PP 701: Listening vs. Hearing with Marc Stern
“You are a very valuable component of friendship and love when you FULLY listen to hear what other people are saying. That is the way to formulate long-term relationships and find the love that you’re missing.” -Marc Stern
This month’s theme is about emotional and spiritual wellness! In connection to that, Marc Stern of Need2BHeard sits as our guest today. This conversation revolves around the art of mindful listening. Kim and Marc talk about what makes talking about your feelings so hard and what listening to hear involves. Marc also shares what the most important part of being a professional listener is and how to create a safe forum for people to feel heard. Being left alone to our pain and fears is the loneliest place to be. Tune in and find out how you can fill that void for yourself and for others!
- 01:39 Why Talking About Your Feelings Is Hard (SO Hard!)
- 09:58 Filling the Void
- 17:25 How to Listen
- 27:46 Creating A Safe Forum
- 35:20 Stay Calm
- 39:42 Insert Gratitude
- 45:19 How to Make People Feel Heard
What makes listening different from hearing? Listen as @thekimsutton and @MarcSternGFI reveal the secret to mindful listening and lasting relationships! #positiveproductivity#podcast #mindfullistening #hearing #lastingrelationships #gratitude #givingClick To Tweet
17:37 “The key to [avoid interjecting] is understanding that you will not give your opinion until it’s either asked for or very appropriate.” -Marc Stern
21:07 “In order to open yourself up to new ideas, you have to be able to fully hear what someone is saying.” -Marc Stern
24:54 “We’re so much more powerful when grounded in silence, knowing that what we don’t say can be as powerful as what we do say.” -Kim Sutton
31:46 “Your first response is not always the best response. To be able to engage your brain before putting your mouth in gear is a skill, and not everyone has that.” -Marc Stern
33:22 “We can’t expect ourselves to get along with everybody all the time. They have bad days, we have bad days, we need to give ourselves grace and forgiveness.” -Kim Sutton
38:08 “It doesn’t matter how many people you have around you. Loneliness is a state of heart and a state of mind.” -Marc Stern
43:20 “What makes awesome entrepreneurs awesome is their willingness to give without expecting to receive something right away.” -Kim Sutton
47:12 “The ability to multitask is important. But you need to be able to stop, focus, and listen if you really want to engage.” -Marc Stern
48:05 “You are a very valuable component of friendship and love when you FULLY listen to hear what other people are saying. That is the way to formulate long-term relationships and find the love that you’re missing.” -Marc Stern
48:28 “Allow yourself the freedom of silence.” -Marc Stern
About Marc Stern:
Marc has many satisfied listening clients and lifelong relationships as a trusted friend. His ability to be an empathic listener transcends time or distance. He is an open-minded, compassionate, and intelligent person who has a deep respect for ALL people, regardless of gender, politics, or religion. Marc specializes in creative personalities, understands life challenges, works across age groups, and loves being an empathetic and kind presence for those in need. You will find your discussions with Marc to be private, easy, fulfilling, fun, and insightful.
Connect with Need2BHeard:
Kim Sutton: My friends, I am so thrilled about today’s episode. You know that this year, I am reformatting the podcast. And most months, we’re only going to have one guest episode a month, and it’s in accordance with the theme of the month. This month theme, and if you’re listening in the future, it is April of 2021. But this month’s theme is emotional and spiritual wellness. I think I totally flubbed that, but that’s just me, emotional and spiritual wellness. There are some months though that I have friends who I know will be able to provide so much value, and today’s episode is with my friend Marc Stern. I want to tell you that he was a guest on Episode 114 which was way back in September 2017. I can’t believe that that was almost four years ago Marc, but we were chatting just before the episode and we’ve known each other for nearly, I just lost count, six years. We’ve never met in person, we’ve only done Skype, Zoom and phone calls with each other, but I did marketing automation for you in your first business, but you’ve shifted, and that’s where today comes in. Marc, I’d love for you to reintroduce yourself, share what you’re doing now, and then we’ll jump right in.
Marc Stern: Thank you Kim so much for having me. My name is Marc Stern. I run a business called need2Bheard.com, and that’s the number 2 and the letter B. We believe that there is an epidemic of loneliness going on in this country and in this world in addition to, of course, the pandemic that’s going on which has driven a lot of people to feel very isolated and alone. And we have provided us a listening service with professional listeners which is not medical therapy, but yet it is very therapeutic. We offer empathy, caring and a true connection, and light life coaching to those who wish to connect with us.
