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Principles for Success With Retiree Bill “Wild Bill” Hiddleson

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Mark Hiddleson

Bill “Wild Bill” Hiddleson is a retired teacher and coach from San Lorenzo Unified School District. In 1957, he won the Woodland Recreation Department Boys Basketball shooting contest making 17 of 20 shots. He also won the Bank of America John L. Simpson Scholarship Award. Bill earned his BA in psychology in 1968, just before starting his career in retail and B2B sales, which spanned two decades. Bill returned to school to begin a career teaching and coaching at Arroyo Tech Links Academy in San Lorenzo, California, where he won multiple awards, including the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) Teacher of the Year award.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Bill “Wild Bill” Hiddleson talks about his career in retail and his transition to teaching

  • What was Bill’s worst and best job?

  • Business principles and values that made Bill successful

  • What Bill taught his students about becoming successful entrepreneurs

  • Bill explains the teaching strategy that made students enjoy learning

  • Qualities of a good leader

  • What made Bill change his direction of spirituality and quit alcohol

  • Bill talks about his journey through life and what he’s most proud of

  • How Mark Hiddleson came up with his podcast name

In this episode…

Are you struggling in your career or business? Would you like to learn tips on how a retiree achieved success?

For two decades, Bill “Wild Bill” Hiddleson was in retail and B2B sales, where he learned a lot about the business world. The demise of the companies he worked for and his passion for teaching compelled him to study education. Bill shifted his focus to teaching entrepreneurship and coaching his students on how to be successful. Bill lives by the idea that the purpose of life is to find your gift and to give it away, and infinite patience brings immediate results. Through the evolution of his business life and as a retired teacher and coach, he has many principles to share on how to be successful and how he coached his students to achieve their potential and objectives.

In today's special episode of The Tao of Pizza Podcast, Mark Hiddleson sits down with his dad, Bill “Wild Bill” Hiddleson, a retired teacher and coach from San Lorenzo Unified School District, to discuss his success and how he helped his students to be successful. Bill talks about his career in retail and his transition to teaching, business principles and values that helped him achieve his goals, his teaching strategy and what he taught his students about successful entrepreneurship, and the qualities of a good leader.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions Inc.


I have been in the logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don’t look that old, but it's true.

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Episode Transcript:

Intro 0:01

Welcome to The Tao of Pizza where we feature top logistics leaders, entrepreneurs, and supply chain innovators and share their inspiring stories with a holistic twist.

Mark Hiddleson 0:16

Mark Hiddleson here host of The Tao of Pizza Podcast where I talk with top industry innovators in the warehousing logistics and supply chain business with a holistic twist. Before I introduce today's guest, Wild Bill, this episode is brought to you by Specialized Storage Solutions. Listen, I've been in logistics and storage industry for several decades. I know I don't look that old, but it's true. We provide industry-leading warehouse storage solutions nationwide. So basically, if you have a warehouse that needs rack, shelving carts, conveyors, or mezzanines, we help with the design engineering installation inspections and repairs to help clients optimize their logistics operations. You know what Wild Bill, some people don't even realize that we can actually help with permit acquisition services, we take a holistic look at your entire business supply chain ecosystem to develop the resources for continually improving your operation. To learn more, visit or give us a call at 707-732-3892. And also give my personal email address for podcast listeners just email me MARKHIDDLESON@AOL.COM if you're ready to take your warehouse storage and retrieval systems to the next level. Now I'm super excited today to be joined by Wild Bill from Pleasant Hill. He never works and he never will. He swears like a drunken sailor and yet he prays like an altar boy. In 1957 he won the woodland recreation department boys basketball shooting contest seeking 17 of 20 shots. He went on to win eight block “W” awards in high school. He was a Lions Club subsection speech champion and winner of the Bank of America John L. Simpson Scholarship Award. He studied abroad at the International University in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico. How the hell do they say that? He was in his junior year at Cal. He was in Mexico and graduated from Cal with a degree in psychology in 1968. His career in retail and b2b sales spanned two decades. He then returned to school to begin a career teaching and coaching at Arroyo tech links Academy in San Lorenzo, California, where he won multiple awards, including the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship Teacher of the Year Award. He's been enjoying time and traveling the world since 2011. And you know what else? He's my dad. He met my mom at a fraternity party in 1968, and I was born in December 1969. He and my mother did end up filing for divorce in May of 1972. However, my dad and I have developed a very, very close relationship over the years, and we will be pals forever. And that's my longtime as Prince would say, Dad, welcome to The Tao Pizza Podcast.

Bill Hiddleson 3:23

Thanks, Mark, for that flattering introduction.

Mark Hiddleson 3:27

It's all true, man.

Bill Hiddleson 3:29


Mark Hiddleson 3:31

I have to tell you that. I hear Bernie in the background. Bernie. He doesn't like not having attention not.

