Sept 15, 2021
The Mass Business Podcast
Season 1, Episode 13 – Using Your “Why” As Your Fuel, with Christina Frei
Welcome back to episode 13 where we chat with marketing strategist Christina Frei, about playing the long game as it relates to networking. As I always say, the work you do today can pay off 6 months from now. Christina tells us all about her passion for helping people and helping her clients get great clients. We talk about knowing what you want, about your why, your mission, and staying focused. Are you ready? Let’s go!!
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If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on our show please visit us on Facebook or at our Website –
Wed, 8/11 9:31 AM • 34:30
Matt Ward 00:00
Hey folks, welcome back to the mass business podcast. My name is Matt Ward and I am your host. This is Episode 13. I’m super excited to bring you an awesome guest today. Christina Frei runs a great little marketing practice called innate marketing genius, where she helps trusted advisors get great clients. Her secret sauce is her one voice, one strategy program where she identifies your deepest why and translates that into the perfect strategy for you. Christina is on a mission to live more sustainably by conquering the online thrift stores thread up and by helping local group sustainable Marblehead. Her Norwich terrier, Sammy usually sleeps at her feet while she helps clients. We’re going to talk about business growth, strategy, Your Why, and many, many other things on this episode of the Mass Business Podcast. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Intro – Welcome to the Mass Business Podcast where small business owners, also known as risk takers share their stories about the growth of their business and themselves. Our interviews and our content is focused on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. I say it all the time. And I’ll say it again today. You never know where your next referral will come from.
Hey, and there we are. It’s Episode 13. I’m here with my good new friend, Christina Frei. How are you?
Christina Frei 01:53
Woo, Woot! Let’s do this.
Matt Ward 01:54
Yeah, let’s do this. All right, in under 30 seconds, tell the listening and viewing audience over on YouTube and other podcast platforms. What it is you do for work?
Christina Frei 02:06
I help really smart people, trusted advisors, really look like an expert, and get really great clients. That’s pretty much what I do.
Matt Ward 02:19
Sweet. And so yeah, I mentioned in your intro that you kind of help people kind of figure out their why and then pull their why into some sort of program offering, I would imagine what, what that is, how important is it for people who are in business for themselves, to really understand why they’re doing what they’re doing?
Christina Frei 02:44
Well, I’ll tell you this, when you know that, because sometimes, it’s a little embarrassing to admit to yourself that you might not know why you’re doing I mean, obviously, we’re here to make money. We’re here to make the world a better place, etc, etc. But when you really grapple with your why it can be a bit unsettling, right? But what I’m here to tell you with you know, tons of clients that I work with, every single one of them has had a beautiful why in service to other human beings. And that can be it can be your fuel, who doesn’t need more energy to get out the door, connect with people try new things to connect with more people, right? We constantly have to be on our game out in the world. So I just want each entrepreneur to have fuel that keeps them focused and consistent.
Matt Ward 03:39
Yeah, and so it is so many tidbits just in those, you know, that 30 seconds that you’re explaining that part? You know, I think that that the Why is almost as important as the why not meaning process of elimination? Why am I not doing other things? Why that leads us to the why of what we’re doing, right. And so I don’t do this because I don’t enjoy this. Okay, now I have a discovery. Now. Now I understand myself more and more and more and more. And I think as we evolve and grow and become, as they say wiser, you know, more wiser adults so to speak, we’ve learned all these past lessons in business and in life of the things we don’t like to do. I imagine that part of your process is digging into that part of it as well. Right?
Christina Frei 04:37
It is and I will tell you that discovering this angle on marketing was a bit of a surprise to me, like I didn’t set out to do this. I just was working with a bunch of business owners and using a certain process that I developed to help them figure out their strategy and in doing that every single person had this archetype of service, right? Like, how do you like to help people? It just was very clear to me, wow, you’re a wizard, or Hey, you’re more of a nurturer, over here is the adventure guide, right, like really clear archetypes when they love helping people. So I just realized, you know, this probably could fuel any business owners. And so I start there with everyone I work with. Because you know, what, I just realized that, literally yesterday, that marketing has a bit of a greedy energy to it, right? What is market, you have to get out there and get clients and I’m, like, I need to get I need to grab, it’s just built in right? So of course, you need a way to remember the deepest why of like helping other humans, we have to have that to balance things.
