No one’s path to success in the trades is linear. Many of us have had several different jobs and hurdles to jump over before finding the career that ‘clicks’ and truly fires us up. Speaking of fire, how would you like a peek into the world of a professional firestopper and life safety consultant?
Join me on this episode of Learnings and Missteps as I welcome Sharron Halpert, Founder of Halpert Life Safety Consulting. Sharron is here to share the wisdom she’s gained from a 20+ year-long career in firestop and life safety consulting.
After living the vagabond lifestyle for several years, Sharron decided it was time to get a career. When she finally discovered the firestop field, she realized it was the perfect career for her to thrive in. Now, she’s an entrepreneur, consultant, and she even makes firestop training courses so more tradespeople (and buildings) can be safe and secure on the job.
Tune in to learn more about why it’s important to prioritize firestop and life safety on your jobsites and how you can train your team on firestop so they can reap the life-changing, life-saving benefits of these life safety protocols.
What You’ll Learn in This Episode:
· Sharron’s career path into construction, firestopping, and life safety.
· How to create a work environment where your team isn’t scared to come talk to you.
· Sharron’s experience as a woman on the jobsite and a leader in construction.
· How do you respond to inappropriate comments and behaviors at work?
· Maintaining integrity in your work despite the resistance or unethical conduct you might face from coworkers or other contractors.
· Why it’s so powerful to communicate and understand each other’s expectations.
· Top tips for implementing firestopping on your jobsite.
· Why Sharron is providing free bilingual (English/Spanish) firestop training.
· How to access her FREE Firestop Coffee Break Training Course.
· To learn Sharron’s Learning and Misstep, tune in on YouTube & SUBSCRIBE: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnVikYCgUE4HBlU2XGH3id41VbANSJCD7
“When the world presents you with a lesson, take it and treasure it.” – Sharron Halpert
Check out my NEW book, Lean & Love – 5S Love Letters: A #NoBS Look Into How Your Relationships Create #RipplesOfImpact at https://www.depthbuilder.com/5s
You are invited to join the Emotional Bungee Jumpers and deepen your leadership skills with a network of Industry professionals: https://www.depthbuilder.com/emotional-bungee-jumpers
Connect with Sharron:
Connect with her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sharron-halpert-mim-94b56718
Halpert Life Safety Consulting: https://halpertlifesafety.com
Firestop Coffee Break Training: https://firestop-coffee-break-training.mykajabi.com
Meet Me on the Bridge: Nine Bricks to Create Strong Relationships at Work by Kimberly Sauceda: https://www.amazon.com/Meet-Me-Bridge-Bricks-Relationships/dp/B0B8GB3K7T
But it's two things. Know it and grow it. Know your bandwidth. And grow your bandwidth. And in every single capacity. You talk a lot about interpersonal relationships and growing your capacity to develop strong interpersonal relationships. , one of those soft skills, but it's just as important if not more, because people wanna work with people they know and trust. We all know this. But we all know this because it's true. Correct. And being that old school superintendent, I remember one superintendent, you showed up in his office, you would get a litany of at least five curse words in about 60 seconds. And that's even when you didn't do something wrong. So nobody wanted to go into this office and talk to him about anything. Ever. And you can't manage a project if people are scared to talk to you. Yes. So being able to be a person that people can approach, but also like my other boss, I would never wanna disappoint that man. That's a great leader. A hundred percent. I would work with a guy like that. He brings out the best in you and sometimes even better than you thought that you ever had the capacity for. That's magical Oh man. Did you notice the energy of that other voice on this clip? That is Miss Sharon Halpert and she's a Fire stop enthusiast. Fire stop expert. Like she schooled me to levels that I never expected to be schooled about. Fire Stop, which is a valuable service and maybe. and underappreciated skill and trade in the construction industry because it, it's a matter of life safety. . And as Sharon and I are talking through insight around maintaining integrity when you are representing change and people are, uh, maybe dismissive or resistant to change or even inappropriate. And of course, the time that she's put in doing the kind of work she does and serving customers and clients the way she serves. one of the nuggets of wisdom that she shares is around the value in getting clear about expectations on both sides, right? Communicating my expectations and understanding clearly my counterparts expectations. This, of course, is applicable to any position, any industry, Towards the end of the conversation, Sharon dropped some like ultra super cheat codes around expanding your knowledge around the fire stop thing, which is like not a small thing. It's a super huge thing. We're gonna, there's links in the show notes to, to the website, to some online training. They're cooking up, so I'm like, English and Spanish training. After you listen to the episode, go ahead and go down to the show notes and click around, hit some of them links up because there is valuable content there that will. enhance the safety, not only for our workers that are doing the building, but for the occupants and the people that are using it afterwards. And of course, it'll protect your company from liability and stuff, but for me it's always about focusing on the people and making people's lives better. before we get into the. We gotta give that LnM love to our folks out there that have been supporting us patrons, thank you so much for the time that you've been with us and the dollars that you've contributed to learnings and missteps We have just. Surpassed the 7,500 download mark, and that brings us to like over a hundred downloads per episode average. Thank you for everything you've done. Your vote of confidence and your willingness to put some