Hangin’ with Clint Pulver
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” — Oscar Wilde
These words truly changed Clint’s world. While he was on the search to find meaning and purpose, he chased after success and found himself in the world of medicine, only to realize that all the money in the world didn’t make him happy. He didn’t feel he was living a significant life.
He began a quest to find something that fulfilled his passion, supported him financially, and helped him fulfill his destiny on earth. His closest friends advised him this wasn’t possible, but he was determined to create his own path.
Now he is a full-time motivational speaker and has brought wisdom to many. He truly follows that path that makes him come alive. Hope you enjoy this podcast!
Where Did Clint Pulver Start?
Clint Pulver has been a professional drummer for longer than twenty years and has played alongside some top headlining musicians in amazing venues such as the Stadium of Fire, the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, and the Vivint Arena. He is the founder of the UVU drumline that is well known as the Green Man Group. He directed them for six years and then moved on to direct the drumline for the Utah Jazz through 2015.
He has been featured in the “BusinessQ Magazine” as one of their ‘Top 40 under 40″ as a Corporate Keynote who is considered Premiere. He has also appeared on “America’s Got Talent” and in feature films alongside famous actors such as John Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite”) and Jack Black (“School of Rock”).
Clint is a leading authority on retention and has helped many organizations to engage, retain, and inspire their teams from the top, like the boardrooms, to the front desk and everyone in between. He uses his expertise to help many different audiences navigate generational complexities, leadership missteps, culture cues, and communication challenges.
Clint is the president and founder of The Center for Retention. He has worked hard and shown that he can successfully help many organizations, much like he has helped to transform corporations such as Keller Williams, AT&T, and Hewlett Packard.
He has created a lasting loyalty through his research and works as the “The Undercover Millennial.” For longer than a decade, he has been a real go-getter and self-motivated entrepreneur who is now well-practiced with business startup, what it takes to be a good leader, sales management success, management training, and helping any team become successful multi-million dollar accounts. He makes great use of this experience to create a teachable relationship with business strategies that are based on support, trust, connection, and consistent follow-through.
He strongly believes that just one moment in time can someone’s entire life. He has travelled around the globe speaking to a range of diverse audiences, challenging them and motivating them to excel, connect, dream big, and believe in themselves and the power of others. Clint has dedicated his heart to helping organizations realize the potential and understand the younger generation for over a decade, and he has also helped the younger generation to understand themselves. He shows them how to live a life of significance rather than just aiming for success.
He says, “It’s not about being the best in the world; it’s about being the best FOR the world.”
How Is Clint Different?
He Is Educational
Clint’s content is not only inspiring; it is also lasting and universal. When you participate in his work, you will come away with a better understanding of “why” you feel empowered, have clarity of purpose, and have actionable how-to’s to help you perform at your next level of performance as well as lead you to a more extraordinary life.
He Is Current
It’s no secret that our workforces and world are constantly changing. As people or leaders, we need to be able to communicate, manage, connect, and collaborate in a way that is flexible to change. Clint is able to help his audiences create the skillsets and mindsets that they need to be able to change in this ever-shifting world—without the stress.
He Gives You Energy
Clint is an entertaining motivational speaker who offers the best of two worlds. He is able to provide you with a highly motivational, powerful message about employee retention and create moments that matter and then, on the other hand, he can also provide you with jaw-dropping drum performances, DryBar Comedy, and fantastically delivered message.
Clint Pulver Podcast Transcription
Charan: Clint, I think we’re rolling.
Charan: We’re rolling, man.
Clint: Awesome. Awesome.
Charan: All right, guys, this is Charan Prabhakar, I’m here with the Lemonade Stand Podcast, and I’m here with Clint Pulver who… It’s been awesome because we’ve crossed paths a little bit. It was actually I think, at a fireside that you were giving for “Saturday’s Warrior” that I first met you. But your wife Kelly is a good friend of mine. We were friends from California, fellow actors. But it’s been great, man ,because what has been awesome is, I’ve known so much about you from other people, right? I’ve got some friends that have worked with you on “Saturday’s Warrior,” and also your public speaking, which has been fantastic. But I’ve always heard these great things about you, so the fact that you’re able to come out has been awesome, man. So, I really appreciate you taking the time, and just making me feel good.
Clint: Yeah, I’m happy to be here. Happy to be here.
Charan: That’s awesome, man. So, let’s go ahead… I just want to kind of give the audience who’s listening or watching a little background about who you are. And please feel free to correct me as I go on. So, you were born in Utah, but you grew up in Texas for a little bit.
Charan: Right? And then, you came back to Utah and lived in Heber. Is that correct?
Charan: And you were telling me this really cool story of how… While you were I think, in fifth grade or something, your teachers noticed you couldn’t sit still. So, a particular teacher gave you some drumsticks?
Charan: And said, “Hey, let’s focus your energy to drumming.” Right?
Clint: Yeah. His name was Mr. Jensen.
Clint: And that totally changed my life. I was the kid that could never sit still, handed me a pair of drumsticks and said, “I don’t think you’re a problem, I just think you’re a drummer.”
Clint: And totally created a moment that changed my life forever. Yeah, that’s 22 years ago, and I’ve been playing drums ever since.