Bill Hiddleson 3:43

Yeah, he's my best friend. He likes to be with me all the time.

Mark Hiddleson 3:46

Is he in there or is he in another room?

Bill Hiddleson 3:49

He's in another room. Carol’s trying to get rid of our guest. And then I'll be babysitting in the dark.

Mark Hiddleson 4:00

So all of those accolades and awards, and my kids had looked at the list, and I only listed the highlights. I mean, there's millions of awards on here, but we did added up. And I've actually won more awards than you have. But we're not competitive in this family. But everybody was impressed with that, and all of those things are true. So I kind of wanted to start with your career in retail, and how did you get into the business like how did you go from where you were in retail to kind of transitioning into being a factory REP.

Bill Hiddleson 4:53

Well, I started as an executive trainee at Capwell’s in Oakland, California. It was my first job offer that I received when I was graduating from college. So I immediately took it because I could stay in Berkeley and be with your mom and party with my friends. And it was a very safe choice. I got another offer after I accepted this offer. I got an offer to go to work for Honeywell, which could have taken me anywhere in the world. And I started kicking myself right away for having taken that one. So, and then I also had the responsibility of a child to deal with, so I stuck that out as long as I could. I got promoted several times, and then my sister's husband died, so we moved to Sacramento, to be closer to my family. And I became assistant manager, and then store manager, and then a buyer for Weinstock’s. And a friend of mine, who remains my friend to this day, Mick Mankowski. You've met him at our house. He got me a job working for his competitor. He worked for Haggar and I worked for Farah. They both made men's clothing, mostly slacks and jeans and sport coats, that kind of thing. So we ended up being best friends, even though we were competitive, it's kind of like you and me. And we love each other in spite of our differences, that kind of a relationship. So the business has changed dramatically over the years. I used to call on all the mom-and-pop stores in Northern California. And gradually, one by one, they all disappeared because of the evolution of Walmart and Save Mart and Kmart and Sam's Club and all the discounters. They made not only the mom and pops go away, but also the department stores which were the bread and butter of my business. So another development that took place at that time was that personal computer technology started to explode in the early 80’s. So I figured I'd get in on that action. And I had gotten into retail sales and corporate account management, and with my experience, I became a store manager. Of course, that industry changed just like the clothing industry changed. Computers became a commodity. And the salespeople knew less than that consumers, including me. The way that technology constantly changes, you have to keep up with all the recent developments. And you're always learning new things and applying them to your business. And it just got to be more than I was willing to do. So I went back to school and got my teaching credential. And Carol supported me in that decision financially, emotionally and in every other way. And I ended up becoming a business instructor, hence the NFTE award. And I had 30 years of business experience by then, so I was considered very knowledgeable. And that's why they hired me. Because of my experience, not because of my education or my personality or anything else.

Mark Hiddleson 9:12

Yeah, we know Dad, we know. Everybody knows it wasn't for your personality. You don't need to say that. I want to ask you, there are questions I want to ask you about that. Because that's a pretty huge shift. I mean, going from even in retail and I know business to business sales, and a lot of the people, I remember used to tell me that Mervyn's (I forget if it was Mervyn's). Mervyn's was one of your clients, right? Really one of the last that we're still there were getting to a price point where they were shifting a lot of stuff overseas. So Levi's used to be made in Texas or something and then now they were made in overseas and then so the price really got down and so people went from really, you work for Farah, which their plant was in Texas, they had a focus on quality American made local. So all those mom and pops and I still, by the way, I buy my clothes. Now I know why I buy my clothes from the guy at Williams down the street at the, there's still men's stores. There's Scott Lyle, in Napa. There's Williamson and Son. And it was a day where I love it. And even department stores. If he walked in, I think you still can, like Nordstrom and maybe even Macy's, they look at your body. And like for me, they go, okay, you're a double XL slim. Okay, and we have that. But that all changed. And even Mervyn’s was one of the last ones that hung on, right. I mean, they were still were they still buying Farah during that kind of that transition? When you left?

Bill Hiddleson 9:12

Yes. That was our last account before Farah went bankrupt.

Mark Hiddleson 10:57

So tell me what happened again, Dad.

Bill Hiddleson 11:07

Well, when all the department stores started going under, it was because Mervyn's was killing them on price like you said. They were doing was what we used to call vertical marketing. So instead of buying it from us, they would make it themselves overseas in China or India or some other third-world country where they had cheap labor and cheaper costs all the way around. So that increased their margins, and they didn't need us. They didn't need domestically made products because buying American was not a big deal in the 80s and 90s.