Kim Sutton: So before we jumped into today’s episode, Marc and I were catching up on some of the past. And as I said, we had started working together in 2015, and I’m sure I had shared with Marc after the fact. Back in 2016, I just want to give a trigger warning to anybody that some of the content in this episode may be a little bit sensitive so just be forewarned, but everything in this episode is intended to help and inspire you, and perhaps, provide you a direction to go in if you’re facing any of the challenges that we talked about here. But in 2016, I was so sleep deprived in my business that I became suicidal. And as I mentioned, Marc and I were already working together, but I didn’t feel like I had anybody to talk to about it. And that was entirely not true. My husband is amazing. But for those of you who are perhaps not in a relationship or in a relationship, where the person isn’t necessarily the most supportive person, I’ve been there too and I understand how it feels, but I didn’t want to put any of the weight of how he was feeling on my husband so I didn’t say anything to anybody. And then I got to the lowest of lows, and thankfully, I did not take any actions or else I wouldn’t be here to talk to you today. But I want you to know that there’s always somebody to talk to you. If you’re feeling that low, I’m here, and Marc now has the service. But Marc, I want to know, considering it’s 2021 right now, we’ve been going through this worldwide pandemic for almost a year now. When did this idea start coming to you? Was it pre-pandemic or in the midst of a pandemic? I’m curious.
Marc Stern: I will address that of course, but what I want to say is that it is very difficult and not always possible to talk to a loved one, a clergy person or one of your friends about some things that are very difficult to work out. And I fully understand and love the fact that you’re open about where you were, but the truth is it’s alright to speak to someone outside of your social circle about deep things provided that you get the understanding and empathy that you really need. I want you to know, as your friend, I would have been happy to talk to you any time about everything that was going on for you.
Kim Sutton: I don’t know that I’ve ever shared why I didn’t talk to my husband, because I know he would have been there. But the reason why I didn’t talk to my husband Dave was twofold. I didn’t want him to feel like he was in any way to blame for how I was feeling, because he certainly was not. But a bigger reason was because in 2008 while trying to unsuccessfully build my first business, I had been in the same situation, I was so sleep deprived that I was suicidal in 2008. You would have thought that I would have learned my lesson, but I really didn’t until 2016. When it happened again, I didn’t see how sleep deprivation. And I’m not saying that sleep deprivation is the cause for everything, it just was for me. I told my first husband and the first thing he said was: “You need to be committed. If you ever want to see your kids again, I’m taking you to the hospital right now.” And I was so afraid. Even though I knew I had no reason to feel like my husband Dave would do that to me, I was so afraid that it would happen again so I kept quiet. And for all the family members and significant others out there, I want to encourage you to be supportive and not threatening like that when your loved one comes to you. Because it wasn’t the beginning of the end, but it was definitely a big marker in the end of our relationship.
Marc Stern: Right. And you felt that that was a threat. But do you feel that perhaps he was coming from a place of love where he was actually trying to protect you?
Kim Sutton: Perhaps. However, he contacted a divorce attorney while I was in the mental hospital.
Marc Stern: So there’s a difference.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. And I’m not saying that there aren’t drugs for people. I understand that that’s not what your services, you’re not prescribing, right? So what happened was, and I think it’s really important to share this. When I went in, they took blood and they realized that my thyroid was way out of whack, like way out of whack. They never asked me about sleep, and they attributed everything. Well, a small portion of my thyroid, which thyroid dysfunctions can do crazy things, but they just attributed it to anxiety and depression. So when I left the hospital a week later, I was given three mega doses of serious medications. And I am a creative, Marc, you know I’m a creative, you know anytime we can get on the line and I can brainstorm a gazillion ideas of how to work through whatever you’re working on.
Marc Stern: Yeah, absolutely. Yet, one of the things that attracted me to you when we first met a thousand years ago was your willingness to brainstorm and your capacity to think outside the bucks, which helped me launch my prior business. And it’s also one of the reasons why I reached out to you again. But aside from the fact that I missed hanging out with you was I needed your cognitive feedback for someone who could really understand an idea out of the box and try to move it forward.
Kim Sutton: Thank you. Thank you. I know you’re a creative person too. I mean, you’re a guitar player, you see music probably in your head along with a whole bunch of other stuff. But what had happened to me on these drugs was that I looked at white paper, and I saw white. I don’t know that the people who don’t think the same way as I do will necessarily understand this. But there was nothing more unsettling than looking at white paper and seeing white, doesn’t make any sense.
