Building Sustainable Businesses | Rick Meekins

Our special guest on this episode of the Vibrant Leadership Podcast is Rick Meekins. He is the managing partner at Aepiphanni Business Consulting, and he is dedicated to helping business owners for over 15 years. He helps people build extraordinary companies and his mission is to educate, equip, and inspire people to pursue extraordinary goals and become more self-sufficient.

Rick says, “one of the most important things about leadership is listening and being available to learn and not learning just from books, but learning from what’s going on around you. The people that you’re leading are going to give you information, you’ve got to be open to hearing what they’re saying, because they’re going to have a different perspective, and they’re going to see things differently.”

We chat about what the role of leadership means to him, as well as:

  • The importance of emotional intelligence

  • Willingness to listen and solve problems

  • Leadership in the coronavirus crisis

  • The inevitability of obstacles in business and how to overcome them

  • And more

Mentioned in this episode:


Voiceover: You’re listening to the Vibrant Leadership Podcast with Leadership Speaker and Consultant Nicole Greer.

Nicole Greer: Hello everybody. My name is Nicole Greer and welcome to the Vibrant Leadership Podcast. Today I have a great great longtime friend and colleague Rick Meekins on the show today. He’s the managing partner at Aepiphanni Business Consulting, and he is dedicated to helping business owners figure it all out. He helps people build extraordinary companies. And he has been a business consultant for over 15 years. And I think I’ve known him all 15 of those years. He is so passionate, and he is somebody who loves to work with vision oriented people like you know, if if you have a little dream, you want to make happen a business, you want to start a business you want to grow, Rick is the guy to talk to and his mission is to educate, equip, and inspire people to pursue extraordinary goals and his vision or life is to help people become more self sufficient. And that sounds like a path workshop mission statement. If I have ever heard one that came from Yeah, so we will have to talk about that. We will have to talk about that. But the first question is like, how are you surviving? 2020 COVID? elections? Everything you’re down in Atlanta? What is going on?

Rick Meekins: Wow, wow, yeah. COVID COVID. This is a, you know, it was definitely not on my planning. I mean, I think I spent a lot of time planning for 2020, you know, back in late 2019 or early 2020s, like, Hey, we’re gonna, we’re gonna encode it, you know, everything goes left, you know, it’s just like, Okay, what are we going to do? What are we gonna do? What are we going to do differently? It was really interesting. I yeah. I had to go out, I was doing like a men’s Bible study. You know, shortly after, I, you might say, like, we started getting released a little bit from quarantine. And so I go, and I didn’t really get permission to go, you know. But from the wife, of course.

Nicole: It wasn’t your executive assistant.

Rick: It was the real boss, it was the real boss. That’s right. So you know, I’m like, driving away, I’m like, bye, I’ll see you later. You know, and like, I see like this look of her, like, on her face. And I look in the mirror, it’s like, but I have to do Bible study. It’s just for cheese. So, you know, I mean, guys, and, you know, I see a couple of missed calls on my phone, and, you know, a little bit of sweat, you know, start to come down. But you know, and then I’m informed, you know, as I’m approaching the house, that I cannot return to the house until I’m absolutely COVID. Free. You know, I had to go out and I had to get a I had to get COVID tasks and come back before I could get back to get back to the new normal as, as we call it now. But yeah, outside of that, I mean, everybody’s, you know, for the most part, everyone stayed healthy. We actually had two team members that actually did get COVID. But outside of that, yeah, we have, we’ve been safe, we’ve been safe.

Nicole: That’s fantastic. That’s fantastic. And despite all that, you are actually growing your business. Even though things aren’t doing well out there in the world, it seems like right now is really the time when business owners need a consultant to come in and help them and advise them and get a strategic plan together that trumps the, you know, the late version from 2019. Right?

