Brad Zepecki – Making it to the Other Side of Failure (384)

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Are you feeling stuck in your life or business? Do you feel like no matter how hard you try, things just keep getting worse? If so, you’re not alone. In this episode of the How’d It Happen Podcast, Brad Zepecki shares his story of overcoming adversity and finding success on the other side.

Brad Zepecki is back on the show for the second time, and this time he felt the pull to be real and honest about the struggles he has recently faced in his business so that other people know they are not alone in the challenges they may be facing.

Brad Zepecki is the Founder and CEO of Octavian Technology Group, a Milwaukee-based technology consulting firm that provides strength to its clients with fractional CIO and AI data science expertise. Brad began his career as a software engineer and later pivoted into consulting because he was attracted to the variety of projects and companies he could impact.

One of the key takeaways from Brad’s story is the importance of perseverance. No matter how hard things get, it’s essential to keep pushing forward. As Brad puts it, “you just gotta keep going, I think is the message no matter how hard it gets.” Of course, this is easier said than done. When you’re facing challenges and setbacks, it can be tempting to give up. = Brad’s story is a reminder that success is possible if you keep going.

Another important lesson from Brad’s story is the importance of self-awareness. Brad realized that he needed to make some changes in his life and business, and he was willing to do the work to make those changes happen. He sought out a coach who helped him gain clarity and understanding of his challenges and how to work through them.

Brad’s story is also a reminder that failure is a part of life, and it’s how we learn and grow from it that matters. It’s important to remember that failure is not the end of the world, it’s an opportunity to learn and grow from our mistakes.

Key highlights:

  • Never wanting to give up
  • Disappointing the people that mean so much to you
  • The challenge of getting back to who you are

Episode resources:

Connect with Brad Zepecki:


LinkedIn: Brad Zepecki

Check out the video version of this episode below:

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Episode transcript below:


Brad Zepecki, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:00

Hey everyone, Mike Malatesta here and welcome back to the HOW TO HAPPEN podcast on this podcast. I dig in deep with every guest to explore the roots of their success to discover not just how it happened, but why it matters. My mission is to find and share stories that inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. On today’s episode I brought back Brad’s a Paki, who was first on the show way back on episode number 57. And while you can hear his How did happen story there, today, we’re talking about the quote unquote, new Brad, the guy who’s struggling with himself and his startup business. We talked about heavy issues like never wanting to give up disappointing the people who means so much to you. And the challenge of getting back to who you are, when you’re dealing with so much challenge and failure and things not going the way you want them to go. That you just start to blame yourself. And you just start to kind of fall into this pit of despair. And you don’t really know it’s coming out as much as it actually is. Rad is humble, vulnerable and extremely human in this conversation. There’s a lot of value here. So please, dig in Hey, Brad, welcome back to the how that happened. Podcast.

Brad Zepecki  01:18

Sure having me Mike. Glad to be here.

Mike Malatesta  01:20

Yeah, it was very so for those of you who are listening, if you want to get the whole How’d it happen story? Well, I shouldn’t say the whole How’d it happen story because it’s never the whole How’d it happen the story but if you want to get Brad’s How’d it happen story, I encourage you to go back to Episode 57. Brad was one of my first 100. And it’s like, awesome. So way back to 57. And you will be in for a treat there because you’ll find out the origin of his how that happened story. But today, it’s kind of a different one. Because Brad reached out to me maybe a month or so ago. And we had a conversation about what’s going on in his life and his journey today. And he wanted to come on and talk about and I was like, You know what? That is awesome. Because while I have had people on more than once, I’ve never had a like what’s happening in the chapter of your life. Now that wasn’t maybe on the radar when we did the first episode. Is that a fair way to put it, Brad?

Brad Zepecki  02:13

That’s right on the money, Mike. Okay. So so let’s, let’s,

Mike Malatesta  02:17

let’s dig in. So rather than me asking you how that happened to you, I’m going to just ask you what’s happening to you?

Brad Zepecki  02:23

Yeah. So it’s been almost five years since I left my previous company. And you know, in that podcast, talked about leaving and and wanting to start my own company. And then you know, really show my kids that doesn’t matter where you are in life, what your age is that you could start your own company. And it really just became sort of this mission of mine, which was, I was a CEO at one company. Of course, I’m going to going to jump in and build this new company. That’s what I’ve been doing ever since for the last, I guess, yeah, four, four years is building a company that I started called Octavian technology group.

