The Story of a Persistent Problem-Solver with Ursula Mentjes and Aaron Johnson

Below you will find an episode of Bridging The Potential Podcast between our guest, Ursula Mentjes, and one of our very own founding Youth Advisory Council members, Aaron Johnson. Here is Ursula Mentjes’ biography:

Five-time Bestselling Author, Award winning Entrepreneur and Business Growth Expert— Ursula Mentjes— will transform the way you think about scaling so you can reach your quantum revenue goals with less anxiety and less effort! The founder of Ursula, Inc. as well as an inspirational speaker, author of five business growth books, Ursula specializes in Neuro-Linguistic Programming to help clients double and triple their revenue FAST.

Honing her skills at an international technical training company, where she began her career in 1996, Ursula increased sales by 90% in just one year! In 2001, when the company’s annual run was in the tens of millions, Ursula advanced to the position of President at just 27 years old. Sales guru Brian Tracy endorsed Selling with Intention saying, “This powerful, practical book shows you how to connect with customers by fully understanding the sales process from the inside out. It really works!” Ursula has gone on to coach and train thousands of business owners through their biggest blocks to reach their next level in business.

Ursula also serves as Past Statewide Chairperson of the NAWBO-CA Education Fund and Past President of NAWBO-CA. Ursula is the recipient of the SBA’s Women in Business Champion and is a recipient of the Willow Tree Extraordinary Example and Extraordinary Entrepreneur Awards, the NAWBO-IE ANITA Award, chosen as PDP’s Extraordinary Speaker, PDP’s Business Woman of the Year, Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards Finalist and is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the President of the United States of America.

She has shared the stage with bestselling author Loral Langemeier, Les Brown, Tom Antion, Lisa Nichols, Giuliana Rancic and many others! Her clients include Aflac, Ebenezer, Keller Williams, Fairview Hospitals, New York Life, Paychex and more! She holds a B.A. in Psychology and Communication, an M.S. in Counseling Psychology and is an NLP Certified Coach through the NLP Institute of California

You can find her at


And now, onto the show…


If you liked what you heard and want to watch and/or listen to the rest of this incredible conversation, you can click here to create a completely and forever-free account with us. And if you’re interested, check out the first two chapters of Renee Beth’s book: Living The Potential: Engaging the Wisdom of Our Youth to Save the World which you can find here. Thank you so much for listening. ‘Til next time!

Aaron Johnson [00:00:31] Welcome to Bridging The Potential: Intergenerational Conversations that Change the World. This is Aaron Johnson, founding member of Living The Potential Network’s Youth Advisory Council, with a question for you: What happens when you bridge the experience, education and expertise of an elder with the curiosity, energy and innate wisdom of a youth? It’s simple. Everyone grows and the world changes for the better. One conversation. One connection. And one collaboration at a time. Today’s podcast is no different. Renee Beth connected me with Ursula Mentjes, who is a sales expert and coach, motivational speaker, five-time bestselling author, among many, many other amazing talents that we didn’t get to touch on during this interview. And I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her for most of my life. I think you’ll enjoy our conversation about, well, kind of everything we talked about — how we can discover our life purpose, how to activate the power of intention and manifestation, and how we can learn to trust ourselves on our learning journeys. My favorite part of this podcast was when we both got to share some of the odd synchronicities and coincidences that have happened throughout our lives that have divinely led us to the point where we are today.

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:01:52] Hello. This is Renee Beth Poindexter and I’m the founder of Living The Potential Network, and I’m your host for today. When I wrote the book Living the Potential: Engaging the Wisdom of Our Youth to Save the World, I set out to find ways to create spaces where people could hear what youth have to say. And that’s what this podcast is all about. I love these conversations after listening to the youth’s dreams and concerns and connect them with a elder or a mentor who has experience and wisdom to share and who is open to learning and receiving from the innovative spirit of the youth. It’s reciprocal learning at its best. I always leave these conversations inspired and filled with hope, and I think you will too.

