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The Impact Entrepreneur

Mike Flynn takes you behind closed doors and invites you into his conversations with game changing entrepreneurs. These conversations go beyond success and failure, beyond product or service or platform, to uncover what is really behind the decisions these entrepreneurs make and what IMPACT they hope to have in the world.
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Now displaying: August, 2016
Aug 29, 2016

This week I have a wonderful conversation with Ryan Hawk, host of The Learning Leader Show, Huffington Post contributor and executive at LexisNexis. Ryan truly has a passion for learning, and he shares that passion in this interview.

Ryan was a decorated college football quarterback at Miami University and Ohio University. After college, he wanted to learn more about leadership. He launched The Learning Leader Show in an attempt to build the ultimate PhD curriculum on leadership. Ryan also writes on the topics of leading and empowering others for The Huffington Post.

Ryan believes you learn a lot about someone by the questions they ask. One question that he likes to ask others, particularly deep thinkers, is, “What initial questions do you ask others to truly understand how they think?”

Ryan has done thousands of interviews with professionals over the course of his career. “What really differentiates some of the great ones from some of the good ones [are] the questions that they ask. How curious are they? How thoughtful? How good of a listener are they?”

Ryan suggests making a list of the people that you admire and believe are interesting – people you know or don’t know and people that are famous or not famous – and then ask if you can speak with them. It helps if you have a podcast or write for Forbes, but many people will be willing (and happy) to speak with you.

You can also employ this exercise to seek mentorship and education within your business, community or organization. At the end of this process, the people you admire (and who may be in leadership positions) will like you even more, and you will learn a ton. It’s a simple and repeatable process:

  1. Make a list of the people who really impress you within the company, and then call them or send them a thoughtful e-mail asking if you can talk to them for an hour. By doing this, you are showing that you’re a curious and thoughtful person who likes to learn, and they will be flattered.
  2. Listen, ask good follow-up questions and take really detailed notes.
  3. When you are done with the meeting, send them a recap e-mail of everything you learned in that one-hour conversation.

A key aspect of this exercise is to do it because you want to learn and improve. Most people are trying to find a short cut to a promotion. You want to develop relationships. “Relationships are what this world is made of. People who are not willing or are not willing to build relationships probably don’t do well, and the ones that can usually do quite well.”

Ryan’s impact moment began during a dinner with Todd Wagner, one of Mark Cuban’s business partners. Later, after earning his MBA, Ryan was looking at PhD programs focusing on leadership. However, he did not see any curriculum that he enjoyed. “So I thought, why don’t I just create my own Leadership PhD?”

By creating his own Leadership PhD, Ryan is able to seek out the people that he looks up to and admires, and ask to speak with them. “In addition to just learning for myself, I could release those conversations for potentially all of the world to be positively impacted at the same time. I thought that was a beautiful way to share what I was learning with others.” This project grew into The Learning Leader Show.

There are a few things that happen when you give a speech, or record a podcast episode. “You can change the way people think, you can change the way people feel, and you can change the way people act. I want to do all three of those things for my listeners, and for anybody who comes to one of my talks in person.”

Ryan’s original plan was professional football. He received a scholarship to the University of Miami to play as a quarterback, as was Ben Roethlisberger. Other schools tried to pull him away from Miami, so that he would not have to compete with the best. Ryan did the opposite. He moved to campus the day after graduating high school. “My goal was to show the guys that I was willing to outwork everybody. My goal also was to learn every single teammate’s name.”

After two seasons at Miami, Ryan realized that it still wasn’t enough. “It was a great moment, for me, because it taught me that sometimes you can do everything within your power, everything, and you’re still going to lose.” It’s a powerful (and difficult) lesson to learn that helps Ryan overcome things that other people are unable to overcome.

It was a delight speaking with Ryan today. He is one of the most effective and passionate learners in the entrepreneurial space, and I highly recommend checking out some of his interviews with the best leaders in the world.

