Michael: Hello, and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And this is a podcast that helps business leaders develop companies that are full of Passion and Provision. They give you more profit, purpose, and legacy. Our goal is to help you grow in a holistic fashion, talk about subjects that are relevant to you, and give you ideas. And today, we're going to talk about vision. But we're going to just be a little... This is a little bit more fun for us, and talking about ideas of vision and what inspires vision for us, and how do we keep our fire stoked on the vision we have for HaBO Village, our parent company, Half a Bubble Out, and where we're going with building Passion and Provision companies, or helping leaders build Passion and Provision companies. So, that's super vague.
Kathryn: What are they talking about?
Michael: What are they talking about? So, how do we jump into this?
Kathryn: So, I got to travel this last week, for the first time since March, that was a big deal, and went to the Dallas–Fort Worth area to see my niece who was having a baby shower. So, that was really, really fun.
Michael: Depending on when you're listening to this, we are recording this in November of the great year of the plague, 2020.
Kathryn: Yes. Okay. So many things just popped into my head, but I will not say them.
Michael: Who doesn't like the Spanish inquisition?
Kathryn: So, my daughter and I went, and Michael stayed back behind. And we had one day sort of to ourselves down there. And so I decided, because my daughter is a big fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines, and that whole Magnolia farms thing.
Michael: So, if you don't know about them, and most of you probably do, but if you don't know, they're on home improvement shows, and they rehab homes. And-
Kathryn: They're about to launch their own home improvement channel. I mean, they're kind of a big deal.
Michael: That's finally going to-
Kathryn: Yeah. That's finally... There's a big sign in their store.
Michael: Anyway, they bought some property in Waco, Texas, and a old dilapidated-
Michael: ...Mill, I guess, is what it was.
Kathryn: Yeah. So, Michael and I had gone... We were traveling from Austin to Dallas, to... We'd been in Austin on business and were driving to Dallas to see my brother and sister-in-law and kids. And so, we had stopped in Waco. Two years ago, maybe? Two, three years ago?
Michael: Yeah. Within the last three or four years.
Kathryn: Yeah. So, we had been once, but it was a while ago. And then since then, they've continued to grow and develop and build. And so, I wanted
Michael: They basically bought a block. There used to be a factory industrial on this entire block. And the only thing that's really left was a giant warehouse and two giant silos. And it's been-
Kathryn: Which now pretty lights hung from them.
Michael: It had been abandoned for decades or at least probably a couple of decades because there's people who talk about just the silos and just the dilapidated property. And so-
Kathryn: Yeah. So, decided to take Jenna to see all of this, and so that I could see how it's been developed because literally, it would be about three weeks ago now, they opened a brand new section of it.
Michael: That was just three weeks?
Kathryn: Just three weeks ago. Yes. Brand new opening.
Michael: Oh wow. Perfect timing.
Kathryn: And this section has multiple shops. They have rehabbed an entire church that just looks stunning. They've increased their presence on the block. Let's put it that way. So, why are we sharing this with you?
Michael: Why are we?
Kathryn: Besides, I don't know, go to Waco. It's actually worth it. The reason we're sharing this with you is because for me, going to Waco and looking at what they have done, and seeing the silos and the shops and the coffee shop and the church and all of this sort of block that's been taken over, began to inspire me again, about what it could look like to build a village. So, perhaps, Michael, you should explain what that means.
Michael: So, one of the things that has been a part of our BHAG for a very long time, since the beginning, well maybe not at the beginning.
Kathryn: I think since before we had a business because we used to call it the barn.
Michael: No. We called it the barn, and yeah, actually, we did talk about the... Wow, that went back a long way.
Kathryn: That's a long time ago.
Michael: We started the company in '02, and somewhere around 2008, 2010, we started to imagine what it would look like to have... We always cared about Passion and Provision. We didn't always have a name for it. And we always cared about teaching and training. So, we were consulting and doing services for client.
Kathryn: And we always cared about being holistic, like this whole sense of, it cannot be just about one thing. There's all of these pieces and parts of business. So, that was always part of it as well.