Marc Stern: It’s frightening because as a creative person, you do have the capacity to make something from nothing. And when you lose that capacity, that’s like losing a part of yourself that’s so important to your existence.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. I wanted to be, I had a scrapbooking business at that time. I didn’t even scrapbook. But I could see ideas all the time. Marc, I don’t know how to play the guitar. Alright. But I can’t imagine being as professional and amazing as you are picking up the guitar and not feeling, I know that there’s days that you may not feel like feeling, but there’s music for every mood, right? But just picking up a guitar and not feeling or not hearing music, that’s how I would think it would be.
Marc Stern: It is, exactly. The correlation is brilliant. But two things. First of all, I could totally teach you how to play the guitar.
Kim Sutton: I want to learn actually, yeah, let’s talk about that some other time. But that’s something I wanted to learn for years, so thank you.
Marc Stern: Yes. And as a creative person, when I pick up the guitar no matter what my mood is, something will come out that reflects that mood. One of the reasons, getting back to your original question about, when we concepted and started to implement, need to be heard, it was during a downtime in the pandemic of over the summer last year and there was a void, there was an emotional void and I started to come up with a plan to give people an outlet to really be heard and really allow themselves to feel like someone is there for them. And also not to be in the pipeline of psychotherapy where you have to deal with insurance and you have to be diagnosed. Sometimes, you just need an ear to talk to. So when my partner and I, my partner Tara and I came up with the idea. We wanted to put it in a framework of caring, a framework of creative process where it’s a give and take between us and our clients. And equating that to the guitar and the creative process of music is brilliant because that’s really what it is. It’s one human interacting with another.
Kim Sutton: How did this conversation come about with you and Tara?
Marc Stern: Well, the irony is when I came up with the idea, I started googling to see if anyone else had this idea and the only person that came up was Tara. I had met her about 15 years ago at a networking event, and she–
Kim Sutton: No way.
Marc Stern: –has a listening business. She and I connected and we talked about it. She really wasn’t pursuing it, but we came up with the framework of pursuing it well into the future.
Kim Sutton: Okay. I don’t want to put salt on any possible wounds, but I want to know how your purpose and your passion fit in with what needs to be heard versus, I won’t name any names here, but the old business. Was their purpose and passion in the old business at any point, and how do you feel like it fits in here?
Marc Stern: I think that the old business was me looking as an entrepreneur for something to do where I could help people and make money. So the correlation here is that I still want to do the same thing. But now, I’m looking to help people as individuals and not what the other business was based on.
Kim Sutton: I can totally relate, but I would have to say that with my previous business model, making money was always at the beginning. And yes, I was helping people, but it was all about money, money, money. And that’s hard for me to admit, but it was true. I would have to say that in my pursuit of money, I was lost in my business like you and I connected, but we had so many phone calls and we could just hop on a Skype and chat. And thank you for being so awesome because I felt so comfortable talking to you at any point. There were so many times that we just joked, but it was always rush, rush, rush, money, money, money. Get another client even if I’m overwhelmed. And there was also a lack of, I didn’t have confidence. I knew I was good at what I did, but I didn’t see that I could charge more than I was. And I hate to say it listeners, I hope this is going from listening to entrepreneurship so just hear me out for a quick second and then we’ll get back to listening. But the lack of confidence and a lack of knowing my value and my worth really contributed to where I wound up and feeling so, so, so, so low because I was overworking myself due to lack of competence, and I didn’t realize there were simple shifts that could be made. And sometimes, you just need to talk that out with somebody.
So when people, when I did start talking, and sometimes you have to talk to a lot of people before you find that right person. Because so many times, I was told, well, you can do this so you should start offering this. You can do that, so you should start offering that. No, what really started to strike a chord was, Kim, you’re worth more than this. And I don’t mean just financially, but as a person, you are worth more than this
Marc Stern: Absolutely. That’s an incredible point because it’s very difficult, especially as an entrepreneur, for a person to say, you know what? This is what I’m worth. You either choose to pay it or you will find someone else. There is a fine line, because need to be heard was conceptualized actually to give back. But we are in a position where we’re not independently wealthy, and we do need to charge for our services although we are free and will be completely free for essential health care workers throughout the course of the pandemic. But yes, there is a fine line where you realize you are worth, your time is money, and you do need to find a way to feel adequately compensated for what you believe you’re worth. That is so important to your self image and the future of your business.
Kim Sutton: I know that we didn’t get on this call to have a brainstorming session, but can I ask, have you ever considered becoming a nonprofit, like a 501, whatever, A, B, C, D, E, F, G? I’m not up on all that lingo. And I’m just asking, because I know there’s so many people, especially right now, and I wouldn’t expect it to change too quickly in the future who could really use the services, but might just not be able to pay for it. But when there’s all types of people out there who would be willing to donate to the cause and fund other people’s listening, right? I’m just curious if you’ve thought about it.
