Episode #1470 Matthew Bachmann: How to Stay Grounded

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Wandering Bear Co-founder Matt Bachmann and Jenna discuss how we can use our experiences to be more empathetic and the importance of extending gratitude to every person who makes our life and work possible. We then chat about using the finiteness of time as a catalyst to make life changes, being honest with ourselves to avoid our ego’s self-preservation, and creating accountability practices with ourselves and others to pause and appreciate the present moment. 


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Matthew Bachmann

Co-founder of Wandering Bear View Full Profile

Highlights from the Transcript

  • On balancing being contrarian: “The customer doesn’t care about different for the sake of different. They only care if the point of difference is meaningful and better than the status quo…Your company’s points of difference often need to fit into the context of how business is done. If you aren’t set up to comply with the rules you can’t play. Being different can help you attract attention but there are times when you have to ask yourself: Can we be successful bucking the trend or do we need to fall in line with the norm to achieve our mission?
  • On changing your mind: “When information changes it’s often cause to reevaluate your position on an issue.” 
  • On progress: “The journey is always one foot in front of the other. Leap frog jumps may happen occasionally but more than anything it’s constantly understanding the direction you’re heading in and prioritizing the micro-steps to make progress.” 
  • On making pausing a practice: “You have to remind yourself to pause. My co-founder and I established a formal leadership mandate that at least one of us is always there to recenter us,  acknowledge our progress and appreciate the moment we’re in, whether it's good or bad. It enables us to pause, approach things from a higher perspective, and say: This is awesome. Let’s take a moment before getting back down into the weeds to recognize that this is a good problem to have. Creating accountability around pausing as a stated objective has been very valuable and diffused to the rest of the team.” 
  • On acknowledging everyone who makes your vision possible: “Entrepreneurs get a lot of glory but a lot of people build a business. The people who have played instrumental roles building Wandering Bear extend far beyond the folks you’d find on our payroll. Yet, their work often gets lost. Those people bring unique experiences and motivations and have a variety of reasons for wanting to participate in the company’s growth. As brands, in addition to building a relationship with our partners, we should savor the opportunity to ensure that the broader second and third degree groups of people who are helping build the business feel connected to it and have a sense of pride and ownership. It's incredibly rewarding to learn about our business through their eyes and experiences.” 
  • On being honest with yourself: “Our reflective instinct to see ourselves a certain way is our ego trying to preserve itself. If we aren’t aware of it, that self perseveration gets in the way of our development.” 
  • On your relationship with yourself: “The most helpful way I have learned to cultivate a good relationship with myself is to not put it on all on myself. Your community can play a role providing cues of whether you’re on the right track and can also be asked to play a more direct role in your self-reflection process. While it can be hard, engaging someone in that process nudges your self-dialogue along…The misconception that your relationship with yourself is easy, shouldn’t take a lot of time, and should be done purely individually can get in the way of you actually making progress.” 
  • On journaling: “I’ve started dedicating time to getting my thoughts on paper and forcing myself to articulate what I’m thinking. It’s an exercise to force reflection rather than just allowing yourself to get distracted from the real work of uncovering what is actually going on.” 
  • On making changes: “The question I’m asking right now is: Where am I going to get the most leverage on my time? The way I accept or acknowledge that I need to make a change is ruthlessly acknowledging that time is finite. When you learn to value your time as your most precious resource, you prioritize things completely different…I believe that anyone can get better at anything but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. In the context of priorities and forcing that conversation with yourself: Given limited time where can you best invest your energy to get better at the right things? Acknowledging the can versus should helps placate the ego. It forces a slightly softer but equally true conversation.” 
  • On reflective priorities: “I want the balance of my activities and responsibilities to reflect what my priorities actually are versus what the way I’m spending my time suggests they are. Formalize the practice of valuing and allocating your time more appropriately.”