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#101: Great Mentorship | Stories With Traction Podcast


Stories of Leadership
How to Get Involved in Politics
How to Build a Legacy
How Hobbies Make You More Creative
Strategic Networking

SUMMARY: In this episode, Terence Farrell and Matt Zaun discuss the importance of mentorship.

TERENCE FARRELL BIO: Terence served as a Chester County Commissioner for 12 years, and before that, he was the Recorder of Deeds for 8 years.  Today, he is the President of For Real Solutions, a consulting firm that brings value to its clients through leveraging Terence’s knowledge, experience, network, and creativity. Two of the major focuses for his business are on reducing healthcare costs for various organizations and mitigating loss in pension funds that occur because of fraud or other illegal activities.

For more info, check out Terence HERE.

MATT ZAUN BIO: Matt is an award-winning speaker and storyteller who empowers organizations to attract more clients through the art of strategic storytelling. Matt’s past engagements have catalyzed radical sales increases for over 300 organizations that range from financial institutions to the health and wellness industry.

Matt shares his expertise in persuasion with executives, sales professionals, and entrepreneurs, who he coaches on the art of influence and how to leverage this for profits and impact.

For more info, check out Matt Zaun HERE


*Below is an AI-generated transcript, which may contain errors.


 Matt Zaun 

last night. I was at a networking event and I was going, making my rounds, and I shook hands with this one gentleman and I said, how are you doing?

Right? Because that's a normal way to have a conversation. How are you doing? How are you doing? A lot of people say, oh, great or good or whatever.

this person said you know to be honest with you i'm really going through a challenging time an extremely challenging time and he went on and on about all the different trials and tribulations in his life and how terrible of a season it was and i said to him i said do you do you have good mentorship in your life and he looked at me like i had three heads and he paused and he said no i don't and i was i was quite in bewilderment because i know this person i know what he does i know what he's done in the community and i was literally blown away that as much as some people talk about mentorship he didn't have good mentors in his life and this just speaks to the importance of discussing the topic of mentorship and that's what we're going to do today i am so excited because i cannot think of anyone better than to discuss this topic of mentorship and tear it's for us

Well, now for those of you who listen, you know that Terrence is not a stranger to the show. We've done numerous episodes that include all of those episodes in the show notes.

We've done episodes stories of leadership, how to get involved in politics, how to build a legacy, how hobbies make you more creative, strategic networking, and now we're going to focus on mentorship.

Now, for those of you who might not be familiar with Terrence, Terrence Farrell served as a Chester County Commissioner for 12 years, and before that he was the recorder of deeds for eight years.

Today he is the president of Four Real Solutions, a consulting firm that brings value to its clients through leveraging Terrence's knowledge, experience, network, and creativity.

Two of the major focuses for his business are reducing health care costs for various organizations and mitigating lost in pension funds that occur because of fraud or other illegal.


 Terence Farrell 

from other people. The phone isolates us. We seem to live by likes and acknowledgement on various social media platforms rather than getting out meeting people, having that human connection, and being able to, as we're sliding down that hill of depression, being able to be around people and get that human connection, be mentored or be coached or be consoled really by other people.

So I think it's a cultural shift we're going through.


Matt Zaun 

That is a fantastic point. I want to speak about that a little bit more is I was talking to a gentleman recently and he was talking about a really good business idea that he had and he said, know, some people are laughing at me.

And I said, well, one of the advantages of the internet is on social media of just 2% of people buy into your idea, you can imagine.

That's a fortune. If 98% of the world lasts at you, but 2% locks into what you're saying, that is phenomenal.

This is one of the powers of what social media has done. But the flip side is if someone does have a foolish idea and they're touting it, they will find people that agree with the idea and validate that stupid idea.

So I really think that speaks to your point of isolation, that we've created this almost dopamine system. We get dopamine hits out of social media.

But just because someone gets likes or comments doesn't mean that it's actually a good legit idea. It takes sound mentorship in order to figure that out.


Terence Farrell 

So I appreciate you mentioning that. That's very true, Matt. And it's true not only in business, but unfortunately it's true in politics too.

You can have crazy ideas and you will find those 2% of people who gravitate towards you, toward that idea of reinforcing you.

And you know, there are people that go down. rabbit holes, getting more and more likes, more and more backing for ideas that if you took a step back initially, you would just say, that's darn crazy.


Matt Zaun 

That is a really good point. And for someone like yourself that has been in the political arena for decades, let's talk about that because high stress environment, lot going on.