Marc Stern: We approached it gingerly, and we haven’t gone there yet. But that’s not to say that we’re open to all ideas, because we are.
Kim Sutton: Love it. Love it. So a big part of listening that I found is that the person who’s listening needs to really, truly be open to listening and not interjecting at that point. Do you find that with people who call in? Actually, I want you to cover how the whole process works. And know listeners, K-N-O-W, this is not a sponsored episode by need2Bheard, but I’m just so curious. How does the process work? Do they call in? Do they make an appointment? How have you trained yourself to listen? Because I know, as a podcaster, sometimes I get so wrapped up in wanting to interject. I so often just keep myself muted to make sure I don’t interrupt. But how do you control all that? How do people come in to need2Bheard?
Marc Stern: Well, there is definitely a training involved with becoming a listener, because you have to allow a person to go through their thought process without interjecting. The key to that is understanding that you will not give your opinion until it’s either asked for or very appropriate. The process of making an appointment with a need2Bheard listener is very simple. You go to our website, and you click on our BOOK NOW button. It’ll allow you to choose which listener you can choose, whether it’s audio, either by telephone, or by audio Zoom, or by video. And then you choose the time that works for you, and you connect with the listener.
See Kim, there is a major difference between hearing and listening. I can hear sounds around me, I can hear the snowplows running by my window. But when you’re interacting with another human, the art of listening is not to be taken lightly to give people the forum necessary to run through their thought machinations. And I digress for one second. With conventional therapy, you are likely diagnosed, but you feel that the majority of progress you make in those sessions is listening to yourself talk and working out problems, maybe without a word from your therapist. And to give people that forum, and give them the kindness, empathy and love that they need without putting them into the system, quote unquote, is a valuable resource. So to practice mindful listening, the best thing you can do is to mute yourself while the other person is talking. And in your opinion, I digress again, if you’re talking to a friend, sometimes there are taboos in the conversation. There are moments where you just know where it’s appropriate for you to respond because that’s what’s expected of you. But if you’re in a position where you’re communicating with a professional listener, the forum is completely yours. You have the opportunity to be completely legitimately heard. Where if you want someone’s opinion, they’re happy to give it to you. But the time is 100% yours.
Kim Sutton: Oh, I’m reading a book right now called The Prosperous Coach. And by the way, I don’t consider myself a coach because I talk too much. In the best way, I want to give ideas. I just need to say that I would not make a great listener, and I think it’s powerful to be able to own up to that. Yes, I can listen. But when I hear a challenge that I feel like I know how I could fix it, I want to just spit out what I’m thinking and tell them to go. Go do it, then come back. So I don’t consider myself a coach, because I’m also not going to ask questions for the next two years and wait for the answer to come up. And there’s definite that goes right along the coaching line. I wouldn’t have patience. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t care, but I wouldn’t have patience to wait while they’re talking because I always want to interject.
Marc Stern: I think that you were an excellent listener. Because in order to open yourself up to new ideas, you have to be able to fully hear what someone is saying. So I respectfully disagree with you.
Kim Sutton: I hear you. But I also want to say that my listening is selfish a lot of the time, because I listen for what I want to hear.
Marc Stern: In what way?
Kim Sutton: When I’m looking for new ideas, or when I’m looking for solutions to my problems or clients’ problems, I have the specific things that I’m listening for. Well, okay. Maybe you just prove the point, if I were a listener, that I would be listening for those points. But I want to get back to the book that I’m reading, The Prosperous Coach. They bring up that, let’s just say you’re hopping on a call with a prospect and their suggestion is have it be a two hour call and give them the best coaching experience that they’ve ever experienced in their life. So just like you and I were talking about, when I’m hopping on with a prospect, I give them the full taste of my brainstorming and my strategy. Like, I’m not going to hold back, it’s not going to be just telling about the program, it’s going to be to show them ME in action. But what The Prosperous Coach says is, ask the question, is it okay if I coach you right now? And I love how you are leaving the table open for them to listen. And if they want to, I’m going to say, to be coached, because I don’t know what to call it. If they want feedback, let’s just go with that. Then it’s up to them to lay it out for you that, okay, do you have feedback? Because that’s been a struggle, I gotta say with me and my husband. Have you seen Beetlejuice?
Marc Stern: Of course.
