Susan Finn 0:04
So it is it's Tuesday, June, it's June 6,
Kevin Strauss 0:09
second, sixth, it's
Susan Finn 0:10
the sixth that already time is flying by and June, June is my second favorite month, May is my favorite month because it's my birthday, my anniversary. It's Mother's Day, I love may. But then June is like when you settle in to do whatever summer things mean to you. And I was just telling Kevin, our guests today that one of the things that's important to me this summer is to, to manage my time, and thus my energy, so that so that I can be with the people I want to be with spend time building relationships with people, family, friends, colleagues, in a way that is meaningful, and that I'm not thinking about something else that I can be with the person that I am without thinking, Oh, I forgot to send that email or I forgot to make that post or I forgot something something. So I'm leaning in to last week, I did a live demonstration on in the rise above noise Facebook group. And on Zoom, it's on my YouTube of a tool that I'm going to be leaning into. It's called growth tools, Idealab growth tools, growth tools anyway, and I bought this to do my social media planning, because I am if this is what I want to tell everybody here if you can be very strategic, and thoughtful, and make your lists and do what you need to do to show up on the regular now. We're talking about authenticity today. This has some authenticity to it. I'm not saying that it's not fully authentic, but it is scheduled posts, so it's not necessarily in the moment. So when you do those strategic posts when you're good. So what you'll be seeing for me this summer will be things about how to get more opens with great subject lines, how to build your email list, how to make your emails more personalized, why click through rates matter? Like all the things right, the facts, the things that you're like, alright, Susan does email. All right, Susan helps with digital marketing. So those will be the things that I post and then write showing up authentically, in the conversations and in the interactions on whatever platforms I spend time in LinkedIn, and some time in Facebook, even though Kevin, I don't know if you've heard me say this before, but the social media right now, I don't know if other I think other people are feeling like this, where we open up our computer to do our work. And all of a sudden, it feels like there's a firehose of, of things just happening and oh my God, I need to do Tik Tok, I need to do Instagram, I'm not, I need to interact, I need to do email, I need to write my blog, like all the things, and some people will either go not doing any of it, or they'll try to do all of it. And they'll just burn themselves out. So So what are the things that we can do to build relationships within business, but also relationships, I think we're going to talk about relationships in general, right in the real business world, in the real world. And so being having, I'm thinking right now, for some reason of like train tracks, that show us the direction to go. But knowing we can get off at the stops to explore a little bit, but absolutely knowing where we're going. So that was said about now everybody has had a little taste of my stream of consciousness today that's kind of going with this is be strategic, make sure you're building relationships, and do the things that matter and let go of anything that isn't serving you that is that is really my mantra for this week and in and people in the rise above noise community, they know that I love to shine the spotlight on people who will help our community members, find the tools, the resources, the ideas that are going to help them improve in some way. And that's why I asked Kevin to come on to the rise above noise community today to talk about human interaction and relationships. So I'm going to go ahead and read your official bio, Kevin. So
Kevin Strauss 4:45
before we do that, can I of course just make a little comment. I know people don't even know who I am yet, but just to make a little comment because I really enjoyed the stream of consciousness. But the message that I was hearing was and especially for your summer, you know coming in to summer, is there is so much noise out there. And trying to to reduce all that noise like when you open your computer, and it's all the social media and blasting everywhere. And for me, I don't listen to podcasts because that's too much more information coming in. And it just boggles my brain. I love pulling in information, but it gobbles my brain. So trying to just calm some of that noise and get a little more focused on what really matters to you and your goals in life. And that kind of so that's kind of the message I was
Susan Finn 5:37
You got me pegged. Right and the name of my business is rise above noise is really good. Right and my mantra this summer is quiet the noise, right? Quiet the noise but be strategic and do what you need to do are intentional. Yeah. So now you guys know that Kevin Straus, like he spends his time in emotional health, and that's part of it, right? We're gonna talk about that. So he is an emotional health and innovation consultant. He is the CEO of Gucci, LLC, and he focuses on what drives behavior. And he's dedicated to making life easier and happier. How can anybody argue with that? He started out in Biomedical Engineering, and he's a problem solver, right? He finds solutions. So he's got like, 80 patents, he's no slacker. He's got 10 More than 10 research publications, two innovation awards. And he has a book called innovate the 1%. He's worked in human behavior for two decades. And I loved that in our conversation. At first conversation, we talked about identifying emotional health. And we made that distinction between emotional health and mental health as so identify, identified emotional health as its driver and human connection as the primary supporter. So the app Ucci has been created to help nurture authentic connections with the people closest to you. In addition, you can know that Kevin is a but not a slacker, again. 22 year injury free Ironman, triathlete, and coach. So when I asked Kevin, what is his superpower? He did say it's innovation and problem solving. So tell me more about that part of you, Kevin?
