Lori Esarey: Wellness is a practice, not just a word.
Kelly Engelmann: Welcome to the Synergee Podcast, where myself, Kelly Engelmann and Lori Esarey shed light on powerful tools and topics that nourish your body,
Lori Esarey: and most importantly, feed your soul.
Kelly Engelmann: Welcome back Synergee listeners, we are so thrilled today to have Kep Kepner with us in studio to record some really great content today. Kep is a CPA. And I got to know Kep actually while on vacation. My CPA retired, so I eventually joined his practice to take on our business for accounting measures and learned that he is just a wealth of knowledge. He’s an author, a business owner, a doer of life in all aspects, he’s a hiker, a mountain climber. I could go on and on and on just an overall great person, and we’re just super excited to have you here with us today, Kep.
Kep Kepner: Thank you very much, Kelly and Lori, both of you, thanks for having me on, a joy being here for sure.
Lori Esarey: So I think one of the things that our listeners are probably wondering is, what in the world is an accountant doing, going to be talking about, yes, we’re going to be talking about financial wellness today, but what’s the parallel of brain health and finances?
Kep Kepner: So, I get that question all the time. Why in the world are you talking about the brain, Kepner? Aren’t you supposed to be doing tax strategy? Aren’t you supposed to be reading the, tax code every night, aren’t you supposed to be doing all this financial work? But the reality is I have a lot of clients who are stuck financially. If it’s a business owner, they’re stuck in their business and they can’t seem to make good financial decisions for the growth of their business. And for individuals, the same thing. Their tax picture looks the same every year because they’ve been unable to make changes in their financial arena. So, I’ve been faced with this forever with my clients and one day, I went to the Center for Brain Health actually about three years ago, and I described this circumstance. Business owners who are trapped in their business, or individuals who are trapped by their financial circumstances. And I asked them, what do you have to help somebody like this? So, the The Center for Brain Health at UTD has over 600 clinical studies, from over a hundred neuroscientists that proved their science. And so, I took their science, I learned it myself. I had everybody in my firm take the training, and we have a contract with the Center for Brain Health to be able to give these brain protocol training measures to our clients to help them make better decisions. So they’re not stuck so much anymore. It gets right back to what they’re trying to do with their lives, in the financial arena and the brain training helps them make better decisions.
The Center for Brain Health, their goal is unlocking human potential, through improved brain health, and performance. That’s very much along the lines of what I try to do for our clients, to help them improve their financial performance through improved brain health.
Lori Esarey: Well, that certainly is a very unique position for an accountant to be in, but it sounds like that would be, pretty powerful position to be in too, because I think some of my worst decisions have been when my brain wasn’t functioning very well at all.
Kep Kepner: I get it, for sure. Well, mine, too. Everybody, really. And once we took the training once I first took the training, I thought it was really great and I noticed, the way that I was making decisions. So I had everybody at Kepner CPA take the training as well. And from a business standpoint, just taking the training, our revenues went up by 25% and our profits doubled. And we almost have a different language now to speak with one another. It’s really great because The concepts and protocols from the Center for Brain Health are very simple, but they have a profound effect if you implement them in your financial life.
Kelly Engelmann: So what are the components that you would say of brain health and brain performance? If you were going to break it down, what would you say those components are?
Kep Kepner: There are a variety of components, of course. Almost every brain center has started working on medical kinds of challenges. PTSD, anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s, all of these kinds of things. Well, the Center for Brain Health also started there, but they have built themselves up so that cognitive resources, they’re probably the leader in the world in that particular part of brain health. So brain health, heavily relies on ourselves using our cognitive powers. But other components of brain health have to do with how we interact with other people, have to do with our own biology. Certainly has to do with our well being, our fortitude, our ability to withstand challenges, and our daily life. So all of these elements have to do with brain performance, but according to the Center for Brain Health, about half of that relates to our cognitive resources and using those well.
Kelly Engelmann: Yeah, so with cognitive resources, we hear a lot of people say that by the end of the day, they have decision fatigue. And when I’m saying the end of the day, it’s not really the end of the day. It’s like three o’clock in the afternoon. They’re done, they don’t have anything else. Like, don’t ask me anything hard after 3 PM and so what’s the strategy for improving the cognitive resources or for utilizing those resources in a way where we don’t tap out?