Kim Sutton: Okay, thank you. I was sure that your answer would be yes. But at the very end, when they’re going through the final scenes and Beetlejuice slaps the zipper on one of their mouths, and then slaps the metal plate on another mouth so that they won’t say Beetlejuice. There have been times when I’ve wished in my marriage that I was Beetlejuice. And this is to my husband, Dave, who I absolutely love. Like I could slap the metal plate on his mouth so you just shut up and listen to me.
Marc Stern: Or just have a remote control with a mute.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. And turn off the part of the brain where he’s thinking about what he’s gonna say next, so I know he’s actually listening to me. And that’s probably been something that’s come out of our mouths over and over again. Again, I love him dearly. But I know you’re listening to me, but are you hearing me? Are you hearing the words that I’m saying and actually processing them in your head?
Marc Stern: Right. And remember, this has nothing to do with love. You can love someone you’re involved with without hesitation, but there is a skill to hearing and listening, and the differentiation between the two. Absolutely your analogy is 100% correct, as always.
Kim Sutton: Thank you. I was reading A Year Of Miracles just before we hopped on. I’m going through a couple days at a time, gotta just say because it’s a year of miracles. But I usually read two days at a time. And it’s so funny that day 80 was what I was reading, and it’s on the holiness of a quiet moment. I just want to read you a section of what I read. It’s so timely. Like if I hadn’t been reading two days at a time, I wouldn’t have been on this day today. Isn’t that so awesome? Synchronistic. But it says, too often, we feel invisible unless we’re making the cool comment doing this or doing that. But we’re so much more powerful when grounded in silence, taking a deep breath, knowing that what we don’t say can be as powerful as what we do say. Thinking deeply about something before making a response. Such actions leave room for the spirit to flow, to harmonize our circumstances and move them in a more positive direction.
Marc Stern: There’s deep power and meaning in those words, and that is the heart of listening.
Kim Sutton: So how did you become a professional listener?
Marc Stern: I have always had the capacity to do that, and some people are just in tune with other human beings. I’ve always found myself in the position where people rely on me to be their confidant, to be their advisor. It wasn’t just a question of monetizing it. I wanted to give back, especially with all the pain, loneliness, anguish and isolation that the pandemic brought us. So the way that I became a professional listener was simply to say, you know what? This is something I can do to give back to humanity, and it’s something that means a lot to me and that I have the skill to do. I mean, I wish I could play first base for the New York Mets, but I don’t have the skill to do that.
Kim Sutton: I have a hard question for you. Not a hard question, but I’m asking because I’m your friend. I see on your website right now is you and Tara. But with the state of our country, and the world even in the last year, have you found any resistance because people may want to speak with someone in their own race? And do you see yourself expanding outside?
Marc Stern: We have not yet come across that particular race issue, which we fully intend on doing because we are at our heart going to be a multicultural organization. We want to expand around the world with all races, nationalities, religions, whatever it is. We just want people to feel safe, and that is the most important part of being a professional listener is giving someone the forum where they are safe, private, confidential environment, where they feel nurtured and they feel fully heard. So yes, Kim, we are absolutely aware of the limitations of our current staffing, but we will be taking steps in the near future to include others.
Kim Sutton: I don’t say that harshly, because it’s just been really alarming for me. There was just an episode that was released with Marie White, where we were sharing, and I just want to say, Marc and I are from different religious backgrounds. No matter, I love Marc. We’ve been with each other for six years. We may have voted differently in the last election. I don’t know, I didn’t bring it up because it doesn’t matter to me. I still love Marc. And I have great friends who are not the same race as me. I have great friends who don’t have the same sexual preferences as me. It doesn’t matter at all. To me, I love all as long as you’re respectful. I mean, there’s things that you could do to me that would make me turn my back on you.
Marc Stern: Right. But why do you think those people are your friends? I can answer because they respect me for who I am. Yes, and they feel safe with you.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. But it’s just been sad to see, Marie and I were talking about how we have felt a little bit, I don’t know if the word is the right word right now, and I’m not going to pull it up in the dictionary. But we haven’t felt completely safe putting our thoughts out on social media. And even sometimes in conversation. I mean, my family has different views than I do. So there hasn’t been that open space sometimes to share how we’re feeling because of canceled culture. So I think it’s amazing that you’re giving this platform and this ability for people to get on and share what their thoughts are without having the feeling of being judged. I just want to ask–
Marc Stern: Can I interject?
Kim Sutton: Please.
Marc Stern: As a professional listener, I’m going to interrupt you. Social media is one thing, because you are then putting your thoughts out there to whoever decides to read your posts. It’s the furthest thing from private, and it will never disappear so you don’t really have the opportunity to delve into your deepest thoughts in a public forum.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. But I do wish that people would listen more to the posts they read on social media rather than, I mean, just like you and I are talking about here, and that passage I just read from the book, if they read, if more people read, paused, and then perhaps commented back with a thoughtful response rather than the first thing that pops in their mind, which could very often be hurtful. Then maybe there would be more space for public listening.