Matt Ward 05:57
And that’s, that’s something you brought up earlier. And you’ve mentioned it three or four times in this segment piece too is that it is a service of others and helping other people, you know, and I think we run from those that don’t want to do that, we run from the car salesperson who’s just trying to sell us the highest thing on the lot to make the best commission possible than actually selling us the car that we need to provide, you know, for the purpose by which we’re buying the car, some times, we need a two door car or a pickup truck or a minivan or something that can tow something, you have to ask all these questions. And I think that’s what, you know, it seems to me that that there seem to be two factions in business. Those that care enough to ask the questions and those that don’t. And as my friend, Jason, I say, was just completely gross otherwise.
Christina Frei 07:01
You know what, I would love to chime in on that. So because I think about that a lot in my constant efforts to try to find un-gross marketing for my clients. And so one thing that I’m curious about, like, let’s, let’s take the car salesman for a second, that’s a great example. There’s, let’s just say there are car salespeople out there that actually do know how to play the long game and are there to help put you in the right car. I would say that that person is somebody who knows that there’s a long game, that it’s worth it, that there’s a certain kind of patience around all that and I would wonder if the other person who’s shoving a car down your throat, just either they are on a weird mission to just make a bunch of money fast and get out because it’s just not sustainable to operate that way. like no one’s gonna want to do business with you for very long. I mean, yeah, that’s just what I’m….
Matt Ward 07:59
so I mean, so if you bring up a great like, this is the thing, right? I’m a very impatient person, which is why I’m a horrible, horrible, horrible, let me say that, again, a horrible, horrible, horrible cook, right. I will literally burn a pot of water, because I don’t want to stand over the stove and watch anything cook. So I’m a very impatient person. And in life, I’m generally impatient. But funny enough, I’m not impatient with the relationships that I build in business. And it’s interesting to me, because those relationships really drive me I am super inquisitive about people. I care deeply about what people do, how they serve the world, how they show up in the world. And all of that matters to me. And I often care too much to the point, it’s to my own detriment in some ways, because I don’t, there are times when I’ll have a 30 minute one to one with somebody, and will not have talked about what I do at all. And then we’re up against the deadline, the time frame that we set on the meeting calendar. And it’s about 29 minutes past the hour, and somebody says, oh, by the way, Matt, what do you do? You’ve been asking me all these questions. I’m like, and that’s great. I mean, it’s, it’s good. To the point of the car salesperson, I have always said that if there was somebody who was willing to play the long game and invest their time, effort, and energy in a relationship. I would not buy a car from anybody else. I just wouldn’t do it. I have met a couple people who do car shopping. And in the networking world, they come to these networking events, and they that’s the service and there’s two different models. One is paid by, like the regional New England marketing. They’re like the New England arm of the dealerships, right. So that might be like New England, Ford or New England Mazda or New England Mercedes, and they pay this person so you don’t have to pay them. And they find you the car, you go to the dealership with them. They go in, they get the keys for the car, they come out, you take the test, you never talked to the salesperson at all. You’re only talking to this liaison They’re paid by the organization if you buy a car, and then there’s other people where you pay them. But nonetheless, it’s the relationship model and the caring that is involved there that I think produces the referrals long term. And it’s shocking to me that that there really aren’t a lot more car dealers. And I think it’s because it’s a churn and burn game, you know. And I was on a networking call recently, where I was learning all about their business all about the business. Okay, great. Who can I connect you with? Who’s the, who are the people that could refer you? And the answer I got was, well, this person, this person, this person, and oh, how about your own services? Matt? How about you buy from me? Yeah, I just, I was just dumbfounded.
Christina Frei 10:48
So I am curious too, about beliefs. You know, we all sort of anyone who’s self aware is going to examine their own beliefs, especially around something like this, where you’re connecting with humans and trying to get a result. It let’s be honest, we are trying to connect, and there is no ability to that, but we’re also looking for a result, we have to make money. So sometimes those things seem to fight each other. And, again, I think some people like the, you know, the quintessential car salesman, sorry to give these guys a bad rap. But just saying like, I just wonder what their beliefs are like, yes, their situation is important. They’re in a churn and burn situation, which is different than being, let’s say, an attorney, if you’re working with a real estate agent, or an attorney, those are longer term relationships, they’re more consistent, you know, them over months of time, and a transaction. I think that is different. It’s a very, it’s a situational thing. However, from a belief standpoint, like if I’m a car salesperson, and I want to do this right and play a longer game, you know what, what I have to decide, like, when I hear you talk, Matt, about how you play the long game, you’re curious about people, I would imagine there are beliefs in there around, every person I meet has something really interesting going on in their life. Every person I meet is going to contribute something really, right. Like, if I were a car salesman, like would I have? Could I have that belief would it’s I don’t know, like there’s a lot that goes in here, that sort of personal decision on how you approach the world?