So today I have two special guests. The first guest I’d like to say is Ursula Mentjes, and the second, the mentee, is Aaron Johnson. We’re going to start with Ursula Mentjes who’s coming to us from Minneapolis. Ursula, so grateful to have you with us. And I’ll tell you what, you have been busy in your life because when I look at your bio, you are a bestselling award winning entrepreneur and author and sales expert, and you have actually transformed the way people think about selling. And you’ve been on stages with some of the most powerful and successful people. Your books have won international awards. You are a mom. You know, you’re constantly inventing and creating new ways to help people be successful and sharing how to speak and communicate. I think it might have something to do with your background. You have a bachelor’s degree in communications history, psychology and communication, and a master’s in counseling in psychology. And you’re an NLP certified coach from the NLP Institute of California. So like I said, you’ve been busy in your life and we’re so grateful to have you with us today. Ursula Metjes, thank you for being here.

Ursula Mentjes [00:03:57] I’m so excited to be here. Renee Beth and Aaron. And I know we’re just going to have so much fun today.

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:04:03] Absolutely. Well, to get started, this whole idea of life as journey, and where did you start? Where did you grow up? And what were some of the you know, what should I say? Road posts or road signs along the way that’s brought you to where you are today.

Ursula Mentjes [00:04:17] Yeah. Well, thank you for that beautiful introduction and your kind words. And, you know, when you when I hear that story. You know, it sounds so easy. And like, this is like I’m living kind of the end of some of these stories now. And and I know that, like, when I think back about my journey, it was anything but easy. And so I, I grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota, and I loved living on the farm. I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian or a farmer. That was it. And my parents said, go to college and get a good job. Right. I think a lot of us were told that my parents hadn’t gone to college and so they really believed in education. And what’s amazing is they actually both went later in life, which was which was really great for them.

You know, growing up, just to be really frank, is, you know, I had a very quote unquote interesting childhood. And, you know, I’ve talked about this in some of my books, and it was… There was- there was a lot of dysfunction at home. And a lot of people would say to me, “Ursula, you’re like you’re like a 40 year old,” or, “You’re so mature,” or, “You’re such a she’s such a good girl.” I remember hearing that a lot, and that was really because I learned some coping skills on how to stay safe in my life. And by the time I was 15, I moved out. And what’s great about moving out at 15, while that sounds a little bit traumatic, what was great about it is I was able to live with my best friend’s family who were instrumental in being a great support to me and my family. Right. My parents did the best, the best that they could. Right. Every parent does the best that they could at that time. But we all needed some support. And so this family just opened up their arms and brought me in. And that was a very formative moment for me because I started to see other possibilities for my life, for what a family could be like, for what a peaceful home could be like. And it was like, “Wow, this is what I want, right?”

And so, you know, a few years later, I went to- decided to go to college. And this was really interesting for me too. I, I applied to a lot of schools and one of the social workers who I become really close to in my life said, you know, you should apply to St. Olaf College, which is a private college here in Minnesota. And I’d never seen- I never saw myself as a someone who could go to a private school. That wasn’t part of my life. In fact, a well-meaning adult said, you know, “Ursula, you probably shouldn’t go to St. Olaf. You won’t fit in.” And I thought, “Well, that’s interesting,” like projecting that, you know, and I had the wherewithal to really think, “I don’t think that’s about me. So let’s go back and look at this.” And, and I’m saying this from a point of whether you go to a state school or private school, like you got to pick the school that’s best for you. I felt a call. I felt a call that I was supposed to be at St. Olaf once I visited.

And the social worker, Marcia, wrote this letter of recommendation for me, which was like, I read it and I was like, “Oh, my gosh. Like, this woman has stepped up to support me.” And I had done well, really well in high school. That was one thing I was good at. So, I had leadership skills. I’d done well in school because that’s one one area where I could shine, where it was very safe for me. And so so I did I stepped into this other world of St. Olaf. And that was a life changing moment, because all of a sudden, again, I was introduced to a different world, different people, and I started to shift my beliefs about what it meant to be successful, what it meant to be money- to have money- that maybe it was okay to have money. And I got to meet this whole new group of people who, many of them, I’m still great friends with today and who were also very formative in my journey.

