Merel Kriegsman, Women’s Wealth Advocate, is dedicated to helping you become the wealthiest woman in your lineage. A former cleaning lady turned self-made Millionaire Matriarch, she believes that the most powerful thing we can do for our children is become unapologetic female leaders who fearlessly demand what they’re worth, AND GET IT.

Her insights, based on helping 1000+ women step into SELF-FUNDED wealth, have been featured on CBS news, ABC news and in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Good Housekeeping.

Spot her in the wild on her organic farm in Canada, reading erotic novels in a 1920s lace dress and rubber boots.

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Show Highlights

Get a mindset tune up by experiencing the “hard stuff.”

Tips to approach cultural and gender expectations to avoid passing on patterns of scarcity to children.

Address leadership fatigue specifically for men, women, and families.

Value “Exquisite simplicity” by decluttering choices and protecting what you love.

A real financial investment to become an even better leader and become the wealthiest woman in your lineage.

The revolution and reckoning to look at the ethics through the major rate upheaval as leaders, as couples, as parents.

Don’t outsource your chores.

“Who are you surrounding yourself with? So, this means entering mastermind programs and leadership incubators where you have a safe space to discuss those things because everybody’s looking to you for leadership. Maybe even in your own home. We need those safe spaces where there are people that understand what we’re experiencing and we can let down and really feel understood.”
- Merel Kriegsman

Madeline Mortimore

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Read the Transcript here.

Mindset Upgrade

Daniel (00:02):
If you could use a mindset tune up. This episode is for you. I am inviting two friends that I met at a conference last year. They’re just really warm, generous, lovely people, and are quite successful. In terms of business and what they’ve built. Now, success isn’t always about making money and that kind of thing. We play a different game in education, which is changing the future to invest in our children and really that’s investing in a better future. I want you to listen with your ears. If you have aspirations, business-wise, you’ll get a lot. But if you’re fully committed to education, which is great, there are tips that are meta that you can apply to your practice. So for example, when Merel and Keith are talking about their home life and they have a lot of freedom, and you’re probably thinking, well, I’m at nine to five to six to 7:00 PM I’m stuck at school.

Daniel (01:09):
This kind of stuff. The meta idea is about how you declutter your space. That’s one of them, for example. So that you can have focus, have clarity, have energy, motivation, and it builds upon each other. I wanna pin that, make that little point right there. But again, it’s all about mindset. And just to frame up the episode one more time, to grow in mindset, you have to experience hard stuff. So they’ve been down in the dumps, they’ve even experienced bankruptcy. And how did they bounce back from that. So that’s, that’s and we’ll hear that story. So anyways, glad you’re here. Hey, it’s Danny, Chief Ruckus Maker over at Better Leaders, better Schools. I am a principal development and retention expert, bestselling author. I host two of the world’s most downloaded podcasts, which you’re listening to right now. And this show is for you, a Ruckus Maker, which means you’ve made three commitments. You have committed to investing in your continuous growth. You have committed to challenging the status quo, and you’ve committed to designing the future of school right now. And we’ll be right back after these messages from our show’s sponsors,

Daniel (02:34):
Establish your legacy with Harvard Certificate in School Management and Leadership. Learn from Harvard Business and Education School faculty. As you develop the frameworks, skills and knowledge you need to drive change improvement in your learning community, get started at BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/harvard. With Teach FX, teachers are creating classrooms that are alive with conversation. Their app gives teachers insights into high level practices, like how much student talk happened, which questions got students talking. It’s eye-opening for teachers and scales, the impact of coaches and principals and Ruckus Makers. Start your free pilot [email protected]/blbs. Why do students struggle? I’d argue that they lack access to quality instruction, but think about it. That’s totally out of their control. What if there was something we could teach kids, then what if there was something within their control that would help them be successful in every class? And it’s not a magic pill or a figment of your imagination. When students internalize executive functioning skills, they succeed. Check out the new self-paced online course brought to you by our friends at Organized Binder that shows teachers how to equip their students with executive functioning skills. You can learn [email protected]/go.

Daniel (04:07):
All right, Ruckus Makers, this is gonna be a very interesting show because you’re gonna see why I have some experts from outside of education coming to share their brilliance with us. I think they have a lot to give. If you’re open to receiving. It’s my pleasure to have ’em both here anyways. Merel Kriegsman is a women’s wealth advocate dedicated to helping you become the wealthiest woman in your lineage. A former cleaning lady turned self-made millionaire matriarch. She believes that the most powerful thing we can do for our children is become unapologetic female leaders who fearlessly demand what they’re worth and get it. Her insights based on helping a thousand plus women step into self-funded wealth have been featured on CBS News, ABC News, and in publications like Forbes, fast Company Entrepreneur, and Good Housekeeping. Spot her in the Wild on her organic farm in Canada, reading erotic novels in the 1920s, lace, dress, and rubber boots. Alright, that’s interesting. And she’s joined by her wonderful partner, Keith Boltz today and Keith, thank you so much for being on the show. You’re welcome.

