Ep. #1192 - Striving Beyond Excellence
Today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Lauren Conaway and Megan Gluth-Bohan, CEO and Owner of TRInternational, Inc. and ChemBlend of America. They talk about striving beyond excellence, Lauren’s inspiring journey, and how they strive to improve their leadership abilities each day. Lauren and Megan also share their thoughts on why your dark times don’t define who you are. They discuss relearning how to move in the world and why it is important to tell your story.
Covered In This Episode
Striving for excellence is not always a priority for entrepreneurs, where making a quick buck is the name of the game. of TRInternational, Inc. and ChemBlend of America’s Megan Gluth-Bohan shares her story to change that.
Listen to Megan and Lauren share their life experiences and how they influenced their leadership styles. Megan explains how she got into TRInternational in her journey to healing and legacy, fueling her passion for excellence. They discuss the importance of changing people’s perceptions and relearning how to be a person who moves in the world. The conversation segues to learning how to accept positive feedback and the importance of therapists for business owners. Finally, they agree about the importance of sharing your story.
Get insights from Lauren and Megan’s conversation. Tune in to today’s Startup Hustle episode.
- Megan’s backstory (1:17)
- Changing people’s perception (4:19)
- The dark times in life don’t define who you are (6:50)
- Relearning how to be a person that moves in the world (12:54)
- How Megan got into TRInternational (22:01)
- The journey to healing and legacy (16:16)
- Learning how to accept positive feedback (28:36)
- Therapists are as important as your business coaches and mentors (32:09)
- The importance of sharing your story (35:36)
- How Megan’s journey influenced her leadership style (37:33)
- Lauren’s Mexican lasagna and Megan’s smoothie sludge (39:38)
I work every day to continue to improve myself, and to learn new things, and to do the work that I avoided doing. And some days, that’s more difficult than others, but it’s still ongoing. The difference is that I live now with the confidence that I can do that, even if I don’t necessarily know how it’s going to happen yet.– Megan Gluth-Bohan
Healing is a journey. It is not really a destination.– Lauren Conaway
When you say that you need a good therapist, we don’t mean you need somebody who’s just going to, you know, agree with everything that you say and validate your every feeling because the fact is, more often than not, we as human beings need to be made self-aware. And we need to be held accountable for our choices and our behavior. And even again, like our thoughts and our intuition, all of those things come together to create the soul of who you are. You have to be held accountable for it.– Lauren Conaway
Showing up and being authentically to who I am and giving them a place where they always know exactly what I mean, exactly what I’m thinking, what the bar is, what the standards are, and not being confusing about that. People want a boss that doesn’t hide the ball and that doesn’t move the yardstick around. And so I owe them that. That’s my role as the steward of their talent.– Megan Gluth-Bohan
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Lauren Conaway 0:00
And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host, Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And friends. Today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers can be difficult, but Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team. Visit FullScale.io or visit the show notes to check out the link to learn more. All right, friends, so I have told you listeners that I do pre-show prep before we even hop into the recording. And I love it. I love getting to talk to the founders and getting to know them a little bit. But today, we have with us a guest that we have already found some commonalities. We have already kind of bonded. I am so so psyched. So welcome to the show, Megan Bohan, CEO and Owner of TRInternational, Incorporated and ChemBlend of America, LLC. Meg, welcome them to the show.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 1:02
Hey, Lauren, thanks for having me.
Lauren Conaway 1:04
Absolutely. Well, let’s go ahead and crack right into it. I’m so excited because, I have to be honest, I don’t really know what conversation we’re about to have. But I guess we’re about to find out. So tell us about your journey, Meg.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 1:17
Absolutely. I think that it’s probably best, I think, sort of maybe the most meaningful contribution I can make, just in life and in general, is to start at the beginning. And that’s because I have kind of an interesting journey. And it’s my hope that by sharing it with people, other people who find themselves at what I want to call the interesting places, or even frankly, the dark places, know that that’s a really great place to start. So, I was born in a small town in Iowa and raised there. And it’s a really great place to be from in a lot of ways. And in a lot of ways, it’s sort of tough. In my personal case, my background and my upbringing were marked by a lot of poverty, and a lot of insecurities about my future. There’s definitely a glimpse of trauma in that story, and just sort of all of the things that poverty, in particular, brings to a person. And I think the most important part about that is that that marks sort of a start of a journey that maybe isn’t imbued with confidence right away, or, frankly, a guiding person or a guiding example of how to move forward out of that. And so, that’s how my story starts. There are a lot of things that happened, and all of that, but suffice to say, I found myself encouraged by a variety of people in my young life, encouraging me to go to college, which at that time was something that felt sort of out of reach for me, frankly, and, and with the help of mentors who showed me how to apply for Pell grants and scholarships, and all that kind of stuff, I ended up starting college. Interestingly, I wasted the opportunity a little bit on just sort of not taking myself too seriously. And frankly, I think now you know that I’ve aged considerably since that time, I look back on my life, and I think I probably didn’t have the skills to cope and deal with a lot of the life experiences I had. And my way of dealing with that was to use drugs and alcohol to access. And so, in my first college experience, I was politely requested to no longer continue at that educational institution.