Mark Hiddleson 11:56

So there's an irony. One of our first projects, big projects we did and I actually had, I interviewed David Smith a few weeks ago, one of our big projects that we ever did is we decommissioned the Mervyn's buildings when Mervyn's finally here, they got bought out by Target. And I think it was the Dayton Hudson at the time was Dayton Hudson Corporation owned it. And I think they just looked at Mervyn's and they had all these assets whether it was distribution centers, and they own the property. So they basically just kind of gutted it and go, well, we didn't really buy Mervyn's for the stores or the volume or anything else like that. We'll just shut down on this Mervyn's and people will go to Target and so they were just selling off everything. And we that was actually one of our first big projects was closing down the Mervyn's DC, in I think it was 2005 or 2006. So yeah, there's been some major business shifts. And so in your 20 years, you saw you saw all of that. And then you made the decision to go into teaching. And I think that's really cool. My mom was a teacher her whole life. And I really look up to teachers, and you had to take a pretty good pay cut to do that. Right? It was you're not making anything? Yeah. Is you weren’t managing a retail store or anything. So tell me. I also know you had a worst job that you ever had. So tell me about what was your worst job and your best job. I know what the worst was.

Bill Hiddleson 13:34

My worst job depended on me know who my boss was. Because there are good bosses and there are bad bosses, and bosses can make you successful or they can make you miserable. So my time was Computer Selection was the worst job. Because by then I realized that I was doing something that I just needed to do to make a living. I wasn't doing it because I loved doing it. I was doing it because I had to do it, because at that point we had Matthew to take care of, and Carol was starting to experience the same thing I did in the retail industry where she began changing jobs quite frequently because of the department stores going under. So she went from Emporium to Mervyn's to Macy's and then Breuner’s to finally just wearing herself out. She had to quit working because her knees gave in after 30 years of standing on concrete floors in high heel shoes. So, but she was good enough to support me in my decision to go back to school and get my teaching credential and start over. We've always started over. She went to work for the county and I went to work for the state. And we both took big pay cuts, right. But eventually, I started earning enough, as teachers get paid based on seniority and on units. So by the time I finished my 15 years of teaching, I had another 90 units of credits that boosted me up on the pay scale. So I ended up at the maximum when I retired. And then retirement is comfortable. You know, it's not lavish but we get by. We've been to Europe and the Caribbean and Disney World and Hawaii.

Mark Hiddleson 16:02

They just got back from Tahoe. You went to Tahoe last week or a couple of weeks ago. So there's a correction here. So the worst job you said was because of the boss, right? I got to put my different glasses on so I can read your sheet, you said your worst job was because of your boss, right? And this isn't a gotcha interview. I'm just at the worst. So when I see worst job, it says, self-employed as independent contractor for blind brokers. And that was your worst job. And it was because of your boss.

Bill Hiddleson 16:44

Yeah, yeah. He screwed me over quite well, yes.

Mark Hiddleson 16:48

Well, you was self-employed. You screwed yourself. So that was one of those deals where they probably said the grass was gonna be greener than it really was.

Bill Hiddleson 17:07

Oh, he was very unethical. That's not my style.

Mark Hiddleson 17:17

Yeah. So they were, what do you say is unethical? I wouldn't have you say anything bad about anybody. But just that’s kind of a good segue because I’m that way, too. I mean, in this business, too, sometimes it's hard to compete. I had one of my clients where it was David Smith on the Mervyn's deal, one of our competitors had offered a bribe to get that project. I was shocked. But if you're competing against that, I mean, it's, I'm going to lose those deals, because I had a mentor, and I won’t say who it is, but I said, I think this guy's on the take. Because every once in a while, you can kind of tell like, you've done everything, you know that the pricing is right, you know when I do a job, I do a real thorough job. And they're still, sometimes it's their brother-in-law, or there's a long-term relations or anything. I respect that. But in this particular case, I said, man, I said, how come we're not getting the order? I said, I think the guy’s on the take, and he said, we'll go and offer him some. I said, I'm not gonna go, what am I supposed to say? He goes, just say this. And it was around Easter time, he said, tell him that you want to fluff his Easter basket. I never said that to the client. But I do love that fluffy Easter basket. And I still use that. So that's kind of talking values and principles.

I love the story about Mick Mankowski. I just like to say Mankowski. And you guys were competitors. But he kind of got you a job at the next level in business. And even though you were competitors, you collaborated. So there's some principles at work there. Right? I mean, you don't always look at your competitors as enemies. You're kind of, frenemies, or collaboration over competition. But what are some other principles that you have in business that kind of made a difference for you over the years?

Bill Hiddleson 19:40

In business, competitors a lot of the time ended up working for their competitors and when I was there, guys from Levi’s came over. Guys from Haggar came over. Whoever's hot at the time gets the cream of the crop, you know? Farah was hot when I was there, and it was not when I left. So the good people go where the money is, that's kind of a crass way of saying it. But we're all in business to make money. And the way you make money is by satisfying your customers, because you if don't have customers, you don't have a business. Farah found that out the hard way. I mean, they had a history when I joined them of pissing people off. And a lot of people would not buy from Farah just based on that principle. Because screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me, kind of an attitude. So you don't want to risk losing your customer and just make an extra buck. It's about satisfying the customer to make the extra money. I think you've experienced that in your business where people keep coming back to you for repeat business. And it's because you take care of them.