Rick: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. It’s, it’s, it’s been, it’s really been an amazing year, it was, um, it actually did start off a little bit slower for us than I’d anticipated. But, you know, we had this this mission for the year if you will, to, to, to create jobs essential, you know, and this was, you know, I mean, the thinking was, you know, okay, we’re going to help other companies create jobs, but, you know, believe it or not, regardless of the pandemic, I mean, we’ve actually on boarded at least one person every month, we actually on boarded three people last month, you know, and it was, you know, not for the sake of onboarding, but you know, to actually, you know, fill the need, you know, that the organization had, I mean, we’ve been really, really blessed this year, and we’ve helped other companies expand as well. So, I mean, it’s been, it’s been much different than what I planned, as I said originally, but it’s, it’s been it’s been great in a very different way than expected.

Nicole: Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, I know that you are a fantastic leader and you are advanced in terms of having like you shared, you know, with me your mission statement and I read it. I don’t think a lot of leaders slow down to figure out, you know, why did I pop on planet Earth? You know, why am I here, and I really think that you are a guy who is operating in his calling. And definitely, if you’re creating jobs in such a crazy time like this. So, you know, I would like to know, since this is the Vibrant Leadership Podcast, tell me what, how do you define leadership? What do you do when you sit down with a client? What do you guys talk about when you talk about leadership?

Rick: You know, it’s leadership has really become i’d love the question. I mean, leadership is something that’s really been become something it’s very important for me, you know, I realize, I guess, as I, as I reached that second half of my life that, you know, it’s, it’s more than it’s much more than a job, you know, it’s, it’s a, you could call it a privilege, but it’s in my opinion, it’s, it’s really responsibility, we, our job is to, you know, create a vision, and our job is to share that vision and help bring other people along, you know, I was talking with my team the other day, and, you know, what, something that’s important to me is always been accountability. 

And I was telling my team that, you know, I want to do some leadership evaluation, I want to understand from them, you know, their, their perspective of me and what we can do. And so what I was telling them is that, you know, a big part of my job is not to be the boss, but you know, rather to empower them to do what they can do, I can’t explain to them, I can’t do their jobs, I can’t do what everybody here does, you know, my job is to, is to really create that path, drive that path, bring everybody along, but you know, empower everyone to do what they need to do. And I find that that I find those to be, you know, very, very important components of leadership.

Nicole: So, Rick, you, what I heard you say is that your job is to cast the vision, get the people in place to who’s in place that are going to carry out the work, and then just get them equipped, which totally dovetails with your mission statement, which your three verbs are educate, equip, and inspire. Which is your sweet spot, right? Like, yeah, that’s great. Yeah. So real quick, let’s go down that bunny trail about casting a vision. You know, I think a lot of leaders are not sure what that looks like, or what that process is, how do you cast a vision for your team? Because you said you are up to 19 people in your consulting firm, is that correct? That’s correct. That is fantastic. So how does one cast a vision or get a vision? How do you do that?

Rick: Oh, wow. That’s, that’s, that’s, that’s another great question. Um, I think, initially, the thinking, so initially, the thinking was, that I was going to simplify it, you know, and break it down into something very simple, you know, we create design, build extraordinary companies. And that was something that I’m on the outset, you know, as words, I mean, it’s easy to remember, so I get shorter, okay, I get that, you know, but then the other piece of that is really living that, you know, and reminding them like, Hey, guys, we’re set apart, you know, we don’t do necessarily do things, you know, to just to do them, we do things to do a good job at them, you know, we are here to serve our clients, etc, etc. And so and so that really, you know, because that becomes part of our mantra, you know, be part of our conversation regularly, you know, it tends to stick, you know, and the team begins to look at things and do things in a way that makes them proud. 

So they’re proud of their work, you know, and we talked about this, Hey, you guys are doing a fantastic job. And this is important for them, you know, to let them know, they’re doing a good job, let them know, there’s a reason behind what they’re doing. Let them know that our clients are saying, hey, this looks great. This is great work, you know, and so it’s got to be more than just a just a conversation or a tagline. I mean, it’s got to be something that, you know, that we live. And then you know, it was interesting. I had a conversation a couple of months ago with one of your one of your one of your TED Talk alumni. Yeah, yeah. Her name is Nakimbo. Oh, yeah. She’s, she’s out of Canada. And she did a Yeah, she did a talk. It was a while ago, it was based on casting a casting vision or actually like leaving a legacy. And so you know, I’d watched her video and you know, it really, it really connected for me, you know, it’s like, okay, you know, we’ve got this direction and we’re going in this direction. And then it came back to you. 