 

SOME QUESTIONS I ASK:

  • How have mentors impacted you directly?
  • What are things that Ryan did to let go of one dream in order to move into a potentially greater opportunity?
  • What does Ryan desire for his audience?
  • What’s the most memorable experience that Ryan has had executing his process of requesting interviews from the people he admires?

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • A process for seeking out knowledge and mentorship from the people that inspire you
  • How pursuing knowledge from the people you admire can improve your life
  • What the questions you ask (or don’t ask) may reveal about yourself
  • How Ryan embraces being a lifelong learner in every aspect of his life
  • How Ryan learned a huge life lesson after working to be a better quarterback than Ben Roethlisberger

DON’T BE A PODCAST JUNKIE…

Aug 22, 2016

I’m excited to have Ryan Michler on the show today. His goal is to help men become better leaders through the Order of Man. Most entrepreneurs think about building a product, but Ryan is building a community.

Ryan grew up without a significant father figure in his life. After getting married and having children, Ryan realized he needed to learn a few things. So, Ryan started the Order of Man: a podcast, blog and community.

I just had no idea how guys are supposed to do this thing, so I went on a journey for myself to figure this out.” Ryan realized that he couldn’t sit on the sidelines of this conversation. He had to be engaged and leading the discussion.

Six years into working for someone else, Ryan made the decision to start his own practice. “But the reality is I just didn’t know how to do it.” So he hired a coach, a mentor, who helped Ryan wrap his head around why this change could be a good thing. “He also got me thinking on a different level, and I think that’s what mentors do. They help you see things you can’t see yourself.”

Ryan has always been a structured, organized and deliberate person, and his experience in the military solidified that. There are other blogs like Order of Man, started at roughly the same time, but they aren’t all successful. Most of that is due to a lack of consistency. “If you want to have success: you gotta be disciplined, you gotta be committed, you gotta be consistent. Those are three things that you can do that you have complete control over.”

Ryan doesn’t believe everyone needs to be organized, but they do need to have organization in their life. If it’s a weakness, you don’t necessarily need to make it your strength. Maybe you’re a visionary; maybe you’re the person who can launch that idea. That being said, Ryan has a lot of tools that are easy to use that can help bring more organization to your life.

One of Ryan’s tools is his Weekly Battle Plan. He schedules everything out. “If you’re not going to schedule your day out, including the planning that you’re going to be doing every day, the likelihood of it actually getting done is very minimal.” Ryan goes through his list every morning, and there are certain things he does every day: exercise, meditate, read, journal, plan out his day.

In addition to his everyday routine, Ryan writes down daily tasks and goals. “What do I actually want to get accomplished today? What is important to me when it comes to the relationships I have with my kid, or the relationships I have with my wife? What’s important with my health, with my money?”

He makes this list every morning without fail, and then he also does an After Action Review at the end of the day. During the After Action Review, Ryan reflects on what he was able to get accomplished, and what he wasn’t, to help him plan the next day. Ryan’s goal is to be deliberate so that every step he makes is maximum efficiency.

Ryan’s goal for his community is to help them become better leaders. That’s the overarching vision. “I want them to become better leaders of themselves. I want them to be able to lead and preside over their own families. I want them to be able to lead in their businesses and communities.” But in order to have that, Ryan believes you need to focus on three strengths:

  1. Physical Strength – Taking care of your mind and body
  2. Mental Fortitude – Mental toughness, resiliency and the ability to overcome obstacles
  3. Emotional Fortitude – Not being scattered or letting other people offend you.

“If I can help guys in those three strengths, in order for them to be better leaders, they’re going to live more fulfilled lives.” They’re going to have deeper relationships, more wealth and be able to succeed in business. Whatever a man is trying to accomplish, Ryan believes they can do that by becoming a leader and focusing on physical strength, mental fortitude and emotional fortitude.

Developing those strengths is a form of self-mastery; something that Ryan believes every man should strive for. Ryan refers to the natural man: a hypothetical man that tends to be lazy, unorganized, undisciplined. Self-mastery is about overcoming those things you have struggles with, and getting better in those key areas. You have to recognize that the natural man is actually there, and then realize you want to actually overcome it.

