Sam Mitchell 0:00
So I guess you’re talking about my weakness, one of my weaknesses is exclusion, I hate exclusion. And the way I hope to grow my superpowers is just to keep making more episodes and just telling people that hey, become mental health advocate and help people understand Autism is an ability and not a disability. And it’s a superpower. Like you said.
Richard Matthews 0:22
Heroes are an inspiring group of people, every one of them from the larger than life comic book heroes you see on the big silver screen, the everyday heroes that let us live the privileged lives we do. Every hero has a story to tell, the doctor saving lives at your local hospital, the war veteran down the street, who risked his life for our freedom to the police officers, and the firefighters who risked their safety to ensure ours every hero is special and every story worth telling. But there was one class of heroes that I think is often ignored the entrepreneur, the creator, the producer, the ones who look at the problems in this world and think to themselves, you know what I can fix that I can help people I can make a difference. And they go out and do exactly that by creating a new product or introducing a new service. Some go on to change the world, others make a world of difference to their customers. Welcome to the Hero Show. Join us as we pull back the masks on the world’s finest hero preneurs and learn the secrets to their powers their success and their influence. So you can use those secrets to attract more sales, make more money, and experience more freedom in your business. I’m your host, Richard Matthews, and we are on in 3…2…1…
Richard Matthews 1:17
Hello, and welcome back to The Hero Show. My name is Richard Matthews. And today I have live on the line is Sam Mitchell. Sam, are you there?
Sam Mitchell 1:23
Yup, I’m here. Good to be here.
Richard Matthews 1:25
Awesome. Glad to have you here. Where are you calling in from?
Sam Mitchell 1:27
Indiana, Southern Central.
Richard Matthews 1:30
My wife and I have been traveling all over the country for several years. We haven’t yet made it to Indiana. It’s one of the six states we have left to see.
Sam Mitchell 1:38
Depending on where you go Indies got a lot of good stuff.
Richard Matthews 1:41
Yeah. Did you grow up there?
Sam Mitchell 1:42
No, I’m in Southern Central. Not as far closest towns Bloomington, Indiana, where we’re from.
Richard Matthews 1:50
So for those who’ve been following along with my podcast, we’re in South Carolina right now on our way back down to Florida. So to get started, Sam, what I want to do is just do a quick bio so people know who you are. And then we’ll dive right into your story. So Sam is a motivational speaker, podcaster, entrepreneur, educator. He is a podcast coach, and he runs his own podcast called Autism Rocks and Rolls. So Sam to start off with Why don’t you tell me what it is that you do professionally? Who do you do it for? And What it is you’re known for?
Sam Mitchell 2:22
Yeah, so Hi, I’m Sam. I’ve recently graduated high school. I do run my own podcast called Autism Rocks and Rolls. It’s about autism and how we cope with daily struggles. You may or may not understand. I have over 6000 downloads and I have over 270 followers. And I get interviewed Mick Foley today. That’s exciting.
Richard Matthews 2:45
That’s cool. So how long have you been running the podcast?
Sam Mitchell 2:48
Since October 2019.
Richard Matthews 2:50
Okay, so it’s been a little over a year. And you’re hoping to turn that into a full-time business for yourself?
Sam Mitchell 2:59
Yes, I am.
Richard Matthews 3:00
That’s cool. So what I want to talk about then is, we talk in the show every hero has an origin story. It’s the thing that made them into the hero they are today. We want to hear that story, were you born a hero? Were you bit by a radioactive spider that made you into the hero you are today?
Sam Mitchell 3:16
Basically, after I joined my high school media club, I fell in love with it. And after that, I started my own podcast because I can’t be a senior in high school forever. So I decided the only way to continue this podcast was to make my own podcast and that’s where Autism Rocks and Rolls was born.
Richard Matthews 3:39
Awesome. So with the podcast, what is it you guys do on the actual podcast?
Sam Mitchell 3:46
We talk about autistic behaviors. Sometimes I interview celebrities if I can. I’ve had some big guests such as Dr. Temple Grandin, James Durbin, Mandy Harvey, but also I do some entertainment once like I do compare some music to autism. I compare DC comics to Autism.
Richard Matthews 4:04
Oh, that’s fun. And with the target audience for your podcast, is it other people who have autism? Or is it like helping families who have a kid who’s got autism? What’s the end goal?
Sam Mitchell 4:19
The end goal is to spread the negative stigma off of autism to show that I’m not broken, I do not need to be fixed. And my target market is basically anyone on the spectrum parents, doctors, teachers genuinely trying to understand the emotional side of autism, basically.
