#108 – Are you looking for personal growth and renewed motivation in your running journey? Look no further! Listen to my conversation with Shawn Buttner, Certified High Performance Coach, as he shares the solution to help you unleash your full potential and achieve remarkable transformation in running and life.
Together, we will unlock the power of personal growth, fuel your motivation, and pave the way for unparalleled success on your running journey. So, are you ready to conquer your limits and embark on a running adventure like never before?
Discover how your running journey can lead to personal growth and self-discovery
Learn the five ways running can help transform your personal and professional life
Explore running as a therapeutic outlet for mental and emotional well-being
Understand the transformative power of running and its impact on overall personal development
Shawn Buttner is a Certified High Performance Coach and host of The Meaningful Revolution Podcast, operating out of Oakland, CA. After a successful 15 year career in technology, working for companies like Wal-Mart and Apple, Shawn now helps individuals live better lives through high performance coaching.
His method of coaching includes a holistic approach to find higher levels of performance in your career, health, relationships, and well-being.
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Richard Conner: [00:00:00] Hey, my friend. Are you looking to level up in fitness or maybe even in your professional life? Well, I have the pleasure of speaking with a high performance coach who will share his personal experience and coaching philosophy that can help you in multiple areas of your life. Hope you enjoy.
Intro: Welcome to inspire to run podcast. Here, you will find inspiration, whether you’re looking to take control of your health and fitness, or you are a seasoned runner looking for community and some extra motivation, you will hear inspiring stories from amazing runners, along with helpful tips from fitness experts.
Now, here’s your host Richard Conner.
Richard Conner: Hi, my friend, welcome to inspire to run podcast today. I have the pleasure of sitting down with Shawn Buttner, who is a certified high performance coach and owner of SB high performance group, LLC, operating out of Berkeley, California, after a successful career in technology, working for companies like [00:01:00] Walmart and Apple, Shawn now helps individuals live better lives through high performance coaching.
His method of coaching includes a holistic approach to find higher levels of performance. In your career, health, relationships, and wellbeing. Welcome to the show, Shawn.
Shawn Buttner: Thanks Richard. Thanks for having me.
Richard Conner: Yeah. So excited to have you here. I love to talk about, you know, the work that you’re doing from a coaching standpoint. Plus I know that you’re a runner.
I think a relatively new runner, but you’ve got a great story there and really to help, you know, our community, our listeners in their own journey, whether they haven’t run before and they’re looking to take that first step or they’re looking to level up and do something that they haven’t done before. So excited to have you here.
Shawn Buttner: Yeah, excited to be here and I definitely can help with all of that. So All
Richard Conner: Cool. Well, let’s get into it. Let’s hear, you know, a little bit about you and a little bit about your running journey.
Shawn Buttner: right, um, so I Was a late bloomer when it [00:02:00] came to running. Um in high school. I was athletic, but I was a lineman for football Um, I did track and field through shot and disc So a lot of weight room, a little bit of sprinting, , really did not like running. , my best friend growing up, , went on cross country in high school, lost a bunch of weight, continued his running journey, eventually running the Chicago Marathon.
We’re originally from Chicago. And. I left college, I had done a couple, like 5Ks or whatever, the Bix 7 mile race in the Quad Cities, Iowa, if you’re familiar with that, um, with my friends. And then moved to Arkansas for a job at Walmart, uh, didn’t know anyone and got sick of staring at the paint on my walls after work.
And that was when I decided to sign up probably just out of boredom for the Chicago Marathon. And I couldn’t really I did a couple of races. It was more like [00:03:00] half walking, half running with your friends type thing. But I had nine months to figure out how to go from not really being able to run for 15 minutes straight to 26.
2 miles. And so that’s how I got into running. I was inspired by my friend. If he could do it, I could do it. Um, and then out of desperation, maybe like, okay, let’s, let’s try to make this happen. So, you know, send in the money. And that was the beginning of, , years and years of running.
Richard Conner: I love that. I love that. And, you know, hearing the origin story of having a friend, you know, bring you into the kind of the running world and running community is, is really wonderful. And, you know, I love how you just kind of embraced it. And it wasn’t like, no, I can’t do that. You know, maybe some other time you really embraced it and you figured out a way to get to that.
