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May 31, 2016

Don’t Let Business Get Personal – I Disagree

By | Be Genuine, Create Value, Have Fun | 19 Comments

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending the wedding of Mike Chavarria, SoapBox’s Director of Business Development. The entire event was perfectly, perfect. This was NOT an obligatory “invite your boss to the wedding” type of event. It was a small, intimate affair with less than 50 people. All traditional wedding convention was thrown out the window. They got married in a super short ceremony conducted by Jessica’s brother (which was so authentically funny). Even Becker, the dog, was there. If you have ever had a conference call with Mike, then you know “of” Becker. The ceremony was in the coolest loft space ever and their love of each other, and craft beer (equally important), was present in every single detail. We ate burgers and fries from a food truck, chatted and danced.

Mike and his new wife were both beaming with pride, love and honor. There was so much raw emotion. I loved every minute of it. Hearing speeches from Mike and Jessica’s college and childhood friends and their families was PURE awesomeness. They were funny, heartfelt and so spot-on with their descriptions of who the couple were growing up, and who they are now.

I was so in awe of the whole event because the people were incredible, and it gave me more insight into how Mike’s past has influenced who he is today. I’ve known Mike for 6+ years now. He first worked for me when he was JUST starting his career in MR at another company. When we hired him, he was energetic, tenacious, eager to learn, and very, very loud. He stood out. He is exactly the same now (just with more experience and drive.) Mike is SUPER easy to like. He is passionate about everything he does – even if he is not good at it. Apparently, he is a really sucky golfer as his loved ones mentioned repeatedly in their speeches.

The “instantly likable” quality is part of the SoapBox culture. You may be super smart, talented and experienced, but if you aren’t someone people are instantly drawn to, you won’t make it as a SoapBoxer. The wedding was a living, breathing example of SoapBox’s Telltale Ten value – they were ever present throughout the evening. I was proud and humbled.

Create Value – The couple created value for every single guest. How? Providing a thoughtful, genuine, heartfelt experience for all. There was a total value add if you were there. Enjoying a pure, authentic, and memorable Saturday evening. Good stuff.

Inspire Others – This event was SUPER inspiring. It screamed “we are who we are” and got me so pumped up to continue down this path of authentic leadership. Watching how Mike and Jessica support each other with their personal and professional lives was truly inspiring.

Motivate Others – I had the pleasure of sneaking in a brief 1X1 chat with Jessica. She shared with me how much Mike has grown and that she loves the rare opportunities when she comes home early and gets to hear Mike on the phone with clients. It 1) makes her proud and 2) motivates her as she finishes up her last few months of schooling for Physical Therapy. They have been an incredible team, motivating each other through the toughness of going back to school and building a career.

Take Risks – The whole event went “off script” as to what a traditional wedding would be. As the bride and groom said themselves, “it was either going to be a disaster or wildly successful.” It was definitely the latter.

Be Genuine – There were tears and speeches. All unscripted (for the most part). Mike and Jessica planned the whole event to be reflective of them and their lifestyle. It was about as genuine as you can get.

Be Honest – Mike and Jessica wrote their own vows. When Jess shared she was “not feeling it” on their first date, it evoked a lot of giggles. It was refreshing to hear the “real” story (and how Mike’s mustache tattoos on his finger that he randomly holds up to his nose was what really won her over.) The mustache tattoo was a big hit – we also heard how it was the result of a drunken evening with his buddies who lovingly paid for it J.

Be Clear – The bride and groom were super clear on what they did, and did not want, their wedding to be. They had a vision and made sure each element spoke to that vision.

Be Reasonable – The whole event was sane. I have been to too many weddings where things are just over the top and people do not even enjoy themselves as they are caught up in the show. Not the #chavastemwedding.

Have Fun – Funniest, fun event. People were laughing and dancing and interacting in such a unique manner. It was like being at the coolest ever craft brewery happy hour with the goodest of good peeps. Yes, I realize goodest is not a word.

I love seeing and interacting with staff in their own personal element. Mike is a true SoapBoxer – in and out of the office. His lives his life aligned with Telltale Ten principles. SoapBoxers need to be all in. They need to possess the innate qualities that make great people great, before they ever come to SoapBox.

As a leader, how can I ask them to be “all in” if I am not all in? It was a privilege to be there for this special event – times like this motivate me to continue to grow our culture and not make (sometimes tempting) exceptions to the rules. If you want to box, you need to be a Boxer in and out of the ring.