Merel (05:28):
It’s always like, makes me blush when you read my bio out loud like that, like in front of me.

Daniel (05:35):
I was gonna say you wrote it. I’m just reading it, so I blushed as well. with the mystery man. I thought that was intentional. I should have double checked. We’re gonna tell your story to Keith and there’ll be opportunities to fill in the gaps for sure. Hey, I met these two at a really awesome conference put on by my coach in Miami, and it was cool. And to be honest, I was really introverted and I didn’t feel like meeting anyone new. We didn’t talk during the event, but we shared a beautiful breakfast and I’m just like, oh, these two are so awesome, and their hearts are very real and authentic. We had a great connection and that’s how they got here today. This is a really unique opportunity having both of you here. And these two are like-minded, also sort of experts. And, but it wasn’t always that way. When we had our pre-interview, you were talking about you’ve been a broke musician. Keith, that’ll be an opportunity for sure to fill in the blanks you want. You’ve gone through bankruptcy, but all that has changed. And maybe Merel you could take us back to a moment when you realize you didn’t wanna pass on that pattern of scarcity to your children.

Merel (06:56):
I grew up seeing a lot of, like the very powerful women in my family really struggled to turn their gifts into money. And because of that scarcity and that power in balance, especially that they had with their partners a lot of heartbreak, a lot of like seeing them compromise, tolerate and settle. When I found myself in my mid twenties being very pregnant, I did a little bit of a review of my own life and that I’m about to pass that on. Like that pattern hadn’t been broken, it hadn’t shifted. It’s a very painful organization and it also made me in that moment, like literally vow, with my hands on my very big overdue tummy, that I would put all the love and effort, tenacity into this project of, of shifting this within my female lineage.

Merel (07:58):
And it wasn’t just my commitment, it was really our commitment. It’s very much a shared journey. Where we sort of went from really struggling financially, me riding around on my bike, cleaning houses at like 5-7 bucks an hour to us, then renting out one of our rooms with Airbnb. Getting a bench of the best host, one of the best hosts in our little apartment in Germany where we lived at the time, all the way to building a multimillion dollar net worth over the last seven years or so.

Daniel (08:40):
I know the transition couldn’t have been easy. And one thing I admire about your relationship, there’s this great push and pull in sharing that I experience, I feel and I admire that. But anyways, the transition I’m sure was hard. And Keith, you do have a supporting role. Can you talk to us about how you approached just cultural and gender expectations as you moved into that supportive role?

Keith (09:11):
Growing up I saw my mom attempt to make so many forays into the business world. Usually as selling Avon or selling Tupperware and things like that, very energetic and eager to contribute and make money, but never really took off. I saw her frustration and in my life, I spent 32 years as an opera singer. Being an artist means you’re really committed to what you love to do. At the end of the day, it’s not something, unless you’re in that 1% fraction of people that make millions of dollars and spend 10 months a year on the road, you’re not making a lot of money. At the time Merel was pregnant with our first child. I was supporting the family through my income and it wasn’t quite enough. And that’s why we started Airbnb so that we could make ends meet. I was working in a wonderful theater in a wonderful city in the middle of Europe, and we couldn’t really afford to go on vacation even if we wanted to because there just wasn’t enough money. It was a soul searching moment for me too, to understand that what I was doing was not going to be able to support our family. It was fine when I was single, but being married and having children was a game changer for me, made me eager to take the step to make more money to join Merel and to break these generational chains of scarcity, among women in particular.

Merel (10:53):
Cultural gender expectations. Where it’s usually the other way around. Like usually it’s a woman supporting the husband in their business making adventures. We’ve always just looked at like, what are we good at as a couple? Instead of going like, oh, this is what a woman is supposed to do, or this is what a man is supposed to do, we always just looked at like, no, what are we good at? And not just good at, but what do we enjoy doing. Because it’s not like being good at something. You need to actually enjoy it needs to nourish you to some extent. And that’s honestly how we divided things. Which goes far beyond who does what in the business because we’re partners in the business as well. So to some extent a supporting role doesn’t actually cover what he does. He coaches the outta me at, at points. It’s not like I’m the head and he sort of trails after me.

