here's the question, what's going on inside the minds of top achievers that caused them to make extraordinary breakthroughs both personally and professionally. My name is tim Sure. And I invite you to join me as we take a deep dive into the unconscious mind and discover how to transform your biggest dreams into a reality. Welcome to the how to be mesmerizing podcast. Hey everybody welcome to how to be mesmerizing. It's Tim Fischer and today I have a spectacular guest with us. Mitzi Purdue is here, MITzi, welcome to the program. Hey, what a joy to be with you. I just love your show and I'm so honored to be part of it. Thank you. Thank you so much. This is a real pleasure. So ladies and gentlemen, mitzi Purdue. Her father started the Sheridan hotel empire. Her father started out with one hotel and built it into 400 hotels and became a legend in the industry. And then she also married frank Perdue, who is the chicken king, the, you know, the chicken empire of Purdue chicken and, and she became the queen, you know, of the, of the chicken empire.
And, and then, you know on top of all of that, she also is an incredible, beautiful entrepreneur and philanthropist. She started her own company, She's one of the biggest grape wine cellars or I think I'm saying that right, right, um, great stuff, yeah, that make wine, you know, in the country and she's written several books and she's a public speaker and she's just incredible! So mitzi, I'm so happy that you're here with us today. Oh, thank you again for having me on. I'm eager to share whatever I can. So we've talked a lot about some different stories and I want other people. One of the, one of the reasons why I created this podcast is because I get the privilege of talking to some of the world's most mesmerizing people. And I, and I always wish that when those secret conversations were going on, I could be a fly on the wall and I could hear what other people are talking about. And so I created this podcast so that I could bring my listeners and viewers in to these conversations. So I'd like to just start off by um, asking you to retell some of the stories that you told me when we first met.
So why don't we start with, um, how your father created the Sheraton Hotels? I would, I'd like nothing better because When my father started, it was in the early 1930s at the height of the Great Depression and it has so many harmonics back to what's going on today. But in his case, he got into the hotel industry when everybody in the world was saying real estate and hotels and travel in general, they'll never recover. It's a disaster. And hotels were going bankrupt, right and left. And so why would father get into this industry that everybody was terrified of. Well, he had a secret sauce and it's one that I think applies as well today As it applied back, Let's say 1933 And I'd like to invite you, tim and our listeners or viewers to come back with me to 1933 and father has just bought a hotel. What does he do when, when he first takes possession of a hotel knowing that in general hotels are going bankrupt like right and left and the unemployment rate at that time we're talking 1933 is 25 day he takes possession of a hotel.
The first thing he does is he invites all the employees to come into the hotel ballroom and there could easily be 400 people there. And he told me because I asked him stories all the time. He told me that he understood the people in that ballroom, that they were just a really demoralized group of people because it would be very typical for somebody to take over a failing company to clean house fire people. And the people in his audience probably or how about certainly were worried that they're going to be fired, Known that they'd be on the breadline because if there's 25% employment unemployment, you are not going to get another job. So father understood that. And the first words out of his mouth to his new employees was I want every one of you to keep your job. I want you to keep your job because I believe in you, I know that you know this hotel better than anybody else on earth and I know that you know your job better than anybody else on earth and I want you to stay because together, my part of this is I'm going to give you the resources and the encouragement and support to show the world just how good you are.
Mm And then he went on why he said together, we're going to make this hotel the most popular hotel in the whole city. It's going to be the best served, the most financially staple. It's going to be an example to the rest of the whole city that things can turn around. Well, just imagine what it must have felt if you were in that audience. Oh wow. You know, going from the depths of despair, how am I gonna tell my spouse or my significant other that I've been fired. Two, Hey, there's somebody who believes in me and this hotel is going to make it. Well, that's the beginning of the story and I'm probably monologue ng too long. But there's a part two to the story. Yes, please continue. I'm mesmerized already. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. So that's part one of the story. Part two is what the employees experienced the next day. The very next day that get to see troops of like plumbers, electricians decorators coming into the hotel, which in a way you predict because of the hotels on the verge of bankruptcy, it's probably gone to seed and the carpets are stained and just one way or the other, you have to put money into refurbishing it.
But from my point of view, the important part of this story is these people who are trooping into the hotel to refurbish it. They didn't go to the areas that the public would ever see. Now. They were going into the areas that only the employees would see like the employee dining room, the employee lockers, the showers, the rickety old elevators. Father spent the first money in every hotel itty ever took over. He spent the first money on areas that would benefit the employees. So of course I asked him, why did you do that? And here comes what I take to be a point of wisdom that can be that can count today justice as much as it did. Gosh, uh, 90 years ago. And the point of wisdom is he said, people look up, live up to or down to your expectations. And I wanted to communicate to them, not just in words as I had the day before, but in actual actions, how important they were, how much I believed in them and to repeat People have a compulsion to live up to or down to your expectations.