Michael: And so, realizing all those things were important, but this key of teaching. Get this. For some of you, you'll think this is really cool. We imagined having an actual physical place, a village that we actually built. If you've ever been to Disneyland, imagine taking all the tourists away and having like main street and several different little lands and stuff. And imagine those being two stories, and businesses on the bottom, or businesses on the top, where you could have offices and stuff, and down below were retail stores and things like that; restaurants, pubs, definitely a pub.
Kathryn: My office is above the pub.
Michael: But the village itself, what it was is it said, "Okay, how do we bring the best of teaching together, so that people who could be there on a regular basis, or people who would come and visit and spend a few days or a week, or maybe even two, would be in an immersive experience, that not only was an educationally immersive experience, but it was an environmentally immersive experience. And so we started designing and playing with the idea of building, basically, what some people have said, "Oh, that's an incubator." Nah. It's more than an incubator. Imagine going into a space, whether it's a Magnolia or a Disneyland or something like that, where it is... The space itself is fully engaging. It just pulls you in and you just go, "This is so cool."
Michael: You find yourself walking around, "Oh, this is neat. Oh, that's cool. Look at that. Look at the science. Look at the way they poured the concrete." Some of us like that. "Look at the doors, look at the lighting, look at the stuff, and look at how all of that accentuates the products being sold or the services or the activities, or all those different things going on, and how neat it can be." Probably the most neatest transformation of an environment we ever saw, was in Oxford, England, when they took the... What was it? A 2 or 300-year-old ladies prison.
Kathryn: Oh the prison. Yeah. Transformed it into the Malmaison.
Michael: Yeah. A five-star hotel chain, in the habit of going and getting these old abandoned prisons and revamping them, and turning them into five-star hotels.
Kathryn: That was crazy.
Michael: And when we got a tour of it, it was just amazing. And it's like, "Okay, space can go from something that is depressing and dark, like a prison, to engaging in a wonderful, like a five-star hotel." And so, what could happen if you could do that in a place where all of that stuff enhanced the experience that goes into learning, whether it's an intensive one week experience, two or three days experience, or you had an office in the village so that your mentors and the coaches, and everybody else were around you and you had regular access to them on a daily base.
Kathryn: Yeah. And part of that was bringing together mentors and coaches across the various disciplines of business who... I mean, we've talked about this in the book, but often what happens for business leaders is, you end up saying, "I've got this issue, I've got this problem, so you go find a specialist in that area." And then you've got another problem, another issue, so you go find a different specialist. So, you've got all of these specialists or all of these courses that you're taking or whatever, but what ends up happening is that there's no thread of commonality, in terms of the grid that they're pulling information through, all of that stuff. So what would happen if you were able to have a place where your finance person and your marketing person and your operations and your systems and your HR and all of those people were there to help you shape your company.
Kathryn: But they were all doing it with the same grid, of what does it look like to build Passion and Provision companies. A company where you get all of the joy and fulfillment, and things that you dreamed would happen when you started this thing, and you're actually making a living doing it. And you're growing this business, this opportunity, in a way that allows you to have profit, but it also means you're living into your purpose, and that ultimately, you're going to leave a legacy that people look at you as a leader and this company that you've built, whatever it is, and say, "That changed the world in some way." Whether it's just in the small community or whether it's massive. You impacted and made a difference in the lives of humans.
Michael: And we so much wanted to do this. When we started learning, we were like, "Okay. Where can we go? What do we do?" And we availed ourselves of traveling around the country and finding mentors, both locally and far away, and going to conferences, but frequency of impact, frequency of knowledge, frequency of experience, frequency impacts and changes us.
Kathryn: Well. It's the difference between taking language classes and being in country. So, you can take language classes and you learn the language, but you're not in it all the time. And if you're in it and you're in the middle of the country, suddenly, you find yourself being able to pick up the language, the vocabulary, all of those things, so much faster, and it's a completely different experience than just trying to learn the language independent of the culture in which that language lives. So, language is embedded in culture. And when you're not in the culture and you're learning the language abstractly, it's more difficult. The minute you set yourself in the middle of the culture, learning that language starts to be easier, more natural, and you learn it faster. So, if we could create a place where you come into this culture of Passion and Provision, you begin to learn the language much faster, the training much faster, and you're good to go. Look at you. He's kind of glassy-eyed right now.
