Fresh Blood Podcast Episode Guest - Mark Stancil

Intro Banner of Mark Stancil

Today we are talking with Mark Stancil. Mark talks about the unique creation of his company, the importance of perception, choosing the right personal and professional partners, and how he fired his boss when he was no longer getting what he needed from his employment.

Mark started his career as a creative executive while working as a computer and systems integration professional, so he is the rare combination of technical expertise and creative excellence. Mark is now CEO and Editor in Chief with Terminus Media, a company that creates comics, graphic novels, animates award winning shows for government, private and public companies and works on their own creative projects. Mark himself has written comics and a full length graphic novel, Ascension.

Today we are talking with Mark Stancil. Mark talks about the unique creation of his company, the importance of perception, choosing the right personal and professional partners, and how he fired his boss when he was no longer getting what he needed from his employment.

Mark started his career as a creative executive while working as a computer and systems integration professional, so he is the rare combination of technical expertise and creative excellence. Mark is now CEO and Editor in Chief with Terminus Media, a company that creates comics, graphic novels, animates award winning shows for government, private and public companies and works on their own creative projects. Mark himself has written comics and a full length graphic novel, Ascension.


Mark Stancil - Editor In Chief, CEO of Terminus Media, Creative Executive, Comic Book Creator

Jolie Downs: [00:00:00] Today we are talking with mark Stancil. Mark started his career as a creative executive while working as a computer systems integration professional. So he has that rare combination of technical expertise and creative excellence.

[00:00:13] Mark is now the CEO and editor in chief with Terminus media, a company that creates comics, graphic novels, animates award winning shows for government private and public companies, and they work on their own creative projects. Mark himself has written comics and a full length graphic novel, Assencion I'm really looking forward to learning more.

[00:00:35] Mark, thank you for joining us on fresh blood. Could you tell us a little bit more about your journey to getting where you are today?

[00:00:42] Mark Stancil: [00:00:42] sure. Absolutely. I, yeah. Was a writer in Atlanta back in the nineties eons ago

[00:00:51] Jolie Downs: [00:00:51] Back in the day.

[00:00:52] Mark Stancil: [00:00:52] yeah, that's right. And I was writing screenplays. I was a film buff. I love movies. I decided that while I was working my day.

[00:01:00] job in data integration yeah. Data integration is doing calculus all day.

[00:01:04]precise, it has to be a certain way. No aberrations, nothing out of the ordinary. So I just felt a real need to express myself creatively. So I I come from a long line of writers, my, my great uncle was Joel Chandler Harris, the guy who wrote the Br'er rabbit books,

[00:01:23] Jolie Downs: [00:01:23] Oh, wow.

[00:01:24] Mark Stancil: [00:01:24] Yeah.

[00:01:25] So yeah, a long line of a Southern writers is living here in Atlanta.

[00:01:31] Jolie Downs: [00:01:31] Okay.

[00:01:32] Mark Stancil: [00:01:32] I I just started writing and I really enjoyed writing. Writing is work, but it's good work. I think when you come up with something maybe that you read a few days or a few weeks later and you go, wow, that's good.

[00:01:44]Just started writing screenplays and Met some guys who are I went into a local comic shop to, to, just see what they have and and got to talking to the owner. And, he mentioned there was some other guys who were writers and Hey, why don't you guys get together and maybe can come up with something.

[00:02:02] So then we started meeting and this was back when the movie fight club, Brad Pitt came out Chuck Palahniuk. Yeah.

[00:02:07]We started meeting and we called our group right club and we started writing screenplays. And then we had all these screenplays and we're like, we don't live in Los Angeles or New York.

[00:02:17] How are we going to get these screenplays in front of anybody who can get a budget together and actually make them into a film? So we started making comic books really to promote our screenplays. And then we started making animation to promote our comics and graphic novels. And then clients started asking us to make animation and graphic novels and comics for them for their, one of our biggest projects was with the CDC.

[00:02:41] You might've heard of it. We ended up doing over an hour of animation with them to promote HIV and aids prevention.

[00:02:49] Jolie Downs: [00:02:49] Great.

[00:02:50] Mark Stancil: [00:02:50] yeah. So just, it grew from there. And the team has changed and grown. I've been refined over time, but yeah, that's how we got started. And now we're still here in Atlanta That has a booming film business.

[00:03:05] So we feel that we're really positioned to take advantage of that and to to offer, services and to create content that fans and folks will love.

[00:03:16] Jolie Downs: [00:03:16] That is fantastic. I love this story. So it would basically, you were doing a job that the data integration was very serious and structured. And you went out to find a creative edge. You met other people who were working on the creative edge and essentially you developed a group. Was for fun for you guys and you turned it into this amazing company?

[00:03:39] Mark Stancil: [00:03:39] Yeah that's pretty much exactly what happened and and it is fun and it was fun. There was always, anytime you have a group of people, you're going to have disagreements and, there was a fist fight or two here and there. Yeah, it's funny. Early when, and this was after the group started working with artists and making comic books.

[00:03:58] When we started doing that, we changed our name from right club to kindred, cause we're kindred spirits, whatever we're making comics together. And one of the, one of the guys. Who came to the group and was a writer was just a jerk. And he was very abrasive and he said the wrong thing too, one of, one of the artists.

