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Small Business Success Podcast 054—Overcoming Mental Battles and Getting Unstuck

What do you do when you just can’t get past something - and that something is all in your head? Self-worth and confidence issues are real problems that entrepreneurs face all the time. Clate and Scott take on this listener-submitted question with Dan Ralphs.

Dan talks about getting out of mental ruts by getting out of physical ruts first; getting the brutal facts out there so you can deal with them, and getting paralyzed by the fear of perfection.

Want to learn more about dreaming big for your business? Download our ebook “Harness Your Inner Genius”.

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Mentioned in this episode:

Conquer the Chaos” by Clate Mask and Scott Martineau
Loving What Is” by Byron Katie
Startup Communities” by Brad Feld
Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale


Do you have a question that you want us or an expert to answer? If you have questions about your small business, submit them at Small Business

Scott Martineau: Welcome to this episode of the Small Business Success podcast. I'm Scott Martineau.

Clate Mask: And I'm Clate Mask. We're co-founders of Keap, and today we've got an expert with us to answer a question that's been asked by one of our listeners. So –

Scott Martineau: I'm gonna introduce our guest in just a second. Let me read the question first. So this question comes from someone named Anon Ymous. No, no, Anonymous, Anonymous. Come on, people, give us your name. This is a stage one customer. The question is – or stage one business, and the question is this. How do you get over the mental battles when you're stuck on something. Another question is, have you ever had self-confidence issues and how did you overcome it, as it affects everything in life.


So fantastic topic, and we thought it would be a perfect time to bring Dan Ralphs in today.

Scott Martineau: So welcome to Dan Ralphs. So let's – let's jump into this guys. Let's talk this through. How do you get over the mental battles when you're stuck on something?

Dan Ralphs: Well, you know – let's just say one thing real quick. I thought it was – I thought it was great, the second question of have you ever – do you ever have this. Absolutely, like, all the time. Like, this is not something – you know, questions of confidence are – I mean, that just goes with the territory in entrepreneurship. And by the way, it never goes away.

Clate Mask: And I think it's really – because as an entrepreneur, it's all your thing. You're whole soul – it's like an author is always autobiographical.


Dan Ralphs: Yes.

Clate Mask: Your entrepreneurial venture, your business, is your autobiography. So it makes it – you're so much more vulnerable in that position.

Scott Martineau: Self-worth, your self-worth is totally wrapped up in it.

Dan Ralphs: Exactly.

Clate Mask: Yep.

Scott Martineau: And maybe just one point. In our book, Conquer the Chaos, Clate and I spent half of the book, the first three chapters are talking about mindset challenges. At the time, I may have been a little bit less supportive of those topics. I wanted to have more concrete strategies for business owners. But over the years, I've really come to understand how critical this is. This is a really, really important topic. And if you haven't read Conquer the Chaos, you ought to get it, because we –

Clate Mask: Yep, and in particular, go to the chapter on Disciplined Optimism. So the way Conquer the Chaos is laid out, there are three mindset strategies and then three system strategies, and one of the mindset strategies really addresses this question. So go read about when we talk about Disciplined Optimism. By the way, the other two chapters will be helpful as well, but that one in particular.


Scott Martineau: Okay. So I'm stuck in a rut, I just am in my head, you know? Some – one of my coaches once said, "Scott, you're always calculating. You're always calculating." So what do I do to get out?

Dan Ralphs: Yeah. Let me – let me talk for – about that just for a minute, because in the game of helping people accomplish dreams, by very definition, dreams are the most in your head things. In other words, people have all kinds of things that they wish for in some future date, and for the most part, they stay in people's heads, right?

Clate Mask: Yeah, yep.

Dan Ralphs: And so I think that – you know, there are a handful of things that I think of when I think of how do you get out of your head, and the first one really to me is just that. We've got to get out of our heads and into something else. I was talking to somebody earlier on today, and they said – I said, "How do you get out of your mental rut?" and they said, "Well, I get out of my physical rut." In other words, they get in action, they start doing something, and I think that's a really fantastic exactly, right, a really fantastic thing as an entrepreneur.


