Show Notes And Transcript
This week we meet Monte. He's a natural connector, a great storyteller and if you're in LA you might see him doing some stand-up comedy.
Find him on Instagram at @monte-eats : https://www.instagram.com/monte_eats/
Welcome to Connection Requested. The podcast about making better connections with other humans. One guest at a time. I'm your host, Mark Tweddle, co-founder of You Tell Yours, providing online events to create stronger connections in your group. Community or team.
I started this podcast because I rarely know the people who request to connect with me on LinkedIn. But whether it's Facebook, friends, LinkedIn connections, or Followers as they're called on Instagram, TikTok or Twitter, social media doesn't easily provide the kind of meaningful connections that I seek in my life.
So this week, like last week, my guest, isn't a new LinkedIn connection. He's someone I've known for a few years. And like last week's episode, we met up in person to record this.
So, let's get straight on with this. Two minutes to tell a story of your name with no preparation. No one else can tell that story better than you. You are the subject matter expert after all.
My name is Monte and the story, how I know it is that my dad didn't want me to have a name, like, like most other people. And he knew somebody by the name of Monte Carrillo. And that was, that was kind of where the name came from.
And then later it turned out that Monte also happens to be an Italian and like Spanish. I think it means mountain. And so every now and again, people would, uh, ask me about my name and I would say, oh, it means a mountain. Like it was intentional, but it wasn't, you know.
Another thing about my name, I will say that it, it upsets me when I meet other people with my name. And I think that's because of my dad, you know, he always wanted it to be unique and whatever. That always stuck with me. And now I see like, I'm getting back into standup and there's somebody with the name Monte and I'm always thinking, like, I wonder if that dude's name is really Monte or if it's Montgomery.
Because my name is really just Monte, and so like when there's like a Montgomery or Montacute or whatever, and then they call themselves Monte, that drives me crazy.
I think other than that, I do, I do like the name too, though. I do love having the name. It adds a level of uniqueness to me and whatever that means being me.
But I think as far as like, just trying to be unique and whatnot, it's very difficult as far as even like, as a, as a performer and whatnot, so I think that the name helps kind of set me apart from other people. So I think it helps give me a little bit of an advantage. So I like my name and I, I liked the story with my name
I love talking to Monty. He's so curious about other people and the way they live their lives. It was fun hearing him, where he had to fill the time for the exercise, which meant he couldn't stop and ask me questions.
You know, I think I first met Monte and Anne, a mutual friend's birthday party where we all played softball. Which reminds me, I haven't mentioned, Anne, in the "Monte and Anne" was the first guest that I had in this podcast. Another lovely person. So, if you haven't listened to episode one, you should go back and find out what Anne is all about.
I think Monte and Anne, are the only people with whom I've created a lasting bond, that I met at a birthday party, in my adult life.
I think I said last week. There are too many people who struggle to make connections in their adult life, you know, after they leave school. Monte is not one of those people.
Speaking of school. Let's hear Monte tell us a two-minute story starting with the words, " The Teacher I Remember..."
The teacher, I remember most, there's two. I remember this Miss Nicosia, when I moved into a new neighborhood and I just remember the name for some reason more than anything, but I was remembering.
But more importantly, I remember my freshmen drama teacher, her name was Mrs Groholski and Mrs. G. I remember her because she was like, she was as far as like a teacher goes like the best teacher I feel I've ever had so far. The one I felt that I had the strongest connection to like, uh, It's, you know, it's weird. It's hard for me to talk about her. Cause it does get me emotional because I really, because she, she really like. Um.
She moved. So the thing that sucked, she didn't tell us that she was leaving. So we come back sophomore year and this was the teacher that was like, everybody loved, great.
And being a kid from like a shitty neighborhood in Chicago and I was scared I was going to get stuck like Kelvin Park High School, which was like all gang-bangers or Prosser, which was bangers. And I auditioned for Lincoln Park High School. And I got in, I couldn't believe I got in. Cause I was like, I wasn't a good actor. I don't know how I got in. And then when she didn't come back, when we showed up the sophomore year and there was a new teacher there and we were like, what the?