Matt Ward 12:18
Well, if that’s true, and I’ve also noticed that a lot of times in networking, and specifically with referral stuff that people that I meet in industries, where there doesn’t appear that the playing the long game, there’s often a great deal of pressure from above, from their superiors to meet certain goals. And I have always said, Look, you do exactly what your boss tells you to do. eight to five, Monday through Friday, for the first year and a half. And if you do what I tell you to do outside of those hours, on nights and weekends, for the first year and a half, you will never have to listen to what your boss tells you to do ever again. Because the relationship-building stuff takes a while and the problem is most of these superiors, most of these bosses, mostly people setting the goal numbers, they don’t have the ability to wait that 18 months for these things to pan out. I said to someone recently, the work you do today on relationship building pays off and referrals in six months. And it’s just it’s an understanding that, you know, what, at what point in your life, did you realize that this serving, this serving of other serving of people, this was really the way to go? How did you get into this work that you do now.
Christina Frei 13:36
So there was a moment in 2014, where the, like everything, I don’t know, like the floor dropped, where all the ways that I was making money. You know, that sort of disappeared. And I just lost a lot of like, I just felt like the bottom dropped out. And I was in a panic mode for financial, like just I was worried about money all the time. And at that time, I had been part of a spiritual community out in Berkeley, California. And when I was out there, I had come across, I had created this tool that I now call the generosity practice. It’s a 10 minute daily practice puts you in a contribution mindset. I could talk to you about that all day long. But let’s just say, you know, in 10 minutes of time, it takes you from freaking out about how you’re going to make money to how can I be in beautiful service to others. And I noticed that when I did this practice consistently. Here’s what it did. First of all, it calmed me down faster than anything I could think of. Second of all, it helped me realize who I really needed to talk to like it activated some kind of knowing in myself that instead of chasing 50 people down to network with them, I knew the three people I needed to work with and all three of them turned out to have really great lucrative projects for me like just something really kicked in. I started teaching that tool. I did field studies, I worked in yoga studios with like, I had all kinds of workshops, work with businesses, nonprofits, just sharing this tool because it had worked so well for me. And in that process, enough entrepreneurs came back to me and said, You know, when I’m in this contribution mindset, I’m a way better marketer, I’m actually better at the sales negotiation table like this is, this is the shizzle in some way. Right? Like I was like, what, like people who are shy introverts were telling me, like, I can’t wait to get out network, or I kept, like, just little miracles that were maybe not so little, just doing this 10 minute daily practice. So what I, yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of dots to connect there. But that’s where it started was…..
Matt Ward 15:49
One of the things that I have always felt like is, is that people don’t do business with who they know, like, and trust. They do business with who they know, like, trust, and care about. And then we show up in the world and care about other people through forms of gratitude, whether they’re clients or business partners that never buy from us, but might refer us. We surround ourselves with much better people more like-minded people, more people that are uplifting us. And even the practice of writing handwritten cards raises your own happiness internally and makes you a happier person. And so when you’re showing up on zoom calls, networking with people, you are in a mindset that you’re giving, you’re caring, you’re, you’re, more, you’re a happier person, when you show up like this, and I see this time and time and time again. It’s why I wrote the book, The High Five effect, shameless plug, coming out October 26, 2021. It’s how to do business with people who bring you joy. And it just is a game changer, I think in business, that we don’t have to chase all these massive amounts of clients, we can just have the minimum number of clients, we need to make a living. And then that law of attraction starts to really kick in that, abundance mindset, you know. So I imagine you do a ton of networking. You’ve mentioned some key words in here. I know we’ve had zoom calls together. So how much are you doing? How and in what ways are you doing networking in and around Massachusetts?
