ABOUT TODAY’S EPISODE
Here’s what you’ll hear in this conversation:
• Some of Dan’s thoughts on the current times we are experiencing
• A little on Dan’s personal background, some stuff you might not know about him
• How Dan started with Cutco/Vector, and some early experiences
• Some of the stages of Dan’s career, and lessons along the way
• A couple of Dan’s core philosophies in life
• Why the “Changing Lives” theme is meaningful to Dan
Q&A with Dan Casetta, hosted by Jon Berghoff
Q: Who would have thought when you started this podcast that episode #100 would land right in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. How are things going for you, approaching this, dealing with this?
- Personally, we are working at home as everyone is doing. My wife is a banker, and she’s really busy, working on a daily basis.
- We have 2 kids, one 6 years old and the other 3 years old. They have their Zoom classes once or twice a day.
- Other than that, we spend a lot of time playing with each other. Family-wise, it’s been alright. Business-wise, it’s been a whirlwind. We went from oh my gosh how are we going to handle this to actually figuring out the answers. We’re trying to figure out how we’re going to handle the influx of recruiting we’re going to have this summer. Managing sales reps and all things that go along with running a fast-growing organization.
Q: What’s maybe been the one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in the last 4 weeks about yourself, people and work?
- We’ve always told people what we know is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more out there that’s available for us.
- So, ongoing learning is very important because you are constantly expanding your mind, your capacity. I’ve just had a lot revealed to me at a whole new level in the past 1-2 months. Tackling challenges, seeing what can happen with some innovation, creativity and resilience.
- Also, people believe what they want to believe. We don’t know the full facts of this pandemic yet, and how it will turn out. Going into this, I’m someone who’s always being super-optimistic. As it began unfolding, that was my mindset. We’re going to handle it. We’re going to be fine.
Q: You taught me in the face of uncertainty, find certainty within yourself, in who you’re going to be, how you’re going to learn, how you’re going to respond. I would love to learn about you and how you became the person you are for me and others. What shaped you to be who you are even before Cutco?
- Everything we could talk about today, the facets of my life before Cutco and certainly all the elements learned during my experience in Vector, have prepared me for a time like this.
- The resilience, self-reliance, positive mental attitude that became a hallmark of my time with Cutco. Being able to influence others, having adaptability and a willingness to learn. These are all facets that are coming out right now in ways I wouldn’t have known.
- My parents were both immigrants, my dad was originally from Italy and my mom from France. They ultimately moved to America with 3 suitcases and a little girl (my older sister). My family came from having nothing, and I learned a lot of lessons from that as a child.
- I was definitely not one of cool kids in school. I was a bit of a misfit throughout all my years in high school. This created a desire for achievement and recognition, and drove me later in life.
- I had this confidence in me that I could learn anything. Being able to learn quickly along with motivation to prove who I could be. These things served me well when I got into Cutco.
Q: Tell us about when you got to Vector, your formative and defining memories.
- I was 17 when I first started. I had finished high school, and I was about to start college. I thought it would be good to have a job where I can learn something. I stumbled across an ad of working with Vector. I went to the interview and resolved this would be exactly what I needed to do. It was going to be hard, it would challenge me, but I’ll learn from it.
- I got some real good referrals from my mom’s friends, but I still messed up. I started calling prospects before I was taught how to call a referral.
- I had one of those “I’m not sure this is for me” conversations with my manager. He helped me realize that I’d actually done well. He was like, you were calling referrals and got 3 appointments! I was like yeah. He was like, I haven’t taught you how to call referrals yet! You are the man!
- He helped shape my thinking. I also got to meet many mentors.
- I did well as a sales rep for about 6 weeks that summer before going to school.
- The following summer I was an assistant manager. I was helping reps, working really hard in the office.
- Then I became a branch manager running 2 branches for 2 summers in a row.
- I was #1 in the company in the 2nd When I graduated, I thought I’m good at this. this is a great place to be. I might as well keep doing it here.
Q: You got into Cutco and you had these great mentors. Tell us how you viewed the stages of your career. It’s been a long career. How has your career evolved?
- When I was a district manager, I was in a learning stage. I was asking a lot of questions to successful people, both in Vector and out of it. Learning to be a leader, learning the facets of the business. Trying to get better at things as I went along
- I got pretty good at training sales reps, working with people pretty early. However, my skills in the recruiting side of the business weren’t so good at the onset.
- That was something I worked on and got better at as I progressed to a stage where I was a rising star in the company, maybe 2 years after I started. I became one of the top managers, but I wasn’t yet achieving up to my full potential.
- That was a motivating and inspiring stage, and competition drove me a lot. I had a breakthrough at around 1999, probably because you (Jon) came into the team that summer. That year, our office was #1 in the company, starting a 3-year streak being #1. This stage is where I put all the aspects of the business together. That was really where I elevated myself to the top level in the company.
Q: You’ve been a passionate learner. Your learning stage has never ended. In all your career, one thing you’re known for is your ability to learn. I want you to clarify what are your own philosophies in life and business?
- For me, the idea of success isn’t something you pursue, but something you attract by the person you become. One of the most profound quotes or philosophies I’ve heard is the things you pursue can be elusive. But through this process of growth and evolution, gaining knowledge, insight, skill, if you back that up with some reasonable work ethic, it tends to work out.
- This evolved into me developing a mission to be someone that shares ideas like this. I wanted to be a conduit for good ideas.
- Anything I’ve learned in and out of Cutco, I’ve always strived to find the right avenues for sharing that information.
Q: One of the lessons you taught me and I really appreciated was the idea of in the bigger challenges, if there is anything we can control, it’s not out of us, but in us. Anything you want to speak about that?
- The power of making meaning. We can choose the meaning of anything that happens to us. I heard that from Tony Robbins, “Nothing in life has any meaning except the meaning we give it.”
- Nobody has the power to make us feel any certain way. We all have the ability to take any situation and spin meaning in a way that’s constructive for us in moving forward.
- This applies to virtually everything that can happen to us, even the most significant of tragedies. We can learn to find a meaning in it to help us move forward.
Q: Selling knives is one thing, but the meaning to you is changing lives. Why is that important?
- Well, that’s a name we chose for the podcast and it has some real significance for many.
- It’s my purpose for staying in Cutco for so long as I have, a big reason we’re sort of building that concert hall, that cathedral in terms of the lives which are built through this experience. I want that story to be told.
- I want to be someone who could be able to help people change their lives. Move their lives in the direction they want. People want to change in some aspect of their lives. They want growth.
- What they need, in most cases, is someone who can help them define the tools to harvest that. Life change starts with personal growth change. The changing lives theme is very important to me.
- The revelations of Dan Casetta’s strengths have come from various stories and moments in his career. One of this is self-reliance
- The large part of that arose from being a kid who didn’t always fit in.
- He had to rely on himself for a lot of things. He wanted to do and achieve. He was willing to make mistakes, willing to fail, learn and ask questions.
- When you put all this together, you have a perfect recipe to figure out many things in life.
- Linkedin @dancasetta
- Facebook @dancasetta
- Instagram @dancasetta
Show notes for this episode provided by Brian Njenga.
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