So fast forward, I graduate from St. Olaf with a liberal arts degree in psychology and communication, which I then realized that I didn’t have a lot of options. I was working at Pier One Imports, making $6.25 an hour, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is not going to get me to where I want to go.” And one day, my friend Janna, who was an econ major from St. Olaf, she came to me and she said- she said one of my best friends. She called me Urs. “Urs, I have an opportunity for us. And I thought, ooh, do tell. So here’s Janna, econ major from St. Olaf. We’re both working at Pier One Imports. And I said, “What’s this opportunity?” She said, “Well, my aunt and uncle just sold their company to IBM for multi-multi-millions and they’re empty nesters now and they gave us the opportunity to go- we can go and live with them for free and we’ll be transferred from the Burnsville, Minnesota, Pier One Imports to the Boulder, Colorado, Pier One Imports. And I was like, okay, let’s go.

There was one caveat, though. I’m very close to my mom, and my mom is a thriver. She has been through a lot in her life and has been- always saw a bigger vision for me that I could hold. And I went to my mom and I’m like, “You know, Jan and I have this opportunity and I don’t, I don’t know what to do.” And she looked at me and she said one word that I’ll never forget, because this is a woman who’s who went through it. I don’t have to tell her whole story, but just know she went through it, came out the other side and she said, “Go.” And I’ll never forget that moment because she could have said, stay like, you know, I want you to be around here. And she said, “Go.” And to all those parents who say, go, you know, I salute you, because now that I have a seven-year-old, that’s going to be one of the hardest things I’m ever going to have to utter out of my mouth is, “Go.” And so we did we moved, you know, two states over and moved in with our aunt and uncle who were these incredible, again, these people who showed up in my life, these incredible human beings. So generous.

You know, I saw wealth in a different way. I saw kindness in a different way. And we were- I got to know them in one day. And this is one of those forks in the road. Janna’s uncle sat me down and he’s like, “You know, what are your plans, Ursula? I said, “Oh, I think I want to go to law school. I don’t have money to pay for it, but I’m you know, I’m figuring that out, just trying to figure it out.” Like I didn’t know he said, “Yeah, you know, you want to talk about that?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he said, “You know, Carol and I would love to pay for that for you.” Well, the Lutheran foreign kid in me did not have the capacity to accept that level of gift. And I said, “Well, I could never I couldn’t accept that. I mean, I appreciate it. I can’t believe you’re offering this to me. I can’t, like, there’s nothing in me that could receive that.” And he said, “I understand and I respect. May I offer you some advice?” And I said, “Yes, please.” And this is what he said, and I’ll never forget it. He said, “Get a job in outside sales and you can do anything. You’ll have enough money to go to law school. You can start your own company.” It was like he was teaching me how to fish, right? I said, “Well, that would be great. I don’t know anything about outside sales. I’m a psych and communications major. I don’t know. Like, I don’t even know where I’d start.” He said, “Don’t get confused about the how in this moment.” He goes, “Just get your resume ready and trust what I tell you. You’d be phenomenal in sales.” He said, “I’ve hired a lot of salespeople. This would be great for you.”

I listened. I filled out my- I updated my resume. He asked me to send it to him. I didn’t send it right away. Instead, I went back to work at Pier One Imports. I hadn’t had time to send it, and that day changed my life because a woman came through wearing a really nice business suit. We were chatting. She’s like, “What are you doing in Boulder?” And I said, “Well, you know, I’m here for a little bit. I moved from Minnesota and I’m actually looking for a job in outside sales,” because I thought I might as well say it out loud, right? So she said, “We’re hiring. Are you interested?” And I said, “What do you sell?” And she said, “Computer training and consulting.” And a little voice inside me said, “You don’t know anything about that.” And then that voice did not come out of my mouth. I just thought, you know what? Why not? Why not just get Will said, just keep going.