Marc Stern: Definitely, definitely. And that is the ultimate goal of need2Bheard, to be able to provide a forum where you can feel that way, you can feel safe, you can feel heard. But yet, the art of listening is such that your first response is not always the best response. So to be able to take that step back and think about what you’re going to say, engage your brain before putting your mouth in gear. That’s a skill, and not everyone has that.
Kim Sutton: I mean, I tried to go from park to, I don’t even know what gear in my car all the time, and then I hear that, the same thing. Yeah. Yeah. Back in 2015 before you and I met, probably, I remember posting in a large group I was in on Facebook, I was trying to share, I think it was probably around Valentine’s Day and people were in a little place of misery because they hadn’t found that special someone. I remember being in that place. Even when I was married to my first husband, the romance wasn’t there, the respect wasn’t there so I would often feel down on Valentine’s Day. I was trying to share where I’d come from, where I was now and how there’s hope. And if this is your first episode listening, to you, my listener whose this is their first episode, I want you to know that there is hope. I mean, I came out of an emotionally abusive relationship, which was abusive to me and my boys. And then I met my husband completely by accident on Craigslist. I was looking for furniture and saw a little link that said, Men Looking For Women, went in there to laugh at jerks, and found my husband and said: “It’s entirely possible.” We don’t get along 24/7, but he is my soulmate. I know, and we can’t expect ourselves to get along with everybody all the time. They have bad days, we have bad days, we need to give ourself grace and forgiveness. I had posted a little bit of the story of what had happened with my ex, just to give context, somebody came in immediately and responded, Well, isn’t that convenient? Always blaming the ex husband because you were perfect. I was like, wait a second. If you had just taken a moment to read and listen, then you would have seen that wasn’t what I was trying to do. I was trying to share a story of hope.
Marc Stern: Right. Because people are trying to interject their own opinions and their own foibles into what they read. They’re looking at it only from their perspective.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely. I can’t say I never, I don’t ever get in that trap. But in the last six years, I’ve done so much work on myself that I’ve learned how to stop and listen, it’s what I’m trying to say. Even on the podcast, I was interrupting. I know I’ve interrupted here today, but my interrupting back in the early days were so much more than they are now. I was just usually thinking about what I was going to say next, rather than even listening here on the podcast. And it’s embarrassing to admit that, but it was horrible there at the beginning. If you go, sorry–
Marc Stern: Interrupting cow jokes.
Kim Sutton: Oh, yeah. For those of you who don’t know the joke, do you wanna do it?
Marc Stern: Knock knock.
Kim Sutton: Who’s there?
Marc Stern: Interrupting cow.
Kim Sutton: Interrupting cow who?
Marc Stern: Moo.
Kim Sutton: Exactly, exactly. If you could go back and tell yourself anything, give yourself of 20, 25 years ago hope, what would you tell yourself?
Marc Stern: That’s a great question. The answer is probably not only one thing, but I would believe, stay calm. There is love, there is hope, you’re going to be okay. And don’t forget to nap a lot.
Kim Sutton: Which is so funny, because I think the name of the first episode was something about, he hates Mondays and likes snaps.
Marc Stern: True.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. I love Monday. Have you changed that perspective on Mondays at all, in the last five years?
Marc Stern: Well, these days, it’s not so much that I don’t like Mondays, it’s just that I am in no way shape or form a morning person. I actually look forward to Mondays because need2Bheard is such a great challenge, and such a great emotional experience for me. I don’t mind Mondays at all anymore. Monday mornings, I need my coffee. But outside of that, I’m good.
Kim Sutton: I hear that. I hear that. I remember that first conversation, and I think I professed my love for Mondays. My love for Mondays at that point was because all my kids were out of the house. I think I’m just trying to think, yeah, by 2017, they were either in daycare all in school. Now, I still love Mondays. However, it’s been a bit challenging now. It’s been really interesting this past year looking at different perspectives because I never thought I’ve heard people say that they’ve been lonely. You and I have already talked about it. I’ve been lonely this past year. They can’t leave their house and everything’s closed. It never occurred to me all the people, I mean, my mom lives by herself. It never occurred to me that she could be lonely. Because here I am with five kids and a husband in the house, and it’s hard to get quiet. They can’t go into the bathroom and shut the door without somebody knocking on the door and saying, mom, mom. But it never occurred to me that I could still be lonely, and that I was lonely. Because all of a sudden, the events that I was going to and years prior, those are gone. I mean, I’m an introvert, but I still love going to events. Am I exhausted at the end of the day? Yes. But there was that adult interaction, and I didn’t realize how much I missed it until an opportunity came up to get more of the interaction. My husband, I can talk all day long. But we’re different people with different interests. And we don’t, I don’t talk about my business to my husband because he doesn’t get half of what I’m saying, and I don’t get half of what he’s saying because he’s a video game designer and I don’t get it.