Mike Malatesta  03:05

So I talked to you, right, right, when you were getting started with this, and you also had your nonprofit code the way. So let’s talk about Octavian first, because you were just getting it off the ground now. Or then the four years ago. And there’s something about it that’s going on now that you didn’t anticipate four years ago.

Brad Zepecki  03:24

Yeah, yes. So So when I think I was in this mindspace of, I’m going to create this company, it’s going to have some sort of technology offering. And it was I don’t want to say it was almost a foregone conclusion for me that at some point, it was going to be successful, and we were going to grow and it was going to be the next chapter in my life. And five, five years in, you know, no one could predict the pandemic, obviously, but but, you know, the, where I’m at right now is that’s not going to be the future. For me. Lots of different reasons. And like I said, I just thought I’d come on and, and just just talk about when things don’t go the way you think they’re going to go. And you have not only yourself, but you have a lot of people that are close to you that that almost just assume it’s gonna go well, and, and then you wake up one day and realize, not only is it not going well, but you’re not having any having any fun at all doing it. And so that’s, I think that’s the real point that that got me to want to talk to you is I think there’s a lot of people maybe in my same shoot in same boat, that have started a company at some point in time, and put everything they had into it. And they were whether there were things that were out of their control, or bad decisions that they’ve made, whatever whatever it might look like, you know, I just want people to know they’re not alone, because that’s that’s exactly where, where I’m at right now. Well,

Mike Malatesta  04:58

tell me if this rings true to you. It feels like if you’ve done something meaningful company building wise, let’s say you’ve done something meaningful, like when we talked last time at your, at your old company, you know, best place to work your, you had awards going, you took you took the company from or you helped take the company from a low point to high pine coming out of the Great Recession, there was just like, there’s an expectation that you had something and something special, something meaningful, something that people would rally around something that would make a company successful and you it would be unnatural not to have that same expectation going into whatever it was that you decided to do next

Brad Zepecki  05:42

EPS That’s exactly right. It was almost a foregone conclusion that so many people just Just do your own thing you’re gonna you’re gonna kill it, you’re gonna you know, the will see nothing but success. You’re you’re a team, a great team builder, all these positive traits that people tell you you have in, they think I think it just is going to automatically translate to success, right? And I’m here to tell you that that’s not true. So yeah,

Mike Malatesta  06:07

so you’re walking, you’re you’re walking proof living proof that building a successful company, whether you start it or whether you come in to run it or whatever is a very difficult thing to do. And having done it is No, there’s nothing about having done it that ensures that you would be able to do it again, even though everything around you would suggest to

Brad Zepecki  06:31

you that’s what it is. Yeah, yeah, you have all the confidence in the world, you have all support. A lot of excitement to space you’re in seems to make total sense. product fit, Product Market Fit looks great. But then when you really start to get in and execute on it, and you start building a team and you know, things just they don’t work the way you expect them to work. And so, yeah, as you get to it, then you get to a point not to jump ahead, but you get to a point where you realize that there’s just too many headwinds, and you never want to give up. If you’re a competitor in business, and you want to take pride in what you’re trying to do. You never want to give up because you don’t, we’ve were always told never give up. Yeah. And so I just was not going to give up, I was not going to have my kids see me give up. But what I then realized was, I’m not giving up I’m just realizing that this this particular period of my life isn’t is is what it is. I learned, like, I learned so much said that’s not going to define sort of the rest of my story.

Mike Malatesta  07:40

Yeah. So you mentioned your kids a couple of times proud. You mentioned them, you know, being wanting to show them at least I think I remember in the context of wanting to show them that you could do it, you know that we’re going to create this great thing, and my kids are going to be proud of me as a result. And then what you were just saying, again, when you mentioned your kids, it was sort of like my kids, or how are my kids going to feel about this journey? How are they going to feel like I disappointed them that I somehow failed? And what I said I was going to do or promised I was going to do? I mean, tell me about how that’s rattling around in your, in your

Brad Zepecki  08:13

Yeah, for a long time. It wasn’t rattling around very positively, I’ll tell you that. I think you just want to give them a you know, what you think is a good example, and a success in being successful, and what it takes. And they’ve been great. I mean, they are, you know, I’m a lot more, I’m a lot harder on myself than they are on me, that’s for sure. And so I think you just realize that they’re still going to be your kids, they still remember, even though they’ve moved away, my daughter is married and she lives in Minneapolis, my son’s at Whitewater. It’s amazing kind of what you realize when you talk to them about it, like they’re really not that disappoint. I mean, they’re the responses been while we’re, you know, disappointed that it didn’t work out, you know, we know your next your next thing is going to be great. And so then then sort of became a fit, I have to admit failure, and then take this opportunity to show them what that looks like and how to respond to failure because we’re all going to fail at some point in our lives. So that’s, that’s sort of the the kid dynamic at this point.