Kevin Strauss 7:27
Well, thank you for the platform. It's really exciting to be here and have this conversation with you and audience in everything. I'm excited to share and see where it goes. Because I'm not exactly sure where it's gonna come out. We'll figure it out. But that's okay. Yeah, so problem solving innovation. It really has just shown up in all areas of my life. And, you know, as the bio says, you know, I started out in engineering, mechanical, and then a master's in Biomedical Engineering, and it's all about problem solving about truth be told, I really learned how to solve problems from being basically my father's apprentice for the first 18 years of my life. That's where I really learned how to solve problems. I think that's where it was really kind of ingrained in me. Because we fix the washing machine, the lawnmower, we restored a Mustang convertible, you know, we add an addition on to the house and not everything goes perfectly well. When does anything ever go perfectly, right? So you got to figure out how to solve that. And, you know, engineering seems like a natural place to go, of course, solve problems. And it's been great, you know, the career in engineering and biomedical engineering medical device has been super, super fun, helping solve really tough problems mostly in like the spine world, but also human behavior. And and that's really rewarding, you know, helping people live better lives and function and do the things that they want to do in life. But there was a point where I identified I had this epiphany. But I'd also been thinking about this stuff for so long. Already, that it seemed to me that so much conflict was, was rooted in people not really sharing what they really thought, or how they really felt. And one or the other, or both people weren't really we say communicating, but I also think it's connecting, and there's a difference there. And and that just put me down that road. And that's how that's just solving that problem. How can I reduce conflict? I don't want to see conflict. It pains me to see anyone in conflict or hurting in any way. And conflict causes pain, right? It's like emotional pain. So I just don't want that anyone and that's where the that's how this career or this part of my career sort of shifted to what's really driving conf Like what's really driving pain? What's really driving behaviors? You know, why are we doing what we do? Why do I do what I do? And just I just keep asking the question why, why, why, why, why, and, and after, you know, 22 years, I just keep getting funneled down and landing on the emotional health aspect of our overall well being in our person. And that's kind of where that went, and then just digging in and trying to solve that problem, which then opens up this huge can of worms, but this huge, it's like, endless because behaviors are endless. But as I dug into it more and more, I'm seeing that there is a root cause this is what I'm seeing, through research through observation through experimentation. And not my research, I mean, like everybody else's research for, you know, years and decades and longer. And it just, to me, what it led to, was this lack of feeling loved and connected, and a sense of belonging. And that's how we get to the emotional health. We're struggling with that. And, and when, when we're struggling to feel loved and connected, it causes pain. And a human will do anything to ease their pain or avoid their pain. And in the absence of knowing how to love and connect, we turned to behaviors. And then that's where so that's, that's like, how this whole path went down, and just trying to figure it out. And I'll finish this little part here with trying to figure out my own pain. What I learned it took me 15 years to figure it out from that first, you know, the epiphany around conflict, it took me like 15 years to figure out that the UI app ultimately was really my solution, my problem solving, to solve my own pain of not feeling heard and understood and valued by my parents. That's really what I was trying to stop. And it worked. It works brilliantly.