If you're in your head and you're in some office or cubicle, or you're in your house – in your room, you got to get out and start doing things that are different than sitting and moping.

Clate Mask: Yeah. I mean, that reminds me, you know, you can do something as simple as change the scenery, right, to just change that. But sometimes, you know, it's actually much more specific about getting out of your head and doing something physically. So I've told this story before to some of our employees, but I don't think I ever told it here. In the earliest days of Keap, you know, we were a few months in, and it was just – it was so hard. My job was to do all the sales – to basically do everything except for write software, which meant primarily do the sales and marketing, and I was not having any success whatsoever. We were just getting hammered. We were not making money, we had a lot of debt that was building up, and I was feeling a ton of pressure. And I called my dad after a few months in the business, and I just said, "Dad, can I just come talk to you?" And he said, "Yeah, sure, come over at lunchtime."


So I went over to my parents' house. He was the only one there. He and I were talking, and it was, like, you know, he just started listening me, and I – you know, I'm gonna be totally candid here. I was just crying. Like, I was just, like – it was coming out. I was just, like, feeling so much pressure and so much responsibility.

Dan Ralphs: And I think it's important to realize that this is a big emotional game, right?

Scott Martineau: Totally.

Clate Mask: [Laughs] Yeah.

Dan Ralphs: Like, so if you're thinking this is gonna be easy – like, people come to me and say, "Dan, make my dreams come true," it is not easy.

Clate Mask: No. And –

Dan Ralphs: So to be in a spot where you're really emotional, that's pretty common.

Clate Mask: Well, it was kind of crazy, because I didn't go over thinking I'm just gonna go blubber on my dad's shoulder. You know, I was like, I knew that I was, like, way out of sorts, and I was just totally caught up in my mind. But I – I couldn't talk to anybody who understood it, and I thought, you know, I think my dad might be able to just at least listen to me. So I just found myself, as I was talking it out and just getting all of the weight and the pressure and everything that was going on, I just started crying, you know, and I had to reassure him a couple times, say there's nothing really, really wrong. I'm just, like, you know? [Laughs] And I just got all this stuff out, and he listened to me, and probably for 10 or 15 minutes, I just unloaded.


And then he – I will never, ever, ever forget what he said. He paused, and he said, "Are you exercising?" And when he said that, I literally was like, did you not hear anything I just said? I was talking about sales, I was talking about the business, I was talking about family pressures, I was talking about all these different things, and your response is, "Are you exercising?" And I have come – and so the end of that story is that I said no, and he said, "What are you doing tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM?" And I said, "Either sleeping or worrying." And he said –

Scott Martineau: Does that count as exercise?

Clate Mask: [Laughs] Yeah. He said, "I'll come pick you up." And I said, "What are we going to do?" He said, "We're gonna go to the gym." And I said, "I don't have a membership and I don't have any money to get a membership." He said, "I'll get you a membership. Let's go to the gym." So we started going to the gym, and he just talked to me. But what we really did is I just got – I got exercise, and I learned then and I know now, and it's the reason why I go to the gym at 5:00 in the morning now, is that whatever the mental and emotional things you're dealing with, physical exercise changes what's going on for you.


Dan Ralphs: Yeah. And I think that you said some – you didn't mean to say this, but I think there's another really important principle in that story, and that is that we have to take care of our physical health, because that helps everything, right?

Clate Mask: Totally.

Dan Ralphs: Helps our brain. But we also have to take care of our emotional health, and I think one of the reasons we can get stuck is there's so much pressure, there's so many hours that tend to happen in an entrepreneur's life, that we may not be nurturing and connecting with people we have deep relationships with.

Clate Mask: Right.

Dan Ralphs: And healthy, deep relationships are the balm for so much stress and anxiety, right?

Clate Mask: [Laughs] Yeah. And by the way, you can't really – you can't connect with them very well 'cause you've got so much in your head that you've got to unpack. You're like, I just need someone to frickin' listen to me.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: You know, and they can't – they can't listen to you and you can't listen to them, because what's going on in your mind, and you get – you pull apart in your relationships.