And, you know, my background is I am a runner since, you know, running since high school track and cross country. And I did enjoy running, but I still haven’t run my first marathon. So, you know, [00:04:00] hats off to you for, for doing that, you know, seemingly right out of the gate.
Shawn Buttner: thanks. Yeah. , maybe I would have done it a different way. I might have warmed up a little bit more. It was tough.
Richard Conner: Stress stretched a little bit.
Shawn Buttner: stretched a little bit, but that was also part of the fun, like. Every week, so I, um, got, uh, Hal Higdon’s, how to train book, which has like classic, like how to train for the Chicago marathon, you know, should we be able to run like three miles, three days a week before you start training?
And so that was my first. Three months is just trying to get to that base, you know? , but each time I had a new mileage goal for the week or a new long run, it was this excitement of like, I have never pushed my body in an endurance way that far before. , so you get kind of addicted to that. That’s kind of.
Good and bad.
Richard Conner: That’s awesome. And, but you have to get over kind of that, that hump of, you know, can I do this or am I willing to commit to this? So, you know, I’d love to hear whether [00:05:00] you, you know, some of our listeners, whether someone has done their first 5k and they’re like, well, maybe that’s it. Or they’ve never run their first 5k.
And maybe there’s a lot of reasons why, like, what were your reasons? Maybe they first came to mind. We’re like, Oh, run a marathon. Like, what are kind of those objections? And then how did you overcome that within yourself?
Shawn Buttner: Uh, well, part of it was naivety. I had been athletic, so I’m like, I could probably figure this out. So I think that belief of, I think I can do this, right? It starts with that, , throwing down, setting the deadline where I had nine months in October. I’m going to be part of that race. I’m either going to walk it, I’m going to run it, or I’m going to die.
Right? And so being that committed to it. Um, and then past that, like. It was getting a clear plan. So like I mentioned, getting that Hal Higdon book, , what I needed to do. So I didn’t have to think about that. And then the rest of it was just a little bit of faith and consistent [00:06:00] showing up consistently.
Right? So if I knew I had to just. But starting out, like the first month of training was mostly me just putting on my running gear, showing up to where the route that I had found around my apartment building to where I’d start, and it’s like February in Arkansas, so it’s like chilly and icy and, you know, not really.
Inspiring to go out and run and just being okay with, like, I put on my stuff. I got here nine times outta 10. I’d be like, oh, if I’m here and I’m ready to go, I should just start. Right? And so it was like setting up the environment to be, to make it easy to, to take the next logical action, which was to do the training, you
Richard Conner: Yeah. And
Shawn Buttner: I, I think. I got into a mindset of like, if I don’t train, I’m going to show up to that race and I do not want to die. So the training was a survival thing, and I don’t know if that’s like a weird thing that other people have when they run, but like for the [00:07:00] marathon, like that was, that was it.
You know, it’s like, I need to do this to not perish during this journey.
Richard Conner: you know, it’s interesting what you said, kind of, you know, how your thoughts and your actions leading up to the marathon, because I could see a parallel with the pillars that we have, that we talk about here on the show in terms of like mindset movement and motivation. So, you know, let’s talk about each one of those individually.
Um, you know, go a little bit deeper. So like in the mindset part, you said, you know, you believed you could do it. So in some part, maybe you didn’t know exactly what you’re getting into, but another part is it’s, it’s 26 miles. So there’s going to be some effort there. And then based on what you’ve done in the past, you believed, is there anything else?
If you weren’t. Into sports, maybe, uh, earlier in your life. Um, are there other things that someone could do to say to, you know, really believe that they have the capability to, to do things that they’ve never done before or get to that next level?
Shawn Buttner: That’s a great question. [00:08:00] And I think. Other than believing you can do it, another belief is believing you can figure it out and make it work for you. Like, I didn’t have to be the one that’s winning the marathon and I came in with like, if I do that, I’m going to hurt myself or, you know, it’s not going to, it’s going to be a terrible experience to like go from zero to top performing.
In that, but I think what really helped with having the clarity of the training program kind of laid out, it’s like, Oh, I need to get up to this level and I’m not there and accepting that like, Oh, okay. I, I am not great at this right now, but I can get better. And what’s going to get me better is showing up consistently.
