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Zero Excuses

Author: Nick Smarelli

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With the time demands and commitments everyone has on their plates - it’s easy to think “I can’t do it all - there just isn’t enough time.” Zero Excuses sets to prove that statement wrong.

On this show, you’ll hear in-depth conversations between host Nick Smarrelli and exceptional guests and business leaders who take on ultra marathons, hike up Mt. Everest, or campaign for political office, all while running multi-million dollar companies.

Business leaders featured are focused on three key demographically areas: Indianapolis, St, Louis, and Denver.
65 Episodes
Charles Joly spent years working his way up through the hospitality industry. He knew his path to success was cemented in quality products and a long-term marketing approach. Years later, his products are a staple in mixology. Now the Co-Founder of Crafthouse Cocktails and Designer of Crafthouse by Fortessa Barware & Glassware, Charles uses his products as a means to simplify the bar experience for his customers. Listen in to hear Charles talk about how he achieved success without a traditional business model and why he fought against the idea of overnight success. So how does Charles continue to thrive years later? By making Zero Excuses and staying slow and steady to win the race. After You Listen: Connect with Charles: Check out Crafthouse Cocktails: Help Charles raise money for rescue animals: Connect with Nick: Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services:
What’s the best way to compete burnout? By letting your teams know it’s okay to be human. Eliza Kingsford, psychotherapist and author, says it comes down to leaders to create workplaces based in psychological safety. And for Eliza, the key to doing that lies in science. Eliza has devoted her life to helping others understand their nervous systems more deeply so they can properly listen to their bodies and interpret the signals they are constantly sending. Listen in to hear how to recognize when your brain is over-taxed and the steps to take to protect your mental health. So how does Eliza stay balanced in body and mind? By making Zero Excuses and evaluating her senses.
After becoming a parent, Kanika Chadda Gupta shifted her focus to her family and the community around her. She utilized the journalistic roots she had garnered during her time at CNN and started sharing stories full-time. As the host of the popular podcast “That’s Total Mom Sense”, Kanika uses her platform to bring a community of parents together. For her, parenting is an equalizer. Even though stories might be vastly different, the throughline is one and the same. Listen in to hear how Kanika gives a voice to those around her while still finding the time to nurture her own. How does Kanika recreate the values she wants to see in the world? By making Zero Excuses, overachieving, and never giving up on her dream. After You Listen: Connect with Kanika: Listen to “That’s Total Mom Sense”: Connect with Nick: Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services:
When we think about professional development, we often look to external resources. For example, if I spend fourteen hours a day working, I’m sure I’ll get that promotion. If I sign on five more clients, I’m doing the best for my business. But sometimes, a results-oriented mindset can end up bogging you down, causing you to plateau. Gretchen Schott, Chief Learning Officer at Threefold, believes that by changing our own behaviors and beliefs, we can create positive change. She helps companies redirect their focus to individual employees and their overall well-being. By investing more resources into people, you can expect not only new growth but also a more fulfilled team. How does Gretchen continue to inspire others? By making Zero Excuses and encouraging those around her to reassess their priorities. After You Listen: Connect with Gretchen: Learn more about Threefold: Listen to Made for Impact: Connect with Nick: Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services:
At its core, food is a cultural experience. Bryan Dayton wants to bring that experience to his patrons with each of his five Colorado restaurants. His interest in food and the restaurant world began at an early age. He washed dishes, mopped floors, and even bartended later on. This experience, accompanied with an impressive travel résumé, gave him the foundation he needed to start his own businesses. In this episode, we discussed the need to share these experiences with others and how that coincides with our inherent need for social interaction. How does Bryan make time for travel, work, and everything in between? By making Zero Excuses and bringing humility and perspective to his work. After You Listen: Connect with Bryan: Learn more about OAK at Fourteenth: Connect with Nick: Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services:
When her job didn’t afford her the flexibility she needed, Kellie Sirna set out on her own and began a life of serial entrepreneurship. Running multiple businesses while also being a single parent has its challenges, but she is skilled in the art of the hustle. Now the owner of Studio 11 Design and its two sister companies, Kellie focuses on selecting clients that will be a good fit for her team. She takes an individual approach to each employee to ensure she’s building successful partnerships. Listen in to hear Kellie’s thoughts on creating the perfect dream team and how to embrace the unknown. How does Kellie keep faith in herself and her team? By making Zero Excuses and running towards the fire that scares you.
Lindsay Tjepkema grew up with the idea that connections and friends are a luxury. Now she realizes to be successful, a support system is extremely important. With this knowledge, Lindsay stepped out of the career she had built for herself to become the CEO and Co-founder of Casted, a venture-backed SaaS business in the marketing technology space. Casted gives her and others a platform to access content to make it valuable. It empowers B2B marketers to maximize the power of connection with this creative content. How does Lindsay keep up momentum? By making Zero Excuses and embracing the uncertainty that comes with any leadership position.
