Download the Transcript here!Jenn T. Grace – Episode 96 – Kicking Ass & Taking Names With Stacy A. Cross
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Jenn T Grace: You are listening to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast, episode 96.
Introduction: Welcome to the Personal Branding for the LGBTQ Professional Podcast; the podcast dedicated to helping LGBTQ professionals and business owners grow their business and careers through the power of leveraging their LGBTQ identities in their personal brand. You’ll learn how to market your products and services both broadly, and within the LGBTQ community. You’ll hear from incredible guests who are leveraging the power of their identity for good, as well as those who haven’t yet started, and everyone in between. And now your host. She teaches straight people how to market to gay people, and gay people how to market themselves. Your professional lesbian, Jenn – with two N’s – T Grace.
Jenn T Grace: Hello and welcome to episode number 96 of the podcast. I am your host, Jenn T Grace, and as we near the end of October, as I promised I have another interview for you. Today’s interview is with Stacy Cross, she is the founder of Comfort Killers, and this was probably one of the most high energy interviews that I have done in a very long time. So Stacy really got into a lot of mindset conversation, we talked a lot about personal branding, and how she has developed and created her personal brand over the last six months. You will walk away from this I believe inspired, but then also perhaps equally as exhausted because it was a really high energy conversation. So I really hope that you enjoy this. If you would like to see a transcript, or you would like links directly to anything that Stacy and I discussed, you can go to the blog at www.JennTGrace.com/96 for episode number 96. And if you would like to get in touch with Stacy or you have any n that you would like for me to hear, you can do so at pretty much Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn; all of those places I’m at Jenn T. Grace. Or if you’d like you can send me an email at Jenn@jenntgrace.com. Regardless of how you’d like to get in touch with me, please, please do. I’m happy to make an introduction to Stacy I’m happy to make, or if you just have general comments or feedback I always want to hear from you. It is never a wrong time to reach out so please, please do. And with that being said I’m going to cut the introduction short and get right into this conversation with Stacy.
So let’s just start from the top, and let everyone know who you are, where you’re located, what you do, and how you got to this place in time.
Stacy A Cross: What, where, when, and how.
Jenn T Grace: You name it, all of it.
Stacy A Cross: Well thank you so much for having me on your podcast. I appreciate it greatly. I am Stacy A. Cross, and there is no E in my name, and I am currently living in Philadelphia, moved here roughly about three and a half years ago, been here since, ready to be nimble again and move on. I move with opportunity. I am the owner and founder of the company The Comfort Killers, and I know it sounds negative Jenn, but in this case two negatives does equal a positive. The comfort- to me being comfortable is such a negative word, and of course killers is a negative word. But the comfort killers is what we do, and we provide products, and solution, and content, and services to those seeking success through personal development, and I’ve been living it so the value is in my experience. And that’s who I am, my mission is huge, my mission in life is to teach millions how to get uncomfortable, to think better, to live better, and to act better. And that’s who I am in just a nutshell.
Jenn T Grace: I love it. So how did you get to the place where you decided that you were going to go with Comfort Killers? All possible negativity aside, what was the impetus to say it’s comfort that really is what’s getting in people’s way? What was your kind of revelation around that word specifically?
Stacy A Cross: Definitely, because I believe that tradition and conventional wisdom led us to this comfortable life, right? We want to go to high school, get that great diploma, then take that diploma, go to college, get another diploma, then go off into the workforce, then of course get the picket fence with the home, get the kids, get the dog, get the car, and go to a couple baby showers in between, and be happy with a few vacations. That’s a comfortable life. I wasn’t even at that comfort level, but the revelation, the ‘aha’ moment in my life was realizing that I want so much more, but I don’t know how to attain it because going through this comfortable path, I’ve been just getting this same type of result, these same outcomes. So what is it going to take? So I look for inspiration and motivation outside of me at one time, this external. So I was going to a seminar and on Valentine’s Day in 2016 I went to one seminar, pumped everyone else up, and for me I just wasn’t getting pumped up. I wasn’t feeling it. And I was like, ‘But I’m a motivated person already.’ And then I realized you know what? I’m going to walk out of this seminar. I’m going to take a step back and walk out and I’m not going to feel guilty about it. I remember the day clearly because I did feel guilty about it, but I said, ‘What can I do differently that I haven’t been doing,’ and that was one answer was get uncomfortable. Do what people won’t do. Do the dirt, and that’s what I’ve done, and I’ve built a company. So upon coming home from the seminar that day, I wrote so many articles, I created the company in one day. I started writing a Comfort Killers handbook which I finished in 24 hours, and then things just started happening, result-based things. And I realized, ‘Wow doing the opposite of comfort really allowed me to grow in my space,’ and I think more people should apply their lives to living an uncomfortable lifestyle.
Jenn T Grace: Wow, I feel like you are saying so much with the time already, so we’ve been recording for like four minutes at this point. I feel like people can immediately get a sense of your energy level which is through the roof, and you’re really motivated, and you’re out to like kick ass and take names. Where do you see the direction and your ability to kind of be branding yourself with this? Because Comfort Killers is a really kind of perhaps polarizing type of statement for people who are stuck in their comfort zones. How are you finding other people who really just need maybe that kick in the ass to kind of get them going, or really have you be their personal motivator? Where are you finding those people? Are they reluctant to hear the phrase of ‘Comfort Killer’? Do you find that you have to explain what comfort killing is? I know that’s a lot of questions in one shot, but hit me.