And a lot of people like yourself that have really good intentions, get involved in you legitimately want to do great things.

There is a learning curve with it, a big learning curve. So did you have any mentors that stick out to you in the political realm?


Terence Farrell

I did. I had several that were very helpful. In fact, they made me who I am today or helped make me who I am today.

today I'm a former commissioner, but I went through being a commissioner, being an elected official. Two of those would be a very low.

local friend, I grew up in the Lincoln University Oxford PA area of Southern Chester County. And I came up through the ranks.

I was a committee person and then an area chair and then, you know, and ultimately a candidate and a successful candidate.

But one of the people that helped me was a local Oxford area legend, Paul Andrew O. And Paul was mayor of Oxford.

He was involved in real estate. He was involved in a number of different things. He had a business himself, a shop, a deli shop in And when I was coming up through the ranks as an area chair, he helped in a number of ways.

And we got more and more linked together. He became area chair after I was recorder of deeds. we conferred often.

And he was very, very practical, a man full of common sense. of a very well-reasoned person. And I took his counsel to heart.

And you know, he helped me see a lot of things politically, but he also supported me and brought many others into my circle of support.

So Paul Andrew would be one of those.


Matt Zaun 

So I knew Paul.


Terence Farrell



Matt Zaun 

I met Paul when I was in day. I still remember the first I've had two conversations with him. I remember both of them.

In fact, I remember the first time I met him. And he was so engaging. I remember his handshake. And I remember the way he leaned in.

And he was he was very he had this ability to connect and then focus in on who he was talking to.

I was I was blown away that he was willing as influential as he was. I was blown away. He was willing to even stop and have.

of a conversation with me. was a fairly long conversation. And he focused on inspiring me. Like he let me have some like, I had a bunch of questions for him.

And he took time to inspire me to do this, this like, he was so passionate about inspiring people. And it's amazing you said that because parents, I've seen that in you for years, your ability to connect, focus on connecting eye contact, handshake, and just be immersed in the conversation and not looking at other people, not looking if there's a better person or a more important person to go to.

You're just so engaged with the person. And I remember conversations you and I have had one on one at different networking events.

And it really speaks to, you know, Paul as your mentor.


Terence Farrell 

So I appreciate you sharing that. Well, I think one thing one element that Paul and I both share is that we like people to go get into politics and be successful.

I mean, There are folks who are not people persons, but to really be successful, I think you've got to actually like people, at least at the beginning level when it's person-to-person contact.

Paul and I both liked understanding the human condition in all of its forms, hearing what people had to say, out if there were connections and ways the person we're talking to might be helpful to us or we might be helpful to them.

And Paul really was a down-to-earth kind of guy, very personable. As you said, listening to the person in front of him, absorbing that person, and being able to recall conversations days, months, years later because that conversation was important to him.

So Paul was one of my first and most memorable mentors.


Matt Zaun 

That's awesome. Did you have anyone else in the political arena that stood out to you?


Terence Farrell 

I did. As you know, and maybe other folks who are not familiar with Chester County know, there's a political structure in Chester County made up of committee people, area chairs.

And there's also a county chairman, a county Republican chairman, the county Democrat chairman. I was am a Republican, so I came up through the Republican ranks.

And when I was coming up, the county chairman at the time was Alan Novak. Alan was county chairman when I was an area chair.

And he saw something in me. He encouraged me to get more involved in the political structure to come to events.

Sometimes he give me a ticket or two to come to an event. But he also realized that, you know, I was that part of that up and coming generation.

And he encouraged me. And when I ran for election, In 1995 running for Register of Whills, that was part of the learning curve because another candidate was successful, but I did learn about the ability to network behind the scenes to make sure that the outcome in the votes of committee and in the convention went my way.

in 1999, I was successful to be elected as a recorder of deeds. But Alan took a liking and up me.

He was one that put his finger on the scale, I believe behind the scenes and encouraging others to vote for me when I ran for recorder of deeds.

And we are still friendly to this day. You know, he was at one point both county chairman and state chairman, one of the first to ever do that.

Now he's gone into private business. He's a lobbyist. He's got a business that helps people move from the center of the pile to the top of the pile.

And we talk from time to time still, and Alan was another political mentor who helped me along the way.


Matt Zaun 

So it's interesting to me that you're naming people that I know, and I know personally. So Alan is an amazing human being.

So for people listening that don't know Alan, so Alan was one of the most powerful people in Pennsylvania. He still might be very, very influential in Pennsylvania on multiple levels.

