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Internal Value vs. External Reward

Mary Grothe November 17 2021


Meet Host, Mary Grothe

Mary Grothe is a former #1 MidMarket B2B Sales Rep who after selling millions and breaking multiple records, formed House of Revenue®, a Denver-based firm of fractional Revenue Leaders who currently lead the marketing, sales, customer success, and RevOps departments for 10 companies nationwide. In the past year, they've helped multiple 2nd stage growth companies between $5M - $20M, on average, double their MRR within 10 months, resulting in an average ROI of 1,454% and an average annual revenue growth eclipsing $3.2 million.


Don't Have Time to Listen, Read The Full Transcription.

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Mary Grothe: Hey everyone, this is Mary Grothe — Founder and CEO — and you're listening to the Revenue Radio® podcast brought to you by House of Revenue®. Each week, we'll talk about common revenue challenges and how to get past them, share real-world experiences, and get a glimpse into my life as a CEO scaling my own business. If you're a struggling entrepreneur, or just an entrepreneur looking to be inspired, this podcast is for you. I'll give you honest, unfiltered, and practical insights into growing your business and getting past your revenue plateau.

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Today we're talking about internal value versus external reward. Last week, we dug into outhustling, your ability, and what that causes. In the title of last week's episode, it said outhustling your ability yields grave consequences. Outhustling your ability can mean burnout, breakdowns, failure, exhaustion, and inability to do right by others because you get into survival mode. You're barely going through the motions, and everything feels reactive. A lot of entrepreneurs and CEOs live in that space. It's dangerous. You can't give what you don't have.

If you're not taking time to refuel and recharge, what are you doing? You're just continuing to give based on exhaustion, frustration, reactiveness. Those are the seeds you're planting, which will be the fruit you will bear. Whether it's in your work, your results, or because you're a CEO, it's you leading by example. You breed a team of people working at that same level. It's not good because then it bleeds into their personal lives, families, mental health, and whole-body wellness. That's bad.

In the Scripture, it says that words have the opportunity to give life or death. As a CEO, as a leader, I feel like you have a responsibility for the way you lead and the tone you set at the top for what's acceptable. And most CEOs and entrepreneurs are pretty talented people who love risk, have high amounts of energy, and can outperform a lot of people. If that's the tone that you're setting in your organization, you're breeding other people to work at that level.

They may not be as experienced as you are at work at that level. Keeping up with that pace, you will burn them out, lose incredible people, or you will hinder their quality of life. They will look back on their journey working for you. They will not have great things to say. Maybe you won, perhaps you achieved a significant milestone, a big exit. You raised a lot of money. You acquired whatever it was.

Maybe through that burnout and exhaustion, in the end, you're able to achieve something. But when they look back on those years, will they have been life-giving years or life-sucking years?
Will they look back and have regrets and say we achieved that, but I was never home. I missed out on my daughter growing up. I missed out on taking my kids to school. My dad was ill, and I couldn’t attend to his side. My family members needed me. I lost my friends over those three or four years because all I did was ever work. My personal life and relationships suffered. What will they say?

Or will they look back on that time and say this was the best time in my career. I felt loved, cared for, valued, and challenged. I felt I was a solid contributor to the team, but boundaries were set, and I could progress in my personal life. I could be the best friend, daughter, son, husband, wife, significant other, father, mother, parent that I could have been. I was able to achieve both successes professionally and personally.

CEO, you control the narrative. You control how these people are going to show up for you and live their lives. Whatever you believe is possible is what the outcome will be. Seemingly whatever you believe is impossible, the outcome will be. You set the tone. If you believe that you can't achieve the big outcome, the big top-line revenue, the bottom-line revenue, the EBITDA, the end exit milestone, the raise without having the round the clock hustle, a lean team that pours in everything for less compensation than they probably should be paid. If you believe that the only way to achieve that is to do it the way it's been done before in the startup world, in the scale-up world.

I want to challenge your thinking today. I want you to view internal value versus external reward. I was streaming church this morning. My pastor is talking about when your heart is changed. You can be who God has called you to be. I acknowledge some of you aren't Christians don't share in what I believe that's fine. My truth is that when my heart is changed, I can be who God has called me to be. But when my heart is filled with idols and worships money, success, fame, competition, and achievement, that's not good because that is not from God. That's going to block out who He has called me to be.