Marc Stern: Right. And it is very possible to be lonely in a crowd. It doesn’t matter how many people you have around you. Loneliness is a state of heart and a state of mind.
Kim Sutton: Absolutely.
Marc Stern: And I should say that, I know that you are at home with the kids. There is a new blog on our website written by a very well respected public school teacher about dealing with the stresses of COVID and the virtual learning environment.
Kim Sutton: There’s so many aspects to it. It never occurred to me. At the beginning, I was excited by virtual learning. I can’t explain it. I am not a homeschooling mom, that’s not what I was built for. But I was excited because I didn’t have to get up early to take them to school. But then comes the challenge of making sure that they’re doing everything that they need to everyday while still trying to fit in what I need to do. Listeners, I just got to put this in there. Yesterday, I got our van stuck in the amount of snow trying to back over the snow that the snowplow had put into our driveway. I gotta say, it’s been hard for me on the last day. I’m just putting it out there because all of a sudden, we can’t go anywhere. Both of our vans are plowed in, and I didn’t know until we got this massive snow plow that our shovel had broken. So we’re here until the shovel that we ordered from Amazon comes.
Marc Stern: The snow will melt by June, we’ll be fine.
Kim Sutton: By June. But with that said, I feel so grateful because we’re in a warm place. I mean, I’m totally timestamping this, but I was given a major perspective this morning when I was looking out the window and I was thinking about even Just a year before we met, my husband didn’t feel like he had anybody to talk to. He was a disabled US Air Force Vet who was in a really bad relationship where there were drugs involved, and he had to leave. He knew he had to leave for his safety, mentally and physically. So given no other options, because he didn’t have money to get his own place. In the middle of winter, in Fargo, North Dakota, he lived in his car. He had a sleeping bag, more blankets, and he would sleep in his car every day. But he didn’t feel like he had anybody that he could talk to. And just down the street from me, I mean, yesterday, it was -4 degrees here in Ohio. Just down the street from me is a gentleman who has, okay, I don’t know the politically correct way of saying this, so correct me if I say it wrong, Marc, if you know. He’s mentally disabled, he’s got challenges, okay. He’s living in his van here in our neighborhood, which is an awesome neighborhood. The authorities check on him every once in a while, but they can’t do anything about it because he’s not breaking any laws. He moves his van every three days, so he doesn’t get a ticket. But here I am in my house with heat, with enough food to get us through the next few days.
Marc Stern: So do you feel guilty about that?
Kim Sutton: I don’t feel guilty. And this is gonna, this could come out really wrong, but I don’t mean it to. I feel gratitude that I have what I have. It gives me a new perspective about complaining when I complain about the fact that my kids are driving me crazy. When I know that throughout the country, throughout the world, there are people facing challenges far more than what I could ever experience in a day right now. Even if our power went out, I could go into my bed and cover myself up with blankets while there are people around the world, in our own country who don’t have blankets. I mean, Texas just got dumped with snow. There’s homeless people in Texas who haven’t necessarily had to have blankets. I don’t mean to be naive. Yes, they’ve had blankets. But snow is nothing that they’ve had to encounter before, recently.
Marc Stern: And what you’re bringing up is a very important point about gratitude. That it’s okay to understand and feel what you have, that others may not have. And the desire to want to help others is very much based on being able to have that feeling of gratitude for what you have. And that really is one of the main driving factors behind the concept of need2Bheard, that I’ve been very lucky in my life to be able to have wonderful friends and people who love me. And the knowledge that there are so many people out there who are struggling without that, it is my joy to be able to give back. And it means so much to me, it’s so important.
Kim Sutton: I kind of say, to follow up on that, I think that’s what makes awesome entrepreneurs awesome is their willingness to give without expecting to receive something right away.
Marc Stern: Absolutely.
Kim Sutton: The fact that you have a blog where you’re giving out information, I’ve worked with enough entrepreneurs and businesses, and I’m not including the previous business that I worked for with you in this, but I’ve worked with enough who felt like the only time that they would send an email out to their people is if they were selling something. It was always get, get, get.