Well, that's part two of the story that he was communicating in the most concrete way. How important they were to him by spending the first money on recognizing their importance and making their living conditions better. You know, spiffing them up. I mean what a message if you're working for the hotel. But then IsIS daughter, It was just extremely interested in how, how he built this hotel empire out of nothing because he started with no employees and at the time of his death he employed 20,000. So as a little girl, I was forever asking him, how did you do it? And one of my questions was, you're standing up there the first day, you've taken over a hotel and you promised that they could all keep the job. How can you do that? Why? You know, why not like make them earn it in some way? You know, this is my childish question and his answer. And again, this is a point of wisdom that I think applies as much today in tough times as it did back then.
And what he what he would answer that question of why did why did you promise them they're keeping their jobs is he said, if you want people to do things your way, if if you want compliance, if you want influence and maybe dare I use the word mesmerizing them. Uh, if you want people to do what you want, you know, in his world, he told me that there are three major ways. I mean they're probably a million, but they're three in his world. And the first one was intimidation, He could have stood up there in front of 400 employees or 800 however many it was and he could have looked at them, he could have said shape up or you're fired. Mhm. Intimidation. Old school leadership. That's how that's the old school approach for so many people. Not mesmerizing leaders like your father but for so many. Well he explained what was wrong with the intimidation. Old school way he said the problem with intimidation is often you can get compliance.
They'll do what you want but they'll do it grudgingly. They'll never go the extra mile. You know, there you're not a team. Mhm. Okay. So in his world there was a second way bribery. He said I could have stood up in front of them and I could have said do a great job and there's a raise in it for you. Maybe there's bonuses. But he said, you know that's that's better than intimidation but it's still an ineffective way for a leader to approach getting getting compliance. You said the problem is it's it's too transactional people will work for the bonus of the race but they're not going to work for something bigger. He said the way that he endorsed was inspire don't require give people a better vision of themselves. He said that a person say imagine imagine that you're a maid and you're making a bed.
You could frame that job as I'm cleaning the room. I'm making the beds or maybe I'm bartending or carrying suitcases, whatever I'm doing. I could look at it that way and that's kind of a drudgery job and I got to do it for eight hours because I need my paycheck. It's one way of framing it, but father wanted to frame it as we're going to have the best most popular hotel in the city. We're going to be an example to everybody else that things can turn around and by the way they always did. So his view was inspired, don't require and you know, one of his phrases which I just love is that a leader's job is to give people a better vision of themselves and look where it took him From. An industry that was failing to one that was so successful that again at the time of his death, 400 hotels, 20,000 employees. So in my summary of all of this is, but there's, I think these are timeless secrets of success.
It's how you treat people, how you inspire them to go the extra mile. Uh to me that's the secret of father's success, wow, wow, wow! Three, wows me! That was amazing. Oh my gosh, that was a powerful story, wow! You want me to have the fourth part of the story because I've told you three so far If there's 20 parts of this story, you just keep going. I feel a little guilty about mama logging, but you know it's someone listening from me, They want to hear, you know, they tuned in to hear you and so I'm feeling guilty, but oh well it doesn't stop me. Good for you. That's another lesson. Oh my gosh, I hope people are taking notes right now. We don't let guilt stop us. All right. So what's, what's number four then? Okay, I saved the best for last. The number four is Father in the 1930s.
As far as I can tell, I'm a little bit of the history buff. So, and I also studied management and I even know what the theories were at that time. I mean, I have a Massachusetts public administration, that's how interested I am in this whole subject of how he did it at that time. There was something called Theory X where you just demanded and how was he able to completely, you know, swim outside the river that everybody else was swimming in. And I think I know the answer and the answer. And again, I hope this is useful to people because he did something that was just so valuable that anybody who chooses to emulate it. Uh, it might be useful to you. And here's what it is. The story that I just told about how, how he would inspire the people who worked for him. You would think that that comes from just extraordinary understanding of human nature and instinctive, just grasping of what people are all about.
Well, I'm gonna go with extraordinary understanding of human nature, but it was so far from instinctive, I mean you could see the curvature of the universe from the distance that it is from how he started out, uh how he started out. And this is a story that is told over and over again in my family, in the Henderson family When he and my mother got engaged, he was 26 years old and mother who was a southern belle from West Virginia, came east to Cambridge massachusetts to meet her future in laws. And his mother, grandmother Berta told my mother don't marry Ernest, he can never keep a job, he can never stick to anything, you're going to end up poor. Well mother said, I don't care, I love him and they married. But how about a wake up call for anybody to have your own mother say that your family is going to end up for. And by the way, I think, you know, the rest of this story we didn't end up for, but how did he change from somebody who was uh could never stick to anything and seemed like the world's worst marriage prospect.
Well, a wake up call, he went to the equivalent of the yellow pages because we're talking, See if he was 26, we're talking mid 1920s, he looked up career guidance counselor and he found the name johnson O'Connor, which has since become a very famous and respected and I love them all. Um career guidance counselors and father talked to Jon Snow Connor, himself and johnson O'Connor, after a day of testing, father said uh yeah Mr Henderson, you're clearly a very bright young man uh and you've got a scientific bent, but you also have the worst human relation skills I've ever come across your, I mean uh in today's language, he was telling him that he sucked. I mean the worst that johnson O'Connor had ever come across.
