Many people believe that leaders need to be tough in order to succeed. On the other hand, others believe that leaders should be kind. Why choose when you can be both? Adam Markel interviews none other than Matt Sweetwood who is living proof that this paradox describes an important quality of a high-level leader. Matt is the CEO of LUXnow and the author of Leader of the Pack — a memoir that tells the story of how he suddenly became a single father to five children and how it made him, not only a better father, but also a better entrepreneur. At the core of Matt’s success is the principle of both being tough and kind, especially when he confronted adversity and career pivots. He shares his journey from a long-time CEO in one industry to becoming who he is now, including the two important traits that mark a resilient leader, especially in our current environment.

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Remaining Tough & Kind Through Adversity

I’m feeling blessed to be here at this moment and having a moment for myself to sit in gratitude for so many things. In fact, I was even thinking that there’s a part of me that is questioning whether I should feel guilty about feeling good at a time when there are many people that are in a state of, I want to say suffering, but it’s not the word I’m looking for. I know there’s a lot of pain out there and I have my own pain. I’m not free of pain, for sure, and yet, in the midst of this crisis that has caught everybody and many people off guard. I’d say, I am also finding more value in being in gratitude than almost anything else. There is so much for us to feel good about even in the midst of something like this.

I know that the conversation I’m about to have with a gentleman that is no stranger to adversity. He’s been in business for many years. He might even have a couple of years on me and we were chatting before getting started that our middle name could be the word that’s on my shirt. It says resilience. The gentleman who I’m going to spend some time with, and you’ll get the benefit of that conversation, hopefully. His name is Matt Sweetwood and he is the CEO of LUXnow.

Before that, Matt spent 29 years as the CEO of Unique Photo and during that time, he took that company from about $1 million to $100 million. We might get to talk about that, the trajectory changes there and the pivots that he engineered during that 29-year run. He’s also an author. He’s the author of a wonderful book, a best-seller in the self-help category called Leader of the Pack. It’s a memoir and it tells a story of how he suddenly became a single father to five children and how it impacted his life, made him a better person, entrepreneur, and father. I’d love to start there with you, Matt, by saying thank you so much for being with us and welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me. I’m grateful to be here.

Likewise, I’m happy to have you. What’s something that is not a part of the bio, that I read, that you would love for people to know about you at the outset?

When you read my story, it’s a story of a single dad that went through a pretty rough time and a rough life. I grew and raised my kids in New Jersey and New York so I get the reputation of being a tough guy. The thing that’s true is that I’m a softy. For me, the premium quality that I’m proudest of is being kind. For me that never comes out of my bio when they read all of this stuff. We do self-promotion and things like that but for me, it’s all about kindness. It’s how I approach staff when I hire staff, and when I engage with people. If you’re kind, I can deal with you. If you’re not, I don’t want to.

I’m originally from New York, we raised our kids for the most part. We were in New Jersey for almost eighteen years and we moved to California when our little ones were still in middle school so I’m familiar with that area. It’s interesting when you’re from the East Coast or you’ve lived on the East Coast for any length of time. It’s almost like an attribute to have that toughness. It’s something that you either have to acquire or you can get run over, I suppose.

It’s part of resilience. You build resilience like that. That’s what you do. That’s how you do it. You learn to be tough to say what you mean and mean what you say. Be straight to people, that’s how West Jerseyans are. They like to direct it at you.

I’m sitting with that principle of both being tough and being kind. There are many interesting paradoxes in life anyway. That may be one of those riddles. There are two sides of the same coin that to be straight and to say what you mean and mean what you say on the one hand, but also to be kind. I’m curious how have you navigated the difference or the interplay of those two things that seem to be opposites almost?

That comes down to telling people the truth, but doing it in a kind way. I’ll use children because we’re both fathers. We’ll use that. That would be like allowing your child to do something you know is not right and ignoring it. We don’t tolerate that I can tell. We’ve only known each other for a short time, but you don’t seem like a guy that’s going to let your kids get away with much that you think is harming them or something. There’s a way to tell them. You can be mean and demeaning, and hurt their self-esteem when you tell them or you can tell them in a self-esteem growing way. For example, if they do something wrong, you can scream at them and call them an idiot or you can simply tell them that they’re too good to be doing that.