So I went home and I told Will, I said, “You’re never going to believe this, like, this woman, you know?” And we looked up, the company, he said, “Go interview, just interview. It’s good practice.” He goes, “I’ll share your resume around as well.” Long and short of it, they hired me. I still don’t know why. They asked me the funniest questions. They were these gentlemen from Canada who are still some of my mentors and friends today. They asked me things like, “What do you think about the Three Stooges?” Like, I’ll never forget that question. And I just died laughing. And I, you know, we talked about it, and they made an offer, I started, it was 24,000 a year plus commission. You would have thought I had won the lottery. And then I started my job and I hated everything about selling. And here was an inspiration point. So, I’m being a good student and went out and read every book I could on sales and selling from Brian Tracy’s The Psychology of Selling to Jeffrey Gitomer’s The Sales Bible. And then I found this book by the now late Dr. Wayne Dyer called The Power of Intention. That book, changed my life. And so instead of making 100 cold calls every day on a tick sheet, which was my job, I started to make 25 intentional calls every day with the intention to get two appointments. And I started to crush it and I took the pressure off myself. And I kept hearing Will’s voice-

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:13:09] I want to just say that all of what you just shared is something that you’ve put into your books. You know, there’s something about synchronicity and intention that are two of your key books that are related to your life story about how to be with people. I mean, was that a coincidence that that woman just showed up in the store or would that fall in the category of synchronicity where you, for the first time, would announce what it is that you wanted to do?

Ursula Mentjes [00:13:35] Yeah, I would call that a synchronicity. Right. And Carl Jung coined that term. He said, a synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence. Right? Where we see a connection.

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:13:45] Right, exactly. Exactly. So I just wanted to make sure because I don’t think I mentioned the names of your books earlier. And yet, this is exactly- meeting Wayne Dyer, who is an amazing mentor to me as well, this intention. So, the power of intention and how you create that, it’s shifted from an automatic transactional exercise of going through a list of names to choosing 25 people and interacting with them to discover something with intention. Is that right?

Ursula Mentjes [00:14:16] Exactly. All I was calling them to do was find out if I could solve their problem. And I figured if I made 25 intentional calls every day, two of them would have a problem I can solve. And part of that was shifting, you know, this, this was a new belief, right? I took on this new belief because the old belief that was given to me by well-meaning sales managers was “Sales is a numbers game.” And it’s just not. It’s not a numbers game unless you want to work really hard and make it feel like, you know, make up the story that you have to make 100 calls every day to get to your goal. Well, that wasn’t fun for me. So I made up a new story that said, “When I make 25 intentional call calls and these were cold calls” meaning these people had no idea who I was., 25 intentional cold calls every day, I would get two appointments because I needed ten appointments a week.” And I just I just started to believe that this was my new formula, and it was working.

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:15:07] Yeah, it worked so well that somehow or another you became president of the company at age 27, is that right?

Ursula Mentjes [00:15:12] Yes, yes. So, the next five years, I went from being an outside sales rep to sales manager, a branch manager, regional manager, executive vice president, and then by the time I was 27, they named me president, which is actually my second book, One Great Goal, which kind of ties all these things together. One Great Goals is like, more like the life book that I wrote, and that’s for everybody. That’s about figuring out your one great goal. And at that time, my one great goal was to become president when I was of the company. US, maybe later. So I made the decision when I was 23, though, I remember sitting down with my husband, who was my boyfriend, then, Tim, and I said, “You know, I kind of want to be president someday.” And Tim didn’t skip a beat and he’s like, “Of course you should be president of this company. Why not you?” So here we were, these two, 23-year-olds, like just making all these decisions about what was next. And I don’t take it lightly that it happened. I mean, I wrote it down. I was focused on it. I kept intending for it. And then by the time I was 27, it happened.

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:16:10] Pretty amazing. So this idea of straight- I’m sure this is one of the things that we’ll be talking about with Aaron about beliefs and really getting in the zone, about creating the game you want to play, is that right? Yeah. So, in terms of what you’re doing today, it’s like, if you look back to where you are today, I’m not going to ask you how old you are today, but let’s just say there still could be time for you to be president of the United States. You know, we’re paving the way for, and, you know, I think that Colorado gentleman who encouraged you to go into sales at that- it was like a fork in the road. You were either going to go to law school or go into sales. And if you go into sales, you could pay for law school. So it was like a strategy. So, you went that way and then you discovered something even bigger than what you thought you were going into sales for. Could you speak a little bit about that?