Stacy A Cross: I understand where you’re going with this, and yes, in the beginning it was like, ‘Okay well how am I going to explain this?’ It’s easy to naturally just say The Comfort Killers, I am Stacy Cross, and there is no ‘E’ in my name, but then there’s got to be some explaining. Okay what is it that I really do? I want to motivate people, I want to teach people how to get uncomfortable. It’s been a blessing so far where people are naturally drawn to this idea of change. They want to change, they’re in a place that I could easily explain to them that I was in the same place, so it comes from my story, and what my story relates to is a sense of addiction. I was a gambler, I didn’t even know it. Right? So I had to overcome that but thought I didn’t want to go to an AA meeting, right? So- and I came from a place of procrastination. I’ve started and stopped so much times that it became known that if Stacy says something it’s probably not going to be done. It takes a while to reverse that aspect. So when people arrive at my domain, when people arrive at my face, when people come to me or essentially I go to them, I have this big humongous story, this personal story that I’ve written that I believe is so relatable to any facet of anyone’s life that’s willing to change. But here’s the deal, change doesn’t come easily, right? The seeds have to be planted. So I only work with people that have planted these seeds and that are willing to take the next steps, because the next course of action definitely is an accountability action; you have to want it, you have to go for it. So how do I purposely drive myself to these people? I put it in my articles, my website, all that jazz. Or really when you’re talking to me face-to-face, I don’t give you back pats. I’m not in the game to make you feel good. Tony Robbins even turned me down from going to Business Mastery. He said I needed more credit. I understand it, here’s the deal, I am not here to say everything that everyone already said, it’s been said. If you could motivate yourself from that, that’s fine, but the reason you came to me is because none of it worked.
Jenn T Grace: I love all of that, and so I feel like it takes a really strong personality to be able to say, “Listen this is where I’m sharing my story, and it’s not all roses. I was known for not actually following through with whatever it is.” How are you leveraging that aspect in terms of maybe relating with the people that you’re working with to say, “Listen you’re coming from the same place that I came from, and now I’m going to be able to navigate you through this because I personally went through it.” Because I think a lot of coaches out there, and strategists, and people who are counseling, and motivating; they don’t have that real credible story behind them.
Stacy A Cross: Right and I think it also goes with the niche. The people that I’m focused on are the people that- my story, right? So I say, okay if I had some addiction problem, I could probably help people overcome addiction let’s say without taking more pills, without doing this, without going to AA meetings. I’m not giving health advice, I’m not trying to say, “Do this instead of doing this,” I don’t know their level of problems, but my goal is to leverage the motivation and the power within. I want to spark something inside that’s already been there, but people- it’s so filtered, the veil is over their face, they can’t see. So when they come to me what I say is just the value is in my experience. And that hurt me for a while because you know I have friends that I’ve grown up with and I’m trying to tell them something, and I know that if Tony Robbins or Zig Zig or Jim Rohn, they tell them that same thing, they jump up. But since they know me, and since I’m their friend, they don’t have that same type of action. And what I’ve done with that is just cut them off. So I’m known to cut people off, right if they’re not on my same path. But in business when someone comes to me and they’re not ready, I kind of cut them off. But here’s the deal, I give them so much content, Jenn. I give so much free content through all my channels, and online, and I actually have my open calendar where people could click it and then call me for thirty minutes of call. So I’m willing to listen, I’m willing to see if the seeds are planted, and that’s what’s different than anyone else, where you could go to anyone else and they don’t have that type of story. They’re only really listening to your call and asking you for money at the end of it.
Jenn T Grace: So how are you building your personal brand? Because like I said you already have such a distinctive personality, and a very motivating personality, you have a very kind of strong drawing the line in the sand way in which you communicate, which is ‘I’m not pussyfooting around, I’m not going to deal with your bullshit. You’re hiring me to help fix what hasn’t worked for you.’ And I know that you’re saying that you’re putting out a lot of content, so from a personal branding side of things, how has that process worked for you, and were you always kind of the- to some degree I guess in your face like no bullshit type of person? Or have you had to evolve that as you’ve been evolving kind of your personal brand?
Stacy A Cross: The latter, I had to evolve that because I realized that time is limited, and I have to get a short sweet concise story. So what do I do to build my personal brand? In each of the avenues where you contact me in Twitter, in whatever the case may be, wherever you know about Stacy A. Cross, it’s always Stacy A. Cross but there’s no ‘E’ in my name. It’s always that story that’s driven behind it. So my idea is continue sharing the story but change the people, don’t change the story. So it’s cementing that story and confronting the realities of my story, which was the biggest part for me. Do I want to tell people I was addicted to gambling? Probably not, but it helps and it’s a major part of my quest and my story. So with defining who I am, the brand Stacy A. Cross, and evolving into that, and it has taken awhile and it’s shaped itself, and now I could say, ‘Okay I’m ready to move to the next step as this brand, Stacy A. Cross.’ Versus just as a company and the person behind the brand.
Jenn T Grace: So now when you think about the long term- so you are Stacy A. Cross, with no ‘E,’ in addition to the found of Comfort Killers. Are you thinking long-term that it’s important to you from a personal branding standpoint to really be focusing on building your name as a thought leader, as a content creator, as a content curator, and where does that leave Comfort Killers kind of in the wake of how quickly you’re kind of moving through things right now?
Stacy A Cross: That’s a great question because sometimes I have to take a minute to strategize again, right? Because I want both to move simultaneously in the same direction, because without me there is no Comfort Killer. So how do I interject both the personal brand as well as that main scope of the company? And I believe that that’s been the struggle, right? So I strategize probably once or twice a day if what I’m doing will outlive the Comfort Killers or will it move together symbiotically? And what I’ve found out is the easiest way for me to attack that is to keep tying in the value which is the experience within the company. So all my products, they range from me, they stem from me. I wish I had www.StacyACross.com and thought of that the minute I walked out of the seminar but I don’t. I have The Comfort Killers because I had to get uncomfortable. So that- The Comfort Killers is Stacy essentially, and what I’m trying to do is move both together in alignment.
