Meet, Matt Fenske, a leader and father who wasn’t seeking life change, but found transformation anyway.
In our conversation, we talk about finding more contentment and a richer marriage while growing as a leader.
For full transcript continue reading:
Chris LoCurto: Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.
Welcome to the show folks. Today we are going to be talking about how to find more purpose, contentment and peace in your life. I know none of you actually out there want that, but we’re going to be talking about that. So some people seek out life change when they’re in a really tough spot or they’re going through a difficult life event that’s turned their world upside down. Some people look for personal growth when they’re tired of feeling stuck in a rut or dealing with the same issues for years. Um, and the funny thing is sometimes we don’t recognize early on that we are getting into a rut of dealing with the same issues. And some people, they’re not looking for life change, but they have a good life. Well, they ended up finding transformation. Anyway. Our guest today is a husband, a father and a business owner with over 20 years of experience. Matt Fenski is passionate about helping others. He continually challenges his family and his team members. And helping his team get out of their comfort zone to see what is possible in their lives. So welcome to the show, Matt.
Thank you for having me, Chris.
Dude, it’s good having you on, especially after, you know, all that we’ve worked through the strat plan, next level life, all that fun stuff. So it’s good to have you on the show.
I’m glad to be here. Looking forward to it.
So tell folks who you are. They don’t, you know, a lot of folks don’t know who you are. So tell me a little bit about you, your family, your career, anything that I may have left out.
Yeah, I’m a, I’m 40, which makes me think that if I’m with average, if I’ve been playing by, the average is here, my life’s probably half over here on earth, but I’m grateful that I have eternity to look forward to. I am a married, I’m actually married my, we joke about it, we weren’t dating at this time, but we did go to preschool together. So I’m married to my preschool sweetheart. Uh, two kids. Uh, they’re 16 and 13, a son and a daughter. And I have had the unique experience, uh, basically in almost all of my adult working life, of being part of the same organization. Here I am in ownership. So again, uh, as we said over 20 years experience here,
I have to give back to the preschool sweetheart. Do you guys actually remember each other from preschool?
I would say vaguely and thank you. If my wife listens to this for trying to get me into trouble, I’m sure she sure she remembers it more vividly than I do. But we remember each other. We went to school, uh, really to the same school our entire lives. So that’s amazing.
That is incredible. Well, I already prefaced that your life was great. So let’s talk about finding that life change. How did you end up finding life change?
You know, uh, you a little bit in your intro
about the various reasons that, that people want to work on things in life. And I think one of the things that has happened to me over the years is I’ve always entered this place and multiple, I’ve entered it multiple times where I felt stuck, stuck in how I could move forward. It could be something as simple as, Hey, I want to move forward in my career, or it could be something like I’m just stuck and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do next. I have not always looked at that as an opportunity. Now it’s clear to me with hindsight that those were opportunities in life and now the thing that I’ve learned is that I do not have to run into those solid brick walls that I ran into in the past. To be aware of that things may be off and I need to be a little more self-reflective and aware and that’s what’s got me to this point. It’s so funny you talk about those brick walls because you’re high D I high ID. I think so many times, many high D’s believe that the brick walls are actually what they’re looking for. You know, if you can find a brick wall and blast through it, then you’re doing something right. Does that sound familiar?
Yes. And could I take a moment to speak to the IDs that will listen to this? That is not true. We’ll seem to think that that is, that is truth. Um, that there’s some sort of energy or fun or challenge that comes out of that and I cannot deny that those emotions can exist in those moments. Uh, but I can say that there is a better way.
It’s like the old saying, if you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. You know, if you’re, if you’re a high D and you relate to blasting through brick walls and there’s some sort of good on the other side of it, you imagine that everything needs to be a brick wall. First you came through strap plan with your company. Crazy, powerful, a for you guys. It was just such a fun event, fun, tough but amazing event. Then you came through next level life, uh, brought that amazing preschool sweetheart, uh, through with you on that. And for those of you that aren’t familiar with next level life, that’s our two day one on one personal discovery event where we guide people through a personalized process to help them get unstuck in life, to improve their relationships, to discover those things that are holding them back from freedom and peace. And that’s one of the things that you, you discovered was that getting unstuck before next level life. Did you think there was more like, did you think there was more personal growth? Did you think that maybe there was a better way to look at life for yourself?
