Purpose, Pajamas, and Perseverance: A Conversation with Genevieve Piturro

Episode Transcription

[0:00:00] Glenn Harper: Hello, everybody. Welcome to another edition of the Empowering Entrepreneurs podcast. I’m Glenn Harper.

[0:00:04] Julie Smith: Julie Smith.

[0:00:05] Glenn Harper: How’s it going today?

[0:00:06] Julie Smith: I bet you feel a lot better after that tax deadline yesterday.

[0:00:09] Genevieve Piturro: Whoo.

[0:00:09] Glenn Harper: That was a doozy. Every time you swear you’re gonna get them done quicker and everybody drops it off the last minute.

[0:00:15] Julie Smith: I feel like it’s always that daylight savings time. I mean, why do they take the 1 hour away from the CPA world?

[0:00:20] Glenn Harper: It’s like, can they just not do it after April 15? That’d be great, but we don’t work in that world. But that’s okay. We’ve got a great show lined up today. We’ve got our guest today, Genevieve Piturro, a Empowering entrepreneurs who’s the driving force behind it’s all about purpose for the human connection. She has helped many a team and individuals find their purpose. Thanks, Genevieve, for being on our show. How are you?

[0:00:40] Genevieve Piturro: I’m fine. Nice to see you both.

[0:00:42] Glenn Harper: You great. I detect a slight New York accent. Are you from the city or the burb somewhere near there?

[0:00:48] Genevieve Piturro: Yes. I’m half an hour away. I’m looking out at the Hudson River.

[0:00:51] Glenn Harper: Well, that’s why I was checking. Can you see the Talmud Mountain state park from where you’re at?

[0:00:56] Genevieve Piturro: No.

[0:00:58] Glenn Harper: That’s a bummer.

[0:00:59] Julie Smith: And we’ve already declared that she’s got a little Italian in her before we started recording. So, of course, now I’m asking Glenn if he can make me Italian, because he could say her name almost perfectly.

[0:01:11] Glenn Harper: I’m going to start using my hands. We’re all going to be using our hands to talk. It’s going to be great. We’re going to really get Emphatically here. All right. So you’re born and raised in New York, I take it.

[0:01:24] Genevieve Piturro: Yes.

[0:01:25] Glenn Harper: All right.

[0:01:25] Genevieve Piturro: An Italian father from Italy off the boat.

[0:01:28] Glenn Harper: Real Italian. That is awesome.

[0:01:30] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah.

[0:01:31] Glenn Harper: You feel like he probably instilled on you some sort of belief that America is awesome and you should make the best of it, right? I’m guessing.

[0:01:40] Genevieve Piturro: Oh, he died telling us this is the best country in the world. Absolutely. He was so patriotic, and he came here at 15. He made his way. He didn’t have anything when he came here, and his father brought him here, and he believed that every second, with every breath.

[0:01:57] Glenn Harper: Did he find a local gal? Is that when he got married and decided to have you?

[0:02:00] Genevieve Piturro: Yes. A local Italian gal?

[0:02:02] Glenn Harper: Yes. Stayed in the city. Outstanding. So you grew up there, did you? And then it looks like you attended Fordham University.

[0:02:09] Genevieve Piturro: Is that true?

[0:02:10] Glenn Harper: So you stayed local there. Nice.

[0:02:12] Genevieve Piturro: I did well because of the Italian traditional upbringing, and I was the first of four of their children. I was told I had to stay close to home. I brought home brochures from colleges from here to Nevada, and I was told, why do you think we would let you go anywhere but more than an hour driving? And I was shocked, but that was just part of being an Italian daughter first in an Italian home.

[0:02:40] Julie Smith: Did the rest of the three siblings follow suit?

[0:02:43] Genevieve Piturro: Yes, they did. I’m the only renegade.

[0:02:47] Glenn Harper: Did you end up spreading your wings and traveling somewhere else and living anywhere for a while, or do you still stay local?

[0:02:53] Genevieve Piturro: Not living, but I did break the rules in that I was brought up pretty much. You get married and you have kids, and I wanted to be married to the Moore. I wanted to be a woman, single woman in a big city, working in the business in the business world, reaching that glass ceiling. And that was strange. I moved right out after I graduated college, because then I was allowed to do that legally, and that was hard. So I did travel a lot, but no, I didn’t live anywhere else except on my own.

[0:03:26] Julie Smith: Do you think that your dad part of your upbringing? Your dad and his work ethic and kind of his background, that belief to go reach for the moon, reach for the stars, break through that glass ceiling, kind of came from him?

[0:03:39] Genevieve Piturro: Yes. His work ethic, absolutely. And it was my mom’s soft and warm love that both together gave me, I think that moxie and that security to jump off that corporate ladder when I did.

[0:03:53] Glenn Harper: Did you have to meet a lot of Lou Grants when you’re out there.

