Every day our words affect others either in a positive or negative way.
In today’s podcast, I share how different people and their words helped me to succeed and to sometimes fail. Take a lesson from my experiences and go and change someone’s life today.
“I now realize the importance of having yourself surrounded by people that will give you the words that are really, really important and honest. Not only the praise but also the words of doubt or the words of discouragement or the words to, to basically let you know that, hey, you’re not on the right path. You’re doing things the wrong way or you’re not being honest. You’re not being direct.”
– Gregory Paul
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01:30 – Greg’s mission and involvement in Denver’s criminal justice reforms
02:04 – The impact of the power of words to Greg’s life growing up becoming a pleaser and trying to figure out everything on his own
04:20 – Robin’s impact to his life, being the only person that praised him and became his positive influence to his life
07:01 – Shifting gears, moving to Colorado with Robin, believing in his capacity and that he can do more by listening to Robin’s words of encouragement
08:14 – Powerful words that made him successful- being salesman of the month, breaking sales target after sales target
09:30 – The Positive impact of people around him
10:25 – The fall of his success—nobody told him that he is about to make a big mess
12:20 – The words of discouragement from his supervising officer inside the facility, an accountability he got from his sixth officer who believed in him and recognized his efforts
16:57 – Giving positive vibe and casual conversation to people we meet
17:20 – What is more with Greg, his mission to help former felon to transition back to the society
Connect with Gregory Paul
(Note, this was transcribed using a transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast)
You’re a convicted felon, you’re wired differently, you’re never going to change probation, supposed to be about rehabilitation. It’s supposed to be about helping people become better, helping me go into society and become a better person, but the words that were chosen were never literally.
Do you want answers? I think I’m entitled. Do you want answers? You can’t handle the truth.
Welcome to the pitching the truth podcast.
My name is Gregory Paul and it is my honor to share with you all the truth can lead to stronger relationships, better communications, wealth, and happiness.
Come with me each week as I share lessons and insights that I and others have learned through the power of truth. You would reflect, ponder, laugh, and even sometimes cry, but I promise you will learn how to improve your life to become a stronger and better person.
Hello and welcome to the Pitching the Truth podcast. My name is Gregory Paul Kotsaftis, your host I ’m glad to be here on this beautiful fall day. It’s just after Halloween. Leaves have fallen off the trees outside. Get my yard cleaned up. Happy to have a beautiful sunny day here in Denver, Colorado, and just. Looking forward to having yet another episode to chat about some things that I think are relevant that are important. I’ve started to get heavily involved with criminal justice reform here in Denver, Colorado after experiencing firsthand some of what I feel are limiting rules and regulations that don’t really give criminals a chance to come back from adversity. If anything, I think the system is definitely skewed towards not really doing that, so I’m here to voice my opinion about different things that can try to help others see what criminals go through and also at the same time help others just generally in life not to make the same mistakes that I’ve made in my life.
Today, I am looking forward to discussing the power of words. I say the power of words because in my lifetime I’ve had it very few influences such as mentors that I thought gave me very positive flawed words. A lot of a lot of things when I was in my childhood and the thing that really stuck with me being the oldest of three kids growing up with two very hardworking parents was that there wasn’t a lot of time for explanation. A lot of time to sit down and say, okay, let’s look at this. This is the way you should do this. This is the way you should not do this in my world that the saying was very simple. Don’t worry. You’ll figure it out. Those are the first words that were really emphasized to me when I was trying to go through a problem, even when I was very young,
So what did I learn to do? I became very resourceful. It became very self-motivated. I became very independent, which are all very great qualities, but that can only get you so far, right, because the other thing that really happened because of those words were I became very much a pleaser. Somebody that wanted to make sure that they spend a lot of time trying to impress other people because I had to figure it out. Right? I was told don’t worry, figure it out, and therefore I would spend all my time doing just that, trying to figure it out, but most of the time I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, so I would just make mistake after mistake after mistake. I feel that this led to poor behavior by me throughout my life. Now sometimes I had some major, major victories. I was in a very poor relationship all the way through high school with a very obnoxious person.