[00:04:15] And you've got like a Kung Fu central garden. And then,

[00:04:19] Jolie Downs: [00:04:19] From that. What did you guys learn from that?

[00:04:21]Mark Stancil: [00:04:21] I think at the time we were all like horrified oh my gosh, conflict is bad. But I think as time goes on, We've come to learn that conflict is absolutely necessary. So it's not the conflict, but it's not that conflict is good or bad. Conflict is like fire, fire in the fireplace, good fire in the forest bad.

[00:04:41] So it's about turning that conflict into something positive, that particular conflict ended with, one of the, one of the guys leaving. That not to go into a lot of details, but that was not a bad thing. Then this guy left the group. Because in any anytime, maybe when you're in high school, you're assigned a group project and we all know what happens with a group project, right?

[00:05:04] There's one person or maybe two people in the group who actually do all the work and the rest just Right.

[00:05:10] So conflict is a great way to get rid of the people who are talking a lot, not really doing any work. We like to work with people who are working Yeah.

[00:05:19] With turbulence media, and there's tons of aspiring quote, unquote writers out there.

[00:05:24] We don't write anything. There's tons of people who want to be a professional artist working at a professional level, but they don't want to put in the time. Drawing table to actually learn, to draw things like hands and facial expressions, these things that are necessary to communicate a story when you're communicating it with art and sequential arts storytelling.

[00:05:46] Jolie Downs: [00:05:46] Right.

[00:05:47]Mark Stancil: [00:05:47] So Yeah.

[00:05:47]Conflict is good. And if a conversation needs to be had, had it have it, like now, how can we talk about this? How about now works for me? But the other thing is to be very clear with them. When we first started Terminus, it was all one and one for all right. But when we had our first black and white comic book with five or six little eight page stories in there, and it came time to get it printed and we pass around the hat, all those it's all for one and one for all people start looking around the room

[00:06:18]Jolie Downs: [00:06:18] Who else?

[00:06:19] Mark Stancil: [00:06:19] Who what else is going to co you know, contribute.

[00:06:21]So yeah, in situations like that you get a feel for everybody on the team is, has a different role. Everybody's good at something. But the thing I'm good at is leading creative teams to, holding up a standard, a flag and saying, follow me, we're going to do this.

[00:06:37] It's the the Walt Disney approach where he told all of these artists and animators, we're going to make the first full length animated feature. And they're all like, this is crazy. This is great. We're going to do that

[00:06:49] Jolie Downs: [00:06:49] Yes.

[00:06:50] Mark Stancil: [00:06:50] because artists have that wild hair crazy. They're. They love to do something new and different that nobody's seen before.

[00:06:58] Jolie Downs: [00:06:58] They want to create, yeah, it's beautiful.

[00:07:00] Mark Stancil: [00:07:00] They do.

[00:07:01] Jolie Downs: [00:07:01] Yes. I love it. So what do you think? All the things that you've done in your. What do you feel has been one or two of your greatest successes and what did you learn from it?

[00:07:09]Mark Stancil: [00:07:09] That's a good question. I'll give you two things. One of the more recent projects that I've started over the past year is actually writing a novel about my dad and his. He grew up in Fairplay, South Carolina, he was the son of the town drunk. There was never enough money, never enough food moving from place to place.

[00:07:31]One, a little bit ahead of the bill collector, and his dream as a kid was, to one day live in a brick house. Today he lives in a big old brick house on a hill and Yeah.

[00:07:42]He still drives an old 1966 Ford truck because That's what he loves to drive. I'm proud of that. And honoring my dad in that way, just on a personal level it means a lot to me in terms of Terminus media, an accomplishment there, in the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic really hit in force, we talked about. The future and what kind of company we want to be and what kind of people we want to be in the industry.

[00:08:10] And there's a lot of stuff out there. Netflix and Amazon and Hulu and all these other platforms, Disney plus and it's great. stuff. But some of that's not exactly like family friendly, right? A lot of comics aren't family friendly.

[00:08:26] Jolie Downs: [00:08:26] Yeah.

[00:08:26] Yeah

[00:08:27] Mark Stancil: [00:08:27] The readership is like adult males basically, or young guys. We were talking about what we wanted to work on next and, the two things we decided to work on were, dominion follow the house of Saul, which is based on the first king of Israel.

[00:08:41] And as told him the book of first Samuel in the Bible barren bell, One of our lead creative in the company. He's this is what I work on. When I work on, I don't want to work on anything else. I'm tired of working on generic stuff. I want to do something that that I'm Really passionate about.

[00:08:56] And so he pitched it to me and and it was basically lines in space and the story, all the characters are anthropomorphic creatures. The good guys are warm-blooded creatures like wolves, lions and rhinoceroses and gorillas and all the bad guys, the Philistines are reptiles, like cold-blooded creatures, crocodiles, et cetera.

[00:09:18] And oh, and it all happens in an interplanetary system called dominion and there's, there's laser battles and battle Macs that fight one another and all this stuff. And so he pitched it to me and yeah. And it was just crazy enough like we were talking about Walt Disney wanted to do that first full length animated feature.