If I am worshiping those items, thinking about them constantly, and obsessing over them, I do not leave time for Him to work in me to do the things He has called me to do. I have to get my head on straight. That's my belief system. Yours might be different. But I believe that when your heart is changed, you can be the leader your team needs and deserves for you to be your team. There are people I didn't do right by my people over the last few months. This is crazy because sometimes we believe our own press. We can fool ourselves. We can just tell ourselves whatever we want, and we're going to believe it. It's the power of our minds.

I kept seeing this topic streaming and news media trending - Toxic positivity. I didn't like the term when I saw it. How could any level of positivity be toxic? I'm a real positive person. In fact, that's my blood type, B+. Very fitting. I'm about puppies and sunshine. Believe everybody is always going to do right by me until I'm proven wrong. That everybody is good-natured. I believe in the good of people. I think about what I had done to my team. I addressed this last week.

I remember recording an episode a few months ago (over the summer), talking about building out our C-Suite about these incredible humans. They have joined us and elevated their careers underneath the roof of House Revenue®. Charlie is our COO, Heather our CMO, Brad our CRO, and Quina recently accepted our Chief Sales Officer position, our CSO. This woman is 10 times, 100 times the Sales Trainer, the Sales Coach that I ever was. I have watched her take two of my former clients, swore by Mary Grothe. He thought I was amazing. Just trust me.

Quina is the real deal. This is her God-given talent. She's remarkable. One training session with Quina. Yeah, Mary, who? I said, "I told you, Quina is remarkable.” She's one of the best leaders I've ever seen. She studies the craft she implements. Her team loves her here. She has one of the best teams, culture team cultures, I should say inside our company with a small team that she leads. She's brilliant in leadership. She's brilliant in coaching. She joined our C-Suite rounded us out. We have five of us now, including me. I was toxic positivity - every day full of praise, recognition being their cheerleader, pushing through the challenge, believing we're going to be better, stronger, that it's just a matter of time until we're in the clearing. We can do this. We can hustle. We can grind. We can make it happen.

But that toxic positivity, what was toxic about it? Those things in themselves aren't bad. But as a leader, it is my responsibility to be leading a good ship, a good operation, and I was so in the weeds. I couldn't see. I had no vision. There was no clarity. We were not aligned. We were just putting out fires. We were reactive. They deserve better than that. They were hustling with me side by side seven days a week, long hours, burning out right alongside me. Until one day, after my nervous breakdown, we sat down and went around. I realized they were struggling just as I was, what had I created and for what external reward, what happens my internal value of loving them. I genuinely love them so much.

These four executives that stand by me, holy moly, people, I am spoiled rotten. No, I'm spoiled good. There's nothing rotten about this situation. That's just the same. I'm just spoiled. I'm blessed. I'm privileged. They're so good. Their hearts are pure. Their work is gold. Their results are remarkable. The experience they create with our clients, it's untouched by another company out there. I will stand by that. They love me. I love them. They love this company. I love this company. We love each other. We love our team. We love what we're doing for our clients. Our internal value was compromised because we set our eye on this external reward. That came from me, setting the tone.

As a Christian woman, I've said so many times that my purpose here on this planet I know, while I believe I know, and I still learning every day, but why God created me. We were all created so unique and so different. There's humility in taking a step back and separating who God created me to be from the talents that he gave me. The talents that he gave me, the flesh side of me, the human side of me, that sinful nature full of temptation, worshipping idols, money that steps in and I will promise you, we literally just went through it, if you need any more truth in this, I promise you that when the eye is set on an external reward, you lose your internal value. You cannot worship both. You are either for Him, or you're against Him. You're not 90% for Him and 10% for the world, or 50-50. You are for, or you are against.

I proclaim it. I am for Jesus. I am full of love. My heart can be pure when I can take the clutter and the crap out of my life. When my heart is changed, I can be who God called me to be. When my heart is changed, I can be the leader my team needs me to be in deserves. These people are precious. These are human lives that I'm responsible for and their family's lives.

