Kathy: Good morning, Zech and Rachel, welcome to the show.
Zech: Thanks for having us, Kathy.
Rachel: Thank you, Kathy.
Kathy: Oh man. Thanks for making time. Or, well, it’s so great to have you. And first of all, we want to just get to know you a little bit. So tell us about where you guys live and what roles you currently hold your family.
Rachel: Sure. Yeah. We live in Oakland, Oregon, which is in like Southern Oregon and it’s a little teeny historic town that we just love the community.
Kathy: I see some of your pictures Zech, and they’re beautiful.
Zech: Yeah, we get sunsets every night. So it’s gorgeous. Yeah. The town’s, a whopping 800 people. Oh, wow. Yeah. And currently I do a few different things, so I own a pizza restaurant. And I’m an author, coach and speaker. And then we’ve started a little farm business called six day farm, so,
Kathy: Oh, cool.
Six day farm.
Rachel: Okay. And I teach fifth grade, so I’m busy with kids a lot.
Kathy: Oh my goodness. What has this year been like for you, Rachel? Have you primarily been online?
Rachel: Half of the year? We were online and then in January we came back to in-person wearing masks and socially distancing. And it’s this year it felt like two years.
Kathy: I bet. Yeah. Yeah, because to some degree it’s like, you know, a lot of us are like, Oh, that happened last year. And somebody will say, no, that was two years ago. It was like, Oh yeah, we, we lost a year kind of, but yeah. And you guys have, how many kids currently?
Rachel: We have three kids.
Kathy: Well, I say currently, like, maybe there’ll be more
so three. And they are how old?
As Zoe is 12, we call her our protein just close to 13 and 10 and hope is eights.
Yeah. That’s so great. And how long have you guys been married?
Zech: 17 years in June
Kathy: Well, congratulations. You’ve got a celebration coming up and I know from your book Zach, you, you like celebrating and we are kindred spirits there. I’m like celebrate everything, celebrate every anniversary birthday. Did we make money last month? Yeah, let’s celebrate.
Okay. I have a couple of questions that I like to ask couples as just a way to, kind of icebreakers. The first one is if your marriage was a team sport, what would it be?
Rachel: First thought is basketball. Since we had three kids, it was like, we went from one-on-one defense does zone defense and it feels like every kid has their own play. That we have to follow up in order to be successful. Parents never ending. It’s always go, go, go, go, go.
Kathy: Yeah. How about you, Zach? Would you have a different,
Zech: No I totally agree with that.
I think yeah, we joked the moment we came home with our third, that okay. This changes the game now, now it is zone and what are we going to do now? And our life is always on the go back and forth, back and forth. That’s that’s what it feels like. So that celebrating thing you mentioned, Kathy is so important because of that. Otherwise days during the weeks and months, years, and then it’s what happened.
Kathy: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Somewhere you need a halftime to just breathe, right?
Kathy: And it will come. It will come all too quickly. I can tell you that we have three, they’re all grown and married and wonderful spouses. And we love all of our, I call them our in loves instead of in-laws. Yeah, so we’re very, very fortunate there, but it does.
It seems like you blink twice and they’re, they’re grown up. So we are all a work in progress, but up until this point, what would you say is a person or a book that has most influenced and shaped the person you are today?
Rachel: That’s a good one. Well, I would say for marriage right before we got married, I read Love and Respect by Emerson, Eggriches
and that really, I think helps guide me as a wife and that realizing how much Zach needs
And in turn, I get the love that I need. So that book really shaped me.
Zech: Awesome. Yeah, for me my answer she’s shaped me more than anyone else. We, we actually met in eighth grade and so we’ve grown up together and so I’ve been radically shaped by her.
Kathy: Wow. Do you want to unpack that a little bit, or tell us some ways that she has shaped you.
Zech: Yeah. She has shaped me to see other people, so she’s the empathetic one in our marriage.
And so it has made me much more empathetic than I would have been without her. I would have been focused on dollars and not people. And honestly, probably the dollars wouldn’t have came because of it. But because of her, that that’s the biggest thing. And then a safe place for me just to be who God designed me to be, which is I think one of the most important things in this world.
And I mean, without it, I probably would have just been a masked up person pretending to be someone that I wasn’t. Yeah. A big fake.
Kathy: Yeah. What a beautiful picture of marriage. And gosh, thanks for sharing that. What are three words that you would use to describe your spouse?
Rachel: Well, I would say Zach is very visionary.
He’s an adventurer and a restorer
Zech: and Rachel, I already said one of them, but empathy constant empathy and loving and fun. She she’s the one that actually brings the fun. I have to mark the celebrations because otherwise I won’t. But Rachel is the fun one.
Kathy: Oh, that’s fun. That’s fun. Well, let’s dive into your story a little bit.
You said you met each other in eighth grade now, when did you start dating?
Rachel: So we started dating our well, the summer of our junior year of high school. Yeah, I was a stalker. I first spotted Zach in eighth grade doing track and I thought, Ooh, who is this new boy that came from the Christian school? And I followed him through his classes and my sister drives me by his house a few
Kathy: Here’s a woman that knows what she wants
Rachel: I did, yes,
I really did. And I prayed that God would one day bring him to me and we would get married. So he listened and followed
through with that.