You learn to be tough to say what you mean and mean what you say. Click To Tweet

I’ll give you a pretty specific example. If you phrase it, you say, “Johnny, you’re much smarter than that. You’re definitely capable of doing much better,” as opposed to saying, “Johnny, you’re a moron and you’re going to be a loser in life.” There are two ways to approach that. In business, it’s the same thing. When you have a staff or you’re doing a business deal, being direct is important but you can do it without being mean. You can do it by being kind. They’re almost the same side of the coin and you’re more effective when you can be tough and be kind at the same time. People respect you and follow you more. It’s a principle quality of being a high-level leader.

It’s such a great point that you’re bringing up because there’s that old cliché about the nice guys finishing last. For folks that are reading who’ve been in leadership, senior leadership, or executive roles in the past, you’ve probably learned that lesson the hard way. People don’t respond well to that passive-aggressive behavior.

They never forget if you treat them like that. You can be nice to them 50 times and if you treat them badly once, they’ll remember that one time.

For people that have either yet to take on those roles or maybe are in startup mode, or entrepreneurs themselves at the moment are looking to attract people to their teams. I want to get back to the origin story of your role because you grew teams, sales, and companies. Organizations don’t grow like plants and other things. They require nurturing so I want to leg into that conversation a little bit with that question of, do nice guys finish last? Do you think that that’s a true statement in your experience?

Only with women. That might be the only thing. That’s terrible.

It’s funny, though. That’s a different podcast for a different day.

Everything like that has some truth. A better saying is, “Weak people finish last.” Strength is not about being nice. It’s about being weak. This is the other side of what we discussed before. You can be nice and kind, but still be strong. I can definitely accuse myself of being guilty of being too nice at times but niceness and if you want to be self-reflective, and I will, my book, Leader of the Pack is all about self-reflection and all the stupid things that I did and things like that. One of my weaknesses in the book is being too nice to the wrong people. That’s another way of looking at it. You pick your business partners, life mate, and friends wisely. Being nice is a wonderful thing but if you pick the wrong people, and you’re too nice, they will take advantage of you.

I know that one myself. I know that one well. In self-discernment, that’s a high-level leadership quality. It’s not something you know when you’re 25, maybe. There are uncommonly wise 25-year-olds for sure.

I definitely didn’t.

In fact, I didn’t know that when I was 40 years old. I still had the propensity to lean into the wrong people sometimes.

PR Matt | Tough And Kind

Leader of the Pack: How a single dad of five led his kids, his business and himself from disaster to success

I’m right with you. I did the same thing. I wasn’t thinking. It was somewhere through my 40s that I gained that skill. In Judaism, they say you shouldn’t learn Kabbalah, the highest level of wisdom until you’re over 40 or whatever it is. Maybe therein lies some connection.

Take us back to your early start and becoming the CEO of Unique Photo. This isn’t the trajectory we’ll take in the conversation. When we’re going to talk about resilience, I’d love for people to get a sense of what’s your background and the adversity that you dealt with along that path?

In Unique Photo, when I walked into the company, we were delivering the film. For those of you old enough to know what film is. It’s a photographic film, small stores in the New York area. We used to put this stuff like paper bags and boxes and go out and deliver them. By the time we were done, when I sold that company, we had a mega superstore where we were shipping thousands of packages of digital products all over the country and all over the world. That’s the end and that’s the beginning. You can imagine what happened in between there.

I’m in a business that faced a distribution challenge in that we were a B2B business selling small stores and those small stores. Pharmacies, for example, sold about 80% of the photo supplies in the country at one point. Within a short amount of time, they started getting bought up. A lot of the CVSs and the Walgreens you see now were independent pharmacy locations. Once those big chains started buying up, they bought directly or they didn’t buy it from a distributor like myself. We had to change the business model from a B2B model to a B2C model. If I advance ahead, I can go into detail, but eventually, film was challenged.

The first pivot was recognizing that was changing and these independents were getting bought up into the franchise model or the corporate model.