[0:03:56] Genevieve Piturro: And I’m working with I did. And I just did a video about I had a boss, and now we have leaders, thankfully. It’s very different, a different kind of leading style. I don’t think we called them leaders back then at all. And nor did we talk about leadership styles. Right. There were bosses. My dad had a boss. I had bosses.

[0:04:17] Julie Smith: And I’m curious what you see when you talk about boss and leaders and something Glenn and I talk about a lot. What is the biggest difference that you see between a boss and a leader?

[0:04:28] Genevieve Piturro: How much talking the boss does versus how much listening a good leader does.

[0:04:32] Julie Smith: Great answer.

[0:04:33] Glenn Harper: I feel like Lou was a good listener. He listened to Mary talk. That’s the classic. So I was looking at you on video, and I was guessing that your new book, The Purpose Passion Pajamas. I was guessing you’d be in pajamas, but here you’re all dressed up. What’s going on? Talk to me about this book.

[0:04:53] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah, sometimes I speak in pajamas. Got you.

[0:04:59] Glenn Harper: How’s the new book going?

[0:05:01] Genevieve Piturro: It’s good. It’s selling, and I love it when it’s great when you sell it to friends and family, but it’s wonderful when you sell it to strangers. And getting emails from strangers is one woman. I just posted also speechless. I met her, and next thing I know, she posted that she was loving my book, and it was really touching.

[0:05:24] Glenn Harper: So talk to me about the book a little bit. What’s in there that everybody has to listen and read and figure out. What do you got going on with that?

[0:05:32] Genevieve Piturro: Well, you touched on it, both of you, before in your intro, saying how lonely it can be to be an entrepreneur. When I jumped off the corporate ladder, I started something because of a question a little girl in an emergency shelter asked me. And it changed my whole purpose. It changed what I’d been waking up to do every day and the why I didn’t have a purpose, I just had a job. And that nobody ever talked to me about finding a purpose. I like to talk to college students and even high school students because they need to think about that. And the book is about the ups and downs of starting Pajama Program from Zero giving everything up. I am not a saver. I shouldn’t reaffirm that, right? I’m a spender. And so when I started something new, I spent all my money, I got in credit card debt, and it wasn’t easy and it was lonely and it was scary and I write about all of that. Yes, it turned out well. It’s 24 years later and Pajama Program is flourishing, thank goodness, and everything is going well. But let me tell you the beginning. I had to learn a lot of lessons.

[0:06:42] Genevieve Piturro: I had to learn about purpose and how determined, how it changes everything. It’s your North Star when you find something that you feel in your heart as opposed to your pocketbook and the human connection. It was really hard for me to tell people that I was thinking about changing a successful career, exchanging it for something that people said, can’t you do that on Saturday? And it was almost to the breaking point when I finally had to tell someone and ask for help, which I think is so hard for us entrepreneurs, but it’s so magical when we ask each other for help and we’re so afraid to get there, to put ourselves out there. So the book is ups and downs. And I’ve always spoke, been a speaker throughout the time I was at Pajama program. And I passed the baton of executive directorship so I could talk about leadership and asking and entrepreneurs and all of that. And I just wanted to give people a true sense of how low I went and how high we can go.

[0:07:50] Julie Smith: So we talk about peaks and valleys. So those highs and lows a lot, especially in your entrepreneurs journey. And something that we find is where do you feel like you learned the most? Was it at the peak or was it maybe in a valley? Where did you maybe learn those lessons where you’re able to pivot and get to the new height or what did that look like for you?

[0:08:10] Genevieve Piturro: Well, I learned, and I think we learned about ourselves not just when we hit bottom, but when we’re climbing back up those steps that first a decision when you are hitting rock bottom. Do I stay here and just walk away? Or do I try another day? Should I try this one idea? I’m not sure. So you learn. And I learned so much about myself as I crawled up after every time I fell down. And you learn about your perseverance. You learn what you’re capable of. You learn how creative you are. And that’s where you learn how to listen to other people and ask for help. So I think it’s on the crawl back up.

[0:08:54] Glenn Harper: I’d say that this is America. We don’t give up. We don’t tap out. And you probably had that instilled from me a little bit, from your family. But also, there is no other option, because you never can find out what you’re really going to be if you don’t give it all you’ve got. And when you reach down and grab yourself by the back of the neck and pull yourself back up, the next step, that’s where it’s at. I mean, that’s the exciting part from what we see, right? As an entrepreneurs, you get in the bottom and you’re like, how can this be? It’s so easy to tap out. But we never do anything easy as entrepreneurs, ever.

[0:09:29] Genevieve Piturro: It’s a gene. I have that gene. You both have that gene. I keep jumping. I could have stayed as Executive director of Pajama program. But no, there’s that Glenn popping up again. Time for part two. You have to teach purpose now. You have to educate people. You have to share. I started again. It’s a gene. We have.