money in on this thing is deeply appreciated and we're gonna keep it going and time for the shout out to our family member that went out of their way to leave a comment, to send a text, to give us a positive vote of encouragement so we could keep these wheels moving. This one goes out to Mr. Louie. Louie says, I just finished the book today, so I want to say thank you for the work you put into it, as it was a great. That to me emphasized self-reflection and self-awareness. Love you, Jess Louis. Love you my man and folks. That book is accomplishing exactly what we intended it to accomplish, which was to help one person to enhance the quality of life of somebody else. And, and y'all sharing how it's impacting you is so, so appreciated. Please keep 'em coming so I can show my mom right? Whenever I get in trouble, I can say, look mom, I did a good thing. on that note, keep an eye out. This is secret. Yeah, it's a secret. I'm not supposed to say anything, so don't tell Jen, but. , the Lean & Love audiobook is fixing the hit the airwaves in March, I think March 18th is what we talked about. But before the audiobook hits, there are going to be some bloopers or blooper reels available of Adam Hoots, buddy Brumley, Jennifer Lacy, and, and all the little goofy, fun stuff that we did or dealt with as we were producing that book. So keep an eye on the socials, on the LinkedIn, on the Facebook, on the Insta, on the TikTok, And we appreciate you for listening. So here we go back to the show what is going on? LnM Family. We're back. It's 2023. We took a little bit of a break because we're working on some projects that took a little longer than we expected. And I'm super happy to be here with Miss Sharon. She's got an amazing story and she does some beautiful things for the industry and for human beings at large. So here's Miss Sharon what should the LnM Family know about you? I guess the biggest thing from a work perspective is that if you want to build better and it's related to fire stop, I wanna help you. And there's a million different ways to help. There's free resources. There's a YouTube channel, there's all the stuff we post on LinkedIn. There's obviously paid resources, but if you just wanna learn a little bit here and there, there's tons of different opportunities and I'm more than happy to help. So you said there's free resources. Is there like a website or? . So we have a YouTube channel We're doing a little red Jeep series, which is basically whether I'm on my way to a job site or just finished up a job site or finished up a conversation with an architect, whatever it happens to be, just taking little snippets of that conversation that I think other people would find valuable and sharing it. They're short little 2, 3, 5 minute things. Just to get people thinking about a better way to deal with Fire Stop or how to reduce problems. So there's YouTube. There's our blog. We have a resource called Fire Stop Coffee Break, which is the idea of the training that fits into your life as easy as a coffee break. So there's a series of videos that are five to 20 minutes long and one of them is a free resource and it goes over the. The UL nomenclature or the naming system for fire stop details. And once you understand that, it's literally like speaking another language and you can use it to evaluate your fire stop installers. Do you have half a clue what you're doing? Are you following a listed system? , you can use it to pre-plan your project. So it's a series of three videos. One goes over what all the alpha characters mean. One goes over the numerical characters, and then the final one is, here's a different way to look at your project. Before you've got people poking holes in all your fire rated assemblies. Let's plan it so you can reduce some of the issues. Now, not all of them, right? Every project is different, every project is gonna have different problems. But if you take the information that's in those three little videos and you actually do something and implement a new process on your project, it's a free resource. So literally it's for anybody that wants to build better. Boom. And I can get started on that bad boy and start building better. And there's a little app you can download on your phone so you can literally take it with you. And is this the helper? Life Safety? Our website is helper life safety.com. We're redoing the website. So there will be a training segment and it'll be the Fire stop coffee break training section, fire stop Coffee break training section. So I just learned that you and I have a mutual friend, Thomas Lame, who's awesome. And you stated that it's been a while or maybe you met him quite a few years back. Fire Life Safety I'll say it's a pretty specialized trade. It's like expanding and growing in terms of the specialization. Cuz I remember back in the day when I was installing. I took a class or something. I was given a fire, cock, gun and a bucket, and I fire cocked. That's what I did. And then as I progressed in my career we started finding a vendor to execute that work. But that didn't happen until the last five years of when I was working with the mechanical contractor. So I guess there's several questions here. The first question is, How'd you get into this? You've probably never been asked that before, . Oh, no. Never. No. And my favorite way to explain it, it's like Alice in Wonderland. It's a series of rabbit holes that I fell through, and then plunk, I found a, spot And I love my little spot. . Most people hate fire Stop. Yes. And I totally geek out over it. I couldn't be happier to talk fire stop. It's just really gets me revved up. I love the idea that this little tiny element of construction can make such a massive impact on the level of life safety of a building. Oh, tremendous. Tremendous. So what was it about this niche that like encapsulated all your energy? I got a lot of energy. It took a lot. So I was a former kindergarten teacher, boat builder, bartender. I was a vagabond for seven years. And then I realized that at some point I probably should have a career. And so the obvious next step in my crazy brain was graduate school. So then partway through graduate school, I realized I'm still just a boat builder, bartender, kindergarten teacher with