Richard Matthews 4:36
Yeah. I’ve got a cousin who’s on the autism spectrum and he’s a blast to hang out with. So what I want to find out then is what we call your superpowers. So we say every hero has a superpower, whether that’s a fancy flying suit made by their genius intellect or the ability to call on Thunder from the sky or super strength. In the world of business, we talk about it in terms of having a zone of genius, which is either a skill or set of skills that you were born with or developed. And they really help you do what you do. So in the world of being a podcast host, and podcast guest, what do you think your superpower is?
Sam Mitchell 5:16
Spreading autism acceptance. We don’t call it autism awareness, but we call it autism acceptance.
Richard Matthews 5:26
So that’s why you’re spreading that?
Sam Mitchell 5:31
Yep. Not awareness, acceptance, because we’re aware of it. But I think we need to accept it better.
Richard Matthews 5:38
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So, what do you think the difference is between awareness and acceptance? And why do you think acceptance is more important?
Sam Mitchell 5:50
Well, awareness is you know it, and you know it’s there. Accepting is embracing it, opening the door with open arms.
Richard Matthews 6:03
And if more people accepted autism. How do you think that would impact people who have autism who are on the spectrum?
Sam Mitchell 6:13
That in fact will make us feel a lot better. Personally, I’m more comfortable in the world if we were accepted with our autism think.
Richard Matthews 6:28
Do you think that more people would be easier to hire and work with and have people with autism on their teams in business? If they understood it more than just being aware of it?
Sam Mitchell 6:41
That’s a good question. I think it depends on the circumstance, you will, I think they could bring a creative side that people aren’t aware of. I did an episode called that 135. We start Monday, it talks about people not getting jobs on the spectrum. And that’s a problem. Because they don’t want to hire and they don’t think they can do work, which is a load of BS because I can do work, I’m doing work. I work at a boarding place I do this, which is a kind of a job but also work. But I also get to work on my dad’s farm. So yes, I am capable of doing work. And that’s what I do for the rest of my life. Fine, I don’t plan on it. I plan on going to college. But if that’s what I do, and I work from rest my life, we’re doing all those things, then. That’s what I do. And it’s work. So he has the opportunity to work as we’ll do and find a job.
Richard Matthews 7:32
So in your opinion, I want to talk about this, since most of our listeners are going to be entrepreneurs, and they’re hiring people, if they’re looking to hire someone, and they have an applicant who’s on the spectrum, how does someone who’s a business owner know, because depending on where they’re at on the autism spectrum is going to determine some of the capabilities they have, what kind of jobs are going to fit, and be helpful for someone who’s on the spectrum, that they can be a part of the team and really helped grow the business?
Sam Mitchell 8:04
Basically, give him a chance. And everyone else, too. I mean, if you’re gonna fire him, fire him. If you’re gonna hire him, hire him, but don’t hire him because of the autism, but don’t fire him just because of the autism. What I mean by this is, don’t hire him just because they’re autistic, hire them, like you’d hire anyone else that they produce, you think excellent job skills, then fire them, but don’t just do because the autism, if it partially has the autism or a little bit of it, then I guess I don’t have a problem with it. But see what their job skills are, see what they can do. But don’t fire him because they’re autistic. If they’re having an autistic moment, I wouldn’t fire him. I couldn’t do it. But they’re firing because of their lack of jobs then fine, basically treat him like everyone else. And it’s a job.
Richard Matthews 8:54
So if your superpower is helping people accept autism, the flip side of superpowers is always the fatal flaw. So just like Superman has his kryptonite, or Wonder Woman can’t remove her bracelets of victory without going mad. This is something that you struggled with in growing your podcasts, something that you’ve had a hard time with in growing your business. For me, I had a couple I struggled with perfectionism for a long time. And I also struggled with lack of self-care and I didn’t have boundaries with my clients. So I want to know two things. One, what do you think is a flaw that you’ve struggled with? And two, how have you worked to overcome it so you could continue to grow your audience and grow your mission?
Sam Mitchell 9:33
I guess if you’re talking about my weakness. One of my weaknesses is exclusion, I hate exclusion. And the way I hope to grow my superpowers is just to keep making more episodes and just telling people that hey, become mental health advocates, just help people understand Autism is an ability and not a disability. And it’s a superpower like you said.
Richard Matthews 9:54
Yeah. So I want to talk a little bit about your driving force, then. So like Spider Man fights to save New York or Batman fights to save Gotham what is it that you fight for with Autism Rocks and Rolls?