[00:09:37]It's that kind of good, crazy where you're like nobody's ever seen anything like this. Yeah, so we pursued that. We're just finishing up the third chapter now. We also published a book called Samson rise that is based on a biblical character saying. But just changing at the, I guess the thing, the answer, the question, the second thing I'm proud of is just turning the ship of Terminus media to be more focused on faith and family friendly content content that you can enjoy with, your four year old, but is also entertaining.

[00:10:08] If you're a 50 year old guy.

[00:10:10] Jolie Downs: [00:10:10] great. Really opening up your whole audience in a new way.

[00:10:14] Mark Stancil: [00:10:14] Yeah, absolutely. When we said we're going to change our direction. There were some creators in our company that were like I'm not down with that. I don't want to do that. And we were like I hear what you're saying, but this is what we're doing. And sometimes in business you have to say, this is where we're going.

[00:10:29] And there's some people who are like, I don't want to go there and you'll go and you just have to be like good luck to you.

[00:10:34] Jolie Downs: [00:10:34] Yeah, you got to follow the path you believe is right? Absolutely. Yep. What about the flip side about it? What about a time you dealt with a really big obstacle, a big mistake or challenge. And what did you learn from it?

[00:10:45]Mark Stancil: [00:10:45] I'll go personal and then professional again. I think personally the biggest mistake that I have made is is marrying a fixer-upper is what I call it. Like I don't know if you are married or have ever been married.

[00:10:58] Jolie Downs: [00:10:58] Yep.

[00:10:59] Mark Stancil: [00:10:59] Yeah. I think a lot of people, they meet that guy or that girl, and they think now this person is, has a whole bunch of issues, but that my love will fix them, and that's just not true.

[00:11:13] Jolie Downs: [00:11:13] Yeah.

[00:11:13] Mark Stancil: [00:11:13] So in, in your personal life Tom Stanley wrote two books called the millionaire next door. And the second book he wrote is the millionaire mind. And he talks about the correlates of wealth. The millionaire next door was about what are the common traits of millionaires and billionaires next?

[00:11:29]The millionaire mind was about DECA millionaires. People who were worth 10 million or more. And in both cases, one of the correlates of success is getting married and staying married to the same person. Yeah.

[00:11:39] So in terms of in terms of personal life and in regrets I think I would say that was my main regret is marrying a fixer-upper.

[00:11:47]It's if you're going to go from, on a coast to coast drive from California to, I don't know new England and you're like, that tire it's got problems, but I think it'll get me there if I just really hope and pray, it will get me there. You're going to break down somewhere in the middle of the desert and out west, I'm not going to make it to your destination.

[00:12:10] I think that's true in marriage as well.

[00:12:12] Jolie Downs: [00:12:12] Yeah. And how did you deal with that? That's a big change that you had to go.

[00:12:17] Mark Stancil: [00:12:17] Yeah.

[00:12:17]The way that I dealt with it was sometimes your, whether it's in a personal relationship or a business relationship, you realize that you're in a relationship. That's not that's not working. In my case, I was in a relationship with, a spouse who was unfair. And so for me it was this isn't what we agreed to.

[00:12:38] This is what this isn't what we both wanted when we started out here. So in my case, she was unfaithful. So I felt I had to have, I did have to end the marriage.

[00:12:47] Jolie Downs: [00:12:47] And what did you get, how did you get through that time that struggle or pushed you.

[00:12:51] Mark Stancil: [00:12:51] it was really hard. But I would say what got me through was family. I have an identical twin brother,

[00:12:57] Jolie Downs: [00:12:57] Oh, wow.

[00:12:58] Mark Stancil: [00:12:58] who was very, Yeah.

[00:12:59]He's very looking.. But he was very supportive and Sometimes when you're in a, when you're in a bad relationship and you're trying to tell yourself, oh, that's not so bad. And maybe things will get better. And I was going through some things and, trying not to talk trash about your spouse, that's a good thing to do, but, I was talking to my brother about what was going on and and he ended up reading some texts and he was like, dude she's talking to you like

[00:13:20]you're nothing like like you don't matter. And why are you tolerating that. Yeah, this was from the woman. Who's also being on faithful, having an affair with a coworker. All right.

[00:13:33] Jolie Downs: [00:13:33] Sometimes you need to really pointed out, right?

[00:13:35] Mark Stancil: [00:13:35] You need someone who loves you and who cares about you to help you have an team spine and to stand up straight and to be like I value myself more than to tolerate this. Or do you continue in this. Yeah.

[00:13:49] that's what I will say. Personally, don't marry a fixer upper, it's a bad idea, and it will affect your personal life and the life of your family and your friends, but it also negatively affects your business life as well.

[00:14:02]Going through, an expensive divorce, which I didn't in my case, thank God that some people, she, or he, I think men percentage-wise cheat more. They leave with half the stuff and so it's not good for business to, to be married to a person who is not reliable.

[00:14:18]It's not faithful. And who, who doesn't contribute to your wellbeing and health, et cetera. Yeah.

[00:14:26] business wise, I would say the biggest mistake I've made in business is being what I, what my rich uncle calls getting carried away by Mr.

[00:14:33]You mean by that is, if you're an entrepreneur or a business person and you see an opportunity to get all excited Ooh.

[00:14:39]If I just do this, then it's going to totally, blow my business, up and it's going to be in a good way and it's going to be great. This is the key to all my problems. This is going to solve my cashflow issues. This is going to get us where we want to go. I remember. So we were talking to my rich uncle Johnny and saying, Hey uncle Johnny, man, we can go to New York Comic-Con and have a table there.