Lauren Conaway 3:57
That is in a very diplomatic sort of way. That’s lovely.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 4:04
But no, they kicked me out.
Lauren Conaway 4:06
There you go. They kicked your ass out.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 4:08
That’s right. That’s right. That’s what happens when you’re on academic probation for too long and you don’t really particularly care so my story sort of doesn’t start there. But um, that’s a pretty hard finding.
Lauren Conaway 4:19
Oh man really does and I so so friends I have to tell you, you know, as Meg was, we were kind of talking about this on the on the front-end. A little bit like we touched on it. Here’s the thing. Your your experience actually very much mirrors I guess my experience mirrors yours. In that, you know, trauma and lots of weird crazy terrible things happening in my youth that left me with very few cognitive coping mechanisms as we like to call them. Yeah, and and I also I turned I started self medicating and I turned to drugs. Alcohol was never really my thing. But, I ended up leaving college I think I told you I had a nervous breakdown and went through a very harrowing and scary few years after that, which ultimately ultimately culminated in me going through inpatient rehab. And here’s the thing, today like, I look at myself, I and I’m wondering if you feel this way, as well, but like, I look at myself, and I look at myself then. And I don’t necessarily think that my, my story started there. It actually started many, many years before. But that being said, that experience that that time period in my life, it has informed my entire adulthood. It has informed everything that I have done. I wrote a paper not too long ago about the fact that like, one of my struggles was the fact that I have, I’ve spent almost my entire adult life trying to make up for the last three or four years a bit.
Well, really quickly, I’m gonna redirect us because I do just want to like, I want to point out that the entrepreneurs that you see, like, people look at me today, and they’re like, Hey, that’s a successful lady, and mega, but they do that to you, too. But I love being able to help people change their perception of what drug and chemical abuse can look like. What trauma can look like. You know, we busted our asses to get where we’re at from where we were. Yet. That being said, we ever see anybody do this with the right support and the right tools and the right resources. So so talk to us a little bit about that. I know I’m going off on a tangent, I just got like, as you were talking, I was like smiling, and I was like, I couldn’t wait to respond. Now I’m gonna be quiet. Talk to me about how you feel about your place in the journey.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 6:50
I have to say, everything you just said, resonates a thousand percent. And it’s very interesting, because I look at that period of my life after I was kicked out of college. I call it two to three years. Candidly, I don’t remember it all that well. Because it was a super dark place. Yeah. But it wasn’t until even a few years ago, where I learned to start forgiving myself for that time and place. And just start saying that that is not actually who I am. It never was who I am. I think it’s can be really tempting for anybody who’s gone to, you know, some, some programs, call it rock bottom, some people just call it the dark place. And whatever your language is for that it can be so tempting for us to think that that place defines us. And that everything we do is just trying to climb out of that hole. And I spent a lot of time chasing things that were not for me because I was trying to climb out of that hole for myself, not for anyone else, but for myself. And when I finally got myself to a place where I was saying, Okay, that is not actually who I ever was. That was the result of experiences. And you made an excellent point, like cognitive coping skills like a lack thereof. You’re like, had I had those skills? I wouldn’t have been that person. Therefore, it’s not intrinsic to who I am. So I don’t know if that answers your question. No, something you said just like, hit that point.
Lauren Conaway 8:17
I know. And anytime I talk to somebody with a similar journey, it’s like, there there is there’s actually I’m going to tell you this listeners, like there’s a conflicting feeling about it. Because it’s like, I don’t necessarily like to think about that time in my life. But that being said, I think it’s important to think about that time in my life to reflect on it and be like, hey, you know, you came this far, there’s no going back, that’s no longer an option. So one of the things that, you know, we just talked about, and one of the things that I think is so important is like those, those coping mechanisms. You know, if you were born into poverty, if you were born into environments that were throt fraught with tension and trauma and bad experiences, you probably didn’t learn how to handle you. And by that, I mean, who you are, how you show up and how you process the world around you. So maybe you don’t know how to handle anger or maybe you don’t know how to handle sadness. Nobody ever taught you. Nobody ever showed you these healthy ways of moving forward. And so talk to us about that piece of your journey. Like what, what precipitated the change? And then what kind of help carry you through?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 9:30
Yeah, there’s a lot of what I wouldn’t say precipitating factors, but one of my favorites is the most ordinary. So I really, really really love a farmers market. And I it’s just a thing. I think they’re just we’re awesome.
