world with the largest airport. And then it’s also has a nickname of hot Atlanta where we get just brutal heat and humidity. But it’s, yeah, it’s a great city. We’ve got all the sports teams, which you have to definitely be a fan because they don’t necessarily always turn out on top. But it’s really starting to get a lot of character to because I think everyone there’s so much industry and business in the city. It really is a cultural experience with all the people that live here.
Tony Winyard 3:52
And so in the work that you do you mostly just work within sort of Atlanta or is it national or what is it, you do?
Unknown Speaker 4:00
I actually work for Kingston brothers, and we’re the largest vinyl distributor. So seating cars, boats and whatnot. And we have 22 locations throughout the United States. So we travel a lot through those locations.
Tony Winyard 4:20
And so what is it that you do?
Unknown Speaker 4:21
I am their CFO. Really I think what I love about the company is and even today or CFO is aren’t necessarily in the stuck at the desk just looking at numbers but really involved in marketing and sales and operations. It’s really a great way to see all aspects of a company.
Tony Winyard 4:45
And how did you get involved in it in the first place?
Heather Breedlove 4:48
Oh, well, I when I was in high school, my uncle it’s kind of a joke. Now. He said there will always be death and taxes. So if you want to find interesting curious I always go with the medical industry or accounting. And I thought I’d good medical and blood just ended up scaring me to death. So numbers made sense. It was like a second language. So I just went into accounting and it kind of went from there. I loved. I wasn’t cut out to be behind the desk the whole time. I did like the creativity of being in an actual more of a private business. That wasn’t just audit taxes, and I’ve just been able to, to work my way into where I am now.
Tony Winyard 5:39
And so how long have you been?
Unknown Speaker 5:41
I’ve been at this company going on 15 years
Tony Winyard 5:46
and has there been a lot of changes in that time?
Unknown Speaker 5:49
you know, there have been a lot of changes, but then some things are still very much the same. I mean, it’s amazing how much a company can go Row and, and shift, I’ll say that we do have 250 employees. And I think the one thing that’s been consistent through all of that time is the environment to have that many employees scattered across that many facilities. It still has this real family feel about it, where it’s pretty amazing that people will just pick up the phone, you know, kids names, college graduations, it. I think we do an amazing job with that culture.
Tony Winyard 6:42
And so so from from what you’re saying there, I presume, therefore, there’s not people stay for quite a long time and what why would you say what, how has that culture developed? What was it that the company’s done to create that kind of coach and
Unknown Speaker 6:55
I think I could start with a couple of things. I think It is the second oldest registered company in the state of California. So, right behind Wells Fargo, a bank, it started in 1868. So they just celebrated their hundred and 50th anniversary. And I think with that it was started by two brothers and kind of a novelty of it being Keystone brothers. But I think through generations of this company, and watching the company evolve, there’s always been employees, children that would start working there. And we have some locations where spouses work. So it really does take on that dynamic of it does have that family atmosphere and it goes on for generations. I know. In the 15 years I’ve been there we’ve had four employees that we’ve celebrated their 50th work anniversary. storeys and that’s really just unheard of these days.
Heather Breedlove 8:06
Right. I know. You’re lucky to get to it.
Tony Winyard 8:11
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Wow.
Heather Breedlove 8:13
So it is really incredible.
Tony Winyard 8:16
Yes, that is amazing. Okay. And so you mean before we started recording us So tell me about your How would I describe your little baby shine your brights?