Zech: God listened, and not me. I ran,
Kathy: yeah. Track came in, in handy. Right.
Zech: It freaked me out. I was like, we barely talked till I was 17.
And well, I’d say I grew up brain man, but I don’t think that happened until later. But yeah, we started dating at 17 and when it came time for college, I asked her where she was going, which was the University of Oregon. And so I said, Oh I guess me too. I was never great at school. So I was never focused on school.
So I followed her there and we got married after she graduated. So.
Kathy: Okay, so right out of college. So when you got married, what did the future look like in terms of work and what your aspirations were for, for work and your purpose in life?
Zech: So we were young and dumb. So June 1st I bought our first restaurant that we currently own now.
And we got married on the 27th of that month.
Kathy: Oh my goodness.
Zech: And so and Rachel was doing her masters in education that year. So a lot of people fight their first year of marriage a year. We didn’t see each other. So we didn’t fight at all.
Kathy: That might be a new approach to the newlywed year.
Zech: Right. I had no clue what I was getting into.
I think both in marriage and in business, And so you know, we went on a two week honeymoon and I thought, Oh, my store will be fine. I mean, I came back to mass chaos and I had to sleep in the back of the store. Cause I was there so often because the crew all left, they didn’t like me as a boss. I didn’t know how to lead yet.
Kathy: yeah. You were all of what, 20, 22, what led you to buy a business at 22 Zech?
Zech: So I grew up, I own a Figaro’s pizza. My dad owned several Figaro’s pizzas growing up. And so I started working in the restaurant, washing dishes at eight. And so I knew the business very well. My dad told me I would never get into the business. Cause he wanted something else for me,
Kathy: Oh, he didn’t want you to go into
Zech: the, no, he said it’s too hard. And. Right before I was going to get married. I was working several part-time jobs when he, he said, Hey, there’s a store for sale in Southern Oregon. It’s three and a half hours from me. You should check it out.
And so we drove down here. We didn’t even know where that town was. And thought, okay, let’s give this a shot.
Kathy: Oh, that’s a big step. As, especially as newlyweds. It’s one thing, like you said to know the business, it’s another thing to know how to run it and make those decisions about hiring and all the things that go with running the business.
So I’m assuming Rachel, that given that you all started off that way, you had an inkling that he was an entrepreneur, or did you even know that word then?
Rachel: Think. For the most part. I knew what that word was then, but yeah, ever since I met him, I knew he was going to be in the business in some type of business. And just the way that he talked and he always wanted to do something with his hands and he would easily get bored and just always had to do new things.
So I knew that he had that entrepreneurial spirit in him.
Kathy: Yeah. And did you have any experience with that, Rachel, in terms of knowing kind of what to expect on this journey?
Rachel: Never, nope! I came from a house of educators, so and being a teacher, that’s what I grew up in. That’s what I was used to my mom being a teacher, fourth grade teacher, and my dad was a superintendent of a school district. So that kind of. Was what I was used to and having my mom home in the summers and on breaks, then my dad having a month off.
And it just, yeah, it was way different than Zach’s family. So that took some adjusting too,
Kathy: for sure. Absolutely. So how did you guys begin to adapt to, you know, some people liken the entrepreneurial journey to a roller coaster with ups and downs and highs and lows and curves you weren’t expecting. And part of the reason that I do this podcast is I’m, I’m kinda beating a drum, trying to change a narrative that says you have to give up everything, sacrifice everything, to have a successful business or venture or creative pursuit, whatever it is, that’s entrepreneurial.
And I disagree. And I’m finding couples like yourselves who have figured out ways, maybe are still figuring out ways to create a healthy marriage and thrive as a couple and individuals while building a successful business. So can you give us some thoughts about what you all have learned along the way in terms of how you navigate, especially these unexpected turns?
Rachel: Right. So I would say that we we’re just intentional about communicating with each other daily about our days and what was the high in of the day, what was the low in the day? And also we actually recently just, we wrote some goals and one goal was that we would have a weekly date night because the last year and a half, that hasn’t happened consistently with things that are going on.
And then also Sabbathing once a week. So Sunday being our Sabbath day where we just rest and connect as a couple and as a family and delight things of God. So I think that that has helped us be grounded with each other and stay connected through the busy-ness of life.
Zech: Yeah, I think unfortunately most of the lessons we’ve learned in that regard have been because of not doing them.
Yeah. You know, I, I think early on in business and unfortunately I’m so glad you’re doing this. I mean, fortunately, I’m glad you’re doing this project too, because entrepreneurs, unfortunately, most, I think, their businesses, is a mistress. It’s it, they got into, I think business owners get excited about things.
They got into it for freedom and it becomes the chains to their life. And that was me. I, like I said, I was sleeping in the back of the store. I, I was washing my hair in the back sinks because you know, put a cot on the back floor and working the 80 hours plus, and why? But I, but I didn’t know any different and Rachel’s If you’re familiar with Enneagram, she’s enneagram nine.