Sam Mitchell 10:09
I fight for I don’t want to say justice but I fight for acceptance in almost Bergen Indiana. This is the best way to put it. I mean, I try to be a small town boy or small town guy who makes episodes. Just trying to tell people that this is the reason why we’re acting like this, it’s not just because we’re being brats. It’s because of this and how we feel. Or a new perspective. Like, this is why they act this way. It’s not because they’re being rude or ruthless, or tyrants. They’re having trouble understanding, I may come across as rude. But look again, and that’s not the case.
Richard Matthews 10:53
So if someone who’s new to having an autistic person like in their business or in their employee, how did they learn to help someone who has autism through those moments where they don’t understand like they don’t understand the communication or don’t understand the emotions or whatnot. How can an employer help the people on your team?
Sam Mitchell 11:15
That’s a great question. So the way to do that for me, I said a quote in my podcast and it says, learn the person from head to toe. Learn anything about them, learn their interests, learn their hobbies, learn their skills, learn their head size or toe size. Learn how they operate, learn how they work. If didn’t talk about what they’re interested in, they’ll probably talk about a full-on conversation with you. Now, you can’t do it full-time. I wish we could believe me, but it can’t happen beside your work. So basically, you got to learn the person how they are.
Richard Matthews 11:50
So how does that help in situations as you mentioned when someone has a breakdown or an emotional outbursts something like that, how does knowing that person help them either defuse the situation or help the person who’s got autism, really understand what’s going on.
Sam Mitchell 12:09
Know the tics really know what sets them off, because I know what sets me off really. And I don’t like meltdowns, I was on it. I used to have like extra meltdowns, but I have internal meltdowns. So I really know what sets the person off and don’t put them in a situation if it is not necessary.
Richard Matthews 12:31
Yeah, so just knowing what they are, you can help keep them out of those situations, to begin with.
Sam Mitchell 12:36
Richard Matthews 12:38
Makes a lot of sense.
Richard Matthews 12:40
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Richard Matthews 14:11
So I want to talk a little bit about your own personal heroes then right so every hero has mentors just like Frodo has Gandalf or Luke has Obi Wan Kenobi Robert Kiyosaki has his Rich Dad or even Spider Man has his Uncle Ben. Who are some of your heroes were they real-life mentors speakers or authors, maybe other podcasters?
Sam Mitchell 14:26
I got some mentors definitely my family. My mother for sure you just met before the show. And then my grandfather, he helps me with my podcast because he gives me advice on how to make it better I funnily call him the critiquer because I trust him the more. Because my mom’s the editor, I don’t want the editor’s perspectives only I want a viewer’s perspective as well to see what they think. But that’s podcast wise and Scott Carmichael, Scott Carmichael, who I just talked to about something. He’s one of my mentors. He was one of the people who helped me get started and helped me understand. But that’s another person. That’s podcast wise, but personal wise, I need to tell you who it is. I got a picture of us two. It’s this guy right here. I know you can’t see it. But he has spina bifida, he’s in a wheelchair, and we hang out a lot. And we just laugh and have good times. And he also gives me advice about life sometimes and persuades me so he’s one of my personal ones.
Richard Matthews 15:33
Awesome, and how have those people help you grow your business so far?
Sam Mitchell 15:42
Well, what helps me critique it or not edited by gives me advice on what to do. The other one Scott has helped me taught me what the basis are like, how to edit some, how to make just me as a whole. He’s done a lot for me as well. My mom’s helped me a lot too. We get along most of the time pretty well. I am mad respect for I don’t think she understands that sometimes. But I do. But also, she’s helped me with editing and just doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff that I could never do, believe me, I think I lose my temper if I did, or lose my crap if I did.
Richard Matthews 16:24
Sam Mitchell 16:25
So that’s how but the other one, the personal one, he has helped me with just having good times and getting a life, living life good. And just showing that life cannot get you down.
Richard Matthews 16:36
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So I want to talk then about your guiding principles. One of the things that make heroes heroic is that they live by code. For instance, Batman never kills his enemies, he only ever puts them in Arkham Asylum so as we sort of wrap up the interview, I’m going to talk about your top life principle that you live by.
Sam Mitchell 16:56
Yeah, sure. Basically, my life principle is so simple, yet so complicated. That’s one of my big ones. Because let me be honest with you, for an average person. Without taking the time they wouldn’t learn this, but for me, boom, it was like a snap. I got this. I played the buttons and it’s like my little own little playground for me, I guess is the funny way to put it.
Richard Matthews 17:22
Sam Mitchell 17:23
Yeah, so that’s kind of complicated I think for any average person to learn quickly. But let’s add some different scenario, put me in a kitchen with cooking good luck with that because it ain’t gonna go well. It’s gonna take some time for me to understand, but it’s odd because what some as complicated it’s so simple yet so complicated. Like driving I don’t drive I might be simple you guys some take for granted, which I need to improve on. But as soon as we’re talking about media that’s maybe more my brain is less hard than driving. I mean, there’s nothing else to explain it like that.