Oh, certainly. I believe I went into next level life with an open mind. And then the minute that we started with next level life, I sort of felt my mind close there for a moment. As you say, Chris, everybody’s journey is in those moments. But yeah, of course. I, I thought there was more. Um, but I think if, if I wouldn’t have went to next level life, I would have been searching maybe in a little bit different direction. And I don’t think that that would’ve been the right thing to do
in that direction, would be what seeking.
Yeah. Back to the, what more can I do to create achievement, accomplishment, uh, an image of myself. All of those things that sort of create this false sense of math. You are awesome. Right?
Crazy thing. And we’ve talked about this since is are you still finding accomplishment in life and if so, what’s different about it?
I’m still finding accomplishment. However, uh, my son does put it best and I appreciate his honesty. He tells me, I just asked him last night because I mentioned I was going to be on this podcast. I said, again, we’ve talked about this a lot, but what do you notice has, has changed in me if anything and his simple response was, dad, you’re more chill. And I think that of all the things that have been said of all the things I’ve thought about myself since Next Level Life, that really does sum it up and more chill to me means a lot of different things. And one of them is the world does not revolve around me. It is clear to me that putting others first is the right way to go. Um, and that is not a, a bad thing. That does not harm me in any way. Those are some sort of the, I think those are the weird thoughts that were going through my mind ahead of this, this event that it was, uh, it’s either me or them and not so much of a, Hey, this is a large interconnected world we live in. And I think we’ve talked about it before. It’s that scarcity versus abundance mindset.
It’s so funny how so many high D personalities, like I think there’s a bunch of high D’s listening to this right now that have convinced themselves that doing something like a next level life, it’s just going to get them in trouble. It’s gonna they’re going to tell me that I can’t be myself and they’re going to tell me that, you know, and it, they just get this crap built up in their brain of I don’t get to be me. Which being me may sometimes is not the best thing for me. But is that what happened in your event?
Yeah, I mean, I think back to the event, I want to be very clear. I don’t want to, and Chris, you’ll probably do a good job of this, but I want to not scare the other personality types away from this event because Chris is going to handle this differently. As I said earlier with each individual, but for the IDs that are listening, I fought, I fought with Chris. I was, I believe working from a place of fear or moments in time, the event where I felt like, well, basically I’m being told because this is what I was hearing. This is not what I was being told. I’m being told that I can’t be myself. I can’t be who I am. It’s true. I’m not good enough. Nobody appreciates me for who I am and I could go on and on all those lies, all the lies.
I have so many lies and I don’t think I know that. That’s not unique to me. We all tell ourselves lies, but we started to battle those with the truths during the event. And you know, I would say that we landed the plane at the end of day two in a great spot and it was like a, and this is how I described it and still continue to describe it to people. Uh, this is not a get rich quick scheme. It’s not some magic potion you drink. You’re not going to go to this event and be on fire and it’s going to just smolder out. I’ve been to events like that. Maybe it’s a motivational event or some other workshop. Yeah, this was so much different. It was like you lit the candle and it was a, a slow burn that continues to burn brighter and brighter and brighter.
Hmm. I love that. I love that. And like you pointed out, it’s so funny, we’ve had, you know, all personality styles come through and for folks that have listened to me for years, the key to understand is every event is led differently. So for high D’s they’re always more genetic. They’re always more harsh. You know, I always tell the high D’s coming through, Hey, I may hit you upside the head with a two by four because I’m going to have to pound this into your head. That’s just the way you receive information. But the great thing about a Heidi is they can be overstuff in five minutes and I can’t tell you the numbers of how we probably have percentage wise, I believe we actually have more high S’s come through than any other personality style. I, I’m, I’m guessing that I don’t have that as a fact, but I’m guessing that, but it’s so funny when a high D comes through that’s really struggling and I would not, we obviously pushed a lot in your event, but there are some that really, really struggle and they’re like, at the end of two days they’re worn out and they’re like, man, my spouse could never go through this.