now a master's degree. Big deal. Who's gonna want that? And so I did an internship and I got hired on as an intern for hilty. It was a three month stint that didn't stop for a while. They kept giving me such awesome projects and I was like, Ooh, I'm gonna do that, and then I'll go back to school. Nope, I'm gonna do that next one and then I'll go back to school. . So nine months later, I finally told my boss, stop giving me all these awesome projects. And they said when you finish school, don't bother looking for a job because we want you back. So I worked for a number of years and then worked for the second largest distributor of 3M Fire Stop, and then wound up on City Center, which is where I met Thomas, and I was responsible for all installed fire Stops on a 76 acre project. The largest hotel had 4,000 keys. Oh my goodness. That's a lot of generations. . It was massive and it I had some of the best bosses in my life. One of my bosses told me flat out, he's I don't know. Fire stop. I'm not gonna know. Fire stop. If there's any questions, it's on you. You better get it right. . Thanks. . I'm very used to knowing exactly where my bandwidth was. I know. I know what I know and I know what I don't know, and if I don't know it, I will tell you. I don't know it, but I'll find out. That's a power skill to be able to say. I don't know that's so huge so you mentioned your knowing exactly where your bandwidth is. I don't think I've ever heard anybody say that. How did you build that awareness? Because the last thing that you should ever do to Rick Bartels is tell him something that is not true. Okay. Or show up without the tools you're supposed to have. And that means like if you have a flashlight that needs batteries, you need to show up with an extra set of batteries because if the batteries you have die, you need extra batteries. Like he was hardcore and he was fabulous. It was a great learning experience. And I remember the one time I disappointed him. And I'll never make that mistake again. Showing up unprepared. No. It just, no. Wow. That's a big deal y'all. So LnM Family members, if you didn't catch that, like knowing the limits of your Bandwidth It sounds simple, but that's pretty profound because we let ego get in the way and we let all I want to no. I know. I'm good. I'm good. I'll figure it out. And then we underserved, right? We under-deliver. And then like you said, you had an experience where the individual was disappointed and I'm sure he let you know how disappointed he was. Oh . . And that didn't feel good. But it's two things. Know it and grow it. Know your bandwidth. And grow your bandwidth. And in every single capacity. You talk a lot about interpersonal relationships. Yes. And growing your capacity to develop strong interpersonal relationships. , one of those soft skills, but it's just as important if not more, because people wanna work with people they know and trust. We all know this. Yep. But we all know this because it's true. Correct. And being that old school superintendent, I remember one superintendent, you showed up in his office, you would get a litany of at least five curse words in about 60 seconds. . And that's even when you didn't do something wrong. So nobody wanted to go into this office and talk to him about anything. Ever. And you can't manage a project if people are scared to talk to you. Yes. So being able to be a person that people can approach, but also like my other boss, I would never wanna disappoint that man. That's a great leader. A hundred percent. I would work with a guy like that. He brings out the best in you and sometimes even better than you thought that you ever had the capacity for. That's magical. That a hundred percent. One, creating the condition so that people aren't scared to come and talk to you. That's like a big deal. That doesn't mean I'm gonna be a big cream puff. Because there are expectations and so being able to do both challenge the individual and nurture the individual, that's how we help people thrive and develop. It's an intricate dance. Like it is not easy. It's very easy to go from one end of the pendulum to the other, I know cuz I've been there. I did it that. when I operate on one end, super nice, super soft, super sweet, nobody grows and the product we deliver is substandard. . And I'm like Mr. Jerk head cuz that's easy for me. Again, nobody grows because, and problems, people are still having problems. They just hide them because they're afraid of me coming and biting their damn head off. And figuring out how to get centered on that. I'm still working on it. . On city center, it was really interesting cause I'm five four. I'm not a big person I just remember one time I was waiting for, we were doing these QC walks and I'm sitting there and I'm pregnant out to shoot And so I had a choice of either go from this QC walk all the way back to the office and then back into the field, which would've taken about 30 minutes. Or walk 10 minutes to my next QC walk and sit around for 20 minutes. So that was an obvious choice, right? And so I'm sitting there, I'm there early, and this guy comes up that I'd never seen before, and I'm waiting in front of the man lift for everybody to show up. And so we're just sitting there chatting and talking about everything under the sun except for work. And then little by little, all the other people started to show up and suddenly he came to this realization. You're the fire stop lady. And I was like, . He's oh, that's not at all what I expected. And I'm like, why? What did you expect? And he's first of all, I expected you to be taller . And I was like, oh sorry to disappoint. I was like, what else did you expect? And he goes, honestly, and he like this long pause and he goes, horns in a tail. And I was like, oh, I guess I'm gonna disappoint you on that one too. And as we talked, I realized that I set really high expectations and that some people, it's life safety that we're dealing with. You can't walk around with anything other than high expectations. But my expectations weren't to exceed the building codes or to exceed the plans and specifications. My high expectations were meet the minimum code, the minimum written into the standard that you're contractually obligated to meet. So they really