You know, why this particular direction? You know, it’s like, yes, it’s great to, you know, have that extraordinary mindset and to do things in that way. But there’s got to be a little bit more to it, at least for me. And, you know, I had this whole, you know, regression, you know, I went back, you know, to when I was a little kid, and which is kind of where the whole mission statement came from, to, you know, it’s like, what do I like to do? And so, you know, there was this whole story about me listening to this program called unshackled and unshackled was about people that, you know, Kate came to know the Lord, you know, through, you know, horrible circumstances, you know, where their drug users or, you know, whatever it was. And so it was put on by this organization called Pacific garden mission Pacific garden mission, you know, I thought it was the coolest thing in the world, never been there, never seen it, but it just sounded cool. 

One day, we’re in Chicago, and we happen to visit the Pacific garden mission, which was actually a mission, you know, homeless people and all that good stuff. It’s like, oh, wow, you know, but, you know, the thing about it was, is that, you know, for whatever reason, I was just drawn to them, you know, I wanted to help. And then like, through the rest of my life, you know, I’ve always done some sort of volunteer work, and I used to work in missions and that sort of thing. And I realized, you know, through, you know, you know, my history, my pattern was to really help people to become self sufficient to be able to lift themselves up to be able to live, you know, and if I look at, you know, the consulting businesses that we work with, you know, the idea isn’t to work with big companies. And you know, that sort of thing is to help people at their level, be able to build companies that are sustainable, that are going to last. And so that’s where the legacy, that’s where the bigger vision came from. That’s where they, hey, we want to create jobs, we want to do all sorts of things to help people be self-sufficient.

Nicole: Yeah, so I’m actually hearing that your vision is like twofold. It’s for your own company. And for all the companies that you work for, so you’re leaving, living and breathing it both ways, is what I’m hearing. So that is absolutely fantastic. And so this thing of the mission statement, everybody that we’re talking about comes from the work of a lady named Laurie Beth Jones, and Laurie Beth Jones is somebody I met way, way, way back in 2007. And I got certified in a program called the path and the four elements of success. And I got to share those with Rick and, and he actually became an affiliate for a little while with Laurie Beth. So we both would recommend the path and would you recommend the path and the success? Yeah, absolutely huge, beautiful tools that we have put in our toolbox? And I will, would you like to add anything about doing that mission statement work? 

I mean, I think that in my life, you know, I’m on a mission to energize impact and influence people to lead more vibrant lives through engaging more as possible, making it probable I mean, so this mission statement stuff, it’s really important to me, and if you work the process, as Laurie Beth says, In her book, it becomes kind of your harness and your sword, right? You know, so it harnesses you into the work you should be doing. And it helps you cut off the things that aren’t important, which is a line right out of her book. So I absolutely adore it. So. So, you know, you’re still using this mission statement? What about with your teams? How are you using mission statements, in addition to the visions that you cashed?

Rick: Well, the interesting thing is that the those those three components, the educated equipment, inspire actually became part of our KPIs, you know, for the year, you know, and so each month, I basically report to the team, what we’ve done in each category, or what we’re doing in each category, and, you know, again, it’s, it’s, it’s about accountability, it’s about leading the way it’s like, Hey, you know, what, we are developing podcasts, we are, you know, we took on interns, you know, to to help them, you know, give them, you know, a chance of I mean, there’s been so many things that we’ve done this year, you know, just around those three areas, and, you know, we can say I continue the conversation, you know, and again, I think it’s important, you know, and I hope I hope that, you know, we’re I’m leading the way that you know, now we’re actually getting ready to do a workshop in the next couple of weeks just around you know, personalities and differences in personalities, kind of going back to like the earth when firewater thing which was cool, relatable. 