Mark Hiddleson 21:09

And it's because of a relationship. I mean, to me, that's the most important and that's one of the most important things I learned from you is that it's the business relationships. I mean, like your relationship with Mick. You guys still visit, you still have holidays together, still staying in contact over the years. And to me, it's been relationships. And it's not just relationships with customers, its relationships with suppliers. I mean, in our business suppliers is a huge part of it. And obviously, we're not building all the racking and shelving and lump sum in the office in an underground bunker. I'm not building all these racks that we have subcontractors building, we have suppliers that ship them and supply and we've got a warehouse. So yeah, it's all about relationships, and even our competitors, a lot of our competitors we are selling wholesale too. They buy from us, we buy from them. And those principles, one of the things when you were talking about doing the right thing, it reminded me of when I started my company I was working for, the company I was working for it was a really good company, I decided I want to do my own thing. But I wanted to leave on the right note, because I had been there for eight years, I had learned a lot. And it was really just in my career, it got to a point where I couldn't go any further because it was an owner, he already had a partner. And I came up with some ideas to kind of build my own division within their company, because I saw new opportunities, and they didn't want to do it. When I left I wanted to do the right thing. And then most people when they're going to start a company, at least in our industries, I know industries, they start moving deals over slowly at a time and kind of starting their own company while they're still working for the other company. And I didn't want to do that, just because I wanted, and my reasoning at the time was, I didn't want to screw over my old boss. And so I didn't. I gave him when I left I gave him every single deal I was working on I gave him a list of all the prospects that I had. Because I'm like, I'm starting fresh. I still wanted to be able to do business with them. I wanted to maintain that relationship. But what's interesting is that what I found is that it was like a full circle thing, because the people, I did have clients that we had a relationship and they said, hey, we just did these other deals? Why didn't you just do it with your company? I said, I didn't want to do that, you know, everything that we were working on beforehand, you got to order from them. I don't want to start mixing things up. And I was just doing it to do the right thing. But I didn't realize the impact that had on the 10 or 15 people that I was doing business with, they were kind of like, okay, wow. So you are going to do the right thing. And I think they trusted me way more, which was kind of an external benefit that I didn't even really see coming. But just because I was doing the right thing for that relationship, it ended up strengthening all these other relationships. And I mean, like this whole podcast, the whole idea behind it is really honoring the relationships that I've had in this business and people, they've just contributed to my career in a way that I wouldn't even have asked them to. They just they did, so that's important. What are some other things about business? You taught entrepreneurship. So, what were some of the things that when you started teaching entrepreneurship that he really wanted to get across like the principles that he wanted to influence your students.

Bill Hiddleson 24:42

My first class was a group of students who were considered to be potential high school dropouts, candidates for continuation school. And because they lacked motivation, they just wanted to goof off and have fun and chase women and all the things we do as teenagers. And not study. It's human nature, I think, and they also came from families that were broken or lacked values, family values. So they were considered to be at risk of being criminals or dropouts, or drug addicts or worse. So, they hired me to find something to fulfill that emptiness inside that they felt, and being an entrepreneur makes you be responsible for yourself. That's part of growing up, you grow from being dependent on others to being independent, to being interdependent. And that's the way we mature. And I think you've experienced that in your life. I know I have. But I think there's a saying, that experience is not the best teacher, it is the only teacher. And I was able to share that with my students and convince them that if they studied and worked hard and took care of their customers, they can be successful. So they had little mini projects that they worked on. We did flea market events, where we would sell products, things that they created. Creativity is crucial to entrepreneurship. You're taking something all the way you get new and different, it's not reinventing the wheel, it's perfecting the wheel.

Mark Hiddleson 27:04

So talk about that teaching experience, quote, is that experience is the toughest teacher because you always get the lesson after the test. And so you're urging these people to kind of test themselves, test yourself in the market, make a product, go out there and then buy those tests, then they learned the lessons because they were putting themselves to the test. What were some examples of products dad that they made and sold?

Bill Hiddleson 27:37

People would bake things at home like cookies or cupcakes or whatever. People would make things. And as technology got more involved, they would start doing services, webpage design and more technical things. They would also do carwashes, babysitters, that kind of thing, just something where they didn't need a product, but a service, which is the most important part of any business.