We analyzed the business and the idea was, “We’re going to do something interesting. We’re going to photographers who are end-users. We’re going to treat them like a business and we’re going to sell them.” Within a few years, we took the B2B business model of selling stores and applied it to wedding portrait photographers and became the largest seller of that in the whole country. In fact, around 2000, I don’t remember the exact year, my company had 5% of all the world’s film sold in the United States. We went from a four-person company to a 100-person company with 5% of the rolls of film. To give you an idea, Disney World had about a 5% share. We were selling as many rolls of film out of my New Jersey warehouse as Disney World was.

If you project forward, film, in 2008 disappeared off the planet. Digital photography came about. In all the small stores, we were selling, the camera stores, essentially all went out of business. We were selling a product, which had a high margin, high volume like the razor blade to selling razors, and everybody was selling razors. On top of that, the internet, Amazon, and all of these big sellers come in. We had to pivot the business again.

At that point, the business pivot was to open a camera store. We waited until all the camera stores in that New Jersey area went out of business. I opened the camera store, reinvented the camera store model completely and that model took off. We ended up with one of the largest single-location stores in the country. Every camera store that operates now essentially uses a similar model that I have. The best part is I eventually got to sell and exit that business, which is always a good result.

When you’re in a business that long, there’s a chance you could miss your exit. It’s almost like driving down the highway and you go like, “I missed my exit.” On the Fortune 500 side of things, it used to be when that list was created in 1955, there were 500 companies on it, still 500 companies, except they’re not the same 500 companies. In fact, 88% of the companies that started out on the list don’t exist anymore.

The average life of a company on that list was about 60 years in the beginning and now it’s about eighteen years. You were in business for years and you had to reinvent yourself several times. In fact, you did something that Polaroid or Kodak couldn’t do. These are companies that created digital photography technology that ultimately went bankrupt. In fact, Polaroid declared bankruptcy on the same day that Instagram was valued at $2 billion, or something like that.

Strength is not about being nice. It's about being weak. Click To Tweet

I’ll tell you some interesting stories relevant to that. That’s an excellent point. Kodak invented the digital camera, but yet got taken and the reason is and I learned this along the way is that you should be trying to reinvent your business when it’s at its peak, not when it’s about to fail. That’s the mistake that companies make. Kodak was making so much money on film, they could not stop themselves or pivot and say, “We’re going to sell a technology that may for a while hurt our film sales. It may pivot us away,” but they couldn’t do it. I know somebody who was in the Sony boardroom. They were sitting in the boardroom.

Sony had 60% to 68% of the video market and the camcorder market. One of their tech team presented the idea of a small point of view camera. They said, “We’re not presenting that. We own the market.” Five years later, Sony had almost none of the video market and GoPro had 65% of the market. Sony had, I believe the point of view camera first, but they couldn’t pivot. Business is littered like that all over the place. The thing that I learned is to not wait too long. Look ahead and see what’s going on and even if you’re not looking ahead, even if things are going well, figure out a way to reinvent the business while your business is going. That’s the key.

Self-disruption. It’s so much easier to disrupt your own model than to wait for the market to do it for you or to you.

Usually, it’s too late if you wait for the market to do it. Somebody else is way ahead of you or you can’t catch up.

I got this lesson. It wasn’t quite in this context that we’re discussing it but I was a Jones Beach lifeguard. You didn’t grow up in Jersey, did you?

I grew up in Jersey. I was in Jersey for years. I know everything about Jersey.

You’re a Jersey and I’m a kid from Queens, New York. My wife grew up in New Jersey. I’ve married a Jersey girl and we ended up living near the shore. When we first met and started going out, I was a lifeguard at Jones Beach and like the Jersey Shore, there were strong rip currents. There were people drowning all the time and constantly the lifeguards were in the water making rescues. It’s a little different than in California. In California, you get more swimmers. The people surf, they learn when they’re three years old to stand on a surfboard. It’s a little different environment.

Back then, I remember for us, we had to constantly be proactive on that beach, we would never wait for the rescues to get serious. We wouldn’t get in the water when somebody was already drowning. We’d see rip currents forming and we would use our whistles, flags, boats and surfboards. We’re constantly disrupting our own status quo or our own sense of comfort sitting in the stand with the sun and all the good looking people to gawk at. Instead of being distracted that way, even when people were safe in the water, we were constantly looking at where that disruption might come from.