And so we’re going we’re going on that path, and the goal is to really help us you know, to be able to gel and to understand each other more, but then the next phase after that is to understand ourselves, you know, a little bit more and kind of that why and you know, it’s it’s it’s I just find it so important I find it so important to be able to be authentic, you know, when when I you know essentially come to work be able to you Be in my lane and other people understand, you know what my lane is and they know where, you know, they they kind of know where they fit into it, you know how it all works together? And that’s that’s certainly the goal.

Nicole: Yeah, that’s awesome. Okay, so y’all don’t miss this. What Rick just said is that in his mission statement to educate, equip and inspire, he’s got some KPIs, right key performance indicators set up so that he knows whether or not he’s doing his mission. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to make sure in the show notes that we have information on the path for elements and then also on your workshop. So I’m going to make sure that’s in the show notes so that people can get a hold of your workshop, sign up for that, learn about their personalities, and that’d be fantastic. So let’s go down to the next question, which is like, what are the skills of a great leader, so I’m hearing you say, cast a vision, you know, to again, equip and inspire, right and educate your people? What are the other skills that leaders really need to have? When you go into a company? What do you see as most common? Like, what do you have to help people work on?

Rick: You know, one of the one of the things that I see, I mean, leadership, you know, just like anything else, it has different levels of maturity or development, you know, so, you go into a young company, and sometimes, you know, it’s, you’ve got the, forgive me, but you’ve got like, the starry eyed leader, and it’s like, oh, we serve everybody, and where did you know, this, and that, and this and that, you kind of listened. And it’s like, Okay, this is this, this is great. I, you know, and so you encourage, you know, at that point, and, you know, kind of have you thought about and what do you think about, you know, and so, you know, I said to say, you know, one of the most important things about leadership is, is listening, you know, and being available to learn and, you know, not learning just from, you know, books and that sort of thing, but learn from what’s going on around you, you know, the people that you’re leading are going to give you information, you’ve got to be open to hearing what they’re saying. 

Because you’re going to have a different perspective, and they’re going to see things differently, and they’re going to have different conversations. And on the other side of that, however, is to communicate, you know, I’ve seen where leaders have just gotten, like, really, really upset, you know, with their team, it could be on, you know, performance, it could be productivity, it could be, you know, any number of things, and, you know, we get the leaders that, you know, that kind of blow up, you know, they just, you know, and so the team becomes afraid, I mean, I’ve seen where, you know, employees were almost almost crying, you know, leaving out of a meeting, and it’s like, that was ineffective, especially six months later, when the employee left, you know, which is, you know, when you want, you know, you get the other leaders that just kind of like bottle things up, and things don’t get better. And they kind of think that, you know, it’s like, Okay, well, maybe the next time they’ll get it, right. 

But if we, if we don’t take the time to communicate, to educate, to help people, you know, really understand and, and even to help people as motivation, then, you know, we cannot be effective as leaders, you know, communications got to be got to be a two way street, we’ve got to take the time to teach people, you know, and this is, I know, I said that as part of communication, but, you know, our people are really looking for us, to, to help develop them to help them, you know, be better at their jobs, because they’ve got to be confident in what they’re doing. You know, if they’re not confident, they’re not going to do nearly as good, and you’re not going to get as much of them from them. But the other thing is, we have to be able to encourage people to, to just go and do what they do, you know, when we’re controlling when we’re acting like, you know, the..

Nicole: Micromanaging, hovering.

Rick: Exactly.

Nicole: The helicopter manager.

Rick: Exactly, exactly. When we’re doing that, we’re, again, we’re not getting what we can add of our team. You know, it’s interesting, we just did, we’re doing a rebranding exercise, you know, new logo and all that good stuff, I’m telling you, buddy. And a couple of months ago, and so they come up with a new logo, new colors, and that sort of thing. And, you know, but I said, but I said, it’s like, you know, what, you guys just do, you know, I’m probably too close to this, you know. So, I stepped back and I let them make the decision and it’s like, fantastic, but at the end of the day, you know, I’m looking at what’s been produced, and I’m blown away. You know, I let them drive it. I let them take, you know, responsibility for it and they built something absolutely beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I couldn’t I couldn’t ask.