So she’s a peacemaker. And so that’s right. She just she just went with it until we had kids. And then me being home super late was no longer okay. Which in my immaturity, I wasn’t okay with her not being okay with that. Like, this is what you signed up for. A lot of arguments to get to the life. Now that business is freedom, because we make it that way.
Kathy: Yeah. The founder of Spanx I just blanked on her name. Sarah, is it Sarah? I’ll have to come up with it. Anyway, she’s I have a quote somewhere that I wrote down that she said, “entrepreneurs are the only ones that will work 80 hours for themselves to avoid working 40 hours for someone else?
And, you know, there are things that drive entrepreneurs you know, people look at it once you’re successful and their systems and things are flowing better. And it’s like, you know where you. You’ve worked very hard, maybe to have a little more freedom in your schedule and people go, it must be nice.
It’s like, you don’t know what it took to get here. You know, where were you when I was sleeping on a cot in the back room and and a lot of marriages don’t make that you know, they, they, they aren’t able to navigate that. And so that is part of the reason for, you know, helping couples hear that there are couples that have made it Zech
it’s still a work in progress.
So you enjoy writing Zach, you’ve written a book, you write a lot of posts for different entrepreneur, I think. And where else have you written?
Zech: I’ve written on Fast Company as well. Did Addicted to Success. Mindbodygreen
Kathy: the Good Men Project. I’ve seen your articles there. Yup. Yup. And they say that one of the benefits of writing is that it helps to clarify our thoughts and beliefs.
And so I’m curious to know what are some principles that have become more clear to you, especially as it pertains to your marriage in the context of business, what are some principles that you have found to be really important for you and Rachel?
Zech: So I don’t write for anyone else. And maybe that’s terrible writing advice.
Because most people say, you know, you pick the avatar and do that for me, it is to clarify, thought it is to remind myself what matters, because everything that doesn’t matter is demanding. Things that matter. Aren’t my relationship with God, my relationship with Rachel, my relationship with all three of my kids, they’re not going to be demanding, until it’s harmed in some way.
And so writing reminds me to keep first things first. I heard a long time ago, and it’s really changed my life of if you fail at home, you failed, period. And, so writing reminds me of those things. It also, honestly, it is a place where, so, so I said, Rachel was an Enneagram nine don’t, don’t be scared, but I’m an enneagram 4,, I would
Kathy: say, I bet you’re a four 11, right.
Zech: AndI cry when I write a lot. So a lot of me, a lot of times, it’s my way of expressing pain and hurt and heartache and frustration because the must be nice that people say that does happen for me. The pain is what I see or that something people don’t talk about often with visionaries is my vision is never there.
It’s always out there. And it moves. And so that’s a constant state of pain. And so it’s it’s my counseling in a lot of ways, or my pre-counseling to actual counseling to clarify those thoughts also is like, Oh, I’m going to try this out. Oh, and here’s a leadership principle. What would I do if I had this problem?
And I was just writing to myself, Oh, this is what I would do. Okay. I better go do that. So,
Kathy: And do you publish everything you write or is a lot of it, like you said, just for yourself and your own personal, growth.
Zech: I do publish everything.
And you know, I, I don’t have great punctuation and grammar. I’m actually sitting with my editor. And so a lot of times she’ll edit and say, you’re just too hard on yourself. That is not as bad as it was. And so I’m like, okay, Just post it.
Kathy: There you go. That is great. And so I guess by default, Rachel, you read everything
he writes if you’re the editor and, and it sounds like maybe that leads to some conversations for the two of you. Maybe opens up some conversations.
Rachel: Yup. Yup. And I would say that I know that he took dibs first, but I would say I learned a lot from him too, by reading his writing and that’s helped shape me and who I am today.
I think that, yeah, he inspires me in a lot of ways through his writing. So I really appreciated that about him.
Kathy: Hmm. Sometimes we can write things that are just, they’re harder to say. And I came across a tool years ago. So my background, I was a marriage and family therapist for many years, and now I do coaching for couples.
But the background I have is part of what helped me and Mark to navigate some of the harder points as we were growing a business and raising kids and all the craziness that went with that. But I read about a tool called a marriage journal where you just take a notebook, it can be just a dollar notebook.
You pick up at the dollar store and especially when there’s maybe a painful conflict or something, and it’s just too hard to look each other in the face and say like, I hate you in this moment maybe, but you can write it down in that journal. And then, kind of give it back and forth to each other. And we’ve used that periodically.
We haven’t in quite awhile, partly because it was in storage for almost three years. And I guess we could have started a new one, but we didn’t. So anyway, that’s, that’s a gift to have that and, and a way to open up communication. Well, it’s interesting that that y’all are a four and a nine. I know there are books that have been written about how the different types in her interface, and I’m not I’m pretty familiar with the Enneagram.
I’ve done a lot of my own work using the Enneagram, but what have you learned about how fours and nines, what have you had to adjust to get use to, to make space for each other? Let’s say it that way.