She wrote a note for us. And she pointed a few people out and I was one of the students she pointed out in her letter and she's like, and Monte, she said, you know, you weren't the best actor at the audition. She goes, but you were just so cute. I had to have you. And she's like, so, you know, and whatever. And she mentioned some and whatever, there's other things I, I I'm actually pulling back on some of the stuff because it chokes me up. But, um, but that's the teacher I remember most, and I've tried to look her up so many times on social media and I can't find her.
But that's my favorite, Mrs. Groholski.
This was one of those times where, and this happens in some form for nearly all of my podcast recording sessions... there's some more to the story that comes out after the timed exercise. You see, telling a story as personal and real. Calling it a soft skill just feels wrong.
In Monte's case, as you heard him say, he started to pull back, to not tell the full story. Because he could feel himself get emotional.
And that's one of the key reasons stories connect us so strongly. When you tell a story, all of the same parts of the brain that would be involved in experiencing that event in real life, are triggered and stimulated when you tell the story.
And it's also where the engagement happens because those very same brain areas are stimulated when you listen to that story too. The clearer you tell the story, the more, the listener experiences, what it was like to be you in that story experience.
So instead of moving on to the next story, I'll now play for you what Monte said after the exercise. Because once the connection has started, and we feel heard, we become more comfortable reaching deeper.
It's a tough one for me with her, because it was a big turning point in my life. It's why I'm a performer today. And she just left, so weird. Like didn't tell us, just ghosted us. Cause she thought she knew what she thought it would be too hard to say goodbye to everybody. But it's made no sense though.
Like she was so lovable. And it was great. She was the drama teacher. So it was two periods a day. In my class like people were balling the class, the class, everybody was crying and they were everywhere and it was like a shock and it was disappointing and she took a job to teach somewhere. She took a job to teach in. I forget, like it was North Carolina or South Carolina or something like that.
Oh, that's the thing too was yeah. Was, was coming from my neighborhood and being in this atmosphere and never being in this atmosphere before. Never like having someone allow you really to just be yourself. And the class would start every day with like, just like a warmup. Like we would go into the theater and we had a really big theater high school and she would play Flashdance and Gloria and the kid, we would just run around and like loosen up our bodies and like do stretches. And then she would lead us in like, um, physical stretches and like breathing exercises. And then we would, then we would run around some more to like another song and just shake it out. And then we would come out and then do acting stuff. Then she would teach us acting stuff.
And then just on another tangent, like as far as getting crazy, so the teacher that took over for the drama teacher, Ms. Robinson, we ended up, becoming friends after years later. I went back like years, years later and Ms. Robinson, the teacher took over for drama. She was still there and that, oh, holy shit. This is crazy. So she was still there. Right. , but when I came back, we were talking, she was really cool. And then I told her, I was like, you know, I'm actually still acting and I do improv and she's like, oh, um, would you like to come and teach improv? And, and, and so anyway, I ended up with. She worked this system. And somehow made me a legal assistant, and I would get paid, like nothing really.
And, uh, so I did this for three years, right. With her. And I ended up going and teaching in private, like in park high school. So anyway, so here's the thing is I was, I was there for three years. And then Ms. Robinson did the same thing Mrs. Groholski did.
Ms. Robinson, she retired, but didn't tell anyone she was retiring. So she did her retirement and ghosted her students. And then the next year, like, and the thing that I, I came in September to report to like, cause I would show up the first days, the first day of school I would show up and she'd be like, Hey, and we'd go through the thing, like, okay, this is what we're going to do and whatever.
And I show up.
She wasn't there and there was this other dude there and I was like, Hey. Oh, she retired. And I was like, what? Are you kidding me? And the thing was she lied, so the reason I was able to teach there was because she said that I was coming in from a theater. I really wasn't coming in from a theater. We had talked and she asked you, I teach improv. And I was like, yeah, sure. And so she just chose an improv theater of her choice and said, this is where he's coming in from. She made up the lie and then vouch for me for her own lie.