Kep Kepner: Well, it’s really interesting, Kelly. The wording you used, which is said three o’clock in the afternoon, don’t give me anything else hard. Well, the reality is our brains love hard things to do. That’s what grows our brain. The science from the Center for Brain Health, basically says that if you are working hard, and making decisions on the things that are important to you, you actually grow your brain cells.
You grow your white matter in your brain by using your brain. So what do you do at three in the afternoon when you’re worn out? If you examine your day, in most cases, if you finish the day and you’ve done something really powerful that meant something to you, a major problem for a client or just a major personal event, you’re going to feel energized when you feel worn out, it’s because you filled your day with meaningless stuff. That hundred emails that are gonna to disappear today because you handled them, but they’re going to be there tomorrow, also. So it’s the meaningless stuff that we do that wears us out. It’s the powerful things that we do where we really have to think. Those are the things that energize us. At the end of the day.
Kelly Engelmann: If we could just pause right there, because there is so much richness in what you just said, because it really forces us to take a step back and redesign our life, redesign our day, redesign our task list, delegate to do things differently so that we’re doing the things that are the most impactful, the most meaningful, the most reward for our brains to be able to continue down that path.
Kep Kepner: Well, you’re absolutely right. Of course. And one of the things that the Center for Brain Health talks about is taking five brain breaks every day. Now, think about this for a minute. Kelly, when do you get your most aha kinds of moments in your day?
Kelly Engelmann: So it’s typically when I’ve been for a run on the trail outside and either on the trail or, in the shower. Which is really annoying, because I can’t write it down.
Kep Kepner: Of course that’s true.
Kelly Engelmann: I’m like, okay, if I can only remember it after I get out of the shower. This will be golden.
Kep Kepner: Of course, I never take a shower, so I don’t have that. I always get mine in the morning, and the common element to that is when our brain has been resting. That’s when we get these aha moments. We don’t get them in the heat of battle. We get them when we give our brain a chance to work for us instead of us working the brain. So, for most people, when I ask when they get their best idea, these aha moments where the light bulb comes on, it’s really after a moment of rest or a period of time when they’re not thinking. So, We think all the time, so a brain break is not about not thinking, but it’s about not directing your thinking to something. It’s kind of letting things happen, and that’s what happens after you get back or during the time you’re taking a run or taking a shower. You are just kind of letting thoughts come and that’s when these aha moments come.
So if you’re fighting a financial issue, whatever it is, you don’t have enough money due to inflation, or you have debts that are too high, or you’re struggling to get by, or you want to make some investments, and you want to make a good decision. Those kinds of things, you’ll get your best answer when you just relax and let your brain use all this information that it has about you personally and about the data that you’re analyzing in those areas to let you kind of, Oh, wow, I never thought of it that way. That’s the kind of aha moment, that will give you some really good answers.
Lori Esarey: So you suggest, five brain breaks a day.
Kep Kepner: Yes.
Lori Esarey: For how long are you suggesting five minutes, 10 minutes, and In that 5, 10 minutes or whatever time period you recommend, what are the best things to do during those times? Cause I think that all of our bandwidths, let’s be honest, are very limited. We don’t have a whole lot of time I think we all have the same amount of time, 24 hours a day, right? But how we use our time is different. But what do you recommend for those that don’t have a lot of time, but do need to take. those breaks and how much and how long do they need to be?
Kep Kepner: So they only need to be about five minutes. Just relax. And don’t go into it and say, okay, I’m going to take a break and I’m going to solve this problem in those five minutes. It could be anything, certainly. I sometimes just walk around the floor of my building. I go to eat, very often get a salad at whole foods, which is across the street. So at lunchtime, I kind of just take a break and walk over there. And I’m not thinking about the tax return that’s on my desk or the, problems that I’m trying to solve. I’m just taking a brief break. So that’s generally enough. Some people would use a little music. We also do meditation at Kepner CPA, but I look at meditation as work, for me. And I think some people do. And so for me, that’s a period of work. That’s not a period of relaxation, even though that’s a benefit we all get when we do meditation. So the important thing is you’re not really thinking about anything difficult. You’re just letting your brain kind of assimilate everything that’s going on, not only in the problem area you’re working on, but on other things. And, I’m not gonna say that I get my five brain breaks every day, because I’m a busy person, you guys are busy also. Maybe some days you only get one. I always get one in the morning because that’s when I get my best ideas. Really, the answer is, try to take some time. Shoot for five a day at five minutes each. Just break from your routine, and let life happen to you. And give your brain a break for a short period of time.