Zech: So making space is a great, great thing to say. I never, I mean, there’s not a moment that I don’t know what I feel. I’m very aware. And doing Enneagram was like a light bulb moment for me that Rachel truly doesn’t know what she’s feeling and I need to allow space. And one of the gifts that we have is she’s my calm.
She calms me and I often will guide her into what she’s feeling. Well, this is how I would feel. Does that resonate with you? Those types of things has been very helpful.
Rachel: Yeah. I’d say that’s the number one thing is he’s helping, me, I communicate what I really like. What’s inside of there that needs to get out.
And that’s been really helpful
Zech: for sure. We used to early on in our marriage when we would fight, I would, she would just agree with me. And I would go, no, am I at a terrible point making your argument for and it just I value different things than she does. And I mean, I think that’s true in all marriages, but that was another one where like Rachel loves to lay in bed, you know, once she wakes up, I don’t understand that I’m getting going.
And so just kind of, I don’t have to get it to give it. And so Like bringing her coffee in the morning is a huge love thing for her. And so that way she can stay out there, away from the kids and relax,
Kathy: Oh my goodness, we’re married to the same man, Rachel. My husband doesn’t even drink coffee and he brings me coffee almost every day.
I know makes a great cup of coffee. Well, and one of the things about nines, some nines are described as the peacemakers. For those of you not familiar with the Enneagram. Fours are, what’s the word used to describe fours, Zach? I forget
Zech: there’s a few of them, but the romantic,
Kathy: The romantic. Okay. Kind of idealistic a little bit.
They want to be deeply understood.
Rachel: Exactly, but that’s the biggest thing I’ve noticed about Zech, that is he needs to be deeply understood by me to feel respected and loved.
Zech: And then I want to deeply understand others. And so thank goodness Rachel is totally authentic with me because that’s a deal breaker in all relationships with me, if, if someone’s not willing to be authentic.
Kathy: How long ago did you guys take the Enneagram and what prompted that
Zech: two years ago? I was working at a church actually as a pastor and and we just all took it as a, as a staff and I get really nerdy with stuff I love to read. I probably read a book a week and so I started researching all the things, nines and fours.
And what. What’s the great spots. Where’s the problem spots. And then going, wow. My whole family is full of eights and I’m a four, no wonder. Okay. Okay. How do I interact with those? And so, yeah.
Kathy: Yeah. And especially a nine, I mean, what strikes me is one of the stories in your books, Zech, you talk about I don’t know if it was the early days, cause you talk about coming home and Rachel had a crying baby.
So I don’t know how many years into your marriage that was, but I’m thinking that for a nine, it’s very hard to speak up and say what they need. So Rachel, what helped you to maybe begin to do that more and kind of claim your own sanity? Right.
Rachel: I think witnessing Zach do that and me. And him telling me that, you know, it’s okay.
You can be honest, tell me, you know, what’s going on in your mind and I’m not going to get upset. But just giving me that permission that he’s, you know, he’s not going to react in a way that I’m going to shut down and not want to communicate. And just him being authentic with me
really helped in
me to be authentic with him and realize that there’s an intimacy there that grows when we’re both authentic with each other.
Kathy: That is so good. I, you know, sometimes we think about intimacy as being one dimensional, but it’s really six there’s social intimacy. The ability to share friends. There’s recreational, sharing fun. There’s the physical intimacy, which is what we typically relate to intimacy. Emotional, spiritual, and cognitive, like the ability to share our brains.
And so there’s all these different ways that we can create more intimacy, but if we’re not able to be emotionally connected, then all these other things, because the emotional and the physical are actually very, you know, those go hand in hand. So very interesting. Have you guys just worked on that on, on your own or have you done any work with a counselor or coach to kind of deepen some of these areas in your marriage?
Rachel: Yeah. So yes and no. A few years ago though, we went through marriage team coaching. I don’t know if you’ve heard of marriage team, but they’re out of Washington. And they come and train couples to be marriage coaches. And so we went through that training, right, and got to practice how to communicate with each other.
And just got to know the trigger points of each other and how just to really show respect and love to each other through that training. And I think that really helped us in our marriage and become better communicators.
Kathy: I love that I’ve, I’ve talked to couples before about mentoring. And sometimes if I ask somebody, Hey, have y’all thought about mentoring a younger couple?
And they’re like, they suddenly panic. Like what in the world would we say our marriage isn’t perfect. And you know, it’s not about having a perfect marriage. Right. But do you guys mentor some younger couples?
Zech: Yes. And because of being a pastor for five years like we’re, I’m performing a wedding this summer, and so we’re doing premarital counseling with couples and yeah.
If there’s nothing like teaching stuff to remind ourselves, we are dropping the ball on that area. Let’s, let’s bring that back up.
Kathy: Yeah. Oh, I totally agree. It’s, it’s a good reminder. Sometimes we just get lazy in our relationship and it’s, it’s a good reminder of what, what are some things we need to be focusing on, even if it’s just one thing at a time, but what do we need to focus on now that could just keep our communication fresh and open.