Charan: That’s awesome, man. So, you’ve been playing drums for a long while, actually, and then you also wanted to be a pilot. Is that right?
Clint: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Charan: So, tell us a little bit about that.
Clint: Yeah, I wanted to fly, that was the dream. I was the kid growing up that had every toy helicopter and airplane you could own from Toys “R” Us hanging from my ceiling. Yeah, I wanted to fly. And when I was 18 years old, I graduated high school, but also graduated as a private pilot. So, I had my Fixed Wing license, and then I went to go get my Add-On Rating for helicopters. And then, I left to serve a two-year mission for my church, and when I got home, I had to renew my driver’s license. So, I’m 21 in this timeline, go to the DMV, horrible place, I waited for two-and-a-half hours-
Charan: Of course.
Clint: Finally, the lady calls my number, I walk up, she starts looking at the paperwork, and then she told me to put my head in that little black box.
Charan: Oh, yeah.
Clint: We’re going to test your vision.
Charan: Test your vision.
Clint: And I put my head in and I could only see six black dots. And she said, “Read the letters out loud.” And I said, “I can’t read the letters.” She said, “Well, try harder.” And I’m like, “Ma’am, I can’t.” And I asked to go to another machine. She eventually came from around the corner, moved me out of the way, put her head in the box, tests it, and read the letters out loud. And she looked at me and she was like, “Can you read?” And I’m like, “Ma’am, yes, I can read.” She was like, “Well, then, honey, I think you’re blind.” And I remember kind of just looking at her like, “Listen, lady, I drove here today.” And then she told me, “Well, you’re not driving back. You’re not driving home.”
Charan: You’re kidding.
Clint: And she stamped on my paperwork, denied. I didn’t pass, I was under house arrest at the DMV.
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Clint: And they called my mom, and that was the day I found out that I had a rare degenerative eye disease known as keratoconus.
Clint: And my corneas were dying, they were getting thinner and thinner and thinner. And I ended up with the Moran Eye Center, and his name was [Dr. Moshe Farr 00:05:26], and he told me by the age of 31, 32, I was going to lose my sight.
Charan: How old are you now?
Clint: So, now currently, I’m 33. But at the time, there was no procedure called cross-linking. And so, for me, I had to pivot, I had to totally change. There I was, I literally, had my eye on the sky, and then I watched in a moment as the sky fell in all around me. And I went from having direction, purpose, drive, especially as a young person, growing up knowing what I wanted to do with my life, and then in a moment that all changed. So, I ended up going to college, a totally different career path. And while I was in college, I was a junior, I got a call from the Moran Eye Center and they said, “We’ve just started the first human trial for cross-linking.”
Clint: “And it’s a new procedure for people with your eye disease, and we want to know if you want to be on the list.” And so, I ended up becoming number 43 on that list. They flew me to California, I did procedure on my left eye, and then they did the procedure on my right eye, and at 100% stopped the progression of the disease.
Charan: No way.
Clint: So, at least, I’m not blind. I still have horrible vision. I’m barely legal enough to drive. I have two hard, rigid, gas-permeable contact lenses that cup my eye into shape so that I can see well enough to drive. But again, at least I’m not blind. And it was totally a time in my life where I learned that sometimes good things fall apart so that better things can fit together.
Charan: Ah, it’s such a great lesson to learn at a young age.
Clint: Yeah. So, I’m not a pilot anymore, but better things happened because of that. And I think ultimately, I’ve been able to live a better story and do things differently had I had gone that first route of becoming a pilot.
Clint Pulver Talks About Changing Dreams
Charan: I like to explore this topic a little bit of having better things come because the good things fell apart. So, what better things came into your life as a result of your initial dreams being crushed a little bit?
Clint: Yeah, I think first thing was college. College was never on the books for me. Being a helicopter pilot was the dream. You go to flight school and you build up hours, you become an instructor, and then you get a job. And so, higher education was never a thing for me. So, now it was because I had no other options. So, what do you do when you don’t know what you want to do with your life? You go to college, right?
Clint: And so, I went to school and Utah Valley University changed my life. I mean, there, the relationships, the ability to learn how to network… I was enrolled in the leadership program and learned under Stephen Covey and the people that helped write the curriculum for “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the Dale Carnegie course. I mean, my perspective changed immensely. And the mentors that I had the ability to meet helped me rewrite a story, helped me rewrite my life purpose, helped me to see the possibilities of what could be. And I had a mentor in college, his name was Kirk Young, and I’ll never forget, he shared with me a quote by Oscar Wilde. And the quote said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world, for most people just exist.”
Charan: Oh dear, I love that. That’s so great.
Clint: And it changed my life. I remember hearing that, and he said, “Clint, whatever you do, make sure that you live a life of significance, not just a life of success.” And I’ll be honest, along the journey of college, I kind of chased the success as far as… Everybody goes to school to get a degree so that you can make money, right?
Clint: That you can hopefully provide and do what you want to do. And I kind of chased the medical field thinking that that was where I was going to find that success. And ended up in the medical field, but I did not have significance in my life. And every day I was just existing [crosstalk 00:09:28].
Charan: And you made plenty of money at the time.