And there’ll be days where it’s amazing and I feel great about it. There will be days where like I get a mile in and it feels a little terrible and maybe you’re extra tired, didn’t sleep or whatever. And like, Hey, I showed up and that’s okay for now. As long as [00:09:00] you’re continuing to show up and progress.
Richard Conner: That’s yeah, for sure. I mean, showing up is super important and you know, it’s interesting, like you’re starting in one place and you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and being comfortable with not being perfect. Kind of at the beginning. And I could tell you from my own experience, I get super frustrated if I can’t do something.
So anything to do with mobility or anything that’s overhead, like something that takes a lot of coordination is doesn’t come naturally for me. So I get super frustrated, but that’s the only way you’re going to get better is if you show up to do those things and you keep working at it. And so you get to where you want to be.
Shawn Buttner: No, totally.
Richard Conner: So tell me a little bit about the training now. So I think that takes us a little bit into like the movement. Um, so you mentioned that you had the training plan that, um, that you followed. So how did you find it? What was it like for you? You know, how’d you stick with it? Any tips that you would want to share after, you know, kind of [00:10:00] following that plan?
Shawn Buttner: Well, so as a high performance coach, I found out, you know, I became a coach after this part of the journey, but like being very clear on what the next steps are. Saves you so much energy. Like if you have to get up and be like, what do I have to do for my run today? Like, is it a seven miles and a five miles and an easy one mile?
You’ll spend a half hour trying to think about what you got to do. And that could have been a half hour at your running. And now you only, if you allocate an hour, like you have 30 minutes now to do your thing. So, uh, really being clear on it. So. Clear on the training, which is kind of how I found that book.
There’s also a recommendation from my buddy who ran the marathon the year before. And I’m like, well, that’s what worked for him. And like, you look at Hal Higdon’s book, like hundreds of thousands of people have used it from beginning training to like more advanced. And so there’s a little bit of credibility on that there.
And [00:11:00] it’s not, I mean, it’s just miles, right? So at least. With running for marathons, you’re either going to like, judge yourself by distance or time spent running. Um, and so for me, it was if I just did the distance and being okay, like, if I had a 5 mile day and I ran 4 miles and walked. And ran the last mile as long as I got the mileage in like that was the goal, right?
And so you could either do it by time and say, I’m going to, you know, run my three miles in 10 minutes, which is crazy or, you know, elite level, or I’m just going to do the three miles, however long it takes me. And so I think that distinction in that particular case of training. Really helped me, but it’s pretty impactful in other areas of your life too.
Like if you are running a business and you can either say, I want to grow it, you know, either by this much, or I need to grow it in this amount of time. I [00:12:00] think for me, breaking down that goal into either time or. Result is changes the effort, right?
Richard Conner: Okay. Okay. So first off being clear about your goal as well as your next steps, you’re not spending all of that brainpower and time trying to figure it out. And then for the actual plan, making sure you break it down in terms of, um, what it is that you’re going to do in that particular day and then meeting it.
Based on whatever your criteria is. So like you said, move either. I want to finish that four miles or like in my case, I’m typically run by time. So that could equate to the four miles or it could equate to more or less depending on, you know, how I’m running that day. So, but being really clear about that as well,
Shawn Buttner: Definitely.
Richard Conner: you know, and I love how you brought kind of your, your coaching experience into the conversation.
So, you know, what other words of wisdom would you have kind of based on, you know, your. Your performance coaching practice.
Shawn Buttner: When it comes to running and high performance coaching, so high performance coaching is just beating whatever your normal [00:13:00] result is consistently over time without burning out. So. Be in a sustainable way. So, you know, clarity is one of the big points that we teach, but it’s also, you know, managing your energy.
So I’m sure we can have a really huge talk about how to fuel your body for your runs. Like, people love to nerd out about it. Everyone has their own favorite things for me. . I can tell you a crazy story about my first Chicago Marathon. Uh, that was back in 2009, and that was the year where it got canceled halfway through because it was so hot.
And so, yeah, like, you know, usually in October, Chicago starts, like. Probably like the East coast where it’s cold at night and warm during the day. So like forties or fifties at night, the race at six o’clock in the morning started at like 75 degrees, which was nuts. And so there wasn’t any water and stuff, but, , you know, so managing your energy.