Michael: Yeah. Folks, we've talked about this, we have drawings, plans. We look at it and go... The village is such a dream that we... It's part of our BHAG. I mean, our BHAG is to help 10,000 business leaders build Passion and Provision companies, but buried behind it, is this ideas of... Wow, because we're big fans of Disneyland, and we see how impactful an environment can be on attitudes and behaviors. I mean, when somebody is nice to you and smiles and says, "Thank you for being here." It changes your disposition. And when you've got people all around you who are going, "I believe in you. I believe that you have the ability, the fortitude, the grit. I believe that you could raise to the level beyond what you've been able to accomplish."
Michael: Because if we're all honest, we all wonder if we're really pushing ourselves. We get to a place where we go, "Do I really have what it takes to go to that next level?" And I was talking to my leadership coach this last month, and I just looked at him. I said, "We're finally at this place, another transition place in our organization." And I'm like, "I need some feedback from somebody who's farther down the road. Do I have what it takes or do I need to step out of my chair and look for somebody else to put in my chair?" And he's going, "No. I believe you have what it takes." Well, look. When you're listening to somebody who's experienced and knows these things and believes in you, folks, that's powerful. And so, when we have the village and that kind of thing, and building a structure where that kind of activity can be involved, it is well worth every dime you would spend on that training and that education and that mentoring.
Michael: And it can't be done without money, and it's not going to be a nonprofit. And so now, we're looking at a thing of "Someday, what does that look like, and how do we build it?" And we have this token in our office. I think our office, there's two tokens. One is our office and how we've grown our office. And when people walk in, we have purposely taken the little that we've had, when we were at a 1000 square feet and up to 3,500 square feet at our office now. And we have, every step of the way, designed and thought about how do we create an environment that is conducive to all the things, when our clients come in and our employees come in, and we walk in, the environment itself is conducive to doing great work.
Michael: I want to travel a long way down the river. I really don't want to go upstream to get there. And then we built our studio several years ago. And when we were going through a transition into our course in 2018, we built a rock wall. And something that most people would have in their home, but we turned our studio, for part of the education sake and everything else, and we have this stone wall with a giant glass whiteboard on it too. And it is so cool and it is so neat, and it says to us, "That we value investing some money in something that some people would go, 'it's going to be a waste of time.'" But it creates that atmosphere.
Michael: And as a dear friend of ours said, "Michael, I know the village is real. It's going to be a real place. Yes, it's going to be virtual too, but it's going to be a real place because of the stone wall." It's already coming out of the land of ideas and it's coming into the land of physical reality. And now, it's just a matter of how do we continue to pull it out and pull it through, like a piece of Play-Doh in that kid's kit, where you took this blob of Play-Doh and you pushed it, and it went through a form. And all of a sudden this formless blob of Play-Doh becomes a bunch of triangles or a bunch of circles, and you get to play with it, and it creates imagination. And that's it. So, Kathryn, if we're talking about that, why was Magnolia significant for you?
Kathryn: Yeah. I think it was significant on a couple of levels. One is that I've gotten to see it evolve. So, went there when there was the silos and just the bakery and a shop. I mean, a cool shop. It's a cool house.
Michael: It was cool. They did a good job on the warehouse for sure.
Kathryn: They did a really good job. But to see them flush out the rest of it, it gives me a vision of what it would look like to basically take over an entire city block, and create a culture and a purpose for that. And their purpose is very different than ours. I mean, their interior design, their transform your home, but they've done it with such intention. So, one of the things on the property is there was an old church that was built like in the 1800s, and they've fully restored it. And they just have it as a chapel there, which means they'll be able to use it as a venue or whatever else, but they could've just taken that land and built more shops, but instead, they renovated the entire church and they renovated the bell tower.