Clint: I did. Yeah, yeah, I was doing very well. Had all the security, the benefits, the things that everybody talks about, which are still important, those are things that are crucial, right? If you want to live as a responsible human being-
Clint: … you need to have those things. However, there’s the other side of it, like passion, and purpose, and again, significance, and to feel like you’re doing what you were put on this earth to do. [inaudible 00:09:56] Mark Twain, Mark Twain has that famous quote, “There’s two important days in a person’s life, the day you’re born, and then the day you figure out why.” And for me, I was not born to be doing what I was doing. And I felt that inside, which led to another pivot in my life.
Charan: That’s awesome. You resonate so well with an experience that I even had in my own life. I went to BYU. And the same thing, right? I had come home from a two-year mission, and I had no idea what I wanted to do in my life. And so, I was in college, and I remember everyone saying, “Oh, well, get a business degree. It’s so valuable, you can do all kinds of really cool stuff.” And so, I was taking all these business classes and everything, and I thought, “Yeah, I’m going to be a businessman. That’s what I’m going to do.” This was not my dream, this was just a dream that someone else imposed in my mind, right?
Charan: And I remember it was winter semester of 2003, I believe, 2003, I had just finished my fall semester, 2002, so winter semester, and I was in an accounting class. And we had just got back from Christmas break. I went to this accounting class, and the whole time I was there, I felt this huge crushing weight on me, just this huge weight. And I’m feeling so exhausted. There’s this feeling of not being alive, barely being able to breathe. And I got home, and I was like, “Wow, I just got back from Christmas break, why am I so exhausted right now?” And it was at that moment, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t think this is what I’m supposed to do.” And it was an exhilarating thought and a scary thought, right?
Charan: Because when you don’t know what your future is, for sure, or where you think you’re supposed to go, it’s scary because now it’s like, what am I supposed to do? I’m in the middle of an ocean now, right? But thankfully, because of that experience, and talking to my friend’s dad who was my mentor to me, who kind of guided me out and tried to help me find my own passion, I’ve landed into the world of acting, which I love.
Charan: And it’s definitely not the most stable, but I will tell you, it has been such a joy to keep doing what I’m doing and still love doing what I’m doing. So, I love hearing your story about that, man. But did it feel frightening to you at the time when you were like, “Okay, I’m chasing success, and I’m getting success, and I’m not happy, now, what do I do?”
Clint: Yeah, I still remember, I sat down with two of my buddies and just discouraged, stressed, not knowing what to do. Here I had this great job that I had worked so hard, four years of college, two years of post-college training in the medical field. I had worked so hard to get a job in Utah close to my family, I had the best company, you couldn’t have written a better situation. And I’m thinking about leaving? I would ask any normal person and they would be like “You are nuts. You are crazy.” And I pose to my two buddies as we were sitting down in a restaurant, I said, “Guys, wouldn’t it be crazy if you could find one job that allowed you to do three things?” And the three things that I was thinking about consistently was, what if it allowed you to do what you’re passionate about, it allowed you to provide, but also contributed to your purpose?
Charan: I love it.
Clint: So, those three P’s: passion, providing and purpose. And I pose that to my two buddies, both were college grads, and they’re like, “I mean, in a picturesque world, maybe, but” they said, “most jobs you don’t get that.” Look at a doctor, right? They’ve got tons of stress and the malpractice issues, and all of the charting, and the time they spend away from their family, and the schooling. And yeah, they’ve got the finances, they can provide, but there’s something that you’ve got to go without. A teacher, for example, yeah, they might have passion and purpose, but every summer they’re looking for an opportunity to-
Charan: Yes, make more money.
Clint: … make more money. Yeah. So, my buddy was like, “What you’re asking and what you’re thinking about, Clint is literally an anomaly.” I was like, “Anoma what? What do you mean?” “It’s rare. It just doesn’t exist.” And I was living. He was like, “What are you talking?” And I’m thinking about that Oscar Wilde quote, “To live is the rarest thing.” And if you look at the stats of working adults right now, 8 out of 10 working adults hate what they do for a job. That’s 80%. And then, you look at young people… William Damon out of Stanford, he did a study three years ago, and he found that only about 20% of young people have a clear definition on their purpose in life. So, that leaves us with 80% of most young people that kind of grew up saying, “I don’t know what I want to do. I don’t know. I don’t know.” And part of that is because they’re young, but also there’s part of that that’s real, and it’s called time and life, and you’re on this escalator that keeps moving forward.
Clint: And so, we have a lot of people that go to college or they go to school, and they kind of still are like, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.” They choose a degree, and then they go out and they work, and then they find theirselves the midlife crisis, stressed, not fulfilled, whatever you want to call it, and then they become that statistic. So, I guarantee there’s a correlation between… 80% of young people then grow up, and they become the 80% of working adults that hate their job. And I told my two friends that day, I said, “I think it does exist.” And two weeks after that, I quit my job.
Charan: Not knowing what you’re going to do.
Clint: No, no idea. I had thought I had some inklings. I knew that I needed to meet those three qualifications, passion, I needed to be able to provide, I wanted to contribute to my purpose in life. And so, I made the jump and started a business as a professional speaker.