Susan Finn 12:29
I mean, so you mentioned the app, and you mentioned that part of it. I do want to, I want to hear about that right now. But I want to park right here. So we don't forget to talk about it. That just the national focus that's starting to happen. Surgeon General and a lot of government talk people talking about emotional, they talk about mental health, you say it's emotional health. But let's talk about that app and how right you were feeling everything that you just talked about disconnected. The pain of you know, you didn't feel feel loved enough, connected enough. And even with your parents, even though your dad took time to show you how to fix the machine, how to do the things you weren't there was something that was missing. And you are like carrying this around, and you're a problem solver. So you create this. So let's talk about and also because, you know, we're we are a group of business owners and entrepreneurs, the importance of connection and relationships can't ever be understated. But let me talk ask you about this. So Gucci didn't feel connected with your parents totally made a difference. Once you describe what the Gucci app is, and how somebody who's feeling right, so many people feel like you just said, how does that that
Kevin Strauss 13:42
app? Get you out of that hole? Yeah, yeah. So Ucci was my solution. So so the way it started isn't as observing that conflict between a father and his teenage daughter. And it occurred to me that they just weren't sharing what they really felt or how they really thought. And I thought, well, what if there's a way to help people share what's really on their mind and in their heart, and at the time, so this was back in 2001. So at the time, I had been writing tons and tons of emails with like, friends and stuff, and we would have these epic conversations, really authentic, heartfelt, vulnerable conversations, but through email, so that would last like weeks or months long, you know, they just back and forth like pen pals, right? Like that. It was only through writing. I mean, some of these people I've only ever met in person once or never at all, you know? So I was like, well, parents and kids can do this. You can do it in their own home, you know, but they don't. I mean, they're not going to write an email in their own home and you open up an email window and where do you begin? Sounds like what if we just start and prompt with a couple of simple questions, just to get the ball rolling, but these questions that would be just right below surface level conversation right? And below the texting type stuff, even though that wasn't really happening back in 2001. But the you know, not the logistical kind of questions, but really, how do you see the world, I want to understand how you see the world. And I want to share with you how I see the world. And that's what that's all it is. So he is this app with a massive database of questions all over the all over the spectrum. We avoid controversial stuff we avoid, you know, we're not trying to figure out your deep dark secrets. Or have you shared them. Gucci doesn't read anything, everything on Gucci is 100%. Private, nothing is ever public on Gucci. But you answer questions, your Gucci friends, because he in Japanese means in group or inner circle. So it's really about connecting with the people closest to you. Because even in even in a family living under the same roof, people feel lonely and isolated, even when they live together. You know, that happens all the time, especially in like couples marriages, you know, things like that. Even under the same roof, people feel lonely and isolated. So Buchi is just a an easy way to share your perspective, you don't have to think about what should I talk about? Just answer a question. And the two main rules of Gucci are only your Gucci friends can read your answer. So nobody else has access to your answer only your Gucci friends. And you can only read a friend's answer if you've already answered that question. So you have to contribute in order to consume. And one of the big problems on social media is that everybody's talking. But no one's really listening or engaging back. It's like a one way exchange of information. Right? Like 99% of tweets get zero engagement. So how do you feel heard? If nobody's you know, talking about this topic with you, you don't feel heard you don't feel understood? And that's what he does. It gives everybody the fair shake to share their perspective. Only your people, your he can read your answer and comment. And it feels amazing. And you know, when I first launched it, it was a website, because in 2003, when when it went live, there were no smartphones, you know, there were no apps in 2003. So it was a web based it was just a website. But oh my god, I you know, I launched it originally intended for parents with teenagers. But I was like, well, I should, I should just give it a try and do it, you know, so I got my parents to do it and, and within like two to three weeks, noticeable improvements in our relationship, noticeable improvement, like, just by sharing your perspective and knowing that the people you care about are reading it. When we would talk in person or on the phone, I felt like they were actually listening to me. Like for the first time, they weren't just interrupting me and cutting me off and sharing their story. They would listen. And then I was so much more patient with my parents. And we did it for nine months straight. Like every single day for nine months, we answered questions. And I don't even think we had an argument in nine months. And I get along with my parents and everything. But you know, we also butt heads a lot, too. Yeah. But the big problem that I was really dressing for myself was all the judgment that I was raised with, like constant judgment and criticism and also emotional neglect, which is like why are you crying? It's not a big deal. Don't cry about that. You know, don't be such a baby. Yeah, that's emotional neglect, that hurts. That causes your stress to go up, your cortisol goes up, you're feeling pain, you don't feel valued, you don't feel loved. And then you got to compensate in some way and one of the the primary way that I compensate is by overachieving. Then I feel valuable if I overachieve, and I'll relate this back to the business world since this is important. Yeah, is a lot of times I do feel like we we try to overachieve in our business and start doing big things as solopreneurs or business owners or we just work, work, work, work work, because we're trying to feel valued. That's and value translates to love in our brain if I feel valuable, I feel love. You know, if you disrespect me, I'm your boss and you disrespected me. You're not valuing me, that triggers my pain of not feeling valued and loved probably as a child, and then I'm gonna react, am I gonna micromanage you, I'm gonna yell at you. I'm going to make you come to work even though virtual, you know, virtual work is fine for most companies. It's all these different ways that we behave in order to get that control back. To ease our pain of not feeling valued, not feeling heard, definitely understood, not feeling well.