Jenn T Grace: Interesting. Yeah I feel like there’s all kinds of challenges- benefits and challenges that kind of come with all of what you’re saying.
Stacy A Cross: Yeah.
Jenn T Grace: So as a just kind of side note, when I first was setting out to really actually define my personal brand, kind of put the stake in the ground of this is what I stand for, I was already doing what I was doing for years and years, and then finally I was like, well I just need to like really morph this into focusing on me as that personal brand and as that central point, regardless of what company, or contract, or wherever I’m working, and who I’m working for, or who’s working with me, et cetera. When I decided that I was going to go for my name, the domain www.JennGrace.com just didn’t exist which is why I ended up doing www.JennTGrace.com. It was not because I have any love for putting the T in, it was literally that the URL was not available.
Stacy A Cross: Someone got uncomfortable before you did with www.JennGrace.com, they took it.
Jenn T Grace: Yeah which is a bunch of bull. But so when you were looking for yours, was it because Stacy A. Cross didn’t exist, or Stacy Cross, or some variation didn’t exist that you just decided, ‘I’m going to go with Comfort Killers.’ Or was there some other factor that was involved in that decision?
Stacy A Cross: And you know that’s a good question. I did try to obtain Stacy Cross because that’s my name, and of course that was gone to a photographer, which she’s amazing, she does great work. And then but I always say she got uncomfortable before I did, and by the time I came around and got uncomfortable and said, ‘You know what? I’ve got to build me up now,’ Stacy A. Cross was available and I do own that domain. But here’s the thing with The Comfort Killers, I always was kind of like I want this movement to take shape, but I want to be the leader of it, and I want to lead leaders, and I want to create more leaders. I don’t need any followers. And so The Comfort Killers is such a tagline that will punch you in the face that says, ‘Okay I want to be a comfort killer, how can I be down?’ But now just transitioning into the Stacy A. Cross because people like my page more than they like The Comfort Killers’ page, they identify with the person more than they identify with an entity. So now it’s my calling to say how do I either tie the two in front, or just keep going with the tagline, but me being the first stop? And I understand that pivotal point that’s going to come where it says Stacy A. Cross is bigger than The Comfort Killers.
Jenn T Grace: Absolutely, that’s kind of why I was asking thinking because you have a magnetic personality that people are going to be drawn to that, and it doesn’t require explanation when someone’s introducing you, or you’re being referred to somebody, or somehow there’s a third party conversation happening about you. There’s no explanation, it’s just Stacy A. Cross, and then whatever number of descriptors might be included, versus Comfort Killers which does require a little explanation, but to the same point I still think that the name is really strong and I know when we were being introduced to each other I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ Like I have not met somebody that is so blunt, so kind of in your face, but in a down to earth type of way. Because I feel like there’s a lot of people out there who are kind of screaming from the stage, and they’re blunt, and this, that and the other, but yet they’re not relatable, and I feel like you have a good way of blending both of those balances.
Stacy A Cross: Thank you, thank you very much.
Jenn T Grace: So thinking about personal branding, and somebody who might be listening to this, and we’re talking about your brand is Stacy A. Cross, mine’s Jenn T. Grace, like there’s obviously the commonality there in and of itself. What would you say is like the number one- maybe the first step that somebody might be thinking like, ‘Okay I have a business right now, I’m known for being the founder of this business, or the CEO of this business, but I really need to start making that pivotal change into really focusing on me as a personal brand.’ In your experience, what would you say is that first kind of- maybe even just a baby step that people need to take to start figuring out what that might look like?
Stacy A Cross: That’s a great question. What I’ve done, and just to even get me to this point, is open conversation more about yourself, and kind of key in your actual things that tie your story together. And there could be four or five things because every one is important, and I think really over the three or four things, you have to know that you’re important, that you have something to say. And the confidence that comes with that when you are the authority in your domain, in your space, then you are confident to project your story. So the first things that I’ve done is start opening my opinion about things. And not in a mean way, or not in anything, I just stood firm with who I was, and opened my opinion. So I just really opened the channels and started being me 100% of the time. What I’ve done to identify or what someone could do to identify their personal brand and to kind of have that stake in the ground that says, ‘Okay this is me,’ the first thing to do is get your domain- I mean tangible things, is get a domain name and come across as an authority in whatever field, or whatever industry, or whatever niche that you are a part of. Right? So what I’ve done is started talking about things that haven’t been working in this personal development space, in self-improvement space, and I was very serious about it. I wasn’t there to converse, I was there to tell and to show who I was through my arguments, or through my opinions, and that’s really all it took. Now I’m the industry leader in that space of if you’re talking about uncomfortable, if you’re talking about discomfort, if you’re talking about growth, you have Stacy A. Cross and her name, she’ll know what to talk about.
Jenn T Grace: What was your process for really just identifying like, ‘this is my niche’? Like how did you really- like I know that we talked about how you came up with Comfort Killers and how you defined that, but like to come to the place to recognize like, ‘this is my niche, this is my calling,’ I feel like it’s a process for a lot of people and there’s an evolution for how to kind of come to terms with like, ‘okay this is what I stand for.’ Did you have any exercise that you went through? Did you have a coach who navigated you? Or did it just kind of- I don’t know, hit you one day of, ‘this is it.’