[00:15:02] And we can bring our comics and we'll meet big and fancy New York people. And it'll make a difference in our business. And he goes, mark, I'm happy to loan you the money, but here's what I want you to think about. hear a whole lot of Mr. Excitement going on over there. Mr. Excitement will make you do things that you shouldn't do because you're all excited.

[00:15:20] So instead of being realistic about it, Get all excited and you make a mistake. So I want you to go and think about it and know, I want you to call me back. So I thought about it. I called them back and I was like, Yeah.

[00:15:32] this is exactly why I'm so excited. This is exactly what you need to do. I'm cool, Johnny.

[00:15:36] So he loaned me the five grand. We went to New York comic con and we didn't, we, we didn't even sell like a thousand dollars worth of comics. Oh, and there's so many other independent comic book companies. There were just another small fish in a really big pond. There's all these other companies competing for whatever movers and shakers might be there looking for something like us.

[00:15:59]Yeah, I think Mr. Excitement will always get you in trouble and another place where Mr. Excitement gets you in trouble is if you're moving forward with some kind of partnership. Some kind of a business alignment with somebody without a written agreement, without making Really clear what is expected, what you expect of them and what they can expect from you that has dates and deadlines and expectations spelled out in writing.

[00:16:26]You're going to get yourself in a hole in a world of hurt. So getting ahead of yourself especially partnering with the wrong kind of thing. Is yeah, a big regret, a big mistake. That's cost me a lot of money, like tens of thousands of dollars.

[00:16:42] Jolie Downs: [00:16:42] good advice all around right there, all around. And I very much identify with that. Mr. Excitement.

[00:16:52] Mark Stancil: [00:16:52] yeah,

[00:16:53] Jolie Downs: [00:16:53] I'm gonna remember that.

[00:16:57] curious, mark. What is your definition for success? And based on that, what do you believe is key to having continued success in life?

[00:17:04]Mark Stancil: [00:17:04] Persistence, persistence. I think it was John D Rockefeller, who said that, persistence, conquers, all things. So just deciding I'm going to, I'm not going to quit. I'm going to, I may have to change gears. I may have to change my approach. I may. Yeah.

[00:17:21] We worked some things I may have to, take some players off the field and put some new players out there, but we are not going to quit.

[00:17:28] We are going to win and know I'm from Atlanta. And the last time the Atlanta Falcons got into the super bowl, we played the Patriots.

[00:17:37] Jolie Downs: [00:17:37] Yeah.

[00:17:38]Mark Stancil: [00:17:38] I think Atlanta was up by two or three touchdowns at halftime and they're like, oh, we got this, no problem. No problem. But you see that quarterback for the Patriots come out there in that second half, basically by sheer force of will deciding we are going to win this game and sure enough they won and that kind of hard that hardened tenacity and no matter what happens, we are not going to quit.

[00:18:08] We are going to cross the finish.

[00:18:11] Jolie Downs: [00:18:11] Yes. I love that the heart is, will. It makes me think of that makes me think of ironically at Napoleon, Napoleon would always say I will. It, and that's something that always stuck with me because that man, went from nothing to emperor because.

[00:18:26]Mark Stancil: [00:18:26] Napolean is a great example of a person who by sheer force of will and skill, at least in the first half of his life.

[00:18:34] Jolie Downs: [00:18:34] Yeah.

[00:18:35] Mark Stancil: [00:18:35] Was amazing. And you think about things in business. If you are tall, if you're a six foot four guy everybody looks to you to be the leader.

[00:18:43] Why is that? It's just our nature as human beings. So if you're a guy who is what, five feet tall, I think Napoleon was, there's a reason why Napoleon always gave speeches from, from a trapper horse. Exactly. Because he understood that if he was standing down there looking like he was standing in a hole, his men would not quote, unquote, look up to him.

[00:19:06] So he would give speeches from a horse and he would always make sure that he was standing on some kind of platform and higher than the people that, that he was leading and addressing. So those kinds of the visuals and leadership is important.

[00:19:20] Jolie Downs: [00:19:20] Yeah.

[00:19:22] Mark Stancil: [00:19:22] Yeah.

[00:19:23] If you're in the fashion industry and you show up with, crummy clothes on at work every day, and you're the leader, your team is not going to follow you.

[00:19:32] They're going to be like, we don't trust this person. They don't know what they're doing. So thinking about those visuals thinking about what's necessary and critical, and what's not necessary and critical There's this real estate investor in Florida named been a man or something like that.

[00:19:46] But he talks about how the guy who mentored him in real estate would basically say we gotta paint the front of the building. You gotta be. And we, and fix it up in the front of this hotel that we're buying. It's oh, Okay.

[00:19:59]What about the rest of it? Nope. Not going to do anything with the rest of it.

[00:20:02] Just the front, and it's going to cost us about one fourth of the money and we're going to pocket the difference. And he remember thinking, oh, that's weird. That's odd. But they asked him, have you used that in your 40 year career of really investing in multi million dollar real estate deals? And he's Yeah

[00:20:21] all the time. So knowing we got to paint the front, but we don't got to paint the back of this. Is critical in business, I think sometime. Yeah, absolutely.