Lauren Conaway 9:44
Do ya, like Don Corleone walking around with your large tests? I pick I’ll take three tomatoes today.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 9:51
Yes. And oh, the finest organics will do. Yes. So I had this story that I loved the farmers market, which was a true story for myself, and I knew that about myself. But every Saturday morning, I was always like to hungover spot out to go. And so I never went to the farmers market. And one of the first pieces of awareness, like, I know, it sounds like crazy and small and insignificant. It’s like, how can I be a person that knows that this is something I like and enjoy, but I very rarely get there. Why am I not getting there? And so, you know, in a larger sense, every forward step I’ve ever made in my life has been because of moments where I realized there’s something I know about who I am, that maybe only I know. And it’s so important for the listeners to understand that it might be something only, you know, yeah. But I knew that about myself. And then I thought, Okay, what do I need to do to be a person who makes it to the farmers market? Because where I was, they were on Saturday mornings, from like, nine to one. Well, if you’re sleeping till two, you will not be there. Right? And, and that’s sort of how that started. I also was in a position where my now wife who’s incredible, but she just looked at me and said, like, I’m just not riding this ride with you. Like, you’re gonna have to get help. She’s actually the first person. She to really lay it on the line with me like that. She drove me into my first AAA meeting. And I haven’t had a drink or any consciousness altering substance since there.
Lauren Conaway 11:26
How long has it been? If you don’t mind? My asking?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 11:28
Yeah, it’s been 12. In the I’ll be I’ll be 13 years on October. And then yeah,
Lauren Conaway 11:35
I’m at 17.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 11:38
Amazing. Good for you.
Lauren Conaway 11:39
Actually, I went to my first na meeting on my 23rd birthday, actually loves that really quickly. I just want to take a moment to honor and acknowledge what you just shared. That’s incredible. Well done.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 11:51
Thank you. Thank you.
Lauren Conaway 11:52
All, I’m inviting you to clap your damn hands, because that’s huge. So sorry, sorry, I just wanted to take a moment. But continue.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 12:00
No, congrats to you, too. I mean, I think it’s exceptional anytime somebody does that. But I think if you are a person who’s ever had that experience, you know that that moment where you walk into that first meeting, if the first time, or whatever your journey is to get you there, like, it feels like something insanely difficult and insanely insignificant too. Like, I wasn’t even really sure I was going to stay in there for the full hour. Like, it’s not like I made some big life goal and created a vision board for my sobriety. Okay, like, it wasn’t like that. And, and I’m really honest about that, that I think that some of these, like life battles are one and these teeny, tiny little moments. And for me, it was that and then just consistently sticking with it. And the whole process of my life has been returning to this, like, who do I know myself to be? And what does it take to make sure that I’m doing things which aligned with that?
Lauren Conaway 12:51
And that can be really different for every person.
Inside didn’t match your outside Yes, feeling match your choices. So for me that’s walking in integrity, making sure that who you are aligns with what you do what you say how you show up. And and I love that about you that you made this conscious choice. Talk to us, you know, you mentioned your your now wife that she was kind of a catalyst. Talk to us a little bit about that process because one of the things that I often talk about is that like when you go through rehab, or when you start going through this process to come back to health, wellness. You have to relearn how to be a person, you know, to your point, like you weren’t going to the farmers markets because you were too hungover. Like you almost forget how to kind of how to exist in the world in healthy and productive ways. And a big part of this process is kind of relearning those skills, and then picking up those those cognitive coping strategies, picking up those new skills along the way. So talk to us about what that felt like for you. You can call Yeah, you had some support. So that’s good.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 13:59
Yeah, I did. I had great support. And, and I, you know, I’ll go back just a little bit like you said, relearning and the truth is like, what I realized is I never learned I had to learn weird things. And I don’t know if this is the same for you or not, like I had never been to a wedding. sober. Yeah, I didn’t really know how to go on a date, sober. Even though I had been in this relationship with this person, like I sort of always knew we were going to go and I was going to start drinking like I, because I did I dealt with my discomfort with the world that way. And I don’t blame anybody for that. Really. I just I think it manifests as social anxiety. But ultimately, I think it’s just a general unease with the world. And so I had to learn how to be a person that moved in the world without any barrier, or blocks or
Lauren Conaway 14:51
comfort or anything just soften like all yeah, that’s all of the sudden, the outside world is thrown into stark relief and everything has sharp edges. is, it just feels like it hurts. Like, I remember, my mom actually, when I, when I came out of rehab, I stayed with my parents for, you know, a couple of months just to kind of get my legs under me and, and all of that. And I remember I was just so sad and so angry and so raw all the time because I had just spent 60 days talking about my feelings, too. I mean, it was it was her, it was horrible. But, you know, processing those feelings, but then my mom, I’m seeing I’m standing outside, and I’m just mad, and I’ve been sullen and angry for weeks. And my mom’s like more and look at a sunset. inevitably make you feel better feel apart. And I was just like, you don’t understand, like, I look at that sunset. It does not look beautiful to me. It looks like more pain out in the world that I’m gonna have to figure out before I can become a productive member of society. You know, everything has sharp edges, like it hurts. Yeah. Because Because up until this point, the world around you is an adult, right? You don’t have to deal with it. You don’t have to feel it. You don’t even have to really move through it. Because you have this wall of dependency that is just separating you. Right? Yep. I’ve experienced that. I’ve always wondered if others experience that?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 16:14
You know I did. You’re the first person that’s ever used that language to describe it. And I’m just sitting here in silence thinking like how wonderful that description is that everything has sharp edges. And you’re in you’re constantly bumping into it. Because the first year of my life being sober was terrible.