Stacy A Cross: I think I am the outlier, okay? I used to be a rapper and so I was always good with words, and I never found out until now that I was this good with words. And I kind of put my path, and I looked into my path and what leading up to this, and I kind of noted some very pivotal times in my growing up, in my formative years, where people would say certain things and I never thought of it of nothing. But here’s the deal, I didn’t get a coach, I just believed in myself, and I know it’s cliché but I did, and I said, ‘You know what? I don’t care. I really don’t. I don’t care who likes me, I don’t care who loves me-‘ I do care who loves me but I don’t care what anyone has to say about who this person is. So the process of me building that confidence up was really being serious in my art and my craft and who I was, and understanding that the level of criticism that you’re going to get in any area is going to come because first they criticize you, and then they admire you. And I live to that, and I said, ‘You know what? I’m willing to get criticized. I’m willing to put it all out on the line for who I am and what’s discussed and anything I say.’ So what I did, I had to step away from being an amateur, and I had to step away from being a guest here. No, I’m supposed to be here, and it was really a mindset change more than anything because we all have the words inside of us, we could really start talking right now, but it’s that mindset switch to let you know that you are the authority, and not an amateur, and not a novice. Even if you’re doing novice things at the same time. Because I came out of the struggle, I came out of the dirt, I believe that that’s the time that we need to grow because we have the most to say at that time. But really when I stepped out as Stacy A. Cross, not just Stacy Cross, but Stacy A. Cross, I stepped out with authority because I believed I had authority to be here, because I believed that I’m important, and I just walked out. No coach, no navigation, but I did read a lot of books. I did have some mentors that they don’t even know me, right? Because I feel like personal development is key because you need to take heed to the clues that was already left. So how does this speaker- let’s say, I love The Rock, right? How come he jumps on live, or Facebook live, or any Twitter channel. What’s his brand? The Rock, right? How come he has that authority when he speaks? What was the first authority? I started going back, I watched Oprah’s first video. I watched Gary V’s first video. These guys didn’t have anyone cheering them on when their first thing- they were probably scared as hell but they knew they needed to do it, and they knew they needed to be there. So I watched people, I started minding the clues, and believing in myself, and coming out with authority when I spoke about any subject, not just personal growth.
Jenn T Grace: Everything that you just- the way in which you said it, and what you just said is exactly like blowing up the idea of comfort. Literally everything that just came out of your mouth. So you’re obviously very much on brand with what you’re talking about. So what were the most pivotal books that you read, if you want to give me two, that really helped you kind of define and further refine your personal brand? Like what were the top two that you can think of.
Stacy A Cross: Okay the first one would be Jack Canfield’s ‘The Success Principles because that one straight up had- because there’s so many examples given in that book of being comfortable, and I was like, ‘Oh my God that was me. That was me. Oh wow, okay people know about you.’ And so the Jack Canfield’s ‘The Success Principles’ I always talk about. Love the idea of the inner guidance system which I renamed- because I could do that, the Biological GPS. So I love that, and I love understanding more of it, so I go back to that book multiple times. And the second is ‘The Master Key System.’ And that has been- it’s free on my website, The Comfort Killers, you could just type up. The only book you will ever need because I believe really that’s it, and that taught me about the inner world, right? And that the within world defines the world without, and it taught me about the universal principles, and how things need to just work, and things are going to be working without you or not, you could just slide right in there and be a part of the universal laws. And I love that because it’s more on the spiritual side and then Jack Canfield was more the hard cold truth about yeah, you bought the dog- you bought the dog, now you complain about the dog. So it’s more that tangible practical 3D life. And then of course the Master Key to Success- the Master Key System was more that whole broad spiritual aspect of it, and that balance, and that love, you know? So those are my top two.
Jenn T Grace: I love that you brought up both of those because I have had guests separately both mention- and it’s driving me crazy actually trying to figure out who also recommended ‘The Master Key System,’ it’s going to make me insane until I think of it, but I will. But I like the balance because you’re talking in one direction of like tactics and the cold hard truth facts, and then on the other side you’re talking about kind of the universe and how- and I have a quote on my wall that says, ‘The universe conspires in your favor,’ because it absolutely does. And so what degree do you think in your day-to-day that you’re applying both kind of sides of this? Kind of the hard fact versus the softer spiritual. Are you- is there a balance daily? Does it kind of fluctuate? Does it depend on your mood? What does that look like for you?
Stacy A Cross: Well you know in Delaware- I used to live in Delaware and the question will get answered. But I was living in Delaware and I was a heavy meditator, I was meditating, I was trying to do things to help me understand who I was, my higher self, and I was in it. I was in it all the way. And one day I think I meditated a little bit too much because I think I connected to the source, right? The motherland ship. I was there. So it scared the shit out of me. Goosebumps even to this day when I tell that story, and I only tell it in bits and pieces because I believe that that’s the best way it can be shared. Just like Twitter. So here’s the deal, I’m sitting in there thinking I’m meditating, kind of dozing off but I’m really not, I just went into a deep state of awareness and I couldn’t open my eyes, and it was this whole big thing, and my ear was beeping, and it was these tones, and I couldn’t- and I said, ‘Get me out of here because I’m not ready,’ and of course I did, I got out. But after that what happened in Delaware, was I looked up the word Delaware, and I realized there are two words, del and aware. Del of- and then aware. Of awareness. I got my peak state of awareness in Delaware. I will never shun that as a part of my growth because it made me so aware. Everything was beautiful at that point. I could look out and see a leaf, and the leaf would smile, and I was just so far gone. People were like, ‘You are now gone,’ and I was like, ‘But no I’m really ready to start a business. I need to come back.’ So what I do now is to keep both sides- because I’m very spiritual, so I muscle tense probably every day. In the shower, out the shower, upon waking, and I say thank you. And it’s these little bit size piece of gratitude, bite size piece of awareness, bit size piece of consciousness, and appreciation of who I am and my higher self. And then you get the majority of the beast, right? Because all I have to do is that, give that bite size awareness, bit size love, and I’m already in motion. And then my rest of my day is this whole beautiful thing called business. But throughout the day it’s all bite sized consciousness.