Merel (11:59):
It’s a very equal partnership behind the scenes. I would say through his very powerful coaching, I’ve been able to also go through very like confidence destroying great events in entrepreneurship that happens every once in a while. You watch something, it doesn’t take off. You say something, people don’t like it. All the things don’t need to be explained to you or any of the listeners to be honest. Because it’s just what leaders experience. It’s like everything feels amplified. And then when it doesn’t work and you are sort of responsible for even attempting to make that change, it can be really hard. So Keith has just incredibly well developed coaching skills from doing a lot of personal work on himself. That is what supports me behind the scenes and it’s incredibly helpful. I would say to couples listening. Maybe. You need to ask yourself if it’s important to you to feel like a woman. Or to feel like a man? Can you do that in a way that actually works for you and for you as a couple. We’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with that. But like, make sure you position it somewhere in your life where it’s not creating unnecessary stuff. Where everything becomes harder because you’re trying to fit into a very specific sort of dividing of the roles that actually doesn’t connect to who you are naturally as people.

Daniel (13:40):
I appreciate you sharing some of the ways that are behind the scenes. Keith is really supporting you and that kind of thing. If I pass the mic back to Keith, how have you been supported? What are the things that Merel does that specifically helps you in the role?

Keith (13:58):
Merel is a fabulous listener and we have this kind of a mutual respect between us where if I have something to say, She takes it on as important, and when she has something to say. I take it on as important. It’s really very equal. And when it comes to coaching, there’s always things that I might say that may not work. Tell me any coach that functions differently. The mutual respect is definitely a huge aspect to it and listening to one another and what we really need. For me, Merel is a huge support in that area. We divide things up in a way that supports both of us. I love working with the figures and the money, and that was just a natural way for me to contribute to the business. I love contracts and the nitty gritty things and she’s not so good at that. And so that really worked well for us. But it happens to be, that’s kind of more of a background thing just by default in the business, but a very important aspect of Exactly. Super. Yeah, super important.

Daniel (15:04):
I need to keep on my team. I find myself doing that. I have some awesome team members and I was really bragging on one named Jesse during a workshop the other night, because he really supports from behind the scenes operationally. I should check in. I don’t know if he’s a numbers guy or not, but the other stuff, just making sure things are running smoothly and I could just show up, teach and serve. And that’s super helpful. We need Jesse’s, we need Keith’s. And the one thing I wanna say to the Ruckus Maker watching or listening to the podcast is we’re talking about their relationship right now and setting up the business. We’re gonna talk about how they set up home life too. If you think we’re just talking about that, you’re missing the point. We’re really talking about leading teams, leading people and there’s a lot of great ideas that have been shared thus far. I wanna overemphasize that point in case people miss that. Merrel at some point, you’re running the business, you got great support, but you found yourself super exhausted. I know that my Ruckus Makers feel that way too. It’s all of their number one. But especially the women in leadership because I know they have so much going on at home as well. You’ve got the kids and can you talk a bit about that from that utter exhaustion because if there’s anything that I see in education right now, it’s that people are tired.

Merel (16:32):
People are tired. I think that sometimes we hit a perfect storm And I don’t know if this is like a women’s specific experience. We have three daughters at this point, started telling stories, and now we have three little girls. It’s about 10 days before the official sort of closing of the world around the pandemic. I’m already in a strange country to some extent, Dutch. Born and raised in Holland. I don’t have, my parents don’t standby or siblings to sort of create that beautiful sort of village cocoon. That one is needed when you have a baby. And then on top of that, we lost our local village as well. Isolating that was also brain.

Merel (17:30):
That there was a lot of sort of what exactly to put my finger on. But there was like black lives matter and there was a lot of like, sort of revolution in the air. It was a lot of like, sort of almost like also like a reckoning. For leaders to look at the ethics of it all and who were being leaders. All very good. Like really good, but also very intense learning for those who took it on. So there was that, there was like the postpartum stage, there was the pandemic, there was all of a sudden like much fierce standards for leadership that we were all great growing into and trying to understand and learn. On top of that, there was some criticism that I received from one or two people in my community.

Merel (18:17):
And the way that they went about it was very unkind and very shocking to me. Call it a cancellation of an attempt of sorts. But, it was just like one layer off top of the other, on top of the other, which then created what I call like a perfect storm of just your nerve system almost gully into like, like this, like response. Just rate surviving. So what it created was chronic insomnia, which I’m still healing, I’m still in the process of healing that and we’re now building down some medication that I have to take every evening because otherwise, my body has just sort of forgotten how to rest because for a few years there, I just couldn’t fully let down. Is something that I’m literally having to sort of teach my body how to do again.