“Stop sitting on the idea that you have … and start taking action on it.”

I appreciate Ryan coming by to talk about how the Order of Man, the value of structure and his own life experiences.

 

SOME QUESTIONS I ASK:

  • What is Ryan doing to get clarity every day?
  • What was the impact moment that inspired Ryan to star the Order of Man podcast and community?
  • Did Ryan’s experience in the military shape his outlet for the Order of Man?
  • What are things that anybody can do to exercise their organization muscle?
  • What does Ryan desire for the Order of Man community?

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • How not having a father around in Ryan’s childhood drives him to become the best man he can be
  • How the Order of Man helps men become better leaders
  • How the structure instilled by the military has helped Ryan achieve success
  • The three strengths that help men become better leaders of themselves
  • The importance of self-mastery

DON’T BE A PODCAST JUNKIE…

Aug 15, 2016

I have a lot of firsts for you in this week’s episode. Jason and Jodi Womack are my first married guests, my first live interview with two guests and my first co-author guests. We also have a lot of fun talking, as usual, and the result is a huge episode packed full of ways to make an impact and get momentum.

The Womacks want entrepreneurs to Get Momentum, over and over again. Get Momentum is an executive coaching and development program that is designed for busy people who want to work smarter, think bigger, lead better and achieve more. Since launching their business in 2012, they have expanded to include the Get Momentum Leadership Academy and Get Momentum: How to Start When You’re Stuck.

The Womacks are both big proponents of mentorship. “The purpose of a mentor is to have someone act as the visionary,” Jason said. “You’re looking at you right then, a mentor can look at you and see you months from now.”

Jodi added that, “I love to think of mentors as someone I have a real relationship with … a real mentor cares about you the person, and the big vision of you that they can see.

Jason has a tactic he uses for clarifying, expanding or narrowing his vision. He looks at a subject as 100, 25 or 1. If you take 100 pennies, 4 quarters or 1 dollar, they all add up to the same amount. “There are some times you need to look at all 100 pieces of the problem, some times I just need to buck it into four quarters, and sometimes I just need to know what the problem is.” Mentors help you look at the problem from a different perspective.

Jodi’s impact moment came while she was Director of Public Events at a training firm. One day, all of the public events were canceled. “I realized I wasn’t the director of anything, as long as I was an employee,” Jodi said. Jason felt he was always running out of goals to reach for. So, they left the firm and started their own coaching and development business.

Eventually, customers were reaching out because they wanted more. They needed a continual refreshing of the content, so the Get Momentum Leadership Academy was born. “If you can get your clients to ask you for your next product before it is built, you are onto something,” Jason said.

Their book, Get Momentum: How to Start When You’re Stuck, is another project that was started after customers expressed interest in a book based on the course. The book is about how you reverse engineer that feeling you wish you had more: momentum. Jason described momentum as “the feeling that you recognize after you’ve had it.”

Being stuck sucks. “There’s no pretty way to dress that up. It is hard, it is lonely, it is depressing,” Jodi said. The other side of the coin is that, if you’re stuck, you’re trying to do something you’ve never done before.

When are you at your best? Every question Jason asks comes down to this central idea. If people consider when they are at their best, they give themselves what he describes as “the gift of their own attention.”

What do you want to be known for? The Womacks suggest you pick a role and pick a period of time. The answer is constantly changing. It’s a powerful perspective, because it makes the question actionable. The book does a wonderful job at providing actionable activities that reinforce the motivational message.