Jenn T Grace: So number one, I feel like there are probably people who routinely meditate and practice mindfulness, and don’t ever find that Holy Grail that you found. What would you say to the novice person who is listening to this, and not to say that the universe and kind of spirituality hasn’t come up in the podcast before, but it’s certainly not like a dominant theme in the podcast. So what would you say to somebody who’s listening to this and they’re thinking, ‘This sounds interesting but I don’t necessarily know where to start or what to do,’ or they’re absolutely petrified based on what you just said. So like what would you say?
Stacy A Cross: Here’s the deal- I was, but there’s a sense of calm and love and unconditional love with you in everything, and connectivity knowing that you are everyone. There’s a sense of that and I would never give that up. But if you’re a novice just like I was, we all once were babies and we needed to crawl, so the deal is what I’ve done is I just jumped on YouTube- I jumped on YouTube and did guided meditations because I didn’t really like that binaural sound coming in, it was too much too fast. So what I did was I just did a morning meditation which was ten minutes, and I started being more interested in it, and I started doing a guided meditation. I think if we force things it doesn’t come. Like on that day where I didn’t want to just go into a deep meditation, it just happened. It was at that perfect time. And I think everyone has that perfect time, but you have to plant the seeds now because you can’t get to that point of awareness (Delaware) sitting in the couch petrified. You can’t get to that one but you have to start somewhere. Open up YouTube, learn about your chakras. Learn about what the universe is trying to tell you because I think your personal story comes from your insight, comes from spiritual awareness. Because you have to be aware of who you are, and I think spirituality and going into that deep mindfulness of having those thoughts. You know how hard it is to not think, and that’s what I was trying to overcome. I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to do it because I want to just master this thing.’ And it was a game to me, and the universe loves playing games with you. So just be prepared to plant seeds now, take it one day at a time. It doesn’t have to be three hours like my crazy ass was doing, but it could be five minutes of just total gratitude and just saying thanks, and just saying, ‘I am aware, and I am here,’ and start with some affirmations and make them real.
Jenn T Grace: I love all of that. And so I am part of a Mastermind group, and I have a couple of them that I’m actually part of. Some are far more hardcore like the Jack Canfield, like we were saying just very much like hard fact. And then the one that I’m most active in now, there’s ten of us, and it’s very spiritually centric, and I had a really hard time acclimating to being in this room with these women. There’s only one other woman out of the ten of us who was also on like the outside kind of looking in. And not to say that I have not been spiritual, because I have always been a very kind of inner reflective, very deep, very conscious of everything around me, but I would never have thought of it as being like spiritual. Although now of course, it makes far more sense. I’m just very nature centric I guess is the best way of phrasing it. And I go outside and I run almost every day, and I’ve been training for a marathon which my podcast listeners are all aware of because it’s been such a struggle, but I find that I can find that clarity when I’m just outside running, and I’m kind of ignoring everything around me. I recently found a- actually I was introduced to a gentleman named Casey Carter, and his website I believe is called This Epic Life and he has a thirty day meditation- it’s not called meditation for dummies, but that’s basically how I’m interpreting it. Of here’s just this meditation for the lay person, and I just recently started going through it just to like see, and see if I could calm my mind, and it is really, really hard. And I’m only on- I don’t know, I might be like day six, and yet I can find that I can calm my mind when I’m moving, but there’s something about stillness that I think is what scares the shit out of most people. I think it’s the stillness that scares people, and I’m just still trying to figure out how to do it, it’s not that it scares me at this point because I’m perfectly fine being alone with my thoughts, which I think a lot of people have a hard time just being alone with their thoughts. I think that’s another one of the big things, but I feel like there’s so much benefit to business as it relates to all this. So my question to you would be what do you think the biggest benefit that you gained as a result of just being more mindful, and kind of in tune with yourself and your surroundings?
Stacy A Cross: I believe it’s the decision making because I think that the right things always come to me, right? It’s for me, it’s understanding who I am to a level where if I know my decision making- that was a piece for me that was hard, right? I was always looking to someone else to decide something for me without knowing what I want. But it was just a struggle for me growing up, right? So I think now at the level where I am, knowing that everything for me is for me, and it wouldn’t even come to my plate if it’s not for me, but understanding what my needs are. Okay? The needs of the business, and being able to decide based on those needs, not this reactional traditional conventional way to decide things. But I mean I’m talking as little as should I have coffee, or should I have tea? Because I had a headache for the past two days, and I know you wanted more business minded, but this is how on a micro scale that I think of things now. I had a headache for the past two days in the morning, I drank coffee, now my body is telling me it doesn’t like it, something is going on. Should I drink tea for a week just to test that out? Yes. And those level- and it goes from the micro just of doing those kinds of decision making all the way to should I invest in this- should I invest in this marketing strategy, this person, this coach for business because this A, B and C was the outcome, now my business mind is telling me that something either needs to be changed, what should it be? And it’s because of this mindfulness knowing that I’m taking in key factors from who I am, and how I feel, that biological GPS that allows me to make better decisions- business decisions, personal decisions, life decisions much quicker than I used to make crazy ‘rational’ decisions.
Jenn T Grace: So how do you think people go from whatever their status quo is in their comfort zone to understanding that you can rely on your gut or your intuition to guide you to a better, more rational decision, even though to some degree in people’s minds that might be like a counterintuitive thought.