weren't high standards. But what happened was, as I developed better relationships with these people, they began to realize that I wasn't showing up, telling them all of the things they could do that they were doing wrong. I was showing them all of the ways that they could do better at their job. That's it. And it took a while to, for number one, for me to understand people's perception of me. And there's that whole being a girl in a guy's world and all that stuff. But I grew up being a girl in a guy's world. I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Maine. There was my three brothers. There was a boy that lived in the neighborhood on that side, and another boy that lived in the neighborhood on that side. And I didn't have any girl friends until like middle school and junior high. Wow. So now that I roll onto a job site, it's just another place where I'm the only chick. . And it's not that I don't fit in. I'm so accustomed to being the other, like I lived overseas, I have often been the only white chick. Ah. I worked on a project overseas and I was the only woman on the job site 90% of the time. Wow. So you just learned how to navigate those waters. I can't give people a pass because our industry has a long way to go in terms of figuring out how to properly appreciate women on the job site. We got a long way to go. That being said, wait, you mean Hey, nice butt is not the way to properly appreciate a woman, ? No. You could tell me that and I got I will appreciate that, but no, treat women. That's just not okay. . And we know that it gets worse than that, right? There's just so much that it's not okay. I'm so grateful that I have little feet. It's really hard to step on my toes. You've gotta try . So I always tell guys, I'm like, look, don't worry about offending me. If you do, I will let you know. You will never guess. You'll never wonder is Sharon upset? You'll know. Yes. And then we'll define our boundaries of what's acceptable and what's not. Yep. And there will be some people that disagree with me, but I believe that it is my job to define that. And it's really tricky because, I'm 52, so my concept of what's acceptable or not acceptable may be different from someone who's 20, a hundred percent. And I do think that it is tough for men on job sites if they want to just be friendly. Like I was talking to one guy and he is I feel like if I go into an office, I can't even tell a woman, oh, that dress looks really nice. Like he's trying to compliment you. Don't get offended, have little feet. Make it hard for somebody to offend you and your life and not because you should let people walk all over you, but because if you get offended at every little thing, you're gonna be miserable. Yes, you're gonna be miserable at work and you're gonna bring that misery home. , whether you're home alone or home with kids, or home with cats or dogs or whatever is at home, it's going with you. Yes. So don't even pick it up. Leave it there. Yes. That reminds me of a quote that pretty much changed my life. It's like there's a space between stimulus and response. . And within that space lies my power to choose. And every time I use that space to choose, it gets bigger. My power to choose expands. And so that's it. And you said it make yourself less offendable or I can't remember the words you said, but it was perfect. Have small feet, . That's it. I'm on the verge of saying suck it up. But the reality is, We condition people to treat us the way they treat us. Yes. And if I'm hypersensitive to everything, people aren't gonna want to be around me. People are gonna be walking on eggshells around me. And that's not okay. Just like the example you gave about the gentleman worried about complimenting somebody on their dress. I've been chastised for holding the door open for ladies. And that's my mom brought me up that way. You walk on the outside. If you're walking on the road, you walk on the outside of the lady and you open doors It's just a thing, like I just do it. And I've been chastised for doing that. What do you think? You think I can't hold my own door open? This is borderline. Like you subscribed to rape culture. I'm like, what do you, no. Like my mom told me to hold the door open. I don't wanna get pinched or have my ear pulled. But again there's absolutely a correlation between generations because generations that are close that have an appreciation for my highlights, , my gray hair. That is a distinguished look in men. It really is. But they will say, thank you, I'll get a smile and a thank you. And that's it. And that's amazing. The younger the people get, it gets a little tricky for me and I'm not doing anything wrong. So anyways, it is a complicated thing. My boys are 11 and 14 and when we go to a restaurant, I will tell them, which one of you is gonna be a gentleman? And that's their sign. Go open the door for your mother. Yes. And my dad, if my dad and I, he wouldn't do this if it was like the family going out. . But if it was just my dad and I. . If I went to the car door and opened it myself, he would slap my hand. . I, that's my job. . Yes. I feel him. Hundred percent. He wanted me to be with someone who was respectful enough to go out of their way to do something nice. . It's just like you said, the guy you were talking to, he is man, I thought you were gonna have horns in a tail. The assumption, like he feels like, oh, fire stop person. Oh my God, here we go. They're gonna hand it to me now based on assumptions, of course, due to like previous experiences or interactions that they've had with other folks in the field. . Theory. You have a different, and I'm gonna say appropriate approach to the situation. I'm not here to redline all your issues and rub 'em on in your face. I'm here to help you have more fun. . And I think that's the difference, right? Safety professionals are faced with the same problem. Anybody that represents change. Is faced with that issue and being able to serve the people versus chastise the people, I think makes the a world of difference. And you've given a perfect example of that. For some reason construction is so change averse, don't change anything. Everything we're doing is just the way it should be. Robots. No. Robots are gonna ruin everything. . So I mean on that change of version, think it was what, 15 or so years ago? And if I think about 15 or so, no, it was a lot longer than, oh my goodness. Okay. So how much resistance did you. Face back in 89 cuz I could only 99. 