Lori Esarey: I love what you said and I do want to go back though because I want to connect some dots between something you said earlier about what happened financially for your organization, when you implemented some of the things you’re going to be talking about today. And I believe you said that you had a significant increase in revenue. Did I hear that?
Kep Kepner: 25% increase in revenue and we doubled our profits. Oh, I didn’t mention that I freed up, about 30% of my time, with these protocols. I probably filled it up with other things, of course. It can’t be that way, but,
Lori Esarey: yes, and that’s the piece that I want people to hear, is that I think sometimes we think that we’re adding one more thing on our plate to do. When in facts, it is an intentional behavior that improves productivity, which then in turn improves the way you feel, right? And then in turn improves, whether that be finances or whatever. I mean, it’s just overall a feeling of wellness.
Kep Kepner: Absolutely. Let’s take that day where you answered the hundred emails and you, Oh my gosh what a day. The reality is they’re going to be there tomorrow. Okay, some people actually have somebody else read their emails. Well, we’re small business owners, and that’s not practical, of course, but I learned how to make sure during the day that I get some really important things done during the day.
Kelly, I think you mentioned about changing the way we sign our tasks and the way we look at our days. And learning some of the ways to do that are really important because we all have enough control over our lives to be able to do at least a couple of things every day that are really important and move our needle forward, either as a company or individually. And so, we can end the day saying, wow, I still answered some of those emails, but I also got some really important things finished. So, brain performance and working your brain, is very similar to a physical workout. Kelly, you and I know each other and I know how you run and work out and that kind of thing. And there are a variety of things that we do when we’re doing physical workouts. One of those is we set aside a time and we plan our workouts. Just like anybody would do that. Well that’s what you do when you’re going to use your brain properly too. You don’t say, I’m in the middle of one thing, I’m going to switch immediately to something else and work on that. You plan your time so that you have some endurance when you go about solving things that are important to you. Another thing you do is you work on, really understanding the mass amount of data that comes to each one of us every day. You have to find a way to sort through what’s really important. Of course, I’m in what they call a left brain kind of business, being a CPA. But understanding business problems and making good decisions is really a lot more than just the left brain activities. It also has to do with our own emotions and a broad look of how these decisions affect the world that we operate in.
Kelly Engelmann: So are you saying that we’re emotional decision makers?
Kep Kepner: Well, I’m saying that the best decisions that we make are a combination of left brain, factual kinds of things, an emotional environment. Because everybody’s emotional, right? And if you have this great financial decision, but you don’t emotionally buy into it, What do you think the odds are of really following through on that?
Kelly Engelmann: Yeah, you’re not going to stick with it. You’re absolutely right. And we have to attach that emotion to that decision. Yeah, I love it.
Kep Kepner: That’s exactly right. And the third area has to do with innovation and creativity. And as you learn how to use your brain best, where you recognize that is when you say to yourself, Wow, I’ve never really looked at it that way, and that says you’re looking at something differently and that compares to kind of like flexibility in a physical workout. So you have the priming your self for good decision making and that’s kind of your endurance and analyzing both from a factual and an emotional standpoint all the elements to a decision, that’s kind of like weight lifting, that’s really where your heavy duty work comes in. And then being innovative and creative, that’s kind of the flexibility that comes like when you stretch after or before a run. Those kinds of things. And those all apply to your brain as well.
Kelly Engelmann: Love it. I love it. I think we can all relate to that for sure.
Kep Kepner: There’s another issue about our brain performance, so Kelly, what age do you think is your best brain performance?
Kelly Engelmann: Well, early in our lives, we have power without control. So we have more brain potential, but we are so emotionally unregulated that maybe our decisions aren’t always the best. So, I think where I am now, I’m not going to say my age, but midlife, let’s just say midlife. Because we should have the wisdom to control the power.
Kep Kepner: How about you, Lori?
Lori Esarey: I think that Kelly hit the nail on the head. I think that in my, forties was probably some of my better decision making.