I won’t name names. Of course. Those that know me well will know who exactly who she is, but I wasted years of my life in that relationship and I don’t know why and I think it’s because I was trying to sit back and understand and seek approval maybe or the power of the words that somebody wanted to be with me or kind of giving to me was important, but at the same time they were also not always that nice and I think definitely held me back. So eventually I moved to Boston. I met this girl. Her name is Robin. I’m going to definitely mention her because she’s the reason I’m in Colorado, and I met her and she was unlike any other person that ever met because she fully, wholeheartedly believed in me. She believed I could do anything. She didn’t care if it was the smallest, simplest, stupidest thing.
She would praise me continually and those words mattered. Those words pumped me up. Those words made me feel like I could do anything and guess what happened. As she kept telling me these things, things continued to get better in my life. I had a great relationship with her. I’d have to say that she’s definitely one of the first women that I ever fell in love with and I was very, very happy with her and we were kind. We were generous. We consider each other. She would joke with me because we both worked at a bar called Zanzibar in Boston, which is no longer there, but she’d be like, Oh, you’re the king. You’re the king of Zanzibar. Which of course at the time was a big joke, but at the same time, it wasn’t negative. It was funny. It was just praise. So we would laugh and we joke and we’d have a great time.
Eventually, she told me one day randomly that she decided to move to Boulder, Colorado. Now at first, I thought, man, there’s no way in hell I can move to Colorado. My whole families in Boston, so I let her go. I came out here with her, helped her move her stuff, though the place is really cool, went home and decided that I could just sit back and stay there and continue to work selling beer, which is what I did before in my past life. But as it turned out, my Boston had the same view. They decided to let me go. All of a sudden I had no job. So I moved to Colorado and this is what happened. This begins my trajectory of getting into sales and entrepreneurship. I could not find a job for life of me. I spent a month trying to find a job out here and could not get anywhere.
Everyday. Robin’s telling me, don’t worry, it’s going to be fine. You’re going to find something. You’re great, you’re awesome. It’s going to work out. It’s going to be fine, so sure enough, about a month later I got a job selling cars. I worked at a Nissan dealership in Boulder, still there and did poorly. I mean the first 45 days, actually it was the first 60 days. I was working close to 60 plus hours a week. Every day and night I was at that place trying to make money because I needed it badly and every day and night I come home and just couldn’t sell anything. Just. I mean I was just horrible, horrible, but every day I come home and Robin be like, don’t worry, you’re the best. You’re the best salesperson. I know. You’re amazing. You’re going to get this done. It’s going to happen. You’re going to, you’re going to do great.
It’s going to be incredible. These are the words you say to me. Do I look at her like, who are you and why you keep saying this to me? I kept thinking to myself, this is never going to change. It’s never going to happen, but here’s the thing. The more she said it, the more I started to believe it, the more I started to believe it. Things started to shift, and this is what happened. Sixty days I made an average of a dollar and nine cents an hour. Yeah, that’s right. I calculated every penny of it and it was brutal. Then came the third month I sold 32 cars and I made $9,600 in 1994 or five. That was the most money I’d ever made in a single month in my life and even I was dumbfounded. I’m like, well, maybe it was a fluke. Maybe they had a promotion going on.
Maybe something else would happen, but of course, I have my little cheerleader in the corner telling me, oh, see, I told you, I told you, next month I sold 45 cars. Salesman of the month made close to $12,000. The month after that. I don’t know how many, I can’t remember it. I sold, but it was north of 40, 42, let’s say again, broke, broke the five-figure mark for the month, which was kind of unheard of back then. Especially now you’re going to remember I wasn’t the only salespeople. There was at least 12 to 13 of us. A lot of them had a lot more experienced than me. A lot of them had better skills in me, but I had figured out a system and I don’t know what that system was, but I have to say that I feel that the power of the words coming from the person that I respected the most meant something.
Those words made a change in my life. Those words created a shift in my life that caused me to become very, very successful financially. Now, from there, I got recruited to go work at another car dealership where I ended up eventually running that car dealership. Then eventually they got an investment from my father in law and opened up my own business and went on to have a car dealership that made millions and millions of dollars for a long period of time. Throughout that time, you know, Robin faded away. She ended up. We ended up becoming very good friends and she ended up moving on to another relationship, which was okay because it was a gun, very well communicated, positive breakup, probably the only one I’ve ever had in my life where I didn’t feel bad afterward I felt, I don’t know. I felt kind of relieved because we knew we were on different paths and she’s still somebody I talked to this day, just so everybody knows and understands that there is life after a breakup, especially when you’ve got a positive person.