99, okay. . How much resistance did you deal with back then? ? I literally walked onto a project. So now at this point I was working for Hilty, so I'm driving my little red van, actually it was a Jeep. I'm selling all of the tools and the everything in the catalog. Cuz back then we still had a catalog, right? And I walk onto this job site and it was massive. And the guy's we need this and we've got like a $10,000 order. And then I see a couple tubes of fire stop rolling around on the ground. And I'm like, so what about Fire Stop? And he looks at me, he is no. We don't buy that stuff. I was like no, but you've got fire rated floors and walls. You need fire stop. He's now what I'm gonna do is go buy a five gallon bucket of some latex sealant and mix in a thing of Kool-Aid. He said, those tubes are from five projects ago. I bring them with me on every project so that when the building inspector shows up, he expects that's what we're using. And then he looks me straight in the eye and leans forward and he goes, and if you say anything, you can kiss that order. Goodbye. . And I said, huh, interesting. Okay, thanks. Turned around and walked out. Called my boss, told him what just happened, and he said, what are you going to do? Oh, . And I hung up on my boss. And I drove straight to the building official's office and I showed him the order. And I explained everything that happened in that conversation. And I said, I'm not going back to that job site. I am losing a great deal of money I am never stepping foot on that job site. I really hope that you will do the right thing and hold this man accountable for installing fire. Stop properly and if you have any questions about what proper fire stopping looks like, please call me. I left him my business card and I never looked back. Wow. That is a super high, I'll say extreme level of integrity. Good for you. Since then, it's just all been beautiful, huh? ? , sure. I think everybody goes through life and there are moments that they look back and they're like, damn it, I should have done something different. And that opportunity to do the right thing. Didn't come because I always do the right thing.. It came because I made some bad choices and I'm like, Ooh but when we're talking life safety, I have never made a bad choice. That's not intentionally not knowingly. Oh, powerful. All right, folks, so y'all know life safety. You got a hit up, miss Sharon. So you mentioned that you were a kindergarten teacher vaon. What's to get your graduates degree? Now you're doing all this amazing stuff. Do you remember, as far back as you can think, what were your earliest career aspirations? , I wanted to be a veterinarian. Until that old dog got really old and we had to put them down. The picture I colored of veterinarians was, all they do all day long is put down dogs . So after that I was like, Nope, I don't wanna be a veterinarian. Never had a conversation with a reasonable adult with probably with anybody to find out if my colored picture was true. But that was my impression. And when I was in high school my mom was a home ec teacher at a school for Wayward girls. I realized that I had really expensive tastes for like nice clothes, my dad was like, Uhuh, no. And he looked at my mom and he is you gotta teach her how to sew. So then I decided I wanted to be a fashion designer. . And I talked to my school guidance counselor who knew that I was not at all competitive and she said, oh, that's a real cutthroat industry. You're not gonna do well. That left a really bad taste in my mouth. So then I decided I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. So I went to university and I started my student teaching practicum and I fell in love with all 32 students in my classroom. I. Fell in love with two little boys that had really miserable lives. One John, I still to this day, remember him, his mom and dad died in a car accident and he was raised by his grandparents, who I'm sure were fabulous grandparents. But they were not giving this kid the attention that he needed. And I wanted to take him home. . I wanted to take him home and fix all of his problems. And I couldn't separate from that. So I was like, I can't do this. So I left and then finished school. Didn't know what I was gonna do, but didn't wanna be a teacher anymore. And then I decided it was communications with a minor in business. And in my vagabond days, I got an opportunity to teach kindergarten and I loved it. But that was three years and I was like, , I can't live the life of a vagabond forever. I think, a couple things, like clearly you're a super empathetic person. And, I have, I don't know if it's an attraction or something about educators that I just really appreciate, that I didn't really appreciate back when I was in school. And I just in awe about how they can handle the emotional toll of letting go of a class year after year. Like that. I know that I wouldn't be able to do that one, no two, knowing some of the realities that these kids go through. Yes. And seeing them persevere and show up and do the best they can to be kids even though most of their childhood has been stolen from them. Like that. Emotional weight, I cannot handle it. And so educators that can do that, blow my mind. But back to you, your empathy feels like, everything that you've said so far is the superpower that's helped you get to where you're at and do what you're doing now. How far off base am I You're pretty close. The one important thing that you missed is my ability to be completely oblivious. I have fabulous blinders, and when there's an idiot over there doing something stupid, I'm like, la. I can't hear you. Okay. I think that is, that's one part. And then the other part is just being pigheaded and stubborn. , like that can serve you well, right? . Yes. Stubborn. That's on one end of the scale and perseverance and sticktuitiveness and it's all the same thing. It's just sometimes it's, Good. And sometimes it's not. Yes. Oh man. So I get compliments on how focused I can be, and especially