Ursula Mentjes [00:17:03] Yeah, so, I started to love selling. Like, once I cracked the code and I started to grow, you know, after- I grew a sales territory in about eight months very successfully. And then I got promoted to branch management when I was 23. And so I took on a new branch and I grew $1,000,000 revenue, $1,000,000 in annual revenue in one year. So $83,333 a month. That was my goal. And we got there. And so, it was- I started to realize that I’m kind of good at this. Like, I didn’t know that this was a thing. I learned how to read a PNL report. What I didn’t know, it was like getting an MBA on steroids. Like, I learned business from these incredible mentors that I had, and they just let me run it like. Like it was my own business. So, that was also one thing that really served me is they allowed me to be super entrepreneurial. And I didn’t, I just didn’t know that at the time how that was going to serve me later. But, so, I learned. I just I learned how to build PNLs and build successful, successful revenue models which equaled profitable PNLs and profitable businesses.

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:18:03] Exactly. And it was a great way to use your education because, you know, when you think about solving people’s problems and how many conversations you have. That, that B.A. in communications and psychology came in handy, how did the NLP fit in?

Ursula Mentjes [00:18:19] Yeah. So I after I left the company, I went out and did some consulting for six months for another company. I had this big identity crisis of, “I wanted to be the president of the somebody else’s company.” And so all these recruiters were saying, “You’re 27, you’re too young, like, there i-. you have to start over, basically.” And I was like, “Well, that’s silly.” And then my husband’s like, “Start your own company, start your own company, start your own company.” And so finally, after six months after leaving that company, I did. I started my own company, and that was really the catalyst for, you know, opening up what was next for me. And I didn’t, I didn’t know it at the time. I mean, I didn’t know. And then I wanted, I knew I wanted to be a coach. I can remember sitting in, when I was the president of the company, sitting by myself in an office, and I felt like something was ending. Like, I knew this was coming to an end for me, this journey. And, I kept hearing about coaching and I kept thinking, man, I would love to do that because that’s all I do all day long in this office, in this position as president of the company. I’m constantly coaching all my employees. So I started to explore that.

So at the same- this is one thing I don’t tell a lot about this story. At the same time, I decided to become an NLP certified coach and NLP is nuero-linguistic programing. I also went to law school for about six months, like I had to, I had to get that out of my system and I did not like it at all. What I did love is learning a lot about contracts. That has served me really well in my business. Like, I can read a contract like nobody’s business now and I like that. I learned a lot. And then I was like, “Oh, I’d never want to do this.” Like, I want to hire attorneys, not be an attorney. And so, but the NLP piece came in because I wanted to become a coach and the NLP certification as a coach was very intriguing because I got both the NLP and the coaching cert. through the International Coaches Federation for the NLP Institute of California in San Francisco. And what I wanted to understand is why some people get phenomenal results really quickly in whatever they choose and why others struggle. And I knew like, I just, there were pieces that I was missing to be of, you know, the best coach that I could be. And I just, I just felt called to that information and two of the things that I use still to this day in the area of NLP is shifting limiting beliefs.

Any time you come to any of my classes or any of my coaching programs, we’re constantly clearing blocks around sales, money, what’s possible for you, what you deserve. And then the other tool that I use from my NLP training is what we call future pacing. It’s using your subconscious mind to work backwards from the end result you want because your, your subconscious doesn’t know the difference of what it’s seeing. So that helps us really help our clients blow the blocks out between clearing blocks and future pacing. And then they start, their subconscious starts working immediately on their goal.

Renee Beth Poindexter [00:21:16] It’s perfect. Yeah, I’m familiar with NLP and yeah, it’s been life changing. As a matter of fact, a lot of what I wrote about in my book about the new models for Learning has NLP as the base. In other words, understanding how to create your own learning styles and know how to match how your learning style matches with others, and bringing that forward. It’s phenomenal. Now, one more thing, and I want to just I want to bring Aaron in, because, as you know well, I think I’ll just throw this in with Aaron right now. Aaron Johnson, I’d love for you to introduce yourself and share some of your story and tell us what is it about Ursula’s story that interests and inspires you? And what would you like to learn from her today?

If you liked what you heard and want to watch and/or listen to the rest of this incredible conversation, you can click here to create a completely and forever-free account with us. And if you’re interested, check out the first two chapters of Renee Beth’s book: Living The Potential: Engaging the Wisdom of Our Youth to Save the World which you can find here. Thank you so much for listening. ‘Til next time!

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