Christina Frei 17:29
So it has become a lot easier to connect with a lot of people thanks to the pandemic, because there’s so many events going on online, they’re pretty much only going on online until very, very recently. And so that means, you know, going on to BNI and find BNImass.com and just finding a group down in Boston. I’m up here in the North Shore, finding groups in Framingham, in Metro West, like all throughout Massachusetts, and frankly, the country, but definitely all over this area. That has been a total joy to just dive into that is so much easier. I don’t have to get in my car for three hours to go to Framingham, you know, it’s fabulous. And then there’s another, I believe Massachusetts rooted, it’s not only in Massachusetts, but it was started here called Pepper Lane. It’s a network for moms. Yeah. And mom supporters. And so they have meetings every day. I mean, you can go anytime you want. So that’s available. And then, you know, chapters of other things like Pep, or not Pepper Lane, uh, polka dot powerhouse is another one. Mostly for women, I guess, for women. And those are kind of the foundational ones. I mean, I’m a member of a BNI. So obviously, I’m doing that every week, and then all the one to ones that come out of all these meetings.
Matt Ward 18:51
That’s the key, though. Yeah, here’s the thing. I as a referral consultant, I tell people all the time, is your group working for you? No. Why not? I’m not getting referrals, whose fault was that? It’s their fault. And I give me referrals. No, it’s the fault of the seat owner, it’s your fault. If you’re not getting referrals, you’re 100% responsible for the referrals you generate each and every networking group that you’re in. I don’t care what organization it is, you’re not clear about what you need and want, you’re probably asking for the wrong thing. For instance, most people show up to these networking groups and ask for their clients, when in fact, they should be asking for the referral sources. Because there’s only there’s probably only one good referral source in the group for a person who’s on the seat. But everybody else knows more of those referral sources. So when I was in a web agency, I would show it to my networking group and I would be like, hey, I need an IT guy. And if there’s an IT guy in my group, I would go to him in advance. And I would say, Listen, you know, I can’t live off the referrals that you get me, I love them. And I’m happy to refer people to you. But I need to ask everybody else in the group for their IT people too. Are you cool with that? Oh yeah. I’m cool with that. Great, I just make sure I pick up the coffee bill that day that I have the conversation, not a problem, right? And so we’re not asking for the referral sources enough. And that’s really who we need. When we go to Chamber of Commerce events, business after hours. And everybody’s walking around, and how can I help you? Or who can I connect you to? You know, an IT guy, right? Everybody knows an IT guy. And I just, I just go after the source all the time. And that was a big game changer for me. And so, look, the money and networking is in the follow up, right? It’s, it’s where you meet these people on these on BNI groups, and everywhere else. And then you get on a one to one with them. And you go deep, and they learn about how you pull the why out of people and turn that into other things. And then you’re learning what they’re doing. And now you’re trying to connect them to the referral source. Again, not so much the client, but the referral source. And then that’s not a true referral. By the way, folks, if you’re listening or watching on YouTube, that’s not a referral, right? We’re, if you’re referring someone to a source, it’s not a referral, it’s really an introduction, right? Because referral, somebody’s ready, willing, and able to buy. So that’s the ideal client scenario. But we want to just try and get one step closer want to be talking to the people who are in a position to refer you on a regular basis.
Christina Frei 21:21
Well, and you’re also pointing out, Matt, the importance of knowing what you want, when you walk into these meetings. It’s not just, I want more clients, it’s like a more sophisticated level of this is what I want. So I appreciate your, you know, being super specific.
Matt Ward 21:42
I mean, and that’s the other thing, too, Christina is like, if you, if I talk about my new book, is picking a target market. Like the more you, we constantly resist this idea of picking a target market, because we think we’re going to turn away business. But in fact, what happens is you become the only person in that target market, who does what you do. And so one of my clients is a social media management company. And I was talking with her about where she could go, meaning what target market she wanted to go to, and we ended up on realtors. And then we defined it even greater. It was realtors who are doing 24 transactions a year or more. Because that eliminates all part time realtors, doesn’t mean she won’t work with them. But if she’s chasing people, in an ideal client, they have to have the means by which they can afford to pay her. And an agent doing 24 transactions has that. So you’ve learned a lot of this stuff. Tell me a little bit about your ongoing learning. How do you continuously educate yourself as a business owner?