Uh johnson O'Connor said you could have a very successful career as a scientist in a laboratory where you didn't interact with anybody because you know you're smart, but you are the worst I've ever come across. Well, father took this as a challenge uh first is a challenge, but second of all, he had figured out that whatever success you have in life Yeah. How about most of it comes from your ability to interact with people, maybe to sell them your ideas maybe uh to quote you to memory, mesmerize them to persuade them to have your personality work with them. Father took this as a challenge. He began reading books, everything that he could on human nature. Uh I know that he read the book uh dale Carnegie, how to win friends and influence people. I bet he read it a dozen times. He also took courses in salesmanship in public speaking.
It attend lectures conferences, magazine articles, I mean he did everything he humanly could to crack the code of how to get along with people and the entries out of that was when he was tackling the question of how do you get a hotel that's failing to blossom? He probably had more understanding of human nature and what motivates people than any of his peers and that led him to try things that nobody else did. I mean he understood like one of the things that I just thought was so great about his approach to talking with his employees the first day that he met them, you know, he didn't ramble on about visions of the future to begin with. He knew that they wouldn't hear a word he's saying unless you reassured them right from the beginning that they're keeping their jobs and once, you know, the biggest pain point is taken care of, they'll listen. But he understood that. But somebody who hadn't put a decade into studying human nature probably didn't know that.
I mean, isn't it cool that somebody his worst deficit became his greatest asset? Oh yeah, it's extraordinary. It's extraordinary. So you know, I remember um I got swats when I was in school as a, as 1/4 grader. You know, these grown men were hitting me with boards because I talk too much and now I get paid a whole lot of money to talk too much. So, so I love that. Yeah, I mean there's so much wisdom in there and you know, I have a lot of clients who are presidents of, you know, very successful tech companies, you know, or people that are very, very savvy with business and um and they try to paint that vision and have everybody else come along with them but it's their vision is what excites them and most of the time the people that are working for them have a different vision or a smaller vision or they're much more, how am I, how am I going to be impacted and I am I going to be safe?
Am I going to be okay? And your father recognized that and spoke instead of making it about his vision for what he wanted, he made it our vision and you're part of it. Yeah, I mean it just, well I was going to say it's mystifying that, that he could understand so much that we understand today, but it isn't mystifying because he studied, it I mean he uh and he actually made it a lifetime quest because even like in the 1950s, the 1960s, by which time he was super successful but we would still have house guests who were famous psychologists and psychiatrists, I mean B F Skinner is something of a legend today, he was a Harvard professor who was just full of insights, but father made friends with him and had him, yeah, he was a weekend guest at our house over and over again and father and he would just be talking psychology and the same with Eddie Bernays I think is known, He was a psychologist, I think he was known as the father of modern advertising actually probably doesn't fathers of modern advertising but in any case okay, certainly one of them.
And he would, father and Eddie Bernays would just always be talking about what motivates people, what you know, how human, what makes human beings tick and yeah, look how far that knowledge took him. Yeah, yeah, I mean it's extraordinary. So let's review a little bit because there are so many golden nuggets and what you just said, it's just extraordinary. So he went through life believing in people, he had to learn how to do that, right. He had to go a lot of times people are talking about the success secrets. The word secret is of such a you know savvy marketing tool that people use secrets for everything right? But really there aren't any secrets. The books, the audio programs are around there available. Um the people that I know that are the most successful. Um I modeled them when I was you know, 18 and didn't have any money. I went to the library and I would borrow stacks of audio books and I would and I would put them in my walkman and I would walk around the block, you know, and listen for hours and hours.
I've listened to thousands of audiobooks and and uh and gained that you know, the wisdom, my my son has that book, um How to win friends and influence people. I thought, what's one book that I could put on my son's dresser so he could look at that and learn from the most, and, and I chose that one from dale Carnegie. And uh we were talking about it just yesterday, you know, about how he's starting to understand and see in his life how these things are working out. Because he said that I have this one friend that I was really, um, you know, I got really interested, he was very good at playing piano and I got really interested in how he learned that. And, and I got really interested in him and he said all of a sudden he got really interested in me. And I didn't know how we became friends so quickly until I started reading the dale Carnegie book. And then it made sense. I'm like, oh max, you're getting it, you know, his name's maximus, I said, you're getting it right, You're really understanding now the power of this. So your father had the ability to help people see a better vision of themselves, which I just love that, you know, and believe in them and inspire, don't acquire.
I mean, so many things that you said make people feel like they're part of something special. And uh, and they'll give you that discretionary effort because they want to, because they feel like, you know it meets their needs for contribution, right? And, and uh for significance and for love and connection so so beautiful. I love all of this, wow. So then, so that was that was your father's world and then you meet frank, so tell us a little bit about frank Perdue. Well he was my hero from beginning to end. We were married 17 years until his passing. But you know, he was, he had so many attitudes that were similar to my father's. Like if you were to ask him the secret of his success, he would just write off, tell you the people who work with me and he really believed that and he had a whole lot of saints in that subject such as none of us is as smart as all of us and I I have a story that tell something about me but a lot about frank and it's what happened when we first married and it to my mind, it shows that in their, in their distinct ways that father and frank Perdue both, but so much effort, appreciating the people who worked with them and by the way I'm very careful to say work with them rather than for them because that's that's how they both felt but frank was was just very articulate about saying that it's the people who work with me.