Stacy A Cross: Yeah you know what, I always say listen- that’s why I said ‘rational’ because I like irrational. I’m illogical, I shouldn’t be here right now, Jenn. Okay? I started this business six months ago and I’m on Grant Cardone TV, they reached out to me, there’s so much things happening. If was rational all I would say was, ‘Okay I just want to start a business and that’s all I’ll still be doing.’ But irrational thinking, and understanding that it takes some work- it definitely takes some work. Time is of the essence, time is our friend, and the reason why people don’t get things done, or they say they don’t have no time is because they don’t know math, right? Because time is of the essence, truth. So I know I went a little off topic. You’re going to have to guide me back because I totally forgot the question.
Jenn T Grace: You know, I went off the rails with you and I don’t remember what the question was.
Stacy A Cross: I love it! That’s what the universe does for us, because whatever it was, that’s what needed to be said and we don’t have to force anything. And I love that, and I love that this came up because whatever needs to happen always happens, and I believe this to be true.
Jenn T Grace: I feel that way about people that I come across, introductions that I make, and I feel like I have had a road led with adversity in many, many, many ways, and LGBT is not even one of those factors of kind of the chaos of my past. And I feel like the only thing that gets you to the other side of that chaos is just saying to yourself, ‘This is happening for a reason. I don’t necessarily need to know what that reason is that this moment, but there is a reason why this is occurring to me right now.’ And that I think to some degree can get you through a lot of personal hurdles, but I also think for business because there’s a lot to be said about shifting, and adapting, and going in the direction that naturally feels like the best direction for you to go in, even if for all intents and purposes like on the surface, it does not make any sense to the outside.
Stacy A Cross: Right, I agree. I agree with that 100%. When I first started business’ing I was like- okay I was getting tons of information, and how do I scan that information quickly and make a decision? Or how do I start a business- like how do I do this thing? Friends were saying, ‘Do this, it’s the marketing. It’s this, you’ve got to get funnels, you’ve got to click them, you’ve got to do this,’ and I was getting bombarded and it didn’t feel right. And it wasn’t until I just kind of looked outside and just allowed myself to identify where the needs were in business was when I really started moving, and aligning, and getting results. That’s the biggest piece. But I do go through life wondering, asking, ‘Okay I know that this is here for a purpose, don’t know what the purpose is, but I’m ready for the lesson.’ And that’s really- and that’s really it, and it guides me, and I trust myself. And I mean I think we should trust ourselves a little bit more in business too. Like make a mistake, it’s okay. Like I think I did a tweet the other day, the entire sentence was fucked up- the grammar was bad. It’s okay. Like it’s okay to have a typo. I wrote a book in 24 hours, my eBook in 24 hours- which we don’t count, right? I wrote it in 24 hours and there were so many typos in it. I didn’t care, I did it and it felt right, and it felt good. And I think sometimes we just have to go, and when we feel that fear and everything inside of us telling us, ‘Don’t do it, don’t go for it,’ and that happens in a lot of conventional wisdom and tradition. That’s why more people, they don’t start businesses because it’s so hard to think about it that they don’t even actually do it. So my thing is just go for it, feel it, go for it, if it’s right, do it.
Jenn T Grace: And I think that the second piece of that is making it attainable. So if you have some crazy goal, or new business that you’re about to start, or kind of a new evolution of your existing business, it’s a matter of breaking it down into some kind of tangible baby steps that make it feel less overwhelming so you don’t get caught in that frozen place of being paralyzed because you don’t know the next step to take, because everything just seems so overwhelming and so daunting.
Stacy A Cross: It does get that way. And my goal is big, I have big goals, scary goals, unattainable goals, I can’t get to them and they scare me, they’re monsters. It’s on my shoulder, I wake up, I can’t even breathe, it’s holding me down, these goals are scary. I love big goals because I’d rather fail at a big goal than fail at a tiny puny ass goal, and not even change. Right? So my goal- I’m looking at the book and when you said marathon, I was like, ‘Oh shit she just reminded me I’ve got to go too to run a marathon, and I just ran this morning.’ And I’m doing it, and I’ve got to train for a whole year, and it’s crazy, right? And I feel your pain, Jenn. But you already are a runner, I’m coming from just like- I don’t even put the ink line up on the damn [Inaudible 00:41:53].
Jenn T Grace: But guess what? If we go back- and my loyal listeners of this podcast I think have a good sense of the evolution, but if we go back to 2012 and 2013 when I just had- it was like a personal crisis I would call it. Like just a crisis of like what am I doing with my life? And I said, ‘Screw this. Ef this, I am not taking anyone’s shit anymore, and this is the new me.’ And I started when I was running, and I couldn’t run for like five seconds without wanting to die. Like it truly was that bad, I could not run for five seconds without feeling like death was setting in. And not to say that that doesn’t happen now because it still does, but I think it’s the process and the journey. So there’s the whole cliché of like enjoy the journey, not the destination, or it’s all about the journey and this, that and the other. And to a large degree that is totally the case because I look- my goal was first to be able to run a 5K which is 3.1 miles, and once I was able to do that which took me a while to get to, I was like, ‘Alright now I’ll do the 10K, and now I’ll do the half marathon, and now I’m doing a marathon.’ But it requires every single day to be doing something to further you toward that goal that people do not see. So every single day my ass is outside running whether it’s inclement weather or not. So yesterday it was freezing, the day before it was raining, like there’s always something, it’s never just like nice weather, and you have to be out there every day. Nobody knows you’re doing it, it’s only you who knows that you’re doing it because you have the end goal of- like for me the marathon is in January. This weekend I have to run seventeen miles which I have been dreading for the last two weeks. But it is what it is, I have no choice. And in January, on January 8th when I can post my accomplishment of like I finally did it, I ran this 26.2 mile race that I literally couldn’t run more than five seconds without wanting to die a couple years ago, that is like the- finally the pinnacle of accomplishment because now people can see that that has happened. But they do not see the two or three years of training daily in the making that actually led to that. So if we apply that to a business lens, it’s those day-to-day consistent actions that people are taking that they’re not getting credit for, no one’s seeing, no one’s congratulating them on, that actually gets them to that place of having a successful business. But it takes forever to actually get to, so people have to be patient to some degree to recognize that it isn’t an overnight success, and there is no such thing as an overnight success because every single person you ask who has had ‘overnight success’ will tell you that it took them ten years to get to.