Unknown Speaker 8:27
Well I think we’re shine your bright came from and where it was born as like I did say where I started in a small town and I was ready to just go out and explore the world. I think when I moved to college, I was going down that checklist where you graduate from high school you go to college, you meet the man of your dreams married by 25 children by 32. And it’s really easy when you’re 17 and 18. think that that’s the way life is supposed to be. But the first time that that checklist doesn’t happen, or it shifts, I think it threw me for a bit of a loop. I made it right up. Right down that checklist. I met my husband in college, we got married, and then two months later, found out my dad was suffering from stage four cancer. And we lost him at chalet three months after we found out and I think that’s when it kind of started throwing me for a loop. But I also knew that to keep moving everything like making sure my mom was okay, I newly married making sure my marriage was okay, so I just kept moving. And I don’t think I really thought about or process that I’d lost my father but it was a hiccup in that checklist. I’d say the second thing was we never had children. So one more time that that’s a side track. And then you add on to that the stress of going through a career in that position. And then, on top of that, they don’t tell you I remember joking with a lot of the women in my family and like you guys didn’t tell me how hard marriage is. So we went through a lot of ups and downs in our marriage, to and through all of those processes, and transitions. I didn’t necessarily take the time to feel all of my emotions. Eventually, one day I right when you think you’re going to break, it’s like, wow, I need to start processing some of this and what I found was is I was hiding my anger and I was kind of hiding my sadness. With a lot of things, but what I found was is if I was hiding those, I was also hiding some of my joy because if I didn’t feel the joyful way, I knew I wouldn’t feel the negative emotions fully either. So if you think of the up and down curves, I think I had taken home and I wasn’t going nearly as happy or sad as I should be. And that’s how shine your bright was born, is really just reflecting on in shining bright is really a journal and I’ve got ordinary, average everyday images that you can really start to think about and figure out how do you feel about this? Like for instance, if I had a picture of a passport, it would be, what come not just where you want to go, but what kind of baggage might you be carrying around to? So that’s how it was born, and It’s been an amazing experience. So
Tony Winyard 12:03
when you say about a journey what you mean? Did you start keeping a journal? What How did the journal come
Unknown Speaker 12:08
up? Oh, so no, I think what happened was is I was sitting, we have a little light cabinet about an hour outside of town we love to go to. And not having children, for me was hard because I always thought I would. But what happened is the same thing never really thought through any of that. But at the lake cabin, we had bubbles and just some kids around and they were blowing bubbles. And I started thinking, I was like, why is it that I want children and as I was seeing them play, I was like, I want children just because I liked that joy and that laughter and that freedom and fearlessness so it wasn’t necessarily that I was all in the nurturing the child that I wanted that play My life. And so the idea came with shine your bright where if I had just a picture of bubbles, that there’s so many different things you can think around just that one image from when have you felt like you were flying up in the air to when have you been deflated or when is someone burst your bubble? And I think that’s how shine your bright was born was in that just one sitting. And I started being much more engaged in everyday life because I was present with what was around me on a daily basis.
Tony Winyard 13:41
And so at that stage, did you What was going through your mind as to where this might go?
Unknown Speaker 13:48
Oh, well. At that stage, I think where I was in life personally as my husband that I met in college, he had made it to shareholder and an accounting firm. And the minute he had an equity partnership, he just walked away. So I think watching his transition because he just was it. He wanted to do more for people and seeing how sometimes the inside of a firm would work when people are almost a commodity and you hire and fire with how busy the firm is. He wanted more. So he just dropped it all walked away and started a movement called juice goodness, which is really embracing the people aspect of business. And you can have all of that you can have your purpose and your passion in your business. And as we were talking through these things, I think, for me, I was having to kind of reinvent myself and grow at the same time because again, you know, life, life shifts that changes and as you’re in these transitions I wanted to do this because I putting it together and seeing the people that it started talking to us about how they were having anything from marriage issues to work issues. And there wasn’t really a safe place to start to explore themselves and the tagline on this journal is a reintroduction to yourself. So I think as we start to lose ourselves, through so many aspects in life and so many different age segments in life, I wanted this to be a place where people could come back and really start to explore who they are with no judgement.
Tony Winyard 15:44
And so what is shine your bright now I mean, it’s a journal and is it like a sort of coaching system? It was a What is it?
Unknown Speaker 15:51
So I, I do have these physical journal it is if I do say so myself, a beautiful Light the and I like the aspect of shine. But what we do do too is I’ve got the newsletters that go out. I also have a Facebook group private group where people can join and we can kind of talk through really things that have, you’re presented with. Because there are a lot of transitions in life from, like marriage, like we talked about to having children and having people that have experienced that knowing that you’re not alone. And it’s okay to take time for yourself without feeling like you’re letting others down. It’s sad that we get there. But that’s really sometimes where we all end where we have to come back and say Who are we and what are our hopes and dreams.
Tony Winyard 16:51
And so the journal was you mentioned it was published beginning of last year. Yes. And so how has the reaction been to it?
Unknown Speaker 17:00
Has been amazing. I love seeing a lot of the reviews that have come in or the emails and messages that I get that really is people are going through transitions in life and whether it’s forced or whether they’re just stuck, the fear realm that next step. I’m hearing that it is helping people navigate their emotions and go through the transition. I’ve had one person recently that really had an eating disorder and hadn’t even admitted to herself that she had an eating disorder. But she said through journaling that out and starting to get more comfortable with who she was and admitting that it was one of the aspects of herself that it was her safe place that she could just Start to work on it. So could you describe it?
Tony Winyard 18:03
How is it that the journal is able to help people in different situations?
Heather Breedlove 18:08
Well, I think, you know, there’s a lot of research really about the benefits of journaling. And one aspect being when you start to put it on paper, it literally clears it out of your mind. So it takes it all out of your mind and it frees up the space to start to process it. And I think for me, when I start writing, I’m always amazed to go back and look at it and say, Wow, I didn’t even know I was having this thought it just kind of comes out. But taking the time to sit down and write it. It does start to process it because otherwise I can keep my mind busy with something else and I will Sara Lee deal with it.
Tony Winyard 19:02
And so does the journal give some kind of prompt for people to write something? Or is there some guideline or how?