Richard Matthews 18:00
Yeah, that makes sense. So things that are difficult for people who aren’t on the spectrum can be super easy for someone like yourself who’s on the spectrum and it’s like we have some of that for granted.
Sam Mitchell 18:11
But it takes time for me, the other way around. Like cooking get me in the kitchen, lt will probably be a pigsty when it comes to that.
Richard Matthews 18:19
Yeah, I love cooking and cleaning and all that stuff that goes into it and making a nice big meal.
Sam Mitchell 18:24
Cleaning is fine. It’s just cooking is a pain, the reason I hate it is because in my opinion, when I follow the recipe, but apparently sometimes you have to prep your food beforehand. And the guys follow the recipe. I’m like, Okay, if it says to prep your things. It says, chop the onions first. Okay, in my opinion, the recipe says first you chop the onions, putting the ball stir. And in reality, it says putting the ball in stir. Whereas chop the onions.
Richard Matthews 18:57
Yeah, a lot of the recipes, they call it Mise en Place they take that for granted.
Sam Mitchell 19:03
Yeah, they need to add the Mise en Place in there. Because in my brain, I take things literally. Well, putting the onion in there, full onion tells me to chop it first.
Richard Matthews 19:14
Yeah, so like if it says shredded cheese, you’re like, wait, you didn’t say shred the cheese.
Sam Mitchell 19:19
Yes, shred the cheese, tell me shred the damn cheese.
Richard Matthews 19:23
So that probably has some interesting applications for the business world if you’re hiring someone who has autism to make sure that your instructions are incredibly explicit on what you want to have done.
Sam Mitchell 19:33
Yeah, I’m very clear in my instructions. I’m kind of blunt with my instructions. I’m like, here’s the deal, made slight terms. Put this on the website.
Richard Matthews 19:42
Yeah. Makes a lot of sense. So that’s basically a wrap on our interview. Sam, thank you very much for coming on. I do have one final thing I do with every guest, it’s called the hero’s challenge. And this is a way for me to get access to stories that might not otherwise be willing to come on the show. So do you have someone in your life that you think has a cool entrepreneurial story? Who are they? First names are fine and why do you think they should come share their story on our show?
Sam Mitchell 20:08
An entrepreneurial. Do you want a person who’s has an entrepreneurial story? Okay, let me think here. Do you want some like a celebrity wise or anyone wise or?
Richard Matthews 20:24
Just someone that you know,
Sam Mitchell 20:26
Okay. I’ve been on a lot of podcasts. Aha, I know someone for you. Her name is Kristin Walker, she owns the Mental Health News Radio Network. And my friend with someone else needs to mention as well because she’s done a lot for me as well. And she hosts a lot of mental health podcasts, so you could get her on the show and ask her about her story, or here’s another person for you. Pnut is his name he resides in Bloomington, Indiana, or his business it’s called Little Blues Tattoos. And he has a grandson with autism, but he runs a tattoo parlor shop, and his grandson has autism. Those are your target people.
Richard Matthews 21:14
Oh, that’s cool. Oh, we’ll reach out after the show and see if we can get an introduction. Maybe we can get them to come to the show.
Sam Mitchell 21:21
If I could convince Peanut too, he probably would do it.
Richard Matthews 21:26
Yeah. So in comic books, there’s always the crowd of people who are cheering and clapping for the acts of heroism so are analogous for that on this show, is where can people find you if they want to listen to your podcast or maybe invite you to be a guest on their podcast? Where can they light up the bat signal so to speak and say hey, Sam, we’d love to learn more from you about autism acceptance where could they do that?
Sam Mitchell 21:48
Yeah, find me on Podbean, Spotify YouTube, Apple podcast, LinkedIn, Stitcher, SoundCloud. I Heart Listen to Notes and Pandora, all my episodes are in there.
Richard Matthews 22:02
And the show is called Autism Roks and Rolls right?
Sam Mitchell 22:04
Richard Matthews 22:07
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show today Sam really appreciate it. Is there any final words of wisdom you have for our audience before I hit this stop record button?
Sam Mitchell 22:15
Well, first of all, my final advice is I always say this at the end or try to and it sounds really dumb but it’s true honestly. At first, I was like really why do you say that? But then, there’s more thought of it. It’s actually true because the world did these two things which are one be nice, two don’t be stupid. Then we get along better.
Richard Matthews 22:38
Makes a lot of sense. Thanks for coming on today, Sam.