[00:20:33] Jolie Downs: [00:20:33] Yeah. Now, are there any habits you've developed over the years that you feel benefit your life in a great way?

[00:20:41] Mark Stancil: [00:20:41] I think habits are critical. I think getting up early is critical. Four 30 is great. If you can get up at five, that's great. Getting up early, especially if you have kids and you have a lot of kind of chaos that, that, that starts at about eight in the morning or nine, or whenever your kids wake up, you need to have some of that morning solitude, some time to yourself that you're thinking about, what do I want to accomplish today?

[00:21:06] What are my goals? maybe get in an hour of exercise or half an hour at least first thing in the morning so that you get that done. Cause exercise is critical for health reasons, being able to you're working, if you have to work long hours, even in short bursts, you can work a lot better if you are exercising regularly, getting enough sleep that sort of thing.

[00:21:30] I think, writing down your goals and reviewing them at least at least once a month, if not every week or every day, even, and having dates and deadlines on those things. And very specific deliverables to yourself will assure that you're actually working towards those goals and accomplishing them.

[00:21:50] Jolie Downs: [00:21:50] Yeah. All really good. Yeah. And that the exercise, you said like the short bursts, like even if you can't do a long bid at the end of the day or beginning of the day, the short burst, a big difference and help clear your mind and make you more sharp. I would imagine it, whatever it is you're doing.

[00:22:06] Mark Stancil: [00:22:06] Yeah. The best thing for stress is to go for a walk, go outside, breathe in some fresh air, get a little physical activity to get the blood moving in your brain and your body. And sometimes the solution will appear because you're not sitting at your desk all hunched up. What am I going to do about this problem?

[00:22:26] How am I going to fix this? How am I going to get this person to do what I want? How am I going to pay for this? All these things going for a walk is a great way to deal with that. But also having a group of peers that somebody that you can call a mentor or a colleague who will talk through problems with you and help you solve problems and deal with a crisis, or you're going through a crisis, you need, the godfather needed his conciliary right.

[00:22:50] He needs his right-hand man or his right-hand woman to say, Hey, look, we're in a crisis now, but I'm going to advise you. And we're going to think through this together, and we're going to create a plan and we're going to execute that plan and we're going to win.

[00:23:07] Jolie Downs: [00:23:07] Yes. Yep. We all need people. Every single person needs somebody that they can bounce ideas off of it. Yeah.

[00:23:14] Mark Stancil: [00:23:14] Absolutely.

[00:23:15] Jolie Downs: [00:23:15] all of the things that we go through. Yeah. Now, have you ever struggled to find a new role throughout your career?

[00:23:21]Mark Stancil: [00:23:21] I think I've struggled to, find as an employee. I struggled to find the income that I felt that I deserved.

[00:23:27]You, I would be in the data integration world that I worked in was in the health care. And, if you're working for somebody else, if you're working for that boss man, or that boss lady, they're typically going to pay you just enough to keep you from quitting or they're going to pay you a whole lot in exchange for basically having every minute of your day, your life.

[00:23:48] It's the golden handcuffs. So early on, I was like, Hey I need to make more money than I'm making. And here's all the statistics for this role in different, in, in similar organizations. And I would lay this down in front of the boss, man. And he'd be like I disagree and that's not what we pay here.

[00:24:04]No what do you do with that? You either suck it up and go well Okay.

[00:24:08]Like in that movie office space, Milton is sitting there. They taught me, they told me to, they're going to move my desk one more time that I told them that if they moved my desk one more time, I'm going to quit.

[00:24:18] I'm going to quit. And, and there were two squirrels outside my window with my old desk and they were married. But then they switched to the Swingline stapler, you become Milton sitting in your cubicle saying I'm unhappy here. I'm not getting the kind of work opportunities that I want.

[00:24:34] I'm not making the kind of income that I feel like that, that I should be able to make here. so you either become Milton or you say I'm going to fire you. And in that case, that's what I did, six months later. That boss, I could walk into his office and I fired him. Because I got a job, not just making what I was asking him to pay me, but making double what he was paying.

[00:24:56] Jolie Downs: [00:24:56] I so love that you put it that way that you fired him. Just want to say.

[00:25:02] Mark Stancil: [00:25:02] And I would say to some of your some of your listeners, be patient again, my rich uncle Johnny told me you don't take off for one year. Until, what other airports are going to land at that? If you're in a job where, the boss yells at you or he swears at you, or you say, Hey, I feel like being paid.

[00:25:19] This amount is fair and they go, Nope, sorry. Get back to work. Then you if you don't want to become Milton, then start making a plan and either find another role position that, that is more aligned with your skills and abilities. Go fire that boss.

[00:25:35] Jolie Downs: [00:25:35] Excellent. Yeah, that's a perfect story right there as a recruiter. This is something I deal with a lot with people and that's the advice I give them when they are looking for something new and they're talking to me, I always tell people I'm like, look, if there's anything your current company can do to keep you.

[00:25:48] Go talk to them. Now go ask for now, give them all the reasons why you deserve it and ask for it now. And if they say no, now, now, and when you go and find that other job, that they're not going to give it to you when you deserve it. So if they try to counter off for you, you're going to know you're going to find yourself in the same exact position, six months down the road.