Mark Hiddleson 28:08

Yeah. It reminds me because I tell people I started working when I was really young. But I didn't start getting paid until I was 10. And I didn't start paying taxes until I was 12. I actually started working. I remember my sister and I one time there, we grew these boards, and they were awesome. And I put them in a wagon. And I took my sister I was probably eight at the time. So she was two think and I had that was doing the puppy dog closes like here's his kid with his little sister, and they're going around with the wagon full of gourds. And people actually gave us money. And they would look in my eye. They're like, well, we don't even want these gourds. But I like your operation. We're going to give you some money. So it was kind of, it was positive experience. And then I love that. That's when you talk about people that want to screw off. It's funny. I was like you I want all these awards in high school, three sports, straight A's, but my senior year, obviously I was 18. So I knew more than everybody, right? And the college prep track said I needed to take it was chemistry. And there was some other classes that I didn't take and I took bookkeeping and speech instead. Because I was like, well, I can, the bookkeeping classes because they were mostly chicks. So you were like, do want to screw around with the girls and everything's I'm like, I'll take bookkeeping. But what's interesting is those two classes, bookkeeping and speech, really are some of the ones when I look back. I mean, I still use a nine no double entry accounting because I learned it by hand in school where you had those green sheets where you had to do debits and credits and debit and credit and double entry accounting balance sheet and P & l and why one goes to the other. A lot of that stuff I still use today and I kind of took it instead of chemistry, I still had that note-taking chemistry in college, and then the speech class is kind of the same way. Which reminds me one of my favorite stories is, you had me come in twice to do speeches for that, because I was in business, I had started a business. And the first one time was kind of just to your class was about 25 or 30 kids. And it was kind of informal. And it was a lot of fun. I loved it. I was like, Dad, if I ever get a chance, I'd love to share the things I've done starting a company. And I didn't realize it was at risk to us that you were working with. I mean, that's always kind of been a passion for me, because, well, I've turned out to be an at-risk adult. It's at -risk adults teaching at-risk children. But the second time, it was a whole auditorium. And I was like the third speaker to go. But when you went up to introduce me, the whole crowd, it was probably like, 500 kids, and they were going, Hiddle, Hiddle, Hiddle! That's your applause on the stage. I'm like, oh, man, my dad is some kind of genius, like, every single kid is chanting, and I'm like, man, like, I've prepared a speech. But I don't know if it's good enough to live up to these guys were giving me a standing ovation before even got on there. So I think I survived. And I did. I think I did okay, because the kids were asking me how much I was making at the time. And I looked at the speaker who went in front of me, and he said, “Yeah, go ahead and tell them what you're making.” But that was a blast. And why do you think those kids, I mean, they admire you mean, you were a tennis coach, but it wasn't just the tennis gig, you were entrepreneur coach, but it wasn't just those, like, why do you think those kids were so passionate about Hiddle?

Bill Hiddleson 32:14

Because I love kids. I think I always wanted to be a teacher, that was my number one goal in life, and it took me longer than it should have to get there. So I was very grateful to be in that position. And I think I treated the kids like adults. They were teenagers, but they weren't going to be teenagers forever. And I tried to help them grow in as many ways as I could, not just intellectually but spiritually and emotionally and every other way. And I think that paid off in the long run. It's kind of like the holistic approach that you talk about, they're not just robots learning how to spit out product. They are people who need all those things. The spiritual, emotional, physical, mental growth and development.

Mark Hiddleson 33:20

In those high school years, I mean, as a parent, I can't say that it was any, the toughest thing for me with all three of my kids was their freshman year of high school, because it's such a transition that, you work your way, just like you're 1957 Basketball champion and everything. And then eighth grade, you're on top of the hill. And then you go, and even I remember, I was eighth-grade class president, but then you go to high school, and you're like, you're back to the low end on the totem pole. And my kids even changed schools so that as a parent, you look at like, what you're going through in high school to make new friends get into classes, teachers are asking you to do more than they've ever asked you to do. Like, now, somebody's not going well. He didn't turn in your homework, like you're getting an email six months later, and you've got an F in the class, and the grades are coming out tomorrow. It's like, it's a real-world check. So that's awesome. So you were just there for those kids as a person, like developing a relationship and everybody has different things going on in their family, whether it's money or parents or relationships, or I mean, there's just a lot of things that can affect somebody at that age. It’s growing pains. What used to be one of my favorite shows was Growing Pains. So you were there for him. So how does that for you? How would you? I kind of want to segue into because you mentioned the spiritual aspect like, what's your philosophy on life? Or if you look at that as a purpose like, what would you say that your philosophy or purpose was when you approached education like that?