[0:09:50] Glenn Harper: It’s insatiable. When you decide to make the jump out of corporate America and do your thing, you said it was the little girl kind of inspired you, or did you already have feelings of that? Did you already know some entrepreneurs, or you just went cold turkey?

[0:10:06] Genevieve Piturro: I went cold turkey. It was a moment when everything changed. And in that moment, and as I grappled with what to do, I thought I was the only insane person who could consider turning my world upside down because of one moment. But as you know, the more we talk to other entrepreneurs, we’re not alone. A lot of us have that as Oprah coins an AHA moment, and everything changes. And so I was feeling strange, and am I supposed to change everything because of this one moment? But I was obsessed, and that’s another word. I think that explains why entrepreneurs keep going.

[0:10:50] Glenn Harper: It’s insatiable, right? You got to do it. And it’s the craziest thing. Again, it’s neat hearing entrepreneurs, how they got to that moment. Sometimes they’ve been thinking about it. They’re strategizing and trying to figure things out, then ultimately make the choice. And then sometimes it’s like a two by four to the face, and you’re like, that’s it. I got to go do this. And people literally look at you like you’re insane. And then all of a sudden, you’re out there on this island isolated, right? And then all of a sudden, believe it or not, entrepreneurs love helping other entrepreneurs. It’s the craziest thing.

[0:11:21] Genevieve Piturro: I wish I could shouted from the mountaintop, ask for help.

[0:11:25] Glenn Harper: People want to help with that.

[0:11:27] Julie Smith: So as you went through that journey and you had that AHA moment and that obsession, were you able to cultivate or did you have before a mentor or someone that you could kind of lean on? You talk about help, but did you have that person that was kind of able to help guide you?

[0:11:45] Genevieve Piturro: Yes, it was not the same person in corporate America. I had different mentors because the goals were different. Right. Correct. For me, it was now a service future I was looking at. And not only were the rules different, but I had a lot of emotional feelings about it that I didn’t have in a corporate job. And there were certain things I wanted to do and there were certain people that I felt could share that emotional drive. And so I went looking, and I did find early on well, I shouldn’t. Not early enough. Like I said, I didn’t ask for help early enough. But when I finally educated myself on the nonprofit world, I targeted a couple of other people who I felt, from a distance, I resonated with. And thankfully, one of them became someone I could ask dumb questions too, because she was about five or ten years ahead of me and successful, and I thank her all the time.

[0:12:55] Julie Smith: So you still have that relationship today?

[0:12:57] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah, she’s retired and now I see all of her fun on social media. But throughout my career, she always said yes. She always had time for me on the phone or in person. And then as I grew and as we all grew, had more. But when I had no one, she was there.

[0:13:16] Glenn Harper: Isn’t it weird? The stereotypes are always kind of humorous to me. I get a kick out of those. And that’s part of I think that’s 90% of my day is making fun of stereotypes. But in the corporate America, it’s just like, listen, we’re Stonecoat killers. This is what we got to do. We got a mission, we got to go through it. And we’ll step on anybody, crush somebody to get what we got, to survive to do it well. All of a sudden, you jump over to the entrepreneurs world, it’s a whole different thing. You have to have a human connection. You have to be able to deal with people. And the motion is a big piece of it. It’s still business, but if you come in too hard, you’re just not going to be able to navigate because everybody’s not used to that in that world, because it’s more of a helpful world than a got to get it done. Is that kind of how you felt that how long did it take you to make that adjustment?

[0:14:00] Genevieve Piturro: Yes, absolutely. It changed everything in my life. It changed my friends. It changed the people I hung out with. It changed my way of thinking. I was leading from the heart. Who ever heard of that in the business world? Now, again, the difference between a good leader and a boss, there’s more heart there. We show up wholeheartedly. But when I first changed, I was crying all the time. I was crying at the happy things. I was crying at the sad things. And because of the nature of what I chose to do, there were times that were difficult and traumatic that I was staring at. Not in my life, in the lives of those I was serving, but of course it was in my life, too. So I was really weepy.

[0:14:41] Genevieve Piturro: To this day, I am weepy, and I speak a lot and I weep a lot. And I had to learn how to I hate to say temper it, but obviously you have to show how much you care. But it’s also a business running a nonprofit speaking. Anything we’re doing has a business side, and I had to find a balance, but I also had to accept that it was a very emotional journey for me.

[0:15:12] Glenn Harper: I think that’s the hardest thing probably for most non entrepreneurs to understand is the fact that when it’s all on you, if you don’t care about the person or product that you’re selling or servicing, how can you possibly deliver it the best way possible because we have our own standards, right? And if you don’t care and then you get to carrying too much, and then you carry that baggage home, and that’s where there’s just a lot of industries. We see clients come in that I don’t know how they do what they do for a living and then shut that off when they come home. I mean, that would be very difficult. So in your case, I would imagine it’s pretty here some crazy stuff, and it’s hard to leave that at the office. But you finally learn how to do it, right?