Christina Frei 22:51
I make it a policy to try all the things that I recommend to my clients, right. So if I’m going to recommend you do a talk, I better be doing lots of talks, if I’m going to recommend that you’re writing a book, I better have written a book or I’m writing, like, I just have to sink my teeth into every single thing I would ever recommend to anybody else. And that I’ll just tell you, the big ones. It’s not like I’m doing these all the time, but I will, I will not tell someone to do something unless I’ve really been at it for a while. So podcasts and webinars. And I already said talks, in person events, you get the idea, like you see expert expertise building strategies that show you beautifully in your community. So that’s mainly where I put my attention. So for example, I just transitioned from MailChimp to Active Campaign. So I, which is an email service, and that so a lot of my learning has been directed on how to use Active Campaign, how to create the right funnel, you know, just throwing the spaghetti on the wall, watching YouTube videos to that effect. Just Yeah. And then I can turn around and tell my clients, here’s what worked, here’s what didn’t work, etc, etc.
Matt Ward 24:06
Sweet so, do you want to do my Active Campaign? Because I’m getting ready to transition over to them? I think.
Christina Frei 24:11
I’m sorry, what was the question?
Matt Ward 24:13
So do you want to do my Active Campaign?
Christina Frei 24:18
Yeah, I’m about let’s see four months in,
Matt Ward 24:22
See, see number three appears outsource your weakness. I actually have a job posting out right now for an Active Campaign expert.
Christina Frei 24:29
I actually know someone to connect you with so we’ll have that conversation.
Matt Ward 24:33
I want nothing to do with migrating from my current email provider over to Active Campaign setting up all the stuff that I want to do and ongoing right because I don’t send out my emails every week. I have somebody else do that. Because it’s, that’s an important activity that needs to get done on a regular basis. But it’s production work, and I don’t do well with production work. I do well with creative stuff or speaking, I’m very involved in National Speakers Association. For those of you who want to talk more, whether you want to get paid to talk or talk to get paid, it can be either way. It evolved with the NSA, New England, I’m on the board there. It’s a great organization. We have virtual stuff all the time. And we do in person stuff in and around Massachusetts all the time, we have regional meetups and all the different five states too. So I’ve been a member of that for five years. And that has changed my speaking business drastically because it was, you know, you’re surrounding yourself with like minded individuals. And that’s one way I learned, right is I learned, I have always, I don’t have a degree. Well, I tell people, I have a degree from the University of Google, which can now also be deemed the University of YouTube, right. But I have always surrounded myself with like minded individuals that, that really up level the knowledge that I have around what I do. And it’s been fantastic. been an absolute game changer for me. You know.
Christina Frei 26:05
You just answered a question, because I was curious about NSA, New England. So I’ll probably see you at a meeting soon.
Matt Ward 26:11
Oh, that’s, that’s awesome. I’ll make sure I send you an invite via email then. That’d be awesome. Tell me about the one time where you learned something from someone specific.
Christina Frei 26:25
Yes. So I was working with a marketing coach myself, about five years ago, when I was developing my talk marketing for humans. That’s my big talk that I do, bringing the human back into marketing. And I was wondering, like, Okay, I need to get my list of venues, and you know, 50 places, have a spreadsheet, because I’m all about the Excel spreadsheet. I love Excel spreadsheets. And I love just project managing in general. So I was like, okay, just let me add it. And she said, Nope, I want you to take a moment every day, maybe half an hour, where you just take a walk, take a breath, and really ponder deeply where you would like to give a talk and come up with one possibility. Just one. And I just said to her, that’s crazy, no. But then I started doing it. And I came up with, like, really good ideas, solid ideas. And guess what, when you do that, once a day, that list grows really fast. Like suddenly, in three weeks, you’ve got 20 places, and they’re usually more quality places, and you’ve had an opportunity to really research each one of them for whatever outflow, you know, like every day, I have what I call a Power Hour, like just this is dedicated to building my business, I just have to do this. And so that’s where I would put my attention at that time. It’s just like another venue because it’s so doable. Why wouldn’t you do that one more venue? So that was completely counter to the way I wanted to just be a machine about it. But it absolutely worked I came up with, I also focus on real estate. So I just built those relationships during that time. Also, co-working spaces where there are tons of entrepreneurs, depending on where you go, that are ready to uplevel them.