Bill Hiddleson 35:17

I think the best way to teach someone anything is to be a good example. You can talk all you want, and I wasn't a very good lecturer, I was more of a guide on the side. And especially when I taught technology and business, I would explain what I wanted them to do, and then give them step-by-step instructions, but they would actually do the work. I didn't do it for them, they had to do it themselves. And I think that's a good definition of leadership. You make people feel like they did it themselves. And they do have that pride of self-worth and dignity. And they respect themselves, I think, more than if they're told what to do. And that's a lesson I continue to learn in life. And as far as my spiritual beliefs, that's also a work in progress. I mean, I was the grandson of Methodist missionaries. My mother was very religious. I was raised in a Christian home, until I was confirmed in the church at age 13. But at that time, I became a freshman in high school. As soon as I got confirmed, and went to high school and learned about alcohol and women, or girls, I should say, I forgot all about my upbringing, and all the principles that I was supposed to be following and just, I was a very carnal person. I did what felt good, and that continued all the way through college. You know, that was a saying in the 60s, “And if it feels good, do it.”

Mark Hiddleson 37:22

So when I say, I'm a product of the 60s and every time I tell somebody I was born in 1969, they kind of shake their head like, I get it.

Bill Hiddleson 37:40

Flower child.

Mark Hiddleson 37:42

What changed, like, what changed the direction of your spiritual?

Bill Hiddleson 37:55

It was an evolution more than a change. It's not one change, it's multiple changes one after the other. After your mom and I got divorced I became a born-again, Christian, and that lasted maybe a year. And then, I met Carol and meeting, she was a religious person. And we both believe in God, but we never went to church. We just got along because we loved each other and we wanted to be together and build something for the future. And I think we've done that quite well. But raising you and Matt and being parents is a very fulfilling part of why we're here. And now that we're empty nesters, I'm spending much more time helping men recover from alcoholism and drug abuse. And I feel like that's a useful service that I can provide based on my experience. And I've had some successes and some failures, and it's not me that's doing the work. I'm just a guide on the side. Like I said, like, I can share my experience with people and explain what happened in my life. But they have to make the decision to change themselves or ask God to change them, if they believe in God.

Mark Hiddleson 39:50

Yeah, there's a quote. And since this is The Tao of Pizza the author of the Tao to Chain had a quote about exactly what she talked about as Lao Tzu. He wrote the Tao to chain, which is like 81 verses of poetry of the philosophy. And one of his quotes is, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they'll say, we did it ourselves.” Right? Which is exactly that principle. And I'm a Christian, too. So hopefully I don't get lightning striking from cold. But one of the things I love about this ancient philosophy is you read it, and just like, yeah, that's been true. I mean, this was written in like 2500 BC. So that's been true for 4500 or no 500 BC. So it's like 3000-year-old or 2500-year-old wisdom, like the leaf does when people barely know exists, and you made a decision, a choice, you chose to quit drinking, like 10 years ago, right? Was it 10 or eight?

Bill Hiddleson 40:57


Mark Hiddleson 40:58

For health reasons, right? Like, it wasn't like you got a DUI and a car crash, and you had to go through the program or anything, but you got a health diagnosis and said, hey, look out here. What was that? What was that like? And why did you make that choice?

Bill Hiddleson 41:16

First, I was skeptical. As I was actually given that diagnosis, 11 years ago, it took me a year to figure out that the doctor was actually correct. My skepticism, was a good reason to scoff at his remarks, initially, and then, a year later, he convinced me that I needed help by sending me to the chemical dependency recovery program. And that's what started my recovery is someone forcing me into it. And now everything I do is voluntary. That's the kind of change that takes place, instead of begrudgingly feeling obligated to do something for someone else, you do it because it's the right thing to do. It's by the grace of God, there's no other reason to help someone other than for the sake of helping them.

Mark Hiddleson 42:27

Or the fact that you can do it. That's the thing for me. When the pandemic hit, I started looking at my business and go, okay, well, what happens if I don't make any money, if they're saying stay at home in 15 days to slow the spread, I was thinking, okay, I can I could go two weeks, with no business, but can I go two months? Can I go two years? The thing ends up lasting two and a half years. And I kind of figured I started looking, I was like, wow, I can just start coasting from here on out, I'm 53, 52, 53. And I really started to think about it. And then it's like, oh, wait a minute. Like, we want to be generous in our community, there's causes we want to support, and I’ve got to set an example for my kids, right? And then I'm probably wrong. Because I've always seen if you start coasting in your 50s, by the time you're 60, you're looking around and going, man, I wish I would have turned it on in my 50s. So for me, it was spiritual, too, because I heard a similar story of a pastor of our church that shared a similar story was like, no, you've got an obligation to give your best, as long as you're alive, and you can help somebody and then the thing is, like you and you're setting an example. You stopped drinking. And that's like, the main the people you work with is really not anything you say, or anything, but you just keep showing up for them. And you're an example an example, so and I'm really proud of you for that. I mean, I look at that contribution. And for me, there's a quote about this and you've sent it to me about the goal in life and the purpose for life but figure out your gift and then give it away, basically, right? What was the saying that life is about?