Heather Breedlove 19:08
So I, I love the fact that I say there are no rules there is not 52 pages where you have to do one a week, but I will say for instance, if you know, describe one and you can think of a life raft like that you would throw off the side of a ship of life preserver. Yeah, I would have a picture of that. I would have words seek safety, swim. And then my prompt questions would be how do you go overboard? When have you felt like you were drowning? Or who has come to your rescue? And not that you have to answer all of those but if you flipped open saw picturing light, you could start writing what came to you or even explore one Those questions. I mean, just thinking about who has come to your rescue over the past and your life, I mean, I can think of many at times that people have stepped up and helped me through. If it’s just picking up my puppy from the vet or when I needed something bigger. But what that does is it instils gratitude that I do have those people in my life and it gives me time and space to acknowledge that they’re there. So when I do start to fear, feel fearful of something I know that people will show up to help.
Tony Winyard 20:40
So is it a case of I mean set of people that have who this gentleman is really has really helped so that how they they never done a journal before me and what was it made him come to this as opposed to just buying a blank journal?
Unknown Speaker 20:55
Know I think I do think some people are very Image driven and some people are very word driven. And for me I’m incredibly more visual and I like to see the pictures. And I think that might be what it is because I haven’t seen a journal that has photography in it yet.
Tony Winyard 21:16
So it’s always a case of data simply saw it on Amazon or in a bookstore or something and it just appeal to them. visualise, you think?
Heather Breedlove 21:23
Yes, I think so.
Tony Winyard 21:27
Okay, and so what you say you mentioned a couple of people, you’re saying who needed help. So have you have you been getting a lot of difference or feedback and reviews and so on?
Unknown Speaker 21:37
I have and I will, the one thing that seems to be consistent is it is people that are going through a transition whether they wanted to or it was forced on them. So death divorce versus I’m just stuck in a rut. But there are so many transitions that we have in life from Marriage to divorce to having children to moving to starting a new job to in all of those things can be traumatic in certain ways. And there, it’s hard to just go all in. And if you start thinking and admitting This is what excites me about it, this is what scares me about it. That almost is admitting it to yourself, and then it’s okay.
Tony Winyard 22:33
So do you think PayPal, is it? And maybe it’s a combination? Is it just the case of just kind of getting all your feelings on paper? Or is it also going back to maps and looking at where you were two months ago and thinking, well, there’s a lot has happened since then?
Unknown Speaker 22:50
Absolutely. I’m seeing yourself on the other side, I think as you start to kind of record your life in that manner. You can see how much each grown, but I think it also gives you the confidence to continue to want to grow because you’ve seen everything you’ve been through and where you are now. And it gets a little easier to take that next step.
Tony Winyard 23:15
And a lot of people I seems to me that a lot of people want to keep a journal but they just find it difficult for a variety of different reasons. So how, what would you say this journal is help them to do keep the journal in the habit?
Unknown Speaker 23:34
Well, I think one big thing is not having the rules, right? A lot of the journals that I’ve had want you to fill it out every day or every more thing or every night and I feel like then if I’m starting down a 365 day journal that has date senate The first time I don’t make it, especially with a new year’s resolution, like January 16, that don’t make it for me being a perfectionist I feel like I’ve got to wait until the following year to pick it back up. Now it could be an excuse or not. And I think what I really enjoy about shiny bright is you can just pick it up. There’s no order. You can pick any page, it fits perfectly into a handbag, you can do it in the carpool line at school waiting on kiddos or at lunch. And really, it’s it’s just yours to explore yourself.
Tony Winyard 24:31
And I think that what you’ve just said that’s there is a big difference because there’s not a page for every day so there’s not the guilt of missing a day. So that’s probably a huge difference between that and and a normal journal.
Unknown Speaker 24:44
I think so and you can leave it in the drawer for months and it’s there when you need it or want it.
Tony Winyard 24:52
Interesting. Okay. And before before we started recording me, you know, we were talking about a few storeys and you were telling me about the storey We’re about to kind of add in a personal element in your business. Do you want to tell us more about that?
Unknown Speaker 25:05
Oh, I’d love to we do. I think what’s important, bridging my gap between being an executive in a company and having shine your bright, which I love and adore, is one of the phrases I keep I tell myself really often is when you hear it’s not personal, it’s just business. I feel like that is just not true. And I think by taking the personal aspect of everything in business, you can really change your trajectory in a culture in a company. For instance, anytime you have a layoff with someone, you could say it’s just business but it is personal. You’ve someone is personally chosen that these are the people that are going to get laid off the other side of that is just the The person that’s now going to have to fight to pay their mortgage and their rent. Same thing with a customer. Anytime a customer buys your product, it’s because they personally feel like that is the best product for themselves. And I think that’s one of the game changing acknowledgments in business.