Mike Malatesta  09:18

And it’s weird, right? Because you’re you spent all this time thinking about how they’re going to be thinking about you. And it may not just be kids, it could be thinking about this, you know, like listening to this. Think about all the people in your life who you are thinking about all the time about what they’re thinking about you and you’re trying. You’re trying to you’re trying you’re basically putting yourself in their shoes and you have no business being.

Brad Zepecki  09:42

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.

Mike Malatesta  09:45

But it deep but it eats you up it in some cases it can control you. I’m not suggesting that’s your case, but in some cases that can really control a person

Brad Zepecki  09:54

but control me Yeah, for the last. I probably did this a year, a year and a half to On maybe because of that, I was not gonna let them see me fail. Like it just wasn’t an option. So it was controlling me. Yeah, it was, I just didn’t want him to see it, you know, and then you got to sit in it and own it. And once you get to that point where you realize you’re just not happy doing what you’re doing,

Mike Malatesta  10:18

right? Well, you it sounds to me like you knew that a long time before now. And you may have actually said that you knew that a long time before now. But there’s another, you know, this, I want to really, I’d like to explore a little bit with you this whole notion of not wanting to give up not wanting to quit, even when you’ve you’ve sort of resigned yourself to the fact that quitting is probably the better option than continuing to move forward. But still, quitting comes with, you know, an admission, I guess it’s, it’s never you never, it’s never real until you actually do it, even if you feel it way before so. And what I mean by that is, it’s real a long time before but when you don’t admit it, when you don’t give it give into it, you’re somehow keeping it from actually being real. So help me understand help us understand how, you know, when you came to the conclusion initially, or at least the inkling that, hey, I got, this may not work the way that I wanted. What did you talk to anybody about that? Or did you just say, Yeah, but I can’t admit that? Or did you say, Well, if I just work harder? I know I can get it? What was there’s a lesson in there for us? What is it?

Brad Zepecki  11:25

Yeah, that’s cash? That’s a good question. Because it had always been on my mind, in the back of my mind about the fact that maybe this wasn’t something that I was going to want to do. And then you, you kind of kind of put it away and just say, You know what, I’m just not going to pay attention to that thought or that feeling. And you, you get back to the work at hand, you get back to your meetings, you get back to your customers, and you’re in the day to day because there’s a financial component, that is always part part of the discussion, but you can’t just not think about the financial part of it. And so I couldn’t really turn the page, like I wanted to Intel. Actually, my wife, she she just said to me one day, like, what are you doing? Like you’re not, you know, you don’t know what kind of person you are. But your wife knows what kind of person they’re living with, you know, and she sees me day to day, and I didn’t really realize it. And she’s just like you, you are not happy at all. Like, this is not the Brad the business, Brad the leader that she knew I was. And it was at that moment where I was like, Yeah, I can’t, to the point that my my word of I have this word every year. And the word for my word this year has been revival, just to try to kind of get back to being who I am. Because when you’re in it, and you don’t want to quit, it’s just you get this tunnel vision. And you sat you make sacrifices to your own well being and you just lose priorities. And it’s just it becomes messy. And I think it’s for me anyways, and I think it wasn’t till that moment where that really sunk in when she said that. And we had something happen this year. business wise, that was sort of the icing on the cake. But to your point, I had been there months earlier. And this was just kind of a well, I guess that makes it easier. Yeah, to wind it down. Like okay, I guess this really is that going to continue typing?

Mike Malatesta  13:27

And when when your wife said to you, this isn’t who aren’t you know, who are you? You’re, you’re different did Were you surprised by that? And I’m the reason I’m asking is because me personally, I feel like I’m feeling stuff all the time. Right? Like like I’m like every human being but I also feel like I’m a master at keeping it you know, the the outside appearance, I’m a master at keeping it the way that I want it to be seen even on the inside. It isn’t. But I think the people who are who know me who are perceptive of me can see through that BS, and I don’t think they can you know, because I think I’m doing such a great job at covering up. That’s great. So were you surprised when she’s when she said yeah. Are you like, oh my god, you saw it? I’ve been hiding this. How could ya or what?