I think I have no way in the world could I have done it on my own. But I as his wife and as the daughter of the Sheraton person and and as a writer by trade, you know, I'm forever asking frank like every second why did you do this? Why did you do that? And I'm taking notes And it was, it was just so fun to be a writer and married to somebody who was just so great. But what I wanted to share with you that I think kind of Shows a similarity between the two When we got first got married and we're talking 1988, we had just gotten back from our honeymoon and we're walking on a beach in watch Hill, Rhode island. It's the end of the season, we're carrying our sandals and it's romantic. And suddenly I look up at my dear husband and I say frank, I think we ought to entertain every single person who works for the company in our home and well that took him aback because 16,000 people in your company.
Well, so you know, he's totally, no, that's 16,000 people, that's way too many. And we had a sort of joking relationship. So I kind of pretended that he wasn't saying no and I said, I think we could start in six weeks now, that's way too many and um let's let's have 100 at a time now, let's just know and I think we should start with the secretaries because they can tell everybody that are parties are fun and not scary and yeah, we went round and round with him saying no and me just sort of barging ahead. But as we continue to talk about it, his attitude, you know, from what began to change to maybe there's something to it and in the end he said, I like it. And six weeks later we did begin entertaining people 100 and 100 at a time three times a month.
And it did start with the secretaries. And it continued with how about every category that you can think of, veterinarians, auditors, truckers, sanitation people, just everybody. And at these parties. And we're now coming to the part where I felt that he was a lot like my late father frank accepted the idea of something that was just so far out of his comfort zone, of the entertaining people in our home hospitality. 100 at a time that was way outside his comfort zone. But he also had almost lifetime quest for making the people whom he interacted with feel important. And the reason that he accepted my Flacco idea was that this was yet one more way of communicating to people that they are important to them to him and at these parties. I used to notice with just fascination that whoever he was talking with that person and he would make a point of talking with every single person in the room and for the few moments when you were the center of his intention, you probably felt that his entire universe revolved around you and he wasn't talking a whole lot, he was asking you questions and I was noticing throughout his life that he made a practice of something that I aspire to and fail at.
And that is, He would regularly listen 90% of the time and talk only 10% of the time. So when you were with him, you felt really important. Then when it came to the meal part, because this was for dinner, we had our living room with a great big Buffet table. I'm going to guess it might be 30 ft long to accommodate 100 people. And he would stand behind the buffet table serving his employees, I mean, is that not cool that there's somebody uh beginning, he employed 16,000 at the end 20,000, but here he is, waiting on them, serving them. And then something else that I just thought in frank's case, it might have been more instinctive than in my father's case, but He would stand up in front of in this case 100 people and his report to them, what was going on in the company and to tell you know, the wonderful things, you know, the new breed is doing spectacularly or the new factory is operating at peak or the bad news that whatever it was like, I can't think off the top of my head what bad news was.
But trust me that in any business, there's bad news. So he would be telling them as if he was reporting to the board of directors and so they would have inside knowledge of the company that they're working for. And doesn't that increase employee engagement? Oh yes, for sure. 100%. Yeah. And then they could ask him questions. So you know, a trucker could ask him some question about way loads or something. And you know, since he was totally on top of his game, he could give uh information about the latest laws and regulations and its impact on the company and you know, just 100 things in great detail. And again, to be able to ask the head of the whole company, what's burning on your mind and probably burning and all the other on the minds of everybody else. And then at the end of the evening he would end his talk with some version of what I'm about to paraphrase, which is uh he'd thank them, he'd say, I know the company wouldn't be what it is today without each of you and I thank you.
And again, what must that mean to an employee or associate and produce. Speak to have the head of the whole company, have this person in his home thanking him. Oh yeah, yeah. You know, this is profound, profound wisdom. Um you know, in the 2000, you know, 10 2020, you know, in this new era that we're in. There's a lot of books about servant leadership and there's a lot of books written by like military leaders who will talk about the importance of serving the people that you're in charge of instead of just thinking that they're there to serve you and your father and frank were trendsetters, they were doing this before it became, you know, pop culture, 1988. Right? Yeah. Yeah. I mean way way before anybody else was doing it, I've had the pleasure of working with um companies where I walk in there and they are not transparent, only the people in the c suite know what's really going on and everybody else um from the, from the top down is has their own story, you know, which creates all kinds of gossip and stress and and it distracts people and it lowers productivity and the people in charge are the cause of it.
Even though they think it's their employees don't care, then, you know, it's self deception at its best. And then there's other companies where they decide to become completely transparent and just share everything and they're scared and and at first people are unsure and some people are complaining but those people are always going to complain. But what happens is they become stronger and more powerful and the culture becomes even even more powerful than it was before because of the honesty because you're treating, you know employees or associates as human beings and adults instead of treating them like Children. It's so powerful and yeah, everything you're saying is, is gold, it really is gold. You want to be an influencer of, of people. Well, you know, something else that he did. And again, uh, this is a case of please do as I say, not as I do because although I aspired, what I'm describing, I don't get there, but I try, but here's what frank was just miraculous about.