Mother Nature is constantly changing. The oceans, the wind, the sun, and all the conditions are constantly changing. For us to get even a little bit ahead of that and more proactively self-disrupt. That was an effective tool for us. What you’re describing is for you in your own career, every time you were looking ahead. What’s your mindset in those situations where things are going well? Let’s paint that picture because people got caught off guard with COVID-19 and many businesses were not expecting or were under any worst-case scenario thinking this would happen. There are others that are also experiencing a boom. I know that a lot of online businesses are doing well. Take us back to a situation where you’re in business, things are working well, and you decide to shake things up and change the status quo.

The example I gave you is if the store is going out of business. As I sat there and I remember paying a visit to a Kmart and I’m like, “These small stores that were selling are in trouble.” I remember one of the original customers of our company. It was a drugstore in Newark, New Jersey. They paved the roads. I remember him calling me up and speaking to me on the phone. He said to me, “I want to thank you for whatever years of doing business with you guys. You guys are great. I want you to know,” I forgot who the chain was, but let’s say CVS. CVS is coming in and they’re buying me out. I’m going to Miami. I’m going to get in my yacht and off I go.

PR Matt | Tough And Kind

Tough And Kind: You’re more effective when you can be tough and be kind at the same time. People respect you and follow you more. It’s a principle quality of being a high-level leader.

 

I thought for a second. I looked and we were doing well at the time. I’m like, “That’s not the first time I’m going to get that call. That’s coming.” I put all the pieces together and I said, “Let’s look at our business. What do we have?” We’ve got all these great dealerships with Kodak, and Polaroid and all of these things. We have great distribution, awesome customer service, and the tech we had put in even at that time. I’m going back to the late ‘80s.

I have written all the software for a company. We had good tech, and it wasn’t called tech back then. It was called computers. We had good computers and whatever it was. I’m like, “What can we do? How do we pivot this business now?” That was the logical step to take it to the B2C business. In my mind, having a lot of small customers and ones that big chains can’t go buyout individual photographers all over the place. That was the way to go.

You and I, before we turned the mics on, we were talking about resilience and how important that is genetically like DNA. A part of the DNA of any successful entrepreneurial business having any longevity is going to be this term and this concept of resilience. What are the traits that you would say are the genetic markers of resilience in a leader? If you can evaluate how somebody is or isn’t a resilient leader, what are you looking for?

You need two things, as far as I’m concerned and I’d probably come up with a couple more but two things come to mind quickly. One, you never panic. No matter what’s going on, you never get into panic mode, and never let your team see that you have lost your cool ever.

It’s because calm is contagious.

Also, it’s a methodical stepping up of what you need to do and I’ll tell you what we did in LUXnow right when this happened. LUXnow is a travel company. We’re a peer-to-peer marketplace for luxury yachts, boats, and home and there is no travel going on now. We have built this company up and it started selling. Right away you gain this. The second thing is there is no such thing as failure. As a leader, you are determined to succeed no matter what. I have a favorite slogan, it sounds like a meme but I live like this. It’s a question of how badly you want it. If you want something badly enough, you’re going to do whatever it takes to make that happen. I am not going to let my company fail. I don’t care if it’s COVID-19, 20, and 21. It doesn’t matter.

We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep that company going to do what it takes to work hard, maneuver, think, beg, kill or whatever, maybe not kill but you got the point. It’s because you have that attitude. That’s always been the case. I sat there and I remember looking back at my five tiny little kids. Their mom left and the youngest was eighteen months old. They’re looking up at me and they’re like, “Dad, what’s next?” There’s no failure. We can’t fail.

I’ve got to go to work and run my company, figure it out, feed them, take care of them, and do whatever was going to take and fight the fights or whatever. I love them enough to want it badly enough for them to succeed. It’s the same thing now. I want success and I never want to fail. For a leader in this circumstance, resilience is about one, never panic and keeping your cool. It’s having a plan and the concept of you’re not going to fail. You want it badly enough to not fail.