Nicole: You just slayed it just now. So let’s recap what you said. You said listening is really important. Then you expand it. To communication, right? You said it’s a two way street. Then third, you said don’t make your people cry. Uh, you know, and don’t, you know, go Hold it all in, you know, and so I’m gonna call that emotional intelligence leaders are not real fun. I mean, it’s out there, it’s out there in the world, but I’m not sure like with the small to medium sized businesses, that that’s as you know, integrated as it needs to be the concept of emotional intelligence. It’s a two way street, right. So the people who are in fear, don’t say anything, they’re not exercising it and the one that made everybody sad, mad, and I’m glad, is not exercising emotional intelligence. So I heard that. And then I also heard that you need to equip which goes right back to your mission statement. So you’re just so true to that mission statement. 

And, and you’re right, you know, I have gone into organizations, and were upset with people about why they did it. And I said, Well, where’s the procedure? You know, where? Where is it? in our system? Where it says, you do this? And then you do this, then you did? Oh, we don’t have that? Do we have formal training? No. So I think, you know, getting this education piece, you know, so Pete, you know, give me the tools to be successful is what I heard you say? So, that is fantastic. That’s fantastic. Okay, so what do you think makes a successful leader successful? Like, tell us a story? Maybe you’ve got a client that has just done so well? How did they? How did they do it? What did you coach them to do? And what skills do they have that set them apart?

Rick: I think it’s been, I think it’s been the leader that was not so upset, let’s say, driven to be successful, no matter what the cost, you know, they were willing to take the time, take the steps to make the changes, you know, they were willing to listen, they were willing to grow. They cast the vision, you know, to their team. And then again, you know, like we’re saying kind of empowering and equipping, equipping their, their teams to be able to, to do their jobs, you know, instead of there were instead of mistakes, so to speak, you know, that there were learning opportunities, there were opportunities to, you know, get into the job a little bit better. 

But, you know, the accountability is also with the leader to say, oh, as you were saying, you know, Oh, I didn’t teach you this, or I didn’t communicate this effectively, let’s, let’s work on it, let’s help me understand how I can do my job better. And so I think it really boils down to, to humility. And so you know, being able to back back up, being able to slow down, being able to go forward, you know, in a very regimented fashion allows them to grow, you know, relatively quickly, you know, pretty quickly and achieve, you know, achieve some of the goals they had, and then, you know, even expand on that, you know, I look back and, you know, I look at some of the things, you know, this person is doing, like, you know, I’m just seeing here now, it’s like, wow, wow, that is really they’ve really done some awesome things over the past, I don’t know, maybe 10 years. You know.

Nicole: That’s great. That’s great. Well, I heard you say that this person has to be willing, you said the word willing, I know at least three times we have to go back and replay it. But I know you said you have to be willing to do this and willing to do that and willing to do this other thing?

Rick: Absolutely.

Nicole: I will tell you. And then you got to the word humility, right. The thing about it is that, you know, willingness is a character trait. I tell people this all the time. They’re like, willingness and character traits. I’m like, Yes. In fact, willingness is the most important character trait there is because you have to be willing to listen, as you say, willing to be courageous, willing to be human, you know, humble, all of these things. And so, there’s a great little book, another book for all of you listeners out there, write this down. The book is how to get everything you want by Mike Hernacki. And in that book, he talks about the concept of willingness. And so I adore this little book, it’s an old book, but it’s still out there, you get it on Amazon. And he says that willingness is the ability to do what needs to be done without reservation, rather than hold on without reservation refusal or judgment. Like this just needs to be done. 

So we have to get it done. So let’s roll. You know, it’s just this all in committed thing that you are talking about. So I think you’re exactly correct. And I love this idea of humility, which, you know, is like what they would call a Jim Collins book, good to great, you know, like a level five leader, you know, somebody that doesn’t have the spotlight on them, that’s putting the spotlight on the people and taking care of the folks. So, see how smart Rick is everybody? Man Who is going on? And you know, my question is What challenges do leaders face today? I mean, I think It’s even even more complicated right now. So what challenges are you seeing out there? Are you able to have any strategies that help people overcome COVID? And the things that are going on working virtual? What are you seeing out there?