Merel (19:13):
And It’s not just a physical thing. It’s a spiritual thing, it’s an emotional thing, it’s a mental health question. Keith and I have been spending some time in therapy and we do a lot of healing and are very conscious about our bodies and et cetera. I think this is something that is maybe more, or at least outwardly, more like an experience that a lot of women go through. I don’t actually know if that’s true. I think men experience this very equally, but are just expected to get their together faster, not outwardly. Sort of like, Hey, I’m struggling mentally, emotionally. We see, yeah, grit their teeth and push through. We see much higher suicide rates among men, men dying younger. Like my dad for example, had a heart attack a few years ago.

Merel (20:12):
He’s in the position of leadership. I think we’ve all had really hard times and we’re all still recovering. It’s so important to acknowledge that because I don’t know about you Danny, but every person I talk to is like, oh yeah, I’ve had a really hard time or I’ve had a long loss in my family or hear you. To really keep reminding ourselves of that because it’s so easy to just pretend like everything is normal when really we’ve gone through the major rate upheaval as leaders, as couples, as parents.

Daniel (20:50):
Certainly a loss. I lost a cousin recently, so I’m burning candles all day today in his honor. It’s a tough, unexpected type of thing. I heard you acknowledge. First step is saying, okay, this is where I’m at. Then you can do something about it. I heard therapy. Therapy’s helpful. I’ve done therapy too. So highly recommend that for Ruckus Maker, you said being conscious of what you put in your body, so I’m assuming you mean food and other things like that. But anything else, anything else really practical that’s helped that we can offer?

Merel (21:28):
I would say it’s also about like, who are you surrounding yourself with? So this means entering like masterminds programs, your leadership incubators where you have a safe space to discuss those things because everybody’s looking to you for leadership. Maybe even in your own home. We need those safe spaces where there are people that understand what we’re experiencing and we can let down and really feel understood.

Daniel (22:07):
It’s a great point. A lot of leaders of support. That they say this is only a space where I can be poured into almost. Or I come in tired and I leave with energy. And that’s a beautiful sort of transition. I think it’s a good place to quickly pause to get some messages in from our sponsors when we get back, like the big ideas I wanna talk about how you set up home life, because I know Ruckus Makers go, go, go, always working. And so there’s hints and tips and secrets there in terms of the power you have in taking control of how you live. A lovely idea that you call exquisite simplicity. That feels, that just hits home for me, and I know it’ll resonate with the Ruckus Maker listening. And then we might get into unhelpful stories about money too, because education has a lot of those to be honest.

Daniel (22:56):
I hear ’em all the time. All right, cool. Thanks again for being here. So learn how to successfully navigate change, shape your school’s success, and empower your teams with Harvard certificate and school management and leadership. Get online professional development that fits your schedule. Courses include leading change, leading school strategy and innovation. Leading people in leading learning. You can apply today at BetterLeadersbetterschools.com/harvard. You know what student engagement sounds like? Students ask questions, build on each other’s ideas, the classrooms alive with conversation. Creating that kind of classroom is much easier said than done. And Teach FX helps teachers make it happen. Their AI provides teachers with insights into high leverage teaching practices like how much student talk happened, which questions got students talking and Teach. FX is like giving each teacher their own on-demand instructional coach to help them boost student engagement and learning as well as their own.

Daniel (23:59):
It’s eye-opening for teachers and scales. The impact of each coach and principal and Ruckus Makers can start a free pilot with your teachers today if you go to teachfx.com/blbs. As students progress through their K-12 experience, schoolwork gets harder and more complex. And at the same time, students are asked to be more independent in their learning. Young people struggling with executive functioning skills will fall further and further behind the pandemic. It’ll only make it worse. And the remedy is found in equipping students with executive functioning skills. Our friends over at Organized Binder have released a new self-paced course that will teach you how to teach these executive functioning skills and set your students up for success. Learn more at organizedbinder.com/go and set those students up for success. And finally, since I’ve got you here today, listen, I am putting on a live event in Denver, July 14th through 16th. It’s for 50 leaders, 42 are signed up. We have eight tickets left. You can learn more at betterleadersbetterschools.com/denver 2023 and really take your leadership to the next level.