“Get Momentum” is broken into the Five Stages of Momentum:

  1. Motivation – What did I do that motivated me? “The idea of catching someone doing something right is so bizarre, unusual and unique. If you try that for a couple days, you might just revolutionize what’s going on in your office. Since school and the red pen, we’ve been taught to find what’s wrong,” said Jodi. “People are starved for wins.”
  2. Mentors – Jason has two kinds of mentors: Mentors he knows and mentors he doesn’t know. Learn from anybody you can. Jason picks one person from history every month to learn from.
  3. Milestones – The Womacks take everything they are working on and break it out into 90-day chunks. People get overwhelmed with big projects, but this lets you focus on something you can complete – and completing builds momentum.
  4. Monitor – You will know what to look for if you have clear milestones. “What is noticed is repeated. What is negatively noticed is repeated.”
  5. Modify – A dictionary definition of modify is “to make a small change.” The Womacks are big fans of small things done incrementally and repeated. There are three changes you can make to gain or re-gain momentum:
    1. Automate
    2. Delegate
    3. Eliminate

If you consider yourself a life long learner, head over to Get Momentum. I’m grateful that the Womacks took the time to sit down and talk. Their program, and their book, provide a lot of actionable strategies and motivational messages that will help entrepreneurs gain and re-gain momentum.

 

 

SOME QUESTIONS I ASK:

  • Can the Womacks share a story where a mentor has impacted their outlook?
  • What were the Womacks’ impact moments?
  • Why do we constantly find ourselves getting stuck?
  • What are the Five Stages of Momentum, and why are they important?

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Why a good mentor is a visionary, and how they can help you shift perspective
  • How to reverse engineer the feeling of momentum
  • The Five Stages of Momentum
  • The value of catching someone who is doing something right, as opposed to something wrong
  • The three modifications you can make to your life or business gain or re-gain momentum

DON’T STOP HERE…

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Aug 8, 2016

This is an incredibly powerful and authentic episode of The Impact Entrepreneur Show. My guest, Chris Faddis, is an author, speaker and entrepreneur. He launched Bene Plates, a revolutionary food and nutrition company serving the chronically ill and the walking well, just a year ago.

In 2011, Chris’ late wife was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Colon Cancer. Fighting that battle with his wife made Chris aware of the importance of nutrition for the terminally ill: 85% of cancer patients suffer from malnutrition, and 40% of cancer patients die from it. “Ultimately, it was food that kept her alive.” Bene Plates mission is to provide high quality, great tasting and nourishing meals for their clients, whether they are chronically ill or one of the walking well.

Rather than going through institutions, which are always going to make decisions for other reasons, Bene Plates goes directly to the patients. “Our goal is to create the demand by proving to people – proving to doctors, proving to hospitals, proving to individuals – that, when they eat well while they’re in treatment, they will do better.”

Chris launched Bene Plates about a year ago, and mind mapping tools have been helpful in the early stages of the business. Mapping his thoughts helps him articulate a clear vision, which in turn makes it easier to delegate tasks.

Chris believes it’s really important to be able to articulate a vision to the people around you, and trust them to make decisions on how to build your vision. “I have to step back, and I have to let certain things go, because if I don’t just articulate the vision and trust the team around me that I put in place, then it’s always going to be me and it’s never going to grow.”

If Chris could go back and launch again, there’s two things he would make sure to do:

  1. Don’t rush to launch. Take the time to read the market, make every small decision and fine-tune your processes.
  2. Don’t launch with debt.

Mentorship helped Chris realize the value of authenticity. Chris has a background mixing corporate business, entrepreneurship and the church space. He used to segment himself between the different aspects of his life, mentally and as separate online brands. “Honestly what I’ve found is … people are more accepting.”

Being authentic – being who you were made to be and living to your full potential – is a big hurdle for a lot of entrepreneurs. Chris believes a key to remaining authentic is having the right partner, whether that person is a spouse, mentor or business partner. “If you ever feel like you’re a wannabe fake when that person’s around, you’re not going to lie.”

Chris overcomes the Fear of Feedback by maintaining authenticity online. “When you’re transparent in your business and who you are, as a company and as a person, all that stuff is accountability.” In one way, that’s where social media is a positive thing.

The idea of the “Walking Well” was born out of Chris’ authenticity on social media – and an accidental reference to The Walking Dead. Delivering healthy food to healthy people is important to Chris too. “I think there’s something really important about us working with the walking well. It’s knowing that, when you buy a product from us, you’re helping us support more cancer patients.”