Rick: Well, I mean, you know, the very basics. I mean, there’s there’s no rulebook, you know, there’s, there’s no resource to say, Hey, you know, what I’m gonna go to this chapter is like, have you read this, and it’s not there, you know, and so we’re going into this territory, this is where this is a time when it is critical, you know, that, that we we act as leaders, because everyone is looking at us, you know, our staff, our employees, our team, they’re like, I don’t know what to do, you know, and they’re seeing, you know, other companies, laying people off, etc, etc, they want to know, you know, they want to know, they want to know what to do, because they’re, they’re dependent on you, you know, at the same time, you know, your customers need to need to understand, you know, what’s going on what you’re going to do, how you’re going to, you know, adapt to, you know, take care of their needs, you know, if you’re going to be there at all, I mean, it’s, it’s a very, very important time for that, you know, and as it as a business, and we’ve got to be able to think, you know, think about the idea that, you know, the country closed down, and then it opened, and then things started closing down, and then you send the kids to school, then they, you know, and so every time something changed, you know, we had to think differently about the company, I love that think differently. 

Absolutely, absolutely. We had to have multiple approaches, we had to be thinking through multiple approaches on how to do things, you know, I talked to people, you know, in the restaurant industry, you know, and, you know, obviously, they had no business, you know, for for a couple months, what do you do? You know, and then business opens up, but the customers are still afraid to come back. What do you do? You know, employees are still afraid to come back, what do you do? You know, these are things that we have to, you know, as leaders, I mean, we, we, we can’t necessarily prepare for everything that’s happening, you know, but it’s about how, you know, and we’ve heard that, you know, we’ve heard the cliche, you know, it’s about how we’re handling things as we’re going through them, you know, and we’ve got to be able to, to maintain our role and our stature as leaders, because, again, people are looking for us to make decisions make decisions for them, or that a guy or that are going to impact them. So yeah, I would. I mean, it’s in my mind, you know, my mind is one where I’m saying we’re always gonna go forward, you know, in some way, shape or form, we’re gonna we’re gonna keep moving. People are depending on us, and we’re gonna make that happen. Yeah.

Nicole: So here’s what I heard him say right now he said, You have to sit your family in a chair and stop and think about what’s going on. You can’t just get in the like, what my dad would call the swirl. You know, he can’t get in the swirl. You can’t, you know, let them know stuff going on. overtake you got to get yourself in a chair and get strategic. So I’ll tell you something that’s happening here in Charlotte, one of my favorite places in Uptown, Charlotte is closing. And they sell a restaurant like you were talking about, and they sell a lot of breakfast items. Well, recently, my daughter and I went to uptown Charlotte and stayed in a very nice hotel. And when we booked the reservation, nobody said to us, there will be no restaurant availability. There’ll be no food service available in this hotel the whole time. 

You’re staying here, like nobody told us, we booked. And so we got there. And we called him, he said, We’d like to have some food. And they said, We don’t have any food. You’ll have to get Uber Eats or whatever, to bring you some food. And we’re like, Okay, well, it’s a pandemic, we’ll be cool. No problem. So we call up this favorite place to see if they can bring Uber Eats to us, and they’re not participating in takeout. And I’m just like, what is happening? Like, you can take out and and like, they just there’s no, so we literally had to go to the convenience store and buy something to microwave. And we were like, what are we doing? But I mean, the thing is, is that, you know, there are strategies or things you can put in place. I even have seen where restaurants have decided to open during the pandemic, and they’re doing takeout and do an amazing thing. So it’s about getting your fanny in the chair. That’s what I heard you say? Is that what you said? Okay, here’s a question because I want to really serve leaders with this podcast. And so if you were listening to a single special listener right now and you were going to mentor them, you were going to mentor them. Give them a piece of advice. Give him the Epiphany. Great company, a company right okay. The epiphany, right? Now, okay, like, here’s what I want you to do for the next 30 days or whatever, what would be your little mentoring thing that you would tell somebody? This is what you need to work on?

Rick: You know? Let’s see, I don’t remember that question in the notes.