I bring that up because I learned from, you know, getting halfway through and then [00:14:00] having the thing canceled on me that I needed to bring my own water. So like, you know, the, the camelback like, like, like hiking. Hydration system is with me now from that for anything over four miles, right? If I’m not going to hydrate and then like goose really helped.
I think like a hammer gels, which I think cyclists use, which is a better carbohydrate protein mix. Really worked for me, but like, so in coaching, we talk about energy. So you talk about the nutrition component there or how you’re feeling your body outside. You know, you read stories of ultra marathoners who just need calories.
And so in the middle of a 60 mile race, I’ll eat two cheese pizzas, which is insane to me, you know, um, there’s a better way to do it than that. It’d probably help you. Long term with your energy, but sometimes calories are calories. But, , you know, as we talk about that, we talk about in high performance, one of the [00:15:00] outcomes also is taking bold action.
And for me, it was throwing my money down on that race. Um, that was kind of the driver for forcing me to show up when I didn’t want to during the training, you Which I don’t know why I thought that was a good idea, but I just remember being in that headspace. , and also in a weird way, running so I out of school, I had about 80, 000 of student debt and, um, my first corporate job was not covering student loan payments, car payment, food, and, you know, I was in that kind of.
Rough spot in my early career where I’m like, do I buy food this week? Or do I fill my cart with gas or do I, which built, you know, that whole crazy thing and the running and training became therapeutic. So one, I could burn [00:16:00] out emotions and then, you know, part of keeping my mind off the pain in my body was trying to do math of like, okay, like, how am I going to get myself out of this?
And it allowed me to confront. My financial personal financial situation because I could burn through the negative emotions of just like being feeling so overwhelmed and not in control of my destiny at the time. So that was. super powerful and part of these coaching outcomes. Two other outcomes in high performance coaching that applies to running are just productivity.
So what, what is getting you the results? Um, what are distractions? YOu know, so trying a like 50 different shoes before you start running is not really productive, but running and the busted up shoes that you have and then upgrading later when you need it. , you know, the experience that I had of just like, just get in it and then we’ll figure out the equipment.
Um, don’t get distracted by that [00:17:00] stuff. And then. Like influence, like for me, , the first friends that I met in Arkansas at this new job were people through the running store. Cause there was like a rush, shout out to rush running, small like mom and pop running shop. I think the guy used to like, I owned it, used to run for university of Arkansas.
I think it was a sprinter, a really cool guy. , but. That’s where I can ask questions. That’s where I can connect with people. Um, I did a couple of crazy runs with them where like they had a sprint and I’m like, this is too much for me. Um, like I didn’t run for three days because I was so sore after that thing.
But, , yeah, you know, it helped me connect with the community in a new place. So. It’s just super, super cool.
Richard Conner: I love that running source is so important for the running community, just, you know, your local community and they provide so much more value than, you know, obviously the running shoes, but just so, so much more. So I love that you brought that up and, you know, I [00:18:00] appreciate you sharing, you know, your personal story, right?
About what was going on in your life during kind of those early years. And, you know, from what I’ve seen through the conversations we’ve had on the show and others is running is there for folks. You know, during challenging times, right? If they are going through some sort of change in their life, um, whether it’s family related health or, or job and running is there for them.
So I love, it’s not the reason why you got into it, but I love how it was there for you when you needed it most.
Shawn Buttner: Definitely. I don’t think I could have gotten past that phase of my life if it wasn’t for running in a kind of weird way that when I say it out loud, it sounds weird, but it’s definitely true.
Richard Conner: No, no, I love, I love that. That’s um, and, and you know what, and your experience is one of the things that I’m trying to bottle and share, you know, with our community, because it’s so powerful what you said. And if you’re not a runner, if you haven’t experienced those things, it’s hard to think of it that way.
But once you do. Oh my [00:19:00] gosh. Like the, the benefits, um, are just great. So I appreciate you sharing that. And if I could recap, I’m going to try to say them all, but I might need a little bit of help here, um, in terms of like connecting this with your coaching, , practice. So, , we talked about. Getting clarity, managing your energy, taking bold action
Shawn Buttner: Yep.
Richard Conner: influence, but I know I missed one.
So which is the one that I missed
Shawn Buttner: Productivity. So not getting distracted and focusing on what’s working.
Richard Conner: Oh, okay. Okay. Got it. So I’m going to, try this again then. So get it, get it clarity. Uh, actually, you know what, it’s better if you, if you say it, because I’m probably going to mix it up again.