Brad Zepecki  14:16

Yeah, it’s you try to get good at compartmentalizing things. And I realized I am not good at that. I would get get her to see so I already knew I’ve always worn my emotions on my sleeve. It’s always been that’s been a blessing and a curse for me. As you typically know. Normally people know when I’m down, and I’m not not in my best mood or whatever that may be. And you just in in the difference this time around was I actually thought I was doing a good job. And then I realized, well you’re really not doing a good job of compartmentalizing and putting on this facade to the point where I was out talking to people that I knew and they they were just like we’re what’s going went on, like, and I didn’t even realize that I was in that space where usually I would know. And then you get, then I mean, if that’s making sense, it’s typically you know, when you’re talking to somebody and you’re doing a good job of presenting the the person you want to present, that everyone knows you, as you know, but I got to a point where even though I was doing that, and thought I was doing that people were still picking up, that’s when it got scary for me, because then I realized, man, I got some stuff going on, that I can’t control. And that’s, that’s, that’s actually the one of the, you know, one of the big reasons I wanted to talk to you is, you know, I don’t know if people are going through that, but that that can be very scary. Because then then that’s when you start to not want to talk to people, because you don’t, you don’t want that, you know, you’re kind of not in control about how you’re coming across. That makes sense.

Mike Malatesta  15:56

Yeah. Can you give me an example is, like, when I’m listening to you, I’m hearing my self awareness is has dulled. And I used to think that was a superpower of mine being having better self awareness than anyone else. Yeah. So that I could pick up on cues. And I could really get what I wanted out of the thing. And I’m not trying to put words into your mouth, but that’s what I was hearing. But I want to make sure that I’m that I’m hearing it right. And I just thought maybe an example might help.

Brad Zepecki  16:26

Yeah, I think we just met met met with a longtime friend of mine. And we met like three or four times. And he finally just said, you know, where’s the spark? And I was like, What are you talking about? Where’s the spark? Like the sparks right here? Like, I’m always new, we’re laughing. And he’s just like, No, you’re just not the same. And I was like, I didn’t know what to really how to respond to that. And then actually, someone that I met with, it’s kind of a networking over a beer in this person said some things to me at the end that weren’t very complimentary, in my in my opinion. And, you know, ultimately, he was right. But I just felt like, I just didn’t realize that I wasn’t coming across. And the person even said, like, five years ago, you were this person? Where is that person? That person is not here right now. And I was just, like, blown away. I was, you know, and then I went home, and I was mad. And then I went home. And that’s when I was really like, I gotta fix, I gotta, I gotta figure out and understand what’s what’s happening with me right now. Because, you know, I kind of missed that guy. You know, and he hasn’t been around for a while. Because when you’re dealing with so much challenge, and failure and things not going the way you want them to go, that you just start to blame yourself, and you just start to kind of fall into this pit of, of despair. And you don’t really know what’s coming out as much as it actually is, if that makes sense.

Mike Malatesta  17:47

Yeah, that’s a thank you for sharing that. Because as if I’m putting myself in your shoes, you’re at this event, this person says this stuff to you. And you’re like, you have two ways to react. Right? You’re either you can either be like, well, thank you, that’s really nice of you to tell me what you’re thinking. Or yeah, be like, you know, well, fu you do? You’re just being an estimate. And I don’t know, you know, but then, which sounded like it was your initial reaction. But then when you went home, you sort of thought, Wow, maybe maybe that guy or whoever it was, is is right, they have something there that and then it must have scared the crap out of you. Right? Because you’re like some got some person that sees me at a networking event is referencing what I was like five years ago, maybe hasn’t seen me in a long time now saying, I’m like this. Like what’s happened? Right? That’s exactly that’s the maybe the worst kind of validation. Wow,

Brad Zepecki  18:36

yeah, not great. Not a great feeling. It’s a it really find out who you are, then. Yeah. So that’s, that’s been a challenge