Nicole: What leadership advice would you give them is when it says a single, special or listener? What single piece of advice would you give them?

Rick: I would say, I would say, and this is, you know, this is something that I feel like, I’ve, I don’t want to say perfected, but I would say that think about everything that you’re going through, you know, be the pandemic, be it, you know, whatever it is, as steps towards accomplishing the the vision that you have for your company, you know, obviously, you know, in saying that, it’s important that you have a vision, but, you know, it’s like, if you focus on the vision, you realize that the the, the the buffers and everything else are there, they’re just shaping you, you know, I mean, I think about, you know, 20 years ago, you know, I had a restaurant, this is, this is a great story.

Nicole: I want to hear it.

Rick: I had a restaurant, and you know, we’re in the building phase, and, you know, I had gotten some money from the Small Business Development Center, and, you know, we’re going through the process, and halfway through, we ran out of money. Now, I was waiting for another cheque to come. Okay, but, you know, the cheque wasn’t there. Right. And all the guys that were building the restaurant, walked off and walked off the job. You know, and like, you talk about a meltdown, you know, what I mean? And it was, it was, it was tough. And, of course, you know, we got the money, we brought them back. One of the most expensive pieces of the restaurant, or is a is the hood system, which is like the ventilation system. That’s it. That’s above the stoves. And so this space that we were building work in had one in there, okay, we couldn’t get it to work. We’re on the fifth floor of building this thing to work. Okay. Again, you know, it’s like, it’s almost a meltdown. It’s like, Oh, my gosh, you know, and I’m saying, so we went through progressive, you know, issues. 

And, you know, it was almost like, the more I went through them, you know, the thicker my skin got, you know, and so I look back, you know, even with this company, you know, difficult times we’ve been through, and I’ve grown, and I’ve grown, and I’ve grown, and, you know, so I see other business owners, you know, going through these, you know, through these challenges, and you know, it’s like not only have I grown, but I’m able to coach them through, it’s like, you know what, you’re going to be fine. It’s going to be tough for a minute, but you’re going to get focused on where we’re going, you know, don’t get stuck right here. If you get stuck right here, you’ll never get beyond that. So, you know, business owner, you know, I would focus on that I would, I would I would learn the vision, I would take on the mentality that everything that you’re experiencing, is part of what’s going to get you to that end zone. And if you get stuck here, you’ll never go forward.

Nicole: Yeah, I love what you’re saying. So I’m hearing you say, the creative tension zone, right. So it’s like, here’s the vision, here’s where I am. And there is tension between where I want to go and where I’m at. And as long as I don’t let go of the tension, and quit. I’m going to make it right. So it’s just learning how to stay in that creative tension zone. It’s that healthy stress that builds the muscle that keeps the leader going. Okay, so Rick Meekins, it has been an absolute delight to be with you here on the vibrant leadership podcast. And so here’s how you can get a hold of Rick, Rick, what’s the phone number? We should call you? If we want you to help us build our business and help us move forward? Get a vision in place for the mission statement? How do we do that?

Rick: I’m what my direct number is 678-331-4162.

Nicole: Okay, and then how do they find you on the web? And you need to spell out your name for your company. It’s not epiphany, like you spell it in the dictionary. So give them your website and then you’re also on Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn. But here’s the website.

Rick: Okay. It’s spelled

Nicole: Okay, we’ll put it right on the screen forum.

Rick: Yeah, please do, please. Yes, we’re on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and we have really cool Instagram. If you’re into that sort of thing, too.

Nicole: Oh, I am into that. Actually. I love Instagram. I think it’s fantastic. All right. Well, it’s been wonderful to be with you. I wish you so good things over the next couple of months and here’s to 2020 One where maybe we could get together and have each other’s necks. What about that? That would be all right. Georgia where you hang out which is near Atlanta, correct? Yes. Okay. All right. So I’ll come to Atlanta. You come to Charlotte. I’ll see you in 2021. All right. Thanks so much.

Rick: Thank you.

Voiceover: Ready to up your leadership game? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference or organization to help them with her unique shine method to increase clarity, accountability, energy and results. Email, and be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at

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