Susan Finn 20:06
And I thought that right, because we honestly, you guys, Kevin and I were like, how are we going to relate this to the business? Well, well, in business, we are all people. And I just thought it was this was a really interesting and valuable conversation to have. And now I see that I see a connection with another one later. Oh, good for which it was kind of what you just said that when if we're feeling loved and connected to the people who are important in our life, like our non work life, but it can be work life, too. It's right. It couldn't be right, if that's the thing, right? That's so interesting, because, you know, I'm not a phone talker. I'm gonna tell you that. So I'm not a phone talker. But my daughter, Alex and I, we talked twice a week when she's driving to work. And those are the conversations where it's just like, What do you have for dinner last night? Or, you know, oh, the cat wasn't feeling well, what did that say? Like that kind of thing? Or is your kale coming up in your garden? Right, like different things that I don't necessarily. I'm not a phone talker. So I don't have that chit chat with other people. But then it's just that deeper knowledge of, oh, well, she's probably just getting to work right now. And she dropped the dog off at daycare, and like, knowing that about her is a connection. Okay, and then I want to hear your connection that I want to talk about knowing
Kevin Strauss 21:26
those day to day routines, but it's also the day to day, slightly deeper stuff, you know, like, I mean, this wouldn't come. This question always pops into my mind, but I really enjoy it is, you know, for family that's using the app or just even around a dinner table or talking on the phone, wherever you happen to be, you know, in the world, you know, how would you define your role in your family? You know, that's like an Ucci question.
Susan Finn 21:52
I was gonna ask you what some of the questions that's like,
Kevin Strauss 21:55
but what's your question? Give me what's your favorite color? You know? Or, you know, I mean, it can be it can be all over the place, but it's get those conversations going. Because a lot of times, how can we ever expect to have the big conversations? If we struggle to have the little conversation?
Susan Finn 22:15
Yes, right. So if a
Kevin Strauss 22:17
if someone at work is not behaving, you know, like the way you want not doing what you want them to do, and it's like, oh, you call them in your office? And like, you know, your numbers aren't up and what's going on here? And why aren't you doing this? And there's an attack, I'm on the defense. Nothing's really I mean, that's, that's gonna be really difficult to make forward progress. But you know, understanding the person do I even know this person? Do I know that they've got, you know, a new baby at home? That's like, you know, not sleeping through the night and is very colicky? And do I do I understand where that person is coming from? And, oh, maybe that's why they're tired. Maybe that's how they're not quite as focused right now. Or they're a little distracted. And if I don't know that about a person, if I don't just know the people that I'm working with, about them, and how they like to interact and go about their day, and what's going on in their day to day life outside of work? How can I relate to them? How can I understand them? How can I be compassionate? How can I work with them? If I don't really know them?
Susan Finn 23:18
Well, I can, I can imagine that some people like Well, that's too much work, right to know what everybody's doing in my business. But on the other hand, hiring a new person is awfully hard to write and having to deal with with people that aren't doing their work, because valued, right.