Mike Malatesta  18:44

for sure. I want to get into the partnership thing and all that because that’s have some bearing on this beat, you know, it’s not just your children, right. But it’s very brave of you to come on and talk about this because I mean, like, here’s the reality at least as far as my world goes, there is not a person out there who isn’t struggling through some period of their life thinking that they aren’t living up to the potential they want everyone to believe that they have and, and they don’t want anybody to know about it. It’s I know I’ve I feel that way all the time. Fortunately, like in my book, I always call I called it the Valley of uncertainty like dropped down into this valley. You know, the key is like, how long do you stay there before you can bounce back up, but it’s a really it can be a really lonely place. And if it doesn’t take much to keep slipping, you know, you try to climb up and you slip a little bit and you try to climb up and you slip a little bit and and you can get in that valley and you can stay there for a while. Just uncertain about everything in your life and not everything in your life but uncertain about whatever it is that’s causing you to be there and doing anything about it. Actually doing the opposite like like when your friend or the networking person says, This guy who is who are you, instead of, instead of taking that, as, you know, like medicine for improvement, you instead say you instead blame that person for why you’re here. It’s like, that person has no idea what they’re, they’re doing. So I think it’s very brave. And this whole thing that you’ve, you know, that sort of precipitated this whole thing I’ve had, you know, I’ve been up here and everybody said, I’m going to do great, and you don’t do that you don’t do that. Great. And I’ll use myself like I, you know, I’ve had my share of business success. I’ve had plenty of challenges along the way, but people, you know, see the outside and they say, Well, you know, look at, you know, you’ve done pretty well, but like podcasting, for example. I mean, I, I’m not the Joe Rogan of podcasting, and you know, what I should be? That’s what I tell myself. I should be, why am I not? Right? What am I doing, that’s any different than what he’s doing. And, you know, when you start, when you start to get that in your head, it can it can really, it can really mess with with you. And you know, like I said way earlier, doing something like running a business or having a, you know, a top podcaster you name it, whatever it is, is really freaking hard, man. And if you do it once, it’s does not mean that you will do it again. It’s

Brad Zepecki  21:17

definitely been humbling, that’s for sure.

Mike Malatesta  21:20

So let me let me ask you, let me ask you about the your, your partnership, because there’s an I don’t know that the I don’t know the specifics of it. But I do know that you have a partner in this business. And so there’s another component of like, this person, I’m assuming this person partnered with me because they knew I could, you know, make this thing big and successful and all that. And they’re maybe they’re relying on you, maybe you’re reliant on each other. That’s probably the case. But well, you tell me what it’s what’s been what’s it been like? And what is it like for you,

Brad Zepecki  21:51

the partner that I have now isn’t the one that I started with, I think when I first left my, the company, before we were in the maki Business Journal, I was I partnered with Northwestern Mutual execs to do some data science work. And those guys were great, super talented people. But in the end, we kind of we were in different places, we wanted different things. And we couldn’t solidify that. And so I ended up partnering with another gentleman, different technology more in the artificial intelligence space, which is obviously suddenly pretty popular topic. And so we just decided to, you know, set it up, have give him equity, and he’s earned every every point of it, I guess, you know, for me, you know, he was, he is sort of the product in there’s no one more talented than he is by a longshot in my opinion. But the problem, I think that we fit that we fade for me was that I kind of always knew in the back of my mind, at least, I felt like I was letting him down. Because what the business needed, and what more my skills were my strengths were weren’t necessarily aligned. And it was. And that’s actually one of the biggest lessons that I learned is you, you have to be able to do just about everything, when you start a business except maybe the the execution part or the delivery part where you know, there’s you could be selling a product, or selling services, you really need to be able to have that story of taking it to the market and, and selling it and then delivering whatever it is you’re selling. And I had deficiencies in some of the things that the business needed. And I didn’t necessarily think they were that big. But then over time as we started to really do marketing and going and going and selling that that what the business needed was something beyond my skill set. And I think that’s when we realized least I realized that we were going to we’d have to pivot. And we just couldn’t, couldn’t come up with anything that made sense. Because of those deficiencies in the team. We just didn’t have the rounded out team that we needed, along with the capitals to support that. And so that was what my partner now is in. Like I said, I just feel like I could have done more for him to build the business the way it needs to be built.

Mike Malatesta  24:14

And, you know, today, you’ve, you’ve sort of made this decision about putting putting an end to this, but you haven’t executed it with

Brad Zepecki  24:24

Yeah, we’ve talked about it. And I think we both think he realizes that we’re we’re winding things down, but there’s still customers that we have to take care of. In the nude. This is another new thing for both of us. He may decide that he wants to do something with it. You know, I don’t really we still have to talk through those things. I just want to be fair to him and give him whatever opportunity. I mean, he sacrificed a lot to try to build this. And we all did everybody that was involved. So I think it’s just as in anything trying to do it right up until the end is you know, and he may decide he wants to To take it in and try to continue to build it with. With someone new. I don’t know, we haven’t gotten that far yet. But I’m very optimist, optimistic and hopeful that it goes, it goes well, and we continue to be friends.