That’s where the pivot and resilience, where those principles dovetail or overlap for me. It’s the fact that anybody that is a serial businessperson, owner, operator, whatever it is, they’re a serial pivoter. They’ve had to become a serial pivoter and you can’t successfully pivot over and over again unless you have the staying power. Meaning you’re not a quitter. You’re tenacious, you will find solutions, you will figure out how to turn failures into insights and into opportunities.

That only comes from our ability to continue to bounce back and not bounce back like Rocky, get back up, all banged up and lose the fight in the end, but to be able to get back up smarter. Get back up with more insight and understanding to be able to glean the meaning out of something that was a shitty event, something that took us down or caused us to question or challenge whatever the case may be. I’m not a big believer that you can’t fail. What is not acceptable is not learning from failure because we’re all going to fail. We’re going to make mistakes. There were mistakes made now and we’ll be learning lessons.

You can be nice and kind, but still, be strong. Click To Tweet

There’s a bestselling book of all the mistakes I made.

How about that? Tell us about the book.

It’s a list. Chapter one is Mistake one. That’s the title. It’s 40 chapters in the book.

For me, we’re going to need a bigger book.

I’ve still got some years left so there’s always a chance for the sequel.

You and I have the same haircut.

To use your example now in our company, we have a peer-to-peer marketplace where people come and they host, they take their properties, their homes, their yachts, their cars, they put them out and renters come in and rent them. Nobody’s traveling but the one thing that we have is that we have exclusive properties. You can now take a vacation or enjoy this alone. We’re going to pivot. We’re going to talk about disinfecting the properties. We’re going to do all sorts of things that we can do and try to pivot our way. Will it work? I don’t know but we are going to try it and we’re going to try to pivot out of this and when the economy picks up, we’re going to try to be there and ready to go.

You’re based in Miami.

Our headquarters are in Miami, but we have properties all over. We have properties in New York and Los Angeles, and we’re opening up Havana, Cuba because luxury is extremely hard to find in Havana, Cuba. We’ve got it and we have a cool business model. We’re like Airbnb for luxury.

I was thinking that.

PR Matt | Tough And Kind

Tough And Kind: Being nice is a wonderful thing, but if you pick the wrong people, they will take advantage of you.

 

Plus boats that are for luxury.

One of the Cofounders of Airbnb was a student of ours back in the day, I want to say about a couple of years ago. He was part of some programs that we were running at the time. I was reading that Airbnb is pivoting their own model to more long-term stay. These short-term arrangements are definitely not what people are thinking about now.

That’s what municipalities are also not thinking about. They have some legal obstacles along the way.

There are interesting hurdles that have come up. Even for a company that’s successful that disrupted a model and became the largest hospitality organization in the world without owning a single hotel and yet, for the most part, their business is shut down, I would think. There’s not a lot going on with Airbnb at the moment.

The whole travel business is shut down. Here in this area, they’ve shut down. All the hotels are shut down and everything is shut down. The travel businesses completely shut. We’re going to get a little bit of a break here because they’re going to open up the boating business so you’ll be able to rent and go out on a boat and a yacht because it’s an isolated activity with social distancing and the whole routine.

As we wind things down, Matt, I want to find out a little bit more about the book and I want to come back with one additional question. Tell us about the book. You teed it up that you unexpectedly took a relationship pivot. Your wife leaves, you’ve got five kids and a business to run. That’s a recipe for pulling out your hair, and I’m making a joke about that because both Matt and I have the same barber for sure. My hair went the wayside when I was a lawyer and I’m not sure about you. Tell us about that period of time in your life and what led you to want to also write about it. It’s a pretty vulnerable topic for sure.

If you read my book, people who know me are like, I can’t believe you wrote that personally about it.” Number one, for a lot of people, to see a man open up emotionally, it’s not something we see often and I talked about the emotional side of what a parent goes through. The loneliness, fear, and all of those things that I had to face. I was like this typical Jersey guy growing up. I was supposed to have a wife, two kids, a dog, two-car garage, run a business, make some money, watch football on the weekends, and live happily ever after. I tried hard, in fact, way too hard and to follow up way too nice to the wrong person, and this thing all decomposed on me.

