Learning About Yourself While Growing a Business with Max Yoder

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This is a podcast episode titled, Learning About Yourself While Growing a Business with Max Yoder. The summary for this episode is: <p>Today on The Daily Bolster, former Lessonly CEO Max Yoder shares what he learned about himself through the scaling process.&nbsp;</p><p>One of our favorite takeaways? Conflict isn’t dysfunction, it’s information.&nbsp;</p>
❤️ Practice self-compassion
01:11 MIN
💥 Conflict isn't dysfunction, it's information
01:06 MIN
😰 Break the addition to stress
00:58 MIN

Intro: Welcome to the Daily Bolster. Each day we welcome transformational executives to share their real world experiences and practical advice about scaling yourself, your team, and your business.

Matt Blumberg: Hi, I'm Matt Blumberg, I'm co- founder and CEO of Bolster, and welcome to The Daily Bolster. I am here today with Max Yoder. Max was the founder and CEO of Lessonly, a great success story in the Indianapolis tech scene. Max, welcome to the Daily Bolster.

Max Yoder: Thanks for having me, Matt. Been looking forward to this.

Matt Blumberg: Yeah. So one of the things that I know about you is you're incredibly thoughtful and self- aware, and the question I wanted to ask you today is what are three things that you learned about yourself in the process of scaling Lessonly? And first of all, tell everyone how big Lessonly got at the end, how many employees or whatever your metric is.

Max Yoder: Yeah. We were 300 employees and right around 30 million in revenue. So for me, a very big business.

Matt Blumberg: That's a big business, especially to start it at zero. So, what are three things you learned about yourself along the way?

Max Yoder: Yeah. Self- compassion, working for me was a big one. I have a very self- critical voice. I had one for a long time that was driving the bus, and that critical voice was very perfectionistic, and I thought it was something that drove me in a way that helped me achieve things, and I think it did, but I think it had this shadow side of really making me way more insecure and just it wasn't this life- giving force, it was kind of this soul sucking force that pushed me forward. And as the company grew, that self- critical voice was hurting me, and I learned about self- compassion, which my way of describing that would be treating myself like my best friend might. So when I struggle with something, instead of being the worst boss ever in my head and being like, " You've done that terribly. What an idiot." I'm now like, " Oh, look at us. We're struggling with this. This is a human experience. I'm sure it's not very fun. I believe you can do it." Being kind to myself.

Matt Blumberg: That's such a good way of articulating it. Because most people talk about self- care and self- management. But I think all of us who start businesses have some level of imposter syndrome, probably all the way through the journey. Self- compassion is just a great way of phrasing it.

Max Yoder: I'm not sure there's anything more important than more self- compassion in the world, Matt. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, if we're gentler to ourselves, we can be gentler to other people, and I think we're often acting out of a place of not feeling good enough, which self- compassion is all about. You're already good enough. Not about your behavior at all, you just are. And I think it's a beautiful thing, so it's helped me immensely.

Matt Blumberg: That's great. All right, so let's go to number two.

Max Yoder: Sure. I used to think conflict equal dysfunction, but as a CEO, I realized conflict is just information and I want that information. So I used to shy away from conflict because I was like, " Oh, this is dysfunctional." And now I'm like, " Oh, this is just something happening." And as things happen, sometimes they rub against one another. And sometimes that conflict that I'm sensing is not personal, it can be systemic. If I'm in finance and you're in marketing, we're probably going to have some natural conflict. I want you to save money, and you want to spend money. That's not personal, that's systemic. But digging into that conflict and figuring out the information behind it became a very helpful and life giving part of my whole life experience. So if I sense some conflict with my wife and in my old world thought it was dysfunction, I might shy away from it. I might avoid it. Now I'm just like, " Hey, there's information here that I don't have yet that I can communicate with her and try to get," and I can do it gently and more as an investigator as opposed to being defensive.

Matt Blumberg: That is great. There's a reason the phrase productive tension exists.

Max Yoder: Amen. Yeah. It's all over. It's all over. But I just had this warped view.

Matt Blumberg: Yeah. All right. Number three.

Max Yoder: Number three. Well, I am addicted to stress, and when I say stress, what I mean is stimulation. So there's two major states of the body. There's the parasympathetic state, which is this fight or flight kind of, " I'm stimulated and ready to go..." I'm sorry. There's a sympathetic state, which is that stimulated and ready to go. Then there's this parasympathetic state, which is rest and repair. I spend not enough time in the rest and repair and too much time in the ready to go, and I just think that kills a person over time. We need to spend more time in rest and repair, I know I do personally, and my addiction to stress, I think, is bigger than just me. I think it's just a part of our system. We struggle to rest. Ask somebody to sit alone in a room for even 10 minutes doing nothing, it's a challenge. And 10 minutes is not that long of time. Which, we need that stimulation, and I am actively working on undoing my addiction to stimulation just slowly but surely over time, getting more rest. I napped every day as a CEO, and I nap even more now.

Matt Blumberg: I love that. It makes me want to go take a nap.

Max Yoder: Amen. Well, I hope that's not the effect I have on you for the rest of this conversation.

Matt Blumberg: Not at all. Max Yoder, thank you so much. That's great wisdom. Will you come back and do a longer form one with me that we'll run on a Friday?

Max Yoder: ASAP, man. Let's do it.

Matt Blumberg: All right. Thanks, Max.

Max Yoder: Thank you.


Today on The Daily Bolster, former Lessonly CEO Max Yoder shares what he learned about himself through the scaling process. 

One of our favorite takeaways? Conflict isn’t dysfunction, it’s information. 

Today's Host

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Matt Blumberg

|Co-Founder & CEO, Bolster

Today's Guests

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Max Yoder

|Former CEO, Lessonly