Mike Malatesta  25:12

Yeah. To maintain the relationship. Yeah. And so when that does happen in the, in the very near future, Brad, what where do you go? I mean, what’s your plan?

Brad Zepecki  25:21

Yeah, I think, um, well, back in backing up just a little bit, I have started to network network and, you know, put my resume out to a few people and talk about what potentially could be next. But for me, what I’m really trying to focus on right now is just getting my mind and my headspace in the right. Because I’m still gun shy because of what we were talking about before. When I go out and talk to people I want to make sure you know, I keep referencing the old Brad, I guess there’s this new brand that I’ve got to sort of be comfortable with, that now has coming out of the valley of uncertainty and I still think I’m in there. I still think I am, you know, in depression creeps in. I’m not I’m not ashamed to say that word. It, it happens, it’s in. So I want to be ready. Mine, you know, mind wise, and to take on whatever the next challenge is, and be in a good headspace. So what’s next for me is continuing to do that. And I do feel like every day is getting better as I talk about this. And I sort of made my peace with the situation in and I’ve gotten a lot I’ve had conversations with people that have done. And I guess that’s, you know, I’m so thankful of the people that might listen to this, then they’ll know who they are. You couldn’t I couldn’t do it without them. And so there’s anyone out there that is in my position, just talk, talk to the people that give you energy that care about you. And you’ll over time, find a way out. And so I’m kind of, I’m really hoping I don’t slip back. But I feel like I’m coming out of it. And I’ve got a few things that I’m working on. And I’m excited about those things. And I just want to get, you know, purpose, purpose place provisions. I’m missing a couple peas, but they all lead to your personal peace. And so I’m working on getting those getting those where they need to be and turning the page on whatever’s next, our first

Mike Malatesta  27:18

episode together. 57, you we talked a little bit about the impact that Simon cynics start with why had on you at some point in? Are you thinking about that? Are you thinking about a new? Why? Or is it too early for that?

Brad Zepecki  27:36

It’s a really good question. I think I don’t know. That’s, that’s tough, because I think you have your why, like whatever career you pick, you have your why that was the big thing I came up with, when I was at my previous company is why am I doing this? I think some of those continue to flow through, I care about people. It’s what I’ve really realized. And I want to help people be better in whatever they’re deciding to do part of a team, obviously in technology, some some role, their space there, but as far but you also have your life why. And so those have blended together a lot more than they were previously. And so I’m trying to you know, providing for your family has a y like that, that those realities that you didn’t use to worry about. Now you do because you’ve invested a lot of time and money into this business. And so you have to accept the fact that that didn’t reap the rewards that you expected them to reap. And so now, you’re digging out of that as well. So that’s a very long answer. I apologize that I think I think the y’s are evolving. I think the y’s are evolving. Okay, but I will definitely be making sure that I pay attention to that. Whatever happens next.

Mike Malatesta  28:49

And you’ve described yourself a couple of times with this old brand new Brad, you know, kind of boxes, I guess, and I’m wondering, so you have old bread do Brad, what’s what are you thinking about for next bread? Do you want to go back to old bread? Do you want to become new bread, except for some of the things that you don’t want? And it’s just curious. I’ve never I don’t think I’ve ever been I don’t know why but I don’t think I’ve ever thought of myself in that in that way. Like old my new mic next month. So I’m just curious what you’re thinking.

Brad Zepecki  29:21

Yeah, I think probably a hybrid maybe. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s I want I want pieces of the old bread the more confident bread that that’s definitely mental competence self high, you know, have the energy always positive, excited about the day challenges of the day. But the the new bread I think is also someone that I’ve got, I’ve got to prioritize sort of my own well being my own health, which caused me to, you know, ultimately leave my previous job. And so I think it’s a blend of finding that, that that competence purpose connection with people, those are my core values. So I want to really make sure they’re my four core values were purpose, connection, security, and fun. Getting back to those and make sure make sure I’m addressing those, so that I can be the best version of myself for the people that are around me. They care about me that love me, and be able to love them in a way that they’ll remember. You know, I think I’m very hopeful that this next step is actually the best version. Once I finally come out of it, whatever that is. So I’m kind of excited. But I’m also impatient. It’ll take time. But yeah, probably probably a little bit of a mix of the two. Hopefully that answered, yeah, what are you getting out there?