And I’m like, Oh really? Why is that? They’re like, Oh, they couldn’t handle this. This is too tough. And I’m like, yeah, we actually would not lead your spouse the same way we lead you. They’re always like, well, why not? And it’s like, well, because you needed this love and compassion, you need a two by four and they’re like, Oh yeah, that’s true.
It’s very true. And I think the one mistake you’re making Chris, is not having an actual two by four in the room,
like a writing audit, you know, just as a little threat. The crazy thing is, and I’ve done this for decades, you know, and knowing personality styles, I know what each person needs, you know, and a lot of times with a high D that two by four is the best thing. Somebody who else would think, Oh no, that’s the wrong way to go. No. A lot of times you know the, the high D who’s running through the brick walls, sometimes they need, you know, a brick wall that doesn’t give, you know, you know, for them to stop and go, okay, let me look at this a different way. So do me a favor, I would like for you to describe, if you can do this, putting you on the spot here. Describe to me in three words, your life a few years ago, and describe to me in three words your life today.
I think three a few years ago, I think I would say out of control. And today, uh, I would say worth from God.
Oh, I love it. Oh gosh, that’s powerful. [inaudible] that warms my heart. I love it. That is powerful. We talked a little bit about your son’s comment. What are your relationships like now?
They’re better. So I have some things that I believe that I see that I’m better at. And with all of my learning and with, with my personality, I want to make sure that I, again, I’m not making it all about me. So one thing I did ahead of this was to speak to some people and just ask them some Frank questions. Do you think you see any changes in me over the last few months? And if so, you know, what would they be? And one of the key things that kept rising from teammates. And of course, uh, my wife, uh, agrees wholeheartedly with this. Um, she stated at this way I’m able to put myself in other people’s shoes and empathize. Empathy would not be a word you would use to stop of life. That would’ve been way down in the list.
And you know, it’s sad to say because I mean I’ve, I think over the course of my 40 years, I think there’s a lot of people that, you know, think, wow, I, I really, really like mad or man,. you’re being hard on yourself. And the reality is I, I’m not being hard on myself. I, I have an understanding now that it is not about me. I cannot repeat that enough on this podcast, not about me. I’m slower to anger again, I fail. I believe we all fail at times, but I am so much slower to anger with my wife. We’re able to have such meaningful conversations now. I believe we actually had very meaningful conversations before Next Level Life. But they were probably more meaningful to me than they were to her. Because
putting myself in her shoes, I mean obviously it’s phenomenally powerful for your wife because she’s experiencing you on a [inaudible]. Correct me if I’m wrong, but experiencing you on a deeper, more intimate level, but you’re realizing it. Yeah. So much more powerful. Right?
powerful. Our, our relationship is just, it’s fantastic. I don’t want to say that life is perfect. It’s not, I need to keep apologizing for that, but the reality is I am so grateful for that situation and then the tools that I’ve been given. So one other thing, and this is something that I sense for certain, I feel feelings now, all high days are going, what is he talking about? Uh, I feel pain. I never really felt pain before. Just move to the next thing, move onto the next wall, do whatever you needed to do to not feel any sort of pain and push it under the carpet. Yeah. And now I can, uh, I can feel pain that a pleasant feeling. No, it’s not a pleasant feeling. But having the perspective of that you’re not going to sit in that spot for days and weeks and months and years on end.
Um, really helps you through those moments and there’s a lot of growth that can take place by allowing yourself to feel. I think that’s one of the things, especially whenever we find like a common high D comment is autumn deal with that anymore. Oh, I stopped dealing with that a long time ago and I’m like, Nope, you actually haven’t. It’s literally under the rug right next to you. You’ve just compartmental. You’ve just shoved it under there and you think it doesn’t affect you. But it does. And so many more dominant personalities styles are afraid that feelings are going to wreck them. That feelings are gonna, I mean they’d been running from the feeling thing for so long. It’s whenever I’m teaching personality styles, I say, you know, high D’s don’t recognize that there are feelings, you know, they’ll recognize it in themselves. They don’t recognize it and you either, it’s so, you know, a lot of times it’s this lack of understanding because they are afraid that those feelings are actually going to hurt them in a negative way.
