Today on the blog, we have part two of the “Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders” series. If you don’t remember, or are new to the blog, every two weeks or so, I’m posting a profile showcasing some of the awesome Kaizen leaders I have the privilege to work with.
My social media coordinator, Bethany, has been interviewing these terrific people via Skype, so you can read about them from her perspective, and get to know them for yourself!
This week, Bethany interviewed Phil and Catherine Wall.
I’ve known Catherine and Phil for over a decade now. Catherine’s always been super likable and Phil grew on me with time ;) All joking aside, they’re great people and I love working with them.
Before they started the business, they were already on the path to success in the financial area, but now they’re on the path to success in every area. They were going to win at whatever they wanted to do, and they chose to win at the LIFE business.
After all these years together, they’re now a big part of our family.
Now you can get to know them, too!
Getting to Know Kaizen Leaders: Phil and Catherine Wall, as written by Bethany Sampson.
To grow, by definition, is to become better or improved, to have an increased influence, to develop—spiritually, mentally, and physically. To grow is to advance your sense of self. A positive term with a plethora of describing adjectives, it’s exactly what Phil and Catherine Wall are striving for.
The couple’s story begins in an unconventional way. In May of 1993 they met for the first time. Twenty-year-old Phil was a member of the New Zealand Navy and was on a world tour. Halifax was the ship’s second port of call. Covered in paint and partaking in the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance, Phil met Catherine for the first time.
Three years later, Phil left the New Zealand Navy to return to Canada with the hopes of starting a relationship with Catherine. By 1999, the two were married.
Their relationship’s untraditional beginning was balanced by their participation in the traditional business world. Catherine owned her own public relations firm and Phil was self-employed, working in the offshore industry. Together, the two owned several rental properties and were actively investing in other companies. Financially, they had no problems. Maritally, they did. Phil’s job pulled him away from home eight months of the year. The rental properties and PR firm filled Catherine’s time at home.
Their lives were chaotically busy, and the couple laments on how rarely they saw each other.
By 2002, they’d had enough of this lifestyle.
There’s got to be a better way to do this, they thought.
Through some friends, they met Claude and Lana, and it was then that they realized The Better Way. Immediately, they got started in business.
Phil and Catherine were so used to working apart that the initial task of working together was daunting. The obstacle, says Catherine, was “learning how to effectively work with [her] husband as an equal in the business.” Apart, the two were successful. Now, they had to learn how to merge those successes in one business.
Once they had children (Manaia is now five and Urijah is one and one-half), the couple’s business once again changed, as they learned to balance additional schedules and better manage their time. Learning to balance parenthood with work is something Catherine says she still works on daily.
Phil’s background as a self-employed worker also posed a challenge as he switched from “self-employed thinking” to “system thinking.” No longer did Phil have to be the system; instead, he had to learn to rely on a system that’s been tested and tried by countless people. Phil, in essence, had to learn to trust this system. A system, he quips, his best friend helped design.
The best part about the system? Getting to help others.
“We have to help other people in order to achieve the goals we want for ourselves,” says Catherine. “Most businesses it’s all about you.”
In order to help others grow personally, you have to grow personally.
In order to grow your business, you have to help others grow their business.
Phil and Catherine already are reaping the benefits of this system while helping others to as well.
Phil urges those looking to get into business to trust him and to trust the system. “Suspend your disbelief,” Phil says, quoting Claude. “Just hold on and trust me long enough to prove myself and to prove that the business actually works,” Phil continues.
This foundation of trust has resulted in a decade long friendship between Phil and Catherine and Claude and Lana that only continues to grow.
“We’re friends first,” says Phil about Claude and Lana. “We’re friends who happen to be in business together.”
Emphasizing the importance of this friendship, Phil posed me with the following question: “What would you do if someone offered you fifty million dollars?”
The catch: you have to spend that money alone and on your own.
Phil used the analogy to prove the importance of friendship, and also to emphasize his gratitude to have a best friend who he just so happens to be in business with.
“He’s like a brother,” Phil says. “He’s like a dad. He’s what a man should be.”
Catherine echoed these feelings about Lana.
“She is an amazing woman,” Catherine says. “She’s got a heart like I’ve not seen in other people.”
Catherine sees Lana as a friend and a mentor with whom she can approach with questions about business, her relationship with Phil, her family, her sisters, or her children.
“They provide such a value to our lives that you can’t even separate the business from everything else,” Catherine says. “They’re just part of our lives.”
It is this support that keeps the two motivated during what Catherine describes as “dry spells,” borrowing from Chris Brady’s “desert experience.”
What’s important, Catherine reminded me, is keeping up both your momentum and your attitude. The goal-oriented couple stays focused on what’s ahead until a breakthrough arrives.
“Success is closer than you think,” she says, “even when you’re going through a period that makes it feel like it’s impossible to get there.”
Catherine is also sure to share any goals she has—whether personal, familial, or business-related—with her husband, children or people she works with so that she feels accountable in achieving them. Breaking promises, especially with her children, is simply not who she is, so sharing these goals helps keep her focused and motivated.
Though being parents has affected their business, being business owners has had an equally large effect on their parenting, teaching the couple to do what they call “parenting on purpose.”
Not only have they been exposed to other parents through the business, but the couple also seeks out books and audios to help better their parenting style.
The couple hopes to eliminate any “unconscious incompetence” by replacing it with “conscious competence.”
“None of us are born knowing how to be a good parent,” says Catherine. “The love for your child is innate, but how to raise your child is not innate, and how to do it properly is not something we necessarily know in our gut.”
The same proves true for owning your own business.
In parenthood, in business, in life, the couple is ready to learn, ready to grow.
As five-year-old Manaia comes into the screen, climbing onto Phil’s lap, one thing becomes clear: they’re helping her grow, too.
“Never quit. Never give in,” says Phil. “If it’s right, you’ve got to fight for it. Our marriage is right, I fight for it. I fight for raising my kids correctly. I fight for our business. I’ll fight for other people in our business who are just getting started.”
And their life? It’s worth fighting for.
If you know Phil and Catherine, and have more to add, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!!