Kep Kepner: I think the science basically says that the best brain power for most people, is in their fifties or maybe early sixties and here’s why. It’s kind of like, brain training and brain health today, is kind of where heart health was 20 years ago. Think about it, about 20 years ago, we started hearing about some of the things that you talk about as far as our bodies, nutrition, exercise, all these things about our general wellness. We started hearing about that, 20 years ago, and it takes a long time for people to understand the importance of it. Well, at the same time we started learning about that, we also continued to eat the Great American Diet. So what happened while we were doing that, is that we were building a plaque in our arteries, even though on the surface it seemed like we were okay. And Kelly has worked a lot with me, and I’ve had great success from a nutrition standpoint. But the reality is, we don’t always know what’s going on internally, by looking at the external person. So, we’re all living to an older age. There are a lot of people that we know today that are going to be living to a hundred. So, what does that mean for their financial well being? It means that, their brain has to operate better longer, or what’s gonna happen is they’re going to have this fall off in their brain capacity and their kids are going to run their life, or the state. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids running my life. I want to be in charge of me.
Kelly Engelmann: I think what you just said is a powerful motivator for people to have that thought. Like, do you really want someone else dictating, your life after a certain age? So that’s a huge, I think my mom has said that she’s got friends that their children are managing their life at this point financially and socially as well. And she’s like, how miserable would that be? If, you had to tell me what to do and who to hang out with and how to spend my money and all of those things, I think that is a pretty powerful motivator when you really think about those consequences, of not having a healthy brain.
Lori Esarey: And Kelly I think you and I definitely have the privilege of treating the lifespan and that’s been such a unique pleasure to do that. And here where I’m at in the center of the retirement capital pretty much of the world, I believe just with so many people coming here to retire. I think the common thread of those that do visit my clinic are they want to live independently. For as long as possible, separate from who’s going to be caring for them or making their decisions. I think that there is a powerful motivator of overall health changes is I truly want to be the boss of me. I want to be able to function independently. I want to live in my own house for as long as pass one, if I live. Or when I live, right? I want to be able to do the things I want to do. I want to have the energy to do the things I want to do. So, definitely I can really appreciate what you’re saying about the need to have a healthy brain to do that.
Kep Kepner: And Lori, what’s important about that is from a financial standpoint, you talked somebody who’s 50 and they probably thought they were going to live until they’re 75, something like that. Tack another 25 years on the end of their life where the financial resources that they have, and their mental resources in their brain have to last another 25 years that they didn’t originally think about.
Lori Esarey: And if they’re not well, then they’re spending on not being well and we always say in our clinics you’re either gonna pay to be sick or you’re gonna pay to be well. Are you gonna be proactive with those finances or are you gonna be reactive with those finances? So there are a lot of complexities.
Kelly Engelmann: And we believe that your health is your largest asset, or it could be your biggest liability. Right? At any age, it could become a liability, but I think as we look at the overall health span and potential lifespan that we’re facing today, it makes a lot of sense to invest in your health at a much earlier age and do everything we can to preserve brain function.
Kep Kepner: Sure. And although I focus most of my practice on business owners, Kelly, I think you know this that with freeing up that 30% of my time, I wrote a bestseller on Amazon entitled Your Brain is Your Best Business Weapon. So for a business owner, they have the same problem as anybody except that they have to stay active, healthy and active for a longer period of time, and their source of revenue and financial well being comes from their business, and so it’s got to run for another 25 years and deal with all the changes that are happening in our world. And almost every business is affected by AI and a variety of other activities. And boy, when you’re stuck, it’s really hard to adapt and it takes a little bit different way of thinking. So for an individual, who’s trapped in a job that they’re stuck in and so forth. They have to look really long term at their life because everybody is going to need more money and more brain power, because they’re gonna live longer.
Lori Esarey: Yep. And Kelly and I talk about all the time, the speed at which we have to learn and change today, seems like fast forward 10x power. Because early in business, I could go, okay, our business plan is 5 10 years out, right? And these are the things we need to put in place now. And this is the change we need to make. But we can make that one in, 2 years or 3 years. Now, as things are evolving so fast with AI and other things. It’s like what we thought we had time on. We know we have six months now or we have two months or we’ve got to do that now. So you’re right. That bandwidth, that creativity, creative space and it’s incredible, it’s really hard to keep our brains at peak performances, business owners. I’m glad you invest in them, but I think all of this can be extrapolated to anyone.
Kep Kepner: Absolutely. Yes. And there are things that, for example, my wife, Kim and I noticed we were sitting around watching too much TV and we decided to take up chess, for example. So she and I are playing chess in the evening to exercise our brains. We’ve had conversations about many things that we don’t really know about, like. Do you know what a quark is? It’s this miniscule little piece of data that is unmeasurable to any of us, but just a conversation about that tells us, wow, that the world’s knowledge is going to be implanted in a chip in our shoulder sometime and we have everything available to us and all kinds of things like that, that’s how fast this world is moving. It’s crazy fast and our brains have to adapt to that world and stay ahead of it. And so you have to think a little bit differently to cause that to happen.