[0:15:55] Genevieve Piturro: You do, yes, because you want to be productive, right? You don’t want to just become a puddle every time you have to stare at the problem you’re trying to fix or help fix. You have to pull out that strategic planner, that goal setter in you to get it done as part of the service. Because as part of the service, it’s not just aligning with those you’re trying to serve. It’s getting them to a finish line.

[0:16:31] Glenn Harper: Well, there you just said it. It’s not just listening and trying to solve their problem. It’s trying to empower them to solve a problem. Then when you can make that switch because it takes a while, that’s a skill set that you had to learn, right? But it isn’t just they’re just going to dump their baggage and we’re just going to wall earn it. You’re like, okay, that happened yesterday. What are you going to do tomorrow? And then you try to give them those the tools to help them do that. And again, it doesn’t matter. It’s not for profit. Any business, any entrepreneurs, this is what you have to do. And if you can navigate that successfully, you will be successful at it.

[0:17:04] Genevieve Piturro: I agree.

[0:17:07] Julie Smith: When in your journey do you feel like in corporate America? I feel like it’s very team driven. Right. And I think that that’s instilled in us like much of the other personality traits that Glenn’s talked about. But when in your entrepreneurial journey did you feel like, I’ve got to build a team, I’ve got to get these people around me, what did that look like? Obviously, I think you’re probably a phenomenal leader, so people tend to be attracted to those type of people. But how did you know when you needed to build a team around you to help scale, to help do the things that were on your plate that maybe would help you eliminate that so you could do some other things that you had wanted to do?

[0:17:46] Genevieve Piturro: I think that’s a great question, Julie. I think there are two answers. At least I have two answers. When I decided to come out with what I was going to do and could tell people, because for the longest time I didn’t tell anyone and I just did this and lied to my bosses about where I was going, what I was doing. So once I started to tell people and got some support, because the first person I said was the one who said to me, can’t you just do that on Saturday? I don’t see the point of that and how you’re going to make money. And you built up this whole reputation in this business, and that kept me quiet for another year. So when I finally started to tell people and started to see that there were more people out there who cared, then I started to lean on them because they wanted in, they wanted a piece. Now, nobody was getting paid at that point, but it was a labor of love for everyone. So that was an organic time. And I think that a lot of us entrepreneurs, when we aren’t making money or we’re not making a lot or we can’t afford to pay somebody yet we attract people who are interested and some of them can give. US feedback and can rally for us and can be our cheerleaders and then go beyond and be part of a mastermind group, which I think are brilliant. And when you get to that point, which is one step at a time, then you can pull in more support. And we had regular calls and regular meetings for my benefit, I thought. But I was growing these relationships and they were investing also in the relationship.

[0:19:35] Genevieve Piturro: And then when it became a mastermind, there were people who were part of my world that weren’t working on the same thing, had their own entrepreneurs or their own business, but we were learning from each other, so it grew organically. But I knew, and I certainly know now, the value of bringing in people on a regular basis, the same people who can help grow and listen and offer suggestions and who you can learn from.

[0:20:03] Glenn Harper: Do you think that you said it took a while before you kind of came out and said, hey, I’m doing this thing and who wants in? Do you feel if you would have said that earlier when you first started thinking this way, do you think you’d have had the moxie or the vision, the passion that people would want to follow you because you’re now leading? Right. Do you think it took you a while to get your confidence up before then when people saw you, oh, my gosh, let’s hook our wagon to that. Do you feel like if you’d have did that sooner, that have been better? Or do you feel like you kind of waited the right amount of time for you? Got your swag on? I guess I’d ask.

[0:20:41] Genevieve Piturro: Well, two things. Everything happens at the right time, right. And everybody who wins the lotto says, I wouldn’t have changed a moment a day to get here. And I get that. So there’s that. I had to go through what I had to go through. But somebody called to interview me on a local radio station, somebody who went to the same high school I did and heard about what I was doing when I was just me locally and interviewed me on the radio. And that’s when really, several people called me to say, I heard you on the radio and this is really great. And that’s when I said, wow, people. Strangers want to know more. So that was a big part of me seeing or being validated that this wasn’t something I was going to do alone and be limited with what I could do alone.

[0:21:31] Glenn Harper: How long was that timetable from the time you said you want to kind of do something till you finally jump to that point, right there. Was that six months, a year, a couple of years?

[0:21:40] Genevieve Piturro: No, it was a couple of years. It was probably between one and two years, maybe more than one year. Yeah.