But we’ll actually get this stuff. And the thing is is we didn’t all of a sudden just inject feeling into you. We gave you tools to deal with the things that you had been struggling with and the great perspective on, on where you come from and the things that you know, the surface level responses that you’ve been dealing with. And then getting those tools in place and then seeing that all of it’s okay and seeing where your worth truly comes from, that your worth isn’t from busting down walls and the 73 things you can accomplish in a day. And you know, and that everybody loves Matt because everybody does love Matt. Everybody thinks Matt’s amazing, but that’s not where your worth is. And when you can get past all of that crap and see that it’s okay to feel. But more importantly, and I love that you keep saying it, that you can see that it’s not about you, that it’s about people. It’s about loving well, it’s about loving God more than anything obviously, but loving people well and taking care of people and all that, all of a sudden you care to feel accurate.
I care to feel is a great way to state that I want it, I desire it.
And you start seeing that your worth isn’t in that accomplishment piece. It doesn’t mean you don’t still accomplish your, you’re accomplishing a ton. You know you’ve got a lot going on. You’ve got a bunch of new cattle that you’ve bought. I believe all that they’ll go on on along with the business and everything else you get, you’re still accomplishing. You’re just looking at things differently. Does that sound right?
Yeah. You have to look at the, you don’t have to, I am choosing to look at things differently and it’s so key to say that it’s not that you have to give up on what your unique strengths are. So I’m an, I’m pretty intuitive when it comes to opportunities. But guess what? You and I have talked about this before. You know, you’re not going to run out of opportunities in life. It’s a matter of, you know, let’s be a little bit thoughtful here and I just want to make an illustration. I could make a lot of these, but one of them is here at the office. In the past, it was something to this effect. This is what Matt’s on now. So Matt’s got this idea and we’re going to do this because Matt said we’re going to do this. And now Matt’s passed that off to the rest of the team and they need to figure it out how to do this, because now Matt’s onto the next thing that doesn’t really care how you figure it out, but you should figure it out for Matt because he said you should.
And looking back on that, it’s embarrassing. It’s upsetting. It’s the whole thing just stinks. Uh, how can, how can anyone think that that’s okay, but don’t hear in that, that not now with these new tools and this new understanding, that doesn’t mean that I personally never spot an opportunity anymore. Right. But it’s about now we’ve got a process for dealing with those things. We can show them, we can get rid of them, we can move them forward, but it’s we, it’s a leadership team here that can digest through these and we can determine what we want to do with them instead of one person stating this is what it’s going to be. And having no regard for what it meant to anyone else.
Business owners. I want you to hear that. I want you to hear what Matt is talking about. It doesn’t mean that Matt doesn’t go after opportunities. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t accomplish things before the accomplishments. We’re all about Matt and everybody was there to service that. Now it’s about what’s best for us. What, and there’s a world of difference when people are following you or working for you or you’re leading people to success because it’s a we thing and it’s not just the next greatest idea. It’s the what’s best for us compared to, like you were describing it and I can’t but laugh because there’s so many people do it that way. You know, let’s go to this, let’s do this, let’s do this thing over here. Hey, do this thing next. What about this thing over here? Don’t worry about that. We’re moving onto this thing.
You know, it’s like shifted adjustment to the next most exciting thing because what are we looking for? We’re looking for worth. Yeah, we want worth. And when you stop and you back it up and you go, what’s best for us as a whole. And you know, you walking around and talking to people yesterday and saying, Hey, have you seen a change? Of course they’re seeing it now. And I bet you that’s a big piece of it is that they don’t feel like they’re shifting gears every three seconds, you know, because they have to shift them to another direction. Not every personality style aligns with yours. You, you know, the high D makes up 10% of the population, which means that every time you shift you’re happy. But that means that for other people or not. Yeah. So good stuff, powerful, powerful stuff. Was that before Next Level Life was anything missing?
Yeah, I mean, I would say that with time to reflect now sort of an emptiness and a chasing. Of course, I necessarily felt that at the time because I wasn’t feeling as much as I am now. But that feeling was, I know there. So how did I fight that at the time though? Accumulation again, repeating myself like a broken record, but more, more, more, more, more. How about another success? How about another purchase? Another thing, how about another opportunity? It was all about consumption. Uh, and you know, that’s a first class ticket to, uh, know where you want to go.