Lauren Conaway 16:34
Oh, it’s awful.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 16:34
The world around you is like, oh my gosh, congratulations, 90 days, wow, you must feel like a million bucks. And I will be honest, like there were a part of me that parts of me that felt better. Yeah, and stopping the use of alcohol in particular, improves your sleep, which is huge. It improves your cognition and improves so many parts of your physical body, which then leads to a better life. And I definitely was feeling those benefits. There’s no question. Sure. But my emotional body had no skills, and frankly, to your point had been sort of numbed and deadened to how sharp the world I don’t know if the world is sharper, it just felt sharp because I and so dull
Lauren Conaway 17:16
It feels sharper, because like I said, like everything else felt really soft. And then all of a sudden, there’s like, pre read for me, there’s pre rehab. And then there’s post rehab, like my life is divided into two epochs. And yes, and here’s the here’s the thing, though, I want to give a message of hope to anybody out there who might be listening, hearing this story and identifying pieces with it. For me, when I came out on the other side, it’s kind of like, in the Wizard of Oz, you know how when Dorothy goes to like, the house lands, and she walks out into the lollipop land, or whatever it’s called. And everything is like, great. And it seems so jarring because everything was black and white, and then everything was bright. And it seems so jarring. But then you get used to it, and you embrace it, and you learn to handle it. And like there’s there is the before and after. And at first the the after sucks. But then you become so grateful and so happy to be a part of it. Because not only is it beautiful in many ways, but you’ve earned it. You’ve done it right. And you have that’s right,
Megan Gluth-Bohan 18:25
wrote that. Yeah, and it’s your first time, I guess I won’t speak for anybody else. It was my first time showing up as the real me. It’s not that I didn’t exist prior to my sobriety, but I wasn’t present. I can just tell you that I was never fully present. And so as many of those moments were rough, there were just as many that were a little bit like, well, this is actually kind of cool. And you’re right, there is a sense of pride and self confidence that starts to develop, right? Because it is you you are doing it you don’t get to, to numb it. And also, and again, maybe this resonates for you or someone listening but like I also had that the absence of that, like shame that was hanging out like that part of it. I always just knew I wasn’t doing the right thing. I don’t know how to describe that. And I won’t say that it was like moralistic or anything like that. I just, I just knew I’m better than this. Like, I shouldn’t be doing this. I’m better than this. And I wouldn’t have had words for that at that time. But I know that my body felt that and I lived with a great deal of of shame. I’m also not to say that getting sober meant that all shame and all problems disappeared, and then I suddenly had strength and skills to start tackling them. I’m, as I said almost 13 years into my sobriety. I work every day to continue to improve myself and to learn new things and to do the work that I avoided doing. And some days that’s that’s more difficult than than others, but it’s still ongoing. The difference is that I live now with the confidence that I can do that, even if I don’t necessarily know how it’s going to happen yet.