[0:21:44] Glenn Harper: So, listeners, you got to be patient, but not too patient. Right. You’ll know, when the lines cross, it’s time. And carpidium. If you see it, take the shot. Right. Because what’s the worst that can happen, right. What’s the worst could have happened to you if it didn’t work at that moment in time?

[0:22:03] Genevieve Piturro: Right. It wasn’t going to stop me.

[0:22:04] Glenn Harper: No.

[0:22:04] Genevieve Piturro: I had already jumped in, regroup and.

[0:22:06] Glenn Harper: Do it again, right?

[0:22:08] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah.

[0:22:10] Glenn Harper: One of our favorite things we like to ask empowering entrepreneurs, for whatever reason, they just have something they’re just really good at. They have the superpower. Do you know what your superpower is?

[0:22:23] Genevieve Piturro: Well, going in, I would have said it’s the marketing part of what my business was about, my job was about. So I knew early on the power of a picture, the power of a story, the power of short and sweet, so I knew the power of getting attention through marketing. But now, 24 years later, it’s connecting heart to heart. When I tell the story about that little girl, I’m channeling her. I’ve always felt that. I’ve always felt every time I told that story, I was right back there on my knees in front of her, right back there. And I have seen that she comes through me to people when I tell them that story. I’m the voice. But somehow she was an instrument to connect her heart to my heart, to other people’s hearts. And that is the key to any business, has nothing to do with it being nonprofit. It’s the key. And I teach that. It’s the human connection, heart to heart.

[0:23:31] Glenn Harper: And I think you said earlier that conversation you had is what gave you the impetus to change and start doing this other thing. Right. And leave corporate America. That’s a powerful thing that must have happened there and again, it’s almost like a come to Jesus moment or something, right? Like, how does that even happen?

[0:23:47] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah, your listeners can watch videos. If they Google my name, they’ll see and it’s even on my website. It’s in the book. Of course, the moment by moment things and everything that came before and after. So it’s not so much a mystery, but it would be fun for them and you to discover it.

[0:24:08] Glenn Harper: Do you have a dream person you’d like to work with or a speaking gig that you’d like to work with that you’re like, man, if I could just get in front of those people, it would be amazing. Like, your whole life would come to that apex moment. This is the top. It can’t get any better than that. Do you have somebody in mind that you would like to do that with?

[0:24:28] Genevieve Piturro: Wow, I was on Oprah, so I have to say that was a game changer personally and in my work, that was huge. I would love I would love to I’d love to speak to audiences that are that aren’t all under one umbrella company. So I would love to work with an organization and speak to an organization that brings together leaders from all around the world and all different industries. Because leading with purpose and the human connection applies to every business tech especially because we’re lost in that tech world sometimes. And every single banking, tourism, medical field, anything. You that embraces purpose and the human connection as the pillars of success, their business will skyrocket.

[0:25:35] Glenn Harper: Do you feel like the working from home thing versus going to the office thing? How do you feel that is relevant today based on what you’re talking about here? Is it something that people should try to interact more at the office or do you think they should be isolated at home, or how do you navigate that when you speak?

[0:25:56] Genevieve Piturro: Well, more and more now, I’m speaking again in person. Last year, I spoke a lot in person, and I understand the change. And now it’s a combination because it’s a lot to have to be moving to travel. I understand, especially for some people, there are reasons why they would rather be home and on Zoom than get up and drive or fly to an annual convention. But there’s nothing like being face to face. Nothing makes that less desirable.

[0:26:33] Glenn Harper: What are you seeing as the trend these days? Are people trying to do, like, in office three days work from home, two days, four days, one day. How’s that looking? What do you see as people that you consult with that are getting the best result out of that?

[0:26:49] Genevieve Piturro: Well, one to work in corporate, I see mostly in the office, three days.

[0:26:54] Glenn Harper: At least three, yeah.

[0:26:55] Genevieve Piturro: And entrepreneurs? Well, all the time.

[0:26:58] Julie Smith: Right.

[0:26:59] Genevieve Piturro: I am sitting in an office, but I’m by myself.

[0:27:02] Glenn Harper: Right. Which is, again, in a weird way, we like it, but then we come out of our little cave. We’re like, wow, look at the sun and what’s out there. And every time you go out, it’s amazing the connections you have. And I don’t know if it’s again, I’m speaking mostly for myself. I’m crunching numbers and solving problems and doing what I do. But the second I come out and talk to somebody, I immediately just thoroughly enjoy that interaction. And next thing you know, you’re meeting somebody else and you got something in common. And then that relationship flourishes, where if you just went out every day, I don’t know if you would bring that kind of energy or not. I don’t know how that works, but it’s just amazing. As thing for me anyway. Does it you notice that with yourself?