Seth Goldman knows what it means to pursue projects you’re passionate about. He co-founded Honest Tea and is now the Chief Change Agent at Eat the Change. He’s also launching the new brand, Just Ice Tea, which focuses on just relationships with the supply trade and fair trade farms they source from. Acting on issues he cares about is important to Seth. He takes the time to change the playing field by engaging in and embracing important topics and making sure everyone involved in the process knows they are needed and respected. How does Seth find the drive to create something impactful? By making Zero Excuses and acting on his values.
Failure is not only an option. It’s part of the process. Teaching Robotics helped Jake realize this and pass this along to his students. Jake knows the importance of loving your work, and he finds this love through teaching the fifth grade at Woodview Elementary, coaching the Eaglebots, and being the director of Robotics for Wa-Nee Community Schools. With so much to do, Jake knows that finding time for family and for himself are crucial for staying balanced. That means saying “no” to other projects. How does Jake keep himself motivated to put in the work? By making Zero Excuses and saying no to the good things so he can say yes to the great things.
Welcome back Zero Excuses Community. We’re taking time to find really spectacular guests with unique stories. In the meantime, we wanted to share a few interviews Nick has done with exceptional podcasters.  Like the discussion he had with Neil Miller on The Digital Workplace Podcast.  In the conversation, Neil and Nick discuss productivity while working in a digital environment.
Welcome back Zero Excuses Community. We’re taking time to find really spectacular guests with unique stories. In the meantime, we wanted to share a few interviews Nick has done with exceptional podcasters.  Like the discussion he had with Chris Byers on Ripple Effect.  In the conversation, Nick and Chris talk about the power of bringing your whole self to work and having a culture of humility.
Hey Zero Excuses Community. We’re taking time to find really spectacular guests with unique stories. In the meantime, we wanted to share a few interviews Nick has done with exceptional podcasters. Like this one with Nikki Lewallen on Gut+Science In the conversation, Nikki and Nick discuss the habits that allow you to live with zero excuses and the power of training and development programs.
Hey Zero Excuses Community. We’re taking time to find really spectacular guests with unique stories. In the meantime, we wanted to share a few interviews Nick has done with exceptional podcasters.  Like this one with Andrea Butcher on Being [at Work].  In our conversation, Nick and Andrea discuss his three core values and how practicing those principles helped him become the leader he is today.
“I love crazy ideas, and I love figuring out how to make crazy ideas reality, and solving unsolvable problems.” Stephanie Cox, CEO of Lumavate, never takes the easy way out, she’s the type of person who seeks out unbeatable problems to tackle and rolls with life’s punches. That’s why Stephanie wasn’t surprised or stumped when she adopted a pre-teen in the span of a few weeks, switched her high schoolers to a homeschooling program, and became CEO of Lumavate. In this episode, Stephanie talks about where she gets her ‘what’s next’ mentality. A mentality that helped her face brain surgery for both herself and her daughter. How does she maintain her eternal optimism? By embracing the Zero Excuses mentality and looking at each new challenge as an opportunity for growth. After You Listen: - Connect with Stephanie: - Learn more about Lumavate: - Connect with Nick: - Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services: Key Takeaways: - No one can look out for you like you can, be your own advocate - Prioritize your life in a way that works for you - Start looking at challenges as opportunities to solve problems Things to listen for: [04:07] Advocating for yourself [09:17] Encouraging others to use their voice [11:47] Using sass for good [12:55] Leading through stressful times [18:10] Prioritizing your life according to your needs [25:39] Solving unsolvable problems [28:51] Growth as a measure for success [31:36] Defining what it means to be ‘content’
“Take an inventory of your life. If things aren't adding up, it's time to start subtracting.” Gary Brackett has experienced extreme highs and lows in his life— from being a part of a Superbowl-winning NFL team to filing for bankruptcy and divorce. In this episode, Gary shares how he learned just as much from failure as he has with success. Achieving what he thought he wanted—status and wealth—put things in perspective, forcing him to realize family and fulfillment are what really matter. Once Gary reset his priorities, he focused on being happy, giving back, and helping others achieve their goals. How does he keep things in focus? By embracing the Zero Excuses mentality, staying disciplined, and being intentional about staying true to himself. After You Listen: - Connect with Gary: - Connect with Nick: - Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services: Key Takeaways: - Strive for the things that fulfill you - Failure can make you more dangerous if you’re willing to learn from your mistakes - Don’t psych yourself out, things are always much worse in your head than in reality Things to listen for: [01:53] “The speed of the leader determines the rate of the pack” [03:20] Leadership lessons from playing with the Colts [04:33] Having a ‘day one’ mentality [08:04] Keeping your momentum even during dark times [10:16] Going on the ‘hero’s journey’ [12:27] Gaining perspective on what really matters [15:45] The Champ Framework [20:11] Changing your mindset around the word ‘failure’