Lauren Conaway 20:09
Yeah. Well, I have to tell you like, I mean, as you’re talking, I knew that this was going to happen. I knew that we were going to have like some synergy you just like based on our pre show prep, but I’m, I’m so I’m so glad that we get to have this conversation. But I’m also I’m just very grateful for you to you for being vulnerable and real about your experience. I love that so much. I love that for you. I love that for us. And I love that for the audience that’s listening, or something else that I love my friends. I don’t know if you know this, but finding experts, software developers can be really, really difficult. That’s why I love Full Scale. When you visit FullScale.io, you can build a software team quickly and affordably. Use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Now friends, we are here today, we’re having this feels like a very, like very serious conversation to me, but we’re talking to to Meg BoHan, CEO and Owner of TRInternational, Inc. and ChemBlend of America, LLC. Now, Meg, I feel like together, you and I have kind of set the stage. And the fact is like you and I both have a shared experience of going through periods of time that were very dark, where we didn’t recognize ourselves. We were making choices that didn’t align with who we are, we talked about that. So we have set the stage. And now I want to I want to get hopeful because I can tell you there is hope to be found. We are both here. We are both alive. And we are both chillin. So, yes, look about that a little bit. I want to talk to you about what you do and how you kind of came to your path. You know, you you have chosen to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. What’s next?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 22:01
Yeah, yeah, no. So there’s a lot to the story in in all of this, and we just don’t have the time for it. But we’re gonna fast forward as Friday life. And I were to fast forward to the part of my life where I was a lawyer looking for a job in Seattle, Washington. I had moved out of the Midwest. And I really didn’t know anybody in Seattle, and I was interviewing at some law firms. So I reached out to a friend that I went to law school with that I said, do you know anybody in the Seattle area and a law firm can tell me who these firms are and kind of what their culture is. And he says, No, but I know a guy you should meet. He knows a lot of people in town. He introduced me to this guy named Tony, who owned a company called TRI. TRInternational.
Lauren Conaway 22:44
I feel it to be important later listener.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 22:47
Yes. And to make a really long story short, he offered me a job as his first general counsel. And I always call us the odd couple because we were two polar opposite people. But I started as the company’s lawyer. And after a couple of years, I became the company’s president. And a couple years after that, I became the company’s CEO. Maybe you later,
Lauren Conaway 23:11
You’re very fancy.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 23:13
Yes. Yes. You know, I didn’t feel that way. It felt pretty authentic to me. And it felt like just going and doing the grind. And I actually fell into a business that I just loved being a part of, I love the work of this business. To give the users the really like 32nd 30,000 foot view, we supply the raw materials to companies in the United States that make things. That is a chemical molecules used to make pharmaceuticals, used to make infant formula, used to bait soft drinks, paints, coatings, and even, you know,
Lauren Conaway 23:48
The building blocks of our products driven capitalist society, your labs, right, gotcha. We’re, yeah, we’re Yeah, I love that.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 23:58
And we recently completed an acquisition where now we’re even making some of those things. And so it’s fun for someone like me, I’m a nerd at heart. And I love seeing how things get made. I love talking and connecting with the people who make things. And I’m a huge champion for American enterprise. And so I love what I do. And I liked it from the moment I started here. But the opportunity came for him to be leaving the business without any real succession plan. And I said, I don’t know how this could happen. But can I buy like a majority of this business from you now? You can work until you are ready to fully retire and then I’ll buy the rest of it from you later. And and so he said yes, which was kind of remarkable. And fates aligned and financing aligned and all of that sort of thing aligned and I own 55% of it for less than a year before he was ready to leave retire which frankly, he rightly deserves. Anytime you start a business and, and and put it over 20 years it can, it can be your two And it was his time. And I know he’s enjoying himself now, and he definitely deserves it. But then I became a 100% owner of this business. And since the time that I did that, in 2020, I’ve doubled the size of the business. We went from being about a 45 to $50 million a year revenue company to last year, we did over $118 million in revenue. So it’s good, you know, we’re kicking ass, and I owe that to the people I work with 1,000%. But underneath all of that, there is still this very simple, like return to you call it integrity. And I like to add the word intuition to that if I could. Just do this in there, sitting and saying, okay, like, what do I really see myself and what I really see this enterprise being, and what do I need to do to get us there? And I do, I manage my life, I manage my work in these really small moments. And I state that recovery, among other things in my my story, but recovery really taught me how to do that, like, you can now you can build a life one day at a time, like you really truly can.