Bill Hiddleson 44:18

The meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away.

Mark Hiddleson 44:23

I love that.

Bill Hiddleson 44:25

I loved the saying that you came up with when you were in your interview with Nancy Fateen about “The best customer is like your worst friend, they only call you when they need you.”

Mark Hiddleson 44:42

I've had other people comment on that. It's true. The crappy friends, they only call you when they need something; the great customers they only call you when they need something.

Bill Hiddleson 44:53

Right? That's another paradox of life. Yes.

Mark Hiddleson 44:58

Yeah. What are some other paradoxes, well, we're on, because I know you've got some favorite sayings, you sent them to me and I stopped you at 69, 68. And I said, wait a minute, we need one more. We need one more! But what are some others?

Bill Hiddleson 45:17

My favorite one is about life itself. Because none of us are going to get out of it. Like, none of us are going to get out of this alive, but we have the choice to enjoy it while we're here or to be miserable. So it's all a matter of exercising our own free will. That's the greatest gift.

Mark Hiddleson 45:45

And you've really you've been a great example for me for that. I mean, there's a lot of story but like, I'm really good at math for two reasons. And you were a big part of it. I remember when you used to pick me up in like Manteca or Modesto, wherever we were living and we would drive to either Sacramento or Woodland, a lot of times, we'd hang out with the Woodland cousins. They were awesome. And then on the way there, I was competing in the math Super Bowl, and you’d just give me word problems. Okay, what if you had five cows and 10 chickens? How many legs would it be? Or then like, if you got 32 legs, and there's seven animals, like how many chickens how many do you get? And then we would just go back and forth. And as I would learn something, you would teach me something else. And I remember one time, I was pretty young. And I was figuring out how to figure out the area because I've always loved math, and did end up winning two awards in the master bowl, in seventh grade, and three awards in eighth, the individual and the Blitz. But we had a blast, but we were learning. I was learning I'm still, I mean, I can do numbers in my head. I mean, that's another thing that in business, like, when you just know numbers, and even you can look at something and just know that 30 times 50 is 1500 or 50 times 11,000 is 550,000. And you could just do things quickly in your head, because we've got so many ways to do it. But you've been a great example for me, and you invested the time when it was important, and I really appreciate it. So how would you describe your life just overall?

Bill Hiddleson 47:49

I think I've lived up to my potential, it took me a long time to get to where I feel like I accomplished my objectives in life. I started as a teenager wanting to be a school teacher and ended up as a 65-year-old school teacher. But there was 50 years in between where I was not doing what I wanted to do. But each job or each career that I was in led to the next one, and ultimately to the one that I wanted the most. So like I said, it's an evolutionary process. You don't just wake up one day and fulfill your dream, you have to work at it one day at a time. In fact, that reminds me of another quote about patience. “Infinite patience brings immediate results.” (Confucius 551 B. C. – 479 B. C.) It depends on your perspective, right? If you look at it from God's perspective, 50 years is nothing. A billion years is nothing, this planet has been in existence for only 13 billion years. And hopefully, it will last a little bit longer. Another billion would be nice.

Mark Hiddleson 49:20

Yeah. With the current clock ticking, we're looking that we'll be lucky to make another 10,000. But I'm hopeful. I'm hopeful for the future. And that's great dad. I mean, infinite patience brings immediate results. That's like a Zen kaon, right? It's like, why is this true? It's true. It's infinite patience. And it's a paradox.

Bill Hiddleson 49:45

We can't comprehend what infinity means. It’s beyond our comprehension.

Mark Hiddleson 49:50

And it's about human nature that I heard. I think it was Tony Robbins or something. That's a quote that said, most people overestimate what they can accomplish in 90 days or a year and they under totally underestimate what they can achieve in 5 to 10 years. Most people will think they can get so much done so fast, but totally underestimate what you can accomplish. And I've seen that in my life. And one of my goals was to teach until I feel like hearing your story in your 20 or 30 years in business, it created like that was the reservoir that you drew from to create your teaching career. And again, they didn't hire you, because you were Whiz Kid teacher, they hired you because of your background in business. And I guess that's pretty unique, too, right? I mean, you don't find people who are willing to do that make that compromise. So I admire that it took a lot of courage. It took a lot of courage to do that. And sounds like you made all the difference.

Bill Hiddleson 50:57

Yes, it did. And also, being a coach was very much like being a teacher. I couldn't go out there and play tennis anymore. But I could tell them about how to do it, and show him how to do it. But at age 50, I couldn't do what I could do when I was 20. So we had some successes and some failures. But the thing I'm most proud of is their success in the classroom. All my students were A students, they all went to universities and some became doctors and lawyers. And I'm so proud of the kids for what they accomplished on the court as much as what they did on the court. Just great people.