[00:26:04]If they say no, They gave you your answer and exactly what you did. You go find something else before you quit find that other role and make yourself happy. So I applaud you for that. That was perfect.

[00:26:17] Mark Stancil: [00:26:17] well, and it felt really good, and it. Yeah.

[00:26:21] I would just encourage people. Don't sit at your job and gossip about everybody and I'll sit there and complain about how loud you the lousy this job is, I'm friends with a distant relative on a social media. And all she does is complain about her job at Walmart.

[00:26:36] And I'm like what do you think a job at Walmart is going to be like, it's to be dramatic, it's going to be crazy. It's just the nature of the beast. So yeah. Don't sit there, take action to do something and make a plan and execute it. And that, that company that I went to, to making twice the money I got to a point with them where I was like, I was in the golden handcuffs and, there was some shady stuff going on and I was like, I'm not down with this anymore.

[00:27:02] And they're like, oh if you want to leave we hate to see it go. And I was like, oh no, I'm leaving. But here's the circumstances under which I'm leaving. So I've got a big severance and, I use that severance to launch myself into, full-time Terminus media.


[00:27:15] Jolie Downs: [00:27:15] That's fine. Now, have you ever experienced ageism in yourself? I'm curious

[00:27:20]Mark Stancil: [00:27:20] Working in the technical world. Yeah. You come across ageism and all the time where, what they want is someone who is brilliant at all these technical programming and stuff, but who's really, in some cases really cheap, they want the they want the $150,000 a year guy for 70,000.

[00:27:39] Jolie Downs: [00:27:39] 100% Yes.

[00:27:42] Mark Stancil: [00:27:42] So it's you're not gonna, you didn't get one or the other, you're going to get the 70,000, a guy for 70 or maybe 80.

[00:27:50]But you're not going to get the $150,000 guy for 70. And, I was in a management role and the data integration and, my company is like Yeah.

[00:28:00]Let's hire the cheaper guy and expect him to perform it. Yeah. At the more expensive guys level. And I was like, you're not going to get that.

[00:28:07] And the 70,000 to $70,000 a year, guys, they're not worth 150,000, guy, you need four or five of those, cheap guys to make money. Of the high flyers. So just getting them to understand that like somebody who is a really skilled engineer, Elon Musk talks about this all the time, what is the throttle on your business?

[00:28:31] And he's like the throttle on my businesses is being able to find enough extraordinarily talented engineers to do all the things that I want to do. There's a whole, in any industry, there's a whole bunch of turkeys kind of wobbling around. Talking about how great these acorns on the ground are. And boy, we know let's chat about stuff at the water cooler, when you find an Eagle, man, that Eagles gonna do things and open up new product opportunities and knock out stuff that, those turkeys can't do.

[00:29:00] What an Eagle does. They can't fly high like that. They don't have the talent, the capability.

[00:29:05] Jolie Downs: [00:29:05] experience under their belt to learn all the things that the Eagle learned.

[00:29:09] Mark Stancil: [00:29:09] that's right.

[00:29:10] Jolie Downs: [00:29:10] Hopefully, there's some things that you learn through going through life and in these industries, especially when you have someone who's gone through an industry for 20 years, my goodness, the things that they've seen compared to someone who has seven years experience, you just can't cram all of that into 7 years.

[00:29:24] Mark Stancil: [00:29:24] no, that experience is invaluable. The, the guru and if we're talking about technical stuff, that, that guru , there's nothing that guy has not seen. He's seen everything. Like you're a little problem. He's Okay.

[00:29:39]Yeah. We'll fix this. It'll take a little bit of time, but the we'll fix this, know, you get a young guy with no experience in there and you say, Hey man, we need this by next Tuesday.

[00:29:47] And he's overwhelmed. He's he just got out of college and He's just moved into his apartment and got his futon set up. And he's just not going to be able to do the things that seasoned professional is going to do. So

[00:30:02] Jolie Downs: [00:30:02] exactly. So we all need everyone to be hearing this and making some changes in the business realm.

[00:30:09] Mark Stancil: [00:30:09] Yeah. And if you get one of those Eagles, you better take care of him

[00:30:12] Jolie Downs: [00:30:12] Yes, you better.

[00:30:14] Mark Stancil: [00:30:14] that guy or that girl is in demand and, They're getting calls and emails all the time from recruiters saying, Hey man, now you happy where you are. Are you happy where you are? Let me know if you're not, cause I got some opportunities for you.

[00:30:23]But so if you get an Eagle, take care of them because if you take care of them, Eagles attract other Eagles and know, your business is going to go really far.

[00:30:32] Jolie Downs: [00:30:32] Oh, yeah, trust me. I'm one of those people calling the Eagles.

[00:30:36] Mark Stancil: [00:30:36] Good.

[00:30:39] Jolie Downs: [00:30:39] So now I'm wondering, you mentioned a couple of books earlier about to take a look. And I'm just curious if there are any other books or talks, videos, or movies that you. Read or watch that had a really big impact on you that you think others should would benefit from as well.

[00:30:55] Mark Stancil: [00:30:55] Yeah.

[00:30:55]One of my, one of my favorite books is about John D Rockefeller it's by Ron Chernow. It's called Titan. And John D Rockefeller, he was from Ohio and he was so good at the oil business that his enemies had to weaponize the federal government to stop him. When he got into the business, they had all these Wildcat oil drillers who were drilling oil out of the ground and it would catch on fire and you'd have these blazing in front of those burning oil rigs.