[0:27:47] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah, I think, am I sometimes tired and just want to be on a Zoom? Yes. I won’t vote for that if I can. And certainly if I’m speaking, I’m in there in person. But when I’m on the Zoom, it’s all pretty much head. Unless I’m speaking, then I bring my whole self to the presentation. But if I’m listening or I’m just participating, a lot of times I feel it in my head. When I’m anywhere in person, my whole body is involved. Everything. I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes. I feel it in my heart the most. I feel it in my head. I just feel the presence of other people and being there where I feel like when I’m on a Zoom, my head’s doing all the work.

[0:28:31] Glenn Harper: So another fun thing I like to talk about is, as entrepreneurs, for whatever reason, you have to be an idiot, basically manic to give up a job where, you know, you have your hours, you work in this little piece that. You know what you have control over? And you’re going to say, I’m going to go over here and work for myself because I just want to work 365 24/7, because I’m going to have more rewarding time with that. So how do you find the time? Most entrepreneurs, they work so much that they don’t have time to detox and get away from it all. What do you do and how do you do it to kind of break away from because your business is your identity. You can’t get away from it just the way it is. But how do you just take that hat off and just say, hey, I’m just GP here, hanging out, doing my thing. How do you do that?

[0:29:20] Genevieve Piturro: Well, I’m a morning person, very early morning. So I’m up ridiculously early. I’m up between 430 and five because that’s my quiet time, totally quiet. It’s dark, I can watch the sun come up. Sometimes it comes up earlier, depending on the time of year. And I need that time. I read, I do meditation, I do my affirmations, I need that time. So I’m up and I am working at 07:00 A.m. Because that’s my peak time. Right. We all have peak times. And then I feel myself when it’s two or three dragging and can I have a candy bar? Do I? Sure, but it’ll only last me another hour unless I’m at an event where then the adrenaline is going or if I’m speaking, I’m physically tongue tied at by four. And I have learned to listen to myself because the few times I’ve pushed on, knowing I shouldn’t push on, I made a mess.

[0:30:28] Glenn Harper: What kind of candy bar do you eat?

[0:30:31] Genevieve Piturro: I ate a Snickers the other day, which probably wasn’t the best choice, but yeah, so I’ve learned to listen to myself because I will make mistakes I will regret by pushing myself.

[0:30:46] Glenn Harper: And it’s funny because some people work out, some people want to go for a walk, some people literally will disconnect and shut off their phone for whatever that takes. But as an entrepreneur, you always got this clock in the back of your head that says, wait a minute, I got to be available. I got to be available. Do you then check out at 04:00 and that’s it for the day or phones on?

[0:31:03] Genevieve Piturro: No phones on next to me.

[0:31:05] Glenn Harper: Engaged, as in deals. Right, okay.

[0:31:08] Genevieve Piturro: Yes. And I’m married, so now I’m married, so my husband doesn’t appreciate my phone going off between dinner time and the night.

[0:31:19] Glenn Harper: But what’s wrong with that guy? I don’t get it.

[0:31:22] Genevieve Piturro: It is you never know. And he’s sort of gotten used to it, but it’s not healthy. I understand that, but yeah, it doesn’t.

[0:31:34] Glenn Harper: What’s the biggest fear you had to overcome in your journey? Was it when you first started out? Is it like, what do you got to do tomorrow? What is the biggest fear that you’re like once you crash through that and remove that obstacle, you’re like, oh, my gosh, we’re going all downhill now. This is awesome.

[0:31:53] Genevieve Piturro: Well, certainly I think I share the number one fear. What if this fails? I felt it very hard because I was literally going to be letting children down. And I kept saying to myself, I can’t let them down. I can’t be another person who’s let them down. I can’t show up and then never show up again. I can’t help and bring something that makes them feel better and then never come back. So I did that to myself, and I’ve learned over the years not to punish yourself that way, but we do. So I think I share the fear of what if I fail? How is it going to look? Never mind how poor am I going to be, but how is it going to look that I made this bold stand, that I could do this and I believed in myself. And then the worst fear of all that we all have is, I’m not enough. I’m not good enough. I couldn’t do it. I was a fool.

[0:32:56] Genevieve Piturro: All those awful things, that negative self talk, I think, is loud for entrepreneurs. And I admire those who’ve been bold over and over and over and have failed and failed and failed. And I always say, God, please let me be one of those people, if it ever goes wrong, that I will have that bold gene too, that I can end up like those people, that people say, oh, she got up again and this time she did it.

[0:33:24] Julie Smith: We often say, too, that F word, such a bad word, horrible word, right, in the entrepreneur world, because I truly don’t think if you have that gene, you just pivot. And so I think a true entrepreneur never has the F word. They just take that and pivot and are bold and go on to the next thing for whatever reason. It’s just ingrained in them that they’re able to kind of go and do that. And I think that’s such a characteristic that we find in all of our interviews that people do have to pivot sometimes in those valleys that we talk about and are able to bring themselves back up and they’re even better and more bold again.