Daniel (25:18):
All right, we are back with Merel Kriegsman and Keith Bull, and we’re talking about so many awesome topics, but right now we’re gonna talk about how do you both set up your home life? Ruckus Bakers, they might not even feel like it’s possible to have a home life. And you’re all the way here. They’re far from that. I’m making a generalization. I also want to encourage you to think about baby steps. To get along the way. Let’s hear about home life for you.

Keith (25:49):
How do you reverse the income earning roles? I mean, really Merel is the front person for our business. And on the outside, on the surface, it looks like she makes all the money, but she actually does. Without her, our business wouldn’t run. My support in the business is not simply just working as a CFO and taking care of contracts and engaging with clients in those matters. It’s about supporting the household. My role is to also make the meals. My role is also to ensure that Merel has a cup of tea and the hot water.

Merel (26:29):
It’s Canada.

Keith (26:30):
It gets cold, it’s at the end of the house and the heat isn’t always, it’s not always as warm here as it is in the rest of the house

Merel (26:39):
This is like the best tip we’re gonna give you. All water bottle, hot water bottles are so relaxing. No, just kidding.

Daniel (26:48):
My wife loves those, to be honest. It is a great tip. We learned about them. She knew about ’em from Zimbabwe, but we used them in Scotland of course. And Belgium and Meadowlands too. Back to you. I got excited. Hot water bottles. I could do a show on this. I’d never used them before.

Merel (27:07):
Now you’re hooked.

Keith (27:08):
For me it’s a certain amount of comfort, but I mean, I love cooking, so it’s natural for me to do the meals and to process food and to have a garden and support family in a way as well. But I get that that’s not always possible. I know what city life is like. I know what country life is like. I lived in the city for more than 30 years and never had a garden the whole time except a balcony garden. I know what it’s like to live in a city and to work not where to be on that nine to five kind of a schedule. And, but I find that Merel, we work so well together where I take care of those things in the business that I can handle in the background. But she’s out front working basically 8:30 to 4:30 and I’m supporting her and supporting our family in the background all the time.

Merel (28:03):
One of the things that we do to set up our home life from my perspective. Is I declutter the house. It’s like my number one, because I know that if that gets out of hand, then everything starts to feel heavy and I can’t catch up with it, which then creates that sense of, “oh my”, which then spills into like my ability or inability to lead. So one of the things that I actually started doing and this was already like when we lived in Germany, was just like ruthlessly going through all our things. I don’t know if people are familiar with the Con Marie method or like whatever method feels in alignment. It saves us, like, honestly, like sometimes I’d feel like, ooh, we’re nearing that tipping point where everything starts to circle up just like out of control. And I will like literally set a couple of evenings aside or a couple of weekends to it back to where like three kids like it just explodes. Like we keep mom, we live relatively close to. Just like before this interview came in again for a second time this week with like a whole, with

Daniel (29:19):
A bunch of stuff.

Merel (29:20):
Either person, it

Keith: (29:21):
Doesn’t, it doesn’t matter to say stop bringing stuff you gotta get there,

Merel (29:26):
Doesn’t listen, doesn’t

Daniel (29:27):
Matter. No, my mom doesn’t do it. He goes, I know you’re just gonna throw it out. I’m like, Carl,

Merel (29:31):
I hope she never listens to it, but my mom doesn’t listen. So interestingly enough, what I have noticed is that when my space is relatively decluttered, I can focus more, I’m more creative, I have more energy. Yes. And also sort of a sense of like, now welcome can come. So I use a lot of also shui principles to set the house up for receiving abundance and beauty like visibility, like opportunities and stuff considering sort of like, are in our house. If you wanna read up on that, I would just Google. But for example, pine here you can see like this beautiful chair, you know Sure. Everything in which is in our first 30 corner, which is like a very welcoming sort of place. Wealth comes into our lives and very states itself with a beautiful chair of these beautiful colors that there’s just some symbolism basically that we use in our house a lot, which then creates very tangible ways to invite specific experiences and opportunities. And I don’t know if Keith is humorous, if he believes in it. I

Keith (30:37):
Don’t care. No, I absolutely do. Hey, believe, but we took out, this is going, is there we can ask like four years or so, the week we finally took out the island in the kitchen, I think we made $150,000 in that week. It was as soon as that island was out of the kitchen, the money started just pouring in.

Merel (30:54):
Pouring in.

Keith (30:56):
Interesting. And it was like, there was a blockage, there was a blockage of energy and slowness in our life that the island represented. As soon as it, as soon as it was gone, like,

Merel (31:07):
And it was a date money they had to work for. No, it was unexpected, like cash pay out, like writing.