Shawn Buttner: Yeah, no problem. So yeah, it’s having clarity on the next steps. It’s managing your energy. It’s being bold and taking courageous action towards your plan. It’s focusing on your productivity. So it’s working and eliminating the distracting things that get in the [00:20:00] way of you doing the work. And it’s the influencer community, like leadership, people skills.
But in this particular science, it was community. Biggest
Richard Conner: Love it. Love it. And you shared a wonderful story about, you know, local running stores and, and that community. So I really loved that. That’s really awesome. So, you know, one of the questions that I love to ask the guests on the show is, you know, throughout your running journey, what would you say was your biggest obstacle and how’d you overcome it?
Shawn Buttner: First thing that came to mind was I had tendonitis in my IT band. And so I ran three marathons, like basically three years in a row. So the Chicago, first time Chicago or got canceled. Second time I ran with a buddy, we finished, which was awesome. Uh, third time was Kansas city. And so I think I over trained.
Because I was like, I didn’t realize the science right now, but I was constantly tired. I was extra irritable. And then with this tendonitis, every time I’d run longer [00:21:00] than two miles, my knee would puff up the size of like a grapefruit. And so the, the biggest obstacle now is I went to the doctor and I told him, like, This is a common marathon medical story where you go to the doctor, like, how did you injure your knee?
And like marathon training. And he’s like, the guy like threw down his clipboard and he’s like, you’re not going to listen to anything I say. You know, it’s like, you guys are crazy. If you just take Advil, if you really want it to go away, you have to stop for a while. , but you know, give me my 300 cause I’m the doctor that just told you to keep running on Advil.
Um, but so the biggest obstacle there is after my third marathon, I took a little break, which turned into a year’s long break. And then, , like the biggest struggle I was getting back into running consistently where I’m not thinking that I can run a marathon when I really like my physical capabilities.
I’ve gotten older is not as great. Right? [00:22:00] Um, so it’s been trying to chunk things down into smaller distances into. Figuring out how do you get back to being more consistent? So that’s been my biggest struggle right now with running.
Richard Conner: Yeah, yeah. And you know, we were talking about this before we started the conversation about habits, right? So if you’re not in the habit of doing something, it’s such a huge effort to start to build that habit. Um, and then once you get going, it’s so much easier. I mean, it’s still hard, right? But it’s so much easier because you’re not really processing and thinking about like what we talked about earlier.
Well, you know, what do I have to do today? You, you just kind of know, and your body’s like accustomed to doing it. But yeah, if you fall out of that. You know, you have probably the anxiety of, Hey, I’m going to lose, I might lose some of my, you know, performance and progress by taking a break, but then also kind of rebuilding that habit when you’re, you know, getting back into it.
So I can understand that
Shawn Buttner: Yeah, or the third option is you don’t have the good sense [00:23:00] that the powers that be gave you and you push yourself so hard that you can’t walk for a week. You know, you overdo it. You know, that’s been. Another part of the struggle is just, uh, not knowing when, Hey, you should slow down or stop instead of pushing through.
Richard Conner: and have you done anything differently as a result of that? Have you done anything differently from like a strength training or mobility standpoint because of it? Or is it truly just kind of taking a break from. Um, the running,
Shawn Buttner: I was taking a break. I got into yoga to kind of help with, with flexibility. Cause that is historically for my body been not a strong suit. So I’m working on that. Um, I’ve been doing like, um, couch to 5k apps have helped because. Especially like in the earlier parts, there’s a whistle that’ll tell you to stop.
So where I would normally just keep going because I’m like, I could do this. It’s been good to kind of have that structure, so sometimes apps can [00:24:00] help, um, you know, getting into the habit of just kind of running a couple miles a couple times a week, too. It’s been really good. So, , yeah, just kind of either have some external help.
, I haven’t had a running buddy in a while. I think that’s part of my current thing, because if you’re talking with somebody, that’s a natural limiter. So you’re not like sprinting the whole time because. I don’t know why I do that, but I do. Um, so yeah,
Richard Conner: okay, very cool. Very cool. So, you know, any other, you know, things that someone could do. So again, we’re, we’re talking about how do we get to that next level? How do we do something we’ve never done before? Uh, we talked about believing that we can, and then taking a one step at a time. And then, uh, you mentioned, um, some of those concepts around kind of the high performance.