Marc Stern: Right. It’s about giving.
Kim Sutton: I’m going to be the numbers person here, but I’ll tell you that that did not resonate with their people. Their people wanted to get, there people wanted to be heard, that people wanted to be asked questions. I mean, a simple email, thank you Marc, you just inspire to email to my list just now. How are you doing today? Can I support you on anything? And no, I’m not asking for money. How far would that go with the email list when they knew that at the bottom of the email, there’s not an invite to join the latest program that they’re offering? So this client’s open rate was 3%. I was just having a conversation yesterday, I would have loved that size email list, a hundred thousand people. But not with a 3% open rate that didn’t feel at all connected to me and didn’t know that they could respond to any of the emails that I sent out and actually be heard. Be heard. I guess stemming from Marc’s business model, even if you’re not a professional listener, even if you’re not a coach, how can you let your people, your community, your email list, your customers know that they’re heard and respected, and you care about them today?
Marc Stern: Well, you really hit on it. The way to do that is to give without wanting to get back. And that’s powerful because we live in a society that is so self centered to be able to offer your services, yourself, your heart to other people and not ask them to give you money for it. Yeah, that’s incredibly powerful.
Kim Sutton: I have to admit, it’s been a little bit hard not to mute out all the ideas that are going in my head right now. That’s when I start fumbling over my words, the bloopers and the typos that come out of my mouth come when awesome conversations like this just start filling my brain with, oh, oh, oh, I got to work on, I have to do it.
Marc Stern: Jot down ideas as you go along.
Kim Sutton: Yeah, but then I’m not listening. There’s so many awesome entrepreneur, podcasters that I know who can take notes while they’re listening to their guests. But I found that when I try to take notes, I’m actually not listening.
Marc Stern: That’s right, you’re zoning out because you’re doing something else.
Kim Sutton: I just want to touch on that for a second. I have no doubt that the proposal I used to get you and your company as a client in 2015 said something about how I’m a master multitasker. I am a woman, therefore, I multitask. It’s painful to think about it because I didn’t realize at that time that multitasking was preventing me from being the best version of me that I could be. Focused on one thing, get it done, focus on listening and hear.
Marc Stern: Well, it’s a question of prioritization. I mean, everyone, the ability to multitask is important. But you need to be able to stop, focus and listen if you really want to engage.
Kim Sutton: Yeah. But I was using it as, I can work on multiple clients work at one time. How is that fair to my clients? There’s a difference between listening to a podcast and washing dishes, and trying to be in different parts of my business all at the same time. I mean, I can’t be podcasting and building an Infusionsoft campaign at the same time.
Marc Stern: Sure.
Kim Sutton: It’s not fair.
Marc Stern: Well, you can, it’ll just be bad.
Kim Sutton: Yeah, both sides will be bad. What is one golden nugget that you would like to leave listeners with today?
Marc Stern: I would want people to focus on the importance of breathing and the understanding that you are a very valuable component of friendship and love when you listen, when you FULLY listen to hear what other people are saying. And that is the way to formulate long term relationships. That is the way to find the love that you’re missing, and allow yourself the freedom of silence.
Kim Sutton: I had to leave silence there just so I could be absorbed. Do you know how hard that was? Marc, where can people go to connect with you? You yourself, and also need2Bheard.
Marc Stern: People can email me anytime of the day or night at marc M-A-R-C @need2bheard.com, marc@need2Bheard.com. That’s need, the number 2, the letter B, heard.com. And our website is need2Bheard, you can reach out any time of the day or night. We would love to hear from you. Any questions? Any concerns? Please, we want to be there for you.
Kim Sutton: Listeners, I want to thank you for joining us today. Marc, we cannot wait six years to have you back on the podcast again. So yeah, let’s do this again. But listeners, if you are driving, please be careful. If you’re trying not to be burned in, or if you’re working out right now, please don’t try to go visit the show notes. Right now, take care of yourself, but they will be available for you anytime at thekimsutton.com/pp701. I know Marc and I would both love your feedback. Share this episode with the friends who you know need it and leave a rating and review, that will help us get our messages out into more people’s ears who need to hear what we’re saying. Marc, do you have any parting words, any more parting words before we close out today’s show?
Marc Stern: I can always have parting words, but I just want to say to people to stay cool and enjoy your life. Know that there’s love out there for you, there’s connection, there’s a way for you to really be heard. And by the way, I’d like to thank Kim Sutton who does a fabulous job on her podcasts, she’s a brilliant entrepreneur and will be a great friend of mine for many years to come.