And I, and I love whatever group that is. I’ll put that in the show notes. But you know, where do we learn to have healthy relationships? Even if we had parents that had a great marriage, we may not know how they did that, unless someone intentionally talks with us about that. And so that’s really great that you guys are doing that.
Zech: Yea, we assume our upbringings, I mean, we know, I think everyone knows it’s unhealthy in your upbringing, but I don’t think I did not realize that my upbringing just wasn’t normal to Rachel. And so like her parents were home for dinner every night, so that was an expectation that was not communicated. And I’m like, we’re buying a pizza restaurant.
When do you think business happens?? And so it’s, but all the studies show as a teacher, dinner being a really strong point to a healthy family. So each time I would be working a rush, which was the job she was picturing our family burning or something, and so that’s just one area of difference. I mean, it’s just multiple.
My normal was not, Rachel’s normal. And so what do we want? And we never talked about that actively in the beginning.
Rachel: They’re bringing playbooks from both of our lives that we learned growing up and talking about those, which are usually expectations. And then coming up with a new playbook as a couple that we both agree with to have a healthier marriage and family I think has helped.
Kathy: Yeah, unspoken expectations are like a landmine aren’t they in a relationship. Yeah. And then when we can talk about expectations, then we can move to agreements, which are different than expectations, right? Yeah. Yeah. So how have you navigated that, that expectation, which is not by any means an abnormal or unrealistic expectation,
Rachel. How, how did you guys make space for the reality of this job that happens mostly at dinnertime? Right.
Rachel: Well, I think when Zach was at church and the pastor at church, it really opened his eyes to doing business differently, thinking differently. Hm. And I think that he had this mindset where I have to be there every rush and for dinner, otherwise customers will be unhappy because things won’t get done.
And I think working at church, working at the church really helped him to see that that it’s okay to not be in there every single night for every rush. But to just have some more flexibility I guess, and realized the important things aren’t always just business. So I think he’s grown in that area and I’ve grown too. And I’ve realized that wow, before I can see how I put pressure on him to be home in a certain time.
With the way that I have reacted when he came home and those early years of owning a business that made him feel extra stressed out because he knew that I wasn’t pleased that he wasn’t home at a certain time. So realizing that, you know, I don’t want to put that extra pressure on him if there is a night where, or a few nights a week that he has to stay late, but giving him grace and yeah, just, I think we’ve grown and we’ve grown to compromise I guess.
that’s been helpful. Hmm.
Kathy: Compromise is something to be learned. Right? Another thing we don’t, we’re not born knowing how to do, they don’t teach it in school, even as parents, you know, if kids are squabbling. That’s an opportunity for them to learn to compromise, but so often as a parent, we step in and try to fix it for them instead of letting them solve it themselves.
Yeah. Do you, do you own more than one restaurant currently?
Zech: Currently no. And so that was part of, I guess, no other word to say it, but the evolution of me as an entrepreneur is when I was full time as a pastor and had two pizza restaurants it worked and I wasn’t there for the rush. I wasn’t there for any of the business I would just doing behind the scenes stuff.
And surprisingly a paycheck was still the business was doing enough to pay me. And so yeah, and so we sold the building of one of the locations cause I was going to sell everything and just be a pastor and I think God had different plans. And so, yeah, just, I felt differently a couple of years later and decided to step down and back in the restaurant.
So right now I’m a current and what’s next because it anyone that’s contracted what you were doing to something smaller, or it’s too easy right now. So I need more of a challenge.
Kathy: You need a challenge. Yeah. Which is that, that is one of the characteristics. I think, of many entrepreneurs. It was the piece that my husband Mark, I don’t know if you know his story, but he started as a pastor, did that for several years, had a very painful ending at a church.
And he was like, I’m not going to do that again. And so he looked for another path to make a living and ended up being a nursing home administrator. Did that for several years. Discovered he was very good at going into troubled nursing homes, like the state have been in and they were a mess and he come in and cleaned it up.
And then he was bored. He was like, just as you said, Zech, what’s next. Still we didn’t have that framework of what an entrepreneur was. Clearly, he was from the beginning, but we didn’t have that framework. You know, we got married in 1980 and the idea of entrepreneurship has clearly it’s always been there, but in, I don’t know when it began being more, you would read about it and.
You know, our daughter has a degree in social entrepreneurship and, but we didn’t have that context. He just thought there was something wrong with him. Like, I can’t keep a job. I can’t just settle down. I can’t, you know, he had this long list of what he wasn’t and really felt like there was something wrong with him until, well, then he started AlzCare, which takes care of vulnerable.
Elderly, primarily Alzheimer’s and other dementias. He started an assisted living in 1998. So he’s been doing it 22 years. I think it is well, he was 45. He was a couple of years into doing the business before. I got certified to do the disc profile. And there’s a lot of overlap between the disc and Enneagram and any well-validated personality profile is going to have some overlap.