I was sitting there with this unbelievable circumstance of five children who are ultimately hurt by their mother because she didn’t act in a civilized way on her way out. I had an incredibly painful and difficult divorce and ended up with a Supreme Court case as a side issue out of it. I won that and I had this business to run and basically, it turned me from a kid into a man. It taught me how to survive and brought spirituality into my life. I did all sorts of things so I can sit here now and tell you that her leaving and raising those kids was the best thing that ever happened to me.

That’s the story in my book. How you get faced with things in your life that you don’t expect, that are unbelievable and seem insurmountable but somehow you find the strength within you. It’s always been you. Even if you get help and you do all of these things, it’s within you. How you overcome this and the result of overcoming it is tremendous to you as an individual. I wouldn’t be half the man I am now. I’m still only half a man.

I like you, Matt. We’re going to get along.

Resilience starts with physical strength. Physical strength is the foundation for emotional and mental strength. Click To Tweet

I haven’t gone through all of this all the way. The story is an incredible story. I’m proud. I’ve got 115 five-star reviews on it. People write to me every day. I had someone Facebook Messenger me and said, “Your book was a godsend. It changed my life. I know I need to get out of this relationship. Can you help me? Can you even talk to me and stuff?” I do that all the time. For me, that’s what it’s about. If you’ve written a book, it’s not about making money unless you’re famous.

That is true. When did the book get published?

In 2018.

You can go to Amazon and you’ll be able to buy it there, Leader of the Pack. Last question for you, Matt. It’s about resilience again. What’s something that you do on a ritual basis, a regular basis to produce or create greater resilience for yourself?

For me, and particularly for a man as he gets older, resilience starts with physical strength. I always say that physical strength is the foundation for emotional and mental strength. If you’re weak physically, you’re not going to be able to handle the pressures to get through long days to do whatever it is. On a daily ritual, I pay close attention to my health. I lift weights, I work out, I do cardiovascular stuff. It’s tricky now but it doesn’t matter.

When I’m done with this, I’m going for a run. I’m going to lift weights, I have some weights at my apartment and things like that. When you get weak physically, you make mental mistakes. You don’t have the emotional strength to deal with all the difficulties in life, you’ll get depressed. You’ll weaken yourself. For me, I made it a surprising answer but maintaining your physical strength is fundamental to having resilience.

What I love personally about that answer, Matt, in addition to the fact that I resonate with that because our way of talking, that’s a little different language-wise, but taking care of yourself is a big piece of it. Being physically strong builds confidence. The days are long. I’m a big believer that one of my superpowers is tenacity and that I have a staying power that a lot of people don’t. That’s because I learned from those days at the beach because we didn’t work eight straight hours. You’ve been to the Jersey Shore enough times to know. Those guys don’t sit on the lifeguard stand all day, you’re cooked. There’s no way for you to make the saves, to do what’s required, and it’s a demanding environment because it’s a life and death environment.

I go back to that, because throughout my legal career, as a CEO, and like you said, being an author, you know it’s like to produce a book. We produce it, edit it, publish it, promote it, market it, and sell it. It’s endless and a lot of people who’ve wanted to do that have had messages that want to share and things they want to do. They never see it through because they run out of energy. They’re depleted and at a certain point, it gets to be too much so they quit and they find something easier. They find something else that now becomes their new passion.

It’s the same thing with TED speaking. We coach people to get on TED stages to deliver keynote talks or to pivot in a lot of different ways in their businesses. Ultimately, you’ve got to have the staying power. You’ve got to be in the game long enough to figure out what works and what doesn’t work. The only way to stay in the game long enough is to physically, as you say energetically, have staying power. I couldn’t agree with you more. No one’s ever answered the question the way you did so I appreciate the novel way that you frame that for us.

One of the things I always say to illustrate that point is if you have two sports teams playing each other, and the teams are evenly matched. What happens is the team that wears down physically, doesn’t usually give up the goal right away. What happens is they start to make mental mistakes and those mental mistakes lead to the goals against them. It’s not usually the physicality because they can hold on physically. They can defend, they can go into a more defensive mode, but it’s when you get physically worn down that you make mental mistakes. You see this in sports all the time and it applies to real-life.