Merel (31:16):
My number one tip is always like ruthlessly decluttering. Your kids will protest. Well, 100% eventually when old

Keith (31:26):
You don’t have, you don’t have to believe that it’s gonna make a difference. You just have to do it. You just have

Merel (31:31):
To do it. Do it.

Daniel (31:33):
If you don’t believe in that kind of stuff and it attracts abundance to you and okay, whatever at the bottom line, you’re gonna feel good about a clean space. At a very practical level. Result, like you’re gonna feel good about yourself that everything’s in order. And I know for me, I’ve made it a spiritual practice. I did a seven day silent retreat and there was walking meditations, sitting meditation, eating everything’s meditation you figure out, but also cleaning. Anyways, just getting the office in order every day. Putting things back in their place so when I show up the next day, I could be focused.

Merel (32:15):
It’s a really interesting point you’re making Danny. I really believe in that. So one of the things that we decided to do is to actually not have housekeeping support, which we used to have. Like at one point, like the wealthy, we have more disposable income and are starting to outsource a lot of things both in the business and at home as well. And then during the pandemic, I was doing the writer’s own cleaning and actually realizing how deeply therapeutic and spiritual it is and also like, as a really important thing to just show our children. Like I am a drill sergeant, I get those girls to do chores and they’re not that grumble. Like, you grumble away into your chores, I’m gonna double your chores. I love, we have no interest in raising a bunch of super entitled brats who throw things around and not have to clean them up. I would say maybe once a quarter I have a complete meltdown where I’m yelling at our kids going like, you’re driving me crazy. It’s my life’s worst. Just like leaving everything behind and you’re just like thinking I’ll clean it up. And then they get really scared and then they’re like, okay. They get back in our bowl. It’s a family affair, it’s not Us that do the things I am really sure of. Hang with kids. Instill them like. On a Friday or Saturday morning Friday name or Saturday morning our middle one cleans the bathroom and our house. The hall and then our middle one that’s vacuum cleaning. It’s really understanding that your children can contribute. It’s of course not easy, like the amount of energy you’ve been to actually get them to do something, but in the long term it pays off.

Daniel (34:07):
You’re planting seeds. Absolutely. Let’s talk about the year you, this concept. I love exquisite simplicity because I know Ruckus Makers need more of that in their life. What does that mean to you?

Merel (34:18):
We were talking about this Keith. Maybe you wanna elaborate a little bit here, but we haven’t gone on any big vacations in the last seven years.

Keith (34:29):
We haven’t left. It’s like we haven’t, we just haven’t had this feeling of we deserve to take two weeks or three weeks here and of course the pandemic fell in between two, which caused us to look closer to home and maybe not get on airplanes. It also not, didn’t tie it with our philosophy of life. Even though we have family and we do need to go visit them, we are pretty

Merel (34:59):
Low key circle. I would say like low key and like frugal in a lot of areas and then not frugal in some areas. Like you don’t know what, if you wanna know what we spend on like food and eating out and stuff, like we’re tonal foodies and our arrangement we’re just filled with delicious things. For me, it’s

Keith (35:19):
Some of which we grow ourselves,

Merel (35:20):
Some of which we grow ourselves. Selves it’s it’s big fold like

Merel (35:29):
But exquisite simplicity I think for us is about discernment. It’s about saying it’s really used to say yes to everything and then you find yourself right in a bind where we do this all the time by the way. It’s like we fall for it and then course correct. We fall for it and then course correct. Right. So at one point, I was super pregnant and we were running this local community choir. It like some reason thought the season to start a local community choir where a Keith basically wore like 17 different hats being both the director and the conductor and the person who did all the copying,

Daniel (36:10):
She was all the music and capital

Merel (36:12):
Curators, like never ending, ordered

Daniel (36:13):
All the music.

Merel (36:15):
We were running into business and we were building, we’re really regenerating the land that we live on, that we steward 60 acres, we decided to go organic. Working with different farmers, all these things like we used to. To so many things. And sometimes we’re like, what were we thinking? I think what’s really important also for the Ruckus Makers listening is that you forgive yourself. You shift back into like, let’s throw everything off the pile.

Keith (36:45):
I just wanna say to them though too, that there are some things that are really important to us and whether we live on a hundred and we live on 160 acres, which is called a quarter of a section in this part of the world. And that’s not a lot of land in this part of the world. It is a lot of land. In the grand scheme of things. We decided that it was our responsibility to care for this property so that those that come after us can still use it. That we leave better conditions than we found it and go out of our way to make decisions. And some of them have cost us money, but in the short term, it’s not just about money either, but it’s about caring for the land and caring for. And if we can’t care for people in our own community, care for the land in which we live, how can we care for the broader world? How can we vision or caring people up in another country, let alone on the other side of the world.