with people like dating, right? Because of the amount of attention I can give the person in front of me. And I have to be ultra clear yes, I do give you a lot of attention, and when I'm doing something else, I will give it the same degree of attention. And so what that really means is, like you said, I am really good at ignoring everything except for this one thing, which is helpful, but it's also hurtful to the things and the people that I'm ignoring. , it's like really good, but also needs some massaging to soften up the edges there. Let's back to setting expectations I have a client and he tells me, Sharon, I want you to do this. And then on the same breath, he says, but we don't have the bandwidth to do this. And I'm like which is it? What are we doing? And this morning I sent an email and I'm like, Hey, so I hear this and then I hear this, where are we? I'm not blaming that it is what it is, and I just need to know what is it. So , setting expectations, confirming expectations, and then confirming them again. Yep. And again, . That one too. Oh, okay. I, with this expectations conversation, I know I've experienced a lot of, maybe I should say, I've designed a lot of pain in my life because I've failed to communicate expectations or understand expectations. . And I learned a lot from those things. And so on your path, which is a pretty amazing path, like I just wanna learn more about you cuz there's so much there and your energy. What can you think of a significant learning you had as a result of a painful misstep? There's a million, I've screwed so much stuff up. And I think for me, the biggest thing that I've tried to change is that when Mm-hmm. , it is time for the commercial break. You already know the deal. And if you're new, welcome and we're glad to have you. This, significant learning that our guests have experienced through a painful misstep is available on the YouTube only. So check out the Backstage Pass YouTube playlist You're not only gonna get this super deep revealing nugget of wisdom, you're also gonna get a lot of life lessons that our previous guests have shared over the last year, two years. Lots of great stuff there, so digest it, consume it, and share it and I wanna invite you to hook up with a super amazing crew. That go by the name of the emotional bungee jumpers. Yes, it is as fun and as scary as it sounds, but it's also intended to help us build our leadership skills. Build our communication skills, and you're gonna be hanging out with a group of industry professionals who are actively upskilling, leveling up their game so that they can serve in deeper and more meaningful ways, particularly focused on listening, asking questions, and connecting in deep ways. so hit the dudely. Do like Mando 2.0 says down in the show notes, there's gonna be a link for the backstage pass and there's gonna be a link for the emotional bungee jumpers. Hit it up and here we go. Back to the show. there you go. And just say, Hey look, we've got this project. We want a single source, fill in the blank with your favorite fire stop manufacturer and talk to them and say, come onto the job site and help my trades figure this out. Yes. I'm happy to help you too, but I'm gonna charge you. But talk to your favorite fire stop manufacturer. And if you don't have a favorite fire stop manufacturer. Make some phone calls. Get one . , get one. Cause they're out there, they're a hundred percent out there. This is good. This is gonna be very helpful and I appreciate you sharing the details and painting the picture. Because it's not, I know when I first got, I was the fire stop guy and I'm like, man, all I knew was I was gonna get stuff all over my clothes and it was gonna struck when I go wash it. Like I had my significant other would make me undress in the garage before I came inside. That's a good one. The insulation and stuff that, especially with the damn mineral, right? That's like serious stuff. And I didn't know, I'm like, this what I've always done. I washed my clothes, combine the clothes, Oh, I, , not a good idea. Don't do that. because it's itchy, scratchy, it's not fun. But anyways, the point of all that is I didn't understand how sophisticated our thinking needed to be to make sure we're doing the appropriate thing. . It was just, oh man, I gotta do the fire style. That's boring. I'd rather be running some copper or some screw pipe. But it turns out like that was one of the most critical elements that I had any responsibility for. . And so we undervalue it because we just cocking, I'm just gonna mix up, mix in some Kool-Aid to this five gallon bucket. No. This is critically important to the lives of people here. . And the fact that there are folks out there that are specializing in. The fire protection, the fire safety is important because me as a plumber, it was very difficult for me to appreciate how important it was. And I think, obviously we'll be saving more lives. Man. Okay. So you had tremendous impact. Kindergarten teacher fire stop, guru relationship expert . Oh no, I'm not What footprint do you want to, or do you intend to leave on the world? Miss Sharon? Oh, this right here. That right there. Oh. If you're listening to this is my logo for life. If you imagine a triangle and then a little plus sign in the middle, and the triangle symbolizes both in science and in math. It symbolizes change. And the plus for me, because I'm a Christian, is it's the cross obviously. But just generically, the plus is a sign for positive. So my goal in life, my mission in life is to be a catalyst for positive change in everything I do, in how I raise my kids, in how I interact with my neighbors, in how I interact with people on a job site in my training classes, in, everything I do. And that's one of the reasons that the training is so critical, important to the legacy that I wanna leave behind. . Like our catchphrase is if you wanna build better, we wanna help. It's not a catchphrase that's couldn't be more true. That's truth. I know you, maybe I'll be spilling the beans here, but I'm good at that. You mentioned that the training is going to be bilingual here in the near future. Oh, that's what I'm hoping. The training goes through, I call it the ABCs and one, two threes and the A the alpha