Charan: And you’ve never spoken before publicly, right?
Clint: No. I had a history. There was a time when I spoke in church. A guy that owned a leadership consulting company told me to come and speak at a leadership retreat. I loved it. So, I did have that little inkling, that little bit of experience, and I loved it. That was the time in my life where I looked back, and I was like, “That was significance. That was living.” That contributed to the three P’s for that moment. And so, I had that experience to rely on in the past, but really no history to lean on as far as anything that looked like a substantial or sustainable business.
Charan: But you knew that that moment helped you feel alive.
Charan: And that’s beautiful, man, because the truth is, when we can identify those moments in our lives when we’re like, “That moment was a very authentic moment. That moment I felt alive.” That passion in you, that desire in you was so strong that you were like, “I’m going to abandon what I have right now for something even greater down the road.” Which, in a way already happened to you. You’ve already been prepared because you did the pilot thing, and that didn’t work out because of your eyesight. And so, now you’re like, “Okay, I gotta go to school, but then I became a doctor and things were going well, but I didn’t really like doing that. So, now, I’m going to abandon this and I’m going to try something else.” And you got into speaking.
Clint: Yeah. And it has been a rollercoaster. But I can 100% say, the day I quit my job was the day I started living.
Charan: I love that.
Clint: And, man, there has been nothing better. The professional speaking world has been… Yeah, it’s been the most significant, fulfilling thing that I’ve been able to do career-wise in my life. And it all came from that moment, taking that step.
Clint Pulver Talks About Building a Public Speaking Business
Charan: That’s amazing, man. So, how do you go about building a business as a speaker? What did you end up doing? Because obviously, you have to have clients, right? You have to have people saying, “Hey, Clint come and speak.”
Clint: Yeah, sure.
Charan: So, what did you end up doing?
Clint: So, I think the biggest thing was… There’s a famous quote, I don’t even know who said it, but, “You can live a life by design, or you can live a life by default.” And I knew that the success of my speaking business came within the details. I had to design it. And one of the greatest things I did is I created what was called my board of mentors. I went to the people that were living, breathing, eating, sleeping, drinking, the career and the business that I wanted to create. And I believe that we should do whatever it takes to associate with astonishing people.
Clint: People that are living extraordinary lives in the way that we want to live. And we should do what it takes to be close to those people. So, I went to the top, the first thing I did is I booked a plane ticket to Florida, where the National Speakers Association Conference called Influence was being held. There was a guy that I had followed on Instagram, social media, had known about, he was kind of the legend of youth-speaking, because I wanted to speak to kids. That’s how it all started. And his name was Mark Scharenbroich. And I remember from college again, being taught that you should do whatever it takes to associate with astonishing people. So, I bought the ticket-
Clint: … flew to Florida-
Charan: That’s unbelievable.
Clint: Yeah, crazy. And thankfully, my job beforehand provided that I had a little bit of flex, I had an emergency fund, four to six months of expenses, all those things. So, I had the ability to do that, I bought a plane ticket, and I knew he was going to be there. And I’ll never forget on the second day of the conference, I saw him in the hallway. And literally he was a hero, a legend. One of my favorite movies of all time is “We Bought a Zoo.”
Charan: Oh, I love that movie.
Clint: Yeah, it’s so good.
Charan: Oh, it’s so good. I even know the music to it. I love it.
Clint: Yeah, it’s amazing. And in that film, kind of the overarching theme is 20 seconds of insane courage. If you can get 20 seconds of insane courage, you’ll change your life.
Charan: You’ll change your life.
Clint: And I was so nervous. And this guy… I mean, literally, he’s legend, no one’s done it better. And I needed to meet him. And I went up with the 20 seconds of courage I had, I tapped him on the shoulder, he turned around, I said “Mr. Mark Scharenbroich…” I said, “My name is Clint Pulver, you have no idea who I am. But I just quit my job and I’m jumping into the speaking world, and I flew thousands of miles to meet with you.” And I said, “If there’s 10 minutes at any point in this conference that I could talk to you, it would mean the world.” And he’s this rough but very professional cool, suave dude. And he looks at his clock, and he goes, “What’s me right now?” And I was like, “Okay.”
Charan: No way.
Clint: And we went and we sat down. And I’ll never forget, it was another moment where somebody breathed life into me. It was another moment where somebody helped me to see the possibilities of what could be. And he helped me and guided me. And then, there was another, I think, really important principle in this that I think anybody that’s trying to pivot or create… And it’s the principle of gratitude. I was so grateful that he took the time to help me. I remember I wrote him a handwritten thank you card, and I became the dude of Jamba Juice gift cards. I would send a Jamba Juice gift card to anybody that would give me just a little bit of help or support. And after the conference, I sent him the Jamba Juice gift card. He had given me a [inaudible 00:21:14] card, we exchanged email addresses. And a week after, he shot me an email and he said, “Clint, you’re the first person in my 25 years of speaking that has ever hand written a thank you note.”
Clint: And thanked me for the time that I had given. And then at the end, he said, “Anytime you need anything, you call me.”
Charan: Oh my gosh.