Daniel (37:50):
Three ideas that really resonate, like caring for people, it really matters having a multi-generational sort of goals. So there’s some short-term expenses or losses or whatever, but for a greater good in the future. And I think too, when we were talking about this idea of exquisite simplicity, aren’t we really talking about decluttering the mind. Decluttering choices. There’s things that you love, so we’re gonna protect that and the rest, right. We’re gonna learn the same no to, which is hard. I wanna get to this idea of unhelpful stories about money cuz like you’ve both have done so well and I hear this sometimes I meet a school leader, oh wow, I’d love to support, I’d love to support this one.

Daniel (38:40):
And I know the transformation and value. How they’re gonna grow and change with our mentorship and coaching. And then the words appear. Well that costs too much or we’re in education, we don’t have it. I’m curious, like what would you say to somebody like that at the moment? Or how do you counter these unhelpful stories about money?

Keith (39:05):
Well, money makes the world go around though. Money. We can’t make a difference. It’s, you can make a difference without money. I shouldn’t say that, but your impact is directly related to how much money you have without a doubt. And that’s not to say that we can’t make a difference today, no matter how much money we have. Personally, we’re on a mission to make money so that we can help others as well as help ourselves so that we don’t have to be a drain on the system. And so that we can help others who might think they are or might even be, they can stop that tendency and end it themselves. What do you wanna add to that?

Merel (39:46):
Well like, this is a very personal question. This is about what goes on in our heads and well, I would say a few things actually. I would say if you really don’t have the money, like don’t do it right? But then ask yourself, what kind of habits can I instill in my life? What does that even look like for me to then get to a point where you do have the money, you can’t save up for it. When I think of one of the key differences for me and Keith was learning to take exquisite care of our finances. So we use an app called YNAB, you need a budget for everything. So we’re not just, okay, now we have money, now we can just like spend whatever. It’s a constant sort of referring back to like, Keith, what do we have in that? It’s like an envelope system.

Daniel (40:36):
In that bucket. We only need one bank account. You don’t need two.

Merel (40:39):
Exactly. So it’s really organized and, and this is what I highly recommend for everyone. Especially there’s unhelpful stories. The question is, is it an unhelpful story or is it a valid concern? Chances are that it’s a valid concern in that case. Warning about finance, start understanding how money works, how to take care of it because chances are very big that you could afford it if you made space for it. If you rate, for example, like us, we have always prioritized really high quality mentorship in different areas of our life over going on luxurious vacations with our children while they’re young.

Keith (41:17):
That’s not to say that every one of those mentorships have worked out. We’ve definitely learned something from every one of them. Yeah. But they’ve not all worked out in the way that we wanted them to. But that’s okay too, because we went into that situation with our eyes wide open.

Merel (41:31):
If you do take explicit care of your finances, you can also trust yourself to then have that happen. And not have it sleeping real, your financial future. Right? It’s very often a concern about what if this doesn’t work out like a, be able to forgive myself and B, will I be able to financially bounce back? That’s sort of taking care in this very practical realm, just taking really good care of your finances. And then when it comes to our stories very often around, great, am I actually equipped to run with in this case what Danny’s gonna tell me, what he’s gonna teach me, what he’s gonna show me? Am I a worthy recipient? Of this wisdom at this time in my life. Again, part of that is like, how do you set up your home lives?

Merel (42:24):
You actually have this spaciousness. To like Danny too, Danny, like when you just go into therapy for example, there’s a period of time where you feel more of a mess before you start feeling less of them. It might be around emotional capacity. But if that is the concern, if you put your finger on this right, and you ask yourself, what about this investment feels scary. Have clear answers, then you can cut with clear solutions. Because the bottom line is that investing in yourself is the quickest way for you to get to where you are right now to where you want to be. Like out of doubt. I personally invested half of what I gained the first year in my business.I probably should have kept some of that for taxes.