Scott Martineau: So interesting. Addiction recovery – this is a key element of addiction recovery. It's creating powerful human connection. And in a way, I think this – these mental ruts are a form of addiction. I am stuck, I'm there, I can't get out. You know, it's fascinating.


Clate Mask: Yeah, that's a great point.

Scott Martineau: One other quick point on this too is I think the concept of getting out of your head, I like the visualization of what Steve, your coach, talked about, Steve Hardison. And he said – you know, Clate would come back and say, "Steve asked me to – you know, as these thoughts are coming into your mind, you've got to take the thought and pull it out of your head and just look at it and inspect it from different angles." And then put it back – I don't know if you want to add anything to that, but I just think that's a really great, you know, visual, that I have the ability to stop the thought, and I'm gonna –

Clate Mask: We are the thinking of our thoughts, we're doing that to ourselves, and if we don't stop and notice it, we don't realize we could actually take the thought out, examine it – I know this sounds kind of a little bit crazy, but that's – you know, I've worked with Steve for seven years, and what we generally work on is thoughts that I'm having that are not productive and causing problems. And if you slow things down, and you said this really well, Dan, as an entrepreneur, you're going, you're running so fast. You're packing 60 hours of stuff into a regular day, which isn't eight hours or 12 hours, it's probably 16 hours in many cases.


But you've got so many things that you're cramming in, there's no space to actually stop and reflect and examine what's actually going on inside of my mind.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: So what I would do with Steve for two hours every week was examine a few thoughts that are causing problems.

Dan Ralphs: It reminds me of my – I have five kids, and I'm reminded often of how my nine-year-old daughter, my eight – it's actually my nine-year-old son, he has the best imagination around bedtime, 'cause when the lights go out, the boogeymen come out, and he is freaking out. And I think a lot of times, you know, the role of the father in that process is I go in and I show him that the closet is empty and, you know, and it really is sometimes that same way with our thoughts, right?

Clate Mask: Yes.

Dan Ralphs: It's dark in there and scary, we're unclear and unsure, and so we imagine boogeymen that don't exist.

Clate Mask: Two – two thoughts –

Dan Ralphs: And when we pull them out, we actually look at them, it's like, wait, that's not what it really is. That's not as scary as I thought.


Clate Mask: Exactly. My coach talked to me about this a bunch, two things that come to mind that he's told me over the years. Number one, the fear of the thing is far worse than the thing.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah, yeah.

Clate Mask: The fear of the thing is far worse –

Dan Ralphs: There's not a boogeyman in your closet.

Clate Mask: No. And number two, the problem is not the problem. The problem is how you're thinking about the problem. Those two points are like – if you stop and slow things down as an entrepreneur, if you don't have someone to talk to, go sit in a quiet corner, go to a park, go walk around and just stop and think about your thoughts. And the process – by the way, there's a great book out there to examine your thought process, that teaches you how to do this, it's called The Work, by Byron Katie, and she teaches a four step –

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Scott Martineau: Loving – Loving What Is?

Dan Ralphs: Loving What Is, is what it's called.

Clate Mask: Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, it's called Loving What Is, and it's all about the work. Thank you, Scott. And the work is really a four step process to examine your thoughts, like Scott said. Take it out of your mind, look at it, is it really true, am I certain that this is really true, how do I behave if this is true –

Scott Martineau: How do I react when I have the thought, and then what would I be without – we should do an entire podcast.


Dan Ralphs: Yeah, that'd be great.

Scott Martineau: That's awesome.

Clate Mask: That would be awesome.

Dan Ralphs: So one of the things I want to ask you two, as business owners, is there's a lot that I think Keap does really well to avoid possible stuck positions, and to avoid, you know, anxiety for you as CEOs and business owners. What have you learned along the way that helps you to avoid anxiety, and to, like, prepare the business, so there's not gonna be those moments where you get stuck.