So on. We go on, we go and meet the next. A person who becomes my wife and I have three beautiful daughters. I’m getting words of encouragement from her father that she from her, her stepmother. She was a wonderful, wonderful woman who gave me. She was very kind to me all the time. Even my wife was kind to me at the same time. She was definitely a positive person as well, so I had a lot of positive influence and things got, you know, the economy was great. Everything kept going and things went really, really well. Well, of course, that all fell apart and that’s not because anybody was negative towards me or anybody wasn’t positive. That’s because I don’t think I was really hanging around the right kind of people because if I had the power of words in somebody who was really sharing with me their deep thoughts about how poorly I was behaving or how screwed I really was, maybe if I had listened to those words, I never would have gotten myself in trouble, but I didn’t, of course.
And um, I now realize the importance of having yourself surrounded by people that will give you the words that are really, really important and honest. Not only the praise but also the words of doubt or the words of discouragement or the words to, to basically let you know that, hey, you’re not on the right path. You’re doing things the wrong way or you’re not being honest. You’re not being direct. I crave those words all the time now. So here I am, I’ve gone through this whole journey, right? And now I’ve had to go through supervision at the state of Colorado. You know, of course, when you get in there and you go through the whole process and you end up at your facility, you know, no one really cares, no one really wants to give you any kind of words of encouragement, which I kind of expected.
So I was prepared for that. I was prepared and I was ready to kind of just, uh, just wait and see what’s going on and try to figure it all out. At the end of the day, words matter. Everybody in there was just negative. So I spend most of my time ignoring everybody. I literally wore head wore earplugs all day long. To this day I still prefer to have something in my ears to kind of soften the noise because it really does bother me to have to listen to other people’s negativity. So I really try to make sure I block it out. When I first got out, the first words were to me, you know, the supervising people that supervised me with generally just, you know, and I got to understand their side of the coin, right? Because they’re used to dealing with guys that are lying, manipulating, and not really making any effort to get any better.
So of course they’re going to be on guard and they’re going to try to, uh, make sure that they keep you down. But a couple of times there were things that I thought crossed the line. There were words that were said that if I was any other man, if I was any other man without faith, without meditation, without a strong peer group of friends and support and family and love for my children, I could have been crushed by it. Words such as you’re a convicted felon, you’re wired differently. You’re never going to change. These were words that were said to me by an officer that looked across from my desk, her desk at me, and basically had complete control over everything that I did or whether or not I went back or I stayed out. So I had to sit there and listen to that. I couldn’t fight it.
I couldn’t say, Hey, you know what? You’re wrong because I don’t want to get any more heat. So I had to listen to those words and at at the time you don’t think like, well, I think that’s ridiculous. People can’t talk like that to each other. Right? They can’t put that kind of judgment. But in this case she did and for a day or two it stuck with me. It kind of bothered me. And then it turned into an events like every time I had to meet, I knew I became slowly but surely ready and numb to the fact that I knew the words were coming. Other words were along the lines of, you know, this is a life sentence, this is a life sentence. You’re going to be doing this for the rest of your life. And again, now my sentence was 20 years and I’m focusing on getting that done as soon as possible.
She wanted to paint a picture, like they’re just going to keep renewing it over and over and over again, and you’re never going to get out of it. That was the mindset you tried to drill into my head. Now understand these people. Probations supposed to be about rehabilitation. It’s supposed to be about helping people become better, helping me go into society and become a better person, but the words that were chosen were never literally, it took me five, five, or six different supervisors until somebody actually said the words to me, Greg, you know what? You’re doing a really good job. Literally, it took years. Now before that, I always thought I was doing a good job. I was there wasn’t sure working my ass off, trying to do the right thing everyday as I do, but I never had any words of encouragement and did those words make me relax and make me think to myself like, wow, I bet you know I’ve made it.