characters in the UL details talk about your rated assemblies and then your numeric characters talk about your penetrating items. I'm getting it changed over so that we'll have two options. You can just watch it without the teleprompt at the bottom, or you could watch it with the Spanish across the bottom. But for anybody that speaks English and needs to learn the vocabulary in Spanish, or vice versa. If there's a Latino or a Latina that wants to learn the English words for it, it is there. And my intent is to always have it free and available literally to anybody. I think it's a fabulous demonstration of your mission, your symbol . Of being a catalyst to change. Because, I've come up in the industry and I'm in San Antonio, Texas there's a large population of folks that. don't speak English, have all the traits and the skills to be in a leadership role and expand their earning potential, except for that one tool of speaking English. Because there's a barrier. And so just this training which seems super simple. Let me translate it. I know it's going to be a catalyst in those people's lives and careers that's gonna ripple out to their children's lives. So clearly it's what you do, right? , you're a catalyst for change. Are there any folks that you wanna give a shout out to? So when I was in graduate school, I played rugby, so the hooker is the person that's in the middle of the scrum. And the scrum is where this team and this team is pushing one against the other, and the ball goes in the middle and the goal is to get your scrum over the ball and then kick it out the backside. And the hooker is the one that's in the middle getting squished and squirmed around. And then their job is to get their foot around the ball and get it underneath the scrum. Got it. So our hooker, little feisty redhead, she's phenomenal. She's worked for all these big companies, and whatnot. And she wrote this book, meet Me on The Bridge, and it is Nine Bricks to create strong relationships at work. That is a book I would highly recommend I wound up with a Covid app, which is my training. So literally there's an app you can download onto your phone and there it is. There's your training So what's the name of the app? The app is called Cajabi. They house a lot of other training stuff, but ours is the Fire Stop Coffee Break training. on Kajabi. Yep. Got it. So if you're on the Kajabi app, which I am, so now I can check it out. Ooh, the fire stop Coffee break training. . So if you're not on the Kajabi app, all you have to do is download it. And the key thing to remember is that the training that you sign up for on the website, you need to use the same email address when you sign up for Cajabi. . If you use the same email address, it will magically appear in your app. If you don't, the magic just doesn't work. Yes. So you gotta go through the website, sign up, you'll get access to the course, it'll give you direction to download the Cajabi app, and then you can access the course on your desktop and your. Yes. And some of the classes, like some of the paid classes, you'll wanna download handouts and things. Like for example, when my friend Doug Evans always says, if you don't know the standards, you don't know the codes. So when you sit down and you try and read the codes and they talk about a s t m e one 19 or 1966 or E eight 14, and you try and figure out the difference between ASTM E eight 14 and ASTM E eight four, or if you get them confused, God forbid then you're not meeting the code if you don't understand those things. And that's what we go into in some of the trainings depending on what somebody's learning about. So for example the line we always use is that we animate the building codes and we turn the fire test standards into stories. And then you take that animation in those stories and you design a way to build better. . Because if you're not building to the code, , the code is the minimum legally allowed. If you're not building the code, you're opening your company, your clients up to a tremendous liability. And I can't tell you how many times I've had conversations with people and they tell me, oh , Sharon, and this is architects and then construction managers alike, they say, , we get the fire stop submittal, but we stamp them received instead of stamping them approved or anything like that. And so my question to them is always, in what way does that remove you from your fiduciary duty to your client? . And it doesn't, there's a major architectural firm, major like global, and I was doing a training class in their office and the guy was like . We just get 'em and we throw 'em in a file. and I asked him that question and he's Nope, doesn't matter. And I just wanted to say, I wonder what your lawyer would say. , but I don't think I would win friends and influence people that way. . And I don't know if I want friends cuz they're worried about their exposure to litigation. They're not worried about people's lives. And that's, I'm worried about my exposure to litigation. Of course, your boss that I told you about, he hammered it into my head very clear. Anything that you put in a report, I want you to imagine that you're sitting in a courtroom trying to explain what you wrote. So it needs to be clear and it needs to be accurate. And the other thing he said is, if it is not documented, it did not happen. So we had a project where there was a major water leak. High rise building and the penthouse people went on vacation and the water heater leaked and they didn't find out until there was water dripping through the ceiling in the lobby. Oh gee. So every floor? Yep. , every floor. But you know what we had on a cocktail napkin, literally a little note that said, we are not interested in W rated fire stop so my boss was in charge of quality control. He was also in charge of post-construction. . So Perini built city center, and they have a fabulous reputation of long-term clients that come back again and again. . And you don't get that if you don't maintain those relationships, which oftentimes includes maintaining the building. So when this happened, despite the building being, I don't know, 10 or 15 years old, pulled it out and we're good to go, , it was fine. And so for anybody that doesn't know what a w rated