Scott Martineau: And maybe – maybe to sort of contextualize that, I think that you – when you get into a business setting with employees in a team, you can kind of get into this psychological rut as a team.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Scott Martineau: And so I think one of the things that Clate taught very well – in fact, you probably ought to speak to this, Clate, but is the – you know, business naturally creates chaos, and chaos tends to lead to a lowering in confidence. You know, when you're not sure what –

Clate Mask: Yeah, chaos – chaos creates confusion for people, and then the confusion results in a lack of confidence.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: And winning in anything is about confidence. When you're confident, you win.


Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: You just do. And you might have an occasional loss, but you generally are a winner when you're confident, and you are genuinely not a winner when you're not confident.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: I mean, it's the old thought, whether you believe you can or you believe you can't, you're right. So when you think about that, you know, the reality that our confidence is really the key thing here, you've got to back it up and say so – you know, we've talked a lot about, well, how do you get confident? How do you get – how do you go from the chaos that's happening in the business every day, because that's what happens in a business, it is chaotic, and that's why we wrote the booked called Conquer the Chaos. But one of the things is you've got to get your mind to calm down about all of the factors and all the things that are going on. So you've got to create some kind of plan, you've got to have some method for how you take all of the chaos and confusion and distill it into a plan that brings you some clarity and confidence.

Dan Ralphs: I remember, Clate, you were talking to a group of business owners, and I remember you saying if there's one thing I can invite you to do, is to have a quarterly planning rhythm, and I thought that was so lame. That was so –


Clate Mask: [Laughs] Why would that matter?

Dan Ralphs: [Laughs] That seemed so, like, kind of unimportant in the grand scheme of marketing and sales. Why is that quarterly planning rhythm, how does that help bring confidence to the team?

Scott Martineau: I think the first thing is part of the process in – and this is an entire system that we teach in the elite, in our elite systems, but one of the most important things is to first just sort of wade through the chaos. And so there are a series of exercises we go through to evaluate what's going on in the business, and the good, the bad, the ugly. We're looking at accomplishments and lessons learned. And so you sort of – the way I visualize it is you sort of bring all of that context up and you stare it in the face, you know?

Clate Mask: That's a great way to say it.

Dan Ralphs: Mm. Take the thoughts out of your brain and you look at it.

Clate Mask: Yeah, yeah.

Scott Martineau: Exactly, yeah, actually that's right, you're sort of taking the thoughts out of the –

Clate Mask: Out of the business brain, yeah.

Scott Martineau: So now – yeah.

Clate Mask: Well, and I think the first point is you're slowing down, you're stopping. So what I say is do this quarterly, get off site, turn off your phones, turn off the distractions, get into a different zone, where you can look at the business differently.


Just change – just doing that gives your mind the ability to stop its normal processes that are all running, thinking about all the different issues, and actually begin to examine something in a different light. So first you stop and get away. Second, you surface, as Scott said, that's really great way of saying it, I never thought of it that way, and it's really taking all of the business's thoughts that have been happening over the quarter, and getting them out of the business's brain, putting it in front of you, and saying, "Okay, let's examine this." And so just having a process and a method for doing that, all starts with getting on the calendar once a quarter.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah, yeah. And I love the outcome of that, is hey, we kind of end up with – after we've thought it all through, we've pulled out all the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we look at it in the face, when we said what's next? If we're gonna do the most – what are the most important five things, if we could only do five, what are the most important priorities we can do moving forward? And that – that just kind of settles you. I've thought this through, and I've come to a point of where I feel confident.


These are the five things. I've given it the time it needs for those decisions, and now I can start to act with a little bit more confidence.

Clate Mask: Yeah, because part of what happens is you're going through the day to day grind as the quarter is building, and if you let it keep going, you don't stop and confront the brutal facts of what's going on. But your mind knows they're going on, so your mind is feeding it to you all the time. You wake up in the middle of the night or in the morning or you're in the conversation – and all of a sudden you're like, uh, this competitor, ah, that. You know, there's these things that are happening, and if you don't stop and take the time to confront the brutal facts, then it's just deteriorating your confidence in the back of your mind, eating away at you.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah,.

Clate Mask: And so that's why it's so important to, like, yeah, let's get the brutal facts out there. You can solve any problem if you bring it to light. It's when – I mean, there's a reason why the – you know, why the 12 step recovery programs out there all start with be honest, bring the truth forward.