Kathryn: And there's this element of this little village, which is village shops. And the signage is great, and the spaces are great. So, you walk into it and it says, "I want you to stay here and hang out. You are welcome here." There's a lot of space to just be and exist. A lot of what people might call wasted space because it's expensive, but it gave me that sense of "This is what it could look like when you take something and you are careful architecturally, and you're careful in where you place the water elements, and you're careful in the grass." And all of these places where they've just done it with intention, and everything about it makes you feel like, "This is the place I want to spend time." If I lived in Waco, I would go there to study. I would go there to just hang out.
Michael: And Why? I mean, what is it about that space that would... Is it conducive to it? Does it-
Kathryn: Yeah. It's super peaceful, it's super open, and it's pristine. So, there's that sense of "We really care." Because there's something about a clean, cared-for, manicured, whatever, a clean environment that's so conducive to spending time in it. So, everywhere you look, it's just like, "This is so freaking cool." So yeah, I really loved that and I loved being in it. And we've gone to several places that inspire our vision. I mean, Wizard Academy is another place that inspires your vision because you've got intention, and build, and purpose, and all of that stuff.
Michael: And Wizard Academy is an untraditional nonprofit business school at where workshops happen in Austin, Texas.
Kathryn: Yeah. Run by the famous Roy Williams.
Michael: The famous who wants to be famous and not talk to anybody because he's an extreme introvert. But phenomenal things because the environment there, the grounds there, are a version of this too. It's an immersive experience to learn so that when you deliver education, it can be easily or more easily grasped and sink deeper into who you are.
Kathryn: Yeah. I mean, I'll never forget the first time that I went to Wizard Academy, when Michael finally dragged me there. Because it's a place that-
Michael: It's not for everyone.
Kathryn: It's not for everyone. It's a place that those of us with my personality type can really struggle with because it's very-
Michael: And people with my personality type who are really-
Michael: ...theoretical, introspective, can take theories and apply them, we love to go there.
Kathryn: Yeah. I know I love to go there, but it's been a bit of a learning process, but the first time I ever went, the thing that was sort of immediately apparent to me in the very first class we took, is that Roy appointed a sommelier, and basically said, "Your job is to make sure that everyone has a glass of wine and they're full." And this is nine o'clock in the morning. And I'm thinking, "Well, tally-ho, here we go. I mean, we're all going to be dead drunk by the end of the day, or by noon at this case." But he basically said, "I don't care if you drink it or not. I just need your mind and your body to understand that this is not school." And having a glass of wine in front of you says this isn't school, as it turns out.
Kathryn: And I just remember being so profoundly impacted by just that simple illustration of how the environment impacts how you learn, how you think, how you process information. So, going to Magnolia this last week, and just taking it in and then thinking back, I mean, all the good things seem to be in Texas, but thinking about all of that, it just reinspired the vision because it's easy to be like, "Well, we'll just always be virtual." But I really think we won't. I think ultimately, we will build something and it will be cool.
Michael: Yeah. So, let's transition, then, for the last few minutes of this podcast. What would you say to our listeners about developing and nurturing their vision?
Kathryn: I think one of the things I would say is that, when you're developing and nurturing your vision, it is such a gift to find people who are further along, even if it's slightly different than what you have in mind, but to find those places that you can visit, those people you can talk to, those mentors that can say you're not crazy, like this thing that you're thinking about, has value. And see, look, in this instance, in this situation, these people have done it.
Kathryn: So, for me, I am a very tangible person, so where Michael can live in theory, he can live in connecting all sorts of dots of things that I don't think are related at any level, he can do all of that, but I'm very tangible. And so, for me, seeing something is really important. Actually touching it and tasting it and knowing that it's real and that it can be real, has mattered a lot to me. So, depending on who you are as a person and how your brain is built and how you're wired, finding those places that show you; it can happen. It's real. It's been done. So, that's the first thing I would say.
Michael: Yeah. Well, and I would say this. One of the things that is true as you've been describing, I can imagine those things, and live inside a world, inside my head, and really explore it at incredible depths. There are some good things to that because you can see things, and I can... One of the gifts that God's given me is to peek over the fence and see into the future about possibilities, and bring them back and then say, "Okay. Within this context, these are the things you need, to go forward safely, and to move towards that." That's great, and that's a partial gift. That's a gift that's very valuable. But one of the things that I think is real important is that, with that gift, you can get lost in the ideas. A couple of things can happen.
