Episode 060 – Business Coach And Author Aaron Walker
Business and life coach Aaron Walker returns to the show to talk about living a life of significance, and his new book View From Top.Click Here To Download And Listen In iTunes!
Hey everyone and welcome to the All-Star Leader Podcast, where together we learn about leadership from the best and brightest, and keep it fun by connecting it to our passion for sports!
I’m your host Daniel Hare, and today we are once again joined by a returning guest who has recently authored a book!
You’ll remember Aaron Walker from episode 11 of the podcast, and I encourage if you didn’t catch that episode to pause this one, go back and listen to episode 11, and then come back to this conversation.
We’re going to skip through much of the typical intro/bio since we all know Aaron and get right into his new book, View From The Top: Living a life of significance.
This is Aaron Walker. Aaron welcome back to the show!
- Tell us how you’ve been what’s new in your world.
- Grueling exercise and a lot of time; 38 years of entrepreneurship to build the stories that are in the book
- 10% writing and 90% marketing is a truism!
- Lots of interviews and marketing/promotions; purpose is to help people learn how to live a life of significance.
- Let’s get right into this. On page 10 you say something I think is critical: “I knew that in order to be good at any one thing, it takes total commitment and a sense of devotion, and I was willing to do that.” Can you speak to the importance of that statement in relation to how some of us might get distracted by different/new things, or just try to do too many different things at one time?
- Following up on that, you recently ended one of your coaching programs, The Community, much for the reasons we’re discussing here. Could you take our audience into how focusing on certain things necessarily means excluding (perhaps even profitable/good) others?
- Two years ago began “The Community” as a lower price point for people to interact with him and his coaching programs
- But realized he was devoting a huge amount of time in the community, while figuring out his strength was in facilitating mastermind groups
- After months of prayer and evaluation, he decided to stop the community and devote entirely to the masterminds. Though it was profitable and enjoyable, the Community had to go.
- (Daniel – encouragement for people to taking that hard step of eliminating things): money won’t keep you in the game; passion might get you started but won’t last either; you need purpose. Two buildings side by side with a board across; for $10 you wouldn’t do it; to save your child, you would. That’s the purpose we need. So evaluate where you’re spending your time and determine if it’s your purpose. If you’re not doing anything that fulfills your purpose, try something else!
- You talk in chapter two of the book about delayed gratification; can you share some thoughts on that subject?
- Aaron and his wife Robin both came from poor/humble beginnings
- As he got started, he gave up 2/3rds of the business in order to get it going since they didn’t have any money – was willing to give up that much to get it started
- They committed to live on a very modest salary while building the company up, and putting all the profits back into the business.
- That resulted in him paying off a ten year loan in 36 months, and buying out his financial partners, leaving him with a paid-for business.
- Did the same thing again with another store…kept adding stores and doing the same things.
- This led to a Fortune 500 company wanting to buy his company
- The problem today is we want it now and aren’t willing to be patient. We shouldn’t compare our beginning to our parents’ middle, or our middle to our parents’ end.
- Live like no one else today, so tomorrow you can live like no one else – Dave Ramsey
- You retired from your first business at the age of 27. For the leaders in our audience, who are scattered among a number of industries from business to education, the ministry and more, what are one or two keys you can share about how you created that type of success in such a relatively short amount of time.
- Started business at 18 (no college)
- But even graduated high school early by going to summer school and night school
- You’ve got to have the grit, the perseverance and the determination to get whatever it is you wanted
- Delayed gratification in other areas (e.g. sports) – wanted to work more than he wanted to be an athlete.
- What is it for you that you want bad enough to give up other things?
- Got rid of all naysayers from his circle
- Recent study that the most common trait of multi-millionaires is grit
- You have to develop a mindset of I can do this – “can’t couldn’t do it and can did it all.”
- Failure is in not trying, not in not succeeding
- Growth mindset as Carol Dweck talks about in “Mindset.”
- (Daniel – how do you pass on this mindset to others?) – you can’t impose something on someone that doesn’t want it. You can’t force it. You can lead by example and show people the way, but ultimately they have to want it. Model it and look for the people taking it, and then pour your energy into those people.
- In chapter four (Breaking Free), you talk about seeking balance in your life, which is certainly a popular topic right now. Specifically, you say “Embrace the tension; it’s never going away completely.” What do you mean by embracing the tension?