So that obviously was a big piece, a big struggle because what we’re doing, what are we doing? We’re trying to fill that hole. We’re trying to fill that void all the time. What are some of the day to day struggles? Uh, you know, disappointments or stress that you were dealing with
a sense of it never been enough. And then all of those, you know, when we have the, we can speak the same language because we both through Next Level Life, but all of those surface level responses and the lies. And I knew, I mean I’ve known for years and years and years at a brain level that God is in control, but you’ve got to get to that heart level and really know that God is in control. That’s a game changer.
So did you know, cause you, you decided to invest in yourself and in my mind, in your marriage, but I actually don’t know if that was something you were thinking beforehand. Did you recognize that you were investing in your marriage?
I did recognize that I’ve done, you know, some executive coaching in the past. Uh, that was, you know, pretty focused on, on the business. But you know, those things, always did help any relationship you were in. And I thought, I believe that in our situation it was just the most wonderful thing to have my wife in the room with us. That’s not always the case, but our situation, I just know that it was,
we have about 20% of the folks that bring their spouse in. The thing that we always tell people is, if you can’t be completely open with us, don’t bring your spouse. That doesn’t mean that you’re hiding something from your spouse. That doesn’t mean that you, you know, there’s something you can’t say. It’s just sometimes some folks won’t talk freely and it’s sucks, but about 20% can’t have their spouse in that room. There’s none there. And anything I can’t say in front of my spouse. So recognize for those of you out there, there’s about 80% of us that would struggle with that, right? And 20% of us that don’t struggle with that. So that’s, that’s just kinda how we, you know, how it is right now. Um, but when you go through it changes that for sure. What’s some of the most transformational things that you learned from investing in yourself in your marriage? Like how has that changed your daily life?
You know, back to the worst thing, realizing that, you know, specific to my wife that my worth does not come from my wife. It doesn’t come from anything else, but God, um, it makes me realize that again, I’m more than enough. God has things under control and just in the daily communication that we have with each other, it’s so rich, so much love between us. You know, I don’t use this lightly, but I would use that term Agape love where it says Christ like, like love where there’s service towards each other. It isn’t about one or the other. The other person, it’s just awesome. So much so that, you know, my wife is going to be attending a Next Level Life for herself. I can’t wait for that and neither can she. Yeah.
Me as well. What she have described before, and she’s amazing as well, which you have described before, your next level of life, your relationship or conversation as rich.
You know what though, Chris, I probably would have, I don’t think she would’ve had a whole litany of horrible ins, but rich would not have been word.
Right. And again, it doesn’t mean this is the, the crazy thing is some folks think, Oh you, you know, you only go and get, you only invest in yourself if you’re having a horrible marriage or your life is horrible and all that stuff you, that’s not where you’ve been. That’s not where you were. It’s not where you are now. It’s a you, again, we talked about this at the front of the show. You already had a great life. Things were ready for you. This is a growth in your life. And look at the impact. You know, we’re not sitting here talking about, Oh my gosh, my wife and I couldn’t talk. We, you know, this wasn’t, she would not have described it as rich, but it doesn’t mean that she was walking around going, my husband’s sucks. I, you know, very much in love with you. You guys have a phenomenal before Next Level Life. Uh, which is what is so powerful about the transformation, right? Is that you didn’t go from crap to great. You went from great to better. Yes. It’s fantastic for her who already feels like she’s got a uh, you know, I don’t know how she would describe the marriage beforehand, but really good, great. Whatever to now she would describe your conversation is rich and like you say that agape love
well and I think it’s wonderful and so tough for the way that my wife is wired, her unique personality, but she’s able to be, to access her raw emotions quickly without fear with me now. I mean that is just phenomenal.