Merel (43:12):
We were in Germany at that time and I didn’t realize how high taxes were. Ridiculous amount. I made $25,000 in my first year of business and I spent 12,500 on joining a mastermind. I would honestly like to catapult these rates to a hundred 80,000 that second year, half a million a third year, et cetera, et cetera. I just kept investing in understanding the rate. What does a good leader make? What does it look like for me to step into higher levels of confidence around money? And those are things that are, that require like, like that intimacy and then access to the people who’ve done it. And you are one of the people in your space. So people can save themselves a huge amount of unnecessary suffering by struggling and attempting to get there themselves. You represent that, that sort of like, I don’t wanna say shortcut because No, what you teach has so much depth No. Something along

Daniel (44:16):
Accelerator or well there we go. I mean that was, I don’t wanna get into like Einstein and all this kind of stuff, but there are things you can leverage. That helps you grow and that’s great. 25 to 180 k in terms of business. That’s how we measure success. One way is through revenue generated in terms of principals reactive to proactive. Is that something you want? Probably how many of you are going in, going into a school where you just lack energy and enthusiasm to become a top employer because our leaders have created top employers, not just like top schools. It’s the top employer in the community. We already talked about wiping out energy. So there’s so many transformations. I really appreciate that teachers play. Teachers play such an important role.

Keith (45:11):
And having been an opera singer, I always sought out the best teachers. You can’t spend a month or a week without a teacher, always have a teacher. I spent seven years in the university system after my high school degree and a diploma and got two degrees and then continued to study and study, but always seeking out the best people. And I know for a fact if I didn’t study, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I was. And that was always so very important, just finding the people. I applaud those who take that snap and say, Hey,

Merel (45:49):
Because this is your life’s work, this is just your whole work.

Daniel (45:52):
I want the Ruckus Maker to know we’re gonna link up your Merel your Instagram page. That’s a great one. That’ll be extremely encouraging for folks to check out and follow you. And then I think there’s a secret podcast too, that you’re able to offer Ruckus Makers that you usually charge $97 for. That’s from what I understand, focused on mindset. We’ll have a link in our show notes on how to get hooked up with that. But let’s get to the last questions I ask all my guests. Okay. And so Merril keefe, this is like a lightning round, so don’t explain, but just tell me the message. Okay? If you could put a message on all school Marques, around the world for one day, what would your message be?

Merel (46:39):
You wanna go first? We were obsessed over the question like a couple months ago. Honestly. I think in alignment with what we stand for, like learning about money. Learn to understand money because that makes such a difference. I’ll do it with the explanation, but like, we wish we would have received more with financial education. Greatly entering the world as young adults learn about money.

Keith (47:18):
Education is actually, let’s say invaluable. Find, find the role teacher, find the right teachers, inboard, find what to fill that gap. You’ll always you’ll get much farther ahead if you have help. How about building your dream school instead of three guiding principles? Since there’s two of you, let’s just do two. But if you weren’t constrained right by resources, your only limitation was your imagination, like Merel, what would be your guiding principal for that school? And Keith, what would be your guiding principal?

Merel (47:51):
Actually, like we talk about this so often that I think I can speak for both of us, that it would be a multi-generational concept where we actually play our elders with our children. And then have the current sort of adult layer be right. The teachers and instructors, but also teach people to care for our elders to

Keith (48:12):
And to draw the knowledge

Merel (48:13):
To be open. To receive. We’re picturing this beautiful, like complex where there’s like great elderly people living and there’s like a school there and it has gardening, farming included as well. I went to the Waldorf school growing up and I think that combined with the fact that Keith is a farm boy. He grew up with boat speed on the ground and learning about. In the ground, in the muds. It just created frost. Like such a deep appreciation for a more holistic approach and a way of doing school that teaches children about real life skills on top of, partnered with also the academic approach.

Daniel (48:57):
We covered a lot of ground today. Everything we discussed, what’s the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember? Count your pennies. The only way anybody is going to get ahead is if they know exactly to the Senate how much money they spend in a given month. And then you can make a budget. You can’t make a budget before then. That’s what I would say.

Merel (49:23):
I would add, like, if you go through that process and you go like, I don’t like what I see. This is really hard for me to look at. I don’t. I’m not enjoying the truth as looking back at me from a screen or piece of paper to have infinite compassion with yourself in that moment. I often say to my own clients and children as well we’re just gonna crack open a can of instant forgiveness right now. We’re gonna pour all over ourselves. It’s like this literary shiny substance and we’re just gonna say, we’re gonna forgive ourselves right now. There is no reckoning happening at this moment. There’s only internet compassion. Then ask yourself, what life changes do I need to make to start shifting? It’s even like a little bit between now and right three days.

Daniel (50:17):
Thanks for listening to The Better Leaders, Better Schools podcast Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email, Daniel@ BetterLeadersbetterschools.com or hit me up on Twitter at @Alienearbud. If the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode, extra credit for tagging me on Twitter at alien earbud, and using the hashtag #BLBS. Level up your leadership at BetterLeadersbetterschools.com and talk to you next time. Until then, “class dismissed.”



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