Stacy A Cross: Love that. I love it because yes, it’s the dirt. Yes it’s the work that no one shows on their Snapchat or on their videos or their documentary films about entrepreneurs. It is the work that comes in between. But here’s the deal, just as you were saying that and I’m reading this book ‘The Marathon’ by Hal Higdon. 88 marathons, some crazy numbers, and he says more people- he took a survey. More people appreciate and respect the training versus the one day of accomplishment because the deal is- and that’s the process, and that’s what I’m trying to give out, the values and my experience. It’s in this day-to-day action. We’re going to get the value from what we’re doing and what we’re talking about even right now because ten years from now, this day, I’ll be like, ‘Holy shit, I did all of that that one day?’ I already had three calls, Jenn, and I know you did too. Three calls. I went out this morning to run. I already read a piece of a book that I’m reading right now, ‘Story Selling,’ by Nick Nanton and J. W. Dicks. I’ve already written an article ready to go. I’ve already- you see it’s all of these things but it’s tomorrow, it starts it over with a reset button that you press.
Jenn T Grace: Absolutely, and I think that that is what- it’s like every day is truly a marathon of the amount of things that you have to get done, and there are people that don’t want to put in that amount of legwork, and that’s okay. So not everyone has to own a business, not everyone needs to be developing and growing their personal brand, and that’s just a life decision that some people just aren’t meant for it, and others are. And no matter where you fall on that spectrum- so if someone is listening to this and they’re like, ‘Oh hell no, I don’t want to have to have made three phone calls, recorded two podcasts, meditated, gone for a run, had lunch with somebody all before like 1:00 in the afternoon,’ then that’s fine. There’s no judgment in that and I think that that’s probably the most important word here, is that there’s no judgment in any person’s decisions to go in any direction that they choose.
Stacy A Cross: And I love that, but I’m going to just add the caveat. That same person that doesn’t want to do that better not complain about their situation later on down the line.
Jenn T Grace: Agreed. Totally agree, could not agree more with that.
Stacy A Cross: Don’t complain about not having, or not being able to get this, or the world’s against you, or not having- I’m not saying your listeners, your listeners are probably wonderful, I believe they are, and they’re loyal listeners. I’m talking about the- that’s that polarized thing that I don’t get, and that’s what I give no back pass for, is saying that you have zero time because you have to take the kids to school, you have to walk the dog, and you don’t want to do this stuff, but you’re watching eighteen hours of the Walking Dead the entire weekend. Don’t complain on Monday, don’t complain on Monday that you don’t have any time. That is all I’m saying.
Jenn T Grace: I could not agree more, and I will comment on a good example of this, is that this past weekend- so I’m on a very strict training plan to get this marathon done, like there is no room for error at this given juncture in time. And there are plenty of times in the past where it’s like, ‘Yeah if I move this run it’s not a big deal, I can switch this around.’ Like right now there’s literally no margin of error available. So this past weekend I was only supposed to do four miles which is very kind of simple at this point compared to what I have to be doing of like the seventeen on Saturday. But I checked in with my running buddy and said, “Hey how did your four miles go?” Because on Saturday morning my ass was up and out of my house by 7:30. Mind you I do have a wife, and we do have two children, both of which are very challenging due to mental health related issues, and I’m also running a business, I have something that I’m starting up, I have a ton of shit going on, and I was still able to get the four miles in, I just got up early, went out, did it, came back, and I felt amazing. I checked in with my running partner later that night and she had like fifteen excuses for why she wasn’t able to get out and do it. And I’m like, ‘Okay one major difference is that I have children and you don’t.’ That in and of itself makes it somewhat miraculous to get out of the house on a weekend morning without having like some kind of trouble. So I feel like- and there’s not judgment to be had in that, but when you’re not prepared for whatever it is that is coming. So whether we’re talking about something like a physical marathon, or whether we’re talking about the success of your business, or whether or not you win an award, or don’t win an award, or get some kind of accolade that you’ve been waiting or; it’s those very small decisions on a day-to-day basis that to me are the ones that have the most impact. So if you’re making excuses for whatever reason, the excuses are going to be the reasons why you didn’t get it done, because you’re only making the excuse to yourself because no one else really cares generally speaking around you what your reason for not doing something is, they just see that you didn’t do it and they don’t really care why. It’s you that you’re fooling in the grand scheme of things.
Stacy A Cross: If you want so much as one excuse and think about it, you’ve got a million, and they’re plentiful. So yeah, I agree with that whole concept and I’ve trained- you don’t even know what it’s like to live in the house with me because it’s brutal in the morning. I’m loud, I want everyone up, we’re up and Adam, and you know what? It’s changed everyone here, and I like to say that I was influential in that, and what business mind, and our decisions are better now, you know? So yeah, I love that, I appreciate that, and that’s what I’m trying to bring value to. It’s days like this, it’s the training dates that you’re doing, it’s me going out for a marathon- I don’t want to publicly say it because if I publicly say it- I’m going to say it right now.