Mike Malatesta  30:44

Yeah, well, I feel like the there’s a very good likelihood that the next version will be the best version, because I have this saying, although it’s difficult to live minute to minute, it’s not difficult to live over a long period of time. And that is that the best is yet to come. You know, if I try to if I try to live, the best is yet to come every minute. It’s just doesn’t work. Because the it’s it’s a long term thing that you can’t put focus on, you can’t you can’t focus on every second, every minute of the day, because it’s too hard, because so many things go wrong. Like, I’m just freaking kidding myself, I’m saying the best is yet to come. But that’s true. Because everything that gets hard for you, you figure out a way to get past and once you figure out a way to get past, and then you look at it in you know, over a period of time you go well, you know, it’s right, the best is yet to come. Yeah, I didn’t think so when I was in it, but having been in it and having gone through it, it just kind of leads to that. And you mentioned energy a few times, you know, they say, you know, you want to be around people who give you energy and you want to don’t be around people who take energy away from you. But you know what, sometimes you take energy away from yourself, you got to put in that sounds like what was what is and what’s been happening to you, you take energy out of yourself, and then you end you shut it off, you shut off energy, because you’re, you’re once you are depleting yourself of energy, it’s almost like you’re, you know, like, you don’t have the battery cables to, to attach to another person who has energy to give you. And so you’re just, you know, you’re just kind of boxed boxed in there. And either you become the person who doesn’t give energy to anybody else. And then you’re like, what? What’s going on?

Brad Zepecki  32:29

That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right. You always want to be 70 30%, I think is what my coach talks about as being being doing things and being around people that give you energy 70 70% of the time, and then then you need that energy for the other 30% of things that maybe, you know, because we all are doing things some things we don’t necessarily want to do. Were super excited about. Yeah, but that’s, it’s huge. It’s absolutely huge. And what I found is, you know, my I was inverted in a really unhealthy way. Because there’s just things that this required that not in my my strength, strength finder, or whatever, like it’s just not, and then you beat yourself up, because you should have known that, you know, when you when you dove into this, and it just kind of snowballs and then things, you know, then you get to the point where where I’m at now, where you’re just like, it’s not not a good setup?

Mike Malatesta  33:23

Well, again, it’s kind of like, if you’re starting something new, how could you possibly know all the things that are needed, it’s, it’s, it’s just such a different life to run something that even if it’s not performing well is off the ground, than it is to literally lift something off the ground by starting it, it’s it’s different. It’s different for guy like you as accomplished, as you are to say and admit, like, there were some things that this business needed that I didn’t have, there were skill sets this business needed that I didn’t have, and it had to be so frustrating to one, acknowledge that but to once you’ve realized that to not have the resources, or whatever to get that who or whoever that person is that had that skill set, right? Because if you could have done that, you know, that’s problem solved, and you’re off sort of, right. But instead, you can’t solve the problem, you just don’t have the

Brad Zepecki  34:19

in that’s, you get to that that’s the end game. That’s when you realize you’ve tried everything, you’ve explored all your resources, you’ve spent hours, strategizing about other things you could do and then you just come to the conclusion that we either need a bunch of more money, you know, and when that and that really when that becomes the the idea and how much you would actually need. It just becomes it just you just realize it’s it’s we would need to restart, we would need to start over and I think I think the good news, though, in all of this is that we did take care of the people that were worked here and the clients that we did work with I feel pretty good about that. So, yeah, sometimes it just isn’t meant to be

Mike Malatesta  35:03

what can you tell us about your work with your coach? You mentioned your coach. Oh, with?

Brad Zepecki  35:07

Yeah, yeah, she’s a lifesaver. She had been working with her for three or four years, five years, maybe even longer. As a CEO or an owner, I think most people are kind of jumping on that bandwagon of having a coach, I don’t know how you could do it without because it’s so lonely. You know, it’s only at the top is what people say, where she’s really helped me is understanding the why based on like, my, like, who I am, she knows who I am, you know, she took me through one of the personality tests, I don’t know if it was, I always forget. And then she can kind of apply that and help just give you clarity, as to not a solution, necessarily, but clarity as to why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. Why you’re challenged with this situation, or person or problem, whatever it might be, and then ideas to, you know, when you go out for the next month, and apply those to the situation. And she’s usually right. And so it’s just a different, it’s a different lens into your life. As much as you want to open up with your coach, I would recommend the more the better. But it’s really been it’s really been helpful, saying how keeping me a little bit sane. Highly recommended, for sure.