I’m done. I don’t have to worry about anything. I can go back to my old ways. Of course, not those words did nothing but strengthen me. They made me realize like, okay, somebody finally recognizes it. It’s taken you a long time. It’s taken you a lot of hard work, but just keep it up because the words mean something. The words have made you justified in your actions that you are doing the right thing, and to be quite honest, it made me feel very, very accountable to this particular person because out of all of the people that I’ve had, she again was also the probably the, the most human, like nicest person to me that actually gave me some recognition as a person and made me realize that, you know, what I’m up against is not easy, but I’m handling it well. The power of words matter.
Every single day. We can hurt somebody or help somebody with our words. We can be positive and encouraging. Like I try to be with my children every single time we talk or we can point blame. It’d be a little bit miserable and maybe ruin someone’s Day. We can be nice to the person we meet at the coffee shop and say, hello. How are you today? What’s going on? I love your bracelet. Wow. Where’d you get that shirt? Have a nice conversation. Or we can just be rude and harsh and say, Ugh, you fill my coffee too tall. It’s too hot. Or I told you I want coconut milk, not almond milk. It just be rude. You have the choice. Every day that person goes home and thinks to themselves, wow, I wasn’t sure about the shirt today, but for this bracelet, because I usually don’t wear it, but wow, that man saw said it and he said it was great and that makes me feel good.
Or they could go home and be like, Ugh, I can’t stand this job. I can’t believe that this is my life. Having to put up with people that are so petty that they give a crap whether it’s coconut or almond milk. You guys follow me? The power of our words matter. You need to pay attention to your words. You need to be spreading positivity, j, y and grace every day. You need to be thankful, helpful and encouraging to everyone you meet. Even those people, especially those people that are not having a good day, especially those people that aren’t really kind to you, those are the people that needed the most. Those are the people that you need to stay with you. How many times you’ve been around somebody like, oh, I can’t stand this person. Like I just can’t even. I can’t even deal because they’re so negative and so, you know, not nice and disingenuine.
Well, those people I specifically try to be really nice too. It’s kind of like the east coast mentality, you know? Most of you know I’m from Boston, Boston and New Yorkers were kind of the same. We’re a little harsh on the outside, you know, I think bas new, new englanders are definitely a little bit harder than New Yorkers think. New Yorkers are a little more direct, but new Englanders are kind of quiet. They kind of like give you the attitude of like, I’m an asshole, don’t fuck with me. That type of thing. They kind of stand back, but when I find nine times out of 10 is once you get to know him there, they cracked right open man. They’re soft, they’re sweet, they’re nice people, they’re genuine, they’re helpful, they’re giving. So when you’re out there and somebody seems like they’re really having a bad day or they’re really being nasty and rotten, try killing them with a little bit of kindness.
Give them a little bit of a positive vibe. I know care what it is, just a little bit of casual conversation. Try to get them to crack a smile, be a goofball, joke with them. The power of words mean something. It means a lot to a lot of people and in the en,d you’re going to benefit from it and most importantly, the other person is going to benefit from it. So circling back to what I talked about in the beginning of this podcast, I am really hopeful, very hopeful to get involved with a couple of organizations which I’ll share later in the podcast where I can start helping people that are transitioning from prison back into society with some of this advice so that they can. They can transition and succeed and win and not go back. So I’m really helpful that hopeful that that will happen and I’m really close and I think it will.
I’m also hopeful and helpful and grateful that I have people helping me try to sort my own personal problem out and I’m hopeful that that will happen soon. Very, very blessed and thankful to have that in my life. Thankful and blessed to have three beautiful daughters, all that are doing very well. Loving family, an amazing fiance. Just general loving support everywhere I go. So spread the power of words. Be Positive, be engaging, be helpful, be carrying, be nice, genuine things for people every single day. That’s my message to you today. I’ll talk to you guys again soon and please, please, if you have time, leave a review on Itunes, stitcher, wherever you are about this podcast, and I hate to be pushing my book, but I’m going to keep pushing it because every penny of the book, every penny of profit, which is not huge, but some goes towards paying my victim’s back. The truth about lies. So admitting nothing can cost you everything. It’s on Amazon or they’re my name. Gregory Paul Kotsaftis and if you want to check that out, that’d be great. But, uh, otherwise I look forward to talking to you all soon. Thank you.