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Episode 011 – Entrepreneur, Business and Life Coach Aaron Walker

Posted on Oct 10, 2016 by in Podcast Episode | 0 comments


Aaron teaches leadership qualities for a life of significance.

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Aaron Walker is an entrepreneur who has started and sold several successful businesses. After retiring for the third time, a friend convinced him he needed to start coaching young, up and coming entrepreneurs, which led him to one of his current ventures, View From The Top.

Aaron is a business leader, a mentor, a coach and a teacher. He is also a leader in his family which consists of his wife of 36 years Robin, two daughters and one son-in-law, and five grandchildren.


  1. I hit a few highlights about you in the introduction, but give us a little backstory and what your journey has looked like to get where you are today.
    1. Started at 18 with some business partners who had money
    2. He didn’t have much at all. 600 sf home; parents didn’t make much money
    3. Grew four companies over nine years and sold them; retired at 27
    4. 18 months later he was bored, and his wife Robin said you gotta do something!
    5. Launched a new business and grew it by 4x
    6. But then 8/1/01, car accident changed everything; Aaron hit a pedestrian with his car, and that person died from the injuries.
    7. Led to a five year hiatus from business
      1. Traveled
      2. Built a house
    8. Robin told him again to go back to work
    9. Partnered with a construction company and grew it to the best builder in Nashville
    10. Retired again at age 50
    11. Guys in his mastermind (Dave Ramsey, Ken Abraham, Dan Miller) suggested that he coach
      1. Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership Mastery
      2. Dan Miller Elevate
        1. Challenged him to inspire young men to reach their potential
    12. So new business
      i. Mastermind groups
      ii. Coaching
      iii. View from the Top community
    13. (Follow up Q from Daniel – What is with Nashville and entrepreneurs?)
      1. Demos/location good
      2. Entrepreneur center
      3. 6 miles from 2 coasts
      4. 80,000/year moving to Nashville
      5. Talking about the growth of Nashville, Austin, Waco
        1. Robin and friends are coming to see the “Flip or Flop”!! (Fixer Upper / Magnolia / Chip and Joanna Gaines)
  2. What does it mean to grow from success to significance?
    1. Deals with guys ranging from massively successful financially to those just getting started
    2. Need those with same objective even if in different places and different ideas
    3. Looking to develop great husbands, fathers, business leaders
    4. What is success?
      1. Most people are reactive rather than proactive
      2. Just want more, bigger, shinier
      3. But what if that’s not really what you want? Content v. complacent
      4. For him, it was
        1. Choosing his own schedule
        2. Financial freedom – important (not shying away from that) but don’t make it your God, paramount or your only focus
        3. Have an engaging family
          1. Both of his daughters work with him
          2. Meaningful relationships and a clear conscience
        4. Content not complacent
          1. Be happy where you are now
          2. Choose happiness (not a trait; a choice)
          3. But keep the pedal down and keep growing and moving forward
        5. Faith is important – trust in higher power
        6. Legacy – there is a man with great wisdom
          1. Car accident changed his view on this, from just making a bunch of money to
          2. Meeting the needs of others and engaging with other people
        7. Do things for people anonymously so people can’t repay or even acknowledge
          1. Gratitude day at restaurants, nursing homes, etc.
        8. Invest in others that might trickle down and impact the masses
  3. You have said that you fear missing an opportunity more than you fear failure.
    1. Fear is the biggest enemy we have
    2. Failure is in not trying; not in not succeeding
      1. If you don’t attempt it, it’s guaranteed you won’t be successful
      2. You either succeed or you learn
      3. Just don’t repeat the things that don’t work, and do more of the things that do
    3. We can get paralyzed in the fear of failure
      1. Pushes us to average – just as close to the bottom as the top
      2. Inch wide and mile deep – Greg McKeown in Essentialism
      3. Do the best you can do with everything; don’t have to be the best at everything
      4. Don’t leave anything on the field
      5. Be exhausted at night!
      6. Gave all he had to his business
      7. Naysayers are everywhere, but you can’t listen to them
        1. Carol Dweck – Mindseteither have growth or fixed mindset. Fixed mindset people say “well I can’t do it”
        2. Mom’s saying: Can’t couldn’t do it and could did it all
        3. Some confidence leads to some success which leads to more confidence and more success.
        4. Get the word “can’t” out of your vocabulary
      8. The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask
        1. John Lee Dumas / Entrepreneur on Fire example about asking
        2. The Big Leap by Gay Hendricksovercoming upper limit challenges