Kevin Strauss 23:33
I mean, you nailed it, you just nailed it great resignation, quiet quitting, you know, 85% of the global workforce is considered disengaged in some way. That's like paying 100 people to do the job of 15 people. That's a global workforce, you know, so when you don't feel valued at work, if your boss doesn't listen to you, if your senior managers don't really, I mean, 75% of people quit their job. This is Gallup data. 75% of people quit their job because of their boss. Now, is it because their boss is overweight? Is that why they quit their job? No. Did they quit their job? Because the boss didn't take 10,000 steps that day? No, did they quit their job? Because the Boston enough vegetables? No, they quit their job because they don't feel valued. They don't feel like their boss understands them and hears them and, and respects them. So it's like, well, I'm out of here. And what happens is when we don't have those good relationships with their boss and our peers, and our co workers, then we disengaged, we get cynical. We start criticizing everything. We start sabotaging things, we don't do as much work we don't do word work as well. This is all costing money. Right? And it's costing innovation for sure as well, and productivity, and then eventually we quit which goes back I don't have the number off the top of my head, but the cost of, of losing an employee and then rehiring and fight, I mean, and getting them up to speed. I mean, it's at least six months before the, I think more like a year before they're really fully integrated back into the flow of the workplace. That is so much time, money, energy, take five to 10 minutes a day and get to know you know, if I know that when you get to work, you'd like to get a cup of coffee and have quiet time to go through your email, then I know Oh, don't bother Susan in the morning, because she likes to, you know, have quiet time. But if I know Susan likes to get a cup of coffee and say hello to everybody, then I can go up say, Hey, Susan, I was thinking about this the other day, I know how to work with you better. It's the little things
Susan Finn 25:46
that this is amazing. And I think I mentioned to my daughter works for a company called Work human, which is also similar is addressing but not on the relationship level. There's is ways for upper, I guess, like bosses, to or co workers to recognize each other through points, which is then stuff, money and stuff, which is kind of cool to like, any way that we can, I guess make it easier to understand what drives people. I'd love to. We're gonna run out of time. But there's just so much to talk about here.
Kevin Strauss 26:23
The innovation part and I can do that really quick.
Susan Finn 26:26
Yeah, I want to I want to stay where you are for just a second because right so families and then corporate we talked about, so people in my world were usually solopreneurs. And where we're usually leaning into communities, right to have the rights of of noise community, get my idea lab community, I have my mastermind communities, my power our communities, right. So I can imagine that if we were to set up these kinds, this, you know, do you have like circles on Ucci? Where some it's like different? Exactly at work? Yeah. Because we were different. It's different than going on to LinkedIn where where people are like, can you share this for me? Can you share this for me? Right? This is the personal stuff and understanding that and having a more of a right, we're humans on this Earth at the same time, and just Oh, right, right. We're people and we're more than just referral sources from for each
Kevin Strauss 27:24
other. Right? It becomes very transactional rather than relation.
Susan Finn 27:28
Yes. And so I can see that that's a use for this for this app. And as for a solopreneur, I know, we were trying to think of like, okay, how does that work, but to understand people at that, at that level, love to talk about innovation, and I want to also talk about just our country and the need for this in our country.
Kevin Strauss 27:47
Yeah, that's a big one. So the innovation thing I'll just touch on really quickly. It's, it's like I was saying before about behavior. So any behavior, whether it's destructive behavior, like drug addiction, or it's constructed behavior, like an invention or something, behaviors are, in my opinion, rooted in your emotional health. And the more your emotional health is being nurtured, the happier you are, right, and we know from research as well, like the Harvard study have been 80 plus years now, we know that the key to happiness is connection. Like that's, that's like a 80 year long study now, and it's still going. So the more we connect, and the more we relate, and the more we love each other. So at this one company, I mean, I loved my team, I loved working with my fellow engineers, and marketing and sales people. And we were just vibing off each other. We're joking. We're connecting on all different levels. We're always sharing not not that he couldn't have it back then, but. But we're just connecting. And we know each other we know about each other's family life and dating life and sports and hobbies. And we just were so integrated, we loved each other. And inventions were just like coming out the woodwork, like we were constantly innovating. And it was always a safe place. Because we loved each other as people, like we knew each other. You don't have to love every and I'm not talking about like, love, love, love, but value each other. Recognize that everybody in your office is there for a reason. They have a value. And if they don't, then they shouldn't be there. Right? Then they they need to be let go. And that's that's happens too. But when we really value each other if you have an idea, and it's terrible. I mean, I can't tell you how many horrible ideas I've had. But you have an idea. Even if it's terrible, it doesn't mean you're a terrible person and don't have value. Just that idea wasn't good. So we're always sharing ideas. And that's how so many of these patents came to be. Because we felt safe. We felt valued. We were connected. And it's like the rising tide lifts all boats, you know, we were all just like vibrating at this frequency. See, as they go into the office, it's just a blast. Like
Susan Finn 30:04
we had a blast. That's awesome. Right? That's what we need more of that.