Clint: And he has become one of the greatest mentors in my speaking career. And that was the beginning of how I created my board of mentors, these people that I wanted to be like. And in associating with them, they connected me to my dream, and it’s expedited my ability to do this career and run a business better.
Charan: That’s awesome, man. It’s such a great, great story. And it’s so great… What he did for you, Ben Stiller did for me.
Clint: That’s amazing.
Charan: Yeah. Well, it was one of those situations, it was the crazy thing… I wasn’t even asking for it. I was just in the right place at the right time.
Clint: Do tell the story. You have to tell… That’s amazing.
Clint: “Secret Life of Walter Mitty”-
Charan: “Secret Life of Walter-“
Clint: That’s my favorite movie of all time.
Charan: Oh, it’s so great. Next to “We Bought a Zoo,” of course.
Clint: Yeah. Next to “We Bought…” Yes.
Charan: Yeah. So, I teach snowboarding.
Charan: And it’s just been a fun thing that I’ve done for years and years and years. And I’ve always loved creating fun memories and all that stuff, and so I would also pull a prank as well. And so, whenever the new instructors would come into the resort I was teaching at, I would pretend like I’ve never been before, and I make one of the new instructors teach me. We filmed the whole thing. I have a thick Indian accent. I’m an actor, soI’m just like, “Yeah, this fun. This is just goofing around.” Right? Well, Ben Stiller used to come to this resort. He would come with his wife and they would get taught, and my boss would teach him. So, I briefly met Ben just one of the days, and just saying hi to his family and stuff. It was great. The following day, I was doing my prank. And he was watching me, but he waved to me just to say, “Hey, how’s it going?” And I kind of gave a little head nod because I didn’t want to blow my cover, I was being filmed and stuff.
Charan: So, unbeknownst to me, Ben was asking my boss, he’s like, “Dude, why is this guy such a jerk? Just getting a little head nod? He was so nice yesterday.” My boss is like, “No, no, listen, he’s got to be incognito. He’s doing this prank on this girl.” So, I didn’t know this but Ben was watching me the whole time.
Charan: Because afterwards, while I was reviewing the footage and stuff, he comes up to me, he’s like, “Dude, can I just shake your hand?” I’m like, “What? What’s going on? This is crazy.” And he’s like, “That was some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen.” I’m like, “Oh, are you serious?” And-
Clint: What a compliment.
Charan: Yeah, it was so great. And so, I was showing him some of the footage and he legit was just crying laughing. And it was one of those like, is this real life?
Clint: Is this really happening?
Charan: Yeah, is this really going down? Right? So, the following day when I was actually just regularly snowboarding he pulled me aside, he’s like, “So what’s your story, man? What do you want to do?” I said, “Well, I’m actually hoping to be an actor, that’s what I want to do. I’m moving to LA here pretty soon. And I’ve been doing it in Utah for a while and I want to get more into it.” He’s like, “Oh, you want to be an actor?” And I said, “Well, yes, but…” Again, it was one of those moments. “I mean, I don’t want to bother you, dude. You’re here on vacation and you’re just asking, so I told you.” He said, “Well, no, listen, let’s sit down for a sec, let me give you some advice.”
Charan: And so, he sat me down for 5, 10 minutes and gave me some amazing advice. But the thing that he said to me, which is very similar to what you were kind of going through, was… He said, “Listen, acting is tough, it’s a challenge, but if you are passionate about it, and if you create your own path…” And he kept emphasizing that point, creating your own path, “And you just persevere.”
Clint: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Charan: So, passionate, create your own path, persevere, then it will happen. But he’s like, “I don’t know what that path is going to look for you, but you got to make that happen for yourself.” So, he was super gracious to me and he gave me the number to his assistant and his production company and said, “Look, I can’t promise anything’s going to actually happen, but when you get to LA, give them your material. Go give them your reel, go give them your headshots, and we’ll just see what happens.” Now, I’ve never seen him since, I haven’t spoken with him since, but I did intern at his production company once I got to LA. And it was just one of those crazy things… Okay, so that happened.
Charan: And while I was in LA, I decided to take an acting class that my friend recommended me to. And I go to this acting class and we’re doing all these opening exercises, and there’s another guy that’s clapping, He said, “Good job, guys, you guys are doing so great.” Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise is now in this acting class, and I’m just like, “Okay.” So many weird things are kind of happening, but not really, and I really feel like the moment you come alive for yourself, the moment… I love the fact that you said, “Breathe life into you.” I think the moment you give yourself permission to let life be breathed into you, things just kind of line up.
Charan: But the problem is, is sometimes we’re too afraid to live, and we just want to exist because that’s the comfort, that’s what we see.
Clint: Sure. Well, that’s where security lives.
Charan: That’s where security lives, right? So, what’s helped you keep living, would you say?
Clint: I think the career in and of itself, the calling of speaking. There’s definitely a privilege of the platform. Speaking is not necessarily something that you can just wake up one day and be like, “I’m speaker, I’m a speaker.” You’ve got to have something you speak upon, you’ve got to be credible, you’ve got to have some content. You’ve got to have a reason why someone would listen to you. And I think having that ability, and I think still remembering what it was like to work the 9:00 to 5:00, remembering what it was like to do something that I hated every day.
Clint: And even though I work 80 hours a week, so I don’t have to work 40, in this career, there’s a difference. And every day I am living to be more significant. I always say, “It’s not about being the best in the world, it’s about being the best for the world.” So, every day having that opportunity to do that, and that that’s what our business represents, that’s what we’re getting to create, that’s the influence that we’re trying to spread, is just invigorating.
Charan: That’s awesome, man.
Clint: Yeah, I’ve been very, very lucky.
Charan: Well, you talked about having credibility, you talked about having the right message, how did you build that for yourself? Because from what I gather, you were in the medical field, and then you wanted to be a pilot, and that didn’t work out. So, how did you go from there to say, “Okay, I’m creating messaging and I’m building up clients, and I want to be a force in the world?”
Clint: Yeah. I think the biggest thing was listening to my clients. Us as professional speakers, a lot of times young speakers will come in and they say, “Well, I want to speak about this.” Or, “I want to talk about leadership. I want to talk about motivation. I want to talk about…” Without taking the time to actually listen to the clients. Because it’s the clients that are writing the check, it’s the clients that are booking you, it’s the clients that are bringing you in as a speaker to solve a problem. And so, for me, being young, that simple strategy transformed everything for my business. We started five years ago, what’s called the Undercover Millennial Program-
Charan: I love it.
Clint: And I started by simply going in like “Undercover Boss,” but I would go in as the “Undercover Millennial,” as someone who is looking for a job. And we’ve worked with 181 different organizations, and I’ve interviewed over 10,000 employees undercover. And what we found is, what worked and what didn’t work. And as I went in as an employee asking for a job, I would just simply say, “What’s it like to work here? Tell me about the boss. Tell me about the manager.” And the employees would tell me everything.
Clint: And the most significant part of that research was when an employee said, “I love my job. I love it. I love it here. I love what we’re doing. Our manager is amazing, the culture, what we’re building.” And they were just talking to me without the opportunity of advancement, or getting paid more, or promotional type situations. It was just real, it’s because they truly felt it.
Clint: And then, the research that we found in the great leadership, the cultures, the employees, that created that type of response. And so, we’ve created something and we did it in a way that allowed the clients to tap into the realities in the most authentic way of what worked for their employees and what didn’t. And so, that allowed me to kind of pivot from the youth market, into the corporate market, and that’s where we’ve been for the last two years.
Charan: That’s awesome.
Clint: And it all just came from simply listening to the clients, their needs, and then being able to provide that in the best way possible.
Charan: So, in your business, are you the only speaker, or do you have other speakers that you represent as well, or?
Clint: No. So, it’s just me, I am the speaker in the business, but then I have a team. So, I have a management team of 16 people, and then Kelly, my wife, she helps as well. And it’s a full operation to make all of that happen.
Clint Pulver Talks About Pivoting
Charan: Yeah. That’s awesome, man. But I do want to talk a little bit about pivoting. You’ve mentioned pivoting multiple times, and the world is forcing us all to pivot a little bit, right?
Charan: 2020 has been a bit rough. And we all thought, “Hey, this is where we think our future is going to go,” or “It’s on a positive trend.” But we’ve been discussing how speaking when you’re in a… You need people around you, right?
Clint: Yeah. You need an audience.
Charan: And you need that energy, you need an audience. And when you can’t gather and you can’t be together, things change a little bit, and your whole world gets rocked a bit.
Charan: So, how has that been for you?
Clint: Yeah. March 6, 2020, was my last speaking event live, in front of a live audience. COVID-19 hit and it hit hard, and obviously the events industry will be the last to recover. We’re still at the midst of it. And we watched… My wife and I along with our management team within a series of two weeks… And, man, we were at the pinnacle of our business, doing so well. We worked so hard. The whole entrepreneurial life of, again, literally working 80 hours a week so we don’t have to work 40, building, moving, we had built the machine and it was just running. And then boom, in two weeks, everything died, everything stopped. No live events, nothing. And we were forced to innovate. We were forced to, again, listen to the clients. That was I think what has helped us to pivot. And we’re now doing everything virtual.
Clint: I also watched, which I would totally recommend to anybody right now that’s trying to figure out how to pivot or innovate or do things better, Disney+ has the “Imagineers” documentary. Have you seen that?
Charan: I haven’t. Is it good?
Clint: Oh my gosh, it is so good. I watched that just out of desperation sitting there during the two weeks watching all of this happen, and I was so fired up. Again, and it’s not just people, right? I talk about, do whatever it takes to associate with great people, do whatever it takes to associate with great content, great things, books, literature, documentaries, things that fire you up, things that can educate you. Mentorship is not just a human-to-human connection, mentorship happens on all sorts of different types of facets. And that was a mentorship opportunity, and I saw how Disney has created and innovated over the series of everything that’s been going on since Disney began. And it helped me and inspired me, it sparked the possibilities, and we went to work. And went into full creation mode, which was so fun to fill again. I think once you’ve built the business, then it turns into-
Charan: It’s kind of like a machine that goes over and over an over.
Clint: Yeah, you got to maintain. We have to maintain. We have to maintain. But there’s nothing like those very beginning days where you are literally creating, creating, creating, creating. So, it was fun to jump back into that, and we had no idea what we were doing, how to stream, how to use a recorder, multiple cameras lighting all of that. And it has forced us into a new industry, and we’ve done something that we would not have done had the pandemic not hit. And everything is full virtual and we’re surviving, and we’re making it, and we’re still providing value, and we’ll come out stronger because of it.
Charan: Do you know who the filmmaker Gareth Edwards is?
Clint: I don’t.
Charan: So, Gareth Edwards, he’s a guy that… And truthfully, I don’t know an extensive amount about his background, but he had limited resources and he wanted to prove the world that he was a filmmaker, right? And so, he made a movie called “Monsters.” And this movie, very low-budget, I think it was only a few hundred thousand for production, and it was just two cast members, a girl and a guy walking across, I think, South America or something like that after an apocalypse or something like that that happened. Gareth, he shot it, he directed it, he did everything he could possibly do. He did all the visual effects-
Charan: Created everything like that. Just because he wanted to show with the limited resources that he had what he could do. And that movie went on to be a success. And then, he ended up directing “Star Wars.”
Clint: Oh, my gosh.
Charan: I mean, you think about [crosstalk 00:34:49].
Clint: It’s crazy.
Charan: It’s crazy to see what could actually happen to someone when you showcase, “Hey, now that we have limitations, what can we do? What can we create?” Right? I keep thinking about that too because COVID has definitely limited us, it has definitely set some parameters on us-
Charan: But now is the time to create, like you said.
Charan: So, how’s the virtual speaking been going? How’s that been shaping up?
Clint: Honestly, it’s hard. It’s hard as a speaker who is someone who relies on an audience, and we provide this experience. And as a drummer, we’ve got everybody on buckets and drumsticks, and we’re creating a moment and doing that virtually, literally [inaudible 00:35:31] that’s impossible to do.
Charan: It’s hard.
Clint: And you can’t. But we still have provided the drums and doing that virtually. So, that’s added a whole ‘nother component that’s been difficult to manage. But it’s also hard as a speaker to sit in a black box and talk to a camera for an hour. And you don’t have an audience, you don’t have that feedback. You crack a joke, and it’s silent.
Charan: It’s silence, yeah.
Clint: Like there’s nothing there. So, it’s been cool because I think I and everybody else is doing this, other professional speakers. We will come out more talented, I believe we’ll come out with skills that we’ve developed, you have to develop, on camera that we just didn’t have to work when we were on stage. You become more of a TV broadcaster than you do a speaker, because that’s literally what we’re doing. You’re speaking to a camera and you’re trying to engage an audience through a screen versus a live situation.
Charan: Right. I mean, I think about… And I never really did theater, I mostly just did film, so I was kind of used to just the cameras or whatnot, right? But now, all of our auditions are all through video, playing through my phone, right? And it’s interesting because I’ve got to kind of come up with energy myself, and not get fed from the audience, if this is working or if that’s not working, right?
Charan: But it is interesting because you find that when once you start developing that skill that you just maybe didn’t have before, you can utilize it for later down the road. And even though we don’t fully know what’s going to happen, what the new normal is going to look like when COVID is going to go away, or if it’s going to mutate into something else, I have no idea. All I know is innovation and creativity can really thrive during limitation.
Clint: Yeah, totally. And I think the market always speaks, right? We always say that in business, the market always speaks. And I found in my career there’s a lot of professional speakers, people in this world, consultants, trainers, and they get stuck in what I call selling trombone oil. I know that sounds a little weird, but the world only consumes four quarts of trombone oil every year. So, you might make the best frigging trombone oil in the world, but the market only consumes four quarts of that.
Clint: And during this time, I think it’s been really good for us to figure out what are people consuming? What are they looking for? What are they needing? And how do we solve that problem? That is business, you find a problem, and you solve it in the best way possible better than everybody else. And people use you. But again, don’t get stuck selling trombone oil. If you’re selling the wrong thing, or you’re marketing the wrong thing, and there’s not a need for that, then you don’t have a sustainable business. And so, for us again, during this time, that pivot has been essential. And by listening to the clients, we’ve been able to do that better.
Clint Pulver Talks About What Brings Him Joy
Charan: That’s awesome, man. So, just kind of wrapping up a little bit, I want to ask you, what brings you joy right now?
Clint: I think first off, my family, my wife and our little baby, we have an 11-month-old little baby and then another baby on the way. And so, first off that. And every morning waking up, I wiggle my toes, I know I’m alive, and I go to work for them. They’re the people that I’m striving to be the best in the world for. And obviously, the business is a facet of that, but that’s key. And I think, yeah, I can’t lose sight of that, and my dream to provide, right? That’s a part of the three P’s.
Clint: While still doing my passion and purpose. I think we find joy in service, right? In giving and helping and benefiting other people. So, that has for sure brought me the most amount of joy.
Charan: That’s awesome, man. And I think it’s super important because sometimes we get so caught up in maybe career or things that aren’t going the way that we want us to go, that we forget what we already have.
Charan: And, yeah, relationships, man, just the simple things really help to drive those things home. I now have the opportunity to walk with my mom almost every day, not quite-
Clint: That’s awesome.