Matt Ward 28:10
I’ll never forget speaking at We Work in Boston many, many years ago. It was that was good stuff. Every episode, I’d like to ask people about one piece of software or some sort of software that you feel like is a game changer in the growth of your business. Could you share what software you think you’d be miserable? If I came into your office and took it away today?
Christina Frei 28:39
There’s a few but I will land on calendly Oh, I know everyone has strong opinions about their scheduling programs. And I’m sure there are wonderful ones all over the place. Calendly is a godsend. Because when you know now people can just schedule me for 15 minutes or, or 45 minutes, depending on you know how committed they are to moving forward or just meeting with me, that’s fine. If they have to change an appointment. I don’t need to be involved, they just go to the reschedule button. I’ve also learned from someone recently that you can actually put a link. Like I just love this idea, your record a 90 second intro of yourself, like just some fun facts. For me. It’s sort of I love to watercolor, that’s something I’ve taken up during COVID and a couple other fun things like I’m growing kale right here. And I just made a 90 second video and that link is in all of my networking, follow up emails on calendly just so that people get to know me a teeny tiny bit and we can have a really nice conversation when we meet and they know me enough to enter into that. So
Matt Ward 29:46
It’s so funny that you say that because I just had a client who had a video he did at Christmas dressed up as Santa Claus about his business. And we took that and did a 30 second video after that we merged the two together. And he now sends that out in advance of zoom meetings just so they can get an understanding of kind of who he is. And yeah, and it’s the video is, I mean, just to pre roll video before the meeting is super helpful, that people get to know you a little bit. Um, final question for you. What, what one business book would you recommend to our listeners on the podcast platform or those watching on YouTube? What one business book would you recommend that they read?
Christina Frei 30:28
You know, this is sort of business and it’s sort of leadership. But I’m a huge fan of this. Actually, there’s two I’m thinking about, I’ll mention the one I send all my clients when they sign on. It’s called Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. I don’t know if you know, that guy. Like he has these, he’s the one who just, steal like an artist. There are these little books, they’re really edgy and beautifully designed. And all of them are about, you know what, you don’t have to have everything perfect. Just get out there and start sharing your stuff. Even behind the scenes. It’s sort of coming out of that mentality of perfectionism, around marketing and like, yeah, just getting out to the world. Just head on.
Matt Ward 31:11
Done is better than perfect.
Christina Frei 31:13
Thank you. Yeah. I just love his whole attitude.
Matt Ward 31:18
So for those listening on their favorite podcast platform, and those who watch on YouTube, Christina, how can people get in touch with you if they want to reach out say hello to a networking call? Or maybe even a consult call?
Christina Frei 31:29
Absolutely. So a couple of things. One is to check out innatemarketinggenius.com, innatemarketinggenius.com, and that is just right up there on the top, you know, contact, and you can meet with me for 15 minutes or 45 minutes, take your pick. That’s number one. Number two is if you’re curious about your deepest why and service to others, there’s a pink button on the top of that website innatemarketinggenius.com and you will find out what your innate marketing genius type is in five minutes. And then the last thing I wanted to share is my generosity practice work. I’ve been doing that as an online program for Gosh, six years. And I’m publishing my first workbook or book around that on July 25th. So that will be out by the time this airs. And I just want you guys to know, that’s a really good way to like, get into that contribution mindset, like use the book, it’s, it’s beautifully designed by this woman in Vienna. Like I just can’t even believe what a great job she did.
Matt Ward 32:35
You can tell it’s gonna be great because you’re sitting lit up about it. That’s exciting. Really great. All right, folks, well, hey, don’t forget to subscribe, smash that like button right there on YouTube. Subscribe to us on YouTube and on your favorite podcast platform. We greatly appreciate it. Until tomorrow. Don’t forget to live happy, smile a lot, and high-five everyone around you.
Thank you for listening to the Mass Business Podcast where we focus on growing a small business and understanding networking and referrals. Don’t forget to like on your favorite platform and share out this podcast. This show has been produced by Heather Grant. music by Ceailte Kelley. All rights reserved. I’m your host, professional speaker, author, and word of mouth referral consultant, Matt Ward. Don’t forget to live happy. Smile a lot. And high five everyone around you.