Lori Esarey: So I want to ask you, because you did just hit on, one of the strategies that you and your wife have with, instead of watching TV, playing chess, are there some other strategies that you have implemented yourself personally or as a couple and besides the things you’ve already spoken about obviously, exercise as a whole is really important to you but what are some things that you would say are the most important things or things that you have implemented that might be helpful to our listeners?
Kep Kepner: Mostly, because we all spend a great deal of time at our business so, I have changed the way I approach business, so I make sure that I get something meaningful done everyday. And actually, your brain works a little bit against you, so here’s how that happens. Let’s say I’m going to do a really complex tax return that’s going to take me eight hours, all day long. Fortunately, I have other people doing that for me. Here’s the reality. Your brain can’t concentrate fully for eight hours on something. Not only do you have to take breaks, but generally the science says that you can only work for about 45 minutes with full concentration on something before you begin to lose focus and you begin to think about other things. And so when you’re faced with something really important that’s gonna be large in nature, you have to learn how to plan that so you don’t try to do it all today. You break it up in pieces and you measure how you’re going and you say, Wow, I feel really good that I got this preparatory work done today. And oh, I feel really good that I got a draft of something done this afternoon and or tomorrow. I think that’s a really big part of it. And I go home almost every day feeling like I’ve accomplished something meaningful in my life and in my business, sometimes related to a client. I’ve got an important client. I really want to make sure that I communicate some information to them. And when I do that, I feel really good about that. And other cases, it’s just internal things that we have to do. At home, I think it is really important to, all the things that you teach people, about wellness really do apply to the brain. But here’s something I know that you guys know, your brain is about 2% of your body. It takes 20 to 30% of your daily calories.
Kelly Engelmann: It’s a very greedy organ, right?
Kep Kepner: It takes 20% of your blood flow. I mean, think, are you feeding your brain that McDonald’s hamburger? Or are you feeding your brain some really healthy calories? So, your brain wants to work. It wants to do things. It wants to be challenged and those are the things that it thrives on and we tend to think of that differently. We think, well, we gotta just let’s not think about anything. Let’s watch TV and everybody does some of that, but the reality is when you pick things that are challenging to you, it’s really important.
I think that meeting people that are different from you, what you and your wife can do, you can go to a, some sort of event that there are people around that you don’t know. That’s a great way to enhance your brain power, because your brain has to work at that, particularly if they’re speaking a different language, you’re trying to understand their culture, you’re trying to understand why they look at things differently or the same as you do. That’s really powerful for your brain because you’re using your frontal lobe where you do all this heavy duty work. In the area of meeting other people.
Kelly Engelmann: So Kep, I think you just wrote a prescription for travel. That’s what I heard.
Kep Kepner: I saw the pictures of the two of you.
Lori Esarey: Yeah. I think I heard you say a couple of things that I think need to be repeated. Stay social, get out, and I think the older people get, the more isolated they tend to become. And oftentimes because of their senses, their vision, their hearing and things that they don’t do as well, right? Those are challenges, but you’re saying, do it anyway, stay social, get out of the house, challenge yourself, and be with someone or around people, if you don’t have a spouse to challenge you. Right?
Kep Kepner: Yes.
Lori Esarey: To challenge you. Eat good, sleep good, and do all the things that I believe, yes, our listeners hear us speak about all the time. What you eat, what you drink, how you sleep, move, and think are definitely important.
Kep Kepner: I think there are a couple other things that relate to that. We can all think of a time, when we were carrying around something in our psyche, where we needed to apologize to somebody. Think about how heavy that is. Oh, I’m going to run into that person. Oh, they’re gonna know ,they’re gonna remember and all these sort of things. And, the simple act of apologizing, is one of those things that frees your brain. And if you don’t, it just weighs on your brain. Well, what’s that have to do with your financial life? Well, you’re going to go meet with your financial planner and you told your financial planner you were going to do something. You were going to go take an active, proactive look at your financial life, and you didn’t do it. Wow, okay, they’re going to hold me accountable. And if you don’t face up to those sort of things, you’re going to carry that burden with you. So I think that that’s a really simple thing that we all have experienced with ourselves and with family members and friends where life would be much better, much freer. Allow us to do things. If we just forgive things, and apologize ourselves when we do something wrong. And that’s not about nutrition. That’s not about training your brain. But your brain knows when it’s let go of something really hard and burdensome to you.