If you feel stuck in your career and want to break away to start a business, Chris suggests you sit down and think through your intentions. Is it about making money, or is it about doing something good? You will know you are ready to break away from a stagnant career after you:

  1. Articulate in three sentences, very clearly, what you want to do
  2. Talk about it with other people
  3. Start writing it down
  4. Get advice
  5. Make a business plan (Chris used com)

Chris Faddis is a born entrepreneur and an incredibly authentic human being. I’m so grateful that he came by to share his story and I’m excited to see how Bene Plates grows in the years to come.

 

SOME QUESTIONS I ASK:

  • How important have mentors been in Chris’ life?
  • What are some steps Chris is taking to make sure he is checking what he is doing against who he is authentically?
  • If Chris was starting this company again today, what are 2-3 things he would do differently?
  • What’s a step someone can take to break away from a career they feel stuck in?

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Why to be authentic online, in person and when running your company
  • How to overcome the Fear of Feedback online
  • The value of articulating a vision, then letting people help you build it
  • Why it’s usually better to take your time and launch a new business patiently

DON’T STOP HERE…

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Aug 1, 2016

Geoff Woods is full of great stories in today’s episode. Geoff is host of The Mentee Podcast and he came by to share how he went from employee to entrepreneur in just 10 months.

Geoff Woods’ journey as an entrepreneur (and a self-described Super Connecter) began with tragedy, but a Jim Rohn quote helped Geoff shift his life course: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Geoff wanted to own his own business, wake up every day and feel like he was making an impact, but he didn’t have anyone in his life that.

Geoff wanted to make an impact, followed by the money, and he’s able to do that with a knack for networking. “I try to find a way to add value to people.” He always asks, “What are you working on and how can I help?”

Geoff didn’t just want to make an impact. He also had the courage to act. His first goal was in real estate, so his first step was connecting with people who owned property. “The very first time I opened my mouth, I had the opportunity to become the owner of a 10-story building on the water in North Carolina.” Things only got cooler from there.

Jay Papasan and Gary Keller approached Geoff because they were looking for a new CEO for a publishing company. Geoff took the call because he had a couple names in mind, but ultimately he discovered they were looking for a CEO just like him. “Because I led with trying to be a super connecter, because I led trying to add value, I now have the opportunity to call a billionaire my partner.”

Geoff’s success, and his constant endeavor to add value to other people’s lives, starts with overcoming the limiting beliefs that make us believe we don’t have value to add. “The reality is you have value to give, you just have to figure out how to give value to those people.” Learn new skills and meet new people to increase the value you have to offer.

Geoff is learning the value of leverage. He can only contribute time towards things that align with and further his goals, but he still wants to add value to the people who approach him. He is learning to create systems and hire a person to manage those systems, which in turn creates opportunity for people in his community.

Geoff has advice for how you can find the best mentors, available in a free guide. He provided a great overview:

  • The mentor-mentee relationship is something that happens over time. “For you to walk up to a successful persona and ask them to be your mentor … is the same as men walking into a bar, seeing a hot woman, dropping down to one knee before you’ve said anything to her and saying, ‘Will you marry me?’”
  • You don’t even realize the value you bring to the table
  • Being in the position of the mentee is the most powerful position you can be in
  • Successful people look for up-and-comers who are hungry

Geoff provided an extra tip not in his guide: drop your ego and speak from the heart.

I can’t thank Geoff enough for being so authentic and vulnerable with us. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out The Mentee Podcast.

 

 

SOME QUESTIONS I ASK:

  • How has Geoff been able to connect people to create awesome things?
  • What doors have opened for Geoff because he has the courage to act?
  • What filters can entrepreneurs apply so that they don’t lose sight on the impact and the value they want to have in the world?
  • What are opportunities Geoff has had to turn down because he would not be adding value?
  • Can Geoff share his approach to building the mentor-mentee relationship in the right way?

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • The power of adding value to other people’s lives
  • Why success follows entrepreneurs who have the courage to act
  • Geoff Wood’s approach to building a mentor-mentee relationship in the right way
  • Plus much more…

DON’T STOP HERE…

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

1