Tony Winyard 26:21
And so what what do you think it? How could people do it in a different way?
Unknown Speaker 26:27
I think for me, we do. I mean, several things like it, we set a lot of intention around what are your hopes for yourself as an individual? What are your hopes for yourself in your career? having that conversation of how can we foster that relationship you have with the company and taking that extra time to know who you’re working with? Whether it be your boss, your employee, your customer, your vendor, taking that extra time and knowing that person just it makes it so much more personal and people want to show up and and bigger and better way when they feel like they’re part of something.
Tony Winyard 27:22
And is this something you’ve seen in, you know, in the main company you’re working for the Keystone brothers or is it something that is be more for shine your light or both?
Unknown Speaker 27:33
I would say both. And I would also say, I’ve really had the it’s been amazing to watch Tommy, he’s my husband, as we talked about his transition to it’s been amazing to watch him he does coach executive men and watching just from that aspect, people that do have their passion and their purpose and Having all of those aspects pulled in together. I love watching those people and how they’re making changes in their lives, their families and their businesses all at the same time.
Tony Winyard 28:12
And you also you were talking something about your viewpoint on disagreements.
Unknown Speaker 28:19
I do we have a gala that to two people. I will say in our company, we have just started a leadership programme where anyone who is interested in growing their career we opened it up and applications did interviews accepted. 12 people out of 36 that applied and with those 12 people were trying to show them different aspects of the company, but also add their soft skills in because I’m convinced you could teach almost anyone how to do a hard skill how to ship a package or add an invoice. The soft skills on people. We had them read Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. And it’s an old book that a great book. Absolutely. Just his point in if you are in a disagreement, and you can find the one common thing you agree on just having that, yes, we agree on this point can help you grow to a bigger solution for a bigger problem. And that’s been probably the best tool I have in my toolkit for business. And I will add to that, when I was 16 years old, I started working in a finance company and the owner of that finance company would not let me talk to a customer until I had sat down and read that entire book at the office. Wow. ingrained in me pretty early on
Tony Winyard 30:00
That’s such a good approach because there is some so much value in that book. And TC is like it’s a life changing book in many ways.
Unknown Speaker 30:08
It absolutely is. And I was wondering, I was like, how am I gonna sell this to the 20 year olds in the company when I asked them to read a book that was written that long ago, but they, they loved it, and it’s just changed their whole game and even how they interact with everyone else in their office.
Tony Winyard 30:29
And Heather, what are your what’s your general thoughts on exceeding expectations?
Unknown Speaker 30:36
I think that’s how I’ve kind of lived life is I’ve always wanted to go all in. And if I show up with my full self and I exceed my expectations of myself, I’m just going to exceed my my happiness and joy that comes right back to me.
Tony Winyard 30:59
So do you deliberately set out to try to exceed your own expectations? I mean, how would you go about doing something like that?
Heather Breedlove 31:11
I love to entertain and to host people. It’s one of my, it just, it makes me so happy. But I will go over the top. And if it’s a kid’s birthday party, I will make sure that they have those mermaid cupcakes that they want. Or if it’s a gift I get for someone doing that little bit of extra homework to find out what’s really gonna make them shine per se. That’s what I see as exceeding expectations.
Tony Winyard 31:44
And if so, I mean, we’re, we’re getting towards the end, this is flown, like 30 something minutes. So I would if people want to find out more about you, Heather, where where would they go to,
Unknown Speaker 31:55
and double it shine your bright.com and I actually you can see sign up to get a free sample of the journal as a download. And then love to have you on Instagram and Facebook to follow us as well. And if you wanted to get me personally, you can contact me through the website or my email is Heather at shine your bright.com
Tony Winyard 32:20
and is the journal available on Amazon as well?
Unknown Speaker 32:23
It is available through my website and on Amazon. Right.
Tony Winyard 32:27
Okay. And just before we finish, I know you’ve got a quotation that you basically liked you want to tell us about that?
Unknown Speaker 32:33
Oh, I do. I when I was graduating from high school, my grandfather wrote a note to me to say congratulations, but he put a quote that said, hit your waggon to a star and follow your dreams. And that’s always stuck with me as my favourite quote.
Tony Winyard 32:52
Right. Okay. Well, Heather, it’s been a pleasure speaking review. And thank you for your time and yeah, questions. Good luck with the journal and everything you’re doing.
Heather Breedlove 33:02
Thank you so much. I hope you have a great day.
Tony Winyard 33:07
Hope you enjoy this week’s episode of exceeding expectations next week is Episode 58. with Daniel Ramsey. He is the founder and CEO of my out desk. The real estate industry’s leading virtual staffing company. They have over 5000 5000 clients including four of real trends, very top five themes. That’s next week with Daniel Ramsey. Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s episode. Want to share it with someone you think might get some value from it, leave a review for us on iTunes and hope you have a fantastic week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai