525 Mary Crafts:

It is never too late to recreate your life, never too late no matter where you’re at, no matter what challenges you face.

MELINDA

I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who started a multimillion dollar business with only $150 to her name carting her babies with her in a red wagon.

Mary Crafts is founder of Culinary Crafts, Utah’s largest off-premise catering company, which she built to multimillion dollar success before selling it to her kids two years ago at age 65. Now she’s reinventing herself with Mary Crafts Inc and with a new book out soon called “Crafting a Meaningful Life.”

So much inspiration to share with you today because Mary is a true badass with a 100% zest for life. And first…

Mary Crafts possesses a relentless, badass, all-in, 100% zest for life and reinvention. One of Utah’s most influential women and named last year by Utah Business Magazine as one of their “Women of the Year,” Mary went back into startup mode at age 65 after selling the multimillion-dollar catering company she built from scratch as a single mom on welfare more than 35 years ago.

All she had was a passion to cook and gather people around food, and she found a way to turn that passion into a business with nothing more than $150 to her name.

She grew Culinary Crafts into Utah’s largest off-premise catering company, and then sold it to her two kids 2 years ago. Today Mary shares how the business has pivoted to sustain during the Coronavirus Pandemic – and how she managed her finances so she could lend a helping hand post-acquisition even as she grows her new business. More on that in a moment …

And you’ll want to take out your phone and download the Podopolo app too as you listen to this episode, so you can join the conversation with me and Mary.  We talk about resilence, how to reinvent yourself in tough times, and why integrity is everything. Please share how the Coronavirus pandemic is leading you to reinvent – plus how you juggle your business with young kids in tow.

Mary has proven how it’s always possible to reinvent yourself no matter your circumstance. These days her focus is to share her expertise and life lessons as a keynote speaker, business and catering consultant, team-builder, and mentor. Last year she accomplished a major life goal when she summited Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Mary also hosts a weekly podcast, “Crafting a Meaningful Life.”

Today we talk about the power of reinvention, why integrity is everything in business, why hard work is not a badge of honor, and why all the answers are within you.

Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Mary Crafts.

Melinda Wittstock:       Mary, welcome to Wings.

Mary Crafts:                 Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

Melinda Wittstock:       I’m excited to talk to you. You ran a business for a very long time, many decades, and sold it to your kids. What was the impetus to sell?

Mary Crafts:                 Well, I knew I was turning 65. And I definitely had another 10 years in me that I could have ran that business. And I loved every day I went to work. I was never one who said, “Another day, another dollar,” thing. I loved what I did. And yet, I knew it was time for them to fly, to take their wings. All are in their mid-30s. And what if I had worked another 10 years? Then, they would have been in their mid-40s. I didn’t think that desire to grab a hold of this and make it their own. And at this point in time, they were so excited.

They would challenge a bid. And so, I decided this was the time. And even though I wasn’t ready to retire from life, I could definitely start a new career, focused around what I love to do and launch something brand new. So, that’s what I did.

Melinda Wittstock:       Did your kids always work with you in the business?

Mary Crafts:                 They did. I started the business 30… well now, 37 years ago, in my condo with $150. Not $150 to start the business but $150 to my name.

Melinda Wittstock:       Wow.

Mary Crafts:                 And started by selling cookies and bread, and pulling my two little babies around in the red wagon in the neighborhood. And so, I have a tip for anyone who’s listening. If money gets tight, grab two small children with a little red wagon, and people will buy anything from you. And that was of course in a different time in our country than where we are right now. But I do think there is something about that bootstrapping thing. And in one of the questions that you asked pre this interview was, what inspires you?

And back then, what inspired me was simply necessity. Necessity. I had to feed my family. At the time, I was on welfare, and I didn’t know any way out. And so, you look to yourself. There’s sometimes no one else. And what can I do and brainstorming? I was a social worker by trade. But if I did that, that meant putting my kids back into daycare. And I didn’t want to do that. And so, well ghee, I love to cook. I love to throw parties. But who knows? Maybe I can cater.

Melinda Wittstock:       I love that. It’s so inspiring, especially for our time right now because a lot of people obviously, with coronavirus and the impact on the economy, have been completely upended. And we have a situation where maybe kids will be going back to school, maybe not going back to school. There’s so much uncertainty. So, how to look within and find that inspiration? It sounds like you just doubled down on something that you loved.

And that’s always the secret I think in entrepreneurship.

Mary Crafts:                 Definitely. It’s something I had a passion for. And for me, it was more than just a passion to cook. It was a passion of that art of breaking bread together and what you can do as you give people the experience of actually sharing a meal. And that thought process really drove me through the first 35 years of the company to being we’re now 21 times Best of State. We were International Caterer of the Year. And oftentimes, people say to me this question, “Mary, did you ever think when you started in that little condo kitchen, that this is where you’d be?”

And my answer to them is, “Absolutely. Because if you don’t dream it, you cannot make it happen.”

Melinda Wittstock:       It’s so true. I think we get what we’re thinking about. And so, I remember my dad saying to me very, very early before I really knew what it meant, “Choose your thoughts.”

Mary Crafts:                 Absolutely.

Melinda Wittstock:       And so, in visualizing as an entrepreneur, it’s so important to be able to visualize that and see yourself being able to do it. But it’s hard for a lot of people because they let their circumstances unnecessarily constrain that vision. You can get really caught up in the, “But how will I do it? But how will I do it?” Rather than just considering it done and seeing it, and living into it. How big did the business get?

Mary Crafts:                 Well, we’re now the largest catering company in the State of Utah. When I retired, we had 80 full-time people and about 250 part-time. And so, we were a multimillion dollar catering company operation. And I think that one of the things that people look to in business though is that, “Well, what’s my one big idea that’s going to make me great?” And then, they don’t start because they just never can quite find it.

And then, when they do find something, they’re like, “Oh, I guess this is what it is. I’m stuck here.” No, no, no, no. We get the opportunity to recreate ourselves and what we’re about to honor life. And that it’s never too late to recreate this, that nothing is impossible within our grasp. I’ve been given three new chances at life, and I took every one of them.

Melinda Wittstock:       Right. Well that’s the key, Mary, taking those things when they present. Like when you have the inspiration, acting on it in that moment, that’s where the power is. Don’t you think?

Mary Crafts:                 Yes. And if you don’t take the idea and run with it, it’s going to be given to someone else.

Melinda Wittstock:       Well, your timing was impeccable, selling your catering business ahead of coronavirus. However, you did sell it to your kids. And so, how are they faring with all of those?

Mary Crafts:                 So, selling is a little bit of a misnomer. Yes, they own it, lock, stock and barrel, including the real estate. I did sell the real estate as well, because I… listen, held in two different companies. But being the mom, I wanted to give them every opportunity to make this fly. So, I carried the money, and I’m carrying the money. So, yes. When the coronavirus hit, it hit all of us. And I knew the very first thing that needed to be done. First, we met.

We assessed our financial situation. Where can we tighten the belt? What people can stay? What people cannot? Applying for the PPE and laundering, just all those kinds of things. And then, I knew that my payment was the biggest nut to crack. So then, I had to go and assess my current situation. Let’s see. I wasn’t going to take my social security now. But what if I did that? I was going to leave that 401(k) intact in there. But what if I took that out?

And I was able to go to them and say, “Six months. I can do this for six months. You do not pay me. You get on your feet. You run. You fly. And when you are running again, then you can look at how you’re going to catch up those payments.” And I was able to do that, Melinda, because of how I ran my life and my company. And that is debt-free. And I don’t own a boat or a WaveRunner. But I do own my house and my car, free and clear.

So, the things they needed to own right now during this time, I was able to say to them, “Okay, this is what I gave you.” And of course, that seemed like plenty of time back in March, at the end of September. And now, I’m looking, “What if I have to go to the 1st of January? How do I do that?” And it’s a thing that I would be doing personally. And they did tell me, “Mom, we could shutdown the company, sell the real estate, and have enough to pay you the rest of your loan.”

Not on your life. This is my legacy as well as your legacy. And we will live by until we’re ready to fly.

Melinda Wittstock:       I love it. And so, what are some of the things that they’re doing and you’re doing with them to pivot the business? Have you thought of different things that-

Mary Crafts:                 Oh, my goodness.

Melinda Wittstock:       … you can do in a virtual world?

Mary Crafts:                 Yeah, sort of absolutely crazy. We, being the largest caterer and the top caterer in the state, I mean, you couldn’t call us if your event was for less than 50. And if you didn’t have X amount of dollars to spend that everyone knew, if you want to spend a lot of money, call us. And there’s none of that. There’s zero of that business. So, the pivot was then, all of our facility immediately, we started selling the things we couldn’t get at the grocery store, flour, sugar, yeast, toilet paper, all those things that we could get in supply.

Then, we started doing meals to go. People could come and pick up meals for their family. Then, we did a Mother’s Day brunch, and they could come and pick up the whole brunch for Mother’s Day. Someone asked me the other day, “Mary, I have a dinner party for my wife’s birthday but only 10 guests. Would you do that?” Absolutely. You change. You pivot. You do what you need to do. And there’s nothing we wouldn’t be willing to do at this point. You need box lunches for 10? Done.

Melinda Wittstock:       Right. Yeah. That’s great. And so, have you been able to sustain all the employees through PPE and all of that? Or how’s that working?

Mary Crafts:                 Unfortunately, the government didn’t quite know what they were doing with that.

Melinda Wittstock:       You think?

Mary Crafts:                 We were in the first to apply within the first hour that it was open. In five days, we had our money. But that was back with the original rules where if you want this loan forgiven, you have 60 days to spend it. It must be only spent on payroll and mortgage. So, we had staff in there cleaning vents with toothbrushes just to give them something to do. Now, they’re saying, “Oh, wait. You don’t have to repay those loans until January.” We would give anything to still have our loan money. But we spent it all according to the rules.

And so, still, you can’t whine about it. You can’t just lay on the floor and kick your feet, and say, “It wasn’t quite fair for me.” Where does that get you? Just thumping and listen to me pounding on the floor, I don’t think so.

Melinda Wittstock:       This is the tricky thing when politicians or anyone but entrepreneurs skip, don’t think they really understand, and the only businesses they ever hear from are major multinational corporations that have massive lobbying budgets. So, this has been a big problem. I know the intention was to help small and medium-sized businesses. But right, It didn’t work out. But I love what you’re doing. And Mary, you were so smart about how you managed your finances through this process.

Did you always know that at some point that you would sell it to your kids?

Mary Crafts:                 I didn’t. I actually thought of myself as someone else or all sorts of things. In fact, when my kids wanted to do this, I said, “No, no. No, no, no, no, no. Sorry. I put you through college. You’re going to do something else. All three of you know how hard this was as a family life for a family who worked weekends and holidays. No, no, no. I don’t want that for your family.” And my second son said, “Mom, you did that already. We don’t have to do that now. We have people.

We get to do something different now. We get to work on the business and not in the business.” And I said, “Okay, I see that.” And so, we set in place a five-year plan. We started this at when I was 60. And I sold 49% to them. And then, when of course I turned 65, I sold the last 51. Every year, we knew what I was turning over, what piece I wasn’t going to touch anymore. And who was going to do this when I left? And it was a very, very smooth transition for the first 18 months.

And then, all hell broke loose.

Melinda Wittstock:       Life has a funny way of doing that. I mean, that’s just part. It’s just so much part of the entrepreneurial journey though. I mean, it’s all the things that are beyond our control and how we choose to react to those things, because entrepreneurs get tested all the time. It’s one thing even to be able to be your very best with circumstances that are with the wind at your back. But when you do have a circumstance like that, it is certainly, we all do get tested.

Mary Crafts:                 One of the things that I left with my children and I still carry with me, and that is the perception of how you see struggles, trials, challenges, whatever you want to call them. And if you see them as struggles, trials, challenges, they can weigh you down. But if you see them-

Melinda Wittstock:       Right. Yeah. Absolutely.

Mary Crafts:                 … as gifts, that really, you just need to get one step past them. And you can look back and say, “Dang. That was the best gift I ever had.”

Melinda Wittstock:       That’s where the learning is. And that’s where the growth is in those moments. I’ve come to recognize, I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’m on my fifth business now, and I look back. And all the things that maybe seemed like a struggle at the time, I remember fondly, because if it were not for that, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I mean, it’s just how you choose to look at it or figure out. How interesting, this is some feedback. Or this is something else that I’m learning. It’s actually a good thing.

Mary Crafts:                 Absolutely. And the lessons that they’re learning through this craziness will be the lessons that will see them through the rest of their career and that make them stronger and better. I can think back when we lived through 9/11. It was right before the Olympics in Salt Lake City. And we thought what we had planned for six years was going to be devastated. Back, my company lived through the recessions of 2008 and ’09. And then, how you survived that and what you did to make that work?

And all of those things made my company stronger. This, because they watched me do that. They were involved in the business. I think they carry with them that sense of the glass is half full and how we’re going to fill it.

Melinda Wittstock:       I’m fascinated by the kids of entrepreneurs, particularly entrepreneurial women, because I think they learn a lot. All kids learn by what we do more than what we say. And so, when they’re seeing us adapt and leverage failure to propel us forward, when they see us do all that, it’s the most valuable lesson in the world. You’re really empowering your kids in a way that a lot of kids don’t have the benefit of that.

Mary Crafts:                 Absolutely. I can remember when my kids, especially my two older boys were with me in the beginning, and we would be washing dishes. And they were like, “Mom. Mom, can’t we go home?” And I’m like, “Okay. So, what do we do here? I’m going to see, guys, if you can take care of the dishes faster than I can wash them.” And we made this game out of it. They would take your dishes and run back, and I have the next load ready. And we’d laugh and talk. And they would do anything to not have to weed our strawberry bed.

“Mom.” I’m like, “Do you know how much people love our homemade strawberry shortcakes? Seriously.” And that they always knew that I was willing to do whatever it took as long as it meant not compromising my integrity.

Melinda Wittstock:       Oh, beautiful.

Mary Crafts:                 And that key, they saw time and time again, be the power key to how successful our business was. It really is true that people want to do business with people they want, trust. And in 2008 and ’09, when nobody had catering business, everyone was going bankrupt during that Great Recession. And yet, I had suppliers, my food supplier, my rental company, my florist, my photographers, all come to me and say, “Mary, Mary, Mary, can we work for you? Because we know, no matter what, you will pay us.

You would sell your house before you would stiff us.” And they gave me more deals. My rental company gave me 35% off all rentals, and I was getting 15%, if I would rent exclusively from them. They saw how that power of integrity gave me more financial power than anything else I did. And they’ve carried that lesson through to today.

Melinda Wittstock:       What an inspiration that is. I think a lot of people, Mary, don’t you think, when they’re in scarcity or fear, they tend to cut corners or compromise, or undersell themselves. And basically, sell out their own integrity, out of fear.

Mary Crafts:                 Absolutely.

Melinda Wittstock:       I’d love you to give us a couple of examples of a time when maybe that was tempting to take that shortcut, but you chose integrity over that. How did that actually manifest practically for you?

Mary Crafts:                 I think probably where my children saw it most is that as much as I would like to have said, I ran a perfect catering company, every single person knows that that was… it’s not possible that I ran my company with excellence. And I always brought my best every day. But mistakes happen. And you would show up here and the cake was the wrong flavor. Or here, and you mean the start time is not at 6:00, it’s 5:30? Over the course of 35 years and tens of thousands of events, yes, that happens.

And I consistently found the best way to deal with that was not to make an excuse, was not trying to blame someone else, but to step to the plate and say, “I recognize this problem. I want him to know how sincerely sorry I am. And what can I do to make this right by you?” They knew I would oftentimes discuss with people… immediately, their answers might be, “Well, I need my money back from the whole event.” And so, I would calmly say, “I can certainly understand how you feel that.

And if that’s what you feel you need, I will stand behind it.” And the moment that you offer to stand behind your work, all their defenses go down. They’re like, “Oh, wow. You mean, I’m not going to have to fight you for this? You mean, you were willing to take responsibility?” And then, pretty soon like, “Well, it was really just a small thing. This, and I don’t know. Maybe just a $500 refund. I mean, this is a $20,000 invoice.” And you’re like, “Absolutely.” And I found that they watched that again and again that if you stepped to the plate with your integrity, take responsibility, want to make it right.

In the end, the client is reasonable and fair, and wants to support you in that integrity and decision.

Melinda Wittstock:       I imagine as a result of that, you had a lot of referrals, a lot of recurring customers, all the things that makes a business very scalable and nice predictable revenue.

Mary Crafts:                 Yes. Yes, I feel like we have the best food in the state. And yes, our presentation was impeccable. And yes, our service was second to none. But it’s our trust and our ability to stand behind and do what we say we promise we’ll do, is what built and drove this business.

Melinda Wittstock:       Beautiful. I can see why you’re also a very successful motivational speaker and keynote. And of course, I’m also a speaker, and we all know what happened to all those speaking gigs.

Mary Crafts:                 Oh, yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:       So, I mean, have you been doing online events with your speaking, anything? I mean, I know you’re also a podcaster.

Mary Crafts:                 I haven’t done anything virtual. I am collaborating with a woman that I met on LinkedIn, and that we’re thinking about gathering a group of us across the country to create some virtual motivational type events. But I haven’t done any of that yet. So, I’ve been busy with my weekly podcast, which is Crafting a Meaningful Life. And I just finished my first book, and it’s entitled, Unbounded – From Sorrow to Summit. And last August, two weeks before I turned 66, I summited Kilimanjaro.

Melinda Wittstock:       You did? Oh, my goodness. Congratulations. How incredible. That’s wonderful.

Mary Crafts:                 And I have a channel now on Marco Polo where I teach women how to be fit and fabulous after 50. Because that was one of my chances in life that I took at age 50, at my birthday party. I got back those photos. And you have to look at it, I was already a successful businesswoman. And I had that under my belt. But my photos reflected how unhappy I was inside. Here, I was 284 pounds, completely unhealthy. And I thought, “I don’t know how I got here.” But the scarier part was I don’t know how to get away from here.

And I really spent time to think inside and to heal the inside of me, the fears that were keeping that weight on me. And when I finally was able to make that passageway from a fear-based life to a love-based life, the weight began to come off. And it took me six years. I lost 135 pounds. And I bought a gym membership. I started hiking. I bought my first pair of hiking boots at age 56. And now, damn, girl, can I just say I’m the strongest woman at my gym?

Melinda Wittstock:       I bet you are. How inspiring is that? It’s interesting. There’s a whole bunch of questions I have from you relating that story. Because I think business owners, with all the stress of running a business, with all the things we put our heart and soul into the business but we forget about our own self-care.

Mary Crafts:                 Absolutely.

Melinda Wittstock:       And as women, that’s devastating for us, because we get into our 50s, and we have no hormones left. Or our adrenals are run down or we end up getting sick, or burning out. This this is a recurring theme on this podcast. So many entrepreneurial women do that. Because our business is like our baby and it comes first, because women are such givers. I mean, we give everything to everybody else. And sometimes, end up serving from an empty cup in the end. And so, was it just the trigger of like I’m 50 and I… yeah.

Mary Crafts:                 It really was the trigger of turning 50 and seeing those photos. And just, oh, my gosh. Did you ever think this is who you would be at age 50? And making that decision that there was another life yet for me to lead and another… more lessons for me to learn. And now, before, my mission in life revolved around hospitality. And now, my mission in life is to… it always starts with self. My mission in life is to empower myself and others. To live a fearless life and to find the inner light within.

Melinda Wittstock:       How beautiful. You’re such an inspiration. This is amazing. So, when does your book come out, Mary?

Mary Crafts:                 Well, it’s a jiff. It is now at the publishers. And I had high hopes it was coming out for the holidays, and they just laughed at me. “Apparently, this is your first book. You don’t understand the wheels of publishing.”

Melinda Wittstock:       It takes a long time if you go the traditional publishing route, yeah. It takes a while.

Mary Crafts:                 And I didn’t want to self-publish. And so, we have hopes for Valentine’s Day. Well, my publisher told me right from the get-go, “Mary, keep in mind, you are not Michelle Obama. Nobody cares about your life.”

Melinda Wittstock:       Well, I think a lot of women entrepreneurs are really going to care. Because there’s so many valuable lessons in your life for everyone.

Mary Crafts:                 But what they did say was that, “If you can give us a how-to book, how to learn to be a badass woman at age 50 and be bringing it still at age 66, and have 105 in your sights,” I was talking the other day, but this is just for the COVID I was talking to a group in San Francisco that I was going to have represent me in the speaking world. And they said, “Now, Mary, you’re already 66. So, how long do you plan on speaking?” And I said, “I don’t know. You tell me.”

The power of a badass woman who’s 90 coming out on stage with a thing.

Melinda Wittstock:       I mean, my Aunt [B 00:28:44], she was Canada’s first female stockbroker. And she was still going strong at 87. Actually, what happened to her was she looks young and she was very vital and extremely successful. So, I think they looked the other way. There was a mandatory retirement age of 65, and she wasn’t having it. So, she was dyeing her hair and she looks good. She was on the golf course every day, really fit and active, and with a young attitude.

And because she was producing so much, I think they just basically looked the other way and let her get away with it. But then, she got a cold. She got the first ever cold she’d ever had at age 87. And somebody in the firm said, “Okay, you’ve got to retire.” But I think women actually are, as long as we look after ourselves, we can do some of our best work, 60 plus. There’s so much hope. And in fact, I have a… my fifth business is a podcasting network. It’s a socially interactive and gamified podcasting network.

And we have a podcast in there called Women Over 70. And it’s a wonderful podcast. I think you should go and be a guest on their podcast. But Gail and Catherine are in their 70s. They’ve been serial entrepreneurs, and they interview women. Some of them are in their 90s, writing books or creating whole social movements, or creating new businesses in their 90s. it’s amazing. It’s so inspiring.

Mary Crafts:                 I plan on being vibrant and healthy, and a contributing member of this planet until I’m 104 and nine months, something like that. But if I could leave one lesson behind for women who are now walking my path, it would be that your badge of honor is not how hard you work.

Melinda Wittstock:       Oh, yes. Thank you for saying that.

Mary Crafts:                 Your badge of honor is not that you can live on four hours of sleep for 20 years. Your badge of honor is not all that you’re willing to sacrifice for your career and your family. Your badge of honor is how you have empowered yourself so that you have even more to give to others.

Melinda Wittstock:       This comes up so often on this podcast where women think they have to do it all, to have it all. I’m a big believer in leverage. I like to build nice scalable businesses, right? That by doing one action, it has a multiplicity of impacts, and really aligning myself to deciding every day one thing, maybe two, that I can do that’s going to have maximum impact. And it’s really, some people talk about it as the difference of working on your business versus in it. And when, how you can let go and delegate work to other people and all that stuff.

But so many women do make that mistake, really, of thinking that they have to… not only they have to do it all. But they have to perfect it all, even the things that they’re not particularly good at or they don’t really particularly love in their business, where somebody else could take that off you and do it better actually.

Mary Crafts:                 That badge of honor of sacrifice is driven by a couple things. And when you realize what it’s driven by, it’s easier to change it. Because you think, “I don’t want anything to do with that.” It’s driven by being a victim and it’s driven by being a martyr. And you can say, “You know what, those had to do with fear. And they do not have to do with love.” It’s part of the passageway, from fear to love. And when you discover the keys that are in the passageway, in the tunnel, from fear to love, you get to move.

And you get to have that love-based life where these actions may be the same. But the result and the feeling inside is vastly different.

Melinda Wittstock:       Yeah, right. This is so powerful, Mary. I love everything you’re saying. And I can hardly wait to have you come back on this… assuming this podcast is still running like 10 years from now or whatever. I mean, I really want you to continue to check in with us because I can imagine you doing amazing things. You’ve got this book. You probably have more books. You’re already doing trainings. You’ll be back on the speaking circuit. I mean, there’s so much ahead.

Where do you see yourself? You mentioned 105. Where do you see yourself over the next several decades?

Mary Crafts:                 I do see myself actively engaged in my mission. And when I say actively engaged, I mean writing and podcasting, and speaking, and doing workshops. Really probably, until I’m 90. But after that, maybe it’s time to enjoy the Bahamas, I don’t know. Let’s see. But the other thing is that, once again, that is not my badge of honor. And I have to continually, you don’t just learn a lesson once in your life and then get to tuck it away. You continually need to bring forth the lessons and the memories, and the insights to guide you.

And so, my badge of honor will not be, “Look at all that Mary has accomplished.” Hello, we did that once. So now, it’s like, “Look what Mary is doing and living a full, rounded life. She plays with her grandchildren.” They come to what we call a stay vacation at grandmas. It’s three days. We stay overnight. We do all of these things. And I do travel, and I do enjoy it. And I have a dinner party here. And then, I’m also speaking here. But my badge of honor no longer is just that I can burn it at both ends.

Melinda Wittstock:       Right. Absolutely.

Mary Crafts:                 And [crosstalk 00:35:19] sometimes till 8:00 now. I’ve just confessed.

Melinda Wittstock:       Sleep is vital to me. I’m a big proponent of sleep. In fact, I get my best ideas often for my business when I’m not working on it. Like when I’m out walking the dog or when I’m doing my yoga, or my meditation, or I’m just sitting in my backyard looking at the beautiful garden. I mean, those are the times. And also, actually in my dreams, because sometimes literally, I will go to sleep with a problem or some issue, or challenge in the business with an intention that it’s going to be resolved by the morning.

And about 99% of the time, it is, I literally sleep on it and I meditate on it. So, I’ve really moved. I get more done doing less work than almost anyone I know. And it wasn’t always that way because I, like most people, was bought into that badge of honor of like, “Oh, look at how hard I’m working. Look how much I can tolerate.”

Mary Crafts:                 Like a boy scout with all my merit badges, right?

Melinda Wittstock:       Right. I went through many years of I guess you could just call it, put it in the bucket of personal growth, right? Because entrepreneurship is I think the best way to advance yourself in terms of mindset and in terms of consciousness, and all of these things. Because it tests you in a way, and you either grow or you don’t. But to really grow your business in a way that that is in alignment with you and makes you happy, and really succeeds, and make your customers happy. It requires a CEO and a leader, and a founder who is increasingly conscious and happy within themselves.

And so, the more I’ve gone on that journey, the more this enlightenment has infused the way I work, which is not a lot of grind, not a lot of hustle. It’s switched, and not to say that I am not going after the big sales, the big strategic relationships, bringing down investment, doing all the things that I’m doing, and all the tactics and all the stuff. It just happens differently now for me.

Mary Crafts:                 I love that, Melinda, because if I know one thing about my life now compared to my life then, it’s that this… and I think that you can relate to this just from what you’ve said. That when I’ve come to the realization that all the answers I’m ever going to need are already inside me.

Melinda Wittstock:       Yes, I 100% agree.

Mary Crafts:                 If I can just quiet my mind, especially now, especially when there’s so much bombarding us from our government, from our neighbors with social media, from the globe, I mean, everywhere. If we can just quiet and turn in, and ask those questions inside, the piece that comes, the solidness, the knowing that the direction you’re going is right, that doesn’t happen except when you quiet the noise and turn within.

And I know now more than I’ve ever known in my life, I was born here with all the answers I need. I just need to find it.

Melinda Wittstock:       How beautiful. Mary, so I want to make sure that people can find you, work with you, get your book when it comes out. But also, listen to your podcast and find out about your Marco Polo channel, and all that good stuff. What’s the best way?

Mary Crafts:                 All right. The best way is just simply my website because all of it’s on there. Every single podcast, I’ve done 138 podcasts. The link to my Marco Polo channel, about being fit and fabulous after 50, and then my trainings that I do, just really all my thoughts there, my journey to the top of Kilimanjaro. And so, my website’s name is pretty simple, Mary Crafts Inc. And Crafts, that’s the tricky one. You have to put an S on the end of it, like arts and crafts.

Melinda Wittstock:       We’ll make sure all of that is in the show notes as well. Well, I want to thank you so much for such an inspiring conversation and putting on your wings with us today.

Mary Crafts:                 Oh, thank you for having me, Melinda. This has just been a joy to just when I get to talk to a fellow entrepreneur, especially a woman who I know understands exactly what [crosstalk 00:40:15].

Melinda Wittstock:       That’s why I do this podcast. Honestly, I created the podcasts that I needed for myself all those years ago when I was the only woman in the room thing, right? So, yes.

Mary Crafts:                 So, thank you for letting me fly with you for a moment.

 

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