Charan: … but almost every day. And it’s such a great time when we walk and we have a chat, and everything. And she has a busy life doing her job, I’m busy filming, acting, all that stuff. So, when we have those moments to just simply walk and talk… And she mentioned it to me last night, she’s like, “I really cherish these moments because we get to really connect.” I’m like, “Wow, that’s so interesting.” Because walking is such a simple thing, but those simple things can be the most joyous and most poignant things in our lives.
Clint: Yeah, they’re the moments, those are the things that you remember. I ask all the time on stage, I’ll ask the audience, “Tell me who the last three NFL MVPs were?” Or “Tell me who the last two Academy Award winners were for Best Actor.” You might know that one, Charan, but most people don’t.
Charan: I actually don’t.
Clint: Or tell me who the last two Miss Americas were, right?
Clint: Nobody knows. But they’re some of the most prestigious, famous, popular-
Clint: … wealthy people, and I think it’s easy to get caught up in that, right? I want to be successful. But remember, there’s a difference between success and significance. Because then, when I ask the question, “Tell me the name of the one teacher that made a difference in your life?” Boom, we remember. Or tell me the name of somebody in your business that’s made a difference for you and your family. It’s because they were the people that got to the part about you. They were the people that created moments.
Clint: And yeah, I think at the end of life, we’re going to be surrounded by two things, we’ll be surrounded by the “woulda, shoulda, coulda’s,” or we’ll be surrounded by the “do it, did it, done its.” And I think the more we surround ourselves with those great relationships, those good people, those great moments, and then the opportunity to do something bigger than yourself, to do something better for the world, that’s what gets remembered.
Charan: That’s awesome, man. That’s so great. Even as you just told me about, or just asked, “Who’s your favorite teacher that did something for you?” Instantly, someone came to mind, and it’s my sixth grade teacher. And I still keep in touch with him.
Clint: Totally. You don’t forget the good ones.
Charan: You don’t forget.
Clint: Yeah, you never forget them.
Charan: It’s amazing.
Clint Pulver’s Advice to His Younger Self
Charan: So, I guess in closing, what would you tell your younger self?
Clint: I would tell my younger self… I think in the journey of life, there’s something to be said for consistency, the power of consistency. One of my great friends, his name is James Lawrence, they call him the Iron Cowboy, have you ever heard of this guy?
Charan: I have heard of the Iron Cowboy, but I don’t know much about him.
Clint: He ran 50 Ironman’s in 50 days in 50 states.
Charan: Oh, my gosh. Jeez, that’s insane.
Clint: It’s like the most astronomical physical feat that literally is impossible to do. And he did it. And we’ve spoken together several times on different stages, and everybody asks him the same question. “How did you do it? How did you do the impossible?” And he gives the same answer every time, and it would be what I would say to my younger self, he said, “I did it by simply doing small things consistently over a long period of time.” So, be patient with yourself. I would tell my younger self, “Clint, do small things, and learn to do them consistently over a long period of time.” And I look back at my life and any sort of success has come from that, because I stuck with it, I had patience, and we simply did small things consistently over a long time. And little by little makes a little a lot, right?
Clint: It is. It’s those small and simple things that great things come to pass.
Clint: And yeah, it’s the little things, and over time they become the big things.
Charan: Now that’s amazing. Clint, you’re so wise, man. I could just listen to you for hours on end. And there’s so many things that I wish we even touched on, that we didn’t get a chance to touch on. I know you have done some movies, you’ve been an actor as well. You also been parasailing as well. You also got certified to do that.
Clint: You’re starting lessons right now.
Charan: I know. I’m starting lessons right now.
Clint: We’re living.
Charan: We’re living.
Clint: We’re living, baby.
Charan: We’re living right now. But honestly, I really appreciate what we’ve talked about. Because one of the big things that I’ve been trying to do, especially since COVID hit, was look at my own life and think, “Am I living authentically, or am I not?” And I know when I live authentically, I’m alive. And so, much of my life, I would say, has been living a lie because I wasn’t living completely authentic, I wasn’t alive. And even in the world of acting, sometimes I’m not completely alive. It’s almost like I’m doing it because I’m supposed to do it, right?
Charan: And I think we fall into the trap quite a bit. But talking to someone like you has really kind of reignited that spirit of being alive and what that feels like. So yeah, thanks again, man, for talking to me. I feel like I get most of the info… I don’t know, I get most of the wisdom from talking to you, and I hope the listeners here as well. But I feel like I get benefited the most. So, I really appreciate you taking the time and chatting.
Clint: Yeah, you’re very welcome. It’s been an honor.
Charan: Yeah. Thank you. Any last words? Or we good?
Clint: No, just thanks for listening. Yeah, don’t forget to live. Live, live, live, don’t just exist, and be the best for the world. That’s what matters.
Charan: That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much, Clint, I really appreciate it.
Clint: Yep, you’re welcome.
Charan: Thanks so much for listening to the Lemonade Stand podcast, and we hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast on whatever platform you use to be alerted when we release new episodes. We’d also love to hear your feedback and then reviews. And if you or someone you know has an awesome Lemonade Stand story, please reach out to us on social media and let us know. Thanks so much and have a great day.