Hmm. Because with that high D comes that, like you said earlier, that thread of anger piece, a dominant personality style, that threat of anger, which she’s not experiencing that the same way. Now I can think situation where it’s been an ongoing thing with an event we’ve been a part of and, and I’ve sort of for the last three, four years, heard her but not listened and, it’ll be okay, this’ll be fine. And we were having a discussion about it the other day while I would call it a discussion that’d be like me saying that she called her conversations rich ahead of Next Level. Like we were having a conversation and she started to cry and it was quickly and she wanted to start apologizing about crying things like, I don’t know why I’m doing this. And I said, all right, tell me what you’re feeling. Let me hear. And she verbalized it and she verbalized. It’s so clearly because guess what? Sometimes even after next level life, you still have to get the hammer out with me. And she verbalized that so clearly. I said, yes, I completely understand your position and this is the choice we’re going to make. And five minutes later she was just like, it was a big hug. It was almost, you can almost feel or just 62 gallons of air go out of her body. I chose her and in the circles of importance, she was way more important than the thing we were discussing.
Oh, I love it. Absolutely love it. That is powerful man. They ability to be able to look at you one, allowing her to be able to verbalize it, you know, not being defensive, not being a victim, not pushing back, Hey, just tell me what you’re experiencing. And then being able to literally look at it. And folks, this is one of the tough things and this is one of the tools you get coming through next level. Life is the, the ability to take responsibility. That’s one of the things we talk about in the event. You have to take responsibility. You know, if somebody is sharing something in there, right. You know, it’s about you in there, right. You know, you have to ask the question, is that correct? If it is, you take responsibility and that herd being able to see, and I don’t know what the subject was or you know, all that fun stuff or being able to see that you’re choosing to love her in the moment instead of take care of you. I can only imagine the peace, the relief, the release that she felt in that moment that had to have been powerful. It was powerful. So what is the, and this may be it, but what’s the greatest change you see in yourself now? Contentment, calmer,
more content, able to be present instead of worrying about the next thing and you know, not that one track mind
focused on what’s the next accomplishment from what you’ve learned. What is the one piece of advice that you want to leave with our listeners who are struggling in life or they’re doing well, but know that there may be an even better way,
whether you’re struggling or whether you’re doing well. We’re all constantly telling ourselves lies and Next Level Life. I believe among so many other things really helps you to see the truths and helps you to be able to battle those lies. And ultimately the most important thing is understanding where your worth comes from.
So if you could go back to a young Matt, what would you tell them?
If I can go back to a young man, you know, I would tell him the world doesn’t revolve around you, empathize with others, take responsibility, be a true leader. And then I think what I would do is get a hammer out and hit myself on the side of the head. And again,
five more times.
And that’s just the reality of it. If I would’ve had these tools 20 years ago, I can’t even imagine. And you know, hopefully there’s somebody that’s listening that is 20 years younger than me and can be impacted.
Good stuff brother. Well, I am so glad you joined me on the show today. Thank you for doing this. This, uh, is always so helpful for people to see. One of the things you know we do in our retreats and stuff here is we do the how people are winning and how they won. And when you get to hear that somebody has been through something that you need to be going through or experiencing or whatever, and you can hear that they’ve had success about it and how they had it, that’s just so powerful. So thank you for doing this today. I really appreciate it. Thank you for having me. And I can’t wait till the wife comes through. Is that soon? November. November. Fantastic. Alright then we will be seeing you guys soon then. Well folks, there you have it once again. You know, just as I’m saying, it’s there is success to had on getting rid of a bunch of the crap in your life.
There’s success to be had when you get the right tools and as we’ve talked about on on mats, individual events. For him, it’s a tougher event. It’s that two by four event, that high D high dominant personality style event. That’s not everybody. Every personality style is different. For those of you that are S’s and C’s that is not at all the way your event would be. Uh, for those of you that are eyes, that is not at all the way your event would be, what it is, is it’s based on what you need. It’s personalized for what you need. And the stuff that we have been doing for so long now is built to help you to overcome the crap in your life. Um, if you’ve really struggled helping you to get to a place of understanding that struggling, giving you the tools to deal with it.
If you’re not struggling like mats life, what a great life before next level life. But you can see the power in making it even better. That is the goal. So get your butt to next level life. You don’t, all you gotta do is go check it out. Go to chrislocurto.com/discover to learn more and to take the next step. That’s chrislocurto.com/discover and just check it out. See what you think, get some information. Um, but I can promise you this. It will absolutely change your life. So hopefully this has been helpful for you today. Take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.