Right. But he’s a very high D and when we read the descriptions, he’s like, Oh my gosh, there’s, there’s not anything wrong with me. This is how I’m wired. And yet, if we don’t have that information about ourselves, then we’re constantly beating ourselves up or beating up our spouse. I mean, there was some frustration on my part,
I’ll be honest that you know, sometimes I felt like, why, why can’t you just stay with a job? Like other people, so we could take a vacation, you know, does that sound familiar, Rachel?
So, you know, then he was able to embrace it, but that is something that It is how he’s wired. He needs something else to do. And we’re buying a business currently. Partly because COVID was a little hard on our business last year and a little scary, more than a little scary, thankfully we’ve, we’ve been okay.
But he decided, I think I need to diversify. So we’re buying a business. We were supposed to close today and it’s been delayed till next week, but yeah, he just needs something to do so
Kathy: Yes. Thank you. It’s a porta potty business!I
Zech: love it,
Kathy: but then I can say that now. I mean, by the time this goes live, it will be a done deal, but yeah, it’s a very different business, very few employees. And so I want to circle back Zech and hear a little more about your transition into full-time or paid ministry. Can you talk to us about how that evolved?
And then I think I read on your blog that you recently resigned from that. So fill us in on that chapter.
Zech: Yeah. So in the beginning of owning our pizza place, it really was pizzas and dollars. I mean, that was it. And over time I was begging God for a deeper calling. And over time I realized that it was the 16 and 17 year olds working for me, that was my calling. And so I started instead of focusing on customers and pizzas, it started to be focusing on here’s a 16 year old. What is your dream for your life? Do you have anything that you want to do and started teaching everything in the business towards that? So, and I still do that today where I, I don’t want them to buy into my dream.
That’s ridiculous. I want them to see how their dream can connect to mine and if it can connect, they’ll take off and flourish. And so the business changed for me and then we ended up opening another store and I got bored,
overwhelmed, or bored. I think. I’d love to be happy in the middle, but I’m just not. Why fight it? And so it was like this, this is too easy. Do I want to open up another store? And
so I started writing now I’m in, I wrote for about five or six years, figured out how to get on to places like entrepreneur and places like that. And it was like, I figured this out. Okay. That’s no longer challenging. And so what’s next. And we have just switched churches and the pastor was like, well, I hear you talk about your business.
You actually, we have an opening you might want, and it was over the groups. And so they hired me on as a group developed group director and mentored me into becoming a pastor over those years. And I became a spiritual development pastor. And they actually saw, were going to promote me. Five months ago, five months ago were going to promote me into key leadership for the future.
And the moment I saw the future, then I asked do I want that. And so I wrestled with it for a while. I didn’t know what was going on, but I wasn’t sleeping at night. And basically that was the peace of God had left is what I feel was going on. And so I was praying about God, do I step back into what I was while I wait for what you have for me next?
Or do I just stay here? And I had read something in Emotional, Healthy Spirituality by Peter Bizarro. And he said, you know, spend two months imagining one direction when it’s a good decision when either decision is not sin, Hey, just two months. And so for two months it was I’m selling my store that I had clung to no one was going to get me to do this,, but I was like, no, for two months, I’m going to imagine I sell that and I’m gonna pour my life in here and I could not sleep for those two months and the moment I switched to, I’m going to resign my role of pastor and step into this,
I slept that night for the first time in months. And so I played out that two months and at the end of those two months, I went into our lead pastor and said, thank you. I’m honored, but no, thank you. And our church thankfully is all about multiplication. And so. Well, it’s a three campus church and they were like multiplying
doesn’t just mean a ministry. And so we believe we’re planting a campus at your store. And so bless me.
Kathy: And I love that there are hopefully more churches like that. Are you familiar with Tim Keller’s book? Every Good Endeavor. That was one of the first things that Mark and I read couple of years ago because he really wrestled having grown up in a ministry family and thinking that his calling was also in ministry.
And so when he. Air quotes left the ministry to start a business, or, well, he worked in the nursing home industry for a while and then did start a company, which some people call it a ministry. And it’s really not. I’m not sure we could have another conversation about how do you define ministry, but it’s a business.
And it, part of what Mark has come to embrace is that there is dignity in creating work for people that have the dignity of going to work. You know, nobody wants a handout and yet there’s been this wrestling spiritually, I think with he especially I think grew up cause we’ve had a lot of conversations.
So I don’t, I’m not intending to speak for him, but it’s something we’ve talked about a lot, this idea that if you really love God, you’ll sell everything and go to Africa or wherever, or be a missionary somewhere. And we have this dichotomy between what we would call secular work and ministry. And yet Tim Keller in that book talks about how everything, you know, everything in our life is sacred if we view it that way.
So I’d love to hear your thoughts and Rachel feel free to chime in too, because I’m sure you guys had many conversations during those two months about selling the store. So I’d love to hear your thoughts about how you view work and ministry. Is there a difference or have you learned to integrate or where are you in that process?
Zech: Hi. So ministry
is so much more administration than I dreamed. So I was over at groups in the beginning and then it switched to all the spiritual moment things. What groups a lot in our church were over 50 groups. And so I have between groups and apprentices, like 120 people. And that I was leading that led the 600 others.