Lori Esarey: I think when we haven’t offered forgiveness and we’re in a place of just emotional overload, if you will, those are distractions that keep us from doing and honoring commitments. And so, going back to what you said, because what you said is, it was a lot, it was good stuff, really good stuff. But in that, what I heard you say is, yes we’ve got to forgive. Forgive ourselves and forgive others, not caring our emotions and holding on to things that are going to distract us from the joys of life and the things and our commitments, that we have to definitely could be a deterrence from being financially well.
Kep Kepner: Yes. Our brain health is more than just numbers, obviously. It’s all these things. And when I train people using these brain protocols, one of the things I work with them on is, in fact, I think, Kelly, I saw this in something you recently sent out, or the both of you did, had to do with developing a road map. Yogi Berra, who’s this funny Yankees baseball manager, one time he said, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to end up somewhere else. And that’s true. So for business owners, where I coach them and work with them. I talk about their road map, I help them define what that is, and then some of these important things we do every day that move our needle forward and help us grow our brain. Those are the things that move you along the path of your road map. And that can be a roadmap that relates to nutrition and diet and the wellness concepts that you guys work with so well. It’s the same kind of thing. If somebody has a target in mind and move forward on that, then they will have the benefit of being able to help their brain and use it in a much better way.
When I coach businesses, I think that’s a real important part because I integrate the brain training protocols in with what they think is important to them. And, actually, at the Center for Brain Health, this shows, how your brain actually grows. So, I mentioned that The Center for Brain Health Science proves that if you use your brain differently about the things that are important to you, you actually grow your white matter in your brain. Well, Kelly, you would know, and Lori, Your white matter is kind of your transportation highway within your brain. And business decisions require you not only thinking about it in your frontal lobe, where you do all this heavy lifting, but your white matter is kind of the transportation highway back to your temporal lobe where you have your memory center and your emotional center. So, I’m not a brain scientist at all, but it sure seems to me if that transportation highway is strong, then I’m going to come up with a much better analysis of the issues and I’m going to come up with better decisions.
Kelly Engelmann: Absolutely.
Lori Esarey: We talk a lot about wellness and I think what you’re speaking today about is so true. And I’m hoping everyone is hearing this is wellness is so complex, it’s not just about nutritional wellness, I heard you say that earlier, although that’s a big part of it, it surely is. But it’s physical wellness and mobility, it’s emotional wellness. Overall health is spiritual wellness and it’s financial wellness. And it’s all of those pieces are very intricately, entwined together, because they all affect one another and so although this is a conversation about better brain health to have, better overall health to improve overall financial picture, because I think that’s really what we’re talking about today, that does spill over to every other aspect of wellness. What were you going to say Kelly, as well?
Kelly Engelmann: I was going to say, when we think about our thought process, how does the thought process play into directing the limbic system. Like let’s see interplay, because we all have thoughts that come into our brain and affect our emotions and sometimes those thoughts are, real or they’re all real, but sometimes they are factual. And sometimes those thoughts are not factual and we have to decide what to believe. We shouldn’t believe all of our thoughts, right? So, Kep how does that play into the limbic system? and how do we discern like how to navigate the many many thoughts that we have a day and how that can be either distracting or how that can be powerful?