Dan Ralphs: You have to know there's a problem. You have to admit.

Clate Mask: Yeah, acknowledge it, say hey, that's – there's really –

Dan Ralphs: My life is out of control.

Clate Mask: [Laughs] That's right. That's right.


Scott Martineau: That was like a four second pause.

Clate Mask: [Laughs]

Dan Ralphs: Yeah. [Laughs] We can edit that, I think.

Scott Martineau: We're slowing – we're slowing – oh, no, Dusey wouldn't do us that –

Clate Mask: No, no, he loves to make us –

Dan Ralphs: So since we have an awkward pause, let me shift to something else that I think really can get in our way when it comes to us having our minds in a good place and a healthy place as entrepreneurs, and that is I think that there is a tendency in kind of our instant gratification world to want success today, and every podcast, everything you look at and watch and read says, oh, look, I was a bum on the street, and now I have a $10 million business, and all I did was five things.

Clate Mask: [Laughs] Right.

Dan Ralphs: And any entrepreneur knows very quickly that's never the truth.

Clate Mask: So this morning I was on a call with a guy – there's a really awesome book out there called Startup Communities. It teaches people – a guy named Brad Feld wrote it. Teaches people how to get startup communities really going in their cities.[0:17:02]

And I've been communicating with him, and we're having a conversation, and one of the guys on his team said – we got on the phone, the first thing he said was, "Congratulations on your 15 year overnight success story."


Dan Ralphs: Exactly, right? And yet for some reason, especially if you're young in your entrepreneurial career, you might be thinking, you know, I watched this video, I watched the podcast, I have this launch formula, and now it's all gonna be easy and great. And I think that one of the things that successful entrepreneurs tend to do is they're able to be patient and realize this is a bit of a long game. I'm okay playing the long game. And I know Clate's not ever okay playing the long game.

Clate Mask: [Laughs] No, it's actually funny, 'cause I am – I'm definitely impatient at times.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: On the other hand, I do have a very long term vision. I remember – the reason I'm laughing is because I remember being in the Stapley office years ago with Scott, and we were – we had this tension, we had this feeling. And Scott was the one saying, "Gosh, it's just taking a while." And I said, "You know, I'm not interested in overnight – I'm not interested in a get rich quick story, but I'm very interested in a get rich slow story."



Dan Ralphs: Yeah, as long as the end is get rich. Yeah.

Clate Mask: Do you remember – do you remember when we had that conversation? [Laughs]

Dan Ralphs: And so I think there's something there, right? I think that if we can slow down, I think the quarterly context rhythm allows us to slow down and say, hey, I'm okay if this thing I thought was gonna be 18 months is three years, because I've noticed especially when I'm working with dreamers, they say, "I want to be a New York Times bestseller in the next two years." And because of the pressure that that brings, to try to be an overnight success, a lot of times they think they're failing, when they're actually succeeding.

Clate Mask: Yeah.

Scott Martineau: Yeah.

Dan Ralphs: And they think they're – the work that they're doing today, it finally becomes so overwhelming to try to get to this pinnacle of success so quickly, that it kind of – it kind of deteriorates. It makes them fail, right?

Dan Ralphs: Yeah. I – I was – oh, were you gonna say something, Scott?

Scott Martineau: Well, part of the – I don't want to go into too much detail on this, but we should do a podcast on that sometime.


But the process of going through to get all of the business – in our quarterly planning process, one of the exercises is accomplishments. And it's actually – it's amaze – it never ceases to amaze me. You walk in, you're feeling like, oh, man, I'm not doing what I want to do, and then you sit there and you force yourself for 30 minutes to just talk about what have we accomplished in the last three months, or the last year, depending on how – what cadence you're on. And it's a – like, pretty soon you realize, holy crap, we have done a lot of – we have accomplished a lot of things, but you just don't see that, you don't – when you're not slowing down.