Not only politically, but business wise, organizationally speaking with different entrepreneurs. Very, very influential human being. And I will never forget I was in a training that he was putting on.

It was at the Marriott Hotel and Coatsville. There was a waiting list for this training. I think I waited, I don't even know, three, four months.

It was almost, it was a good chunk of time to get in this training. And I thought so grateful.

was one of 30 other people, and I'm sitting in this room. I'm listening to Alan Novak. And this is years ago, this is well over a decade ago.

might have been maybe close to even 15 years. I don't know the exact year. It was a long time ago.

But I still remember something he said to this day that has stuck with me. He said how I was brought up, how I was raised, whoever is in front of you is the most important person in the world.

And he said, it doesn't matter if it's a CEO. It doesn't matter if it is a male carrier. That male carrier is the most important person in the world to you because they're delivering your mail.

You go out to a restaurant, that waitress is the most important person in the world to you because she is delivering your food to you so you could eat.

And he talked about the importance of humility regardless of how influential you become. And I've seen that in you, Terrence, from a humility perspective, from a relatability perspective, it is incredible.

Incredible how you relate to other people not looking at people as if oh they're high in mighty I need to you know focus on them I've really seen you pull a ton of people up that are many many levels beneath you Because it speaks to the heart that you have for people and I I you know, I saw that and alan know that and I saw it in use I appreciate that.


Terence Farrell

Thank you. Yeah, I think you know, I appreciate those words of encouragement really For humility and from my perspective.

I think that really I got a lot of that from my parents and I'm appreciation of where they came from and what they accomplished in their lives And when I was elected recorder of deeds and then commissioner, I really stood on the shoulders of giants They were part of the greatest generation.

They came from poverty both their parents, you know had only High school educations, but they went on to get advanced degrees.

dad got a doctorate degree from Ohio State University. He was the first African-American to get a doctorate degree in English from Ohio State.

My mom got a master's degree in a large career. She got several master's degrees and you know they taught at Lincoln University, a historically Black College in Southern Chester County.

And I did appreciate what they had accomplished. it was hard for me to get a big head about what I was doing as an elected official in one of 67 counties in Pennsylvania and one of 3,000 counties in the United States.

But I also would say to this day that one thing that keeps me grounded in terms of not having a big head and being you know humble person is my wife.

You know I get a little beside myself and she brings me down there. I don't care if you were a commissioner.

We We need to take that trash out tonight.


Matt Zaun

So awesome.


Terence Farrell

There are people in your lives that will keep you grounded.


Matt Zaun

So I appreciate you sharing that, but I do want people to recognize that your story in some ways is rare.

I've had the opportunity to work with hundreds of politicians over the years in some capacity. And I would say the overwhelming majority of them go in with good intentions, but along the way they get a bigger and bigger head.

And when they get out of it, they're different people. And most often a lot of times not for the better.

So I think it really speaks to your character and your wise mentorship that even after decades of being in the political world, you still have a level head, you still have an element of humility, you still have a tremendous amount of wisdom and you have an ability to pull people up and reach up for mentorship.

But there's something instead of you pulling people along to help them that speaks volumes to you. So I appreciate that.

You know, they're a different person from story. starting to finish because of all the skill sets you learned. But I've never once thought to myself, wow, you have a problem with with ego.

I've always felt completely at ease working with you, having conversations with you, and that really speaks to great mentorship in your life.


Terence Farrell

Well, I appreciate you saying that. And part of part of being grounded and down to earth, being humble comes to the fact that I come from a small community in Southern Chester County, Lincoln University Oxford area.

That's where I grew up. That's where I knew people. And when I was first elected recorder of deeds, I told my staff, my one measuring stick is this.

I sometimes go shopping at night where I go shopping during the day at the local Acme. And I want our office to run so well.

And your response being so kind and generous and responsive to people who call with an issue that I can go out and go to the local.

people, uh, at me anytime and not be accosted by someone calling up and saying, you know, I called your office and they were so rude and this and that and the other and that never happened.

Because I've really set the parameters that it will come back to me personally. This is not, you know, something high in the sky kind of, uh, a theory of fantasy.

This is very real world for me in terms of living in the community I live in. so that that was, uh, that was a standard and people rose to that standard.


Matt Zaun 

That is incredible, especially being commissioner for 12 years that happened. And here's what it speaks to for me. Sometimes we need to be able to receive great mentorship before we can be great mentors.