Mark Hiddleson 51:46

Yeah, yeah. And you made a great contribution. I'd love to connect, like, hopefully, we could share this podcast with some of your kids from the school. I know that probably there's a Facebook group or something. I'm not on Facebook, or anything.

Bill Hiddleson 52:01

Yeah, they're all on Facebook.

Mark Hiddleson 52:03

But this has been great, and your grandchildren would love to hear this, dad, we're kind of wrapping it up. But you've been so generous with sharing your stories and your wisdom. It's humbling to hear your story. I'm proud of you. I love you very much. And I appreciate you coming on The Tao of Pizza Podcast. And thank you, thank you.

Bill Hiddleson 52:35

Thank you for having me. And when we're off the air, you're gonna have to explain how you came up with the name of the podcast.

Mark Hiddleson 52:43

I get it. So there was somebody at Oregon State, there's a, my daughter goes to Oregon State and a lot of them are watching episodes of the podcast. And they're excited about it because they know who it is. And Cody and Drake. They give me a hard time about it. But there's a kid at school, they went up to my daughter, he said, man, he goes, this guy talked the whole time. He didn't say one thing about pizza. So it's interesting, I'll share it with you right now I'll share it at the end because it's a great question. And so the Tao is like the way of nature. It's a word that just means the way of nature. And I practice for 20 years, I got my degree in holistic health. And one of the things that we learned was different types of meditation, different ways of mindfulness and not just the mindfulness as a technique, like a way to get from point A to point B, but a way of looking at the world, more in harmony with the way things naturally work. Because over the years technology is the change where machines have saved a lot of our problems, and now you can fly around in a tin can and get from here to Italy in half a day will. That's a nice thing. But the way we've started to look at the world is kind of a mechanical world, like even looking at being a human being is being a machine and machine metaphors. And so we have these practices like Chi Gong and Aikido and it wasn't called the Tao or anything, but they were just things that we did, movements to be like you're drilling for water or are given an energy. And so they were movements, that because of the same thing you're talking about it wasn't really explaining a technique or something, but just doing something, being an example. And what would it feel like if I was more compassionate? What would that physically feel like not to go through all the reasons like why compassion is important? What's an example or here's the list of what compassion is like, what does compassion feel like in my body. And for stress management for health for things, I've done all these practices for 20 years, they're kind of goofy. I get teased by my kids and see me doing some lotus, full blossom thing. And one of the first things I ever did with way enjoy Qigong is you did all these things of like, if you were a flower, and then you dug your roots into the ground, and you brought back the mud from your past and brought it to fertilize the present. And then you start this blog gives me chills to do it, or you start his blossoming process. And it takes like, a day to get to where you're in full blossom, and like, wow, full blossom feels different when you move your body. And so I just started doing all this, and I do have to warm up. Now, it's also some of the stuff, it's a great way to warm up your shoulders, their movements, but the intention. So after 20 years, I found out that the Taoism, it isn't like this list of practices or the 81 verses of the Dow to chain, but it's stories, but it's all based in those practices. And so the Tao is kind of including all that, and one of the first things. I'm publishing is published a book either just came out, or it's about to come out, called The Tao Pizza. And I've been practicing Taoism for 20 years, because I've been practicing Aikido martial art, Qigong, martial art, integral transformative practice, which is kind of a combination of all of them. And I'm like, wow, I've been practicing this for 20 years, I didn't even know that it's called the Tao. It's the practice of the way. And then pizza wanted to come up with something that was food. And I chose pizza, just because it's kind of fun. And we tend to divide our life up into like a pie-shaped thing. Like I'm a father, I'm a business owner, my spiritual life, financial life, spiritual and all these different pies. And that's useful to have those divisions, but really it's your whole life. So the Tao is kind of the way of nature and it's the wholeness of everything. And then the pizza, or all these little different slices of life, the slice of being a father, a teacher, a coach, a business owner, and really all of those things. And so the Tao is the wholeness of the pizza is kind of like a slice, each slice of life. So, does that make sense?

Bill Hiddleson 57:35

Yeah. Thanks for being a slice in my life.

Mark Hiddleson 57:38

You're the best slice! I remember, I never got to the punch line of when you taught me the area of a circle. You said, do you know how to find out the area of a circle? And I didn't know how. And I said, no, I don't know how. I think I tried a few different things, how to figure out the area of the circle. And you told me well, it's pi r squared. And I said, No, it's pi r round! We do have that classic. But I haven't taught my kids yet that pi r round. But that's the message of the Tao pizza is that pi r round. I love you, dad. Thanks. Thanks for all your energy, great input, your great ideas. My kids are going to love this. Everybody's going to love it. I love you.

Bill Hiddleson 58:31

Thanks for doing this.

Outro 58:35

Thanks for listening to The Tao of Pizza Podcast. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.


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