[00:31:27] They would ship the oil in barrels down the river, and then the barge would sink and the top of the river would be covered in oil that then would catch on fire. And so you have this burning river and when John D Rockefeller came into the business, he realized he realized that oil was going to be a huge deal.

[00:31:47] So he, he was in a bad partnership at the time. And. Managed to get out of that partnership and create one of the most successful businesses in us history, standard oil. But that book Titan, if you want to, there's a lot to learn from a man like John D Rockefeller and clips of his daily routine, the way that he thought the kind of partners that he brought around them and the kind of partners that he fired early on in his career that enabled him to be successful.

[00:32:16] So highly recommend that one great book. How to think about business and personal finances, the classic rich dad, poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I would say that's a great book. That's really shaped my thinking about business and money. So yeah, there's.

[00:32:31] Jolie Downs: [00:32:31] one and I have it on my list. So I'm glad you mentioned it because that was one that I pulled up the other day is you know what? This is one of those books that, we're so big and I never read I should do that. So I'm gonna make that one. I'm also adding tightens. So thank you for that.

[00:32:45]Mark Stancil: [00:32:45] Yeah.

[00:32:45] one thing I would recommend with books is I'm an avid audible listener. If you spend any time in the car, driving back and forth to work or driving to client appointments. That vehicle can become Zig Ziglar called it automobile university. Redeeming that time in the car by listening to audio books, I've listened to hundreds of audio books via audible.

[00:33:08] And so I would highly recommend that

[00:33:10] Jolie Downs: [00:33:10] Really wise. Yeah. I'm turning that time into the time where you can proactively feed your mind and that's a blessing. Yeah. So before we go, is there anything that the listeners should know about your work as far as being able to find you, or if there's any services that they should be aware?

[00:33:29] Mark Stancil: [00:33:29] sure. Just recommend folks go to our website Terminus It's T E R M I N U S M E D I And you can see the comic books that we're producing dominion, follow the house of Saul and. The other book we've mentioned Samson rise. We have a couple of other titles there, one that I wrote called Platypus versus monkey, which is more cartoony and kid-friendly yeah.

[00:33:54] As well as a title called radio free America. But all of them are faith and family friendly. And we also do creative services. So if you're looking for a way to promote your business and people read comic books solely for fun. So if you want marketing materials for your company and an comic book form, it's going to make that content pleasurable for them to take in and create more business opportunities for you.

[00:34:19]Yeah, Check us out. We'd be happy to help folks with that.

[00:34:21] Jolie Downs: [00:34:21] Yeah, I love that. I think that's great. So before you go, then I want to ask you my last question, because I always love to hear what people say. What are you sure of in life?

[00:34:32] Mark Stancil: [00:34:32] well, one thing that I'm sure of in life is the faithfulness of God. People will let you down and people will disappoint you eventually even good people, even great people. But God will never let you down. He's always faithful. He's always there. And if you're going through a valley and it's a dark time and you feel.

[00:34:52] Depressed and we feel upset. Just know that the God is present. He's one step away. Yeah.

[00:34:59]That's one thing that I know without a doubt.

[00:35:02] Jolie Downs: [00:35:02] No, thank you, mark. That was wonderful. I really appreciate your time.

[00:35:06] Mark Stancil: [00:35:06] You're very welcome.

Jolie Downs:

I loved Mark’s story.

Mark was firmly involved in his data integration job, work that was serious and structured and he found himself missing that creative edge in his life. I’m sure many people can relate to that feeling, that feeling of something being missing yet needed in life. Mark did not ignore that feeling, which let’s be clear, many, many people do, and when we ignore those sides of ourselves that are a part of us, calling out in need, that is when we get ourselves in trouble and start going down the wrong paths. But Mark did not ignore, he listened to that need and he found himself a creative outlet after hours.

He had always loved writing so he found a group of other writers to work and brainstorm with for fun. They were writing screenplays together and supporting each other in their creative dreams. They wanted to get their screenplays noticed, but didn’t live in the ideal location for doing so. Together they brainstormed and decided to start developing comic books and animations to promote their screen plays. Those animations and comics then caught the attention and interest of others who soon were coming directly to them asking for their help with their own projects.

This group, that was getting together for fun and support around their creative hobbies then turned those creative hobbies into a successful, thriving company providing creative services to a variety of corporations and customers.


What greater gift than to be paid to do the thing you were choosing to do for fun.

Makes me think of Confucious – choose a job you love and you will never have worked a day in your life.

If you are having that feeling of something missing yet needed, do not ignore it. Dive into it. What is it that is missing? Is it a creative edge? Is it a serious edge? Is it more connection? It’s different for everyone, but what is the same, is what happens when we ignore it. And the result is never good.

You do not have to make huge changes to create a positive impact in your life. You can learn from Mark’s story and simply give space to that need, after hours or on a weekend. Connect with others who are interested in what you’re interested in and grow together. Maybe something new will come out of it, like a company developing for Mark, maybe it won’t, but what will happen, is a feeling of satisfaction, a feeling of contentment, a feeling of scratching that itch that will make you an all around better person in both your personal and professional life.

Make room for that which you need.