And his son Jim is equally good. They knew thousands and thousands of names of the people who worked with them. And as an example, we frequently would go through factories or processing facilities and I love doing this because I just admire machinery and technology and production and producing things. I mean, it turns me on, I love it. So for me it was a huge privilege to accompany him through processing facilities. But what just, I mean, there were several things that I witnessed in him that I consider amazing and among them, uh, person after person frank would say, missy, I'd like you to meet DLC DLC son just got into college or uh meet, meet Anthony, Anthony. Uh, he's been, he's had 30 years without a sick day of sick leave and you know, the number of names that he knew of people and then another thing that I just cherished, which is when he'd be walking through and it asked people how they were doing and you're being treated right and just things that acknowledge them as individuals.
But what I loved is it would have been so easy for frank just to march through with his nose in the air. I'm the owner, I'm the boss now. I, I would notice his body language. You know, it's not kind of puffed out. It was more sort of like I'm the fellow teammate that were, yet, we each have our jobs on this team, but I have all the respect in the world for what you're doing. And I've loved it. It was almost as if he was, I don't know if I'm exaggerating or not, but it felt as if he was ego free as if he was just, you know, we're a team and we're doing this together and we're creating something spectacular. We're helping provide very good food for people. I mean, we're doing something really essential and important. Yeah, yeah. You're feeding the world and, and yeah, I call that others focused, right? We all start off self focused, right? It's all about us and our four, okay. And what we need and what our goals are and what we're frustrated about.
And then there's a few that, um, do the work and put their ego aside. Nobody's perfect. So, but we're always, like you say, we're striving to be the best that we can be in any situation and, you know, frank really is so impressive in his ability to be others focused and to, um, I mean, to, to memorize people's names and the best way to memorize their names is to learn their story and get to know them. And that's really as a leader. Your job is to empower your people, right? Not to get the to do list done, you know, as the top leader, as a ceo or president of a company, you really are in charge of the vision and keeping your people inspired. That's what leadership is really all about. And we get caught up in the to do lists and our checklist and it makes us transactional, where when you're taking care of helping people feel special and valued, then your transformational, you know, and that's how your father learned to be, that's how frank was, that's how you are as well.
And so because and I love the fact that, I mean, you're very successful in your own right, you've, you're a graduate of Harvard University of George Washington University, you're a syndicated columnist for 22 years, you've written several wonderful books, right? And, and I mean, just all kinds of really amazing accomplishments within your own right. And yet you spend your time talking about these other people in your life, right? And that imbues, you know, being others focus that you're, you're modeling it, you're not doing it in tension well, you've probably taught yourself to do it intentionally, but that wasn't how you were thinking, this is just who you are, you're as transformational as they were. And, and now you continue to keep their message and their, their um values alive in the work that you do because it's all about, hey, we need to keep loving each other. We need to keep respecting each other. We need to keep taking care of each other. And even if it's just remembering somebody's name, they say your favorite word is your own, your own first name.
Right the way frank, Like my father both took the dale Carnegie course and both loved the, the book and father actually, sorry frank also made the course available to top management at produced. So he, I mean he was totally on board with the idea that uh, that uh, that you learn people's names, you make them feel important and you cost me to think of something else that frank did, where there was no, this, I think it benefited him because it benefited his soul. But I, I don't see that it would ever contribute to the company spot of lines. So there was nothing transactional about what I'm about to describe, which is how we spent our, our weekends, particularly our Saturdays. I think I'm going to guess that the average person on Saturdays, maybe they're doing errands, maybe they're watching the games, who knows? But here's how frank and I would spend at least our saturday afternoons.
We had a list from his administrative assistant, her name is Elaine Barnes should give us a list of People are associates who are in the hospital. And when, when you're employing 20,000 people just by the law of averages, there will be some people in the hospital. I wish to call him them and yeah, how, how great must it feel for somebody, you know, fairly low down the hierarchy. I mean at any level have they were typically, I mean there would often be as many as 10 in the hospital, maybe it's flu season or something and we would go by and call in each one and you know, how great is that? But then imagine that uh, that there are very few people that day in the hospital, maybe it's two or something and we still have a couple of hours left over. We would go out and visit retirees, wow. Mhm. Because he felt, you know, you don't stop being important to me just because you're retired, know what you've done, you are important.
And I always felt that Frank was one of the greatest egalitarian is that I'll ever come across because something else, I just wonder how many heads of Fortune 500 size companies would do? What I'm about to describe. Each plant has a cafeteria and frank would regularly eat in company cafeterias and sometimes I get to join him and I get to watch and he'd sit down and pretty soon sometimes he might join an existing group or sometimes he'd sit down and people knew that they could come up and sit beside him and just talk about what's going on and I mean the realism that that would give him of what's going on. I mean it's not perfect realism but he sure knows a lot more when he's sitting down and talking with through four associates and asking how they're doing then he would be if he was at some great big expensive restaurant which he could surely, he could surely afford. In fact I recommend that to anybody who's who's part of a large company eating the company cafeteria and get to meet people and yeah even I used to do that.