Mike Malatesta  36:20

Okay, what’s the first thing you’re going to do when it’s officially taping? It’s

Brad Zepecki  36:24

Damien. Yeah, activity? And I’m sorry. Yeah, no, no, that’s okay. Well, hopefully, I’m gonna have a new new career before that, because we’re still gonna have some clients that are that are winding down, okay. Oh, honestly, I might just, I might just throw a party like, like, it’s, it’s, it’s gonna feel so good to be back with the team, whatever that looks like. And to have some purpose back and be able to help people. But the first thing I’m going to do is probably just take a deep breath, and just kind of say, say, thank you. No, thank God, we’re, we move past it. And next thing, take a

Mike Malatesta  37:01

deep breath, and have a party. And laugh more than one of your core values. That’s right, right.

Brad Zepecki  37:09

Gotta have some fun. So yeah, it’s a good question. But that’s what I think. Just breathe, breathe a sigh of relief, you know, it’s been, it’s been really hard for me. And it’s been probably harder for my wife, to watch, you know, someone that used to be so confident and just successful to, you know, someone struggle, like it’s gotta be hard for that’s what, um, maybe it’ll be just give give my wife a big hug and a kiss. And, you know, that might be might be the first thing to know.

Mike Malatesta  37:43

All right. Well, I need to keep you posted. Any? Yeah, any of those would work, I think. Yeah. So before we go, Brad, is there anything that I haven’t asked you, or that you would like to leave with me? And those listening? Yeah, I don’t know.

Brad Zepecki  37:57

Um, this has been great. I mean, I thank you for having me back. It’s always hard to know that what your story is, is going to going to help someone or resonate with someone. And that’s really been my was my goal, it’s hard to talk about this stuff, because you got to be super vulnerable. And you have to be willing for people to judge you. Which is going to happen. And there’s a lot of fear around that, because I still don’t have my next opportunity. But you know, for me, it’s it. It is just if you’re, if any of what I’ve been through resonates with you just in you ever want to talk, you don’t have to know, you know, you could send me a note on LinkedIn, whatever, connect with you, Mike and just, you just got to keep going, I think is the message no matter how hard it gets. It’s just that next day, even though you don’t want to get out of bed, even though it doesn’t seem like things are ever going to go your way and just the next thing that’s going to happen is going to be bad. When you get into that mind space, you just have to find a way to get out. And you know, I have a lot of thoughts on I can tell it you know, if you reach out, I can kind of tell you what I did what I am doing. Really just just know that if your heart is in the right place, and you’re trying to do right by people, and it still doesn’t work out, you at least have that you at least have that you just did your best. And you know that’s really a is just hanging in there to get through it.

Mike Malatesta  39:35

Well, Brad, I’m just happy that you chose to come on the show today talk about this experience has been a painful experience and and help us understand not only how you were feeling during it, but how you’re feeling about Bill getting through it and I just feel like it was a very human conversation that everyone can relate to. It’s I’m part of their life. And to many people, one aren’t aren’t going to, they’re not going to admit that, hey, everybody has something like this First of all, and two, they’re not going to do anything about it. They’re not going to talk about it, they’re not going to, they’re just gonna hope that it goes away at some point. Or they’re just going to become bitter, bitter people who think that this is awesome conspiracy against them, instead of just being like, this is life. This is what happens doesn’t always go the way that I thought it would. And it’s good to struggle is what makes you stronger. Right. That’s what they say the struggle makes you stronger. And I do very, very much believe that for you and for everybody. You keep moving forward, as you said, and the best is definitely to come.

Brad Zepecki  40:46

Thanks so much. My, my pleasure,

Mike Malatesta  40:49

everybody. Thanks for listening to the show. And before you go, I just have three requests for one. If you like what I’m doing, please consider subscribing or following the podcast on whatever podcast platform you prefer. If you’re really into it, leave me a review, write something nice about me, give me five stars or whatever you feel is most appropriate. Number two, I’ve got a book called owner shift how getting selfish got me unstuck. It’s an Amazon bestseller, and I’d love for you to read it or listen to it on Audible or wherever else Barnes and Noble Amazon, you can get it everywhere if you’re looking for inspiration that will help you unlock your greatness and potential order or download it today so that you can have your very own copy. And if you get it please let me know what you think. Number three, my newsletter. I do a newsletter every Thursday. And I talk about things that are interesting to me and or I give more information about the podcast and the podcast guests that I’ve had and the experiences that I’ve had with them. You can sign up for the podcast today at my website, which is my name Mike You do that right now put in your email address and you’ll get the very next issue. The newsletter is short, thoughtful and designed to inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you

Alexi Cortopassi

Alexi Cortopassi

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