Lauren Conaway 26:16
Yeah, I see this day like people. Well, one of the things that I say is like, I will not promise you 20 years, but I’ll promise you today. And that’s like, it’s that it’s that kind of small, incremental change, that shift, that evolution. And it’s, like, entrepreneurs, we don’t tend to be super patient people. So I think that like maybe that aspect of the journey might have been harder on us than most because like, I’m like, I want it now i want it to be add on, tell me when I’m healed.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 26:48
Lauren Conaway 26:49
Unfortunately, that’s just that’s not how it works. Healing is a journey, it is not really a destination, I will die, trying to heal and trying to evolve from where I started. And I well, and I guess, you know, to put a little McCobb twist on it, like I guess, you know, dying that’s the destination, you made it. That’s it for all of us. Let’s see where you ended up? How did you do? You know, and like. And that’s when we started to talk about things like legacy and, like, what do we leave behind. And I think that, I know that this is the case for me. And I imagine that it is probably the same for you. But again, like, I feel like because I lost my curiosity, I lost my integrity for so many years. And so now, I have to live my life, doubly intense Tripoli intent on not doing this anymore. And figuring out how to live in a way that makes me feel good about myself. Because I think like in the leader, parts of an addiction journey, one of the things that you’re trying to escape is yourself and the choices that you have already made and the things that you have already done, that are not in alignment with your values and how you view yourself. And so I don’t know, I just I am so impressed by your journey. I do want to just because he kind of buried the lede here, you didn’t mention it, I’m gonna mention it. But I do know that you were named a Regional Entrepreneur of the Year, which is kind of it’s a pretty big deal, y’all like EY. We love EY around here. But you have now started to get you’re getting accolades for being who you are, and doing what you do. And hopefully you’ve got your community buy in. It sounds like you’ve got your team buy in. How does that feel?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 28:36
Um, I don’t know yet. To be honest. Like, I don’t know how to answer that. I’m still learning how to receive accolades, and how to receive positive feedback.
Lauren Conaway 28:48
It’s so weird, right?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 28:51
It’s really interesting how when you kind of come up, and you work really hard, and you sort of hold your nose to the grindstone and you’re just doing what it takes the grind, right? Because that, that part of it, you know, the name of the podcast, the hustle is very much real. And in in that, when you’re in that energy, I think it’s really easy to take negative feedback, and do something with that. Yeah, I am a person that is to this day learning how to take the positive. So I’m obviously super humbled and really touched, frankly. And I’m also mindful that what this does, you know, with that becomes like some sort of notoriety, perhaps, or some sort of exposure. And you said something earlier about, you know, you have to live in a way that makes you feel good about yourself, right? And I think it’s interesting to me, like one thing I’m observing about my life is that the more people who know me or getting to know me, I have to remember that that plus all of the demands and all the voices that are just on me, as a business owner have a lot of stakeholders in my life, right? All of those voices get louder and they get amplified. Even the positive ones, though, can crowd out like my own inner voice. And I have to consistently bring myself back and say, am I doing what I think is right, not what EY thinks is right? Which by the way, is just amazing. And I’ve loved every person I’ve encountered there in that experience. But it is it’s it is about turning myself whether it’s EY or something else consistently inward and saying, okay, am I good with this? Is this, am I still a farmers market person? Like, you know what I mean? Am I winning? What it is that I need to do for me?
Lauren Conaway 30:42
Am I showing congruity it in my actions, words, deeds, thoughts, and intuition. I’m gonna go ahead and add intuition now, because I dig that quite a bit. But I know I love that well. So I want to get very tactical with you here. One of the things that we like to do about that we love telling founder stories as part of Startup Hustle. But the reason we tell startup or the startup stories is because we want to help our listeners avoid the mistakes that we have made. And so So I want to talk to you very tactically, you know, maybe there is someone in our audience who is struggling with some form of addiction. Maybe there’s someone in our audience who maybe they’re not struggling with addiction, but maybe they’re struggling with that internally, like how they talk to themselves internally, how do I make sure that my values are reflected not just in myself, in my life, but also in my business? Like there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there, that we were coming from dark places, or we’re coming from muddy places that aren’t crystal clear. Not everything is black and white. So to the entrepreneur out there who might be struggling mentally, what would you say to them? What would you what would you ask of them to get started on the trajectory or the journey back to yourself, back to wellness, back to all of those wonderful things that we actually need in order to successfully run companies?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 32:06
And Mmm hmm. There’s so many things, but I think that I am probably the world’s biggest advocate for recovery of all kinds. So if that’s your struggle, I think, I don’t know how it works. But I think programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, have maintained anonymity for decades. And I don’t, there’s some magic in there. Yeah. And and I would say, that’s a great place to startbecause no one has to know who you are. And, and it’s free. And you can just, I think, if if that’s part of your struggle, or you think it potentially could be, I think that’s a great tactical first step. Yeah, if you are an entrepreneur, you don’t have any, you already have that thing inside of you, that motivates you to go grab what you need. So you don’t have any reason not to grab something free and super readily available. And in that same spirit, I think having a really good therapist is like something I can’t say enough good things about, you know, in our world, in entrepreneurial world, everybody talks about their coach their business coach they want, we want to say that we’re hustling, and we’ve got somebody that’s helping our performance and all that. And you know what, that’s great. There is a place for that. But like, can we just talk about the fact that a number of us just need a really good shrink?