[0:34:03] Glenn Harper: It’s interesting when you said your biggest fear, because you have two, and I think that’s probably common. Your first one was you’re going to let the people down that you are trying to help, which is a tremendous burden that you have to carry, right, that you think about, like, what if I say it wrong? What if it’s the wrong? All those things. But then you have to have confidence in yourself and that fear. Like, is everybody going to laugh at me? What happens? Is this going to be the worst thing and I’m going to lose it all? So you’re fighting both of those at the same time. And then again, overcoming that. How did you overcome those two fears? Did you just say, I just got to jump off the high dive? Or did you just say, you just kept navigating little bits at a time and kept whittling away through it till you finally overcame it?

[0:34:52] Genevieve Piturro: Both. I think I tended to go and try to navigate every step so that I could see options. And I think it was in my worst time when I really gave my power over to other people to accept their suggestions. That’s hard too, for us. We think we know the way. We see it one way, and then somebody in good times, I want to try this way, and then you say, no, I’m doing fine, this is my way. But when I was at my worst in the recession and things were happening and I was at the brink of losing things or other people around me were losing things, that’s when I gave in. I did. I said, I can’t do this alone. I don’t have any idea. Someone helped me and somebody had an idea that was a crazy idea and I went with it because I was at a loss. And that idea wasn’t a million dollar idea, but it was a morale booster for everyone. And turns out that’s what we needed in that moment and that’s what rallied everybody. And then the growth came and that was brilliant. And I don’t even think she knew the outcome, but maybe she did it, maybe she did, and maybe it was just the universe’s hand again.

[0:36:13] Glenn Harper: We always say that. It’s one of those things when you’re an entrepreneurs, sometimes you got to say yes and figure it out later. And you don’t really want to say no too much because you’ll never get anywhere. Most entrepreneurs we see, they’re all basically nuts, myself included, because who does this for a living? Why would you wake up every day negative? The stress, the pressure lake. But we can’t stop. Do you have any other business endeavors that you get into? Are you staying in your lane and doing just this one thing?

[0:36:45] Genevieve Piturro: Well, everything I do is about educating people and demonstrating how leading with purpose first, finding a purpose and leading with purpose and the human connection is going to bring you success. So I consult with businesses and I help people, a lot of people who are looking for a new career because they’ve gotten to the point where I got I said to myself, if this is the next 30 years of my life, is this enough? And my answer was no. And a lot of people, especially with COVID got to that point where they’re reevaluating. So a lot of people I teach that to our individuals and I do a lot of teamwork, too, to help find purpose on a team. You might love your job, but I’m not telling everybody, jump off the ladder, just slide in your purpose. It’ll make a world of difference. Everywhere you go, from the office to a family gathering, it’s just giving yourself that passion, that joy in some way in your life. Everybody thinks, put it on the back burner when I retired, then maybe I can sing, join a choir. I mean, there’s so many things that people don’t realize you can do that change your whole attitude on everything in your life. So everything revolves around helping people find purpose and the human connection.

[0:37:56] Glenn Harper: They don’t let me sing anymore in choir, but I have to take more lessons. Do you find it more rewarding to get helping somebody figure out their purpose or watching them execute on that purpose?

[0:38:13] Genevieve Piturro: It’s a good question. Well, a lot of times people come to me and tell me their purpose. They don’t know how to get there, and I think I find a lot of ways that they haven’t thought about. Like you’re saying, I have had people say, I really love to sing, but I’m really bad, and that’s where it stops, and that’s why they don’t sing. Well, you can take some lessons. Even if you take a lesson once a month, something to look forward to, you’ll feel better about it, you’ll have fun. There are so many wonderful things about starting from ground zero. When you love something, there’s a path that brings it into your life. You don’t ever have to sing in front of an audience, but maybe you’ll feel better singing as part of a group when you have a sing along. Or maybe you’ll feel better if you have to go to karaoke one day, but it will give you that joy and you’ll feel like you’re doing something constructive with it. Whereas before you thought, I got to give it up. That dream will never happen.

[0:39:16] Glenn Harper: I feel like if I have the microphone, everybody has to listen to me sing. That’s just a rule. Whether I’m good or bad doesn’t really matter.

[0:39:26] Julie Smith: We try to keep the microphone at a limited time with him.

[0:39:29] Glenn Harper: It sometimes breaks when I’m in the middle. I don’t get it. It’s on that piece about again, it’s probably two very different emotional connections you have with a client. When you first they have they’re like, oh my God, this is why I’m here on this earth. And they have their AHA moment, right? And you help them get there. That’s got to be a very slam dunk high five type of thing. But then you come back and see them, whether it is a month, six months, a year later, and they’ve executed on it, that has to be very rewarding in your line of work, I would think.