Throughout her life, Katie ‘Emoji’ Doble has found herself a statistical outlier. In her teens, she lost her mother to cancer, in her 20’s she caught an STD as a virgin, in her 30’s she was diagnosed with a very rare terminal cancer. Finally, she’s met her 40’s being declared disease-free. Each of those events has taken its toll, but they’ve also given her perspective on the importance of addressing your emotions, giving yourself grace, and setting boundaries. How does she maintain positivity in the face of hardship? By embracing the Zero Excuses mentality, meeting her emotions head-on, and removing things in her life that don’t bring her joy. After You Listen: Connect with Katie: Learn more about First Descents: Connect with Nick: Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services:
Alex Raymond has lived and traveled all over the world–from the metropolises of Hong Kong, London and Beijing to the small-town tech hub of Boulder, Colorado. "It's all about mindset. I want to have friends all over the place. So I spent a lot of time asking, 'Where would I like to live.'" Alex's company, Kapta, is a purpose-built platform for organizations that want to establish, expand, or improve their Key Account Management function. But it didn't start out that way. As with many startup stories, the initial idea wasn’t gaining traction. Instead of giving up, Alex and his business partner made a massive pivot, fundamentally transforming Kapta to serve a new market. How did he do it? By embracing the Zero Excuses mentality, focusing on what he could control, and being intentional about life and business.
For teens and young adults with cancer or multiple sclerosis, navigating these diseases in the prime of their life is a lonely endeavor. Ryan O’Donoghue is on a mission to create impact through life-changing outdoor adventures. “That rock doesn’t care that you have cancer; those rapids aren’t going to mellow out. They’re not treating you any differently.” After losing his brother, Colin, to cancer at age 28, Ryan founded Rise Above It, an organization committed to advancing the field of adolescent and young adult oncology. Now, he serves as CEO for both First Descents and their for-profit subsidiary, Stoke Broker.  Through each of these companies, and with a Zero Excuses mentality, Ryan is helping young adults with serious health conditions overcome their perceived limitations and regain their self-confidence.
So often we rush through meals but Adam Vandoski hopes to make eating a shared experience again with his company the Vine Society.  “If you’re going to eat, it might as well be delicious and with people that you love.” That’s Adam’s philosophy. He believes there's a way to eat in a way that nourishes both your body and your soul. To achieve that, his company provides good food and wine, encouraging people to be purposeful and present with their friends and family.  With that same philosophy, dinner at Adam’s house is centered around being engaged. How does he find new ways to put in that effort? By making Zero Excuses and getting creative. Listen and learn how you can, too.  Key Takeaways: Capitalize on the time you have to spend with friends and family Even virtual gatherings can be taken to the next level with intentionality Reflect on what’s important to you and order your life around that Things to Listen For: [02:11] Adam’s unrealized dream [05:17] The story behind Vine Society [07:57] How a meal becomes more than a meal [10:04] The importance of the family dinner [13:39] The loneliness epidemic  [18:10] Eating in a way that nourishes the soul [19:50] What attracted Adam to wine [23:16] Connecting when far apart with intentionality [27:49] Ordering your life around what’s most important [29:27] How to connect with Adam After You Listen: Connect with Adam: Learn more about Vine Society: ​​ Connect with Nick: Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services:
Keith Ives is a humanitarian, empiricist, and leader with a passion for people and impact. His company, Causal Design, creates cultures of evidence and impact among those working to solve the world’s problems. Keith knows problems like poverty and hunger require more than just volunteerism, so he’s bringing an evidence-based approach to the issue, empowering his clients to do more effective work. How does he do it? By making Zero Excuses and translating academic research into practical strategies for major impact. Key Takeaways: You can blend humanitarianism with business Barriers only exist when you can’t see another option Evidence can be a strong motivator Things to Listen For: [01:05] Signing up for the Marine Corp [03:00] Economics plays into serving  [04:38] The origin of the spirit of giving back  [05:43] What is the mission of Causal Design? [06:54] Playing the middleman [08:45] Which projects Keith is excited about  [11:55] Where economics meets philosophy [15:54] Minimizing economic barriers [17:59] The mentors that helped Keith get where he is today [21:21] Career specialization vs generalization  [23:01] Keith’s advice for young businesspeople  After You Listen: Connect with Keith: Learn more about Casual Design: ​​  Connect with Nick: Learn more about GadellNet Consulting Services:
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