Michael: One, you can just be a person who just doesn't ever formulate them completely. They're so real and vivid to you. You don't feel like you have to really describe them or define them. And you don't have to go through that process. And you put me in a situation where I have to actually think about, "All right. How do I articulate that?" But here's the other thing. If you're going to... You're given that gift, I believe, and a few of us are, to be able to see things and make them happen in the world. It's really easy, for multiple reasons, to just stay there because it's really a lot of hard work. And there's a lot of money that goes with that as well. Disney says, "To make dreams become real, it takes a lot of money." And you've got to do that, and you can sit and spool things and you can say, "Oh, I've thought about that. I've thought about that." And then all of a sudden, years go by and you didn't do anything about it.
Michael: And I think one of the things that's really good about our partnership as husband and wife, but as business partnership is, I also realized that it's real important to make some choices and to make some things happen, and make things real, partially because nobody else can engage in that. When I hang out with other people like me, I just tell them about it, and the world gets created in their mind, and they go, "Yeah. It's so amazing." And we all have a glass of scotch and we walk away, and they experienced it. But the reality of what it could mean, didn't happen. And so, continuing to push forward has been helpful in the 18 years of our company, of partially taking our vision, defining the vision more, using our own minds, but using examples like Magnolia and Disneyland and Wizard Academy and different places, and going, "Okay. These are people that actually made something real, that lives in the place of what we think our dream is, and our vision is."
Michael: And finding those and then going, "Okay. How do we do this? What does this look like? And how do we move to that next phase and that next season?" And sometimes it's just waiting, timing, because it's like, "We don't have enough money. We don't have enough knowledge but we're going to hold onto something." Because sometimes, a dream sticks around inside of you for years and maybe decades before it's time to come out. But a lot of times, you've got to do stuff to get to that place. And you helped me do that and build in those directions, and allow me to build little pieces without thinking I'm just crazy anymore.
Kathryn: Like a brick wall.
Michael: Well it's brick, stone.
Michael: Stonewall that looks pretty sweet.
Kathryn: Thank you, team HaBO, for your blood, sweat, and tears on that wall.
Michael: Because I somehow drug everybody into that too.
Kathryn: And then we kicked him out. It was really an interesting process.
Michael: That was a great life lesson for me. So, at the end of this podcast today, really, it's about inspiring. If what you hear in us is a dream, what's your dream? What you hear in us is our process of trying to figure out how to understand that dream, and articulate it and then put flesh on it and make it real. How are you going to articulate your dream? How are you going to make it real? Even if it's step-by-step, even if something... Like our village, I'm looking at 400,000 square feet-ish, which is a big space, maybe a little bit more. And then we built a stonewall that's 13 feet long and 9 feet tall. But that's our first step. What's your first step? What's your first step in walking it out?
Michael: For us, when we started designing our offices and paying attention to it, that was another step of just saying, "We're going to take what we can do now and move forward." Because we want you to dream big because you have the ability to bring things into this world. If you can dream big, if you can see it, then probably, there's a chance of bringing, at least, part of that into the world and how it could benefit the people around you, how it could be a place that could be profitable and financial. Because you're an entrepreneur, because you started a business at some point, maybe you didn't call yourself an entrepreneur, but you're a business owner, and you innovate, and you come up with ideas, and you create financial wealth and prosperity, and you take care of people through employees and the community. These are things that you have been able to do. So, what's next? How do you use this great power that you have for good?
Kathryn: Thank you uncle Ben.
Michael: And dream... Yeah. Because great power comes great responsibility. All right, folks. I hope you come away today, just a little bit more inspired, thinking about things, enjoying that moment of dreaming. In a minute, we're going to say goodbye, and I want you to just go, "What's my dream? Or how do I make my dream a little bit more real?"
Kathryn: What's the next step?
Michael: What's the next... Just one step. Baby steps to the door, baby steps to the window.
Kathryn: Baby steps to the elevator.
Michael: All right. Lots of movie references. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: Thank you for joining us today on the HaBO Village podcast. We'll see you next time.