Kep Kepner: So again, Kelly this much better than I do because of your medical background, but every thought, when you have a thought, the brain releases chemicals, and electrical transmissions go across your brain, and you become aware of what you’re thinking. If you have bad thoughts, your brain is going to release negative chemicals. You’re gonna feel bad, you’re going to feel tense, you’re going to sweat, you’re going to feel stressed. If you have good thoughts, your brain’s going to release positive chemicals. You’re going to feel good, you’re going to feel loved, you’re get those dopamine hits. And these thoughts affect everything in your body. And so if you’re thinking that things are going to be bad from a financial standpoint, odds are they’re going to be bad, or at least your reaction to those thoughts is going to be negative. And you really don’t have to accept every thought that you have. There’s kind of a test that somebody can use. Let’s say, I can give you a personal example. If I don’t solve a business or tax problem, and I think I should, I get down on myself. I say, man, you’re smarter than that. You ought to be able to solve that, what’s wrong? So I kind of have some of these little negative thoughts about that. So I have to test. Well, am I really dumb? I might call myself that sometimes when I can’t solve it. But you ask, is that really true? Well, I know it’s not true in my case. I mean, I’ve got all this education, I do difficult things. Test it again, is your thought absolutely true? Well, no, it’s not true. Because I know, given some time or other things, I’ll be able to solve that problem. And then you ask yourself, How do I react? When I believe that thought, Wow, if I act like I can’t solve things, I’m not smart enough, then I’m going to have a negative reaction. I’m going to be stressed, how am I going to serve my clients? How am I going to build up the financial resources I need for my family? And then, the last thing you do to test that is you say, Who would I be or how would I act if I didn’t believe that thought? If I didn’t believe that thought, then I’d say, Well, I just need to rest for a while, I’ll come back and I’ll be able to solve the problem the next time. Or, this is just a little glitch in the way I’m looking at my financials, I’ll get some advice from somebody, or I’ll look at it a different way, and I’ll come up with a better decision. So, we really don’t have to believe every thought we have, and we have a lot of control over that. So I know that both of you are familiar with the term neuroplasticity or brain plasticity. And I think the greatest probably myth about the brain is that it’s fixed. And those of us who’ve studied the brain know that that’s not the case. And the real, terminology brain plasticity or neuroplasticity says that the brain is changing all the time. However, that can be for the better or for the worse. So, We have to not only do the things that are nutritionally and intellectually powerful and helpful for us, but we also have to learn to challenge ourselves when we get a thought that we really know isn’t true about us. So, we all have the ability to do that. Sometimes we have to learn about it. And take charge of our own lives and Okay, I know that really isn’t true. Just cos I didn’t solve that problem doesn’t make me dumb, it makes me willing to go back and use some more resources and figure out about that. Because I’m behind on my credit cards. And I can’t seem to make every payment I’ve got to make. That doesn’t mean I’m financially inept. It means I need to look at things differently. I need to look at my financial life in a different way. And maybe I can find somebody that can help me in that regard. So there are all kinds of things that we can do to begin to understand that we can live our lives differently and improve our brain power in the process.
Kelly Engelmann: Yeah, a lot of what Lori and I talk about with our patients is, the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. And what I hear you saying is a lot of times we get stuck in that fixed mindset. And that’s where we get trapped, whether we’re a business owner, or where we’re just the CEO of our body, we get trapped into those negative thoughts, believing those negative thoughts, and then acting on those negative thoughts, right?
Kep Kepner: That’s right.
Kelly Engelmann: So we can turn that around. We can, change our mind about the fixed mindset and adapt a growth mindset at any stage of life.
Lori Esarey: And I love what you said, Kep, about questioning your thoughts. And I don’t think that that’s something that people typically think about doing. It’s my thought, I own it. No, think about that thought. Reframe that thought. Just because it’s a thought doesn’t mean it’s real. Is it truthful? Is it grounded? And if you do get stuck, I hear you saying, and we do talk a lot about fixed mindset versus growth mindset. Because when you are stuck, often it’s a feeling of entrapment, but urging in that moment where you feel like this is just the way it is, right? I hear that all the time. This is just the way it is. I can’t really do anything about it. Well, we can, but sometimes we can’t, sometimes we have to in fact oftentimes we have to reach out, be vulnerable, ask for help, seek someone else’s view of that situation, and not to be afraid of that.
Kep Kepner: The most successful business owners, I believe, in this small business world, are the people that are vulnerable. And that sounds really bad because most businesses say my business, I’m in charge, I know what I’m doing. And the reality that vulnerability is the thing that lets you ask other people for counsel. And then use that it’s my business, my life, to incorporate new knowledge and then make decision. And Kelly, the way you guys describe the growth mindset is perfect about that. Because most people who have a fixed mindset also are not growing their brain. They’re not utilizing all their abilities. They’re partly stuck in their inability and unwillingness to take the counsel of other people. And just like we ought to challenge ourselves, about our thoughts. It’s okay to challenge the third parties that you may consult with. A challenge what they have told you because it may or may not be right for you. So I think you guys are absolutely on track and it really has to do not only with your personal life and your wellness, but also your financial life for sure.
Lori Esarey: So what are the effects of multitasking? I mean, us as business owners, we’re always talking about, we almost pride ourselves on the fact that we can multitask. And I think in many respects, it’s been a help, right? But can it be a hindrance?