So. Like, or anything in general that could help someone kind of get into something that, you know, may not be something they think they could do or something that’s appealing, anything else that, you know, Could help someone get [00:25:00] into the right mindset for her.
Shawn Buttner: I think finding what makes it fun can be really great. So if we take the thing outside of running that I found really hard in the last five years, it’s been jumping into my coaching business as a solo entrepreneur, trying to figure out the marketing and how to talk to people like coming from an analytical background as a software engineer.
It’s extra hard, I think.. What’s made me, like, basically not get kicked off the horse as it’s bucking, you know, this new experience has just been Like, how do I connect with people? Like, that’s really fun. Like when I coach somebody, that’s an amazing feeling to help people make realizations. And so that’s super fun.
And so focusing with running, like what made the initial training fun was pushing my body and having new PRs every week during training that made that fun, uh, running with a friend that made it fun. [00:26:00] So where’s the fun in the, the running and the new exercise routine and the new job in the new phase of life.
And I think if you can connect with that consistently, when things go wrong, they tend to be more funny than debilitating, you know, and if you can approach it with that sense of joy, with that sense of, of, again, confidence that you’ll find your way through and your unique way to like, there’s no right way to do it, but there’s your way.
Um, That’s cool. I think you’ll go a long way, maybe even a marathon. So, I
Richard Conner: it. Sage advice for our listeners, Sean, this has been an incredible conversation and I love how you shared your journey, how running has helped you and, you know, your advice and tips to help others, you know, along their journey. Again, whether it’s running or other aspects of their life. And getting into something that’s new and something they’ve never done before, or maybe at first believe in, um, may not [00:27:00] believe that they can do it.
So I appreciate all that. So, you know, just to kind of, as we wind down here, one last question I have for you is, you know, what is the one thing that you would say to inspire our community to run or do something new? Like if it’s a new race or another area of their life.
Shawn Buttner: think if there’s one thing, if you’re doing, if you want to get into running or you want to do something hard in life, it’s to welcome the challenge. But understand that it’s going to be hard, right? I think a lot can be overcome if you’re like, this is just going to be part of it. And I might not like it, maybe I can get used to it, or maybe I can shift it in a way where it’s not so hard, right?
One of my favorite questions in a coaching setting is what, I guess it’s a couple of questions. It’s either, what would make this easy? What would make this, if you could do this in half the time, what would [00:28:00] you need to do? And those types of questions get you thinking about. Oh, like I have control over how this goes for me and I could find a different way and that puzzle like problem solving to me, I think you can approach it as a problem that you can solve.
You’ll be able to get through it and you’ll probably find that fun that enjoy along the way. So
Richard Conner: Love it. Love it. Thank you so much, Sean. So what’s next for you? What what’s coming up for you in your running journey?
Shawn Buttner: running journey. I am getting into rucking so it’s not running but it’s you know, weighted walking with a weighted backpack And I’m looking at some races actually, I think Doing some 5Ks, I realized, um, that if I don’t have a goal, it’s also much harder. So maybe that’s another thing to like, put a line in the sand where you’re going to sign up for something or do something with [00:29:00] people.
And I think that socialness, whether it’s a formal race or not, will help carry it through. Um, so yeah, so looking at some, some five K’s,
Richard Conner: Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much, Sean. Great value provided here on this, in this conversation. I’d love to connect, you know, our community, our listeners to you, follow your running journey, as well as get connected to you through your high performance coaching business. So share a little bit about where folks can find you.
Shawn Buttner: all right. Um, you can find me at my website, www. shaunbutner. com, or you can find me on Instagram at coach underscore Sean Butler or YouTube at Sean Butler coaching. I think. We’ll put that in the show notes. I’ll send that to you.
Richard Conner: All right. We’ll do that. Thank you again so much for coming on the show, Shawn, and good luck for with the rucking and the races that you’re going to sign up for. And with that, thanks and have a great day.
Shawn Buttner: Thanks, Richard. It’s a pleasure.
Outro: That’s [00:30:00] it for this episode of inspire to run podcast. We hope you are inspired to take control of your health and fitness and take it to the next level. Be sure to click the subscribe button to join our community. And also, please rate and review. Thanks for listening.