And so, so much of my job was not actually with people. And yeah, it is how you define ministry. I totally totally get that. But I missed working with non-Christians. Awesome. Say this in a, hopefully it doesn’t sound disrespectful. Christians are exhausting, exhausting, and demanding and can fight over the dumbest stuff. I think 2020 and 2021 has proven that yeah, I would love to say God’s people are the most graceful but that’s often not true, unfortunately.
And so I missed working with people that honestly, you could talk about what matters, and that’s a shame that I found that outside of the church, but it is the meaning of life and talking about Jesus and how alive he can be in their life. I think often Christians lose that as they fight over theological positioning.
And all the other things where I just got and as an entrepreneur, this was my aha moment. I had a realization that I don’t want to play politics and unfortunately a lot of times to get people to move in church, you gotta be a little more nuanced and that’s just not my wiring.
Yeah. So I, I mean, I don’t think there’s a, obviously I’m biased. I don’t think there’s a greater call than giving someone a job and teaching them to work. And being there in the moments of their life, working alongside of them because the truth of scripture they’re there throughout their lives and say, I get to enter in to those conversations with people that have never even heard about Jesus.
And honestly, a lot of times don’t even know I’m telling them a Bible story. As I explained this guy who happens to be Moses, but they don’t know that until the end. And so I’ve learned to tell them stories and to lower their defenses. So I hope I answered that question. Didn’t go down too big of a rabbit trail.
Kathy: No, I wandered around in the questions. So yeah. What, what are your thoughts, Rachel? What was w what was your part of the process as Zach took those two months to think about whether to take that position or not?
Rachel: Yeah, so I kind of went back again. It’s like a roller coaster roller coaster, like, Oh, no. a changes coming.
You have to make a decision. And this peace maker, likes steady and calm. And it did not feel like that to also realizing that I wanted my husband to be at peace. And I knew there was a lot of stress and anxiety and wrestling going on in his mind. And I hated that. So I had to just trust that God would reveal what path would be best for him and for us.
And just the moment hearing that he’s slept through the night after he made that decision, I just had to trust him. Okay, this is God. And even though this is closing a chapter and doing something different, it was going to be okay.
Zech: Yeah, because the thing about the church that she loved is I was home for dinner and, and then I would sometimes have to go back out, but I was always home for dinner and there when the kids got off and it was like, Whoa, I’m going to lose that. And. So that was part of the it’s almost like even though we’ve done the same business for 17 years I have a do over. What’s the life I want.
What’s the life Rachel wants. How can we get the business to be the slave and not the master?
Zech: so like today’s Friday when we’re recording this and she knows on Friday, I’ll I might be home at midnight, but don’t expect me home. So one of the early problems in owning a business was telling her when I would be home in a rush dependent business.
So like, Hey, I’ll be home at this time. Well, We had a line out the door and everything’s going crazy. I couldn’t leave. And I couldn’t make a phone call to tell her that because it was bad in those moments. And so those were some of the lessons we learned. So there’s two nights a week that she knows don’t expect me home till after the kids are in bed.
And hopefully I can be off before that, but the rest of the night I will be home and the business can handle the rest.
Kathy: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s part of growing as a business owner, isn’t it? That you hopefully can get the business to where you can work on the business and not in the business, but it, it takes some time to get there and some growth decisions and.
It’s a good thing for the business when you’ve got people out the door. Right. But it, and it sounds like you’ve been able to work at more realistic expectations and that’s something you can probably live with Rachel, right? Like two nights, right? Yes. But I, I, I will hope that, you know, five nights a week, then we can have dinner together.
And that’s, I, I’m a, I’m a big advocate of family dinner that was some of the best time around the table. And sometimes as our kids were in different sports, it was nine o’clock at night when we were having dinner, but we sat down together. But it wasn’t every night, but it is a good goal to aspire to. So it sounds like there’s a lot still in process.
Tell me about some of the things that you guys do to enhance the fun friendship and intimacy in your marriage.
Rachel: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is we try to schedule little outside of dates, weekly dates mini- moons where we will get away for a couple of nights every three or four months and just have fun together.
And we really love central Oregon just the mountains and the trails and the hikes, and going to restaurants that we don’t have in our little town and have a big foodie. So I love going to places with good food, but yeah, riding bikes together and just, that really helps us to really get away from chores and duties at home and just focus on each other and what we delight in doing together, has helped us to have fun and have a friendship.
Kathy: Oh, that’s so great. Mini what’d you call them mini
Rachel: moons. Yeah.
Kathy: That’s a new term. I’ll have to hang on to that.
Zech: That’s a grandma Newman term. So she she would, she would tell us, get away for mini moons. And so you know, one thing my parents did a great job of, I feel like a great job of modeling is not waiting to live until they retired.
And so that’s part of that. Like if, if I don’t schedule those things, they just don’t happen. It’s not that I don’t like them. I, I love to spend time with my wife. But you got to schedule them and also verbalize expectations again or not even expectations. What do I want? Like. I like as a man, I like to be side-by-side with my wife and doing things with her.