Lauren Conaway 33:22
We all need to go to therapy people? Yes. Well, and I do I see you say that, and I want to be very, very clear about something because I’ve actually dealt with this, in my own experience. When we say that you need a good therapist, or I’m speaking for myself. But when you say that you need a good therapist, we don’t mean you need somebody who’s just going to, you know, agree with everything that you say and validate your every feeling because the fact is, more often than not, we as human beings need to be made self aware. And we need to be held accountable to our choices and our behavior. And even again, like our thoughts and our intuition, all of those things that come together to create the soul of who you are. You have to be held accountable to it. And so I when I started on what like trying to find therapists, one of the things I actually had a couple that were like, I would tell them my story, and they would be like, you’re absolutely right. I’m like, no, I know that I’m not absolutely right. You need to help me parse through this. I need to figure out where I was wrong and how I can redirect. So I won’t be wrong again. That’s exactly what is needed here. Accountability. You know, so please, but I highly, highly recommend the the therapeutic journey if you can get the right practitioner behind you. And that’s good. That practitioner is going to look different for everybody. But I imagine like they have to hold you accountable. They can’t just like rubber stamp you and pass you through. That helps no one it wastes your time and money. Don’t do it.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 34:53
And that’s I think on us a little bit too. I had to find a therapist that I could just be brutally honest with. You’re now in a room with somebody you want to impress or somebody you want to be performative with, or somebody you know, that drags out those things in you where you want to manipulate the outcome or whatever, you gotta get up and roll out. That’s not them, that’s you. We’re gonna meet somebody where you can go in and just say, This is all my super dirty underwear here ever.
Lauren Conaway 35:20
But it was my bullshit. That’s right. Yeah.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 35:23
That’s right. I’m gonna be honest about this bullshit. And then you’re gonna hold me accountable. And, and I think those people do exist in the world. And probably we’d be refreshing to them. You know, if we’re this honest, right?
Lauren Conaway 35:37
Now, the things that you learn on the therapy journey, and on the rehab journey, and on the recovery journey is like you learn like, there is no embarrassment in sharing my story anymore. I’m just like, Here, take it. Take my story. And it’s like I do I do it for a lot of reasons. Like I don’t owe anyone my story, but I share it freely. And when I give it as a gift, I have power over it. I have agency over it. But then the big piece, like the piece that I really love is that I am hoping that you know, as Meg and I are having this conversation, I am begging, I am hoping that the universe, that we’re speaking to someone out there. That there is someone who is going through a hard time, I want to be the champion, I want to be the help. I want to be the support and the resource that I needed. When I was going through my deepest, darkest periods. I act and I serve, because I never want another human being to be as scared and angry and alone as I felt and pieces of my journey. And it sounds like you’re nodding your head pretty like your headphones, yes, hop off, you know, not so hard, sir. I mean, talk to me a little bit about that.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 36:47
No, I have zero to add to what you just said. Literally, I like what you said to like, I’m not. I don’t move in the world with a sense of shame about where I’ve been and who I am anymore. Yeah, but
Lauren Conaway 37:00
Yeah, it took a long time to get there, didn’t it?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 37:02
100%. And I still abuse Why wake up feeling? Yes. And I still have days where I wake up feeling Gosh, should I be doing this? Should I be doing this this godly expose? And the answer is always yes. Because to your point, if one person, who’s been where I stood, can hear what I have to say and go, okay, there’s, this isn’t the end for me. I’m not written off as whatever value I may or may not have to the world. Then it’s totally worth it. It’s totally worth.
Lauren Conaway 37:33
Yeah. Well, so I do want to ask you, how do you think your journey has influenced your leadership style? I’m really curious about this because I know it’s influenced mine. And I have many answers to that question. But I’d like to hear your thoughts.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 37:49
Yeah, I’ve thought a lot about this. Number one, I demand and expect and give authenticity and honesty. And I tell people who work with me all the time. I can do anything with the truth, but do not lie to me. I think you know this, when you go through programs of recovery and things like that, everybody’s just always telling the truth. And when they’re not, it feels weird. You can feel it. And so I run my company like that. And that’s not to say that I need to hold everybody’s story for every area of their life. We’re coworkers. You know, we’re a community, but we’re not a family. Yeah. And there’s a distinction there.
Lauren Conaway 38:23
I don’t have the other of my family members. I’m just saying that’s right. That’s right.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 38:30
And so and so that’s, that’s priority one and just showing up and being authentically to who I am and giving them a place where they always know exactly what I mean, exactly what I’m thinking, what the bar is, what the standards are, and not being confusing about that. People want a boss that doesn’t hide the ball and that doesn’t move the yardstick around. And so I owe them that. That’s my role as the steward of their talent. The other thing that that I think it brings to it is that I do I have very strong standards of, of accountability, and of candor. And I think, I don’t mean candor, necessarily in terms of integrity and truthfulness. I mean, that just plain spoken ways of moving in business where your clients and your your partners know what’s going on and what’s happening. And I think I’ve assembled a team of people around me that that share those values and that do that. And they also get to be human beings, right? Like they get to live in their community, but we’re all going to live moving towards the same eight, we might not always agree, but we will be aligned.