Mark also shared something profound from his early business experiences. That conflict is necessary. Conflict is not a good thing or a bad thing, and I loved his example here, just like fire isn’t a good thing or a bad thing – it’s all about context. Fire in a fireplace is good, fire going wild in the forest is bad. Conflict can be the same, conflict not dealt with, bad, but conflict leading to resolution is a very good thing. As Mark shared, it’s easier not to change. It’s easier to stay stagnant and not develop and it’s conflict that will show up and shake you out of complacency. I find this to be another one of those universal truths. If we choose not to do anything about a situation that is impacting us negatively, eventually the universe will make the decision for us in some way, shaking us out of our stupor and forcing us to deal with the situation we’ve been desperately trying to ignore.

Is there something in your life you’ve been trying to ignore? If so, I urge you to deal with it yourself now. Have that difficult conversation. Make that difficult decision. Don’t wait for the bigger conflict to arise, do it now. Communicate. The longer you put it off, the worse the situation will become.

I appreciated Mark’s story and advice around Mr. Excitement – I myself have a very active Mrs. Excitement who lives inside and she has definitely gotten me into trouble before. It’s one of those super powers that can at times turn into a weakness. Mark’s advice here was spot on – it’s imperative to be realistic, researched and grounded when making big decisions. Set expectations and written agreements are imperative when moving forward with any business alignment or partnership. Being smart about the people you choose to partner with, both in business as well as personal will make a massive difference in your success and fulfillment.

If you happen to be involved in something and your Mr/Mrs Excitement is off the hook, remember to check in with yourself, have I asked all the questions I should be asking? Have I gotten the information I need? Has everything been communicated clearly? And if you aren’t sure what you need to know, ask someone else, who has gone before you, what are the questions you should be asking in this situation?

I enjoyed our talk about Napoleon. I’ve always been fascinated by his story. Going from a nobody position, someone who was dismissed early in life to working his way up a system that normally was not accessible to outsiders and literally crowning himself Emperor – all through the sheer determination of his will.

I will it.

Persistence, persistence conquers all things.

Perception sure does help too – just like Napoleon making sure his speeches were given from a horse or platform so that people are looking up to him, or the real estate investor who jazzes up the fronts of houses, you too need to look at your goals and decide what optics are most important for your own success. Corporate people must have strong LinkedIn profiles. Fashion industry experts must have strong Instagram profiles reflecting their style, teachers need an invigorating classroom atmosphere.

Ask yourself, what perception is needed to help me reach my goal? It’s such a simple question that can start to illuminate things you haven’t thought of before. I’ve been thinking about this myself when it comes to my podcast and it made me realize my logo doesn’t give the best perception of what this podcast is about. That would be a simple change I can make to positively impact the growth of this podcast. I admit, it’s not something I considered until I asked myself that question. If you have any suggestions for me, feel free to send my way, I’m easily found on LinkedIn – Jolie Downs.

I loved Mark’s advice about what to do if you are unhappy in your work. He warns against spending your time gossiping and complaining – if you are sitting around gossiping and complaining about not getting chosen for the promotion, then I’m here to let you know, you didn’t get chosen because you are someone who chooses to sit around and gossip and complain as opposed to doing something. You can change your situation. Make a plan and execute it. Do you want to move up the ranks? Start acting as if you are in that role, mentor people below you, look for ways to make a positive difference, find ways to contribute MORE.

Is there something that your current employer can do to make you happy?

Sit down and figure out what you need, then take the time to understand why you deserve it so that you can share that with your boss – after doing your best to prepare for your talk, make that appointment wihth your boss, ask for what you need and offer why you deserve it.

If they tell you no, ask them what you could do in order to get where you want to be. If you have growth that is needed, this is the perfect opportunity to learn what areas those are and brainstorm with your boss on ways you can better yourself and grow. Prove that you are the one to consider for the future.

You must first BE that which you wish to become.

If they are unable to give you a clear path to what you need, or flat out refuse to discuss, now you know. You know you are not being valued, you know there is not a clear path to growth. With that knowledge, you can make your next decision and hopefully, that will be to find a place that can provide you with what you need.

Do not quit your current job until you find your new job – psychologically, you will be more appealing to a hiring manager if you are currently working. Stay in your role and up level your game, you want to go out on a high note and learn everything you possibly can while you’re looking for your new role. Identify all the things that are most important to you in your next position and then start going after the companies and opportunities that embody those ideals. Be patient. Do not settle. Take the time to find the right next opportunity for you.

You deserve nothing less.

There were lots of other great take always but I’ll leave with this last suggestion – I love that Mark uses his commute time to listen to books on audible. He has turned his vehicle into an automobile university. Think about all the time you spend commuting, whether walking, riding, driving, public transport, these are hours and hours every week that could be used bettering your mind. Imagine the growth you could experience by simply feeding your mind the right kind of information for half of each commute.

What are you feeding your mind these days? Is the information you are consuming making you a better person? Are you learning? Is it giving you more understanding? Spiritual or Intellectual growth?

When I look back at the dark times in my life, I can see how much I neglected to feed my own mind during those times. Instead I allowed myself to be fed that which didn’t serve me.

So this is my wish for us all, that you become focused on good food to feed your mind, that you proactively choose to look for the information that will raise and grow your mind in a positive and proactive way every single day.

Until next time

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