- There’s no such thing as work/life balance
- We have to prioritize our priorities
- For Aaron: 1) believer/Christ follower; 2) Robin; 3) daughters; 4) grandchildren; 5) business
- Don’t come home with a pocket full of money and a house full of strangers
- Regardless of how much money you have, there will always be tension.
- In the same chapter you tell the story about first meeting Dave Ramsey, how you came to be in a mastermind group with him, and the impact that group has had on you over the years. There is so much there and I encourage people to get the book and read all of it, but share with us what you consider to be the critical point about surrounding yourself with the right people.
- Met Dave in 1995 at a Nashville Chamber of Commerce Luncheon with 25 people in attendance.
- Dave had yet to launch his first show, but talked Aaron into advertising on it
- After three days of a trial period, it was clear the investment would pay off
- 21 straight years as a sponsor of the show
- Dave then invited him to be in a mastermind group, which Aaron had never heard of
- It was uncomfortable at first, but he fell in love with it; having his own board of directors.
- This group went on for 12 years until Aaron retired.
- Now Aaron facilitates a number of mastermind groups.
- The enemy to excellence is isolation; if you want your life to go to the next level, you need to surround yourself with the right people.
- At the beginning of Chapter Eight you tell the story of one of your mastermind members James Ryle calling you out on something. Share anything about that you want, but I’d like for you to challenge our audience to have someone in their life who could do what James did for you.
- Aaron was in a dark spot at this point in his life; each week he would share in the mastermind how he couldn’t get out of the rut
- Weekends were generally off limits, but one Saturday his phone rang and it was James.
- James said God gave him a word for Aaron, and it was that he was worrying the hell out of everyone in the group.
- He said the group is getting sick and tired of you coming into
- He then quoted Isaiah 52:2 – Shake off your dust; rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem. Free yourself from the chains on your neck, Daughter Zion, now a captive. Then he hung up.
- Aaron was mad at first; but then realized James loved him enough to tell him the truth.
- That moment changed his life; it was time to move on.
- If you don’t have people in your life willing to do that, how are you going to face the troubles of this world?
- We already said you retired once at 27. Then you built another successful business before retiring a second time. And what I found fascinating was reading your thought process behind jumping into your third business, construction, which you had zero experience in. Walk us through that decision, and why you believe you were able to succeed in a brand new business, and what you learned about yourself that ultimately led to you retiring for a third time (from Chapter Ten – Choose Wisely)?
- After a major car accident that sidelined him for about five years, Aaron befriended the guy building their house.
- The builder was a master craftsman, but didn’t have any business experience.
- So Aaron proposed that they partner up and take advantage of both their strengths.
- Took the company to #1 for six consecutive years
- But it was all a mistake; there was no purpose in mind and no passion. It became a drudgery toward the end. And it was things that were just part of the industry that you couldn’t change.
- Robin knew he had quit when he came home at 3pm one day.
- Don’t let your life get to that point where you’re not excited/happy to get up and go to work.
- He loves how now he impacts others through his business.
- (Daniel – for more about the car accident check out Episode 11)
- You say that we should “always be in a state of personal assessment.” What does that look like for you and how can we implement that in our own lives?
- After retiring from the construction business he was planning to stop working.
- Dan Miller told him he needed to coach, and it made him rethink his plan.
- He went to Entreleadership Master Series (gift from Dave) and wound up with a couple of entrepreneurs to coach.
- The rest is history.
- He got the boat out of the harbor, where it’s much easier to move it.
- If you’re stuck or not clear about the path forward, get moving! Much easier to adapt once moving.
- You are a man of faith, and the book is filled with scriptures which speak to the lessons and topics you write about. Can you talk about how your relationship with Jesus has impacted your life and business over the years?
- Accepted Christ at 9 years old after growing up in Christian home
- Got a little off track early in business and caring only about himself and stuff
- But after going through struggles and then ultimately the car accident, radically transformed his mindset from taker to giver, humbling himself and trying to life not a successful life but a life of significance.
- Faith is priority: number one. Can’t separate business and faith.
- Don’t force anything on people, but be genuine to who you are and what you stand for.
- Where can people go to connect with you and find out more about the book?
- Antioch Live/Clear Day Media Group – music
- Jonathan Davis – production
- Clint Musslewhite – voice over