Lauren Conaway 39:38
I love that. And I think that that is a beautiful note to head into the human question with. So, so, I’m going to ask you, we’re gonna close it down in a really dumb way. But the question that I have, the human question that I have for you is, what is your favorite food that everybody else thinks looks gross.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 40:01
Lauren Conaway 40:02
We have one. Well or like maybe your favorite weird food that like everybody else is like, what are you doing? So I’ll go, I’ll give you time. I’m gonna vamp a little. I’m going to tell you moving it while you think about it. But so mine is this dish that I made up when I was going on, I went on a low carb diet for a while. And it’s super easy. All it is, is it’s a can tuna drains, a couple of scoops of cottage cheese and a couple of scoops of salsa on top. I call it Mexican lasagna. And it looks so broad. It looks so disgusting, but it is cheap. It is filling it is flavorful, it it like if you don’t like cottage cheese, I don’t know what to do with y’all. But it sounds terrible. It’s actually really good. And it’s like a really, really easy weeknight dinner. When I’m exhausted. I’m getting some protein, I’m getting some veggies quote unquote, from the salsa. Like, I just feel good about eating it and it’s super uncomplicated, but it looks disgusting.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 41:02
Listen, that’s I’m a pragmatist, too, I can tell you are by the way that you’re like this food will meet a need a target. KPIs, well,
Lauren Conaway 41:11
I love. And I can be a foodie at times. But sometimes food is just fuel and I’m going to put some stuff in my mouth. And then I’m going to continue about my day, you know?
Megan Gluth-Bohan 41:19
I’ll have a similar vein. So, I make a smoothie most mornings when I’m home and not traveling. And it’s very similar to that where I end up throwing in, like, just plain yogurt. And I’ve been a kale fanatic since before kale was even cool. And I’ll throw seeds and like whatever is like sort of laying around. It ends up being sort of a hodgepodge of the leftover ends of carrots that we didn’t eat last night or whatever. And my my wife and children look at me like, I can’t believe you’re drinking that.
Lauren Conaway 41:45
Because your wife, like, here’s your morning sludge, have fun.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 41:49
It’s like I don’t get it, but for me, like, like, it serves a pragmatic purpose. And I’m like, past isn’t that bad, and I move on with my life. But I don’t think
Lauren Conaway 41:57
Not everyone else has a five-star year gourmet dinner. Like sometimes, you’re just looking for something cheap, easy, and fast, so you can get on with it
Megan Gluth-Bohan 42:05
Lauren Conaway 42:07
So, incidentally, I invite all of our listeners to give Mexican lasagna a try I’d like to I’d like to give popularizing it a shot. Because it tastes all right. It does its job, and it’s cheap.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 42:19
Maybe trademark, trademark that first before you promote it.
Lauren Conaway 42:22
So you know what I mean? Honestly, like, take the world habit. It’s it’s the love offering, and it’s ugly. But take it it’s you’re welcome to have it. So I gotta tell you, thank you so much, Meg, for taking the time to chat with us today. It has been one of the most illuminating episodes that I have ever recorded. You made me think about some things pretty deeply. And I hope that you had fun with the experience.
Megan Gluth-Bohan 42:50
Yeah, likewise, Lauren, thank you so much for the time.
Lauren Conaway 42:52
Absolutely. And you know, we absolutely want to thank our episode sponsor, Full Scale. If you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders, Full Scale can help. They have the people in the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit FullScale.io, all you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit FullScale.io. Now, friends, I’m going to go ahead. I’m going to make the appeal that I make all the time. I’m going to ask you to go to StartupHustle.xyz which is our website. You can also find us on social, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok, I think I never go and tick them. But all of the all of the channels, you can find Startup Hustle, Just give us a quick Google because we want to hear from you, friends. We don’t do this for our health. I love to. I’ll talk to people all day long. But I don’t typically turn on a microphone unless I’m doing it for founders. So we want to hear what founders you want us to interview, and what topics you want us to cover. We absolutely want to hear from you. We do this for you. And so we want you to tell us what you need and how we can better serve. We are excited to do that. So please reach out. Let us know how we can, how we can be of help, how we can be of service, and definitely keep on coming back. We love that you listen to us week after week. You are the only reason that we are as successful as we are, and we’re just very, very grateful. So keep on coming back, and we will catch you next time.