[0:40:05] Genevieve Piturro: Well, I can tell you that I find that with people who are nearing well, say they’re 40 or maybe a little older, and they’ve discovered that they don’t like being having the job they’ve had, and then they tell you what they want out of life more than what they want out of a job, which is amazing, right? Because if you ask any 1820 year old, they’re going to tell you what they want out of a job. When you ask someone who’s been in a job and have come to the realization that it’s not their purpose on Earth, they tell you what they want in life, and that’s where you find those people looking for purpose, and that’s something you want to bottle and give to the 18 year old.

[0:40:51] Glenn Harper: Again, how do you get this kind of we call it wisdom, right? You don’t get the wisdom unless you stumble through life and then you figure it out. But how can we not teach this to the kids and children and young adults so they can start asking those questions? Why do we teach them this other crap instead of something that’s going to help them navigate life better? It’s a rhetorical question, obviously, but I can’t figure that one out.

[0:41:17] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah, I’m out there writing to colleges and high school teachers and counselors literally every day looking for speaking opportunities, and that’s how I lead with what I tell them I do. I said, nobody ever asked me. Nobody ever asked me what’s your purpose? Or nobody told me I had a purpose. Nobody. I thought that was reserved for Einstein and Oprah and people alexander Graham Bell and Deepak Chopra, and I was lucky to get a job that I liked. And that’s how I think most of us thought, and we can’t change any of that, but we’ve learned that that’s a discussion that needs to be had, or we’re going to have a lot of lonely, miserable people at age 40.

[0:42:02] Glenn Harper: Yeah, we just kind of did what everybody told us to do, and then you just do it. You don’t even know your why or anything. And then all of a sudden, again, you talk to somebody and it impacts you. You see that AHA moment. It’s the best. Was there anything you can do? You have anything else that you always have?

[0:42:18] Julie Smith: One more I have one more question for you, and it’s kind of a trick question, so I apologize in advance, but what is your end game?

[0:42:28] Genevieve Piturro: That is a great question, Julie. My end game, I want to go down saying, what’s your purpose? Just don’t go away. Tell me what your purpose is. I just want to just try to reach as many people as I can. I don’t want to stop. Even if I’m 100 years old, I’d like to be able to tell somebody who’s younger than 100, it’s not too late. It is not too late.

[0:42:57] Julie Smith: So why it was a trick question is 100% of the time. People say, Well, I don’t really have an in game. I just want to keep going. So you answered it perfectly, no?

[0:43:07] Genevieve Piturro: Yeah, I often do that rocking chair test. Where do you want to be when you’re 90, looking back?

[0:43:16] Glenn Harper: Yeah. You’re having fun. Why would you stop? Again, that’s the whole thing. If you made yourself a job and you got to do the grind, that’s no fun. But if you can be impactful and you still enjoy what you do, why would you ever stop? People, when they retire, it’s the worst thing in the world. In my line of work, when I see people that retire, it’s just horrible. They lose their purpose and they kind of just get lost and they just exist and they don’t get up and go every morning. Entrepreneurs, we’re just and don’t they say.

[0:43:46] Genevieve Piturro: If you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life?

[0:43:49] Glenn Harper: Somebody says that. I don’t know who they are, but yeah, they are either.

[0:43:52] Genevieve Piturro: But I’ve heard that, and that’s true.

[0:43:55] Glenn Harper: They are out there.

[0:43:56] Julie Smith: Which is why I think entrepreneurs just have no end game. They all have a purpose, passion, love for what they’re doing, and they just can’t stop.

[0:44:03] Glenn Harper: They don’t. Well, I appreciate you being on the show today. You got like a gratuitous plug you can put in there to talk about how we can people can get a hold of you.

[0:44:12] Genevieve Piturro: Just my website, which is my Genevieve piturro.com.

[0:44:16] Julie Smith: We’ll make sure we put that in the show notes.

[0:44:18] Glenn Harper: Well, thank you, Glenn.

[0:44:20] Genevieve Piturro: Thank you, Julie.

[0:44:21] Glenn Harper: Thank you for coming on. It’s always nice to talk to New Yorker. And they’re normal, just like us. You hear these horror stories. It’s got to be the Italian that makes it all worthwhile. That’s got to be appreciate your time. Thanks for coming. Went on. And this is Glenn Harper signing out. Julie.

[0:44:38] Julie Smith: Julie Smith.

[0:44:39] Glenn Harper: Take care.

Episode Show Notes

Genevieve Piturro shares her inspiring journey from corporate America to founding the nonprofit organization, Pajama Program. She believes in the power of human connection and finding one’s purpose, and her superpower is connecting heart to heart. Piturro shares insights on balancing emotional journeys with business, teaches the importance of face-to-face communication, and helps individuals and businesses find their purpose.

This episode is a must-listen for anyone looking for inspiration, guidance, and practical advice on pursuing their goals and making a difference in the world.

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