Clate Mask: Yeah, and that – you know, taking the time to do that is critical. We actually do it in a very micro scale at Keap. In all major meetings that we have, we start with a positive focus for that reason. What are people positive about that they're seeing in the business or in their personal lives, and we'll go around and sometimes it's just kind of tweet style really quick, sometimes we'll take 10, 15 minutes and we'll just talk about that.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: 'Cause it puts you in a different frame of mind, and it helps you to deal with that tension that always exists that you have as an entrepreneur, where you've got goals that you're trying to get after, but you also want to be appreciated and grateful for the things that you've accomplished.


Dan Ralphs: Yeah. And as much as you – I think there's real power in being patient and recognizing this is not an overnight thing. I also think there's something about being impatient and taking action right now, with the things I can control. I think sometimes we can get paralyzed by the need to be perfect, we can get paralyzed by the fear of pushing launch because we know it's not quite right, our product isn't finished, our product – you know, we need to do five more versions of this before we're ready to move on something. And we can get stuck in our need to be perfect because we want to put our best foot forward.

Clate Mask: Right.

Dan Ralphs: Talk about –

Clate Mask: So there's a balance there, right?

Dan Ralphs: Yeah, yeah.

Clate Mask: And I was having this conversation with one of our VCs several months ago. And Olga from Goldman Sachs, she and I were talking, and I said, "It's about being tenaciously patient." And she said, "What – what do you mean?" And I said, "Well, it requires more patience than you want, but you're not sitting around patience."


Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Scott Martineau: Yeah.

Clate Mask: You are working your butt off.

Dan Ralphs: Tenaciously patient.

Clate Mask: [Laughs] Yes.

Dan Ralphs: I love that. And I think I see that – again, my perspective is helping Keap, the dreamers at Keap who are trying to do, you know, something big. Write a book, they're trying to start maybe their own side business or side venture, and they're – and there are kind of two types, right? There are the ones that run out really quickly, and they're sprinters, but the sprinters never last. And then there's the other type, that are constantly processing, constantly wondering, never able to pull the trigger –

Clate Mask: Constantly training for the marathon and never running the marathon.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah, exactly, and they never – and it's the people who are able to find this balance between imagination and execution that are actually able to make progress. The ones who are able to step forward even when it's not perfect, and make progress.

Scott Martineau: The people that run 5Ks.


Clate Mask: So let me –

Scott Martineau: A lot of 5Ks.

Clate Mask: A lot of 5Ks, yeah.


Dan Ralphs: There's something really true in that, right, 'cause _____ saying yeah, I'm gonna get to – I'm gonna get to the marathon, but I'm okay running a 5K first.

Clate Mask: Yeah. I say this jokingly when I say yeah, they're called quarters, but we've done – we've done our quarterly planning process for 14 years in a row. I mean, we're about – I think we're about 52 in, something like that – maybe, I don't know, every quarter. And when we first started it, we didn't do it for maybe six, nine months when we started the business, and then we did one, and I convinced Scott and Eric to take the time and do it, and we spent the time. And then we went about five months, maybe six months without doing it, and Scott and I looked at each other and we were, like, holy crap, it feels like the business is in complete chaos. And Scott said, "We've got to do our planning," and we did our quarterly plan that time, and we have never missed a quarter since then. And there's just something about – I mean, those are running 5Ks. You're in action, you have a block of time that's not too long and not too short, but it gets you in action and getting stuff done.


Dan Ralphs: It's so funny that here we are, I came on to answer the question of how do we – how do I get unstuck, how do – I lack confidence. And – and all we're talking about is get a really strategic planning process in place, make sure you have a time where you can slow down and make sure that you're heading in a good strategic direction. And I think that's – that's to me what I'm learning as we're chatting about this, is that the key to getting over your internal mental hurdles is to get out of your brain and into the work.

Scott Martineau: Right.

Clate Mask: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm.

Dan Ralphs: It's like, get over yourself and get to work a little bit, right?

Clate Mask: Mm-hmm, yeah.

Scott Martineau: Mm-hmm.

Clate Mask: And sometimes you just – I mean, sometimes it's just really hard to do. So let's – let's take it back to, like, the core of the question. What if I'm just suffering with confidence issues and I've got negativity going on in my mind, 'cause, you know, the person who asked the question said it really well, it affects everything.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: So I have a – the reason why I was so passionate about this topic when we wrote the book Conquer the Chaos, and I did want to spend the time on the first half of the book around mindset strategies, is because it's very personal for me.