And so, and she likes to talk with me. And so one of the side-by-sides things end up, even in household chores, I love to work outside. And so a year and a half ago it was, well, what can I do to Rachel asked me, what can I do for you that I haven’t been doing? And I said, I would love you to work outside with me.
And she goes, well, there’s so much to do inside.. I said, I’ll help you more inside. If, if you come outside and spend this time with me, so it’s easy to get stuck in ruts. And that’s something that she was unaware of. I I was unaware of that and communicate that. And so that’s been even a change just in the last year.
oh, Rachel goes though, you’re going outside. Do you want me to come? And so sometimes it’s no, I want to be alone. I’m getting out of this crazy house. But other times it’s like, yeah, let’s work a little bit. And then we’ll do laundry later together,
Kathy: by the way. That’s fun. And
Zech: so every night at home we cook together and it’s an opportunity for us to talk and and for it not to be on Rachel shoulders cause we both work. And so that would be totally unfair. So, and on the nights that I’m going to be late, usually I’m bringing pizza home the night before, while I’m working and so
Kathy: love it. Oh, that’s so fun. So you cook together, garden together. What are some other things that you do have in common. And are there some hobbies that are different for each of you?
Zech: Yes, definitely. So like I said, we have a little farm homestead and there’s animals and like we have 55 meat chickens right now.
Rachel’s not going to do any part of that. So she thinks I am the strangest human that I enjoy that. And so I also hunt and she’s too loving and kind for those types of things. And so also I’m a huge football fan and early on, I thought she was, but that was more, we were dating and she was trying to impress me.
I think she used to endure, but, but those are the hobbies that I do.
Rachel: I like anything where I can recharge. And I love alone time. So like a hot bath going for a walk or riding the bike by myself. Those are things that I really enjoy just being outside and looking at flowers and just really noticing the things around the scenery and just taking delight in that, that I really enjoy.
Kathy: Oh, that’s great. Cause it’s good to have our own space too. Right.
Zech: We’re both introverts. And so yeah, I mean, we love to be together and we also love to be a part. And so there’s, there’s a. There’s a certain amount of days alone where it’s like, okay, now it’s just, okay, let’s go do our own thing.
Kathy: Yeah. Great. One or two more questions. What do you know now about work or marriage that you wish you had known when you got married?
I see them counting on their fingers.
Zech: I kind of mentioned it earlier, but, but it’s such a valuable lesson for me is not to promise something that I can’t control not to promise something that I am not, that I’ve literally can’t control. So so businesses provide great amount of freedom, but mine is a minimum wage working job, which has turnover.
And when it’s been a while, since turnover, we have great freedom. And when I have a bunch of new employees I don’t have any. And so yeah, not promising. So like when I’m going to be home, how many hours I’m going to work months from now? Yeah.
Rachel: Yeah. And I would say for me, similar, the opposite though is just not holding on to expectations that are unrealistic for him.
But also, but communicating, you know, this is what I’m thinking and holding those thoughts in and I think just, I wish I would have given him grace in the beginning more and also just knowing who he really is now that knowing that he’s a four and that totally makes sense. Having those deep conversations with him at the beginning of our marriage and taking the time to just have those intimacy, then those intimate conversations I think would have, would have helped I think, in the beginning,
Zech: Yeah. Cause, cause I can be exhausting. I’m always wanting to have those deep, deep conversations. I don’t get enough of them and I didn’t realize how exhausting it is for others because it’s like, well, why not have more?
Kathy: Yeah. If a little is good, more must be better. Right? Yeah. Yeah, well, and we can celebrate.
I think it’s good to recognize the progress we have made. We don’t want to wallow in the past, but I think these are some of the takeaways that I think may help other couples to hear, and maybe they can grasp some of these same insights a little sooner. That’s my hope. So anything else y’all want to say before we wrap up?
Zech: I would say efficiencie’s great, margin is better. And too often entrepreneurs are focused on efficiency, efficiency, efficiency, squeezing every dollar. And part of the reason we have time freedom now is because we’ve set up a life where I don’t need to maximize the money out of the business. And, I think just not in that, just don’t forget why you started a business and it wasn’t to be a slave to it.
The thing that just ticks me off about the quotes, like entrepreneurs, the only person that will work 80 hours, you know, for themselves is that that’s said with pride. And if you’re in, if an entrepreneur is constantly working 80 hours a week, that’s not something to be prideful about.
Kathy: You can’t do that forever.
Seasons they’re seasons.
Zech: That’s that’s constant. That’s just heartbreaking.
Rachel: And I would say wives of all entrepreneurs I would say communicate. In a respectful way to your husband or a spouse. Yeah. husband if you’re starting to feel overwhelmed or feel like the business has got a hold of them using I-statements and telling them how it makes you feel. But also having an understanding of, you know, this might just be the season and it will get better and giving, offering them grace in the busy seasons
Kathy: That is so good. Well, Zech and Rachel, I thank you so much for your time. I know your Fridays, especially are probably a little more precious. So I thank you for taking this time and sharing your insights and being so vulnerable and your story. I’ve loved hearing it, and I wish you all the best. You guys take care.