There are some of the best adventures of my life kind comes from eating in the company cafeterias and I hope you're about to ask genius. You tell me one yes yes please. We have a plant in a comac Virginia and it's about maybe a 90 minute drive from here. And one day I was coming back from traveling. But along the way the stop that was nearest around lunchtime was aka Mac. So I go into the cafeteria and I sit beside this wonderful african american lady and we get to talking and you know she's just really curious about what my life is like and I have no secrets. So I tell her you know anything that she wanted to know like what frank was like at home and I thought he was great but I'm busy answering her questions. But then I think turnabout is fair play and I began asking her about her life and one of the things this was early on in France and my marriage.
So I would have known the answer if it had been a few years later. But the question that I wanted to know is and I I hope and pray that I was really diplomatic and sort of in a roundabout way of getting to know the answer to the following question. And I did not just straight out ask it, but this is what I was getting at. Does it ever get boring doing the same thing day after day And I wouldn't you wonder that what what's it like say you're putting chickens well The same job after 15 or 20 years, how boring might it get? And again, please believe me, I'm I'm not perfect but I am diplomatic enough to know just uh I didn't flat out ask it, but I did get at it. And her answer to my very roundabout question was uh I love every day, every day is exciting. Uh But it would be hard for me to explain why.
The only way you could really understand it is if you had come to the plant and worked side by side with me for an eight hour shift. And I said if you can arrange it, I'll do it challenge accepted. Yeah, because I really, really, really wanted to do it, I believe you. Okay. So she talked with her supervisor who up the chain of command, it probably reached frank by the time they gave me permission to do this, but they can be pretty sure that I wasn't gonna sue them if something went wrong. So because I think an average person who isn't the owner's wife would not be allowed to go in the plant and do something. But nevertheless, uh a couple of days later I'm in the plant and I'm suited up. It looks something like a space, I mean there's hats, there's hearing their hard hats, there's uh hair nets, there's yeah, you're just suited up so that uh so that everything is safe so that the, the food is kept as pure and safe as possible.
So there I am, and I'm standing beside my new friend and our job is to put chickens in, There's a conveyor belt and you attach them to the conveyor belt and it's moving. And first of all, for the end of my life, I have enormous respect for the people who do this because it looks so easy. But uh how about eight hours? I never got it right. And that meant just an enormous amount of laughter from the people up and down the line because they had to fill in for me. Um but I bet they loved it that you were there. Well, here's what I discovered and had never anticipated. And if you haven't done it uh I think it would be surprising to you. There wasn't 1 2nd was boring because there was just endless chatter, there was chatter about uh boyfriends, girlfriends, tv shows what what celebrity figures were up to. I mean it was just endless amounts of joking and in my case since I couldn't even get one leg where it was supposed to be the guy who was standing beside me.
Uh he could put two in when I couldn't know two legs and uh he could put four in at a time when when I couldn't get one, I mean it was just, I mean we were almost collapsing on the floor with laughter that uh huh And so, you know, at the end, I total believer that that she was telling me the truth that uh that it wasn't boring. Oh, she said one of the things that if you're a plant manager or whatever level, this decision gets made, I guess human resources, uh they put extreme effort into having people who will like each other beside each other, so you're probably not going to be put next to somebody who's an opposite personality type. But but if, I mean, maybe I saw it at its absolute best, but but I was impressed, you know, that's again, there's so many, so much wisdom in this from the fact that you were in there, you know, and kind of proverbially getting your hands dirty, right, You know?
Yeah, you are definitely there and um and created uh camaraderie and respect and impressed everybody and created that friendship and then uh you know, and then I didn't impress them with. I mean, I was worth exactly what they were paying me. But even that, you know, deprecating humor and stuff, you know, it's the humility that you have and everything. I love it and then the other, you know, golden nugget of how people, you know, put people together that they enjoy working with each other. It makes you more productive, you know, a complaint that I hear consistently where no matter what company, no matter what organization I'm talking to, you know, how do you deal with the negative boss or a negative co worker? You know, they talk about that all the time. And so the fact that that you're even putting similar personalities together, you know, um is just a savvy insight that maybe people might not might not catch. But you know, I think that that was really smart, you know, they're doing so many things.
Well, it's true by the way, I'm certainly getting cold feet about the story that I just told, which is I'm telling you the best of my ability exactly as it occurred to me, but I can't know that every processing facility would be like that. I mean that was my experience, somebody else might have a drastically different experience. But that I mean I'm telling you what I saw and felt well and I love it because it gives an example of what to strive for people when people feel like they are, they have their work family and they go in and they're telling jokes and they support each other and there they're so good at what they do and they feel appreciated by that. And then this woman has this conversation, you know with you know the owner of the company pretty much, right? And then and then um you know, and she says can I come to work with you and then learn about it? I mean I don't know how many people would, I mean we could probably count them on our hand maybe how many people would actually do what you did.
Right. And that speaks volumes because people as, you know, they don't they don't do what you say, they don't watch what you say, they watch what you do. You know, and you got in there and did something amazing, you know, that's a legendary story for anybody working in that facility. Oh, do we ever tell you one time we had mitzi Purdue? I'm working on the line. She couldn't get one chicken in there. Right. Right. Right. But that brings me up to something that frank used to say, which is that being self deprecating is just a really good, I'm trying to think that to do absolute justice too to his saying, but that just, it's just good to be self deprecating, that it's attractive that uh and I'll give you an example of of something that he used to coach me on, his feeling was that people want to be want to be important and like I remember once I was talking with a group and I happened to mention a trip to europe and he coached me afterwards, don't do that, because if you've done things that they'll never do, it makes them feel less important, it's far better to focus on what they do and don't ever ever ever boast about what you've done.