Kep Kepner: As a matter of fact, we can’t multitask. So you may be task switching, but multitasking means doing two things simultaneously, while pursuing separate goals. So, think about a teenager, they’re on TikTok. They’re not listening to you, because they can’t do two things at once. Put that phone down! Okay? People cannot, our brains have not evolved to be able to do two things at the same time. Now, if the three of us are working on a project, well, we can use different modalities. We can talk about it orally. We can bring in all kinds of written material that we can read. We can see slides and analyze all that because we’re working towards the same goal. And that’s not multitasking. We all have projects and things we have to do that there are a multitude of components, that’s not multitasking. Thinking about doing two things simultaneously with different goals. That’s what multitasking is. And the statistics are amazing, most people, when they’re interrupted, they don’t even go back or at least 35% of the time, they don’t even go back to the same thing they were working on before interrupted, because we’re probably answering those emails that we don’t want to do. So, when we multitask, we become suckers for irrelevancy, like TikTok. We’re distracted. Think about trying to do a medical evaluation about somebody. And talk about, I know Kelly, you don’t talk too much about sports, but talk about football at the same time you’re trying to do something technical. You just can’t do it. Get out of my life, I need to work on this because you can’t do it. And you mentioned the idea of fluid thinking. Well, we all have a lot of information, knowledge that we have built up, if you’re multitasking, you begin to lose fluid intelligence, which is where you’re applying all this fixed knowledge you have to a client or to a situation. If you’re distracted by multitasking. You just can’t do that.
Lori Esarey: Well, this has been incredibly informational, on many levels. It has been, such a pleasure picking your brain, pun intended, about brain health. And it’s a relationship to financial wellness, Kep. We really appreciate you being willing to do what you’ve done today and being gracious with your time and being on here today. We do want to ask you just a couple things as we head into closing. Is there any advice, maybe something we haven’t gotten to yet, but you’re like, before I get off of here. I gotta share it. What would that be?
Kep Kepner: I think one of the most important things although I mentioned it before, is figuring out your personal roadmap, what you’re trying to accomplish, because that will guide you to do the things that are most important to you. And those are the things that stimulate your brain. They’re the things that let you go home at night and feel like you really accomplish something and they don’t always have to be about business or cognitive things or wellness. It just might be things about family or other things that are important. So, I think that’s really important.
Kelly Engelmann: I think the first time Kep, Lori and I sat down with you last year to do an interview, I think for a blog, I was expecting you to talk about ways to save on your taxes, how to budget for your health, and this is so much richer than that. So I just want to commend you for being that voice of let’s get to the main thing. Let’s think about the root cause of why we behave in a certain way financially speaking. How can we maximize our potential for being able to make really, really good financial decisions regardless of what realm of life that’s in, whether that’s business or personal or pleasure. I just seem so honored and thrilled to have you in my life and to have you here sharing your knowledge with our community. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being here. How can people reach you? Like what what’s a good way to connect with what you have going on? I didn’t mention before. I don’t think that you’re actually in Dallas, you’re in Texas. We have listeners all over the US, so if someone wanted to reach out, how would they do that?
Kep Kepner: They can certainly look to kepnercpa.com and find us that way. Or they can go to mindsmarts.com, that’s where I have all of the brain training available, as well as training in a variety of business topics. The general concept of MindSmarts is, if you first take the brain training course, material, then you would pick business courses that remind you how to use those protocols when you’re dealing with issues like cash flow and how to price your product and marketing and financing all of these business topics, because getting the best decision in those areas requires getting the best out of your brain.
Lori Esarey: Well, thank you again so much for sharing your healthier brain tips to having healthier finances. We really appreciate talking with you, Kep, and I can’t wait to sit down with you again next time.
Kep Kepner: Thank you, Lori, and Kelly, thank you for being my friend as well. It’s really interesting how two people from totally different background can connect on something like this as well as just our personal relationship, where coming from totally different places. We both have this passion about the brain and about wellness. So thank you, Kelly. And thank you, Lori.
Lori Esarey: Absolutely. Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode. You can find more information about Synergee at Synergee for Life. That’s S Y N E R G E E the number four life. com.
Kelly Engelmann: And then Synergee Connect is our Facebook. And then please make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so that you make sure you get future notifications of episodes.
Lori Esarey: The purpose of our Synergee podcast is to educate. It does not constitute medical advice. By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others, including, but not limited to, patients that you are treating. Please consult your own physician for any medical issues you may be having.
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