fire stop is, the fire stop industry became an assistant to the insurance industry because back in the late eighties, early nineties, there was a lot of issues with mold inside buildings, and people with weak immune systems were getting really sick. And some of them unfortunately passed away. And dead people cost insurance companies a lot of money and sick people cost them a lot of money. So the insurance companies were trying to figure out a way to mitigate this issue. And they found that fire stop when it was able to stop the movement of water could support this both in construction due to inclement weather or pipes breaking or not being properly hooked up during construction or water leaks after a building is completed. And so they came out with this W rating. So they build the fire stop assembly, they allow it time to cure, and then they put a 72 foot column, 72 foot they put a column of water that's 72 inches high and then they put blotter paper on the underside. And if a single drop of water comes through for the 72 hour period, you don't get a W rating. But if you can stop water from coming through, then you'll get a W rating. So what drives me nuts is architects that say all floor penetrations must have a w rating. I'm sorry. How in the world are you gonna stop water from going through with a pipe that's insulated with fiberglass? . Or with a bundle of cables. Yep. You're simply not, and when you write that into the specifications, that's a red flag to me that you don't know what you're really asking for . You're just trying to cover yourself. . . And honestly, by trying to cover wouldn't you actually be opening yourself up for more of a liability? You've asked for something in your specifications, and then you have not verified that you're getting that. Yes. For me the thing I connect to most is people that care about people. . And I think you, I don't think I know. I believe you care about people. Oh hell . It all comes from there. Like all the rest of this stuff is just business and work. But I think you have a deep compassion for people and I'm grateful to have spent this time talking and you educated me cuz like you, I'm having flashback oh my goodness, I haven't got this deep into fire stop or anything construction. But it, it was flashbacks and the bad stuff, the shortcuts that I took and also around the value of communicating what's actually happening, like the intricacies of everything. So I appreciate you Miss Sharon. Do you have a good time? Absolutely. Good. Oh, one thing we didn't talk about was the connection between the suicide rate and fire stop. I think that people that go to work and they've got everybody knocking on 'em like, this sucks and that sucks and everybody's complaining about everything. And when they show up at work and they don't know how to do the fire stop, number one, they don't have the confidence. Having confidence in what you're doing, I think is a big boost to somebody's ego, which is going to reduce the likelihood that they will do something irreversible and permanent end their life. Yes. And if you go on, like you just said that you didn't know what you were doing and you had to slap fire, stop around, and that's still happening. , a hundred percent everywhere. So what happens if you roll in and somebody says, Hey, I need you to do the fire stop today. And then the inspector comes in and finds problems with your installation. Great. There's another thing this stupid idiot can't do, right? Yep. Of course this portal can't do it. When they didn't get any training on what right is supposed to look like so anything that you can do to bolster somebody's confidence. . Training on fire, stop. If that's what they're tasked with doing and you haven't given them any training on it, shame on you. And training is not expensive. You can reach out, like I said, find your favorite fire stop manufacturer. And if you're a plumber or fill in the blank with whatever trade and you're self performing, fire stop. every bub in the field needs to have training. If they're picking up a tube, fire stop. There's no excuse. In fact, some of the fire stop companies will actually probably buy you lunch if you have a big enough company. , no. Come and do the training in person. . . And then you can say, Hey, we need you to put a set of eyes on it and give us an idea so that we could tell our team at a boy, at a girl, you're doing it right? Yes. It's free. It's free. It's free. The important point I think that maybe we I'll say I've overlooked is the impact building competence in somebody has on their self-worth. Yes. And their personal, the image they have of themselves. . Every now and then I start my training classes with, and I won't go through the whole thing, but it's a little scenario where I ask you to pick your favorite person. So not pick between your parents or your kids, but just pick one person for this exercise. . And then you imagine that they are in the hospital and. You run through this exercise and we walk you through what the inside of the hospital looks like to their room and what's around the room, and then a fire starts and what's gonna happen to your favorite person. And if you are involved with Fire Stop, I want you to imagine every single building that you are responsible for, not the one that you work on. . But every project you work on is every project you're responsible for. You are responsible for the level of life safety in that building. And I want you to do it well enough that your favorite person would be safe. That's real talk right there. Beautiful. Miss Sharon, it was a pleasure. Thank you so much. You are fabulous. Keep doing a great job. I love it, . Thank you. It was a good time. It's always fun. Oh my goodness. You're either driving down the road or just so enthralled with, uh, with this whole podcast that you went all the way down to the very, very, very, very end of it. And we appreciate you and just, we're going to take this as an indication of your dedication so we got a little special request of you, a call to action, because everybody tells us that like, you need to have a call to action. So here's the call to action. Be kind to yourself, go out there and share a smile with someone
Here are some great episodes to start with.