And so, you know, I I've learned not to talk about fabulous parties that I've been to or or fabulous trips because when you talk about how wonderful you are, it can make the other person feel less important. And there's, there's a quote that just so much applies to frank and it's um it's from William James, the Great Psychiatrist from 1900, that Europe and it was the deepest principle of human nature is the craving for appreciation. So they want to be appreciated. They, it's not about you and I went in this wonderful trip or uh it's about, it's about them, not about you, that's so beautiful. So I don't know if I told you this story, I'll make it really fast, but there was a woman in a high powered position and she needed to fill a vice president slot.
And so she had narrowed it narrowed it down to two gentlemen. So she invited them over both for a meeting. She sat down with the first gentleman and she said, tell me about yourself. And he went on to talk about all his accomplishments, all the things he had done, all the adventures he had been on. By the end of that conversation, she was convinced that he was one of the most amazing people she ever met. Then she interviewed the second person, the second person came in, she said, tell me about yourself. He said, and he started talking about the things that he's done in his accomplishments. But then he asked how she got to where she was and how, you know, the accomplishments that she had and all the things that she had done and how impressed he was with her. And she started talking more about her journey. And by the end of the conversation she was convinced that she was one of the most amazing people she had ever met. Who do you think she hired gentlemen, Number two? So again, you're right, you know, it's the, well, I love William James, you know, the desire for appreciation. He always said that also said, the greatest discovery of the 20th century is that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thinking and the quality of the questions that you ask, not just of yourself but to others as well.
So let me just balance this real quick with the self deprecating because um it's perfectly fine to talk about the Washington parties, you've been on the celebrities, you hung out with people that you've done if if you're talking to other people that have had similar experiences or if you're talking to people who are inspired by that and would like to have those experiences but you're right. Many more people feel small instead of tall when um you know if they feel like that's not possible for them and that's just a lot of it is limited thinking. So I think it's really valuable and important to make sure that you feel good about yourself. But if you are in a powerful position, you know talking about your failure is talking about the mistakes that you've made. You know being poking fun at yourself really is a charming um characteristic because um a lot of people in those positions are only talking about how fabulous they are. You know they're making themselves important. They're not focusing on helping those around them feel important and that's what the best communicators do, the best influencers they make other they walk around.
I have my acronym, Love L. U. V. They walk around loving people listen to understand and validate right? And when you walk around validating and loving on people then they really you know um they hold you in high esteem. So wow. So let me ask you a couple of questions because this has just been absolutely outstanding. Um, I want you to tell um everybody that's, that's with us right now. The story that you talked about with napoleon Bonaparte and Mother Teresa because I loved it. I loved it. So I want you to share it again please. Okay, actually, it's from a book that I just wrote with Mark victor Hansen, how to be up and down time. So let's see if I can hold it straight up. That is an absolutely awesome book. Everybody should go on amazon right now and order your copy of it because it is spectacular. You have a sense of who mitzi is just by the extraordinary uh stories that she's already shared. And Mark victor was just on our program and he's extraordinary as well.
You put those two together and so order your copy now. All right, so tell us that story that's out of that book. This story is, bye bye huge coincidence. A few years ago, I've read in the same week a biography of napoleon, the great emperor of France. And I also read a story about Mother Teresa and napoleon. Good Lord. You know back in the 1800s, early 1800s. He was pretty much the emperor of the Western world. I mean he he owned more territory. He had more money where castles palaces, women, just all the status and the goodies that the world has to offer. Mother Teresa in contrast the only possessions that she personally owned, we're three cotton saris, the rope that an indian lady might wear and the sandals on her feet.
She had a vow of poverty and the vow of humility. I mean, could you get two characters that would be more opposite napoleon Bonaparte and her friend's mother Theresa catholic nun. So who had a happier life? And we don't have to guess because napoleon writing in his diary in in exile on an island in the pacific he wrote looking back in his life That he couldn't name five happy days. All the wealth power status, fame women, they didn't lead to happiness. What about Mother Teresa? Mother Teresa wrote when asked about her life of poverty and humility. She wrote, My life has been a feast of unending joy know which is better napoleon the taker.
You know, everything that he had. He got by pretty much stealing and robbing from people. Uh he, he couldn't name five happy days maybe he could have named for, but he didn't have five Mother Teresa. A feast of unending joy. Yeah. Who? I love that story. And I love how you tell it. I mean, it's just so powerful. You know, money is one of the biggest sources of stress in people's life. And living in America, the messages, you never have enough. And now we have unemployment rates that are approaching the same as the 19 thirties and the great depression and suicide high, you know, levels are spiking and anxiety was sky high before Covid 19 and the coronavirus. And now it's just, you know, people are scared and stressed more than ever before. And all the advice that you're giving all the insights, all the golden nuggets is something that we all have access to, right? You're not talking about money at all.