Those are what a lot of leaders miss out on is a lot of leaders. Oh, I don't need mentorship.

I don't need mentorship. And then they try to inspire their teams or their staff. And there's a disconnect because we need to be able to follow before we can lead.

And that speaks to great mentorship that you had that you were able to mentor your team. And my goodness, does everyone listening to this?

Do you understand how incredible that is to be a county commissioner for 12 years and not have someone come up to you and complain about your staff?

mean, people have all kinds of opinions and rage about stuff all the time. So the fact that that happens, it happened is incredible.


Terence Farrell

So I appreciate you sharing that. Well, people did come up to me to voice their opinions. As you said, it wasn't about the treatment they had received from staff.

It might have been maybe a vote I took or a position I stood for. And I could deal with that.

I always was responsive with people called with an issue. You know, I took the phone call. I listened, you know, and that seemed to diffuse the situation.

But you're exactly right. You do need to receive mentorship. before you can convey mentorship and I've been fortunate enough to receive mentorship and also to be able to convey mentorship to those coming up behind me.


Matt Zaun 

Sure, sure. So outside of the political arena, I know that that's been a big part of your career. You shifted gears and for the last few years you've been doing a very cool stuff in the business world, impactful stuff.

Did you take the idea of mentorship in the political world and apply it to business? Did you reach out for mentors early on when you were getting started?


Terence Farrell 

How did that look? Well, I think you have to understand my parents were professors at the university. I gave you insight into the path up the academic ladder that they pursued.

You know, they instilled in me the value of being a lifelong learner. And so when I turned to business, it wasn't with the thought that, hey, I know everything, you know, this is going to be a cakewalk.

In fact, I decided that I needed to have some professional business mentors. I did not need to reinvent the wheel.

So I hired right out of the bat when I formed my corporation in 2020, my LLC. I hired a coach out of the Tony Robbins organization.

We met every two weeks for 45 minutes or so. And that person, as much as directing me, allowed me not to make some major mistakes.

So I think that was important. And one of the first things that this coach taught me was that, and I had an opinion when I first got into business that it could be a hobby business.

That if I was successful, that's fine. not, I still had other sources of income. But the coach said, no, if you're starting a business and putting that time and energy into it, you want it to be a successful business.

So successful enough that you actually can sell that business at the end of five, eight, ten years, whatever it is.

And so that was a revolution and thought for me and I I went out and got a quick books consultant to make sure my books were in order so that I was tracking all those things that a potential buyer would want to see.

And then it also started me on the pathway of realizing that to be successful in business and I created a three to thrive for this first coach and my three to thrive were get up every day and kick at it.

You're not going to be successful just staying in bed and dreaming about it. Document what you're doing so that you can go back and review what's been successful and what's not successful and to continue to educate myself.

So whether that's through courses, online courses, books, audiobooks, whatever format and with other coaches continue to learn and grow and be more knowledgeable.


Matt Zaun 

tomorrow than I am today. Wow, that's awesome. I appreciate sharing that. Thank you for sharing that and thank you for everything that you shared.

I appreciate this conversation that we had. I feel like I learned a lot from it based on the different stories that you shared, but there's three things in particular that stood out the most to me.

I appreciate that one of the first things you said is that we live in isolation as a culture. I think a lot of that has to do with social media.

So the whole point of you saying that is we need to figure out ways to get out of isolation and connect with people and allow mentors to come into our lives.

The second piece is I appreciate you mentioning staying grounded and you mentioned about how your wife told you to take out the trash regardless of how influential you became.

We need to find someone in our life that we allow to keep us grounded. So I appreciate you sharing that.

And then the final piece is you really spoke to the. importance of we need to be able to receive great mentorship to give great mentorship.

I think a lot of leaders miss that where yeah they want to tell people what to do and inspire them but if they're not willing to receive great mentorship they don't know how it looks to receive great mentorship to give it.

So I appreciate those three points. Now if anyone wants to get in contact with you Terrence they want to find out more about what you do at four real solutions or they have a question for you.

Where's the best place they can go to get that information?


Terence Farrell 

Well the best place probably would be LinkedIn. I've got a LinkedIn profile. got my email address there and hopefully you'll drop my LinkedIn link in the comments.

So that'd be the best way to start a conversation with me or continue a conversation with me.


Matt Zaun 

Absolutely. will include it in the chat. Thank you again Terrence. I very much


Terence Farrell 

to appreciate your time today. Thank you, Matt. Once again, thank you for having me.


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