Kevin Strauss 30:09
It's super fun. I mean, it's just we're laughing we're joking. We're, we're innovating. We're off topic, we're on topic. I mean, it's tough, especially
Susan Finn 30:19
if it's people like you who are getting your your brain drugs, right, you're getting your endorphins and your dopamine and oxytocin. Yeah, because you're belonging and then you've got the dopamine because you're innovating and you're thinking and things are firing on it's like, all of the things so
Kevin Strauss 30:40
your mental health, you're really engaged mentally, which I'm going to my frontal lobes, it's emotional, all of this more like in your amygdala, your midbrain, but you're, you're thinking really hard, you're really working through these difficult problems. So you're mentally thinking hard, that's your mental health, in my opinion, is how hard you can think and, and your your ability to focus and concentrate and perform cognitive tasks. To me, that's what mental health is about. And that's how we, you know, you put it all together, because it all has to go together, everything's feeding off each other. Right? If you're exhausted, you can't really think very, very straight, very well. And spiritual, like, why am I even going to the office? Do I feel like I'm adding value to the world or what matters to me, because for me, spiritual health is all about your purpose. And you can have many purposes. So it's putting all of that together. This is like the balanced wellness, like the four tires on a car, you've got to nurture all four physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and when all those tires are inflated in your car, and everyone around you, you are just cruising down the highway.
Susan Finn 31:46
I love that analogy. That's so good. So good. So the idea is that we get everybody in the country onto Ucci. And they feel loved and valued. And then we don't have as many shootings domestic violence, like I'm just thinking of exactly where this is a big, hairy, audacious goal for you. It's a B hag, right, like to get people to connect, and to
Kevin Strauss 32:14
just eat cheese, right? You don't have to connect with everybody like, Oh, no better, right? It's your Ichi, and then that overlaps with my Gucci, and there's a couple overlap with this Gucci and that Gucci. And then we all end up connecting
Susan Finn 32:27
Well, once you feel better, what an honor it is to, to spend time with you. And to learn more about your mission and how you're making this world a better place, you know, people like you are my mission, right? That's why I want to be able to put the spotlight on people who are making making a difference or real difference in the world. And I appreciate you. So so we talked about the UI app, and I will put the link in the show notes and in the in the chat over here. Is there anything else? Do you have another call to action? I don't think I even asked you if you had a call to action. Anything else you'd like people to do?
Kevin Strauss 33:05
I mean, really just go have fun on Ucci. You know, invite a couple of friends start answering some questions. Don't overdo it. Because you know, you can't build a relationship in a day. Right? I think that's why most team building programs don't really work very well, because the team building activity is great. But then what happens when you get back to the office like it's, it's out the window. But with Gucci? It's that little drip, drip, drip? answer a question today answer another question a couple days from now. It's not meant to be done in real time. It's not like a Slack message board, or discord. It's not a real time activity. Just answer a couple of questions on a Saturday and read a couple answers on Sunday and comment here and there. And over time, although we do find that if you're doing it regularly with some people, even within like a week or two, you'll start to notice changes of how you feel and you just end up being happier because you're connecting. It just that's what our data shows like it doesn't take long, but you got to keep it going. So just use Ucci it's free, have fun, it's safe and private. Have fun.
Susan Finn 34:13
Perfect, perfect with that. Thanks for anybody, buddy who kind of tuned into our rise above noise spotlight. I've said this before people in our community. Now more than ever, our world needs you to show up. And when I say marketing, or I do marketing, I do marketing, but it's really how can you show up so that the people who need you the most can find you so that you can they can get wake up in the morning and they're like been up all night, tossing and turning and they don't know what to do and they get a lovely generous email from you in the morning. They get an Ouchi answer from you they get you know, they see you on Facebook or LinkedIn or whatever and You're raising their vibration, you're by raising your own vibration. And that's what the rise above noise community is all about. And people like Kevin, who are in our community and the others who are in our community who are making this change. I honor you, and I appreciate you and I'm so so happy that we've spent this time together.
Kevin Strauss 35:18