It was so funny buddy, but I got this teaching gig and I taught there for three years, but it was just crazy that it was like, she just ghosted too. And it was like, what is wrong with these drama teachers? Like they, they just up and go and don't say anything.
I don't know what you think of these teachers.
Were they afraid of emotion?
Did they think that avoidance would reduce the emotional effect?
Like I say, I don't know. Which is a good point.
I now understand more about what the effect was on Monte because he shared his story. For the teachers, we can only make up some fiction on our heads until they share the stories with us.
And at work, that happens a lot. You know, someone does something. We don't know why. They've never shared the stories with us. So we don't know them very well.
And if you're anything like me, you make up a story in your head. And generally, it's not a good one.
Like, “They think they are better than me.”
“They don't rate me.”
“They think they don't need to follow the rules.”
Or whatever the negative story is that you lean towards.
And that's why I love getting groups to share their stories because when they connect suddenly the story becomes clearer. Barriers drop. And in that same situation when somebody does something, that we can't understand, we can be curious without being perceived as being critical, or being afraid of being perceived as being critical.
Now let's hear Monte's story about connection.
You know, when I was a child, I think I realized very early, I had this realization like that, like people it's, people are what make things happen and whatever you want, it's, it's going to come from another person. So it's very important to make important connections.
But, but here's the thing, though. As good as I am at making connections. I'm a little bit better at ruining connections. It's crazy. Cause I'm, you know, I'm a hero at making connections and a lot of people think like, man, this guy’s curious, I want to take trips with them and everything, but it's like, yeah, I know I'm just a little bit better at ruining this exact same thing.
It's weird. Like I've made a ton of great connections just through not being afraid to talk to people and not being afraid to ask people questions. And the thing is, even though I have an ego, and whatnot, I do enjoy listening to what other people say. Here's the thing. If I get, if I do get genuinely bored with what someone else is saying, I'll figure out a way to try to get away from them but it's rare. I can listen to anyone for a certain amount of time, you know?
One of my friends was like, you have an interesting way that making people feel that they're the most important person in the room when you're talking to them and that you're really interested in what they're saying. And I was insulted because I said the truth is I am actually interested in what they're saying. And at that point in time, they are the most important person in the room because I'm talking to them and I am interested in what they're saying.
So I think that my friend’s misconception was, is actually one of my honest strengths and in making connections and how I make connections.
But I have had moments where I've said no to doing certain things, because I realized I don't want to be connected for life with that ______ so I'm going to pass on this. I'm not saying that out loud, but in my head, I'm like, yeah. I want to hang out with you, but I'm not being linked to any of these people for life. I don't want this, just keep me out of it. You know what I mean?
And so I've said no, And I think I've wisely said no. So I think it's, I think that's important to, is to realize that some connections you don't want and it's okay. Not to make them.
I keep thinking that the connection stories will start to repeat or sound familiar. Monte is my 14th guest to speak on this subject and so far that hasn't happened. Which is a relief because it shows, I think the breadth that there is in the subject of connection; the subject of this podcast after all.
Hearing Monte talk about making a conscious choice to not connect is really important and interesting.
I know in my life, there've been a few times where I've chosen not to work with an organization or an individual because of my beliefs or my suspicions. And for that matter, what is a suspicion? If it's not an untold story?
For a performer, the effect of your choice on who you're connected to is obviously significant, but it's the same for non-performers too. Just got ask anyone connected with Theranos or Enron or certain parts of Wells Fargo, or the Volkswagen's emission scandal, and you'll understand that connections are not always positive experiences.
So, how do you know if a connection is right for you?
There's a phrase that comes to mind, which I no doubt will recite inaccurately.
" When someone tells you, or shows you, who they are believe them."
So connect by sharing stories first. Let the person tell you and show you who they are. Otherwise, you'll just be creating fiction in your head.
So now, you know, Monte is awesome. You can find them on Instagram at @Monte_eats.
And you can connect to me on LinkedIn, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by sending a voicemail via the Connection Requested page on anchor.com.
If you liked this podcast, please share it.
And review it on your favorite podcast player, but most of all, keep on having fun, making the best of connections.