You're talking about how you spend your time and how you help people feel, you know, how you help people feel about yourself and how you, you know how people feel about how do I say this, how good you make yourself feel and how good you make others feel and you really gotta start by making yourself feel loved and appreciated. You got to fill your own cup up with up so that you can then take that cup and fill everybody else's cup up through the day. But you got to fill your own up first, right? And uh, yeah, I'm a passionate believer in that. And actually, there's uh, there 40 tips in this book and one of them is, It's it's what I call respite and somebody else might call it escapism. But I'll tell the story behind a piece of advice that I have, which is that for at least an hour a day. Give yourself some kind of respite where I mean, I don't think we can do. I mean underestimate or overestimate the amount of stress that goes on with when there's a pandemic, I mean between financial and relationships.
I mean like I have a sister and accustomed both who had covid 19 and you know when you're worried that your sister who is 92 years old is going to make it, it's stress. So here's, here's the piece of advice that I have. Maybe I'll tell the background of the advice first. I have a niece who runs a nursing home And she said that 1/3 of caregivers for serious illness like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, 1/3 of the caregivers die before their people that they are caring for. She said, why does that happen? And she says, because stress takes such a toll on your body. And she said for people under stress, the most important thing they can do is in one way or another and I'm going to call it respite, but it could also be escaped. Do something that takes your mind off a bit. And one of the easiest ways at least for me and maybe for lots of all of us is Youtube. I mean, they're all these things where you can lose yourself or how about a great movie that you love. You know, there are things that when you're absolutely messed in them, you're not thinking, how am I going to pay the rent.
Uh if, if you can get something that gets your mind off of whatever it is and maybe it's talking with your grandchildren on facetime or something. But something where you give yourself permission to just turn it off in any way that works. I mean, maybe it's a hobby, maybe it's, I mean, they're all these wonderful youtube things of animals, cute animals being rescued and happy or just for at least an hour a day, turn off those stress hormones that are just undermining your health. And I've talked with, I it could be you, but I've talked with experts in this field who say that one of the most important things you can do is, you know, you've expressed it as filling the cup up, but it also give a chance just to get yourself back together again. Because who can endure unending, unremitting stress? You have to, as a matter of health, do something and I don't know what it is for you, but whether, whether it's exercise, pumping iron or sewing a quilt or whatever it is for you give yourself permission to do because it's one of the most important things you can do because what good are you anybody else?
If you fall apart sage advice, mitzi sage advice, you have, it's not a luxury anymore. It's a necessity, you know, self care is a necessity. Yeah, existential threat to your to your life. If you don't I mean unending stress will create a breakdown. The antidote is intermittent relief from that stress. Yeah, yeah. Through laughter through love through, you know, different things where you set a goal and you take action on it even if it's just cleaning up the house a little bit, you know, or getting outside and you know, pulling some weeds, planting some flowers, talk to the grandkids, listening to music, youtube videos, meditation sessions. It's available. Yeah. Whatever works for you. Do it. And my book has a whole bunch of suggestions on it. But by the time you're old enough to be listening to us right now, you probably know what a good escape is. Do it. Yes. Do it. Do it.
That's there we are. Ladies and gentlemen, mitzi Purdue mitzi. This has been absolutely outstanding. I've just, you know, I'm going to have to have you back on the program is nothing more. I would be so honored. Yes. Did you just, you're a delight and I'm so happy. The stories and the insights. I mean just amazing. There's so much, I'm gonna say it right here and now this is the best customer service interview ever. I mean, you just, you just had gold after gold after gold nugget for how to, how to have influence and how to take care of people, how to grow a business and a life and uh, you know, and how to take care of people and that leads to great joy. And uh, and I can't thank you enough. So thank you so much for being on the program today. Well, I'm so grateful to have been invited. Oh, absolutely. Okay. So everybody that's been watching and listening. Holy cow, that was incredible. Mitzi had so many takeaways. It was just absolutely awesome.
So here's what you need to do. You need to get on amazon and get a copy of her book, How to be up and down times with her and Mark victor Hansen because It's an extraordinary book is full of even more stories and 40 takeaways and stuff, practical advice you can use immediately and you're getting it from one of the legends, one of America's royalty. Right? And so, uh, so definitely grab that and use it and and it will make your life more mesmerizing and then share this interview with your team leaders if you are an employee or you if and again, employees were all employees. Right. It doesn't matter what our title is, what matters is that you are part of a company or part of an organization. So whatever role you might play in that, make sure that people that are making decisions within that company, within that culture are watching this interview because it is powerful and uh and it will supercharge your culture like nothing else can. So, and then make sure you put a review and like this and uh and stay posted for the next episode.
So thanks so much for watching MITzi and I really appreciate you. And you know, we do this for you. So take what you've learned. Apply it and make your life mesmerizing and we'll talk to you soon. Bye everybody. Hey, would you like more free tips on how to be a mesmerizing leader? Then check out mesmerizing leadership dot com and also hang out with me on facebook facebook dot com forward slash tim. Sure. Thanks so much and make your day a sure success. Hey, it's tim. Sure. Would you like to learn my best secrets for how to be mesmerizing? Then head over to www. Dot surviving to thriving dot me. That's www dot surviving to thriving dot me. I'll see you there.