  4. Can you tell us about a business you started that wasn’t as successful, why you think that was the case, and what you learned from it?
    1. We need to be a constant student
    2. About 80% of business people read just one book per year
    3. Excuse is don’t have time; Darren Hardy says invest 10% of personal revenue into personal development
    4. His mastermind groups read books every month
    5. Helps you mitigate against challenges
    6. Stay on the cutting edge of technology
    7. Lots of reading and lots of conferences to get exposed to what you do not know.
    8. Dr. David Krueger at Baylor was Aaron’s personal coach – he hires lots of coaches
  5. Great companies and organizations rely on great people. What was and is your hiring process like and what do you prioritize in order to recruit the best people?
    1. Hire slow / fire fast
    2. Vanderbilt baseball won the world series recently; the coach is well respected
    3. Coach interviewed some of his players
      1. I can teach you the game of baseball, but I can’t teach you character
    4. What are the mission, vision, moral standard, core values? Do they align?
      1. Make decisions based on that
      2. Don’t just base decisions on your gut
    5. Dave Ramsey example
      1. Over a dozen interviews now
      2. Very strategic hiring
    6. Cody Foster – Advisors Excel in Topeka, KS (400 people; $5.5B)
      1. One of the largest mistakes he made was not firing people fast enough
      2. A toxic employee will destroy the chemistry of the team
    7. (Daniel follow up on values; how do you communicate them and not let them collect dust?)
      1. Chikfila example
        1. Friend was owner/operator
        2. No matter which location you go to, everything is the same.
          1. My Pleasure
          2. All based on intense training
      2. Must incorporate into training that is done on a regular basis
        1. If you don’t use it, you lose it
      3. Must have systems and processes
  6. How can those of us who are in entry or mid-level roles in our organizations influence those above us? i.e. How can we lead up?
    1. Attitude is everything
      1. Only thing you are in total control over
      2. Adam Grant – Give and Take
        1. Be a giver and not a taker
        2. Bring value to the company
          1. How can I bring more value than what the company is paying for
          2. How can I make this a pleasant experience
        3. Bosses would pass out if an employee came to them and said they want to move up, they are willing to invest, here is my skillset, willing to do more.
          1. I’ll help promote you and make you look good so you will benefit too
        4. Help bosses, clients, etc. achieve their results
        5. David Novak; CEO of YUM?
          1. Took his employees with him and recognize and honor them
          2. Pictures all over his office of his employees
          3. Focused outward
  7. How can those of us interested in broad-based success—at work, home, and in our faith and community, allocate our time, thoughts and resources?
    1. We’re all faced with this
    2. It’s not about time management; you can’t manage it; it happens regardless
    3. But you can manage your priorities
      1. Procrastinate On Purpose – Rory Vaden
        1. Priority dilution – we’ve made priority plural when it’s singular
        2. What is your priority? Faith, Spouse, Children, family, job
    4. We try to do too many things, and wind up an inch deep and mile wide
    5. What if we flipped that and became an inch wide but several miles deep?
    6. The job doesn’t have a memory but your family does.
    7. It’s always just one more email, one more call, etc. and you wind up working right through family time
    8. The only way to protect against this is to set up boundaries.
    9. Could always make more money by giving up everything else, but why? To what end?
    10. Resources – (everything is free for our audience)
      1. Personal Assessment – deals with identity, ideals, relationships
      2. What Do I Want? – Helps you proactively live rather than just reacting
      3. Steps to a productive day – helps you get situated and you have methodical schedules
    11. Want to know more about masterminds and accountability groups? Listen to episode 006 with Dave Stachowiak or episode 010 with Tom Schwab.
  8. What habits have been key to your success?
    1. Morning routine is catalyst
      1. 5 days per week
      2. 1 or 1.5 hours in the morning – quiet time with scripture, prayer, meditation and worship music
      3. Helps to acclimate to the day
      4. Lots of books too
    2. Personal development
      1. Ted Talks
      2. Podcasts
      3. Positive things
      4. (rare for him to tell this) – turned the news off 14 years ago because of the negative energy
        1. Want to spend time on things he can impact and those around him
  9. How can people connect with you and also learn more about your coaching and mentoring programs?
    2. The Community is a great place to start and take a first step
    3. @vftcoach on Twitter
    4. View From The Top book in 1Q 2017

Thank Yous/Acknowledgements:

  1. Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Groupmusic
    1. More here.
  2. Jonathan Davis – production
  3. Clint Musslewhite voice over




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