Jenn T Grace: Say it.
Stacy A Cross: If I publicly say I’m going to run a marathon in a year from today- don’t send this thing to my email in a year, don’t do it. No but I will because I have the book, and I’ve been running, I’ve been training for it, but I am like where you were 2012, but that’s something that I want to do on a personal achievement level but I know that it’s an every day thing, it’s a strategic thing, it’s you’ve got to do it when you don’t want to, when you feel bad, and I get bad cramps. I don’t know about you, but my cramps come and I don’t know what to do in the world. But I’ve trained myself to say that I don’t have any pain, and I’ve been tricking my basal ganglia, I’ve been changing habits, I’ve been tricking myself when I feel bad to say, ‘You know what? I feel the best in the world and I’m going to go out there,’ and it’s been amazing so far.
Jenn T Grace: So as we’re about to wrap up, number one, I kid you not I will follow up with you to see if you’re training. Do not- you said it, it’s in the universe, and now I’m on your ass. This is what I do.
Stacy A Cross: I love it.
Jenn T Grace: And number two, I feel like to some degree there’s a lot of inspiration to be had for the fact that I know- and I know I had a lot of people in my audience reach out to me to say like how shocked in a way of like going from not being able to breathe running five seconds, to running for five and a half hours. And I feel like it’s that type of inspiration- because we can look at elites, we can look at elite athletes, we can look at the Gary Vaynerchuks of the world, we can look at Fortune 500 CEO’s and be like, ‘Oh wow that’s awesome that they’re doing that,’ but they’re not relatable, and I think our conversation to some degree brings it down to a relatable level to say, ‘If one of these two yahoo’s can get this shit done, then I can get this done,’ is how I see it. Like I truly am like, ‘If Jenn and Stacy can do this, like you can totally do it too.’ So I feel like there’s a lot of I think inspiration that can be drawn from being able to honestly accomplish anything if you just break it down into manageable chunks.
Stacy A Cross: Yes.
Jenn T Grace: So my final I guess parting question would be is if you could tell the listeners one thing that you think would help them, that they might be able to implement today, what would that one thing be? And then as you’re kind of wrapping up, feel free please tell people where they can find you, how you like to be contacted, and all that stuff.
Stacy A Cross: Yeah. I would say get uncomfortable with your friends, family, job, everything. I mean cut people off that need to be cut off. If you really want to go on a path, and you have identified any negative pieces in your way, any negativity, anything that will hold you back, limitations, and I’m talking even within yourself; cut them off and figure out a way around it instantly. Because I had to do it. I had to change friends, change my number, I do not care anymore. You have to be very confident in that and you cannot be flaky because once you cut someone off you can’t go back, and if you go back it better be to tell them how to do the same thing. The deal is I want you guys to be great, and I want you guys to get uncomfortable. There is so much importance with you. I want you, my friends, my comfort pillars, to go about the day knowing that you can conquer anything in your world, in your path, and if you can believe it, you can see it. Stop trying to see things before you can believe them. Believe them first and then I guarantee you it’s going to be there right in front of your face, you can actually see it because the veil has been lifted. Ladies and gentlemen, you can find me anywhere because you’re never there- no you are always there. I am on Twitter, Stacy A. Cross on everything, okay? Twitter, Snapchat. Like I said, www.StacyACross.com, but you know what? It’s not updated and just because you told me, I’m going to update. Facebook, find me there, Stacy Annmarie Cross. I can’t believe I did it but I’m telling you my entire governance. Stacy Annmarie Cross on Facebook, and of course the website, the headquarters, the foundation is www.TheComfortKillers.com. That’s with ‘The,’ www.TheComfortKillers.com. You can find me everywhere and I am always here to leave my leaders, I do not like followers, so don’t try to follow me on any of these social networks. My email is Stacy@thecomfortkillers.com.
Jenn T Grace: And that is Stacy without an ‘E.’
Stacy A Cross: There is no ‘E’ in my name.
Jenn T Grace: I love it. I have the same challenge with people spelling Jenn wrong, or calling me Jean, or I get a whole bunch of variations because I went off the reservation instead of having just one ‘N,’ so I get it, I totally get it. Anywho, I so appreciate you and so anyone who’s listening to this and they want to find out- you know get all the information that you just talked about, it will be on the blog at www.JennTGrace.com/96, that is for episode number 96. So thank you again, I so appreciate your energy, and if anyone wants to connect with Stacy and would like me to be the one who helps make that happen, just please email me and I will help you do that.
Stacy A Cross: Love that, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate that, and I’ll see you in a year.
Jenn T Grace: Oh you bet, I’m on it and listeners, please help me keep Stacy accountable to this, because I know I will. Don’t you worry, I’m going to put a calendar reminder now.
Stacy A Cross: Beautiful, thank you so much.
Jenn T Grace: You are welcome, have a great day.
Stacy A Cross: You too, bye.
Jenn T Grace: Thank you for listening to today’s podcast. If there are any links from today’s show that you are interested in finding, save yourself a step and head on over to www.JennTGrace.com/thepodcast. And there you will find a backlog of all of the past podcast episodes including transcripts, links to articles, reviews, books, you name it. It is all there on the website for your convenience. Additionally if you would like to get in touch with me for any reason, you can head on over to the website and click the contact form, send me a message, you can find me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all at JennTGrace. And as always I really appreciate you as a listener, and I highly encourage you to reach out to me whenever you can. Have a great one, and I will talk to you in the next episode.