I could use myself as an example. When I’m tired. I am not as patient as I want to be and as I know I can be and I’m not as kind. It goes back to the beginning point. It’s the first thing you said to me. When I haven’t slept enough or at the end of the day, if I know I’m exhausted, I don’t take care of myself, I didn’t take that twenty minutes to put my legs up the wall, close my eyes and get a nap which we can all do. I didn’t take that twenty-minute brisk walk, do some yoga, drop and do some pushups, or whatever it is to recharge my energy.

PR Matt | Tough And Kind

Tough And Kind: Do not wait too long. Look ahead and see what’s going on, and even if you’re not looking ahead, even if things are going well, figure out a way to reinvent the business while your business is going.

 

For me, now, the way I would normally do it is to get in the ocean or the pool. That’s my thing. It’s the water and I can’t do that now. I’ve got other methods to recharge, but if I don’t do that, I lose my patience, I stop being kind. I can be the person I don’t want to be around at those moments. This is a fundamental thing that all of us can do, to be better, to show up better, to be kinder, to be able to not make mistakes or mental errors but to be at our best as often as we can be. Those mental mistakes are less likely to occur, and emotionally as well. We’re in a better, more emotionally stable place and we’re not reacting to things as much as we’re able to respond to them.

When you are rested, you feel strong and you’re dressed well, you have your mojo, and you’re more likely to be successful. It’s as simple as that.

As we leg out of this show, I will remind myself and everybody else that we’ve got a wonderful opportunity when we woke up whether we knew it or not. Not every day is a great, easy, and fun day. Sometimes there are lots of challenges and shit that we don’t want to deal with. It was a blessing nonetheless. I’m setting the intention for myself, for you, Matt, and for all of us, that we get to wake up again tomorrow. We get that blessing again and have that creative opportunity at the start of the day.

For me, I wake up, I take ten seconds to sit and feel gratitude around that, the miracle that occurred because there are people at that moment that I’m waking up I know that they are not. They took their last breath. I sit with that for a few moments and put my feet on the floor. I stand straight up and I say these words out loud, “I love my life.” Those are the words that I greet the day with. Do you have any words you say out loud at the beginning of the day?

Not that I’m a religious person but we start every day with a prayer from Judaism, which would basically thank God for returning your soul to you. I won’t say the whole prayer but you’re thanking God for returning your soul to you and giving you the opportunity to go forth into the day and do good work.

I appreciate that, Matt. Thank you so much for being a guest on the show.

It’s been my pleasure.

We’d love to hear from you so if you’ve got a review for us, please leave it. Subscribe and also leave a comment and we’ll respond to it. It’s at AdamMarkel.com/podcasts and until next time. I’ll say Ciao.

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About Matt Sweetwood

PR Matt | Tough And KindCEO, CMO, Speaker, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Creative Thinker, Profit-Maker and Turn-Around Specialist

A deep expert in market dynamics and consumer insights in fast-moving electronics and high-tech industries.

Innovative branding and turnaround executive with extensive success in reinventing business models and transforming brands to increase revenue and market growth, primarily in evolving electronics tech industries. Recognized for turning around struggling business, driving revenue, and conducting market outreach in challenging and declining retail industry. In-depth experience in market dynamics and consumer insights for consumer electronics and high-tech industries.

Strategic business partner skilled at establishing vision through high-impact partnerships and teamwork to deliver lasting transformation in diverse environments. Expertise in cost reduction, brand building, marketing, implementation, and management of targeted B2C and B2B social media campaigns, customer loyalty programs, and retail models.

Major Contributions:
• Scaled Startup for Growth. Led US operations, e.g., organizational setup, operational expansion, financing, and brand development. Achieved Top 100 for US startups in 2017.
• Digital Marketing. Launched social media plan, in parallel to traditional marketing channels, e.g., regular TV & print, to strengthen company brand, expand outreach to consumers, and foster relationships with customers, generating 80% new business.
• Business Transformation. Pioneered marketing strategy as first company to target professional photographers for professional films and accessories. Became #1 U.S. distributor industry-wide; grew revenue by a 2-fold increase.