So when I was growing up, my dad's a teacher, and he actually only got paid for the – you know, the years, the school year, so he would do some other kind of side job during the summertime. When I was young, he'd work construction. As I got older, he was like, I don't want to do that. So he found this program that he could teach. I still remember, it was called Success Motivation Institute. It was a positive mental – it was a positive mental attitude program, and he – and he learned how to teach this, and he taught it to a bunch of people. And so as a teenager, he started talking to me about it a bunch. Now, I'm a teenager, I'm smart, Dad's dumb, didn't want to listen to anything Dad said, and I just frankly tuned it out, just didn't want to listen to it. And then I went off to college, and then I went and got a law degree and an MBA. You know, I was so smart, you know, eight years of education, I just knew everything. I was just so smart.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Clate Mask: And then went into, you know, a company, then started a business, and that business, called Keap, began to just kick my butt.


And despite going and having a therapy session or two with my dad, as I've mentioned before, you know, a year and a half went by, close to two years went by, and I was just struggling mightily, like so bad. And I'd gone on – I'd gone on a trip, I remember, and I grabbed a book to read, and ironically, it was Scott's dad who had given us this book, and it was called The Power of Positive Thinking. And I remember my dad talking to me about this when I was young, but I didn't pay attention.

Scott Martineau: Wah wah.

Clate Mask: [Laughs] Wah wah. Didn't listen to it. But I got that book and I read it while I was on that flight. And I just remember – like, I had such a – like, I had such a personal – like, I just had such an emotional experience with it 'cause I just – I heard my dad teaching me as I was reading all the stuff.

Dan Ralphs: And once that clicks for you, where you go holy cow, it really is me –

Clate Mask: Yeah. It turns out, Dad was right. [Laughs]

Scott Martineau: He got smart all of a sudden.

Clate Mask: Yeah, he got really smart. No, but I say that jokingly, I'll apply it to listeners. Listen, if you're having a hard time, which we all are at different times, get a hold – there's such great writing out there to help you through this, and that's one place where you don't have to go outside your mind.


You can – if you go – go grab a hold of The Power of Positive Thinking, go grab a hold of some of that – you know, that type of literature, there's a bunch out there, but that's my favorite one, and you will – it will change the way you think.

Scott Martineau: We have a – we have a culture at Keap where we encourage our employees to be engaged in business activities, and sometimes they choose to leave and go do it on their own, and I – you know, I have this moment where – when I'm talking with employees who leave, I look in their eyes and I see the fear.

Dan Ralphs: [Laughs] Yeah.

Scott Martineau: And I always say – I have a line, I say, "This game is about to get about 90 percent mental."

Clate Mask: Yeah.

Dan Ralphs: Yeah.

Scott Martineau: And I think the first thing we all have to realize, just like this Mr. Anonymous or Mrs. Anonymous, recognize this is a mental game. I love that we've been able to talk about how we – you know, most of this happens in our head, yet we've got to get out of our head and we've got to get into action, whether that's exercising, whether that's slowing down to take the time to get these thoughts out of our head. This has been awesome. Any final thoughts?

Clate Mask: It's been a lot of fun. I have a lot of –

Dan Ralphs: This is awesome.


Clate Mask: Yeah. I have a lot of empathy for entrepreneurs that are experiencing this. So get – you know, read the first three chapters, but especially the discipline optimism chapter of our book, get Power of Positive Thinking, talk to somebody, slow things down, get a quarterly plan in place, get in action. Go exercise.

Scott Martineau: All right. Listeners, if you want to add questions that we'll answer in this podcast, go to Small Business Small Business

Clate Mask: And thank you, in all sincerity, thank you for the question that was sent in Ms. Anonymous, Mr. Anonymous, whoever that was.

Scott Martineau: Maybe you go Anonymous, we're gonna mock you, just so you know. All right, thanks everybody. We'll call this a wrap this episode of the Small Business Success podcast.