As a CEO and entrepreneur, as you're scaling up and building your team, if you do not firmly believe in the value that your people bring to you and do not protect that and cherish them, you are completely missing the mark. I have had multiple employees come and work for this company to express verbal feedback to me an appreciation for leadership style. I am not perfect. I make mistakes; I just made one over the last few months. I'm being transparent and telling you about it. I feel such great responsibility for this team who has entrusted me with their career, with their families, with their ability to succeed. I believe that part of how God created me and who he called me to be is to change how leaders lead their companies.

I pray that the words coming out of my mouth are inspiring and understand that we, as leaders, CEOs, and executives, must quit messing with people. We cannot manipulate them. We cannot put that fear that pit in their stomach, that they feel threatened or fearful or like they're going to get fired. You should have expectations. You should have performance management. You should clearly articulate exactly what is expected if someone is going to be on your team. There's a difference between managing performance, holding people accountable, and valuing them as human beings. There's love-based leadership. There's fear-based leadership. If you approach your people with love in your heart for them, you can approach performance conversations, direct feedback, critical conversations in a way that honors them and shows them value. You can still take care of people in a very loving and nurturing way, even when it's a tough conversation. It's not easy, but if you show up consciously, you can do it. Internal value versus external reward.

Matthew 6:21 says, "Show me your treasure, and I'll show you where your heart is." You don't have to believe what I believe. We don't have to be aligned there. Still, my hope is that we can be aligned in the proof that time and time again when you love and take care of people and honor them. Your internal values, those core values that you had a Brain dumps session with a round table one day with your team. Then, you cut them out, put them up on the wall, and put them on your website. Those core values, I hope you live by them. I hope you hire and fire by them. I hope you coach, mentor, and train based on those core values.

I hope that you're thinking about them, talking about them all the time, and infusing the goodness, the good fruit, the good seeds inside of your company, in the inside of your teams, regardless of what you do for a living - if you're professional service, a technology company, SaaS, manufacturing CPG, retail, environmental, nonprofit for profit, medical, finance. Who are you? What are you? You're a human serving other human. The vehicle you're doing is through your company through whether the wine you bought, purchased, dipped into, was promoted into, or that you started.

By serving people and doing right by them, you may experience substantial financial gain. You may have external rewards that are brought to you through blessings that you never even imagined. I believe that God rewards those who live out what we've been asked to do, which is love each other, honor, and serve. I've said it before. I will repeat myself. I feel like I was created to serve to make people's lives better because I'm in it. God created me capable able. He gave me gifts. Gifts are meant to be shared. What a beautiful life that that is. It doesn't come without trials and difficult situations.

Chasing towards external rewards is not a gift. It happens to be a byproduct that I've learned of doing good work. But if I'm not careful, I will catch myself worshipping that external reward. Setting those big goals managing towards them, putting pressure on people to achieve them. When really you need to look at putting in systems and accountability and performance management and expectations of how we perform. Because if you do that good work, you will reap the reward it will come but internal values. That's where the focus needs to be first.

I'm going to wrap today and remind you that when your heart is changed, and "Boy, it is hard if you have a hardened heart." If you're a CEO and a leader and you've just been burned, you're calloused. There's a lot of not-great people out there. There are many really challenging situations, especially as a CEO, that you will encounter ones you have a playbook for and ones you don't. If you have a calloused heart, a hardened heart, if you're over it, if you're just in a belief system that employees are difficult. If you find yourself making statements generalizing human behavior, talking about how people show up or maybe don't, to their role.

I would challenge you to look internally and ask about the culture that you've created. Ask what tone you're setting when you show up. Is it a culture of love, empowerment, encouragement, inspiration, motivation? Or is it one of fear? Do you give everyone Sunday night skerries and Sunday night blues? They can feel their heart racing and pounding their whole mood, their whole being shifts into preparing for their workweek. They fear that first Monday morning meeting. They don't know how you're going to show up. Are you in a good mood? Are you in a bad mood? What is about to happen? Are they in trouble? Are they going to be praised? Is the company performing well? Is it performing poorly? What's happening today?

Don't create that for your team. Be consistent. Be pure a leader. When your heart is changed, you can be the leader your team needs you to be, and you can focus on the internal value you have inside. I promise the external reward will come.

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Thanks for listening to today's episode. If you're interested in being on our show or want to learn more about how we can help you scale your company, connect with us at or with me Mary Grothe spelled G-R-O-T-H-E on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

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